Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Essential Idiocy and Absolute Power

When a boy reaches 13, all of his thoughts turn toward forming a band. Indeed, there is no real mystery as to why human bands formed, since they are just the exteriorization of our interior, which is intersubjective and trimorphic right down to the Ground.

In this regard, John Lennon's creation myth is as good as anyone else's: "I had a vision that a man came unto us on a flaming pie, and he said, 'You are Beatles with an A.' And so we were."

But how and why did humans leave intimate and independent bands for more anonymous corporate record labels? While one could argue (I wouldn't) that the formation of bands is fully explained by natural selection, this cannot account for the evolution to tribal societies, i.e, for something that only emerges much later.

Obviously, natural selection does not plan ahead. If it did, then mosquitos, or dysentery, or MSNBC would not exist.

Right away we meet that troublesome word "evolution," which means very different things to different primates. For if one is going to maintain an intellectually consistent Darwinism, one cannot distinguish between bands and tribes on the basis of "evolution."

From the Darwinian perspective, human beings are "complete" as of 200,000 years ago, so anything we happen to do afterwards with our genetic endowment is entirely beside the point. To put it another way, whatever "point" there was to the human genome, it was established way back in the archaic environment to which we are an adaptation even now.

In this regard, our recent troll was more or less correct (or at least consistent) in his explanation of human origins. For him, and for all materialists, we are just a transient adaptation to an environment (including the weather) which no longer exists.

Thus, we are truly orphaned in the biosphere, just as Genesis says we are. Everything was beautiful back in the archaic environment of Eden. But ever since then we've been wandering in the desert bewilderness, looking for home in all the wrong places. Any existential pain is really a kind of phantom limb pain resulting from being a bunch of saps amputated from the tree of life.

Speaking of tree-buggers, I think this is what the environmental fanatics are on to. Since they are generally pagans or atheists, for them there can be no Reality above or ahead; instead, reality for them is below (in nature) and in the past (our genes).

In this romantic creation myth, they would like us all to revert to living as our primitive furbears, which would reinstate peace and harmony and recreate heaven on earth. To them I do not say "earth first" but you first!

Now, either one is a relativist or one is an absolutist; there can be no in between, just as there can be nothing in between something and nothing. One cannot be a little bit pregnant with being. Either you is or you isn't. O or Ø.

A Raccoon is an unyielding absOlutist, and this is the ultimate source of virtually all of the disputes with our detractors. Whatever the issue, we can usually mark the difference down to this single question: what is your lexical Orientation -- O or Ø?

Is a tribe more developed than a band? We say yes, no question. Why? Because we believe in evolution. Is the tribe the end of evolution? Clearly, no. Evolution -- if it is to be called evolution and not just change -- has a point.

Thus, like anything with a point, we judge it not in terms of the past but the future; we look at it in terms of its archetype, which is to say, its truth, or essence.

Is a man more developed than an infant? Yes, because the essence of the infant is to develop toward its archetype, which is implicit in the present but actualized in the present-and-future.

Does this mean that the man is more valuable than the infant? Obviously and emphatically, NO! Rather, the infant is precious precisely because of what he is in essence: a human being. Existence has no value in the absence of essence.

Now, to say that a Raccoon is an absolutist is another way of saying that he is an essentialist. For us, essence is prior to existence; for the vast and powerful anti-Bob community, existence is prior to essence. Simple as. For our distinguished adversaries from nowhere, essentialist is a bad word.

For the Raccoon, the very purpose of existence is to disclose our essence, which is to say, achieve a deustiny that is ultimately union with our source and ground. Like any destination, it is again not down and back but up and ahead; in short, it is O, not Ø.

But for the relativist, there can be no purpose to existence. To the extent that the relativist insists that there is a purpose, you must continue vigorously applying the cluebat upside their head until this elementary truth sinks in. Either he is a nihilist or he is lying to himself, most likely the latter, for the consistent nihilist is rara avis cerebellus, or a true birdbrain.

I apollogaze for the preluminary refractions. But we do need to define our terms and establish our metacosmic position at the outset, for it will prevent any number of dis- and misunderstandings in what follows, and allow us to cut straight through to the nub of the gist of the essence. Armed with our mighty metaphysical bullshit detector, we may proceed anywhere in the cosmos without fear of getting lost or even tenured.

