Holy Hologram, Shabbatman, Break Out the Shark Repellant!
To be honest, the book didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, but it's always good to have some scientific back-up, because I mostly rely upon common sense, logic, metaphysics, and plain old cʘʘnvision. Regardless of what metaphysical Darwinians say, and how loudly they say it, some things just cannot be true. Period. And one of them is metaphysical Darwinism.
So I've selected a couple of posts from one year ago that touch on some of the topics discussed in Why Us?, which I will use as templates to insert some observations about the book.
By the way, some readers apparently wonder why I keep hammering away at atheism, radical secularism, leftist statism, and metaphysical Darwinism. I would turn it around and say that if the reasons are not self-evident to you, then you have some spiritual work to do, for you are like the fish who doesn't see the water because he is swimming in it. Which wouldn't necessarily be a problem were it not for the fact that these are shark-infested waters, and you are exsanguinating from the intellect. And meta-cosmically speaking, you're either in the game or on the menu.
Science and religion both build magnificent cathedrals, but whereas the religious cathedral is analog and "continuous," the scientific one is digital and therefore unavoidably discontinuous and atomistic. It can only approximate or model reality, whereas religion "mirrors" it.
Or, you could say that man is a mirror facing in two directions, above and below. When he turns to the above, he is like the moon reflecting the light of the sun. But when he turns to the below, he reflects the darkness and obscurity of matter, which can only be illuminated by his own intellect "shining" upon it. Otherwise, the world is as flat as a manflake, devoid of depth, dimension, and meaning.
Ideally, pontifical man is the axis mundi who -- like the vertical ray of creation itself -- transverses across all levels of reality, from mystical union above to quantum physics below. As a result of the law of inverse analogy, the paradoxical continuity of the quantum world is a mirror of the highest state of consciousness, in which the many are reconciled into the One. In other words, mystical union is not possible because of the "quantum universe"; rather, vice versa: the discrete matter of middle earth dissolves into the ocean of quantum oneness because it is a distant echo of the One. Oneness cannot not be, whichever end you look at.
You could even say that science (or scientism) is the "worldview" of the linear left cerebral hemisphere, whereas religion embodies the worldview of the right. This is why the naive scientistic fundamentalist always sneaks a foolish version of religion in through the back door. Obviously, the right brain is every bit as "epistemophilic" (knowledge-seeking) as the left brain, but the answers that satisfy the left brain have no necessary relevance to the right. Hence, try as he might, the naive atheist is fighting a quixotic battle against the very forms of thought that give access to Higher Things, e.g., transtemporal vision, spiritual intuition, transcendent art, mythic imagination, archetypal resonance, and so many others. After all, a love of truth is the very basis of religion.
All of these transcendent modes unavoidably "return" to the atheist, except in a laughably crude manner. For example, the recent crop of bonehead atheists are known for their lack of literary skill (Hitchens excepted), but one assumes that they aren't trying to produce such juvenile prose -- that they are at least aiming, however awkwardly, at some sort of transcendent aesthetic ideal in their rhetoric. Perhaps not. Perhaps the medium is the message which mirrors the dreary architecture of their skeevy souls.
Man -- a proper man, anyway -- hungers for the transcendent. And even -- or especially -- an improper man will seek after the transcendent in the immanent. Because man must "transcendentalize" something, he will do so to matter, and thereby become either a hedonist, a virtual animal, or a sort of anti-religious religious fanatic. Of the three, the animal might actually be highest (or least low), since at least he -- like any animal -- doesn't try to wring more pleasure and/or wisdom out of matter than there is in it. Rather, he simply accepts it for what it is, and takes his bovine pleasures as they come.
But one of the marks of the postmodern inversion is to essentially locate the good and the true in matter and the cosmic center at the periphery; thus, the "inverse" wisdom of the the secular left, which is none other than the mind turning on God and therefore itself, and systematically taking a wrecking ball to the beautiful spiritual cathedral man has built brick-by-brick over the centuries. Scratch the surface of any leftist policy, and you will see this assault on the spiritual norms of western civilization.
In the process, man loses his both his center and his spiritual resonance with the beautiful archetypal forms anterior to him. He becomes a kind of orphan of being, i.e., Existential Man, who, in the words of Schuon, embodies "the codification of an acquired infirmity." This is the final "intellectual atrophy of man marked by the 'fall,'" entailing a hypertrophy of practical (i.e., left brain) intelligence but the loss of any capacity to assimilate it into a higher kosmic context.
