Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Thought I Saw My Government Running Away With My Heart

This post is from almost exactly two years ago, the day Obama won the presidency:

We come now to Letter XI, The Force. This is a timely symbol for the events of the day, as the force of the left ascends on the political wheel of fortune. However, we can draw coonsolation from the fact that, being that leftism is an entirely closed intellectual and spiritual system, it is already "on the way down," outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. In short, its end is in its beginning, as the poet said. The higher it ascends in its intoxicated reach for power, the further it will fall. The concrete fact of Obama shall soon enough kill the vaporous idea of Obama.

This passage by UF is perfectly apt today: "Plato has never had success as a revolutionary and never will do so. But Plato himself will always live throughout the centuries of human history... and will be in each century the companion of the young and old who love pure thought, seeking only the light which it comprises." In other words, you can never really have a "revolution" of people oriented to the white point of wisdom discussed in yesterday's post.

For one thing, it is an individual endeavor, not the sort of thing that could ever occur on a mass scale. And the left is a mass movement, which automatically condemns it to mediocrity and banality. It is led by a conformist herd of elites who imagine themselves superior, but nothing could be more foolish-- and self-contradictory -- than the idea of "mass excellence."

In contrast to Plato, Karl Marx has enjoyed over a century "of astonishing success and has revolutionized the world. He has swept away millions -- those who went to the barricades and trenches in civil wars, and those who went to the prisons, either as jailers or as prisoners."

Really, can you name another philosopher who has enjoyed such a literally smashing success in such a short span of time? But you -- yes, you there -- "as a solitary human soul, a soul of depth and sobriety, what do you owe Karl Marx?"

I don't know yet. Ask me next April 15th.

The point is, "Plato illumines, whilst Marx sweeps away." Obviously, it is impossible to imagine a person of any spiritual stature getting caught up in the Obama hysteria. But it is equally impossible to imagine such a person being caught up in any kind of political hysteria. It is one of the reasons we can never match the diabolical energy of the left. Since the leftist is condemned to the horizontal world, he channels his spiritual energy into politics. As I wrote a couple of years ago,

"Regardless of what happens Tuesday, it shouldn’t greatly affect the spiritual equilibrium of the Superior Man, whose invisible combat will continue as usual. Indeed, this is what distinguishes us from the agitated multitude of horizontal men who locate their salvation in politics. Whatever the outcome, our lives will continue to center around our own perfection and salvation, not for narcissistic reasons, but for the simple reason that it is not possible to save others unless we have first saved ourselves. Needless to say, horizontal Republicans will not save us from horizontal Democrats.

"The project of the left is to make us all useful to the collective, when the only possible justification for the collective can lie in its usefulness to the individual -- again, not in a horizontal, egotistical sense, but in a vertical sense. Assuming that life has a transcendent purpose -- and you cannot be human and not make this assumption -- then the purpose of society should be to help human beings achieve this purpose -- i.e., to be useful to the Creator."

Hmm, I see that the B'ob foretold the cult of Obama:

"Horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine authority. Taken to its logical extreme, this manifests as the demagogue, the cult of personality, or the dictator-god who expresses the vitalistic will of the people. But all forms of leftism lie on this continuum. So much of the pandering of the left is merely totalitarianism in disguise -- a false absolute and a counterfeit vertical."

And there is no one so inflated with narcissistic hubris as the leftist social engineer who will save mankind from its own self-inflicted wounds. The leftist can give man everything but what he most needs, and in so doing, destroys the possibility of man. As Eliot said, he dreams of a system so perfect it will be unnecessary for anyone to be good.

Likewise, "the moment we talk about 'social conscience,' and forget about conscience, we are in moral danger." Eliminate the idea of moral struggle, and "you must expect human beings to become more and more vaporous" (Eliot). Since man is placed at the crossroads where he is free to choose between good and evil, this again eliminates man. You might say that for the leftist dreamer, man is strictly unnecessary. In fact, he just gets in the way. Humanity is reduced to "a manageable herd rather than a community of souls" (Lockerd) -- a transtemporal community which naturally includes the dead and unborn.

