Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Of Canines and Composers: Reducing the Song Celestial to a Bark in the Dark

At risk of once again wounding the strangely delicate sensibilities of our atheist friends, I want to revisit the idea that knowledge of God -- or at least a major aspect of it -- is much closer to an aesthetic experience than it is to other forms of knowing. As we all know, dogs can often appreciate Beethoven's early sonatas, but generally struggle with the late quartets.

This focus on the "aesthetics of God" was one of the preoccupations of the great theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, whose Glory of the Lord I've been reading lately. I shouldn't say "lately." Rather, it's something I dip into from time to time, since it consists of seven large volumes which are only part of a trilogy consisting of a total of eight additional weighty volumes, including the Theo-Drama and the Theo-Logic. Like Finnegans Wake, I don't think I'll ever read the 15 volumes straight through, but you can open them to most any page and find some little jewel of spiritual vision and insight.

Although Balthasar is one of my favorite theologians, stylistically he's very much the opposite of Schuon. Schuon wrote in an extremely compact, condensed, and unsaturated way, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. I don't think I've ever read anyone who conveys the most "information" with the least amount of verbiage. Almost all of Schuon's books are collections of essays on diverse subjects as opposed to unified works. He would have been a good blogger.

As I said, Balthasar is the opposite. Instead of cranking out compact little gems, he's like a geyser -- no matter where you dip in, you're pretty much drinking from the firehose. His central theme in the seven-volume Glory of the Lord is that in modern times, the aesthetic approach to God has become eclipsed by the ethical and the logical. However, being that the transcendentals (the Good, True, and Beautiful) are inseparable, "neglecting one can only have a devastating effect on the others."

"Glory" is the category of transcendental beauty. It specifically has to do with the seeing the form and the splendor of God. Just the fact that this glory clearly exists -- that God has a splendorous form accessible to human beings -- is an extremely provocative notion. Our age values garden-variety intelligence as measured by a high IQ, but a high IQ has no bearing whatsoever on one's ability to apprehend God's glory. Rather, it can only be grasped by the awakened intellect understood in its traditional sense, not by mere intelligence.

When we behold the glory of the lord, we are in a state of rapture. But it is not as if rapture is simply an effect; rather, it is more of a two-way street. As Balthasar writes, "no one can really behold who has not already been enraptured, and no one can be enraptured who has not already perceived." Thus, rapture is the subjective response to glory, just as glory is the objective content of rapture.

Glory be! God has a form. How patently true, and yet, how mind-boggling. But how do we begin to learn to perceive a form of the Form and be-wholed the glory?

After six days, Jesus brought them high on a mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light.

Yeah, that's one way.

As I have mentioned before, faith is not an empty category, but a form of knowing. It is what the poet Keats called a "negative capability," by which "man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, and doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason." This highlights the critical relationship between faith and grace, "since, in giving itself, faith apprehends the form of revelation, while grace has from the outset transported the believer up into God's world."

God "presents" himself to mankind in a multitude of forms, all true in their own way. Not only is Truth one of the properties of Being, but so too is it the inseparable bond between God and the world. As Aquinas recognized, beauty is the splendor of this Truth. Beauty is not merely a pleasing surface or veneer, but something that accompanies Truth and radiates from within it.

No philosophy could be more impoverished than one which denies the existence of this radiant interior Light -- or that reduces it to some material property of physics. "Divine light" is not a metaphor borrowed from our sensory apparatus. Rather, the reverse is true: the radiant light that fills the cosmos is an analogue of God's infinite luminous presence.

I was about to say that it is impossible to imagine a world without transcendental beauty, but I'm afraid that isn't true. In fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine a world that intrinsically recognizes and values transcendental beauty, which should form one of the axes around which a healthy civilization revolves.

No one should ever consciously seek ugliness, any more than they should consciously embrace the lie, but there you go. Just as beauty and truth are inseparable, so too are ugliness and the Lie forever bonded. While there are surely "attractive lies" -- such as the constant lies of the left -- their attractiveness is always on the surface only.

And this kind of superficial beauty will eventually beget the lie, as we see time and time again with the leftist fantasists. When a fuzzy panderbore such as John Edwards oozes his platitudes, you can almost see Death in the background holding his coat and snickering.

Once a civilization has devalued transcendental beauty as one of its guiding ideals, the question naturally arises: "Why not just plumb satan's depths? What difference does it make?"

I guess that's what you call a rhetorical question.

