Wednesday, August 23, 2017

White Privilege and Free Will

I never watch CNN -- I prefer MSNBC for high-spirited liberal lunacy -- but I happened to have CNN on when Trump finished his speech last night in Arizona. On comes the bewildered face of CNN anchor Don Lemon, who at first seemed a little hesitant from all the triggering. Then he says of the president:

"He’s unhinged. It’s embarrassing." The speech was "without thought," "without reason," "devoid of fact," and "devoid of wisdom." "There was no gravitas. There was no sanity there. He was like a child blaming a sibling on something else" (sic).

Let's see: unhinged, embarrassing, without thought, reason, fact, or wisdom, lacking in gravitas, and prone to externalizing blame. CNN! Which is just a metonym for the left.

Isn't projection interesting? It's phenomena like this that first got me interested in psychology. My favorite subject was always psychopathology: there are so many interesting ways for the mind to go off the rails.

In fact, one reason why psychology has become so shallow and boring is that so much fascinating deviance and pathology has been normalized. Indeed, it is celebrated.

We'll get back to Thomas in a couple of days. I only have a little time this morning, but I'm reading an excellent book on the pathologies of the left, a collection of essays by Kenneth Minogue called Liberty and its Enemies.

Some of the essays were published as long ago as 1961, but Minogue clearly saw what was coming. He accurately prognosticated the death spiral of liberalism due to its being hijacked by the left -- that "the era of classic liberalism was an interim between the old monarchical orders and the emergence of a new, threatening age of minute bureaucratic regulation" (from the introduction).

It's sobering to realize that liberalism is over, but I don't see it coming back. Yes, we can preserve little islands and outposts of resistance, but it seems to me that the culture at large is lost. European culture certainly is, but they're just the leading edge of the disease process.

Nevertheless, to paraphrase the poet, "we fight to keep something alive because it is worth keeping alive, not because we expect a final victory." So be a happy warrior and just keep ridiculing these assouls until ridicule is finally outlawed.

The death of liberalism only shows that you can drive human nature out with a pitchfork, but it always comes roaring back. And human nature is, unfortunately, drawn more to security then freedom. Given a choice, the inferior man -- and certainly the horde -- will always choose the latter. It is the main reason why the left wants open borders: in order to import hordes of inferior men who don't want freedom, but rather, freedom from freedom. Or, they want to feel "free" while being dependent. That's the best. I remember it well. I think being 17 years old was the Best Year Ever.

(BTW, the reference to inferior men has nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but is just a fact -- as the president rightly says, "they're not sending they're best." Furthermore, his suggestion that immigration policy should revolve around our needs was met with the usual howls from the usual suspects. Rather, immigration policy should be driven by the left's need for fresh victims.)

Classical Marxism divided the world into economic classes. As such, the individual not only disappears, but his being is determined by economic factors. Yesterday we spoke of the distinction between rebellion and inversion. Marxism is a cosmic inversion, because it places existence (economic class) above essence (the unique individual).

Contemporary leftism is just an iteration of this perversion; instead of being solely determined by economic class, people are determined by their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. If you are white, you have White Privilege. If you are black, you are an oppressed victim. Again, you are determined by the group to which you belong. Not only is freedom eliminated, but free will.

But not so fast! Notice the sleight of hand: authorized victims of the left do not have free will. Rather, they are wholly conditioned by circumstances and "root causes," so It's Not Their Fault. Not so for beneficiaries of White Privilege: they not only have free will, but a malevolent free will that creates and oppresses victims.

Thus, only white people have free will. Hey, don't blame me. I'm not the racist. The left is.

As Minogue says -- in 1961 -- "The delinquency of victims is an index of the extent of their suffering." Notice how the president got in trouble over just this question: Antifa and BLM are violent thugs, but their thuggery is only a measure of their suffering and victimhood. Not so white supremacists: they freely choose their evil.

Well, which is it? "a logically consistent environmentalism" effaces the distinction: "either we are all the products of our environment, or we are not. Similarly, the rich are free to mend their ways," while the poor aren't. Never mind that the majority do. They're just the millions of exceptions that prove the rule.

So, like the president, I condemn both sides for choosing evil.

But as Obama's spiritual mentor once said, the white man's greed rules a world in need. This is another way of saying that people without free will are oppressed by people with it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Vector of Reality and the Church of Non-Being

This book of Thomas's conclusions dressed as axioms consists almost entirely of things humans are entitled to know, by virtue of being human (and in order to become fully human!).

And yet, if I'm not mistaken, most human beings don't want to know them, or at least don't care. Many humans, upon hearing them, would reject them outright. That's just G3AOA (Genesis 3 All Over Again).

