Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's a Mixed Up Muddled Up Shook Up World

Are animals free? From our point of view they aren't, but compared to rocks and trees they are -- which is to say that they manifest a divine archetype and participate in the Divine freedom, or the drama of creation.

Likewise, human beings are obviously free on their own plane, but one assumes that this freedom looks very different from the perspective of God -- perhaps analogous to how animal freedom appears to us.

Elsewhere I remember Schuon saying something to the effect that for animals instinct is their intellect, while for human beings the intellect is our instinct. I agree with this, in the sense that the intellect is not radically free, but simply has a larger domain of freedom. Or, one might say that it partakes of additional dimensions, not the least of which being the cosmic interior that discloses truth, beauty, virtue, being, essence, and unity.

Animals obviously don't have access to any of these dimensions. They can touch beauty -- for example, through the eyes and ears -- but that is all. They cannot "enter" it, let alone inhabit it.

One wonders if there is something analogous going on in certain humans who can touch truth or God, but not enter. For example, atheists who argue against the existence of the thing they call "god" must be "touching" it, so to speak. But to enter it would be to know it, precisely. Conversely, to remain exterior to it is to not know it, just as a blind man must forever be exterior to painting.

The purpose of human existence is to realize the Absolute. Either this is the purpose, or there is no purpose at all. Again: it is either theism or nihilism, with nothing in between. But this "nothing" is not a zero. Rather, it is very much a "something," but this something is the great realm of illusion.

Now, the theist also lives in this realm of illusion, but it makes all the difference in the world if one regards this illusion from the bottom-up or the top-down. If the world inhabited by human beings -- especially the subjective world -- is simply a prolongation of physics and biology (the latter of which being a prolongation of the former), then we know full well that the world is just an illusion resting on another illusion. It's illusions all the way down.

Since we live in an illusion, we can't even be sure that physics isn't an illusion, right? I mean, let's be honest. As J.B.S. Haldane put it, "If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms."

Everything changes if we invert the cosmos and set it back right side-up. Again, we still live in "illusion" -- for anything that is not God is less than real -- but now we see this realm of mayaplicity as an extension or prolongation of the One. Now we have solid ground over our heads and a cloud under our feet -- for example, Heisenberg's quantum cloud of blessed uncertainty, or Gödel's holy incompleteness, or Bohr's divine complementarity, or Matte Blanco's sacred bi-logic. That is the real world, which eludes any reductionistic explanation (except for technological purposes).

In short, our Reason -- and therefore reason -- is from above, not below. That being the case, creation is a hierarchical prolongation of divine energies. The central evil of the left lies in denying this reality, which leaves man orphaned in illusion and exiled from himself. It robs him of his sufficient reason -- his reason for being -- replacing it with what amounts to sensation without joy and rationality without truth. We become nothing but an animal, except with the disadvantage of knowing we are one.

In this scheme, we are quite literally a freak of nature with an accidental recursivity of consciousness that permits us to know with certainty that we don't know, but that is all. We know we are alive, but we don't know why. No reason for our existence can be located below -- at least no reason equal to what man is. In other words, in a wholly naturalistic view, all of the explanations for man are far less than man: truth is explained by illusion, the illusion that there is anything other than physics going on.

The difference between a proper humanist and a secular "humanist" is that the former seeks explanations that don't destroy humanness as a result of entertaining them. For in truth, nothing less than a human explanation can explain human beings -- just as nothing less than a biological explanation can explain Life. In other words, it's one thing to say that a living body is just a rare agglomeration of matter, but one doesn't go to a physicist when one is ill. Nor does one go to a biologist for human wisdom.

And yet, some people do, e.g., evolutionary psychologists and sociobiologists. To call this "psychology" is an abuse of the term, being that psyche means soul. No psychologist understands how mind affects matter, let alone how soul affects mind or God affects soul. These are subtle causes that will forever elude any scientific explanation.

When we talk about faith, we are talking about being faithful to one's sufficient reason -- the reason for one's being, both in a general and particular sense. In other words, there is a reason for man's being, as well as a reason for one's own being. Again, man's sufficient reason is to realize God, which is predicated on the understanding that man is a bridge that spans the cosmos from top to bottom.

But the reason for your existence is that you are a unique "problem of God," so to speak. Look at your children, each one unique, and each one requiring a different approach to actualize his being. To parent each child in the identical way is to treat them as an object, not a subject.

Now the left, in abolishing hierarchy, also wages war on individuality. By definition, the state treats all people identically, profound differences notwithstanding. This is not a problem in the negative sense; indeed, it is a blessing -- the idea that we are all equal before the law.

Mischief arises when leftists begin creating positive rights, through which uniformity is imposed upon us by the state.

For example, most recently a judge in my state has declared that there are no essential differences between the sexes. This is a spiritually and morally insane cosmic egalitarianism by judicial fiat. It is the declaration that there is no heaven and earth, no celestial and terrestrial, no archetypal and phenotypal. Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it's a mixed up muddled up shook up world. Especially for Judge Walker, who wishes to impose his own gender confusion on the rest of us in order to pretend it's clarity.

