Monday, October 12, 2009

There Is No Truth, and Progressives Are Its Guardians

Lincoln knew that "to embrace the Founders truly, we must embrace their sense of the eternal and the sacred" (Watson). The universal truths enunciated by the Founders are eternal, and yet, inflected through America's particular culture, values, and traditions. You will note that the contemporary left erodes America from both ends -- the universal and the particular -- by denying absolute truth at the "top" and affirming "diversity" and multiculturalism at the "bottom." It is like saying: there is no truth, and all cultures have a piece of it.

But for Lincoln there is one truth, and it is the task of a nation to approximate it. Not the task of leaders, mind you; that is again the leftist view, that with sufficient expertise and good intentions, a handful of elites at the top can transform Man. Not to mention the fact that "a desire for leaders creates followers," and it is by no means clear "that a nation of followers is capable of self-government" (Watson).

Think of how this applies today: for a person to actually believe that Obama will radically and fundamentally change the world for the good requires such passivity and dependency -- to say nothing of naivete -- that no such change will be possible. Conversely, imagine the transformation that would occur if individuals actually embodied the creed of the Founders, and valued liberty and self-reliance tempered by virtue and reciprocal obligation (instead of invented rights and entitlements).

Overwhelmingly, the problems of the nation and of the world are a result of bad values, not an insufficiently intrusive and pandering state. As Dennis Prager has said, the pathologies of Democrat-controlled urban America would vanish overnight if their inhabitants adopted the values of, say, Provo, Utah instead of Sharpton, Al -- just as the problems of the Middle East would disappear if Muslims adopted the values of the Jews.

Conversely, those problems and pathologies will never be resolved so long as we believe that governments can resolve them. Here's a novel idea for you: why not let the Palestinians bugger themselves with dynamite until they not only acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, but beg them to stay?

It's an insidious case of vertical alzheimer's disease, that's what it is: "The fall of a republican people from grace comes gradually, not precipitously; it comes not from an act, but from a slow loss of collective memory" (Watson). Obama did not happen overnight. Rather, it took a hundred years of creeping cultural dementia for him to even be so much as a possibility in this country, a ghastly twinkle in Bill Ayers' jaundiced eye. It's like how one goes bankrupt: very gradually and then all of a sudden. And Obama is bankrupting us in more ways than one.

For make no mistake: the Nobel was awarded for his forceful and conspicuous rejection of the principles upon which America was founded, principles which have always formed the main obstacle to the ambitions of the transnational left. The prize is for a job well done -- or to lend him the courage to see the job through to its bitter conclusion, as America completes its auto-castration and submits to the terrestrial Lord of Falsehood and his Cosmocrats of the Dark Aion.

Lincoln knew that "something more than reason is needed to attach a people firmly to a republican regime" (Watson). Thus, he proposed a "political religion... whereby every American would 'swear by the blood of the Revolution'" of our Founders. "Everyone must at least imagine himself a descendent of those who fought in 1776 for the Declaration" (ibid). It reminds me of a kind of Holy Communion, in which each of us renders the vertical past present by pledging "his life, his property, and his sacred honor" to the universal principles upon which our nation was founded. Watson:

"This proposition would be quite unintelligible to a model of politics based on self-interest, personal growth, or individual freedom alone." Rather, mere reason needs to be bolstered by a kind of real faith in our founding principles.

This is transnationalism in its true sense, in that it is situated at the top, not the bottom, of the cosmic hierarchy. For the same reason, it is situated at the end, not the beginning, of human history; it is the "point" of history, whereas progressivism is specifically a backward-looking metaphysic that sanctifies and preserves our superficial multiplicity, while preventing any evolutionary movement toward the Universal and Absolute.

The latter begins and ends at the terminal moraine of the senses -- in passions and in the simultaneously dangerous and silly idea that "perception is reality." This is why the "reality-based community" can't be, because reality for them is reduced to time-bound beliefs of this or that person or culture. And there is no way out, no appeal to universal and inviolable truth. In short, it is hell -- the hell of the UN, or the Nobel Committee, or the Pelosi-Reid congress, each of which can only conduct it evil business under cover of metaphysical darkness. John Bolton in the UN is a secular version of Jesus in hell.

"A society cannot be maintained if it is dedicated to ignorance" of both man and man's proper end (Watson). Again, if your anthropology is wrong, then your political philosophy will be stillborn. That is, it can still be applied, but it will only work with dead people -- or, it will have to render them spiritually dead in order to work (and often physically dead -- cf. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, et al).

Lincoln's political religion "is aimed at illuminating the moral and political things that do not change" (Watson). For Americans, these are like the central sun around which we revolve, and as Lincoln said, "to add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it" (quoted in Watson).

To be continued....

Reader Erik just left a perfectly apt quote on a previous post, attributed to Henry Jaffa:

"[I]n our time, truth has been disarmed by the opinion that reason is impotent to know what it just or unjust, right or wrong, true or false. If there is no truth, or if the truth is beyond the power of the human mind to know, then free argument and debate as means of arriving at the truth are meaningless. Truth is thereby disarmed of her natural weapons a priori. This challenge to the principle of a free society is one that neither Jefferson nor Lincoln anticipated. Nonetheless, we assert categorically that the common sense of the subject as it appeared to Jefferson and Lincoln, although it has been denied by the mainstream of Western thought for more than a century, has not been refuted."

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Great Lincoln-Darwin Debate, part 2

Continuing with yesterday's post, Lincoln agreed with the Founders -- to put it mildly, for he truly revered them -- that "there are certain fixed principles beyond which progress is impossible."

Think about that for a moment, for it says everything you need to know about what man is, and how dramatically he stands out from the rest of creation. It's a little pathetic when scientists, as they so often do, use the findings of science to try to minimize or eliminate our unique cosmic standing -- as if, say, the heliocentric theory literally displaces man from the center of creation, or our relative smallness in the face of the vastness of the physical cosmos places any actual limit on the limitlessness of man's imagination. As we will see, this represents a kind of "reverse omnipotence" which eventually reduces to infinite stupidity and the rule of morons.

After all, the vastness of the cosmos is only conceived in man's imagination and no place else. In the absence of man, there's not even a cosmos, since it is obviously a form of our sensibility. No one has ever seen this construct called "the cosmos," and no one ever will, for it is in man, not vice versa.

Every serious scientist implicitly recognizes the truth of this, in that he believes that reality is capable of being understood -- which is to say, contained -- by the mind. To say cosmos is to stand outside of it. And again, to say "natural selection" is to stand infinitely above it, on pain of automatically refuting whatever truth the theory may express.

And "infinite" is the precise adjective, since the distance between truth and falsehood is infinite. There are not degrees of truth between 2 + 2 = 4 and 2 + 2 = 5. Rather, it is an either/or proposition. Likewise, there are not degrees of acceptance of America's founding principles. Thus the irrevocable and absolutist language: "We hold these truths to be self-evident." "Inalienable rights." "Nature and nature's God."

Therefore, as I've said before in so many different ways, the real debate is between absolutism and relativism. And it is a debate that the relativists of the left cannot win unless they first undermine the plain meaning of our founding documents. Instead of embodying the fixed principles toward which our task is to evolve, the founding documents must become an elastic and mutable organism that evolves itself, a la Darwinism, in which all is change and nothing is fixed. Everything is back on the table -- life, liberty, property, slack.

Thus, the documents truly become "just anything." To think otherwise is to be an absolutist, which for the left is a kind of oppressive fascism instead of ultimate liberation. For the conservative, liberty is a priceless gift; for the leftist, it's a curse. So the absolutists must learn to compromise between what the Constitution says and what the left wishes it to mean. In short, 2 + 2 can = 3.78, or 4.22. Let's negotiate. There's wiggle room.

Which, oddly enough, is actually a different kind of absolutism, similar in way to Hegel's "bad infinite." It reflects the primitive psychological defense mechanism of infantile omnipotence, through which the child perpetuates the illusion of primary omnipotence beyond the stage at which it is appropriate. This often occurs due to early developmental trauma, in which the reality principle impinges upon the child too early, forcing him to prematurely deal with things beyond his capacity. This is why early parenting involves providing the child with a sort of "psychic cocoon" -- or subjective womb -- from which he will only gradually hatch.

The defense mechanism of psychic omnipotence is a stock-in-trade of the psychoanalyst. As it applies to the present discussion, it involves elevating oneself over reality, i.e., the Immutable and Undeniable.

Now, man as such obviously participates in the Immutable, hence our ability to know, for example, those timeless first principles enunciated by the Founders. Bad omnipotence would come into play if we imagine that we can surpass what is already absolute. But as we shall see -- either today or in the next post -- this is the essence of the leftist project. The leftist always imagines that there are special people with special knowledge who can improve upon reality. Thus, it is always rooted in omnipotence.

The next time a leftist utters one of his omnipotent pronouncements, just remember the wise words of Kip Dynamite: Napoleon, like anyone can even know that. Manmade global warming? Like anyone can even know that. Saved or created a gazillion jobs? Like anyone can even know that. Iran's not a threat? Like anyone can even know that. If coach woulda put me in the fourth quarter, we woulda been state champions. Like anyone can even know that, Uncle Rico.

Again, Lincoln advocated the good kind of omnipotence, which provides the rock upon which our nation was built. Like a "secular revelation," these principles were "handed down by the Founding Fathers for later generations to preserve," not to squander like a bunch of irresponsible and good-for-nothing trust fund babies.

It indeed reminds me of children, who need psychological boundaries above all else, even while they will perpetually try to test them. The child imagines that he would prefer a life without parental boundaries, but would actually be terrified if they were removed.