Therefore, curiously, it is as if an entitlement -- a gift -- is treated as a burden or nuisance. Then it's as if you have to compel people to believe what people most want to know -- analogous, say, to forcing sailors to consume citrus in order to avoid scurvy. But I don't want to eat an orange! Fine. Die then. But I don't want to know about the First Cause! Fine. Be an idiot then. Go to hell in a handbasket of mind parasites and tenured willfulness.

Not only do human beings want to know these things deep down -- it's how we're built -- but this is the very purpose of having an intellect. Why do people think they have an intelligence that is so disproportionate to anything in the world? For no reason at all? Ultimately, the only "object" proportionate to the human subject is God.

I'm not complaining, mind you. Just warming up.

Let's lift off where we packed up yesterday. This one is worth repeating, because it's so fundamental:

The further a being is distant from that which is Being of itself, namely God, the nearer it is to nothingness.

Again: man is always situated between O and Ø. However, he is -- obviously -- the only thing in all of creation capable of movement within that space. Everything else -- from angels to amoebas -- occupies a single plane. But man -- miraculously -- has freedom of movement in this space, which is none other than free will.

(Yesterday I read that every year the earth falls about 15 centimeters further away from the sun. A sin against Apollo! But that's involuntary, so Not Guilty.)

However, orthoparadoxically, man is only really free when he is moving toward truth, light, virtue, beauty, etc.: in the orbit of O.

To the extent that he seeks and moves toward Ø, then he is not only unfree, but a "slave of sin," so to speak. We will no doubt have more to say about this as we proceed. For now, I'm just going to move along page by page, and blog whatever pops into my noggin.

By the way, many moderns object to the word "sin," and I don't entirely blame them. Sometimes idiots saturate a perfectly fine word, as in how the left has ruined the beautiful word "liberal." For me, sin isn't an underlying reality -- in fact, it has no reality at all -- but rather, the effect of movement toward Ø. Call it what you want, but the more passionate and determined the movement, the more lost the sinner.

Next: Good and true and being are one and the same thing in reality, but in the mind they are distinguished from each other.

Precisely. This goes to exactly what I just said a few paragraphs above about movement toward truth, light, virtue, and beauty. We have different names for these, but they all emanate from the same source, and the closer one moves toward the source, the more they converge.

Recall what I just said about sin having no reality. Well, Evil consists in not-being, so there you are. But sin-ing (the verb) consists in movement, again, movement toward the nothingness of Ø. God is Being, and all that is implied in this. Evil is measured in distance from Being, or non-Being.

Thus, Evil arises through some particular thing lacking, but good arises only from a whole and integral cause. Which is why evil is at once impermissible and inevitable (or ineveateapple, as Petey says).

Looked at this way, the creation as such is Good, just as God says it is in Genesis. Nevertheless, it is not God, so draw your own conclusions. As the Man himself says, "Why do you call me good? No one is good -- except God alone."

Thus, could it be that creation has a kind of crisscross pattern of Being and Not-Being? I don't know. We'll come back to that one.

Here is a nonlocal point where Christianity and eastern religions converge: Sin does not occur in the will without some ignorance in the intellect. Christians tend to focus on the act, whereas eastern approaches focus on the Bad Idea -- the cosmic ignorance -- behind all the sophering.

For example, the aim of yoga is to "become united with the Godhead, the Reality which underlies this apparent, ephemeral universe." Yoga is simply movement toward O by any means necessary, e.g., jnana, raja, bhakti, hatha, etc. Different yokes for different folks -- although Jesus's is easier than trying to do it oneself.

Here again, this one reflects what was said above about freedom and O: To will evil is neither freedom nor a part of freedom. Or course it "feels" free, but it is really a kind of reactionary rebellion; at the extreme -- as with the contemporary left -- if becomes outright inversion.

I'm sure we'll have more to say about this as we go along, but the left worships at the altar of Ø, which is where mere error transitions to outright satanism.

You will have noticed that such persons are no longer susceptible to correction. They have given themselves over to Ø with all their hearts, minds, and strength. This is the world of Fake News, Fake Degrees, and Fake Culture, all mutually supporting one another. It is Darkness Visible -- more visible every day.

We do not strive toward evil by tending towards anything but by turning away from something. From what, for example, is the New York Times fleeing?

That was rhetorical.

Just know that Judgment must not be passed on things according to the opinion of the wicked, but according to that of the good, just as in matters of taste, judgment must not be according to the opinion of the sick, but according to that of the healthy.

But who is wicked, and who is sick? Asked Pilate. Asked the Times.

Now, believe it or not, Everything evil is rooted in some good, and everything false in some truth. It's how and why seduction works. Look at Antifa: it is good to be against fascism, right? Nevertheless, Antifa is evil. Likewise, Stalin fought Hitler, but that hardly made him good. Rather, the good he did served as a shield from the great Evil he Was.

And for nearly a third of WWII, there was an alliance between these supposedly "opposite, though similar, barbarisms of Nazidom and Bolshevism" (Churchill).

