Monday, April 30, 2007

Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left to Tax (4.26.09)

First of all, I have no idea what that title means. And yet, it still made me chuckle, suggesting that there can be punchlines in the absence of a joke... In fact, we have heard from Petey, the Wise, the Compassionate, the Merthiful, CFCBUH, that enlightenment is somewhat like this: you finally "get" the joke that never existed to begin with. That's the joke. Get it? It's a guffah-ha! experience.

Speaking of which, there were some very funny and illuminating comments on yesterday's post, not all of them unintentional. One of them was from Mr. Bardo, who expressed the sentiment that my post reflected proof of my "projectile nature" in suggesting that he was in any way angry at me:

"No. The strongest emotion I've felt towards you is annoyance, the kind of irritation one feels when conversing with a fundamentalist, where you know that no true dialogue is possible. Usually you lack a dynamic, open quality of thought, as if the world is exactly how YOU think it is.... So yeah, you annoy me, but you don't anger me. Is that adequate clarification?"

First of all, this suggests that Jonny has a co-dependent relationship with me, and that he is addicted to being my "enabler" -- otherwise, he would simply leave me and find a healthier relationship with a blogger who is not an abusive and genocidal madman.

But leaving that asnide, if what he says is true, then the situation is even worse than I had thought, because Jonny characterized me as a hateful, acid-spewing, demonic, and genocidal egomaniac, and yet, now says he feels no hostility toward me. First of all, let us stipulate that either I am or am not as he describes me. If I am, then it would be appropriate for any normal person to feel anger toward me. Indeed, they would be abnormal if they did not.

But if I am not as he so describes, then he is clearly engaged in projection, because otherwise there is no way to account for all that acid-spewing, genocidal hatred that exists in the space between us. After all, it came from somewhere -- specifically, either from his mind or from mine.

In Bion's terminology, there is clearly an "h link" between Jonny and I, but he denies it, which is something that passive-aggressive leftists and new ageists do, but only habitually. This is rooted in the commonplace observation that anger is converted to paranoia in the unconscious mind. For a child, when they get very angry at the parent, they unconsciously imagine that the parent will retaliate. The parent becomes monstrously frightening in the exact degree to which the child is angry.

Thus, for example, the more angry the deranged left gets at President Bush, the more their fears of him become detached from reality. They imagine that he is spying on them, or that he is constantly questioning their patriotism, or that he invaded Iraq in order to somehow enrich his wealthy friends, or that he is stealing elections, or "raping the planet," or that he is a "Christian fascist" who is going to take over the country, etc., etc.

Similarly, Jonny's grotesque distortion of me can only be the result of an unconscious process of which he is unaware. This is why the repetitious advice of the troll who calls himself Interlocutor is not just silly and misguided but dangerous:

"My basic beef with Bob is his allowance and accomodation of hate into the spiritual life, against the advice of all teachers. He will not desist from this view.... Recant, Bob. State for all of your raccoons: 'Hate is a wrong movement; it has no place in the spiritual life.'"

Here is another person who projects his anger into me, and then insists that I "recant," which, trancelighted, means that he wishes for me to magically "cleanse" him of his hatred. I can do this, but he will have to come to my office and pay me for the service. It's called psychotherapy. Together we will work through his transference reaction to me, until such a time as he can "own" his hostility. Once he does so, he will not be less healthy and spiritually balanced, but more healthy and integrated. It is foolish to think that spiritual development involves denial of basic human emotions.

Rather, as always, it depends upon the use to which the emotion is put (there is also a vertical "subtilization" of emotions that occurs with spiritual growth, but that is the topic of another post). It is good to feel anger toward what is bad or evil. In fact, without such feelings, you would be completely paralyzed in this world, unable to make the simplest decision in life.

For as Bion said, if you cannot suffer pain, you cannot suffer pleasure. In other words, denial is not a subtle defense mechanism, as if you could surgically remove one small part of yourself that you don't like. It is more like a "dumb bomb" that causes a lot of collateral damage, taking out a range of feelings that inform you about the moral dimension of the world. This is why all Coons will have noticed that these peace-and-love new age types always come across as so two-dimensional, phony and sanctimonious, whereas, say, Jesus comes across as a fully three-dimensional person with his unapologetic righteous anger and other emotions fully in tact, to say the least.

Brother, if you are an evil-doer, who, for whatever reason, opposes the Good -- or even if you are just a garden-variety fink -- a Coon will smite you where you stand with a flaming sword that is sharp and true. And, if you are a basically decent person who retains an uncorrupted soul, you will some day say thank you, sir, may I have another?!

Now, the peripathetic vagrabond Sir Te, who must camp out at our blog until he finds employment and gets a blog of his own, says that he has spent a virtual lunchtime studying philosophy, and yet, never stumbled across the idea that a classical liberal believes that knowledge of truth constitutes the mind's freedom. Perhaps it is because this superb wisdom is not to be found in the pages of the Hitchhiker's Guide to My Cousin's Converted Garage, or in the Tao te Schmendrick (we kid -- I am sure you are a harmless nebbish).

Perhaps no rabbi or classical liberal ever expressed it thus, but it is simply the B'ob extrapolating what they said in order to demonstrate the common assumption underlying classical liberalism. Yes, that's probably it.

Because the question is, "what is freedom for?" I happen to know what it is for, and I am a classical liberal. Therefore, past classical liberals must agree with me in essence, even if they never explicitly expressed it in the same way. For the eternal Coon Wisdom is One, although the sages call it by many names.

You will notice right off the moonbat that I do not waste a moment -- well, just this one -- debating whether or not free will exists (or where it came from, for that matter) for it self-evidently does. Even -- or, shall we say, especially -- someone who argues that free will does not exist must, in order to be consistent, believe that he is not free to believe what he believes, but is compelled to do so. Therefore we can ignore him, and not even waste the energy it would take to smite him with our rod of iron.

It is no coincidence that the same people who have undermined the concept of free will have carried on a brazen assault on the quintessentially human capacity to know truth (you can call them whatever you want -- I call them "leftists"). For although truth is defined as that which we are compelled to believe, if we do not arrive at it freely, then it cannot be truth.

For this reason, truth cannot be reduced to mere reason, for reason can only operate in a mechanistic way on the materials it is given. And this is precisely why there is such a riot of diverse opinions among the so-called "wise" of our day and age, for they are like children playing with one of the means of truth but unacquainted with -- indeed, even hostile to -- its transcendent Source.

I am currently reading a very good book entitled Light From the East: Theology, Science, and the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, and it is amazing to me how early this truth was known by Christian men -- but only because they were Christian men who knew the secret equation, A + J = R, or Athens + Jerusalem = Reality. (By the way, I cannot yet unreservedly raccoomend the book, but only because I just started it.)

There are some Christians who deplore the early fathers' mixing of scripture and Greek thought, but this is a very narrow-minded and ultimately dysfunctional view. First of all, it places an unnatural antagonism between religion and science or philosophy, when there can be no such antagonism.

Rather, properly understood, theology easily accommodates -- and will always accommodate -- any partial truth disclosed by science. Since science is simply the exploration and mapping of God's creation, this is something that should go without saying, but unfortunately, it doesn't. But the founders of Christianity were well aware of the fact. They had a great appreciation of science and pagan philosophy ("Athens"), while at the same time recognizing their limitations and the superiority of revelation, or God's Word. They were hardly "anti-intellectuals," but "hyper-" -- or shall we say "trans-" -- intellectuals. These were men of uncommon genius (thank God). At risk of tarring them with a featherweight term, they were the true integralists.

To cite just one example, Nesteruk writes that Clement of Alexandria "is considered the founder of Christian theology as understood in its modern setting as knowledge about God." His fundamental innovation was "the transfer of the language and methods of philosophy to the realm of faith." Among other things, he recognized truth "as something that embraces all, that includes all particular kinds of truth. Truth is one, and it is God's truth."

Truth is something which is "hidden" within philosophy, but philosophy alone can never disclose the full truth of which it is a mere vehicle. There is often a sad longing for truth in Greek philosophy -- even an intimation of its full revelation -- but it simply lacked the means to fully disclose it. That had to await the full embodiment of truth, in such a way that the divine and human worlds recovered their primordial oneness.

As Clement put it, Greek and Hellenic philosophy tore off "a fragment of truth from the theology of the ever-living Word," but a person who brings the fragments together and makes them one "will without peril, be assurred, contemplate the perfect Word, the truth."

Clement articulated plain Coon wisdom when he wrote, (as expressed by Nesteruk) that "the faith that is true knowledge of revelation becomes a more scientific faith when supported by philosophy, and in this way becomes gnosis." One persistent troll has criticized my approach, as if I should be engaged in some explicit political action. But before there can be any righteous and sustainable political action, it must be founded upon truth.

Furthermore, the contemporary Christian must not only be able to confidently and lucidly respond to what passes for the fashionable worldly wisdom of the day, but to confront the enemies of Christianity with superior arguments, something which is eminently possible. What is the alternative, being a clown like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, so people will go on thinking that such bozos are somehow representative of the intellectual depths of Christianity?

