If Wishes Were Horse's Asses, Liberals Would Elect Them
Our soul may never have rest in things that are beneath itself. --Julian of Norwich. So there.
The psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott once wrote an article on the psychodynamics of shoplifting, expressing the idea that it wasn't so much motivated by want or greed, but by hope. That is, in the instant the shoplifter is engaged in his theft, he is temporarily buoyed by the hope that the painful emptiness at the core of his being will be filled. But it never is, so he must repeat the process in a compulsive manner.
More generally, as Boethius wrote, if the mere satisfaction of desire were the cause of happiness, "there is no reason why beasts should not be thought blessed, whose whole intention is bent to supply their corporal wants." By extrapolation, a life of pursuing false hope converts man to an animal.
In any compulsion, there is an existential component of hope; but this is not real hope. Rather, it is merely a defense against hopelessness. Nothing is more deflating than an illusory desire satisfied, because its satisfaction co-arises with hopelessness. In fact, we could say that any compulsion -- and few people are completely free of them -- is simply hopelessness deferred.
Most senior Raccoons will be aware of this dynamic in their own lives, as gaining insight into its absurcularity is one of the keys that frees us from "the world" (the abstract world, not the Real world). As Schuon wrote, "To be 'horizontal' is to love only terrestrial life, to the detriment of the ascending and celestial path; to be 'exteriorized,' is to love only outer things, to the detriment of moral and spiritual values."
So the whole bloody point of Raccoon life is to realize the transcendent in the immanent and the immanent in the transcendent. This hardly excludes desire, but elevates and sanctifies it. Raccoons are bon vivants, bearing in mind the true nature of le bon.
Hey, we know that we live in exile in this vale of shadows and tears, and that to try to pretend otherwise is the most fundamental form of illusion. But the spiritually centered Raccoon is able to hold to a steady course and maintain himself "at the center; he never loses sight of the symbol, the spiritual gift of things, the sign of God, a gratitude that is both ascending and radiating." This he accomplishes "in the midst of inevitable distractions and complex occupations" (Schuon).
We are not embittered but grateful, for gratitude is the best revenge -- in fact, it is a preemptive strike -- against the wily one: "Gratitude is a virtue that allows us, not only to be content with little things -- this is holy childhood -- but also to appreciate or respect little things or big things because they come from God, beginning with the beauty and the gifts of nature; one must be sensitive to the innocence and mystery of the divine works" (Schuon).
As we have discussed on many occasion, the philosophy of leftism rests upon an ontology which inverts the order of the cosmos, elevating existence over and above essence. In so doing, it essentially sanctifies the perversion of man as such, as it instantiates at its very foundation false hope. That is, we all know ahead of time that the fanciful schemes and discredited economic ideas of the left can never "deliver the goods" -- neither the material nor certainly spiritual goods.
Obama tells us that the people are bitter. Of course, when he says this, he is projecting his own existential bitterness and resentment -- and the bitterness and resentment at the heart of every leftist -- into the rest of us. And why are they bitter? Because the government is not paying attention to them.
Oh, if only! As Christopher Chantrill writes today at American Thinker, "When liberals are ready to abolish the income tax then we will know that they are getting serious about privacy." After all, 99% of our real, lived freedom is economic freedom, the multitude of little day-to-day decisions we make about our lives. Being that the federal government demands that we tell them everything about our economic activity, this verges on the totalitarian. Why aren't more people alarmed by this? I suppose they are, but like me, they're just resigned to it. You know, properly hopeless.
In distinguishing between "hope" and "wish," Montague Brown writes of the former that it "involves the conviction that, despite appearances to the contrary, truth and goodness will prevail. To hope is to commit ourselves to the betterment of ourselves and the world.... My hope looks to the future, but it is rooted in reality as it is."
In contrast, wishing involves the fantasy that "despite appearances to the contrary, our desire will be satisfied. To wish is to invoke fortune to bring us what we want, even when what we want is not good.... My wish has no particular bond with reality as it is, but feeds on fantasy.... Wishing is easy and makes no demands on us either to choose truth over fantasy or to choose good over evil."
Oddly, the illiberal leftist locates his wishful hopes and dreams precisely where the conservative liberal locates his hopelessness, in the state. That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?
As Lee Harris writes of the Islamists, they are not motivated by "reality." After all, no matter how bad things get, they will never succeed in imposing on the world a caliphate worse than death. Rather, they are immersed in a fantasy ideology, the whole point of which is to infuse the person who embraces it with a kind of monstrously transcendent false hope.
So, in the long run, how is this any different from the petty shoplifters of the left? Both result in the loss of truth, virtue and beauty, and the liberty to pursue them, i.e., in happiness.
A vagabond mind running hither and thither among the varying and false delights of the world is tired out, not satisfied, by its vain exertion.... So if you would attain to the fulfillment of that which, once grasped, leaves no more to be desired -- what is the necessity of putting the rest to the test? You run along bypaths and you will die long before you attain the object of your desires along this circuitous route. --St. Bernard.