As Balthasar points out, in a world where beauty has lost its attractiveness, truth soon follows in its wake. But it is not just any kind of truth that is eliminated. Rather, what we specifically lose is the capacity to recognize self-evident truths, the kind of self-evident truths upon which America was specifically founded -- for example, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. Are any children in public schools taught how to recognize this self-evident truth -- or that it even exists? Indeed, wouldn't it now be considered against the law to teach children to perceive transcendental truth in the manner of our founders?

Some law that makes the basis of Law illegal.

And if transcendental truth and beauty are eliminated, what then is left of Being itself, since these are among its "first fruits?" Obviously, you are going to breed a population of nihilists who are paradoxically filled with existential emptiness. To put it another way, they will be filled with the world, since this is ultimately the only alternative to being filled with God. There is nothing a priori wrong with the world, unless it is drained of its transcendent light. But Balthasar asks, "Will this light not necessarily die out where the very language of light has been forgotten and the mystery of Being is no longer allowed to express itself?"

In such a debased world, all that remains is "a mere lump of existence which, even if it claims for itself the freedom proper to spirits, nevertheless remains totally dark and incomprehensible even to itself. The witness borne by Being becomes untrustworthy for the person who can no longer read the language of beauty."

In short, "Whoever insists that he can neither see it nor read it, or whoever cannot accept it, but rather seeks to 'break it up' critically into supposedly prior components, that person falls into the void and, what is worse, he falls into what is opposed to the true and the good." One then spends one's life adapting to a denatured world of one's own making, and calls it "reality."

But this secondary and derivative world is about as real as a body without a soul. In such a closed, endeadened state, Being cannot call out to being, nor Form to form, Truth to truth, Beauty to beauty. In a word, it is hell. Unhappitants of this world are physically alive even while they deprive themselves of that which gives Life. But I suppose there are worse places for the proud to live. For example, on one's knees.

You haven't perceived the hologram to your private particle? Come in, open His presence and report for karmic duty. Why, it's a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf. What in carnation?! Viveka la revelation! --The Weird & Wacky New Testavus for the Rest of Us

37 Comments:

Blogger Robin Starfish said...

When we behold the glory of the lord, we are in a state of rapture. But it is not as if rapture is simply an effect; rather, it is more of a two-way street.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North
basho journeys home
hiking at leisurely pace
path above the clouds

6/13/2007 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

I have a feeling that if we lose our ability to see the light, or more properly convince ourselves the light doesn't exist, that God will find a way to remind us. He seems to do that a lot. Here is an interesting question: Does God cause the catastrophes which bring us humility , or do we bring disaster on ourselves. It seems to me that much of the evil of recent history has nothing to do with God. We brought it on ourselves by forgetting about the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

6/13/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

James - >>Does God cause the catastrophes which bring us humility , or do we bring disaster on ourselves<<

If human life was designed by God to include a "catastrophe reflex" when we screw up, then the answer would have to be both.

6/13/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

It was always my understanding that a self-evident truth was one that was always true and undeniable. Something like:

"If Gagdad Bob is taller than James, then James is shorter than Gagdad Bob"

That we are endowed with anything, then, is not a self-evident truth. The Declaration was rhetoric -- good rhetoric, but rhetoric nonetheless.

The phrase used is actually "We hold these truths to be self-evident", with the emphasis on our holding them. It's an argumentative stance, stating a floor of acceptability. If they were actually self-evident, it would have been quite banal to start the Declaration with them. Instead, this was a striking stand against the old regime, which likely didn't consider the truths self-evident at all.

I do wonder, given what it means to be a self-evident truth, how you'd educate a child to recognize them?

6/13/2007 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Woof!

6/13/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous world gestalt party said...

All you say is true; but having said that, there is more that must be said.

Ugliness, evil, lies, faithlessness- what would we have here without them?

The purpose of Earth is impossible to fulfill without these elements. This is where any given soul comes to experience these things.

They are not available in heaven.

That being said, these elements must be kept in check and in their proper place.

Witness the common murderer. Beyond the cunning eyes is a soul as old as the stones underfoot and the mountains on the horizons. An ancient being, temporarily fazed by life, undergoes the experience of doing evil. He will awaken from this nightmare, and that awakening is the purpose of his visit here. But you cannot awaken if you are not first asleep.

His victim undergoes an experience of terror and fear, then awakens also.

Such is the reason for these things exist. Recognizing the essentiality of evil, how do we react to it?

Keep it small. Don't truck with darkness; neither react to it or condone it. Let secular law do what it does and stay out of the way.

