Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Just Say Yes! to History

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. --Joseph Campbell

So, is history convergent or divergent? In the realm of ideas, a problem is considered convergent if a universal solution to it can be discovered. For example, even if Einstein hadn't gotten there first, it is presumed that someone would have eventually discovered the equivalence of mass and energy. Or if Gene Mauch hadn't come up with the "double switch," some other baseball manager would have. A problem is thought to be divergent when it appears to have no single solution, but when different investigators are led down different paths toward differing conclusions, for example, questions of the most effective way to invest your money, the purpose of life, or the best strategy for arguing with a moonbat.

Now, the vast majority of scholars would undoubtedly consider the problem of history to be a divergent one, with no agreement -- and no possibility of agreement -- as to its ultimate nature: what it is, what is its purpose, where it is headed, etc. Therefore, a priori, history can have no meaning outside the individual historian’s mind. That is, if history doesn't refer to something outside itself, it is ultimately without meaning or purpose, truly the proverbial "tale told by a tenured idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying a nice paycheck.” While there can be limited purposes within history, there is no transcendent meaning to any of these endeavors, any more than there can be transcendent meaning to your individual goals and pursuits. It's all ultimately pointless.

Shortly after the cold war, the neo-Hegelian scholar Francis Fukuyama published his controversial book The End of History and The Last Man. It's been quite a while, but when I read the book, I never took it to mean that, with the end of the Cold War, history had somehow come to a literal end, as if nothing important would happen. Rather, his central point was that history was converging upon liberty, democracy, free markets, and individual rights, because societies that embodied these ideals were best able to fulfill human potential and satisfy mankind's deepest needs. Based upon a kind of natural selection applied to collectivities, countries would increasingly come to resemble one another, because there are more and less objectively effective ways of organizing society and meeting human needs.

I think the biggest knock on Fukuyama is that he underestimated -- to say the least -- the power of religion and culture to shape the human mind. And even more importantly, being a rationalist, he failed to appreciate the unconscious and irrational element in both of these realms. In short, he looked at culture as a basically rational enterprise instead of a deeply irrational (or arational or transrational) one. If even a relatively sane society such as the United States is prone to mass delusions, collective hysteria, and group fantasies, it is scarcely possible for us to imagine what it must be like to be an average citizen of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Berkeley.

And in pointing out that Fukuyama underestimated the power of culture, it's just another way of saying that he overlooked the realm of the vertical, in both its lower and upper aspects. The odd thing about earthlings is that they are attached to their culture, even -- or especially -- if the culture doesn't seem to work. Superficially this makes no sense, but it is exactly analogous to the manner in which a neurotic person is more attached to his neurosis than a "normal" person is to his sanity.

This is for complex reasons related to the manner in which mind parasites function. For a full explanation, I'd have to take a lengthy detour into developmental psychoanalysis, but the main idea is that it is unnecessary for the developing mind to internalize the good, only the bad. The securely attached child is more adventurous, spontaneous, and free, whereas the insecure child becomes much more attached to the very source of his insecurity. You've probably heard the cliche that bereavement is generally much more complicated when the relationship was a negative or ambivalent one, and this is the reason why. In general, pathological relationships are kept in place by a host of unconscious tentacles with hidden agendas, reaching back and forth, holding the couple together with what might be called (-p), or negative passion.

You could say that pathological cultures are essentially exercises in collective (-p). I mean, if you can bypass your sheer horror for the moment, just consider this story from LGF, 'Honor Killing' Epidemic in Britain:

"Up to 17,000 women in Britain are being subjected to 'honour' related violence, including murder, every year, according to police chiefs.... And official figures on forced marriages are the tip of the iceberg, says the Association of Chief Police Officers. It warns that the number of girls falling victim to forced marriages, kidnappings, sexual assaults, beatings and even murder by relatives intent on upholding the 'honour' of their family is up to 35 times higher than official figures suggest.

