Friday, May 14, 2010

Intelligent Stupidity and the Eternal Pursuit of Chicks and Grub

Before we can determine who is intelligent, we must first define what intelligence is and what it is for. In other words, we must account for the fact that it is possible to be "smart" about the wrong things and for the wrong reasons -- think, for example, about a clever criminal, or a person who devotes his intelligence to some peripheral obsession, say, global warming.

In fact, even the nature of this question about the purpose of intelligence provides a hint, for it presupposes the ability of the intellect to "stand outside" or "above" intelligence and view it objectively. Thus, the implication is that intelligence as such implies both verticality and objectivity.

I suppose the Darwinian view would maintain -- would have to maintain, on pain of being fatally inconsistent... which it is, but let's move on -- that the purpose of intelligence is to get grub and babes. Therefore, using one's intelligence for any other purpose would have to be considered very stupid. As such, human beings would have to be considered the least intelligent of all species, since they waste so much mental energy on stupid and pointless things such as music, poetry, painting, and spirituality. Unless, of course, these activities are just devious ways to get babes and grub.

How could natural selection have created such a stupid animal that engages in so many pointless and fanciful activities? It makes no sense. For example, if we were to rate presidential greatness on the Darwinian scale, Clinton would win in a glandslide, for no one has surpassed him in cashing in the presidency for his daily bread and daily broads.

Please don't think I'm exaggerating. In the course of writing the Coonifesto, I plowed through any number of books by various sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists who twist themselves into putzels trying to reduce every aspect of the human mind to the plane of reproductive fitness.

A case in point is The Mating Mind, by Geoffrey Miller, who argued that most every human attribute can be explained by sexual selection. I see on the amazon page that even the hopeless boneheads at Publisher's Weekly can recognize this as a circular argument, even if they lack the sophistication to realize that all materialistic explanations of intelligence are circular.

Being that the dustjacket indicates that Miller is married --meaning that he already has sexual access to a female -- I guess I don't get the point of his book. I also see that he dedicated it to "Rosalind," presumably his wife. Wouldn't flowers and dark chocolate have been just as effective in achieving his reproductive mission? I mean, if Miller's thesis is correct, then he wrote his book not because of any devotion to Truth, but to make Rosalind his intern, as our most evolutionarily fit president might say. To the extent that he didn't score, then the book fails by its own standard. We'll have to ask Rosalind.

Come to think of it, if the Darwinians are correct about intelligence, then perhaps instead of granting scholars tenure, we should just give them access to lots of attractive young coeds. Oh, wait a minute....

Suddenly the intellectual vacuity of academia makes sense.

Perhaps some folks have difficulty seeing God because God is doing the looking. To a certain extent this is unavoidably true, for only a "naturally supernatural" intelligence can know of God, and the intellect is a divine spark that cannot be accounted for on any purely naturalistic basis. Schuon points out that we have an "uncreated intellect" at the center of our being, which may be thought of as an extension, or prolongation, of the "divine light." It is both a part of us, and yet, "other," for it is that part of us that allows us to stand outside ourselves.

We also have a "created intellect," which is a "reflection of this Light at the center of Existence" (Schuon). The two are essentially One but nevertheless distinct, and in fact, this distinction must be maintained if we are to understand these two very different aspects of the intellect. As Schuon puts it, "when we speak of the Heart-Intellect, we mean the universal faculty which has the human heart for its symbolical seat, but which, while being ‘crystallised’ according to different planes of reflection, is none the less ‘divine’ in its single essence."

You might say that the lower intellect -- thrust as it is to the further reaches, or "periphery" of the cosmic center -- allows us to comprehend change, while the higher intellect abides closer to the immutable, which it in turn is able to contemplate or "reflect upon" -- for all intelligence must, in the final analysis, be a sort of reflection of whatever reality it is trying to understand. "Perfect reflection" would represent "perfect understanding" -- which is to say, it would embody totality and objectivity. Which is why the spiritual life may be reduced to "cleaning mirrors."

This is consistent with the Kabbalistic view, which maintains, according to Adin Steinsaltz, that our interior Coon Central should not be thought of as a kind of static "point" in space time. Rather, it is "a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls to beyond the specific body of a particular person.... and because the soul is not a single point in space, it should be viewed not as a single existence having one quality or character, but as many existences, on a variety of spiritual levels..."

