Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nice Dreams. Wrong Father.

One important point about reality that rationalists overlook is that it is a function of imagination; or, in the absence of the imaginative element, the wider (or deeper) world is foreclosed and one is excluded from the Real.

This thought occurred to me during a walk yesterday evening, around sunset. I don't intend to go all mushy on you, but it was one of those evenings that, to paraphrase Bertie Wooster, almost make a chap feel as if he's got a soul-thingy or something. How to communicate this feeling? Perhaps more importantly, how is it communicated to us in such a direct and unmediated (by discursive ideas) fashion?

I suppose we could communicate it via poetry or painting, or maybe even music, none of which can be reduced to, or contained in, mere instrumental reason.

More generally, man always has two methods at his disposal, the analytic and the synthetic. It is this latter that cannot take place in the absence of imagination -- although it also comes into play in determining what to analyze. But analysis in general is something a computer can handle, whereas putting it all together in a creative synthesis is something only the soul can accomplish.

Now all humans, whether they acknowledge it or not, are on a quest for reintegration. Moore writes of "two modes of thought," one of which corresponding to what he calls "the common mind," the other, "the disintegrative mind."

The skeptic, for example, has a hypertrophied disintegrative mind that is not so much wrong as partial: it simply cannot join together what it has ruthlessly put asunder, neither in space nor in time (i.e., tradition and the priceless wisdom of the Living Dead), since it is mechanical and not organic (or organismic).

If everyone were afflicted with this psychic imbalance, civil society would be quite impossible, because there would be no shared metaphysical dream. Of course, one cannot really abolish metaphysics (or dreaming), so what we would really share is the soul-stifling materialism of the left, a metaphysical nightmare in which the only thing that unites us is the state. But that is not unity -- unity implying diversity -- but a mere unicity or "totalism" that sacrifices individuality for coerced order. You're still living the dream. Just not yours.

"Without the imagination," writes Moore, "man is shut up in himself, in the present time, in the material world, and in his logical processes." Furthermore, without the imagination, he is apt "to shut up others, too, in his clean and tidy prison."

Have you ever been shut up in someone else's clean and tidy prison? If the answer is No, then you haven't been paying attention, and certainly not to your government.

But it actually happens much earlier than that, when the only govern-ment we know is family and school. Both institutions, when they are dysfunctional -- which they usually are -- place great pressure on the individual to unconsciously assimilate a metaphysical dream that strangles the imagination in the crib.

This can be done with "the best of intentions." I know that my parents, for example, had nothing against me per se. They just didn't have a clue as to what I was about. Same with school. My teachers no doubt didn't want me to be bored and unable to see the point of it all.

I am grateful, however, that neither institution forced the issue, which at least left in escrow an unoccupied space, a hidie whole for later development. After all, an empty lot is far preferable to a crater filled with BS, or to an ugly office building. Yeah, my soil was pretty barren, but at least it wasn't overrun with weeds and parasites. Reminds me of a sign I saw on the road to Happy Acres:

Yes, it is true that in school I didn't learn much. Thank God! My idea for educational reform is to confer a Ph.D. on every infant at birth, so one can get on with the serious business of properly unlearning all the stupidities of the tenured.

Above I alluded to the organismic nature of reality. If reality is organismic, it is because it is everywhere latently "alive." In other words, life is not a function of biology, but rather, the converse: biology is a function of Life. If this were not the case, then Life would be strictly impossible.

Moore writes that "rationalism is the imposition of a predetermined, mechanical form of reasoning that does not correspond to the spirit of nature"; it is, in the words of Coleridge, "a blind copying of effects instead of a true imitation of essential principles."

One might say it is an exterior copy as opposed to an interior prehension -- for example, as muzak is to jazz. What distinguishes these two?

One is ALIVE! and life-giving, the other dead and endeadening. The same with the gifted or banal writer: one transmits Life, the other something less. (Image courtesy Rick.)

There are obvious political implications, for example, say, in the distinction between the organically developed common law of Great Britain vs. the philosophical abstractions imposed in the French Revolution (and every revolution since). Revolutions do not lack their imagineers -- far from it -- but their visions are parasitic on their abstractions, as we have seen in Obama.

