Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Thou Shalt not Kill, but Murder is Fine

If human beings were basically good, it wouldn't be necessary to have an injunction against murder. In fact, it is the last thing we would need. People would, as a matter of course, realize how infinitely precious their own life is, and then, through a natural process of empathy, understand that everyone else's life is equally precious, and that would be that. Murder would be inconceivable because it would represent the ultimate injustice: the theft of something of infinite value which can never be replaced.

Therefore, the sixth commandment is there to remind all of us would-be murderers that you shouldn't do that. I don't know when or why it was ever erroneously translated as "thou shalt not kill," since killing has no no intrinsic moral consequence one way or the other. Ironically, leftist nihilists rarely cite the Ten Commandments, but you will often hear them cite "thou shalt not kill" in support of their nihilist policies. Interesting that they misinterpret the one commandment of which they approve.

And the reason they misinterpret this particular commandment is that it dovetails nicely with their deeply nihilistic and pacifist tendencies. For when you conflate murder and killing, you do two things: first, you minimize and even trivialize the horror of murder -- very similar to feminists who trivialize the horror of rape by equating it with any sex a woman regrets on the following day. But secondly, you convert the use of lethal violence against evil, which is a moral necessity, into something bad. Once again, you have overturned the moral order of the world.

Because we are free and we are aware of a transcendent moral order, our life consists (among other things) of choosing between good and evil. Here again, the nihilistic left undermines both poles of this elementary reality. First, they attenuate our ultimate freedom by the doctrine of "victims" and "root causes." Whenever someone chooses evil -- again, so long is he is not a conservative -- it is because they were victimized and oppressed, and were merely reacting to that.

Thus, when an evil murderer is being put to death, you will always see demonstrations and lamentations by the left that the government is murdering a helpless victim. But never once in my life have I ever seen this standard applied to a conservative, or even to a "corporate criminal," for that matter.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, the delusional leftist belief that George Bush is an evil murderer who is sending Americans off to die because he wants his friends to have more oil. If this were true, then President Bush would definitely qualify as a psychopath, no question about it. But if he is a psychopath, then he is obviously a victim of mental illness. We cannot be angry with him -- much less hold him responsible or punish him. Rather, we must have compassion for him. We must understand him. What are the root causes of his psychopathy?

This is as fine an example of the incoherence at the heart of leftism that I can think of. It is incoherent because it is nihilistic to the core. It is not rooted in any intellectually or morally defensible first principles, but is entirely subjective, arbitrary, and convenient. For what is the first principle of the secular left? We have been reviewing the deep structure of their ideology in recent days, and it all goes back to there is no God and we are his prophets! But this first principle has many disturbing and dysfunctional ramifications, which include the impossibility of transcendent meaning, the absence of any vertical order in the cosmos, and the devaluation of wisdom embodied in tradition (tradition representing the extension or "prolongation" of the vertical into the horizontal).

Therefore, when a leftist tells you that truth does not exist and that various texts are simply forms of domination rooted in the will to power, believe him, for this is the nature of the dark principality he inhabits. This is why I would never argue with a leftist, because they are so deeply and fundamentally illogical. Why try to reason with someone who has rejected the possibility of objective truth a priori? He is simply going to use whatever strategy or technique at his disposal to win the debate, not to arrive at truth, which isn't possible for him anyway. Imagine "debating" an atheist. You cannot debate an atheist, since debate is not a valid means to know God. However, once you know and accept God, then rational debate is naturally valid within a theocentric reality. This is because things are not true because they are rational, but rational because they are true. Absent God, reason can "prove" most anything.

But man is a proud beast, and one of the reasons he is proud is because he has rejected God and inserted his own ego in God's place. This is a story as old as mankind, being that it is documented in the first few pages of Genesis. Speaking of which, I see that Christopher Hitchens has jumped on the old anti-intellectual atheist blandwagon with both feet. He has a new book entitled God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, which only goes to show you how Marxist nihilism poisons an obviosly above average brain. But brains are not intelligent if they do not know truth. Either that, or we have to think of a new word for all the things which intelligent people know, but which cannot possibly be true.

In other words, most of what has filled human heads down through the centuries has consisted of "untrue knowledge." I don't have to read Hitchens' book to know that he has applied this idea to religion, cataloguing all of the kooky and harmful things human beings have believed in the name of religion. But if you were so inclined, you could do the same thing with science, with sexuality, with economics, with medicine, or with anything humans get involved in. Human beings believe untruth because only human beings are able to understand truth, just as they commit evil because only they can do good. One would think that Hitchens -- who is, after all, an avowed misanthrope -- would understand this rudimentary fact. Human beings are not bad because of religion. Rather, religion is bad because of human beings. In an odd way, Hitchens has way too high an opinion of humans.

Hitchens presumably adopts the anti-wisdom and anti-intellectual view that humans are not the problem but the solution (I say "presumably" because that is really your only option: God or man, the latter of which inevitably redounds to nihilism and to the abolition of man, no matter how much glibstick you slather on that metaphysical pig.)

Truly, godlessness poisons everything. Now, when I say this, I am naturally referring to God, not, for example, to the manmade psychotic projection embraced by our enemies. But to conflate these two Gods is no more valid than conflating phrenology and quantum physics. Phrenology was once considered a valid science, just as logical positivism and empiricism were once considered valid philosophies. But they aren't valid, something we can know because it is true. I suppose it doesn't go without saying that knowledge is only possible because we can know it, and that we can know it because truth exists, a priori.

Again, if truth doesn't exist -- as believed by the nihilistic left -- than we are back to power. Therefore, any atheist piggyfesto, no matter how well groomed, represents the exercise of raw power over its dominion of nothing. Behind the intelligence of such a person is simply the fist.

I thank God that America's founders were Christian men guided by transcendent truth, and not Marxist nihilists. Can you imagine? What kind of hell would we be living in today if our founders had been "demonically intelligent" leftists?

Homicide is one thing. But deicide -- that's a game for the few, the proud, the morons. Obviously, none of these deicidal maniacs has ever had a genuine encounter with God, so truly, "they know not what they do."

*****

As I mentioned at the beginning of this series of posts on the ten commandments of nihilism, the first five actual commandments are vertical, in that they address man-to-God relations, while the second five are horizontal, governing man-to-man relations. Thus, there is a parallel between the first and the sixth commandments, as the sixth commandment -- thou shalt not murder -- is the first horizontal commandment. Therefore, there is an implicit resonance between I am your God, and you shall have no other Gods before me, and you shall not murder. But if you jettison the first commandment, you throw out the sixth with it, for then human beings no longer have any ultimate value. They are simply here for the use of more powerful human beings, as leftism teaches. You are not an individual who was created in God's image, and therefore capable of using your intellect to know truth and your liberty to choose good. Rather, you are a slave. You have no intrinsic dignity. You are here to serve the collective.

(Hey, we're almost there: Jonah Goldberg cites a survey from 1987, indicating that 45% of adult respondents thought that the phrase "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" -- a quote from Karl Marx -- was in the Constitution.)

And since the leftist lives in an inverted moral and intellectual universe, the horizontal displaces the vertical. Therefore, an inverted understanding of commandments 6 - 10 is at the foundation of leftism, beginning with you shall not kill instead of you shall not murder. Which is why godless regimes are responsible for the deaths of more human beings in the 20th century alone than all the religious wars combined. Abolish God and you abolish man, abolish man and murder is no different than killing. As always, bad religion drives out good, including the bad religion of atheism.

Sowell nails it, as usual.

*****

Here is some of what I wrote about the sixth commandment last summer:

One routinely hears leftists argue that there is no difference between deaths that occur as a deliberate policy of Islamo-nazis vs. those that occur as a result if Israel defending itself from Islamo-nazis. One also routinely hears George Bush described by the left as a terrorist -- indeed, “the world’s biggest terrorist” -- which again simply highlights the broken moral compass that afflicts so much of the left.

The same broken moral compass is present in animal rights activists who equate the killing of animals with the murder of humans. One also hears leftists perversely invoke “thou shalt not kill” in order to try to prevent murderers from being put to death. But again, the commandment specifically forbids the deliberate taking of innocent human life, and no one is less innocent than a murderer. The “golden rule” maintains that we should treat others as we would have them treat us, and it is just so with capital punishment.

As Schuon writes, it is absurd to want to abolish the death penalty "on the grounds that one would not like to be in the condemned man’s place; to be in the place of the condemned man is at the same time to be the murderer; if the condemned man can earn our sympathy it is precisely by being able to recognize his crime and by desiring to pay for it with his life, thereby removing all antagonism between him and us.” In short, a murderer who is truly reformed and understands the infinite gravity of his crime will wish to be put to death. Only then is there even a basis for discussion.

But there are many ways to murder a man without killing the body, and these also fall under the rubric of this commandment. One can even draw out the implications of the commandment, in that, if we are to refrain from the taking of innocent life, we are necessarily enjoined to promote, preserve and protect innocent life in all of its manifestations.

At bottom, what the commandment is emphasizing is that human life is sacred -- it is of infinite value; therefore, do everything you can to honor and protect it. Clearly, not all cultures do so. Some, as in so much of the Muslim world, worship death, not life. And this inversion is reflected throughout these sick cultures, in that they are “fruitless.” That is, they produce nothing but misery, both to themselves and to others. They produce nothing for the body, i.e., no medicines, no new ways to produce food; they produce nothing for the mind, i.e., no science, no translations of books, no freedom of inquiry; and they produce nothing for the spirit, i.e., only the spiritual shackles of their medieval death cult.

