Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Get Ready for the Future: It is Martyr

Crime in most previous ages had been a localized phenomenon and had apparent and comprehensible causes in the human passions of greed, lust, envy, jealousy, and the like; never has there been anything more than a faint prefiguration of the crime that has become typical of our own century, crime for which the only name is one the avant-garde today is fond of using in another Nihilist context: ‘absurd.’

That was the future orthodox monk, Father Seraphim Rose, writing in the early 1960s. He saw what was coming -- the same Future foreseen by the poet Leonard Cohen:

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul

How do we measure what happened yesterday? What have we done with our scale? I don't pretend to know exactly what motivated the mass murderer, but I think it is safe to say that he felt victimized by someone or something, and therefore entitled to lash out -- as indeed all victims feel entitled to do. I can only say that there will only be more absurd lashing out if we continue our inexorable slide into nihilism, the only alternative to theism.

This is not a "false dualism" unless one views the situation in a perfectly myopic temporo-centric manner, just because we're not "all the way there" yet; one has only to extrapolate from the trends of the past 40 years. In other words, leftist assumptions inevitably lead to nihilsim, and they know it. It's just a matter of time before we live in the time of the martyrs -- not the old martyrs who were true victims, but the misappropriation of that existential category for the purposes of instinctual expression -- i.e., sex, violence, or general envious acquisitiveness under cover of a "progressive agenda" -- for no one is more greedy and acquisitive than the leftist who believes he is intrinsically entitled to the fruits of another's labor. But his victimhood is a convenient way to conceal his soul-destroying envy from himself -- and even to convert what is a soul-illness to a political virtue.

I've seen the nations rise and fall
I've heard their stories, heard them all
but love's the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It's over, it ain't going any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder

It's very easy to discuss evil in the abstract, much more difficult when it is concrete and in your face. As usual, opinions will diverge along the fault and nobody's-fault lines of liberal and leftist, true liberals emphasizing the importance of character and values, leftists arguing that it is just a matter of taking away the guns. The latter is fanciful, while the former, as always, is the only way for mankind to collectively survive, either with or without guns.

It is true that guns don't kill people, but what if they proliferate in a society that has, in the course of a couple generations, elevated the category of victimhood to an exalted status (which simply gives bullies a free pass to be so), indoctrinated people from the earliest age that their feelings are particularly important, and denigrated any religious barrier that stands in the way of the expression of the most base impulse? You shall not judge is one of the Ten Commandments of Nihilism.

Then you have a problem. Again, I don't know much about what happened yesterday, but I'm guessing that the MSM will be quick to determine how the perpetrator was a victim, because they believe that where there is evil, there is a victim -- and therefore, no evil at all. It certainly sounds like this man regarded himself as a victim whose feelings of victimization were sufficiently important to justify homicide. But everyone is a victim if you only search hard enough. Therefore, our sociopathy should be understandable. We're only lashing out at the cosmic injustice of it all.

Make no mistake: if you teach people to think in this disgusting way, you will engender more sociopathy, because people will regard society as the immoral oppressor that has victimized them. Victimhood is the gateway to morally sanctioned violence, always. This is why it is so evil to teach the leftist psychology of victimhood. It is not just soul-corrupting to the individual who buys into it, but toxic to the society, which cannot function if the individuals who compose it regard themselves as victims of it.

The language of the left is always framed in terms of victimhood. Analyze their discourse and there is always a victim buried in it. Always. I mentioned a recent email correspondence with a liberal who greatly admired my book. I told him up front that if he were aware of my politics, he would despise me which he soon enough did. All I had to do was spell out my beliefs, and the conversation literally ended with fuck you, which is where any conversation with a true believing leftist must end -- either there or with bullets and chains. In the polarized leftist world, there are only victims and victimizers, falling straight along party lines. Thus, all of the leftist victimizers are entitled to their bullying because they are victims. I hardly have the power of Al Sharpton, whose only power is the power of victimhood conferred upon him by his supposed white victimizers.

Victimhood is one of the important paving stones on the pathway down to leftist nihilsim. Hitler was a victim. Arafat was a victim. The Columbine shooters were victims. Islamic terrorists are victims. Once you have embraced the language of victimology as legitimate -- instead of the language of absolute values and standards -- then you have no defense against the victims you have empowered. All they have to do is play the victim card, and you can have no response. Only in this way can monsters such as an Arafat receive the highest honor European leftists can confer, instead of being taken out back and shot through the head.

Once you replace the language of absolute values with the psychology of victimhood, then you will have created a society in which its citizens are not mature enough to possess weapons. The weapons will have to be confiscated by the sort of heavy-handed state our founders never envisioned, since they presumed a virtuous citizenry steeped in Judeo-Christian principles. I just have to laugh -- to keep from crying -- when someone says (and it doesn't have to be a moonbat -- increasingly, it is simply what "sophisticated people" believe) that ours is not and was not intended to be a "Christian nation." Of course it was. Our founders were not that stupid. These superior men were the opposite of leftists; they were true liberals, and it is a presumption of classical liberals that one can never use the word freedom without responsibility, or right without obligation, or entitlement without debt.

The reason why the odious civil rights charlatans have done so much untold damage to blacks is because they speak only the language of rights, entitlements, and victimhood. They are not liberals and therefore do not liberate. If for the past two generations they had inculcated their so-called "people" (whatever that means, but the MSM has designated the sociopathic Sharptons and Jacksons "leaders" of a people, so I'm just playing by their rules) with the the psychology of success, they would have rendered themselves obsolete by now. As it stands, their philosophy does not appeal to blacks, unless you are a racist who believes that blacks are incapable of arriving at truth. Rather, their philosophy appeals only to bitter losers, to the con-men who profit from creating more losers, and from guilt-ridden white leftist bigots who can feel good about themselves by giving the losers a pass on meeting standards they quite naturally impose on designated non-victims.

This is how you have a situation in which a Don Imus can have his career destroyed for simply imitating the language of blacks, language that white liberals otherwise celebrate as "art." You could say that most of that music is consumed by whites, which is true. Someone said -- I forget who at the moment -- that white adolescents are probably drawn to this music because they are not provided with virtuous male role models -- indeed, are not even taught from the earliest age that there is something called "manhood" which they must achieve at risk of being a failed human being -- because it speaks to their masculine sexual insecurities.

The grotesque sexual stereotyping of rap and hip-hop culture is the language of boys who are in thrall to what they denigrate. An overly aggressive or verbally abusive man is a feminized man -- which is not to say a "woman," but a man who has never left his mother behind and entered the world of moral manhood. In other words, male energy in the absence of the spiritual telos of manhood tends toward the monstrous. Whatever else yesterday's killer was, he wasn't a man. One wonders if he had one in his life -- not a biological father, which we all have -- for the time being -- but a man. Perhaps we shall see.

As Mark Steyn wrote,

"Apparently, when two hip-hoppers are up on stage doing their 'Who was that ho I saw you with last night?' / 'That was no ho, that was my bitch' shtick, they're just keepin' it real. When a white guy does it, he's just keepin' it real unlikely he'll find gainful employment again. Unless, of course, the networks are now proposing to apply the Imus standard to all performers, in which case the Grammy Awards will last 10 minutes (Best Liner Notes on a Polka Album and Best Tony Bennett Celebrity Duets CD of the Last Two Months).

"I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where a white guy can be fired for racist remarks without his employers having to prostrate themselves before clapped out professional grievance mongers and shakedown artists. But dream on. Two men who slandered the Duke lacrosse players not just as racists but as rapists (by the way, has the Rev. Jackson come through on his promise to pay for the 'victim' to go to college?) are the go-to guys when it comes to judging rhetorical excess in respect of varsity sports teams. Surely even a network president isn't such a craven squish he can go through a meeting like that with a straight face?"

I am often puzzled by this thing called "disagreement." How is it possible that all human beings don't agree with Mark Styen? What is debatable about what he said? To be unable to understand something so elementaty despite normal intelligence, there must be something wrong with the state of one's soul. It's not just that the person "does not understand." Rather, the problem is that the mind willfully "disunderstands" with all of the native intelligence at its disposal. Is this not the formula for the New York Times idiotorial page, which churns out so much intelligent stupidity, day after day?

Steyn continues:

"And saddest of all were the Rutgers basketball gals themselves. Almost a century and a half after the abolition of slavery, 40 years after the civil rights era, a group of young black women who've achieved great success went on TV and teared up because of a cheap crack by an over-the-hill shock jock. As a female correspondent to the Powerline Web site commented:

'Here are these tough women on top of the world and they are so fragile that a remark knocks them down. Hey, why wouldn't they have said 'F--- you? Who the heck is this fool Imus? We are queens of national basketball and there is no stopping us now. We can be and do anything we choose to be or do. . . . We don't need Al Sharpton to protect us. . . . ' But no, they look devastated and say they are damaged irreparably.'

"Only in America: a team of champions who think they're victims, an old white fool who talks like a gangsta rapper and multi-millionaires grown rich on race-baiting who promote themselves as guardians of civility. Good thing there are no real problems to worry about."

