Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Freedom of Will, Knowledge of Truth, Nobility of Soul

Very annoying. I just lost the post, and I don't even know how. No time to regrow it, but it was a doozy. I'll have to try to recreate it tomorrow. FYI, it was called "Vertical Man the Microcosm, Horizontal Man the Microchasm." Did I mention it was a doozy? Now it's like one of them Buddhist sand paintings. Oh well. A reminder of our transcience before the Eternal, as if we need more lessons in evanescence. In the mean time, a random rerun from two Mays ago...

*****

The prerogative of the human state is objectivity, the essential content of which is the Absolute. There is no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence; there is no freedom without objectivity of the will; and there is no nobility without objectivity of the soul. --Frithjof Schuon

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Forget the blather about a “Creator.” Could nonsense such as this ever pass muster in a contemporary leftist university, where the only self-evident truth is that there is no truth, self-evident or otherwise?

This imaginary “Creator” supposedly endowed us with “liberty,” which is to say free will. But every leftist knows that we don’t really have free will. Rather, we are victims of our environment and our genes. For example, poverty causes crime. Unless you happen to be rich. Then greed causes crime. Unless you haven’t committed any crime. Then it’s just a crime to be rich. But don’t be confused -- there’s no objective right or wrong anyway. Which we know to be objectively true.

Multiculturalism is the doctrine that race, not values, determines consciousness. For example, there is “black consciousness.” Perhaps you didn’t know this, but blacks are born leftists. However, occasionally you will see a conservative black person such as Thomas Sowell or Ken Blackwell or Shelby Steele. One is tempted to say that these racial deviants represent birth defects, but they are probably just trying to imitate “white consciousness.” Whites are inherently racist, so in a weird way, these self-hating black conservatives are also white racists.

What about white liberals, you ask? Since liberals represent all that is good and decent, how have these white people transcended their own inherent racism? And since it is fair for liberals to attack black conservatives for “acting white,” is it fair for conservatives to attack liberal caucasians for “acting black?” Try it some time.

“There is no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence.” “There is no freedom without objectivity of the will.” Freedom is a paradoxical thing, for if it simply means that we are subjectively free to do or believe whatever we want, what good is it? It’s just another, more subtle form of tyranny, the tyranny of unconstrained, ultimately meaningless choice on the horizontal plane.

The classical (not contemporary) liberal draws a sharp distinction between freedom and liberty. Freedom is the mere absence of constraint, the right to do whatever one wishes. It implies no verticality at all. Liberty, on the other hand, is constrained by Truth, both as it applies to knowledge and our will to act.

What good is academic freedom unless it is actually converging upon objective truth? One of the problems in the Arab world is that they have neither freedom nor liberty. They are obliged to believe outrageous lies -- lies about Israel, lies about America, lies about women, lies about Christianity. But it is possible to have the opposite problem, the obligatory belief that truth doesn’t exist, so that one person’s belief is no higher or better than another’s. Moral and intellectual relativism are not just forms of tyranny, they are a manifestation of hell, for hell is any place where one cannot appeal to Truth.

Ironically, the person who believes that truth exists and that he is free to discover it is far more constrained than the person who either doesn’t believe in objective truth or who lives in tyranny. For example, if you read memri.org, you will see that in the Arab world you are absolutely free to believe the most vicious and vile lies about Jews. Likewise, on American college campuses, you are free to believe the most brazen lies about American history, or about President Bush, about religion, or about capitalism.

But the person who believes in truth doesn’t have that kind of absurd and meaningless freedom. For he is only free to believe what is true, and what kind of freedom is that? In other words, such a person is not free to believe that 2+2=5, or that men and women are identical, or that children do just as well with two fathers as a father and mother, or that objective truth doesn’t exist, or that natural selection alone explains human consciousness, or that high taxes are a good way to reduce poverty, or that we have no transcendent moral obligations. And yet, the truth supposedly "sets you free.” How does that work?

It seems that objective truth is the key to true freedom, both as it pertains to knowledge and to action. Objectivity is often thought of as empirical knowledge of material reality, but this is a misleadingly narrow definition. Rather, according to Schuon, objectivity must be understood not as “knowledge that is limited to a purely empirical recording of data received from outside, but a perfect adequation of the knowing subject to the known object.”

In other words, objectivity has to do with aligning our understanding with what it is we wish to know, whether it is a rock, a mathematical equation, or God. “An intelligence or a knowledge is ‘objective' when it is capable of grasping the object as it is and not as it may be deformed by the subject.” It is “conformity to the nature of things,” independent of interference by individual tendencies or tastes.