Most soul murders are undoubtedly committed by those who are already so spiritually damaged as to be functionally dead. These undead souls such as a Nasrallah, an Arafat, or an Amahdinejad, speak to us from “the other side,” from the shadow world that is created when the soul has been so damaged that it essentially exits the body, leaving only a grotesque human-animal in its place. But other demonic energies rush in to fill the void, so that the individual becomes a sort of “antihuman.” At their core, they are filled with unbearable envy toward the living, and the only way they can assuage this envy is to kill and kill plentifully. Life is a reminder of their own walking death, hence, “death to Israel,” that primordial symbol of life: l’chaim.

The undead also cannot help converting their children to their way of non-being. In ways both subtle and profound, they will interact with their children in a pathological manner, causing the children to internalize the same virus that afflicts their parents. Regardless, the virus always goes by the name of “love,” which simply further confuses the child. In the end, they will not be able to distinguish the difference between love and hate or truth and lies, any more than they can distinguish between life and death.

That depraved Muslim couple that was going to use their baby as a bomb surely love their child, except that the love flows out of death, not life. Likewise, the proud Palestinian parents who raise their children to be mass murderers undoubtedly love their children, as do the Muslim parents who murder their daughters for holding hands with a Christian boy. Death loves, albeit coldly, just as the person who doesn't believe in truth seeks to accumulate “knowledge.” Our universities are filled with lie-roasted academia nuts who know much. They too worship death -- the death of the intellect and its innate spiritual wisdom. Perish and publish is their morbid creed.

Oddly, just as life spreads and propagates, so too does death. In other words, death has a sort of life all its own -- just as disease isn’t the opposite of health, but a pathological form of living. The undead soul attempts to overcome and “transcend” his soul-death by killing, by substitute sacrifices. Human sacrifice is a way to “steal” the life essence of the victim in order to give the undead a spurious sense of life. This is why the hizb'moloch ecstatically scream "allahu ackbar" (the god of death is great!) as they chop off another head.

In this regard, the Izlambies are no different than Jeffrey Dahmer, who would attempt to have an orgasm at the exact moment his victim was dying, the idea being that the victim's life force would somehow pass into him. Islamists believe that by exterminating Israel, the life essence of Israel will pass into and revive their undead souls and cultures, but this is simply the most perverse of unconscious fantasies. If tiny Israel had never existed, the same massive death cult would have simply metastasized into the geographical area now called Israel. After all, Life recently departed from Gaza, but Death merely rushed in to occupy the void created.

Again, the implicit message of the sixth commandment is that we must promote Life in everything we do, not just limiting ourselves to innocent human life, but to the Good, the True and the Beautiful, for these are the principal manifestations of the uncorrupted, living soul. As I wrote in One Cosmos, “There is a culture of Life and a culture of death, and the cultural necropolis can only maintain itself by an increasingly brazen assault on Truth (as well as beauty and decency). It is therefore also a cult of hypnotic enslavement, for only the Truth can liberate us from this zone of illusion. In your day-to-day life, you must refrain from activities that advance the infrahuman tide of ugliness, barbarism, and falsehood in our endarkened world.”

Monday, April 23, 2007

Nihilist Commandment 5A: You Shall Honor Your Children by Being One, You Smart Alec

Murder.

I am sure that if nihilistic liberals really comprehended the horror of this term, they wouldn't be nihilistic liberals. To put it another way, the contemporary liberal specifically devalues life and liberty while carrying out a frontal assault on truth, beauty, and any transcendent moral order. And they do these things because their Ten Commandments compel them to do so.

Before getting into more vague and sweeping generalities, let's focus on a particular case, Alec Baldwin, who, unless his recent display of rage toward his daughter was a pure aberration, is an abuser and "rage-aholic." This weekend he released a statement explaining what caused him to threaten, berate, and insult his daughter -- all forms of soul murder. First of all, since he is a liberal, it is not his fault. Rather, he is the victim here, and other victims understand this:

Thank you to everyone who has posted messages of support and understanding.

There are people who support and understand his grotesque behavior? Of course. As we learned the other day at dailykos, there are leftists who support and understand the mass murderer Cho, so supporting Baldwin is nothing.

Naturally, it is not best for a parent to lose their temper with their child.

Interesting way to put it. Bellowing at your child that she is a selfish pig isn't "bad." Rather, it's just "not best." You know, like "murder is not best," or "stealing is not best."

For one thing, losing your temper with your child is neither here nor there. Not only is it inevitable, but children need to know that certain behaviors on their part will elicit anger from others. Anger is a form of valuable feedback.

But there is anger, a passing emotion, and there is rage which is in an entirely different category. It is not just quantitatively different from anger, but it is qualitatively different -- very much like the difference between anxiety and panic. If you've ever been around a rage-prone individual, you know exactly what I mean. They are quite frightening, because they don't have the "thermostat" of a normal person which prevents their anger from exceeding certain boundaries. In other words, there is a sort of "ceiling" which a normal person's anger does not surpass, but for the rage-prone individual, they crash through that ceiling and become a different person. They are not a person who has anger, but rage which possesses a human.

All "borderline" personalities have boundary disturbances that prevent them from regulating their emotions. The boundary disturbance affects their relations with the interpersonal world -- i.e., with people who are meaningful to them -- but more subtly, in their own minds. They have psychic structural deficits that lead to a situation in which their mind parasites become entirely detached from the main personality.

Look at it this way. The most normal person has all kinds of conflicts, but he is generally able to keep them from profoundly affecting him through repression, which you might think of as a sort of horizontal boundary between the conscious and unconscious mind.

But the mind of the borderline individual is subject to vertical splitting. Instead of drawing a horizontal line between your conscious and unconscious mind, with the mind parasites kept "below deck," not too far from Ben's kitchen, imagine a series of vertical lines in the psyche, so that each mind parasite has its own agenda, which is "swtiched on," based upon various signals or patterns coming either from the external world or from the internal world.

In Baldwin's case, he tells us in his diatribe exactly which mind parasite took over: shame -- more specifically dysreglated shame. The narcissistic personality is structured around the inability to tolerate shame, so that if it is provoked, it immediately converts to rage at the object who triggered it. The rage is a measure of the shame, and is equally dysregulated. Thus,

Once again I made an ASS of myself trying to get to a phone! ....I'm leaving this message to tell you you have INSULTED me for the last time! ....You have HUMILIATED me for the last time with this phone! ....You made me feel like SHIT, and you made me feel like a FOOL, over and over and over again!

For the narcissistic, rage-prone individual, once the intolerable shame is provoked, a subpersonality takes over and expresses rage at its maximum intensity. It is no longer the central self speaking, but an omnipotently angry mind parasite. This is to an 11 year-old girl, mind you:

You don't have the BRAINS or the DECENCY as a human being.... I'm going to straighten your ass out! I'm gonna get on a plane to let you know just how I feel about what a ROTTEN PIG you really are! You are a RUDE, thoughtless little PIG, okay?

But liberals always turn perpetrators into victims, the reason being that this is how you overturn the moral order of the cosmos. For once you find a way to see the perpetrator as victim, then anything he does, no matter how heinous, is justified. In other words, the liberal appeals to our innate sense of justice, only in an entirely fraudulent and manipulative way.

That is, being seeped in a Judeo-Christian worldview, we all long for justice. But liberals do not share the Judeo-Christian worldview, to say the least. Rather, they want to eliminate it altogether. Therefore, their strategy involves using it against itself by detaching the moral category of "victim," and using it to appeal to the Christianized conscience.

Please bear in mind that no cultures in the world particularly cared about the plight of victims before the emergence of the Judeo-Christian worldview. This is a critical point, and all Coons are encouraged to read Gil Bailie's wonderful Violence Unveiled for the full explication of the anthropological implications of the Christianized mind.

Remember, on a purely historical and anthropological basis, Christianity is the religion of the ultimate innocent victim, and thanks to its influence, the Western world produced the most humane and decent civilization in human history. But it has now produced a split-off, shadow version of itself, that is, the leftist culture of victimology, which creates victims for the purposes of undermining the Judeo-Christian worldview.

Therefore, being that he is on the far left, it is not surprising that Baldwin immediately depicted himself as the victim. First, he is the victim of his daughter, who has made him feel ashamed, humiliated, and "like shit."

(Which, by the way, should be understood quite literally; so-called "dirty words" retain their potency because they have deep roots in the unconscious mind. To the extent that these words ever become common linguistic currency, then they lose their connection to deep unconscious springs of meaning which are otherwise beyond the reach of language. In a way, they are "sacred," but in a reverse sense of the term, in that they evoke unconscious power instead of supraconscious power. If used in a mindlessly casual way, these words become "impotent." This is why decent people refrain from using such language in public, because they understand the magic potency of these "four-letter incantations." By no means am I opposed to cursing. However, it should be reserved for various "special occasions," otherwise it no longer performs its function. No one can call someone a bastard like John Cleese. But if the word ever comes into common usage, then we will actually no longer have a word for those bloody bastards. Naturally, liberals are oblivious to this linguistic reality as well, for we have no desire to "repress" language, but to preserve it. Otherwise, we'll have to invent a whole new lexicon to replace our current slate of outstanding dirty words.)

Perhaps I should emphasize that I hardly exclude myself from the "cycle of mind parasites." Parenting is difficult, one reason being that children will inevitably evoke your own mind parasites. However, it is up to you how you react to them.