"Skeptical rationalism and titanesque naturalism are the two great abuses of intelligence, which violate pure intellectuality as well as the sense of the sacred; it is through this propensity that thinkers 'are wise in their own eyes' and end by 'calling evil good, and good evil' and by 'putting darkness for light, and light for darkness' (Isaiah, 5:20 and 21); they are also the ones who, on the plane of life or experience, 'make bitter what is sweet,' namely the love of the eternal God, and 'sweet what is bitter,' namely the illusion of the evanescent world" (Schuon).
Is it any wonder that conservatives are so much happier than liberals, when the kookbook of liberalism is quite literally the recipe for unhappiness? Of course Michelle Obama is the bitterest millionaire; except that she has plenty of company, i.e., Michael Moore, Sean Penn, George Soros, Jimmy Carter, Keith Olbermann, Alec Baldwin, Bruce Springsteen... the list is endless. For it is a list of losers who are spiritually vacant and unconsciously in search of the reason in politics. Hence their energy and fanaticism that can never be matched by the Hordes of the Happy, for the same reason it is literally impossible for a normal person to understand what motivates the jihadi, who is none other than Envy with a bomb attached (whereas the leftist is Envy with a gargantuan state attached).
At least the outright hedonist is not as pretentious and destructive as these endarkened souls. He's just searching after ecstasy -- which in its literal sense means to exit the closed circle of the ego, i.e., "stand outside" -- except that he tries to spring his mortal cage from below instead of above. This is certainly possible; the trouble is, there's no floor there, so one tends to keep falling, which, for awhile, gives a kind of thrill from the bracing "movement." This lasts until one begins to notice the gradual absence of both heat and light (i.e., heart and intellect), as one drifts further and further from the central sun which makes the earth humanly habitable.
This postmodern downward movement really gained steam in the 1920s, but was then placed on hold due to the great depression and World War II. Afterwards it started up again in earnest in the Beat movement of the 1950s, and then reached a critical mass in the 1960s, trickling down into a baby boomer generation that had such a weakened spiritual immune system that the virus took over the host. We still haven't recovered from this adolescent peter pandemic, and perhaps we never will. To paraphrase Christopher Dawson, you can undo in a matter of weeks what it took millennia to build.
Again, that would be our precious Western cathedral, which can only be "animated" by people who can see and appreciate it, just like any work of art -- or even like the quantum world sightlessly envisioned by physicists. Dogs don't get jokes, they don't understand baseball, and they certainly don't get religion. In an analogy I have used before, even something as luminous as scripture is nevertheless like a reflector light on the back of a car. It gives off no light of its own, otherwise it would be visible to dogs and atheists. Rather, it must be "lit up" by something external to it, which would be the uncreated intellect. Shine the intellect on scripture and it suddenly glows in the dark, as light reaches out to light, in the process compressing time and history into an eternal point.
But a dog will just bark and chase after the car. Plus, he wouldn't have the foggiest idea what to do with it if he caught it. Piss on it, I suppose. And if dogs were capable of sinking beneath themselves, they might even consider it a work of art and call it Piss Car.
Well, I never did explicitly insert anything about Why Us? One of the main points I wanted to discuss was how the brain only interprets reality with the use of an internalized map. Again, it's just common sense, but Le Fanu cites the latest brain research that shows how we do not have any unmediated access to reality in the manner believed by the naive materialist.
Instead of quoting him, I'm just going to summarize my own understanding. What we call "reality" is something that is constructed through the interface of sensory and other kinds of input, as it "strikes," so to speak, our internalized map. I would compare it to the way a hologram works, creating a three-dimensional image as a result of the interference pattern produced by a coherent beam of light (a laser) and the light scattered by an object (and if this isn't how holography works, then by golly it should work this way).
Thus, reality is a kind of wave front, or interference pattern. Now, if you have internalized the rigid and reified Darwinian model to understand everything, then any input that strikes it will just be ignored or incorporated into the model. As a result of this unnatural selection process, the person will create a flat and two-dimensional photograph, not a hologram.
But as we have discussed on many occasions, the deep structure of religion also provides a model of reality that is "illuminated" by grace, or by "light from above." So God is in the light -- indeed, he is the Light -- but if you don't have the right map, it will just bounce off of you as if it doesn't exist.
Well, I gotta get some work done. Out.