Friday, June 11, 2010

How to Know When God is Speaking to You

Jumping ahead again, this time to Pieper's wonderful book on the theological virtues, Faith, Hope, Love -- which is perhaps even better than his book on the cardinal virtues, although both are essential.

And when I say "essential," I don't mean it in the sense that it is essential for you to read them; rather, I mean it in the sense that he directly communicates the spiritual essence of what he is discussing (you might say that essence is to the vertical what existence is to the horizontal).

This is always the hallmark of a gifted religious writer: the direct communication of essence; or, to put it another way, their communication is spiritually infused with the "substance" of the reality under discussion. In fact, if this essence -- or substance -- is not present, then something ain't right, either in the transmitter or the receiver (i.e., him or you; but if the problem is in you, you will be incapable of discerning a fraud from the real thing, a Deepak from a Dionysius).

It reminds me of something my most gifted professor taught me in graduate school: if either you or the patient aren't aware of an emotional disturbance in the session, then something is wrong (in other words, the two of you are probably colluding to avoid some primitive material).

Pieper actually touches on this issue in his section on faith. "In speaking to men, God does not cause them to know objective facts, but he does throw open to them his own Being" (emphasis mine). Do you see the profundity of this statement? When he communicates, God quintessentially communicates his own essence -- which, on our end, is subjectively accompanied by awareness of the sacred. And awareness of the sacred is nothing less than innate consciousness of the presence of God (Schuon).

Again, to turn it around, if, for whatever reason, a person has rendered himself unable or unwilling to sense the sacred, he will be unable to sense the presence of God. Conversely, when one is aware of the sacred, God is present. Of course he is always and everywhere "present," but in order to be aware of that fact, we must become a vertically open system, i.e., (↑↓).

Or, to paraphrase Petey, if you haven't received the hologram to your private particle, you need to come in, open His presence, and report for karmic duty.

Note that the "essence of the essence," so to speak, of the divine revelation, utterly transcends any ability to draw a distinction between signifier and signified, symbol and symbolized, for the two merge in God. Thus, "the Incarnation of God and the revelation in Christ are one and the same reality" (Pieper; emphasis mine).

This revelation of being is only offered to us, never forced (interestingly, my above referenced professor once remarked that he never, ever, recommended psychotherapy, but only offered it; I can certainly say the same of this blog).

The "content" of revelation is ultimately Revelation as such, which is to say, a loving invitation to "participate in the divine life." Which in turn is why faith is so critical, for faith is essentially the acceptance of God's offer -- or of his self-revelation, to be precise. "Divine revelation is not an announcement of a report on reality but the imparting of that reality itself" (emphasis mine). To have "faith" means to actually take God's call, and not just put him on hold or play phone tag with him.

As I've mentioned before, Schuon's writing is always characterized by its essentiality, so let's see what he has to say about the human ability to know the sacred. I really don't see how someone could be more exact, while at the same time not "confining" the human spirit. To the contrary, I find that Schuon's exactitude is always liberating, as it bears upon, and opens up to, the Infinite (again, it is vertically open):

"That is sacred which in the first place is attached to the transcendent order, secondly, possesses the character of absolute certainty and, thirdly, eludes the comprehension and control of the ordinary human mind. Imagine a tree whose leaves, having no kind of direct knowledge about the root, hold a discussion about whether or not a root exists and what its form is if it does: if a voice then came from the root telling them that the root does exist and what its form is, that message would be sacred."

Which is why, in the words of Petey, It is a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf.

"The sacred is the presence of the center in the periphery, of the immutable in the moving.... The sacred introduces a quality of the absolute into relativities and confers on perishable things a texture of eternity" (Schuon).

Elsewhere he says that "It is the interference of the uncreate in the created, of the eternal in time, of the infinite in space, of the supraformal in forms; it is the mysterious introduction into one realm of existence of a presence which in reality contains and transcends that realm..."