For example, my son was pretty colicky for several months during his first year, when it was at times difficult to sooth him. There were occasions that a voice popped into my head -- something like, "Damm, will you just suck it up and shut up for five f***ing minutes?" Now needless to say, I did not verbalize this, much less act out on it. I did not call my son a selfish pig, nor did I blame him for making me feel so helpless. Rather, I used it as an occasion for introspection as to the origins of that voice. It would be the height of immaturity to blame the baby -- even though, from the standpoint of the mind parasite, it's all his fault. And if you do act out toward your child, you are just ensuring that they will internalize your own mind parasites.

But for Baldwin, nothing is his fault. Whatever he says or does, someone else made him do it. Here we see another key feature of contemporary liberalism: the attenuation of free will, so that people are just machines who cannot help reacting in this or that way (except for conservatives, who somehow freely choose evil and who are never given a pass). This was one of the most critical contributions to the spike in violent crime that began in the 1960s, for that is precisely when leftists began implementing their new ideas that the perpetrator is the victim, and an era of leniency toward criminals was ushered in. A system of incentives was put in place which actually encouraged criminal activity, and even now, leftists argue for going back to the good old days of rampant crime that ruined so many lives (and a disproportionate number of black lives, I might add -- as if they care about the plight of blacks).

So it's not Baldwin's fault. Rather, Everyone who knows me privately knows that I have endured a great deal over the last several years in my custody litigation.

That could be perfectly true, but why would you take it out on your daughter?

Everyone who knows me privately knows that certain people will go to any lengths to embarass me and to disrupt my relationship with my daughter.

I see. It's all about the humiliation again. But is your own behavior contributing anything to disrupt your relationship with your daughter? How could it not? Who would want to be around such a frightening person unless there is already something wrong with them -- a perverse attraction to the dark side?

Children learn by imitating you. Whatever "lesson" Baldwin thinks he is conveying to his daugter, she will generally learn one of two things: men are out of control beasts whom a woman can easily manipulate or seduce; or they will confuse this kind of parenting with "love," and be attracted to the wrong kind of man: perhaps a man just like Baldwin. I've only seen the dynamic play out hundreds of times. (And by the way, I'm not absolving Kim Basinger, who fell in love with this man. What mind parasite in her made him attractive after she endured the first rage storm?)

Although I have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, I am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child.

If his friends are telling him not to worry, they are probably not actually friends, for a friend doesn't lie to you. I can't help wondering if Baldwin is the type of person who doesn't want to hear the truth about himself, and would simply "hate the messenger" even more than the Basinger.

I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now.

Okay, you're a victim. You suffer from "parental alienation." But why do you live in New York, 3,000 miles away from her? You're wealthy. You can live wherever you want. Under no circumstances would I ever live 3,000 miles away from my child, for if I did, I would cause a case of "child alienation" in my son. If I had your kind of money, I'd purchase a house in the same neighborhood, and be an active presence in my child's life. This is just "common decency." I'm not congratulating myself, for any normal man would do the same.

Here's what I wouldn't do: move 3,000 miles away in order to get involved in feckless liberal causes as a way to convince myself that I am a good person. According to his website, Baldwin is an "outspoken supporter" of various causes such as:

--the government's support of the arts (i.e., forcing citizens to pay for "art" that Baldwin and other elites approve of)
--campaign finance reform (i.e., limiting political speech that he doesn't like)
--animal rights (i.e, PETA, which is not about "animal rights," but about the deeply immoral conflation of humans and animals; and by the way, would you treat a baby seal the way you treat your daughter? I didn't think so.)
--gun control (i.e., preventing citizens from protecting themselves from crazy, rage-filled perpetrators, such as....)

If I were wasting my time and resources on any of these activities to the exclusion of my primary role as a parent, I would consider myself a failed human being. But the whole point about being a liberal -- the whole attraction, as it were -- is that you needn't give a thought to mastering and transcending yourself, because nothing is your fault. You are never a failure. It's everyone else's fault, and can you make yourself "good" merely by sanctimoniously being on the "correct" side of this or that issue, whether it is affirming Al Gore's junk science or advocating the redefinition of marriage.

But you can only change the world one a-hole at a time, beginning with yourself, followed by your children.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Full Gospel Church of the Perpetual Raccoon

The Fifth Commandment of Nihilism: You Shall Give Birth to Yourself and Trash the Past

I wonder if I shouldn't be blogging every day. Like today, for example. It's late, and I just know that Mr. Happy is going to start stirring any minute. He went down earlier last night, so he's probably going to wake up earlier. Lately he's been getting up as early as 6:00 anyway, which leaves me very little time to do these posts.

In order to do them at all, I need to entirely focus my mind, so it's a little difficult under the circumstances. Frankly, I'm still surprised that I can do it at all, and I sometimes wonder if it's a finite process, like an athletic career, or perhaps like a songwriter. With a few exceptions, a songwriter will have a brief period of what you might call "artistic grace," during which time they produce great music with effortless creativity. For most, it seems to last for about five years. Rare are those who remain creative for much longer than that, like an Irving Berlin or Duke Ellington.

This daily writing is not something I could have ever done before -- at least I don't think so. As I have mentioned before, writing the book wasn't like this at all. That was like searching for water in the desert, while this is much more like sitting under a waterfall with a bucket.

At least most of the time. There's still a rhythm or a cyclicity to it, and I sometimes wonder if I should pay more heed to that. In other words, just as a field must occasionally lay fallow as part of the growing process, I wonder if I should avoid trying to compel my writing. Doing so feels a little like exploitation -- like giving hormones to a chicken in order to squeeze out every last egg.

Anyway, we're up to the fifth of the first five commandments of nihilism. In each case, the nihilist does not actually believe in nothing -- which is impossible -- but in the opposite of something. In other words, any nihilistic philosophy -- which would include secular leftism -- is by definition reactionary and parasitic, just as darkness is parasitic on light, disorder on order, falsehood on truth, and death on life. As such, the commandments of nihilism are just a reversal of the cosmic order, including the Ten Commandments.

For example, one can only say that meaning doesn't exist in a meaningful cosmos. One can only deny God by first positing his existence. This is why nihilists do not just deny God, but rebel against him. If this were not the case, then the philosophy of nihilism would produce saint-like people and cultures approximately 50% of the time, but it doesn't. Rather, it produces the opposite of the reality it denies.

Speaking of parents, my in-laws are leaving today after a week long visit. It is interesting to talk to my father-in-law, who grew up at the epicenter of America's cultural high-water mark, to mix a metaphor. He was born in Manhattan in 1931 and is extremely cultured, so he lived in real time through what in hindsight we recognize as an almost impossibly culturally rich period in terms of film, theatre, and music.

The first notion we must dismiss is that realizing the value of our cultural past represents a form of nostalgia. It is no more nostalgic than recognizing that there was something special about the classical musical period. Yes, nostalgia does exist, which represents an indiscriminate romanticization of the past and a consequent inability to appreciate the present. In my opinion, nostalgia is actually a sort of hypnotic drug, a flight from reality which has no value except the value any mind-altering substance has (which is not nothing, by the way).

My father-in law is an... interesting fellow. For one thing, he is an unabashed atheist who is absolutely dismissive of any form of religiosity. He has no coherent philosophy that he has ever articulated, but I suppose he would be equally a Greek Stoic and Epicurean, in that he is not the least bit sentimental and lives by a very strict ethical code, but is a pleasure-seeker of the first rank. For example, while I pretty much eat whatever is put in front of me, he is a gourmet. He is the only person I know who obsesses over the restaurant where he will be having dinner while critiquing breakfast and making plans for lunch.

You've probably seen Meet the Fockers, right? I've only seen parts on TV, but imagine Robert DeNiro looking at you with a penetrating gaze and suspiciously eliciting your feelings about oysters. "Bob, you like oysters?" I've been through this many times on every conceivable subject, so it's a much more complicated question than you might realize. You can't just say no, and you can't just say yes, or else you're in for a debate about where the best oysters come from and why it is so difficult to get good ones these days. Either way, the conversation ends with, "I'm going to bring you back some oysters," especially if you think you don't really care for oysters. I've had the same conversation with regard to wild game, snails, eel, grasshoppers, squid, octopus....

Since he is irreligious, my F.i.L. wants to make sure that we inculcate our son with the proper cultural education. You might say that he frets over this in the way we fret over his spiritual development. Yesterday he informed me that he will be purchasing the 16 CD complete Ella Fitzgerald songbooks for our son's musical edification. Yes, he's only two years old, but it's never too soon to expose him to the timeless and transcendent works of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George and Ira Geshwin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Rodgers and Hart, Johnny Mercer, and Duke Ellington. I agree, by the way, as it may inoculate his ears against musical garbage.

Except that my father-in-law doesn't believe in transcendence -- even though he actually does, as I have tried to explain to him on many occasions, and which I will do at his funeral just to get in the last word and piss him off. But he is very much in the anti-nostalgia camp, and never wants to be perceived as being unhip to current cultural trends. He would never want to be thought of as someone who is "living in the past." Therefore -- hard to know whether he actually believes this -- but he will insist, say, that P. Diddy has produced a body of work that is comparable to the Great American Songbook. But you will notice that he is not spending a few hundred dollars on the complete works of P. Diddy so that I can pipe it into Future Leader's crib.

Where was I.... Yes, honoring our mother and father. Especially in this postmodern world of ours -- which, you might say, is a world created by adolescents with no input from the grown-ups -- we are susceptible to the opposite tendency of nostalgia. Which is to say, the postmodern nihilist not only fails to appreciate the wisdom and beauty of our cultural heritage, but more likely, actively devalues and denigrates it. And in fact, as we shall see, this devaluation is definitely a reflection of the fifth commandment of nihilism, which is to say that you shall not honor your father and mother.

