Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Existential and Essential Threats

Dennis Prager often talks about how concern for the soul has morphed into an obsession with the body, i.e., with health, fitness, diet, etc. If the soul is the form of the body, then in these soulless times people are left with only the husk, unconcerned with -- if they are aware of it at all -- the fate of the kernel.

There must be considerable overlap between these soulless utensils and the radical environmentalists who confuse heaven and earth, thereby displacing notions of sin, purity, armageddon, and apocalypse to hysterical fears about the weather.

Yesterday while listening to the radio in the car, someone said something about "existential threat," and the notion popped into my head of essential threats, i.e., threats to our essence as opposed to our existence. For we can survive an existential threat but lose our essence -- which is the collective equivalent of "gaining the world but losing one's soul."

For example, we purportedly "won" the Cold War in 1991. That had been seen as an existential threat, but it was also an essential threat, being that communism and Americanism are at philosophical antipodes. Prager refers to the "American trinity" found on any coin, consisting of of Liberty, E Pluribus Unum, and In God We Trust, each a reflection of the others.

Conversely, the unholy trinity of the left would consist of illiberal and unjust Equality, divisive Multiculturalism, and a satanically inspired In Man We Trust.

Coincidentally, I'm reading Steven Hayward's new book (his two volume biography of Reagan here and here is indispensable). Apropos of what was said above in paragraph two, he speaks of his bewonderment at "how so many people who are concerned about understanding ecosystems and preserving the right order of wild nature could seem so indifferent or hostile to the idea of human nature and of the protection of human ecosystems." As if those things will just take care of themselves!

One side effect of the devolution from soul to body is the reduction of quality to quantity, or vertical to horizontal. The left is the horizontal party par excellence, not only failing to nurture the soul, but harboring an overt and unrelenting hostility to its very existence.

Thus, Hayward speaks of "the central obsession with much of the intellectual class," which understands problems in the most "simplistic terms" and deploying quantity "as a cudgel against existing institutions and structure."

This is consistent with our last post, which touched on the implicit agenda of the left, which is destruction per se -- in this case, quantity used as a weapon against quality. For example, the left uses any benign instance of quantitative disparity as proof of malevolent discrimination -- unless, of course, the numbers are in their favor, as in academia, the NBA, journalism, or the permanent shadow government.

Similarly, they use raw income statistics to promulgate the fiction that women are underpaid, or crime statistics to advance the lie that blacks are discriminated against in the criminal and judicial systems.

Anyway, because we have tended to focus on existential threats to the exclusion of essential ones, we have failed to take cognizance of the threat to our essence posed by the left. I've only just begun Patriotism is Not Enough, but Harry Jaffa certainly knew that "the most fundamental political question is the nature of the human soul."

For the same reason, he recognized in 1991 how our existential victory over communism could conceal the left's essential victory over us:

The defeat of Communism in the USSR and its satellite empires by no means assures its defeat in the world. Indeed, the release of the West from its conflict with the East emancipates utopian communism at home from the suspicion of its affinity with an external enemy. The struggle for the preservation of western civilization has entered a new -- and perhaps far more deadly and dangerous -- phase" (Jaffa, in Hayward).

Precisely. Looked at this way, the difference between Obama and Bush is just a family squabble between global elites, whereas Trump is the uninvited guest crashing the party.

For example, we've never had an administration that spoke truth to the satanic Powers and Principalities of the UN as Nikki Haley did the other day. That is the kind of firm pimp hand needed to deal with these truly awful human beings.

The same pimp hand, by the way, that Trump is applying to the Democrat operatives in the MSM. He must slap at them and continue slapping until journalistic morale improves.

Hayward paraphrases a formulation by Jaffa to the effect that the fate of the world hinges on the United States, the fate of the U.S. on the conservative movement, and conservatism on the... Republican Party, of all things. I would only add that the fate of the Republican Party hinges on the preservation of the American trinity alluded to above. But in any event, "the Democratic Party is just as intellectually corrupt today as it was in the 1850s" and at every point in between.

For it has no "intellectual" basis at all, only an "anti-intellectual" one. Not anti-intellectual in the sense of uneducated, uncultured, and hostile toward ideas. Rather, they are the enemy of the intellect per se, such that they literally use man's intelligence in order to undermine the intellect -- or use thinking to render coherent thought impossible.