Traces of the sacred are everywhere -- those life-giving springs dotting the horizontal landscape -- but it is up to us to hone our ability to detect them: "To feel this concretely is to possess the sense of the sacred, and thereby the instinct of adoration, devotion and submission." It is to be simultaneously aware of the "immense remoteness and miraculous proximity" of O. Which in turn is why the Raccoon is always on the way to his deustination. He is simultaneously there and not yet there, which in-forms the dialectical tension of his life journey into O.

By the way, for Pieper, the closest human analogue to God's disclosure of his Being is....

Any guesses?

How about I. Love. You.

Why is that? Because this simple statement is simultaneously a revelation of what it reveals. In other words, it is not a factual statement about love, but its direct transmission from human to human (one especially notices this with young children, whose verbal expressions of love are so spontaneous and pure that they are literally heartbreaking. Ouch! Hurts so good!).

I love you is also a direct and intimate revelation of the deepest identity of the one who loves. Thus, there are three elements unified in the one utterance: the "self-witnessing" of the I who loves; the affirmation of the reality of love; and the revelation that one is beloved.

Which is why in God, one must not draw an artificial distinction between love and knowledge, for his revelation is a direct transmission of his loving nature, of love, and of our belovedness in God. Divine communication and comm-union are one and the same.

I feel like I barely got started, and now it's time to stop. To be continued....

79 Comments:

Blogger black hole said...

A question:

Why is spiritual development essential?

Whether a person has faith or not, the world turns, food gets eaten, work done, babies born, etc. The sun shines.

A person may grasp what you are trying to transmit, but agains the cosmic background the persistent question of what it boots has never been addressed satisfactorily.

The most rancourous HItchenish stepmonster may prance across the world stage, following in the wake of the most radiant of saints, and yet...

So?

6/11/2010 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You're not listening, moron. I don't recommend my blog, I only offer it.

6/11/2010 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

>>"Again, to turn it around, if, for whatever reason, a person has rendered himself unable or unwilling to sense the sacred, he will be unable to sense the presence of God."<<

The angels keep their ancient places--
Turn but a stone and start a wing!
'Tis ye, 'tis your estrangèd faces,
That miss the many-splendored thing.


Wonder-ful post Bob. Thank you.

6/11/2010 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Powerful Doc Zero today.

6/11/2010 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

B. Hole:

Spiritual development is unavoidable You'll get it whether "you" want it or not. Therefoere the question of whether it is essential is moot.

You are a leased piece of equipment. You don't own "yourself". God controls you and everyone. There is no escape from your fate to grow spiritually.

The rate at which you develop it is under some control. If you want fast, then you'll have faith.

The blog author stated, this blog is for voluntary consumption. Leave off if you don't need it now and want to go slowly.

Butt, there are tangible benefits to having faith. There is a subjective feeling of contentment that arises from that.

Money is more plentiful for the faithful, as are jobs and housing.

Successful mating and child rearing is easier and better for the faithful.

The fathiful are healthier. They have more fun.

There is a lot to reccomend it and few drawbacks.

The faithful however cannot indulge in vices too much and that can be a drag sometimes.

Other than that, though, its all good. So get on board you piece of crap and give it a go.

6/11/2010 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow, that's nice to know.

Give your life to Jayzuss and everything will be perfect! Illnesses will be cured, money will flow in like water, your family life will suddenly look like an episode of "Leave it to Beaver," and you'll be content! Puh-raise the Lawd!!

Grant/ BH, you are an imbecile. Really.

To be aware of the higher vertical has little if anything to do with creature comforts and an easy life. Speaking personally, if I had wanted all that you describe, I would have been wiser to run screaming in the other direction upon first encountering this blog.

6/11/2010 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie, I believe you are wrong to call Grant an imbecile, which requires an IQ in the 20-49 range. (Idiot is below 20.) I really think that, like Black Hole, he is -- at least on a good day -- more of a moron, which is in the 50-69 range.

6/11/2010 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

My mistake - I've always had a tough time keeping those terms in order.

So what's the technical descriptor for someone who carries on public conversations with himself a la Gollum? I'm guessing everyone has such an internal dialogue to some degree (hence the popular imagery of a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other), but like anything there's a "normal" range and a pathological one.

