Friday, May 27, 2016

Leaps of Faith Above and Below

I'm reading a book called The Great Divide: Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never, Ever Agree, by William Gairdner. I bought it because I really enjoyed his previous Book of Absolutes: A Critique of Relativism and a Defense of Universals.

In fact, I had pulled the latter down from the shelf because I thought it might have something useful to say about King Barry's embarrassing sexual neurosis, which he wishes to force upon the rest of us via federal power. How weird is that?! Talk about violating the separation between crotch and state.

Obviously, one thing -- perhaps the one thing -- that divides liberals and conservatives is the existence and status of absolutes: we believe they exist and place constraints around our existence, while liberals insist -- absolutely! -- they don't.

In a logical world this would end the debate, with liberals hanging their heads in shame over their rudimentary but catastrophic error in reasoning. Fat chance! When your logic is this defective, it cannot be remedied by mere logic.

It's like mental AIDS: when your immune system is that compromised, you cannot expect it to save you from the consequences of a compromised immune system.

Analogously, reason functions very much like a cognitive immune system. It cannot actually bring us to truth as such -- for that always requires a leap -- but it can certainly kill a lot of bad and dysfunctional ideas along the way.

To be only capable of reason would be analogous to suffering from an autoimmune disease whereby the immune system ends up attacking healthy tissue along with the unhealthy. Mere rationalism is always circular and therefore tautologous.

What I find is that liberals are oblivious to this constraint, thinking that their faux absolutes are supported by logic, when they actually result from a leap of faith. Thus, they are the mirror image of religious folk, except their leap is unconscious and not reflected upon. (One definition of theology is conscious reflection upon revealed absolutes.)

Adam's fall repeats itself in the fallen personality. What this essentially means is that man is situated along a vertical axis, such that the fall is not just in the past but very much in our future. But so too is the possibility of ascent. Both the ascent and descent will require leaps of faith.

That is, man cannot go beyond the limits of agnostic rationalism; he is as it were enclosed in a circle, and cannot know what lies beyond this absurcularity without that leap of faith. This goes to Augustine's gag about believing so as to know (credo ut intelligam). Guffaw ha!

You can (implicitly) know a lot without (explicit) understanding, but you can't understand without implicit knowledge.

Which is precisely what the world's greatest logician, Gödel, proved with his ironyclad theorems: not that we can't know the absolutes that lie outside the circle of logic, but that we routinely know them in a translogical way. Frankly, we can't even think without the support of these implicit absolutes. They support everything we do, brainwise.

Thank God for atheists, because these negative agents of humanity perform a vital catabolic function of tearing down bad ideas -- like the logical immune system alluded to above. Being that they are catabolic, they release energy for the purposes of metabolism (i.e., the breaking-down is for the purpose of building-up).

But unalloyed catabolism equates to diabolism, because again, it reduces to an attack on healthy and unhealthy tissue alike. This is how garden-variety village atheism transitions to outright cosmic assoulery.

There are many "sexual absolutes" that are hardwired into man. These are things we don't have to think about or defend -- or at least didn't have to think about and defend until the left began attacking and undermining them.

Many of these absolutes were never thought about consciously, but rather, were settled by thousands of years of natural (and later, cultural) selection. So much for the left believing in Darwinism! For what is Bathroom Barry's peculiar attitude toward sexuality but a war on biology (and above)?

To be continued...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Love and Progress

You can't help noticing that music is very important to people and that most songs are about Luuuvvvv. But what is love about?

"Fundamentally," writes Schuon, "every love is a search for the Essence or the lost Paradise." Thus, it's sort of a category error to believe that this or that man or woman will somehow restore paradise for you. I mean, they might for a week, or a month, or six months, but beyond that, you're pushing your luck. Nostalgia can only sustain you for so long.

So, idealized, romantic love "bears witness to to this nostalgia for a far-off Paradise." Not that there's anything wrong with it, but we need to be prepared for what comes next, which is a kind of psychic inversion, through which... well, Schuon expresses it better than I can:

"To be at peace with God is to seek and find our happiness in Him; the creature that he has joined to us [in marriage] may and must help us to reach this with greater facility or with less difficulty," which again goes to precisely why and how marriage is a sacrament, i.e., a special channel of grace. It is an "outwardness with a view to inwardness," or a "form with a view to essence." It's why even atheists get married, although they have forgotten why. Or in other words, they do so for the unconscious nostalgia, not for the supraconscious hope.

The only other person I know of who speaks of marriage in this curious manner is the "esoteric orthodox" writer Boris Mouravieff. I haven't looked at it in a long time, but I remember it being pretty fruity. Let's see if we can find any useful nuggets!