To take one obvious example, this is what Darwinists, sociobiologists, and evolutionary psychologists do when they use the miraculous gift of intelligence to affirm that intelligence is just a side effect of random mutation, ultimately rooted in mere matter -- a flagrantly self-refuting absurdity if ever there was one.

"Nothing," writes Schuon, "is more contradictory than to deny the spirit, or even simply the psychic element, in favor of matter alone, for it is the spirit that denies, whereas matter remains inert and unconscious. The fact that matter can be thought about proves precisely that materialism contradicts itself at its starting point."

In short -- and try to disprove this! -- "the subjective could not arise from the objective, and to believe otherwise is to understand nothing of subjectivity."

In the same book, Schuon mentions how "the internal contradiction of Marxism is that it wants to build a perfect humanity while destroying man" -- again, build existence while destroying the essence.

To exist means to survive. But is the survival worth it if it is only in the material sense? "One readily speaks of the duty of being useful to society, but one fails to ask whether this society is useful, that is to say, whether it realizes man's, and thus a human community's, reason for being."

To ask this question is to indict multiculturalism, collectivism, feminism, and the rest of the left's anti-intellectual arsenal. For "it is the individual, in his solitary station before the Absolute and thus by the exercise of his highest function, who is the aim and reason for being of the collectivity" (ibid.).

If the left prevails in its anti-human mission, it will be a quintessential case of "the operation was a success but the patient died."

Monday, February 20, 2017

"God is Dead and I Hate Him!"

We're still on the topic of the mass hysteria of the left, which cannot be explained with recourse to the usual psychological categories -- which means the mass can't just be "hysterical" but must be drawing upon a deeper source.

While casting about for inspiration this morning, I've been thumbing through an oldie but goodie, Father Rose's Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age. He would certainly agree that the left is diabolically inspired. Which is the point of the book.

He notes that the Revolution -- and the desire for Revolution is what distinguishes the left from classical liberalism -- "has a theological and spiritual foundation, even if its 'theology' is an inverted one and its 'spirituality' Satanic." The revolutionary impulse is destructive and nihilist at its core, although always disguised as a desire for "change."

Destruction, of course, must precede the change, but it turns out that destruction is the change. As Stalin, used to say, "you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs." But as the rest of the Soviet Union asked, "where's the omelet?"

And it goes without saying that if you like your eggs you can keep your eggs.

Now, "construction" is not possible in the absence of truth. This is as true on the concrete/material plane as it is on the abstract/metaphysical. Just as you cannot build, say, a functioning airplane without knowing about the laws of nature, you cannot have a functioning civilization without knowing about the laws of man. The left starts by denying the latter, but they also have no compunction about meddling with the former (e.g. "climate change," gender nonsense, IQ denialism, etc.).

Rose alludes to the nihilist "revelation" that "there is no truth," which is functionally equivalent to the death of God. Truly, if one is intellectually honest -- and cognitively adequate -- one understands that the choice is between God and Nihilism. There can be no third, except in an imaginary or magical sense.

The other day I read a piece about the Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci. I don't have the link to the piece, but it mentioned a number of ideas derived from him which the contemporary left has followed to the letter, including:

--There is no truth, only competing agendas.

--All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.

--There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.

--The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.

--Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.

--The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)

--For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.

--When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

Call them planks in Satan's platform. Or Bernie Sanders's Bucket List.

For those who relate to this diabolical madness, "an entirely new spiritual universe opens up, in which God exists no longer, in which, more significantly, men do not wish for God to exist" (Rose). In the words of the Aphorist, The atheist devotes himself less to proving that God does not exist than to forbidding Him to exist.

Nevertheless, The death of God is a report given by the devil, who knows very well that the report is false. And Atheism is the prelude to the divinization of Man (which is when hell breaks loose from its transpersonal restraints).

Formal atheism is merely "the philosophy of a fool," whereas "antitheism is a profounder malady" (Rose). While the former "errs through childishness" and "plain insensitivity to spiritual realities," the latter "owes its distortions to a deep-seated passion that, recognizing these realities, wills to destroy them."

"It may be doubted, indeed, if there exists such a thing as 'atheism,' for no one denies the true God except to devote himself to the service of a false god." You gotta serve somebody, as the poet said.

It is important to note that these hyperkinetic zombies are anything but spiritually "lukewarm." Rather, they are en fuego for the Evil One, a truth easily discerned in the demented faces of their howling mobs.

