Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Belief in Disbelief, or Inside the Postmodern Skeptic Tank

[T]he new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything.... And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in the way when he wants to denounce anything. For denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.... In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. --G.K. Chesterton

One of the key ideas of Orthodoxy is that we require a stable framework in order to think productively and deeply about reality, and that certain frameworks (Chesterton would say one framework) have been given to us from "on high," so to speak, in order to accomplish this. Naturally, the "radical" opposes this constraint on his freedom, but freedom in itself is not freeing, any more than progress in itself is progressive; without limits, or boundary conditions, the former is "nothingness" or "lostness," while the latter is just pointless change, drift, or entropy.

This reminds me of the distinction Polanyi drew between what he called the open society and the free society. He used the practice of science to illustrate the difference, pointing out that a truly free society does not merely consist of everyone believing whatever they want. Science, for example, is a free and spontaneous intellectual order that is nevertheless based on a distinctive set of beliefs about the world, through which the diverse actions of individual scientists are coordinated. Like the cells in your body, individual scientists independently go about their business, and yet, progress is made because their activities are channeled by the pursuit of real truth.

In contrast, in a merely "open" society, there is no such thing as transcendent truth: perception is reality and everyone is free to think and do as he pleases, with no objective standard by which to judge it. This kind of "bad freedom" eventually ramifies into the cognitively pathological situation we now see on the left, especially as it manifests in its purest form in academia (the liberal arts, not the sciences, except to the extent that science devolves into metaphysical scientism).

Initially, the assault on the existence of objective truth seems liberating, as we are freed from the dictates of arbitrary authority. However, the whole idea of the individual pursuit of truth was a deeply liberal project, since truth was not accepted a priori but was subject to criticism and logical or empirical demonstration. But with deconstruction -- the Swiss pacifist knife of the intellectual left -- the entire concept of truth is undermined, so there is no way to arbitrate between competing notions of reality.

Therefore, whoever has the power may enforce their version of reality, which is what political correctness is all about: Truth is arbitrary, but you had better believe my version of it, or be branded a bigot, or a homophobe, or a white male oppressor. One more reason why contemporary liberalism is so deeply illiberal. Their ideas cannot be argued on the merits, so they are enforced by the illegitimate authority of political correctness.

If you are on the left, you are undoubtedly oblivious to this bullying pressure (unless you are a totally cynical Clinton-type who does it consciously). If you are on the right, you feel it all the time -- cognitive “stop signs” that impede you from uttering certain truths in public for fear of triggering attack. The politically correct leftist is always a passively-aggressive controlling person -- hardly a victim, but an aggressor (for his self-imposed victimization legitimizes the release of amoral sadistic aggression).

Thus, the deep structure of the left-right divide in this country goes beyond the secular vs. religious worldview. A purely secular society is an open society, where all points of view, no matter how stupid or dysfunctional, are equally valued (e.g., multiculturalism and moral relativism), whereas a truly free society must be rooted in something permanent and transcendent. It doesn't necessarily have to come from religion, although it inevitably leads in that direction. Mainly, in order to be truly free, one must acknowledge a source of truth that is independent of man, an antecedent reality that is perceived by the intellect, not the senses. Fortunately, our founders knew that the self-evident religious truths that constrain us actually set us free (indeed, are the very basis of our liberty).

You may note that this has direct relevance for the current debate between strict constructionists vs. the notion of a "living constitution." In reality, strict adherence to the constitution results in increased freedom and democracy, while the "living constitution" quickly devolves into judicial tyranny. If you enjoy playing blackjack, your freedom is not really enhanced if the dealer can either hit or stand on 16, depending on his moment-to-moment interpretation of the living rules of blackjack.

How can a progressive even be progressive unless he has some permanent standard by which to measure his progress? In the absence of such a standard, there is only meaningless change, rebellion, random reshuffling, not progress.

