Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Stuck on Smart with Deep Stupidity

I long ago noticed a pattern in myself between active and passive modes -- almost like the seasons, in which there is a time to plant and a time to harvest. Once I truly recognized the cycle, I tried never to harvest in planting time, nor vice versa. I mean, you could try to do that, but what happens? On the one hand, immature thoughtlets, green theories, inedible ideas, and on the other, moldy observations, overripe concepts, and squishy notions.

When I wrote the book, I very much respected this organic process, and never tried to force anything. Sometimes a couple of months would go by, and I wouldn't give it a thought -- at least not a conscious thought. In reality, it was below the soil, sending down roots and throwing up shoots. You might say that I was allowing the (↑↓) process to proceed at its own pace, like falling rain and budding leaves.

So when I started blogging over five years ago, I never expected the harvest to go on for this long. Problems only arise when I feel myself transition into that passive mode, but feel the pressure to produce something. At that point I'm faced with two options: either go on hiatus, or rework old posts.

This is a long way of saying that I hope no one minds if I spend some time in the arkive. In reality, the active and passive modes work together, almost like left and right brains. Any writer realizes this -- that there is a part that actively produces, and another part that passively critiques. I actually enjoy having the opportunity to pause and reflect on what I've harvested over the past five years, because when I consider it in the passive mode, I'm doing so for the first time. It's very much like being a reader of the blog, only with the added benefit of being able to tweak things to my liking, but also to gently massage them into conformity with the Current Truth. In other words, to eliminate any embarrassing errors or lame jokes.

Also, we have many new readers who weren't around three or four years ago, so these post will be novelgazes to them. And besides, when I began the blog, I did so with the explicit intention of writing things from a more timeless perspective, so that they would have no expiration date anyway. So without further ado.....

Unintelligent people are usually just plain wrong, so we don't have to worry much about them. On the other hand, in order to attain truly deep stupidity, one must generally be of above average intelligence. Therefore, in certain people, it is obvious that intelligence doesn't vary inversely with stupidity, but directly with it. Not for nothing has it been said that so much philosophy is simply "error on a grandiose scale"; one also thinks of Keynes' quip about practical men being slaves of some defunct economist such as Keynes.

A prime example of deep stupidity and grandiose error is Marxism and all of its many polluted streams, branches, creeks and crocks. That variants of this falsehood still proliferate on the left today means that, as always, intelligence alone is no inoculation against evil, darkness, and error. Hardly. Those who talk about how "smart" Obama is are only the latest incarnation of a perennial problem. After all, even Jimmy Carter wasn't mentally retarded (morally retarded, yes).

For conservative classical liberals, we are generally faced with an odious choice between the stupid party and the evil party. We generally align ourselves with the former, since the GOP is at least susceptible to our influence, whereas the left is not. Someone who has truly given himself over to darkness is not going to be persuaded by truth. His intelligence is in the service of forces he neither sees nor understands, and there is just no point of entry in dealing with him, since he is not lacking information as such but light. Truly, you can hand them the truth on a silver platter, and they will not only reject it but be quite hostile to it. It actually makes them angry, which is one of the reasons liberals don't know how to argue except deceptively.

There are many way to react to truth, only one of which is quiet acceptance. Truth is not just true, but a force. This is why it elicits such strong reactions in people. You will have undoubtedly noticed that when you comprehend a deep truth, there is a pleasant physical sensation that goes along with it -- hard to describe (Christopher Bollas calls it "the erotics of being"), but if you could amplify its vibrations, it would feel like getting the punch line of a joke, or the parts of your being lining up like iron filings, or perhaps properly hitting a baseball.

Another way of saying it is that Truth is a presence. This is something all Raccoons will know by experience, but will make no sense to the leftist -- for whom it will literally be a meaningless statement. To go so far as to suggest that Truth once walked among us -- and still does -- is the height of absurdity. But truth is the link between Being and knowing. Thus, to say, for example, that Christ is the truth is to say that he is a manifestation of the divine presence, or a bridge between God and human nature.

Truth is not only not accepted by most people, but engenders a counter-force that is actively hostile to it. This may seem like a controversial statement, but it is the stock in trade of psychoanalysis, which essentially comes down to a study of the varieties of self-deception, or the ways in which one part of the mind pulls the wool over another part. Think about that for a moment, and I think you'll agree that it is quite remarkable -- how the left brain literally doesn't know what the right brain is doing.