Similarly, the Constitution is there to protect us. It contains the boundaries provided by our wise Fathers. To eliminate those boundaries is to plunge ourselves into tyranny, not freedom. If the Constitution means whatever a liberal judge wishes it to mean, that is the rule of omnipotent men, and we are back to 1775. Absolutism is our only defense against bad omnipotence. As Watson explains, our natural rights "are self-limiting.... They do not, and cannot, depend on mere will, or tradition, or History.... For Lincoln, natural rights provide the ground for a manly assertiveness in pursuit of something beyond individual satisfaction."

No wonder Schuon held Lincoln in the highest esteem: "At the antipodes of the false genius exalted by the people [and the Nobel committee--ed.*] is situated the true genius of which people are unaware: among famous men, Lincoln is one such example, he who owes a large part of his popularity to the fact that people took him -- and still take him -- for the incarnation of the average American," but "whose intelligence, capacity, and nobility went far beyond the level of average." And they did because he was rooted in the changeless, not the pure meaningless change of philosophical Darwinism.

To be continued...

(Unless otherwise noted, all quoted material is from Living Constitution, Dying Faith: Progressivism and the New Science of Jurisprudence.)

*According to Drudge, Obama "will accept the award on 'behalf of Americans and America's values.'" The irony is too thick for me to wrap my mind around. Let's just say that no one who actually held and defended American values could ever be the recipient of this prize. While they're at it, why not give one to Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, or Kofi Annan? Gosh!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Great Lincoln-Darwin Debate

I hate to make it sound as if I'm trying to abuse Darwin -- to say nothing of science -- but unfortunately, he has became the brand name for a certain kind of philosophical and moral idiocy. As always, first the superior master ruins the disciples, then the mediocre disciples ruin the master. Which, of course, is why Raccoons don't have disciples, so we don't ruin one another.

Like most everything else, Darwinism is a good slave but a bad master. But to even affirm that one can master Darwinism is to render the theory void, at least in its vulgar, totalistic sense. As I have said before -- and this should be a truism -- either I can explain Darwinism or Darwinism explains me. Both cannot be true, for a thing that can transcend and explain itself is not just a thing.

Amazingly, we have had trolls who object to this axiom. However, I must remind them: I never said that Darwinism doesn't explain a soulless entity as simple as you. But even James Brown, the most righteous sex machine of them all, wasn't only a sex machine.

If man is susceptible to being contained and enslaved by something as simple as Darwinism, then he is susceptible to slavery, period. Do you really fail to see why this is the case, numbskull? If man is no longer a nonlocal soul with infinite possibilities but a mere replicating machine, what is so special about him? Why not just keep the good ones and enslave or eliminate the ones we don't like?

It's not as if it hasn't been tried in the past. Contemporary Darwinists hate to be reminded that some political movements -- including in America -- have actually taken the theory dead seriously, and moved on to the next step. For again, if the theory is true, it has undeniable political implications.

For one thing, it renders the underpinnings of our entire Judeo-Christian heritage null and void. I don't know about rank-and-foul Darwinians, but for the more prominent ones such as Richard Dawkins, this is the whole point. He detests religion, and wishes to use Darwin as a club to beat it to death. He's barbarous enough, but in the grubby hands of a Charles Frogster Queeg, the whole bloody scene is reduced to an intellectual version of Lord of the Flies, with the primitive children dancing around Darwin's brain on a pike.

Again, America's founders surely believed in evolution, just not the Darwinian kind -- which again, properly understood, is not even evolution, only change. To even say the word progress is to lift oneself from the stream of mere Darwinian change. To know truth, to create beauty, to recognize virtue, to embody cosmic funkmanship -- these are specifically human modalities that are above the plane of mere horizontal change.

As Watson explains, the Founders recognized that "while truth might be incrementally revealed in history, it was not created in or by History or beholden to it. The truth was indeed 'out there,' and the Americans' new science of politics, in both its creedal and cultural facets, represented a sustained effort to approximate it."

This is the Orthodox Raccoon position, enunciated by Toots Mondello and confirmed by Herman Hildebrand during happy hour at the Tip On In tavern over a century ago. It is not subject to evolution or revision. No random mutation can improve upon it. It is perfect as it is. It is absolute, inviolable, sacred, and true. To disbelieve it is to auto-excommunicate oneself from the nonlocal Body of Toots.

As discussed yesterday, it is strictly impossible to reconcile philosophical Darwinism with America's founding principles. Can't be done. It's just too bad for the Confederacy that they were too occupied with the Civil War to know what was going on across the Atlantic with science, but if Darwin's magnum opiate for the scientistic masses had only come out a decade or so earlier (it was published in 1859), they would have had the perfect rejoinder to Lincoln's nonsense about natural rights and the dignity of man. There would have been no need for that silly war. Instead, we would now have the north living under the principles of the Founders, and the south living under the principles of Darwin.

Watson writes that "the political rhetoric and actions of Lincoln remain among the greatest affirmations that there are such things as natural rights that do not change with time, that the American Constitution is dedicated to preserving them, and that the role of great political actors, while responding to urgent necessities, is to look backward rather than forward." But please note: we look backward in order to move forward, i.e., to evolve, for if there are no fixed principles, evolution is again impossible. As in driving a car, we look in the rear-view mirror in order to move ahead.

I don't think I want to bore you with how this is the very opposite of what modern day "progressives," believe. For one thing, that's the purpose of Watson's book -- to explain the intellectual roots of contemporary progressivism, and how their whole program is founded upon a rejection of the timeless principles embodied in our Constitution. To the extent that progressives rely upon the Constitution -- which they must at least pretend to do, in order to fool the public -- it is always as a pig leaf to conceal their swinish purposes. This is why they are always at cross purposes with themselves, because they only use the Constitution selectively, never as a sacred document embodying transcendent first principles. If they did that, they would no longer be progressives.

And "sacred" is not too strong a word, at least for Lincoln. When he declared that America was "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal," he understood this to be "the central truth of the American political experiment," "grounded in the laws of nature and nature's God" (Watson). These truths were "handed down by the Founding Fathers for later generations to preserve." These were truly Great Men, and a spineless pipsqueak such as Obama has no right to reject them. He doesn't have to live by them, but he has absolutely no right to prevent us from doing so.

Either our rights are grounded in the "nature of things," or they are not rights at all -- only privileges granted by man, i.e., the State. Again, this proposition is a sword that cuts straight through the body politic and defines left and right today. It is the whole basis of the energy animating the tea parties. Racism! Ha! Such transparent projection. For we declare with the Founders that all men are endowed by the Creator with sacred rights that no man -- not even Obama -- can deny.

When we look at Obama, we do not see black, white, color, or black & white. Rather, we see only the worldly emperor's new empty suit. That is all.

To be continued...

Give us this day our daily bread:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Political Oedipus Complex: Dreams From My Father's Murder

I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.... I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. --Abraham Lincoln

Talk about a non-Darwinian sentiment! First, the absurd proposition -- indefensible on any scientific basis -- that all men are created equal (or even created). And then, the vow that he would prefer biological death -- indefensible on any Darwinian basis -- to abandoning this spiritual principle. But only because of a relative handful such great souls -- often mysteriously appearing in the right place at the right time -- has the nation survived in the form it has. Call it transnatural election.

It's hard to believe that there are actually mature adults who say they would prefer to live in a nation governed by Darwinian rather than Judeo-Christian principles. But one inevitable problem among the irreligious is that in rejecting religion, they detach themselves from the accumulated wisdom of so many generations. Wisdom, unlike scientific knowledge, is not subject to change, since it is very likely that the proposed change has already been tried and found wanting.

After all, this is how wisdom is won in the first place: through painful experience. But sometimes people just need to feel the sting themselves before acquiring the wisdom. Which in turn is why, no matter how much you warn them, each generation of young adolts with skulls full of mush will be attracted to leftism. For many it will be a mere flirtation, while for others it becomes a developmental arrest -- just a lifelong adolescent rebellion against reality and common sense.

America's founders were not just intelligent, but wise. Thankfully, they didn't just possess "scientific" knowledge, but had genuine insight into human nature. There is no contemporary psychology class they could have taken to acquire such wisdom. Rather, as touched on yesterday, this wisdom was founded upon a fruitful encounter between political philosophy and Judeo-Christian theology. The attempt to reconcile such seemingly different domains creates a kind of arc, or synaptic gap, where the creative insight occurs.

A real scientist will be animated by a similar tension of one sort or another. But the middlebrow, worker-bee type scientific mind is often devoid of this type of dynamic tension. This is the reason for the intellectual deadness of our trolls, or of Charles the Queeg at LGF. If science explains everything, then it also explains the explainer, and renders him a kind of banal automaton. Here you can see how an ideology can become a mind parasite -- or more likely, appropriated by a mind parasite that already exists inside and is looking for a cloak. The whole process forecloses genuine thought and creativity.

In other words, scientism or metaphysical Darwinism are "ready made" or predigested ideologies for certain types of mind parasites. One can cheaply purchase -- for it requires no struggle with intellection -- each of these cultural attitudes "off the rack," hence the dreary conformity of Charles and his soulless army of robotic clones. Not to mention the palpable vacuity of his "art." Not all great artists are theists; however, any thoughtful person capable of creating artistic beauty will have difficulty reconciling it with any form of atheism. When the spirit comes through you, you know it. If you wish to remain an atheist thereafter, it will have to be in spite of yourself -- similar to being highly intelligent but not believing in truth, or being highly moral but not believing in virtue.

In Living Constitution, Dying Faith, Watson devotes a chapter to the philosophy of the Founders, which provides the starkest contrast imaginable to contemporary left-statism. The former is grounded in timeless and absolute spiritual principles, while the latter is ultimately rooted the soiled soil of vulgar Darwinism and philosophical pragmatism, in which truth is simply "what works" (what works for the leftist's ambitions, I might add).