"The crisis, with children as young as 11 having been sent abroad to be married, has prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to call on British consular staff in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan to take more action to identify and help British citizens believed to be the victims of forced marriages in recent years."

The crisis has also also prompted the Archbishop of Canterbury to welcome the imposition of sharia law in Britain. At least the (mostly) homosexual ephebophile Catholic priests only harmed individuals. This loon wants to normalize abuse on a mass scale.

At any rate, Fukuyama was essentially updating the classical liberal ideal of history, or what Coons call darwhiggian evolution. It may be contrasted with the post-modern badeal of historical meaninglessness, which in turn, is actually similar to primitive cosmologies, which either view the cosmos as a cyclical and unprogressive pattern of “eternal return” or as a degenerate process of departure and increasing distance from an idyllic past. Only with the Hebrew approach to history did mankind begin to discern a vector or direction in history, and with it, a sense of history’s purpose. That is, for the first time, history was seen as trying to get somewhere, and was looked upon as somehow interacting with sOmething on a “vertical” plane -- a trans-subjective force which both intervened in history and drew human beings toward it.

Later, Christianity would develop an explicitly logoistic theory of history, embodying the belief in a literal descent of this vertical power into the stream of horizontal time, so as to forge a concrete link between the vertical and horizontal -- between spirit and flesh, time and eternity, O and (•). To say that "God became man" or "Word became flesh" is just another way of saying that the vertical -- the Absolute, timeless ground, outside time and anterior to manifestation -- poured itself into material form and chronological time -- not just in a single human being, but in the whole upward "flow" of humanity.

Only humans can serve as a bridge between the higher and lower planes that are manifest in the outward process of history. Indeed, this is our vocation and purpose: to nurture and grow the seed of eternity within the womb of time. (This is not dissimilar to the Jewish concept ofTikkun -- of participating in the repair and completion of God's creation.)

To contemporary observers, the life of Jesus, or of the Hebrew prophets, was invisible. This is highly instructive. That is, the most important and influential events in human history were completely undetected and overlooked by contemporary sophisticates. Rather, they were noticed only by a handful of provincial rubes who "saw" and "heard," not with their eyes and ears, but in a trans-cerebral, intuitive manner.

What great world-historical events are invisible to the jaded elites of the present? What great vertical energies are entering the world today, undetected by a spiritually oblivious mainstream media, so hypnotized by the spectacle of time and blind to the eternal? The MSM, in thrall to the tyranny of the momentary, doesn't just promote this or that stupid idea. Rather, being that "the medium is the message," its central message is always the same -- that the Aion is broken into a million little disconnected fragments; that the world is deeply bizarre, insane, and perversely anti-human; and yet, at the same time, as trivial and fleeting as the speed of a thumb on the remote control.

The world is always ending, but perpetually being reborn. If that weren't true, mankind would never have found the exit out of its closed circle of material and instinctual existence. I am reminded of a passage from Joseph Campbell's Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake:

"The Wake, in its lowest estimate, is a huge time capsule, a complete and permanent record of our age. If our society should go smash tomorrow (which Joyce implies, it may) one could find all of the pieces, together with the forces that broke them, in Finnegans Wake. The book is a kind of terminal moraine in which lie buried all the myths, programs, slogans, hopes, prayers, tools, educational theories, and theological bric-a-brac of the past millennium. And here, too, will be found the love that reanimates the debris. Joyce's moraine is not the brickdust but humus.... Through notes that finally become tuneable to our ears, we hear Joyce uttering his resilient, all-enjoying, all animating Yes, the Yes of things yet to come, a Yes from beyond every zone of disillusionment, such as few have had the heart to utter."

For somewhere hovering above the insanity of history is

The whole Truth. Nothing but the Truth. So ham, me God. We'll meet again. Up ahead, 'round the bend. The circle unbroken, by and by. A Divine Child, a godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin' Yes. --The Book of Petey

26 Comments:

Blogger walt said...