I suppose there exist some a-theists who are able to live in a fragile equilibrium between God above and infrahuman below. But most fall into an aggressive and destructive anti-theism that worships its own false absolute.

Fr. Rose quotes the anarchist Proudhon, who wrote that "The first duty of man, on becoming intelligent and free, is to continually hunt the idea of God out of his mind and conscience. For God, if he exists, is essentially hostile to our nature.... Every step we take in advance is a victory in which we crush Divinity." It's called progress.

The Serpent could scarcely have said it better. Bakunin channelled the same Serpent, expressing the view that if God actually existed, "it would be necessary to abolish him."

Man cannot be happy unless his existence comports with the nature of things. But the counter-faith of the left does precisely the opposite; not only does it fail to comport with the nature of things, it is at war with those "naturally supernatural" things.

Thus, the left's spiritual illness revolves around "envy, jealousy, pride, impatience, rebelliousness, blasphemy -- one of these qualities predominating in any given personality." (He left out raw stupidity and refusal to learn -- or more generally, refuse to submit to, or even recognize, one's superiors -- which is often mingled with the others.)

"This rebellion, this messianic fervor that animates the greatest revolutionaries, being an inverse faith," is driven to destroy its "rival faith." Thus, we commonly see how "doctrines and institutions" are "reinterpreted" by the left, "emptied of their Christian content and filled with a new, Nihilist content" (ibid.).

Which calls to mind Iowahawk's apt description of the strategy of the spiritually intoxicated left:

Friday, February 17, 2017

Combatting Demons and Journalists

While watching President Trump joyfully stick it to the media yesterday, it occurred to me that he is literally fighting with demons -- or at least jousting with nonlocal powers and principalities represented by the media. Recall what was said a couple of posts back about Satan; it works just as well if you replace "Satan" with "liberal media":

"Satan The liberal media is real. That's the first thing. The second thing should be obvious: Satan the liberal media is horrible. But the third thing may not be obvious: Satan the liberal media is also ridiculous. But it is the only ridiculous thing that must be taken seriously."

Well, not the only thing. But certainly in the top two or three, along with the state indoctrination establishment and popular culture. One scholar attempted to quantify the electoral boost given Democrats by the mass media, and I believe it was on the order of at least fifteen percentage points. So, with a fair and impartial media Trump wins roughly 65% to 35%; as does Romney and even the double-dealing McCain.

Who can watch the liberal media and not see that they are ridiculous? Remarkably, the vast majority of Americans see these clowns for what they are, being that trust in them is at historic lows. Which is why it is even more ridiculous for, say, Chuck Todd to suggest that "Press bashing may feel good to folks but when it's done by people in power, it's corrosive. Take off your partisan hats for a second."

The absence of self-awareness is just astonishing, such that it transcends anything mere psychology can explain. The reality is that "Conservative bashing may feel good to your fellow activists but when it's done by powerful media corporations, it's corrosive. Take your partisan head out of your ass for a second."

But this is precisely what the liberal media cannot do. When absence of self-awareness is this deep, this pervasive, and this universal, it makes me suspect something else is going on. How can they all be so blind?

Denial is like a psychic force field around that which is denied. Attempts to look at it are "repelled," so to speak. If you prematurely encourage the patient to look at it, they often "fragment" and spew a lot of disconnected nonsense. It's as if the closer one gets to the denied material, the more it gives off an energy that disrupts psychic continuity and dis-organizes the narrative.

I'm not sure I'm explaining it that well, but imagine flying over enemy territory and being strafed by anti-aircraft fire. It's like that.

I'm trying to find a better explanation. Siegel writes that "integration is the fundamental mechanism of health and well-being," involving "the linkage of differentiated parts of a system" such that "subsets interact with one another."

That being the case, "When we examine various mental disorders, what is revealed is that virtually all of them can be described as clusters of chaotic and/or rigid symptoms that we would say are examples of impaired integration."

Now, someone who is a liberal activist but doesn't know it is rather severely dis-integrated. I'm trying to put myself in their shoes, but it is impossible, for it would be equivalent to me absolutely denying that I am a conservative who writes from that perspective. How crazy, or lacking in insight, or demon-possessed would I have to be to believe that?

