Friday, May 14, 2010

Intelligent Stupidity and the Eternal Pursuit of Chicks and Grub

Before we can determine who is intelligent, we must first define what intelligence is and what it is for. In other words, we must account for the fact that it is possible to be "smart" about the wrong things and for the wrong reasons -- think, for example, about a clever criminal, or a person who devotes his intelligence to some peripheral obsession, say, global warming.

In fact, even the nature of this question about the purpose of intelligence provides a hint, for it presupposes the ability of the intellect to "stand outside" or "above" intelligence and view it objectively. Thus, the implication is that intelligence as such implies both verticality and objectivity.

I suppose the Darwinian view would maintain -- would have to maintain, on pain of being fatally inconsistent... which it is, but let's move on -- that the purpose of intelligence is to get grub and babes. Therefore, using one's intelligence for any other purpose would have to be considered very stupid. As such, human beings would have to be considered the least intelligent of all species, since they waste so much mental energy on stupid and pointless things such as music, poetry, painting, and spirituality. Unless, of course, these activities are just devious ways to get babes and grub.

How could natural selection have created such a stupid animal that engages in so many pointless and fanciful activities? It makes no sense. For example, if we were to rate presidential greatness on the Darwinian scale, Clinton would win in a glandslide, for no one has surpassed him in cashing in the presidency for his daily bread and daily broads.

Please don't think I'm exaggerating. In the course of writing the Coonifesto, I plowed through any number of books by various sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists who twist themselves into putzels trying to reduce every aspect of the human mind to the plane of reproductive fitness.

A case in point is The Mating Mind, by Geoffrey Miller, who argued that most every human attribute can be explained by sexual selection. I see on the amazon page that even the hopeless boneheads at Publisher's Weekly can recognize this as a circular argument, even if they lack the sophistication to realize that all materialistic explanations of intelligence are circular.

Being that the dustjacket indicates that Miller is married --meaning that he already has sexual access to a female -- I guess I don't get the point of his book. I also see that he dedicated it to "Rosalind," presumably his wife. Wouldn't flowers and dark chocolate have been just as effective in achieving his reproductive mission? I mean, if Miller's thesis is correct, then he wrote his book not because of any devotion to Truth, but to make Rosalind his intern, as our most evolutionarily fit president might say. To the extent that he didn't score, then the book fails by its own standard. We'll have to ask Rosalind.

Come to think of it, if the Darwinians are correct about intelligence, then perhaps instead of granting scholars tenure, we should just give them access to lots of attractive young coeds. Oh, wait a minute....

Suddenly the intellectual vacuity of academia makes sense.

Perhaps some folks have difficulty seeing God because God is doing the looking. To a certain extent this is unavoidably true, for only a "naturally supernatural" intelligence can know of God, and the intellect is a divine spark that cannot be accounted for on any purely naturalistic basis. Schuon points out that we have an "uncreated intellect" at the center of our being, which may be thought of as an extension, or prolongation, of the "divine light." It is both a part of us, and yet, "other," for it is that part of us that allows us to stand outside ourselves.

We also have a "created intellect," which is a "reflection of this Light at the center of Existence" (Schuon). The two are essentially One but nevertheless distinct, and in fact, this distinction must be maintained if we are to understand these two very different aspects of the intellect. As Schuon puts it, "when we speak of the Heart-Intellect, we mean the universal faculty which has the human heart for its symbolical seat, but which, while being ‘crystallised’ according to different planes of reflection, is none the less ‘divine’ in its single essence."

You might say that the lower intellect -- thrust as it is to the further reaches, or "periphery" of the cosmic center -- allows us to comprehend change, while the higher intellect abides closer to the immutable, which it in turn is able to contemplate or "reflect upon" -- for all intelligence must, in the final analysis, be a sort of reflection of whatever reality it is trying to understand. "Perfect reflection" would represent "perfect understanding" -- which is to say, it would embody totality and objectivity. Which is why the spiritual life may be reduced to "cleaning mirrors."

