Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Accidentally-On-Purpose Driven Life

Next up in Logic and Transcendence: The Argument From Substance, that is, the idea that since the accidental (or contingent) quite obviously is, then the Substance (or essence) must be. Although this conditional statement is undeniable, it may sound a bit too clever or facile until we flesh things out. Nevertheless: if man, then God. And because God, then intelligence. And because intelligence, Truth. And because Truth, salvation.

As I mentioned yesterday, a good way to avoid hostility when conversing with The Anointed is to follow Dennis Prager's advice about seeking clarity, never agreement. Obviously you cannot reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into, so you're wasting your time if you try. But if you just clarify your differences as sharply as possible, that usually dissipates much of the open hostility, at least from our end.

It doesn't always work, because leftists are notoriously slippery about naming their first principles, instead preferring an incoherent and ad hoc blizzard of il- or semi-logical arguments to conceal them.

But it's very easy for conservative liberals to name their first principles, e.g., limited government, low taxes, racial colorblindness, freedom of religion, school choice, judges who don't legislate from the bench, etc. It can be very tricky to get a leftist to admit that their first principles are the opposite of these classically liberal goods, hence their intrinsic intellectual dishonesty.

Our first principle is that "we are accident, not Substance" (Schuon). Of note, this is also the first principle of America's founders, although they express it in a different way, that "we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights." Rights, which are Substance, flow from the Creator, thus rendering them eternal (in time) and universal (in space). They do not and cannot flow from man, since man is accident. If they did flow from man, then quite obviously they could not be inalienable, since accident ultimately robs us of everything except our immortal soul.

Bearing in mind our first principle -- that we are accident, not Substance -- then our liberty is not only guaranteed by the Creator, but originates in him. Or, to put it another way, if there is no Creator, then we are not free. End of issue. "Accidental freedom" is as oxymoronic as "true lies."

What? Say a little more? No problem. If there is no truth, then all our knowledge is ultimately in error. Therefore, it would be silly to say that we really "know" anything, since "knowing error" is a contradiction in terms. Just so, if freedom has no "point," then it can hardly be called "free," for randomness is the opposite of freedom (whereas tyranny is the denial of our prior freedom, and the oppression of our soul's will).

This is precisely what Schuon means when he says that "our freedom is nothing other than conformity to this Substance, from which we sprang and which is Freedom itself." (And again, we are not attempting to convince anyone of anything, just laying out our first principles for the sake of clarity. For you trolls out there who cannot keep yourself from commenting, at least try to clarify your differences in terms of your own first principles instead of compulsively insisting that mine are "evil" or "stupid," which we know already ad nauseam and beyond.)

Likewise, "if our sense of justice is not delusion, it comes from God," and "our intelligence cannot be other than intelligence itself" (Schuon). At this point, I'm guessing that only trolls won't understand those axiomatic truths, so I don't need to elaborate further. To offload intelligence and justice from God to man is to pave the road to tyranny and stupidity, the one propping up the other.

A revolution that seeks only a temporal good is ultimately self-defeating and a waste of the human lives that went into it -- the French revolution, the Bolshevik revolution, the National Socialist revolution. Only a revolution for the Substance has any meaning at all. Thus: "To revolt against Being is to revolt against ourselves" (Schuon). In turn this is why leftist revolutionaries are always revolting.

Following our first principle, we can say that in "the final analysis," every God-given, orthodox "spiritual doctrine expresses the relationship between Substance and accident" (Schuon). As outlined in my book, when you "do" religion, this is precisely what you are endeavoring to do. Or, to turn it around, this is what religions are designed to help you do, even if you are not consciously aware of it, or if you wouldn't necessarily express it in those terms. Nevertheless, I think you can see the truth of it.

This is also how you can tell if your religion is "working." If it is, then you "move" from accident toward Substance. In order to do that, you must assimilate the Substance in one way or another, for it is not merely a matter of knowing but being. You must be what you know, or it's not real knowledge. Religion helps you know what you be so you can become who you are. To know Truth; to love Beauty; to act with Virtue; these are all ways of assimilating and living in the Substance.

Yes, it is true that God is all, so that, in a certain way, everything is already substance -- or participates in substance. In other words, God's immanence means that the morning light is ultimately not different from the sun itself. Nevertheless, from our relative standpoint, the sun is up there and its rays are down here, and it makes no sense to say that we live inside the sun until we first realize that we don't.

Also, within the sun-Substance there are deeper causes. We only see the sun because of our relative position. We are the ones who not only draw the distinction between the sun and its rays, but see the sun to begin with (with light we borrow from the sun). The real cause of the sun is a profound secret known only to itself; we see only the effects, which include the visible sun. Or you could simply say I Am the Light You Are.

Thus, "we speak of 'Substance' in order to underscore the gulf between What subsists in itself and what exists only secondarily, the profound cause of which lies in a greater and higher reality." Therefore, if you're following my drift, the very idea of Substance is already a kind of accident. Behind the idea is the Reality, the intrinsic mystery that can only be unKnown or "undergone." This is to live one's life accidentally on purpose.

