Friday, December 08, 2017

What Does the Left Want? Freedom! From What? Reality!

Back to diabolical liberty and how it gets that way. Yesterday I was reminding my son that life consists of time. It's all we have, and then it stops (at least on this plane). But time in the absence of freedom would be just... duration, I guess.

It seems like T minus F would be rather tedious, but boredom can only be conceived from the perspective of choice and possibility. My son sometimes asks if our dogs are bored, since they spend most of their time nodding off with glazed expressions. I don't think so. It's just that when affection, treats, walks, or danger from the UPS man aren't in the offing, the world must go kind of blank. Like how your computer goes to sleep if you don't give it something to do.

But man is a reflection of both absoluteness and infinitude, the former going to truth, strength, and virtue, the latter to possibility, novelty, and change.

For our purposes, possibility is another word for freedom (or, as they say, "no alternative, no problem"). However, mere possibility is no better than a dog's life, because that would revert to the essence of the diabolical: if everything is permitted and nothing is forbidden, then Dirty Harvey and his ilk become the ideal.

And don't think there aren't billions just like him. Indeed, the recent outing of so many Hollywood sleazebags and liberal newsfrauds proves the point. What motivates these men? If they simply have the power to actualize the freedom we all secretly desire, then to hell with freedom!

Real freedom -- the nondiabolical kind -- is always present in a much larger context. The moment it is severed from its telos, it becomes diabolical. Thus, to repeat an Aphorism from a few days ago, The proclamation of our autonomy is the founding act of Hell.

As such, The idea of “the free development of personality” seems admirable as long as one does not meet an individual whose personality has developed freely. If you meet such a person, run away! Certainly don't meet with him alone in a hotel room.

That reminds me. Yes, land of the free, but home of the brave; in other words, freedom + courage. And what is courage? It is the resolution to do the right thing in the face of adversity. I remember Bill Maher calling the 911 terrorists "courageous." Wrong. Like freedom, courage severed from its telos is an egocentric or indiscriminate rashness. If courage is evil, then to hell with it too.

Another aphorism to bear in mind in light of these beta predators such as Lauer, Conyers, and Rose: Poverty is the only barrier to the throng of vulgarities that whinny inside souls.

Anyone short of a saint has mind parasites of various types and dimensions (indeed, so too does the saint, except that he has transcended and mastered them). But many of these critters are latent, so to speak, unless infused with power. It is very much as if the power breathes life into them, in an inverse analogy to God in-breathing the human soul.

So, diabolical freedom is a kind of demonic in-spiration. The other day I saw a video of Jordan Peterson, who touched on this, albeit from a different angle. He adverted to studies showing that happiness is correlated with money up to a certain point, after which there is no correlation at all, and often an inverse one.

For example, if you are a cokehead and win the lottery, things are not going to end well. Likewise, if you are Michael Jackson, or Matt Lauer, or Keven Spacey, or all those prematurely dead rock stars: money and power simply breathe life into the mind parasites -- spiritual retroviruses -- that circumstances normally prevent from coming out to play.

But lets zoom out and consider this from a cosmic perspective: in the West, we enjoy a kind of affluence that was available to fewer than .01% of past human beings. To the extent that our ancestors appear more "virtuous" to us, we must remember that they had far fewer temptations, not to mention the fact you can only get into so much trouble if you are, one the one hand, performing backbreaking work from dawn to dusk, and on the other, always pregnant, with no cheap Mexican labor to cook and keep house.

Thus, if contemporary society is crazy and getting crazier, it is because of the in-breathing of diabolical freedom -- very much like those otherwise innocuous embers a few miles away from me, bursting into flames because of the Santa Ana winds.

This must be why the milloonnial generation -- or whatever you want to call it -- is the most fragile in the nation's history. For to say that your biggest problem is hurt feelings as a result of other people expressing an opinion with which you disagree, is to boast that you have no problems at all.

But obviously you have a big problem, because you are proclaiming to the world that you are unfit to endure freedom -- the nondiabolical kind. And your only solution is to place the rest of us in cages -- like the sheltered prince who would rather carpet the world than simply toughen his feet or wear shoes.

As mentioned last week, this book is too sprawling to wrap my mind around. Let's begin with some notes to myself in back (which may or may not be direct quotes) -- for example, "the power to do good can be as evil as the power to do bad, if it is power only." Boom. That is what you call a knockout blow.

The secular left is not only atheistic but anti-theistic, at least as it pertains to the real God. Therefore, it is literally the case that for them, truth reduces to power; or power shielded by the self-styled "good intentions" of the person wielding it.

Put conversely, for the left, there is nothing we can't accomplish with a combination of concentrated power, good intentions, and other people's money! For proof, just look at what Obama accomplished by creating more debt than all past administrations combined. Paradise!

