Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Cluelesscide of the West (11.29.10)

Just as behind all religion and all spiritual philosophy there is a metaphysical assent -- the affirmation of Being -- so behind materialism... there is a metaphysical negation -- the denial of Being -- which is the ultimate and quasi-mystical ground of the materialistic position. --Christopher Dawson

What if the purpose of education were not simply to receive knowledge (k) but to cultivate the weird light (n) that lights up every man?

As it so happens, this is the purpose of education, so those who run our educational establishment are really just ideologues, propagandists, technicians, mechanics, and clowns. It's no wonder that young adolts are generally more stupid coming out of a liberal university education than they were going into it. Because if you're not exposed to the Light, you will simply assimilate the darkness and try to use it to illuminate your life. I am convinced that this is one of the primary reasons the left is so confused, and why they cannot argue or even think logically. They value education but not the Light from which it derives its value.

Our dehumanized and anti-intellectual university system is obvious to us now, but Dawson noticed the problem some fifty years ago -- that it was becoming quite anti-liberal, anti-scholarly, and sub-literary because sub-religious. This mania "arose among the half-educated and gradually spread both upwards and downwards."

Among other things, the upside-down education of the left emphasizes rights over duties, self-esteem over self-transcendence, and the antihero over the hero, since the former is the authentic nihilist who sees through the sham of hierarchy, eternal values, and first principles. The left worships these monsters because only they have the courage -- i.e., violence -- of the leftist's absence of convictions (see here for example).

A hero, on the other hand, is only heroic to the extent that he risks life and limb for something transcending himself. Since transcendence doesn't exist for the secularist, the hero must therefore be an idiot or a manipulative liar -- as the left regards, say, General "Betray Us." This is why masturbatory leftism and fruitless cynicism go hand in gland.

The religious superman differs from the Nietzschean superman, in that the former "is free from some of the practical implications of morality only by identifying with the intelligible source from whence morality arises" (Bolton). He is free not just to do anything, but to do good, which is the only real freedom -- just as freedom to know truth is the only real intellectual freedom.

Another way of saying it is that the hero is free to defend reality, while the antihero is free to be hostile to spiritual reality and to therefore live in fantasy. Leftist intellectuals are certainly free within the constraints of their two horizontal dimensions (who, because of the tamasic inertia caused by the absence of grace, also inevitably fall into a third dimension, the lower vertical), but in the absence of the transcendent, their freedom doesn't even have the value of animal freedom, since it will always be tainted by a guilt-stained recollection of the Real, or what Joyce called the agenbite of inwit.

Yes, the left has its heroes, but when you scratch the surface, you will see that they are always worshipped for their destructive, not creative, capacities. For example, one of the reasons I was against the MLK holiday is that I knew the left would simply turn it into an anti-holiday celebrating anger, bitterness, envy and division -- the opposite of what a holy-day is supposed to accomplish, which is the facilitation or recollection of wholeness or transcendent unity. The problem isn't with King, at least to the extent that he was simply trying to make America comport with its first principles, which are so obviously rooted in the transcendent, i.e., "all men are created equal." The problem is how the left cynically uses King to advance principles that have nothing to do with American ideals. Ultimately, the left is a revolt against the vertical order, or "defiance of the cause of their own existence," i.e., intellectual cluelesscide.

Why do leftists instinctively and unreflectively embrace the environmental hysteria of the climate change fanatics? It is because in the absence of mature spirituality, they have no metaphysical bullshit detector, so they essentially convert a spiritual crisis into a weather crisis -- the externalization of inward evils. In the hierarchy of being Man is above the environment, not an entity that is reducible to it. Nature is not actually our mother, unless balanced with the transcendent male principle, i.e., immanence + transcendence.

But "liberated" from transcendence -- i.e., the Father -- then we are swallowed up by irrational realm of the Great Mother. Free of the One, we simply fall back into the orbit of the (m)Other. If this were ever completely successful, the result would be, in the words of Bolton, "an opting out of [Man's] place in the cosmic hierarchy, while retaining a dominance over nature based on human powers and techniques alone. Nothing further from truth and stability could be conceived, nor anything better calculated to result in a stampede into the jaws of Fate in its most inhuman form." In other words, leftism in itself is an environmental crisis of the first magnitude.

