Monday, November 26, 2007

Lunacy and Solvation in the Cosmic Funhouse

Thoroughly worldly people never understand even the world; they rely altogether on a few cynical maxims which are not true. --G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Some additional murmurandoms on this book...

It is a truism that the psychospiritual left is the cult of weirdos -- of misfits, the alienated, the bitter, the troubled, the unhappy, the envious, the reflexively treasonous, the generally abnormal (in the sense of celebrating their deviation from the real human ideal). Chesterton offers some insight as to why these people also tend to be secular, since they are too preoccupied with their externalized concerns to focus on reality.

Furthermore, they reject the idea of "original sin" while implicitly believing that our falleness is susceptible to political remedy. In short, politics is their substitute religion through which they hope to heal their own spiritual alienation by means of political action. As such, they miss out on the true oddness of reality, for "Oddities do not strike odd people. This is why ordinary people have a much more exciting time; while odd people are always complaining about the dulness of life."

Chesterton discusses the irrational folly of trying to comprehend the world with reason alone. Polanyi recognized the same thing, but spelled it out in a more systematic way, showing how every act of perception is an imaginative leap of irreducible creativity. As Chesterton writes, "poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea," but "reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so to make it finite.... The poet asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."

And why is it so difficult to have a rational discussion with these hyper-rational people? For the simple reason that their minds are not impeded by the distraction of reality. Think of a watch dog. The reason why a dog can be so effective at guarding your property is that it can exclude everything irrelevant to the task. Similarly, "The madman's explanation of a thing is always complete, and often in a purely rational sense satisfactory," but at the cost of moving "in a perfect but narrow circle."

This foreshadows Gödel's theorems, which proved that a formal system can be complete or consistent, but not both. Thus, the end result of atheistic scientism is "a combination between a logical completeness and a spiritual contraction" -- which is why all these atheistic popularizers amount to much ado about everything. By definition, the more they explain, the more they leave out.

As Chesterton points out, the atheist's metaphysic "explains a large number of things" but not "in a large way." But it's difficult to oppose this "insane simplicity," since it requires not so much "arguing with a philosopher" as "casting out a devil." Such a person doesn't need more arguments but more air, which is to say, more breathing room outside the monomaniacal suffocation of their one Big Idea. This idea is actually a trap, a snare, a "clean, well-lit prison," a disability turned into a virtue. Oh, but

How much happier you would be, how much more of you there would be, if the hammer of a higher God could smash your small cosmos, scattering the stars like spangles, and leave you in the open, free like other men to look up as well as down!

For that is what a human being is: situated halfway between the stars above and the dust below -- or between freedom and determinacy, matter and spirit, security and adventure, animal and God, part and whole, time and eternity. So,

Look up -- look up
And seek your maker
Before Mr. Gabriel blows his horn
--Francis Albert

If the world were as simple as the atheist insists it is, not only would it not be worth understanding, but it would be too simple to have ever given rise to understanders. And it is "certainly more limiting than any religion," the reason being that the properly religious person should have no difficulty fitting the entire world of the materialist into his metaphysic, whereas the materialist cannot allow for the merest speck of religion. Hence, their fanaticism.

For example, in my neck of the woods, the ACLU carried out a fanatical campaign to remove a tiny cross from the seal of Los Angeles County. The cross had been there for some 50 years, and no one had even noticed it before, much less taken it to be an endorsement of a state religion, but there you go. By definition, any reminders of religion must be effaced in order to make the victimized atheist feel comfortable in their narrow fantasy world.

Are there religious people who think and behave like atheists? Of course. But this is not because of religion; rather, the opposite. It is generally because of their materialism -- for example, insisting on a literal reading of Genesis, for what could be more materialistic than that? Thus, as usual, extremes meet: like the religious literalist, "the materialist's world is quite simple and solid.... materialists and madmen never have doubts."

