If Darwinism Were True, All Writers Would Be Food Critics
This is important, since I'm (almost) never writing from the standpoint of time, but eternity. That undoubtedly sounds grandiose, but it's not, for how could it be grandiose when I am specifically not taking credit for truths that do not originate in me? In fact, one's writing should always try to partake of eternity, or why bother? It's just that in our relativistic, journalistic, now-obsessed culture, we're not used to people trying to express truths that will still be true tomorrow, next year, and even forever.
Rather, the new norm is people like Thomas Friedman or Paul Krugman, whose columns are obsolete before they even write them. And yet, on the left, there's no penalty for being wrong. As Navy Seal Dennis Prager says, being on the left means never having to say you were wrong. The reason for this is that the leftist lives in an a priori abstract world that is governed by self-righteousness and good intentions (i.e., desire), not truth. And the sanctimonious are never wrong, since sanctimony concerns itself with ontological planes other than the Real. At best, one can say that the column of an aptly named Timesman has succeeded in conveying their sanctimony and superiority, which is no success at all.
If there is no intrinsic truth of man -- a Truth that doesn't come from man, but through him -- then the existentialists, Darwinists, and other relativists are correct that man is truly just freak of nature, a meaningless bridge between nowhere and nothing. That being the case, why even bother writing about it? Why not honestly enjoy one's little animal pleasures for as long as they last instead of inventing likely stories about what it all means? For if Darwinism were true, all writers would be food critics. Then we'd kill all the bad chefs.
On to the post, which is not only true, but always will be.
Man is made in such a way that he is never fully actualized within the limits of his possibilities except with the help of constraints, otherwise he would be perfect; where there is no brake there is exaggeration and unconsciousness. --F. Schuon
One of the intrinsic problems of leftism is that it confuses an absence of constraints with freedom, when the only real freedom is precisely a result of thinking, feeling, willing and even "being" within transcendent and ultimately God-given constraints.
For example, just as it isn't possible to "think mathematically" in the absence of mathematical forms or to play music in the absence of harmony, melody, and rhythm, it is not possible to "think spiritually" in the absence of authentic and timeless religious truths. These are the boundary conditions that vault one's thought into a higher vertical space which is anterior to us, even while we "co-create" it -- again, somewhat analogous to musical improvisation.
Real thought is the essence of prayer, meaning that, like all prayer, it links man's intelligence with what is timeless and eternal. Indeed, this is the sufficient reason for our thought, for if it isn't linked to the universal -- and hence timeless -- then what is it good for? How is it an improvement over the animal, who unfailingly knows what to do without having to cogitate about it?
To put it another way, the purpose of religious forms -- one of them, anyway -- is to allow us to think spiritually, and to do so in a productive way. One of the reasons why the "new age" is so empty and ultimately unfruitful is that it tries to invent or cobble together its own spiritual language, which amounts to thinking without constraints or playing music with no harmonic or melodic structure. Most self-styled "independent gurus" fall into this category, and this is the primary reason why their work dies with them (if we're lucky), since it does not arise out of any eternal tradition. They end up trying to invent their own tradition, which is analogous to the musician trying to invent music itself.
I remember Bob Dylan saying something similar with regard to his artistic development. He said something to the effect that he didn't understand how young musicians can think they'll produce anything of enduring value by simply imitating contemporary sounds, instead of immersing themselves in an authentic tradition.
In Dylan's case, one of the keys to his greatness was that he surrendered and submitted himself to the American folk tradition, as if it were a religion. Which, in a way, it was. That is, just as authentic religious revelations descend from "above" and are elaborated by no one and everyone, a genuine folk tradition arises from "below," in the collective experience of mankind. This is what gives the music its archetypally resonant power, a power that no single person could have invented (analogous to how math is powerful because it isn't invented).
Only once he had immersed himself in the folk tradition could Dylan then "legitimately" branch of into freer directions; but even so, I believe he would be the first to acknowledge that he is still working with timeless materials within a traditional framework. He is not truly an "innovator" in the way we usually think of that word. To the contrary, he is a strict traditionalist, out of which comes both his power and authority.