Thus materialism amounts to reducing man to the animal, and even to the lowest, since the lowest is the most collective; this explains the materialists' hatred for all that is supra-terrestrial, transcendent, spiritual, for it is precisely the spiritual by which man is not an animal. To deny the spiritual is to deny the human: the moral and legal distinction between man and animal then becomes purely arbitrary, like any other tyranny... --F. Schuon

15 Comments:

Blogger Van said...

"I agree with this, in the sense that the intellect is not radically free, but simply has a larger domain of freedom. Or, one might say that it partakes of additional dimensions, not the least of which being the cosmic interior that discloses truth, beauty, virtue, being, essence, and unity.
Animals obviously don't have access to any of these dimensions. They can touch beauty -- for example, through the eyes and ears -- but that is all. They cannot "enter" it, let alone inhabit it."

I suspect they have access... but as you say, can't enter as we can. My bet is the animal mind forms concepts, but can't form complex or deep conceptual structures, and without physical access, any spiritual animas there may be, would be unable to either (describes a few politial types I know too).

Sort of like our profile pic's give an image, but lack detailed resolution... or Beethoven being heard from across the room as being blared out of an old 60's tinny monophonic am radio. You can catch the melody, but none of the harmonic depth.

Which come to think of it, would be Rousseau's ideal of all that music should ever be(I won't tempt the linky god's again), and goes quite well with,

"The central evil of the left lies in denying this reality, which leaves man orphaned in illusion and exiled from himself. It robs him of his sufficient reason -- his reason for being -- replacing it with what amounts to sensation without joy and rationality without truth. We become nothing but an animal, except with the disadvantage of knowing we are one. "

Or melody without harmony... can you imagine standing on the corner with your bud's and humming along in 3-part... melody? Yikes. Flat and bloodless to the core.

8/12/2010 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now the left, in abolishing hierarchy, also wages war on individuality. By definition, the state treats all people identically, profound differences notwithstanding. This is not a problem in the negative sense; indeed, it is a blessing -- the idea that we are all equal before the law.
Mischief arises when leftists begin creating positive rights, through which uniformity is imposed upon us by the state."

I was talking with a couple students last night, one a law school grad, and the other on his first day, and we were trying to sum up the leftist mindset in the most compact bullet point possible. We churned up & out all the old stand-by's,

- Socialist, communist, proregressive - nah... too easy as labels to be taken for good or ill as the person already wishes them to be.
- Anti-freedom... no... that's the result, but few are willing to admit to, or to see themselves like that.
- Anti-choice... no... you can lead them through the Socratic trails to face it, but too easy to brush off and reject.
- Anti-hierarchical... yep, that seemed the best, partly because the next question from them is not a brush off, but “Huh? Whaddya mean?”, and you can give their most flattering way of stating ‘all cultures are equally valid’, or whichever version they ascribe to, and they almost can’t help saying “Yep! Sure do believe that!”

No good moral relativist can deny it, and having admitted it and identified themselves, it is excruciatingly simple to draw out the implications and the obvious haze of evil that surrounds it. Deny hierarchy, and you can't avoid collectivism, and the rejection of freedom, of choice, of truth and beauty... when full flattened egalitarianism is your ideal... truly nihil follows.

"... for it is precisely the spiritual by which man is not an animal. To deny the spiritual is to deny the human: the moral and legal distinction between man and animal then becomes purely arbitrary, like any other tyranny... --F. Schuon "

He nails it again.

8/12/2010 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

creation is a hierarchical prolongation of divine energies. The central evil of the left lies in denying this reality

At the risk of being pedantic (and stating the obvious), I'd note that leftists (i.e., those of the political and economic left-wing) are not unique in this regard. In America I would guess that a large percentage of atheists are libertarians, including those of the right-wing. Similarly, not all those who subscribe to (deeply erroneous) leftist economic and political views are actual atheists. There is a plethora of very confused but nonetheless deep down bona fide Christians, Jews, etc. who identify with the Democratic party, or leftism generally.

8/12/2010 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A leftist anything is the adjective first, the noun second, whether it is leftist Christian, leftist historian, leftist economist, leftist whatever.

8/12/2010 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

A leftist anything is the adjective first

I don't disagree conceptually, I simply think we lack the linguistic precision (largely thanks to the Left) in order to identify the type. "Leftist" is a blunt instrument.

There are many Christians who mistakenly believe that socialist policies are the best way to assist the poor. This makes them wrong, not evil. The sort of person you're talking about -- and they are legion in wackademia -- very often seems to embody a "demonic" energy that I just don't get from every lefty.

Again, it's the lack of a better term I'm complaining about, not the core point.

8/12/2010 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Of course a big part of the problem is that the "evil" Left co-opts language at every turn.

What word has been mangled more thoroughly in our history than "liberal"?

8/12/2010 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Fron yesterday...

Van says:

""The specific properties of water and ice are dependent on this universe."