This reminds me very much of depressed patients who cannot bear their depression and therefore experience it only in the body, i.e., the "physical environment." I evaluated just such a woman a couple of weeks ago. She was clearly profoundly depressed, but was consciously unaware of being so. However, she had pain in nearly every part of her body, in the absence of any objective findings to account for it. Each case is different, but in her case her conscious mind very much existed on a two-dimensional plane that excluded emotional (and therefore intellectual) depth, so that the only way she could "think" about her depression was through the body. In other words, one can no more deny the unconscious than one can pretend one doesn't have a body. To the extent that it is denied, it will simply return in some other misrecognized form.

It is no different with Spirit -- both good and bad. To the extent that it is denied, it will simply return in some concealed form. And this is why, to paraphrase Richard Weaver, all attacks on religion inevitably result in attacks on the mind, for how could it not be so? To cite just one obvious example, if we are nothing more than materialistic Darwinian machines, then there could be no way for us to know that truth. All truth, by definition, is supernatural and could never have come from nature. Nor, for that matter, could goodness or beauty come from nature -- unless nature is not what you think it is.

This is why we can say that all good comes from God, even if indirectly -- which is almost always necessarily the case, given the hierarchical complexity of manifest existence (just as your brain must work through so many layers and systems to accomplish even the simplest goal; it doesn't accomplish its ends by magic -- except that it actually does). Real power is always spiritual power, the ability to make an idea manifest in the material world. In this sense, we are all mirrorcles of the absolute, in that we have the capacity to make the word flesh.

What, you think dirt just becomes flesh and flesh becomes Word on its own? Then you're an idiot and you desperately need to know it, which is the only reason I'm saying it. It doesn't give me any pleasure. Dupree, that's a different story. Nevertheless, extremism in the defense of reality is no vice, just as tolerance in the pursuit of terrorists and other asshats is no virtue.


Robin Starfish said...

"Nor, for that matter, could goodness or beauty come from nature -- unless nature is not what you think it is.

This is why we can say that all good comes from God..."

at work in the fields
of the lord and his flavors
dewy red rose hips

Anonymous said...

Funny...as I fell asleep last night contemplating the etymological meaning of having an "in-sight" the phrase "agenbite of inwit" flashed into my mind.

Coincidence? I think so!

Petey said...

The interior Body of Raccoons is One. Thus, the cooncidences pile up for the Children of Toots.

Smoov said...

You can say that again, Petey.

I'm getting 'em by the barrel full right now.

Really odd stuff -- connections forged across continents over decades that seem wildly improbable -- yet there they are.

Prayer is some powerful stuff.

Anonymous said...

You should pray for help finding your keys now Smoov.

shantisha said...

Especially the key to my place.

mandibular friction said...

Godwin, regarding the environmental fanatics-- the ice is a 'melting, my friend. Just becasue they're stoopid doesn't mean they can't accidentally be right.

I'm glad you brought up that quality of irrepressibility possessed by the unconscious. I feel that God is the same way, which is why I don't worry so much about the supposedly "Godless" people I meet. Assuredly, they have God and the qualities of God kind of ooze out of them in a slant or shy fashion. It's amusing to witness.

River Cocytus said...

If you're so certain about global climate change watch this.

'The ice is melting' - whether true or not tells us little to nothing.

coonified said...

Mandibular friction:

If you think the ICPP is stoopid, just consider the 100 scientist who sent an Open letter to the secretary-general of the U.N.

Here's the central point and consensus of those eminent scientist, whose signatures appear at the bottom of the letter:

"The IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians ( Algorism ) and non-scientist (Media) and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by goverment representatives. The Great-majority of IPCC contributors and reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scentist who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. the summaries therefore cannot properly be resented as a consensus view among experts."

(emphasis on the last line)

They go on to list their contrary opinions.

This whole thing reminds me of the empiror who wears no cloths, with Gore playing the role of the pride-blinded king. What a burdon he is to himself!

julie said...

Tooth grinder, the real point is not weather the climate is changing - of course it is, it always is, regardless of what we do - the point is whether it's worth panicking over. Weather is never static. If it's not getting warmer, it must therefore be getting cooler. Personally, I prefer the warming trend to an ice age.

hoarhey said...

It seems the Global Warmists entrenched themselves around the year 2005, shut off all new information and created a new materialist religion complete with its own High Priests, dogma and penalties for dissention, while the rest of the scientific/political community continued on with new scientific discovery and public policy.
By their own admission and according to their models, the Warmists have reluctantly agreed that complete compliance with the Kyoyoto protocols, resulting in the diversion or loss of tens of billions of dollars in the global economy would have resulted in a change of seven one hundreths of one degree C in 50 years. Not even statistically measurable.
The hysterical breakdown of the girlymon Dutchman Yvo de Boer ( loved the shirt by the way) at the Bali meeting also tells me that this is about politics and emotion rather than science and sober public policy. I refuse to put my fate or faith in the hands of these clowns.
So the only benefit to the world that I can even remotely see the Warmists may have "backed into" would be the ability to wrest a little power from the Middle East in the form of fewer dollars at some point down the road.

