A Whole in One!
And deadness is the right word when you're having a little difficulty pulling it all together. Yesterday Dr. Sanity had a relevant post entitled All Trees and No Forest, about the intrinsic pathologies of leftist postmodern thought. She writes, “There is a long philosophical tradition that has claimed that universality and abstractness have no legitimate basis in our experience of reality. This is usually called the ‘problem of universals’ and it derives from the fact that we humans experience objects in the real world as discrete, concrete and individual. Yet, this is contrasted to our thoughts, which experience and know about objects in more general and abstract, or universal ways.”
Now, if you want to create intellectual tyranny, all you have to do is undermine the possibility of universals, which is exactly what the psycho-spiritual left has been trying to do over the past 40 years or so: “By making universals and generalizations completely subjective, they have successfully invalidated anyone's attempts to understand reality and truth.” For to destroy universals is to destroy the human world, precisely. It is to do away with absolute truth, objective beauty, universal morality, and God (God being the “universal of universals,” or even the possibility of universals).
This is why I insist (to paraphrase Richard Weaver) that all attacks on religion are ultimately an attack on mind itself. This is not to imply that there are not bad forms of religion . Of course there are. That is self-evident. Nor does it imply that there are no useful forms of analytic thought -- of the proper application of reason. However, the human world specifically exists in a dialectical space between whole and part, the One and the many. A “world” -- any world -- is a synthesis of particulars into a coherent whole, which in turn reveals the meaning of the otherwise meaningless particulars.
The ontological category of real wholeness is anterior to any philosophy or ideology of any kind, and explains why any reductionistic or materialistic philosophy is logically self-refuting, whether it is garden variety “bonehead” atheism, natural selection, or Randian objectivism. Take natural selection. It begins with the concept of the organism, which is obviously a “whole.” But why does it begin there? Who said that an organism is a discrete whole, and how did the wholeness get there? Isn’t the existence of wholeness a prior condition of there being organisms to begin with?
In other words, if the universe -- which, by the way, is another concept of wholeness that is completely unwarranted on any reductionistic grounds -- were not a self-prehending whole (in Whitehead’s terminology), there is no way that wholeness could suddenly emerge later in the course of cosmic evolution. As it so happens, the existence of anterior wholeness explains many of the otherwise inexplicable mysteries of existence, including both life and consciousness, the mysteriously unitary and yet multiple “I AM.”
To most sensible people, it goes without saying that there will never be a scientific or reductionistic explanation of consciousness, even if they cannot articulate why they believe this. The reason is that consciousness represents on a micro level the personal experience of the macroscopic subjective wholeness of existence itself. Ever since language began colonizing the brain, it has been an unending task to synthesize these bits of meaning into a coherent self and world. But this coherence is not something we can ever arrive at inductively. Rather, the wholeness is our prior condition, and it is simply a matter of intuiting ever deepening levels of complex wholeness -- both objectively (in the world) and subjectively (within the self).
This ceaseless process of synthesis -- of the metabolism of experience -- is life itself. In other words, mental life is the dynamic synthesis of the interior of the cosmos, sponsored at every step along the way by an anterior wholeness which makes it all possible. My book was nothing more or less than an expression of this wholeness, hence the title “One Cosmos Under God.” Ultimately, it is perfectly accurate to say that the only philosophical alternative to mine is some form of many chaosmoses over matter, which is to say, any sort of empiricism, rationalism, reductionism, scientism, deconstructionism, what have you, that tries to arrive at wholeness through partness. In reality, “you can’t get there from here.”
Now, in order to truly to intuit that ultimate wholeness known as God, you naturally must liberate your mind from much of what is merely local and accidental, which encompasses most of what goes by the name of “culture.” In may respects, culture is a public neuroses, just as neurosis is a private culture. As we mentioned a couple of days ago, reductionism is “satan’s perspective” of reality. He sees only trees, and wants you to believe that only trees exist. That way, you will be assured of never discovering the ultimate Forest that goes by many names, but which is ultimately One. If we can only rid ourselves of this annoying One, then the noetic enterprise that is man’s true vocation will come to nothing -- which it does for all the sterile counter-philosophies alluded to above.
Now, we must be very careful what we allow to enter our psyche, because memes of various kinds carve out a niche there and reproduce themselves, which can often result in tenure. You will have noticed that I was recently having some problems with blogspot that were making my site behave very strangely. It turned out to be a corrupted template, which is an apt metaphor for the problem with fallen man. Except that it is not a metaphor. It is completely literal.
My blog’s template is supposed to be an effect, not a cause, of wholeness. In other words, I have an idea of what I want my blog -- the whole of it -- to look like. But when the template is corrupted with little parts that aren’t supposed to be there, they reproduce and compromise the wholeness of my vision.
It is exactly so with the mind, with what I call mind parasites. To the extent that these parasites have taken root in you, your psychological template has been corrupted, and your ability to intuit wholeness -- both exterior and interior -- will be compromised. Both the world and your life will more or less fail to make sense, and in extreme cases, can become as static as a dog’s bark or the Democratic platform.
The more ill the person or culture is, the more obvious this becomes. The personal will -- another example of inexplicable wholeness -- becomes riven and undermind by various competing factions with agendas all their own. In the case of a sick culture, it will be forced to narrow reality down to the perspective of its parasites, as we see in the Islamic world. This is why they must remain closed societies, which is absolutely no different than the neurotic person whose mind becomes a more or less closed system caught up in the endlessly repeating agenda of its mind parasites. This is the true meaning of the repetition compulsion at the heart of any neurosis. The compulsion to repeat is not a cause, but an effect, of the mind becoming a closed system and therefore being unable to profit from experience.
A culture or subculture is a group fantasy, or imaginary collective vision of the interior of reality. And anything lying outside the group fantasy is a foreign language. Thus, the very real culture war in which we are engaged is between two very different languages. However, some people are bilingual. For example, I am able to speak fluent materialism, secularism, atheism, and leftism, because I used to believe all of those dopey things.
But I also speak fluent spiritualease, and can see that this is a far more comprehensive language for describing reality. In fact, the differences are so striking, that without it, it would be a little bit like trying to explain Hamlet with mathematics. While I suppose you could do it, you would specifically lose sight of the author’s intent, which is located only in an aesthetic wholeness spread throughout the text -- just as God’s wholeness is spread throughout reality in the form of his immanence. As a matter of fact, that beautiful wholeness is actually present in the numiracle of math, as most great mythematicians realize.
I will grant that materialists have a certain understanding of the parts but no wonderstanding of the whole. Nothing is that simple, let alone everything. The problem is, when you try to teach something you do not understand, you just pass along the parts. Thus, our universities crank out spiritually crippled beings aleinated from the real, and call them “educated.”
If the mind did not exist, scientists would have no trouble explaining it. But to be alienated from God is to be trapped in the spiritually ass-fixiating manifest. Conversely, in order to witness the whatness, the theophany of God’s metaphysical radiance, you must realize that the brain is exterior to being, and that inscapes everywhere dot the so-called external world. Wholeness is everywhen and where. Or as Joyce put it, "when a part so ptee does duty for the holos, we soon grow to use of an allforabit."
Without objectivity and transcendence there cannot be man, there is only the human animal; to find man, one must aspire to God. --F. Schuon