This is consistent with the Kabbalistic view, which maintains, according to Adin Steinsaltz, that our interior Coon Central should not be thought of as a kind of static "point" in space time. Rather, it is "a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls to beyond the specific body of a particular person.... and because the soul is not a single point in space, it should be viewed not as a single existence having one quality or character, but as many existences, on a variety of spiritual levels..."

It is only on this higher level that human beings are all connected. While secularists deny this higher reality, they nevertheless intuit it on some level (as all humans must), which is the actual source and motive of their nightmarish collectivist schemes. Because of a sort of mistranslation, they attempt to impose in the horizontal what they deny in the vertical.

In this regard, leftists are the mirror image of the Islama-bomba-ding-dongs, who invent a God to grant them in the vertical what they deny themselves in the horizontal -- mainly a lot of sex and grub. Oddly enough, they end up worshiping the same Darwinian god as the sociobiologists -- the only difference being that, in the case of the tenured leftist, his 72 coeds are not likely to be virgins.

And as for these different levels of reality, we must again avoid thinking of them in material terms -- with the exception of the actual physical world (and even then, the material world has a metaphysical transparency that only the most boneheaded anonymous atheist could miss). While the physical world appears to be the "bottom floor" on the vertical scale, it so happens that there is also a subterranean basement and parking structure (the unconscious and inconscient).

As Steinsaltz puts it, "The physical world in which we live, the objectively observed universe around us, is only a part of an inconceivably vast system of worlds. Most of these worlds are spiritual in their essence.... Which does not necessarily mean that they exist somewhere else, but means rather that they exist in different dimensions of being. What is more, the various worlds interpenetrate and interact in such a way that they can be considered counterparts of one another, each reflecting or projecting itself on the one below or above it."

And as one descends in the worlds -- which is simultaneously a motion from the center to the periphery -- materiality and linear causation become increasingly greater. Existence becomes "heavier," or more dense, so to speak. Put another way, nothing could be more ethereal than the mathematical equations that preside over change and continuity while abiding in the Cosmic Intellect -- except perhaps the mind of the mathematician who contemplates and understands them, and is witness to their inexplicable beauty. There is no great mathematician who is not a Platonist.

It is a matter of understanding the difference between Principles and their Manifestation. It is a kind of cosmic irony that scientists have rejected the heliocentric theory, since, as we have mentioned before, science begins at the mysterious center of intellectual light and moves to the periphery, where it ramifies into the multitude of various scientific disciplines. In short, it moves from a sun-like unity -- which it simply assumes but can never account for -- to the periphery, where the sun's rays illuminate various disciplines.

Conversely, religion moves from the cosmic periphery back to the center which is its source and ground -- from the rays to the sun, from manifestion to principle, the ultimate Principle being God, whose center we share -- but only on the "higher" or "deeper" plane alluded to above. As Schuon explains,

"Intellectual intuition comprises essentially a contemplativity which in no way enters into the rational capacity, the latter being logical rather than contemplative; it is contemplative power, receptivity in respect of the Uncreated Light, the opening of the Eye of the Heart, which distinguishes transcendent intelligence from reason. The latter perceives the general and proceeds by logical operations, whilst Intellect perceives the principial -- the metaphysical -- and proceeds by intuition. Intellection is concrete in relation to rational abstractions, and abstract in relation to the divine Concreteness."

Therefore, comprehending God is not exactly a kind of knowing; rather, it is more a kind of "seeing." Just as Petey doesn't read a book, but simply stares at it in order to extract the information he needs, this is analogous to how scripture and revelation must be regarded. In other words, we don't understand them with our lower rational faculty, any more than we would understand a scene of transcendent physical beauty -- say, Yosemite Valley or Jellystone Park -- with our rational faculty. Indeed, to try to do so would represent a kind of madness -- the same madness that afflicts the obligatory atheists such as Hitchens and Harris, who have simply found a clever way to exchange their metaphysical stupidity for chicks and grub.