Speaking of which, the left's hysteria since November 2016 is just a mirror image of the hysteria they exhibited through eight years of Obama. For them, Obama and Trump are just reverse caricatures of one another.

This will take us down another distracting rabbit hole, but the point is, leftists got exactly what their hearts were yearning for in 2008. So, heaven on earth, right? No, nothing changed, except for the worse. But do they have any insight into this? Of course not. Like any other mental patient in flight from personal responsibility -- AKA ordered freedom -- they simply want to resume that comforting dream.

Here is another note to myself, one that Schindler emphasizes throughout the book: that diabolical freedom is parasitic on the very reality it abolishes. Think, for example, of the redefinition of marriage. It is obviously parasitic on the real thing, i.e., natural marriage. The left used to be more explicit about the goal of weakening the family, but my guess is that the majority of leftists probably don't even realize that that is the real endgame.

Once again I find myself hovering around the subject of the book without fully diving in. We'll try harder. Next week.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The World Wide Counter-Web

The diffusion of a few drops of Christianity into a leftist mind transforms the idiot into a perfect idiot. --Dávila

Continuing with the False Promise of Big Government, it's a little like Genesis 3 All Over Again, isn't it? For the promise of Big Government is another phony attempt to beat the system -- the system of reality.

Now, there are systems that can and should be beaten. Indeed, a large part of "fallenness" involves falling into a kind of world wide existential system to which, in many ways, we cannot avoid adapting.

Imagine being born into a crime family, like the Mafia or the Clintons, and not knowing any better. Well, the human species is a kind of crime family. Or maybe you're unacquainted with this thing called history. But God knows: Christianity assumes the misery of history, as Christ assumes that of man. (Dávila).

BTW, yesterday I was reminded of Jesus' friendly warnings to the rich. But back then, wealth was based upon theft, slavery, and plunder. There was no meritocracy, no upward mobility, no secure private property, and no rule of law, so the wealthy were more like thieves than capitalists.

About our being caught in the world wide web, here are some fine aphorisms:

Where Christianity disappears, greed, envy, and lust invent a thousand ideologies to justify themselves.

The Christ of the Gospels is not concerned with the economic situation of the poor, but with the moral condition of the rich.

In the Christianity of the leftist Christian, one of the two elements sooner or later eliminates the other.

Only the Church considers itself a congregation of sinners. All other communities, religious or lay, feel themselves to be a confraternity of saints.

He who claims equal opportunity ends up requiring that the gifted be penalized.

World Wide Web. That reminds me of something. Ah yes, an editorial I've been saving from a couple of weeks ago by Glenn Reynolds on the role of social media in spreading disease -- not biological diseases but cognitive, and I would say, spiritual, diseases:

[I]n recent years we’ve gone from an era when ideas spread comparatively slowly, to one in which social media in particular allow them to spread like wildfire. Sometimes that’s good, when they’re good ideas. But most ideas are probably bad; certainly 90% of ideas aren’t in the top 10%. Maybe we don’t know the mental disease vectors that we’re inadvertently unleashing....

We don’t know much about the spread of ideas, or what would constitute the equivalent of intellectual indoor plumbing. (Censorship isn’t enough, as it often just promotes the spread of bad ideas that people in power like). Over time we’ll learn more. Maybe we’ll come up with something like the germ theory of disease for ideas.

Or, maybe we already have something like the germ theory of disease for bad ideas. I know I do, anyway. Reynolds himself provides a hint: "Better nourished minds are likely more resistant to social-media contagion." Specifically, proper vertical nourishment is without question the best defense against the empty but destructive calories of purely horizontal ideologies.

Thus, for example, "The Church’s function is not to adapt Christianity to the world, nor even to adapt the world to Christianity; her function is to maintain a counterworld in the world" (Dávila).

You don't have to take that literally in order to understand that you need to anchor your thinking -- indeed, your very being -- in the sheetrock of Principles that Cannot Not Be, which serve as a counterworld to the fallenworld.

As you know, I am currently surrounded by flames. There is nothing political about the flames, any more than there is something political about gravity. But this morning I stumbled across the following tweet by some liberal celebrity: "Just evacuated my house. It's like Donald Trump is setting the world on fire. Literally and figuratively."

Of course. Who doesn't see it?

Er, the sane?

Back to the main subject at hand. I only have time enough to quote a couple of relevant passages from the book, and let you do the myth. They don't really require any commentary on my part:

The nongovernmental institutions of civil society transmit to each new generation those virtues without which free societies cannot survive. When these institutions function properly, they help prevent people from becoming too dependent on government. They also unify people and empower them to control government....

So a vicious circle ensues: the more the federal government drains the energy and independence of the social and mediating institutions, the more that individuals become increasingly atomized and separated; and the more individuals become disconnected, the more a centralized government steps into the void.