As mentioned yesterday, atheists ironically fantasize about a day when human beings will be liberated from the shackles of religion and be truly "free" to think what they want. First of all, this is analogous to a musician longing for the day when he is free to play his instrument without the annoying constraints of scales, notes, and keys. Perhaps more importantly, that day has already arrived. The atheistic free thinkers are noisily trying to knock down doors that are already wide open, especially in the arts and in academia. There you can see the direct consequences of "free thought," and it is hardly any kind of liberation, but rather a stupifyingly oppressive nihilism.

For those of you who are not jazz mavens, there was a movement in the 1960's called "free jazz." As a matter of fact, it wasn't so much a musical movement as a political one -- or at least it was indistinguishable from the breaking political winds of the day, i.e, "black liberation." There was the idea that one could absolutely break through the chordal structure of (white) western music and achieve a kind of quasi-religious purity of expression. True, you can do this, but it leads in a circle back to the "pre-musical" expressions of an angry or exuberant child. It is a "song of myself," by myself and for myself. In a word, pure narcissism, or musical maestrobation. It is the end of music, just as atheism is -- and must be -- the end of thought, i.e, intellection, as opposed to mere computation.

Again I must emphasize that no one is more surprised than I am at the essentially infinite amount of cognitive music one may play within the chordal structure of religion. One is not constrained but set free. I used to be a "free thinker," but the quality of thought I produced was essentially worthless get-a-cluevinilia. And now that I think about it, it was worthless for very specific reasons. Among others, it lacked timelessness, universality, generativity, wholeness, harmony, radiance -- exactly the things that revelation embodies par excellence.

This is why a Meister Eckhart or Denys the Areopagite will always be timely -- because their thought is rooted in a source "outside time" -- whereas the narrow-minded rants of a Dawkins, Harris, or Hitchins are already beyond their hackspiration date by the time they have been pabulished. Truly, they are by the dead and for the dead, the blind leading the bland. In the absence of transcendent truth, freedom's just a nothing word for leftists to abuse.

Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame.... The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits.... Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three-sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. --Chesterton

48 Comments:

Blogger Mizz E said...

I'm shocked! It's past noon already and no comments on one of the 'Best of Bob' posts to date.

11/28/2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"...freedom's just a nothing word for leftists to abuse." Or, in the original version. Ahh, the nihilism of it all!

"Best of Bob" - I 2nd that!

11/28/2007 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

The strict constructionists and those with a notion of a "living constitution" will soon have another day in court - this time before the Supreme Court.

The case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is analyzed today at American Thinker, "The Second Amendment and the Individual."

q-->An armed American can be called a "citizen", while those who would allow themselves to be forcibly disarmed, aspire to be known as, "subjects." /q

11/28/2007 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you including Sun Ra in your trashing of free jazz?

11/28/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Mudslide said...

thanks bob, answered the question I asked several posts back about black culture in both music and sports with the line about "free music" and narcissism....
cool....and you were right...the game and the music are "white" constructs and to show "freedom" it can't be about the game or the song....it's got to be about the person singing or playing......

and Mizz E, he had already written some of this stuff before....six months or so...not that I minded because then, it was sort of like reading a chapter out of the middle of a book...(there it is again Bob, that danged book thing!) without the benefit of the preceeding chapters.........

11/28/2007 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

(I bet the Starfish will show up soon with a doozy.)

11/28/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No, not Sun Ra. There are exceptions to every rule! Bear in mind, of course, that Sun Ra was no part of any political movement, but a deeply spiritual man. Having said that, I do believe some of his music crossed the line into mere chaotic-kitcsch, but others will disagree.

11/28/2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In fact, I think that Sun Ra was sometimes goofing on his "sophisticated" white audience with some of his formless noodling. At heart he was an idiosyncratic traditionalist and sentimentalist, like Monk, except from Jupiter.

11/28/2007 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

In a good Jazz piece, we gotta riff off one another.

mudslide; modern religionists have fallen into the same trap. For the saint, it's never about the saint, but about the Church (the whole thang!) or the Destination.

For Joel Olstein, it's all about Joel Olstein's life! And how you can live like him if you just trust him and the particular scripultures that he has 'named' and 'claimed'!