The overall mandate is not to despair. The Earth functions as it should as it is right now.

6/13/2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

cryptic - the argumentative stance does not mean that the truths aren't self-evident. That's the whole part of the argument. They are saying, to whom may not believe it to be so, that we hold these things to be self evident. How much can you twist obvious language to mean the opposite?

6/13/2007 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CrypticLife,

You're definition reduces self-evident truth to self-referential logical consistency.

6/13/2007 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

world gestalt party said...

"Such is the reason for these things exist. Recognizing the essentiality of evil, how do we react to it?"

That's like saying it is essential that roaches fall into your salad, in order to further accentuate the taste of roach free salads.

There's a vast difference between essentiality and inevitability. It is likely inevitable that beings of Free Will will make errors in judgement, and that as those judgements form the basis for further mistaken assumptions, they will lead to a spiraling series of mistaken choices made in uncomprehending error, and which if uncorrected, may lead to deliberate choices made with evil intent - but there is a huge difference between uncomprehending error and intentional evil.

Error may be an inevitable possiblity of Free Will, but it is not essential to it. Likewise, Evil can be chosen, but it is in no way essential.

"Keep it small. Don't truck with darkness; neither react to it or condone it. Let secular law do what it does and stay out of the way."

And how would that "secular law" do anything, without reacting to it? Or do you just leave law enforcement to unworthies so that you may float serenely above it all?

6/13/2007 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

cryptlife said "That we are endowed with anything, then, is not a self-evident truth. The Declaration was rhetoric -- good rhetoric, but rhetoric nonetheless. "

Self-evident to those who bother to look, and think about what they are looking at. Just as it is also self evident to say that depth perception is perceivable, it is also self evident that you need to look with two eyes in order to perceive it, and also that don't deliberately unfocus your vision while using them.

The Declaration was and is a fine example of rhetoric, but the mention of self evident truths were not merely rhetorical devices, but statements of fact from those whose eyes were focused and easily beheld the Good, the Beautiful and the True.

6/13/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

River Cocytus said...
"cryptic - ...How much can you twist obvious language to mean the opposite? "

I think it has something to do with the warped and woofed of his nature.

6/13/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

yes, the bark is quite warped on that dogwould.

6/13/2007 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

The late quartets of Beethoven sometimes seem proof positive the poor man was deaf. Woof!

Uncharacteristically, I am disinclined to be argumentative with crypticlife:
' "We hold these truths to be self-evident", with the emphasis on our holding them. It's an argumentative stance, stating a floor of acceptability.' 
Such analysis of thought-structure just might offer a decent and serviceable alternative for thinking about initial formulations of revealed religious dogma.
[If] A, then there follows B, and perhaps C. Work it out in practice with senses cocked for reciprocal rapture.

Every argument consists of equivalent -- if often more covert -- underpinnings, and that's good enough for faith to get on with in any sphere. Of course it all depends on the quality of the assumptions, with attention to the likely nature of the source and evidence of outcomes on every level. Just because every argument begins with constructed assumptions, doesn't make them all equally useful or beautiful.

Self-evident appears to be a subtle and many-faced concept, not limited to the rule-of-thumb tautology as some think; and I like cl pointing out that, at least, these truths as intuited relationships between ideas are being stated as a catalogue of assumptions from which all else will follow. Such an orderly statement in light of its beneficent reduction to social and material form over 2+ centuries, is beautiful.

One of the ur-texts for the old Good&Happy blog, David B. Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite, yields nuggets on every page, too.
God's glory is neither ephemeral or remote, but is beauty, quantity,
abundance...weight, density, and presence...seen in the form of a
slave: a concrete and particular beauty...

The lesser, Orthodox Balthasar?

More, on atheism, beauty, friendship from Michael Novak.

6/13/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Two thoughts worth the price of admission or double your money back:

"In short, "Whoever insists that he can neither see it nor read it, or whoever cannot accept it, but rather seeks to 'break it up' critically into supposedly prior components, that person falls into the void and, what is worse, he falls into what is opposed to the true and the good." One then spends one's life adapting to a denatured world of one's own making, and calls it "reality.""

and

"No one should ever consciously seek ugliness, any more than they should consciously embrace the lie, but there you go. Just as beauty and truth are inseparable, so too are ugliness and the Lie forever bonded. While there are surely "attractive lies" -- such as the constant lies of the left -- their attractiveness is always on the surface only. And this kind of superficial beauty will eventually beget the lie..."