Let us recall that The proclamation of our autonomy is the founding act of Hell (Dávila). This fall into pseudo-autonomy is followed by the wrong kind of dependence. For ultimate reality is relational, not atomistic; it is not atoms-in-relation, but relation-in-atoms. Big government is one more attempt to undo the effects of the fall, way downstream from where it has occurred.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The War on Spiritual Poverty

With the generosity of his program does the liberal console himself for the magnitude of the catastrophes it produces. --Dávila

After submitting the previous post to a candid world, I read a brief book that dovetails perfectly with its theme, called The False Promise of Big Government: How Washington Helps the Rich and Hurts the Poor. The title is quite literally true, in that America's four wealthiest counties (and seven of the top ten) surround Washington D.C.

The author reviews six reasons why statism is inevitably destructive, five of which go to more material concerns. Here at One Cosmos we are more preoccupied with the spiritual rot it engenders.

As Ronald Reagan famously said, "The lessons of history" demonstrate

conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.

Fooled you! That was FDR in 1935.

How could Kingfish Liberal say such a thing? Because 80 years ago it was still possible to state the obvious. The left's War on Noticing had not yet begun in earnest. It was undoubtedly there -- it always is -- but not to the point of totally engulfing the media, academia, entertainment, and politics. In short, liberals used to be liberal. Or at least not flagrantly illiberal, as is the case today.

An actual liberal believes in limited government. Contemporary liberals believe in unlimited government. I mean, if government can force you to bake a cake for people who engage in practices you deplore, then what can't it compel?

It reminds me of something Thomas Sowell often says: that laws and policies, whatever else they do, create systems of incentives, and these incentives may be totally at odds with the stated purpose of the l. or p. For example, what if the multi-trillion dollar "war on poverty" is a vast system of incentives to engender more of it?

For as FDR famously said in 1935,

Our American answer to poverty is not to make the poor more secure in their poverty but to reach down and to help lift themselves out of poverty and move with the large majority along the high road of of hope and prosperity. The days of the dole in our country are numbered.

Probably didn't fool you with that one. That was LBJ in 1964. Since then the days of the dole number close to 20,000, so technically he's right.

At any rate, those comments by FD and LB show that conservatives only believe what prominent liberals once believed -- or at least said -- for which reason we are now called fascists. You know, like other fanatical supporters of limited government such as Adolf Hitler.

Each generation must learn anew the disastrous consequences of big government. But don't worry. Big government has that covered too, since you can sail through 12 or 16 or especially 23 years of Big Education without ever hearing about the disaster.

And why would you? Public education will not inform its captives of the virtues of vouchers, any more than your drug dealer will take you to rehab and offer to pay for it. Satan himself never compels. Rather, incentivizes.

Speaking of Big Education, it seems to me that job one of the left is to eliminate the soul. Once the soul is out of the way, then it cannot be damaged or destroyed. Of course it is still subject to damage and destruction, but the problem will be misdiagnosed, projected, and displaced elsewhere.

Does it surprise you that Hollywood and the media are populated by soulless predators? Only the soulless should be shocked at that revelation. For it is written (by the Aphorist):

The stupid are surprised by stupidity and the corrupt by corruption. The intelligent and the innocent are less easily disconcerted.

A variant of "you can't cheat an honest man."

I just looked at Drudge, and now I'm distracted by the fire that is only about ten miles alway. No threat to us, but it's hard to turn away from the TV when the usual morning commute is going up in flames. In other words, to be continued. After a few pointy ones from the Aphorist:

As the State grows, the individual shrinks.

The progressive Christian’s error lies in believing that Christianity’s perennial polemic against the rich is an implicit defense of socialist programs.

The leftist emulates the devout who continue venerating the relic after the miracle has been proved to be a hoax.

Monday, December 04, 2017

One (Former) Nation Riven by Diversity, AKA Hell

Today's aphoritizer, courtesy Dávila: The proclamation of our autonomy is the founding act of Hell.

Let's analyze all the ways in which this is True.

First of all, it sets man in opposition to God, for "In the serpent's reinterpretation of the order of creation, God's will and man's become reciprocally exclusive" (Schindler).

It also sets man in opposition to man, in the sense that "wills founded on goodness are intrinsically related to one another," whereas "wills founded on power have an essentially competitive relationship to each other..." This highlights the importance of the -- for lack of a better term -- "pneumatic third" that unites human groups.

In fact, a group is defined by its pneumatic third, bearing in mind that there exist bad spirits (boy and how). One of the overarching themes of the OT involves God's effort to get his people organized around the real pneumatic third, rather than its countless alternatives, such as Moloch. Moloch organizes people as much as God does, but not really. Moloch, like his disciple Marx, is the god of the ant heap.