Here again, these ideas were both debated and resolved by the wisdom of the founders. We shouldn't be having to do it all over again with Obama, but the deterioration of our educational system has resulted in people being systematically brainwashed into denying America's spiritual provenance.

In fact, thanks to liberals, it is against the law to even discuss it in a publicly funded school. For the extremists of the ACLU, the Declaration of Independence must be unconstitutional. Let's just note in passing that dullards such as Queeg are hysterical about the possibility of "intelligent design" being discussed in the classroom, which only misses the essential point by about as wide a margin as possible. America is in danger, but not from religious Americans.

The idea that truth was contingent or time-bound would have been rejected out of hand by the Founders. Nevertheless, "job one" of the left is to subvert truth in order to ultimately replace it with power (for it is either one or the other). As Watson explains, the Founders "had a principled understanding of natural rights, which were not to be culturally determined or time-bound or subject to infinite incremental growth, but applicable to all men everywhere and final."

Please note that for the Founders, no further evolution is possible, the reason being that in arriving at his own freedom, man has arrived at the absolute. What you do with it is up to you.

Nevertheless, the Founders hardly denied the role of evolution in another sense, that of historical and personal movement toward this timeless ideal. Thus, they saw American history as a "working out of principles that pointed toward the ultimate, trans-historical truth." These men were full-blooded, dues-paying Raccoons, in that "Historical change was not understood by the Founders to be an unending series of evolutionary improvements to principles, institutions, or modes of political life, but as a series of movements toward the principles of constitutional liberty that, once worked out, would fix the ends and constrain the means of government."

This is precisely how I view evolution as applied to the human plane, as a "working out of principles pointing toward the ultimate trans-historical truth" and "a series of movements toward the principle of liberty." Of course, this is liberty understood in its most glorious and fully realized form, which is none other than conformity to the Principle itself, whether it be in the mode of the saint, sage, genius, warrior, or true artist of sound, image, or word. The end is fixed; but the modes of reaching and expressing it are diverse, like white light refracted through a prism.

Being that the Founders were both Christian and Christianized men, they were fully aware of the fact that we inhabit a logoistic cosmos in which the word is embodied in flesh, form in matter. As a result, the universal is only found in the particular. In practical terms, it means that America has "a 'creedal' or universal side, and a 'cultural' or particular side, but the two sides [are] expressions of the same truth" (Watson).

And this is why it is absurd to think that America could ever be a fully secular nation, because if that were to take place, it would undercut the very universal principles that undergird and animate it.

For a radical secularist or Darwinian fundamentalist, there can ultimately be nothing universal except for blind nothingness. I realize this may sound polemical to some, but it's actually a banality. Just try asking a Darwinist why slavery is wrong, with recourse only to Darwinian principles. Does this mean that Darwinists are pro-slavery? Hardly. It just means that they have no universal and timelessly true argument against it -- just as they have no argument against infanticide, or government theft, or racial quotas, or death panels, or euthanasia, or the designated hitter, or anything else that is plainly wrong.

The philosophy of the Founders prevailed through the 19th century, but began to be undermined by the left by the early 20th. Slowly, as described by Watson, it was displaced by "the dogma of historical progress on which rested the combined forces of social Darwinism, pragmatism, twentieth-century progressivism, and modern liberalism." I'm not sure that we need to go into all of the gory details, since most of you already know them so well. The noxious doctrine of multiculturalism must be the absolute nadir of this line of thought -- the idea that truth and morality are completely time- and culture-bound.

No. "The Founders rarely doubted the centrality of the Christian religion and Christian morality to the success of the American experiment. [Cue trolls to present us with the tiresome list of exceptions.] They believed that reason and revelation were true guides to human affairs, and that they pointed in the same direction on questions of natural rights and moral conduct" (Watson).

Suffice it to say that they did not point to Obama, except as a deplorable counter-example. You might say that his reationary ideology is one of those historically recurring patricidal Dreams of Murdering Our Fathers.

To be continued....

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Thomas Jefferson vs. Charles Darwin

One thing that annoys us about the Darwinists is that when one calls them out on the implications of their scientistic BS, they always respond with hostility or ridicule with words to the effect of, "what are you talking about? There's no such thing as a Darwinist. That's just a straw man invented by creationists to denigrate something that doesn't actually exist. There is only science. That is all."

Right. There's a theory called natural selection. But it's not really a theory, you see. Rather, it's a fact, like gravity, or the conservation of mass and energy. The fact of natural selection explains everything about the origin and nature of man, and excludes any non-physical causes. But to suggest that this has any moral or political implications is a slander and a libel!

Anyone who holds such a view is either stupid, disingenuous, or a liar. For the fact of the matter is that no question could possibly be more fraught with metaphysical, philosophical, moral, and political consequences.

For example, what if the "truth" of natural selection were known at the time of America's founding? Suppose that instead of being highly sophisticated Christian thinkers and biblical exegetes, they all believed the simplistic notion that man is nothing more than an accident of the genes, just an animal with no conceivable claim on truth, justice, or liberty.

Obviously, our founding creed would have been equally inconceivable, i.e., that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Or, I suppose a Darwinist could mouth such words, but he would be lying, because the formulation is strict nonsense on any Darwinian grounds. Clearly, unless you are very stupid, you must realize that Darwinism does not permit the existence of permanent truths or natural law accessible to man's reason. The very idea is absurd, and the Darwinist should come right out and admit it.

So don't tell me that Darwinism has no political implications, because it is not only directly at odds with America's founding principles, but renders them absurd and impossible. Furthermore, it provides the principles and the framework for contemporary leftist statism, or "progressivism." Make no mistake: in order for progressivism to even be "legal" -- that is, constitutional -- it must first carry out an attack on the existing Constitution. Most of what progressives have done and wish to do cannot be done unless they first reframe the Constitution in Darwinian terms as an evolving document.

At present, I'm reading an outstanding book that touches on this subject, Living Constitution, Dying Faith: Progressivism and the New Science of Jurisprudence, and I'd like to spend at least a couple of posts discussing it.

As Watson explains, it never occurred to America's founders that they were simply affirming convenient or time-bound principles subject to later revocation by pettifogging mediocrities with law degrees, who are more "evolved" than they. Rather, their "understanding of law was structured around the idea of a knowable, unchanging moral order, to which human law and the Constitution -- and therefore constitutional interpretation -- were subservient." They would have fully endorsed the Socratic/Platonic principle that "law aims to be a discovery of what is," and that human law "cannot contradict the natural law that reflects the divine reason."

In other words, the metaphysics of the Founders is precisely the opposite of the contemporary Darwinist, in that they start at the top of the cosmos, with the One, the Absolute, the Divine Reason, not the bottom, i.e., matter and the random accidents of nature. A political philosophy derived from the latter is going to look very, very different, and will be irreconcilable with America's.

As misguided as they may or may not be, I am quite sure that the people who promote "intelligent design" are much more concerned with this aspect of Darwinism: that it is absurdly presented as a truth that renders everything else we know to be true -- everything above the plane of biology -- a lie or a fantasy. It is not the science that is troublesome, at least for me. It is the deceptive intrusion into higher planes about which it must remain silent.

Now interestingly, the Founders regarded evolution in precisely the manner I do, as movement toward a nonlocal attractor, i.e., a "permanent truth," thus reconciling time (or history) and eternity (more on which tomorrow). Remember, the idea of evolution was common currency for a century or more before Darwin's theory of natural selection, which was merely his attempt to account for evolution. He was hardly the first to notice that things evolve, but he was the first to imagine that it could be explained in a fully naturalistic manner, with no recourse to any principle beyond random mutations.

Watson does a fine job of describing the intellectual milieu in which Darwin flourished, and which then allowed the elites of the day to seize upon his theory as a kind of master key to legitimize progressivism. In other words, just as today, Darwinists do not actually arrive at their Darwinism through "logic," because that would be impossible. Rather, they have first internalized a certain implicit view of the cosmos that then permits them to seize upon Darwinism as an adequate theory. Without the underlying metaphysic, Darwinism is completely illogical.

To cite one obvious example, if one realizes that there are permanent truths or moral absolutes that are not strictly timebound, and that they are accessible to man's intellect, then one cannot possibly believe in reductionistic Darwinism, irrespective of what the science does or doesn't show. It's like when scientists try to tell you that free will doesn't exist. Right. Whatever. They are simply wrong, because they are wrong in principle, a principle that is a priori true and cannot not be true on pain of the very abolition of truth. (In other words, only a free being may know truth.)

Note that progressivism takes its cue from Darwinism, in that it "is characterized by a set of ideas that have at their core a marked historicism -- which is to say, a belief that truth is always and everywhere relative to its time and place" (Watson). Under Darwinism, the intellect cannot be a faculty that adequates itself to truth and therefore reality, but rather, is merely "a method of dealing with adaptation and change." In such a myopic view, our "minds" are adapted to the environment, not to truth. And "truth" would simply be a good fit between mind and environment. And a good fit means that it promotes survival and reproduction, or babes and power.

Thus, we hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are intrinsically unequal; and that they are endowed by nature with very different gifts and abilities; that among these are strength, intelligence, and the will to dominate; that to nurture these gifts, governments are are instituted by the vanguard of evolution, deriving their just powers from nature's iron will and from the New York Times editorial board; that whenever any government, constitution, or religion undermines these powers, it is the right of nature's elites to alter, abolish, or deconstruct it, and to institute a new government rooted in a Living Constitution, as to them shall seem most likely to effect the perpetual rule of the better sort.

To be continued...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Israel and the Defense of Civilization

If Israel is quelled or destroyed, we will be succumbing to forces targeting capitalism and freedom everywhere. We will allow a fatal triumph of the barbarian masses that may well end up demoralizing and destroying the United States as well. --George Gilder

(Readers may want to warm up with the prequel to this post from two days ago, Israel Has No Right to Exist.)