As such, objectivity is even a kind of “ego death” in the face of the reality of the object. But there is a payoff, in that “the subjective compensation of this extinction is the nobility of character,” a vertical nobility that is our true human birthright. Moreover, in our logoistic cosmos, the transcendent Object (Brahman, the Father) is ultimately the immanent Subject (Atman, the Son). Therefore, in the final analysis, objectivity is none other than the ultimate Truth “in which the subject and the object coincide, and in which the essential takes precedence over the accidental -- or in which the Principle takes precedence over its manifestation -- either by extinguishing it, or by reintegrating it.”

Thus, through objectivity, we actually become who we are, undistorted by the accidents and contingencies of existence. "Without objectivity and transcendence there cannot be man, there is only the human animal; to find man, one must aspire to God.”

In short, because we have the capacity for objectivity, we partake of the Absolute, which is absolute liberty. We are not really free to know God. It is only God who is free to know himself through us. Deny this truth, and we live in another absolute -- the false or pseudo-absolute of arbitrary and unlimited horizontal freedom. The purpose of liberty is to enable us to choose what we already are in the depths of our being. This is that famous point whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere: there is only this one center, and you are it. Or, to be precise, you are not other than it.

15 Comments:

Blogger Smoov said...

Sic transit gloria Microsoft Word?

5/28/2008 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It happened once before, where I selected the whole document, hit paste instead of copy, and "poof." Gone.

5/28/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Next time, just hit "ctrl+z" or select the "undo" option from the "edit" menu before you do anything else; "poof!" it should return.

5/28/2008 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Or if you're on a Mac, it's (apple button)+z.

Thank O for the "undo" option - I need it a lot. When I'm working on a real life painting, if I make a mistake I actually think "Crap! Undo!" (followed immediately by "dammit! How do I fix this again?")

5/28/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blacks are not born leftists, but they favor democrats because democrats at least attempt to recognize them. On the values between the left and right you'll find blacks more often share values with conservatives than with liberals, but they are actually less diverse than whites, and more conservative. We're not talking about the big famous accomplished blacks, we're talking the regular folks next door. Personally, I don't think you know any.

And then that whole issue about not being able to raise a healthy child in a gay/homosexual family, I mean, yah, it can't happen, but somehow it has. I guess you didn't watch the news in the 90s, or read the studies that continue to show it. It's been studied for 30 years, there are adults with normal lives who were raised by homosexuals. It was just so hard for them to fit in and get a job and marry(heterosexually) and have their own family. But obviously that truth isn't an objective truth, because you can't see it. Obviously those people most be sexually dysfunctional somehow.

I'm going to tell you something, there's a difference between sharing opinions and trying to tie those ideas to reality, usually reality has to match to make a good case. In this instance, you could've left out some examples that just don't work.

5/28/2008 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

One could scarcely imagine a greater stupidity than to believe a study is required to prove that children do not need a mother and father. They can also turn out normal despite being sexually abused, but that hardly means it's a good thing.

5/28/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger E said...

Since losing a post to an evil cyberspace vortex some weeks ago, I always type my posts in Word and then copy/paste. File under "helpful advice you could have used yesterday". Cheers!

5/28/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Kyle-Anne Shiver connects some interesting dots today at American Thinker. What a girl scout -> she went to Trinity United Church of Christ bookshop and perused the authors.

Obama, Black Liberation Theology, [Wright -> Cone] [Hilter] and Karl Marx

5/28/2008 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Oops.
Try this

5/28/2008 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

GB says: Moral and intellectual relativism are not just forms of tyranny, they are a manifestation of hell, for hell is any place where one cannot appeal to Truth.

I can see how that would work if self and subjectivity are the supreme "values" and hell expands it to infinity -- all my flaws and fears and delusions and not so much as a straw to grasp. That could get ugly in a hurry. Almost makes me feel sorry for some people.

Therefore, in the final analysis, objectivity is none other than the ultimate Truth “in which the subject and the object coincide

My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest -- Exodus 33:14

The purpose of liberty is to enable us to choose what we already are in the depths of our being

I like it.

Anonymous said: Blacks are not born leftists, but they favor democrats because democrats at least attempt to recognize them. ... We're not talking about the big famous accomplished blacks, we're talking the regular folks next door. Personally, I don't think you know any.