How so? Because organization around Moloch can only be partial and exterior, rather than total and interior. You might even say that God is the "interior totality" without which the cosmos is reduced to the metaphysically sterile logical atomism discussed in the previous post.

Among other things, Moloch demands human sacrifice in order to engender his faux unity. Thus, to paraphrase Gil Bailie (or Rene Girard), human sacrifice is "unanimity minus one." While you may not be the one, there is always the implicit threat that you will be if you endanger the group unity trance. The liberal media are always on the lookout for today's sacrificial victim.

Consider how, say, Clarence Thomas, or Senator Tim Scott, threaten the group unity trance of liberal blacks. The latter constantly preach "unity," but this is a unity in defiance of reality -- like Colin Kaepernick and his imitators, who know less than nothing about the problems they claim to be protesting. Put conversely, if they were conversant with reality, they'd cease their opposition to it at once.

Yes, it is possible for good people to be wrong, which is to say, opposed to the good. How to tell the difference? Well, a good person only opposes goodness accidentally rather than essentially. Once he realizes the mistake, he feels shame and rectifies it immediately.

Not so the person who has made himself essentially bad, such as Al Sharpton, or Gloria Allred, or Hillary Clinton. It is certainly not my job to consign their souls to hell, but I don't think it is polemical or above my praygrade to notice that their souls are willfully organized around various false absolutes.

Moreover, these descendants of the Serpent proudly and conspicuously hate the good, even going so far as to call it "deplorable" or "racist" or "patriarchal," so it is not so much that they are "going to hell" as are its co-creators. As the old crack goes, they forge their fetters from their own passions.

All of this is so much common sense. For example, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance -- or standing up for the national anthem -- used to be uncontroversial, because it was an exercise -- a collective verticalesthenic -- in subordination to the psychic third.

But what are "diversity" and multiculturalism but a rebellion -- worse, an inversion -- of this truth? In this context, "One nation under God" is a pleonasm -- word of the day, pleonasm -- because there is no way for a nation to be one except under God -- or under the real psychic third, if you prefer.

Indeed, the United States is the only nation explicitly founded under this real psychic third, AKA those self-evident truths for which it is government's prime directive to protect. If the government cannot do this, then to hell with it. We're no better than any other crappy country living in some cherished delusion (as in the Middle East, excluding Israel) or nihilistic fragmentation (as in Europe).

All of this must be understood in the context of real freedom, or freedom properly understood. For Schindler, this comes down to the contrast -- or choice! -- between symbolical and diabolical freedom. Put it this way: reality is either symbolical or it is diabolical. How so?

We've actually discussed this critical idea in the past. I myself first encountered it in a slightly different guise (but same Geist) in the works of Stanley Jaki. When you get right down to it, just what kind of cosmos is this? What is its defining characteristic?

Well, first of all, we couldn't even be having this conversation if not for the fact that this is the sort of cosmos in which one thing can stand for -- symbolize -- another. The cosmos is absolutely saturated with meaning and intelligibility. Everywhere it not only gives itself over to (our) intelligence, but, via the Logos, from intelligence to intelligence. This is without question the most startling property of our cosmos -- its transmitable interior logos-unity-light. It is symbolical through and through.

That is my own interpretation. I don't know that Schindler would sign off on it. However, in discussing the primordial calamity of Genesis 3, he notes that "a denial of the truth, a reinterpretation of goodness as power, immediately makes what had been a symbolical unity into an internal strife. Man is cast out of the garden." Or soph-exiled.

"Exile from the garden in the most extreme sense is separation from the good; the furthest distance from the garden may be said to lie at the bottom of Plato's cave."

Which raises an important point: yes, man is fallen, but with varying degrees of distance from the Principle. Indeed, what is the spiritual journey -- the Adventure of Consciousness -- but the Father-Principle returning to himself via his middling relativities, AKA us, his adopted sons?

Another name for diabolical freedom is "perception is reality." This represents a total cosmic inversion -- it is the solipsistic burial of one's head up one's aseity. It is not only living in Plato's cave, or at the bottom of a well, but refusal to look up or out. And compelling others to do the same. For example, what is a government education but indoctrination into the shadows of some diabolical pneumatic third?

I well remember how, as a child, "nothing made sense." Or perhaps more accurately, "everything made no sense," by which I mean that there was no interior unity to all the things I was learning in school. And I wasn't educated in some crap district such as the LAUSD, but in an area where housing prices are inflated because parents want to get their kids into the district.

But it didn't matter. I learned countless facts of history, or science, or literature, without having a clue as to the telos that makes sense of them. I even learned about that very logocentric telos in Sunday school, but it was (ironically) equally fragmented: a seventh day fragment to go along with the fragments I learned on the other five schooldays.

