Court Transcript

JACQUELINE. In the tradition of Hell and all good Schoolmen, I must begin at the wrong end. The wrong end of everything is to be found at The University of Paris, which after all, is a guild of masters. These erudite scholars are foolish enough to carve up the world into four noble faculties: Theology, Law, Medicine, and Philosophy – four streams of learning that they liken to the four rivers of Paradise. Students flock from all over the world to hear them speak, then armed with their degrees, they set about turning Paradise into Pandemonium…

But I will not bore the bench with that seething nest of vipers, nor pollute the court with the poison of their opaque philosophies. Besides, their wretched chatter would surely disgust you. For the simple truth is that most Schoolmen have contracted an incurable disease. I refer of course, to that pernicious pox which goes by the pig-Latin name: Vanitas Intellegentia [Intellectual Vanity]. This vile condition has five principal symptoms. Shall I list them?

The first is to quarrel like dogs. Fights are held in “forums” which, like the Forum Romanum of old, are dedicated to the god of war. These forums are little more than bating pits and radically corrupt, so that any attempt at truthful enquiry is quite impossible. For each dog brings with him his own precious dogma, and one that he is anxious to defend to the death. Do not imagine that scholarly wit, erudition, or dialectical subtlety have anything to do with forum disputations – quite the opposite in fact. The knight-errands of the episcopal schools are always eager for the fray and draw swords with anyone who disputes their philosophy. These decadent and riotous clerks, who quote Aristotle at the drop of hat, fight like cockerels and drunken bears. So whilst Mother Church illumines her sacred gospels with exquisite pigments, and binds them with silver and gold, the robes of her fanatical clerks are soaked in blood, vomit and wine. Needless to say, these scholarly devils are totally exempt from civic jurisdiction.

Nothing is sacred to Schoolmen. Even the holiest mysteries are dissected and probed with skewers of logical argument. The faithful are always horrified to hear these these erudite blasphemers, exercising their rapacious wit outside the taverns or under the porches of the Stoics. Here you will find many Schoolmen lurking as materialist spies, reeking havoc on the mindless dregs of humanity – those poor wretched souls who come to forums having first been fed strict diets of state propaganda. But ’tis proper to give account of what they actually fight about, for deaths are quite common. In short, they fight over anything, from a single atom of water, to the transit of Venus. The cynics amongst you might view forums as harmless recreation grounds for the masses, but this is to misunderstand their true purpose which is to crystallize public opinion in favour of the status quo. But far be it from me to cast aspersions on Mother Church and disseminate profanity…

The University of Paris is to Truth what the Serpent was to the earthly Paradise: a poisonous source of disinformation and death, diffusing its evil over the whole world. Here the Light is snuffed from the soul, whilst the mind is steeped in ignorance. The Sorbonne stands tall above the banks of the Seine; but what a mighty stream of sewage flows from Paris to the sea!

Despite their holy garb, most Schoolmen do not believe in God or ghostly things, and like Lucretius are simple base materialists, believing only in bodily beholdings. Consequently, their inner eye is not illumined by love but by vanity and hatred. Schoolmen always present themselves as rational, sober and upright, despite being completely inebriated on materialist doctrine. Most Schoolmen know how to use words, but in forum disputations, they always pick words out of context. In this cavil manner, one dog can completely twist what another has said. Special attention is always given to heretical truths with far reaching implications. So if a Gnostic reveals a pearl of wisdom, he is instantly mocked with slurs, rude jests, opaque statements and verbose language. Let me give you an example…

GNOSTIC: The Orphic Mysteries and the beliefs associated with them, offer profound insights into the true nature of the soul, and give a general view of Man’s place within the cosmos.

SCHOOLMAN 1: My dear dog, ’tis unfortunate for you to hold any truth in that remark, as ’tis completely false on all accounts, and of the kind I often use to spot Pythagorical fools from every walk of life.

GNOSTIC: Have you even read Plato? If you had, you would know the Orphic-Pythagorean doctrine represents the soul as “a heavenly, not an earthly plant.” For the soul is an unwilling prisoner of the body, and always seeks its separation…

SCHOOLMAN 2: The soul is a plant? Really? What kind? A fern? A rose? A leek or a thistle? Is it a herb perhaps? A weed or a briar? Or is it just a simple vegetable like you? Mon Dieu! I always knew Plato was a turnip!