Exactly. In a way, these women are much more pathetic than "hos," whatever that word exactly connotes. I assume it must designate promiscuous or sexually conniving women, who do exist. But do we have a word of equal power to designate people who have been taught -- for you must be taught -- that no matter your level of achievement, you are still entitled to be a whining, aggrieved victim?

It reminded me of the baseball game of the week last Sunday evening. It was "Jackie Robinson Day," the 60-year anniversary of Robinson's breaking the color barrier in major league baseball. Once again, what was a noble triumph by an incredibly courageous man has been hijacked by guilty white liberals as an exercise in polarizing self-flagellation. Robinson's accomplishment has now been lost, as he has become a model for contemporary self-inflicted victimhood.

One of the reasons Branch Rickey specifically chose Robinson for his important mission was because of his strength of character. Rickey was looking for the very opposite of a victim, 180 degrees removed from the wimpy Rutgers girls, who, one is afraid to say, must have no earthly idea of what Robinson had to endure, and how much strength of character it took to maintain his composure in the teeth of a world of real racists, not moronic deejays who jokingly imitate the language of black rappers.

If that were all Robinson had to face, then a man of Robinson's caliber would have been unnecessary and we certainly wouldn't need to celebrate him. Any average person could have done it. That's the irony. If you really understand Robinson's accomplishment, you have to realize how far we've come in 60 years. To fail to appreciate it, you have to remain in a state of total historical ignorance and imagine that Robinson was analogous to the sociopathic Sharpton exerting his power to end the career of a moronic deejay. For one thing, Robinson didn't have that kind of power. Furthermore, if Robinson had spoken and comported himself in the manner of a lowlife such as Sharpton, the "experiment" would have failed, as it would have simply confirmed the prejudices of the bigots.

The constant commentary by the race-obsessed Joe Morgan was particularly grotesque. At one point he was going on about how there aren't enough black managers. If it is possible for there to be not enough black managers, then it follows that it is possible for there to be too many. I believe that approximately 12.8% of the American population is black. Since there are 30 major league baseball teams, that means that we should have... hold on, let me get my calculator... 3.84 black managers. Is my math correct? Anyway, there are presently two black managers, so we're off by more than one black! But there have been times that there have been too many black managers -- again, not in my opinion, as I don't really care, but if we apply the Morgan rules. Why didn't he complain about that? I don't know. I guess because he's a jackass. But he sure could play baseball. As could his teammate Pete Rose, who is guilty of far less. Between them, they're a regular martyrer's row.

I am out of time, so I have no way to elegantly wrap up this dispassionate rant. Cue Leonard:

Give me Christ
or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don't like children anyhow
I've seen the future, baby:
it is murder

*****

The proper attitude toward the monsters in our midst.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Diamond Sutra with a Keg Halfway to OM

The hour is late, and I have nothing else to write about, so I might as well expand upon my brief response to the earthbound troll who left his crawling card under cover of dorkiness last night. Reader Pissquatomy wrote,

"I would say the Dalai Llama (sic) is higher up on the spiritual pecking order than Bob. I mean, c'mon -- Bob's very handy with words, does Yoga passably well, but still -- is he directly plugged into The Big OM like the Dalai? Unquestionably, no.

"There are certain others that are 'up there.' Byron Katie comes to mind, as does Eckart Tolle. Bob is a man on the ascent, but he is not yet playing in the majors.

"Bob will have to give Petey a larger speaking role if Bob is to make his bones as a mystic. The whole liguisto-philosophico-politco thing that Bob's into will never a mystic's reputation make."

My initial response was,

"It's called humor -- that was a joke about the Dalai Lama. He is obviously a sweet man.

"Having said that, it would have been a much more serious joke if this country had been founded by Tibetan Buddhists instead of Judeo-Christians. There are spiritual principles that work in one's head -- 'the big OM,' if that's what you call it -- and those that actually change the world for the better. If you want to speak of a spiritual pecking order, then give me James Madison over the Dalai Lama any day. One revolutionized (and helped save, but only repeatedly) the world, while the other can't even help Richard Gere think coherently. (I know, I know, you should have heard him before. Good point.)

"The other DL is harmless so long as people don't put his principles into practice on a widespread scale. There is nothing noble, moral, or praiseworthy about pacifism, for it simply rolls out the red carpet for the wicked to annihilate the decent."

*****

Now, to flesh out my response: first of all, I do not dismiss all of what the troll says out of hand. True, some of it is silly -- even bearing the unmistakable marks of idiocy -- but other aspects are worthy of a serious response. In this regard, I do recognize a glaring weakness in myself, which is that I do tend to forget that I used to believe virtually all of the stupid ideas that I now dismiss. In short, I have no hesitation in acknowledging that I was once an idiot with a lot of idiotic political and spiritual notions, but how best to help the current idiots is the question.

In this regard, intelligence is no defense whatsoever, so never assume -- as many trolls seem to do -- that my arguments are ever based on some version of "I'm smarter or more clever than you," much less that I am supposedly "handy with words." Our leftist looniversity bins are protected habitats for the "intelligent stupid" among us. If anything, intelligence and verbal facility will cause one to stray down a literally infinite number of false paths, since they easily engender pride and arrogance.

I say "infinite," because, paradoxically, the false path is many-branched while the true path is One -- even though the One path is infinitely diverse in its particulars. History demonstrates with great force that intelligence is no barrier to stupidity, and that more often than not it is simply the glossy surface of a bad or evil idea. This is why it is so stupid to suggest that President Bush is "stupid." First of all, he obviously isn't, but the only relevant issue is whether he is correct. How stupid to think otherwise.

What I am saying is that I am no more intelligent today than I was fifteen or twenty years ago, but that only now can I say that I know how to think properly. And although I am now generally able to think properly, it is still an evolving process. For example, in the last week I have had the unenviable task of rereading my book in search of typos and small errors. It is a jarring experience, because parts of the book no longer reflect who I have become in the interim, and if you think I'm hard on trolls, you should hear how I treat my past intelligent but stupidself. I don't even want to get into it.

A number of trolls have criticized what they perceive as a lack of compassion on my part, or maybe even whole. I am not going to try to justify myself, but will only say that some people are allegedly helped by what I write, others not. If I try to tailor the message to those who are not helped, then I will no longer be helpful to those who are helped, so it is a catch 22. Put it this way: I am only writing for those whom I am able to help (including, hopefully, myself), and no one can help everyone. I am not nearly that grandiose, and just grateful that a few people are helped, even "changed." That's all I need and much more than I ever expected.

This is even -- or I should say, especially -- true of psychotherapy. There are many different psychological theories, but ultimately what is most important -- assuming a certain level of competence -- is the relationship with the therapist, the chemistry, the rapport. And I would add that you want your therapist to be higher than you on the "pecking order," however you conceptualize it.

For what is the alternative? Trying to be helped by someone who is unable to even help himself, who has never mastered his own mind, who has not evolved to a developmentally higher level, who doesn't know how to live properly or have rewarding relationships, who hasn't reconciled life's many inherent polarities and conflicts, who blames the external world for his failures, in the manner of a leftist victocrat? You don't just want someone who knows more than you do, but someone who is more than you are. At least I did.

But in our flatland world of postmodern nihilism, it is arrogant and probably racist to say that one person or culture is higher or more evolved than another. I have never given a moment's thought to those who may or may not be "below" me on someone's cosmic scale, because I am too busy looking up to those who are above me. Truly, the flatlanders are the arrogant ones, for if there is no God, they are ipso facto gods, and samskary ones at that. In fact, I would be greatly distressed to learn that I represented the highest point in the universe. Thankfully, this is incoonceivable to me, and I am grateful every day that there are fixed stars in whose light I am able to navigate my life.

Now, as I said, I was once an idiot, so I feel well qualified to critique idiots who believe the idiotic things I once did. But I've thought about this, and there is no way to do it in the gentle and maternal way that these wimps demand. In fact, this feminized orientation to Truth is a symptom of the problem. In my case, the people who helped me most were fierce and uncompromising advocates of the Truth. They did not water down their message for my benefit, but simply put it out there for people to pick up or reject as they wish. There are people I now revere whom I once detested, in exactly the manner that people detest me.

(And trust me, they do -- I had a particularly vivid instance of it in an email correspondence this weekend, most illustrative of how the leftist mind works -- more later. Suffice it so say that we dispassionately regard them as ignorant and therefore misguided, while they passionately regard us as a priori evil and therefore everything which naturally follows from that, ultimately the dehumanization which is a prelude to violence, verbal or otherwise.)

At the same time, I am grateful that my nonlocal higher-ups, had they known about it, would have dismissed my girlish emotionality with the wave of a hand and said, "come back when you can handle the truth. And don't hurry." No compromise. And certainly no anger or resentment, much less a need for disciples or followers. St. Paul was an demanding jerk, which I say with the greatest admiration.