Come to think of it, the only wholly unfragmented day was -- ironically -- the old sabbath, Saturday. It was given over to spontaneous play, or the uninterrupted slack of a self-healing universe.

I don't want to exaggerate the case, for the truth of the matter is that I always found interstices of slack every day of the week. Think of it as a fable, like Genesis. The point is, the real psychic third is always here, because it can never not be here.

Hell is any place from which God is absent.

And

Unbelief is not a sin but a punishment. --Dávila

Friday, December 01, 2017

I Loved a Zombie

The purpose of freedom is to enable us to choose what we are in the depths of our heart. --Schuon, To Have a Center

Now, man is never radically free, obviously. We are not free to rewrite the past or be another gender. Unless you are on the left, in which case you are free to do these things. But is this actually freedom, or flight from it?

Yes and no. Just as we cannot be radically free, nor are we totally determined. Rather, a mixture of each: freedom and necessity, which -- it seems to me -- are like prolongations of infinitude and absoluteness on the human plane.

In this context, necessity consists of all the things that Must Be, whereas freedom is an orthoparadoxical realm of things that might be, AKA potential. But freedom itself is a necessity, nor can it ever be radically excised from Necessity itself, AKA the Absolute. Indeed, to do this -- to treat freedom and necessity as separate things -- is the essence of diabolical freedom.

As Schindler explains, "The moment the will becomes an expression not of goodness but of arbitrary power, an essential opposition is introduced."

In paradise -- or, if you prefer, the upper vertical realm from which we are an ontological declension -- the will is not separated from its telos in the good. To turn it around, to rejoin the will to the good is the royal road back to said paradise.

The point is, freedom is always relational. This is precisely what you would expect in a cosmos that is likewise relational -- AKA trinitarian -- right down to the ground. Therefore, diabolical freedom occurs the moment we descend into an atomistic universe, which is to deny God. Three times, as it were.

You can get this principle via Christian doctrine. That is not how I first encountered it. Rather, I cobbled it together from several sources, and only later realized I had stumbled on something Christians had been teaching for almost two millennia. For me, one big hint was the irreducible intersubjectivity of the mother-infant dyad. It's not that we are intersubjective because we were all once helpless babies.

Rather, the converse: ultimately, this dyad -- and the natural family -- is an icon of the interior life of the Trinity. Thus, just as it is a Christian heresy to posit a Father-God separate from the Son-God, it is a cosmic heresy to atomize man. Other heresies follow from this, such as pretending it is possible for a man to marry a man, or that it is possible to choose one's gender, or the belief that one can have a natural right to murder one's baby.

For which reason you could say that Satan's own definition of freedom was perfectly articulated by the Supreme Court: "the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." That case is called Planned Parenthood v. Casey, but it would be more accurately called SCOTUS v. Man, God, and Reality itself.

In reading that wacky opinion, there is just enough truth in it to make it appear plausible to the unreflective. We do indeed have the "freedom of meaning," but again, if we separate freedom from its proper telos, then it immediately reduces to mere willfulness and power. It then commits the cosmic inversion of placing man in charge of defining reality, instead of being an adequation to it -- in other words, a complete rejection of human privilege and a denial of the human station. From there, hell is right around the corner.

Literally. For just as reuniting freedom with its telos is the royal road to paradise, dividing them is the cosmic U-turn in the other direction: the progressive path of Good Intentions animated by Strong Feelings. And in fact, "reuniting" is itself a misleading term; analogously, you wouldn't say that you need to "reunite" the first and second persons of the Trinity, but rather, see that they can never be separated to begin with.

Back to how Bob stumbled upon all of this. It must have been providence as reflected through the holy happenstance of amazon surfing, which puts one in contact with books one would have never encountered in a thousand years prior to the internet.

Back then, your best shot at widening your world -- or rather, gaining access to the Wider World -- was via independent bookstores run by intellectually and spiritually curious and capacious (and inevitably eccentric) people. And even then, the Search was bogged down by a lot of randomness, AKA cosmic noise.

I'll try to be brief, so as to not get too sidetracked. The author in question was an apparently obscure philosopher named Errol Harris. I see he has a wiki page, so I am about to learn some things about him I never knew -- for example, that he was from South Africa. He wrote a lot of things with which I disagreed or were irrelevant to me, but perhaps the most useful was his critique of logical atomism, which might as well be another name for the metaphysic that gives rise to diabolical liberty.

Ultimately, Harris

concludes that science supports a worldview that is relativistic, holistic, organicistic, teleological, and hierarchical in character -- a worldview contradicted by the unconfessed atomistic, mechanical, and pluralistic metaphysical presuppositions of formal and mathematical logic that are wrongly privileged by philosophical empiricism.