Fukuyama properly notes that "One of the biggest issues separating Right and Left since the French Revolution has been that of private property."

Rousseau, in one of his seminal tractpot rants, "traced the origins of injustice to the first man who fenced off land and declared it his own." Karl Marx took over from there, and you know the rest of the story, which continues to unfold.

For the Raccoon, the origin of injustice is -- obviously -- Justice. Justice is prior to injustice, certainly not anything bipedal apes could establish on earth. We can only know of an explicit injustice because of our tacit knowledge of justice. Obviously, natural selection does not know of, and cannot speak of, injustice. Is it just that the lion eats the lamb? That the Lakers defeat the Hornets? Of course not. It just is.

Marx is the quintessential example of an absolutist masquerading as a relativist. Please note that an insistent relativism always results in tyranny, for in the end it will devolve to the enforcement of one man's opinion, to which the rest of us must conform. Don't like Obamacare? Too bad. It's all about the power, baby.

Please note that absolute relativism is the very foundation and essence of fascism. Absolutism proper is its converse.

The American founders are the opposite of Marx, not just in the details, but again, in essence. For in essence they were absolutists.

For example, to say that human beings are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, is an absolute statement beyond which one cannot go (and governments may not transgress). It is now and forever.

This is what we meant when we said that man (as such, not such-and-such a man) cannot be surpassed, because the Absolute cannot be surpassed. You are born free. Now deal with it. And I don't mean by diminishing my freedom, moron.

Fukuyama notes that Madison, in Federalist #10, asserts that one of the most important functions of governments is to protect private property rights. Thus, for the modern Marxist, this is the very codification of Cosmic Injustice. For example, recall Obama's indictment of the Founders, and his gnostrum for how to remedy their cosmic errors. The Supreme Court must address

"the issues of redistribution of wealth and the more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society, and to that extent, as radical as, I think, people try to characterize the Warren court, it wasn't that radical; it didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.... You can craft theoretical justification for it legally, and any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts."

Right. It's easy. The way one does this is to find a nuanced, subtle position situated between what the Constitution says and what Obama would like for it to say. In short, one establishes a shadowy area between Truth and the lie, or between O or Ø. Then call it "settled law," which absolutizes the newly minted relativism.

But again, there is no place between O or Ø, unless it is understood to be a kind of shadow -- or better, prolongation -- of O. Indeed, "shadow" is a misleading term, as it may lead one to regard the world as maya, or illusion (which it must be under the constraints of any post-Kantian metaphysic).

But the fact of the matter -- and of matter! -- is that the world is precisely real, or "relatively absolute," because it is sponsored and nourished by the same O in which our intelligence is rooted. Ultimately -- or in essence -- intelligence and intelligibility are the same thing, complements to O.

To be continued....

22 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Thus, like anything with a point, we judge it not in terms of the past but the future; we look at it in terms of its archetype, which is to say, its truth, or essence.

Is a man more developed than an infant? Yes, because the essence of the infant is to develop toward its archetype, which is implicit in the present but actualized in the present-and-future.

Does this mean that the man is more valuable than the infant? Obviously and emphatically, NO! Rather, the infant is precious precisely because of what he is in essence: a human being.

...the very purpose of existence is to disclose our essence, which is to say, achieve a deustiny that is ultimately union with our source and ground. Like any destination, it is again not down and back but up and ahead; in short, it is O, not Ø.


Just wanted to see that bit again. If you Raccoons could keep my friend's family in your prayers for a while, it would be appreciated. There's a very sweet but troubled little boy whose parents are trying to guide him along the increasingly rocky path toward his deustination; his parents could use all the nonlocal assistance they can get.

4/27/2011 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Count on it, Julie.

4/27/2011 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"Fukuyama notes that Madison, in Federalist #10, asserts that one of the most important functions of governments is to protect private property rights."

Why else would you want/create a government if it didn't do this? I mean, if you had the chance. Which the founders did have.

The "first man's fence" was his government.

4/27/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Later on in thisstory the fence turned into man-eatin rabbits.

4/27/2011 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The first fence occurs on the very first day of creation -- that between Creator and created; which is to say, Essence and existence.