Here is how Sri Aurobindo handled it: "I do not readily accept disciples, as this path of Yoga is a difficult one and can be followed only if there is a special call." In another letter he balked at the notion of trying to create some kind of mass movement, because "for serious work it is a poison.... a movement in the case of a work like mine means the founding of a school or a sect or some other damned nonsense. It means that hundreds or thousands of useless people join in and corrupt the work or reduce it to a pompous farce from which the Truth that was coming down recedes into secrecy and silence."

Useless people?! That hurt my self esteem! Nobody's useless, except conservatives! We're all perfect, just as we are!

And Schuon probably made more bobnoxious statements than even Jesus or Petey: “Contemporary man, in spite of his being marked by certain experiences due to the senescence of humanity, is spiritually soft and ineffective and intellectually ready to commit every possible betrayal, which will seem to him as summits of intelligence.... In a general way, the man of the ‘last days’ is a blunted creature, and the best proof of this is that the only ‘dynamism’ of which he is still capable is that which tends downwards, and which is no more than a passivity taking advantage of cosmic gravity; it is the agitation of a man who lets himself be carried away by a torrent and who imagines that he is creating this torrent himself by his agitation.”

What a mean thing to say! I'm telling my lama!

Needless to say, you do not want a teacher who needs students, any more than you want a therapist who needs patients. One of the worst vibes you can send to a child is that you need them in the way they need you. The child needs to orient himself around someone who is not like him. Whatever his limitations, my father was at least a rock -- and the spiritual, which is to say, vertical, head of the house, which is far, far preferable to so many modern fathers who try to be on the same level as their children. The one doesn't exclude the other, but in a way it does, because a man can never truly unknow what he knows, assuming he knows anything useful.

"Bob is a man on the ascent, but he is not yet playing in the majors." Although I understand what the writer means by this, it is nevertheless a meaningless statement to me. My only concern is that I am actually playing baseball and not, say, soccer. I hope and pray that there are people who play better than I do, just as I assume there are people who play worse. Again, I don't give much thought to the latter, because there is a league for everyone -- little league, pony league, colt league, American Legion -- and you will rise from league to league in the natural course of events.

I personally made it up to colt league, but met my match the first time I batted against an American Legion pitcher. First of all, he looked very serious, therefore a bit intimidating. The pitch sailed at my head, but as I sat sprawled in the dirt a skipped hearbeat later, I learned from the umpire that the pitch had been a strike. In other words, the pitch started at the blessed Gagdad dome, but then darted over the plate -- from midnight to six, inside corner. This was the first time I learned that a curveball can be thrown with such demonic spin that you can actually hear it -- sort of like a mosquito buzzing around your ear. At least I thought I heard it. Maybe it was just the blood rising to my head.

That was the end of the line for me. However, I bided my time, nourishing a secret hope that I would one day return to the field, exact my vengeance, and triumph over these bullies. I didn't play any baseball, but I did stay in shape, waiting for the day I turned 40, in order to join one of those "over 40" leagues. You know, bunch of out of shape old geezers. Yes, the Gagdad frame is slender, but trust me, like Barney Fife, it is all muscle, my friends. Or at least gristle. Long story short, it was even worse. Why? Because these guys were just like me, waiting for the day that they could be the big fish, albeit in a smaller pond, and exercise the old libido dominandi.

So, what is my point? Have I gotten sidetracked again?

I suppose it is this: if you don't like my pitching, find another league. It is a natural reaction to think that the pitcher must be angry to knock you off the plate, but it's just business. There are no hard feelings involved at all. And in fact, he's doing you a favor, for evolution is a function of adversity. You won't get better if he comes down to your level.

And if you prefer the big fat slow-pitch softballs of the Dalai Lama, go for it. I have nothing against softball. Coons play it all the time, except in our case, we keep a keg at second base in order to at least make it a challenge.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Puff the Magic Wizard of Pot, and Other Children's Stories

Those were some outstanding comments yesterday. It just goes to show you what the collective soul power of the coonosphere can accomplish when it puts on its furry transthinking cap. I'm still digesting the comments, but I think I came to a point of clarity that I was already converging upon. In other words, by distorting your comments ever so slightly or sometimes markedly, I can truly say that they told me exactly what I wanted to hear anyway.

Assistant Village Idiot -- father of four fine young men, I might add, each of whom, from what I understand, receives nothing but praise from their parole officer -- expressed it very clearly, writing that "I think if you simply teach the stories of the Bible at first, without trying to relate them to explicit doctrines, they will sink down into the bones of Future Leader. We read Genesis to our boys when they were quite young, trying to give only such explanation as was necessary. We let the stories themselves teach. It is much the same way with the parables and the events of the life of Jesus. They are stories, and in a true Bettelheim effect, teach at multiple levels simultaneously.

"We began many books as read-alouds every night well before the ages they were 'supposed' to be read. We did Tolkien over a six-month period every 4 years starting at age 5, and Narnia in 3 months every 3 years. Let the stories teach."

Let the stories teach. Of course! Let them sink down into the bones. Duh!

A dream from last night, hot off the press: It was in the form of a rather shockingly tasteless public service announcement with a humorous punch line. It looked like it had something to do with rape, as it depicted women being dragged off against their will, with close-ups of terrified faces, as in a trailer for an over-the-top 1950s horror flick. Then the voiceover at the end says something to the effect of, "Take a loved one to the church of so-and-so. It's not as bad as they think." I guess you had to be there, but I did laugh myself awake, which is better than crying oneself to sleep.

Because that is the essence of the problem. I was thinking of the study that came out a few months back, indicating that a mother's religious commitment has no effect on a boy's religiosity. Rather, if they see their father getting up off the couch and dragging himself to church, that makes all the difference. It is apparently one of the reasons why Europe's eventual extinction is being preceded by a brief layover in radical secularville. Their menfolk lost all interest in religion, with the exception of soccer. If that ever happens here in America -- that is, if the silly sport of soccer ever replaces baseball or proper football -- it will be curtains for us as well.

However, I was mildly complaining to myself, "This isn't exactly fair. After all, I wake up each and every morning at 5:00 and enthusiastically worship at the altar of the Vertical Church of the Perpetual Raccoon, or at least I try to." For what it's worth, I really do attempt with all my faculties -- heart, mind and soul -- to have a genuine encounter with O, trancelight it into some peremptorer's new colloquialisms, and spread the godspiel around for the innernauts, with very little in the way of personal gain or profit -- although I shouldn't even hint at such a thing, since the process is so intensely spiritually rewarding for me, and the more I do it, the more I get out of it.

Isn't that enough?!!!

I had to attend Sunday school as a kit, but I couldn't stand it. My dad rarely went -- maybe on Easter -- but even if he had gone on a regular basis, I don't think it would have made any difference, at least if he had only done so robotically, absent a true sense of O-bligation. However, if he had been passionately interested in religion -- now that might have meant something, especially if he had shared that interest with me and my three brothers. But his attitude toward religion was pretty simple, and can be summed up as follows: 1) Only kooks and reprobates don't know that some sort of God exists. 2) You know the difference between right and wrong. 3) Do the former.

In short, not much context. However, in my case, God is the context of everything I think and do, at least when I'm not being forced to do or think about something else. For example, my book is simply the end result of trying to make everything harmonize with a spiritual outlook. I would stare at this scientific fact over there, consider it in light of this metaphysical idea over here, and then will them with my cOOn vision to reveal to me how they related to one another.

So, just as my education is continuous except when I am being forced to attend my dopey mandated continuing education courses, it is quite possible that I would have to disrupt my own church service to attend one. Is this a rationalization?

Obviously.

If there were a good, spiritually resonant church right down the street, I'd go there all the time to pray and meditate. Yesterday Gecko mentioned the beautiful Vedanta Center in the mountains above Santa Barbara, which is thoroughly ecumenical and welcomes all religions. It would be a personal dream to live next door to that place, but in order to purchase a house there, it would require several million dollars that I don't have at the moment. As a matter of fact, I read somewhere that the jazz great Charles Lloyd did just that -- moved near the temple in order to focus on the spiritual life. Frankly, you can't not focus on the spiritual life when you're in an environment like that.

(You might remember the photos from my little trip there last August to visit my book. They had me buried next to a prominent display of one of my cut-throat competitors, the Dalai Lama. It almost appeared as if he were looking down his nose and smirking at my book, in that little condescending way of his. See what I mean?


Hmm. We'll see about that. Figuring the Dalai Lama is a pacifist -- what's he going to do, get Richard Gere to lecture me? -- I fearlessly took matters into my own hands and corrected the karmic situation:


Afterwards I decided to go over his head and obtain a blurb directly from the Buddha, who said -- and I quote -- "One Cosmos bring good luck, just like rubbing my belly."


*****

Regarding providing a context for spiritual understanding, Will expressed it perfectly: "My suggestion is simply to track his developing interests/talents and then feed them while stressing their innate spiritual value. For example, if it's sports, stress the self-discipline, sacrifice, team play, etc. If it's music or science or nature... well, you know what to do. If he later develops an interest in institutional religion, give him a smorgasbord of info as to what's out there. But start with the simple stuff. Whatever he's interested in, there's an attendant natural wonder and sense of awe -- I would say work with that, work to increase it, mature it."