Mouravieff cites a gag from some esoteric tome called The Golden Book that goes like this: To live means to love; / He who loves not, hardly lives. / He leads a mournful existence / Whose only meaning lies in the hope of loving.

And the same sentiment "had already been pronounced by St Paul nearly two thousand years ago. He said: the aim of life is to attain Love" (e.g. I Corinthians 14:1). "Better still," writes Mouravieff, "Love is the Aim of life on the whole cosmic scale, right down to the most primitive organisms."

"Love, like the personality, is also a Divine talent which is loaned to man..." And "anyone who does not develop his talent loses it." Regarding this divine loan, "The result is that one cannot command love any more than one can forbid love."

But "Even if the couple is composed of truly polar beings, if the lovers do not adhere to the supreme conditions demanded by Love, once their credit is exhausted, Love disappears" and "one finds oneself left with the broken pieces."

To me, this means that the polar relation must be infused with an energy from outside and above, or end up exhausting itself through sheer entropy. For which reason a long and happy marriage is a true miracle -- i.e., it is renewed and revivified by the miracle of grace. Or in the cryptic words of Petey, No body crosses the phoenix line lest it be repossessed and amortized.

Here is another crack from The Golden Book referred to above: Every man is born bearing within him the image of his polar being. / As he grows, this image grows within him... / Man is not conscious of it. Yet it is his Alter Ego... / In quest of her he must eternally go... / For in their union, the limit between the I and the Thou is obliterated... / And silence will then be the depository of the fullness of their Love.

A few more observations, these from volume 3: "The main danger for women, and above all young girls, lies in the frequently observed attitude of copying men, for then woman loses all the specific assets that give her her charm, so that she betrays her mission without any reason or benefit."

Re the Gender Wars, "let us try to imagine a child who... is born with a left arm ending in a right hand.... Can we think, even for a moment, that this malformation will not have an effect on the whole life of this unfortunate child? It is the same for young girls who cultivate a masculine spirit in a feminine body: by deforming themselves psychically, they also lose their charm [and how!], so that they fall into a third, psycho-pathological sex: the neuter sex."

And if this dreadful trend "is not stopped in time, this tendency to copy the other sex -- which can be found in men as well as women -- excludes both from any possibility of esoteric evolution."

What I would say is that sexual polarity is the (or a) basis of the (re)generative ingression of vertical energies through which we ultimately transcend this polarity. Or in other words, progressivism inevitably puts the kibosh on cosmo-pneumatic vertical progress.

On all planes, the objective sign of Love's participation is the creative spirit which animates the subjects for whom it has become an aim. Conversely, if we think we are in Love but do not notice an increase in creativity on any plane, either in ourselves or our partner, we can be sure that the relationship is based on anything but Love. --Mouravieff

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ascending and Descending Along the Male-Female Axis

Continuing with our theme, Schuon has an essay called The Problem of Sexuality, which I will simultaneously read and comment upon in order to ensure maximum incoherence and superficiality. He begins with the observation that "It would be impossible for the spiritual life in itself to exclude a domain as fundamental, humanly speaking, as sexuality; sex is an aspect of man."

Every culture regards sexuality as important, which is why they all regulate it in some form or fashion. Indeed, we can see what the left's sexual deregulation over the past 50 years has wrought: abortion, divorce, perversion, sexual conflict and confusion, and unhappy women in particular (probably because the deregulation is more congenial to the male's primitive nature than to the female's; indeed, most of the regulations were there to protect women and children from the predation and selfishness of men).

People like to blame Augustine for the West's ambivalent attitude toward sexuality, but it seems to me that Augustine simply latched on to and accentuated an ambivalence that is already there. But as Schuon says, "nothing that is human is bestial by its nature," although "it is necessary that our attitudes should be integrally human, in accordance with the norm imposed upon us by our deiformity." So, man can surely become bestial, but the bestiality is accidental and not essential.

Which raises an interesting question: is our fall accidental or essential? In other words, does it deform only the surface, or reach all the way to the core? For Schuon it is ultimately the former, even if all men are nevertheless fallen: "the human body, male or female, is a theophany, and remains so in spite of the fall." And "by loving one another, the spouses legitimately love a divine manifestation, each one according to a different aspect and a different respect."

In fact, the first thing that occurred to me upon familiarizing myself with Pope John Paul II's theology of the body, is that he was essentially explicating a kind of Christian tantric yoga, the point of which is to perceive the other as a divine manifestation. At the very least, marriage, being a sacrament, is a formal relationship that invites the ingression of vertical energies -- all the way into the body and down to its most intimate physical expression. In this regard, it is completely orthodox to view divine and sexual love as having the identical source and telos: "Fundamentally, every love is a search for the Essence or the lost Paradise."

