Monuments to Stupidity and Wisdom
This is a hopelessly unsophisticated ontology, for it assumes that higher realms are mathematical in their precision. In reality, they are not so much like mathematical equations as they are like, say, magnificent granite monuments. The greatest theologians are somewhat like painters who can convey the image of this monument with clarity and certainty, but it is nevertheless an image and not the thing-in-itself.
This is what I meant the other day when I said that revelation is the closest we can come to an objective representation of O. It is like an image of the monument, given by the monument itself. But each person's angle on the monument is necessarily going to be different. If you put thousands of people with cameras at the base of the Matterhorn, the photos are all going to be slightly different -- in other words, there will be the illusion of diversity despite the fact that there is only one Matterhorn. With respect to itself, it is not relative but absolute. Our view of the Absolute is necessarily relative, but only relatively so -- it is "relatively absolute." There is no such thing as absolute relativity.
A photograph is not just a literal translation but a transformation, as is perception itself. To perceive something is to transform an object in such a way that certain abstract coordinates and relationships are preserved, while others are distorted. If you consider the modern art of the early 20th century, for example, artists were attempting to stretch the coordinates between object and image in creative new ways. One could say that James Joyce did the same with language. Instead of trying to use it like a photograph to map reality in a 1:1 manner (which is impossible anyway), he used language in a new "holographic" way, so that it in turn mirrored the hyperdimensional nature of consciousness itself. He was actually using language to alter consciousness in such a way that a new view of reality emerged.
For example, let's take the first sentence of Finnegans Wake, since I happen to know it by heart:
rivverun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
At first blush, this sentence is "nonsense," as it appears to be about "nothing." In other words, it is difficult to apprehend the "object," so to speak, of which this sentence is supposed to be a representation.
Nevertheless, like the object scripture attempts to describe, this sentence is an adequation to a hyperdimensional reality that transcends the senses. This reality is called "history," which in turn is thoroghly entangled with consciousness itself -- the same consciousness that is both the subject and the object of history. For Joyce, history was literally like a dream (or nightmare), in the sense that there is the Dreamer and the dream, but in the end, the two must be one and the same.
Therefore, it is very difficult -- impossible really -- to actually write "straight (or what Joyce called 'wideawake and cutandry') history" and imagine that the historian is not actually its dreamer. We are all in this thing called "history." History surely exists. And yet, we could no more objectively and exhaustively describe it than we could objectively describe the content of a dream. Rather, we can only take our photographs of the Matterhorn.
For one thing, where is the line between the dreamer who dreams the dream and the one who experiences it? In this regard, a dream is very much like a spider's web, which the spider spins out of its own substance and then proceeds to inhabit. Human beings are no different, only on a more abstract plane. Do you really think that the web a leftist spins out of his psychic substance and then inhabits is anything like your web? Or an atheist? Or an Islamist? All of these, in their own way, are completely entangled in a web that they themselves create, become entangled in, and take for reality.
How to extricate oneself from the psychic webs we create? "History," wrote Joyce, "is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken." When I watched the Democrat debate the other evening, I could see how all of the candidates wear offering their "prescription for a nightmare." The nature of leftism prevents the one and only true cure, which is to say, "just wake up." No. Leftism is the philosophy of creating newer and stronger soporifics in order to keep man asleep. In so doing, it aggravates the symptoms it is supposedly treating, and simply makes the nightmare worse. Plus, people get hooked on leftist prescraptions, and require more and more of them in order to stay asleep, just like an addict.
Furthermore, just as in a mental patient, the more unpleasant reality impinges, the more denial is necessary. Terrorists want to blow up JFK? It's Bush's fault. Zzzzzz. We now see that some one third of Democrats have created a nightmare in which the United States government is actually responsible for 9-11. As it stands, it is probably fair to say that 90% of Democrats believe that the Iraq war was not waged for the reasons so stated by the administration, but for some sinister ulterior purpose that no sane person has yet been able to describe.