Better than "relativistic" would be relational, but you get the point: the world doesn't consist of unrelated monads bumping around together in the void; rather, reality is, as Norris Clarke puts it, substance-in-relation. Being is communion. You could even say it is intimate communion. Some might even say it is love, but here again, that cannot be severed from truth and beauty. Indeed, when you so much as bear witness to a beautiful sunset, you are quite obviously on unspeakably intimate terms with the universe. You are knowing it in the biblical way, pardon my French.

I didn't start to "get" this stuff until I was well into my 30s, and even then only in a piecemeal fashion. I didn't yet see the One Cosmos. My son is on much more intimate terms with reality than I was at his age (12). For example, he has taken up photography, not just to shoot snapshots, but with a real awareness of beauty. If you had asked me about beauty at his age, I would have wondered if you were doubting that I was all boy (to put it euphemistically).

We are getting rather far afield this morning, aren't we?

I'm going to dive back into Schindler and double-check, but it seems to me that he keeps saying the same thing in a thousand different ways -- that freedom severed from its telos devolves to its diabolical counterfeit. Everything becomes a cheap shadow of itself, while swallowing up the reality to which it is supposed to point.

I suppose the final common pathway of the illness is the creation of counterfeit humans, AKA zombies. Which puts our present politico-cultural divide in a deeper context. Yes, we are experiencing a zombie invasion, with President Trump standing between us and a full-on zombie apocalypse.

This reminds me of something I want to mention before sliding into the weekend. I received an email from a reader asking me for advice on how a Christian is supposed to love our zombie invaders. It's an excellent question about which I have a lot of thoughts. I don't have time to spill them right now, but perhaps this will spark a conversation over the weekend. Here are some excerpts from the letter:

In the past few years it's become more and more clear to me that some animals are more equal than others, and some populations are being asked to adhere to a higher standard than others....

It's so blatant now; professors as well as the unwashed on places like Twitter are openly saying white people should be exterminated; they say this with absolutely no fear of sanction or consequence. We are told that for the good of the planet we shouldn't have children, but then we're told we must bring in millions of nons to buttress (replace) our aging workforce.

It's all around us everyday. It's all bullshit, this moral demand for egalitarianism coupled with constant anti-white sentiment. And it's here where my excruciating dilemma comes in. How do I hold in one hand what I know; and in the other hand hold my desire to draw close to God, who demands that I love my enemies, and treat everyone with compassion, as He treats us? Is there some way to balance this and keep my integrity, to not lie to myself or God?

.... So there it is, the splinter in my mind. I guess if I could encapsulate my problem it would be to ask how can I resist society's demand that I engage in genetic self-loathing and suicide and at the same time obey God's commands to love my neighbor (and enemies)?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Diabolical Freedom and the Fall into Ismism

Before we begin, a benediction ("good words") from the Aphorist:

The free act is only conceivable in a created universe. In the universe that results from a free act.

Feel free to take that literally. Feel enslaved not to.

We are discussing the book Freedom from Reality: The Diabolical Character of Modern Liberty. That is a loaded title, since it contains a number of words that need to be defined before any meaningful analysis can take place: freedom, reality, diabolical, modern, and liberty.

Let's begin with the first: what is it? Can we even know what freedom is? Or is it just a placeholder for an unknowable reality -- a container with no content, like "death." We throw that word around too, but no one can conceive of his own death, at least while alive. In other words, if you're conceiving it, you're not dead.

Perhaps the most misleading way to conceptualize freedom is to separate it from other primordial realities. Indeed, I think Schindler would agree that this is the first act of diabolical freedom: in scholastic terms, to divide act from potency, and to then elevate the latter to priority. Doing so separates freedom from its telos, which leaves us in a nihilistic flatland, devoid of hierarchy and purpose.

Wha? Can you explain that in plain English?

Edward Feser -- I think -- says what amounts to the same thing, that "abandonment of final causes" is "the original sin of modern philosophy," to such an extent that "the whole history of modern thought" can be seen "as an overlooking of the distinction between potency and act.”

That reminds me of Whitehead's gag that the history of Western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato. At least up to Aquinas. After that, it's a series of footnotes to... I don't know, William of Ockham? He is the father of nominalism, and therefore the inventor of stupid.

I guess it would help to be a philosopher, which we are not. But we do remember reading Ideas have Consequences, the most adversely consequential idea of all being the abandonment of universals, and the fall into modern misosophy in all its diabolical and even tenured forms.

But not only am I not a philosopher, neither am I a historian of ideas. Therefore, I don't attempt to locate the Error at some specific point in history. Rather, the Error is somehow built into man, which is the whole point of Genesis 3: our diabolical turn is an ontological possibility, for every man at every time.