It seems that Eve is the archtypal expression of an ambivalent attitude toward female sexuality, and why not? Eve is a message, as it were, to both men and women, albeit in different ways. For man is weak when it comes to being seduced, and woman is weak (although it masquerades as power) when it comes to seducing.

Dennis Prager often points out that from an early age, men are taught to deal with their innate weaknesses and faults, which revolve around violence and sexual predation. But it is politically incorrect to discuss the intrinsic weaknesses of women. If we could talk about them, we would certainly highlight how the gender gap in voting inevitably results in the election of feminized liberals and the growth of the swaddling state -- of the proliferation of wimps and bullies, often in the same person. Thus, so many of our societal problems are a direct consequence of unchecked and untutored female instinct.

It is as if man and woman must compensate for the reciprocal weaknesses of the other. Or, to put it conversely, there is a kind of "reciprocal superiority" on the spiritual plane, each assuming a "divine function" for the other.

Man stabilizes woman, woman vivifies man; furthermore, and quite obviously, man contains woman within himself, and vice versa.... Man, in his lunar and receptive aspect, 'withers away' without the woman-sun what infuses into the virile genius what it needs in order to blossom; inversely, man-sun confers on woman the light that permits her to realize her identity by prolonging the function of the sun. --Schuon

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

God and Gender

Let's continue with last Friday's post on the cosmic implications of human sexuality. I suppose we have to start with the cosmic implications of humanness as such, and then go from there. Again, human beings are in the image of the Creator, such that there are traces of our origin even in our physical form.

How so? Let's answer that in the form of an aphorism or two:

The laws of biology alone do not have fingers delicate enough to fashion the beauty of a face (Dávila).

For that matter, the feminine body is far too perfect and spiritually too eloquent to be nothing more than a transitory accident (Schuon). Can I get a witness?

Thus, Christianity does not deny the splendor of the world, but rather invites us to search for its origin, to climb towards its pure snow (Dávila).

The journey is more aesthetic than epistemological; or, to be perfectly accurate, it is epistemology via aesthetics, or knowledge through beauty:

Approaching religion through art is not the caprice of an aesthete: aesthetic experience spontaneously tends to expand into a presentiment of religious experience (ibid.).

For which reason, When religion and aesthetics are divorced from each other, it is not known which is corrupted sooner (ibid.).

So, the human form is an aesthetic object, which in turn draws us toward its nonlocal spiritual source.

Recall Schuon's gag about the human station being both the summit of and exit from terrestrial conditions. The former goes to immanence, while the latter goes to transcendence; equally, the former goes to man's splendor, while the latter goes to his humility: man is a kind of everything/nothing, depending upon how we look, i.e., with two eyes or three.

Now, God is either beyond gender or the synthesis of both. Thus there is an aspect of man that is beyond gender, but in this regard, the left commits what Wilber calls a pre/trans fallacy, in that God is beyond gender, not before it. Insofar as man is concerned, he may transcend gender, but only after he is one. This is why the left is committing a systemic cruelty to children in trying to deny them, or confuse them about, this primordial identity.

As Schuon says, "the liberating Way may be either 'virile' or 'feminine,' although it is not possible to have a strict line of demarcation between the two modes" -- partly because each is always in a dynamic rapport with its projected complement. In Jungian terms, for the male, the animus relates to the projected anima, while for the female it is the other way around. We are all searching for the archetypal other who completes us on this plane.

Schuon points out that our deiformity must be a feminine attribute, in that we are the passive partner vis-a-vis God, who is active. Here, Mary represents the archetype of archetypes, i.e., of human receptivity to the Divine energy.

For which reason female has an ambiguous relationship to male. I don't want to trigger anyone, but Schuon suggests that "there are two ways of situating the sexes, either in a horizontal or in a vertical sense." According to the horizontal, "man is on the right and woman on the left," whereas considered vertically, "man is above and woman below" (as reflected in the God-Mary relation).

Anyone who uses this as a pretext for domination or oppression has thoroughly misunderstood the cosmic lesson. I would suggest that, to the extent that women are oppressed -- most conspicuously, in the Islamic world -- it is because of a pathological perversion of the vertical relationship, or an infection of that relationship by horizontal mind parasites.

Which I think Genesis 3 goes to. Consider the verticality of its metaphysic: Adam comes from God, and then Eve from Adam. The relationship is inverted when Eve listens to the serpent (a quintessential archetype of horizontality), who then pulls Adam away from God. This is not to blame woman per se, because Adam is still ultimately responsible for his ontological reverse metanoia, such that he turns from the above to the below. Eve only tempts, she does not compel.