I am currently reading an outstanding book entitled A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900, which attempts to be a corrective to all of the noxious deconstruction that really got under way in the 1960s. Back then they called it "revisionist history," which sounds innocent enough but which in reality was highly agenda driven, and attempted to rewrite history in such a way that the English speaking peoples were the bad guys rather than the (literally and repeatedly) saviors of history.
It is interesting how easy it is to trace the roots of today's crazy leftists in a straight line back to their academonic source. For once history is deconstructed, it is very difficult to put it back together again. Thus, the left is operating in an upside down world first made possible by the early revisionists who, among other things, argued that America's founders were just a bunch of greedy white males protecting their economic interests, or that capitalism is pure exploitation instead of an extraordinary liberator of human potential, or that the colonized did not benefit from colonialism, or that America was at fault in the Cold War, or that Roosevelt's economic policies helped rather than aggravated and prolonged the great depression, or that poverty causes crime, or that it was wrong to drop the atom bomb on imperial Japan. These and similar ideas proliferated exactly like a toxin, infecting all of the academic rivers and then flowing downhill into the streams of journalism and politics. When some nutty academic sneezes, rank and file Democrats cognitively die off in droves.
What is so striking about the book is how America has remained constant, while the left has changed so dramatically -- and gained so much cultural power. For example, there is absolutely no moral difference -- none whatsoever -- between the way Roosevelt responded to the fascist threat of his day and the way President Bush is responding the fascist threat of our day. The only difference is that America's motivations have been so undermined by the left, that it is as if we are dealing with two entirely different countries. But when did the "good" America of Roosevelt and the "greatest generation" transmogrify into the evil America of President Bush? It never did. Again, it is exactly the same profoundly decent country. Only the left has changed.
Actually, one other thing that has changed -- for the worse -- is how utterly ruthless men such as Churchill and Roosevelt were in pursuit of their war aims. President Bush doesn't even come close (although one senses that Giuliani could resurrect a bit of this higher ruthlessness). I don't have time to provide examples, but suffice it to say that it boggles the mind how completely ahistorical the left is in this regard. Now, because of the influence of the left, it is almost impossible for us to be as ruthless as we need to be in order to prevail in the struggle against our enemies -- who do not see our lack of ruthlessness as civility but weakness and lack of resolve. Which it is -- that and self-hatred.
If it had come out in 1943 that some German or Japanese soldiers had been mistreated in an American prison camp, I cannot believe that any American would have wasted two seconds thinking about it. So. What. Whatever we did could never approach the barbarity of the Germans, Japanese, and Soviets. And besides, context is everything. There is no moral equivalence whatsover between what America and her enemies do, any more than there is an equivalence between the police and criminals just because they both shoot people.
It is obscene to call waterboarding a terrorist to obtain information that will save innocent lives torture. Absolutely morally obscene. To call Gitmo a "gulag" represents a kind of moral stupidity that is satanic in its implications. One of the most horrific consequences of leftist thought insinuating itself into our discourse it that it prevents one from speaking simple moral truths. It undermines everything -- not just morality, but even the ability to speak about morality. I believe this is because, following Descartes, it elevates our capacity to doubt to the highest wisdom. Thus, it ends up with cynicism as the highest ideal: a philosophy of stupidity, including moral stupidity.
Returning to our original metaphor of the monument and the mountain. The leftist notices the unavoidable fact that different people have different views of the monument. Therefore, the monument doesn't objectively exist. Furthermore, anyone's view of it is just as good or bad as anyone else's. As such, Truth is abolished and raw power rushes in to fill the void. The leftist always speaks power to Truth. Always.
Which is why I do not waste a moment arguing with leftists, humanists, atheists, or radical secularists. Rather, every day, I simply do my best to describe the monument before me as accurately as possible, so that others might begin to apprehend its outlines and contours equally vividly and gain strength from that. In short, I am not advancing an argument but presenting a vision of what I see (which the leftist also does, only while asleep, i.e., while dreaming). It is a single object, but there are many views of it. I guess this would be #640 so far. Tune in tomorrow for #641. Or possibly #2 from our #2, Will (a beautiful pneumagraph that I have already seen, by the way), depending on various exigencies that temporarily obscure my view.