Etc.

The saint seems most realistically to be a Tsunami (which has a hidden but felt source) while modern religionists are like rocks being thrown in the sea.

One comes from the Ground, the other from the Air. (To use those terms holigraphically.)

11/28/2007 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Sun Ra was from Saturn, not Jupiter.

11/28/2007 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Bob F. said...

"This is why a Meister Eckhart or Denys the Areopagite will always be timely -- because their thought is rooted in a source "outside time""

Also true for music; consider that Bach (the father) said he wrote all of his music-including the not overtly religious-for the greater glory of God. ALL of Bach's music is infused with an energy, a consciousness, that seems to me to be lacking in later music of comparable genius.

Music itself, the right kind of music, can be a Way, if we let it. It can also help get us out of our heads and into our hearts.

11/28/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Coonified said...

"Intitially, the assault on the existence of objective truth seems liberating, as we are freed from the dictates of arbitrary authority."

I thought it was the abandonment of transcendent truth for an absolute objectivism that reduced the subject to mere object, therefore collapsing all values that would be intrinsic to the subject, hence "moral inversion." But, what I think you mean is that without transcendent truth and subjects participation with it, the field of vision by which we persue "the ultimate object" becomes narrow and constricted, so that the objective world darkens to the extent that we abandon the relationship to the transcendent. In this way, the subject and object, and the sciences of both, reflect upon, and are ultimatly dependent upon, one another. As one recedes, so does the other, and vice versa. So, a radical ojectivism was a rebellion against objectivism properly understood, or a rebellion anainst the foundation from which objectivism can even occur?

This explains where Genesis and other creations stories came from, that is, the formulation of metaphysics in the eye of the ulitmate metaphysic, or God.

That makes me think, too, of the thrinity's relationship to this synthesis and return that the world seems to be, if understand above. By keeping our eye on the "beyond," the many by way of the shakti, or holy spirit, brings about the increasing reconciliation of the two, until the two becomes sane enough to actually fulfill the will of the One.


Ummmmmmm....

Well, if my attempt at thinking was worthless, I will say that the post was a joyous read.


On an unrelated note:

Wow! I just had deja vu. Weird.

11/28/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"freedom's just a nothing word for leftists to abuse"

Sing it Janice!

11/28/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Mizz E said... "I'm shocked! It's past noon already and no comments on one of the 'Best of Bob' posts to date."

It's my Birthday, and I'll post when I want toooo

11/28/2007 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Hmmm. . . get the W's ready.

"everyone is free to think and do as he pleases, with no objective standard by which to judge it."

Adding "do" into that sentence makes a lawless society; removing "do" from that sentence makes it US society. Everyone is free to think as they please, and not to do as they please. The relevant judgment is law.

Political correctness is pernicious, but I've always thought of it as primarily a verbal phenomenon. One cannot use the phrase "illegal alien", but must be subjected to using "undocumented individual". Political correctness still allows you to argue forcefully against legalizing "undocumented individuals", at which point the argument is about substance. I'm probably missing some of what you mean here, though.

I don't think a purely secular society means that all points of view are equally valued. Although such pure multiculturists and moral relativists may exist, they're hardly necessary to a secular society.

If by the atheists "noisily knocking down open doors" you mean the atheists publishing books, I'm not sure why you'd object. The religious publish books all the time, and those doors are certainly open as well. One of Dawkins' points is about those who don't have the freedom to believe what they want: children, who generally believe what their parents tell them, and are nevertheless put into religious categories. Tell me, do you think it's right to call a five-year old raised in the US a "Muslim" when they may have the barest understandings of the precepts of their religion (indeed, may hopefully have the barest understanding of them?)

11/28/2007 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Intitially, the assault on the existence of objective truth seems liberating, as we are freed from the dictates of arbitrary authority. "

Coonified said "I thought it was the abandonment of transcendent truth for an absolute objectivism that reduced the subject to mere object, therefore collapsing all values that would be intrinsic to the subject, hence "moral inversion.""