Clement pointed out something that would not be logically proven until Godel's theorems in the 20th century, that it requires an act of faith in order to employ first principles of any kind, whether "scientific" or religious. For example, if your first principle is that only empirical knowledge is possible, your first principle cannot be proven empirically. Rather, you take it on faith. Nor can natural selection prove that natural selection is responsible for the human mind, any more than DNA can prove that it holds the secret of life.

Clement concludes that "knowledge is a state of mind that results from demonstration; but faith is a grace which from what is indemonstrable conducts to what is universal and simple, something that is neither with matter, nor matter, nor under matter."

Frankly, it is one cosmos under god, but you knew that already. In any event, you will have to forgive me, not just for having written this unnecessary book, but because I'm just getting warmed up, and now His Majesty is stirring.... and then I have to get ready for my non-dei gig. To be continued, cosmic weather permitting....

Sunday, April 29, 2007

On the Uselessness of Freedom and the Impossibility of Truth

Since American style liberty was conceived primarily in negative terms, it is either unappreciated or wasted by anyone without a spiritual grounding. In other words, our political liberty is not fundamentally "freedom to" but "freedom from," specifically, from the coercion of government. However, at the same time, if it is only freedom from, then it can quickly descend into mere license, or nihilism, or anarchy.

I apologize to those who are offended by my use of the term "left," but I use it as a shorthand to designate any philosophy that conceives of our liberty in the opposite way -- as freedom to -- say, to get an abortion, or to be paid a "living wage," or to receive free health care, or to "marry" your homosexual partner. These are not real freedoms, if only because they involve coercion of someone else. For example, a "living wage" simply means that the government must force someone to pay you more than you are worth, while "free" healthcare simply means that you want to force someone else to pay for it.

Likewise, the absolute "right" to abortion can only be grounded in a metaphysic that maintains that human beings are literally worthless. The absurd outcome for the leftist is that human rights are more precious than human beings. For the leftist, the right to abortion is sacred, while the human being to whom the right is owed is of no more value than a decayed tooth. But stranger beliefs can be found on the left, the reason being that it is fundamentally rooted in the absolutization of the relative, which is the essence of the absurd.

By the way, when I discuss leftist philosophies, I am not trying to be insulting, but simply as accurate as I can be, so I don't know why anyone should take offense. It is simply a fact that if you believe you are entitled to free healthcare, then you have a very different philosophy of freedom than I do or than the American founders did, for you believe that your fellow citizens should be forced by the federal government to pay for your healthcare. Likewise if you believe it is appropriate for the federal government to make it against the law to be racially colorblind, then you have a very different conception of liberty than I do. As Dennis Prager says, I am not interested in agreement, only clarity.

I am hardly offended if someone simply describes my views accurately, so I don't really understand why leftists don't feel the same way. For example if you express the truism that Democrats wish for us to surrender in Iraq, they go ballistic. They seem to have a fundamental difficulty in simply saying what they believe in a straightforward manner. It's not really a mystery why they are so deceptive, for if they came out and said what they believed, they could never get elected. For example, if citizens are actually given the choice, they are overwhelmingly against the idea of a few elite judges redefining the fundamental unit of civilization, marriage.

In any event, assuming we have the "freedom from," what is freedom for? This question is at the heart of classical liberalism, which has a very different answer than any illiberal leftist philosophy. Again, I do not quite understand the incredible hostility to me that is expressed by various leftists, new-agers, and "integralists" (I actually consider the latter two groups to be more or less the same -- integralists are simply new-agers with a superiority complex, or "new-ageists").

For example, the so-called integralists commonly express anger -- even rage -- at me because I am not "integral," meaning that I do not integrate left and right.

But here again, this is an utterly incoherent philosophy because it absolutizes the relative, placing "integralism" above truth. In other words, I do not consider it a sophisticated philosophy that maintains that integrating truth and falsehood somehow leads to a higher synthesis. This is not integralism, it is merely incoherence.

Here's how one new-ageist describes me, and it is typical: "Godwin is a neocon of a particular nasty variety, his blog basically a place where he spurts acid at the much-demonized 'Leftists,' who are at the root of all of the world's problems.... Godwin's vitriolic hatred is to the point that he seems a borderline personality."

Since the writer puts "leftists" in scare quotes, one can only assume that he does not believe they actually exist. On the other hand, he calls me a "neocon" (without the scare quotes) while never defining the term. I personally do not believe it means anything. Rather, it truly has become a term of abuse for anything leftists don't like -- like the word "fascist."

Do you see the writer's projection? I precisely define the term "leftist" and describe why I think it is a dangerous and destructive philosophy, while he simply tars me with the meaningless term "neocon" in order to demonize and dismiss the substance of my ideas.

And I can only assume that the writer is innocent of any psychological knowledge to recklessly hurl around the diagnosis of "borderline personality."

Elsewhere, the writer suggests that my "war against Leftism" is simply a "shadow project" representing an unconscious "hatred of where [I] once came from." Not only that, but my ego is "too densely opaque" to consider other points of view (which contradicts the first charge, since I obviously had to consider other points of view in order to slowly evolve from left to right; likewise, if I were to believe the same things I did 25 years ago, it would indeed constitute a kind of dense opacity).

Amazingly, the writer then suggests that our philosophy is "not that different from radical Islam, actually, where non-believers are infidels." So now I am a genocidal maniac who wants to murder people with whom I disagree. Again, who is doing the demonizing? Who is filled with hatred? Who is "spurting acid?" Come to think of it, who is taking acid? And can I buy some? Er, not for me.... it's for Dupree.

Finally, there is the ultimate incoherence, the inevitable passive-aggressive "namaste" that always follows the "fuck you": "Anyways, thanks for the engagement. Even if we disagree on many things, and in spite of some seemingly harsh words, I appreciate many of your views and your overall offering."

"Seemingly" harsh words? Yes, I appreciate your hateful, egomaniacal, acid-spewing, demonic, psychopathological, and genocidal offering! Namaste, dude!

I don't get it. If I am what he says I am, there is nothing to appreciate, and it's pretty weird to call it an "offering." He would be entirely justified to run away from me in the opposite, er, complementary direction.

The sloppiness and incoherence of this writer's mind is somewhat breathtaking, but again, from what I have seen, this is "par for the course" among so-called integralists. I have never read one integralist who is as angry at any leftist as they are at me. One would think that if they were truly integral, then they would either embrace my philosophy and integrate into theirs, or their anger would be split 50-50 toward leftists and classical liberals, but clearly it isn't. Show me the integralist who rages at Al Gore, or Al Sharpton, or Hillary Clinton, or Ralph Nader, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or the U.N., or radical feminists, or the liberal media -- who truly demonizes them in the way they demonize me, and I will eat my $95 genuine coonskin cap, even though it will break my heart to do so and will deprive me of certain mystical powers.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled pogrom. When I use the word "left" or "leftist," I mean something very precise. If it does not apply to you, then you needn't get angry. Rather, just silently say to yourself, "I don't believe those things. The B'ob is not talking about me. Therefore, I'm in the clear. I am not being demonized."

Here is what a classical liberal believes, and it is very different from what the secular leftist believes: knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom. Therefore, if you adhere to any philosophy that maintains at the outset that transcendent truth does not exist or that man cannot know it, then freedom also cannot exist or it is meaningless. There are people who believe this. I call them leftists because that is what they call themselves.

It is fashionable for a certain kind of shallow thinker to say that they reject labels, and that their philosophy cannot be reduced to left vs. right. Oh yes it can. The spatial image of left vs. right is actually helpful, for if you survey the history of philosophy, it can be seen as a sort of stream that split in half with modernity, each side going its separate way. You can conceptualize the split in many ways, but it ultimately comes down to realism vs. materialism, or transcendence vs. immanence, or absolute truth vs. absolute relativism.

And you cannot -- you cannot, for it is strictly impossible -- integrate absolute truth with absolute relativism. Therefore, you cannot integrate the philosophy of deconstruction (which the above writer calls the "good news" of postmodernity) with absolute truth.

On the other hand, you can do what intelligent minds have always done, which is to integrate partial, relative truths into the whole, in light of the transcendent absolute. But what you cannot do is throw these relative truths together and imagine that you have integrated anything, or that their sum constitutes the total truth. No one engaged in "deconstruction" more than a Moses Maimonides, or Meister Eckhart, or even Saint Augustine, but they always did so under the presumption that it is simply a tool for arriving at a deeper truth, not a thing in itself -- not the ultimate reality.

Once it is forgotten that knowledge of truth constitutes the mind's freedom, then we will no longer know what either word means, for freedom in the absence of truth is absurdity, while truth in the absence of freedom is hell.

To be continued.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

You Shall Have No Gods Before Envy

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. --Winston Churchill

If you are a true leftist, then you shall covet. Your life is built around a chronic feeling of lack for which you imagine that others are responsible. Unlike some of the other commandments, which at least rouse the person into action -- however evil the action -- envy is entirely passive and internal, and can be done from the discomfort of your own head. While it can become active, it is generally powerless unless it embodies a pathological cultural value system or is translated into a collective political movement. Absent the collective will of envy, it can only ruin your own life.