It is only on this higher level that human beings are all connected. While secularists deny this higher reality, they nevertheless intuit it on some level (as all humans must), which is the actual source and motive of their nightmarish collectivist schemes. Because of a sort of mistranslation, they attempt to impose in the horizontal what they deny in the vertical.

In this regard, leftists are the mirror image of the Islama-bomba-ding-dongs, who invent a God to grant them in the vertical what they deny themselves in the horizontal -- mainly a lot of sex and grub. Oddly enough, they end up worshiping the same Darwinian god as the sociobiologists -- the only difference being that, in the case of the tenured leftist, his 72 coeds are not likely to be virgins.

And as for these different levels of reality, we must again avoid thinking of them in material terms -- with the exception of the actual physical world (and even then, the material world has a metaphysical transparency that only the most boneheaded anonymous atheist could miss). While the physical world appears to be the "bottom floor" on the vertical scale, it so happens that there is also a subterranean basement and parking structure (the unconscious and inconscient).

As Steinsaltz puts it, "The physical world in which we live, the objectively observed universe around us, is only a part of an inconceivably vast system of worlds. Most of these worlds are spiritual in their essence.... Which does not necessarily mean that they exist somewhere else, but means rather that they exist in different dimensions of being. What is more, the various worlds interpenetrate and interact in such a way that they can be considered counterparts of one another, each reflecting or projecting itself on the one below or above it."

And as one descends in the worlds -- which is simultaneously a motion from the center to the periphery -- materiality and linear causation become increasingly greater. Existence becomes "heavier," or more dense, so to speak. Put another way, nothing could be more ethereal than the mathematical equations that preside over change and continuity while abiding in the Cosmic Intellect -- except perhaps the mind of the mathematician who contemplates and understands them, and is witness to their inexplicable beauty. There is no great mathematician who is not a Platonist.

It is a matter of understanding the difference between Principles and their Manifestation. It is a kind of cosmic irony that scientists have rejected the heliocentric theory, since, as we have mentioned before, science begins at the mysterious center of intellectual light and moves to the periphery, where it ramifies into the multitude of various scientific disciplines. In short, it moves from a sun-like unity -- which it simply assumes but can never account for -- to the periphery, where the sun's rays illuminate various disciplines.

Conversely, religion moves from the cosmic periphery back to the center which is its source and ground -- from the rays to the sun, from manifestion to principle, the ultimate Principle being God, whose center we share -- but only on the "higher" or "deeper" plane alluded to above. As Schuon explains,

"Intellectual intuition comprises essentially a contemplativity which in no way enters into the rational capacity, the latter being logical rather than contemplative; it is contemplative power, receptivity in respect of the Uncreated Light, the opening of the Eye of the Heart, which distinguishes transcendent intelligence from reason. The latter perceives the general and proceeds by logical operations, whilst Intellect perceives the principial -- the metaphysical -- and proceeds by intuition. Intellection is concrete in relation to rational abstractions, and abstract in relation to the divine Concreteness."

Therefore, comprehending God is not exactly a kind of knowing; rather, it is more a kind of "seeing." Just as Petey doesn't read a book, but simply stares at it in order to extract the information he needs, this is analogous to how scripture and revelation must be regarded. In other words, we don't understand them with our lower rational faculty, any more than we would understand a scene of transcendent physical beauty -- say, Yosemite Valley or Jellystone Park -- with our rational faculty. Indeed, to try to do so would represent a kind of madness -- the same madness that afflicts the obligatory atheists such as Hitchens and Harris, who have simply found a clever way to exchange their metaphysical stupidity for chicks and grub.

In fact, if these overeducated beasts do succeed in their satanic mission of destroying the spiritual foundation of the West, then perhaps we will see them for that they are: cluelesside bombers. But then it will be too late, because there will be no one foolish enough to lay down their life to preserve the higher spiritual principles that allow these parasites to flourish in a free society. If all that's left to fight over is sex and food, soon we won't even have that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Stuck on Smart with Deep Stupidity

I long ago noticed a pattern in myself between active and passive modes -- almost like the seasons, in which there is a time to plant and a time to harvest. Once I truly recognized the cycle, I tried never to harvest in planting time, nor vice versa. I mean, you could try to do that, but what happens? On the one hand, immature thoughtlets, green theories, inedible ideas, and on the other, moldy observations, overripe concepts, and squishy notions.