Hmmm... yeah... but...."abandonment of transcendent truth for an absolute objectivism", I think trying to put Transcendent Truth in opposition to Objectivism by way of 'absolute', is to in some way mishandle each.

Reality IS what it is, despite whatever we please to assert, and I suspect it IS more than we can imagine. Whenever the prof's start off their tedious assaults on reality with their hypothetical 'necessary vs contingent truths' examples such as "You can imagine ice that sinks and flame that freezes...' they are implicitly smuggling in a negation of all Truth, they are asserting that reality consists of arbitrary and disintegrated splats of facts - scattered particulars only, with no Hierarchical structure, no Truth, they are attempting to recreate the world in their image, and it is truly ugly. Reality is truly One Cosmos, no particular could be other than it IS, and all of it is subject to One Transcendent Truth, of which we seek to grasp portions of in Principles.

We can describe Objective Reality in terms of principles within a given context of time and space, and the Principles are Objective, but they aren't Objects - when we speak of Absolute Truth, we aren't speaking of fixed and frozen factoids. To talk of Objectivism (Rand or no Rand), is to be speaking of Reality in an Hierarchical manner, otherwise what is described as objective reality is unavoidably materialistic - nothing but a flat, disintegrated and subjective grasp of random things.

The thing is to remember whenever talking about the stuff of Objective Reality, that other than in narrow controlled experiments, we do not deal with that stuff as stuff only; when we discuss the stock market going up, we are not talking about lines in a graph adjusting upwards, when we talk about people being free, we are not talking about whether there are a set of steel handcuffs latched about their wrists - even when we are talking about handcuff's around their wrists - we are talking about the integration of Principles - timeless (and True) or frozen in time (and false) - interweaved with the particular stuff of reality (which is but the visible aspects of it), and our living choices within them.

Anytime we pluck a bit of Objective Reality from on high, and attempt to pin it to the horizontal table, it is distorted and transformed from principle to particular.

This is why to a thinking person 'Thou shalt not Lie' and 'Thou shalt not Steel' easily covers all crimes, whereas all of the thousands of pages of the IRS tax codes fail to fully describe even a single 'crime'.

There's a reason why the saints and monks tend to giggle when asked to either describe God, the ultimate principle, or asked where to find 'Him' - the moment you do, you are then talking about some particular thing, and no longer that which you intended; which is probably why the description of the divine by negation is used so often.

"I Am that I Am" is probably about as close as you can get?

11/28/2007 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

cryptlife said "Political correctness is pernicious, but I've always thought of it as primarily a verbal phenomenon."

How do you have anything as primarily a verbal phenomenon? As if words don't have meaning, and the choice of words, especially in law and political policy, don't have real and far reaching meaning?


"One cannot use the phrase "illegal alien", but must be subjected to using "undocumented individual". Political correctness still allows you to argue forcefully against legalizing "undocumented individuals", at which point the argument is about substance. I'm probably missing some of what you mean here, though."

Using 'undocumented individual' is already thick with implications, assumptions and dishonest intent - namely to unseat the posibility of that individual as being illegal. You can work away at legalizing such a perp, but you can't grasp and execute the very basis of the law, once you've accepted that definition and negation of honest objective law.

11/28/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

cryptlife said "I don't think a purely secular society means that all points of view are equally valued. Although such pure multiculturists and moral relativists may exist, they're hardly necessary to a secular society."

While Secular doesn't necessarily mean one opposed to Hierarchical Truth (though as Lincoln might have said, it will one day end up as all one way or all the other), but as practiced by those who popularly practice it today - leftists, they do indeed assert a flat materialistic world, unintegrated and unhindered by any morality that is moral.

"One of Dawkins' points is about those who don't have the freedom to believe what they want: children, who generally believe what their parents tell them, and are nevertheless put into religious categories. Tell me, do you think it's right to call a five-year old raised in the US a "Muslim" when they may have the barest understandings of the precepts of their religion (indeed, may hopefully have the barest understanding of them?)"