Could and should serve as the basis for many a semester of study for those children in public schools, but seeing as how that would be Right, it is a self-evident truth that they will be left out.

6/13/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Must be the oral-surgery meds, but some of the Irregulars are making sense.(^o^)

World gestalt points out a couple of Kabbalistic and Biblical principles that are overlooked, and that create the social order conundrum that Van touches on.

I believe The Palm Tree of Deborah admonishes not that there is anything positive or necessary-experiential about evil, but that it is inevitable where we live now. The good man is urged not to stir up its dust. Closer to my heart is the second of the Parables of the Kingdom, the "wheat and tares" metaphor, which is roundly ignored -- not least by me -- to the detriment of truly beneficent progress. "An enemy did this," but the response requires superhuman self-denial and discretion. Of course, it's unbearably taxing to let the thistles grow when nihilists or the goofy credulous are calling them Designer Nutrient Grain, but that's the exquisite close harmony of the dilemma...

OK, no more pain pills for at least an hour.

6/13/2007 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I can definitely see that both, 'self-evidence' is used as a foundation for what is to follow, I.E, it is being used in a logical and rhetorical fashion, but also that he really means that which he says.

What I like best about it is its audacity. That all men are created equal? Endowed with inalienable rights? Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness? (perhaps, property...)

Among other things it was certainly a slap in the face of the 'conservatives' of that day.

If one can say what is true and have the conviction to say it without bells and whistles, that's Corbin Dallas diplomacy.

6/13/2007 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

No reality that transcends the senses can be perceived with the type of unambiguous clarity demanded by Cryptic Life, since these are not empirical but intelligible realities. It is puzzling to me that materialists and positivists even exist in this day and age, let alone that they have the slightest interest in Bob's blog.

Oh well. At least we have no argument, since we have no point of contact.

6/13/2007 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I think we can still throw rocks across Abraham's Bosom...

Metaphysically speaking, of course.

6/13/2007 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Metaphorically, rather. Criminy.

I guess it is a result of the bifurcation that occurs when one becomes aware of the contradictions on the surface of religious teaching.

Perhaps it is even deeper; it is the bifurcation that results from exposure to apparent contradictions? Including your parents' 'hypocrisy'? Between method and result? And so on?

Some demand consistency on the current level, while others are at the very least able to intuit a manner of paradox?

But some yet others find 'consistency' by denying that there are any contradictions...

Path of balance, I 'spose.

6/13/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Wolf said...

Maybe its an absence of the mystery bin.

6/13/2007 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Dilys - Thanks so much for the Novak link. Excellent.

wv: qxpoyoto (you asked for it you got it)

6/13/2007 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

"No reality that transcends the senses can be perceived with the type of unambiguous clarity... "

But yet, you believe they're self-evident, and should be taught to schoolchildren. If a truth is self-evident, or obvious on its face (as you seem to be using the word), why the need to teach it?

It's not at all self-evident that depth perception is perceivable (though I suppose you mean that depth is perceivable). It's certainly not self-evident that you need two eyes to perceive depth, in fact I'd suggest that's completely false. Binocular vision is merely one method of perceiving depth.

Perhaps I might phrase this another way: how would you, or would you at all, distinguish between truths that are self-evident and truths that are not self-evident? If you do not distinguish, self-evident becomes a meaningless word.

Thank you for the consideration and the links, Dilys.

Cousin, I'm interested in the baying of both canines and composers, if that answers your question.

6/13/2007 02:43:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

All of your questions have been addressed by Bob ad nauseam in the previous 700 posts. If you still don't get it, then Bob is powerless to help you get it. Suffice it to say that when Bob says "self-evident," he is referring to those truths which are "perceived" by the intellect properly so-called, not "thought" or "arrived at through reason." As such, "self-evident" is not synonymous with "obvious," as you suggest.

6/13/2007 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

First there was:

*Plonk*

Then there was:

GAZE

Now thanks to Dupree we have a new all-purpose response to the hopeless spiritual autistic:

Woof!

Perfect.

6/13/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Why do we have to teach children self-evident truths?

Because of the people who believe like Cryptic infesting the public educational system.

And also, because "man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward."

It's not so much imparting knowledge as it is *training* a child to do what is self-evidently good. If you don't stake your 'maters, they won't grow "upward," they will sprawl over the ground and spoil. It's not just education, but *discipline* and *practice* that is necessary to train a soul to choose what is right.

It's self-evident that lying to cover your butt is wrong. But we still have to train our kids not to lie. Why is that, hmmm?

