The wise man considers beings from the light of first principles. Any one of Charles De Koninck’s books or articles will quickly show the reader that he has no other method because there simply is not any other. It is the very condition of man that, as soon as he starts to think, he suspends all thought of the transcendent. Now, against all modern thinking that assumes that man chooses his first principles, Charles De Koninck maintains, with unshakable firmness, that these are given to us. To think is to think something that does not depend on us, something that we have not made, something over which we have no power.
Charles De Koninck is resolutely thing-oriented. There is a natural order to things which derive from the Author of nature. There is a supernatural order that comes from the Redeemer of nature, that comes from God. Nature, grace, and God are the first principles of wisdom. The modern world no longer admits this. It contrived other “first principles.” These all come down to the primacy of me, and are more or less camouflaged in sometimes contradictory masks, beneath which attentive observation can discern one and the same face. Larvatus prodeo. The modern world can only be the world of making because it refuses to be the world of givenness. It is a world of making in its desire to emancipate itself from nature, grace, and God. When there is no longer a given world, another one is found, another universe is produced.
This other universe is an unreal world; an imaginary world; an acosmic and inhuman world where the ghosts of men pretend to be and to live. Mundus est fabula, Descartes, the prince of fabricators, affirmed. Charles De Koninck tranquilly states that such a world does not exist, and that, as soon as it attempts to exist, it dedicates itself to deception, violence, revolution, and, ultimately, ruin. As it was dying, Nero’s world pronounced qualis artifex pereo. Under the evil spell of making and the sovereign master ego, we negate the speculative order that enables us to attain better and higher realities than ours. This negation is the inevitable destruction of the real world.
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