I remember Dennis Prager making a point about how throughout history, the best humanity has to offer always suffers at the hands of the worst. Unfortunately, this is axiomatic, since bad people want to hurt others, while good people don't want to hurt anybody. So every time an American soldier is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, it is a case of the worst killing the best. Every time a Palestinian monster blows himself up in Israel, the worst have murdered the best. Likewise, only God knows how much human greatness was denied the world due to the Nazi genocide of an earlier era.

So what do we do about it? We give the Palestinians another billion dollars to further cultivate their depravity. And tell Israel to close their settlements, since we don't want the good people to irritate the bad people.

The very existence of Israel -- which embodies the best humanity has to offer -- is now under imminent threat by the most evil regime on the planet, Iran. Once again, the worst wishes to annihilate the best. And if and when Israel does respond, you can be sure that she will be vilified by millions if not billions of enablers who allow evil to thrive. Iran has nothing to fear from "the world community." Nor is she fearful of good and courageous people, unless those people are prepared to unleash hell upon evil.

In The Israel Test, Gilder discusses how game theory explains why even (or especially) good people end up encouraging evil. This is especially true of the left, since in implementing policies, they only consult their good intentions, never the system of incentives -- the rules of the game -- they are putting in place. This is why they can never see that the long term results of those incentives usually aggravate the problem the policy was designed to address.

This is also true of the moral simpletons who imagine that wanting peace is the only barrier to having it. In reality, the more one communicates the desire to have peace with evildoers, the more power one gives them.

In the case of Israel, "by relentlessly seeking Peace Now," they have "predictably communicated to the Arabs that terror and aggression work. By repeatedly informing the Arabs that it wants peace more than victory, Israel evinces a short-term strategy that powerfully and consistently rewards bad behavior. As a result, Israel gets neither peace nor victory, and the Palestinians get neither economic growth nor political progress" (Gilder). By appeasing evil, only the good suffer, both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories (which, due to their proximity to Israel, had by far the highest standard of living in the Arab world before declaring the most recent intifada in 2000).

According to game theory, a long-term player will be penalized for doing business with a short-term player. Imagine if every business transaction were with someone you were never going to do business with again. This would encourage predatory and dishonest behavior on the part of the seller. We would live under the economic law of the jungle.

Note that this is not a result of anyone's intentions, just the rules of the game: "In a single exchange, the rational policy is predatory. If predatory action brings success, a player is never induced to extend the time horizon. By accommodating aggression, a nation invites it. Peace requires the imposition of penalties on aggression."

Oddly, the left understands how this principle applies to illegal and predatory activity on Wall Street, but does not apply that lesson to the world.

As Gilder explains, "the single greatest domestic threat to the United States is not the jihad but the peace movement." Just last week, Obama voiced his desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons, which makes him the most powerful ally and abettor of evil in the world. Again, his intention is "peace," but the result would be an unprecedented escalation of violence and aggression.

Obama simply wishes to change the rules of the game, so that it is less costly for evil regimes to compete. If we have overwhelming military superiority, criminal regimes can never catch up, so it's not even worth it to try. But imagine if the police were to announce to criminals that from now on, in order to reduce crime, they are only going to use knives. In reducing the potential cost of crime, it would increase both criminal behavior and the pool of criminals. The risks associated with criminality would plunge.

What is especially odd is that both Iran and the Palestinians have explicitly communicated their desire and intention to destroy Israel. Why don't we believe them? Why don't we take them at their word, and respond accordingly? If my neighbor communicates a desire to kill me and my family, I don't say to him, "would you settle for just taking a corner of my lawn?" What if I give him the lawn and he still wants to kill me? Then what?

What if my neighbor says to me that he wants my lawn because to him the lawn is "holy." Well, if you are a leftist, it's not a problem, since for you, nothing is holy, especially private property. But you can see where this attitude will lead, for if nothing is holy, there is nothing worth defending.

In truth, Israel is under no moral, legal, or political obligation to give land to people who explicitly wish to use that land for purposes of genocide. No one is morally obligated to participate in their own destruction.

Again, for us -- and for all decent people on earth -- Israel's moral obligation is to go on existing, given the staggeringly disproportionate contribution they make to the betterment of the world. This is not just Israel vs. Iran or the Palestinians. Rather, this is the leading edge of freedom, democracy, liberty, and capitalism vs. the atavistic forces that fundamentally oppose them. It is progress vs. misery, civilization vs. barbarism, light vs. darkness. If we don't wake up to the fact that Israel is the canary in the Islamist ghoul mind, we'll all be sitting ducks.

For as Gilder writes, "our loyalty to Israel arises, not from a cold calculus of survival, but from a sense of the holy. What Americans must fathom with both heart and mind is that this instinct is true -- and vital to our survival -- that if we would live, we must defend the Holy Land."

Sunday, October 04, 2009

It Is On: Moses vs. Queeg

Slept too late to write a new post. I decided to repost one on Israel, and this is the first one I pulled out. It has been edited, revised, and fortified with new insultainment. Bear in mind that Queeg is just a convenient prop for a more general class of philosophical knucklehead.

As we know, many on the left love Jews. It's Israel they hate. Which, as Dennis Prager points out, is about as logical as saying that you love Italians, but that Italy has no right to exist. However, in the case of Charles the Queeg, there's a slight variation (unless he's done a 180 on this issue as well). That is, he loves Israel. It's Judaism he hates. Is hate too strong a word? I don't think so, not if he's remotely intellectually consistent.

Now, I don't think too many people will accuse Queeg of intellectual consistency, so I guess we'll have to draw out the implications of his stated beliefs for him.

First, it is strictly impossible for one to simultaneously be a reductionistic Darwinist and a religious believer. Please bear in mind that, as always, when I use the word "Darwinist" or "Darwinism," I am referring to natural selection in the scientistic sense, as a broad philosophy with materialist metaphysical assumptions. In this sense, to say that one is a Darwinian is to say that one believes that natural selection alone is man's sufficient reason.

As I have explained many times, belief in evolution is not problematic for the religious believer. In fact, a moment's thought informs you that evolution is a necessary consequence of God's existence, being that the Creator is outside time, whereas creatures are within it. Therefore, anything within time can develop or decay, but can never be unchanging or "eternal." To the extent that things evolve toward their nonlocal archetype -- and human beings are quintessential in this regard -- then that is only because God exists. It cannot be explained on any Darwinist basis. (And it is indeed interesting that the recent discovery of a more ancient human furbear suggests that some present day primates may have devolved from man, so to speak.)

All we ask is that the metaphysical Darwinist draw out the moral and epistemological consequences of his materialist assumptions. Thus, to the extent that everything may be reduced to natural selection, then there is no "point" to human life -- there can be no "true self," let alone a "higher self" and a "lower self" (or inner and outer self), a conception which which is at the basis of all orthodox traditions. Obviously, in the Darwinist paradigm there can be no teleology, no transcendent normality, no culminating point of development, no essence, and no perfection. I would think this would be an uncontroversial statement, something with which we can all agree, even a shrill and spiritually purblind Lizard living in his reinforced bunker beneath the Reino del Ciego errport.

Queeg fails to see that a nation of Darwinist flat-earthlings will not defend itself from the Islamists he once warned us about. Rather, with no transcendent principles animating us, we will eventually go the way of old Europe. For a Darwinist Lizard, anyone who puts his genes on the line to defend a transcendent principle would have to be an idiot. (This argument is forcefully made in Natan Sharansky's new book, Defending Identity; he says that liberty without a transcendent identity will not defend itself, while spiritual identity without liberty is fascism.)

My guess is that the vast majority of our men and women in uniform are animated by Judeo-Christian, not Darwinist, principles. This would be equally true of those who fought for our freedom in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. To be intellectually consistent, Queeg would have to say that these people were shills, phonies and frauds. They need to be as courageous as Queeg, and fight for the right to have no transcendent principles to fight for. Admit it: to fight for a God that cannot exist is just plain stupid. And if Darwinism is correct, then God either cannot exist or has nothing to do with our essential being. Indeed, a term like "essential being" is completely meaningless. We truly are just replicating machines, just as Richard Dawkins insists.

In order to be intellectually consistent, Queeg must express as much contempt for Judaism as he does for the Discovery institute, unless he is just ignorant of Jewish metaphysics, which seems likely. It's almost embarrassing to have to remind him of something so elementary, but Judaism teaches that human beings are in the image of the Creator. For the Darwinist, this is pernicious nonsense. Not only is it wrong , it's not even wrong. To the extent that people believe such nonsense, it's only because we have some sort of "religious" gene that makes us believe in sacred cow manure.

Judaism maintains that existence is holy -- or that it is our earthly task to make it so. For a Darwinist, there can be no real qualiity of "holiness" or "the sacred." Again, these are just illusions, tricks of the genes. They can have no basis in reality. In truth, nothing is sacred. Period.

Now, all awakened souls know that awareness of the sacred is one of the keys to comprehending God, as it is one of the "divine modalities" that shines through matter and lends it its metaphysical transparency. I remember when I was younger, camping in Yosemite and being overwhelmed by its majestic beauty. But for a Darwinist, there can be no such thing as transcendent beauty. Indeed, to waste one's time nurturing such illusions probably just compromises one's chances of survival, as a hungry bear might be just behind that tree.

For the Darwinist, thought is merely the meaningless byproduct of the physical brain. In can have no metaphysical certitude and no ultimate significance. But for the Jew, it is a link between man and Spirit, as is Man as such. For the Jew, human thought mirrors the creator's "metacosmic wisdom," on the one hand, and his "intracosmic intelligence" on the other. In other words, there is the "uncreated wisdom" of Torah, and the "word" as embodied in the book of creation itself. For the Lizard who crawls in his intellectual belly, the Torah is just a manmade book of fantasy, while the cosmos is just a random accident with no intrinsic meaning.