Just curious.

6/11/2010 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I have no idea, although I suppose its analogous to the relationship between flea and dog.

BTW, Pieper directly contradicts Grant's childish view on faith, as faith is by definition never "settled," but always "on the way" to its object. It is intrinsically dynamic, in contrast to settled knowledge, which is static. More in subsequent posts.

6/11/2010 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. dynamic faith, it strikes me that if we reach a point where we no longer feel as though we've only just begun to understand; if we think we finally grasp it somehow or that we have all the answers, then in truth we have nothing at all.

If the answer is the disease which kills curiosity, then crystallization is the disease which kills faith.

6/11/2010 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

or else you are a bona fide saint.... which is indeed a kind of "death in life," only the good kind, not the zombie/troll kind.

6/11/2010 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

bona fide = good faith

6/11/2010 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I would think of that as being not so much a crystallization (in the MOTT sense) as a dissolution. Which is to say, what makes someone a bona fide saint is not that they grasp an aspect of the Absolute, but rather that it grasps them.

Of course, that's only one way to look at it...

6/11/2010 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Divine revelation is not an announcement of a report on reality but the imparting of that reality itself

This is perhaps the most evident failing of evangelical, Protestant Christianity. We talk way too much about the report and often fail to understand why it is even given.

WV is too good, because it's all about the sedanc -- dances with just a little twist ... and shout.

6/11/2010 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, word made flesh, not flesh made word. Or at least first things first.

6/11/2010 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

More questions from the cramped confines of this narrow intellect:

Have you reported for karmic duty? What if any were the nature of your communications with God?
What instructions did you recieve?

How do you differentiate God's speaking content from the background chaff of the mind?

Is there any danger to one's mental equilibrium from the practice?

Oh, I am wigging today. I'll let up after Van weighs in. The day is not right until Van weighs in.

6/11/2010 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

our pinhead in charge
these guys were drooling for him to win...

6/11/2010 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Re the pinhead link: you are aware that the article you linked to has the subtitle "The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder"? You are aware that Obama's opponents ran on a platform that included more offshore oil drilling with less oversight? Remember "drill baby drill"?

That's not to defend any particulars of how the Obama administration handled this problem, but the underlying problems are directly traceable to the previous administration and there can be no doubt that if McCain/Palin won the problems would have been the same or worse.

I'm also sure that if Obama had managed to crack down on the oil companies before this happened, the likes of you would have been screaming at the affront to private enterprise.

From the article: "During the Bush years, the Minerals Management Service, the agency in the Interior Department charged with safeguarding the environment from the ravages of drilling, descended into rank criminality...MMS staffers were both literally and figuratively in bed with the oil industry. When agency staffers weren't joining industry employees for coke parties or trips to corporate ski chalets, they were having sex with oil-company officials...MMS managers were awarded cash bonuses for pushing through risky offshore leases, auditors were ordered not to investigate shady deals, and safety staffers routinely accepted gifts from the industry, allegedly even allowing oil companies to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil before tracing over them in pen."

Yes the Obama administration may be faulted for not fixing this, but it was your guy who screwed it up in the first place.

I swear, you people must suffer from some sort of severe cognitive handicap to view the world the way you do.

6/11/2010 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hmm. Perhaps if you stop assuming that what we are saying makes sense, and then give up imagining what sort of world it is that we are making sense of, you'll make more progress.

6/11/2010 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Which is why in God, one must not draw an artificial distinction between love and knowledge, for his revelation is a direct transmission of his loving nature, of love, and of our belovedness in God. Divine communication and comm-union are one and the same."

Bob, can I just give this post a hearty "Amen"!

6/11/2010 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

faith is by definition never "settled," but always "on the way" to its object.

Someday, it will arrive and be subsumed in the knowledge of which your final paragraph speaks:

"Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

For faith and hope are fulfilled when we see "face to face."

6/11/2010 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

No, it's Clinton's fault!

wv: cramp

6/11/2010 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's true. Clinton was pretty indiscriminate in laying all that pipe.