And again, Mary represents the reversal of this reversal. Thus, the Eve/Mary axis is the same as the Nothing/Everything axis alluded to above. You might say that the serpent promises man everything and delivers nothing.

Like the left.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cosmic Sex Education

The liberal fraud of sex education involves the bait and switch of telling children they are nothing more than biological beings -- thus excising sexuality from transcendence -- and then insisting that sexual identity is anything we want it to be, thus isolating it from biology altogether (so much for the left being "scientific").

The upshot is a denial of both transcendence (spirit) and immanence (biology), while introducing a counterfeit version of each. Counterfeit immanence redounds to infrahuman animality, while counterfeit transcendence is an omnipotent attitude toward one's own sexual nature -- as if one chooses it rather than vice versa.

But as Pieper writes, "The more necessary something is, the more the order of reason must be preserved in it." Thus, because "sexual power is so noble and necessary a good, it needs the preserving and defending order of reason." The virtue of chastity simply "realizes the order of reason in the province of sexuality." One wants to say that this virtue is precisely what renders sexuality human sexuality.

As such, unchastity "is in its essence the transgression and violation of the rational order in the province of sexuality," such that "in intemperance man sinks to the level of a beast" (although a specifically human beastling, not an innocent animal).

There is so much deliberate sexual confusion propagated by the left -- it is one of their prime directives -- that a review of our Cosmic Sexuality is in order. Perhaps the best place to start is an essay by Schuon called The Message of the Human Body, the sexual polarity -- or complementarity -- of which is not accidental but essential.

For to say that we are in the image of the Creator is to affirm that man -- including the body -- "manifests something absolute and for that very reason something unlimited and perfect."

This is not to reduce spirit to matter or form to substance, but only to say that the former are prolonged all the way into the latter, such that the body will reveal traces of its source. We are not Manichaeans. We do not deny the body, but rather, situate it in its proper context.

Time out for some aphorisms courtesy Nicolás Gómez Dávila:

'Sexual liberation' allows modern man to pretend to be ignorant of the multiple taboos of another kind that govern him.

The sensual is the presence of a value in the sensible.

Monotonous, like obscenity.

Sex does not solve even sexual problems.

It is impossible to convince the fool that that there are pleasures superior to those we share with the rest of the animals

Eroticism, sensuality, and love, when they do not converge in the same person, are nothing more, in isolation, than a disease, a vice, and foolishness.

Back to Schuon. Even our vertical posture is "a direct reference to absoluteness," such that man is "not only the summit of earthly creatures, but also, for this very reason, the exit from their condition." Thus, our verticality is not capped at the top, but rather, more like an open-ended arrow pointing to a perpetual transcendence.

Herebelow the Supreme Principle bifurcates into Absolute and Infinite: "the masculine body accentuates the first aspect, and the feminine body the second."

Let's pause here for a moment and consider what Schuon has just said. Perhaps you've never heard this expressed before. For me, it is a quintessential example of vertical recollection -- of anamnesis -- because as soon as you hear it, you say to yoursoph, "of course! How stupid of me not to have realized that." But it's why we have beauty contests for women and strength contests for men.

The converse would be perverse, i.e., strength contests for women (women are of course free to play sports, but it is not essential that they do so) and beauty pageants for men. We all know this in our bones, such that one must undergo years of liberal indoctrination to subvert these deep cosmic values. It doesn't mean we reduce a man to his strength or a woman to her beauty; again, these are simply archetypal prolongations from the source.

"Now, each of the bodies, the masculine and the feminine, manifests modes of perfection which their respective gender evokes by definition; all cosmic qualities are divided in fact into two complementary groups: the rigorous and the gentle, the active and the passive, the contractive and the expansive."

Aaaaaand we're outta time.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Common Good and Other Illusions

Pieper has some good thoughts that go to our recent excursions into the parallels between man's original sin and his fatal conceit.

By way of background, note how the sufficient reason of our constitution is to safeguard our pursuit of happiness. This pursuit is an individual matter (or at least not governmental), and for good reason(s) -- one reason being that the government could not possibly define the common good except vis-a-vis its enumerated powers, e.g., law enforcement, justice (the legal kind), and military defense.

But to otherwise pretend to know what's good for us -- well, that is quintessentially Fatal Conceit territory. Besides, if you ask the state to define the common good, it will always and everywhere do so in a way that is good for the state.

It's just like the market. All of its millions of transactions occur because a person on one end wants the item or service more than the money it costs, while the person on the other end wants the money more than the item or service. In short, they have to agree, and this agreement yields a subjective sense of satisfaction.