Tomberg suggests that there is another kind of integration that occurs in demon formation, that is, an unholy alliance of will and imagination:

"A desire that is perverse or contrary to nature, followed by the corresponding imagination, together constitute the act of generation of a demon." Again, this is the demon that goes on to enslave the parents (Mr. Will and Ms. Imagination) who conceived it.

Tomberg goes on to say that Marxism is the the most consequential modern demon, but he was writing in the early 1960s. Today we would say it is the degenerate neo-Marxism of political correctness, multiculturalism, identity politics, et al.

In any event, "We the people of the twentieth century know that the 'great pests' of our time" are the manmade ideological demons "which have cost humanity more life and suffering than the great epidemics of the Middle Ages."

You could say that the demon is born of a kind of drunken sex between will and imagination: "[I]t is always excess owing to intoxication of the will and imagination which engenders demons."

For the left, it is "a matter of excess -- a going beyond the limits of competence and sober and honest knowledge," by "a fever of the will and imagination to change everything utterly at a single stroke," in turn giving rise "to the demon of class hatred, atheism, disdain for the past, and material interest being placed above all else..."

Certainly there is nothing wrong with wishing to help the poor! But you cannot do so by vilifying the one system that has lifted more people out of poverty than all others combined. That's just stupid demonic.

So, "once artificial demons are generated, how does one combat them, and how does one protect and rid oneself of them?"

Pretty much by what Trump did yesterday, that is, naming and ridiculing them: "Light drives out darkness. This simple truth is the practical key to the problem of how to combat demons. A demon perceived, i.e. on whom the light of consciousness is thrown, is already a demon rendered impotent." And "a demon rendered impotent is a deflated balloon."

Which reminds me of the old joke about the man who, after being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, decided to wear a tuxedo. Why? Because "if I'm gonna be impo'tant, I wants to look impo'tant." Few developments would be healthier for our nation than for the ridiculously self-important media to be rendered impotent.

The journalist arrogates to himself the importance of what he reports on. --NGD

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How to Create and Maintain Your Own Psychic Imprisonment

The Devil Card, writes Tomberg, shows how "beings can forfeit their freedom and become slaves of a monstrous entity which makes them degenerate by rendering them similar to it."

Which is precisely why leftists have degenerated into the demons they have created: they fear fascism but they are the fascists; they detest racism while being race-obsessed; they hate intolerance while being absolutely intolerant of dissent; they attack misogyny while devaluing womanhood; they clamor for unity while sowing division; etc.

The lesson of the card revolves around "the generation of demons and of the power that they have over those who generate them." It is a kind of inverse analogy of the Creator who is sovereign over his creation, such that the creator of artificial beings becomes "a slave of his own creation."

You might say that the higher man rises (in his own estimation) the farther he falls. Isn't this just Genesis 3 all over again? You have to pay the cost to be the boss, and the cost is measured in our depth of fallenness.

Show me a leftist and I will show you a slave. The black who is persecuted by "white privilege" is simply forging the chains of his own imaginary enslavement. Likewise women who fancy themselves victims of the "patriarchy," or an "LGBTQ community" that imagines we think about them at all, unless they are doing distasteful things in public or in front of the children.

Anyone can be free, but there is a cost. One of the costs is personal responsibility, which is too high a price for most people, certainly on the left. There you find people for whom merely purchasing birth control -- "controlling your own body" -- is too much of a burden, or school choice an intolerable imposition.

Tomberg properly characterizes these demons as semi-autonomous "parasitic entities" that "are to the psychic organism what, for example, cancer is to the physical organism." What is cancer? It is an autonomous, runaway order within one's own order, so to speak. The body can have only one order. Introduce a second order, and chaos is generated.

It is the same with the mind. I am reminded of a crack by Schuon to the effect that "The noble man is one who dominates himself; the holy man is one who transcends himself. Nobility and holiness are the imperatives of the human state." I ask you: when is the last time you saw a leftist who dominates, much less transcends, himself? Rather, we see (as discussed in yesterday's post) intoxicated counter-inspiration.

It really comes down to what the mind is for, doesn't it? Which is really another way of asking what man is for. Which is what? I would suggest that the purpose of man is to think, for if he can't properly do that, then he's not good for much else. But thinking presupposes a great deal, including freedom, responsibility, and a love of truth. Eliminate truth, then thinking is pointless; eliminate freedom and it is impossible; eliminate responsibility and it becomes passionately egotistical.