SCHOOLMAN 1: Well said! I don’t think we need to bother ourselves with the follies of gnosticism. All Gnostics are incurable lunatics and suffer from acute Platonitis. Keep taking the pills, Gnostic!

GNOSTIC: I see no point in conversing with you.

SCHOOLMAN 1: Because you have lost the argument. I refer to Aristotle’s doctrine of the Four Causes: matter, or the material cause, is the primary principle of explanation. Therefore, all men should seek to find the clues to nature in that of which all things are made.

SCHOOLMAN 2: My honourable colleague is quite correct, and if I may say so, he makes a highly erudite observation. Matter is the primary principle of all life. The first from which we came to be, and the last of which we are resolved. Alas, this gnostic was born a fool, and he shall die a fool – foolishness being the common substratum for not only his mind, but also his body!

A great round of applause goes up in favour of the Schoolmen and the Gnostic is driven from the forum to the raucous sound of stomping feet, jeering, hoots, whistles and clapping hands…

Which relates directly to the second chronic symptom: curling lips. Schoolmen have an irrepressible urge to sneer – to ridicule and cheapen with lascivious discourse, anything that threatens their status or beliefs. In this manner they quell all heresy with bitter sarcasms, endless contradictions, feeble quips, demoralising slurs, mud throwing and bum-trumpeting. That which cannot be proved within the sphere of their own philosophy is always deemed absurd. But if you still want to believe that physic always rises on the ladder of its previous errors then that is your prerogative. The edifice of physic stands tall, white and clean, but its modern foundation stones are always disturbed by ghostly apparitions and old wives’ tales.

Whilst most Schoolmen have read Dionysius, they have never glimpsed the Light themselves, nor awakened to that higher state in which the adept dwells. They live purely in the mind and body, and exist only within the realm of Nature. But as any adept knows, to live within the soul is to live above Nature, and so experience all the intensity and intuition of the Spirit. Consequently, most Schoolmen have very a limited conception of reality. Their topics of disputation are most revealing. Here is a small collection that I have gathered over the years, which I include for your amusement…

Do atomists make bad poets? Discuss

What is the evidence for Dionysius the Areopagite visiting France? Discuss…

Was the fall of Rome caused by social deprivation, military exhaustion, moral erosion, or pagan curses? Discuss

Aristotle states that all natural change is in principle cyclical. For the lives of all things are distinguished by a number, and there is an Order controlling all things, and every life is measured by a period. Discuss

Divine Providence is the religious way of expressing the complete dependence of the temporal on the eternal. Elucidate

Augustine said: God did not make the world in time, but made time in making the world. Define time…

Are Platonists mad? If so, in what way and why? …

The Greek belief in reason, when applied to Nature, expresses itself in the assumption that nature is intelligible. What are the consequences of this assumption?…

Heracleitus asserts that nothing remains unchanged, but conflict and change are the universal laws of Nature. Discuss

Nature always aims at the highest good, and being is better than non-being. Discuss

Was the God of Job really the Devil? If so, is the God of the Jews the same God? Discuss

Nero illumined his gardens at night by burning Christians in pitchy shirts.[i] How far would you go to protect Mother Church? And what atrocities would you devise to protect the state and impel the people? Discuss

In what way is moral progress hindered by intellectual progress? Discuss

Was Christ’s resurrection really a fable plotted by Jewish conspirators? If so, what was the plot? Discuss

At this point, I should make it quite clear that Schoolmen have no time for conspiracies. In fact, they regard them as “childish constructs, and the products of credulous minds, striving to make sense of a chaotic world.” But that statement is itself a conspiracy, designed to belittle the conspirators! As a Spanish inquisitor once confessed: alocos y ninos dicen la verdad [crazy people and children tell the truth].

It should be clear by now that forum disputations are always weighted in the Schoolmen’s favour; id est, they are nothing but divisive bait, designed to root out heretics and quell dissenters. Be careful how you answer. The closer you stand to Truth, the more dangerous you become. All conflict is reducible, in its final terms, to a battle between good and evil.