In fact, if these overeducated beasts do succeed in their satanic mission of destroying the spiritual foundation of the West, then perhaps we will see them for that they are: cluelesside bombers. But then it will be too late, because there will be no one foolish enough to lay down their life to preserve the higher spiritual principles that allow these parasites to flourish in a free society. If all that's left to fight over is sex and food, soon we won't even have that.

40 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

Great post.
You keep quoting Schuon and I keep thinking I'm hearing Eckhart. I'm in the middle (literally and..) of Kelly's "Divine Knowledge". That's prolly why :-)

Anyway, does Schuon ever mention Eckhart? 'cause they sound like buddies to me.

5/14/2010 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes. Schuon would probably say that he was among a handful of the greatest souls the West has ever produced.

5/14/2010 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"Most of these worlds are spiritual in their essence.... Which does not necessarily mean that they exist somewhere else, but means rather that they exist in different dimensions of being. What is more, the various worlds interpenetrate and interact in such a way that they can be considered counterparts of one another..."

Why, it's almost like he's saying it's All right here, right now..., hidden in plain sight.

I recall this passage by Steinsaltz from before, as well as from his book. It was around that time that I had learned enough of the OC "language" that I could start enjoying the posts, rather than struggle with them.

5/14/2010 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just a matter of more acute vision and a cleaner mirror.

5/14/2010 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

If it were all chicks and grub wouldn't a chromosomally correct East German hammer thrower be a better evolutionary choice than some skinny model?

5/14/2010 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Why, it's almost like he's saying it's All right here, right now..., hidden in plain sight.


Or, as I was noticing a couple weeks back,

Moments of timelessness, like the infinitesimal pause at the top of the swing’s arc on a moonlit night filled with high, innocent laughter, have a holiness all their own.

5/14/2010 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Retriever said...

Wonderful post. "Perhaps some folks have difficulty seeing God because God is doing the looking. To a certain extent this is unavoidably true, for only a "naturally supernatural" intelligence can know of God, and the intellect is a divine spark that cannot be accounted for on any purely naturalistic basis"

This reminded me of F. Murray Abrahams seeking out that coach in "Chariots of Fire" and buying his expertise and the coach rather mildly reminding him that, as in marriage proposals, there's usually one that does the asking...There is definitely too much emphasis even in churches these days on the people doing the looking, on people
"accepting X" (as if theirs was the definitive action). Many seem to have forgotten that "we love because He first loved us." Or that we are just smelly, lost, bedraggled sheep shivering on a ledge over the abyss with a hungry wolf inching out towards us, badly in need of a Shepherd.

I remember when studying sociobiology in college the contortions of the arguments on reproductive dynamics behind everything, including altruism. one might say "But what about kindly childless aunts and uncles, devotedly caring for their siblings' children..." only to be told that they weren't doing it out of pure love, but because they were promoting the survival of genes they shared with the kids. Such an incredibly limited view of even us limited humans. Because even the feeblest, most muddling bore amongst us can show real love/kindness/pay attention to another simply out of the desire to make them happy, or help them understand or be understood. And most of us remember those moments when others were the spokes of love radiating from the central core of light that is God. His love acting thru others, and genes having nothing to do with any of it (tho perhaps getting swept up by the current of the divine, as sand particles are swooshed by a wave...

5/14/2010 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Well you're post comprises a rare enquiry into intelligence.

You raise the point about food and mates. These items should not be undervalued. In fact, until you have the grub and sex needs met, you can't really embark on a spiritual life at all. It's a case of first things first. In this world, material needs are supreme.

If you are ravenous, sexually deprived, etc, then the spiritual quest must reasonably go on the back burner until such a time as attention can be turned to it.

The best solution is to combine the two. I've noted that sex is a unique phenomenon where the material and spiritual worlds intersect (or collide violently).