When I wrote the book, I very much respected this organic process, and never tried to force anything. Sometimes a couple of months would go by, and I wouldn't give it a thought -- at least not a conscious thought. In reality, it was below the soil, sending down roots and throwing up shoots. You might say that I was allowing the (↑↓) process to proceed at its own pace, like falling rain and budding leaves.

So when I started blogging over five years ago, I never expected the harvest to go on for this long. Problems only arise when I feel myself transition into that passive mode, but feel the pressure to produce something. At that point I'm faced with two options: either go on hiatus, or rework old posts.

This is a long way of saying that I hope no one minds if I spend some time in the arkive. In reality, the active and passive modes work together, almost like left and right brains. Any writer realizes this -- that there is a part that actively produces, and another part that passively critiques. I actually enjoy having the opportunity to pause and reflect on what I've harvested over the past five years, because when I consider it in the passive mode, I'm doing so for the first time. It's very much like being a reader of the blog, only with the added benefit of being able to tweak things to my liking, but also to gently massage them into conformity with the Current Truth. In other words, to eliminate any embarrassing errors or lame jokes.

Also, we have many new readers who weren't around three or four years ago, so these post will be novelgazes to them. And besides, when I began the blog, I did so with the explicit intention of writing things from a more timeless perspective, so that they would have no expiration date anyway. So without further ado.....

Unintelligent people are usually just plain wrong, so we don't have to worry much about them. On the other hand, in order to attain truly deep stupidity, one must generally be of above average intelligence. Therefore, in certain people, it is obvious that intelligence doesn't vary inversely with stupidity, but directly with it. Not for nothing has it been said that so much philosophy is simply "error on a grandiose scale"; one also thinks of Keynes' quip about practical men being slaves of some defunct economist such as Keynes.

A prime example of deep stupidity and grandiose error is Marxism and all of its many polluted streams, branches, creeks and crocks. That variants of this falsehood still proliferate on the left today means that, as always, intelligence alone is no inoculation against evil, darkness, and error. Hardly. Those who talk about how "smart" Obama is are only the latest incarnation of a perennial problem. After all, even Jimmy Carter wasn't mentally retarded (morally retarded, yes).

For conservative classical liberals, we are generally faced with an odious choice between the stupid party and the evil party. We generally align ourselves with the former, since the GOP is at least susceptible to our influence, whereas the left is not. Someone who has truly given himself over to darkness is not going to be persuaded by truth. His intelligence is in the service of forces he neither sees nor understands, and there is just no point of entry in dealing with him, since he is not lacking information as such but light. Truly, you can hand them the truth on a silver platter, and they will not only reject it but be quite hostile to it. It actually makes them angry, which is one of the reasons liberals don't know how to argue except deceptively.

There are many way to react to truth, only one of which is quiet acceptance. Truth is not just true, but a force. This is why it elicits such strong reactions in people. You will have undoubtedly noticed that when you comprehend a deep truth, there is a pleasant physical sensation that goes along with it -- hard to describe (Christopher Bollas calls it "the erotics of being"), but if you could amplify its vibrations, it would feel like getting the punch line of a joke, or the parts of your being lining up like iron filings, or perhaps properly hitting a baseball.

Another way of saying it is that Truth is a presence. This is something all Raccoons will know by experience, but will make no sense to the leftist -- for whom it will literally be a meaningless statement. To go so far as to suggest that Truth once walked among us -- and still does -- is the height of absurdity. But truth is the link between Being and knowing. Thus, to say, for example, that Christ is the truth is to say that he is a manifestation of the divine presence, or a bridge between God and human nature.

Truth is not only not accepted by most people, but engenders a counter-force that is actively hostile to it. This may seem like a controversial statement, but it is the stock in trade of psychoanalysis, which essentially comes down to a study of the varieties of self-deception, or the ways in which one part of the mind pulls the wool over another part. Think about that for a moment, and I think you'll agree that it is quite remarkable -- how the left brain literally doesn't know what the right brain is doing.

