Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left to Tax (4.26.09)
Speaking of which, there were some very funny and illuminating comments on yesterday's post, not all of them unintentional. One of them was from Mr. Bardo, who expressed the sentiment that my post reflected proof of my "projectile nature" in suggesting that he was in any way angry at me:
"No. The strongest emotion I've felt towards you is annoyance, the kind of irritation one feels when conversing with a fundamentalist, where you know that no true dialogue is possible. Usually you lack a dynamic, open quality of thought, as if the world is exactly how YOU think it is.... So yeah, you annoy me, but you don't anger me. Is that adequate clarification?"
First of all, this suggests that Jonny has a co-dependent relationship with me, and that he is addicted to being my "enabler" -- otherwise, he would simply leave me and find a healthier relationship with a blogger who is not an abusive and genocidal madman.
But leaving that asnide, if what he says is true, then the situation is even worse than I had thought, because Jonny characterized me as a hateful, acid-spewing, demonic, and genocidal egomaniac, and yet, now says he feels no hostility toward me. First of all, let us stipulate that either I am or am not as he describes me. If I am, then it would be appropriate for any normal person to feel anger toward me. Indeed, they would be abnormal if they did not.
But if I am not as he so describes, then he is clearly engaged in projection, because otherwise there is no way to account for all that acid-spewing, genocidal hatred that exists in the space between us. After all, it came from somewhere -- specifically, either from his mind or from mine.
In Bion's terminology, there is clearly an "h link" between Jonny and I, but he denies it, which is something that passive-aggressive leftists and new ageists do, but only habitually. This is rooted in the commonplace observation that anger is converted to paranoia in the unconscious mind. For a child, when they get very angry at the parent, they unconsciously imagine that the parent will retaliate. The parent becomes monstrously frightening in the exact degree to which the child is angry.
Thus, for example, the more angry the deranged left gets at President Bush, the more their fears of him become detached from reality. They imagine that he is spying on them, or that he is constantly questioning their patriotism, or that he invaded Iraq in order to somehow enrich his wealthy friends, or that he is stealing elections, or "raping the planet," or that he is a "Christian fascist" who is going to take over the country, etc., etc.
Similarly, Jonny's grotesque distortion of me can only be the result of an unconscious process of which he is unaware. This is why the repetitious advice of the troll who calls himself Interlocutor is not just silly and misguided but dangerous:
"My basic beef with Bob is his allowance and accomodation of hate into the spiritual life, against the advice of all teachers. He will not desist from this view.... Recant, Bob. State for all of your raccoons: 'Hate is a wrong movement; it has no place in the spiritual life.'"
Here is another person who projects his anger into me, and then insists that I "recant," which, trancelighted, means that he wishes for me to magically "cleanse" him of his hatred. I can do this, but he will have to come to my office and pay me for the service. It's called psychotherapy. Together we will work through his transference reaction to me, until such a time as he can "own" his hostility. Once he does so, he will not be less healthy and spiritually balanced, but more healthy and integrated. It is foolish to think that spiritual development involves denial of basic human emotions.
Rather, as always, it depends upon the use to which the emotion is put (there is also a vertical "subtilization" of emotions that occurs with spiritual growth, but that is the topic of another post). It is good to feel anger toward what is bad or evil. In fact, without such feelings, you would be completely paralyzed in this world, unable to make the simplest decision in life.
For as Bion said, if you cannot suffer pain, you cannot suffer pleasure. In other words, denial is not a subtle defense mechanism, as if you could surgically remove one small part of yourself that you don't like. It is more like a "dumb bomb" that causes a lot of collateral damage, taking out a range of feelings that inform you about the moral dimension of the world. This is why all Coons will have noticed that these peace-and-love new age types always come across as so two-dimensional, phony and sanctimonious, whereas, say, Jesus comes across as a fully three-dimensional person with his unapologetic righteous anger and other emotions fully in tact, to say the least.
Brother, if you are an evil-doer, who, for whatever reason, opposes the Good -- or even if you are just a garden-variety fink -- a Coon will smite you where you stand with a flaming sword that is sharp and true. And, if you are a basically decent person who retains an uncorrupted soul, you will some day say thank you, sir, may I have another?!
Now, the peripathetic vagrabond Sir Te, who must camp out at our blog until he finds employment and gets a blog of his own, says that he has spent a virtual lunchtime studying philosophy, and yet, never stumbled across the idea that a classical liberal believes that knowledge of truth constitutes the mind's freedom. Perhaps it is because this superb wisdom is not to be found in the pages of the Hitchhiker's Guide to My Cousin's Converted Garage, or in the Tao te Schmendrick (we kid -- I am sure you are a harmless nebbish).
Perhaps no rabbi or classical liberal ever expressed it thus, but it is simply the B'ob extrapolating what they said in order to demonstrate the common assumption underlying classical liberalism. Yes, that's probably it.