So complex is sex that there is even an branch of humman enquiry devoted to it (philosophy of sex).

The sexual philosopher approaches sex on many axes, such as biology, psychology, finances, morality, politics, and aesthetics. From sex every impotant thing in the cosmos can be explicated or unpacked. It is truly the "go to source" for answers to life's thorniest questions.

5/14/2010 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Yada yada. As always, sounds like you're not getting enough.

5/15/2010 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"It is truly Grant's 'go to source' for answers to life's horniest questions."

There, FIFY.

5/15/2010 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Well, Dupree and Julie:

You didn't think much of my sex comments. But, as a friend of mine commented as she pointed to her crotch--

"There's a lot riding on this p----."

And I had to agree with her. Her marriage and her family depended on her secret passageway and how she made use of it.

The structure of our society is contigent upon the consent of women to mate.

And upon men for the desire to do so.

These forces are primal and key. The Catholic doctrine is the go-to place for the correct philosophy governing sex.

The Catholic church is concerned with sex right down to how to how a woman's vulva feels on a daily basis. That is NFP.

So, pan me if you must but I tell you, you will not understand life unless you understand sex, completely.

5/15/2010 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Dude.

Way TMI.

If you find Catholicism has all the answers about sex, then why in hell do you keep bringing it up here?

Newsflash: People who already have a deep and abiding understanding of sex respect it so much that they will not dredge it around in public for your entertainment.

5/15/2010 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Please don't think I'm exaggerating. In the course of writing the Coonifesto, I plowed through any number of books by various sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists who twist themselves into putzels trying to reduce every aspect of the human mind to the plane of reproductive fitness."

IOW's you read Grant's library so we wouldn't have to.

Thanks Bob! :^)

5/15/2010 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Because of a sort of mistranslation, they attempt to impose in the horizontal what they deny in the vertical."

And they do so very badly.

5/15/2010 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Howzabout something that is really interesting: Photosynthetic Nonlocality

5/15/2010 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm sure something similar helps to explain the coherence of the brain.

5/15/2010 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

I'm sure H+ magazine is the literary equivalent of some kind bud, dude:

Are We Zeroing In on the Hard Problem of Explaining Consciousness?

Written By: Surfdaddy Orca


The "transhumanist" crowd are almost as nuts as the environmentalists, but their stuff is way more entertaining.

Oh no! I missed the Singularity! (Don't let this happen to you - read H+)

;-)

5/15/2010 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"There is definitely too much emphasis even in churches these days on the people doing the looking, on people
"accepting X" (as if theirs was the definitive action). Many seem to have forgotten that "we love because He first loved us." Or that we are just smelly, lost, bedraggled sheep shivering on a ledge over the abyss with a hungry wolf inching out towards us, badly in need of a Shepherd."

Great diagnosis!

5/15/2010 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Dustin said...

Sorry to interject like this, but do you guys think it's wrong for me to tell people who I am? And why that I relate to people the way I do?

How else am I suppose to explain to folks why I've never been in a relationship, or why my emotions don't resonate with others', or how that I'm a little man from the future becoming big man in the present? (I mean my future self is here now, it's just little right now, but growing every day!)

One thing that I've found is that some will set themselves up in opposition out of envy for my existence. Their attachment to me is their downfall, though, and I try to explain this. (Further, my attachment to their attachment would be my undoing. I know that to be poison) This person knows, and at once hates; and I think he likes it. It's like a leaf denying the branch from which it grows, or a part denying the whole.

It also reminds me of how the devil is dependent on the God being there in order to be anything at all. By God being, the devil is reduced to the most needy of beings.

I'm not a teacher or anything like that, not trying to. But I will not lie about what I am; and this seems to be an issue.

And I usually don't talk about those things either, unless it's necessary. I agree that we should keep our discoveries to our self, but the regular dogma does go along way when I tell it.

