See, Learn, Breathe, Remember, and Know
Some people complain about the lack of continuity around here, but frankly, I don't even remember what I wrote about last Friday, so there's nothing to continue. I guess you could say that the continuity is always in the vertical, not the horizontal. And the vertical, as it extends downward, is always fresh; this is because it is not caused by the past but rather, is a recollection of the above, only presented in a novel formulation. In other words, the expression may be novel, but the truth it expresses is entirely objective and unchanging. This is in contrast to scientific truth, which is always changing, but doesn't value novel expression.
Along these lines, this weekend I read a provocative, possibly apocryphal, story about Plato, who was asked toward the end of his life what he had hoped to achieve with his life's work. After rolling the question around in his prodigious melon, he responded that it was "to have raised human debate above the level of opinion."
I don't think it would even occur to the great majority of our contemporary sophisticates that this is even possible for philosophy or theology. In short, it's a non-issue. But oddly, they do seem to think it is possible for science, even though science cannot even account for the existence of the truth-bearing scientist. As we were discussing yesterday, science doesn't even have a category for the Cosmic Inside where human beings have access to a realm of transcendental truth, beauty, virtue, and other realities that shade up toward divinity, not back and down toward dead matter. Thus, the scientolatry of trolls and lizards is in reality a metaphysical non-starter.
Now, as far as we know, Plato (or Socrates) was the first to recognize the essential relationship between Truth and Beauty. In the Coonifesto, you will perhaps recall that, of the three transcendentals, I felt that our relationship to Beauty was even more problematic (on strictly Darwinian grounds) than our access to Truth and Virtue.
The latter two categories also become silly in the hands of a Darwinist, but at least they have some arguments, weak and self-refuting though they may be. The reason they become silly is that both categories must be rendered relative by Darwinism, so that they can no longer be what they are -- very similar to "homosexual marriage," which is obviously impossible in principle, so they must redefine the word.
Likewise, since Truth is impossible in the Darwinian paradigm, they simply redefine it, which automatically makes it less than what it is. Again, as Plato implies, truth is not opinion, nor does it change. Rather, truth is true, eternally. It does not "evolve," and requires no context or qualifiers. It simply is. We must adapt to it, not vice versa.
In the human realm, mathematical truth perhaps comes closest to this, in the sense, for example, that 2 + 2 will always = 4. But that is a trivial truth compared to the deeper metaphysical truths disclosed -- or simultaneously veiled and revealed -- by revelation.
As I wrote in the Coonifesto, there are at least a couple of insurmountable hurdles for any Darwinist explanation of our humanness. First is the inexplicable suddenness with which it occurred, and second is the vast new dimension that was awaiting us when we arrived there some 35,000 to 40,000 years ago. If you cannot appreciate the weirdness of this, then you just can't appreciate weirdness, because it is without a doubt the weirdest thing that has ever happened, dwarfing even the creatio ex nihilo of the Big Bang or the ife-lay ex atter-may of the biological singularity. (If I were Terence McKenna, I might recommend a heroic dose of psilocybin, which can apparently flatten the most resistant ego. But I'm not, so I won't.)
Again, materialism is not just a dysfunctional and subhuman philosophy unfit for Man. Rather, it has the insidious effect of rendering the person who believes it less than a man. In this regard, it is a kind of auto-genocide. If it were ever to happen that all -- or even a significant majority of -- humans fell into it, it would spell the end of mankind, because Man is not a machine, but a living soul or divine spark which is in conformity to a divine archetype.
Again: the Raccoon struggle is on two fronts, against those who reduce religion to a kind of dense and stupid materialism (the Islamists, and to a lesser extent, the "spiritual materialism" of any fundamentalism), and those who turn materialism into a dense and stupid religion (lizards and other scientolatrists who are refractory to human Intelligence, and who would childishly eliminate the realm of eternal truth and the uncreated intellect that may uniquely know it).
With regard to mankind's sudden "creative explosion" that occurred some 40,000 years ago, I posed the question in my book of just what humans discovered when they discovered the realms of art, religion, love, truth, beauty, language, music, etc. In other words, what is the ontological status of these things, without which we would not be human? Again, for a reductionistic Darwinist they cannot be "real," so that the human state must be nothing more than an absurd aberration from the cosmic norm. We are just "refugees from nothing," or "fugitives from entropy."
I suppose these thoughts have been provoked afresh by reading Schuon's Art from the Sacred to the Profane: East and West, which is actually a compendium of his writings on beauty in general and art in particular, assembled by his widow. Platonist that he was, I know of no one who was more profound and sensitive than Schuon to the meaning and importance of transcendental Beauty in the total Divine-Cosmic economy. The book is full of countless passages that essentially make the same point in different ways, that beauty, like truth, is a mode of Divine-to-human communication; and therefore, like truth, it carries an obligation. For, just as truth is what we must believe, beauty is what we must create.
Therefore, it is surely no coincidence that so much falsehood and ugliness emanate from the left, which erodes the entire basis of truth (e.g., multiculturalism, deconstruction, moral relativism, political correctness, etc.), and produces ugly and soul-corrupting works of "art" that have no right to exist (in other words, such dreadful works must be "permitted" but never condoned, just as Lie-bearing groups such as the KKK or ACLU or CAIR must be permitted but not condoned).
Now, human beings would not have access to truth, beauty, and virtue unless they themselves were a "mode of the infinite." As I wrote in the book, the existence of human beings tells us much more about the nature of the cosmos than physics, biology, or any other form of reductionism will ever tell us about the human station (and our role in the cosmic economy).
This is so obvious, and yet, it apparently needs to be "relearned" by a mankind that has fallen into the metaphysically opaque world of materialism, which reduces man to either a hardened (in the case of the scientolaters) or dispersed state (in the case of the animal hedonists and libertines of the left). But it shouldn't be controversial to say that even a Darwinist knows more about evolution than it can know about him, because to know is to simultaneously transcend and contain, two categories that science assumes but can never explain.
That humans may know universal truth -- even universally true scientific truth -- means that humans are universal. In other words, just as it is presumed that the laws of physics apply universally to all of creation, it is presumed that the human state gives us unique access to these universal truths. Thus, the human being is, in a sense, the universe. As Aristotle observed, the soul is all it knows, and since it can know the All -- well, you figure it out.
Again, I am not making any kind of "horizontal" argument here. Rather, I am making a timelessly true vertical "argument"; but even this is misleading, because I am again simply riffing on the invariant chords of vertical truth, hopefully in a pleasing way, for this truth must be clothed in beauty, which is to say rhythm and musicality. In other words, it must share in the essence or substance of what it is attempting to coonvey, something the troll never fails to forget (for the ugly state of troll-stupidity is vertical I-amnesia, precisely; just watch).
Yesterday we spoke of the Great Within which science (super)naturally assumes but is powerless to explain. This Great Within is only available to us now, which ultimately means that we have access to the Eternal in all times and places. It is here -- at this crossroads -- that we achieve the divine union of reason and faith, those quintessentially horizontal and vertical, or male and female, modalities.
"It is within this marriage that logical reasoning is transcended by in-sight, in-tuition, and in-spiration. Each of these words, by their etymology, re-cognize the inner nature of direct cognition or in-tellection" (Critchlow).
So, get in more often, and See, Learn, Breathe, Remember, and Know.