How inexhaustible is the human mind?

This passage from Northrop Frye strongly suggests the verum factum principle of Vico that links the true and the made.

Truth is always a beginning; it can never be the end of anything in this world, for there is no end it can come to except the mind in which it began. When the reason discovers a rational order in the universe; when the artist discovers that the world is beautiful, these discoveries are partly a matter of falling in love with one’s own reflection, like Narcissus. Even when submarines swim under the pole and rockets circle the dark side of the moon, it is still the shadows of truth that are outside us; the substance is in ourselves. It is not the world that we contemplate but the world that we create which is important to us. The sources of creative power in the human mind are inexhaustible. If we could realize that they are infinite and eternal as well, and that the human mind is therefore linked in its nature and destiny with a divine mind, that would be the final motive for learning and the final guarantee of its value.

From By Liberal Things [his address upon his installation as Principal of Victoria College, 1959]

The tautology rests on the distinction between the created and the contemplated. A phenomenologically inclined view would be less easy with the separation. Perception is in part a power of filling in what is there. And is in part limited.

Though Frye begins and ends in the infinite and the divine, there are other ways to square the circle and find reason for human humility. Take this example offered by Charles M. Schulz in Peanuts where our characters have a different take on what constitutes a beginning.

peanuts - lucy and snoopy - beginnings and endings

And there is no telling which came first in my encounters: Frye or Schulz. Or in your reading.

And so for day 2156

This entry was posted in Perception. Bookmark the permalink.