I say "literally" because there is good evidence that what we call the unconscious is actually "lodged," so to speak, in the nonverbal -- but also transverbal -- right brain. Every patient comes into treatment with what I call a "likely story." This explicit story is located in the left brain, the seat of language, aristotelian logic, and linear time. However, the right brain has its own story to tell, but how do you tell a story in the absence of verbal language? You do so in the form of symptoms, or quirky character traits, unexplainable likes and dislikes, unaccountable mood storms, irrational obsessions, compulsions, or self-defeating behaviors that the left brain is powerless to stop. This is because every self-defeating behavior is ipso facto a self-fulfilling behavior for a part of the mind of which we are not consciously aware.

Freud stumbled upon the method of free association with which to try to understand the various agendas of the mind that ran counter to truth and were the source of psychological pain and dysfunction. There is no great mystery to free association, in which the patient lies down and tries to say whatever comes to mind without censoring it. It is simply a way to try to lull the left brain to sleep and allow the right brain to come out of the shadows. Sounds easy, but every step along the way is met with resistance which can become labyrinthine in its ability to prevent the discovery of the truth.

Here again this is remarkable, for it means that the part of the mind that is resisting must know the truth on some level, otherwise there would be no reason to resist it. Therefore, as Bion pointed out, the truth is prior to the lie, just as light must be prior to the shadow. Indeed, Bion went so far as to say that only the Lie requires a thinker -- and actually brings the thinker into being. On the other hand, truth requires only our conformity with it. We simply "bow before reality" -- which, when you think about it, is an excellent way of putting it, for reverent bowing is one of the appropriate responses to the force, or presence, of truth.

Schuon said something similar when he wrote that "A truth is efficacious to the extent that we assimilate it; if it does not give us the strength we need, this merely proves we have not grasped it. It is not for the truth to be 'dynamic,' it is for us to be dynamic thanks to the truth. What is lacking in today’s world is a penetrating and comprehensive knowledge of the nature of things; the fundamental truths are always accessible, but they could not be imposed on those who refuse to take them into consideration."

Among other responses, truth engenders a dynamic sense of veneration -- a sense of the sacred. And this is why you will have noticed that the left attempts to surround so many of its smelly little orthodoxies with the penumbra of sanctity. But the sanctity is entirely bogus -- it readily slides into the sanctimony that is intrinsic to the left.

In a perverse way, this sanctimoniousness answers the human need for the sacred, but in an alternatively crudely sentimental or authoritarian manner enforced by the many varieties political correctness. You will notice that the left's replacement of moral/religious depth with sentimentality is just as evident as their replacement of transcendent truth with authoritarian mind control; they are not opposites but complementary. Scratch a leftist and you will always find a well of irrational, idealistic sentimentality that becomes the basis and justification for the omnipotent state, e.g., "social justice," "standing up for the little guy," "fairness," etc.

This is why the left doesn't really have ideas but icons -- including "iconic ideas." It is an insidious and sinister process, because there is great psychological pressure on all us of to bow down before these false gods, as if they were actually sacred (e.g., Mahatma Gandhi, Earth Day, FDR, Margaret Sanger). And there is absolutely no symmetry in this. For example, if a conservative steps on one of the left's many sacred cowpies, there is a good chance that his career will be ruined. But if a leftist offends what is actually sacred, he will be praised as someone who "speaks truth to power." There is no symmetry in the treatment of Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.

The point is that nearly every one of the leftists's core beliefs is not a proper idea but an icon, whether it is manmade global warming, moral relativism, affirmative action, abortion, homosexual behavior, "peace," "progress," multiculturalism, "diversity" -- in fact, "progressive" is the quintessence of a meaningless icon, since it bears no relationship to progress and promotes economic and social policies that ensure not just a lack of progress, but regression. For example, the "peace movement" can only bring about more war, just as affirmative action can only bring about harm to blacks.

And this is why it is so easy to be a conservative, because you no longer have to contort yourself with so many lies in order to be thoroughly consistent, both internally and externally, vertically and horizontally. The left confuses their contortions with "nuance," but nuance is simply the left brain's feeble attempt to grapple with its own incoherence, and to come up with a narrative cover story that isn't completely offensive to normal people.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Truth Decay and Mental Hygiene

A big problem in our postmodern and post-enlightened culture is that even if a person believes that truth exists, they often have a very limited conception of what it entails -- basically empirical or rational truth. This, despite the fact that logical positivism, materialism, scientism, etc., are totally discredited philosophies. You would be a terribly crippled human crapling if you were to try to live your life as if there were a perfect correspondence between the True and the merely empirically or rationally true. Indeed, you would be Charles Johnson.