What is Obamaism but a fantasy of how the world ought to work? Nice dreams. Wrong world. And wrong Father.

The IMAGINATION then, I consider either as primary, or secondary. The primary IMAGINATION I hold to be the living Power and prime agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM...

FANCY, on the contrary, has no other counters to play with but fixities and definites. The Fancy is indeed no other than a mode of Memory emancipated from the order of space and time..."

I was going to end with that, but Moore goes on to explain that Coleridge is speaking of "a way of seeing the world as a whole, like a living organic being, rather than a sum of working parts, like a machine" -- and of "two fundamentally different ways of looking at the world" -- of the head isolated from the heart vs. head and heart rejoined to gather in wholly matterimany.

So, to imagine there's no religion is to imagine there is no imagination. But it isn't hard to do. Just imagine the left is right, and gravity and decay will take care of the rest.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The One Minute Raccoon

No, one cannot become a Raccoon in one minute. Rather, less than a minute, since Raccoons are born, not made.

What I mean is that I have only a minute this morning. Time enough to announce the dawn of a new thread, now open for isness.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cosmic Leveling and the Animalization of Man

Leveling is the barbarian's substitute for order. --Aphorisms of Don Colacho

As mentioned a few posts back, one of the general tenets or principles of conservative thought is the recognition and preservation of vertical hierarchy. When "natural distinctions are effaced among men," writes Kirk, "oligarchs fill the vacuum." (Like nature, trans-nature abhors those vacuous nothings.)

Thus, the story of leftism does not have a happy ending, i.e., a carefree proletariat living on Sugar Candy Mountain. It doesn't end in a classless society but a two-tiered one, e.g., wards of the state and administrators of the state, bureaucrats and cronies, power and its clients.

It is why the "income inequality" liberals pretend to care about has become so much more pronounced under Obama, why labor participation is at a historic low, and why blacks are falling further behind (one reason, anyway). The cure? More of the same!

Here's how it works: "Each day we demand more from society so that we can demand less from ourselves" (Don Colacho). Or in other words, little by little we transfer our power to the state, until the state does all the demanding and we do all the obeying.

"Hierarchies are heavenly. In hell all are equal" (ibid.). Indeed, "if men were born equal, they would invent inequality to kill the boredom." But since they are born unequal (or better, un-equivalent) -- in talents, in intelligence, in interests -- the left has invented a soul-sapping, boredom-inducing culture to stifle the recognition. Mind-numbing bread and mediated circuses to keep the LoFos either amused or riled up.

Another aphorism: "In society just as in the soul, when hierarchies abdicate, the appetites rule." Why? Because in a two-tiered system there can be nothing higher than carnal appetite and endless desire. The state has the overwhelming advantage here, since conservatives must rely on arguments, whereas the left has only to bribe with other people's property. Thus, "elections decide who may be oppressed legally." And "social justice"? That's the term they invented "to claim anything to which we do not have a right" (ibid.).

Ah, Obama's epitaph: "Revolutions have as their function the destruction of the illusions that cause them." True enough, but he's also causing an awful lot of collateral damage to reality while he's at it.

I could playgiarize with Don Colacho all day. Let's move on to the nature of this vertical hierarchy.

I suppose the first thing a spiritually bereft leftist will say is, "what about 'all men are created equal?'" Do we really have to remind him that this refers to equality before God and therefore before the law? This mediocre book on Original Sin makes the point that the doctrine of our primeval calamity assures that all men are equal in another sense, of ineradicable guilt for unavoidable sin. Thus, the doctrine can be "curiously liberating," in that it implies that we are "all in the same boat" and in need of a vertical intervention, the prince no less than the pauper.

For Schuon there are no fewer than five vertical degrees which we could boil down to corporeal/material, soul/psychic, spirit/intellect, formal (cataphatic) God, and formless (apophatic) God. Being that this is a hierarchy, it can only be understood from the top down. Thus, each level is a kind of downward projection of the one immediately above.

As we have discussed and even belabored, the essential error of modernity was to invert this hierarchy, such that the bottom -- matter -- became the top. But this led to insoluble absurdities such as how life can emerge from dead matter, or how the soul can emerge from biology. As a patient of mine once put it, "you can only get so much blood from a turnip." Likewise, you can only get so much wisdom from a rock.