It is proper to call them a child of Muslim parents, who most probably will go on being Muslim, but is in no way bound to, and also they are in no way incapable of recognizing the flaws, errors, and anti-Reasoning nature of their religion.

Because some parents may endanger their children, or raise, teach, them poorly, doesn't in any way imply that the gov't or some other front for society will be able to do it better, or that it could possibly be proper for them do so - barring the parents chronic and reckless endangerment of that child, the child is their child.

11/28/2007 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Van: Yup.

CL: Islam, properly understood is a totality, not a choice. You should know as well as any that all religion or what is called religion doesn't easily fit in the same bucket.

In Christian groups that do infant baptism, they believe that the choice belongs to the parents - until the child is of the age of reason. Infant baptism is on the side of reason saying, 'we want to raise this Child in the traditions of Christianity', and on the mystical side, it is cleansing the effect of the sins of the world on that still-innocent child.

I've just come from the fountain...

11/28/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

I'm late I'm late for a very important date, but the doozy is here at last:

Happy Birthday Van!

;-)

Antika
she's a real doll
statue of limitations
knows only herself

11/28/2007 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"Belief in Disbelief, or Inside the Postmodern Skeptic Tank" - what a perfect title.

One of my greatest concerns for the church (body of Christ) today is how post modern skepticism has insinuated itself into the thinking of many believers. That is, a drift away from the anchor of scripture in order to accomodate the world's belief in disbelief. I honestly try to assess reality this way - any other is just shifting sand.

11/28/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Thanks Robin!
I'm working on building my lungpower up to blow out the candles... they keep putting more on every year... why don't we get a handicap on these things?

11/28/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Dang, I missed it!

Van -

HBTY
HBTY
HBDV
HBTY!
..AMM

11/28/2007 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

It is the 28th. It is Van's Birthday, and he can post late if he wants to, but he can't pass on this special, triple decker, chocolate/cherry cake with rum and nuts that I just baked.


iiiiiiii♥iiiiiiii
••••••••••••
••••••••••••
••••••••••••

Happy BirthDay Van!

11/28/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Happy Birthday, Van!

11/28/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous mudslide said...

river cocytus:
Yeh..Got the Joel O'Steens (isn't olstein the cow?) figured out by way of the good ass-whuppin that life hands out when we (even as a believer) ignore reality...but even then, I would prefer the peoples be sitting in Joels MetroDome then at some leftist rally...the path is before them and God can work it out...but I do wish that the Joels (who I still like and admire) would remind people that none of the disciples drove a mercedes, nor did they win the lottery (unless of course it was that "crucifixion and death" type lottery, which sounds somewhat like Monty Python...) lastly, shouldn't that be "Deny's the Restaurant"????
Okay, I apologize.......small mind...small humor...and let's stop right there....

11/28/2007 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

link to gutenberg
version of "Orthodoxy"
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16769
link to other works:
http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/c#a80
downloading is legal

11/28/2007 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Ha! A "Classic" Sagittarius!

Happy Birth-Day, Van!

(I hear she puts extra rum in those cakes -- caution!)

11/28/2007 04:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This general subject is discussed at length by Tomberg in Covenant of the Heart. Leftism is yet another example of "...the unfolding morality of the serpent, a morality rooted in the promise, Ye shall be as gods".

11/28/2007 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

The Coonification process is a one of subtle yet surprising changes which happen in slow arcs -- some wider, some narrower.

I for one have arc'd into jazz appreciation. Which is odd because before being coonified I really didn't "get" jazz, despite being a huge rock and classical fan.

11/28/2007 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anon - You have reminded me of one of the most densely packed little statements I have ever heard:

There is a God and you are not Him.

11/28/2007 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nomo: yawn.

11/28/2007 06:11:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

"..the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.... In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men."

Sounds kind of like...."I was for the war, before I was against it"...or.."I am for licences for illegals, but I'm not really for them". In Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm, we see how language is twisted and corrupted to void it of any true meaning and open it up to whatever the prevailing tyrant wants it to mean. The leftist, devoid of a real, rock-solid anchor of Truth and Reality, is sucked into such a matrix easily, often willingly, because it gives them "something to believe in". Paul spoke of those who are "blown about by every wind of doctrine".