6/11/2010 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Heh. I meant to qualify what I said yesterday, that it only applies to the "deep" parts of your blog. The political stuff is not only shallow but petty, slanderous, and in many cases demonstrably false -- and it demands to be answered and corrected, rather than absorbed in an open-minded way.

How these very different styles manage to coexist here is something of a mystery. The political crapola pretty much invalidates the spiritual insights -- but not entirely.

I may as well take issue with something on the spiritual side. You quote Schuon: "That is sacred which in the first place is attached to the transcendent order, secondly, possesses the character of absolute certainty...". I think the second part, this pairing of the sacred and absolute certainty is where you (and Schuon) get into trouble. Absolute certainty seems to me to be a good way to cut oneself off from the spiritual, which transcends anything you can say or know about it. Or so it seems to me.

6/11/2010 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For the sake of other readers, I will just say that anon is quite confused about the uniquely dual nature of faith, which we will be discussing in subsequent posts.

6/11/2010 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

But here's a little hint: how could communion with the Other ever be absolute, without destroying the communion, and therefore, the persons (since a person can only Be in communion)?

6/11/2010 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And I hope it goes without saying that the political implications of such a person-centered ontology are enormous.

6/11/2010 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Pieper actually touches on this issue in his section on faith. "In speaking to men, God does not cause them to know objective facts, but he does throw open to them his own Being" (emphasis mine). Do you see the profundity of this statement? When he communicates, God quintessentially communicates his own essence -- which, on our end, is subjectively accompanied by awareness of the sacred. And awareness of the sacred is nothing less than innate consciousness of the presence of God (Schuon)."

Word.

6/11/2010 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Slightly off/on topic...

Curious as to various opinions on musicians/artists who are transmitters of the essential.

I recently bought the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss cd "Raising Sand". I find it oddly haunting in a way that is completely out of the reach of words. Harmonically the songs are quite simple, but...

6/11/2010 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Here's something we don't get. Anon says he only criticizes our shallow politics... which is quite false, by the way, given his many attacks on religion... anyway, he says he only criticizes our shallow politics, but one of his criticisms of us is that we criticize shallow people of the left such as Keith Olbermann, Paul Krugman, and Noam Chomsky, instead of deep thinkers like Lou Rawls and Richard Petty.

My question is this: why don't you take your own advice and criticize some political thinkers you consider deep, instead of doing what we do, which is take potshots at buffoons like Rosie or Joe Klein or Helen Thomas or you?

6/11/2010 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Jack:

Great topic. I'm always on the hunt for essential music.

6/11/2010 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Speaking of God talking to you ..

I just saw this awesome video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD5Wf4oM_oI

Yes - Seek and ye shall find

6/11/2010 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said
"you people must suffer from some sort of severe cognitive handicap to view the world the way you do."

That's a mighty strange concern from someone who thinks so much of reality that they said "Realism is correlated with depression, which is not conducive to success.”
rather than seek out things to disagree with, why not just sit back, close your eyes and float downstream? Gotta be better than admitting that reality is really important after all... eh?

"...how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years ..."

Same with that... but who am I to try to make sense of a leftist troll's mind, if you can't, no point in my trying.

However... your words have escaped you, I might as well have a go.

Are you aware that Bush was a human being and prone to all the errors and failings of said creature? He might even have helped himself to more than his fair share of them... I have in mind his "I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system" in particular. He is a proregressive republican, he believes in top down control and guidance by government just as the proregressive left, merely somewhat less of it. He had redeeming qualities, but that one will always tarnish everything else he might have been.

"...not to defend any particulars of how the Obama administration handled this problem, but the underlying problems are directly traceable to the previous adminis..."

Obsess about Left/Right much? Carter created the DOE in 1977, but every president has continued it, every president and congress has increased it's rules and regulations, including the prohibitions that have forced drilling further and further from shore... not to mention forbid the use, or upgrading of many existing on shore rigs or any new drilling ON shore. Anybody who wishes to lay the blame for this at the feet of anybody other than We The People who sat, watched and allowed all of this to happen... sorry, not on board with that. At all.

