Give Me Dependency or Give Me Excuses
At the same time, it necessarily reduces Being to the status of "things" -- i.e., materialism -- so that Being itself "appears as an 'abstraction.'"
The irony is that the same people who reduce reality to things also reduce it to a bloodless abstraction, at least if they are "thinking people," as they like to refer to themselves. For there could be no philosophy more abstract and out of touch with reality than materialism in all its varieties. If the world doesn't "release" its truth or radiate its beauty to your intellect, ur doin it rong. Light and warmth are not abstractions.
Must we have an ego? Yes, I believe so, for the same reason we must have a body. But that doesn't mean we must identify with it. You may recoil from a post a few weeks back, in which we discussed the four intrinsic "infirmities," or limitations, of man.
First, as alluded to above, we are "creature, not Creator, manifestation and not Principle" (Schuon). Second, we are not angels; we are neither at the top nor the bottom of the vertical hierarchy, but somewhere in the middle -- which, of course, goes to the issue of free will, as we are suspended halfway between our better and worse selves. Third, we have essential differences that are not accidental or contingent. This is not a matter of "ego" but of self.
Only the fourth infirmity touches on what we usually think of as sin, since these are the differences that are accidental or contingent, not essential. More often than not they are a result of mind parasites of varying degrees of virulence, but sometimes they are simply a result of inertia, stupidity, conformity, credulousness, absence of curiosity, or just a kind of pre-human, animal dullness. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
When the Anointed talk about "self esteem," they are usually referring to infirmity #4. The last thing on their mind is elevating the self so that it is actually worthy of esteem. Rather, what they mean is that you are perfect and lovable just the way you are. Your accidental infirmities are a gift to be cherished. It is analogous to the minimum wage, which attempts to make a man more valuable by paying him more than he's worth.
The same fools generalize the concept to morality (moral relativism) and culture (multiculturalism), which is nothing less than the attempt to heal man by abolishing illness. It is to say that the highest morality is no morality or that the highest cultural value is barbarism.
Deep down, these people also know that there is something very "wrong" with themselves. But instead of facing it and dealing with it, they propose to heal you instead. Thus the compulsive actoutivism of the left, who imagine they are for "progress" even while imposing policies that make it impossible.
I thought of this while reading Sowell's Vision of the Anointed. In every measurable way, blacks were making great progress until the imposition of the various "Great Society" programs in the mid-1960s. Only thereafter was the progress reversed: increased violence, crime, drug abuse, joblessness, bastardy, drop out rates, etc.
The remarkable thing is that the Great Society was originally proposed as a final solution for decreasing dependency upon the government, not to increase it to a permanent feature of American life. If they had known ahead of time how it would play out in reality, few people would have supported it. Thus, by their own original standard, it has been a catastrophic failure.
But the left quickly changed the standard, so that the government became the rescuer of the victims it perpetually creates.
I also think about, say, the billion or so people who have been lifted from poverty since 1990. This did not happen because anyone "tried" to make it happen. Rather, it occurred as a result of globalization and free markets. Imagine if some government bureaucrat had tried to come up with a policy to lift a billion people out of poverty! Actually, you don't have to imagine. Just look at Africa.
Closer to home, just consider how the left constantly abuses the term, "the poor." In fact, there is no such thing as "the poor," only individuals who, for a host of reasons, have relatively less than others. But the left divides the populace into quintiles and then reifies the bottom 20%, who, by this definition, will always be with us, unless we abolish the numbers 1 through 20.
I forget the exact figure, but it is a fact that if you actually look at concrete individuals rather than abstract quintiles, very few people remain in the bottom 20% their whole life. Rather, within a decade, something like 80% of those 20% are in a higher bracket.
Here again: imagine trying to impose a government program that could be so successful! Certainly welfare didn't do it; rather, the reverse: it rewarded people for staying at the bottom. But not as much as it rewarded the Anointed for imagining themselves to be so kind, compassionate, and morally superior to the rest of us.
Or, imagine government coming up with a plan to create the finest healthcare system in world, at the cost of a certain percentage uninsured, mostly consisting of young people who prefer to spend their money on other things, and illegal immigrants who get free healthcare anyway. Let's do it!
Anyway. Here's the deal. "Men have built a world made of artificial phenomena around themselves, within whose distorting framework all their errors and misdeeds take on the appearance of self-evident truths or glories; this artificial world is so constructed that evil appears as good and good as an evil." This inverted world is then called "reality." And if you refuse to bow down before it, then we will just rahm it through anyway.
Administered Freedom. Inquisitorial Tolerance. Equality by Command (Kalb).