While looking up that Schuon quote I found some others that go to our subject: "The worth of man lies in his consciousness of the Absolute." Leftists are, of course, moral relativists and multiculturalists. Which means they are worthless men, precisely -- not because I say so, but because this is the verdict they have rendered upon themselves. "Absolute relativism" equates to total stupidity and redounds to unfettered depravity.

"The paradox of the human condition is that nothing could be more contrary to us than the requirement to transcend ourselves, and yet nothing could be more essentially ourselves than the core of this requirement or the fruit of this self-overcoming."

Self-overcoming. This goes to one of the essential divides between left and right: the conservative blames himself for his failures, while the leftist blames "the system" or "white privilege" or some other imaginary construct. The whole purpose of leftism is to externalize agency, in such a way that one's own freedom is projected into malevolent others. For the left, the only truly "free" people are the ones controlling, dominating, and oppressing them in their imaginations, the "one percent," or "corporate America," or whatever.

Last night I heard a bit of a talk by Dennis Prager and Adam Corolla. As we know, for the left, all people of pallor are racist. Corolla equated this to saying that "all people are arsonists." Well, that may be true, but what we care about are people who actually set fires, not people who might theoretically want to set them.

The latter drains the term of all meaning -- as does the left's absurd definition of racism. If everyone is a racist then no one is a racist. As such, Corolla pointed out that there has never been a better time to be an actual racist (or Nazi), since the real racists are lumped in with some of the finest and most decent people in the world.

What essentially happens with the fall? Well, one thing is that the will dominates the intelligence. We "know better," but our willfulness hijacks the intellect and down we go. In the properly ordered soul, the will is "a prolongation or complement of the intelligence." And the intellect must be oriented to, and grounded in, the Absolute, without which it is just a planet with no sun (which is no planet at all, just a wandering fragment of space junk).

Thus, "The way towards God always involves an inversion" (of the willful plunge alluded to above): "from outwardness one must pass to inwardness, from multiplicity to unity, from dispersion to concentration, from egoism to detachment, from passion to serenity."

Basically this means that we operate from the center-out rather than vice versa (and our center is a vertical reflection of the Center). "The greatest calamity is the loss of the center and the abandonment of the soul to the caprices of the periphery." But -- to get back to our main subject -- this is precisely the meaning of Diabolos, which is to divide and scatter; and then accuse and slander.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Leftist's Prayer: Give Me Freedom From My Demons -- But Not Yet!

Time only for a brief post. Busy day ahead.

In connection with our discussion of satan, I reread the chapter on the devil card in Meditations on the Tarot. Tomberg highlights two important characteristics, intoxication and counter-inspiration -- in fact, the intoxication of counter-inspiration. It is rare indeed to encounter a sober-minded leftist. But nor is it common to encounter an uninspired one! Have you seen Keith Olbermann's intoxicated rants?

In-spiration has to do with the reception of spirit. But as we all know, spirit cuts two ways. There are benign and helpful spirits, and malevolent and destructive ones. So, being "inspired" is nether here nor there. Rather, we must always consider the source.

He also points out that there are two modes of evil, a seducing principle and a hypnotizing principle. These two are pervasive in academia, but something must occur prior to the seduction and hypnosis in order for the content to take root, so to speak; one must be susceptible to the assault. There must be a wound, an opening, a breach in one's defenses, as discussed in the previous post.

I believe this is rooted in a type of parenting that places undue pressure on the child, breaking his will and forcing him to conform. As a result, the child will grow up being unable to resist authority -- he will become "hypnotized" in its presence. It is very much analogous to girls who have been sexually abused, and who, as adults, are vulnerable to getting involved with abusive men. Something in them is broken, which the "hypnotizer" and "seducer" easily picks up.

Tomberg also touches on the enslavement that results from creating projected demons. He says that the card is not so much about Satan as such, but about "the generation of demons and of the power that they have over those who generate them." "[B]eings can forfeit their freedom and become slaves of a monstrous entity which makes them degenerate by rendering them similar to it."

Contemporary leftism is all about creating the very demons that enslave oneself, AKA the victim culture. In order to be a self-styled victim, one must first create the projected super-structure of victimizers, e.g., "white privilege," "the patriarchy," "Islamophobia," etc.