We can say the same of the twin barbarisms of white supremacism and Antifa. Even after Germany invaded the USSR, Churchill pulled no punches: "The Nazi regime is indistinguishable from the worst features of Communism." The latter "excels all forms of human wickedness in the efficiency of its cruelty and ferocious aggression." Nevertheless, Churchill was spiritually mature enough to know that it sometimes takes a demon to defeat a demon.

Unfortunately, one of the demons ended up seducing Roosevelt, but that's a story for a different post. Suffice to to say that any idiot can commit evil. But in the words of the Aphorist, The Devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Staring at the Nonlocal Sun is Bad for the Health of Your Ego

Are you bored of the eclipse yet? Even my son asked, "What's the big deal? There's a sunset every evening." And he's no cynic. Just group-trance resistant.

Well, at least the media are momentarily hysterical about something other than Trump.

The sun is such a primordial symbol of divinity, it must resonate in a particularly intense way among the spiritually obtuse and/or untutored. I'm sure you've read stories of how eclipses affected premodern people. I just looked it up, and we don't actually have to go back in time. For example, here's a laughty sage who explains why eating food during a lunar eclipse is harmful.

But solar eclipses are that much more dangerous. For example, 4,000 years ago a couple of proto-pundits were beheaded for failing to notify the king of a forthcoming eclipse. If only we could do the same to pundits who failed to predict the cosmic catastrophe of Trump.

The general consensus seems to have been that a demon or monster was attacking and robbing the trembling horde of the central principle that orders and illuminates their primitive cosmos. In other words, Trump Derangement by another name.

Schuon has some pertinent things to say about the symbolism of the sun:

To say that the sun is God is false to the extent it implies that "God is the sun"; but it is equally false to pretend that the sun is only an incandescent mass and absolutely nothing else, for this would be to cut it off from its divine Cause; it would be to deny that that the effect is always something of the Cause.

The point is that for the great majority of human history, the sun was regarded as a god. But before you dismiss this as kooky talk, consider the adequacy of the symbol for a preliterate people. It is as if the sun wordlessly conveys a number of perennial metaphysical principles, for example, "luminosity, heat, central position, and immutability in relation to the planets" -- or the light of intelligence, the warmth of emotion, the centrality of the Absolute, and the infinitude of its benevolent grace. We might say that helio-centrism is theo-centrism v.1.

Let's return briefly to the subject of language abuse. It cannot be sufficiently belabored that this is what the left does. Remember Jesus' crack about how Satan is a liar from the beginning, and that "whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies?" That's the left; or rather, the left is that.

Please note that I do not say this polemically or bobnoxiously. Rather, I say it literally. Later in the post -- or maybe tomorrow -- I will explain why this must be the case, for God gives us the choice between God or nothing, O or Ø, and on that choice rests everything else. Choose the latter and you have chosen to live in a permanent solar eclipse. You are officially a lunatic, someone who reflects light but imagines it comes from within.

"Man's chief nourishment," writes Pieper, "is truth.... Anyone who wishes to live a truly human life must feed on truth." Which is theophagia, or eating God.

Just this weekend I was feeding on a particularly rich source of truth, in the form of some bon bons from the pen of St. Thomas. Actually, I read it through twice, but even then, it's not "digestible" in the usual way, for this is not "information" per se, but more like spiritual pneutriants -- or better, enzymes -- that catalyze vertical recollection. As Pieper says in the preface, they "should be absorbed thoughtfully again and again; in this way the reader will kindle his own thinking."

I was going to present some of these pregnant thoughtlets "without comment," but they inevitably kindle my own thinking. They are naturally -- or supernaturally -- fertile.

Pieper mentions that Thomas combines order and mystery: there is "the clear and intelligible building up of reality, as well as the doctrine which reflects that reality." But this order is everywhere "interwoven and crossed by mystery." Therefore, in a note to myself, I added that the cosmic area rug is a tapestry of mystery and intelligibility, each necessarily flowing from the fact of Creation.

In other words, if the world were not created, it would be unintelligible and not even mysterious. As we've mentioned before, the world is only intelligible to us because of God, but it as also never completely intelligible for the same reason. Simple as. What we know is always surrounded by and even steeped in Mystery. You might say Left Brain Right Brain. No matter what the former knows, the latter imbues it with a Mystery that cannot be eliminated short of a devastating stroke or soul-deadening tenure.

"Everything eternal is necessary."

Right. Therefore, everything necessary is eternal. Man can never contain the eternal, but he can certainly know the necessary, and thereby touch the eternal, no? For example, God is necessary being. Put conversely, he cannot not be. Boom! Eternity while you wait.

Extending that one a bit, "Everything changeable is reduced to a first unmoved being," another Necessary Truth. As such, "each particular knowledge is also derived from some completely certain knowledge, which is not subject to error." Knowing truth -- any truth -- is sufficient to prove God.