4/27/2011 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Yeah, that guy.
;-)

4/27/2011 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Almost by definition a garden is fenced. God was certainly able to bar the way back into Eden by means of the cherubim and a flaming sword "that turned every way".

Isaiah 5 tells of God planting a vineyard and putting a hedge around, speaking metaphorically of Israel and its separation from the nations.

Zechariah 2:5 says that God will be "a wall of fire" around His people.

If it's good enough for God, it's good enough for me.

Fences and walls and property rights start to look like the manifestation of an archetype -- essentially :).

4/27/2011 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Skorpion said...

Meanwhile, on a San Francisco Easter Sunday....

4/27/2011 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hi Bob .. Being a supporter of absolute relativity or relative absolutivity, I think that what you will find is that even your definition of absolute truth is relative to something, for example you compare essence to existance. I tend to feel there is a misunderstanding of absolute relativism or relative absolutism in that either absolute or relative are taken as singular and seperate entities but this is not the correct way to understand this paradoxical concept. Simply put it describes the inter-connectedness of EVERYTHING and how EVERYTHING is inter-connected, multi-dimensional and ever-changing. In this respect what is absolute is the diversity of the cosmos and what is relative is the unity of the cosmos.

In this respect, it is very dualistic to consider that the absolute nature of EVERYTHING is distinct from the relative nature of EVERYTHING. Both exist simulatanously and current theory in Physics testifies to that. Nothing exists as a singular. Hence, essence taken as a singular is an oxymoron or birdbrain thinking as you call it ;-). EVERYTHING is both essence and existance (or experience), EVERYTHING is both transcendent and immanent. Essence/God/Source is EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING is existant (or experience). What is essence if it does not exist or experience?

http://www.relativity-myths.org.uk/myths/p21_AbsoluteSpace.html
http://www.relativity-myths.org.uk/myths/p21aPointsofView.html

4/28/2011 02:33:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

Good post Bob. I really like these periodic definitional grounding posts, very helpful.

4/28/2011 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"A Raccoon is an unyielding absOlutist, and this is the ultimate source of virtually all of the disputes with our detractors. Whatever the issue, we can usually mark the difference down to this single question: what is your lexical Orientation -- O or Ø?

Is a tribe more developed than a band? We say yes, no question. Why? Because we believe in evolution. Is the tribe the end of evolution? Clearly, no. Evolution -- if it is to be called evolution and not just change -- has a point.

Thus, like anything with a point, we judge it not in terms of the past but the future; we look at it in terms of its archetype, which is to say, its truth, or essence."

Yep. Not much to add, no need, just wanted to see it again.

4/28/2011 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Rousseau, in one of his seminal tractpot rants, "traced the origins of injustice to the first man who fenced off land and declared it his own." Karl Marx took over from there, and you know the rest of the story, which continues to unfold.

For the Raccoon, the origin of injustice is -- obviously -- Justice. Justice is prior to injustice, certainly not anything bipedal apes could establish on earth."

You gno it. One thing leads to another, or to an Øther. As Rick said,

"The "first man's fence" was his government."

Once you have the ability to say 'this is mine', while recognizing another's Right to do the same, you have a basis for considering what is Ours, what can and cannot properly be shared. Without that understanding, Justice, that fence won't be used as a tool enabling Others to more easily respect what is yours and theirs, but as a weapon for Øthers to restrain you, and Others like you, with. Think the Berlin wall... or nØbamao, who is just another brick in the....

4/28/2011 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Steve:

I agree that the Absolute and relative are relative terms (as is true of all language), but the former category is ontologically prior. There could be no oneness if the oneness weren't already present, just blobs and piles of unrelated stuff. The One always entails the many, but not vice versa. Intelligible speech -- let alone dialogue -- would be strictly impossible in its absence.

Also, we are speaking of metaphysics, not physics. The former is independent of the latter, and will not change based upon any scientific findings. Physics reflects metaphysics, not vice versa.

I think you are confusing a duality or complementarity with a hierarchy. The world is hierarchical, not flat, and every hierarchy has a top.

Everything indeed shares in the transcendence and immanence of the One. Here again, transcendence is prior, but immanence is a necessary attribute of transcendence. And prior to transcendence is the Beyond Being of O.