Why is the commandment to envy so central to the nihilistic left? Lying, stealing, murdering and adultery all harm others, but envy seems only to affect oneself. True, it is absolutely corrosive to the self, but why should it be among the five horizontal commandments governing man-to-man relations?

Because envy is not just an emotion, or mental state. Rather, it is a relationship. It is a relationship with an other whom one feels possesses something lacking in oneself. It is actually first an internal object relationship, only projected outward. In other words, there is an envious mind parasite in dynamic rapport with a frustrating object it feels is "withholding" that to which it feels entitled -- ultimately it is a frustrated infant imagining a bountiful breast that is selfishly keeping its infinite supply of milk and other goodies to itself. Therefore, it will either seize the breast or attack it so that no one else can have it. At various times leftists can adopt either strategy toward the breast, which they call their "economic policy."

Now importantly, the leftist necessarily operates in an "insight free" zone, so he naturally focuses on the object of envy, and in fact, builds his entire worldview around feeling enviously entitled to the object he lacks. But a mature person realizes that the absence is within, and that it is infinite. Being that it is infinite, it cannot be filled by a finite object. Rather, ipso facto, it can only be filled by an infinite object. We call this object.... Well, let's not call it anything just yet. Let us just say that man is born with an "appetite for the infinite" which the spiritually naive man confuses with an infinite appetite.

For example, let's say I am envious of John Edwards. He is fabulously wealthy, I am not. It's not exactly fair, is it? I'm much smarter than that vacuous intellectual cipher, plus the parasite made millions by promulgating vile lies and duping juries, while I slave away here in the dark, telling the unvarnished truth and working for tips.

But in reality, I definitely have everything I need, most of what I want, and a lot more than I deserve, so his "disproportionate" wealth is of no consequence to me. Rather, it's his problem. In fact, in order for me to "want" to be him, I would first have to make myself considerably more unhappy by focusing on all the things I don't have, which would leave me little time to be happy and enjoy what I already have. And then, like Edwards, I might have to be willing to compromise and damage my eternal soul and do or say anything to obtain those things I feel I lack and deserve.

Now, don't get me wrong. As Smoov mentioned yesterday, there can be no objection whatsoever to, say, the passionate businessman who becomes wealthy by fulfilling a real need in people. But an unproductive, free-riding parasite such as Edwards operates in the dark societal interstices where envy flourishes. Were some of his lawsuits legitimate? I assume so. But he's not going to give back the millions he defrauded from insurance companies with junk science. In fact, he's not even going to apologize for hurting so many doctors, or for harming so many women and children by driving ob/gyn physicians out of North Carolina, or for making everyone's health insurance premiums just a little higher.

In any event, in order for me to live in John Edwards' "two Americas," I would first have to figure out which America I live in. It's definitely not Edwards' America, so I guess I got the short end of the stick. Damn. I guess I'm one of the cosmic losers being oppressed by his America. Now what do I do? Insist on government mandated haircare? Can I go to the emergency room with a bad haircut, and get it fixed for free? Should we all get vouchers for Rogaine? Why not? Medicare already pays for grandpa's Viagra. Yes, a portion of your tax dollars helps maintain Hugh Hefner's flagging sexual viability -- never mind what the constitution says about the separation between crotch and state.

I guess I would have to begin by identifying and nurturing this feeling of emptiness, or lack of fulfillment, followed by imagining that there is something out there that could make this painful state go away: a 30,000 square foot mansion, a $400 haircut, the presidency. But in my case, I know that these things wouldn't help, for they would just represent a bogus cure for a wound that I myself created. Or maybe it's Adam's fault. Whatever. There's nothing Democrats can do to fix it.

So, I could spend my life envying others, but it would simply ruin my own brief life, and I have more better and less bitter things to do.

And in any event, the only way to give envy some real "teeth" is by collectively joining with other envious individuals and starting a movement. Now, one thing you will immediately notice is that this cannot just be a group of the envious losers -- the perpetually bitter and dysfunctional dailykos types. For one thing, they are indeed losers, and a group of them couldn't accomplish much. Rather, they must form a coalition with the envied, which is why the Democratic party consists of an alliance between the envious and envied -- specifically, those elites who cannot tolerate the murderous "evil eye" of the envious.

This is why it is such a hoot that people still believe that Democrats are the party of "the little guy." In fact, the Democrats have far more wealthy donors than the Republican party, while the Republican party has many more donations from so-called "little guys" -- although no conservative thinks of himself as "little" except in comparison to his spiritual betters -- those with more courage, wisdom, or other virtues.

One cannot help noticing that a disproportionate number of wealthy Democrat donors are people who must unconsciously know that they have no useful talent and contribute nothing to society -- indeed, perhaps even harm society, such as many Hollywood celebrities, infrahuman musicians, and marauding trial lawyers (as a group, not individuals, many of whom are obviously decent people who perform a valuable service). But one way to manage one's own envy is to project it into others and then try to appease it.

I believe this psychic mechanism is at the heart of the dynamic between the envied and the envious left. It is actually a common narcissistic defense. You might say that the empty narcissist projects his infantile "hungry mouth" into the "little people," whom he will feed so as to avoid unconsciously feeling that they will devour him with their envy. Indeed, this is why they are so transparently hypocritical -- i.e., pledging to use no more than one square of toilet paper while flying around on a private jet. Much of their so-called "activism" is simply a symbolic defense against the uncomfortable feeling of being envied by others. It makes no sense in the real world, only in the psyche of the activist.

Likewise, how guilty must Al Gore feel for becoming wealthy by promulgating junk science while jet-setting around with the envied class? So he purchases some bogus carbon offsets to even the psychic scales. Again, it has nothing to do with external reality.

*****

(Most of the following is review material, so paleocoons are dismissed.)

As I wrote last summer, the tenth commandment is a fitting capstone to the first nine, since the injunction against envy is really more of a reward for a life well lived than an ultimatum. For envy is the most corrosive of emotions (or perhaps more accurately, “mental states”), in that it undermines any possibility of personal happiness or spiritual fulfillment. While it often takes the form of longing for what one doesn’t have, it is usually built on an unconscious foundation of being ungrateful for what one has, or even actively devaluing what one has, so that one constantly feels deprived. Thus, envy is often the residue of the inner emptiness caused by unconscious devaluation, "spoiling," and ingratitude.

One thing I have not yet done is fully elaborate the relationships between the various commandments. For example, there is a clear parallel between the first and the last commandments, for if you really appreciate the first, you won't have a problem with the last. Conversely, if you do yield to the temptation to envy, you essentially foreclose the space where God would otherwise be -- again, you turn the cosmos upside down and try to fill an infinite space with something finite.

Ultimately envy is a self-consuming process that leaves nothing but itself standing, like Michael Corleone at the end of Godfather II or Charles Foster Kane at the end of Citizen Kane. Both endings represent envy triumphant. All that is left of Kane is a huge warehouse of meaningless objects frantically acquired during a lifetime spent trying vainly to fill a psychological and spiritual void with possessions. It is appropriate that they are consigned to the fire, as the workers absently toss one after another into the flames.

Here we discover a certain confluence between Buddhism and the Judeo-Christian tradition, for Buddha is famous for his wise crack about desire being the source of our suffering. But actually, he was trying to make a point about attachment to desire. Desires will come and go, like smoke driven by wind. It is only when we attempt to clutch to them that they become problematic.

But even then, as I pointed out in One Cosmos, I find it useful to draw a distinction between appetite, which is natural, and desire, which is often mimetic, meaning that it is not spontaneous but prompted from the outside. Many people give themselves entirely over to this process, and lead "imitation" lives consisting of wanting what others seem to want. They are pushed and pulled around by fleeting desires, impulses and passions, but when one of them is being gratified, it gives rise to a spurious sense of “freedom,” when in reality this kind of ungoverned desire is the opposite of freedom.

It is very difficult to avoid this dynamic in a consumer-driven culture such as ours. It’s the kind of cliché that Petey detests, but we are constantly bombarded with messages and images that fan the fires of envy and mimesis. Sri Aurobindo referred to this as the “vital mind,” and the fundamental problem is that it cannot really be appeased. In other words, it doesn’t shrink when we acquiesce to it. Instead, it only grows, like an addiction or compulsion.

Importantly, the vital mind does not merely consist of impulses seeking discharge. Rather, it can take over the machinery of the host, and generate its own thoughts and rationalizations. We’ve all seen this happen in ourselves. "Yoga" in its most generic sense involves a reversal of this tendency, so that we may consciously yearn for what we actually want, rather than mindlessly will what we desire. This tends to be a constant battle at the beginning. But only until the end. Once again I am reminded of St. Augustine's insight that you had better be careful what you love, because wrongly ordered love is a spiritual catstrophe.

