Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Carbon Based vs. the Reality Based Community

The following passage on prudence -- or wisdom -- really says it all: "The pre-eminence of prudence means that realization of the good presupposes knowledge of reality. He alone can do good who knows what things are like and what their situation is. The pre-eminence of prudence means that so-called 'good intention' and 'meaning well' by no means suffice" (emphasis mine).

Now, I would add that the most important reality one must know in order to accomplish the good is human reality, which automatically implies the divine reality with which we are always in a dialectical relationship.

To put it another way, if one does not know what a human being is -- which naturally includes what a human being is for -- then one's actions on behalf of human beings (either oneself or others, it doesn't matter) will be misguided, ill-considered, and generally grounded in wish or fantasy rather than objectivity, which is to say "the nature of things," or truth.

Think of it this way: in the absence of truth, there is no possibility of good. There are no doubt exceptions to this rule on the micro scale, but on the macro scale of politics, failure to be in conformity with human truth paves the way for the greatest of evils.

For example, every leftist scheme from socialism to fascism to communism begins with an erroneous conception of what a human being is, and then simply draws out the political implications.

Thus, if your anthropology is off, then your political philosophy will run aground -- unless you actually succeed in the monstrous project of making human beings other than what they are, say, a fundamentally material rather than intrinsically spiritual being. As is plain for all to see, this is something the left never stops trying to do. In order for them to succeed, they must literally obliterate Man as he is and was meant to be. Rather, Man must become what the leftist wishes him to be, which is to say, a cog in their statist/collectivist machine.

What is even more sinister is that the half-educated rank-and-foul leftist generally doesn't even know he is doing this, as one cannot know what one doesn't know: for the leftist, the great vertical realm of spirit is the dark void of the "unknown unknown," hence their arrogant confidence in dismissing it (no different from, say, 19th century doctors who dismissed the germ theory on the grounds that they themselves could not possibly be carriers of such "unclean" entities).

Secular humanists follow in the wake of the late medieval nominalists who convinced themselves that the principial realm of transcendental truth was words only, and that only concrete material things were ultimately real. This ousted them from the transcendent and created the split that continues to this day between realists and materialists. (See Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences for the details.)

In turn, this split is very much at the basis of mundane politics, as conservatism may be defined as that philosophy which sees the world as the instantiation of "permanent things," or archetypal ideas that are not subject to change. We do not judge or measure them, because they judge and take the measure of us. We are either evolving toward, or away, from what we are in our deepest nature.

But because the left has exiled itself from human reality, it can never understand the simple truth that the world is disordered because souls are. And then in its ontic backasswardness, it tries to order souls by changing the world, and is always surprised when disordered souls re-exert themselves and spoil their beautiful plans. As someone -- I believe Eliot -- said, they are always dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good, which is to say, a rightly ordered soul (since souls don't exist for them anyway).

Another critical point: "the good must be loved and made reality" (emphasis mine). In a forthcoming series of posts, I will get into a list I have compiled of what I call the "Top Ten Intrinsic Intellectual Heresies," that is, forms of pseudo-thought that poison the mind at its very root. The doctrine of absolute relativism is perhaps the most obvious one, as it denies the sufficient reason for the existence of mind, which is to say, truth. And freedom is a consequence of truth, so that those who reject truth can never be "free" in any meaningful sense.

But it is not enough that one acknowledge the existence of truth. For in order for truth to be efficacious, it must be loved.

Now, for any human being who is not fundamentally disordered, this statement is self-evident and requires no explanation, for it is both obvious and an everyday phenomenon. Human beings are intrinsically epistemophilic, which means that we simply love to know for its own sake. Indeed, the higher the knowledge, the less pragmatic, until we attain the most useless -- and therefore precious -- knowledge of all.

This is why it is axiomatic that one may be superficially right while being deeply wrong anytime one obliterates the vertical hierarchy that places knowledge in its proper plane, and takes the lower plane for the whole of reality; or, in the words of James Schall, when reason "closes itself off from what is beyond reason." This is not a problem the religious person -- or at least the Christian -- should ever face, as we should love all truth, regardless of the plane. But (vertical) context is everything.

To put it another way, the knowledge of the secular humanist is always merely pragmatic, which means that the gift of the human intellect is bent toward some manmade material end. Naturally this has its place, but if the intellect gives itself over entirely to this lower mode, it literally enters a parallel looniverse split off from the primary one, in a kind of closed and endless loop. Such a person will search for the good where it can never be found, and will never have a sense of peace. This is the Existential Itch that can never be scratched, and which guarantees a lifetime of restless searching for I-know-not-what-because-I-killed-it.

When we harbor a "wrong end," then that end teleologically organizes everything below it. In so doing, we replace the divine attractor with a manmade fantasy, so that we are pulled deeper and deeper into the phase space of fantasy, until it eventually appears not only real but self-evident (cf. the militant atheists).