This is how we can have reached our present intellectual nadir on leftist college campuses, where children are taught by children and other Naders that America's founders were nothing more than white European slaveholders who were just looking after their economic interests, or that America is rooted in the genocide of the Indians, or that we have done something to deserve the psychotic rage of Muslims. The pervasive impulse of the left to "blame America first" is simply the impulse to blame the parents first. (Check out Cho's college textbooks -- TW Mizz E.)

In short, to say that America is always wrong -- which they do -- is simply to say that mommy and daddy are always wrong, and that we know better. Again, it is purely reactionary and formulaic, like that dailykos diary I linked to yesterday, expressing the opinion that the mass murderer Cho was actually a victim of America. Yawn. This attitude is the product of the death instinct -- thanatos -- and is largely responsible for the death culture. This is because progressives are always looking backward and rebelling against the parents of their imagination.

Is this not obvious? No one is more oriented around George Bush as their axis moondi than the angry leftist with Bush Derangement Syndrome (which afflicts almost everyone on the left). When it comes right down to it, my life is pretty much the same no matter who is president. Not so for the leftist, who is somehow living in a kind of personal hell of their own creation. As I attempted to explain to a hostile liberal correspondent last weekend, George Bush is not responsible for his unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. Even if Hillary Clinton is elected president, I mustn't allow it to affect my personal happiness. After all, it is still a wondrous time to be alive.

No, this attitude is not narcissistic (though it can be). For one thing, I realize that life is difficult. It is a struggle, and always has been. To imagine that life only became difficult when George Bush was elected president -- or conversely, that it will only be difficult when a Democrat enters the White House -- represents an abject failure of wisdom, among other classical virtues. No matter what happens, life will be a miracle and life will be a horror, as always. The difference is that the conservative realizes this, and therefore doesn't overreact to it. Because when we overreact to it, as do leftists, we create solutions that are worse than the problems they are designed to address. You cannot cure human nature -- especially if you don't even know what it is. Feminism cannot cure the condition of womanhood, any more than a government program can cure the condition of spiritual poverty.

In short, nihilism is the doctrine of psychological parthenogenesis, or autochthony. An autochthon is "one held to have sprung from the ground he inhabits." Thus, leftism is a specifically anti-humanistic doctrine, for it omnipotently denies now we got here, which was in the human way, thorough parents that came before us.

Running out of time. Future Leader just opened a birthday present which he received from his aunt and uncle last night, after he was in bed. Very cool -- a garbage truck, which he loves. But I can't help noticing that it is a politically correct garbage truck. Indeed, one thing that leftists fail to appreciate -- since they do not even acknowledge the vast differences between adults and children -- is the innocence of children, so they politicize childhood instead of just leaving them be. For the left, it's never too early to begin the brainwash. (Just so it is clear, I am not referring to his aunt and uncle, but to the whole climate of childhood indoctrination of leftist ideas.)

Anyway, I notice that it's not really a garbage truck. Rather, it is a recycling truck with the recycling logo displayed prominently on the side. Also, I notice that 50% of the trashmen are actually women. This is bound to be confusing for Future Leader, since the girl next door, who is also two years old, doesn't have the slightest interest in trucks, tractors, back hoes, ambulances, fire engines, and every other kind of working vehicle with which my son is obsessed. Therefore, why the trashwomen? I guess so he won't realize that he is a boy, or that boys are different than girls. But this is simply the inevitable reflection of a culture that has already effaced the most elementary distinction, that between adults and children.

*****

Well, I really didn't have sufficient time to get into this commandment. Here is a review of what I wrote about the real one last summer:

The fifth of the first five “vertical” commandments is “honor your father and your mother.” This is an important point, because the verticality of this commandment means that it is clearly not just referring to our earthly parents. At the very least, the commandment implies a link between the earthly and celestial dimensions, filtered through the family. The trinitarian family of father-mother-child is an intrinsic reflection of God's design, another instance of the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm (“as above, so below”). Also, being the last of the vertical commandments, it is somehow an important link to the next five "horizontal" commandments that allow the wider human community to function properly.

Naturally, a large part of the leftist project is to undermine this commandment and to de-sacralize the family, so that it essentially becomes "just anything." Thus, the vertical family that is ultimately oriented in a hierarchical manner toward the divine is reduced to a wholly horizontal unit in which the members are only oriented toward each other. A family is “any two or more people who love each other.” Not “honor your mother and father,” but “honor your father and father,” or worse yet, honor just earthly love. But earthly love alone cannot sustain a family, which is one of the reasons for the increased incidence of divorce. If you go into a marriage thinking that another person is going to make you happy and fulfill all of your needs, you are bound to be sorely disillusioned.

Some may think that the onus of this commandment lies with children to honor their parents. But I believe this is a misunderstanding of the total context of the commandments. For the burden is actually on the parents -- especially the father -- to be an earthly reflection of the celestial father and to therefore be worthy of honor. Indeed, this is a father’s only claim to legitimate authority -- the extent to which he is a dignified and noble man through whom divine authority radiates outward and “downward.”

Parents do not own children -- this was one of the radical innovations of Judaism, in contrast to other ancient peoples who practiced infanticide and other forms of systematic abuse.

In raising a child, you are deputized by the divine to help usher your child from his earthly caretaker -- i.e., you -- to his celestial benefactor. Even if you are not particularly religious, this is still the aim of your parenting, but it will merely go by another name - -for example, instilling good values. Few people outside the Muslim world actually consciously want to raise their children as antisocial, homicidal beasts. And even these Moloch-worshipping parents are under the delusion that they are on a divine mission to raise their children in this perverse way.

Arab parents are now naming their children “Hizb’allah” and “Nasrallah,” a genocidal group and a genocidal fanatic, respectively. These children will surely grow up to honor their father -- the Father of Lies. These parents are spiritually unfit to bring children into the world, because they inflict the worst possible psychic injury to the child: failing to provide them with a parent worthy of honor. Like most any abused child, the child will still do his part -- he will honor his parents -- which will have the practical effect of making him lower than the beasts, unless the child somehow sees through his warped parents and locates his father “who art in heaven.”

In short, to the extent that our parents are worthy of of honor, it is because the archetypes of our otherworldly Mother and Father are revealed to us through them. Not only do many parents fail at this fundamental task, but they even usurp God’s rightful power, becoming bad gods and “lording it over” their children (as undoubtedly happened to them).

More generally, the pure love we receive “vertically” from our parents is like a seed that is planted deep within our psyche. Children can have no idea how much they were loved until they have children of their own. This is as it should be, because the task for the child is to spread this divine-parental love horizontally, out into the world. If children loved parents as much as parents love their children, it would be very difficult to break out of that closed circle and evolve psycho-culturally.

And just because we have left our earthly parents, it hardly means that we have no further need of parenting. Again, there is something primordially true in the trinitarian arrangement of father-mother-child. In order to continue to grow spiritually as adults, we must in some way "become as children" and establish an ongoing rapport with the divine masculine and feminine. As such, the commandment also implies that we should honor worldly representatives of the divine, for example, the avatars, saints, and spiritual masters who, just like our own parents, have made incredible sacrifices for our benefit, and who extend truly priceless wisdom, guidance, and even salvation. Thanks to them, the vertical hole in creation is always accessible.

*****

Straddling the present, one foot in the past, one in the future.

"Apple boo-day dee yow" (that's how he sings "happy birthday to you").

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Evolution vs. Revolution: On Spending Timelessness With Yoursoph (and Avoiding Alec Baldwin)

The fourth commandment, “remembering the sabbath,” is another one that secularists strain to comprehend. They assume that it is not universal, and that it has only some idiosyncratic meaning for Jews, Christians, and Ozzy Osbourne fans. But like the other commandments, it has a literal meaning, a moral meaning, a symbolic meaning, and an esoteric meaning.

In his attack on meaning, the irreligious secularist cannot help but to extend the attack to time. Ritual has to do with the sacralization of time; or, more specifically, with not regarding it as mere duration, but as a portal for energies from the eternal to enter the herebelow. Since we live at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal, a literal interpretation of "sabbath consciousness" involves the idea of taking one day a week to leave the field of time and to emphasize verticality, or eternity.

But since the commandment is a universal archetype embodied in a particular religion, we needn't be overly concerned with this or that particular interpretation and application of the idea. More important is that you understand the principle and apply it to your life in some form or fashion, so that you occasionally unplug from the horizontal bewilderness and reconnect with your vertical source and destiny.

Now, what does the nihilist say about all this? What can he say? Since his first three commandments already condemn him to a godless and meaningless existence, what does it matter what you do -- or when you it -- with the time that has been given to you to perfect yourself? The only alternative to meaning is either chaos or enforced order. As such, these two extremes represent the two poles of the Democratic party. One pole is the enraged and infantile base, the primitive dailykos and moveonon.org types: the chaoticians, nihilists, barbarians, and infrahumans, while the other pole is the elites whom they empower in order to control themselves and everyone else -- the Clintons, Edwards, Gores, and Obamas.

(I say "infrahuman" because leftists do not recognize humans as fundamentally distinct from animals, and therefore do not make the effort to actualize this uniquely quasi-divine station. They are anything but humanists, because theirs' is the explicit philosophy of the animalization of the human, and all the consequences that flow from that. You may not think it is fair or illustrative, but Alec Baldwin's abuse of his daughter is a case in point. The leftist foregoes the task of mastering himself in favor of ceding his power to the collective, which he hopes will control him -- in particular, his greed, his envy, and his paranoia and malevolence toward his fellow man. Obviously, Alec Baldwin is "out of control," as are the majority of narcissistic Hollywoodenheads. It is rare that you would ever say of one, "ah, now here is a man who has mastered himself!" No. It is almost always the opposite. The less mastery, the further left; the list is endless.)