For Judaism, existence is a revelation; to a certain extent, it is an externalization of God's interior, which is why we find traces of divine beauty everywhere, and why we have access to Truth and to Virtue, the latter of which is "beauty of soul" and "truth of conduct," so to speak. For the Darwinist Lizard, truth can only be convention, while virtue can only be a social agreement.

Or, if Queeg does believe in absolute truth and morality, I invite him explain how. But you will have no doubt noticed that Queeg only trucks in sneering contempt, ad hominem, and argument from authority. He never fleshes out and explains the basis for his philosophical views. Which doesn't matter, for if he were to attempt to do so in any consistent manner, he would soon discover that he cannot, because it is impossible. He would just look silly trying. You can't just omnipotently delete those aspects of reality that do not fit your paradigm, and then call it "consistency." Well, I suppose you can, but as Gödel taught us, such consistency can only be purchased at the price of completeness.

Here is another example of a nonsense statement to the vertically challenged Lizard encased in matter: "All the light God has given to Israel is hidden in the Torah; the Torah is the crystallization and mysterious permanence of the Sinaitic revelation. On Sinai, the real presence of hokhmah, divine 'wisdom,' appeared before the 'Chosen People': 'Israel penetrated the mystery of hokhmah,' says the Zohar..." So if Queeg wishes to be intellectually consistent, he would again express just as much contempt for Israel as he does for the Discovery Institute, because this is a lie and a fraud perpetrated on generation after generation by rabbinical shills on gullible Jews -- who were indeed "chosen," but by natural selection, just like the rest of us.

For a Darwinist, the Torah cannot be what Judaism says it is, the "static letter" which "serves as the unchanging point of departure for spiritual contemplation of revealed truth." The traditional interpretation, or oral dictrine, "is like a hammer which shatters the stone, thus freeing from it spiritual 'sparks' of hokhmah which dwells within it."

Now, I'm not even Jewish, but I have enough experience of Torah study to know the above statement to be 100% true. But if it is true, then Darwinism can't be. I mean, really. "Sparks of holiness" hidden in a book? Striking a book with a hammer of esoteric doctrine to make the spiritual sparks fly? What utter nonsense. There is no "light" in any book, much less a collection of pre-scientific fairy tales.

What is Man? For the Darwinist, nothing special, just an accident of the genes. This view is obviously 100% at odds with Judaism, for which the mystery of man is central to the Divine-Cosmic drama. In Judaism, Man is both revelation and symbol, which "links the lowest world with the supreme 'self' of all things." Within us, we contain the "superintelligble principle," which breaks out into "ontological wisdom" on the one hand (hokhmah), and "onto-cosmological intelligence" (binah) on the other. This is why we may know the truth of God on the spiritual plane, the truth of man on the psychic plane, and the truth of the cosmos on the material plane. But ultimately it is all One integral -- and simple -- Truth; for it is all a reflection of the Absolute One.

For the Darwinist, there can be no "One," only the many. As such, there can only be a chaotic babel of opinions and tastes, a path from nowhere leading to nothing. While existence is a mystery, it is an "empty mystery," unlike the "full and divinely overflowing" mystery it is for the observant Jew.

Our primary home is the vertical world, and it is strictly impossible to derive it from any purely horizontal world without doing great violence to man -- in fact, annihilating Man as such. It is quite literally a kind of genocide, which is again what is so disturbing about the darkness of LGF. For the first principle of conservatism is that there is a real transcendent order to which man owes his primary allegiance. This is another way of saying that man lives in a vertical world which is the real and enduring world, in contrast to the horizontal world of ceaseless change and mutation. No enduring principles can be derived from that world, at least none that apply to the human station per se.

This downward spiral into scientistic anti-humanism cannot continue indefinitely without eventually hitting bottom and then crashing through to the other side (recall my graph of spiritual space from a few weeks back), thus completing the cosmic inversion, i.e., the Fall. But the very essence of Jewish spiritual practice is the "inversion of the cosmic inversion," so it is again 100% at odds with the foolish beliefs of Liztards.

Inquiring minds want to know: from whence comes the reptilian certainty of the Liztard on matters that far transcend his cramped and earthbound intellect? It comes from the transcendent absolute, only dissipated and "frozen" within the confines of a quasi-animal ego, the latter of which is only the exterior internalized.

For when someone asks if you "believe in Darwinism," let's be honest. They aren't asking if you believe in whatever the theory has been demonstrated to prove -- like a bacterium that learns a new trick. Rather, they are asking if you believe that it provides an all-encompassing explanation for human existence, and ultimately whether or not you are a theist. And to the extent that God exists, then Darwinism quite obviously cannot embody any kind of "total explanation." Not even close. Indeed, it can only be a kind of elaborate lie when it exceeds its rightful bounds, for it becomes a Tree of Death -- death to the intellect, death to objective morality, and death to the very environment in which man's soul flourishes.

When the Darwinist protests that "you don't have to be religious to be moral," know that he is mouthing a pure absurdity, for he is presupposing eternal principles that cannot be explained on any Darwinian basis -- again, because Darwinism only accounts for change of outward form, not the permanence of what not only transcends form but in-forms it to begin with, i.e., transcendent interiority.

Reductionistic Lizards would have us believe that merely "having morals" is somehow synonymous with knowing the Good and acting in conformity with it. All people have morals. The question is, are they Good? And for the last time, it is a strict impossibility that one could ever arrive at the Good through natural selection alone. Frankly, it is an absurd argument that no remotely sophisticated person could take seriously. Again, in this struggle for survival between rabbi and reptile, we only ask that the latter be intellectually consistent in following their first principles to their meshuginna consequences.

(Quoted material taken from The Universal Meaning of the Kabbalah by Leo Schaya.)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Israel Has No Right to Exist

Now that all of the anti-Semites have eagerly googled their way here, let me repeat that Israel has no "right" to exist. Rather, it has an obligation to do so.

Someone once said -- can't think of who at the moment -- that the purpose of culture was to produce a few great men. That being the case, perhaps the purpose of man is to produce a few great cultures.

First of all, this has nothing to do with the infinite worth of the individual. Rather, it has more to do with how one culture -- say, the Palestinians -- produces monsters by the truckbombload, whereas another -- oh, say, Israel -- produces more human greatness on a per-keppellah basis than any other.

Imagine if the UN weren't the diabolical shmutspool that it is. Not only is it the "last best hope" of the world's monsters, but it is actively at war with the best that mankind has to offer. Imagine: the UN Commission on Human Rights "has awarded 27 percent of its condemnatory resolutions for Israel," a a number which dwarfs any other country, despite the fact that Israel constitutes a tiny fraction of the world's population.

These thoughts are not new to me (I wrote a previous post with the same title a few years ago), but they are being renewed in reading George Gilder's The Israel Test. This book should be dagger in the heart of multiculturalism and the gospiel of "diversity," but it won't matter, for you cannot kill what is already dead. Yes, life can vanquish death, but not in academic debate. If anything, debating merely breathes life into the zombie. It's what they feed on.

Once again I am reminded of a Star Trek episode I was watching the other night. While beaming some Romulans on board, the Enterprise had also unwittingly taken aboard a disembodied alien which fed off of violence. It manipulated events so that the Romulans and humans were at each others throats. The alien didn't care about the outcome. Rather, it just fed off the vital emotion that was generated.

That is about as good a description of a mind parasite as you will see. Depending upon the parasite, it can feed on violence, or passion, or anger, or drama, or politics, or deceit (since the lie partakes of omnipotence), whatever. And indeed, the most serious mind parasites induct others into the psychodrama. If you can maintain "evenly hovering attention," you can feel the parasite's pull. For example, before responding to a troll, try to detach from your reaction and analyze what is provoking it. What has the troll said to draw you into his little drama, and what is it in you that has been provoked? Also, you will have noticed that the troll hardly feeds on truth or light. Quite the contrary; rather, it's your emotional reaction they're after.

I don't want to get too sidetracked here, but this is what distinguishes projection from what is called projective identification, which is an absolutely vital concept to understand if one is to understand humans. Through projective identification, the projector -- again, say the Palestinians -- behaves in such a way that it evokes the very reaction that reinforces the original perception and justifies the behavior.

Obviously, it is impossible to understand the left without the concept of projective identification. Nor is it possible to understand the UN, if that isn't a redundancy. One can know what the UN "is" by seeing what it accuses Israel of -- just as one can know what the left is by seeing what it accuses conservatives of. Again, I don't want to dwell in truisms.

For Gilder, Israel -- or the Jewish people -- is like an ax that conveniently cuts straight through the center of mankind. On one side you will have people who believe in freedom, achievement, and especially creative excellence. On the other side you will have people who believe in "fairness," in zero-sum economics, and in collectivism, but the practical effect is an envious attack on excellence -- and the cultural means to excellence.

Again, we are speaking in truisms, given the staggering amount of human excellence produced by the Jewish people. All decent people should be supporters of Israel -- indeed, even all indecent people, if only for reasons of pure self-interest, given the staggeringly disproportionate contribution they make to advances in science, including, of course medicine. In all likelihood a Jew will save your life many times over if he hasn't already (cf. nuclear physics).

In fact, if I were president, you know what I'd say to Ahmadinejad? I'd say how pathetic that you must rely upon Jewish physics to defend yourself! If this isn't a stark admission of the utter failure of Islamic science, I don't know what is. But anyway, thank you for admitting the superiority of the Jewish people, you frightful pig.