Because the question is, "what is freedom for?" I happen to know what it is for, and I am a classical liberal. Therefore, past classical liberals must agree with me in essence, even if they never explicitly expressed it in the same way. For the eternal Coon Wisdom is One, although the sages call it by many names.
You will notice right off the moonbat that I do not waste a moment -- well, just this one -- debating whether or not free will exists (or where it came from, for that matter) for it self-evidently does. Even -- or, shall we say, especially -- someone who argues that free will does not exist must, in order to be consistent, believe that he is not free to believe what he believes, but is compelled to do so. Therefore we can ignore him, and not even waste the energy it would take to smite him with our rod of iron.
It is no coincidence that the same people who have undermined the concept of free will have carried on a brazen assault on the quintessentially human capacity to know truth (you can call them whatever you want -- I call them "leftists"). For although truth is defined as that which we are compelled to believe, if we do not arrive at it freely, then it cannot be truth.
For this reason, truth cannot be reduced to mere reason, for reason can only operate in a mechanistic way on the materials it is given. And this is precisely why there is such a riot of diverse opinions among the so-called "wise" of our day and age, for they are like children playing with one of the means of truth but unacquainted with -- indeed, even hostile to -- its transcendent Source.
I am currently reading a very good book entitled Light From the East: Theology, Science, and the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, and it is amazing to me how early this truth was known by Christian men -- but only because they were Christian men who knew the secret equation, A + J = R, or Athens + Jerusalem = Reality. (By the way, I cannot yet unreservedly raccoomend the book, but only because I just started it.)
There are some Christians who deplore the early fathers' mixing of scripture and Greek thought, but this is a very narrow-minded and ultimately dysfunctional view. First of all, it places an unnatural antagonism between religion and science or philosophy, when there can be no such antagonism.
Rather, properly understood, theology easily accommodates -- and will always accommodate -- any partial truth disclosed by science. Since science is simply the exploration and mapping of God's creation, this is something that should go without saying, but unfortunately, it doesn't. But the founders of Christianity were well aware of the fact. They had a great appreciation of science and pagan philosophy ("Athens"), while at the same time recognizing their limitations and the superiority of revelation, or God's Word. They were hardly "anti-intellectuals," but "hyper-" -- or shall we say "trans-" -- intellectuals. These were men of uncommon genius (thank God). At risk of tarring them with a featherweight term, they were the true integralists.
To cite just one example, Nesteruk writes that Clement of Alexandria "is considered the founder of Christian theology as understood in its modern setting as knowledge about God." His fundamental innovation was "the transfer of the language and methods of philosophy to the realm of faith." Among other things, he recognized truth "as something that embraces all, that includes all particular kinds of truth. Truth is one, and it is God's truth."
Truth is something which is "hidden" within philosophy, but philosophy alone can never disclose the full truth of which it is a mere vehicle. There is often a sad longing for truth in Greek philosophy -- even an intimation of its full revelation -- but it simply lacked the means to fully disclose it. That had to await the full embodiment of truth, in such a way that the divine and human worlds recovered their primordial oneness.
As Clement put it, Greek and Hellenic philosophy tore off "a fragment of truth from the theology of the ever-living Word," but a person who brings the fragments together and makes them one "will without peril, be assurred, contemplate the perfect Word, the truth."
Clement articulated plain Coon wisdom when he wrote, (as expressed by Nesteruk) that "the faith that is true knowledge of revelation becomes a more scientific faith when supported by philosophy, and in this way becomes gnosis." One persistent troll has criticized my approach, as if I should be engaged in some explicit political action. But before there can be any righteous and sustainable political action, it must be founded upon truth.
Furthermore, the contemporary Christian must not only be able to confidently and lucidly respond to what passes for the fashionable worldly wisdom of the day, but to confront the enemies of Christianity with superior arguments, something which is eminently possible. What is the alternative, being a clown like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, so people will go on thinking that such bozos are somehow representative of the intellectual depths of Christianity?
Clement pointed out something that would not be logically proven until Godel's theorems in the 20th century, that it requires an act of faith in order to employ first principles of any kind, whether "scientific" or religious. For example, if your first principle is that only empirical knowledge is possible, your first principle cannot be proven empirically. Rather, you take it on faith. Nor can natural selection prove that natural selection is responsible for the human mind, any more than DNA can prove that it holds the secret of life.
Clement concludes that "knowledge is a state of mind that results from demonstration; but faith is a grace which from what is indemonstrable conducts to what is universal and simple, something that is neither with matter, nor matter, nor under matter."
Frankly, it is one cosmos under god, but you knew that already. In any event, you will have to forgive me, not just for having written this unnecessary book, but because I'm just getting warmed up, and now His Majesty is stirring.... and then I have to get ready for my non-dei gig. To be continued, cosmic weather permitting....