For the classical liberal, the very task of this life is to transcend and perfect oneself by first mastering oneself. To say that there is not a trace of this attitude in leftism is an understatement, for it is rooted in the opposite premise: that there is no such thing as self-mastery (only "repression"), so you must be controlled by the state, by a powerful collective. A nation of virtuous people living in the light of their own awakened conscience would not even require laws. Obviously, fallen humans being what they are, such an ideal state is not feasible, because it takes only a few irresponsible jerks to upset the whole balance. It's like the freeways -- you can have thousands of responsible drivers spontaneously interacting in a harmonious manner, but just one accident by some idiot will snarl the traffic and inconvenience everyone else.

Thus, leftism inevitably redounds to a situation in which inferior men rule the superior men, in part because the superior man has no interest in dominating others. This is the real reason why there are so very few conservatives in politics, because politics draws from people who wish to control others, and a conservative has no desire to exercise this kind of power as a replacement for self-mastery. And this is why virtually every professional group has been taken over by leftist activists, whether it is the educational establishment, the state department, the American Bar Association, the MSMistry of Truth, academia, or my idiotic group, the American Psychological Association -- it doesn't matter, for the principle is the same: the authorization of a kind of external power to control others as a substitute for the liberal doctrine of self-mastery.

For example, I and everyone else have to pay a ridiculous amount of money into the inefficient social security system because of the weakness, fecklessness, and irresponsibility of those who refuse to plan for their future. As always, leftist ideas have "good intentions," but the result is the institution of a system of incentives that rewards irresponsibility, denial of the future, and a focus on the present. How can this not contribute to people in general being less responsible with their money, purchasing things they don't need, and going into debt with credit cards?

A big part of the problem is that, once you have despiritualized a people, they will have a gigantic hole in the center of their being, which they will then attempt to fill either with material objects or with "thrills." It also creates the cult of celebrity, for celebrity is sort of insane replacement for being known by God. Or to put it in the reverse, no one who is known by God -- and therefore, ipso facto, knows God -- cares if they are known by a bunch of anonymous strangers. You cannot actually become a somebody through sufficient adulation by a mob of nobodies. But that doesn't stop people from trying.

Consider last Monday's mass murderer. He was a nothing, a nobody, a non-entity who was a non-entity by virtue of the fact that, for whatever reason, he was devoid of self mastery. He is obviously an extreme case. However, one thing I learned during my internship at Camarillo State Mental Hospital is that government employees are more dysfunctional than the patients. But the other thing I learned is that the most disturbed patients can provide a lot of insight into the less disturbed among us. This is because they have the same pathology, so to speak, only in an extremely vivid and exaggerated form.

Yesterday I linked to a provocative but entirely fair piece at American Thinker entitled Who Taught Cho to Hate? I believe it is fair, because some insane individuals will imbibe the ubiquitous message that the United States is a fundamentally corrupt place ruled by wealthy elites, and find justification to open fire on them. Others, such as Alec Baldwin, who are less psychotic but equally morally insane, will spout nonsense about President Bush being a murderer while engaging in the soul murder of their own child. It would be fascinating to know what Baldwin has taught his daughter about "evil conservatives" and "good liberals" such as himself. She's going to grow up either very confused or very clear about what motivates the angry and immature liberal.

Lewis asks, "was Cho taught to hate?":

"Whatever he learned in his classes -- did it enable him to rage at his host country, to hate the students he envied so murderously? Was he subtly encouraged to aggrandize himself by destroying others? Was his pathology enabled by the PC university? Or to ask the question differently -- was Cho ever taught to respect others, to admire the good things about his host country, and to discipline himself to build a positive life?"

The answer "is readily available on the websites of Cho's English Department at Virginia Tech. This is a wonder world of PC weirdness. English studies at VT are a post-modern Disney World in which nihilism, moral and sexual boundary breaking, and fantasies of Marxist revolutionary violence are celebrated." Instead of acting as surrogate parents to help usher these young adults to emotional, moral, and intellectual maturity, these professors literally do the opposite: the VT English Department is not "a place that gives lost and angry adolescents the essential boundaries for civilized behavior. In fact, in this perversely disorienting PoMo world, the very words 'civilized behaviors' are ridiculed -- at least until somebody starts to shoot students, and then it's too late. A young culture-shocked adolescent can expect no firm guidance here."

It is simply an unconscionable scandal that one can spend a fortune on an education at an elite university and never once be presented with any of the key ideas of classical liberalism or of genuine humanism. Instead, you will be taught to rationalize your own failures and to hate America for them. What you do with that hatred is up to you. Some may become activists who make it their goal to master and control others, while some may become academics in order to vampirically "put the bite" on the next generation of young adults and convert them to this sinister ideology. But in any event, you will leave college no more a "finished" human being than you were when you entered -- and probably come away with the idea that there is nothing to "finish" except for the revolution to displace the human being.

Plus, you will have been exposed to many ideas that shouldn't even be thought, much less taught. At Belmont Club there is an article discussing this, entitled Deliver Us From Evil, in which Mr. Club writes that

"As a child I was taught one could 'sin through thought, word and deed'. Somewhere in the intervening years society seems to have forgotten about the 'sins' of thought and word largely because it refused to believe in taboos. There were, the school chaplains used to say, dark doors beyond which it was dangerous for the mind to go. There were thoughts you could not think -- unless you were strong enough to wrestle with what you would find beyond the portal.

"Pedophilia, bestiality, extreme cruelty, monstrous behavior -- these are no longer ideas which we dare not entertain or cast out of our minds should they fleet through our consciousness out of the fear of 'sin'. No. Pedophilia has itself become a cause for enlightened people... Instead we have cast out the idea of sin itself and made the conception of sin as sin our only societal taboo."

There is a civil war in this country between human and anti-human ideologies. You might say that one aims for the transcendent goal of humanness, while the other abolishes the category altogether and therefore makes its achievement impossible.

*****

Did we get sidetracked, or can this be tied together with the fourth commandment of nihilism, which is forget the sabbath, because time has no vertical dimension anyway. And if time does not have a vertical dimension, then there is no developmental time, and therefore no telos for human beings -- nothing to achieve, no measurement of human maturity. We are all Alec Baldwin, who has often expressed interest in running for office. Then others can share in the feeling of what it is like to have such a beast for a father: a man who cannot even master a child. No, not his child -- which is what he imagines -- but his own childishness. The out-of-control child evokes the heavy-handed governmental parent who will coerce and control him as a substitute for self-mastery.


*****

And here is some of what I wrote about the fourth commandment last year. It also applies:

In order to understand this commandment, we must go back to the very beginning of Genesis, where God eternally “creates the heavens and the earth.” In the esoteric view, this refers to the continuous separation of the vertical (heaven, eternity, the Absolute) and horizontal (earth, time, the relative world). So long as we are in the horizontal -- the horizontal alone -- we are indeed “strangers in this world.” In the absence of the vertical, life is a sort of absurd hell, or at best, a meaningless pleasure palace in which we should mindlessly pursue our lusts and desires until crying time. “A raging animal inside of a dying carcass,” as I believe I once heard Alan Watts put it.

But “remembering the sabbath” has to do with vertical recollection, and cultivating the leisure necessary to achieve it. It is literally re-membering, for it involves rejoining our ground of being before things get too out of hand. It is possible to get so lost in the horizontal -- one’s life can become so complex and convoluted -- that it is difficult to find one’s way back to that OMnipresent hole in creation known as the sabbath.

For the sabbath ultimately represents a shorthand way of discussing those little springs that dot the landscape of being, through which vertical energies bubble forth from the ground. Every night, before going to sleep, I make it a point to remember how and where I drank from one of these springs during the day. No matter how difficult my day, I can almost always remember some point at which I was “given my daily bread,” so to speak -- some point at which the vertical energies shone through and nourished me. Come to think of it, it often happens while making one of these little morning raids on the wild godhead. It’s a big reason I write them. I wake up looking for one of those little springs bubbling up around my computer. As always, the challenge is to make sure I bring a big enough crock.

In any event, it is specifically because the sabbath is “built in” to the cosmos that vertical energies can enter and leave the “kingdom of man.” In other words, we aren’t trapped here below deck in the dark hull of the horizontal, merely sailing toward our doom. It is the reason why prayer, meditation, contemplation, lectio divina, and Petey's tin cup all work. These are all activities that make the vertical presence present, because they allow us to step outside the relentless stream of time and stand on the shore for a bit, "watching the river flow.” Through these inactivities, we may turn toward what is “behind” or “above” the external world and its nihilocracy of urgent nonsense.

Now critically, the purpose of the sabbath isn’t just to gear us up for the horizontal, a brief reprieve from the toil and drudgery of existence. Rather, the reverse is true. Although there is a rhythm and a dialectic between the sabbath and the mundane, in my view, the entire purpose of creation is the sabbath, not understood literally, but esoterically as our ever-present link to the whole. Keeping the sabbath holy is etymologically linked to the idea of “wholeness” and healing. I don’t intend to bash the left again... no, that's not true.... I do.... but one thing you will notice about “progressives” is that they are relentless. The idea of the sabbath is foreign to them, because it has been replaced by the idea of trying to force perfection in the horizontal, something which can never happen. For one thing, it is already happening. But only now. And now. And now.