In a properly oriented cosmos, we see the hierarchy of Beyond Being → Being → Spirit → Soul → Body; or Godhead → Personal God → Celestial/Logospheric Realm (which is mirrored in the Intellect) → Psychic → Corporeal (encompassing space, time, matter-energy, etc.)

Now, what would happen if we were to collapse this hierarchy? Or rather, what has happened? Let's start at the top: what happens when level 1 is merged into 2? A fascistic theocracy such as Islamism, which merges God and religion and denies the divine freedom of the Godhead.

How about when 2 blends into 3? I would say an impotent and disembodied idealism. 3 into 4? The desiccated, wisdom-free mind of the tenured. 4 into 5? The successful animalization of man, i.e., nihilism and barbarism.

For example, Schuon draws a distinction between "intellective intuition" (level 3) and "a merely cerebral 'intelligence'" (level 4). "The cult of intelligence... distances man from truth: intelligence narrows as soon as man puts his trust in it alone," for the level 3 intellect is precisely that faculty "which perceives the transcendent," or level 2.

And importantly, this intellect is "a receptive faculty and not a power which produces: it does not 'create': it receives and transmits; it is a mirror" of what transcends it, just as the level 3 psyche, when properly functioning, should be a mirror of "the world."

Another valid point, although one that will be easier for eastern Christians to appreciate: that the intellect is not fallen per se; or rather, one might think of it as the divine spark which survives the fall, even if it is only an ember. But the real fall is from level to level, especially from intellect to ego and then on down to the infrahuman (which is technically lower than the innocent animal, which only does what comes naturally; but when man becomes an animal, he sinks beneath himself and exists in a kind of unreal, non-space).

But if we understand the hierarchy rightly, there is nothing whatsoever "wrong" with any of the levels, so long as the hierarchy is maintained. I am thinking, for example, of Pope JP2's "theology of the body," whereby the body (and sexuality) is divinized by energies and graces emanating from above. (Indeed, the whole doctrine of Incarnation could hardly be more clear about this.)

Likewise, there is nothing wrong with the tenure-mind, so long as it is informed by the spirit, and doesn't become detached from vertical reality; or negate what surpasses it, up to and including its very source and ground.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why I Am Right and Everyone Else is Wrong

Continuing with yesterday's post, we were talking about the Science of the Real, or of the highest Metacosmic Truths accessible to common sense.

Which, by the way, I think is an interesting and exciting subject. I don't really understand why everybody else isn't interested, because one would think it would be the first thing on the human agenda, i.e., exactly WTF is going on down here?!

True, there are philosophers, but they constitute a tiny minority, plus they are almost all ridiculously wrong -- just philodoxers in disguise, in love with their own blather.

That's a pretty bold statement, Bob. What, you're smarter than all those luminaries?

Well, in our day and age, we have been trained to believe that truth is inaccessible to man, and that the best we can do is come up with clever and complicated systems of conjecture, which are always contradicted by the guesswork of some other tenured ape.

Thus, if you take a university philosophy course, you will be treated to a survey of the considered opinions of all the usual suspects, from the pre-Socratics to the postmoderns, leaving you in a dispirited, disillusioned, and defeated muddle. For without truth there is no hope, not even hope for hope.

As always, humans hunger for truth. We are epistemophilic to the ground, and yet, we are told before we even begin the human adventure that no object corresponds to this drive.

Imagine if we were all tormented by a sex drive, with no corresponding object. Imagine a world in which half the population consists of normal males, the other half clones of Sandra Fluke. If such were the case, we would have every right to call God a sadist and existence absurd.

And make no mistake: existence is either a reflection of truth, or it is absurd. God or nihilism. There is no other rational choice, and the sooner one admits it, the better. Either you are living in a fantasy for believing man may know Truth; or you are living in a fantasy for not so believing.

How have we arrived at this parched world of hollow men? Two ways, one vertical, the other horizontal. The first is simple rejection of transcendence, or the blind reenactment of Genesis 3. The second -- the horizontal -- consists mostly of crude repetition and violent pressure to conform.