I say "literally" because there is good evidence that what we call the unconscious is actually "lodged," so to speak, in the nonverbal -- but also transverbal -- right brain. Every patient comes into treatment with what I call a "likely story." This explicit story is located in the left brain, the seat of language, aristotelian logic, and linear time. However, the right brain has its own story to tell, but how do you tell a story in the absence of verbal language? You do so in the form of symptoms, or quirky character traits, unexplainable likes and dislikes, unaccountable mood storms, irrational obsessions, compulsions, or self-defeating behaviors that the left brain is powerless to stop. This is because every self-defeating behavior is ipso facto a self-fulfilling behavior for a part of the mind of which we are not consciously aware.

Freud stumbled upon the method of free association with which to try to understand the various agendas of the mind that ran counter to truth and were the source of psychological pain and dysfunction. There is no great mystery to free association, in which the patient lies down and tries to say whatever comes to mind without censoring it. It is simply a way to try to lull the left brain to sleep and allow the right brain to come out of the shadows. Sounds easy, but every step along the way is met with resistance which can become labyrinthine in its ability to prevent the discovery of the truth.

Here again this is remarkable, for it means that the part of the mind that is resisting must know the truth on some level, otherwise there would be no reason to resist it. Therefore, as Bion pointed out, the truth is prior to the lie, just as light must be prior to the shadow. Indeed, Bion went so far as to say that only the Lie requires a thinker -- and actually brings the thinker into being. On the other hand, truth requires only our conformity with it. We simply "bow before reality" -- which, when you think about it, is an excellent way of putting it, for reverent bowing is one of the appropriate responses to the force, or presence, of truth.

Schuon said something similar when he wrote that "A truth is efficacious to the extent that we assimilate it; if it does not give us the strength we need, this merely proves we have not grasped it. It is not for the truth to be 'dynamic,' it is for us to be dynamic thanks to the truth. What is lacking in today’s world is a penetrating and comprehensive knowledge of the nature of things; the fundamental truths are always accessible, but they could not be imposed on those who refuse to take them into consideration."

Among other responses, truth engenders a dynamic sense of veneration -- a sense of the sacred. And this is why you will have noticed that the left attempts to surround so many of its smelly little orthodoxies with the penumbra of sanctity. But the sanctity is entirely bogus -- it readily slides into the sanctimony that is intrinsic to the left.

In a perverse way, this sanctimoniousness answers the human need for the sacred, but in an alternatively crudely sentimental or authoritarian manner enforced by the many varieties political correctness. You will notice that the left's replacement of moral/religious depth with sentimentality is just as evident as their replacement of transcendent truth with authoritarian mind control; they are not opposites but complementary. Scratch a leftist and you will always find a well of irrational, idealistic sentimentality that becomes the basis and justification for the omnipotent state, e.g., "social justice," "standing up for the little guy," "fairness," etc.

This is why the left doesn't really have ideas but icons -- including "iconic ideas." It is an insidious and sinister process, because there is great psychological pressure on all us of to bow down before these false gods, as if they were actually sacred (e.g., Mahatma Gandhi, Earth Day, FDR, Margaret Sanger). And there is absolutely no symmetry in this. For example, if a conservative steps on one of the left's many sacred cowpies, there is a good chance that his career will be ruined. But if a leftist offends what is actually sacred, he will be praised as someone who "speaks truth to power." There is no symmetry in the treatment of Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.

The point is that nearly every one of the leftists's core beliefs is not a proper idea but an icon, whether it is manmade global warming, moral relativism, affirmative action, abortion, homosexual behavior, "peace," "progress," multiculturalism, "diversity" -- in fact, "progressive" is the quintessence of a meaningless icon, since it bears no relationship to progress and promotes economic and social policies that ensure not just a lack of progress, but regression. For example, the "peace movement" can only bring about more war, just as affirmative action can only bring about harm to blacks.

And this is why it is so easy to be a conservative, because you no longer have to contort yourself with so many lies in order to be thoroughly consistent, both internally and externally, vertically and horizontally. The left confuses their contortions with "nuance," but nuance is simply the left brain's feeble attempt to grapple with its own incoherence, and to come up with a narrative cover story that isn't completely offensive to normal people.

40 Comments:

Blogger JP said...

Bob says:

"This is a long way of saying that I hope no one minds if I spend some time in the arkive."

If you don't iteraerate the arkive, it's just going to sit there in the ground and will never really grow.

5/13/2010 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'm up to "without further ado.."
and lunch is already bye-bye.

I'm in sort of the same mode, Bob. Planting. An out-of-sorts, really. I've managed to keep up with all of your posts (as well as the coons' posts) just short on comments. Or just plain run out of them. Trying it out for now. For a now. Be back soon. Seems so. Trying not to force it, as you say.
Rick

5/13/2010 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

Never seen an arkive post that didn't start new thoughts, or point out new realizations. You don't have to convince this gardener- prune away.