Lisa said...

Global Warming as a man-made problem is the biggest bunch of arrogance and hubris by the thickest men! I mean get over it all ready. The earth was fine before man and it will be fine after man if that is how it plays out. Another case of man trying to play God. I wish they'd just get over it already. Boring....yawn.

So, how weird is this: my car battery and my cell phone battery died within a day of each other. Coonicidence or luck, you be the judge?!

Cousin Dupree said...

More from Dennis Prager on how secularism destroys the brain.

maineman said...

"But 'liberated' from transcendence -- i.e., the Father -- then we are swallowed up by irrational realm of the Great Mother. Free of the One, we simply fall back into the orbit of the (m)Other."

Or, as the underclasses in the US found out when the welfare state encouraged men to behave badly, removing the fatherly influence from the home, there was no option but a continuing spiral of dependency and helplessness. The Father tells us how to live, how to cope effectively with the adversity that the Mother can't kiss and make better.

Now, we have a (considerable portion of the) West without a Father, with no rudder, obsessed with the Mother, trying to conjure up a scheme for a worldwide welfare state. That's what global warming is about, worldwide government, global income redistribution, and more dependency and helplessness. Dependency on, whaddyaknow, THEM. Which takes us back to the hubris, now that I think about it.

walt said...

"...the result would be, in the words of Bolton, "an opting out of [Man's] place in the cosmic hierarchy, while retaining a dominance over nature based on human powers and techniques alone."

To my eyes, this accurately describes to basis of public policy and governmental direction in this country, and if I can believe news reports, internationally.

"Nothing further from truth and stability could be conceived, nor anything better calculated to result in a stampede into the jaws of Fate in its most inhuman form."

And this describes the results I see coming from the aforementioned policies and directions. So I can say I agree with Bolton.

Other than that, it's been a pretty nice day, so far.

mainman said...

Well, there is a history, isn't there, of God opening a can of whuppass every now and then to keep us on track. Not that that would be my preferred scenario, but a soft landing looks less and less likely if you ask me. Not that anyone really did.

maineman said...

Actually, my main concern right now is whether or not we're going to have a White Christmas.

julie said...

Off topic but illustrative, here's a pomo take on Tolkien (TW Gerard.

For those interested in more rational discussion about global warming, Donald Sensing has a couple of good articles. Especially that last one (brief and to the point). And relevant to Bob's post, so I'm not completely derailing the conversation :)

Jim said...

“Ultimately, the left is a revolt against the vertical order, or "defiance of the cause of their own existence," i.e., intellectual cluelesscide.”

In the words of Groucho, “Yes they certainly are revolting”.

NoMo said...

Julie - Great pomo LOTR link - very funny. By the by, those "bigoted hobbits" are coming back!. As one who thrilled to spend 12 hours in the theater for the trilogy, I confess to being a little excited.

Magnus Itland said...

Well, the greenhouse effect of CO2 has been known for a couple hundred years at least and can be demonstrated in a good high school lab. But we're still measuring the stuff in parts per million. The sudden panic seem more likely to stem from repressed religion: The wording is amazingly similar to the brimstone sermons of Christian preachers, just with God swapped out for nature, climate, Earth etc.

We have left the virtues of our ancestors and are going down a path of greed, selfishness and conspicuous luxury. Therefore, by unchangeable law, the wrath will reach us unless we repent and return to a life of humility and modesty.

The irony is that I already live the kind of life the lefties want to enforce. They don't.

NoMo said...

From “The Dangers of Living in a Zero Sum World Economy”, by Martin Wolf:

“The biggest point about debates on climate change and energy supply is that they bring back the question of limits.”

“This is why climate change and energy security are such geopolitically significant issues.”

“But if there are indeed limits to growth, the political underpinnings of our world fall apart. Intense distributional conflicts must then re-emerge – indeed, they are already emerging – within and among countries.”

“The response of many, notably environmentalists and people with socialist leanings, is to welcome such conflicts. These, they believe, are the birth-pangs of a just global society. I strongly disagree. It is far more likely to be a step towards a world characterised by catastrophic conflict and brutal repression. This is why I sympathise with the hostile response of classical liberals and libertarians to the very notion of such limits, since they view them as the death-knell of any hopes for domestic freedom and peaceful foreign relations.”

Here’s the whole of the commentary.