Getting Stuck on Smart with Deep Stupidity
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.