Real spiritual doctrines do not limit the mind, but allow it to soar, while materialistic prose just makes your aesthetic sensibilities sore. I can't imagine how boring the world would be if I were still trapped behind those bars. Even if God couldn't be proven, I would still be a believer, if only because it's so much more fun:

"Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity." The spiritual person situates a Mystery -- O -- at the heart of his metaphysic, which also happens to coincide with the human heart -- which is to say, the higher mind. This mystery grows, even as we illuminate more of it -- just as a flashlight shined into the night time sky only emphasizes the darkness engulfing the narrow beam.

For in the end, "the one created thing which we cannot look at is the one thing in the light of which we look at everything." We share in the light of that central spiritual sun, which cannot be seen but is that by which we see -- and know. On the other hand, the detached intellectualism of materialism is "all moonshine; for it is light without heat, and it is secondary light, reflected from a dead world."

In a word, lunacy.

21 Comments:

Blogger River Cocytus said...

Luna? see. Materialism and -ismit it all con-cystant! Hopefooly isn't canseerus! Right! And left behind in the dust of exit-stance. Dust it seam income-plete? Purrhaps taint the hole kitten-kaboodle.

11/26/2007 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Jimmy J. said...

When a part so ptee does duty for the holos, we soon grow to use of an allforabit. Somedivide and sumthelot but the tally turns round the same balifuson. Can you rede its world? It is the same told of all. If you are abcedminded to this claybook, what curios of signs in this allaphbed!

11/26/2007 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Jones said...

Bob Dylan ripped off that Francis Albert verse on Sugar Baby (Love and Theft)

11/26/2007 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger vogz said...

Lunacy alert: Save The Planet, Kill Your Fetus.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=495495

11/26/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Real spiritual doctrines do not limit the mind, but allow it to soar, while materialistic prose just makes your aesthetic sensibilities sore. "

Ain't it the Truth? Speaking of aesthetic sensibilities, compare what was typical of pre-post moderns with the "Choice of Hercules" between sexy vice (passing herself off as happyness), and modest Virtue. It's an ever present choice that pre-post moderns recognized as difficult and ever present to us, a state vividly expressed as fallen, where temptation exists to do what is not Right and Wise, and which you can't pretend is ignorable. Facing up to that ever present responsibility, results in the aesthetic feel typified in the "Choice of Hercules".

Contrast that with the state of mind and soul fostered by rejecting that ever present responsibility, to one that asserts neither Virtue nor Vice, but only neverending stuff, 'choosing' only between varrying shades of stuff, for no meaningful purpose, and understandably that results in what Munch envisaged with 'The Scream'.


"On the other hand, the detached intellectualism of materialism is "all moonshine; for it is light without heat, and it is secondary light, reflected from a dead world." In a word, lunacy. "

Dead on.

11/26/2007 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Revenant of Sir AC Doyle said...

Once again I feel duty bound to point out a distortion in your thinking; that is, you take "materialists" or atheists at their word. They do not get out from under God so easily.

In reality, the "metaphysic" that people profess out loud or in their heads is a flimsy construct (even yours and mine).

The difference in consciousness between the God-lover and the atheist is not all that great, especially during dream-states at night.

The postures taken by people are of some moment in the development of their lives and souls, but God has and holds us all pretty much alike. The atheist slips his metaphysic every night and roams free with God.

The blindness is only cosmetic.

11/26/2007 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

moriarity said "The atheist slips his metaphysic every night and roams free with God.
The blindness is only cosmetic."

You peddling botox?

11/26/2007 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

"...the atheist's metaphysic "explains a large number of things" but not "in a large way." ...Such a person doesn't need more arguments but more air..."

Truth, Beauty and Goodness, and the Freedom they contain, are on a scale with soul-aspirations; in their "air" I can breathe deeply. To the contrary, when I follow the rational descriptions of atheists, I swear I get a whiff of carrion.

Bob wrote, "This mystery grows, even as we illuminate more of it..." Yikes! It's alive!

11/26/2007 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

From Vogz's link:

"At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet". Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card.

While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal. "Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35."

How better to sum up the loony lefties than with their own lunacy? Their politics, economics and ethics - such as they truly are, pretty much flow, oh so logically, from just that little bit.

Asstounding.

11/26/2007 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van, creepy as it is I'm happy to let these nihilistic fools earn their Darwin awards - provided they don't decide to force the rest of us to follow suit. Therein lies the real danger of this type of zealotry.

