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Monday, April 14, 2014

On False Complexity

On False Complexity

** false complexity is what many modernists and secular humanists are subject to, who deny that we can know objective truth, objective reality, objective standards, and absolute morality ***

Dietrich von Hildebrand says:

 "Or again, a man may develop a predilection for complicating as many things as possible because he mistakes complexity for "profundity." This species of complexity ... is more or less an apanage of the intellectual. Its lover prefers obscurity to clarity; he is liable to credit oracular stammering with profundity, and to dismiss whatever is unequivocally and tersely enounced as trivial. He thus tends to make everything appear more complicated than it really is, and consequently falls short of an adequate knowledge of reality. For such people are blind to the trait of simplicity associated with the metaphysical wealth and height of being; they overlook the metaphysical law that the higher a thing is the simpler it is, in a sense - in the sense of inner unity, as expressed by the dictum, "simplicity is the seal of verity." They are insensitive to the value of true simplicity.

This kind of complexity, too, is connected with the false type of "consciousness." particularly its second form: what we have called the over-development of the cognitive attitude, and the cult of cognition as a self-contained process. The category of the intellectually interesting takes precedence over the category of truth. The protean vastness of untruth, the maze of arbitrary and extravagant but witty errors and sophistries are considered with great interest - if only because they divert the intellect from platitude and simplicity. The mere fact of their complexity (and often enough, of their abstruseness) confers on these errors - in the eyes of such people - a claim to be taken seriously, indeed, even a glamour outshining the simple dignity of plain truth.

Obviously the realm of concepts in which these minds roam about is a highly complicated and disharmonious world, for the possibilities of error are innumerable, whereas truth is one.
This perverted spirituality hides an inherent impotence to penetrate the world of being, directly and essentially. The mind that wallows in complexity is unable to grasp the *logos* of what is in a straightforward way, to establish a vital contact therewith. It rambles around objects, without ever communicating with them intimately; its ideas are not inspired by the *logos* of the reality in question, and are therefore devoid of intrinsic necessity. A sterile "missing the mark" is the invariable fate of such minds: they are forever a prey to the infinitude of possibilities instead of coming close to the *one* reality. All intoxication with complexity betrays the hunger of those who feed on stones in place of bread."

 From book "Transformation in Christ" - Chapter five: True Simplicity

Also see The Profundity of Catholicism