In other words, you must occasionally step back from creation -- as did God -- and realize that it is already good. It is only for us to realize it. But this realization is more of a challenge than you might appreciate. Like the injunction against envy -- which is actually a reward and not an “order" -- the ability to truly experience “sabbath consciousness” is also a reward. It is something that most people have some difficulty achieving. Therefore, they displace their own inability to experience the simple joy of being, and project it into the future, when the revolution creates Sugar Candy Mountain on earth, when the minimum wage is increased, when everyone has free healthcare, and when all men have been castrated.

In short, progressives habitually turn an existential defect into a virtue, since politics is their religion, 24/7/365. To “remember” the sabbath would mean forgetting about the revolution, and that would be a political sin. They cannot separate church and state because the state is their church.

When we are caught up in the stream of time, the unity of reality is broken up into hopes, dreams, regrets, wishes, plans, resentments, etc. You cannot get away from these things so long as you are in time, because they are a function of time. The only way out is up and in, where we are called upon to live as if we are already in paradise. In truth, the sabbath is not a recollection but a “memoir of the future.” Here, the world does not need to be worked on or improved, merely enjoyed as it is. In a strange way, we would live in paradise if people were only capable of realizing that we already do.

After all, this present moment of your life is the end result of thousands and thousands of little plans, goals, choices, and decisions you have made over the course of your life. Are you able to step back for a moment and realize that this is it, that this moment is the result of your plans coming to fruition? Or are you in reality simply addicted to “planning” as a way to escape the moment? We live in a time undreamt of by kings and princes, but how many of us are able to simply enjoy it?

In the final unalysis, the sabbath must be internalized, so that one has access to it at all times, like a portable monastery, a zone of silence, a realm of inner peace between you and the world. For as much as you may think that you are in the world, the opposite is generally true. The world is in you -- it sinks its teeth into you and will not let go, which is why we have to consciously practice letting it go and “dying” to the world.

For the sabbath is also a rehearsal for the Big Sabbath, when it is dark and no man can work anyway. As Petey quipped in One Cosmos, “The paradox at the heart of the sabbath is that you must live your life as if you already abide in the eternal, because you do, but aspire to get there as if your life depended on it, because it does. The former is more difficult than the latter, because your worries, anxieties, plans, and conventional aspirations trick you into thinking there is another way out. And if you believe that, you are doing the adversary’s heavy lifting for him, and giving him his black sabbath rest.” Which is why Democrats are the adversarial party.

*****

Just. Wow. At dailykos, the beatification of the monster named Cho. In the morally insane world of the left, perpetrators are victims (HT: LGF).

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Third Commandment of Nihilism: You Shall Have a Vanity Plate in Your Head

When they aren't plain wrong, leftist arguments are just so silly or disingenuous. During the debate regarding the appropriateness of a statue of the Ten Commandments outside a courtroom, I remember them ridiculing the idea that an intelligent or sophisticated person could take them seriously anyway. True, there might be some commonsense folk wisdom embedded in a few of them, but they are obviously not the instantiation of a transcendent moral order worthy of our reverence. Please.

You will notice that leftists are often exactly what they accuse their adversaries of being -- in this case, either hyper-concrete and literal, or prone to a pseudo-form of reason applied to an extremely narrow area, thus rendering reason irrational. That there is a bas relief pi'ture of Moses bearing the Ten Commandments inside the Supreme Court building is of no consequence to them -- as if someone illegally snuck it in there without anyone noticing that it's not exactly kosher. Or worse yet, that it is.

I remember a comedian, for example, mocking the commandment, "you shall not take the name of the lord in vain." What's that supposed to mean? And why would the creator of the universe possibly care about how we employ language or what we say about him? Parochial yahoos. Anthropocentrists. These so-called "ten commandments" aren't universal. Rather, they're just a bunch of arbitrary rules made up by some primitive tribe 3,000 years ago. We're liberated. We don't believe that nonsense.

Of course, such blinkered thinking represents the quintessence of vanity, parochialism, and narcissism, for it articulates what the spiritually untutored human -- which is to say, signifyin' monkey -- thinks about the cosmos. We may dismiss such common McDullards in light of their own assumptions about language, which is that it is an arbitrary and ultimately meaningless protest shouted into the cosmic void. Secular leftists are half-right, in that their philosophy is indeed a vacuous shout from void to Void.

But the point of depicting the Ten Commandments in the most exalted court in the land is to emphasize that human law is indeed arbitrary unless it is rooted in transcendent and absolute principles. Don't kid yourself. The "rule of law" is vastly superior to the "rule of man," unless it is only the rule of law -- for if it is, we are simply back to the rule of man. In other words, if law is not grounded in something transcending it -- something which law is intended to embody and reflect -- then there is no reason to respect it aside from avoiding earthly punishment.

I remember when I first realized this fact with the... with the force of God. This was probably about seven years ago. I was doing something I shouldn't be doing, specifically, taking something that did not belong to me. Don't get me wrong -- it was in the "everybody does it" category -- but that was the problem, at least for someone presuming to be on a spiritual path. It was such an inconsequential thing, and yet, I suddenly felt like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, which is to say, existentally naked before the full brunt of my divine conscience.

Only later, in the course of reading Schuon, did I fully "put two and two together" and realize the centrality of virtue to the spiritual path. If you are going to make any spiritual progress, there are certain things you simply cannot do, even if they are legal or if everyone else does them, the reason being that the good and true converge as you approach the One. In this regard, this is why I can speak so confidently -- if you want to say bobnoxiously, that's fine -- about the bogosity of certain spiritual teachers. One can only assume that they are operating outside the light of the divine conscience, for virtue is the mark of the sage. In fact, awareness of the conscience is one of the things that makes the saint so humble.

Now, the third commandment is here to remind us that, just as law must be grounded in something transcending it, so too is language anchored in a reality that surpasses it. In fact, this is why we are able to make meaningful statements at all. The problem, as a commenter yesterday put it, is not that life is meaningless, but rather, that it means so much: "The tragedy is that to care is to risk the unbearable pain of loss. To say all is absurd is a defense against the pain of loss, as in saying 'it can't hurt me because it never mattered in the first place.' Nihilists play games in the dark because they are very frightened to begin with." The only thing I would add is that they play language games, which is why they are so fundamentally unserious -- again, by dint of their own frivolous assumptions.

Here is a perfect example. Even if you are "pro-choice," everyone except a true sociopath knows that abortion is morally wrong. It is a moral reality that you simply cannot not know unless you have no conscience or unless you have disabled your conscience with word games in order to make wrong seem right. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards all presume to be religious, so just ask them: does abortion please God? And if not, why not? And if it does please God, please tell us a little more about this God of yours and his relationship to human beings.

Again, irrespective of whether or not you are pro-choice, only a very disingenuous person, or someone who does not take language seriously, could read the Constitution and find there a universal right to kill your fetus. It has been said that if leftists interpreted the second amendment the way they do the rest of the constitution, you would be mandated to carry a weapon at taxpayers' expense.

What would it be like for time to stop and to spend eternity standing naked before your unveiled conscience? JWM proposed that this is what happens in the eternal moment between when the depraved Palestinian ghettoblaster pushes the button and the rat-poison-laced screws reach the Jewish baby's head. A metaphor, or course, but eternity does exist, as does the eternal conscience. As such, in one way or another, you will live with what you have done forever, so choose wisely. If the Creator is just -- and there is no reason to believe he wouldn't be -- then these shameless Islamic monsters from their "shame cultures" will be immersed in the very shame they cannot tolerate until the conclusion of this cosmic cycle. If they think Saudi Arabia is bad, just wait until they find out about the eternal shame cosmos.

One very efficient, if indiscriminate, way to make the conscience disappear -- and with it, shame -- is by severing language from its transcendent source, so that nothing can be known and all is ultimately arbitrary, including moral rules of conduct. But as brother Elvis teaches us in one of today's FineTune selections, you may run on for a long time, but not forever:

My God spoke and he spoke so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of angel's feet
He put one hand upon my head
Great God almighty, tell you what he said

Go tell that long-tongued liar,
Go tell that midnight rider,
Tell the gambler and the rambler and the back-biter
Tell 'em God almighty gonna cut 'em down

Run on for a long time,
Run on for a long time,
Let me tell you God almighty gonna cut you down

You may throw your rock and hide your hand
Working in the dark 'gainst your fellow man
Sure as God made the day and the night
What you do in the dark will be brought to the light
You may run and hide, slip and slide
Trying to take the mote from your neighbour's eyes
As sure as God made the rich and po'
You gonna reap just what you sow

Some people go to church just to sit in the fire
Trying to make a date with the neighbour's wife
Brother let me tell you as sure as you born
You better leave that woman alone
Because one of these days, mark my word
You think that brother is gone to work
You'll sneak up, knock on that door
That's all brother, you'll knock no more

Amen, brother, you ain't gonna knock on heaven's door with a smokin' semantic crater in the middle of your syntax.

Where was I? Yes, the third commandment of nihilism: Since God does not exist, all language is ultimately vain, and metaphysics is not possible. Let's review some of what I wrote about the matter last summer. For those of you who have read it before, you are dismissed. Have a nice weekend. Remember -- no ramblin', gamblin', and back-bitin'.

*****

Authentic religions are frameworks for spirituality in the same way that music theory is a framework for music. You can try to play music without it -- you can be “musical” -- but except for rare exceptions, you won’t be able to play much of interest. It will be a pretty vain endeavor. This is why, for example, regardless of what objection you may have to the Catholic church, they have produced many more profound spiritual geniuses than the “new age” ever will. Frankly, there’s just no comparison in terms of depth, power and spiritual radiance.