No more so than this universe is dependent upon the specific properties of water and ice."

Well, at least we agree on that one.

You don't get one without the other.

And your metaphysic is still wrong, by the way.

;)

wv: compodle

8/12/2010 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Anti-hierarchical... yep, that seemed the best, partly because the next question from them is not a brush off, but “Huh? Whaddya mean?”, and you can give their most flattering way of stating ‘all cultures are equally valid’, or whichever version they ascribe to, and they almost can’t help saying “Yep! Sure do believe that!”

That's because they live smack dab in the middle of a high culture and don't have any significant material worries.

What do they care about history or reality?

They don't even think. They just kind of absorb what people around them believe as long as it is squishy and doesn't have any pointy parts that can hurt you.

That's how you become a Smart Person (TM).

8/12/2010 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

OT:

If you don't use Twitter, it's worth starting solely for Iowahawk's regular stock tips.

Today's sampling:

What coming economic meltdown? Invest with these #HotStockTips and be a post-apocalyptic wasteland mogul

#HotStockTips Pitchfork Mart

#HotStockTips Mongol Hordesco (Asian slavery outsourcer specialing in captured white urban hipster art school douchebags)

#HotStockTips Newsweek (reorganizing as a drive thru fellatio franchise)

#HotStockTips McKrugmans

#HotStockTips Capitol Hill Stake & Kindling

8/12/2010 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

The conundrum I experience when describing leftists is the phenomena of them being both paternalistic while simultaneously being childish. Its a bit of the dog chasing its tail. You wonder if it will ever tire of the pursuit. They wish to dictate but rebel at the first mention of a collective responsibility (i.e., behavior) expected of them. Confusing. If it were not illegal we could put a bounty on them and reach full employment immediately. A stimulus plan with real benefits.

8/12/2010 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Brilliant book review by John McWhorter: What hope?.

Unassailable "hard" logic which the Left simply avoids and ignores. Meanwhile black Americans pay the price.

8/12/2010 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said "And your metaphysic is still wrong, by the way."

Oh yeah? Well... well you're more wonger than I am... so there!

(I'm glad we could settle that like adults)

wv:adorke
No comment, but it is nice to know that wv is on my side.

;-)

8/12/2010 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said "They just kind of absorb what people around them believe as long as it is squishy and doesn't have any pointy parts that can hurt you.
That's how you become a Smart Person (TM)."

Heh, John, the new law student (already got his appropriately named "B.S." in philosophy) was saying much the same. He's an up from working class scrapper of a guy, and was just revolted - and not a little bit ticked off - by the diffident ways of his fellow students & prof's on orientation day.

I don't know if anyone remembers the show "The Paper Chase", but there was the women's lib character always spouting off about the oppression inherent in the system and the need for a more egalitarian society and taking responsibility for it's little people, etc... well, things have certainly come full circle but in reverse - now her fellows are 'the man', and he's the rabble rouser not just spouting off but debating them about the oppression inherent in their system, the violation of property rights and people's need to take responsibility for themselves - let's just hope bell bottom's & tie-dye don't come back again, again, with it.

We had a fun evening's discussion.

8/12/2010 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

NB said "Similarly, not all those who subscribe to (deeply erroneous) leftist economic and political views are actual atheists. There is a plethora of very confused but nonetheless deep down bona fide Christians, Jews, etc. who identify with the Democratic party, or leftism generally."

Well... it depends upon what they back up their bona fides with.

There are many people, well meaning, who have never given all that much consideration to what they believe beyond the obvious... they are quite happy humming a melody along with the tinny tune from their am radio, blissfully unaware of the symphony that's been reduced to the simple tune they hear, completely clueless of the counter points, themes, harmonies and use of dissonance present in the depths of the music they don't hear. They hum a melody, and think they know the song - and more than likely that applies to both tunes they're trying to hum.

They might (seemingly or actually) be nice, pleasant, kind, generous people... but can you really say they are either the 'leftist' or the '___' they think of themselves as being?

If you prod them into giving their positions further thought... whether or not they'll follow those stated position down to their real roots in principle (or lack of them)... it seems like that's about the only time you'll be able to know whether or not they actually are a 'leftist' or a '___'.

Doesn't mean they're bad, only that the depth of their understanding and awareness of it's implications and responsibilities, may be something less than sound.

Everybody's with the Marshall when there's no immediate trouble or need to follow through with what it means to stand with the Marshall. Things begin to change as the sun approaches high noon.

Btw: #HotStockTips Newsweek (reorganizing as a drive thru fellatio franchise)

ROFLOL. (As we speak, there are folks in a few counties of Nevada saying "Hmmm...")

8/12/2010 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

anon

AFAIK, civil unions satisfy the demands of equal protection. If there are any problems, amend the definition of civil union.

The judge in Cali is the one imposing a new definition of marriage on the rest of us. You like that, I understand -- self-style 'progressives' have been unhappy with the definition of marriage since, well, Eden. Too bad you're on the side of low birth-rate extinction.

8/13/2010 08:00:00 AM  

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