Similarly, we have to train them not to walk all over their fellow man and violate their inalienable rights. 'Cause people sure do love to do that to one another, don't they? And they'll deny the self-evident truth in order to justify themselves.

6/13/2007 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ok, looks like we're getting into some forestation here. As with all manner of human knowledge and understanding, context is vitally important to any concept.

On the surface of it, the flat surface, yes you can argue that "all men are created equal" is not a self-evident truth. The standard school room (perhaps no longer standard nor is use) examples are "but what about Michael Jordan and Me... we aren't equal in at all! He's skilled & a champion & rich & has bigger shoes than I do", as I said, on the flat surface, you can make that argument. If you'd care to climb down from the trees of the savanah and climb up the trees of civilization however - the argument is silly.

'All men' is not refering to physical attributes, but to the nature of human kind, which all men (and women, for you PoMoFo's out there) participate in by virtue of being born human.

Now, yes, we probably need to make some further qualifications. Thomas Jefferson was speaking in the context of a commonly understood principle in the colonies, which was perfectly accessible to the population familiar with Western thought - but would not be readily apparent to, say, the indian's living further into the wilderness. In fact one of the key friction points between the cultures, was that they had no idea whatsoever regarding peoples being created equal, let alone any claim to rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, and thought nothing of what the colonists knew to be tresspassing, theft & violation of political rights.

As with playing Beethoven to bow-wow's, though they might respond to the sound, they don't hear the music.

Self evident to whom? Ok, self-evident to anybody? Fine, clearly not.

But to the audience it was declared to, to those who had climbed high enough up the philosophical & civilizational ladder to understand enough of its conceptual heirarchy to grasp the meaning of laws of non-contradiction, of individuals having value above and distinct from that of buffallo's, of grasping the value, joy and sense of civility and manners, of understanding the necessity of Law to civil order and prosperity - here, at this level there becomes visible as self-evident truths, that all men are created equal. With some independent philosophical consideration, it is self-evidently silly to think of people living proper human lives as the expendible property of another, silly to think it proper to enter a persons home and plunder their wealth, silly to think it no big deal to a beat someone on the street, to rape any passing female that catches your eye, because you feel yourself to be a special form of man based upon who you know or what you shiny metals you've managed to grab and hold onto.

At that level, having risen up from the jungle, up level of the Summerian, up to the level of the Greek, up to the level of the Roman, up to the level of the Judeo/Cristian, up to the level of the Western European(English/Scottish mostly), up to the level of the American Colonial's level of understanding - in short the Classical Liberal pinacle (still to this point in time) of human development - There, as it is self-evident from the peak of Everest to say that the world is wide, even though it may not be so apparent dodging aligators in the swamp, Here it IS a self evident Truth to declare

"these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." ,

and all I've said preceding this was understood and implied by

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

As Gagdad alluded to, this conception of self-evident Truths, of being fully human, comes into being as the Good, the Beautiful and the True becomes perceivable to men, and vanishes as they lose sight of it.

If this, especially approaching July, is unclear or not obvious, then I suggest you take a deep searching look for the Good, the Beautiful and the True, and what it means to your life and life as you wish to know it - or you may not know it much longer.

To the founders, that also was a Self-Evident Truth.

wv:nfqnkbaw - wtf?

6/13/2007 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Smoov said "Now thanks to Dupree we have a new all-purpose response to the hopeless spiritual autistic:
Woof! Perfect."

Would have been a heck of a lot easier on my fingers too....

6/13/2007 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

The trouble is that so many misinterpret the surrender to O as a literal surrender of all that one holds dear. They look at the phrase "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees" not as a rejection of earthly tyranny, but as a witty retort to the idea of prayer. The a(nti)theists seem to think that surrender to God means capitulation, a self-imposed subjugation to an ideology not of their own making... and the "not of their own making" part is the really crucial one in understanding these people. I think they reject God because they don't trust Him to give them any sense of fulfillment - their understanding of 'fulfillment' being thoroughly lobotomized by its obsession with the horizontal.

6/13/2007 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I know this is off-topic, but isn't it funny how "evolution" has a sense of humor? I just can't get over it.

The Pistol Shrimp

6/13/2007 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Well, the comment fairies wouldn't allow me to put "http" in the link, so...

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c77_1181450463

6/13/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Van, I think one may say that perception is reliant on context, which is another way of saying position, and unless you're wearing chains your position is your choice. Self-evidence, then, requires putting ones self before the evidence, or so to speak.