Recall that Pieper is providing these nuggets shorn of their explanatory apparatus. But none of that is necessary -- nor sufficient -- if you just see their Truth directly. The bottom line is that God Is. If he isn't, then neither are we. Literally.

Why? Because "The further a being is distant from that which is Being of itself, namely God, the nearer it is to nothingness."

Recall what was said above about man being situated between O and Ø. It doesn't get simpler -- or more complicated -- than that. But the complication results from falling out of the orbit of O, for Ø is not actually a "direction"; unlike O, it is not an attractor, rather, a tendency in man -- a tendency to go nowhere by any number of paths.

Christians reject evolution! Hardly. St. Thomas out-Darwins Darwin, not only permitting evolution, but mandating it; he provides a ground for evolution that Darwinism itself cannot furnish: "The Divine Wisdom joins the last of the higher kind with the first of the lower kind." Man and ape. But also man and angel (or archetype), for there are always two sides, vertically speaking.

Well, I think I'll go outside and check out the eclipse. That's enough gazing at the nonlocal sun for today.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Words Mediate Reality; Journalists Mediate the Narrative

Speaking of words and their meanings, journalists are referred to as "media" because they mediate between two realities; or, between reality and the reader or viewer.

Clearly, no one can be everywhere, see everything, and know everyone. I wouldn't even know of the existence of Donald Trump if not for the media. We can only have direct knowledge of a rather restricted range of persons and events.

So we have journalists to mediate between us and those distant persons and events. We employ these trundling mules or asses to carry messages from here to there. It requires no special skill, just rudimentary honesty and embryonic self-awareness.

In information theory there is the signal and the noise. Inevitably some noise gets into the signal (as in the game "telephone"), and journalists once prided themselves on the minimization or elimination of noise, which is related but not identical to the concept of objectivity.

If too much noise gets into the signal, then it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two. Thus, communication requires a stable medium that is resistant to entropy. Money, for example, is supposed to be a stable medium of exchange. If the government prints too much, then the result is inflation, because money loses its exchange value. It can no longer purchase as much stuff.

Yeah, I could have explained all of that better, but I slept late and the coffee hasn't yet turned over my crankshaft. In any event, these thoughts were just now provoked upon reading the following passage by Pieper:

[T]he moment a person sensitive to the use of words deliberately ceases to govern his words with a view to stating the reality of things, he automatically ceases to communicate anything.

In other words, he ceases to be a medium; or, he's still a medium, just not of reality.

There are many reasons why a person would cease mediating reality: there might be passive reasons such as stupidity, ignorance, cultural impoverishment, or tenure. There can be reasons of self-interest, for example, exaggerating or inventing stories in order to advance one's career.

Mental illness can often be a factor, ranging from distorted perception (e.g., paranoia) to, say, narcissism, in which the journalist conflates the importance of what he reports with his own self-importance.

Yeah, that never happens.

Another reason is indoctrination. It might be the most important source of journalistic noise these days, but it is surely blended with ignorance, stupidly, mental illness, narcissism, self-importance, and a self-monitoring groupthink. Add them all together, and we have... the MSM. MSNBC is all of these things, only refreshingly unmasked.

Oh, I forgot another major source of noise. I'm going to have to amend what I just said about indoctrination being the most important.

In fact, this is what really separates me from those other bloggers and commentators, and journalists from reality: without any hesitation whatsoever, I say that the source of this noise is demonic.

Or better, that this noise is evidence of demonic influences, right before our eyes. It's like the wind: we never see it, only its effects. Same with Satan: we never see him, but we surely see his effects. We know him by his fruits, so to speak. Or fruitcakes, in the case of journalists.

Let's take an extreme example, Nazism or Communism. Natural explanations of these phenomena are inevitably banal. You can take a dozen different approaches, from cultural to psychohistorical to economic and more, but they are simply inadequate to explain that level of frenzied and yet systematic sadism. What makes these ideologies so unique is the combination of creativity, which is divine, and violent sadism, which is demonic: creative depravity, or savage creativity.

Something similar is occurring in our civilization. And it's happening very fast, as last year's parody becomes this year's reality. Now they're talking about tearing down Monticello and the Washington Monument. And why not? Principles are principles, and if the principle is that Washington and Jefferson owned slaves and therefore represent unalloyed evil, why on earth would we want to honor them? QED.

But if the left is going to be consistent in applying this principle, several other venerable things will need to go. For example, Thomas Jefferson was the founder of the Democratic party, so this deeply tainted institution needs to be abolished at once. And Jesus has got to go, for he might have been the first to suggest that "all lives matter," thus revealing his racial animus and White Privilege.

Back to Pieper:

For language becomes communication the moment it expresses a link to [mediates] reality, and by the same token it ceases to be communication the moment this link is destroyed.