This turn can be considered from various angles, for example, the existentialist error of elevating existence over essence, which, for my money, is the same as giving priority to potency over act. It ultimately means that we have no essence; we are not created -- or worse, we create ourselves. We are "nothing" until we make the choice. You may pretend that makes you something, but you are still nothing, only a delusional nothing.

Clearly, this is the basis of the gender insanity, in which one's gender isn't given by reality, but rather, is chosen from a menu of, what, 52 flavors? The list is literally endless, because it involves the turn to a Bad Infinite. The real Infinite is of course located above, AKA God. Pursuing the infinite in the other direction only results in more fragmentation, or mindless Diversity for its own sake. This is yet one more instance of how the left is literally diabolical.

Now, the diabolical involves a primordial rejection of the Real. Okay. What is the Real? That sounds like a difficult question, but I don't think it is, because it really involves nothing more than a deep meditation on what you always already are, what you always already are doing, what you always already know (in any act of knowing), and cannot help being, doing, and knowing.

To back up a bit, when I wrote the bʘʘk, it was really a form of autobobography. I mean that literally, because the implicit question motivating the whole existentialida was How did I get here? Or, more to the point, How is Bob even possible? Or again, What must the cosmos be like in order for such a thing as Bob to exist?

These might seem like stupid or frivolous questions, but not to me. Don't we all want to know the answers to these? Indeed, everyone has some sort of answers, only bad, silly, or inadequate ones. Scientism, for example, combines all three, but it is hardly alone. Indeed, any "ism" you care to name is going to be wrong. I lump them all under the rubric "ismism," and just move on. You could say that ismism encompasses all of the diabolical alternatives to reality.

For Schindler, "Modern liberty is, in sum, a deceptive and ultimately self-destroying illusion, which cuts one off from, and indeed sets one in opposition to, God, the world, other people, the community as a whole... and even oneself, so that one's inner being, in its congenital blindness to the inner reality of everything else without exception, is smothered by endless layers of dissemblance."

Again, quite literally. Lately I've been thinking about the distinction between information and noise in scripture. Some people think there is no noise, but that is impossible, so long as humans are human and God is God. But when Jesus says that

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

You can sheer any mythological noise from that, and see it as a quite literal metaphysical description of diabolical liberty. Indeed, just prior to it, Jesus makes the famous crack that "the truth shall make you free," which is so familiar that people may not realize the metaphysical significance. It really goes to the subject of this post, which is that to imagine that liberty can exist without truth is to fall into diabolical freedom, which is another word for slavery.

Freedom from reality is not freedom, but bondage. So, feel free to take the Aphorist quite literally when he says:

The freedom to which modern man aspires is not that of the free man, but that of the slave on a holiday.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Assault on Mount Liberty

Because that's what it feels like. I'm talking about D.C. Schindler's Freedom from Reality: The Diabolical Character of Modern Liberty, which is so sprawling and full of implications that it is impossible to wrap my mind around it. As mentioned a few posts back, in terms of style, he is the anti-Schuon, such that it is up to the reader to try digest it all.

Having said that, I am absolutely convinced that Schindler has identified the central problem with man, with history, and with the world in general. You might even say that what he calls "diabolical liberty" is simply another name for the fall of man. In a way this is self-evident, because most all human problems are caused by the misuse of freedom, right? But this presupposes a proper use of freedom.

However, one of the defining characteristics of modernity has been to detach liberty from any intrinsic good, thus reducing the will to pure power. Another strand of modernity denies free will altogether, which only drains the world of any possible meaning whatsoever. If man is not free, then he is completely detached from transcendental reality, i.e., truth, beauty, virtue, and unity. Either of the modern options is not only diabolical, but the essence thereof.

This is certainly not the book I would have written on the subject. Being that I am not a scholar, I would not have spent the first 100 or more pages on a tedious deconstruction of John Locke as a representative of the philosophical turn to diabolical freedom. Why not just say why he's wrong and get on with it? I could do that in a page or so.

Come to think of it, as we proceed through the book, every once in a while I will consult Dávila or Schuon for a bracing blast of fresh air -- to call the meeting back to order and re-orient ourselves to first principles. Each of these authors slices like an effing hammer through reams of bullshit, without trying to impress academics who will never agree with them anyway.

For example, this aphorism, in a way, summarizes the whole book:

Liberty is not an end, but a means. Whoever mistakes it for an end does not know what to do with it once he attains it.

Boom! Now, that is 100% Obviously True. But this truth must be seen with vivid immediacy. If it isn't seen, then no amount of argument will convince the person who doesn't see it. For the sake of argument, let's concede that John Locke is Much Smarter than we are. So what? If that is the case, it only highlights the relative unimportance of intelligence in understanding primordial truth.