Another of your posts with far-reaching implications! To look at history in the light of "divergent or convergent" is a great distinction -- one that (typical of your writing) sheds Light on current culture and current events.

And with all the scary headlines (not to mention the horrific details) we endure, it's good to get a "Yes" to History!

For some reason, this sentence really jumped out at me:
"The securely attached child is more adventurous, spontaneous, and free, whereas the insecure child becomes much more attached to the very source of his insecurity."

I know that that was just an "illustration" of your subject today, but perhaps sometime when you are looking more specifically at mind parasites you could elaborate on this?

2/12/2008 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes...I agree. I would love to hear more about "mind parasites" as it relates to negative attachment vs. spontaneity etc.

Thank you.

2/12/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"The securely attached child is more adventurous, spontaneous, and free, whereas the insecure child becomes much more attached to the very source of his insecurity."

A cultural/ ideological version of this is the difference between Classical Liberalism and Leftist Socialism.

2/12/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

I thought this one today was just peppered with a combination of clarity and greatness. And I really liked the full cycle, beginning and ending with Joe.

It sure puts the chants of "Yes we can" in a whole different light. The impulse is archetypal, but they have no idea what they're actually wishing for, do they?

I, for one, smell some rough seas ahead.

2/12/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

maineman:

I, for one, smell some rough seas ahead.

Something dark approaches.

Bush is not going to stop the Iranian nukes. The Democrats will win in a landslide. America will swerve violently to the Left.

I'd say we're in a similar position to the one Europeans were in exactly 100 years ago. Few predicted or understood what was to come a mere 9 years hence, let alone the follow-on three decades later.

2/12/2008 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"The odd thing about earthlings is that they are attached to their culture, even -- or especially -- if the culture doesn't seem to work. Superficially this makes no sense, but it is exactly analogous to the manner in which a neurotic person is more attached to his neurosis than a "normal" person is to his sanity."

Beyond perverse contemporary examples:

"Muslim Inbreeding Causing Increase in UK Birth Defects"
http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/
191186.php

The sick bastards are so afraid of being chomped by the Giant Toothed Vagina, they'll play it safe with men & gladly pay to 'change' them into 'women':

"Iran Sex Changes Get Mullahs' Money as Regime Persecutes Gays"
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=
20601109&sid=aKyg7EZs.8hA&refer=home

When I read this stuff & things such as the comments left here a couple of days ago by our casual-anti-semite visitor, I'm in sympathy with Ann Coulter on this:
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity."

2/12/2008 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Holy cow, Smoov, I hope you're wrong. But I fear you are not.
Right now I'm surrounded by the noise of all my savings being poured into the block wall that fell into Leo's yard, and the demolition of the bathroom,necessitated by the crappy repair work done five years ago. Ah, the high cost of being cheap. But the flu that has kept me on the rocks for the last three weeks has finally given way. Now if only someone else would get it I might get some work to help pay for all this construction.
But I won't indulge myself any further in dumping troubles out into the Cosmos, One, or otherwise.
It is uncanny how with the fall of the Soviet Union we had such a small reprieve before the bigger and vastly more evil global jihad rose to take its place. Now we have no single organized entity to topple, but rather an evil diffused through and propagated by literally millions of independent contractors. Worse we have huge numbers here in the West who don't even believe that the evil even exists. The war on terror is, after all, a bumpersticker. Chauncey Obamagardner will pull out of Iraq, and chat up all those nice folks from the ummah, and everything will immediately revert back to 1968, only with no war. Peace, space brothers. That's all for now. I'll check back later when things are quiet here.

JWM

2/12/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous ERS said...

Those domestic violence figures don't surprise me. Not in the least.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

2/12/2008 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ximeze, I just came across this related article, from a girl whose family forced her into marrying her father's cousin. She and her boyfriend are currently living under police protection (it seems pretty unwise, given the circumstances, for her to allow her photo to accompany the story, though).