And it is not as if the mediated-to haven't noticed. What percentage of the public trusts the MSM to mediate reality without coloration? Fifteen percent?

Nevertheless, the incessant pounding of the message gets through; or, not so much the message as the Narrative, for the Narrative is pure noise, something superimposed on the facts before they are even facts.

Indeed, the Narrative is what journalists use in order to see facts at all. Put conversely, something that supports the Narrative is a fact, while something that fails to support it isn't seen at all, and therefore never rises to the level of fact. If you see things outside the Narrative, you're either lying or hallucinating.

Which might be the main reason Trump is so hated by the media, because he challenges the Narrative. Last weekend he did it big time, by equating Antifa and white supremacists.

Of course Trump has it all wrong, in that the far left is far more dangerous to the nation than the KKK, which is totally marginalized and has no political influence whatsoever. Nevertheless, one is not permitted to notice that banal truth, and punishment for doing so is swift and severe. "Even" Republicans aren't on board with it, which highlights the fact that they are no less immersed in the Narrative than Democrats.

In a way, Republicans are even more diabolical than Democrats. It's like a disease. We know the disease is evil. But what if the doctor is also evil, and only pretending to treat you? What I really want to say to these Republican quacks is -- pardon my French: physician fuck thyself.

When one person ceases to speak to another in the artless and spontaneous manner which characterizes genuine conversation, and begins to consciously manipulate his words, expressly ceasing to concern himself with the truth -- when, in other words, his concern is with something other than the truth -- he has, in reality, from that point on ceased to respect the other person as a partner in conversation. He has ceased to respect him as a human person....

[W]hen words lose contact with reality, they become an instrument of power.... (Pieper).

And power without truth might be the essence of the diabolical.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On the Nature of Ultimate Unreality

About what shall we blog today? There is our 30th anniversary, but I don't know what to say about that. Life before 1987 is just a blur or an embarrassment. Since then it's just a blur.

And now I don't remember much before the birth of our son in 2005, which once again reshuffled the existential cards. I guess I'm just not a nostalgic person. I'm certainly not a sentimental one. We are only given today, and that's it. So many ways of escaping the now! Nor do I think of alternative lives. Mine is what it is, the only variable being how much isness one can pack into the day; or rather, derive from it. The former goes more to Doing, the latter to Being.

Which I believe is the point. At least for me and my kind. Obviously we need doers out there. If they weren't doing their thing(s), then I could never be mine. Warriors and Priests. Hands and heads.

The other night the boy and I were watching television when an ad came on featuring a skydiver. We both agreed that this is something we need never do. I added that I've already got the skydiver doing it, which relieves me of the burden. He even took a video. I'll check it out if I ever need to, but the sensation of falling strikes me as totally superfluous. I've fallen before. I get it.

Not that I am in any way anti-sensation. God forbid! Literally, being that the Incarnation doesn't just involve heart and mind, but body as well.

But sometimes the search for novel and intense sensations is rooted in an inability to notice and appreciate the subtle ones that are going on all the time -- like, say, this cup of coffee. Again, we need adventurers, people like Columbus or Magellan or Neil Armstrong. But I am rather easily stimulated. I AM enough. Earth is more than enough. Going to the moon would only unsettle me.

It is often the case that doers are incapable of being. Or, they can only be in the midst of doing. Nevertheless, being is always (vertically) prior to doing, and always available to us right here, right now.

Churchill writes of how in war, "the uncertainty and importance of the present reduce the past and future to comparative insignificance, and clear the mind of minor worries."

No doubt true. But what about spiritual warfare? There is an obvious parallel, in that the latter too can only take place in the present, and Jesus calls it the "greatest commandment" that we should love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength. Of course that's not possible, but what does impossibility have to do with it? That's none of our business.

Abruptly -- or maybe not -- shifting gears, I've begun reading a compendium of The Wisdom of St. Thomas, put together by Josef Pieper. It basically consists of his Bottom Line Takes, stripped of all the scrupulous scholastic argumentation.

All that argumentation is not necessarily necessary to get to God. Certainly it is never sufficient. Rather, to paraphrase Schuon, such arguments are points of reference to satisfy the needs of the intellect, but in the end, there is a direct seeing that cannot be reduced to argument -- just as no eye witness needs to first prove the existence of sight. No, seeing is enough. Direct perception trumps any rationalism. No merely finite statement can contain -- i.e., is adequate to -- the infinite.

However, a finite statement can... how to put it... "transmit" the infinite. So long as the transmission occurs, then argument per se becomes unnecessary. Rules of the intellect can never take the place of depth of intelligence.

Analogously, everyone uses the same rules of music. Yet some compositions are infinitely more deep than others. And not even compositions; sometimes just the raw musical expression.