While radical secularists grant that it might be bad under certain circumstances to murder or steal, they especially dismiss injunctions against making graven images (discussed in yesterday’s post) or taking the name of the lord in vain. No one is going to tell a leftist what he can and cannot mock, since leftism represents a convoluted intellectual sanction for knee-jerk adolescent rebellion. If they could not blaspheme, what would be left of them? This is why I was so surprised at their decision to grind Imus -- who is one of their own -- through the left-wing hate machine. Now they'll have to shut down the entire rap and hip-hop industry, and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson can no longer wear the liberal King of Negroes crown.

It is a vain dream that leftists would ever take language seriously or be intellectually consistent.

You will also notice that no one is more literal-minded or “fundamentalist” than the leftist who rejects religion. That is, they reject only a caricature of religion that they themselves have concrockted. Or perhaps, as often happens, they had a bad experience with a dysfunctional version of religion as a child, and are in perpetual revolt against it. While perfectly understandable -- in fact, to a certain extent, I was a victim of this myself -- there is no reason why it should pose a lifelong obstacle to opening oneself to the boundless depths of genuine religion.

The third commandment is “You shall not take the name of the lord in vain.” There are even many Christians who believe that this means nothing more than refraining from cursing. If so, what’s the point? If that were all it amounted to, then liberals might even be correct in mocking something so seemingly trivial in the overall scheme of things.

First of all, this commandment has something important to say about metaphysical vanity, specifically, vain and fruitless talk about God, of which there is an overabundance. Much religious talk is entirely vain, in that it serves no purpose -- it is mere “pneuma-babble” emanating from the ego, not the spirit.

The omninameable One has revealed several of his names to mankind, perhaps the most important one being I AM. In fact, there are certain forms of yoga that consist of nothing more than meditating on the mystery of this I AM to which we all have magical access. To do so is to engage in the deepest form of vertical recollection, for this I AM is not located in the field of time. Rather, it eternally radiates through the vertical now to which humans have unique access. To dwell in the primordial I AM -- or so ham in Sanskrit -- is to reconnect with the eternal ground of being. It is anything but vain.

As I was at pains to point out in One Cosmos, the truths embodied in genuinely revealed religions must be experienced, not merely thought. This is really not much different than, say, psychology. You can read all about the criteria for a depression or panic attack in the DSM, but unless you have actually experienced a panic attack, the words don’t really convey the experience. If anything, they might even convince you that you understand it because you have the words for it, but the words are merely pointers or place markers for a reality that most certainly exists.

Especially with regard to religion and psychology, words must be analogous to bank notes that one may “cash in” for their actual experiential value. Otherwise you are simply dealing with religious counterfeiters and with spiritual “funny money” that has no value at all. It is entirely vain. When you read Meister Eckhart or Frithjof Schuon, you should know that their words are backed by the full faith and credit of the First Bank of Divine Reality. When you read Deepak Chopra or Tony Robbins, you know that their words are backed by the full faith and credit of their rampant narcissism. But Petey's law means that bad spiritual money tends to drive out good, which accounts for their vast personal fortunes.

Perhaps the worst way of taking the name of the Lord in vain -- and the most spiritually catastrophic for the person who does so -- is to use the name of God as a pretext to commit great evil, as do the Islamists. I’m trying to think of a worse sin, but I can’t at the moment. What the Islamists are doing is beyond evil, for they are committing evil in the name of God, thus undermining the very possibility of the Good.

Contrary to popular understanding, these monsters of depravity are worthy of both divine wrath and our own unyielding holy anger. True, under most circumstances it is appropriate to “hate the sin and not the sinner.” However, it is entirely legitimate to despise the sinner to the extent that he has not only completely given himself over to sin, but fully identifies with it in an implacable way. In other words, if the sinner has chosen to be sin, then it is appropriate to despise him. Woe unto spiritually depraved groups such as CAIR or the ACLU that align themselves with these embodiments of evil.

The Islamo-nazis are not just committing evil, they are willfully identified with evil -- more, they are absolutely committed to violent overthrow of the very possibility of the good. It is our sacred duty to despise these monsters in the proportion to which we love the Good. In no way does this mirror the illegitimate, passionate, and sadistic hatred of the Islamists themselves, for holy anger is dispassionate and does not surpass the boundaries of what has provoked it. Americans do not chop off heads for fun; they do only what is necessary to stop the evil. But to the left, our liberation of Iraq is morally indistinguishable from Saddam's occupation of it.

There is one additional aspect of the third commandment that I had wanted to get into, but I can see that I won’t really have timelessness enough to expand upon it. That is the possibility of metaphysical knowledge which is both objectively true and operative, or fruitful, in the psyche. Virtually all postmodern thought is in agreement that metaphysical knowledge is not possible -- that it is “vain.” Here again we see an exact reversal of the reality, for the religious view is that human beings most definitely have access, through the uncreated intellect, to objective truth. There are eternal truths that man may not only know, but without which man would not be man.

Example?

Oh, there are so many, I don’t know where to begin. How about this one: “semantics cannot be reduced to syntax.” Because it can’t, language is not just a vain epiphenomenon produced by a modified primate brain, including the mathematical language that governs the physical universe, the language of DNA, the language of music, or the language of Shakespeare. Ultimately, it means that meaning is indeed meaningful and not merely a vain existential pursuit. The cosmos is not just a tale told by a tenured idiot, full of envy and activism but signifying short hours and a nice paycheck. Rather, it is a vehicle and transmitter of Ultimate Meaning.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Graven and Craven Images of the Nihilist

(forgive typos. better yet, inform me of them)

One wonders what possible interest an avowed existentialist (FF) -- which is to say, nihilist -- would have in visiting our site. Indeed, not just visiting, but taking the time to comment and to try to convince Raccoons of the worthiness of his little philosophy. Why would one do such a thing in a meaningless universe? Is he trying to help us? Educate us? Disillusion us? In a universe in which truth does not exist, why try to convince others of the truth? Does he not realize that we already understand existentialism from bottom to bottom and find it to be inadequate to the very task of philosophy and therefore unworthy of the name?

No offense to rappers, but existentialism is to philosophy as rap is to music. Just as rap emphasizes rhythm at the expense of the two other key ingredients of music, i.e., melody and harmony, existentialism emphasizes an extremely narrow band of egoic consciousness and elevates it to the totality. FF sets out the premise of his philosophy:

"Existentialism is not for the faint of heart. You have to feel yourself as alone in a large, uncaring universe in which there is no God, and other people can't be really be depended on."

One could equally say that existentialism is for the faint of heart, the egocentric among us who are too proud to surrender to the higher consciousness that gave birth to them. And to say that one must "feel" oneself alone in an uncaring universe is to emphasize that this pseudo-philosopy is grounded first in a deicidedly schizoid "feeling" of cosmic abandonment, which is a psychological issue susceptible to treatment, not a properly philosophical issue belonging to the arena of the intellect properly so called.

Moreover, it sounds as if one part of the self must bully another part into submitting to this bitter philosophy. Why live in such a divided state, one part bossing around the other part in order to believe something it doesn't believe and cannot swallow, much less digest?

In fact, how is it that this cosmos has produced a detached and dispassionate center of consciousness which is able to will itself to believe or disbelieve this or that? There is no materialistic philosophy which can, with materialistic assumptions, account for such an entity. Of this we may be certain.

The first ascertainment which should impose itself upon man when he reflects on the nature of the Universe is the primacy of that miracle that is intelligence -- or consciousness or subjectivity -- and consequently the incommensurability between these and material objects, be it a question of a grain of sand or of the sun, or of any creature whatever as an object of the senses. --F. Schuon

I do agree with FF that 1) truth exists, and 2) truth is what we must believe. But a true existentialist must affirm the opposite, that 1) no one can know the truth, and 2) it doesn't matter anyway. FF even says so:

"Everything you've ever done will come to nothing, as time erases all things in due course. And even if something was 'accomplished' it all comes to nothing because the entire thing is an absurd and empty gesture done for no end. There is nobody and nothing watching the performance of your life."

Here truly is the "voice of the nihil." As you can see, just as this detached voice emphasizes the ego at the expense of all other levels and dimensions of consciousness, it absurdly posits time in the absence of eternity, freedom in the absence of any ground and therefore goal for it, falsehood in the absence of truth, absurdity in the absence of meaning, and subjectivity in the absence of a Subject. It is completely incoherent and makes no sense at all. You could summarize it by saying that it uses the vertical to annihilate the vertical, like a tree that grows more leaves in order to prove that the roots and soil -- not to mention the Sun -- do not exist. Once again, he even says so:

"All pleasures and pains eventually lead to one thing, the annhiliation and nothingness of death."

In short, Death is God -- even though death can only exist as a local side effect of a nonlocally living cosmos.

I don't know how one could know that Death is God unless one is omniscient -- or perhaps just emotionally dead and omnipotently projecting this unnatural state into the cosmos. And if they are omniscient, then this is a category that most certainly transcends existentialism. I myself have no difficulty believing that human beings are "omniscient," albeit in a limited way that reflects the axiom, "as above, so below." In other words, seeing as how human beings are made in the image of the Creator, it follows that we have a divine spark at the center of our being which is able to know truth and to know it absolutely. You will notice that I do not have to "force" myself to believe this. Rather, it is obvious.

It is also personally bobvious because people far wiser than Bob have told him so, and the B'ob places far more trust in them than in somenone who tells him up front that he "feels" truth doesn't exist and that I must believe that he is being truthful about this. I suppose he's being truthful about his feelings, but that hardly means his feelings are true.