Imagine some governmental entity presuming to understand those millions upon millions of experiences of satisfaction. Madness! If anyone is "satisfied" with ObamaCare, it is pure coincidence, because it specifically abolishes the nexus of satisfaction. You can be resigned to it, but not satisfied in the true sense.

It is as impossible to define the common good "as it is to define the 'essence' of the human person." In short, no one can do it but the person in question. Unless he is a child -- which is precisely why the left necessarily treats us as schoolchildren who are never permitted to graduate.

Here "we are able to identify once again an essential element of totalitarian regimes." That is, "the political powers claim the right to define in complete detail the specifics of the [common good]."

Remember the good old days when a liberal was just someone who wanted to reach into your shower and adjust the temperature? Now he's someone who wants to reach into your pants and adjust your biology.

"What is so ruinous here is the fact that the 'plan' becomes the exclusive standard that dictates not only the production of material goods but equally the pursuits of universities, the creations of artists, even the leisure activities of the individual -- so that anything not totally conforming to the standard is suppressed as... 'undesirable.'"

Amazingly, these liberal drones submit "voluntarily," or at least with no resistance, via the instinct to conform backed by the soft tyranny of political correctness.

It requires courage to stand up to the tyranny; in fact, "Courage is a testimony to the existence and power of evil in the world."

In short, "because justice and goodness do not automatically prevail on their own," courage is required to bring them about. "It is a liberal illusion to assume that you can consistently act justly without ever incurring risks" -- which reminds us of the old gag about liberals always dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good -- which is to say, courageous.

"To be courageous means: to oppose injustice in the face of overwhelming external power and to accept willingly any resulting disadvantage, be it only public ridicule or social isolation."

What is a bad man but a good man's teacher? And what is political correctness but the coward's inadvertant lesson in courage?

If a pornographic novel is advertised as 'risqué,' then in truth nothing at all is being risked. It would be much more risqué to declare publicly that chastity is part of what makes a person whole; this would be much more dangerous. --Josef Pieper

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Garbage In, Liberalism Out

In my lifetime the left has been wrong on every major issue. That’s quite a record, and it leads one to wonder about the source of their preternatural consistency. What is it in them that causes such awful decision-making?

Whatever else it is, it involves an absence of the virtue of prudence. Prudence, writes, Pieper, is "highest in rank among the four cardinal virtues."

Recall the other three, justice, courage, and temperance. Why would they be subordinate to prudence? Because, for example, courage without prudence is just rashness or recklessness. Justice without it is -- well, anything from tyranny to social justice, which amount to the same thing in the end. And temperance without prudence reduces to a lukewarm relativism.

So prudence "is the mother of the other three virtues" and "precondition for all that is ethically good." But why, exactly?

Because prudence first and foremost implies contact with reality. Obviously, if we don't know what reality is, then we cannot make prudent decisions about it.

For example, if I fool myself into believing that socialism is actually possible, untold destruction follows from that single error.

As Hayek and von Mises teach us, the evils of socialism don't occur because it is possible but just poorly executed, but because it is strictly impossible. It pretends to know what no human being can possibly know, so its judgments are poisoned at the source.

Clearly, "to do what in reality is right and good presupposes some knowledge about reality; if you do not know how it is with things and how they stand, you are [practically, concretely] unable to choose what is ethically good." Not only do good intentions mean nothing in this context, but an intention detached from reality can't actually be good.

The sharp ideological differences in the country are a direct consequence of differing ideas about reality. Or, one side believes reality exists, while the other maintains it is both relative and a consequence of perception; which is to say they don't believe in reality at all. So really, the debate reduces to people who believe reality exists vs. people who don't.

Thus, from our side of the fence, this insane debate about school bathrooms is... I was going to say "surreal," but it's really subreal. There is no reality to it, and yet, we are forced to pretend there is. As such, to even concede that the other side has a point is to have validated a reality that does not and cannot exist (like "homosexual marriage").

Hey, I'm a psychologist. So back off, man. I try to heal delusions, not patronize or aggravate them. Otherwise the patient will end up healing me of my contact with reality.

"The precondition for every ethical decision is the perception and examination of reality." And "prudence is the art of making the right decision based on the corresponding reality..." So there are really always two steps: 1) contact with and receptiveness to reality, and 2) deciding rightly.

But reality is messy. Just because we have contact with it, it doesn't mean the correct decision will be obvious. We are not logic machines.

Rather, organisms that metabolize living truth: prudence is "the power of our minds which transforms knowledge of reality into realization of the good."