Whatever, though. My guts are on fire with spirit, and the new brain is nearing. Most people do not know this, but how long should we wait before being "open." Economic independence is a must, I think. Because to me opening up is dangerous. People want to kill it, like always. Been dealing with that sense birth.

I like you guys.
Hope everyone's well.

--coonified

5/15/2010 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Most people do not know this, but how long should we wait before being "open."

That's something nobody here can answer. I would only repeat that timelessness takes time, and add that whatever you are experiencing, it's important to be patient, and above all trust that the Absolute knows and works according to its own schedule.

I seem to recall reading one of the sages - maybe Schuon, maybe Aurobindo, maybe HvB - noting that if one has a revelation, it is best to wait before acting on it or even necessarily discussing it with anyone - maybe even for ten years or so. At that point, consider it some more, maybe another decade. Personally, I find this to be very wise and useful advice. Even if not always very comforting.

5/15/2010 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Now for the reason I had wandered back over tonight, Sowell touches on Thursday and Friday (emphasis mine):

Poor as we were, I never heard anybody say, or even intimate, that Aunt Nance Ann had "a duty to die."

I only began to hear that kind of talk decades later, from highly educated people in an affluent age, when even most families living below the official poverty level owned a car or truck and had air-conditioning.

It is today, in an age when homes have flat-panelled TVs, and most families eat in restaurants regularly or have pizzas and other meals delivered to their homes, that the elites — rather than the masses — have begun talking about "a duty to die."

Back in the days of Aunt Nance Ann, nobody in our family had ever gone to college. Indeed, none had gone beyond elementary school. Apparently you need a lot of expensive education, sometimes including courses on ethics, before you can start talking about "a duty to die."

5/15/2010 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

Just look...

5/15/2010 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Dustin said...

Yea, well, this co-worker just called me a "prick" and I suppose is just going to split off from me for good. Kind of weird, though. He's three or four years younger than me, and has that religious weirdness about him. But just b/c I'm ahead (being older) at the moment he wants to go off on some tangent that leads to himself, I guess.

He identifies with I am, but has a weak center and is still nervous.

Only when we get to the point of literally wanting to throw up ourself do we start being emptied of it; and this is coupled with the decent of a tangible force. I don't think he understands this either. I've tried explaining, but it seems like people are more on their own than they know. It's their will.

He's obsessed with the notion that his hate is a source of power, of something that can take on the world. Thing is, it's mostly vitalized; and that kind of makes me want to throw up. (I've literally feel like throwing up sin sometimes)

On the other hand, there's another person who quietly understands and commits. He is his own and I am mine, and there's no conflict. Everyone has their place. He's good at one thing (emotion and heart), I'm good at another.

It's just an unfortunate drama on hater's part. I've been there.

5/15/2010 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I've tried explaining, but it seems like people are more on their own than they know.

Some things can't be explained, at least not to anyone who doesn't already have some experiential knowledge to give them a point of reference. All you can do then is allow your character to speak for you, not in word but in deed and in being. Show, don't tell. If he is caught up in his hatred, trying to dissuade him will likely only entangle you in his drama.

5/15/2010 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

(And of course, the usual caveats apply any time I give advice - actual value is currently about 1/1000th of a cent...)

5/15/2010 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

[know your enemy]

wv=
stran
hmmmm: Roxy's 2nd playing in next room
"There's a new sensation..."

5/16/2010 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

ge, dang that guy is disturbing. Anybody who can call "Cash for Clunkers" a "big success" is either completely deluded or his definition of success has something to do with putting massive hurt on car dealerships while giving handouts to people who would be better served by a healthier economy.

Kind of like bread and circuses, where the farmers and entertainers are working under the threat of violence to keep the people happy.

5/16/2010 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"... "Perfect reflection" would represent "perfect understanding" -- which is to say, it would embody totality and objectivity. Which is why the spiritual life may be reduced to "cleaning mirrors."..."

