Beyond the Human Margin of Politics
For example, many of the differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy are at the human margin; they are ethnic and cultural, two different ways of interpreting and living the Christian message -- two different views of the Absolute. As Schuon points out, "It is to this sector or margin that many of the speculations of exoterism belong; orthodoxy is on the one hand homogeneous and indivisible, on the other hand it admits of degrees of absoluteness and relativity."
This is why theological disputes are inevitable even within a given revelation, as man with his relative mind attempts to grapple with the absolute and eternal message. If time is the moving image of eternity, then perhaps theology is man's diary of this movement. It is not in eternity, nor is it quite in time, but in that ambiguous twilit realm where eternity pours into each of us at our own human margin: O-->(k).
I would like to abruptly shift if not grind gears for a moment, as I was thinking yesterday of how this principle might apply to the political realm. For Americans, the Constitution is analogous to revelation -- a quasi-divine message from the Absolute with regard to the best way to order relations between the individual and the group. In fact, because we are American, this is more than an analogy. Our innate sense of a spiritual mission is something that people from other nations do not comprehend -- with the exception of the many essential Americans who were only accidentally born in other nations, such as an Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Irving Berlin, or my own father. Or even me, since I was actually born in the People's Republic of Santa Monica.
Because of the constant drumbeat of sick and twisted leftist anti-American propaganda, I don't really know if it is equally true today, but there was a time when immigrants flocked to America not just for the economic benefits but because of the beacon of spiritual liberty. But the left, because it is thoroughly materialized -- which, you must understand, is a spiritual state -- looks at America only through a crude economic lens.
I would say this is "ironic," but it really isn't. The organizing fantasy of the left is that conservative classical liberals are obsessed with money and wealth, but this is pure projection. It is the left that is obsessed with money and wealth, which it must be, since it knows no realm higher than the material. This is why they cannot understand the phenomena of "Reagan Democrats," or "values voters," or just everyday Americans who -- in the eyes of the left -- "vote against their own economic interests" by being in favor of low taxes and limited government. In short, conservatives are much more motivated by eternal values, not by class envy or leftist schemes of income redistribution.
And this is why the left has such undisguised contempt for middle America and certainly for "red state" America. For the leftist, reality is by definition reduced to the material plane. But you cannot reduce reality to the material plane without a disastrous effect on your own psyche and spirit. It goes without saying that in embracing materialism, you do great violence to your soul, since you essentially foreclose it. But not exactly. Rather, you transform it into something hard, inflexible, and concrete; furthermore, you render yourself impenetrable to the divine light, or to the influx of transcendent forces in general. As always, the rain of grace will fall from the sky, but it will land on the stony soil of your own shrunken and desiccated soul. Anyone with awakened coonvision can see this -- can vividly perceive the interior state of someone whose soul has turned to stone.
It would be bad enough to be in the presence of all these creepy stoners if they were only encased in stone, but something else happens to them on their merry way to hell, and again, it is something I think you'll agree is vividly apparent to one's awakened coonvision. No soul can actually live in a closed state. Rather, like the body, it must always receive "nourishment" from outside sources. In fact, take the analogy of something with which I am intimately familiar, diabetes. If I did not give myself insulin on a daily basis in order to metabolize glucose, my body would soon begin to literally consume itself. In so doing, it would give off a toxic, acidic byproduct known as ketones, which would kill me in a matter of days.
Is there something analogous to ketoacidosis that happens to the leftist mind, by which it suffocates in its own acid? Now that I think of it, it is interesting, is it not, that the left is so very acidotic? When I say this, I obviously cannot get through to the leftist whose soul is in a state of advanced ketoacidosis, such as these typical examples. For one thing, this spiritual acidosis -- like its physical analogue -- causes confusion and eventually delirium.
(An interesting point: one reason why there isn't any controversy about leftist "hate speech" is that so much of it is unprintable as compared, say, to Ann Coulter, who may be polemical but not even remotely similar to the haters of the left, such as a Rosie O'Donnell or the rantings of the most popular leftist websites. The MSM takes Coulter to task for merely taunting John Edwards for being a such a feminized man, whereas the anti-Catholic bigotry of the official bloggers Edwards hired is so vile that it can't even be repeated on TV or printed in any mainstream newspaper. I can't think of any mainstream conservative rhetoric that can't be repeated in the MSM except for self-censoring reasons of political correctness. For example, many things I say are unmentionable in the MSM, not because they're hateful, but because they're true. In fact, you might say that political correctness is the left's corrupt technique for converting truth into hate and rendering it unmentionable.)