I don't know if I want to bore you with all of the statistics, but they do drive home the point. Gilder notes that Israel "with its population of 7.23 million, five and one-half million Jewish, stands behind only the United States in technological contributions." Excluding the Arabs, that's about... you do the math... 5.5 million vs. 300 million.... At any rate, "in per-capita innovation, Israel dwarfs all nations. The forces of civilization in the world continue to feed upon the quintessential wealth of mind epitomized by Israel."

Back to the idea that the purpose of culture is to produce greatness. Gilder writes that "the Jewish three-tenths of 1 percent of world population has contributed some 25 percent of recent notable human-intellectual accomplishment in the modern period." For example, in the latter half of the 20th century they were awarded 29 percent of the Nobel Prizes, and in this century, 32 percent. Not to mention "51 percent of the Wolf Foundation Prizes in Physics, 28 percent of the Max Planck Medailles and 38 percent of the Dirac Medals for Theoretical Physics, 37 percent of the Heineman Prizes for Mathematical Physics, and 53 percent of the Enrico Fermi Awards." To say nothing of the incalculable contribution of John von Neumann to the computer technology you're using right now.

I know what you're thinking. What's up with this intolerable achievement gap? We need to put in place a global affirmative action program so that some other groups can get their fair share of prizes. We don't want to take anything away from Israel. We just want to spread the prizes around. How about a Nobel for that innovative Palestinian guy who placed the explosives up his rectum in order to avoid detection by the Israelis. How did he do it? It seems to defy certain laws of physics, such as placing a square peg into a round hole.

One reason Israel is despised by the international left is that it is the most conspicuous disproof of their precious economic -- or ecognostic -- fantasies. "As one of the world's most profitiable economies built on one of the world's most barren territories, Israel challenges all the materialist superstitions of zero-sum economics, based on the 'distribution' of natural resources and the exploitation of land and labor." Indeed, the "crippling error of zero-sum economics" is the chief cause of global poverty (Gilder).

Israel is not what is wrong with the world, to put it mildly. Rather, it is one of the few things that is right with the world.

One more irony. "Jews, amazingly, excel so readily in all intellectual fields that they outperform all rivals in the arena of anti-Semitism." Thus, Obama is a mere shmendrick compared to the likes of Chomsky, Zinn, Soros, Marx, Engels, Naomi Klein, Ahmadinejad, etc.

I think I'll just continue this post tomorrow.... Shalom Shabb'atman.

Friday, October 02, 2009

They Think, Therefore We Are Screwed

Here's a mediocrity from a couple years back that I think might have some unzapped potential that I will now attempt to draw out. You might say that it was a premature birth. Let's see if we can get it out of the stinkubator.... Or at least have fun trying.

When you think about it, the only thing in the cosmos that can go really wrong -- really, really wrong -- on a massive scale is human thinking. So stop it already!

What I mean is that everything else in the universe works perfectly harmoniously, without a hitch, from the solar system to the ecosystem to the human body. I suppose you could argue that birth defects and genetic illnesses represent "going wrong" as well, but these are obviously exceptions that prove the rule.

No, there is no question that human thought introduced something potentially satanic into the cosmos. When we say that people need to be "saved," it is almost always from their own thoughts, is it not? They need to be saved from other people's thoughts too, but that's in the political or economic sense.

In fact, if you want to know why the vast majority of political revolutions fail, it is because they only liberate one from the tyranny of other people's thoughts, only to re-enslave them in their own. The left is now "free" of George Bush. But are they now free? Ho! Now that Americans are seeing the true craziness that engulfs the left, they are abandoning Obama in droves. I don't think too many people want to be forced to live inside Nancy Pelosi's or Harry Reid's thoughts.

Now, Genesis, in its wisdom, obviously recognized this problem at the outset, in that the very origin of man contains the seeds of his fall. No sooner were "our eyes opened" than there was trouble in paradise. Before that, human beings were living in harmony with creation, just like everything else.

A psychoanalytic-developmental reading of Genesis would suggest that there was something in the evolution of man analogous to the innocent child "waking" to consciousness. In fact, you can tell when your child has become "conscious" when he tells you his first lie. Before that, there is no reason to lie, and no means to do so. But soon enough the child becomes implicitly aware of the cynical adage that man was given speech in order to conceal his thoughts.

In The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis, Kass makes many salient points along these lines. For example in the first version of creation, "things are said to be 'good'; in the second, there is a tree of knowledge of good and bad, nothing is said to be 'good,' and one thing -- man's aloneness -- is said (by the Lord God) to be 'not good'.... In the first story, human freedom appears to be our badge of distinction; in the second story, human freedom is the source of our troubles."

Interestingly, the first version of creation is a macro view, from which all appears good. Imagine if you could actually stand outside the entire cosmos, as Petey has, and regard the whole existentialada as a beautiful and benign star-making machine. What's the problem? No problem. Look at all the stars and galaxies!

But wait! What's that?! Down there -- walking around on its hind legs on that little blue speck. It reminds me of the opening scene of Blue Velvet, which shows the man watering his lush suburban lawn. But then the camera moves in for an extreme close-up, showing all of the disgusting terrestrial creatures crawling and slinking below.

Thus, just as in a movie, the second version of creation zooms in for a micro view of the goings-on of a particular planet at a far corner of creation. Imagine if you could actually stand outside history, as Petey has done, and regard the whole crazy collidorescape, from primitive premoderns to postmodern primitives, as one continuous thread with an underlying pattern that keeps repeating again and again and again.

As Kass writes, the first version of creation "offers a cosmic vision, majestically presenting man's place in a cosmic whole.... [T]he scene viewed is remote and all-encompassing, and what is seen is eternal." The story provides "metaphysical scope and knowledge, and it inspires in us wonder and cosmic awe." It is the ontological beginning.

But the second version is more epistemological and moral. It "maintains a strictly terrestrial focus and addresses the reader as a suffering moral agent, presenting him a poignant account of why misery shadows human life."

This second version of creation does not contradict the first. It's just from a different perspective, that's all. A different "vertex," as Bion would put it. But this difference goes to the heart of man's problems, because the one view presents us with eternal, intelligible, nonlocal metaphysical principles, while the other presents us with man's deviation from these principles, i.e., his own thought, and the mischief that ensues, right down to the present day:

"A life of sinless innocence and wholeheartedness is virtually impossible for human beings, thanks to freedom, imagination, reason-and-speech, self-consciousness, and pride, and in the face of neediness, sexuality, ignorance, self-division, dependence, and lack of self-command."

In baseball, there are a couple of sayings that apply: Don't think, you'll hurt the ballclub, and No brain, no problem. And so we see that misery shadows human life, especially the Chicago Cubs.

Speaking of sports, I'm sure many of you remember a book that came out in the 1970s, The Inner Game of Tennis, which taught that... Rather than trying to think back on what the book taught, I'll just cite the amazon review:

"A phenomenon when first published in 1972, the Inner Game was a real revelation. Instead of serving up technique, it concentrated on the fact that... 'Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game.' The former is played against opponents, and is filled with lots of contradictory advice; the latter is played not against, but within the mind of the player, and its principal obstacles are self-doubt and anxiety. Gallwey's revolutionary thinking... was really a primer on how to get out of your own way to let your best game emerge.... 'No matter what a person's complaint when he has a lesson with me, I have found the most beneficial first step... is to encourage him to see and feel what he is doing -- that is, to increase his awareness of what actually is.'"

In short, the purpose of Gallwey's book was to help tormented players overcome their own divided selves and return to tennis eden -- just like the Bible. For it too posits "two natures" within man, who is ultimately divided against himself:

"Human troubles are foreshadowed by man's dual origins: he is constituted by two principles, the first one low ('dust from the ground'), the second one high ('breath of life')." On the one hand, we are stardust, we are golden, but on the other, we are earthdust, we are fertilizer. Either way, we've got to find our way back to the garden. No wonder man is crazy! For once he has eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, "the human being cannot without trouble enjoy his own existence. In its presence, he cannot remain undivided within himself."

Now this problem of "thought," as we were saying yesterday, is undoubtedly worse for the intelligent than it is for the stupid. But it is a catastrophe for the tenured. As Thomas Sowell writes, "To create a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs": "There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs."

And just as Genesis emphatically teaches, the problem is not so much thought as it is the pride associated with it: "Such people have been told all their lives how brilliant they are, until finally they feel forced to admit it, with all due modesty. But they not only tend to overestimate their own intelligence, more fundamentally they tend to overestimate how important individual brilliance is when dealing with real-world problems. Many crucial things in life are learned from experience, rather than from clever thoughts or clever words. Indeed, a gift for the clever phrasing so admired today by the media can be a fatal talent, especially for someone chosen to lead a government."

God save us from the do-gooders. And God save us from the experts. But when confronted by a mob of do-gooding experts intent on ramming their goodness down your throat, it is on. Time to drop the gloves at center ice. Revolution time, baby.

Because they ignore the lesson of Genesis, the ideas of the secular left are particularly catastrophic. They seem to be clueless about the double-edgedness of human thought, and therefore, the irony-rich Law of Unintended Consequences -- to say nothing of the fact that in order for government to do something for you, it must first do something to you.

There are so many areas in which the "rational" thought of the left only makes matters worse. In his Vision of the Anointed, Sowell devotes a chapter to this, but it's really one of his central points: it takes a kind of breathtaking hubris to imagine that one can deploy dry reason to arrive at "solutions" that are superior to the collective wisdom of man, honed over centuries of contact with real experience. Thus, for example, the leftist no doubt feels that vetoing man's collective wisdom and redefining marriage is the rational thing to do. But doing the merely rational thing is hardly rational.

