The Business of Isness: What Is Is and Isn't
"Our principle criticism of modern philosophy and science is that they venture directly or indirectly onto planes beyond their compass and operate without regard to indispensable data." This statement should qualify as a truism, but apparently it is not. I suppose the reason for this is that the materialist simply doesn't know what he doesn't know, and when he is reminded of this fact, his only defense is that his interlocutor is "anti-science," or "anti-reality," or even "hateful."
One must always begin somewhere. But that doesn't mean one must end there. However, in the case of materialism, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to escape its initial assumptions -- assumptions that are of course not warranted or justified by the philosophy of materialism.
In other words, matter cannot say "only matter exists," for as soon as it says so, it has surely transcended matter -- unless we radically redefine what matter "is." But in order do this, one must also redefine what "is" is, because the materialist's first assumption is that matter is reality. Therefore, in order to be consistent, he would have to say something along the lines of "matter contemplating itself is reality" (and vice versa, since "is" is a statement of equivalence).
Here again, Schuon could hardly be more clear: "rationalism itself starts fairly and squarely with a 'dogma,' namely, its gratuitous axiom that nothing exists except what is supplied to us by the reason in service to its sensible perceptions."
At One Cosmos, we always try to be fair to our ideological adversaries -- fairness meaning to swiftly give them what they deserve, right in the nuts -- so I'd like to know just what about Schuon's formulation is unfair? How could anyone in good faith object to it, unless they are so dogmatic that they don't even understand that they have a dogma? For materialism isn't special. It is a philosophy just like any other, only much worse.
Here is Schuon's next premise, which again strikes me as unassailable, whatever your belief system: "Whoever wants to be a realist must resign himself to the obvious fact that all thought has to start from an initial premise, which cannot come from thought itself but which must include an element of certainty whose soundness thought cannot delineate."
To my knowledge, Schuon never mentioned Gödel's theorems in his writings, but he is essentially affirming the identical truth -- which only proves that you needn't be a genius logician to arrive at principial truth and therefore reality. You must only think to the end (and therefore beginning) of thought; or to the Alpha and OMega, if you like.
Anti-religious human beastlings routinely -- again gratuitously -- conflate the supernatural and the irrational, which only results in the collapse of the vertical, which is man's proper home. It is his true environment, as he is perfectly capable of living in a variety of geographic climates by taking the climate with him, so to speak. For example, if it is too cold outside, I simply turn up the heat and recreate a mediterranean climate indoors.
But what about the subjective climate? A culture is the creation of a human climate. Thus, we have "climates of opinion" and such. For example, the liberal climate of opinion makes it difficult utter a simple truth, such as "Ted Kennedy was a drunken, monstrous, sleazy, and misogynistic sexual predator." Such things are only permitted "outside" official liberal reality.
Culture operates exactly like the unconscious mind, in that it defends its "truths" with great force and punishes transgressors ("political correctness" is simply the sum total of leftist defenses against reality). The purpose of a psychological defense mechanism is actually to prevent the truth from even being seen or known to begin with. You know what they say: out of mind, out of insight. If the truth does accidentally come out, that signifies a failure of the defense mechanism, and therefore the need for even more repression, splitting, or denial.
This is why the left treats a Rush Limbaugh the way it does. First of all, it is a "mistake" that he ever came into existence to begin with, that is, a failure of the various layers of liberal ideological defense mechanisms, i.e., media, academia, entertainment, etc. But now that he does exist, he is treated exactly like an unwanted symptom of a neurotic person.
More generally, this is why Obama -- and the left in general -- simply cannot function without enemies, whether the CIA agents who protect us from terror, insurance companies, doctors, whatever. The point is that having enemies is not an effect, but a cause. The whole point is to have enemies to project into and therefore preserve their illusions -- again, exactly like a neurotic person.
I remember when I realized this about a certain person in my life who always likes to argue. Eventually it dawned on me that the arguing actually had no point. Rather, it was the point. It was just a way to manage his own psychic life. Truth was utterly beside the point. Or, one might say that the energy produced by arguing was the "emotional truth" of the situation.
It is actually not uncommon to encounter patients with this problem. To use a gustatory analogy, they will do anything with the truth you give them but swallow it -- play with it, spit it out, throw it back at you, bite it, turn their head away from it, ask for dessert first, etc.
Schuon had nothing personal against Descartes in particular or the French in general. Nevertheless, he points out that "the rationalism of a frog living at the bottom of a well is to deny the existence of mountains: perhaps this is 'logic,' but it has nothing to do with reality." To think otherwise is to put Descartes before 'da hearse, for it is a philosophy of death -- death to the soul and death to the intellect. This is the kind of climate change that actually does kill man -- vertical man, or man-as-such.
Although we cannot directly know the thing-in-itself, we can know that we don't know it, which is certainly good enough for me, for to know that fact is to have transcended it, and to have participated in absoluteness. In other words, to know one is relative is a to have already transcended relativity, at least to a degree. Thus, "to declare that our perceptions fail to convey the whole object amounts to saying that things are not perceived by the whole Subject." Therefore, it is just another way of acknowledging that we are not God. But we knew that already. It's the atheists who don't know.
It reminds me of how human beings are able to recognize faces that they have never actually seen. I think I'm remembering the experiment correctly, but researchers demonstrated that human beings are able to see the profile of another person they've never seen before, and match it up with the frontal view (and vice versa). The point is that even a very partial view is able to reveal the totality. We can see a circular object approaching us, and do not have to view it from every conceivable angle to know it is a sphere. Indeed, man would be paralyzed if he had to do this in order to act or think.
The reason why this works so smoothly is that the world is in the soul, not vice versa. We are actually at a higher dimension than the world, so we have no problem embracing the lower dimensions. We live in eternity, so we know time; our minds are infinite, so we know finite space; we live in truth, so we know facts; etc.
Now.... now I think I'll stop for today. That should be enough to keep you rascals busy 'til tomorrow.