Exactly. No matter what it is, there is a way to spiritualize it if you only look at it in a weird enough way. I'm sure I'll naturally do this in the course of everything from sports, to movies, to homework, to reading to him at night -- which I can't wait to do, as I'm sure I'll get more out of it than he does, as per Van's observations, similar to something Jerry Seinfeld mentioned about doing comedy. Although it is a kind of awesome power to stand on a stage and make people convulse with laughter, he said the feeling didn't match the simple joy of making his children laugh.

And as AVI said, there is no reason to analyze or over-intellectualize. For some reason, I had been hung up on this, as if it would be necessary for me to get all didactic and metaphysical on the boy. Now I can see that the perfect situation would be to find a Sunday School taught by a gifted story teller who knows how to engage the imagination of a child. His theology wouldn't really matter at all, so long as he keeps it to himself.

It reminds me of the things that used to fire my imagination as a child, say, The Wizard of Oz. That film operates on such a deep and unsaturated mythological level that I can still watch it any time it's on TV and not be bored.

But what if some pinhead -- say, me -- were to say, "Son, you see, it's all an allegory of the Great Depression. The black and white world of Kansas is a symbol for America at the time, and the 'Wicked Witch of the West' is the evil capitalist, Elvira Gulch, who 'owns half the county' and rules over the 'little people.' The whirling cyclone is the great socialist revolution that will lift everyone into the false utopia of a worker's paradise, run by leftist charlatans such as the Wizard. The Tinman is the helpless and dehumanized industrial worker who will link arms with the farmer, represented by the Scarecrow, to overturn the capitalist order. But Dorothy proves that a heavy-handed state is not required, as she possesses all the resources she needs to succeed in life. She is the American Spirit, reborn and awakened from the bad dream of socialism, now able to appreciate the simple beauty of America, in spite of the hardships."

"But dad, the book was published in 1900."

"Er, yes. Right.... Have I ever told you the real story behind Puff the Magic Dragon?"

*****

He's showing an early interest in being a cardinal (the fence keeps him from destroying my awesome collection of Harlequin romance novels you see in the background):

Saturday, April 14, 2007

On Having vs. Doing Religion

I guess I'd like to throw out a topic for general discussion. It will no doubt split the coonosphere, which is fine, since we are not followers anyway, which is to say, we are "unorthodoxly orthodox" in our textual orientation -- or perhaps "unspeakably literal."

It has to do with the spiritual education of Future Leader, who will be a two year old in about a week. No, I don't mean he's going to become a Democrat -- I mean it literally. But I don't want him to stay a Democrat, I mean two year-old, which is why he needs a needs a solid spiritual foundation.

The problem is, there are so many options, none of which is ideal and each of which will represent a compromise of one sort or another. I suppose that each of us has the idea of the "perfect religion" in our head, but things are obviously quite different on the ground -- the intransigent extra-head environment -- the reason being that religions tend to be practiced by human beings, and we know all about them. Crooked timber, and all that.

This topic actually does converge with the subject of our recent posts, because at the heart of this matter is the question of language and its relation to the Divine.

Obviously, there is no idea so kooky that it hasn't been maintained by one philosopher or another. In this regard, the linguistic philosophers were correct in insisting that language is riddled with so many unexamined traps that its unreflective use is problematic. But not fatally so. For example, they employed language to inform us of this truth, and we do get the point. You can stop annyoing us now.

The reason why linguistic philosophy has now been discarded except among certain professional philosophers is that it is a spiritual and intellectual dead end, another case of an abuse of language invented for that purpose. It became very adept at aggressively tearing down texts -- at catty catabolism of dingy dogma, so to speak -- but was incapable of building anything to replace these torn and tattered texts by its own lights.

You probably all know someone like this -- a radical skeptic or "devil's advocate" who can critique but not create. They are prone to a kind of omnipotently aggressive "anti-knowing," which is not even on the level of "minus k," which involves positive but partial or erroneous knowledge, so at least the person is trying to build something. But the cynical anti-knower is like a surgeon who can make beautiful incisions with an unwavering hand and spot tumors with a searching eye, but not stitch you back up or restore you to health.

Several of you immediately noticed with your cOOn vision that this is the sadly circular mental mode of our recent troll -- who really is sad, the manic superimposition of the unholy psychological trinity of arrogance, contempt, and triumph notwithstanding. His mind can focus on some narrow point at the cost of underlooking the overall vision. This is how an inferior mind may be made to look superior in his own eyes. It is something that anyone can do with a little education and a lot of envy.

Is this not how inferior contemporary minds presume themselves superior to great religious minds of the past -- as if these were not serious and gifted men who are worthy of our respect and veneration? The other day, the same coarse-minded troll dismissed one of the greatest souls who ever drew breath as "antiquarian."

But this is precisely where philosophy went off track in the 20th century. To study philosophy is to immerse oneself in the inner life of a great soul grappling with issues of ultimate concern. Naturally they do so with the linguistic tools and concepts available to them at the time, but this does not make the genius using the tools any less of a genius. You must intuit the capacious spirit behind the language, not get lost in the words.

This is why a Plato, an Augustine, or a Schopenhauer will always be relevant to us, but the linguistic analysts of the mid-to-late 20th century will go the way of the logical positivists. Yes, the latter may have succeeded in their quest to unify knowledge with great restrictive clarity, but at the cost of eliminating the 90% of what humans know but cannot prove with the narrow methods of science. Who can claim to be a philo-sopher and exclude the ardent love of wisdom a priori? For what is love? What is wisdom? The inferior mind can make mincemeat of these fuzzy words, just as it can dismiss God, or the sacred, or marriage, or St. Augustine, with the wave of a hand.

In short, there are philosophies and philosophers who feed the soul, which means, ipso facto, that we have one, irrespective of the word you use for it. But feeding is not something you can do once and be done with. Yesterday I mentioned that both psychoanalysis and Christianity take seriously the idea that our minds are embodied. One thing Bion added to the Freudian stream is that human beings are inherently epistemophilic, meaning that we come into the world seeking and loving truth. Ah, but what is truth, asks the skeptic guided only by his pilate light -- thus turning the solution into a problem, like a cognitive auto-immune disease that aggressively kills the host it is there to defend.

Bion's view actually calls for a dramatically revised metapsychology, since Freud was a scientific reductionist who maintained that our minds are essentially the illusion-prone epiphenomena of an animal seeking to discharge instinctual tension.

But how can it have escaped anyone's notice that Freud was a passionate truth seeker and that if his ideas were true, then they were false by dint of his own assumptions? In other words, if our mental life really represents nothing more than the compromises and self-deceptions required to make animal instincts compatible with civilization, there is no reason to believe any truth at all, much less Freud's. We are all instinct-bound animals, so we might as well stop flattering ourselves and party like it's 9-10.

Many psychologists took up this thread in the 1960s, and this attitude still prevails in much of what passes for psychology today. As Dr. Sanity noted the other day, it is how we end up promoting all the leftist ideals of self-esteem instead of self control, feeling over thinking, wanting over deserving, and entitling over earning.

Our minds are designed to metabolize reality so that mental growth may take place. And although this is obvious, it is equally obvious that if one were so inclined, one could take a linguistic jackhammer to this statement and show it to be false. Like Future Leader -- who is again, two years old, so it is age-appropriate -- these one-dimensional unthinkers can deconstruct anything but can construct nothing, for if they do venture to construct something, their own spiritual I AM-mune system would reduce it to feathers. Thus, as I said the other day -- and this is not a "false dichotomy" but self-evident -- either the mind is truth, or it is nothing.

As Schuon has written, unlike any mere animal, the human being is composed of intellect, will, and sentiment -- or of truth, virtue, and liberty. Could a statement be more lucid and accurate? No, it could not. It is not possible to use words in such a way that they can be more accurate than this, for the words are not the reality, only signposts of a reality that must be experienced.

Now, what if I make an equally clear statement about reality -- oh, I don't know... how about this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I and I assume most Coons do not experience this as vague or abstract, but a luminously clear statement describing a reality we know to be true.

But this is not just a matter of creed or faith, of simply believing the unbelievable because we are enjoined to by our religion. And believe it or not, this does get back to the issue I mentioned at the top -- for I could also take the first line from, say, the Isha Upanishad, and it is equally metaphysically clear and on point:

In the heart of all things, of whatever there is in the universe, dwells the Lord. He alone is the reality. Wherefore, renouncing vain appearances, rejoice in him.

Or the opening line of the Mundaka Upanishad, equally obvious and clear and easily trancelighted into your own tradition:

Out of the infinite ocean of existence arose Brahma, first-born and foremost among the gods. From him sprang the universe, and he became its protector.

Or how about the Yoga Sutras, by Patanjali? Who but a deconsructionist with too much time and tenure on his hands could argue with the following: The right kinds of knowledge are direct perception, inference, and scriptural testimony. Wrong knowledge is knowledge which is false and not based upon the true nature of its object. Verbal delusion arises when words do not correspond to reality.