4/28/2011 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In other words, O "breaks out" into the Absolute and Infinite that underlie the One and Many.

4/28/2011 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Mmmm :-) .. Glad to see that heirarchy/consensus has popped up. This is where my last deep convo ended. Interesting that this other person alluded to an intrinsic cosmic heirarchy too. Now the obvious question that follows from this is who or what is at the top of the heirarchy in Oneness when essence is simultanously manifest as form however subtle, since even essence has form. It does seems you are proposing a metaphysical heirarchy in that you are proposing that unity comes before diversity and that transcendence is prior to immanence. For me, Oneness is EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING is simultanously essence and experience (or existence), hence the paradoxical nature of Everything. (You never answered my question, what is essence without experience?) Therefore, in my metaphysical model of Oneness, the one is the many and the many is the one. Similarly, the transcendent is immanent and the immanent is transcendent. This is so because for me, Oneness is multi-dimensional. However, I agree that the metaphysical models we hold asour beliefs have a direct impact upon how we perceive our reality and consequently determine how we behave and think in our reality :-).

4/29/2011 03:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

“However, I agree that the metaphysical models we hold asour beliefs have a direct impact upon how we perceive our reality and consequently determine how we behave and think in our reality”

If you chose your words well, I think your oneness is finding agreement where it probably doesn’t exist.

Our beliefs don’t impact how we perceive reality; though they affect which perceptions we pay attention to, perception itself is metaphysically given, perception happens prior to conception and belief.

While the philosophical metaphysics we hold (implicitly or explicitly) certainly form every aspect of our philosophy and how we think about and respond to reality, nothing determines how we behave and think, that is up to the choices we make, or neglect to make, and the reality is that there will be consequences for each of them.

Unless you think that each of those consequences are equally important to every other; sprinkling salt or spilling it being on a par with telling the truth or spewing lies, then there is a natural hierarchy, in fact and concept.

4/29/2011 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Van
"Our beliefs don’t impact how we perceive reality; though they affect which perceptions we pay attention to, perception itself is metaphysically given, perception happens prior to conception and belief."

Mmmm what is the difference between how we perceive and the perceptions we pay attention to.

Mmmmm perception is prior to conception. I think it is the other way around. It is possible to conceive something before perceiving it. If the cosmos is intelligent then it follows that it conceives before it perceives.

To say nothing determines our behaviour or our thoughts is funny. What gives rise to choices. What you conceive, what you perceive and what you believe.

Julie
"...the very purpose of existence is to disclose our essence, which is to say, achieve a deustiny that is ultimately union with our source and ground."

For me, we can never be seperate from our essence therefore we are always in union with our source and ground.

5/10/2011 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Van
"Our beliefs don’t impact how we perceive reality; though they affect which perceptions we pay attention to, perception itself is metaphysically given, perception happens prior to conception and belief."

Mmmm what is the difference between how we perceive and the perceptions we pay attention to.

Mmmmm perception is prior to conception. I think it is the other way around. It is possible to conceive something before perceiving it. If the cosmos is intelligent then it follows that it conceives before it perceives.

To say nothing determines our behaviour or our thoughts is funny. What gives rise to choices. What you conceive, what you perceive and what you believe.

Julie
"...the very purpose of existence is to disclose our essence, which is to say, achieve a deustiny that is ultimately union with our source and ground."

For me, we can never be seperate from our essence therefore we are always in union with our source and ground.

5/10/2011 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha - you had me going for a minute there, Steve. All I could think was, "Wow, did I say that?!"

Not my words, those are Bob's. I was simply restating them.

5/10/2011 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

steve said “Mmmm what is the difference between how we perceive and the perceptions we pay attention to. “

That’s a question you might want to consider before you decide that all exists as a single undifferentiated, non-hierarchical mass. The short answer is that one view leads to the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, and the other to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Do we perceive what exists, or do we first conceive of what we will perceive? The first means that reality and truth exist and are knowable, the second means that whatever you want to be, can be... if enough other people can be made to believe it too. That train of thought doesn’t end well.

“Mmmmm perception is prior to conception. I think it is the other way around. It is possible to conceive something before perceiving it. If the cosmos is intelligent then it follows that it conceives before it perceives.”