11/26/2007 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A religion is sometimes a source of happiness and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak... The great trouble with a religion, any religion, is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fires of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason, but one cannot have both." Hartley M. Baldwin

11/26/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

Permit a retort.

"You attacked reason...It's bad theology." -- Father Brown, an equally fictional character

11/26/2007 08:49:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Hmmm...I've always thought that NOT having children was kind of selfish...at least that's the conclusion one can come to when examining this waltzing batilda's reasoning. How self-absorbed can you get when feeling the need to trumpet your righteousness across cyberspace. Hey, let's take it one step further; breathing produces greenhouse gases, so...EVERYONE STOP BREATHING TODAY, OR YOU ARE A SELFISH EARTH-HATER. FURTHERMORE, EVERYONE STOP DEFECATING AND URINATING AS WELL. EXCERCISING YOUR BODILY FUNCTIONS IS SELFISH AND DESTRUCTIVE TO THE PLANET. But be comforted, brothers and sisters...perhaps there is a secret group of enviro-psychos engineering the extinction-level virus that will solve the problem once and for all.

11/26/2007 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse quoted "..The great trouble with a religion, any religion, is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence..."

Socrates discovered that he was the wisest man in Athens, not because he knew more than anyone else, but because he alone knew what he didn't know, he alone wasn't fooled into thinking that sophistry was wisdom.

Likewise, it is only when you have Religion on high as a part of your Reason, and Logic in its proper place at your feet, and you in the middle, the active focal point, the agent of Reasoning, that you have all in tune and in their proper places, that you can safely, harmoniously channel the power of thought.

The materialist is a fool who thinks that his little 'r' reason is Reason and with it he can banish all threats, his own failings, blind to Religion, he takes his eyes off it and thinks it no longer exists - nothing but intellectual ostrich's. But the scary Truth is that little 'r' reason can't banish Religion, it isn't gone from any one of you - it is still there, but unknown - do you have any idea what horrors can creep into the shadows of the willfully unknown?

Take another look at the excerpt I noted above. The fool who thinks himself wise is a danger. If he gains power with no one of Wisdom to correct him, he's an apocalypse. If the materialist world ever comes fully into being, its inhabitants will pray for something as cute and cudly as shrunken heads and witch doctors to banish the horror of their lives.

11/26/2007 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

do you have any idea what horrors can creep into the shadows of the willfully unknown?

Even a Freudian (the masters of the obvious) can tell you what a huge mistake it is to repress anything on that level and for that amount of time. There are some wonderful monsters who can sneak in through that open door.

11/27/2007 03:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

tsebring said... "EVERYONE STOP BREATHING TODAY, OR YOU ARE A SELFISH EARTH-HATER. FURTHERMORE, EVERYONE STOP DEFECATING AND URINATING AS WELL. EXCERCISING YOUR BODILY FUNCTIONS IS SELFISH AND DESTRUCTIVE TO THE PLANET. "

ISS & LOL!

11/27/2007 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse,
BTW, according to the Heinlein Society, "Hartley M. Baldwin: Physicist who developed the Nova Effect while attempting to prove it wouldn't work..."

Sounds rather apropos, doesn't it.

11/27/2007 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

(Nice photo, Van :)

11/27/2007 06:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pardon my ignorance, but; If one says that Creation is not to be taken at face, then are we not allowing the same to be said of Grace? Wouldn't it be more +R to say We don't nesuhSarahLee understand how God did creation rather than say Creation, as presented, isn't possible??? Or worse, are we not trying to put God in our box of reason??????

11/27/2007 06:16:00 AM  
Anonymous mudslideslim said...

concerning my last post about Creation and Grace...Since I don't mind showing my ignorance (saves a whole lot of effort) if anyone can point where my "O" has "R'd", please, enlighten me, otherwise, I'll be stuck on this island and not sailing toward the blue horizon.............

11/27/2007 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Thanks Julie. My 8yr old came down & announced that she was going to take my portrait... and there ya have it....

11/27/2007 10:03:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home