As there are diverse forms of beauty and goodness, there are diverse forms of truth. That itself is a true statement, but what sort of truth?

Another way of asking it is, "what is the truth about Truth?" There is empirical truth, rational truth, aesthetic truth, moral truth, revealed truth, even a person who claimed to be Truth. Given these diverse expressions, are we really dealing with the same thing? Or is it some kind of failure of language that causes us to confuse these categories?

Obviously, there must be some relationship between truth and intelligence, so that even if it is only in some vague, implicit sense, to say "intelligence" is to imply "truth" (and vice versa). For, as we have noted before, if intelligence doesn't know truth, then it isn't very intelligent. And yet, we know full well that there is a disconnect between human intelligence and truth, especially among the more tenured among us. The typical liberal intellectual not only believes things that are untrue, but things that could not possibly be true.

Naturally, the intellect must be subordinate to Truth. Thus, real intelligence -- assuming it knows Truth -- should automatically engender a spirit of humility, because it is aware of its inferior position. But due to a number of character flaws -- mostly pride -- the intellectual may come to value his own intellect more than the truth that may be known through it.

This is again why we should value good character over intelligence, since good character implies a kind of intelligence that is faithful to the transcendent object of human existence, whereas a dismembered and ontologically isolated intelligence entails no such concordance. The former implies "cardiac comprehension," or intellection, which transcends mere mental knowing. A truly intelligent person is a humble person, since he does not fundamentally seek recognition but transcendence: "he is interested in surpassing himself; hence in pleasing God more than men" (Schuon).

Schuon summarizes what has gone wrong with the "unintelligently intelligent" person, whereby "the most capable mind may be the vehicle of the grossest error":

"The paradoxical phenomenon of even a 'brilliant' intelligence being the vehicle of error is explained first of all by the possibility of a mental operation that is exclusively 'horizontal,' hence lacking all awareness of 'vertical' relationships; however, the definition 'intelligence' still applies, because there is still a discernment between something essential and something secondary, or between a cause and an effect." But the systematic, even intentional, exclusion of the vertical -- and we see this all the time, especially on the left -- "creates a void that the irrational necessarily comes to fill." (cf. The Varieties of Liberal Enthusiasm, and a tail waggle to Mizz E.)

And this is why irreligious people tend to be so extraordinarily irrational in their beliefs. It is not that religious people cannot also be irrational. Hardly! But that is the fault of the individual believer and of fallen humanity as such.

A proper Christian is never surprised when he encounters someone who believes nonsense -- whether religious or irreligious, it doesn't matter. Indeed, he expects it, since his religiosity both predicts and accounts for it. But secular extremists such as Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens are surprised by irrationality -- as if human beings are not fallen and not prone to inhabit illusions (secular extremism being one of the most pernicious illusions).

Because to be a secular extremist is to be a fully horizontal man, and thus, to commit not only spiritual, but intellectual, suicide. It is the ultimate cosmic inversion, for it is to elevate our fallen state to the highest virtue. It is "to love only terrestrial life, to the detriment of the ascending and celestial path," to be "exteriorized," and to "love only outer things, to the detriment of moral and spiritual values." Ultimately it is "to sin against transcendence, thus it is to forget God and consequently the meaning of life; and outwardness is to sin against immanence, thus to forget our immortal soul and consequently its vocation" (Schuon)

And finally, it must be insisted that this willful horizontality engenders a kind of uniquely "human animality" that all persons with activated cOOnvision can see "is situated beneath animality as such, for animals innocently follow their immanent law and thereby enjoy a certain natural and indirect contemplation of the Divine Prototype; whereas there is decadence, corruption and subversion when man voluntarily reduces himself to his animality" (Schuon).

Schuon points out that there are four functions of intelligence: objectivity, subjectivity, activity, and passivity. In the human mind, these correspond to reason, intuition, imagination, and memory, respectively.

To be “objective” -- as in everyday science -- means that our knowledge "is inspired by data which are exterior to it." This is referred to as the "correspondence" theory of truth, and it certainly has its place. But to imagine that intelligence is nothing more than a mirroring of the external material world is to make intelligence subordinate to matter instead of Truth. Thus, to remain mired on this concrete level of reality is to codify stupidity in the manner of the devout atheists referenced above. It is to elevate a small portion of truth and a limited aspect of intelligence to the totality.