Obviously, you don't "recognize" sarcasm. When you say "attempt to recognize them" what you mean is "attempt to demagogue them", right? Which, of course, it why we call it the Democrat party.

Only liberals have black friends? You need to get out of the basement, son.

5/28/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"The classical (not contemporary) liberal draws a sharp distinction between freedom and liberty. Freedom is the mere absence of constraint, the right to do whatever one wishes. It implies no verticality at all. Liberty, on the other hand, is constrained by Truth, both as it applies to knowledge and our will to act.

What good is academic freedom unless it is actually converging upon objective truth? One of the problems in the Arab world is that they have neither freedom nor liberty. They are obliged to believe outrageous lies -- lies about Israel, lies about America, lies about women, lies about Christianity. But it is possible to have the opposite problem, the obligatory belief that truth doesn’t exist, so that one person’s belief is no higher or better than another’s. Moral and intellectual relativism are not just forms of tyranny, they are a manifestation of hell, for hell is any place where one cannot appeal to Truth. ...
"

True, and in the absence of Truth you have the absence of Love and how do you live in the absence of anything to live for – what are you left with, with no Reason to live?… evil, I suppose, a disintegrated, meaningless, existence, punctuated with a need for thrills, addictive, and ever receding – ever searching for a new thrill.

Without the grasp of hierarchy, of the Vertical, any truth, is only fact - whether it has painted upon it a diploma or religious orders, without the vertical, hierarchy, it is without depth, flat - rules for robots, or suggestions for sophists. Without grasping the self evident hierarchy of knowledge, inherent even in something as mundane as Cutlery (tableware->Forks->Dinner fork-salad fork.... etc), you are ignorant not only of the human method of understanding the world, but ignorant of how to fully be human.

That has to be grasped and admitted, before morality becomes possible in any meaningful way. With higher ranks of knowledge comes higher truths about the world and about ourselves. Eventually it dawns that the higher Truth is leading towards a central Truth, and the farthest reaches of understanding meet up with the central point as all meets inwardly outward in One Truth.

5/29/2008 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gerard said...

Yay verily it is said "Those that do not learn to save keystrokes are condemned to repeat them"

5/29/2008 05:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One could scarcely imagine a greater stupidity than to believe a study is required to prove that children do not need a mother and father. They can also turn out normal despite being sexually abused, but that hardly means it's a good thing."

Well one could also scarcely imagine a greater stupidity that to honestly think that a study where the majority of results goes against what they believe is wrong, simply because it doesn't support their ideals. Simply put, in real life, people can turn out normal, but in this instance a correlation doesn't even exist in tying homosexuality to abnormal sexual mentalities or behaviors, or any sort of developmental problems. Remember, not totality, but correlation. By saying that you think it's stupid to believe a study, you're merely saying it's stupid to believe what's actually happening. Sexually abused children can have problems. So can normal children, and so can children raised in homosexual households. The only way you could tell if there really is a problem is homosexual households rear a higher yield of abnormality in adulthood, which so far has yet to.

One way to not make yourself sound like a complete dumbass, don't argue stark reality with philosophical hypothesis. In this instance you make it out as if you know for certain that it doesn't mean jack if children in those homes turn out to be ok, but what about if a majority turn out ok? Just a lot of luck I suppose. Ignoring studies because you think there are faults in some way doesn't make you sound any better, all you basically said was, Studies are stupid, kids can be normal even when molested. Well kids can also turn out pretty fucked up even in a healthy home, so you tell me what exactly constitutes as a good child-rearing environment considering none of the options are perfect, which seems to be the only way you'd accept one that isn't mother and father. You sort'a forget your scrutiny of one applies to all. If the correlation of "normality" and upbringing are equal, then it is of no significance.

So essentially you're saying, well I don't believe it and this is how I prove it to myself. Good for you, now moving on to more logical thought processes...

5/29/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Define "normality."

5/29/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger baldilocks said...

anon 12:15 sez:

Blacks are not born leftists, but they favor democrats because democrats at least attempt to recognize them.

No. What democrats do is pander to black narcissism, or rather the narcissism that is inherent in elevating one's ethnicity over that of others and of all other factors of being.

We're not talking about the big famous accomplished blacks, we're talking the regular folks next door. Personally, I don't think you know any.

Assuming the unlikelihood that Bob doesn't know any regular black people, you act as if that is a crime. Again, a pander to black narcissism.

5/29/2008 01:49:00 PM  

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