Sick culture.

2/12/2008 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Folks,

My dark night of the soul has finally passed. Thanks Raccoons, visiting here gave me hope when everything else seemed bleak. I had a classic spiritual showdown; God won. GO O!
BTW, Keys of Gnosis rocks. It's like a spiritual brain transplant.

2/12/2008 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One, or otherwise.
It is uncanny how with the fall of the Soviet Union we had such a small reprieve before the bigger and vastly more evil global jihad rose to take its place.
-- JWM

Ever notice that everything in the 20th Century -- World War One, First Russian Revolution, Collapse of the Turkish Empire, Great Depression, World War Two, Cold War, Mideast Oil, Postwar Bread-and-Circuses Prosperity, Vietnam (the Myth, not the real war), Arab/Israeli Blood Feud, Afghan War, Second Russian Revolution, etc -- keeps looking more and more like deliberate misdirection and preparation for the real Main Event: The global overrun attack by resurgent Islam?

Nya ha ha, My Dear Wormwood...

2/12/2008 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Julie, read that one earlier today.

My beloved T. Dalrymple has a new one re the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (who really, for accuracy, ought to change his last name to Atkinson):

"Rarely does philosophical inanity dovetail so neatly into total ignorance of concrete social realities: it is as though the archbishop were the product of the coupling of Goldilocks and Neville Chamberlain."

http://www.city-journal.org/2008/
eon0211td.html

2/12/2008 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I dunno, Ximeze - Rowan Atkinson appears to have more sense than the Bish.

James - sounds like gOOd news!

2/12/2008 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Anon @1:19:
I have thought this myself, and at one time or another posted words to that effect. Nonetheless, I have a tough time with it. That God, the creative intelligence, is the ultimate reality is actually quite a reassuring thought. Without God the universe doesn't make much sense. On the other hand, that Evil is an active agency is very troubling. We have the free will to disobey. We have the free will to do great wrong to our fellow beings for the sake of our own selfish, or even cruel reasons. But the idea that there is an anti-God, (Oh what the hell) a Devil? I have said a few times, and only half in jest, after reading of the apalling depravity of islam that I am no longer agnostic about the Devil. But still...

Oh, a side note- you can post with a nic made up for the moment without posting "anonymous". It makes responding a lot less confusing when you have some idea who you are responding to.

JWM

2/12/2008 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous coonified said...

"I have said a few times, and only half in jest, after reading of the appalling depravity of Islam that I am no longer agnostic about the Devil. But still..."


Satan is real
lurking in shadow
working inside you
working against you
holding in silence
cutting with malice
bloodletting your body--
just seething to satisfy

the Invisible tissue--
axons of incest,
rape and disgust, pillage and raucous,/
frustration and hatred
the hurt of a nation
working inside it
working against it
holding in silence
until the next sacrifice
not just in blood, but mind.

2/12/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Gee, Coonified, that's a cheerful thought. ;)
Very good.

JWM

2/12/2008 09:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWM,

I'm so famous that if I were to post with a "nic", you'd probably guess my identity.

2/12/2008 09:53:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>What great world-historical events are invisible to the jaded elites of the present? What great vertical energies are entering the world today, undetected by a spiritually oblivious mainstream media . . <<

There is a danger here, I think, given that this might be the age when "Spirit pours out on all flesh", ie, the vertical energies actually do become, in a way, more visible, more tangible, even to the oblivious MSM.

The danger is this: the influx of vertical energies for the most part cannot find suitable spiritual anchoring, do not result in a growth of spiritual insight and wisdom, but rather the vertical energies might be suborned by the horizontal in an entirely unwholesome way.