For horizontality goes hand in hand with exteriority and outwardness, which is the initial direction of the fall: first out, then down. Gravity takes care of the rest. Horizontal man is down and out, whereas our salvolution lies up and in. Animals are almost entirely exterior. Like the leftist, they do not actually live in the world, but in the closed system of their own neurology. Only man -- inexplicably and miraculously on any scientistic grounds -- can exit the closed system of his own neuro-ideology and enter higher worlds, worlds of truth, beauty, and moral goodness.

To be in contact with these higher worlds is to be Man. To neglect or deny these anterior worlds is to destroy man, precisely. It is to starve and suffocate man’s spirit by laying waste to his proper environment, the only environment in which he can actually flourish and grow into full manhood. You cannot replace the holy grail of Spirit with the lowly gruel of flatland materialism and expect it to feed the multitudes. Human beings do not draw their spiritual nourishment from outside but from above -- which in turn “spiritualizes” and sacralizes the horizontal.

Being what he is -- and isn’t -- horizontal man externalizes concerns about his self-inflicted soul murder, and obsesses over the future of "the planet" -- over speculative weather reports one hundred years hence.

But right now there is a hell and there is a hand basket, because we can clearly see both with our own third eyes. Furthermore, we can see exactly who is running with baskets in both hands. Look, it's Nancy Pelosi! Harry Reid! Barney Frank!

Again, vertical man never obsesses, let alone enters the state of perpetual hysteria of leftist man. As Eliot wrote, "we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph." Nevertheless, vertical man naturally frets about the deteriorating conditions of the interior of the human world, and its seemingly unimpeded slide into barbarism, spiritual exhaustion, scientistic magic, neo-paganism, self-worship, the cult of the body, abstract materialism, and a vapid and rudderless subjectivism.

Such lost souls cannot discern the signs of the times, much less the direction of history. For them, history can be nothing more than a meaningless tale told by a tenured idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying a nice paycheck and adoring coeds. Horizontal man scoffs at spiritual reality on the peculiar grounds that it cannot exist, denying its presence with that which affirms it by virtue of its self-evident existence.

It is a truism that vertical man paradoxically lives very close to the ground, as he has internalized the cautionary tales of Eden, of Icarus, of Babel, and of various episodes of the Honeymooners. In contrast, horizontal man seizes what does not properly belong to him, not just recapitulating the fall but enshrining it in his ideology. It's no longer a bug but a feature.

But when you cast your vote for horizontal man, you are unwittingly chipping away at the foundation of the very tower in which horizontal man is privileged to sit despite his metaphysical ignorance. For in reality, we only have the luxury of superfluous and slumbering horizontal men because of the vertical men -- real men -- who came before and built the tower brick by brick (except for the cornerstone, which was not made by human hands).

Thus we can see our own possible future by casting our gaze at Europe, which is too high and top-heavy for its own long-forgotten foundations, and is well into the process of toppling into dust. For when horizontal man falls, he doesn’t actually fall far, only back down to the ground where vertical man awaits him.

Yes, we are exiled in time, but for vertical man, time does not alter the basic existential situation which religion is here to address. It is believed by our intellectually sterile and spiritually desiccated elites that religion is no longer relevant. In so believing, they underscore their own irrelevance, for to paraphrase Schuon, they blame Truth for their own lack of qualification to understand and accept it. Suffice it to say that to be eternally young is to forever grow -- only inward and upward, toward the primordial light that has already defeated horizontal darkness, today and forever.

So render unto the horizontal the things that belong to the horizontal, but do not store your treasures there, where myths corrupt and chickens doth come home to roost. As always, be as wise as the horizontal serpents who stand on their bellies, but innocent as vertical doves who kneel on wings.

A secularist culture can only exist, so to speak, in the dark. It is a prison in which the human spirit confines itself when it is shut out of the wider world of reality. But as soon as the light comes, all the elaborate mechanism that has been constructed for living in the dark becomes useless. The recovery of spiritual vision gives man back his spiritual freedom. --Russell Kirk




Blogger walt said...

Plucked from this morning's headlines (Daily Caller):
Obama Losing Hope

He says sometimes he feels like he's losing altitude, that Change is
Just. So. Darn. Hard.