Many prophetic reptiles haunt the hallowed halls of physic, and they are all busy reinventing theisms. But Schoolmen will always say “Who goes there?”, making it matter of astonishment and absurdity, if anyone does so much as whisper a single word of faith. Yet ’tis permissible for them to have their own faiths. The atomists theorise all change as the resultant effects of a few varieties of minute invisible bodies, which are themselves susceptible to no kind of change whatsoever. This gives the world an invisible material structure which is unchanged and unchangeable. Lucretius said: whatever is sentient is composed of atoms that are insentient. I might ask, how do insentient eggs become sentient chickens? All atomists assert that atoms by themselves cannot be sentient, but there remains a distinct possibility that atoms have sentience of their own… Just ask the atomists about the mouse in a box, whose very existence they deny, until the box is opened. This is nothing less than heathen transubstantiation! And whilst we’re about it, how can the Schoolmen maintain that Jesus Christ is no longer on Earth, in respect of his body, because ’tis impossible for a body to be in more than one place at the same time? And yet, they postulate that a particle may occupy both halves of a split container on different sides of the Seine, (unless, perchance one peeps inside, at which point the position of the particle in one half or the other is instantly defined). Further, Schoolmen will deny that Christ’s spirit penetrates all things; yet again they err, for Christ is not corporeal like them, so that when He is in one place He cannot be absent from another, but is in all places at once, by virtue of His power, which extends throughout Heaven and Hell, for His Spirit fills all things. Lift the stone and you will find Him; cleave the wood and He is there. Yet surely, He is present in a more mysterious manner with those who believe in Him. Yet even in the Schoolmen who do not!

Which relates directly to the third symptom: a perverse wrong-headedness, an incurable pig-headed obstinacy, a bloody-minded arrogance, and an intractable pride; to know your own book only, and to assert, despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary, that your book is the right book. I have known heretics, who, having refused to bow to their masters, were found hung in a wood with their wrists slit. Transsexuals beware. Never make impertinent condemnations of their sacred cows, or the Schoolmen will set about to procure your ruin forever, accusing you of perverse crimes, degenerate passions, and murderous inclinations. After which you will spend the rest of your days an excommunicate lunatic. Ergo, always keep your light hidden under a bushel, for a little show of knowledge is a dangerous thing, and will slave you to the vices of the world. If you ever defy your masters, your only chance of reprieve is to confess the error of your ways with bended knees and joined hands, bowing profoundly, and thrice saying: “Benedicte. I believe in naught; in naught do I believe; naught except what you and the Schoolmen tell me. And I believe all Schoolmen to be good, honest and true.” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

The fourth symptom of Intellegentia Vanitas can strike at any time: an inordinate desire for renown. A Schoolman must be respected and held in high repute; he must attract a certain mystique; he can feign humility, but is always cunning and ruthless enough to keep his position by legislation, censorship, or any other fraudulent practise. For a Schoolman always knows that the sum of his knowledge lies more in his reputation than in the quality of his mind. Reputations are maintained with all the usual tender: money, influence, filial relation and sexual favours. I do not intend to be scornful of philanthropic purpose, but only of the cold-blooded injurious powers that prevail in keeping the unqualified qualified, and vesting them in official robes of judgement.

The fifth and most chronic symptom of all, is an irrepressible urge to steal. Schoolmen are to books as magpies are to jewels. That is to say, black and white minds find colourful ideas more precious than gold. Of especial value are erudite works by persons unknown, for these can be sequestered and copied without arousing suspicion. Schoolmen spies are employed solely for this purpose, and their plundering pens have pilfered many inventions of genius. Schoolmen spies are everywhere, and no doubt there is one amongst us, even as I speak. Little wonder that all my heretical works have been attributed to Plato. But I’m not bitter. ’Tis more glorious to give than to receive. Oh, what a saint the world is loosing in me!

Such is The University of Paris – the Devil’s end, if ever there was one. And what a sordid, disreputable place to start. But despite bell book and candle, I must start at another place altogether. For I was not made by the Schoolmen. At eighteen years I was already too deformed for their Universal mould. Each day I had to swaddle my breasts and dress as a man, just to attend lectures. Yet all I learnt was thieves Latin and the art of sophistry. For the Schoolmen contrived to sharpen their wits and fill their lungs, that they might sound sweeter than a nightingale. But their wheezing words only left me with a splitting head, a compulsion to suicide, and the certain knowledge of my own damnation. During my long exile from Paradise, I have met more erudite donkeys. So I shall leave the Schoolmen here, to amuse themselves with their base corruptions, convoluted logic, perverse doctrines, evil machines, ridiculous gradations, and all the chalk pearls that their muddled minds fathom from the bottomless seas of folly.

You have now reached the right end of the wrong beginning which is neither an end nor a beginning, but a path on the way to your gnostic enlightenment…

Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2006-2016

i. Tacit. Annal. xv. 44.

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