Or the opening paragraph from Sri Aurobindo's philosophical magnum opus, the Life Divine:

"The earliest preoccupation of man in his awakened thoughts and, as it seems, his inevitable and ultimate preoccupation -- for it survives the longest periods of skepticism and returns after every banishment -- is also the highest which his thought can envisage. It manifests itself in the divination of the Godhead, the impulse towards perfection, the search after pure Truth and unmixed Bliss, the sense of a secret immortality. The ancient dawns of human knowledge have left us their witness to this constant aspiration; today we see a humanity satiated but not satisfied by victorious analysis of the externalities of Nature preparing to return to its primeval longings. The earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be its last -- God, Light, Freedom, Immortality."

Ah, the Coon battle cry!

I could go on, but I think I get my point. Whatever it is.

Here is the nub of the gist of the heart of the issue, which I will have to expand upon tomorrow. It is easy to misunderstand what I am about to say, so I'll just say it and then apologize later: at a certain point a few years back, it seems as if I stopped "having" religion and instead began "doing religion."

Now, as I said, this is very easy to misunderstand, so let me make it clear: this does not in any way mean to say that I invented a religion, much less that there is something in what I say that should be taken to mean that the "doing" obviates the "having" or the "following," in that I will always bow before my spiritual superiors, in whose light I live and whom I cannot imagine surpassing.

It is very much analogous to studying psychology in graduate school. There too I was a follower, but at some point along the way, something "clicked" -- or perhaps "cracked," allowing for the troll point of view -- and I began "doing psychology" rather than following it. There are certain names that will always be important touchstones, but nevertheless, I "go my own way" and am part of no school.

However, at the same time, I am not "eclectic," much less a cafeteria-style new-ageist picking from this or that plattertude to create my own self-styled heresy. How to explain? Don't leap to any coonclusions just yet. To be continued.

*****

Nice little primer on deconstruction and postmodernsim at American Thinker, showing how drearily satanic they truly are. Here's the conclusion:

"It seems, then, that the ultimate goal of deconstruction -- and postmodernism and poststructuralism -- is to undermine the foundation of the West, and one of the foundation stones of the West (and increasingly in other nations), the Bible....

"Deconstruction is giving birth, but to what? In a slow way, one drop at a time on the forehead, postmodernists are destroying the very West that gives these same hyper-radicals and hyper-skeptics the freedom, prosperity, and leisure time to use their weapons against Western foundations."

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Few Words About the Unspeakable

I wonder what motivates these vertically challenged trolls to comment here, when it is obvious that they have not digested what for them is the unmunchionable truth?

Needless to say, Wittgenstein's thoughts about the impossibility of metaphysics are of no consequence to a Coon. I mean, W. is entitled to his opinions, just as Dr. Qi is entitled to mine, but most of the ideas of linguistic philosophy are so low on the vertical scale that they needn't detain any serious seeker. Again, like deconstruction, what is sound in it has always been known to the intellectually awakened, while what is new is mostly wrong, especially when elevated to an overarching philosophy.

And again, there is no purely secular philosophy that doesn't have at least a few useful nuggets of truth lodged in it, but elevating a partial truth to the totality is generally at the root of all bad philosophies -- as is true of most heresies. For example, some Christian sects overemphasized Jesus' humanity, others his divinity. One of the functional effects of Trinitarian thought was to check the tendency of the mind to default in one static direction rather than tolerating an unresolveable -- but generative -- state of dynamic tension.

Yesterday a troll suggested that I had engaged in "doublethink," which is what spiritual paradox looks like from down below. "From above," paradox is a fruitful way to think about ultimate reality, as indicated, for example, by Zen koans or by the endlessly provocative paradoxables of Jesus. But to suggest that Jesus' playful and ambiguous use of language made him a postmodern deconstructionist is strict kooky talk.

The fashionable grooves in which the minds of linguistic philosophers endlessly circle made their way into psychoanalysis at the very time I was studying it in graduate school, so I am (or was before flushing) well familiar with them. This was via a fellow named Lacan -- not surprisingly, a Frenchman. Fortunately I was eventually rescued by Bion, whose capacious metapsychology easily subsumes the linguistic poopspeaks, and that was that.

Lacan's intellectual cantribution to psychoanalysis was the notion that "the unconscious is [structured like] a language." Whatever. I imagine Lacan is still very popular in France, since Euros are intrinsically confused (with obvious exceptions), being that they no longer have any religious "cognitive inoculation" against loony uncoony tunes and ideas. But he is irrelevant to psychoanalysis at its leading edge, which in my view involves the interface of attachment theory and neurodevelopmental psychoanalysis, i.e., the study of internalized mind parasites from early childhood.

Speaking of mind parasites, no disrespect, but Wittgenstein was a very sick man -- depressed, at times suicidal, and if I recall correctly from his biography, intensely schizoid, i.e., incapable of normal human relationships -- and it goes without saying that he would not have believed what he believed had he received proper psychiatric treatment, but such treatment was not available at the time. It really wasn't until the 1970s that psychoanalysis began being able to explain and treat these types of deeper character disorders -- e.g. narcissistic, schizoid, and borderline personalities.

I am not suggesting that a mentally disturbed individual is incapable of arriving at truth, for any idea must always be evaluated on the merits. However, at the same time, it is perfectly obvious to a clinical psychologist that certain philosophical and political inclinations result from certain pathologies, which is, after all, one of the reasons people passionately believe things that are intrinsically stupid.

In any event, it is no big surprise that a deeply schizoid man would be attracted to the idea that language is just a kind of logic-chopping tool, since he himself was so detached from flesh-and-blood reality -- as indeed are a fair number of philosophers and academics in general, who live in their abstractions and not the real world. There is a reason why there are plenty of neo-Marxists on college campi, but no man who actually runs a business is a Marxist -- at least for long, as reality has a way of rooting out such dysfunctional ideas.

The unhinged skepticism of deconstruction achieves the opposite effect intended by its "progressive" proponents. That is, if we cannot judge the merit of competing ideas by assessing their relative truth value on an absolute scale, then either everyone will have their own private truth or truth will be enforced by the state or some other powerful collective. Our recent visitor suggests that I am a deconstructionist or that the philosophy of deconstruction is somehow compatible with classical liberalism. But as Stephen Hicks points out, it is no coincidence that the leading postmodern theorists are all left -- and usually far left -- in their political orientation, for the cognitive pathology of the one is reflected in the nonsense of the other.

Ironically, although the discoverer of psychoanalysis, Freud, was hostile to religion, it so happens that there is a deep convergence between psychoanalysis and Christianity, for at the heart of each is the notion of embodiment. Both take very seriously the idea that we live in a specifically human body, from the moment we are conceived until the day we die. In many ways, psychoanalysis is the study of the "embodied mind," just as Christianity is the religion of the "embodied word."

As such, Christianity implicitly provides a profound linguistic philosophy. In chapter IX, The Hermit, our Unknown Friend gets into a very clear explanation of how Christianity elegantly resolves certain linguistic conundrums in a way that no secular philosophy can. But as always, since its primary concern is salvation and not intellectual diversion for unfertile eggheads, the ideas of the Bible are presented in such a way that the average academic pinhead will neither understand (i.e., through an activated gnosis) nor be attracted to them.

I'm sure you all remember the derision President Bush endured from the intellectual elites when he said that his favorite philosopher was Jesus. It matters not that a single wisecrack of Jesus contains more wisdom than the unwise crock of a philosophy department in a leftist university. They are sophisticated, and we are not. Again, whatever. Let the braindead bury the souldead.

Unknown Friend begins with an account of the various antinomies that have always divided philosophy, because of the very structure of the world and of our minds. In general, this or that philosopher attempts to resolve the antinomy by coming down on this or that side, which never works; rather, this is simply a case of "word magic," i.e., making some part of reality disappear through a sleight of language.

Hrmph. It's only 5:45, and some ominous sounding proto-language is already emerging from Future Leader's bedroom, so I'm not sure I'll have time to discuss the whole chapter.... Let's see if I can get him down for another 45 minutes....

So far, so good.

I should say that coming down on one side of an antinomy "always works," in the sense that there is no mere mental argument that can't be countered by its opposite. In other words, so long as you are on the mental level, anything you can prove can be equally disproved. While this should spell the end of the prestige of the lower mind, many otherwise intelligent people get stuck at this level, either believing nothing or believing in some limited philosopher such as Wittgenstein. It doesn't matter who the philosopher is, as the deeper purpose of a secular philosophy is to serve as a sort of "transitional object" for the purposes of security, or predictablity, or to appear wise in one's own eyes.

But as Schopnhauer wrote, "For the man who studies to gain insight, books are merely rungs of the ladder on which he climbs to the summit of knowledge, but the many who study in order to fill their memory do not use the rungs of the ladder for climbing, but take them off and load themselves with them to take them away, rejoicing at the increasing weight of the burden. They remain forever below, because they bear what should have bourne them."

Grrrrrr! This is impossible. He's up. We'll have to continue this later.