Hmm... that sounds more like memory or recall, than understanding... I guess it's the word 'reflection' that I'm sticking on... wouldn't 'representation' be better? Our senses present us with the actuality, as with windows on the scene, and we, depending on our skill and depth of understanding, grasp or re-present it as best we are able... some do so with little better than stick figure ability, some with characterization ' a resemblance is immediately seen, but only by way of exaggerations', and some are able to make passable to excellent sketches and on to master level paintings.

If you've ever watched a child attempt to draw a scene... they often adjust their stick figures here and there, trying to better represent what they see, and they are frustrated by what they can see doesn't correspond, but they haven't yet the skill to do better. It's a big breakthrough when they begin using ovals and shapes in place of the sticks, and more so as they begin to grasp detail lines and shading... isn't intelligence more that than simply reflecting a scene?

It isn't enough to mimic or reflect - that's not understanding, only restating - an important first step, but not the complete journey. It seems to me that the 'cleaning mirrors', is more a process of refining too simplified stick figures and/or exaggerated characterizations, into detailed sketches and full paintings (and if you watch an artist, (Julie?), they typically begin with stick line armatures, rough in ovals and shapes, and flesh in details all as part of the process of faithfully re-presenting their understanding of the scene), and while that definitely involves a continuous process of checking the view, 'reflecting' upon it, from the window to see that there is correspondence between what IS and what is represented in your understanding of it, simple reflection or mirroring seems to fall far short of the process.

I realize that that's picking on a single particular, out of a whole post (and a good one too), but it kept looping back into mind, so... there it is.

5/16/2010 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Therefore, comprehending God is not exactly a kind of knowing; rather, it is more a kind of "seeing." Just as Petey doesn't read a book, but simply stares at it in order to extract the information he needs, this is analogous to how scripture and revelation must be regarded. In other words, we don't understand them with our lower rational faculty, any more than we would understand a scene of transcendent physical beauty -- say, Yosemite Valley or Jellystone Park -- with our rational faculty. Indeed, to try to do so would represent a kind of madness -- the same madness that afflicts the obligatory atheists such as Hitchens and Harris, who have simply found a clever way to exchange their metaphysical stupidity for chicks and grub."

I really like the "any more than we would understand a scene of transcendent physical beauty -- say, Yosemite Valley or Jellystone Park -- with our rational faculty.", in contemplation, it is very much a process of attempting to consider, to take in, the whole.

Taking my previous comment forward though... doesn’t full contemplation involve going full circle from viewing the whole totality, to observing it's particulars, even analyzing them, and relating them to the whole, how the parts relate to each other and make up the whole, until finally form a position of being more informed of the particulars, once again taking in the scene again as a Whole.

Doesn't full contemplation involve, though only as intermediate steps, analyzing particulars, in order to better grasp and contemplate the whole?.

5/16/2010 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

grunt maker said "...as a friend of mine commented as she pointed to her crotch-- "There's a lot riding on this p..."

grant... get your head out of your horizontal crotch, look up, you're stuck on step 1, move on.

That numeral doesn't represent the same thing as that of the OC One... stop being stuck on stupid.

5/16/2010 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "Anybody who can call "Cash for Clunkers" a "big success" is either completely deluded or his definition of success has something to do with putting massive hurt on ..."

Yep. That doubled down on the typical Govt program which 'just' involves thieving wealth from some for the benefit of others (and of course bureaucrats and their favored friends)... but this one went a step further and actually destroyed actual, existing, wealth and value - the car being traded in. It actually succeeded in reducing the the available wealth and future options of the people in this nation.

That he, they, call this 'success' should strike fear and dread into the hearts of us all... especially as it concerns 'healthcare'.

5/16/2010 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van, re. reflecting light I had a post about that a while back (with apologies for again getting self-referential):

"One of the remarkable things about light is that without something from which to reflect (and assuming you can’t see the source), it is invisible."