This repetition is both verbal and nonverbal, and the latter is the more dangerous because it is implicit and pervasive in the culture. It goes to Breitbart's Axiom that politics is downstream from culture. It is as if everything about the culture is designed to not even confuse you, but to inculcate passive acceptance of pneumatic disorder as normative.

It reminds me of Evan Sayek's famous lecture on how the left first undermines judgment and discrimination, which results in an inverted world in which these become identified with moral turpitude. In the world of the left, judgment is judgmentally condemned, which results in a disconnect between the soul and truth. The disconnect is then enforced via political correctness, which someone called a War on Noticing. For example, if you notice the banality that it is impossible for two men to marry, you are a HATER.

So, someone is wrong on this question of whether man may know Truth. And if we want to be strictly logical about it, to insist there is no truth is to of course posit the truth of that statement. Yes, but is it a trivial truth? I don't see how, because to know any truth is to enter a transcendence in need of explanation.

Every secular humanist, every materialist, every leftist, every postmodernist, is just wrong, wrong, wrong, irrespective of how brilliant they and their disciples think they are. For the human longing for truth does have an object, which we call O. Which we will now proceed to explore, if not occupy.

As alluded to in yesterday's post, there is Truth and there are the diverse ways of expressing it. It seems that people become confused by this diversity, as if it implies that truth itself is "diverse."

Not so. For example, put ten people in a room, and each one will have a different view. We do not conclude from this that there exist ten different rooms; rather, there is just the one room seen from different perspectives.

Let's also stipulate that the ten people are diverse: there are men and women, intelligent and stupid, different languages and cultures, different developmental stages, etc. Doesn't matter. It's still one room.

Likewise, it is One Cosmos. Here again, we all implicitly recognize this, or we wouldn't even bother to try to communicate. Indeed, if multiplicity were the ground of existence, then communication itself would be strictly impossible, because there would be no common, implicit substratum of meaning and reality. Frankly, to say "cosmos" is to say God, but let's take it nice and easy and enjoy some stops along the way, shall we?

Where do we start? It seems that we have two pairs of possibility: we can begin with multiplicity or unity; and we can begin with the subject or the object.

Don't fall for his trick! For it is always both: multiplicity implies unity, just as unity implies multiplicity. Likewise, there can be no object without a subject who apprehends it, nor any subject without objects to apprehend. In a word: complementarity, or, if you prefer, orthoparadox.

Schuon writes that "In metaphysics, it is necessary to start from the idea that the Supreme Reality is absolute." This is the Principle of principles, but you don't have to accept it. Again, you can affirm the opposite -- that the supreme reality is relativistic. But then you can stop, because the game is over. Congratulations, you've lost! But only forever.

I do have some slight disagreements with Schuon at this juncture, again, because of the Advaita Vedanta vs. Trinity thing, but we can agree that the Absolute must also by definition be Infinite. There are different ways to conceptualize or visualize the absolute. It is, as Schuon describes, "reflected in space by the point or the center; in time by the moment or the present," "in form, by the sphere," and "in number, by unity" (in other words, all numbers are multiples of one).

Think about this for a moment: each of these is a profound mystery, i.e., center, moment, unity. Each needs to be explained, not simply assumed. How is it, for example, that every human being is a unified subjective center of the cosmos, in each and every moment? Because we are the image and likeness of the Absolute, that's why. Our center is His Center (although His Center is not our center, if you catch my drift).

Many of Meister Eckhart's juiciest comments go to this reality. Let's see if I can dig one out.

--Every single creature is full of God, and is a book about God.

--The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me.

--Wherever I am, there is God.

--Being is God's circle, and in this circle all creatures exist.

--It is a joy to God to have poured out the divine nature and being into us, who are divine images.

--Outside of God there is nothing but nothing, and The divine one is a negation of negations.

--For you ask me: Who is God? What is God? I reply: Isness. Isness is God. Where there is isness, there God is. Creation is the giving of isness by God.

Those will do. As for me, it's the end of isness and the start of business. To be continued.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Common Nonsense: This is Heaven, but Heaven is Not This

So, is common sense rooted in principles, or do principles flow from common sense? And is common sense universal, or does it change from epoch to epoch, culture to culture, cable network to cable network?