On to some light denkeeping, which I can do with "la-la-la-LA, la-la-la-LA, Elmo's World" echoing in the background.

I have been invited to join Pajamas Media, which I suppose will bring more attention to our largely secret gnocturnal world. As such, I was rather ambivalent about the matter, but consulted with two most senior Coons -- one of whom is known to you but prefers to operate in anonymity, "behind the veil" -- and got the go-ahead.

My main concern is exposing these ideas to those who are bound to mis- or disunderstand them. Naturally, some people will stagger in from the k->old and be pleased to drink from the pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, while bitter flatlanders such as Q will pompously barge in with their narrow agendas and try to turn this into an argument clinic, or accuse me of operating the blog as a form of ego grandiosity as opposed to my benign Coon mercy, which tends to be infinite but not without a dollop of sternness. As such, I'm guessing that I will be relying more upon my fellow Coons to set these folks straight.

Remember, a Coon is never angry, much less querulous or petty. True, out of a Coon's keyboard goes a sharp sword with which we smite the trolls and correct them with a rod of iron. But we always do so in a laughty atmasphere of affable gallantry, which is to say we good-naturedly mock them, for being laughed at is the one thing the pompous cannot tolerate.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What We Have is a Failure to Communicate

Now, there was a time not too long ago that I wasn't a writer, and I would still never presume that I am. Rather, I am always struggling to reach the level from which language arises -- or more properly, descends.

In fact, that's the hard part. We're not just talking about the distinction between "facts" and "prose," or information and rhetoric. Rather, especially when writing about spiritual matters, one must always pursue the impossible task of trying to make language conform to the object -- or Subject -- under discussion, an inexhaustible subject-object that must always elude exact description, even though it can definitely be described with exactitude.

This presupposes an ability to clearly perceive an object that transcends the physical senses. But once perceived, there is still the matter of avoiding using language in such a way that one distorts, misleads, or misinforms. Much "God talk" is just so much worthless and annoying pneumababble at best; even if technically "accurate," it is undermind and certainly heart as a result of the absence of radiance, beauty, rhythm, harmony, majesty, and other linguistic categories that transmit knowledge of God in a more direct and unmediated way -- very much in the manner that music conveys information about the very same object that it is.

In other words -- or notes -- a great work of music is at once a profound object and profound information about the object: ultimately, there is no describing the music outside its own unfolding description of itself. Thus, the musical object simultaneously elucidates and demonstrates, as do all objects.

That is, objects always "stand for something else," and are therefore language even before they are objects. No, they are objects because they are language, a language that may be read and understood by subjects. Put another way, if objects were merely objects, not only would knowledge of them be impossible, but there could be no subjects in the cosmos. There would be nobodies to say nothing about anything, just like a leftist humanities department.

This is what proper language of God should accomplish: to make spirit experientially "present" even while discussing or describing it. To the extent that words fail to do this, then they will remain on the plane of mere mental knowledge, or of (k). When writing or thinking about God, we should always be in the mode of O-->(k). (An important exception apples to revelation, which is a form of "special k" that we will discuss later.)

Especially when commune-icating with and about God -- one might add, "obviously" -- there is the spirit and the letter, and one can never do so without being especially mindful of the former. For example, this is why atheists are not only wrong about God, but not even wrong, for it cannot be ungnosised that their coarse language is inadequate to the lofty subject it can never reach. Truly, they are like the tone deaf person who dismisses musical beauty just because they can neither hear nor express it.

Put another way, if one truly understands and appreciates the capability of language to store and convey immaterial spiritual qualities, this poses an insurmountable obstacle to atheism, if only because there is no materialistic/Darwinian theory that will ever account for this mysterious property of language. The moment a Darwinian struggles to express his ideas in an elegant and aesthetically satisfying way, he is no longer a Darwinian. To the extent that he believes that truth is what one is ethically bound to believe -- just as good is what one is obligated to do -- he is no atheist.

Let us stipulate what is not a tautology -- that Truth is truth, and that it is mankind's unending task to make the one conform to the other. Whenever anyone -- even an atheist -- says anything, he is presupposing a universe in which a thing called "truth" may be encoded and passed from mind to mind through a medium called language. These are huge presuppositions, and only serve to re-emphasize the crudity of the atheist mind. Unless an atheist is an abject nihilist, then he doesn't have the courage of his absence of convictions.

For example, what can it mean that a thing called truth may be encoded in vibrating air molecules or squiggles on paper in such a way that they "cause" a state called "understanding" in the consciousness of another? What kind of causation is this? And is there any materialistic philosophy that can account for it? When you deeply comprehend a profound truth, is it really no different than kicking a can, or is this just so much philosophical cant that should have been given the boot long ago?

Consciousness is the interior of the cosmos. Like the exterior, it has form, structure, content, laws, levels, and modes. You might say that these more or less stable (but subtle) characteristics are the "exterior of the interior," just as the platonic realm of pure mathematics (or biological archetypes, for that matter) represents the "interior of the exterior" cosmos. Ultimately, both the interior and exterior converge upon, and are reflections of, the One.

In other words and numbers, there is a reason why the equations that describe the deep structure of the physical world are beautiful -- and in fact, could never be ugly, or "less than beautiful." Such a thing would be strictly inconceivable in any ponderable universe (which any universe must be), just as accurate information about God could never be ugly (one a priori reason why we know that the Islamists, Chopras, and Sharptons are so misgodded).

The philosopher of science Stanley Jaki refers to the problem of "a facile acceptance of phrases and perspectives which are imposed by the consensus as starting points with no further questions asked." In the end, one way or the other, the philosopher "will have to bring in through the back door the very objects the use of which his starting point failed to justify" -- e.g., objects infused with truth, and a consciousness that ardently seeks to understand truth and cause it to exist in other truth-loving subjects.

Most philosophies are intellectually closed systems, the conclusions of which are truly "foregone," as they are packed into the hidden assumptions with which the philosopher has started his errant quest. Needless to say, the growth of knowledge can only take place in an open system, in which truth is conveyed from mind to mind in the manner described above.

Or let us say that the mind is either an open system or a closed one; if the latter, then knowledge and truth are impossible; if the former, then knowledge involves "truth calling out to truth." It would also mean that the "book of nature" is indeed just that: it is full of truth just waiting to be unpacked by minds steeped in truth -- no, that are truth.

To emphasize the point: either the mind is truth (among other things, including beauty) or it is nothing. And either nature has an Author whose hands are all over it, or nature is an atheist who conveys nothing to nobody, so who cares?

The first and last Truth is that truth inheres in both objects and the subjects who understand it and cause understanding in others. As Jaki points out, "This truth cannot be evaded, let alone refuted, because the refutation itself is an act of communication, an implicit falling back on [the] objective means whereby alone can other [minds] be reached."

*****

Damn, I was just about to finally stream into my linguistic deustinocean, and now Future Leader is stirring. I'm still trying to find the time to find the words to rescribe what they are, to say the most. Mañana. In betweentime, don't let the headbugs bite!

The jazz musician goes onto the stage hoping to have an encounter with music. He knows that the music is there (it always is), but this meeting depends not only on knowledge but on openness.... It is a discrimination against mechanical pattern, against habit, for surprise, against easy virtuosity, for saying more with less, against facile emotion, for a certain quality of energy, against stasis, for flow.... [It is] an attempt, over and over, to reveal the heart of things. --Keith Jarrett

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My God Can Beat Up Your Godlessness

First of all, a collective thank you for the chorus of medical advoices, everything from herbs & spices to medical intuitives to inclined beds. I've had no time to carefully sift through or coonsider any of it, but I will. Although I am an unreserved advocate of the white man's medicine, I am not at all averse to alternative approaches as an adjunct. As a matter of fact, the vascular physician I consulted with yesterday thought I might even be too drug happy. That is, with my diabetes, I am extremely proactive, and take certain medications before it is even necessary to do so.

But not only did he find absolutely nothing wrong with the sturdy Gagdad vascular system, he was extremely impressed with my diabetic control. He said it would probably be another couple of months before he would see a patient with an A1c in my range (mid 5s). (This is a critical number for diabetics, as it indicates the average blood sugar level during the previous three months. It's very difficult to get A1c under my range without risking dangerous lows.) My goal is to exert strict control until the day they either come out with a pump that mimics the pancreas (which will probably be less than ten years) or perfect beta cell transplants or regeneration.

(Speaking of the latter, just look at the shockingly deceptive way this leftist writer handles this good news for diabetics, taking a gratuitous swipe at President Bush while misleading the reader that this breakthrough with adult stem cells has something to do with embryonic stem cells [now edited out, but still containing a misleading reference to a non-existent "debate" in Washington about adult stem cells]. This is why I despise the left: the agenda always comes first. Truth is of no consequence whatsoever.)

I don't mean to get sidetracked into a post about my various symptoms, but I should have been more specific. It's not the cold resulting from the vasoconstriction that bothers me so much, but I started having the opposite problem alternating with it -- excessive vasodilation in the extremities. Whereas the cold is just cold, the vasodilation is kind of uncomfortable. It's like the capillaries can't decide on a nice middle range. But the doc assured me that it was clinically insignificant and even subtly implied -- or at least I picked it up with my Coon scent -- that Dear Leader was a bit of a hypochondriac.