There is a higher form of thought that transcends reason while fully embracing it. And there is a lower form of thought that clings to reason while completely obliterating its own roots in transcendence. To live in the paradise of the latter is hell for one who knows the former. It is the difference between "I think, therefore I am," vs. "I AM, therefore we think." And you know what they say about putting Descartes before d' hearse.... Oh, and those road apples aren't really apples, so don't try to eat one.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Cause and Cure of Mankind

Manliness.... [is] the only remedy for the trouble it causes. --Harvey Mansfield, Manliness

One of the things a classical liberal realizes that a leftist liberal doesn’t is that human beings are the problem. And this is why the classical liberalism embodied in the modern conservative movement will always be a tougher sell than contemporary left-liberalism, because people naturally don’t want to believe that they are the problem. Rather, they prefer to imagine that there is some simplistic political solution that will cure the disease of man.

But if you have even a modicum of personal insight, you know bloody well that no political program could ever cure you, you sick bastard, any more than socialized medicine could make Michael Moore just put down the damn fork, okay? The state cannot cure restless mouth syndrome.

I realize Petey's characterization of human beastlings sounds harsh, but you know he's right, and besides, he was addressing me. But there is a sense in which you can think of human beings as a weird disease of the biosphere. However, you can also think of life as a sort of runaway cancer on the body of matter, and existence itself as a blight on the body of nothingness. Some old wise man or guy -- I can't think of the name -- said something to the effect that existence was the greatest sin of all.

After all, if there were no existence, there would be no problems either. To exist is to have problems, if only because existence implies duality and therefore separation from the Source. And that’s a big problem -- a problem that it is the purpose of religion to address and to heal. Religion is about recovering our prior wholeness -- or, let us say, "discovering" the wholeness that already is. Truly, it is a "memoir of the future."

Being that the principles we are discussing are truly universal, no man can escape them. Your tenure is powerless here, my overeducated friend. Nevertheless, you will have noticed that leftism attempts to address the same problem -- to heal the wound of existence -- only in an upside-down way, e.g., the religion of radical environmentalism that sees man as the pariah of the biosphere.

Do you see the irony? For the left, individual men are not the problem. Rather, mankind is the problem. Since the disease is "collective," they imagine that the cure is too. But their prescription cannot heal a man, to put it mildly. Rather, for the leftist, the "cure" is in the attempt to impose the cure on others. They don't care that the treatment actually makes men worse. The point is that it makes the leftist feel better. It diminishes their existential pain. This is why we truly say: God save us from the do-gooders! Why do liberals not believe me when I say that I can get through life without Barney Frank's help?

The local manifestations of life and mind are relatively recent phenomena in the cosmos. (Again, I believe that involution is prior to evolution, so that life and mind are ultimately nonlocally prior to their local appearance.) The cosmos is at least 13.7 billion years old, meaning that it did just fine, thank you, for about 10 billion years without any creepy living things slithering about and mucking things up.

And after that, the cosmos went another 3.84 billion years or so without any of these animals getting a big head and thinking that they knew better than the cosmos that had bearthed and begaialed them. Although modern human beings have been more or less genetically complete for as long as 200,000 years, we really don’t see any evidence of what we -- or I, anyway -- call proper humanness until its sudden emergence about 40,000 years ago, for example, in the beautiful and fully realized cave paintings at Alta Mira and Lascaux.

As I pointed out in One Cosmos, once you have these new modes of locally concentrated Life and Mind, you also have the entirely new existential category of pathology. In other words, prior to the emergence of life 3.85 billion years ago, there were literally no problems in the universe. Nothing could go wrong because nothing had to go right. (Of course, I'm omitting discussion of the multitude of things that have to go right for a big bang to result in a big brain, but that's the subject for a different post.)

But every biological entity is composed of various functions that must achieve their end in order for the organism to survive. Say it with me: pathology is a function of teleology, or final causes. This is why we say that "judgment day" is just the cosmic final exam, that is, a measure of the distance between you and your final cause. Don't worry -- no one gets a perfect score. Well, one guy supposedly did. But guess what? In this class, you're actually allowed to copy his work!

In a human being, there are thousands -- millions, I suppose -- of large- and small-scale things that have to go right in order for us to be free of pathology. Our lungs must exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment; our heart must circulate blood; our pancreas must produce insulin (d’oh!). A multitude of irreducibly complex processes have to go right for life to continue. Anything that interferes with the ability of an organ to accomplish its end is called “pathology.”

But this leads to an interesting question, for what on earth or in heaven is the mind for? What is the proper end of human consciousness? Because if we don’t know what consciousness is for, we can’t very well say that this or that individual is pathological, can we? Nor can we even begin to develop a functional political philosophy. It would be like trying to build a zoo with no proper knowledge of the appropriate habitat of each individual species. No wonder our culture is such a zoo.

Now, if you adopt a strictly Darwinian, materialistic view, then the answer to this question is obvious: a healthy person is simply one who survives, because that is the whole point of natural selection. Thus, Stalin was more healthy than the 20 to 40 million people he murdered, just as Hitler was clearly more healthy than the 6 million Jews he slaughtered. Survival of the fittest is the final arbiter in nature. You may think that I am being a bit polemical, but this was the philosophy of one of the forerunners of postmodernity, Nietzsche, who believed that the whole idea of “God” was a pathological meme that simply protected the weak and infirm from the harsh judgment of nature. Nature loves man ruthlessly, as some wag once tailed it.

No matter who you are, you will have something inside of you that makes a judgment between psychological health and pathology. A non-psychologist generally doesn't make his criteria explicit or overcharge you if you try to pin him down. But clearly, you cannot say what is pathological unless you have some implicit idea of what a human being is for, and what the pathology is preventing it from accomplishing.

Is there a reason for our existence? If you are any kind of materialist or secularist, you must be intellectually honest and affirm that there is no such reason -- no possible reason -- aside from those that we simply make up.

And this is precisely what the secular left does. To use the technical term, they just "make shit up." The doctrines of “diversity,” multiculturalism and moral relativism are all nihilistic to the core, being that they insist that there is no proper way for a human being to “be,” and that any judgment we make about other people and cultures is not only wrong, but probably racist as well. But on why on Darwinian grounds is racism or anything else intrinsically wrong? C'mon, Queeg. We're waiting.

Completely lost on these leftist quacks is the irony that their daffy doctrine of diversity is itself a very strong statement about the ultimate purpose of human beings, which is to not make judgments unless it is to harshly judge those who judge. This is what we call a sophisticated postmodern belief, which is to say that it is a diseased limb on the tree of western civilization that its inhabitants have cut from the trunk, so that they mysteriously hang suspended in thin, irony-poor acadanemic air with no visible means of philosophical support. This is why in the Polanski matter we see the morally insane rush to non-judgment.

It makes no sense at all -- certainly less sense than the religious traditions they deride and dismiss -- but that’s an intellectual for you. They always believe that their abstractions are more real than reality, and that reality itself is a deviation from their beautiful ideas. They don't trust something that works in practice unless it also works in their theory. It’s one of the reasons they detest liberty, because they cannot accept the idea that the spontaneous and robust “bottom up” order produced by chaotic liberty surpasses their own beautiful ideas of how the good society should be imposed by leftist elites from on high.

I do not derive my ideas of human spiritual and psychological health and pathology from nature. Nor do I derive them from culture. Rather, I do so from religious tradition, which I believe speaks to the Universal Man -- not to such and such a man, but to man as such -- to all men at all times and in all cultures, without exception. The man who fails to achieve these ends is more or less sick in the soul, spirit, or brain, while the culture that fails to produce these kinds of men is a sick society. To turn it around, the purpose of civilization is to produce these kinds of men, which is to say, Men.

Man is the image and likeness of the Creator, so he therefore has an uncreated intellect that may know Truth, and know it with certainty. He may distinguish between the Real and the unreal (or less real), between appearance and reality, between the transient and the eternal, between causes and effects, between the objective and subjective, and between principles and their manifestation. No mere animal can do any of these things, nor can any materialist philosophy or tenured ape account for them in a manner that is not logically self-refuting.

Man has an uncreated conscience that may distinguish between objective good and evil, and do so reliably. This is not to say that I do not believe in situational ethics. Rather, it is to say that in each situation there is an objectively good choice, even if we must struggle to discern it.

And man has an aesthetic eye that may distinguish between beauty and ugliness, and therefore pursue degrees of translucent material perfection that are apprehended in light of the Absolute. Aesthetic perfection does exist, and cannot surpass itself. Postmodern art makes a virtue of its failure to even acknowledge these transcendent degrees of perfection, and therefore equates ugliness and beauty. As we have said before, it aims low and reaches its target every time.

In short, man is man because he may know the True, the Good and the Beautiful, and act upon that knowledge with a will that is free. Any man who does not achieve these ends is a sick man, and any culture that does not produce such men is a sick society.

Judged by these criteria, academia is by and large a very sick place, at least as it pertains to the humanities (we are naturally excluding those noble and truly liberal universities such as Hillsdale College whose very mission is to preserve the ideals of which we speak). On what elite campus do the professors speak of timeless truth, or objective morality, or of transcendentally real beauty? To the extent that they do, we have no quarrel with them.

Our enemies in the Muslim world are our enemies precisely because they are sick men from sick societies who wish to spread their disease to the rest of the world. But in our own part of the world, approximately half of the population suffers from a soul pathology that prevents them from making judgments on, or even perceiving, the soul pathology of our external enemies.

Thus, there are no feminist groups that rallied behind George Bush, who liberated more Muslim women than perhaps any other human being in history. Likewise, I know of no leftists who celebrate the achievements of the great liberator Ronald Reagan, who gave millions of victims of a satanic ideology the opportunity to become human again. For if leftists were to acknowledge these achievements, they would no longer be leftists. They would be cured.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mystery Between Mister O and Mister I

Here's another old one that touches on the mystery of time. And when I say "mystery," I mean it in a particular way. First, it is a distinct mode of understanding through which we may know an absent presence and present absence. In other words, mystery has an epistemological sense. God, for example, is encountered through, or in, mystery. The more you heighten your sense of mystery, the more you are open to the transcendent. In my book, I symbolize this be-attitude as (o).