.."atheists ironically fantasize about a day when human beings will be liberated from the shackles of religion and be truly "free" to think what they want. First of all, this is analogous to a musician longing for the day when he is free to play his instrument without the annoying constraints of scales, notes, and keys".

Rap, Death Metal and Punk.

11/28/2007 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Tsebring, I think you got it there.

Walt said "(I hear she puts extra rum in those cakes -- caution!)"

...and I think it was all poured into that little heart in the center - went straight to my head!

MizzE, Julie, Nomo, Walt & All - thanks all, it's been a good one!

11/28/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Coonified said...

Whenever I post, the tenets of integral neo-conservatism imply. You know, I'd really like a list of tenets. Seems like it would be useful...

This is what I've come up with so far. Feel free to add and subtract if ya'll care.

--Wilber's twenty tenets

--The differentiation of cultural value spheres I, We, It (Habermas)

--integration of value spheres (Wilber)

--cyclic pattern of disorganization (differentiation), transmutation, and reorganization. Or differentiation, transcendence, and integration. (vertical growth)

--qualities situated in hierarchy with asymmetrical increase of novelty as we ascend

--that ontogeny recapitulates philology, at least in the physical

--that a Good non-local eschatology and telos is.

--that quality and quantity, incidental and accidental, and the intrinsic and extrinsic, love each other in reality, somehow.

--that meaning implies knowledge implies being implies action, and that this applies for stupidity too.

--Polanyi's epistemology as context of the two great sciences, Religion (subject) and Science (object)

--that ascending and descending currents love each other in reality

--that the One is beyond the two, hence "not two," or non-duel.


Well, that's all I can think of right now.


My response to Birthday Man:


...."abandonment of transcendent truth for an absolute objectivism", I think trying to put Transcendent Truth in opposition to Objectivism by way of 'absolute', is to in some way mishandle each.

I imagined transcendent truth not as a particular thing, but beyond subject and object altogether. But more precisly, it takes a subject in order to intuit the transcendent, so "the assault on the existence of objective truth" is at once radical objectivism coupled with the disregard for the transcendent, since the subject is ultimatly disgarded as some kind of cohesion of material, and an authority and creator of itself. From this horrible view, sure, reality seems as simply consisting "of arbitrary and disintegrated splats of facts - scattered particulars only, with no Hierarchical structure," which is exactly why objectivism properly understood--that of not only discovering facts, but actually by way of faith in O--involves the constant process of disclosing what's outside our everyday perception (Polanyi's tacit dimension implied)so that new focal knowledge, or facts and principles, can be discovered. Hierarchy's implied, and obvious.

I never ment opposition.

Guess I have the habit of thinking outloud when I post here b/c I never explain teh context. Sorry.


"I Am that I Am"-- R. Maharshi would say that that's the most perfect definition ever given.

11/28/2007 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yes, God grant you many years, Van :)

11/28/2007 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anon - What's up? I wasn't at you, I was with you.

11/28/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Coonified - I don't think it really matters what R. Maharshi said, God said it.

11/28/2007 09:12:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Hey! It's Van's AprioVerde wheresthecake?

11/28/2007 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Coonified said "I never ment opposition. Guess I have the habit of thinking outloud when I post here b/c I never explain teh context. Sorry."

No need to be sorry that I can see - thoughtful positions and oppositions are a delight - and a perfect birthday present!

That being said...

Afraid I never got much past the color coding and neologistic manufactured terms of Wilber - I'm sure I'm probably missing out on something there, but I can't imagine it's all that much. Doesn't seem to be a lot that you couldn't also arrive at through Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Gibbon, Burke, Lord Acton, Will Durrant, Shakespeare and a few others - and find it written much clearer and more interestingly - and not have to stick to any goofy color scheme.