Even Dr. Strange knows this. My son is very much into Marvel Comics these days, and he convinced me to watch it with him. What an unexpectedly enjoyable film! Dr. Strange is a gifted neurosurgeon who is quite full of himself, before he has a career-ending accident that permanently maims his hands. I don't want to give the whole thing away, but at one point his spiritual guide says something to the effect of, "Your intellect has taken you this far. It will take you no further."

That's a bingo. I first encountered this vertically liberating truth many years ago, in reading Sri Aurobindo. Here's the exact passage... better yet, here is an excerpt from a post on the subject from over 10 years ago, called The Descent of Mind:

Wait a minute. I was a bit startled when I reread the first sentence, which is all about the subject under discussion: "our historical understanding and appreciation of liberty may have followed from actually living it in the form of free markets as opposed to thinking about it abstractly. In academia there is a huge bias toward the latter view, because intellectuals always want to believe that they are more important and influential than they actually are."

A synchronicity is just God punning, in this case across a decade. Back to the Passage:

Obviously, intelligence itself in no way correlates with truth. Look at Noam Chomsky, for example. He is obviously at the summit of intelligence. You can even say he's genius if you like. But what good is the intelligence, when it exists in a parallel looniverse of lies, hatred, and paranoia? The smarter the person, the more catastrophic will be their error!

.... Something similar to a descent of pure intelligence occurred to Sri Aurobindo. In his case, he didn't remain stuck there, but immediately saw through its limitations. He did not see it as an end, merely a realm that had to be infused with a higher spirit in order to attain its proper end.

The best introduction to Sri Aurobindo is The Adventure of Consciousness, by Satprem. In it, Satprem describes Aurobindo's recognition of the limits of the intellect:

"The day came when Sri Aurobindo had had enough of these intellectual exercises. He had probably realized that one can go on amassing knowledge indefinitely, reading and learning languages, even learning all the languages in the world and reading all the books in the world, and yet not progressing an inch. For the mind does not seek truly to know, even though it appears to -- it seeks to grind. If by chance the machine were to come to a stop because knowledge had been obtained, it would soon rise up in revolt and find something new to grind, just for the sake of grinding and grinding."

Critically, "That within us which seeks to know and to progress is not the mind, but something behind it which uses it: 'The capital period of my intellectual development,' Sri Aurobindo confided to a disciple, 'was when I could see clearly that what the intellect said might be correct and not correct, that what the intellect justified was true and its opposite also was true. I never admitted a truth in the mind without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it.... And the first result was that the prestige of the intellect was gone!'

Some interesting comments there too, 68 in all, out of which only Julie, Van, and Joan remain. I wonder how I successfully drove away so many readers? Oh well. Here is a timeless truth from the comments: "You need, silence, aspiration, surrender, and a source of genuine grace, in a serious way. That's the only way out of the closed loop." Indeed, that is the only way to seriously deal with freedom! Anything short of it results in catastrophes of various kinds, for example, attaining what your will desires, AKA getting what you think you want.

Back to Schindler. It's hard to know where to begin -- which is ironic, isn't it, because that is the whole problem with liberty. Let's begin with a Completely Crazy opinion by the Supreme Court in 1992 (Planned Parenthood v. Casey), in which the Court attempted to nail down the meaning of liberty. After all, protection of our natural liberty (along with life and property) is the very reason our government exists, so it must be pretty important. Here is what these flaming idiot-geniuses actually said:

"At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." (By the way, I highly recommend Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived, which contains numerous instances of fine insultainment where he tears this diabolical idea of liberty to shreds.)

Why diabolical? Let us count the ways! It is very much as if the Court consists of four people with rudimentary contact with Reality, and then five Deepaks for whom reality -- including the reality of the Constitution -- you know, their Only Job -- is literally whatever they want it to be. For these robed tyrants, the essence of liberty involves defining reality any way one chooses. Is it any wonder these demon-inspired nihilists find whatever they want to find in the Constitution? Schindler:

[T]his claim to power is a devil's bargain: it comes at a cost, and the price paid is the elimination of precisely what is promised. One can have the absolute power to determine the meaning of existence as one wishes only on the condition that one's determination of that meaning amounts to nothing at all.... you and I can both have the absolute power to determine the meaning of existence only if your determination means absolutely nothing to me...

So, -- unless you are a Supreme Court justice, in which case your goofy private opinion is backed by the violence of the state -- this power to define the meaning of reality turns out to be simultaneously omnipotent and impotent. It is not freedom toward reality, but freedom from reality, which would be a good title for a book.

To be continued, likely for several weeks. We'll leave off with a few zingers from The Aphorist:

The people today do not feel free except when they feel authorized to respect nothing.

The price of absolute freedom would be a vulgarity without limits.

Man today is free, like a traveler lost in the desert.

Upon finding himself perfectly free, the individual discovers that he has not been unburdened of everything, but despoiled of everything.