But there is also an implicit ontological sense of the term. As I have mentioned before, I have long suspected that the various fundamental mysteries that confront man are somehow interconnected; you might say that they are diverse manifestations of O.

What I mean is that there are certain things that are fundamentally beyond the horizon of knowability -- at least in the profane or rationalistic sense. No amount of cogitation will ever resolve these riddles, which include Time, Life, People, Self, and other magazines.

Sorry. That was a gag that couldn't help writing itself. These mysteries include Time (in all its modes, but especially the Now), Consciousness, Life, Freedom, and Being, AKA, that window into eternity that says I AM.

In the past I have used the metaphor of a three-dimensional hand passing through a two-dimensional plane. As the grubby fingers break through the plane, they will initially appear as one, then two, eventually five, circles (unless, like Petey, you were involved in a tragic farming accident). But then the circles will blend together at the wrist, if you still have one. You can always learn to use your left hand.

If you want to know what time -- and therefore evolution -- is, that's about as good an image as I can think of at the moment. Remember also what I -- or rather, Captain Kirk -- said the other day about the "circle" that exists when two dimensions meet -- analogous to the narrow passage between the chambers of an hourglass. Put the two images together, and what do we have?

I don't know. Let me think for a moment. A new Star Trek episode? I can't look at the keyboard and deploy my imagination at the same time.... speaking of which, add "imagination" to that list of mysteries above.

Got it. That little passage between the chambers is the "place" of declension, where the three-dimensional hand passes into two-dimensional space; you might say that it is where the Dreamer dreams the dream. It is certainly where free will takes place, not to mention the passage of time. And it is the only place where I AM could be.

The post I am about to edit was one that originally consisted of a purely "free association." You might say that it was an attempt to describe the sand particles as they flowed past. In editing it, I will now attempt to stand back from the hourglass for a wider view. In other words, in this second bite at the apple, I will attempt to contain what initially contained me -- or interpret the dream, so to speak.

It's FREE ASSOCIATION day, in which I, Bob's Unconscious, commandeer the wheel of Cosmic Bus and say whatever pops into his melon. It's a good way for him to discover what he thinks about things of which he knows nothing; or to know about things he has only unThought, and to thereby render this mythterious absence present. Or again, to bring forth some hidden corner of Bobness that should have perhaps remained hidden. At least we'll find out why.

Say, we haven't discussed time in a while, have we? It's always good to meditate on the mystery of time, since it is a modality that opens out to the infinite -- like the haunted house of Existence, the unexpected door into Life, and the miraculous window of Subjectivity.

Perhaps this is too obvious, but I think we can all agree that evolution presupposes time. Or does it? Obviously, there could be no possibility of evolution in the absence of time, time being a measure of change. But perhaps it's the other way around, i.e., that time is a byproduct of evolution. In other words, because things evolve, there is time. After all, if things didn't evolve, there would only be eternity, i.e., atemporal changelessness. As such, there would be no time to do anything, not even dash over to the dry cleaner before they close.

At this moment, I am looking straight ahead at my official Subgenius clock, with Bob Dobb's beaming face looking back at me. Some people suppose that a clock measures time, but that is incorrect. Rather, a clock measures space, as the hand moves from position to position (well, technically, this particular clock measures slack). A few moments ago, the minute hand was at Bob's noble chin. Now it is approaching the majestic pipe which he holds in his perfect teeth. The point is, time and change are thoroughly entangled, so that it is impossible to conceive of one in the absence of the other. Time is change and change is time.

Now, there is a difference between time and mere duration. And there is a kind of duration that is above and a kind of inverse analogy below. That is, God by definition transcends time and is not subject to change. Nevertheless, he obviously "endures." This is the modality of eternity, which is always now: before you spuds were, I YAM.

As we have discussed before, eternity is not time everlasting, but timelessness. However, on the temporal plane, the closest we can come to grasping eternity is through the very old and ancient. This is why we can obtain hints of the eternal in the presence of virgin nature, or a very old cathedral, or perhaps by looking out into the heavens. But these things should not be confused with eternity itself.

Eternity is not necessarily "time standing still." For example, Bob has treated numberless cases of psychological trauma (I didn't say "successfully"), and one of its universal characteristics is the suspension of time while the trauma is occurring. I think this can more or less be explained on Darwinian grounds, as an adaptation we evolved in order to cope with extreme distress. When someone is in the midst of a trauma, it is as if the event is implicitly recognized as being too "large" and full of implications to be able to metabolize and assimilate. As a result, the mind "shuts off," as it were. It continues to register the events as they are occurring, but in a timeless way that prevents us from thinking about them (which would require time). You might say that there is a defense mechanism that "stops time" (unlike progressiveism, which reverses it).

Only after the trauma has ended -- once the person is "safe" -- does the mind then "download" the trauma into time, so to speak, and start thinking about all the implications. Thus, the traumatized person always experiences flashbacks, or involuntary recollections that must be "metabolized" after the fact. Likewise, they will think about all of the many "what ifs," e.g., What if he had pulled the trigger?, or What if I had left my children behind?, or What if I hadn't noticed the stubble on her face? (long story).

Again, it is as if the trauma were a "hyperdimensional object," the implications of which can only be drawn out in time. (A more primitive person won't even be able to think about the trauma, but only act it out in time. In this case, the actions are the recollections. For some people, their whole life is simply the repetitive acting out of trauma; one thinks of the Islamists.)

Just so, an encounter with God can result in a similar kind of process that may take a lifetime to sort out. In other words, one must unpack and explicate all of the implications, which are more or less "infinite." Think of how Paul was "shattered" on the road to Damascus; the rest was just "commentary," so to speak.

I remember Schuon making reference to this in the preface to one of this books.... let me see if I can remember which one....

Here it is, from Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism: "[T]he Sophia perennis [that's the perennial wisdom for those of you in Reino Ciego] is quite evidently inexhaustible and has no natural limits.... As it is impossible to exhaust all that lends itself to being expressed, and as repetition in metaphysical matters cannot be a mistake -- it being better to be too clear than not clear enough -- we believe that we could return to our usual theses, either to offer things we have not yet said, or to explain in a usefully new way things we have said before."

So if these posts appear tediously repetitive, that's my excuse.

Later Schuon expands upon this in a useful way: "It is indispensable to know at the outset that there are truths inherent in the human spirit that are as if buried in the 'depths of the heart,' which means that they are contained as potentialities or virtualities in the pure Intellect: these are the principial or archetypal truths, those which prefigure and determine all others.... The intelligence of animals is partial, that of man is total; and this totality is explained only by a transcendent reality to which the intelligence is proportioned. Thus, the decisive error of materialism and of agnosticism is to be blind to the fact that material things and the common experiences of our life are immensely beneath the scope of our intelligence.... without the Absolute, the capacity of our conceiving it would have no cause."

Okay, let's break this down. As we have said before, profane thinking, or (k), can never arrive at O, except in the exterior sense; it can conceive it, but being in it is a different matter. Real ontonoetic thinking is a declension from O, i.e., that "transcendent reality to which the intelligence is proportioned." Now, if we were fully "in O," it would be analogous to being "in" the trauma; time stops, and we simply enjoy the divine Slack. There is duration, but no time. Augustine talks about being "taken up into heaven"; likewise, one thinks of Plotinus and so many other mystics down through the ages. Or, as Johan reminds us, it is like when Homer talks about the paradox of the beer being "in us," that we may be "in the beer."

But our day-to-day lives -- no, our life -- consists of unpacking and "assimilating" the "divine trauma" of O. Just like the bad kind of trauma, O shatters and never flatters the ego. The ego cannot possibly assimilate it, for it would be like the drop trying to assimilate the ocean. Rather, it must begin to work through the "flashbacks" of O, which are more like "memoirs of the future" than "predictions of the past," the latter of which are all of the "what ifs" that result from the adverse trauma.

Now, let's see.... what would be the "ultimate" trauma.... let me think.... Well, one trauma would obviously be the Big Bang, an event so brimming with implications that it would take billions of years to sort them out, this morning's post not excepted.

Afterwards, one of the biggest and most unexpected traumas to emerge from the primal explosion was the sudden appearance of Life. Evolution has been tinkering with its implications for the past 3.85 billion years, although Life only became consciously aware of its own implications perhaps 40,000 years ago, when another trauma occurred, the sudden emergence of the human subject. (By the way, for you creationists out there, feel free to translate this into your own terms; a grasp of the principles is the important thing, not a literal reading. In other words, any way you look at it, the awakening to the human state was a traumatic event, a reality memorialized in Genesis.)

Yes, but what would be the ultimate ultimate trauma, something that man could ponder forever and never quite assimilate.... I've got it! How about if the Absolute were to come down into history itself and obliterate all of our categories, even the "false absolute" of Death itself?

Hmmm, it might just work.... It's one thing to send down a book, but we all know what humans can do with books, i.e., "contain" and therefore kill them with their minds....

In an analogy Bob has not used before, probably with good reason, it is as if God dives into the deep end of history, and the resultant waves in the historical pool are still reaching us, because God is just too big for the pond. Imagine Charles Barkley or Rosie O'Donnell doing a cannonball into a wading pool.

Isn't there a scriptural passage to the effect that "death could not contain him?" The point is again that none of our cosmic, existential, scientific, or psychological categories can contain him. He shatters time, death, history, and the human being who allows himself to be traumatized -- or, let us say, crucified -- by this overwhelming event that is always happening.

Well, long day today, and I pretty much have to go where Bob goes, even though he could never contain me, not in a million lifetomes....



(Image yoinked from Vanderleun's sidebar, I don't know, just because it reminds me of this weird dream I once had. Or that once had me.)