The thing is, everything we see that is not a light source is revealed through reflection. Everything. The process of reflecting light therefore reveals both the source (or at least, that there is a source, even if it can't be seen directly) and the object which reflects the light. The face of the moon is known to us because it reflects the sun.

In that sense, everything acts as a mirror, one way or another. If we align ourselves with truth, beauty and goodness we are in fact reflecting those attributes as they come from a source outside ourselves. And in reflecting, we are also revealed.

And of course, there are a great many things which not only reflect, but also have the quality of transparency to some degree, in which case the light doesn't simply bounce off, it also passes through, again revealing more about both the source and the subject.

In short, reflection isn't merely about showing an exact duplicate of something (and besides, even the most precise mirrors will contain distorting imperfections), it is about revelation.

5/16/2010 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie,

I’m a little surprised by how this one has caught me. I’m of course familiar with the reflection properties of that which becomes visible because of light (and to some extent vice versa)… and these similes and metaphors haven’t bothered me in the past, in fact I’ve often chimed right along with them, fully satisfied … but this time it does, and I can’t let it pass by un noted. I guess I might be more ‘ok with it’, if it were a matter of our forming the materials of memory and conception so that they could reflect that portion of what is… a sort of customized mirror formed from the silica on up to best fit that which it reflects… but that sticks as well.

I’ve also got a disagreement with my bud Aristotle, he uses the phrase ‘impressed upon the mind like a signet ring’, and while that may be truer in regards to perception and recalling perceptions and works well with reflection, it is misleading and inadequate in regards to Understanding, and I’ve got to say, no, that is wrong. There is mental work that takes place in regards to understanding anything, and that too clashes with the sense of mere reflection – what work is involved with reflection? Other than wiping the dust and lint off the mirror and getting out of the way, no work is involved… and I’d say that more describes grants grasp of the concepts here, than that of those who show some understanding of them.

Reflection implies too much that is automatic, that you, the “I”, has no place in or need of, it just happens… and with apologies to the zen of it, that is just not how understanding occurs, if it were an automatic process, one which had more to do with getting yourself out of the way of what is to be reflected (which IS a part of it, but only part), it would work better, but again, if that were the case there’d be far fewer self stupidized leftists for us to trip over, someone like grant and his horizontal concerns would just ‘open themselves to the moment’ and crotch and all would reflect the truth naturally – doesn’t happen. Obviously.

Understanding is very much like the process of looking, gazing, contemplating the scene, and then beginning to mark out your canvass, noting your perspective, lining out the major objects in view, how they fit into the scene and balance with the other objects, sketch in their content and eventually add the colors… in the end, hopefully, you have a painting which is so well done that it seems to be a reflection of the original, where all the perceptions and conceptions and principles are faithfully represented and integrated into the rest of the landscape of what you know to be true… but that finished picture only comes to be through carefully analyzing and recreating, representing all the big picture and all the minutia that makes it up – that is where understanding comes from.
(ugh... sorry, longwinded blogger break)

5/16/2010 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(cont)
I can’t see how we possibly have the common realization of Depth, without it being that way – if it were just a matter of reflection, we’d just flash the shutter open and closed and reflect the scene, there’d be no depth to discover, it’d already be there. But depth only comes from more detailed consideration of the seemingly simple scene before us, and discovering, uncovering previously unnoticed facts and the concepts and principles which extend and open up even deeper levels of understanding to us and to our overall understanding… simply opening ourselves to the light wouldn’t do that, we must do that, and then by careful attention to detail, and never losing the perspective of the overall scene, recreate it in our interior landscape line by line, stroke by stroke, shade for shade and hue for hue, recreating a representation of what IS which is as near to a reflections as is possible – but isn’t – and that is the work of intellection, of an ever deepening understanding.

I may be taking matters far further than the context of the post warrants… but it just seems to me that the metaphor of ‘reflection’ leaves far too much on the table. I don’t mean to spark an argument, or drag out comments on what may amount to semantics – as I think I did with Tigtog the other week – I just wanted to note that to me, reflection, is inadequate in regards to Understanding of Truth – there is no room for participation in such an image, and it seems to me that participation is a big part of what we do in grasping and understanding what is True.

