Nothing-Buttery vs. Everything-Andery
For example, it is true that affirmative action is nothing but government mandated racial discrimination, but the left conceals this behind a penumbra of sanctimony, which is just sanctity with a lot of money behind it. Likewise, liberals are all for the sacred principle of "choice," except when it comes to education, retirement, self-defense, health, political speech, talk radio, union membership, property rights, energy, and transportation.
I believe this infra-human mechanism is at the very heart of the soul-pathology of the psycho-spiritual left. You might say that it is the nuclear physics of the group fantasy that holds them together, the unified field theory that explains so much else about them. I don't want to say that it is synonymous with cynicism, because that is at once self-flattering and too saturated a word, with connotations of its own. Rather, it is much closer to what Bion called "attacks on linking," which is a primitive psychological defense mechanism that does away with unwanted meanings and ultimately exiles qualities from the cosmos.
Clearly, meaning -- any meaning -- exists on a higher plane than that to which the meaning gives meaning, i.e., the "facts" or "data." Thus, to affirm any meaning at all is to have left the world of mere facts behind; indeed, a fact is only a fact by virtue of its participation in a higher narrative, so to speak. Absent the narrative, it is not a fact, just a kind of isolated particle of meaninglessness in search of a thinker to baptize it into the community of the meaningful.
This is as true of science or history as it is of religion, for surely there are scientific facts, historical facts, and religious facts, except that they are all on different planes. Or, to be precise, they become facts by virtue of their participation in a higher meaning. For one person, the human genome is proof of his own existential meaninglessness (or proof that proof does not exist), while for another it is the inevitable side effect of a logocentric cosmos.
For example, it is a fact that human skulls are shaped differently. Not too long ago this was considered a scientific fact, but now it is just a meaningless... what? What do you call a fact that has been ousted from the realm of meaning, besides "John Edwards"?
Likewise, it is a fact that when I woke up this morning my blood glucose was an excellent 87. But is this a historical fact? Of course not. Any real historian can only be guided by a preconceptual understanding of what is to be regarded as a fact, or "unit of meaning." Otherwise, the field of potential historical facts is literally infinite (in the negative sense of a "bad infinite").
How does the historian even recognize a fact unless he already has an idea of what is meaningful? Much more than they realize, historians are like frogs, for whom a moving fly is of utmost existential import, whereas a dead fly doesn't rise to the threshold of gustatory significance. Likewise, for one human being a frog is a delicious appetizer, while for another it is a backstabbing popinjay in need of a bath.
Now, the leftist prides himself on being a member in good standing of the "reality based community." What he means by this is that he rejects the reality of any reality above the narrow one he inhabits, mostly consisting of a mixed bag of sensations, vital emotions, empirical facts, and an aesthetic that exists for its own sake, and does not bear on any higher transcendental dimension.
While the leftist is often interested in "religion" -- or "spirituality," to be precise -- "religious facts" are inevitably co-opted into their ultimately meaningless narrative, which produces the whole sinister firmament of narcissistic gurus, from Deepak to Tony Robbins to Al Gore to Barack Obama. Whoever or whatever the left "worships," you can be sure that it is not something actually worthy of worship, for worship implies "higher," and that is specifically what the flatlanders of the left reject upfront.
So anyway, back to Balthasar, who is always operating from a dimension that is unknown and unknowable to the true leftist, who preemptively attacks the link between relative and Absolute, atman and maya, God and man, and any other intrinsic hierarchy you care to name. As Balthasar writes, "All of the perversions that human freedom can inflict upon being and its qualities always aim at one thing: the annihilation of the depth dimension of being." This is a critical point, for this is the first act of ontological violence that opens the floodgate of leftist violence on the physical plane.
With regard to the spiritual pathology of nothing-buttery, Balthsar notes that "The formula 'A is nothing other than...' typifies this perversion, whatever the transcendental it affects. It is much rather the case that A is always 'something other than...' Neither goodness nor beauty nor truth is exhausted by any de-definition; the multi-dimensional reality of the transcendentals can never be flattened out by any kind of reduction, and there is no way to capture the mystery either of their existence or their essence in a formula" (emphasis mine).
Now, is what HvB just said a statement of fact? No, of course not! It is the True Story which brings the cosmic facts into being; or brings them "out of being," so to speak, instead of being buried there in the airless sarcophagus of matter.
So the most coonsequental decision you will make in your life is this: up or down. Essence or existence. Truth or matter. Mind or neurology. In or out. God or man. Slack or conspiracy.
Here is how Balthasar expresses it: "When inquiring into truth, one could hardly make a more fateful assumption than to suppose that objects form a self-contained world that has no essential, and at best only an accidental, need of the world of subjects." Depending upon which side you come down on, you will enter either a human world overflowing with truth, beauty, glory, harmony, and unity; or a kind of cold and lifeless scaffolding without roof, floor, or walls, just a dark weigh station to enjoy your animal sensations while trying not to think about the death that elevates you above them.
Balthasar: "A tree without its green, its autumnal variety, the pink and white display of its spring blossoms, its fragrance, its hardness and tenacity, its size, its relation to the surrounding landscape, in short, without the thousand qualities that make it what we know it to be, is simply not a tree" (emphasis mine).
Shorn of its qualities -- qualities that only come into being in the human subject who can know and love them -- the tree has no meaning. In this way, the radical secularist robs existence of its intrinsic dignity and mystery, even while indulging in the crude romantic sentimentality of an Al Gore, who, in his inverted psyche, makes the lower the meaning of the higher.
Human beings are not just the coonsummation of the cosmos, but the very space in which the cosmos may display its divine qualities. And if this is true of objects, how much more so of subjects! For beneath the individuality and autonomy of the human subject is a vast field in which we are members of one another, to such an extent that we require the other to bring us into being and to complete ourselves. There is a Talmudic idea that every person has a "missing piece" that is located in another person. That person may not value or even know of the piece, but it is precisely what the other needs to complete himself.
It took me a long time to locate my missing pieces -- which I could only find as a result of others recognizing and valuing them. Therefore, when I get an email from someone thanking me for helping them find their missing piece, I always let them know that that is only half the story, for one of my missing pieces seems to be located in the few people who appreciate my writing. Without them, I truly wouldn't know of its existence, much less any "power" it might have.
My point is that this power is irreducibly intersubjective, and takes place in the space between you and I. Clearly, you bring as much to the exercise as I do, or else everyone would understand me, instead of just a ruggedy remnant of ringtailed misfits and outsiders in revolt against the conspiracy. I'm pretty sure this is what is meant by such phrases as "body of Christ," or Toots' teachings about members of the Scattered Brotherhood who always find a way to locate each other in this life, like cosmic oming pigeons.
I suppose you could say that we simply help each other re-member and assimilate the truth and beauty that are beyond us.