But there is also subjective intelligence, which "operates through existential analogy," as in, say, scripture ("as above, so below"). Scripture is only "effective," so to speak, because it is not ultimately about "the world" but about us. You might say that it is the truth about humans, including the world humans inevitably create in the absence of this saving knowledge.

The capacity to know this kind of truth is not fundamentally different from our ability, say, to know the subjectivity of another. For example, as a psychologist, my primary data is never merely rational, empirical, verbal, or objective. Rather, it is direct and intuitive, mind-to-mind. Only here do we begin to enter the specifically human world.

For example, an autistic person -- the real kind, not the newer variants that may or may not be related to true autism -- is specifically barred full access to this human world. A severely autistic person is a true materialist, in that he lives in a bizarre sea of objects from which he cannot escape "upward" or "inward," so to speak. This transition was captured vividly, if apocryphally, in the film The Miracle Worker, when Helen first makes the connection between concrete water and abstract wetness. Suddenly she gains access to a whole new world: the human world.

But something equally dramatic happens -- does it not? -- when we suddenly gain access to the "divine world" through our comprehension of revelation. There is definitely a "phase transition" in spirtitual growth, where one rather suddenly goes from knowledge to understanding (i.e., the "second birth"). To realize that this understanding will continue to deepen and grow is the thrill of a lifetime, as we enjoy the flow of energies from the Great Attractor along our keel.

As water leads to wetness, the experience of the divine (or of the sacred, the holy, the transcendentally beautiful) leads to Divinity. All are passages out, up, and in, however you wish to conceptualize it. But the exact word is not of fundamental importance. Rather, the experience is. Let your words be shaped by the divine object and anchored in the ground of real experience, or of O-->(n).

Now, in its active mode, intelligence "relives, recreates or combines the possibilities which are known to it, and this is the imagination." Conversely, in its passive mode, the intelligence "registers and preserves the data which present themselves to it." Thus, at once we appreciate the subtle balance of, on the one hand, fixed dogma and orthodoxy, and on the other, our active engagement of it with our higher imagination. Revelation must be "worked over" in the higher imagination.

I believe you will find that all of the greatest theologians are great precisely because they respect and maintain this subtle balance between imagination and doctrine. To default on the side of dogma creates a sterile conformity with no possibility of organic spiritual growth watered by the grace of personal understanding, or (↑↓); while to default in the other direction places one in the solipsistic and narcissistic realm of the new age fantasists such as Deepak and Co.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Volk Religion of the Left

If one doesn't believe in revelation, then the issue of divine accommodation is moot. But if revelation has occurred, then I think it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that it must be couched in terms that human beings can comprehend. And since human beings have changed dramatically over the centuries, this means that God must reveal himself in different ways at different times and to different populations.

For example, as we were discussing in the previous post, the logic of sacrifice made perfect sense to primitive peoples, otherwise it wouldn't have been universally practiced. It took thousands of years for human beings to arrive at the conception of a rational and caring God -- or even God, since it was a long, back-and-forth struggle to evolve from polytheism to monotheism. Compared to how long man has been here, monotheism has only prevailed for a tiny percentage of the time.

Stark begins with an analysis of the religious beliefs of primitive peoples, but it turns out that there's not all that much we can know about them with certainty. For example, many theories on the subject were derived from the study of "modern stone age" cultures such as Bedrock that persisted into the 19th century or later, and there is no way of knowing for sure if the Flintstones are really similar to peoples of ten or twenty thousand years ago.

Interestingly, it has long been argued that religion began with nature worship, but Stark writes that "primitive peoples show remarkably little interest in what we may regard as the most impressive phenomena of nature -- sun, moon, sky, mountains, sea, and so forth -- whose monotonous regularities they take very much for granted." In other words, ironically, it is contemporary human beings who are much more impressed with the beauty and majesty of nature. This is not difficult to understand, as primitive man must have been very much aware of the fact that nature was full of dangers.

Furthermore, as I have argued in the past, I don't think primitive peoples were individuated enough to notice such a sharp distinction between self and world. It is only because we are so aware of our separation that we take aesthetic notice of the environment -- which is why it is no coincidence that the romantic movement arose shortly after the emergence of the modern self.