First, we had better define the term. Before looking it up, I would say that it must have to do with knowledge accessible to every normal man by virtue of being one. It is preconceptual, or archetypal if you are Jung at heart -- not quite knowledge, but ready to become so: pre-knowledge.

In Bion's scheme, a preconception mates with experience in order to become a conception, and a conception goes on to become a grownup concept. But there can also be *bastard* concepts that are not the product of this proper union. Although this no doubt sounds abstract, it brings us right back to the left, for so many of their miscegenational ideas are infertile precisely because of this cognitive mismating.

"Homosexual marriage" would be as good an example as any, because this cannot be a preconception anchored in the nature of things, only a bastard of a concept imposed from above. And it surely cannot flow from common sense, unless every human until a few years ago lacked common sense. Among other things, the left is a war on common sense. And common decency. And our common heritage.

In the excellent Book of Absolutes, Gairdner has academically incorrect and therefore instructive chapters on the universals of human life and culture, the constants of nature, the universals of human sex and biology, the universals of language, and the universals of law. I am tempted to just say Read the Book, because that's an awful lot to cover in the spacetime of a post, especially because it's been five years since I read it.

Oh, and Gairdner has a new book coming out next year called The Great Divide: Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never, Ever Agree. This second book is no doubt a logical extension of the first, for what is leftism but the political implications of relativism and rejection of absolutes, i.e., a deeply principled political stupidity at war with Reason?

I'm going to try to skim that book later today and maybe get back to it tomorrow. Meanwhile, another book we haven't discussed but which I can heartily endorse is Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy, which is an introductory guide to his trans-thinking.

It is especially recommended to those of you who are a little intimidated by the master, but hey, who would be intimidated by this easygoing and nonjudgmental visage?:

Chapter five condenses his system to the very essence of what we might call Metacosmic Common Sense -- although he would hasten to add that this is no more "his system" than the sun can be private property. Rather, it shines equally upon the good and evil, the intelligent and stupid, the gifted and the tenured.

I realize this is controversial, but I am highly attracted to the idea that truth is anterior to revelation, or in other words, that we do not necessarily need the supplement of revelation to fill in the lacunae that result from our being mere creatures, or middling relativities of the Father.

On the other hand, revelation is sufficient to put us in contact with these necessary metacosmic truths, which is why, for example, a simple person of faith can be so much wiser than a brilliant scientist when it pertains to essential human truths beyond the scope of science -- and why we would prefer to be governed by the first 500 people in the Boston phonebook than the Harvard faculty.

Well, maybe not Boston...

I would also add that the metacosmic truths we are about to discuss are highly abstract, and that in the absence of revelation they are like forms with no content or a soul with no body. Also, revelation adds many details that cannot be captured in the abstract, nor can one have an intimate personal relationship with an abstraction.

Here is an example of a first principle that seems to me unassailable, that "God is ineffable," such that "nothing can describe Him or enclose Him in words." What mischief results from believing otherwise!

For it is not as if we are faced with a binary choice between a conceptual absolute posited by the mind and a paltry relativism that implicitly elevates man to God. Rather, we simultaneously posit the existence of the Absolute and our inability to contain it/him; or, if you can contain it, it is not God. (We could say that an "it" can be contained by the mind, whereas a person can never be.)

Before starting this post, the thought popped into my head: any valid knowledge of God is obviously already God and must come from God. However, the converse is not true: God is not that knowledge.

A map is not the territory, but nor is it other than the territory, in the sense that it provides points of reference on a human scale. Just so, metaphysics and revelation provide us with humanly realizable points of reference that permit us, say, to orient ourselves to eternity via time, or heaven via earth, or the celestial via the terrestrial, etc.

Indeed you could say that earth is heaven, but that of course heaven is not earth. Thus, Jesus can rightly affirm in the Gospel of Thomas that the kingdom "is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it" (#113). Some men, anyway. But we couldn't even know of paradise if we didn't sometimes catch glimpses of it herebelow.

For Schuon, "metaphysical doctrine is nothing other than the science of Reality and illusion." The postmodern secular leftist type will usually say that we can only know appearances and not reality, but we respond that we can know appearances precisely because they are appearances of a reality anterior to them; optical illusions only exist because of optical realities.