When you hit the above link -- and I recommend that you do, if only to firmly understand my point -- pay no attention to the intellectual content, which is obviously nil. Rather, try -- but not too hard, since it is not healthy to go there -- try to discern the spiritual state of the person from whom these "headlines" -- bowel-lines is more like it -- arise. Again, such a person is subject to a continuous flow of "grace," as it were, but it is the inexhaustible satanic grace which allows, say, a Noam Chomsky to write book after tedious book of corrosive bile. Yes, it is the same book over and over, which it must be due to the very nature of satanic grace, which contains no true novelty, just infinite permutations of the satanic message. This is why, for example, left wing radio is so incredibly boring, and why the totalitarian left wants to reimpose the "fairness doctrine" to force-feed their unpopular message to Americans.
This kind of pseudo-novelty is apparently "thrilling" to the vital mind of the materialist; it provides their "intellectual food," just as "transgressive" art provides their spiritual nourishment. Again: the materialist mind, cut off from its source above, will attempt to feed itself from below, which, over time, leads to deeper and deeper states of pathology. This is the true source of what we call the "culture war" in America, as the left necessarily becomes sicker and sicker, but imagines that the movement responsible for this divide is coming from "conservatives."
To cite one obvious example, Barack Obama -- who is increasingly beginning to sound sinister and not just stupid -- spoke the other day of how conservatives have "hijacked faith." Yes, you are hijacking faith if you simply adhere to what the faithful have always believed, which is that marriage is the spiritual union of a man and woman, or that children do best with a mother and father, or that abortion cannot possibly please God. Let's at least be honest -- who is trying to hijack faith to ram through their new sociopolitical agenda?
As I was about to say, I cannot possibly speak to the leftist whose own mind has been fully hijacked -- or lowjacked -- from below. Rather, I can only reach the leftist who is still at the human margin (which I know happens, since I have the emails to prove it). No, not in this case the margin between the divine and human, to which my theological bobservations are addressed. Rather, the margin between the human and the infrahuman; or, if that sounds too harsh and insulting, let us just say, between the human and the post-human -- which is what postmodern secular humanism surely is: an experiment in what it means to violently toss aside what it has always meant to be human, and to try to "transcend" the human state.
But this transcendence is not from above, but from below. It is not actually transcendence, but rebellion. This is why, ironically -- but not really -- the left is the real reactionary movement, since it is always reacting to, and rebelling against, the Divine. In so doing, it comes into contact with intoxicating forces that are greater than the individual, but they are from below, not above.
Returning to the question of the "human margin" and how it applies to politics. Again, if we look at the American Constitution, it is analogous to divine revelation. It is absolute, but it nevertheless shades off into the human margin. In turn, the purpose of the Supreme Court is to determine the point at which the human margin shades off into political heresy, so to speak, into the realm of the "unconstitutional."
There is a "natural" left and right which is healthy and to which no true American should be opposed. This represents the realm of alternative points of view within the Constitution, somewhat analogous to different traditions that cohere around the divine revelation of Christianity. The Constitution allows for a certain latitude, for certain "divergencies within orthodoxy," in which different theologians -- or constitutional scholars -- can hammer out their differences at the human margin.
But at some point in our history -- different people will argue whether it was, say, with FDR's usurpation of federal power, or with the rise of the anti-American left in the 1960s -- the honorable left-hand side of American tradition veered well beyond the acceptable human margin and began embracing doctrines that were frankly extra-constitutional, un-American, and completely at odds with our traditions.
Running out of time here, but the examples are too numerous to mention. For example, America was intended to be a Judeo-Christian nation -- not government, but nation, which is something much deeper, and from which the government derives its just powers. If you argue that America was somehow intended to be a secular nation, or a Muslim nation, or an anti-religious nation, then you are simply un-American. You are "out of bounds."
Smoov left a relevant comment yesterday, which was actually the inspiration for today's post. He wrote,
"Yesterday's 30,000 foot reading included the current New Yorker, wherein an essay contains a casual reference to the recent decsion of America to introduce the practice of torture.
"The Left has fully insinuated this vile slander against their own nation into the global zeitgeist. The 'fact' that Americans are now morally equivalent to Robert Mugabe's thugs or the SS is so entrenched that the likes of Jon Stewart routinely use it as fodder for inane jokes.
"The indecent Left's willingness to sabotage their own nation in such a thoroughgoing manner -- all due to an infantile hatred of the current President -- should elicit a stronger response than it does.
"Call me a torturer publicly and I'll see you in court, and liberate you of half your paycheck for the next 20 years. Do it to your own nation and get published in the New Yorker or knock down 5 or 6 mil a year fronting the Daily Show.
"Where's the public outrage over these diabolical affronts to America?"
Why, it's right here at One Cosmos, where we point out how the Left has ventured well beyond the human margin -- where the bright and gory post-human moon god steps ashore from the sea below, surveys the sinister world he has created, and pronounces that it is bad.