The best vision in the world can never "see everything." And yet, seeing only what we can see is sufficient to posit a "universe" we will never see, that is, the totality of interacting objects and events. No one needs to see the entire cosmos to know we are in one.

Likewise the intellect: no one needs to know everything in order for everything to be known! In this regard, a few principles go a long way -- all the way up to God, or O, if you prefer a less saturated placeholder for Absoluteness. As Schuon says, "nothing is ever rejected without being replaced by something else." Reject the Absolute at one end, and it will just haunt or beguile you at the other. You gotta serve somebody. Might as well be someOne worthy of service.

The intellect can ascend all the way to God, but in so doing (at least in the moment) extinguishes itself -- just as, say, the idea of a tree is eclipsed in seeing one (even though the idea is necessary in order to see it). Conversely, language descends from God, such that we can communicate the vision, but never in its totality. "Logic is perfectly consistent only when surpassing itself" (Schuon). Go Gödel Go!

This is something I realized in the spring of 1985, long before I understood the religious consequences. I've written before of how my discovery of the obscure psychoanalyst W.R. Bion Blew My Mind. Through him I understood that a good psychological theory must express an unsaturated general truth that can also be "realized" in the particular individual.

The same challenge is involved in realizing the eternal in time, the infinite in space, or God in flesh. Experience must be expressed in dogma, but can never be reduced to it, for the symbol can be no substitute for that which it symbolizes. Fortunately we don't have to choose between the two, for God has conveniently provided a cosmic bridge woo hoo.

Such proofs of God as furnished by Aquinas can never be disproved, but this is still not the same as the experience of that to which they point (and from which they descend). "[A] proof is of assistance only to the man who wishes to understand and who, because of this wish, has in some measure understood already."

The man who wishes not to understand can easily deny the proof, for rationalization has no trouble defying reason. The arguments are "of no practical use to one who, deep in his heart, does not want to change his opinion and whose philosophy merely expresses this desire" (Schuon).

As such, atheism is rooted in desire and in will, not in reality. More to the point, the function of faith is to remain an open system on the vertical plane. The only possible ground for knowledge of God's non-existence is God himself.

Here is Pieper's first nugget of Thomas: The least insight that one can obtain into sublime things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge of lower things.

Boom. I don't need all the detailed intellectual scaffolding to support that belief. Rather, I see (by) its Light directly.

Here is one on the ultimate pattern of our cosmic adventure. Again, I see the same thing Aquinas sees with my own three eyes, so no one needs to prove it to me:

The complete perfection of the universe demands that there should be created natures which return to God, not only according to the likeness of their being, but also through their actions.

That explains how it is that we're all swimming in this spiraling vortex lured by God, AKA the Great Attractor.

Another nugget that summa-rises the Way of the Raccoon:

Intellect is the first author and mover of the universe.... Hence the last end of the universe must necessarily be the good of the intellect. Hence truth must be the last end of the whole universe.

Nevertheless, there exist human beings who are Of, By, and For the Lie. Put it this way: it is always possible to reject O, as per Genesis 3. But the denied reality merely returns as Ø, which is a theme of so much of the Old Testament, i.e., the reversion to worshipping false gods, which is to say, conforming oneself to an ultimate reality that is ultimately unreal. The left-hand path will always be with us.

Monday, August 14, 2017

I Unreservedly Condemn All Violence Toward Language

So, President Trump is being criticized by both opportunistic Democrats and craven Republicans (but I repeat myself) for condemning political violence. Here is a vivid example of what was said in the previous post about the abuse of language. In this case, the President is being criticized for failure to abuse language in the customary way.

The customary way involves seeing all political violence as emanating from "the right," which represents an inversion of the reality. Violence is intrinsic to leftism, being that leftism is inconceivable in the absence of force (of the state over the individual).

And if we recognize that fascism is a movement of the left, then we see that Saturday's violence was a small-scale version of communism vs. Nazism. These are revolutionary movements that have nothing whatsoever to do with classical liberal conservatism. Obviously, neither one is grounded in first principles of liberty, natural rights, and limited government. In reality, conservatism is situated neither to the right nor left of these twin barbarisms, but vertically above.

(To be clear, I don't know whether the victims were actually Antifa activists, only that the counter-demonstration was organized by Antifa cretins spoiling for a fight.)

As we know, because the communists defeated the Nazis in WW2, they successfully defined themselves as being anti-fascist, and the left has been dining on this lie ever since. Communism was (and still is) the original Antifa movement.

But because of the language-abusing Narrative of the left, condemning Antifa violence is equated with being ProFa or even Na! For reasons that are impervious to reason, a Nazi sympathizer mowing down Antifa protesters is different from an Antifa activist attempting to assassinate Representative Steve Scalise.

Diabolically clever. It is to be expected that the robotic simpletons of the left will propagate and honor the Lie, but just nauseating when Republicans do.