These latter are needed by the victims, which is why you cannot rationally eliminate them from the leftist looniverse. Indeed, this is precisely why "structural racism" had to be invented, since there are so few (white) racists to be found. This is how, as one left wing academic put it, we can have racism with no racists!

So, a left-wing victim is a slave of his projected demons. For some reason I surfed into a feminist website the other day, and the bitterness of its victimhood was particularly over the top. Let's see if I can find it. Here it is. I clicked on the link to "Feminism 101," expecting a paragraph or two, but it's a book-length rant. It just goes on and on and on, into every miserable corner of her life. This person has never even wondered if the misery might be coming from within! She is a human toothache who locates the source of pain outside her own big mouth.

Radical feminists are simply slaves of their own creation. And not for one second do such slaves want to venture outside their demonic enslavement! Last night I was reading a book by Dr. Dalrymple, who writes of how difficult it is to get patients to say goodbye to their symptoms, which, after all, are there for a reason.

"Symptoms are like bad husbands and wives: people will go to any length to be rid of them but, once gone, they miss them terribly. The result is that the symptoms return in new and worse forms..." Which is why racism returns as "structural racism" and "misogyny" metastasizes into to the chaotic mess linked above.

Speaking of which, Tomberg writes that "The world of evil is a chaotic world," more like a "luxuriant jungle" than an ordered space, "where you can certainly, if necessary, distinguish hundreds of particular plants, but where you can never attain clear view of the totality."

So true. It is like a pre-scientific mindset in which there are only particulars but no organizing principles. Which is why it is not accurate to point out the ubiquitous "hypocrisy" of the left, since you can't really be a hypocrite if you have no principles to begin with. It reminds me of Pope Benedict's gag about "the tyranny of relativism" -- or of relativism absurdly elevated to absoluteness.

But "Evil cannot be absolute" for "it always depends upon some good which it misuses or perverts; the quality of Absoluteness can belong to good alone. To say 'good' is therefore to say 'absolute'" (Schuon).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Leftists aren't Evil -- Only Demon Possessed

In a previously unpublished letter, Schuon writes that "It makes no sense to believe in the devil and then each time, when he appears -- most often exploiting a specific situation -- to deny that he is involved." In other words, we need a less theoretical and more concrete, even practical, understanding of how the adversary rolls.

Anyone can see that the left has been behaving in an "insane" manner since last November 8, but there is something going on that transcends mere psychological categories. Indeed, whatever it is, it has also managed to appropriate the psychological categories as part of its strategy. Now, that's thinking ahead! Truly, the lunatics are running the asylum. I don't think most of these people are evil. But their minds have been highjacked by darkness. They are frankly possessed. But by what or who?

As it so happens, I recently read Jousting with the Devil: Chesterton's Battle with the Father of Lies. Perhaps he can help us understand what is going on here. The following exchange is from an interview in 1910:

"In your book just published you tell us 'what is wrong with the world.' As I haven't read the book yet, would you mind telling me what is wrong?"

"The Devil."

However, Chesterton was a happy spiritual warrior: "The finding and fighting of evil is the beginning of fun -- and even of farce."

It's certainly the latter, in that the left is beyond parody. In the book's introduction, Dale Ahlquist writes that "Satan is real. That's the first thing. The second thing should be obvious: Satan is horrible. But the third thing may not be obvious: Satan is also ridiculous. But he is the only ridiculous thing that must be taken seriously."

A ridiculous thing that nevertheless must be taken seriously. That is a very useful characterization, isn't it? So much about the left is so ridiculous that one is tempted to dismiss it as impotent self-beclowining. But it doesn't work that way: no matter how ridiculous the left becomes, it only seems to gain in power and influence.

It goes without saying that the left is utterly blind to its own ridiculousness. Something intrinsic to the process prevents irony, self-awareness, and rudimentary intellectual consistency. It is what makes a Meryl Streep denounce "brownshirts," even while liberal fascist brownshirts are violently preventing Milo from speaking at Berkeley.

Evil is something specifically human, which tempts one to imagine that it originates in humans. In other words, there is obviously no evil in the physical world, nor in the biological world. It only emerges with humanness, so it is easy to think that humans are the source.

Well, sometimes they are. But again, sometimes the evil goes so far beyond what can be explained by psychological categories, that any attempt to deploy them for that purpose is reduced to banality.