I remember reading Peter Guralnick’s excellent biography of Elvis, which chronicled just how convoluted the vital mind can become if left unchecked. It seems that someone can become so wealthy and powerful that they lose the friction necessary to distinguish between fantasy and reality. A sort of hypnotic, dreamlike imagination takes hold, which can become quite elaborate and unnatural. I am sure this accounts for the general nuttiness that comes out of the typical left-wing hollywoodenhead. They are so far removed from what you and I know of as reality, that they are both ontologically and epistemologically (not to say spiritually) crippled.

“Job one” of the vital mind is to foster a kind of I-amnesia, so that we repeatedly fool ourselves into believing that fulfillment of the next desire will finally break the cycle and bring us real contentment, but most Coons are well familiar with that wearisome drill. For in that gap between desire and fulfillment lies the hidden key. In that gap there is both anticipation and hope. But like the referred pain of a back injury that we feel in the leg, this hope is misplaced onto a realm incapable of fulfilling it. For, as it is written on someone's bumper, "you can never get enough of what you don’t really need."

This pattern of desiring what we don’t really want or need is well beyond merely affecting our spiritual lives. Rather, it is starting to seriously compromise even our physical well-being. At some point in the last 10-15 years, affluence became a more serious threat to health than poverty. The levels of obesity, type II diabetes, and other related health problems have become epidemic. Why? Because people are able to live in the vital mind as never before. The Western world is increasingly full of “poor” people whose bodies look like the most prosperous people of the past. They are still impoverished, but it is a spiritual impoverishment that causes them to try to fill the void with food and meaningless sedentary activities, such as television and video games. In a way, they are more impoverished -- not to say pathetic and lacking in dignity -- than the poor of the past.

Natural appetites can be satisfied, but the gods of abstract metaphysical desire are omnipotent and require constant tribute. That is one of the paradoxes, for one might think that the spiritually developed person lives in an “abstract” world, while the bovine, grazing multitudes live in the concrete world, but it is quite the opposite. The spiritual person becomes very concretely aware of subtle and fleeting little concrete joys on a moment-by-moment basis, where as the vital ones are only tuned into the most gross forms of sensory overload, whether in music, entertainment, or food (and I imagine the porn industry taps into this insensate population as well).

Here again we must bear in mind the limitlessness of the human imagination. We can always imagine something better, something that we don’t have. Any clown can do that. Much more tricky is being grateful for what we do have. Thus, the cultivation of humility and gratitude actively counter the vital mind and its constitutional envy. This may initially feel as if we are being deprived of our horizontal liberty, such as it is, and this is true. However, the whole point is to replace that with a more expansive vertical freedom that is relatively unconstrained by material circumstances, excluding the most dire cases whom we are indeed obligated to help.

And, just like my absurcular book, the commandments circle back around to the beginning, back to where we started, with the holographic first commandment that contains all the others. The secular left turns the cosmos upside down and inside out. As a result, instead of being conditioned in a hierarchical manner from the top down, it is conditioned from the bottom up. This results not in true liberation, only in rebellion and pseudo-liberation, for there can be no meaningful freedom outside objective Truth. The left rejects top-town hierarchies as intrinsically repressive, but the opposite is true -- only in being conditioned by the higher can we actually elevate and liberate ourselves from contingency and relativity.

Or, as Will once put it “Like any physical attribute, if the human intellect is not yoked to and governed by the Higher Intelligence, it runs amok and eventually goes crazy. It's taken some time to get there, but currently, the spiritually bereft intellect is basically in charge of most of the world's influential institutions, which of course means the world is in deep stew. As far as definitions of the Antichrist go, I think this would do OK.”

On the spiritual level, there is simply nothing more satanic than envy. The sword of gratitude is our only defense.

*****

This oughtta work: make it against the law for well-paid CEOs to provoke my envy!

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Ninth Commandment of Nihilism: You Shall Eternally Live a Lie

What an outstanding link forwarded to us by Johan the Cosmic Swede, The Big White Lie. In it, the author summarizes the appeal of conservatism:

"The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace."

I don't know if I can improve upon that pithy insight. Again, a source of much confusion emanates from the left's misappropriation of the beautiful word "liberal" to flatter themselves and imply that theirs is anything other than a form of mental and spiritual bondage. (Being that they have now sullied the word "liberal," they have had to come up with a new magical word under which to hide their illiberal philosophy, "progressivism.")

In fact, there are few things less liberating than the self-imposed mental strait-jacket in which the leftist tries to think and live. The warp and weft of the strait-jacket are the various lies that constitute his worldview -- including a primordial lie which forms the substance of the threads. Leftism is a "web of lies," and for this reason, soon enough becomes a den of thieves. But there is honor among the thieves: it is called "political correctness."

There is a kind of pseudo-liberation that accompanies the Lie, is there not? Thanks to Freud's insights, it is now a banality to point out that the epistemophilic (truth-loving) impulse is easily subverted by various unconscious processes, so that we believe things not because they are true, but because they are comfortable, convenient, self-flattering, etc. But in reality, the only appropriate motive for believing something is that it be true.

For example, the "women's liberation movement" can promulgate the lie that women and men are identical, and one assumes that the lie will have a certain appeal to a certain kind of disturbed woman, who will embrace the lie and feel "liberated" from the pain of sexual difference, or from some feeling of inferiority, or of internalized oppression, or of hostility (or disappointment or frustration) toward men.

But for a normal person, these sexual differences are a source of delight -- and at times frustration and bewilderment. But the frustrations are like the rocks against which we polish our character -- in short, through which we grow toward the divine image and likeness. Growth only occurs amidst some kind of dynamic tension, so the easiest way to eliminate growth is to remove the tension with a magical ideology such as radical feminism. But all politically correct speech is designed to eliminate a tension that would make growth possible.

Here is a simple example, one brought up by Rudy Giuliani the other day. Better yet, I'll just say it how I would have said it: the so-called Palestinians are a gang of bloodthirsty cannibals, so it doesn't matter if they are led by one barbarian faction or the other. Until they recognize Israel's right to exist and stop behaving like savages, then there is nothing to discuss. Such barbarians are certainly not deserving of a state, if that's what you're driving at. What, are you crazy?"

Ooooh, tension! Yes, but so bracing, so refreshing! You cannot make the tension go away with banalities and canards such as "ancient hatreds," "occupation," "moral equivalence," "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter," etc. Those are all vicious lies, vicious because they reward evil, punish the good, and prevent healthy change, or growth.

But if you can first establish the Big Lie that absolute truth does not exist (or that humans cannot know it), then you have paved the way for people to legitimately believe all kinds of nonsense that results from the "motivated stupidity" of the unconscious. You have, in effect, sanctioned mental illness. Not just sanctioned, but elevated it to the ultimate value. For make no mistake: if you understand what I am saying, then you will understand that multiculturalism, moral relativism, diversity, "tolerance," and all the other ruling ideas of leftism are not just wrong, but sick. And not just sick, but terminal. They are sickness unto death, in that, once embraced, the mind is strangled by them from the inside out, and cannot grow toward Truth. Rather, the mind can only grow if the person liberates himself from the leftist strait-jacket altogether.

As Hermanic Mysteress Joan pointed out the other day, the founder of leftism, Professor S. Nake, based his entire appeal on a false promissse that partaking of his philosssophy would result in immortality. But the opposite is true: partaking of this philosophy represents death to the mind, since the mind can only grow by metabolizing truth. Yes, it also grows as a result of metabolizing love, but not if it is the wrong kind of love. This is a critical point that many sentimental and flabby-minded leftists do not understand -- you know, the idea that "All You Need is Love." Not true. If you love what is false, or indecent, or ugly, then love is the last thing we need -- any more than we need hatred of what is good.

From this you see that -- of necessity --
Love is the seed in you of every virtue,
And of all acts deserving punishment.
--Dante

The same man -- being that he was a borderline personality, it is not surprising -- wrote the lines Just gimme some truth / All I want is the truth (no, not Dante, Lennon). Now, that's more like it. However, in Lennon's case, since he maintained until the end of his life that "all you need is love," he never found the truth which he demanded. Instead, he died with a headful of gimme -- as do all committed leftists.

Yes, it is an eternal tragedy, but they don't know it, and will hate you if you try to dislodge the vital lie from their head. For they love the lie, the comforter, the helper, the anti-paraclete. Come to think about it, as the man himself sang, Whatever gets you through the night, it's alright / Do it wrong or do it right, it's alright. The Lie is whatever gets you through the long night sea journey between birth and death. It is what the Nowhere Man clutches to his breast between nothing and nullity.

Oh my, yes (from the same City Lights piece linked above):

"This is leftism’s great strength: it’s all white lies. That’s its only advantage, as far as I can tell. None of its programs actually works, after all. From statism and income redistribution to liberalized criminal laws and multiculturalism, from its assault on religion to its redefinition of family, leftist policies have made the common life worse wherever they’re installed. But because it depends on — indeed is defined by — describing the human condition inaccurately, leftism is nothing if not polite. With its tortuous attempts to rename unpleasant facts out of existence — he’s not crippled, dear, he’s handicapped; it’s not a slum, it’s an inner city; it’s not surrender, it’s redeployment — leftism has outlived its own failure by hiding itself within the most labyrinthine construct of social delicacy since Victoria was queen."

