The Interior Logic of Ultimate Reality
Amazing that such an important book is #774,487 on amazon. It reminds me of something one of those old-school conservatives said about literacy. Even (or perhaps especially) so-called intellectuals simply substitute science for real thought, which places the fallen intellect in servitude to Ø, not O.
Albert Nock felt that government-run education had had the effect "of degrading intellectual standards and impoverishing the quality of literature": "Within my lifetime the country became largely literate, thus opening up an immense market made up of persons who were unable to read but were able to pass literary produce through their minds." For most people, reading is hardly better than watching TV. They say apes can't read. Wanna bet? Ever visited dailykos? Ever looked at a sewer through a glass bottom boat?
It also has the effect of increasing the interior reach of state propaganda. As we know, no one is more brainwashed than the tenured. Indeed, they're "the first to go," the canaries out of their ghoulminds. I am quite certain that Scipio would be unemployable in a public school. Indeed, they'd probably try to arrest him. Which wouldn't be a good move. He's not only dangerous, he's armed.
Irving Babbitt agreed that where there is no vision, the people perish, "but where there is sham vision, they perish even faster." And science, unconstrained by perennial truth, is the quintessence of a sham vision, for it is simply the animal senses extended and magnified. Let's not even talk about Obama's scam vision. I'd like to get away from politics.
Logic and Transcendence is one of Schuon's more important books, if only because it's an actual book. Most of the rest of his books are simply collections of essays on a diversity of topics. What I'd like to do is go through it chapter by chapter -- one chapter per post -- and see how that works out.
Schuon writes in such a compact manner, that it would be impossible to proceed faster than that, even with a short chapter. His writing falls somewhere between theology, gem-cutting, and sutras, the latter of which literally refers to a "thread" that holds beads, "and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual" (wiki).
As such, a sutra always requires commentary by a gentleman slacker or pneumatic gasbag of the spiritual sort. Indeed, for the esoterist, the Bible is actually a quintessential compendium of sutras, which has always been the rabbinical approach. You might call the Torah the "Mosaic Sutras." Sutras are one of the ways the secret protects itself.
In a brief introduction, Schuon addresses the problem of the degradation of the intellect, which causes many so-called intellectuals to regard religion as an intellect-free zone. As a result, esoterism is conflated with occultism, or Gnosticism, or a vague mysticism, when it is in fact an exact science -- the science of the Real, or Absolute, as it were.
We can still reason about the Absolute, but it requires a different approach than reasoning about the relative. In the end, genuine mysticism is any "inward contact with realities that are directly or indirectly divine," while real gnosis (as opposed to the heresy of Gnosticism) pertains to knowledge associated with one of those realities (in other words, one may make emotional contact, aesthetic contact, intellectual contact, etc.).
Many if not most exoteric religionists also have problems with esoterism, and they are right to be suspicious of wolves in sheep's clothing such as Deepak Chopra. However, this can obscure the fact that exclusive fidelity to exoteric notions can lead "to errors much more problematic than gnosis." In my view, so-called religious fundamentalism is as abusive of the intellect as scientific fundamentalism. A religion that does not speak to the intellect is no religion at all, for the intellect is what sets us apart from the beasts.
The first chapter is called The Contradiction of Relativism. It is an intellectual palate cleanser of the first order. If you read, understand, and assimilate this chapter, it should function like a spiritual antibiotic, killing all your cognitive parasites and teaching you how to think in O. But of course, you must take the full dose, or the infection can return even stronger and more resistant. And the full dose generally requires about 78 years for the average male, closer to 80 for the average female.
Really, you could read just the first sentence and go home: "Relativism reduces every element of absoluteness to relativity while making a completely illogical exception in favor of this reduction itself."
Thanks very much for coming out, folks, and drive home safely! It's been fun blogging for you these past four years!
What? Encore? You're too kind! What's that, Dupree? No they're not! They're saying B'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwB.
In my opinion, relativism is the fundamental mind parasite. (And you will have noticed that many on the left are quite open about declaring the opposite: that absolutism is the greatest threat to mankind.) For to be a relativist is to absolutely say that there is no absolute truth, precisely. "One might just as well say that there is no language or write that there is no writing."
There is no writing!
Thus, the "initial absurdity" of relativism "lies in the implicit claim to be unique in escaping, as if by enchantment, from a relativity that is declared to be the only possibility." This is why scientism is magic. Metaphysical Darwinism is magic. Secular leftism is magic. The opposite of Christianity is not science; it is magic.
Now, in order for truth to exist -- or to be known -- there must be objectivity. In a way, truth and objectivity are synonymous. In the postmodern world, subjectivity is absurdly conflated with consciousness, which leads to... absurdity on stilts.
For as truth and objectivity are reflections of one another, so too are relativism and subjectivity. If it is true that one cannot escape from one's subjectivity, then Yes, this is just a fragile and roundabout way of saying that truth is impossible. They're just giving you the long-distance reacharound. But five percent of nothing is still nothing.
But as Schuon points out, the fact that we are even able to conceive of subjectivity means that we are capable of transcending it. Subjectivity "would not even be conceivable for a man who was totally enclosed in his subjectivity." An animal, or a goddinpotty, dwell in pure subjectivity, but don't know it, for to know it is to be objective, precisely.
Or, let us say that it is the first crack in the cosmic egg into which we may plunge the wedge of intellect and begin the process of natural s'lacktion. It is in this manner that we are initiated into the world of the fertile egghead. Or, if you prefer, this is how one enters one's christallus coCoon and caterpults one's buddhafly into the upper atmasphere.
Conversely, to venture into the other side of the cosmic divide is to plunge oneself into error. Through it, "the door may be opened to all manner of misunderstandings, degradations, and deceptions." To which one might add seductions, unhip gnosis, and egoic immortality projects.
Oh my. We're out of time. This is going more slowly than I had anticipated. Is this a timed test?