5/16/2010 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

About food, and its companion, water.

They govern us. All spiritual endeavor utterly depends on reliable sources of food and water.

One can experiment with this; try going without water three days, then see how interest in spiritual things get intensified at first; one prays for water, one meditates on the nature of suffering, etc.

By day seven, though, thoughts about water will become pervasive and then delerium will set it. The spiritual life is completely interrupted. Then death occurs.

The Darwininsts are not completely stupid. They assign importance to what is indeed important.

90% of human endeavor, especially in the past,but even now, consists in obtaining supplies needed to keep corporeal existence going.

So, our beef with the Darwinists really revolves around the remaining 10% of effort which can be devoted on luxury activities, such as spiritual blogging, writing, meditation, etc.

Darwinists and raccoons value some of the same things, such as corporeal survival. This is not a small thing.

We can exploit this common concern to create unity between the twin camps.

One may approach the Darwinist with an understanding and appreciation of her doctrine, but then ask, "Well, is that all? What more might there be?"

Then some new ideas may blossom in her brain.

5/16/2010 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van, I don't think it's a wasted observation on your part, which is why I'm responding - it's an interesting perspective, if one with which I disagree. But this type of discussion can be fruitful so I think its worth clarifying.

I do understand why the word rankles, if you are understanding reflection to be something totally passive. If that's all it is, then yeah - I would have to agree with you.

However 1: I think you're over thinking it a bit and 2: the nice thing about the word "reflection" is that it does mean more than just light bouncing off of a passive object. It has also long been a word to denote "contemplation," a concept which I never considered to be synonymous with passivity. In that sense, it has more to do with "rumination" or even "digestion" or "grokking," activities which involve both conscious and unconscious action on the part of the living observer (or receiver, or consumer, or even host); again, lots of words can refer to the receptive intellect here.

Also, while you are on to something with your definition of depth, as an artist I would humbly also have to disagree. I'm not always trying to recreate exactly what is visible; if that were the case, I'd stick to ordinary photography. Rather, my goal is usually to show something more than that, something below the surface of things. I still have to work with what is there, but the subject must be carefully considered for what may be revealed from my perspective, and for how I may reveal it. What I produce is a reflection resulting from contemplation and consideration, however brief, but it is not by any means passive, and odds are nobody will see what I see no matter how carefully I try to present my vision of things.

That's how I see it, anyway ;)

5/16/2010 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Now Grant, for instance, manages to reflect very little whatsoever, even while he apparently puts a great deal of effort into the process...

5/16/2010 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said “It has also long been a word to denote "contemplation," a concept which I never considered to be synonymous with passivity”

Yes, fully agree on that… I think it was the inclusion of the word ‘mirror’ that most set off the disturbance in me (that it set something off is a bit fascinating too...) – if that is taken to be the means and end, it is passive, and that I very much disagree with.

“…. I'm not always trying to recreate exactly what is visible…”

Yeah, poor choice of words on my part – gotta love irony and poetic justice – the artist, by selectively recreating or re-presenting a scene (real or imaginary) adds, and must add, their view to the subject.

“What I produce is a reflection resulting from contemplation and consideration, however brief, but it is not by any means passive, and odds are nobody will see what I see no matter how carefully I try to present my vision of things.”

Yep, I see it that way too… uhm… though not merely reflecting your point of view….

;-)

(Sorry, couldn’t resist)

5/16/2010 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Here’s a fun fact, apparently our greedy usage of oil and growing carbon footprint has spread global warming to the moon, mars and Jupiter too… either that or maybe it has something to do with that big ball of fire in the sky… Nahhhh!

5/16/2010 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

Now, if the implication was that we were only mirrors, I'd have been conceding your point instead!

5/16/2010 05:04:00 PM  

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