"...sure that if Obama had managed to crack down on the oil companies before this happened, the likes of you would have been screaming at the affront to private enterprise..."

Even had he managed to overcome the influence they purchased, yes, I would, and am even now.

(I hope bh feels better now)

6/11/2010 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "...it demands to be answered and corrected, ..."

From the troll who has run away from every request to actually state what it believes... that's really funny.

Of course, your inability to comprehend what you read, which causes foolishness like this,

"...I think the second part, this pairing of the sacred and absolute certainty is where you (and Schuon) get into trouble. Absolute certainty seems to me to be a good way to cut oneself off from the spiritual..."

, is a close runner up.

6/11/2010 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "...instead of deep thinkers like Lou Rawls and Richard Petty."

LOL.

Ok, I'm ready to relax, have an adult beverage... obviously in Wifease that means the lawn should be mowed right away.

Sigh.

6/11/2010 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This song by Lou Rawls was Toots' favorite, and at one time was in contention for the Raccoon Anthem.

6/11/2010 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This was Herman's choice. It was rejected on grounds of being too deep for most people to comprehend.

6/11/2010 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss sing "Killing The Blues

6/11/2010 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Petey's choice, of course, was Dirty World.

6/11/2010 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Even Trolls Love to Rock & Roll. I don't believe it.

6/11/2010 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

"Killing the Blues" was written by the great John Prine. But I humbly suggest that this song of his is a better match for you folks.

This one seems quite topical as well.

6/11/2010 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Wrong again, Anon...John Prine COVERED "Killing the Blues" it was written by Rowland Salley, who plays bass for Chris Isaak where he is known as Roly Salley...

6/11/2010 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

John Prine does kind of *look* like a troll. So maybe trolls do like rock n roll...who knew?

6/11/2010 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's about time anon began giving us musical tips. Next, maybe he'll share his chicken salad recipe.

The lonely lives of trolls....

6/11/2010 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Did anyone look at the youtube video link I posted?

6/11/2010 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Here's some special music for anon and black hole:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc6mcKUucaw

6/11/2010 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Dianne, thanks for the Shoebat video. It's too bad there aren't more Muslims with his drive to seek the Truth from the midst of the cultural conditions in which he was raised.

6/11/2010 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Aw, they're so cute! My kids and I saw them perform at a fall festival just a few years ago--they're beautiful young ladies now!

6/11/2010 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Thank you Julie and Susannah :)here's another song by them as beautiful young women.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv1eMl02HCE&NR=1

6/11/2010 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Well I stand corrected.

You hand out musical tips all the time, so what's so bad about me doing the same?

which is quite false, by the way, given his many attacks on religion

Really? I suppose it's possible...maybe you can quote a few to refresh my memory.

But here's a little hint: how could communion with the Other ever be absolute, without destroying the communion, and therefore, the persons (since a person can only Be in communion)?

If that was a hint to me, I'm afraid it went way over my head. What does it have to do with what was under discussion, which was:

Absolute certainty seems to me to be a good way to cut oneself off from the spiritual, which transcends anything you can say or know about it.

I'm somewhat disappointed nobody took up this point, which was an attempt to have an actual dialog about spiritual matters. Obviously you can disagree, but I'd hoped for better than insults or obscurantism.

6/11/2010 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

anon, I can't speak for everyone else here, but for my part, I regard absolute certainty as residing with the One who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent--not with me.

6/11/2010 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Yep - the only one who can give you absolute certainty is God. And so far, anon, you don't seem inclined to ask him.

The links I posted are gifts to you. Either watch and appreciate, or don't. It's your choice.

6/11/2010 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"which transcends anything you can say or know about it."

This part of what you say is wrong. As Francis Schaeffer has said, what God has revealed about Himself is substantive, even though it is not exhaustive--like the tip of an iceberg.

6/11/2010 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I.e., we cannot know all the mysteries of the Godhead, but what we do know through revelation (and encounter) is truly and objectively true.