Now, the same doctrine "might be articulated in a number of ways, from a variety of viewpoints," for the same reason a truth can be expressed in different languages. You could say that a valid religion is a richly symbolic "metaphysical vocabulary" -- or that, conversely, a religion that fails to embody and communicate these truths is no religion at all.

I suppose where I differ from Schuon is that his preferred vocabulary is ultimately Advaita Vedanta, whereas I believe this fails to adequately convey certain fine points that are better expressed in the language of Christianity (although Ramanuja's interpretation of Vedanta gets the job done where Shankara fails, and is easily assimilated to Christianity).

It's getting late, isn't it? To be continued...

"Oy, what is it with these anonymous bonehead trolls?"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Thuggery, Buggery, and Skulduggery of the Left, or Welcome to Our New Underlords

Perhaps the last paragraph of yesterday's post was obscure. In plain English, Obama ultimately wants to reconstitute the American electorate into a permanent LoFo Democrat majority. He knows that if we fail to implement effective border security now, we will never do so. Thus, for the left this is not a human catastrophe but an anti-human opportunity.

Ironically, given their predictable voting patterns, the malleable LoFos invading Texas, California, Arizona and elsewhere will transform America into exactly the type of nation from which they are fleeing: an authoritarian state in bed with its capitalist cronies and clients. Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing, nor will they ever know so long as the left controls public education. For the left this is a perfect shitstorm of power and ignorance, up there with the New Deal and Great Society: the New Society.

In a way, I understand. I would not be overly distressed if we were flooded with illegal Republicans who share our values, from Cuba, eastern Europe, Israel, wherever. I would of course prefer to win on the field of intellectual battle, but that is a battle in which the left will wisely never engage -- and certainly not honestly.

Therefore, their only options for maintaining political viability are extra-democratic ones such as judicial tyranny, administrative law (a permanent administrative state beyond the reach of any democratic check), control of the media and other institutions, racial demagoguery, identity politics, IRS thuggery, public employee unions, and now demographic swamping. Once the latter bears its inevitable fruit, they can then claim to have been the democrats all along. And since media and academic losers write the first and last rough drafts of revisionist history, he's got that angle covered as well.

Yes, it is demonic. Why? Because while the luciferic is simply devoid of or indifferent to the Light, the demonic actively works in opposition to it. America is still the political light of the world -- in his disordered soul, even the liberal must dimly recognize this, for why would all these wretches want to come here? -- but they won't rest until the light is extinguished and we are finally not a smidgen less exceptional than Greece or Mexico or Detroit.

Now, back to our Top Ten Cosmic Principles. As mentioned, I recently read Russell Kirk's memoirs, which prompted me to reopen his classic The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. In the latter he talks about the often unstated principles that animate conservatives of various stripes.

However he is very cautious about making them too concrete, because this could conceivably become reified into an ideology, when conservatism is, as he says, the rejection of ideology. In other words, it is rooted in experience, in tradition, in the "permanent things," not in the high abstractions that animate -- or better, nihilize -- the leftist mind.

With that in mind, he mentions six broad properties which strike me as reasonable. Since we don't have all day, I will paraphrase them; they include belief in a transcendent order; appreciation of the ineluctable mystery of human existence, such that no manmade system can exhaust it; recognition of order rooted in vertical hierarchy; freedom (which is necessarily related to property, thus creating an inviolate realm of sovereignty beyond the reach of the state); faith in custom, convention, and the accumulated wisdom of mankind; and an appreciation of change as the means of preservation, as opposed to radical change, which damages or destroys what needs to be preserved.

To boil it down further, we could say Transcendence, Mystery, Hierarchy, Liberty, Tradition, and Healthy Change (i.e., that change needed in order to secure and extend the permanent things, e.g., life, liberty, justice, etc.).

Yes, you could say this is pretty low hanging fruit. Who could possibly take issue with such a salubrious and soul-fortifying list?

The left, that's who!

Example?

Well, as the old cliche goes, fascism is violent opposition to transcendence. Thus the left isn't necessarily fascistic, since (at least in America) they mostly practice nonviolent opposition to transcendence.

Then again, so long as they appropriate the levers of state power to deny transcendence, that is implicitly violent, isn't it? For example, if the state wants to force Catholic employers at gunpoint to pay for abortions, what do you call that? I'm not even talking about the violence perpetrated on the baby, but the violence directed at the conscience, which is our most obvious and intimate evidence of transcendence.

