This site is called, Cathologies, and you may be wondering what type of blog you have stumbled into. According to the online Urban Dictionary entry, a cathology is (the hackneyed, juvenile spellings are in the original Dictionary entry):
“The study of Catholicism. The theological interputations of the Catholic Church. Most prodistant Christians refer to the theology of the Catholic Church as Cathology [sic].”
Of course, this definition is (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek, since the study of Catholicism is called simply, Catholic theology, and is divided up into a number of sub-categories: moral theology, mystical theology, etc.
There is, however, another way in which the term, cathology, can make sense. As a compound word, it is derived from the Greek, κατά, meaning “about”, ὅλος, meaning “whole”, and λογία, meaning “speech” (such as in eulogy) or “subject matter” (as in theology – literally, the character of one who speaks about God). The sense is, then, of a universal speech or subject matter, a unification of disparate knowledge. Since my background is in interdisciplinary studies, combining different branches of knowledge to solve problems, I thought I would create a blog that attempts to show the hidden connections between different areas of study, the different ways in which knowledge in one area may be applied to another.
The study of knowledge is called, epistemology, and has a long and venerable history in philosophical investigations – how do we know what we know. Eventually, I will get into this morass of ideas, but this is not meant to be a philosophy blog. This blog is about, I suppose one could say, the cooperation of knowledge or ideas. It is like a man needing a knowledge widget or an insight who spies it in a foreign knowledge land and reaches across the terrain to borrow it, knowing that an inhabitant from that land is free to borrow whatever he needs from his country, should the need arise. Who would have ever thought that a simple sailor’s knot could have far-reaching applications in particle physics or that the Greek mythical story of the Hydra could have implications for transfinite mathematics? These are cathologies.
There are Divine Laws, Natural Laws, and Positive or human laws (laws which are posited by man). In a sense, all cathologies aim at understanding the ways in which these three hierarchies interact within themselves and between themselves. Whenever a cathology is discovered, for a minute, the universe speaks a common language, or, more precisely, the hidden common language of universal expression is, for a moment, laid hold of and one becomes a μυστικός, a mystikos or an intiate into things concealed (μυω). In this sense, the discovery of any connection between these categories of laws, any cathology, is a mystical experience, small m, leaving the capitalized spelling for the specific connections between the human and the Divine.
So, what is the purpose of this blog? Really, it is to have a little fun looking across distant knowledge lands, to do a little short wave radio listening to chatter from two fuzzy knowledge signals in the hopes that they might really coalesce into a single voice if you tune the dial just so, to do a little cooking with mystery, hoping that the final taste is just right (keeping in mind that it is only a short change in letters from mystery to dysentery). Mostly, though, it is to have fun learning new things and playing with puzzles.
Since truth is truth (yes, I stand in opposition to post-Modernism), the cathologies on this site must have a common origin. I take that truth to be grounded in the Christian God as revealed through the Catholic Church. You may disagree. There are many cathologies that can be appreciated in a non-religious context, but I think it fair to reveal my orientation from the start.
I won’t always talk about hidden connections. Sometimes, I will lay the groundwork, speaking of some little tidbit of new (for me, at least) knowledge I have come across. There are many things of which I know nothing and just the fun of discovery is justification, itself, for this blog. Sometimes, you will be my teacher and I will be a learner. Sometimes, I will speak as a teacher to you, a learner. Sometimes we will teach each other. Sometimes, we will even disagree, but if we must disagree, at least let us put on powdered wigs and address each other as, “my learned opponent,” as opposed to, “dear, stupid idiot…”
Finally, I can’t provide cake and cookies (nor drink – pour your own), but I can provide games and entertainment. How many relationships between men and knowledge have been discovered through games? Perhaps, that is why technology advances most rapidly during war. Oh, and I use “man” to refer both to humanity, in general (male and female), or man, specifically (male). Context will decide. That may sound unenlightened, but perhaps you don’t appreciate the irony of the usage (I will save that for a later post, since there is a cathology hidden, there). In any case, should you want a bit of relaxation (or vexation), the games may be found by clicking on the, home, link on the front page of this blog. The games should be updated, weekly. If you would like to try your hand at creating games for the website, feel free to contact me using the, Contact Us, link. All of the games use open source, free software and images.
I almost entitled this post, “The COVID made me do it,” but this blog is not a product of boredom, but rather the desire to find moments that leave me breathless. The famous Hungarian mathematician, Paul Erdos, once said that some mathematical proofs are so transcendent that it is as if they belonged to a book of proofs that God has hidden that falls open from time to time. His biggest compliment of a theorem was that it was, “in the Book.” Just so, for me, when an artistic performance touches the eternal, it is as if, for that instant, air means nothing and I glimpse, for a moment, what a soul must be like without a body. In that moment, I have a touched a cathology. That is what I hope for you.