For one thing, truth is generative. It flowers, it grows, and it nourishes the soul. It is literally like a tree, the Tree of Life. In this regard, revelation is like an O-perating system for the soul. Once installed, you will find that it is effective on various planes, including the plane of epistemology, i.e., what we may know and understand about existence, both individual and cosmic. In short, it allows finite beings to think properly about the eternal, the infinite, and the absolute, which otherwise remain impenetrable mysteries. I could never blog on a daily basis using the operating system of existentialism, for I would only be able to say nothing over and over, like my critics.

But existentialism is not "organic." It as not made for man. Rather, it is a wholly unholy manmode philosophy -- obviously -- that cannot account for the one who invented it and has decided to believe in it, because such a one ipso facto transcends his philosophy. Thus, existentialism is ultimately a self-limiting cognitive and spiritual dead end that truly does produce nothing, for it is the philosophy of nothingness. It is the very substance of nothing. So yes, if you are an existentialist, I agree with you: you are a nothing, a nihil, a worm, and an absurdity. But you have only yourself to blame and nosoph to bloom.

Naturally, such a one has a need to evangelize. But this is not out of a generous spirit of truth sharing -- for how could it be? -- but out of a bad spirit which you might say represents the cold hand of death reaching out to comfort you. Have you ever seen René Spitz's famous experiments using monkeys to study maternal attachment? He removed the babies from their mothers and placed them in a cage with two mother substitutes. One was a wire monkey holding a milk bottle, the other was a cloth monkey with no nourishment. The baby would feed from the wire monkey but otherwise ignore it. Most notably, when frightened, it would jump into the arms of the cloth monkey for comfort and security.

As I have mentioned before, both psychoanalysis and Christianity take seriously the idea that we are embodied beings, and that our mental life takes place in a human body. A philosophy such as existentialism is a non-starter for me, because it again begins with this abstract, detached ego hovering in subjective space with no theory to account for how it got there. But if you take the trouble to truly deconstruct your mind in the generative sense of that term, you will discover that your self is not made of "food" but that it is made of love -- or, conversely, that you have internalized various mind parasites in the space where the love should have been.

Of course, I know nothing about FF's developmental history, but existentialism is the philosophy of the wire mother, so that may or may not provide him with some food for thought from Petey's ample bosom as to how and why he believes what he does. There is nothing human about it; it is like trying to use Marx to understand Shakespeare. And like something made of wire, existentialism is a cold, dry, and lifeless thing, whereas truth is warm, loving, flowing -- ah, manna from above!

Thank you our MotherFather who art in heaven!

Why thank you?

Because it is simply the spontaneous expression of gratitude for something so precious. Gratitude is one of the unmistakable seals of truth. Something like this:

FIRE!

Not the god of the philosophers and scholars.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace....

Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except God....
Greatness of the Human Soul.
"Righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee."
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy....

Let me not be separated from Him eternally.
"This is eternal life.”

Renunciation, total and sweet....
Eternally in joy for a day's training on earth.


Yes, even Donovan knew that love is hot and truth is molten. This is what Truth feels like to a pascally pundit but not to a wascally wobot. If you have never shed real tears upon hearing truth, you probably haven't heard it. Such tears occur when one has touched the divine plane.

What does existentialism feel like to a lover of truth? -- for there is no transcendent truth that is not lovable. It feels entirely contrived and artificial, like an ideology made of cardboard and baling wire. It is certainly not for human consumption. But being that we are what we eat, it will gradually convert your soul into its image. It leads to such nonsense as this:

"The existentialist summons forth his free will, and fortified with nothing beyond that, decides to feel 'meaning' in whatever he or she decides. It could be a pair of Argyle socks or a committment to a book club. It doesn't matter what it is, it only matters that the person has made the choice."

Brrrrr! The human mind was no more made to believe such an absurdity, than the human body was made to live at the north pole. I mean, it is possible, but don't make a virtue out of it.

"This is as high as one gets. There is a dignity in facing against the absurd emptiness that is this cosmos and spitting in its face. Defiance is the hightest virtue available. Like Nietchze, we bite off the head of the snake."

Respectfully disagree. This is as low as one gets, and there is no dignity whatsoever in it, except for the delusional and compensatory kind. It is, however, the outcome of a diet consisting of unctuous, hypnotic, and seductive snakes and their oil -- not to mention wire monkeys and their loveless milk. What I am saying is not complicated. It's just simple gastrophysics.

"The way of the existentialist takes a huge amount of discipline and self-mastery. For him, the easy path of religion is not good enough. He takes the hard road."

The way of existentialsim is the quintessence of a lack of self-mastery and an admission of defeat. It is by definition the lazy man's path, for it ends precisely where religion begins. It is like -- exactly like -- saying, "the path of quantum calculus is not good enough. I will take the hard road of basic arithmetic to understand all of reality." FF abuses religion beyond all recognition, and then rejects it because it is so ugly. I don't blame him for the latter, only the former, for it is a monumental sin of the intellect to treat Sophia in such a shabby manner.

"Even if he is wrong, and God exists, he has still shown the manly virtues of fortitude and forbearance; few other paths offer such a baptism in naked fear."

Correction. If he is right, there are no virtues, manly or otherwise, because Man does not exist.

As I said, I do have a certain respect for the intellectual honesty of an existentialist who truly has the courage of his absence of convictions, such as Nietszche. Reading him is still a bracing experience, for he is the most poetic voice of the nihil. He is the anti-Christ, and for that he deserves a certain kind of respect -- as does the poisonous snake to whom we give a wide berth. Nietszche knew that in the absence of the divine there is only the will to power:

When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality. For the latter is absolutely not self-evident: one must make this point clear again and again, in spite of English shallowpates. Christianity is a system, a consistently thought out and complete view of things. If one breaks out of it a fundamental idea, the belief in God, one thereby breaks the whole thing to pieces: one has nothing of any consequence left in one's hands.... Christian morality is a command: its origin is transcendental;... it possesses truth only if God is truth -- it stands or falls with the belief in God.

As does existentialism, which could only have occurred in a thoroughly Christianized world. For existentialism is simply a reactionary parasite on a magnificent organic structure that existentialism could never have built, for existentialism builds nothing, precisely. As like is drawn to like, who could love nothing, except a nothing with no love?

*****

I had intended to get into the second commandment of nihilism, but got carried away. However, my post definitely addresses that commandment, which is that you must acquiesce to manmade graven images, just as FF tells us -- i.e., that we must feel ourselves to exist in an absurd and loveless universe in which nothing and no one can be trusted. Here is a review of some of what I wrote last summer about the matter:

The reason why it is necessary to acknowledge the Absolute prior to the relative is that, in the absence of the Absolute, all transcendent values are bleached out and ultimately wiped away. Values can only exist in a hierarchy (i.e., some things are more precious and valuable than others), and any hierarchy is conditioned from top to bottom. There can be no higher or lower in an infinite horizontal wasteland. Rather, in such a case, the world is simply a brute fact, with nothing to spiritualize it. Matter is elevated to the “ultimate,” so that the world shrinks down to our most primitive way of knowing it. In fact, it is precisely because there are degrees within the relative that we may prove the Absolute, in that these degrees of relativity reflect the Absolute either more or less adequately.

Although secularists like to think that their's represents a sophisticated view of the world, in reality, no philosophy could be more provincial and monkey-bound. As Richard Weaver has noted, it substitutes facts for truth and logic for wisdom, elevating the world of the senses above the antecedent reality that can only be known by the intellect. Man becomes the center of authority, which makes him no authority at all, for no fact speaks for itself and no experience can tell us what we are experiencing.

The secular materialist attempts through endless induction to assemble the cosmos from the bottom up, but you can never get there from here. No one has ever seen this thing called “cosmos,” and no one ever will. Rather, it is accepted on faith, as it is an inevitable shadow of its unitary creator. In other words, we all intuit that there is a strict totality of interacting objects and events because we were built to do so (unlike any other animal). To say “cosmos” is to say and even praise “God,” for God is the cosmos, even though the cosmos is not God. It is a "reflection" of God, and therefore cannot help but to be One.

In reality, beauty is another inevitable “residue” of its source, an exteriorization of the Universal Mind. To the extent that ugliness exists -- and it surely does -- it does not represent a fundamental reality but a deprivation of such. It is a measure of distance from the divine archetype, the full brunt of which reality could not bear. Thus we have degrees of beauty just as we have degrees of goodness and truth. And no one could plausibly argue that this beauty is perceived by the senses, but only by the uncreated intellect that mirrors it.

Two things that the uncorrupted mind cannot not know: that the world is intelligible and man is free. Take away either, and the world is simply an absurdity, a monstrosity, a mistake. For to say that we may know is equally to say that we are free, otherwise it is not knowledge at all. Knowledge proves freedom, freedom proves knowledge, and both prove the Creator, for the hierarchy of being disclosed by the free intellect leads back to its nonlocal source above.

Behind the idolatrous secular impulse is a persistent, vulgar materialism that collapses the hierarchy of being and reduces the Absolute to some tangibly manifest idea or object that can be “contained” by the lower mind. But these are truly “mind games” for the childlike secularist, for no fragmented detail at the periphery of existence can explain the mysterious whole, much less the infinite interior center that represents its beating heart.

“The universe is a tree eternally existing, its root aloft, its branches spread below.” So says the Katha Upanishad. We know this tree, for it is the same tree that appears in Genesis. It is a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf. For the grazing herdhearted woodenheads who wouldn't, they are the sap. Or perhaps a wire monkey.