Leftism promotes a so-called ‘social justice’ disconnected from interior Wisdom and virtue. The Left sees virtue as public and political. Only what is outward and social is considered virtuous. A leftist will still consider himself virtuous even if his private life is ruled by vice if he is down for the cause de jure. In fact, the only private actions that are applauded by the left are sexual vices, which in this leftist clown world are now celebrated as virtues. Otherwise, for progressives what matters is social justice not private virtue.
All of the ancient wisdom traditions would disagree. They would teach in unison that politics can never bring about a just society. For there to be a just society you must have just men and women. And justice is inward and private first, not public and social.
Further the ancients would see the Summum Bonum, the supreme good, as inward and not outward. Some called the supreme good bliss, others wisdom, still others happiness. In this post I will use the term Wisdom to refer to the Summum Bonum. In all cases they would see an individual attaining this good to be far more important then any social or political good.
Wisdom is then an absolute good. The goods sought by the leftist are at best relative. Because wisdom is an absolute good one man or woman becoming wise is of greater worth then feeding all the poor of the world or ending all wars. Because leftist lack wisdom they will never see this.
By embracing progressive ideology, the leftist has cut himself from wisdom, since the fountains of wisdom lie in the past. The progressive sees the present as superior to the past and the future as superior to the present. Thus, the progressive spurns traditional wisdom as a dead weight to be cast off in his ascent to a just world. By rejecting the wisdom of the ancients, the progressives have become fools.
The ancients are wiser than moderns. As Jesus put it, “No student is above his teacher, no slave is above his lord.” (Matthew 10:24) A metaphysical corollary to this is no effect is greater than its cause. So, in matters of wisdom or spiritual gnosis each generation is inferior to the one that precedes it. It is the copy of a copy of a copy principal that was noticed in the predigital age. Far from being progress the edifice of modern leftism is a ruin of the ancient greatness of the saints and sages.
So, in understanding virtue we must reject the prejudices of the moderns and look to the wisdom of the ancients. The ancients knew that true wisdom was within and not without, a matter of private virtue and not public policy. They understood that the highest virtue is the cultivation of Wisdom and true spiritual gnosis. Bonaventure clearly understood this; Saint Bonaventure was a wise mystic and sage of the thirteenth century. And I am going to draw from the prologue of his Journey of the Mind into God to talk about true spiritual wisdom.
Bonaventure was delightfully medieval and unmodern in his opening prayer to the Father of lights to whom he offers this petition: “to grant that the eyes of our mind (be) illumined to direct our feet in the way of His peace, which exceeds [exuperat] every sense; which peace Our Lord Jesus Christ has proclaimed [evangelizavit] and has given; the renewer [repetitor] of whose preaching was our Father Francis, announcing at the beginning and end of all his preaching peace, in every salutation choosing peace, in every contemplation longing towards ecstatic peace…” Notice what Bonaventure is seeking; he is seeking inward peace, he is seeking wisdom, in that he is seeking the eyes of his mind to be illumined concerning the way of peace, and he is seeking bliss, for he seeks a peace that is ecstatic.
In this Bonaventure was one with the ancient sages of all traditions. Wisdom in this exalted sense, the wisdom of spiritual gnosis and deep inward peace is the supreme good, the Summum Bonum. The ancient Philosophers would have agreed. For these ancient sages the realization of the intellects capacity for wisdom is the supreme good.
Moderns social justice warriors will never understand this. For them progressive political ideology is the Summum Bonum. Though their lives are controlled by folly, they congratulate themselves on their righteousness. for them progressive ideology is the Summum Bonum. If they had a quantum of wisdom, they would reject leftism as folly and abandon it in the pursuit of spiritual wisdom.
But we have fallen far short of the ancients. Words like mind or wisdom have been trivialized by modernity and have lost their ancient meaning. For us the mind is the analytical reason celebrated in the modern academy. For the ancients it was different kind of faculty altogether. The mind for them was capable of a higher order cognition hidden from modern academics. The mind was capable of an intuitive form of cognition which could lay hold of absolute reality. It is this kind of cognition that the ancient sages and saints called wisdom. Wisdom is an intuitive grasp of the sacred divine absolute. Wisdom is the presence of God intuited in the intellect.
Mankind was created to love and know this holy divine wisdom. Nothing has value without wisdom. Nothing is good when joined with folly. Wisdom is the realization of the highest faculties of mankind; thus, to become wise is to know both inward peace and bliss.
True wisdom orders all thought and action. The wise man is just and social justice could only happen in a society for which this traditional wisdom is the highest value. A wise man will never embrace the folly of leftist ideas. The lower analytical intellect deprived of wisdom becomes ruled by the passions, appetites and emotions. It becomes blind and foolish. Thus, the lower mind can easily become seduced and deceived by the sophistries of the progressive Left. Reason detached from the higher wisdom becomes debased and debases men.
Since progressives are disordered within themselves, the society they create lacks right order or true justice. Seeking social justice without the wisdom of ancient tradition is a fool’s quest. The progressive is only capable of creating tyranny.
Mired in folly, the progressives do not understand that politics can never bring about a just society. For a just society you must have just men and women. And justice can only be found in that true spiritual wisdom that Bonaventure sought in Christ. The progressives reject this traditional wisdom and so their social justice is tyrannical folly and vice.