In every development, something is gained but something is lost. I can see this quite vividly in my son, who is still between baby and boy. When he goes thorough a growth spurt, this is usually accompanied by anxiety that makes him want to engage in "regression play," for example, being a baby animal.

Likewise, when the autonomous self emerged with modernity, something was lost. Actually, several things: a fixed role, erosion of traditional family structures, weakening of religious constraints, etc. Think of the vast difference between having your identity given to you, vs. having an open-ended self that one must struggle to actualize and understand. In a very real sense, being liberated from tradition meant being a mystery to oneself.

The scientific and industrial revolutions created a kind of historical rupture or existential birthquake which continues to be felt today. In his book Modern Fascism, Veith discusses the deep alienation that resulted from the dramatic change from an agrarian, religious, hierarchical, and essentially timeless (or cyclical) existence to one that was suddenly ordered around the machine, the clock, democracy, and (small r) reason.

If we say that man appeared approximately 200,000 years ago, his life was essentially unchanged from then until the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 years ago. Afterwards, not a lot changed for the average Joe until the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th century. So in the overall scheme of things, our current lifestyle is truly just a blip -- several hundred years out of a total of 200,000. No wonder, therefore, that humans have such a strongly romantic and nostalgic streak, being that we're all living in an alien psychic environment profoundly different from the one we we evolved in.

Veith writes that "fascism is essentially a response to the alienation that has been a part of the spiritual landscape of the West since the Enlightenment.... Science, technology, and the economic realities and environmental damage of the industrial revolution isolate the individual from nature. There has thus been a genuine yearning for community and for an organic unity with the natural world."

Living a life of cold logic is intrinsically alienating. There is nothing Rational about living a life of pure (again, small r) reason. But nor is there anything rational about abandoning reason altogether and living a purely instinctual life, which is what occurred with Nazi Germany, but also to a lesser extent in the 1960s, not just in America, but all over the developed world.

Again, this is anything but progressivism; it is pure romanticism, which is always backward looking -- and not just backward looking, but backward to an idealized past that never existed to begin with. It is pure projection of present existential pain, and escapism into a mythic past. No one is more conservative than a progressive. It's just that what they want to conserve is childhood and all of its privileges, i.e., irresponsibility, dependency, entitlement, rebellion against the grown-ups, polymorphous perversity, weak boundaries, etc.

For someone who lives without any religious telos, the denial of impulses seems stifling and arbitrary. As Veith writes, "If objective knowledge is alienating, subjective experience is liberating and healing. Authentic experience comes from unleashing the emotions, cultivating the subjective and irrational dimension of life."

So never ask why the left is so emotional and irrational, because that is the whole point. It is a way of life. You will look in vain for the "rational end" they are seeking, because the emotional irrationalism is its own end.

America was the first nation explicitly created around abstract and universal principles instead of more primitive modes of blood, soil, mythology, etc. Here again, the modern doctrine of multiculturalism is in reality a quite primitive reversion back to earlier ways of life. Multiculturalism is specifically a rejection of American principles, what with its obsession with blood and race instead of ideas. This is why those who criticize Obama are accused of being "racist." It is not as if we have our ideas and they have theirs. Rather, we have our ideas and they have their emotions, which they project into us -- as if we are the ones who are obsessed with race!

For Americans -- and for Christians -- "essence" is in the individual. That is, we are created in the image of God, so that our deepest personal essence partakes of divinity.

But for the multicultural volkists of the left, essence is in the group: "Volk is a much more comprehensive term than 'people,'" signifying "the union of a group of people with a transcendental 'essence.' This 'essence' might be called 'nature,' or 'cosmos' or 'mythos,' but in each instance it was fused to man's innermost nature and represented the source of his creativity, his depth of feeling, his individuality and his unity with other members of the Volk. The essential element here is the linking of the human soul with its natural surroundings, with the 'essence' of nature."

Now, why do you think that virtually all leftists are environmental hysterics and global warmongers? Here again, you need only scratch the surface of their irrational rhetoric to appreciate a reservoir of primitive, volkisch-like sentiments of "unity" with mother earth, of "healing" the planet, of turning back the tides, of sacrificial penance to the gods of carbon offsets, etc.

For (non-left) Americans, the individual stands above the state, and derives his inalienable rights from the Creator. But for the left wing volkist, the group is the supreme identity that is fused with the state. No surprise then that we worship such different divinities.