And a belated welcome to new Miss NB. Blessings on you, little one!
Congratulations, NB and Mrs.!

5/13/2010 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

There is no symmetry in the treatment of Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.

Um, is there some rule that says all black nominees to the Supreme Court must be treated the same, regardless of qualifications or beliefs? You might want to rethink that.

And this is why it is so easy to be a conservative, because you no longer have to contort yourself with so many lies in order to be thoroughly consistent, both internally and externally, vertically and horizontally.

I begin to get a sense of why you became a conservative. The real world is a complex and scary place. Belief systems that simplify it are enormously attractive to people who are exhausted by coping with reality. You seem to have combined a simplifying political ideology with a simplified religion. This sort of stuff is toxic to intelligence, but I get the appeal.

5/13/2010 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No doubt.

5/13/2010 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Latest example of someone stepping on one of the left's sacred cowpies.

5/13/2010 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Any writer realizes this -- that there is a part that actively produces, and another part that passively critiques.

While I don't think Hemingway's description of first drafts is applicable to OC posts, that artist/critic dichotomy is exactly what he was taking about.

5/13/2010 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Rick, maybe it's just me but it seems as though there's a general fallow season going around. When the Ground is ready, the cycle will begin again, and the silence is a necessary part of the process.

As to the nature of truth, Truth is not just true, but a force.

Yes, absolutely.

Often enough, it is a pleasant experience. But at other times, it is Kali, there to obliterate some part of ourselves which, having served its purpose, must be shed before growth can resume. Truth is a balm, but it also at times must be suffered to be sophered.

Or to go back to the harvest metaphor, the withered remains of last season's growth must be burned, broken down, decayed, and reworked into the soil, not only to make room for the growth of the next season, but also to replenish the nutrients. Sometimes it's a gentle process, others, not so much.

If it were always gentle, always pleasant, I suspect people in general would be much happier to align themselves with it. But truth demands that we give things up, such as those needful, pleasurable things that give the a/grant/holes of the world such a thrill; in return it offers what appears to be little except pain, shame and humiliation. To anyone who can't see that there is purpose beyond all of that, Joy and Truth and Goodness beyond all measure on the other side, it simply looks like a nightmare, and is treated as such.

The nails are Love, but unless you can see past them to their purpose they seem simply to be torture. God Himself, crucified, and he wants us to follow?? Madness.

And yet, there it is. Truth is Love, and of necessity at times it is Tough Love. To generations who would rather see themselves as acceptable as they are, who were raised on the milk of high self-esteem, this is unacceptable.

(Sorry to ramble, or to seem grim; the post tapped into something I was contemplating last night...)

5/13/2010 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I was fixin' to disagree with your saying that "[u]nintelligent people are usually just plain wrong", but I realized you are right.

I was substituting "uneducated" for "unintelligent" as I read it.

5/13/2010 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

To make up for my previous comment, I give you one of Gerard's latest finds.

5/13/2010 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Mushroom:

I didn't intend to insult the unintelligent, for as Schuon often points out, they are often more intelligent than the intelligent so long as they are plugged into a source of transcendent wisdom and truth that surpasses them -- something the secular intellectual is too proud to do.

5/13/2010 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Schuon?
I thought it was Eckhart..

5/13/2010 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob,
How was Timothy Scott's book, "Symbolism of the Ark.."?

5/13/2010 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Eh. It was a doctoral dissertation, and reads like one.

5/13/2010 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Thanks. Owe you one:

RE Girard's "Battling to the End", had to put it down about 1/3rd in. Started getting all lefty. I couldn't take it.

Too bad because he had some good insights in the beginning. Maybe there's more. I may never know.

5/13/2010 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Never really cared for him. Too French. I much prefer him refracted through Bailie.

5/13/2010 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Same here. Plus, that's what you got me fer.
Thing is, Gil gave the book a couple thumbs up. I'm tracking him down..

5/13/2010 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Aw, don't be too hard on him, Rick - he's off somewhere celebrating wedded bliss.

5/13/2010 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"You will have undoubtedly noticed that when you comprehend a deep truth, there is a pleasant physical sensation that goes along with it -- hard to describe (Christopher Bollas calls it "the erotics of being"), but if you could amplify its vibrations, it would feel like getting the punch line of a joke, or the parts of your being lining up like iron filings, or perhaps properly hitting a baseball."