Let's get down to basics: man's original crime against Being is rooted in language abuse. The "vector of reality," so to speak, flows in the direction of God --> Being --> Truth --> Language.

Likewise, the way back to God flows in the opposite direction, beginning in Truth (or true speech) -- the same Truth that sets one free. Which is a little misleading, being that freedom is required in order to seek truth. Therefore, we might equally say that freedom sets one upon (the path of) Truth, AKA the cosmic adventure. Our God is a God of Freedom and of Truth, which are two sides of the same primordial reality.

There is indeed a sacred covenant between language and Being, which is a reflection of the bond (of love!) between God and Word. Again, whatever else Genesis 3 is about, it is about severing this link, which necessarily redounds to a kind of expulsion from reality.

Obviously, the Incarnation represents the restoration of this bond in the most heightened way imaginable. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Suffice it to say that the Crucifixion of the Word is still taking place. And always will be, at least on this plane. It very much defines what goes on down here, doesn't it? Which is why the cosmic adventure is a continuous struggle toward Truth. It wouldn't be a struggle if there weren't counter-forces at play.

Pieper writes of the "consummate mendacity" that "must inevitably result in the atrophy of communication between human beings."

Here again, to attack or deny the vertical link between man and God is to abolish the horizontal link between man and man. Do you not see why? Truth is ultimately grounded in love; or at least inextricably intertwined with it. We might say that Truth is the Love of the Intellect, just as Love is the Truth of the Heart.

Instead, as prophesied by Aldous Huxley, we are plunged into "a vast mass communications industry" that is concerned "neither with the true or false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant" (in Pieper). This is the Unreal News alluded to in the title of the previous post. It is anti-Christic right down to the ground. Man builds and inhabits his own verbal prison while holding the keys in his hand. Madness!

If I am to make the right decision (regardless of what the decision may involve), I must be guided by the truth of things themselves, by the facts, by what is really the case. In other words, the realization of the good presupposes knowledge of reality.... An act is good if it conforms to the nature of things.

The nature of things. It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that for the left there is no such nature. This is indeed what separates liberal conservatism from the tyranny of the contemporary left. It ultimately comes down to whether essence precedes existence or vice versa. For the left it is the latter, which is why, for example, a man can be a woman or homosexuals can marry. For the left man defines reality. For us, reality defines man.

That was Marx's great original insight -- which has given unsight to purblind leftists ever since. Movements of the left always involve liberation. But can man be liberated from his own nature, and supposing he can, is it not misleading to equate this with freedom? Yes, I am free not to be myself. But if I manage to escape from myself, isn't that the last word in being lost and alienated?

Speech which emancipates itself from the norm of (real) things, at the same time necessarily becomes speech without a partner.

The Cosmic Divorce.

What is meant by the 'emancipation from the norm of (real) things?' What is meant, essentially, is indifference toward the truth. After all, truth implies a link to reality.

Which is why, beneath it all, leftism must devolve to violent nihilism. For the problem isn't just that Language and Truth are divorced, leaving us cosmic orphans. Rather, Language is remarried to Power, such that we come under the authority of a violent stepfather.

Once the word, as it is employed by the communications media, has, as a matter of principle, been rendered neutral to the norm of truth, it is, by its very nature, a ready-made tool just waiting to be picked up by 'the powers that be' and 'employed' for violent or despotic ends.... [T]he greater the inroads this 'neutralized' word makes on our lives, the more the word itself creates an atmosphere of epidemic susceptibility to the disease of despotism....

What all "forms of propaganda have in common is the degeneration of language into an instrument of force." This highlights the implicit "link between the degeneration of political authority and the sophistical corruption of the word," such that "the abuse of language by the communications media could actually be diagnosed as a symptom of the despotism to come, while the virus is still in its latent stages."

Latent in 1964, when that was written, but a florid infection today.

First the word loses its dignity; then man. Which is why "the fate of society and the fate of the word are inseparable. A relationship founded upon violence... corresponds to the most pernicious destruction of the link to things as they are: the public loss of the ability to know reality."

So yes, Nazi sympathizers and Antifa thugs are both violent. But first to the Word. Gravity takes care of the rest.

(All quoted material in Pieper.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

On the Urgent Need of Safe Spaces: for Truth

Great essay -- actually, a formal address -- in Pieper's Problems of Modern Faith, called The Abuse of Language and the Abuse of Power. The content is quite similar, if not identical, to his little book of the same name. Looks like either the talk was turned into a book, or vice versa.

Whatever the case may be, do not be deceived by the brevity, for in the words of the Aphorist, Prolixity is not an excess of words but a dearth of ideas. It actually made me see stars. As in the Aphorist's maxim that The collision with an intelligent book makes us see a thousand stars.