As far as Subjectivism, in my understanding, it's the idea that the stuff of reality - the Object, depends on your consciousness - the subject, for its identity. In epistemology, the theory of knowledge, those who take a subjective view, don't think that you need to be overly concerned with reality in a search for truth, all you need to do is turn your thoughts inwards upon themselves, to see how things should be, it is you and your mind which shape the reality we perceive - not surprisingly, Feelings, play a big part in subjectivists (if you can find a leftist that isn't a subjectivist, he's rarer than an egg sized diamond) philosophy), to them feelings are more authentic, coming from the real reality of your imagination, they are what is real, and determine what reality should be. Why do leftists persist in supporting communist regimes and economic policies that resulted in millions of deaths? To them, their philosophies were and are correct! It's how the world should be, and those people really shouldn't have died, obviously they did something wrong, the problem came from out there and polluted their fine and preferred vision of what reality should be. It was just rude of all those people to die like that. Just need to try it again, and don't let those people louse it up).

This was where the errors of Descartes led after he repopularized the Cogito "I think therefore I am". But your conceptual understanding doesn't spring from nothing to define and form what you can see - reality comes first (Objectivism), Truth IS, and conforming to that gives you, the Subject, the freedom to discover and integrate what IS into knowledge.

This is the method which can lead to Issac Newton's Physics, derived from a creative observation of reality. Reversing that order (attempting or pretending to) leads to just the physics which poor Descartes attempted to assert - instead of looking out and interacting with Reality to discover what IS, he turned his attention inwards to think about how he thought things ought to be, should be, must be - and declared that it was. It's remarkable to note now, but the leading lights of that period, Rousseau, Goethe, actually tried to promote his imagined laws of physics over Newtons - even to the point of (no surprise) rooting for it as a French physics (multi-culti anyone?), Goethe even tried to oppose Newtons Optics, a study of the nature of Light by... wait for it... sitting in a darkened room and recording his observations of after-images in his vision (psychologically he actually had some interesting stuff - but Physics? fageddaboudit).

I like Ayn Rands pithy summation of it all "Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists."

Anyway, having downed the (couple) Guiness for me, and a Scotch in memory for my Dad, I probably should have stopped trying to type many mucho sentences ago...sorry for eating up the html....

Nighty-nite all!

(and thanks River!)

11/28/2007 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze! Sorry, I think I nodded off in the cake... but it was Gooood!

11/28/2007 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nomo: took that the wrong way. My apologies.

11/29/2007 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Happy Birthday Van!
I'm late for the party, but that always happens when Skully drives.

Plus, my computer is actin' up.
Makin' weird noises. WD-40 didn't seem to help.
Probably needs a new thingamajig.

Anyways, I hope you had fun, Van, and a meaninful B-day! :^)
Wait 'till you try kully's rum cake.
It's to die for (I'm not kiddin')!

11/29/2007 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Van! Hope you have many more....Nice authoritative picture, thoughtful but still obscure except for the fist!

11/29/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

Sun Ra was from Saturn, not Jupiter.

Apparently you find him more saturnine than jovial.

11/29/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

I for one have arc'd into jazz appreciation. Which is odd because before being coonified I really didn't "get" jazz, despite being a huge rock and classical fan.

I think that discovering jazz when I was about fifteen is what prevented me from abandoning theism completely. I lost most of my faith, but I got most of it back later as well.

11/29/2007 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Lisa said..."....Nice authoritative picture, thoughtful but still obscure except for the fist!"

!

Does look like that doesn't it?! Actually chin on thumb, maybe I'll let Rachel retake it, she does like playing with Mom's phone.

Thanks for the B-Day wishes all (Sorry for the Guiness-Scotch ramble, but I was in the zooone)

Ben, maybe if you try to use the Grog on your PC instead of the WD-40 (You'll have to do it when Skully's not watching though - it would pain him).

11/29/2007 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Overall Observer said...

Electricity! that is the great watershed event directing the flow of history. B.E.- before electricity A.E.- after electricity

11/29/2007 06:40:00 PM  

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