The Obama administration is at the center of the two (at least) most consequential scandals in our nation's history, the fraudulent passage of Obamacare (probably the greatest consumer fraud in human history), and the enlistment of the IRS to intimidate and silence private citizens in order to steal an election. In the first, they took aim at our bodies; in the second, at our property. What's left? Yes, the soul, but the soul needs both a body and freedom in order to actualize.

Second, the left is transparently at war with the mystery of life. This comes out in any number of ways. What is scientism, for example, but the radical demystification of life? What is a secular "sex education" but the rebarbarization of man?

In other words, what they call "human sexuality" is quite literally subhuman sexuality; not liberation but servility. What is metaphysical Darwinism but the animalization of man? It cures us of the mystery of the human soul, just as feminism cures women of their divine femininity, and multiculturalism rids us of the delusion that truth exists. (Or as the postmodern leftist says: "There is no truth, and we possess it. Or else.)

The third is obvious: class warfare, or a belief that justice is a horizontal concept rather than vertical. In reality, a classless society would be the last word in injustice, since it would force uniformity upon everyone, such that life would no longer be worth living (or a truly human life would be unattainable).

In contrast, conservatives cherish the individual, and the individual cannot be shoved into some preordained, abstract category. The left always wants to stick us into categories of race, gender, ethnicity, "sexual orientation," etc., when the individual always transcends these.

The fourth is also easy, liberty and its relationship to property, for where would the left be without envy? Someone else's property is none of our business, and certainly not the business of the state (except to protect it from the acquisitive envy of the left).

Fifth is again easy, for job one of the left is to insist that this is Eden, that we are Adam and Eve (or Steve), and that this time we're gonna get it right by creating a state so powerful and a system so perfect that no one will need to be good (paraphrasing Eliot). Finally, we are the ones we've been waiting for to toss out the priceless wisdom of the species (especially that of dead white males) and start history anew.

In contrast to fundamental transformation... well, in point of fact, conservatives do very much believe in fundamental transformation, only on a personal level, never a collective one. We know it is fanciful to believe that a population of disordered souls can maintain an ordered polis. Rather, personal disorder will only evoke a police state to enforce a top-down order.

Say, how does all this fundamental transformation feel? I don't know abut you, but my butt hurts.

What is it with the left? It's always thuggery, buggery, and skulduggery, 24/7.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Planet of the Apes, or Welcome to Liberal Paradise!

Reader James asks: "How does Cosmic Orthodoxy relate to common sense? Or to self-evident truths? If you were to start 'The Self-Evident Truth Society: Dedicated to Halting the Abandonment of Common Sense,' what would be your top ten cosmic orthodox principles, or self-evident truths?"

Well, that is precisely what this desultory series of posts has been driving at, going back at least a month. It might have started with Studying God in the University of the Cosmos, but it feels like longer. A number of recent books have synchronistically converged on the issue (e.g., The Common Mind), or maybe I just read them in light of this question of Cosmic Principles.

But if you ask me directly, it's difficult to respond. It's like trying to see a distant star at night: look directly and it disappears. But look away and relax, and it pops into your peripheral vision. Oddly, it's brighter when implicit and unconscious than when explicit and conscious.

Truth is more than a little like this, isn't it? Try to stare it down directly and we are simply not adequate to it. But relax and allow it to seep in, and there it is. Transposing from the empirical to the spiritual eye, you could call this receptive and enslackened mode "faith."

This would also go to how truth may be more adequately embodied in myth, parable, poetry, and other symbolic forms that preverberate in the soul. Some truths "become less evident by endeavors to explain them" (Johnson, in Moore).

My son, for example, is at an age in between the ability to understand revelation concretely and to do so more abstractly -- or between Piaget's concrete and formal operations thinking. Thus, I don't quite know how to respond when he asks a specific question about, say, creation, or Adam & Eve, or the Flood. I try to explain to him that revelation is about man in general and about him in particular, and in this sense is truer than true (i.e., truer than the mere empirical or rationalistic truth which are its prolongations on lower planes).