To paraphrase Aristotle, when we choose what is good, we are the best of animals, and when we choose unwisely, we are the worst. In the ultimate extreme, the human descends from being reality-based to merely carbon-based, i.e., just a statistically rare organization of molecules instead of a molecular instantiation of spirit, or weird made flesh.

31 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This is what results when deluded moonbats replace spiritual reality with leftist fantasy.

6/02/2010 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Excellent post, Bob. You clarified for me, far better than I could do it for myself, why the vertical axis must be given more weight than the horizontal.

From that viewpoint, the task of deterimining what should be done can be then be efficiently undertaken.

To my view, the most expedient of all things to be done is to arm others with the true viewpoint; that why, they can then help themselves and others, in a sort of chaing reaction.

I conclude most efficient way for a raccoon to help humankind is to propogate more raccoons.

This is done by influence. This blog is an example of influence.

For those of us not skilled in communications, we should turn to other natural aptitudes.

Procurement of food, shelter, education, medical care, security, transportaion, and information services for others frees up the communicators and so should be the fallback occupation of the possesor of truth.

Things to avoid: frivolity, anything that caters to uncouth desires, excessive luxery, pampering, pimping, pandering, and dealing in intoxicants.

6/02/2010 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

What a foolish thing for you to say before you've even heard anon's explanation of how darkness is light.

6/02/2010 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of obliterating man as he is, several people lately (Dr. Helen has a post about it; sorry no link, I'm on my phone) have been discussing a study that shows today's college kids are 40% less empathetic than the students of 20 years ago. Lots if anecdotal evidence backs that up. Modern man is well on the way toward being a lesser man, sadly.

Grant, what have you got against pampering? I can assure you, there are times when it is a necessity.

6/02/2010 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

void Submit(){
for (x = int; x = NumberOfParagraphs; x<NumberOfParagraphs)
{
paragraph = CopyPasteParagraph(x);
paragraph = paragraph + "YES!!!";
comment = paragraph;
comment.publish();
x = x+1;
}
}

IOW, I'd prefer to copy each paragraph of the post into the comments, and add a "YES!!!", but in the interest of saving HTML for future generations, I'll settle for just this,

"...And freedom is a consequence of truth, so that those who reject truth can never be "free" in any meaningful sense.

But it is not enough that one acknowledge the existence of truth. For in order for truth to be efficacious, it must be loved.

Now, for any human being who is not fundamentally disordered, this statement is self-evident and requires no explanation, for it is both obvious and an everyday phenomenon. Human beings are intrinsically epistemophilic, which means that we simply love to know for its own sake. Indeed, the higher the knowledge, the less pragmatic, until we attain the most useless -- and therefore precious -- knowledge of all..."

It says it all. Excellent post.

6/02/2010 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I said I wasn't going to click on it. I said and said and said those words. I said them, but I lied them.

http://blog.sojo.net/2010/05/27/how-christian-is-tea-party-libertarianism/

Wallis needs a good dose of your blogging, Bob.

6/02/2010 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In order to be found one must first acknowledge that one is lost, but his liberal sanctimony (another form of pride) forms a barrier to that recognition.

6/02/2010 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I sent an e-mail to the site asking that the blog posts conform to the site's "comment code of conduct," which, among other things, states:

"I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)"

I'd say his final point in particular put him in direct violation of this policy. I requested a retraction, but who here thinks I'll get one? ;)

6/02/2010 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I meant to post this very special VIDEO link in the comment section of Bob's Memorial Day Blog post, but forgot.

Better late than never:


3 1/2 minute video http://vimeo.com/5645171

VJ Day, Honolulu Hawaii, August 14, 1945

"65 Years Ago my Dad shot this film along Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki capturing spontaneous celebrations that broke out upon first hearing news of the Japanese surrender. Kodachrome 16mm film... [in excellent original color]

6/02/2010 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To USS Ben re:

"BTW, do not follow this advice in combat..."

Therein lies the answer. So you do concur that prudence should come first afterall. :^)

I am not sure that you have made your point or that you have made mine? The adage to be still and think is not necessarily simply prudent, but rather the act of being prudent underscores the first impulse to be merciful which implies justice. Prudence is only needed to decide the best course of action to achieve merciful justice.

More to the point, we all know smart people (people who have been prudent with their assets) and good people (people who are simply by nature good). Which of the two types has the higher virtue? Which would you trust more? Mercy begs us to first see all others as ourselves. I am not sure that prudence alone does this.

6/02/2010 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Earlier today I stumbled upon this book review at New Criterion, written by Derbyshire in 2002. Fascinating. The gazillion, historical
misinterpretations of the Tao te Ching and the subsequent use of such for the purpose of statecraft resembles what we see in the likes of Pelosi and Jim Wallis. Liberals, sheeze.