An example: hypothetically speaking, let's say . . . oh, let's say some political candidate who's running for . . oh, let's say for president of the USA . . . let's say this candidate uses the influx of vertical energy in such a way that it does not invest him (or her, let's be fair) with any particular wisdom - in fact, this candidate mouths and apparently believes in the same old amorphous lefty platitudes. Only . . . this candidate seems invested with a peculiar type of charisma that has citizens from coast to coast virtually swooning in some orgasmystic ecstasy . . . no one's higher intellect is sharpened, only their *feelings* are set on fire by this candidate in some peculiar way . . .

Well, as was said re: the days when the Spirit pours out on all flesh, one must be very careful not to fall for false messiahs and whatnot . . . meanwhile, there are those who indeed are spiritually anchoring the vertical energy influx and are doing so invisibly and with a certain amount of travail, as is necessary at this time.

2/13/2008 12:27:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

anonymous -

>>. . . deliberate misdirection and preparation for the real Main Event: The global overrun attack by resurgent Islam?<<

Even that might be a bit of a misdirection.

2/13/2008 12:32:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

"The danger is this: the influx of vertical energies for the most part cannot find suitable spiritual anchoring, do not result in a growth of spiritual insight and wisdom, but rather the vertical energies might be suborned by the horizontal in an entirely unwholesome way."

Sounds a lot like the '60s to me. Which offers hope, since the ship was righted at the end of that day. Pretty soon thereafter, in fact.

But it feels a lot different this time. Maybe it's just because I'm old now, or maybe that we just got socked with yet another snowstorm and the heating bills have been draining us dry. Still, I can't shake this very ominous feeling about what we're facing for at least the next few years.

2/13/2008 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"The securely attached child is more adventurous, spontaneous, and free, whereas the insecure child becomes much more attached to the very source of his insecurity."

Not to elevate him too much, but this reminded me of Bush's interview on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace tried to get him to open up about his need to out do or live up to his Dad's life, and Bush said something like "I'm aware of what he did, but I had two parents and I'm me, I'm not concerned with what others think about whether I lived up to some image. My Dad gave me unconditional love, and that set me free from any of that, because of that, I can take risks. You may pay attention to those things, I don't. I do what I see as right based upon principles. I don't give a damn about polls and legacies."

"The securely attached child is more adventurous, spontaneous, and free, whereas the insecure child becomes much more attached to the very source of his insecurity."

And then you have Billary....

2/13/2008 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Maineman & Smoov said "I, for one, smell some rough seas ahead.

Something dark approaches.

Bush is not going to stop the Iranian nukes. The Democrats will win in a landslide. America will swerve violently to the Left."

Yeah, looking that way, note this one,Pakistani nuclear scientists 'abducted', seems Pakistan has misplaced two of its nuclear scientists.

Hmmm... whonder where the got to....

2/13/2008 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Still with all the doom and gloom in abundance, after or alongside the bad stuff there's something else.

A skirmish in the American back woods 250 years ago between Colonial troops and their indian scouts with French troops - during the French surrender (they began perfecting it that long ago), one of our Indian's decided it'd be a good idea to remove the French officer's brains (still the fruits of surrender), that kicked off the world wide 7 years war.

Lots of bad stuff. And the Cololnial officer got passed over for promotion.

Still worse things came after that, but the officer, George Washington and the Colonials ended up alright.

2/13/2008 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"America will swerve violently to the left"

This is as blatant a clear indication that I've seen.

2/13/2008 06:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

failure.

2/13/2008 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

MizzE said "This is as blatant a clear indication that I've seen."

In the 30's, we had a similar program, the Blue Eagle program for the NRA, Wilson's administration had something similar as well (leaf through Goldbergs 'Liberal Fascism' for some really shocking ideas that have already been used. Here.

Just as truth gravitates (levitates) towards the top, error and falsehood gravitate towards the bottom and swirl down into the drain.

Personaly I don't think there needs to be an actual entity behind it, just a separation from the Truth is all the motive force needed to send you down the drain.

2/13/2008 11:05:00 AM  

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