One other important point is that this approach ensures that music is not merely made for egoic or narcissistic reasons, but out of love -- love and respect for the tradition that is higher and greater than oneself. So much music is vile because it betrays the traditions out of which it arose. And man cannot betray tradition without betraying himself, since tradition is a repository of so much collective human wisdom and experience.
If one truly immerses oneself in a tradition and is guided by love, an alchemical transformation occurs within the soul. In this process, the lower self "dissolves," so to speak, allowing one to graft onto or merge with the tradition in a seamless, or "interior," way. The reason why this can occur is that a legitimate tradition embodies what is permanent within the self (in both its celestial and terrestrial aspects), so it is not really a discovery but a deep recollection of one's true being.
This, by the way, is one of the things that is so troubling about Obama. It is not so much that he is the spiritual disciple of an ignorant clown, but that he has surrendered himself to a tradition that is not a legitimate one at all, but one that is wholly -- or largely -- manmade. Any spiritually attuned person can listen to Jeremiah Wright and know this in an instant. That he is not radiating divine qualities is patently obvious. He has no dignity, no nobility, no sobriety; rather, he is "wild," intoxicated, incoherent, and self-glorifying. At best, he mimics certain qualities such as divine wrath and judgment, as well as a genuine fake charisma that emanates from his fascinatingly unbound mind parasites, as opposed to any celestial gift. All demagogues have this toxic gift that resonates in the susceptible.
A person of genuine spiritual attainment will radiate from the calm center, and be an image of the "motionless mover." But Wright is all periphery and no center; he has no spiritual center and therefore no intellectual center, hence, the insane conspiracy theories, which are both systematic and incoherent, just like any clinical paranoid who is invincible in his certainty of the impossible. Wright has quite literally substituted paranoia for metanoia, in that he orients himself around projected illusions instead of "turning around" and calmly orienting himself toward and around the peace and tranquility of the One.
As a commenter mentioned yesterday, this is not religion but Marxism, Marxism being the archetypal inversion of religion precisely. As I have mentioned on many occasions, this is my principal objection to the psychospiritual left, as it inverts the cosmic order, so that everything is quite literally backward and upside down. Mixed with religion, it becomes a particularly potent and destructive force, even demonic in the strict sense of the term.
Now, why is this important? Because a religion is where one's soul finds its rest. It is where one feels spiritually "at home." As such, if one finds one's home in a false religion, one is ipso facto a false person (which is no person at all). To put it another way, if one finds one's truth in lies, then one is living a lie -- or worse yet, one is a Lie.
But why would someone "fall in love" with religious lies and liars? Good question. It could just be because it is convenient to do so, or congenial with what one already wishes to believe. Thus, a person who has already committed himself to neo-Marxism finds his soul's rest in the tawdry "liberation theology" of a Jeremiah Wright, which is not theology and certainly not liberating.
Is this what has happened with Obama? Unfortunately, we just don't know, and that's the problem. Is Obama just cynical and calculating? Spiritually blind and tone deaf? Not too bright underneath his unruffled veneer? In any case, his attraction to this buffoon Wright speaks to some sort of flaw which is quite deep, and which reveals a fundamentally dis-ordered soul.
We all have flaws. But hopefully we do not glorify them and give them a divine imprimatur. It's like a sex addict joining a polygamous church, or Jeffrey Dahmer converting to the Aztec religion.
If Obama felt he needed to join a black church in order to gain some sort of "street credibility," it certainly wouldn't have been difficult to find a mainstream one. I happen to believe that the black church at its best represents an authentic sub-tradition, as it is the spontaneous merging of the gospel with an oppressed people with their own unique take on the timeless. There is so much truth and beauty in the black church, e.g., gospel music. Why get involved with this perverse, parasitic, and politicized version of it? Perhaps because the real ones tend to be socially conservative.
If we give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is not a malicious person, then we are left with the option that he is simply a man with no identity in search of one. Such a centerless man will grope around for his center at the periphery, and if he thinks he has found it there, it only means that his true self died somewhere along the way.
There are few greater sins than making religion look foolish or evil. Perhaps none, for it is the one sin that negates all the others and thereby legitimizes everything.