46 Comments:

Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

When dealing with a good camera these days, it is necessary to acknowledge dust. The lens/sensor (previously the 35mm plate) must be engineered so as to provide a good photo under circumstances which are truly grueling. Dust gets on lenses. "Smart" cameras allow you to create a scotoma.

It's an insight. A junior 'coon insight, but one nonetheless.

boilerplate: The One True Leader (B'ob Coon Excelsior, His Majesty, the Fourth Son of Nod IIIVX, Owner of the Coo'noosphere in no way represents the expressions of Northern Bandit, not withstanding bets made with Skully.

9/09/2009 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Your very life is nothing other than an opening and closing of the cosmic aperture in order to develop your eternal pneumagraph.

9/09/2009 07:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Or, you are the lens which gathers and focuses the Light.

9/09/2009 07:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Your life is only a moment, so make it a Kodak moment.

9/09/2009 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

My buddhist shrink has been swayed (and believe me, it requires non-substantive non-argument) by photos.

"God is aflame in every plain bush"

9/09/2009 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Once Petey has grasped the earthly hobby (for it makes no sense in Heaven)

I will lower my 'coon head and with trembling paws present photographic perfection (surely an act of devotion, generically) in the form of .. what? An M9?

Julie can create art without a $4,000 camera/lens system...

9/09/2009 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Niner said...

"You must be what you know, or it's not real knowledge. Religion helps you know what you be so you can become who you are."

Yep.

And speaking of trolls.

9/09/2009 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

"do" religion - YES!

Petey's on a camera roll - Mama don't take my kodachrome away.

9/09/2009 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a troll who will identify my "first principles."

The first principle is efficiency. The cosmos is God returning to Himself, so go with the flow instead of against it.

Don't waste time and energy resisting what is.

The second principle is love. Do and be love. This is because it is efficient. Love is flow in the correct direction, back to God.

Therefore, I must state to you swith love that this blog could be more efficient and loving if you cease to attack the leftists.

It wastes time and energy and does not suggest love.

From an airplane window one can see that human habitation and business are enlarging their square milage on the ground. The actual human biomass is enlarged, particularly here in America.

There is leisure time, ample libraries and public liberty.

The job of government and politics is to provide for physical security and this it has done and continues to do, and to be anything else but grateful is a waste of time. The left, who are in charge, cannot at this point be faulted logically. What more do we want? There is nothing more to want. We are bloated, surfeited on the largess of the planet already.

To resist the government on ideological grounds is not efficient. Find where they have failed to deliver product and resist that.

To find an ideological battle, look withing yourself. Find the leftist in yourself and kill that.

9/09/2009 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Job said...

You should've titled this: "How to drop a Troll in three sentences". They don't have any First Principles ...and it also takes out the atheists as well....I have a inherent distrust of an atheist claiming to be a conservative. How is it possible??

9/09/2009 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Several things count when bringing a subject into focus (one can focus upon the creation, or upon the Creation as espoused.

In any event, photography, the childish event before God -- tickles His fancy.

9/09/2009 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Job said...

Anonymous: For clarity;

"Don't worry, be Happy!"

that about sum it up?

9/09/2009 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Job said...

Anonymous;
What was that other line:

"Resistance is inefficient"

Seems like I've heard that before.....
Oh yeah!!!

"Resistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated"

Hmm.....
so a this point we have devolved your First Principals to Pop Culture?????

9/09/2009 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Otis said...

"But it's very easy for conservative liberals to name their first principles, e.g., limited government, low taxes, racial colorblindness, freedom of religion, school choice, judges who don't legislate from the bench, etc."

Yes, being a "conservative liberal" since, oh, about 1913 is a lot like being for...the horse and buggy, outhouses, home canning, and ice houses. You can be for those things, but they don't exist in our country. And, at least in national politics, there are only about 3 people for those things, and they are universally maligned as kooks.

9/09/2009 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous laketrout said...

> is a lot like being for...
> the horse and buggy, outhouses,
> home canning, and ice houses.

Hey, home canning's cool, don't knock it. I put up about a case of plums last weekend.

9/09/2009 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Following our first principle, we can say that in "the final analysis," every God-given, orthodox "spiritual doctrine expresses the relationship between Substance and accident" (Schuon). As outlined in my book, when you "do" religion, this is precisely what you are endeavoring to do. Or, to turn it around, this is what religions are designed to help you do, even if you are not consciously aware of it, or if you wouldn't necessarily express it in those terms. Nevertheless, I think you can see the truth of it."

Clarifying and true - they do seem to go together.

9/09/2009 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

anonymous... well... you did clarify the differences.

9/09/2009 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Good job Job.

P.S. Your book is one of my favorites.

9/09/2009 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Hey Otis! My Man!
(crickets)
'd'yall mind if we danc wid yo dates?'

9/09/2009 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Job said...

Thanks Van,

writing it was a real bitch.....