But there are manners and there is "mannerism," an "exaggerated or affected adherence to a particular style or manner." Or, one can have no manners at all while being "mannered," which is to say, "having an artificial or stilted character." The purpose of good manners is to promote civility by distinguishing ourselves from our animal nature through various rituals and behavors. But the elaborate mannerisms and affectations of political correctness are indeed exaggerated, artificial, and stilted. No one can adhere to them and still be a "real person."

Now, this thought came to me yesterday afternoon while doing some serious hangtime in the backyard hammock: human beings live between Truth and understanding.

Eh, what Petey? Could you repeat that? I was dozing off!

But my household gnome had already shimmered past the hedge to God knows where.

What could Petey have possibly meant?

I suppose it is this: truth is given to us to understand. This is a critical point, because while a man can know many things that are untrue, it is not possible to understand something that is untrue. For example, this is why we cannot understand true evil. It is incomprehensible, which is one of the things that marks it as evil.

On the other hand, this is why it is not exactly correct to say that we can "know" God. After all, most of the evil committed in the name of God is done so in the belief that they know God. But do they understand God? No, obviously not.

As brother Blake expressed it, truth cannot be told so as to be understood and not believed. This is why leftists do not understand religion, despite what they may "know" about it. And again, this is why it is so utterly fruitless to debate an atheist, because all they can tell you is what they know. But ask them what they understand of God, and their only honest response can be "nothing."

Which is a good place to start the healing process -- of liberating oneself from the wisdom that is folly in the eyes of God. That worldly wisdom has an expiration date, which is the date you expire. And you shall surely expire.

*****

About eight months ago I wrote a post on the actual commandment, entitled "Lies and the Lying Liars who Live Them." I'm guessing it will be new to most readers. For the rest of you, you're free. Here are some excerpts:

"Lies and the Lying Liars who Live Them"

That would be us. For, depending on how you look at it, God became man so that man might become God. Or, Brahman became Maya so that Maya might become Brahman. Or perhaps Truth became falsehood so that falsehood might become Truth.

The enigmatic Christian esoterist Boris Mouravieff wrote that “We live in a world ruled by lies. Lying and stealing are the dominant elements of human character whatever the race, creed or caste. Whoever says that this is not true simply tells another lie. Man lies because in a world ruled by lies it is not possible to for him to do otherwise.... [T]he progress of this civilization, which is the fruit of an intellectual culture, considerably increases the need for lying.”

I believe it was Burke who said that culture “reconciles a man to everything,” no matter how foolish or barbarous the custom. But some cultures are so immersed in the Lie that they cannot help producing lying liars, most dramatically in the Middle East, but obviously here in the United States as well, only in a more subtle form. For example, the pressure of political correctness is an instrument of coercion designed to reconcile you to the infrahuman lies of the left.

In conducting a psychological evaluation, patients are often motivated to lie -- to make it appear that they are better or worse off than they actually are, or that one thing is responsible for their distress when it is actually another. And yet, a part of them knows they are lying and is uncomfortable with the fact. In his heart, even absent a divine commandment, man (a normal man, anyway) knows that he should not lie. Why is that? Why this grudging respect for a thing called truth, even among cynical postmodernists who are too jaded to believe that such a thing exists?

We live in a world of forces. Just as human beings are tripartite entities consisting of body, mind and spirit, there are physical forces, mental forces, and spiritual forces. In the spiritual-intellectual realm, truth is a force. There is a reactionary counter-force which we call "lying," which, if you think about it for even a moment, has probably had a greater impact and influence on the world than Truth. Or at the very least, it is a constant battle. Truth is always embattled on all sides, just as light is by definition surrounded by darkness. Darkness, on the other hand, is not necessarily surrounded by light. Not for nothing did Jesus crack that the adversary “was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own substance, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

This is an interesting statement, for it suggests that lies are somehow a "human substance," somewhat like a spider that spins a web out of its own body. Truth, on the other hand, is not, and cannot be of human origins. It is somehow anterior to us, and it is only for us to discover or remember it -- what Plato called anamnesis. And oh what a tangled web we weave, compared to the spider.....

You'd think it would be uncontroversial to utter a simple truth, but you'd be wrong, wouldn't you? If you don't believe in the force of falsehood, try sharing a controversial but banal truth at one of our elite universities, such as "men and women are fundamentally different and, on average, excel at different things," or "children do better with a mother and a father than with two mothers and two fathers," or “racial quotas hurt blacks," or “some, if not most, cultures are patently sick." It seems that to carry Truth is to pick up a cross and paint a target on one's back.

Animals cannot lie. While they can have certain naturally selected mechanisms of deception, they cannot live a lie (actually, as an astute commenter mentioned the other day, it might be possible if the luckless pet has a particularly nutty owner, like James Wolcott). But living a lie is in the normal course of events for human beings. Talleyrand once remarked that language was given to man so as to conceal his thoughts. Interestingly, this problem is fully recognized in scripture, as the very first conversations recorded in the Bible are a tissue of lies. The serpent lies to the woman, the woman transmits the lie to the man, and the man lies about it to God. The very emergence of self-consciousness seems to be inseparable from lying. Isn’t that interesting?

A cursory glance at history -- or at the idiotorial pages of the New York Times -- establishes the fact that lying is absolutely fundamental to human existence, even though the idea wasn't systematized until the early 20th century, in the works of Freud (the good Freud) and his followers. In particular, the psychoanalyst W.R. Bion developed a sophisticated epistemology showing how a vital lie is at the basis of most all forms of psychopathology. He made the provocative observation that the lie requires a thinker to think it, whereas the truth does not, for it simply is. We discover truth, but it takes a thinker to concoct the lie (and, I might add, a brilliant thinker such as Marx or Chomsky to create the most grandiose lies). And once the lie is in place, it causes the psyche to enter a sort of parallel universe, for it constructs itself on the foundations of that primordial lie.

In my own colorful terminology, I have called these internalized lies "mind parasites." I believe the term is an accurate one, for it is meant to convey the idea that a vital lie that lodges itself in the psyche is not static, but takes on the characteristics of the host, so to speak. In other words, the mind parasite has at its disposal the most complex and sophisticated entity in all of creation, the human brain. Therefore, it can easily justify itself, elaborate itself, gang up on the truth, intimidate healthier parts of the psyche. It's like a dictator who uses legitimate means to come to power, but then corruptly uses all of the levers of power to stay there and eliminate opponents -- similar to how liberalism gradually morphed into the illiberal leftism which now controls the Democratic party.

Just as freedom and truth are necessarily linked -- i.e., no one who is living a lie is actually free -- those who are in thrall to the lie are slaves. While they may enjoy a subjective sense of freedom, it is an illusion. In fact, they have forfeited their freedom and are attached to a spiritually suffocating demon generated out of their own psychic substance, just like the above referenced spider.

Think of a vivid example that comes readily to mind -- the Islamists. Is it not obvious to one and all (er, no) that they are absolutely enslaved by artificial beings of their own creation? And that they want everyone else to be enslaved by the same demons? Does this not demonstrate the insane power of demons and the lies they propagate? And how the liberal media simply treats the lie as another variety of truth? You know, "who are we to judge? The Middle East is just too complex."

There are personal mind parasites and collective mind parasites. Many cultures revolve entirely around monstrous entities that have been engendered by whole communities, such as the Aztec. Here again, it would be wrong to say that the Aztec had a bloodthirsty god -- rather, it clearly had them. Thousands upon thousands of human beings sacrificed to satisfy this god's appetite for human blood, elaborate mechanisms set up to supply fresh bodies, the heart of the sacrificial victim cut out by the officiating priest who would himself take a bite out of it while it was still beating. A whole society of Jeffrey Dahmers trying desperately to allay their existential anxiety by vampirically ingesting the life force of others. The head-chopping Izlambies are just the latest edition of this primordial anti-religion. But you undoubtedly know some people in your own life who do the same thing -- hungry ghosts who "feed" on the spirit (or the blog) of others.

In all times and in all places, human beings have looked for ways to objectify, worship, and appease their self-created demons. This is preferable to having them run around loose in one's own psyche. Take again the example of the typical beast of Islamist depravity. How would one even begin to tell him: "you have a persecutory entity inside of you that your life revolves around. You have placed it outside of yourself, in the 'infidels,' so as to make your life bearable, for it conceals a truth that is too painful to endure. Would you like to put down that meat cleaver and talk about it?"

To a large extent, this dynamic is at the heart of more mundane politics as well. For those who do not experience George Bush as a demon, it is impossible to understand those who do, any more than we can really understand the motivations of the Aztec. The collective mind parasite has a grammar and logic all its own, inaccessible to all but initiates into the Lie. And even they do not really understand it. Rather, they just bow down before it and obey it.