That's "deflation" I can live with.

And now Stanley Kurtz is blowing the tactics whistle, loudly, specifically, accurately. Talk about relevant! Some processes can only take place in darkness -- as they say, sunlight is the best antiseptic.

As this post shows, at One Cosmos, we obviously get tomorrow's headlines today.

10/24/2010 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - you know, if the wizards of climate change had anything close to the prognosticatory abilities of the average open-eyed American (much less even the youngest Raccoon kitling), they would have actually been worth listening to.

Of course, for that to happen, they'd have to have been telling the truth, which would have amounted to something like "in the near future, there will be weather. Some of it heavy, some of it light. Be prepared for the types of disasters that are likely to happen in your area, and you'll probably be fine. Don't get your britches in a wad. And don't forget to Slack."

10/24/2010 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Wow, prescient dittos!

a good fall sunday song

10/24/2010 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Yes, I think sweeping away as in destruction, is all that is available to the horizontal mind. Bereft of and cut off from the Creative Mind, it thrashes about in the darkness where everything frightens it and must be controlled. I could almost pity the Marxist heart if it weren't so destructive in its distressed state of mind.

10/24/2010 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Annals of leftoid cluelessness:

'PRESIDENT Obama, the Rodney Dangerfield of 2010, gets no respect for averting another Great Depression, for saving 3.3 million jobs with stimulus spending, or for salvaging GM and Chrysler from the junkyard. And none of these good deeds, no matter how substantial, will go unpunished if the projected Democratic bloodbath materializes on Election Day. Some are even going unremembered. For Obama, the ultimate indignity is the Times/CBS News poll in September showing that only 8 percent of Americans know that he gave 95 percent of American taxpayers a tax cut...'

F Fich today's Times

10/24/2010 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ge - yes, I've noticed this past week there is still not much of a shortage of MSM fluffers trying to make Obama's stimulus performance look a lot better than it is. I don't know if drawing attention to it is going to make the average American any more willing to keep bending over, though.

There was an article displayed prominently on Yahoo this week that just smacked of desperation, about how one Midwestern town was saved - Saved! - by the stimulus. Auto factory town, of course. Also, it came across as almost apologetic (you may be out of a job, but just think of the factory town!).

10/24/2010 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

""Horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine authority. Taken to its logical extreme, this manifests as the demagogue, the cult of personality, or the dictator-god who expresses the vitalistic will of the people. But all forms of leftism lie on this continuum. So much of the pandering of the left is merely totalitarianism in disguise -- a false absolute and a counterfeit vertical."

If you don't mind dealing with intellectual nausea, try reading Cass Sunstein's "The Second Bill of Rights"... such a deft body slamming of Vertical concepts into horizontal terms and justifications I haven't seen in quite some time. I'll warn you though, even if you're on the lookout for the standard booby-traps - heavy equivocations and context dropping - it's hard not to feel some vertigo, if you can get through even the Introduction without mentally vomiting, I'll be impressed, this guy is philosophical raw sewage sold in Perrier bottles... and he's extremely influential.

Why bother reading him? Because his ammo is what they are loading up and coming after you with.

"Whatever the outcome, our lives will continue to center around our own perfection and salvation, not for narcissistic reasons, but for the simple reason that it is not possible to save others unless we have first saved ourselves."

Absolutely alien to them, they of course assert that no one can be saved unless the state makes them safe for saving first... that is the mantra and the free pass they give themselves for all they do.

"Needless to say, horizontal Republicans will not save us from horizontal Democrats."

I wish it was needless to say... there sure are a lot of people I mind myself having to say it to.

10/24/2010 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

There isn't a man jack amongst you that I would rather have for President than Obama.

Not to mention the women who comment here. Noe. Myself included.

Obama has had a bland and unremarkable run, and that's OK. The Presidency can be run like an ordinar desk job. It can be done.

But not by bush leage amaturs such as yourselves.

You all don't know Jack.. Really.

YOu do know some psychology, I'll give you that. But that ain't politics, the art of the possible.

All of you Whitman loving Repubs can go take a flying #$%^.

10/24/2010 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

See post directly above

10/25/2010 03:41:00 AM  

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