6/13/2007 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...

hey bobby;

how r ya? good, i hope.

love all the big words here. WOW.

here's a simple thought about atheists:

they don't believe in God, but they believe in evolution of the species, and the Big Bang and String Theory - despite the fact that most of them cannot explain these theories.

what makes their faith in these theories more pathetic is the fact that there are events which the big bang theory and string theory cannot explain! (hence dark matter and dark energy - newer ideas which atheists believe in and cannot explain either!) but this doesn't bother them in the slightest.

they also believe in AGW.

so why do they reject God as non-credible but put faith in all these other theories, (theories which are designed to be provisional)?

because they are brainwashed by postmodernism - which makes them BELIEVE as an article of faith that the Judeo-Christian West has been the source of most human suffering in the world.

this is a demonstrably false notion.

i have found that exposing the falsity of this notion is an effective way the create a fissure in the foundation of the postmodernist poseur.

btw - your blog is thematically opposed to postmodernism but written in a postmodernist style.

i still find that incredibly annoying.

complex ideas are best writ about simply.

(EXAMPLE: einstein's thought experiments.)

all the best!

6/13/2007 09:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Reliapundit-
Big words? What big words?

And Bob is interesting, funny, and edifying, so he can't possibly write in a "post-modern way."

BTW, It's okay to be conservative and have good manners. Usually they go together well, so I'm not sure where you picked up the uncivil 'tude.
Just sayin'.

6/13/2007 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

jacob c., I think you hit on something important there. This past year I've had a few frightening dreams with similar themes, which I posted about on my blog. The gist was always that I was trapped or hiding in a room, and outside there was something very frightening using bright lights trying to find me inside the room. There were always windows though, poorly covered, and rays of light were getting in. In the last version, I learned at the end that there was a soldier in the room, who had been invisible until someone pointed him out to me, and he said something to the effect that he had been there all along, and was there as much to protect as to punish (if a crime were to be committed, which none had).

Upon waking from this last dream, I knew Who I had been hiding from. I hid because the Light represented, to my unconscious mind, exposure or possibly elimination of my little self. Consciously, I don't believe that, but it is hard to shake those deep-seated mind parasites, and also hard to truly surrender.

6/13/2007 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Van,
I don't know if Crypticlife found anything valuable in your little treatise on the levels of civilization, but I did. Of course, once people move on to postmodern multiculturalism, they tend to consider all cultures equal, regardless of whether the cultures cause pain and misery or health and wealth. This is a passing stage.

Ironically, because America is a meeting place for many different peoples, it is also a central source of the confusion between race and culture. In this state of confusion, admitting that a culture is inferior is seen as criticizing the entire ethnic group that is associated with that culture, as if they were genetically subhuman. This confusion is the source of much of the hectic flattening seen today, and ironically also of a new wave of genuine racism.

When I was a kid, Norway was a nearly 100% white country with a unified culture. Not a perfect one, but decent enough. Childless couples would frequently adopt chindren from abroad, and these might be of varying colors. Nobody really had a problem with that, as the kids grew up speaking Norwegian and thinking Norwegian and living like anyone else.
Then came the new age of mass migrations, where thousands of men (mostly) of darker colors came here, grown-ups bringing their own culture with them, the same culture that caused the problems they were running away from. Unsurprisingly they are causing problems here as well, for themselves and each other first, and others next.
Now the adopted children, who used to be perfectly normal Norwegians, are being harassed and even attacked by strangers who have learned through experience to associate dark skin colors with barbaric behavior. There is no such innate connection, but it appears so. And the Socialist Left is not helping with its insistence on multiculturalism. Seriously, if we want more cultures, we should import those who are higher than ours, such as Jews. But they are naturally not too eager to move here.

6/13/2007 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

"he is referring to those truths which are "perceived" by the intellect properly so-called, not "thought" or "arrived at through reason.""

Your liberal use of quotes makes me wonder on your definitions. I will not ask about them here, however, as I'm sure Gagdad has addressed them each individually with great clarity elsewhere.

So, self-evident truths, in Gagdad's view, are propositions that are true without requiring reason to arrive at them, but just "perceived" to be true. A statement such as "All men [people] are created equal" is then a self-evident proposition because you perceive it to be true, as opposed to being reached through reasoning.

6/14/2007 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Yes. That would be correct. Bob is only describing what he sees, that others might see these things as clearly. Once they see them, they have no need of Bob. He has no interest in arguing or pressing the point. Either he helps you or he doesn't.

6/14/2007 09:16:00 AM  

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