You don't actually want to get that close to an intoxicating Lie of that magnitude. It's not safe. Better to observe it from a respectful distance. Otherwise, you will find yourself pulled down into a false world of counter-lying rather than simple truth. You cannot create an artificial "good demon,” which is what secular leftists are trying to do when they aren't creating bad ones. Those critical critics who criticize my "negativity" probably think I am engaging in the former--heatedly countering the lie -- when I am calmly engaged in the latter -- simply affirming the truth as naturally as a bird sings. This is the inner meaning of "resist not evil." Resist it in the wrong way, and you come into its orbit.

For a demon operates through a combination of will and imagination. You may think of perverse will as the male principle and perverse imagination as the female principle. Together they beget the demon child that then controls the parents, taking over both will and imagination. Consider how so much art and academic nonsense is nothing more than the elaboration of the perverse imagination -- ideological superstructures giving cover to lies of various magnitude. Think of how much "activism" is simply the angry agitation of the perverse will.

Truth is a living thing, a Being that cannot be reduced to the idolatrous systems of men, especially corrupted men who do not honor Truth to begin with. Most modern and postmodern ideologies and philosophies are opiates for elites too sophisticated for such nonsense as Truth. But like all misused drugs, “Lies gravely affect our mind; they distort the undeveloped organs of the Personality, upon which depends the effort that must lead us to the second Birth.... Even more, lying makes the man who aspires to evolution go backwards” (Mouravieff).

Why is that? Maybe because the Truth became falsehood so that falsehood might become Truth.

*****

Such a tangled web, whether it is the war or the economy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Eighth Commandment of Nihilism: What's Yours is Mine

Now we're really getting down to the heart -- the headless heart, to be exact -- of the nihilist project of overturning the order of the cosmos. For while the cliché that possession is "nine tenths of the law" may or may not be true, it is certainly nine tenths of the lawlessness and bad law. For if you can attenuate or undermine the concept of possessions, then you are well on your way to the lawlessness and disorder that rebellious leftists seem to enjoy so much, because it allows them to come in with the heavy-handed state to solve the problem.

As we know, one of satan's greatest achievements was in convincing people that he does not exist. But a close second might be the belief that there is something illegitimate about private property and wealth. Most leftist policies can only even be discussed in an intellectual shitegeist in which the concept of ownership has been undermined. I can't tell you how long I walked around with this sinister meme rattling around the youthful Gagdad dome. For example, as one of the Powerline guys has said about himself, I learned my politics at the feet of knaves such as John Lennon. Therefore, when I heard the song "Imagine" as a fourteen year old, I simply nodded in silent agreement at the transparent wisdom of the lyrics:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

Today If I heard such sinister piffle, I would do an immediate spit-take. But trust me, never once in my entire education, from kindergarten through graduate school, did I ever receive any explicit explanation about the centrality of private property to a free people. If anything, I heard the opposite -- that private property was the cause of greed and envy, not their solution. Obviously, we still hear it today with talk of "income gaps" and the like. This abstract concept of "income gaps" only has resonance in a person who already doubts the legitimacy of private property.

Furthermore, no one ever told me that the second amendment is even more fundamental than the right to private property, since property won't remain private for long without the legitimate threat of violence to bring home the lesson to your fellow citizen that he has no right to help himself to what belongs to you -- including your most precious possessions, your life, the lives of your loved ones, and Dupree's irreplaceable collection of vintage old-school soul.

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

I have seen what this dream looks like up close. Every few weeks it's our turn for the other squaws to have their little pow-wow at Gagdad Manor. Naturally, I try to hide out back in the Coon den, away from the din of half a dozen two year-olds. For the two year-olds do indeed have the kind of culture envisioned by John Lennon. They don't know about the concept of "possessions," and therefore, a leftist baby over here will inevitably leap to the conclusion that the capitalist baby over there won't mind if he grabs his toy. Big mistake. It is usually then that I go for my bike ride, because the crying that ensues reminds me too much of dailykos, except that, unlike dailykos, the crying does eventually stop.

But like dailykos, all of the crying revolves around the infantile assumption that there are two Americas: one that is envious of what others have, and another that has what they envy. The leftist solution to the pain of envy is to feed it, while the classical liberal solution is to suck it up and stop indulging in this most destructive of emotions. For as the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein demonstrated, envy is both innate and insatiable. Furthermore, envy is really not so much interested in having what it wants, but rather in destroying the painful tension involved in not having it. Envy is irrational, and will not go about obtaining the desired end in a sober and rational way, but will instead take the shortcut of attacking the person who has what they want.

A classic example of this is confiscatory tax policies which represent nothing more than the political indulgence of envy toward no productive purpose whatsoever. Ironically, when President Reagan cut the marginal tax rates from 70% to 28% in the 1980s, there were predictable howls from the left that this represented nothing but greed on Reagan's part. But as usual, the left had it entirely backwards and upside down, for the only way you can end up with a 70% tax rate is if envy is completely out of control (and bear in mind that before the classical liberal JFK took office, it was 91%).

Such confiscatory tax rates certainly don't help the economy, as they reduce wealth and prosperity for all. But in so doing, these high tax rates do achieve the psychological effect of feeding the envy of the left. But in the case of envy, "too much is never enough." Unlike other emotions, the satisfaction of envy never leads to satisfaction but to more envy.

The economic statistics are there for all to see. Reagan's tax cuts have been central to the most sustained economic expansion in human history. The boom of the Clinton years was simply part two of the Reagan revolution, just as the current boom is part three. Much of the incredible prosperity that has been unleashed would have been impossible with the old 70% tax rate, for it would have seriously cut into the capital required for innovation and expansion that benefits us all.

Another critical discovery of Melane Klein was that envy and gratitude had an unconscious inverse dialectical relationship, which is to say, the more envy, the less gratitude, and the more gratitude, the less envy. This has many fascinating permutations that work themselves out in different ways.

For example, one way to personally cure the spiritual pathology of leftism is to consciously cultivate a spirit of gratitude. In order to do this, you will have to stop comparing yourself to others, but for the envious person this is difficult to do, since their envy is a sort of addiction. At the very least, it is a central organizing principle in the leftist psyche, so that abandoning it will lead to feelings of guilt and self-reproach. For example, a leftist who attempts to overcome his envious mind parasite might hear the voice if an internal propagandist telling him that he is bad and greedy, just like those evil capitalists!

Similarly, the indulgence of envy actually destroys the gratitute that is central to human happiness. One of the reasons all studies demonstrate that conservatives are so much happier and fulfilled than leftists is because they are less envious. Where I live, I am surrounded by wealthy people, but I really don't give it a thought. We happen to live in the most modest area of a very upscale area, so I can stare out my window and see mansions on a hill that probably cost four times my house, and drive around and see places that cost ten or fifteen times as much. For the most part, it doesn't cross my mind. I sometimes ride my bike up in hills, where I can get a better look at these sprawling estates, and have occasionally thought to myself, "gee, it sure would be nice if that could be the World Coon Compound." Yes, there's a kind of "pain" involved, if you want to call it that -- the pain that dwells in the space between "wanting" and "having." But I shake it off and keep peddling. I seriously doubt that I would want to exchange my life for any of theirs, nor would I want to live the kind of lifestyle it would require to earn the kind of income to live in a place like that.

Rosebud....

As Augustine teaches, "Whether he will or no, a man is necessarily a slave to the things by means of which he seeks to be happy." As such, our love is the vector of our lives: "My weight is my love. Wherever I am carried, my love is carrying me." Thus, Augustine's pithy definition of virtue, which he called "rightly ordered love." In short, everyone loves, but the question is, what do they love? For if you love wrongly or unwisely, your soul will be pulled right into wrongness, right along with your wrong love.

One of the reasons leftists are so unhappy is that they love wrongly. They love envy instead of gratitude, self-expression instead of self-mastery, egalitarianism instead of liberty, the U.N. instead of the U.S., peace instead of the threat of violence that makes it possible. And the burden of this illicit love will act like a millstone around their neck, simply pulling them further into their self-created abyss. For both heaven and hell will involve receiving what you have loved -- good and hard, right in the kisser. So be very careful about falling in love with envy, unless you like the idea of spending eternity with an appetite like Michael Moore but a pinhole for a mouth.

*****

Here is some of what I wrote on the seventh commandment last summer:

“Thou shalt not steal.” Why not? As always, the left has found a way out of this one by questioning its premise, i.e., the existence of private property. For one way to eliminate theft is to eliminate or at least question the legitimacy of private property, which naturally ends with one big thief called “the government.”

Property, according to Richard Pipes, is “the key to the emergence of political and legal institutions that guarantee liberty.” Look at most anyplace in the world where there is an absence of liberty, and you will find weak property rights.

Liberals -- classical liberals, anyway, not the misnamed leftist kind -- have always understood that property is much more than property. Rather, it is the cornerstone of freedom, its very enabler and protector. And underneath property is the use of legitimate violence to protect said property. For if ever there were “sacred violence,” it is the violence that ensures the protection of property, for without property, humans cannot become fully human.