But as I have written before, Dear Leader does indeed have many mysterious and diverse symptoms that come and go, not all of them unpleasant, including the ability to wake up blogging out of a sound sleep.

*****

Now, what is the best philosophy? That question popped into my noggin this morning, and it does have direct relevance to what we were discussing yesterday regarding language. For the best philosophy would necessarily encompass the best linguistic theory, if only because any philosophy must be stored and transmitted in the medium of language. Therefore, if your philosophy of language is off, then your entire philosophy will be built on sand.

Put another way, is it possible for human beings to build a philosophy on "solid rock," so to speak? To actually arrive at the "One True Philosophy" that cannot not be true? Yes, I believe so -- and believing so is one of the things that immediately sets one apart from any middlebrow postmodern lie-roasted wackademia nut. Contrary to the caviling Dr. Qi, we have no objection whatsoever to any postmodernist who believes in absolute Truth that may be known by the naturally supernatural intellect. I fully acknowledge my ignorance in this arena, and will be grateful if Dr. Qi can point us in the direction of any such postmodernists.

Speaking of the pretentiously vacuous Dr. Qi, he keeps suggesting that there is something valuable about postmodern philosophy that has eluded Coons, something that would presumably contribute to our wisdom, our happiness and our salvation. But the evasive rascal won't say what it is. Rather, he simply critiques our views, which in itself sounds suspiciously postmodern, since postmodernism is an intensely skeptical and even paranoid enterprise -- after all, it does advocate the "hermeneutics of suspicion" -- that knows only how to question but not build anything meaningful or enduring. If it has built something meaningful -- a timeless religion, a precious institution, an unsurpassable book of wisdom -- I would certainly like to know what it is, for I am no an ideologue -- I take truth where I can find it, and I only advocate "what works" -- i.e., what is spiritually efficacious.

You will notice that the left generally tears down or appropriates but does not build, for the very reason that it is infused with the cynical spirit of postmodernism. For example, instead of attacking a wonderful institution such as the Boy Scouts, why doesn't the left simply invent ther own version of the Boy Scouts, built around leftist principles instead of traditional manly virtues? It is my view -- and I assume the general view of Coons -- that the Boy Scouts is not intended to be a place to scout for boys. But if a leftist wants to have an institution that teaches impressionable young men that homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable lifestyle, then why not form such a group? Why the intolerance toward those of us who believe that adolescent boys -- because of cosmic laws inscribed in nature -- require noble and virtuous heterosexual male role models in order to become proper men? The very notion that "obeying the cosmic law" has something to do with so-called "homophobia" is strict nonsense.

Perhaps Dr. Qi will correct us with some actual examples instead of merely critiquing our view, but it is my opinion that postmodernism, as a general movement, has contributed nothing to human wisdom, happiness, or virtue -- which, along with salvation, are all that really counts in a philosophy. I cannot think of any postmodernist idea that I rely upon to govern my life -- or, if there is such an idea, I am quite certain that it is better expressed in one of the great revelations. But the entire idea of "revelation" is completely unacceptable to postmodernism. Rather, there are no privileged texts, much less timelessly true texts authored or inspired by an ontologically real transcendent source.

I don't care what religion you are, but assuming it is rooted in an orthodox vertical revelation and "extended" in a sound horizontal tradition, it is going to be profoundly true and truly profound in a way that no postmodern philosophy can ever be. Christianity, Judaism, Vedanta, Taoism, even Buddhism -- each of these embodies a core of timeless wisdom that far surpasses anything postmodernism has ever produced. Michel Foucault will not be read in 1,000 years. In fact, I know of no serious person who reads him today, except as a perverse curiosity. Just look at how the man lived -- which we will not get into here, since this is a family blog.

But real wisdom -- wisdom emanating from the religio perennis -- is both horizontally effective and vertically transformative. It also embodies standards and ideals which do not come down to our level, but which we must elevate ourselves to understand and to live. Would anyone suggest that you must elevate yourself in order to live out the "Foucault ideal?" Yes, I suppose some Qi theorist would. Conversely, are there really a great number of pomofessors at elite universities who teach the spiritual truism that virtue is the mark, the seal, and the guarantor of wisdom? Examples, please.

Dilys left us a quote yesterday by David Thompson: "This is the legacy of postmodern thought, as trafficked by many academics of the left -- the ‘freedom’ to blunt the senses and be triumphantly, shamelessly wrong."

Yes, postmodernism is simply a game. Now, I have no objection to games, but the problem with postmodernism is that it has no rules except that there are no rules. For we may only know the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the nonlocal light of their relationship to the Absolute. In other words, there is no meaningful game for humans -- in fact, no game at all -- in the absence of the Absolute. Therefore, the existence of the Absolute -- or O -- is "rule one" in any functioning philosophy. Remove the Absolute, and you have pulled the rug out from under your own wigged-out philosophy -- and that is a hair-raising reality for these bald-faced liars.

This applies not only to postmodernists, but to any philosophy, for, as the Catholic philosopher of science and baseball, Stanley Jaki, points out, you cannot get to second base before you have touched first base. Intellectually larcenous postmodernists are under the illusion that it is possible to "steal second base." They entirely take for granted the fact that it is only because they ungratefully pee in the stream of the Judeo-Christian West that first base has been safely secured by our precious intellectual tradition. They sit out on a limb that they imagine is independent of that religious tradition, but postmodernism is a deeply reactionary and parasitic philosophy that appears as an inevitable but perverse "possibilty" in an intellectually Christianized world.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being a "relativist." It all depends upon that to which one is a relative. The problem with postmodernism is that it is "relative to nothing," which isn't actually relativism, but a bizarre form of absolute nihilism. The relative plane only exists because it is relative to the Absolute. This is an example of another religious truth that "cannot not be." And it is why the First Commandment is the first commandment: I am your God, and you shall have no other gods before me. For if you have any god other than the one God, or any absolute other than the Absolute, your philosophy is ultimately worthless.

Because the relative plane inheres in the light of the Absolute, there exist qualities. Again, given the necessary structure of cosmic existence, qualities, or degrees of being and perfection, cannot not exist. But the qualities are not merely arbitrary, as argued by postmodernists. Rather, qualities only exist because they represent degrees of being on an absolute scale. Is this not obvious? No, it is not obvious. I was never taught this in the 12-odd years I meanderthralled my way through the higher educational establishment. No one told me that absolute truth of necessity exists absolutely, and that the plane of maya represents a vertical scale of intelligible being, in which it is our task -- the task of our life -- to rise up, rung by rung -- but always accompanied by the perfections of virtue. Or if they did, I was absent that day.

Damn, I'm really getting sidetracked, for I had intended to explain why Christianity provides such a vastly superior linguistic theory than any postmodern sophistry. I hope to get to that tomorrow.

Without belief in God, without belief that the truth is real, is in him, all our attempts to "tell the truth" become no more than stories told for human purposes -- to persuade, to comfort, to stake claims, to build power -- but none of them means anything, or, more accurately, means anything else. Behind the images and metaphors of paintings and poems, behind the patterns of music and verse, behind the imagined characters of novels and plays, there is no mysterious depth of meaning, there is nothing. And yet, a child of four knows what a lie is and knows what a story is and knows that they are not the same. --Lucy Beckett

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Logophobia of the Left

Not much time this morning. Let's see what we can cover before it's too soon. I have an early morning doctor's appointment, followed by my day gig.

Speaking of which, any other Coons out there have Reynaud's phenomenon? It's pretty common. It's where your peripheral vascular system goes haywire and makes your hands and feet cold all the time. In my case, I guess it's pretty mild. I looked it up on line, and they showed photos of some bad cases, in which the digits turn either white as a sheet or dark blue because of the lack of blood and oxygen. Mine's nothing like that. Ran it by my endo, but he's useless -- said words to the effect of, "well, it's not my fingers, so frankly I'm not that interested" -- so I thought I'd check with an actual vascular specialist, just to make sure there's nothing I can do about it. Usually it's idiopathic, meaning that the idiots don't know what causes it, although diabetics often have cold extremities. Generally it's just a nuisance, but it would be nice to be able to do something about it.

Anyway, neocoon James picked up on what we was puttin' down yesterday about language, and commented that

'The need to reduce everything to something measurable is fine as far as measurable things go, but what factsimians don't appreciate is that so much of the cosmos cannot be measured at all. I just wanted to point out that this idea applies to many areas considered non-spiritual. For example, how do you measure education, or pornography? I've met many people who consider themselves educated and intelligent. They have taken all the tests, and they have the skills that are measured, but frankly they are complete dinks. I work in higher education and the stereotypes are true. It seems that they have focused on skills that can be tested and measured and haven't really thought about the big picture....