6/11/2010 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone,

No one replied, probably because it's a 2+2=3 issue. It's not only plainly wrong, but it's a bit uncomfortable pointing it out to the person who made the error - on the one hand they might slap their foreheads and shrink down in their chair, but on the other hand they just might say "What's wrong with that?", and who wants to explain that to someone? Now that's a good question... wish I knew the answer... but since I don't... here I go again.

Absolute certainty, on the level you seem to be seeking, is not only unattainable, but it's incompatible with consciousness and Free Will. Leftist are forever chasing the perfect sequence of steps and tasks that will create infallible utopian success, because they are determinists who choose to believe that people are merely bio-robots whose lives and 'choices' are determined by their environment. But Absolute certainty rules out consciousness and free will; one of many reasons why A.I. will never produce consciousness is that it will never, ever, produce an error. No computer has ever made an error. Programmers, such as myself, make gobs of them, and sometimes the hardware behaves in unexpected ways, or an insect gets into the circuitry and produces a bug... but that's just the laws of physics operating in perfectly ordinary ways, though ones which we didn't foresee occurring.

To be able to choose, means that you have to make an evaluation, which means you have no perfect or automatic knowledge - you have to evaluate and choose what seems the best answer from your available options, but any judgment will always be at the mercy of the context, the unexpected, the things you don't even know that you don't even know, and of course the Rod Serling twist from left field which hits you completely unawares.

To choose means to evaluate and make your best choice, and that is always accompanied by the potential of being in error.

A couple quotes, Aristotle said something like we can have perfect knowledge only of that which has no material form, such as the theoretical sum of angles in a triangle - in your mind, but draw them out on paper, and you'll never be able to get the lines exactly perfect, and some degree of magnification will always reveal some discrepancy.

(forced anti-longwinded blogger break)

6/11/2010 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(cont)
A couple other points Aristotle made which you should take to heart, in his Nicomachean Ethics,

"...for it is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs..."

and from his "On Metaphysics(Book IV)"
"... for not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education. "

I hope it's obvious, but I probably shouldn't assume so - that these, or any other quotes, if looked at only as something said by an old dead white guy, would be worthless and a waste of html, not worth your time to read or my time to enter them. But in fact they are worthwhile, because the are meaning-full (I hope you appreciate my dashes), they are weighty deep measures of Truth, and can have a significant affect upon your life (especially if you bother to read - and consider - the rest of the material surrounding them).

The whole point of our recent topic of Prudence, is that you have to judge based upon the knowledge at hand, judge whether or not it is enough, and whether or not it is possible or wise to wait for more. You have to make the prudent choice between perpetually waffling, and being imprudently rash... all the while knowing that you will never be able to attain absolute certainty about whether or not your choice is the correct or best one possible.

Come to thing of it, I recently read this from Josef Pieper on the very matter,
"At this point the element of uncertainty and risk in every moral decision comes to light. In the decisions of prudence, which by the very nature of prudence are concerned with things concrete, contingent, and future ..., there cannot be that certainty which is possible in a theoretical conclusion. This is what the casuists fail to understand. But since prudence is after all an "intellectual virtue," shall we not also ascribe to its decisions "the certitude of truth"...? To this suggestion Thomas Aquinas responds: ..."the certitude of prudence cannot be so great as completely to remove all anxiety." A profound statement, this! Man, then, when he comes to a decision cannot ever be sufficiently prescient nor can he wait until logic affords him absolute certainty. If he waited for that, he would never come to a decision; he would remain in a state of inconclusiveness, unless he chose to make shift with a deceptive certitude. The prudent man does not expect certainty where it cannot exist, nor on the other hand does he deceive himself by false certainties."

6/11/2010 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Hmm. And now looking back up... I'm not completely certain anone was using certainty in the way it first seemed.

Hate it when that happens.

Nevermind.

6/11/2010 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Absolute certainty, on the level you seem to be seeking, is not only unattainable, but it's incompatible with consciousness and Free Will.

WTF? Schuon is the one calling for absolute certainty, not me. I was dubious about the idea.