9/09/2009 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Camille kinda sorta gets it, as usual. Or maybe she just loves playing devil's advocate.

9/09/2009 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Camille thinks Obama is a genius surrounded by a bunch of morons.
Well, who hired the morons?

9/09/2009 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

NB, thanks for the compliment, but you give me too much credit. Robin's the photographic artist. Me, I'm just a dabbler. I can't take credit for sharing things that were already there.

9/09/2009 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Camerica?
i am at the moment nearly done rereading a demanding philosophical novel [by
Vandenbroeck] whose protagonist is a sagely pioneering photographer who ends up becoming a shutterless camera himself, one could say, in a special dark place: cave

9/09/2009 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have a inherent distrust of an atheist claiming to be a conservative. How is it possible??"

It's interesting that you might say that. I was wondering how Bob's sample "first principles" could actually be first principles at all.

"limited government, low taxes, racial colorblindness, freedom of religion, school choice, judges who don't legislate from the bench"

All of those seem to be policy choices one could arrive at through reason based on the effects of legislating otherwise, or from a first principle valuing personal liberty. But something like "low taxes" cannot be a first principle, because there could be societies that have no concept of taxes but have something similarly odious.

At any rate, an atheist can quite easily and comfortably come to support all of these positions.

Besides that, it is not possible to say that atheists have no first principles. It's a bit like saying "all theists believe in religious rituals."

9/09/2009 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Russell said...

"...[L]eftist revolutionaries are always revolting."

Low hanging fruit, but amen to that!

9/09/2009 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

OT, but talk about kickin' ass and takin' names!

wv is wax'n poetic: entlypic

9/09/2009 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Therefore, it would be silly to say that we really "know" anything, since "knowing error" is a contradiction in terms.


A wise man once told me, "You don't know nothin', and it's all wrong."

9/09/2009 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of Sowell...

9/09/2009 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It can be very tricky to get a leftist to admit that their first principles are the opposite of these classically liberal goods, hence their intrinsic intellectual dishonesty."

Eh, Bob sadly this wreaks of political ignorance. Had you taken Poli Sci 101, which it's obvious you haven't, you'd realize that political ideas and beliefs have shifted numerous time under the same label. Simply put, it doesn't matter what classical liberals believed, that's not the same as liberals today. Thus when they don't admit those some beliefs to be liberal, they're not necessarily wrong.

You could flip your words, by the way, and say the exact same of conservatives and their old ideals.

9/09/2009 04:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So in reality, it's not intellectual dishonesty on their behalf. It's intellectually dishonest on your behalf to make it seem as if they should follow old politics.

It's just as if I were to list off European conservative ideals and bitch about how you won't admit you don't really follow them. You don't follow them period, and that doesn't make you less conservative by modern American standards.

9/09/2009 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Job said...

Anonymous:

1) It was a rhetorical question. Anybody reading more than three days of this blog would understand it as such (Do you actually read this blog?).
2) All those "first principles" spring from "THE" first principle, (to which Bob left a trail of thoughts a sheep could follow)
3) You almost had it when you mentioned a first principle valuing personal liberty.
So I have two questions for you:
1) What is your FIRST principal?
2) Where do liberty and freedom come from?

9/09/2009 05:25:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Eh, Bob sadly this wreaks of spelling ignorance.

9/09/2009 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Job said...

ximeze;
it reeks (wreaks?) to doing too many things at once....

9/09/2009 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Boog said...

Obama's health care speech was pretty damn good actually.

9/09/2009 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Speaking of Sowell speaking of Obama, "Listening to a Liar "

9/09/2009 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thorough fisking of Obama's speech at PowerLine.

9/09/2009 08:23:00 PM  
Anonymous goddinpotty said...

You people have been really boring lately. Come on, call Obama "penisbreast" again, or claim that Henry Ford was a leftist, or something crazy like that.

In the meantime, has Thomas Sowell ever been anything other than a wretched tool? Everything I've seen from him has been idiotic, but apparently he has a reputation as some kind of intellectual.

9/09/2009 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Racist oppressor!

9/09/2009 08:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Sibel Edmonds said...

You guys are such Republican useful idiots, it's incredible... Now, where did I put Dennis Hastert?

9/09/2009 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"...has Thomas Sowell ever been anything other than a wretched tool? Everything I've seen from him has been idiotic, but apparently he has a reputation as some kind of intellectual"

While we appreciate your gritty, uncompromising self portraits, it'd be nice if you didn't use your potty for finger painting, we already know where your head is at.

9/09/2009 09:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with GIP that today's post could have been more inflammatory. It is never a bad idea to lay on some insults and some opinions in order to get people commenting.

9/09/2009 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That is a great title for a book, Bob! :^)

Outstanding post!

9/10/2009 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"You must be what you know, or it's not real knowledge. Religion helps you know what you be so you can become who you are."

That's a keeper!

9/10/2009 01:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Nomo said ass!

9/10/2009 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

One of my first principles is to first fire all of the 'czars'.

9/11/2009 03:17:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home