For one thing, property is simply a free and spontaneous expression of “what people want,” and to a large extent, what you want is wo you are, for better or worse. Therefore, property is an extension of the person. I once read a description of this by the outstanding psychoanalyst and writer, Christopher Bollas, who notes that the self can never be perceived directly, only indirectly, largely through its use of objects:

“Perhaps we need a new point of view in clinical psychoanalysis, close to a form of person anthropology. We would pay acute attention to all the objects selected by a patient and note the use made of each object. The literature, films, and music a person selects would be as valued a part of the fieldwork as the dream.” In so doing, we may “track the footsteps of the true self.”

For me, if I go to someone’s home, there are two things I am most curious about: the books and music it contains. And the medicine cabinet. Likewise, I should think that after I am gone, a psychoanalytic fieldworker would be able to construct a fairly accurate representation of me by merely rifling through my library, and perhaps my priceless collection of Barbie Dolls.

Just consider the odd assortment of books in my sidebar. I am quite sure that no one else on the planet has a matching list. There may not be another person in history who has read and assimilated those particular books. I am not saying that to boast, only to emphasize the amazingly unique alchemy of choices we all embody when given the opportunity to freely exercise those choices. As Petey once said, “freedom is eccentricity lived,” and he has a point. At the very least, freedom is individuality lived, and it is very difficult to live out your individuality without a range of choices before you.

I realize it’s politically incorrect to say this, but in the course of my work I have had the opportunity to evaluate a fair number of people from second and third world cultures, and what always impresses me about them is their essential sameness. Their life stories are all remarkably similar, almost as if they were the same person. And in a way they are, for they were not brought up in a cultural space in which they could nurture and live out their own metaphysical dream. Instead, their life is dreamt by others, either vertically by a ruling class or horizontally by the collective. What Bollas calls the person’s “destiny drive” has been almost entirely squelched. They do not live in a space of possibilities, only a sort of invariant and unchanging now.

Pipes notes that “while property in some form is possible without liberty, the contrary is inconceivable.” And this is one thing that frightens us about the illiberal left, for as we have said many times, if you scratch a leftist, he will probably sue you. But underneath the scratch, you will discover a conviction that your property doesn’t really belong to you, but to the collective. It is simply a variation of the bald-faced assertion that “private property is public theft.” itself the absolute inversion of the seventh commandment.

Our most precious property is, of course, our own body. However, it is amazing how late in history this idea emerged. For example, the Islamic beasts we are fighting have no such notion. In their cultures, your body belongs to the religious authorities, and only they can dictate what you can and cannot do with it. For example, a woman’s body is certainly not her own. She has no choices (or only a narrow range of choices established by others) of how to express it, how to adorn it, and whom to share it with. (Memo to trolls -- please don’t even bother. The moral issue behind the abortion debate is not whether a woman has a right to do whatever she pleases with her own body, but whether she has that right over another’s body. That’s the whole point.)

Slavery was still legal in parts of the Arab world as late as the 1960’s, and widespread virtual slavery still exists today. This is the ultimate theft, the theft of a human soul. But that is hardly the only sort of soul-theft that goes on in the Islamic world. Again, the idea that children are autonomous beings with their own inherent rights and dignity is a very late historical development that has yet to appear in most human cultures. Rather, children are “owned” by their parents, which is a great barrier to psychohistorical evolution. As a parent, your job is to create a space for your child’s true self to emerge, not to enforce your version of who your child is and what he should be. Naturally this does not exclude boundaries, discipline and values, but the point of these is to facilitate true freedom, not to suppress it.

Most religions conceive of a mythical Golden Age, an edenic past in which there was no private property. Likewise, they may speculate about a hereafter in which there is no need for private property because there is no lack of anything. But in between, in our embodied state, there is a me and therefore a mine, a you and a yours. And just as the development of individualism is facilitated by property, property benefits from the arrangement as well. That is, most people do not take proper care of things that do not belong to them. As they say, no one ever took it upon himself to wash a rental car. Likewise, “Primitive people are prone mindlessly to exterminate animals and destroy forests, to the extent that they are physically able, without any thought of the future” (Pipes). There is an obvious reason why the most affluent countries with the strongest property rights also have the best environmental records.

Likewise, only when one owns oneself will one feel compelled to improve oneself. Here again, we see the left undermining this fundamental assumption, with disastrous consequences. For the entire basis of leftist victimology is that you are not sovereign over yourself and are not responsible for your destiny. Rather, the doctrine of victimology maintains that your life is directed by others. If you are a woman, you are controlled by men. If you are black, you are controlled by racist whites. If you are gay, you are controlled by “homophobes.” In each case, personal agency is undermined and replaced with a collective that, in the long run, will further erode the liberty it claims to advance. Racial quotas simply displace the ceiling further down the road. For example, a recent study proved that easing the standards for admitting blacks to law school simply results in black lawyers with dead-end careers in which they never make partner.

There are many “social justice” or “liberation theology” Christians who maintain that Jesus was a sort of proto-communist, what with his counsel to give to the poor. But there is a big difference between voluntary renunciation of one’s wealth and government seizure and redistribution of one’s wealth. Just as one must first be a man before becoming a gentleman, one must first have sovereignty over one’s property before giving it away. And as a matter of fact, statistics demonstrate that there is an inverse relationship between high taxes and charitable giving. Those states with the lowest taxes give the most, while those with the highest taxes-- "liberal" places such as Massachusetts -- give the least.

There is a reason why, say, China, has no qualms whatsoever about stealing billions of dollars per year in American intellectual property, for they now want the benefits of private property without the sacred duty to protect it. For a Marxist, private property is public theft, so when they steal American music, DVDs, and computer programs, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them. Clearly, this is a perversion of private property that perhaps even Marx didn't envision: “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine as well.”

Well, I can see that I’ve run out of time before I could come up with any snappy ending. Let’s just say this: in order to create a properly functioning society and a spiritually balanced person, “thou shalt not steal” (i.e., private property is sacrosanct) must be reconciled with “thou shalt not covet” (property isn't everything). We'll get to that one in a couple days, assuming I can steal the time that I so enviously covet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Male and Female He Created Him (Not Feman and Shemale)

Today's commandment of nihilism is you shall commit adultery.

But before getting into that, Dennis Prager made a fascinating point yesterday while interviewing a moonbattress named Laura Flanders, an Air(America)head with a new book entitled Blue Grit. (Hmm. Pretty easy on the eyes, especially for a moonbat woman -- speaking of which, when did leftism become the movement of Cindy Shemales? Trust me, it certainly wasn't that way when I was a lad -- rather, it was come for the craven draft-dodging, stay for the willowy, braless babes. This explains much more about a young man's politics than you might realize.)

I'm sure you've noticed that speaking with a conservative is easy, since they are logical, coherent, clear, dispassionate, and able to explain exactly what they believe and why they believe it. You may not agree with them, but you will know exactly what they think -- i.e., small federal government, low taxes, school vouchers, economic liberty, don't make stuff up that's not in the constitution, etc. As humorously expressed in the play My Unfair Lefty, you might say that conservative (classical) liberals

are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historically fair.
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Why can't a Democrat be like that?
Why does every lib do what the others do?
Can't a moonbat learn to use his head?
Why do they do everything their mothers do?
Why don't they grow up, well, like their father instead?
Why can't a lefty take after a man?
Men are so pleasant, so easy to please.
Whenever you're with them, you're always at ease.

But why is it the opposite with illiberal leftists? Why can they never give a straight answer? Why all the evasion and double-talk that they confuse with "nuance?" That's what it was like during Prager's frustrating interview with this woman. At the conclusion of the interview, during his summary of the hour, he made the passing comment that the reason it is so difficult to talk to a liberal is that when you ask them for substance, they give you theory.

Ah ha! Not only does this explain a major aspect of the cognitive pathology that afflicts leftists, but I realize that it is actually a more widespread mechanism that many annoying people share. For example, I notice it all the time in conducting psychiatric evaluations. There is a certain kind of patient who will always answer a general question with a particular, and a particular question with a generality. For example, if I ask, "how often does your back hurt?," they might answer, "it hurts right now." Or, if I ask, "how has your mood been in the past couple of weeks," they might answer, "I've haven't felt the same since my supervisor started yelling at me two years ago."

In the same patients, there is often an inability to distinguish between the external and internal worlds. If you inquire about emotional symptoms, they will speak only of external events that are supposedly making them feel bad, whereas if you ask for an objective chronology of external events, they will tell you only how they felt about them.

Years of experience have taught me that this is an unconscious process, and that there is nothing I can do about it. I can politely say something to the effect of, "you're making this more complicated for yourself than it needs to be. Just listen carefully to the question. There's no need to answer beyond it. Don't worry, we'll eventually cover everything." But it never works. Somehow, they don't hear the question in the way it is posed, but instantaneously transform it into a different question.

I've never thought about it in this way before, but I can see that this cognitive style, if that's what you want to call it, is pervasive on the left. It is not just that leftism is felt rather than thought. We already knew that. Rather, they chronically confuse abstract and concrete, and internal (subjective) and external (objective). Furthermore, this is how they are able to make reality conform to their fantasies, for they can always identify exceptions to general rules. For example, it is a truism that America is the most wealthy and prosperous country because it has the most free economy. But how difficult is it to find a particular person who is not prospering?