The typical atheist becomes stuck in concrete operations thought when he must deal with anything above the plane of matter; in other words, there is no fundamentalist more fundamental nor literalist more literal than the bonehead atheist. Somewhere along the lyin' they convinced themselves that they could profitably stare down truth without the vital supplementary (one might say "female") modes of faith, intellection, intuition, higher imagination, etc. This strategy is always tied up with the pride which would be mitigated if they had only understood such cautionary tales as contained in Genesis, e.g., the fall of man, Cain & Abel, the tower of Babel, etc.

In The Common Mind we read of "the attempt to integrate the intellect with the whole personality, and in so doing oppose intellectualism." That would be an example of a Cosmic Principle, but difficult to express in the form of a Top Ten list, for it implies, and is implied by, so many other truths.

Such as?

Such as the principle that man is in the image and likeness of the Creator; that man spans the vertical spectrum from the lowest to the highest planes, for better or worse; that knowledge is em-bodied and in-carnated; or even prior to this, that man is adequate to reality, not with his fragmented and desiccated ego-mind, but with his unified soul-intellect.

Conversely, intellectualism is the way of the tenured, of the infertile egghead who imagines (in the lower sense) that truth can be eagerly grabbed at instead of invited in. Only with higher intellect properly so-called (the nous) do we preserve the essential "otherness" of primordial truth, which is always relational and therefore personal.

Or in other words, if we can grasp it with our shriveled tenureMind, it cannot possibly be true. This is something, by the way, that Darwin -- who was far more intellectually honest than his latter day wackolytes -- understood. One thing that rightly puzzled him was why we have any right to trust the cognitions of a modified ape. For if an ape is capable of knowing truth, this is no mere ape but an entirely novel cosmic category irreducible to random genetic error.

Which is again why even a literalist reading of Genesis is more true than a strict Darwinian approach, because the former is true where it counts, i.e., on the human plane. Indeed, it preserves our humanness where Darwinism necessarily unexplains and eliminates it.

Reason only permits us to proceed from the known to the unknown. Thus rationalism begins with what it needs to explain, that is, the prior human ability to know. Therefore, it seems to me that one of our Top Ten principles must surely be that reality is intelligible and that man may know it. But these are really two sides of the same principle, which is Creation, or Rational Creator.

Therefore, in my view, to even talk about "truth" is to implicitly acknowledge the Creator. The problem with the left -- and with its retarded sister scientism -- is that it neither acknowledges its first principles nor follows them all the way to their inevitable conclusions, which is why they are so free to engage in such sloppy thinking. There is no liberal to whom one cannot say: tighten up that loose shit!

Or, to the extent that their excrement is tight, it is because it is circling around a tightly closed tautology of rationalism and intellectualism: garbage in, tenure out.

In The Common Mind, reason is opposed to common sense, the latter of which "perceives truth, or commands belief, not by progressive argumentation, but by an instantaneous, instinctive, and irresistible impulse; derived neither from education nor from habit, but from nature..."

In other words, transnatural intellection is to the human being what natural instinct is to the animal. Among other things, it is a homing instinct that orients us to the truth -- or source of truth -- that precedes us and of which we are ultimately constituted.

Moore continues: "That which is self-evident can neither be proved nor disproved by reason or logic" -- for example, our self-evidently free will. To deny free will is only to affirm it, since a truth not freely arrived at is no truth at all.

There may be an even more general principle behind the ideas discussed in this post. Perhaps it is this: that reality both Is and is anterior to our knowing it. But in knowing this we know that knowledge is always bound up with this prior reality in which we participate through assimilation.

Correct thinking requires a kind of negation. To paraphrase Russell Kirk, conservatism is the negation of ideology. Leftism is a parody of this, in that it is the negation of principle (or the blind acceptance of unarticulated principles). There is a big difference between a political animal and an animal with politics.

In response to James's question, I think in hindsight we will be able to compile a suitable list, as we leisurely dilate on it via our peripheral but wide open cʘʘnvision.

Oh, one other important implication of the above: "Thus, the 'rights' of slave owners are as meaningless as is the 'right' to abortion," since "Laws cannot be legitimate when they violate the foundation of law itself." One might say the same of Obama's attempt to demographically destroy the incarnational truth of America via open borders.