You could say, for example, that Hitler was mistreated by his father. Well, okay. So was Churchill mistreated by his father. What's your point?

It more useful to see that Satan exploits psychic weaknesses in order to invade the personality. There is a crack at the foundation -- or at the periphery, in lesser cases of evil -- which is where the demonic energies enter.

I heard Fr. Robert Barron use the analogy of a deep cut to the hand that one ignores. Over time the open wound becomes infected, and the infection can eventually spread to the whole body. So, watch closely over your own cracks, for those are precisely the soft targets that will be probed and exploited by the adversary.

It is very much as if we have a psycho-pneumatic autoimmune system that functions more or less effectively. But some people have the moral-intellectual equivalent of AIDS, such that they have no defenses at all. It is hardly surprising that leftism so disproportionately infects the young and stupid. Remember it is an invasion and rebellion, so it can also ride piggyback on youthful rebelliousness in order to gain entry.

Evil "has no independence or positive existence but always remains parasitic, deriving its life negatively by living off its host." This reminds me of something Schuon says in writing of the "'descending,' 'darkening,' 'compressive,' and at the same time 'dissipating' and 'dissolving' tendency, which on contact with the human person becomes personified as Satan."

So the force is descending and endarkening; and either diffuse or compressed and concentrated. Have you ever seen Watter's World? So often the people with whom he converses have minds that are ridiculously dissipated by evil. They simply make no sense at all, but are nevertheless tools -- and victims -- of the more concentrated evil. Indeed, this pretty much describes the process of a liberal education: hardened evil deployed to soften young and impressionable minds. Marx is hard. His youthful idiots are gelatinous.

Satan is also "a gentleman who promises good things and doesn't keep his word." Could this be why the left always promises the impossible? This is rooted in two fundamental impossibilities, 1) that there is some sort of cure for human nature, and 2) that man can cure himself. That is the recipe for hell, precisely.

Along these lines, Wild writes that "The heart of my thesis... is that the main work of the devil is to insinuate deficient ideas and false ideologies."

Looking at Genesis, we see that "a superiority complex was the beginning of all evil," i.e., the pretension of man displacing God. And the left is specifically and unapologetically in the business of inculcating "pride" and "self-esteem," which is to say, pathological narcissism and unearned respect. Look at how our professional child abusers are reacting to Betsy DeVos!

We alluded to the Devil's ridiculousness above. He is also "stupid as well as devious." This must ultimately be because he rejects truth. It reminds me of criminals, who may be vicious but are also stupid, with lower than average IQs. And the left is of course the pro-criminal party, whether it is protecting alien felons or fomenting violence against the police.

For Chesterton, "the only thing I will say with complete confidence" about evil "is that it tells lies.... whatever they are, they are not truths... about this world."

In fairness to the left, they clearly believe we are evil, and they have no compunction about saying so. Their rhetoric is always cranked up to 11, such that Trump is Hitler and we are his Storm Troopers. But how did we get so evil? In other contexts, the left will insist that there is no such thing as objective morality, and that "good" and "evil" are just social conventions -- a diabolical opinion if ever there was one!

But just as we are enjoined to hate the sin and love the sinner, Chesterton notes that "The assertion that a man is possessed of a devil is the only way of avoiding the assertion that he is a devil." It's a more sophisticated ontology. So, I don't say that Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer are evil per se, rather, only demon possessed. They are the tools, not the master.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Organic Religiosity, with No Added Ingredients

Awhile back an anonymous reader left the following comment and question:

I agree with your assertion that deification is the purpose of man.... I would also be interested in your take on the situation, as you perceive it directly, without input from other minds.

For instance, Jesus is first encountered by reading about him or hearing him discussed. Imagine you had never touched a book or discussed spirituality with anyone. You are clean of human influence. What were/are your self-discovered intuitions on the matter of God?

I've been sitting on this question, waiting for an opportunity to weave it into a post. This may be that post, since the next chapter in Gnosis is conveniently called Is There a Natural Mysticism?

The short answer is that there is and must be, given the nature of cosmos and man, which contain and reflect one another in both preverbal and transverbal ways, mysticism being an "extra-linguistic" phenomenon.

In other words, mysticism is a direct apprehension of, or encounter with, the divine presence that bypasses language. So, it seems there is a common nonsense available to all. Let's see if Schuon agrees with that characterization.