Very much agree ('punch line' especially relevant when reading marx and realizing the truth he papered over).

"Truth is not only not accepted by most people, but engenders a counter-force that is actively hostile to it."

Yep. Like offering a delicious Italian feast to an anorexic.

5/13/2010 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

" -- almost like the seasons, in which there is a time to plant and a time to harvest."

Been on one of those plateauing 'lulls' here too... lot's of imbibing of materials and ideas... not much to show for it on the blogsurface... but seems like lots of seeds are a germinating... will just have to wait and see what sprouts up when it does.

5/13/2010 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"novelgazes" Amen to that! I do appreciate the "made new again" posts...There's no way to exhaust it all in one reading. I do believe this one is familiar, though only vaguely...but maybe, just maybe, my newbie-ness is beginning to wear off.

"Truth is not just true, but a force. This is why it elicits such strong reactions in people. You will have undoubtedly noticed that when you comprehend a deep truth, there is a pleasant physical sensation that goes along with it... "

"Another way of saying it is that Truth is a presence."

That holy "Yes!" of recognition in one's spirit. Even the turning over of fallow ground, as Julie was saying, though it might be painful for a season, has a pleasant aroma of *hope* about it--future reaping. To be "dealt with" by Him means I am loved, for He chastens those He loves to happy, fruitful ends. The scene in one of Lewis's books (one of my very favorites) in which a boy is divested of his most unwelcome dragonish-ness comes to mind.

And to be in that manifest presence...well, there's really no substitute in the horizontal for it: "in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

5/13/2010 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Susanah,
The scene in one of Lewis's books (one of my very favorites) in which a boy is divested of his most unwelcome dragonish-ness comes to mind.

Yes, exactly! That was The Dawn treader, right? One of my favorites in the series. I remember reading that when I was a kid, and feeling rather sympathetic for the poor brat, while at the same time glad that something had finally gotten past his thick hide :)

5/13/2010 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Most of you already know this: one's first new baby unleashes fresh and inexhaustible joy and purity which paradoxically is no less new and holy no matter how many babies you've already known in your life. Aspects of the cosmos which emerge so close to the source -- to O itself -- are always as new and pure as the very first one. I've held friend and family babies, I have nieces and a nephew -- yet my baby is unique and whole, without in any way diminishing the others. That sense of inexhaustible love... you know what I mean?

All but the most hardened leftist responds with the same awe and joy to their first child, which is why I believe there is hope for most of them.

5/13/2010 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Man crush.

5/13/2010 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And congratulations NB! Don't worry, I'm told it gets easier after the first 25 years or so... although I understand that girls are trickier...

5/13/2010 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Thanks!

25 years?

Man, I've just gotten to the point where I'm now denominating for her age in days instead of hours.

5/13/2010 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Scratch a leftist and you will always find a well of irrational, idealistic sentimentality that becomes the basis and justification for the omnipotent state, e.g., "social justice," "standing up for the little guy," "fairness," etc.

This is why the left doesn't really have ideas but icons -- including "iconic ideas.""

Yep, 'iconic ideas' or positions, they've got in droves... principles? Not a one in sight. Irving Babbitt noted this as the difference between old style humanism (the Thomistic, not the proregressive sort) and that which poses as it, the humanitarian, those who state their gushy love for all mankind... while simultaneously wishing that 'fly over country' would be wiped out by a biblical flood ("Be my brother or I'll kill you."). Why? For one thing, it makes being 'admirable' as easy as saying you support a position, and on the other hand, abandoning ideas for positions allows you to preach cutting your 'carbon footprint' to avert an immanent rise in sea levels, while spending your carbon footprint cashola on buying beachfront mansions.

Irving Babbitt, in "Democracy and Imperialism, Or Democracy and Standards?" put it,

"...At bottom the point of view of the "uplifter" is so popular because it nourishes spiritual complacency; it enables a man to look on himself as "up" and on some one else as "down." But there is psychological if not theological truth in the assertion of Jonathan Edwards that complacent people are a "particular smoke" in God's nostrils. A man needs to look, not down, but up to standards set so much above his ordinary self as to make him feel that he is himself spiritually the underdog. The man who thus looks up is becoming worthy to be looked up to in turn, and, to this extent, qualifying for leadership. Leadership of this type, one may add, may prove to be, in the long run, the only effectual counterpoise to that of the imperialistic superman.