Conversely, the leftist will champion a generality such as "universal healthcare," but entirely overlook the particulars -- that is, how the cruelty and inefficiency of such systems actually affects individuals who, for example, must wait six months to get an MRI while there is a tumor growing inside them. In fact, you might say that this is the secret that has allowed abstract leftist ideas to continue despite their obvious failures. Wherever the theory has has been concretely put into practice, it has been unworkable and usually destructive. But this has no effect on the leftist's belief in the abstract theory.

Now, does this have anything to do with the seventh commandment of nihilism, you shall commit adultery? Yes, I believe it does, but in a gnuanced sort of way. Here is a reminder of what I wrote about the actual seventh commandment last summer:

“You shall not commit adultery.” Like the other commandments, this one has an outward, exoteric meaning, as well as an inner, esoteric one. After all, adultery is related to adulterate, which means to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance. In this case, we are talking specifically about the purity of the soul, and avoiding activities that corrupt it.

This commandment goes directly to the heart of the mysterious bond between body and soul, that which distinguishes us from the beasts. According to Valentin Tomberg, “The power of mutual love unites soul and body. Life, which consists of the union of soul and body, is the marriage of soul and body. For this reason the commandment: ‘You shall not commit adultery’ follows from the commandment: ‘You shall not murder.’ For adultery is essentially a form of killing -- of separating soul and body, whose union is the archetype of marriage.”

Let's stop right there for a moment. You've probably never thought of it this way before, but thinking itself is a sort of marriage, or mystical union of opposites. Carl Jung certainly understood this, as did the psychoanalyst W.R. Bion. In fact, in the case of the latter, he actually used the abstract symbols for male and female in his theory of thinking. You might say that the female represents the general, while the male represents the particular. Obviously, it is impossible to think generatively without a "fruitful" interaction between male and female, general and particular, abstract and concrete, induction and deduction.

This is actually not too far off from Schuon's metaphysics, in which he says that the highest reality of which we can conceive within the realm of being consists of the Absolute -- i.e., male -- which is necessarily Infinite -- i.e., female. To say absolute is to say infinite: the one implies the other, just like male and female.

As above, so below. To say that we are "made in the image of God" is to acknowledge that male and female are not merely biological categories, much less arbitrary genders assigned to us by culture. Rather, they are sacred categories that reflect the very metaphysical structure of reality: So he created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Do you catch Rabbi Mo's drift? The passage speaks in the singular before it speaks in the plural: God created man, or the human being, male and female. Then he created them male or female, i.e., the particulars from the divine archetype.

Thus, proper thinking is "male and female." Now that you're properly thinking about it, you will notice that this sacred union is generally absent in the mind of the moonbat. Forget about their attack on marriage, for that is merely an inevitable consequence of their failure to respect the sacred union of male and female within their own soul.

Now don't get me wrong, for what follows obviously has nothing to do with any animus toward the anima. Just ask Mrs. G. But you are now in a position to understand why the leftist is just like a woman, only worse. In other words, their thinking is "pure female," or female-female instead of male-female. However, there is another form of distorted thinking that "supports" the left, and this would be the male-male varieties of scientism, atheism, materialism, empiricism, logical positivism, etc. All of these defective philosophies are way wrong because they lack the intuitive and interior feminine element that would make them complete.

Marriage is simply a sacred memorialization of God's own inner nature and activity (leaving aside the trinitarian aspect, which is the subject for another post). A functioning marriage will transform both members and make them more truly "whole." Perhaps I should emphasize that this wholeness is obviously not denied single people. It is just that they will have to pursue the spiritual marriage more consciously, whereas for a normal man and women -- and they must be normal, not weird aberrations -- marriage affects this transformation naturally, "in the course of things."

I know that this is how it has worked for me. In the course of our relationship, my wife has made me more masculine, while I have made her more feminine. But this dynamic, as it has played out through time, has made each of us more "whole" as a result of internalizing the wholeness of the union. Somewhat hard to explain, and I'm not sure I'm doing a good job of it. Suffice it to say that I could not conceivably be the person I am today without my wife and her transformative influence, and I am sure she would say the same. In her case -- which is probably true of all female Coons, or Herman's Hussies -- she has become much more masculine in the course of becoming more feminine, in that her thinking is just so much more clear and coherent than it was 20 years ago, but without losing any of its feminine qualities. Meanwhile, my mind has become much more... infinite and enveloping.

We can symbolize the relation between these two aspects of Supreme Reality by the following images: in space, the absolute is the point, and the infinite is extension; in time, the absolute is the moment, and the infinite is duration. On the plane of matter, the absolute is the ether – the underlying and omnipresent primordial substance – whereas the infinite is the indefinite series of substances; ...finally, on the plane of number, the absolute will be unity or unicity, and the infinite will be the unlimited series of numbers or possible quantities, or totality.

The distinction between the Absolute and the Infinite expresses the two fundamental aspects of the Real, that of essentiality and that of potentiality; this is the highest principial prefiguration of the masculine and feminine poles. Universal Radiation, thus Maya both divine and cosmic, springs from the second aspect, the Infinite, which coincides with All-Possibility.
--F. Schuon

*****

Here is some more of what I wrote about the seventh commandment last summer (and you will notice that the number seven is important, as it symbolizes completion, specifically, the completion of a cycle):

Jewish tradition regards the bond between Israel and YHVH as a marriage covenant; similarly, think of the covenant between Christ and the church, or the mystical union between the soul and Jesus, or Shiva and Shakti.

Soul and body form a harmonious union, and the separation of the two in any sphere of activity is the equivalent of murder, since the higher life is not possible without their union. When we talk about the death culture, we are really talking about the soulless culture, because so much of our culture has become empty and soulless.

In adhering to the soul in all we do, we remain “faithful” to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. On the contrary, if we transfer our loyalty to that which corrupts us, we will soon discover that it clings to us as much as we adhere it it. The death culture begets death.

As we have mentioned before, depth is a dimension of soul, so that achieving depth is a pathway toward recognition of the soul’s existence. In the absence of soul, the world has no depth -- everything is of equal importance, or else simply has the importance our fleeting feelings attach to it.

This is why the postmodern strategy of deconstruction is not just bad philosophy. Rather it is murder, specifically, soul murder. And this is why, to paraphrase Richard Weaver, all attacks on religion inevitably result in attacks on the mind itself. Deconstruction is “intellectual crack,” as someone once put it.

In fact, any kind of radical skepticism -- the male principle run amok -- represents nothing more than an esoterism of stupidity: the lower mind’s ability to doubt anything is elevated to the central truth of our existence. It is the worst kind of soul betrayal, because it operates under cover of a counterfeit pursuit of truth.

Perhaps it should be emphasized that this commandment does not imply some sort of dry, austere, or anti-pleasure approach to life. Quite the opposite. In fact, in Jewish tradition, it is said that the first thing God will ask upon your death is why you didn't partake of all the permitted pleasures He so generously bestowed for your enjoyment.

The point is that existence is embodied, but not only embodied. There are two false paths; one is the descending path into hedonism, distraction, and other various soulless activities. But the other false path is the purely ascending one: going up the sacred mountain with the soul, but leaving the body behind.

This is a persistent message of both Judaism and Christianity. Both, in different ways, stress the embodied nature of existence, and the problem of how to sanctify our lives by remembering the soul in everything we do.

But clearly, if one stands back and looks at the historical situation from the widest possible vantage point, we can see a problem. Because the Judeo-Christian tradition regards the world as real and worthy of our attention, it can lead to an exteriorizing tendency that ends up severing soul and body.

On the other hand, if we look at the philosophies of the east, they have tended to regard the world as illusory, or as only maya, unworthy of being taken seriously. Historically they have made the opposite mistake of becoming too interior: “Brahman alone is real.” Thus, Buddhism and Hinduism have a bit of an interiority complex.

I do believe that the evolutionary task of our age is to bring these two extremes back together -- to fully reconcile soul and body and achieve the mystical marriage of a Life Divine in a monkey body. In truth, it is merely a matter of emphasis, for there is no question that this is at the heart of the uncorrupted Christian message.

Likewise, although Sri Aurobindo corrected Vedanta’s overemphasis on otherworldly concerns, he too was simply going back to the original message of the Upanishads: “To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation,” says the Isha Upanishad. Rather, “Those who combine action and meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter immortality,” that is, through the sacred union of soul and body, spirit and matter, male and female, mamamaya and papurusha (for those who know their punskrit).

I once had a psychotic patient who took one look at my name--Godwin--and blurted out, “Godwin--is that like a combination of God and Darwin?” I thought about it for a moment and knew that he was right, for while he might have been crazy, he wasn't stupid. Because the whole point of my philosophy is to marry Adam and Evolution in such a way that they love hopefully over laughter, both aspiring and helping each other toward the same nonlocal goal 'til death deus part, but only for awhole. Like the song says, "We've only just begun..."

*****

How feelings trump thought in the environmental movement: How about Ecomomic Progress Day instead of Earth Day?

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.”