Leftist are forever chasing the perfect sequence of steps and tasks that will create infallible utopian success,

You are are a remarkably confused person, but especially so when you characterize the Left. I guess that's just par for the course around here.

I think I mentioned Rorty here the other day as a leftist thinker I admire, to much derision. Try reading him and tell me that his problem is that he's "chasing infallible utopian success".

You do get some spooky wv's here, I must admit: waryme

6/11/2010 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

another sort of duet!
son-mom

6/12/2010 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "WTF?"

Not a big fan of emily litella, huh?

"I think I mentioned Rorty here the other day as a leftist thinker I admire, to much derision. Try reading him and tell me that his problem is that he's "chasing infallible utopian success"."

Yes I did deride him, and I have read enough of him to know there is nothing of use in reading him further. Let me throw a few other names into the pot you might recognize, Jurgen Habermas , Karl Popper, J.S. Mill, John Dewey, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend & Marc Hauser. All of these fellers, when you actually examine their ideas (that requires going a bit beyond the glowing quotes on the dust jacket), you'll find that in their fundamentals they are either rooted in Hume, Kant, Hegel or in a reaction to them (such as Pragmatism), which puts them in direct opposition to reality and truth... and firmly onto the left.

There is an impression about Pragmatism which most Americans have, that it means something like a no-nonsense approach to things, that it's just 'common sense' and you'll find the term sprinkled through the words of everyone from Reagan to your next door neighbor, as if it were a synonym for sensible thinking.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Pragmatism is at root anti-principle, and so, though originated by Americans, is fundamentally anti-American. You cannot have Property Rights, or Rights at all in any meaningful sense, where the actual theory of pragmatism has any respectability.

I'll make this simple for you, in my book, if you believe we cannot actually perceive and understand reality, if you are opposed to causality, if you reject principles (on principle(!)), then no matter what you say or what party affiliation you might claim, your ideas put you against Property Rights, Individual Rights and Constitutional Law, and to the degree that guides your thinking, you are a leftist.

I've no idea what Rorty's political enthusiasms were... I'd be mildly surprised to hear he was a Republican, but not shocked and it'd be irrelevant because in his fundamental ideas he was a leftist.

Why? Because Rorty was a proponent of pragmatism.

And about Richard Rorty,

"Richard Rorty (1931–2007) developed a distinctive and controversial brand of pragmatism that expressed itself along ...(blah blah blah)... Rorty has sought to integrate and apply the milestone achievements of Dewey, Hegel and Darwin in a pragmatist synthesis of historicism and naturalism. "

Pragmatism was a reaction to the skeptical views of Hume and the impenetrable metaphysics of Kant & Hegel (a convoluted slop of errors and falsehoods to 'muddy their waters to make them appear deep'), where Pierce, Dewey & James essentially said "You're right, reality isn't knowable, so the heck with it, lets just deal with 'things as they are', act, and act again until we happen across something that works".

I've gone off on Pragmatism over and again, so I'll keep it short here and point you towards one post of mine with lots of ellipses & inappropriate capitalizations, you'll love it, Common Sense Anti-Americanism.

6/12/2010 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

At the risk of being a bit too self-promotional-- a band I play with got a song placed on the latest episode of "Friday Night Lights". The damn songwriter didn't even tell me! I just happened to be watching the show anyway!

If anyone cares to check it out, one can do so at nbc.com. It is on the latest episode entitled "Stay" and the song starts at around 39:45 into the episode. I play lead guitar on the track...a baritone guitar to be precise.

Just thought I'd share that with fellow Raccoons...

6/12/2010 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Friday Night Lights

6/12/2010 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Dianne said...

WOW - that's awesome Jack. I will check it out.

6/12/2010 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Coongratulations, Jack! Awesome!!

6/12/2010 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Jack:

That was really good. Very atmospheric. Feel free to post it in today's thread, so other brothers and sisters under the pelt can hear it.

Trying to think of who it reminds me of.... there's one point where your guitar is reminiscent of Glen Campbell in Galveston doing the Velvet Underground songbook... The singer reminds me of someone. It's bothering me that I can't remember who....