That’s about what I expected you to say; see above for the obvious implications which history has been so kind as to demonstrate for you already.

Reality exists; what exists, exists as something; and in perceiving existence we identify what it exists as and become aware and conscious of ourselves in the process. Effects do not precede causes. We may be of God, but we are not ourselves God, and prior to perceiving what exists, we have nothing to conceive of or with.

This is the key to grasping hierarchy, and as you’ve already confessed, you deny hierarchy, and you do so because you’ve missed, evaded or denied this. To err with Descartes and say “I think, therefore I am”, is nothing less than saying I will remake reality as I wish it to be, and what results from that fantasy will be flat, empty and desolate in every way – see modernism, post-modernism and all other dumb as a post ism’s.

“To say nothing determines our behaviour or our thoughts is funny.”

Not funny at all; determinism inevitably devolves into scenes that become extremely bloody.

“What gives rise to choices. What you conceive, what you perceive and what you believe.”

If you are attentive (which is ultimately the irreducible choice to choose) to what you perceive, you may successfully conceive of what is true, and through that resultant hierarchy, you may choose to believe what is True through to the soul of the cosmos.

Or you can deny that... but to suggest that you can conceive prior to perceiving what is true and worthy of believing, is to attempt to subordinate all that is true, to your personal whim.

I believe another fellow tried that, and his bright star rather fell fast.

And while he did get Dante to write about his crib, which is nothing to sneeze at... on balance... probably not worth it.

5/10/2011 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Hmmm... considering I made the prior comment a day or two ago, I guess that means that blogger is now 'fixed', up and running.

5/13/2011 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I think you believe that you know what we truly are but in truth noone or no thing knows unless you believe in a superior know-all power.

I think the point of confusion is where you think perception is synonomous with consciousness. If it is consciousness you are talking about then yes we are conscious of everything but then we choose what we perceive as a result of what we believe which is a result of what we conceive.

I certainly don't see LIFE as a undifferentiated mass but as unity and diversity as I tried to explain above. That is also my conception of Oneness in that Oneness = The Unity and Diversity of Life = A unified field of Consciousness (intelligent essence) experiencing, imagining and creating itself as the diversity of Life.
Perhaps we need to express our metaphysical positions to try and shed light and what the arguments actually are by using our own meta-physical conceptions of LIFE as the models.
Determinism in my mind is really just a programme that we impose upon ourselves as a result of the meta-physical models we choose to create whether that is God or Oneness.
I get the impressions that you believe, conceive, percoeve that Oneness will inevitably lead to absolutism and if Oneness is associated with Unity alone I would tend to agree. In the same way as a belief in Diversity alone as what is inferred with a belief in God also has disasterous consequences most of which are legitimised by heirarchical notions created to model the Diversity perspective.
Heirarchies are not subject to a final reality unless one believes that some super-cosmic-power that is seperated from everything except as a power over relationship is present. This is pure conjecture and simply a belief system that may be a person's truth but certainly not the absolute truth.
In the same way Oneness (as Unity and Diversity) is a belief system but one I conceive to be a better system of organising ourselves around compared to the divisive nature of meta-physical models of Diversity alone (God/man for example).
The only Truth in capital letters is that we do not know who we are in any absolute terms, we don't know where we are in any absloute terms, we don't know how we are in any absolute terms and we don't know why we are in any absolute terms.
But strangely we know we have consciousness, we know we can imagine and we know we can create. Are these intrinsic powers that are tied to our absolute nature or are they given by some supuer-natural entity or energy.
Ultimately the choice is ours as to whether we believe we are the absolute nature of Everything or whether we are ultimately seperate from the absolute nature of Everything. The latter is a belief we are One Essence (expressed as Unity and diversity) or we are two more essences expressed as Diversity alone. The other option that we are Unity alone is plainly ridiculous to me unless one believes that everything other than the absolute essence of Everything is an illusion but what kind of model is that where Diversity has no meaning whatsoever.
So take your pick, Unity and Diversity, Unity alone or diversity alone. Either one is plainly visable to our consciousness, either one is a result of a process of conception, we choose which one to perceive which in turn determines how we think and feel.

11/18/2011 04:29:00 PM  

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