"This trend to measure everything and if it can't be measured or defined precisely then it isn't important creates other problems in society besides the loss of all things spiritual.... What about the loss of human judgment? I think a lot of trouble with our legal system comes from people following the rules and ignoring good judgment or common sense. I'm not suggesting we ignore empirical evidence and return to the dark ages, but we have gone too far the other way. Perhaps the pendulum has reached the limit of its empirical swing, and now it's time to swing back towards human judgment. We need a healthy balance, or a recognition that trying to measure the unmeasurable is folly. The factsimian mindset threatens civilization the same way anti-rational Islamists threaten society. We see one clearly, because we have the lens of history. The other we see darkly because we are living it right now."

Much to ponder here, for James has brought awareness to the ultimate "wedge issue," that is, the wedge that modernity placed between language and essences, or between immanence and transcendence. You might say that modernity initially drove in the wedge, but that the postmodernists pounded it all the way in with the axe, thus splitting the log right down the center of the logos.

This gets to the very heart of the luciferian program of the left, for once you have mauled language in this way -- once you have shattered the sacred covenant between word and thing, whether that thing is a material object or immaterial essence -- you have created a linguistic tyranny that clears the way for political tyranny. America could never have even been founded had the framers not had an unproblematic grasp of "self-evident" immaterial essences such as liberty, private property, and other rights that inhere "in the nature of things."

Put another way, almost everything objectionable about the left begins with an assault on human language, which is not this or that specific language, but our very means of access to a transcendent realm charged with the noetic light of the Other. This simply cannot be overemphasized, for it explains the specific way in which revelation is "eternally true," whereas any form of materialism is "eternally false" -- including secular leftism a priori. You will have noticed, however, that leftism must always -- always -- misappropriate and piggyback on this or that liberal or religious truth, truth that it covertly denies at the outset.

To cite just one obvious example, the use of the the state to force "homosexual marriage" upon us obviously has nothing to do with promoting marriage but destroying its very foundation -- including, of course, its linguistic foundation. "Marriage" is a word that actually means something, both literally and spiritually, which is to say, a sacred union between a Man and a Woman. Therefore, anyone with a remnant of common sense -- anyone not already infected by leftism -- knows without thinking about it that homosexuals cannot marry for the same reason that a baseball player cannot kick a field goal. A classical liberal would affirm that homosexuals are free to invent most any form of human arrangement they wish, but they cannot marry without forever destroying both the literal word and the very real -- but "invisible" -- spiritual state it signifies.

But you will also notice that the illiberal left steals another classical liberal concept in order to undermine the meaning of marriage, which is equality. Because of the abuse of language, the illiberal leftist does not mean the same thing as the liberal does by the term "equality." For the classical liberal, equality before the law inevitably redounds to hierarchy, whereas to the leftist, the natural hierarchy that emerges from equality represents de facto inequality, so that full equality must therefore involve the destruction of all hierarchy.

I hope you're getting the point, and that this is not too abstract, for it is a key idea. For the illiberal leftist, "equivalence" is substituted for equality, so that all of the good things that result from equality -- for degrees of goodness can only manifest in a hierarchy of values -- must be undone by a heavy-handed state to enforce equivalence, thereby undermining excellence. The redefinition of marriage is just one example. Due to various anxiety-provoking psychosexual mind parasites that have always been with us, the left hates the idea that men and woman are equal but not equivalent. Therefore, a major part of their perverse agenda is the effacement of sexual differences and the invention of the concept of "gender." Once everyone is a gender and no longer a sex, they are equivalent. And once the sexes are equivalent, then "homosexual marriage" is no different than marriage properly so-called.

To say that my metaphysics has nothing whatsoever to do with "homophobia" should be obvious to all. But it isn't. To further abuse the language -- and use it to further abuse others -- the left invented a new word, "homophobia," with which to club anyone who does not bend over before their rigid agenda. Which only emphasizes that the illiberal leftist obviously believes in hierarchy, just not a natural one. Rather, they wish to impose their hierarchy on the rest of us, always with the assistance of a powerful state that Knows Best.

This ubiquitous pattern of language abuse by the illiberal left was described by Michael Polanyi back in the 1940s. First, undermine the possibility of truth and meaning, so that there is no way to arbitrate between competing "truth claims." Next, seize positions of power in order to arbitrarily impose your own truth. This is how the academy was successfully taken over by people who do not believe in any truth except the one they impose on others and enforce through the mechanisms of speech codes, political correctness, and denial of tenure to those who do not conform. Free scholarship is replaced by all sorts of mechanisms of coercion. You may not be aware of the coercion until you step outside the bounds of what is acceptable, as we see in the global warming debate.

I only have some peripheral awareness of what this idiot Imus is going through. First of all, Imus' greatest offense is that he is an idiot, not a racist. That there are people who do not notice his idiocy mystifies me. In any event, he is now being ground up by the machinery of the compassionate left for using words in such a way that they do not approve.

But of just what abuse of language can the left disapprove in good faith? Do they disapprove of racial animus? Hardly. The Democrats could not even be a functioning party without guilt-ridden whites who gain power by shamelessly exploiting and caricaturing blacks as helpless and dependent children. Are they opposed to degenerate language? Hardly. In most any other context, they celebrate linguistic depravity as "courage," "authenticity," or "being real." Are they opposed to disgusting depictions of blacks as sex-crazed animals and ghetto hos? Er, I don't think so. I have never heard a leftist attack the generally debased world of rap and hip hip (I know, I know, there are exceptions), let alone with the sort of frenzy with which they are piling on the useless Imus.

But this whole pecadillo begs the question, for if language is just a "play of signifiers," what does it matter what anyone says? Certainly this is always the first defense of any prominent leftist who says something vile, which they only do every day. They immediately skirt the content by emphasizing that they are simply patriots engaging in that highest of callings, dissent. If dissent is the highest form of patriotism, why can't Imus just say that he is dissenting from the PC mind control of the left? For one thing, he's too stupid and probably not devious enough to think in that way.

Unlike the left. A couple of weeks ago, Rosie O'Donnell said something far more hateful, implicitly accusing the United States of blowing up the World Trade Centers -- including all the blacks therein. And in her case, it wasn't even a stupid joke. When called on it, she shifted the debate from the insanely vile content of what she said to the noble process in which she had been engaged, and lashed back at those who would dominate and oppress her in her free pursuit of truth!

Damn. Future Leader is stirring. We'll have to continue this line of thought tomorrow. Just ponder this disgusting non-apology by Rosie O'Donnell -- not just the words, but the abuse of language:

--"9/11 affected me deeply, as I know it did many Americans."

Wow, nothing gets past you, does it! Next:

--"The falling of the twin towers served to remind me that many of the assumptions Americans have about their lives are rooted in false feelings of security. "

Hmm. That's an odd thing to be reminded of when people are jumping to their death from a hundred floors up. Where's she going with this? "Assumptions rooted in false feelings of security." Is she talking about our denial of the evils of contemporary Islam? I guess I'm on board.

--"In light of this reminder, I have begun doing exactly what this country, at its best, allows for me to do: inquire. Investigate."

I see. Very good. So you've been reading the Koran, logging onto MEMRI.org., checking out Little Green Footballs, that kind of thing?

"America is great in so many ways, one of which is the freedom to speak, and indeed think, freely."

Indeed. But you sound a little defensive. What does this have to do with accusing the American government of attacking its own citizens on 9-11?

--"I have, of late, begun exercising the rights bestowed upon me by the democratic system I value, and the exercising of these rights has taken the form of an inquiry into what happened five years ago, an inquiry that resists the dominant explanations and that dares to entertain ideas that push me to the edge of what is bearable."

Wo, wo, slow down, sister. Are you suggesting that you're not really a vicious and paranoid hater and kook, but a daring intellectual adventerer who refuses to be dominated by racistsexisthomophobicwhiterethuglicanoppressors and is courageously skirting the edge of unbearable truth? Is that it?

--"I have come to no conclusions and, given the scope of the subject, will not for some time."

Sounds like you've concluded that you'd better shut your piehole about your daring discoveries in order to appease your corporate oppressors and keep your job.

--"If the very act of asking is so destabilizing for people, than I have to wonder whether the fabric of our democracy is indeed so raveled it is beyond salvage."

I see. The people who are exercising their free speech by questioning your sanity are "destabilized" and evidence that our system is beyond repair. Would it surprise you to learn that your continuing presence on national TV is prima faeces evidence of a liberal news media establishment so lacking in credibility or even basic decency that is broken beyond repair?

--"My own belief is that the act of asking is itself reparative, because it brings to life the values on which our constitution rests."

But why then isn't questioning your evil ideas reparative?

--"I am, therefore, pledging my allegiance, hand over heart, trying, as always, for a rigorous truth."

The news-speak credo of the leftist MSMistry of Truth. Pledge allegiance to the Truth you have spent your life undermining.

Not so strange bedfellows and well-fed bellowers: Rosie O'Donnell, New York Times Honored For Liberal Bias By GLAAD.

More on Imus, the decay of language, and the lost art of really insulting someone. Dupree is taking notes.

More on the disorder of Rosie crass and other fascists.