Another Quick Knowledge Note

Almost without fail, when I’m asked about something, even something about which I have at least a little knowledge, my mind goes blank.

‘What did Descartes think about the mind and body?’


I then proceed to fumble through a few very poorly formed sentences trying to answer the question. I usually then spend about five minutes in a deep angst about my inability to retain information (I’m very, very absentminded and learn best when given a lot of time in which to immerse myself in the subject) before coherent responses begin to fill my head. Usually about an hour later, I could give a speech about the subject. So it seems like, at least for me personally, that knowledge needs a kind of momentum to emerge in a coherent form. Is there a name for this phenomenon?

T.F. Torrance on Knowing

‎’In all authentic knowing we distinguish what we know from our knowing of it and at the same time distinguish ourselves from whatever we know. We recognize our own free independent existence and are aware of ourselves as rational subjects in the activity of knowing. But obversly we recognize what we know as having reality “on its own”, independent of our knowing of it. In distinguishing ourselves from what we know we are aware of ourselves as irreducibly real subjects, who have reality in ourselves independent of other realities with which we stand in relation. But by the very same token we are aware of the other as having reality in itself independent of our knowing of it. It is this personal mode of being as subject which is precisely the mode of being in which we are aware of the objective world around us. Personal subject-mode of being is thus the bearer of objectivity.’ (T.F. Torrance, ‘Reality and Scientific Theology’, p. 109)

The Universe and the Mind

‘Clearly, both science and natural theology demand a view of the mind in which justice is done both to the mind’s essential dependence on the body and to the mind’s ability to reach not only beyond its body but the totality of bodies, or the universe. For the conceptualization of such a view of the mind no single work, be it “soul” or something else, can do full justice. It can only be grasped by an unreserved commitment to that very richness which nature displays in man alone. Once this commitment is unhampered by empiricist and rationalist phobias, the thinking man will appear that slender reed which for all its fragility is stronger than all the matter in the universe. While the universe does not know man is able to know the universe, witnessing in more than one sense the truth of the phrase that knowledge is power.’ (Stanley Jaki, ‘The Road of Science and the Ways to God’, p. 260)