No amount of devotion to society and its supposed interests can take the place of this inner obeisance of the spirit to standards. The humanitarian would seem to be caught here in a vicious circle. If he turns from the inner life to serve his fellow men, he becomes a busy-body. If he sets out again to become exemplary primarily with a view to the benefit of others, he becomes a prig. Nothing will avail short of humility. Humility, as Burke saw, is the ultimate root of the justice that should prevail in the secular order, as well as of the virtues that are specifically religious. The modern problem, I have been insisting, is to secure leaders with an allegiance to standards, now that the traditional order with which Burke associated his standards and leadership has been so seriously shaken. Those who have broken with the traditional beliefs have thus far shown themselves singularly ineffective in dealing with this problem of leadership, even when they have admitted the need of leaders at all
..."

At some point we've got to wise up over getting stuck on smart with deep stupidity... here's a good B.S. Detector: Check their positions against reality. And don't worry, you rarely have to look much further than the 1st assertion to see the glaring cons... you know, with things like statements of "Temperatures are rising!", check to see if the temperatures were evenly selected (or properly recorded)... or whether they were cherry picked to support a predetermined position... if the former, move on to the next, but don't worry, it's usually the later, right off the bat.

5/13/2010 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

NB-

Congrats on the joyous addition to your family...have fun and good luck!!

5/13/2010 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

NB said "Aspects of the cosmos which emerge so close to the source -- to O itself -- are always as new and pure as the very first one. I've held friend and family babies, I have nieces and a nephew -- yet my baby is unique and whole, without in any way diminishing the others. That sense of inexhaustible love... you know what I mean?"

Yes indeedy... amazing, isn't it?

Gagdad said "I'm told it gets easier after the first 25 years or so..."

Well... maybe... we'll see... unless they join some outfit that sends them towards people that shoot at them... maybe another 25 yrs.

"... although I understand that girls are trickier..."

That's what I thought, but so far our girl has been the easiest of the bunch. But of course at 1 yrs old... that may be a bit like the guy falling past the 50th floor of a skyscraper saying "So far, so good!"

;-)

Coongrats again Mr. & Mrs. NB!

5/13/2010 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"at 1 yrs old"... er... "at 11 yrs old"

5/13/2010 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Oh no, boys will give you the gray hairs. Definitely.

5/13/2010 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Perfect example of what I meant about the left confusing their ridiculous contortions with "nuance."

5/13/2010 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Damn, Gov. Christie is just awesome. If his actions back up his words, the people of New Jersey might actually have a brighter outlook for the next four years.

5/13/2010 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Christie is great, but that dang Lateral 'L' speech [d]effect [think Tom Brokaw] he is stuck with!... If somehow he & Giuliani are on the same team, they both got that happening!, I for one'll go nuts.... then there is this other rising repub. star:
Scott Walker

5/14/2010 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob, that Holder video is a remarkable exchange. I read the transcript first, but it reads as well as any great movie script. I had to watch the video to make certain the transcript was faithful to what actually took place. I mean, it’s remarkable that it was live.

I hope you blog about it today.

5/14/2010 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Congrats, NB! Blessings to you and the growing family.

5/14/2010 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

RE Holder, just a couple of observations by an armchair analyst:

The first thing that jumps out is Holder’s first answer… it is to repeat the question. As if his hearing has suddenly failed him. I’ve seen this reaction many times. He’d rather not be asked the question and is just buying time. His second decision, if not split-second, he wishes to disconnect the dots by breaking up the question, that Mr. Smith and any normal person interested in the truth can see. But it is deeper than that. His first reaction is to not want to “hear the words”, a point Baillie makes in his book.

Mr. Smith must take him down the road, holding his hand, really. Holder’s first “opening” is to admit that “religion” may sit at the table. By the time he lets radical Islam “enter”, he has by then expanded the category of possibilities so wide that everyone is a suspect. Including, if not especially, teabaggers and Jewish carpenters. If you’re a radical Islamist, this is a pretty sweet policy.

5/14/2010 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't know if I could stretch it into a whole post, but it is certainly noteworthy, because it's not just stupidity, but again, that special motivated stupidity of the left. A prime example of Bion's "attack on linking," through which the person makes the unwanted meaning go away by picking it apart.

And the key point is that, either consciously or unconsciously, Holder obviously knows the truth, which is why his responses are so strange. Again, truth is a force. But look what it does to Holder -- it makes him look like the clown that he is!

Compare with Christie. It would be difficult to find more stark confirmation of today's post.

5/14/2010 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Not to mention how relaxed and comfortable Christie looks while speaking his mind.

5/14/2010 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yup. No anger at all -- or, the anger is purely "objective." The vital anger is just a projection of the left.

Never trust someone who isn't a plain speaker.

5/14/2010 08:17:00 AM  

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