6/02/2010 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Gagdad re Pelosi Word Worship

I had read about it, but watching it made me extremely uncomfortable. She did have an ecstatic quality in her presentation, but her words were unsettling. Does this mean she is dealing with her closet Catholicism? Hey Nancy, come out of the closet.

6/02/2010 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Tigtog said "More to the point, we all know smart people (people who have been prudent with their assets) and good people (people who are simply by nature good). Which of the two types has the higher virtue? Which would you trust more? Mercy begs us to first see all others as ourselves. I am not sure that prudence alone does this."

I think you might be making a mistake here of thinking that you can have one, without the other. True, we do need to distinguish and separate the virtues in order to discuss them, but we shouldn't forget that such analysis is artificial.

Also, being 'smart people' doesn't mean they have the virtue of Prudence, and having true Prudence doesn't mean you'll have the appearance of dazzling smarts. Just because someone is 'prudent' with their finances (I think careful, deliberate or sensible would be more appropriate words in this conversation), does not mean they have the virtue of Prudence. They may have some of the mechanical skills, but the skills alone, without the Virtue (and that means all of the virtues), don't add up to anything more than skillfulness... a sort of craftiness, but such skillful craftiness doesn't amount to Wisdom or Prudence.

A reality conforming Reasoning, a love of Truth, must be present in order to exercise true Mercy - the knockoff's of sappy bleeding heartism, or of a skittishness to offend and/or an eagerness to seem nice may look the part, but they are as far of the mark of Mercy as craftiness is of Prudence.

6/02/2010 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

Greetings:

The purely horizontal life is a reasonable choice for some.

Why not leave the vertical to those who like it?

A satisfied "Horizontal" is replete with money, power, and privilege, and to muck around with success on that level is foolish. Such an individual has a full-time job just enjoying herself and needs no other vocation, or spoil-sports in her vicinity.

If you've got it, enjoy it. If you don't "got it", then go vertical to get your ya ya's.

But don't insist on taking everyone with you. Some of us, through our own considerable powers, have a heaven here on earth.

6/02/2010 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

bh drooled "But don't insist on taking everyone with you."

bh we aren't tracking you down and saying you're a idiot... you are coming here and forcing that conclusion upon us yourself.

Please, feel free to stop insisting that we be exposed to your blackhole, and I promise we'll leave it at that.

6/02/2010 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"

6/02/2010 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

I guess having it all has jaded me.

I am a teensy bit bored even in the midst of fabulous wealth and accomplishments.

The question on my mind is what else is there?

You here seem to know, but the way you talk, I can't see you're any happier or healthier (or different) than the average moonbat, except by the things you say.

What am I missing here?

6/02/2010 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

If I have to explain it to you, you can't afford it.

6/02/2010 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

bh said "What am I missing here?"

You mean aside from gnothing?

Everything.

6/02/2010 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

OT, there's one more kit in the world tonight. Liam finally joined us at 9:24 pm. 7lbs., 14oz., good apgar scores (8 & 9), he's snoozing peacefully now and waiting for his 1st bath.

We'll try to have some photos uploaded tomorrow :)

6/03/2010 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

Congratulations! So happy for you all. Take care of yourself and kiss that baby for me.
Bless you!
Sal

6/03/2010 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Grant suggests the "...way for a raccoon to help humankind is to propagate more raccoons."

Sean and Julie agree!

Congratulations!

6/03/2010 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

congrats Julie! a...Gemini! just a 'few' great musicians of that 'air'y persuasion: Miles, Macca, Nilsson, R Strauss [the greatest of his century?---aks G Gould], Malkmus/Pavement, N Drake!

6/03/2010 04:25:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Enjoy that sweet one, Julie! I'm all grins on your behalf. :)

6/03/2010 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Liam! Welcome aboard.
You are one lucky guy.

Congratulations Mom and Dad!
It feels like a new house around here already. Everything is new.
We are all blessed, Julie.

6/03/2010 05:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

What Rick Said! Hoorah!

6/03/2010 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

COONGRATULATIONS JULIE!!!

Awesome news!!!

6/03/2010 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Wonderful news Julie!!!

Little Liam will have the best possible start in life with you as his Mom. Coongratulations!!

6/03/2010 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

yoicks! i forgot Bob Dylan---- + Whitman, Ginzy [sign of the Poet]

6/03/2010 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Congratulations, Julie, and welcome to the world of parenting as spiritual path! These omnipotent little gurus are big on cultivating the virtue of absolute selflessness. Yours!

6/03/2010 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger jwm said...

HOORAY!
Congratulations, Julie, and welcome Liam. This is a joyful day. My prayers for you both as you start your new lives.

JWM

6/04/2010 05:52:00 PM  

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