"The concept of a 'natural mysticism'" goes to "forms of spirituality that do not enter into the framework of a given religion..." That being the case, it can ascend only so high, being that it "remains enclosed within the created... which it can in no way transcend" in the absence of a direct intervention from God. If you recall the symbols I used in the book, it may be thought of as the apotheosis of what man may attain via (↑) alone.

Nevertheless, as I believe we shall see, there really can be no (↑) without (↓), being that they actually constitute a continuous spiral and not broken or independent lines. Our ascent is already God's descent, just as our knowledge must be a "drawing out" of something that is already implicit in the phenomena we know. Obviously the intelligibility of things must be prior to our intelligence; it was there long before man arrived on the scene.

Recall Ibn Arabi's gag describing mystical union as being "alone with the alone." Well, in reality it is being "together with the together." And as the Fathers often remarked, all truth comes from the Holy Spirit. Put them together and you understand that all knowing is a two-gatheredness with the divine mind. Either it has roots that go all the way up, or it is nothing at all.

Time out for a cryptic word from our Aphorist: Any shared experience ends in a simulacrum of religion.

Likewise, God's informal grace falls on the world long before it formally rains dogmas and catechisms. However, such general graces will "have an 'irregular' and quasi-accidental character," because... how to put it... It reminds me of something Chesterton says... Which I can't locate at the moment, but I did find this: in his early writings, Chesterton "was intuiting Gospel truths from within life itself, 'without much help from religion'" (Chesterton as Mystic).

Later, "His faith in Christ raised these truths to higher dimensions," but "the root truths of the Gospel about the nature of reality were already present in his experience" (ibid., emphasis mine because That's What I'm Talkin' About).

"Chesterton was already living in two worlds, but it was Christ who revealed to him the true nature of both. Many truths in the Gospel were not so much discovered as confirmed for him" (ibid.). That too is What I'm Talkin' About.

I can't find the quote I'm looking for, but it has something to do with digging channels for flash floods (of grace). But the following is also helpful, for it goes to the absolute need for humility -- of humbly receiving and not eagerly grasping:

"There is a relevant story from one of the desert fathers who had a vision of an angel, who said to him: 'The Lord has sent me to you.' The humble little father answered: 'I don't know any reason why the Lord would visit me.' And the devil left him."

What was said above about Chesterton "living in two worlds" is very helpful. For there are always and inevitably these two worlds, no matter how you cut it. Try as you might, you can never confine things to one and eliminate the other. I would say that Gödel's theorems are a "merely" logical reflection of this deeper ontological reality: that your world can be consistent or complete, but not both.

I also believe we have our "two brains" for just this reason. Just as our two eyes permit us to perceive depth, and our two ears allow us to have a bitchin' stereo, our two brains disclose a world far richer than just one or the other alone would permit.

And in the final analysis these worlds are "rational" and "mystical." They are also "fundamentalist" and "ironic," but that's the subject of a slightly different post. But if you are a Raccoon, everyone you disagree with is being a fundamentalist where they should be ironic, and being literal where they should be mystical. And they are often being mystical in a totally untutored way, with no channels at all, just a downpour on a featureless plain.

However, it has gotten to the point that the people with whom we disagree are becoming frankly satanic in their confusion of the worlds. Here again, this is the subject of a slightly different post, but it comes to mind because I'm reading another book by Wild called Jousting with the Devil: Chesterton's Battle with the Father of Lies.

Maybe we'll vary the scheme and discuss this on Monday. Suffice it to say that one would have to be spiritually deaf and blind -- not to mention tasteless -- to not see that the country is in the midst of a hysterical demonic attack. To put it another way, the left is making it very hard to not believe in satan.

"Devil" is cognate with division and discord. Conversely, intelligence "brings back to unity." There is one view of the world "that is intellectual and unitive, and another that is existential and separative: the first envisions everything in relation to unity, even Existence," while "the second sees everything in relation to separativity, even Intelligence" (Schuon).

But guess what? The separativity dwells within the unity, or we couldn't even know it as separate. Thus "it is a matter of combining these two modes of vision, for each is valid in its own way" (ibid). Doing so reveals the depth of the cosmos, in that we see the mystical in the every day, the supernatural in the natural, the whole in the part.

So that's about it. I can think of no reason why the Lord would visit me today.