Oh, and put more cowbell in the mix next time.

6/12/2010 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

The songwriter is a big Leonard Cohen fan...

Thank you fellow Raccoons, for the kind words and support. Funny that I was going to bring up the show a week or so back as it is one of my favorites. It is the best example, that I've seen, of the tragic/constrained worldview on tv.

Imagine my surprise when without any warning, the song came on and there I am playing! A strange feeling...

6/12/2010 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I was going to say Leonard, but there's someone else.... It'll come to me....

BTW, the first time Brian Wilson heard one of his songs on the radio -- which happened to be while driving -- he hurled.

6/12/2010 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Maybe this guy, track four.

6/12/2010 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Coongratulations Jack!
I can't hear the song with dial up but I'm sure you guys played a great song!

Perhaps I can catch the episode repeat.

6/12/2010 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Great post, Bob!
I'm catching up after some tech difficulties, and this is absolutely! one of your best series.
:^)

6/12/2010 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger val said...

It is written Satan has deceived the whole world until the heel of time when a woman shall bruise him by exposing his lies Gen 3:15. Check out the bruising of Satan at http://thegoodtale.blogspot.com please read all posts to see the whole picture.

6/12/2010 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Van -- you can skip the long irrelevant diatribes (which I don't read) and answer the point -- which, if you remember, was that you said Leftists "chase.. infallible utopian success" and I pointed out that Rorty, while indubitably a leftist, in no way matches your description of them. Quite the opposite in fact.

That pragmatism is a reaction to Hegel is very interesting but doesn't affect the basic point that you are wrong about this very simple matter.

6/12/2010 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Lives are at stake, dammit!

6/12/2010 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Do you mean to say that even though liberalism is supposed to be marked with radical evil and threatens to destroy all western civilization, that totally mischaracterizing it, getting it completely backwards in fact, is just not that big a deal?

Well, OK. Your readers should be aware then that you aren't really serious about any of the things you say and are just providing entertainment, and your jibes carry no more weight than than those of a mediocre insult comic.

6/12/2010 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

How could they not know that. Gosh!

6/12/2010 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Very cool, Jack! I'm so glad I decided to use the computer *with* sound tonight.

wv: etrial

6/12/2010 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone, you can skip the attempts to sound superior, all of which I laugh at (but thanks).
I suppose turning tail and running has become so second nature with you that you’ve forgotten, but you’ve yet to answer a single question I posed to you.
Answer the fundamental questions I asked you… what… a week or more ago?... or prepare to keep me laughing at you.
Once you’ve indicated you fundamental principles (if any), I’ll happily instruct you on how,
Leftists "chase.. infallible utopian success"
I mean, it’s not like it’s difficult to figure out, or that you couldn’t find it on any of my links alone, but apparently you do need things spelled out for you… so being the helpful raccoon I am, I’ll happily do so, after you answer the most basic of young adult questions (you are older than 18, right?)

Cheers.

6/12/2010 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "Do you mean to say that even though liberalism ...."

ninny, you aren't a Liberal, you're a leftist.

Big difference.

6/12/2010 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "That pragmatism is a reaction to Hegel is very interesting but doesn't affect the basic point that you are wrong about this very simple matter."

Heh... spoken like a true pragmatic leftist who thinks their words need have no real relation to reality. Allow me to translate: "Just because something is true, doesn't mean that I need to believe it."

BTW, with "...skip the long irrelevant diatribes (which I don't read) and answer the point ..."

anone, just to be clear, with your first dodge and leave, you confirmed yourself as a troll, I don't make my replies to you; even if you did read them, no 'point' could survive your own internal evasions and equivocations - you are a leftist troll, you can do nothing but that.

My responses are for the benefit of others who may be unsure about how to see through the blur of your words to what they actually mean, and I enjoy that.

And of course it's fun to help you to point out how foolish you are, and I think all of us get a kick out of that. So on behalf of Raccoons everywhere, thanks again.

6/13/2010 08:45:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home