That's close to the truth, being that I highlighted nearly every sentence. Usually, when I highlight something, it's not in order to "remember" it in the usual way. Rather, it's because a star flashed into view. Actually, I've developed an informal system of notation with about five levels, depending upon the density of stars. The last level is dog-earing the page. That happens when I've collided with a supercluster.

The whole thing is both timely and timeless, which I suppose amounts to the same thing. Or at least what is timeless is always timely, even if what is timely is rarely timeless. At any rate, let's take out our telos-scopes and see if we can unpack some of the stars.

First of all, even the title is provocative: how is it even possible to abuse language? Language isn't alive. Or is it? And what can it possibly have to do with power, much less the abuse of it?

Pieper doesn't put it this way, but I believe language is indeed alive. It is a medium of life, much in the way of circulating blood. Quite simply, in the absence of language, there would be no way for mind and spirit to circulate. Obvious, no? Haven't you ever felt more alive after reading or hearing something? (Or more dead, depending.)

As we shall eventually see, this goes back to a triune structure of reality in which God eternally speaks the Word. And if you only look close enough, everything is composed of intelligible words. It is why we can understand the world, for it is not made of atoms or quarks or waves or particles, but of language. We are immersed in wordstuff, which is why existence is so endlessly fascinating. Or boring, depending upon the soul's level of literacy.

Pieper adverts to the misuse of language as "an eternal temptation which, throughout the course of history, man has been, and always will be, called upon to resist."

Interesting. Could our primordial calamity be related to language abuse? Something inside me says "yes." And what is the Crucifixion but -- literally -- the last word in abuse of the Word? It is the attempt to snuff it out entirely. For what is Truth, anyway?

That's a cynical question. No, it's worse than that, for it betrays the seduction of sophistry, the same sophistry that has been with us from the time of Plato right down to this morning's New York Times. What is academia but a Temple of Sophistry?

Which only emphasizes the power of its lure, a lure that can be traced back to Genesis 3. Jumping ahead a bit, here is how Pieper describes the original vision and purpose of the university. Try not to laugh. Or cry. Or be triggered:

[T]he concept 'academic' has... retained a common or identical feature over the course of time, a feature which, moreover, is easy to define. [Bear in mind this was written in 1964, when academia was far less woke than today.]

This feature is the fact that a 'zone of truth' is deliberately set aside in the midst of society, a hedged-in space to house the autonomous engagement with reality [!], in which people can inquire into, discuss, and assert the truth of things without let or hindrance; a domain expressly shielded from any conceivable attempts to use it as a means to achieve certain ends [!], and in which all concerns irrelevant to its true purpose, whether collective or personal, whether of political, economic or ideological import, must keep silent [!].

In short, the university is indeed supposed to be a safe space: for truth! Because if truth isn't safe, then none of us are.

How does truth decay begin? It must have to do with the detachment of language from reality. Note that this is not a bug of postmodernism, but a feature. For again, language is no longer about real things, but about language.

Thus, not only is postmodernism sealed in tautology and sophistry, but it is a statement about the permanent and ineradicable stupidity of man. In this context, exposure to the university can only arm and aggravate the stupidity, not ameliorate or cure it.

What is truth? "A person must not have progressed very far in his education if he has not discovered good reasons to justify the worst behavior. The evil which has been done in the world since Adam's time has been justified by means of good reasons."

Okay then. What is evil?

Evil on a wholesale level begins in corruption of the word; or better, corruption of the function of the word. Which is whatnow?

Two things, distinguishable but inseparable: knowledge and communication (of reality):

Its first achievement is the fact that reality becomes manifest through the word. One speaks in order to make known something real in the act of calling it by name in order, of course, to make it known to someone else.

This latter reminds me of something I learned in my psychoanalytic training which actually turns out to be true: that all language has a from --> to structure, even interior dialogue.

This goes back to Bion's idea that communication begins with the mother-infant dyad, which is the most primordial level of interpersonal exchange. It eventually evolves into proper speech, but any number of things can go wrong along the way, such that the person becomes more or less capable of communicating his interior world in the form of speech.

People who cannot do this end up splitting, repressing, or projecting it (for it still exists, only in an unglishable and therefore externalized form). These primitive unwords become flesh. In a bad way. (For unspeakable truths can also become flesh in a good way, as in love; or, love is the way they are communicated.)

In other words, they become leftists, wordlessly communing with fellow leftists who are likewise incapable of articulating WTF is wrong with themselves.

Take, I don't know, Lena Dunham, who is persecuted by imaginary airline attendants who express reservations about the left's obsession with normalizing aberrant and confused sexual identity. If you ask her WTF is wrong with her, she will not be able to point to something inside, but rather, express alarm at something she has projected into you, you alt-right fascist! In short, you are her unspeakably badword made flesh. No wonder she's alarmed, for there are no safe spaces inside her head.

To be continued...