Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cosmic Anthropology: True and False Humanisms

Well, this is good news. I just received a letter from my malpractice insurance carrier, letting me know that I can get a discount if I join a group called Psychologists for Social Responsibility, which is obviously a left wing cult of some kind. Imagine the outcry if they offered a discount, say, to people who complete the RCIA program and become baptized in an actual faith instead of being indoctrinated in a phony one?

In that case, you would actually take a solemn vow to absolutely avoid the sorts of activities that result in malpractice claims, such as bonking your patient. I mean client. No, consumer of mental health services. Wait, co-evolutionary partner.

But it seems to me that the type of gelatinous Joe who would join an outfit such as Psychologists for Social Responsibility has, by definition, a severely broken moral compass, since he systematically externalizes responsibility to the collective, thus robbing the individual of his moral agency, not to mention his human dignity.

That's a little unfair, isn't it? I don't even know anything about them. For all I know -- since they have the word "responsibility" in their name -- they could be a group that promotes personal responsibility, clean living, teenage abstinence, the cultivation of virtue, living by the Ten Commandments, shunning the self-defeating culture of victimhood, not whining, and generally acting like a man for once in your life.

Uh oh. According to the website, PsySR is an organization "that applies psychological knowledge and expertise to promote peace, social justice, human rights, and sustainability. Our members are psychologists, students, and other advocates for social change in the United States and around the world."

"Advocates for change?" What the hell is that supposed to mean? Such gibberish. Now you know why I don't relate to my profession. "Promote peace?" Something tells me that "killing bad guys" or tossing them in the slammer is not on the agenda.

"We share a commitment to the application of psychological knowledge and expertise in addressing today's pressing societal challenges and in building cultures of peace with social justice."

Even if you wanted to, how do you "build" a culture? Much less one "of peace and social justice" -- especially when "social justice" is just a code word for a backward and justice-denying collectivism?

Ah. Under the rubric "Our History," it says that they fought against fascism before and during World War II. Oddly, I am quite sure this didn't involve killing nazis.

And to suggest that these people "fought fascism" prior to World War II is just an outright lie, since they were and are the fascists (the liberal fascists, as demonstrated in Jonah Goldberg's book of the same name).

Proving once again that the left is irony-proof, they brag that "during the height of the Cold War in the 1980’s," they promoted "the use of psychological skills and knowledge to push for nuclear disarmament and to reduce the threat of nuclear war." Thank God they didn't succeed, or the Cold War would still be be with us.

Nevertheless, after they ended the Cold War with psychological magic, "we expanded our mission to include broader issues of peacebuilding and social justice." One evil empire down, one to go: the United States.

Ack. Every click brings new horrors. Anti-Semitic? Naturally. They don't call on genocidal Islamists to end their siege of the Palestinian territories -- or to renounce terror and recognize Israel's right to exist -- but demand that Israel cease defending itself from these monsters. One can hardly be more morally confused than that.

And they are so concerned about abuse within the Catholic church that they cannot call it what it is: predatory homosexual abuse, since the vast majority of victims were adolescent boys. And I don't even have to check to see that there is no concern expressed for teacher abuse in the public schools, where the abuse is more prevalent.

Oh for the love of.... "Climate change" causes mental illness in children. Being that the climate has never not changed, I suppose this explains why humans are so crazy. I know my son suffers a psychotic break every time the weather changes from sunny to cloudy.

Look at how they just make shit up in that letter. There's not a word of truth, much less science. It's all hysteria. These people are the very sickness they presume to treat. I'm sure they don't want to know that the air and water are actually cleaner than they've ever been since we started measuring, or that there is no non-junk science linking the natural disasters they cite to carbon dioxide.

Social responsibility? Let's begin by undermining the unit of society, the traditional family! They are opposed to any legislation that "seeks to deny same-sex couples the right to marry."

But of course, no one is denying anyone the right to marry. Persons of the same sex just can't marry each other, since it is impossible for a man to be married to a man. We want the state to simply recognize "what is," not to impose a new and idiosyncratic definition of reality upon the rest of us, and to redefine an institution that is much older than the state. No state has any right whatsoever to usurp this power.

*****

Enough of what isn't and can never be. Back to what Is.

I don't know if we can appreciate how radical it was in antiquity to announce that God is love; today its meaning has been largely drained, rendering it as biting as a Hallmark greeting card. Therefore, it requires some deprogramming in order to re-appreciate its world-altering consequences.

Consider how love spontaneously emerges in our free society. I would guess that the vast majority of popular songs are about love (I can't really speak for contemporary music, since I don't listen to it). Why should this be? It's quite odd when you think about it. But we don't think about it, because it is so pervasive.

Benedict notes that there is "a certain relationship between love and the divine," in that earthly love evokes our instinct for transcendence, and promises something far beyond the object of love.

Rather, love taps us into "a reality far greater and totally other than our everyday existence." And one of the problems affecting contemporary relationships is that they are asked to bear the weight of this "totally other" in a way that no human being can.

In other words, instead of looking toward that to which love points, or following it to its source, it becomes focussed solely on the (human) beloved, which cannot help but end in frustration and quite literal dis-illusionment.

But in Benedict's view, the very purpose of terrestrial love is to provide a kind of everyday ladder to the divine. A relationship is both a crucible and an escape (or rather, inscape) that can heal the wounds it makes through the unification of mind, body, and spirit, i.e., through the purification and divinization of man.

Man is a complementarity who is always fishing for his complement; he is a "unity in duality," both vertically, i.e., spirit + matter (or body), and horizontally, i.e., man + woman. Love is not only the basis of their unification, but oriented toward the telos which lights the path of ascent:

"It could hardly be otherwise, since [love's] promise looks toward its definitive goal: love looks to the eternal. Love is indeed 'ecstasy,' not in the sense of a moment of intoxication but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus from the closed, inward-looking self toward liberation through self-giving, and thus toward authentic self-discovery and indeed of God" (Benedict).

Benedict also explores one of our orthoparadoxical principles, (↓↑), i.e., eros and agape, or the "ascending and descending love" that "can never be completely separated" (ibid.).

Rather, "the more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized" (ibid.).

Only because God is a three-in-one is it possible for man to be a whole in oneness. The union that results "is no mere fusion, a sinking in the nameless ocean of the divine; it is a unity that creates love, a unity in which both God and man remain themselves and yet become fully as one" (ibid.).

This is the True humanism. Anything less is just zoology or economics.

23 Comments:

Blogger Van said...

"Even if you wanted to, how do you "build" a culture? Much less one "of peace and social justice" -- especially when "social justice" is just a code word for a backward and justice-denying collectivism?"

Oh, well, that's simplicity itself! Simply take gun barrel A, and apply it to forehead B... once the understanding of your actions has been sufficiently justified, then repeat with forehead C and attach them with solidarity to forehead B.

Best of all, it kind of works like multi-level marketing, as you encourage each additional forehead to spread the word, your culture just grows and grows almost like magic!

6/21/2011 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Leftism is really a Fonzie scheme: terminal adolescence, stuck in the 1950's, and long ago jumped the shark.

6/21/2011 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Look at how they just make shit up in that letter. There's not a word of truth, much less science. It's all hysteria. These people are the very sickness they presume to treat. I'm sure they don't want to know that the air and water are actually cleaner than they've ever been since we started measuring, or that there is no non-junk science linking the natural disasters they cite to carbon dioxide."

Speaking of which, I really enjoyed this one, the oceans are all dying again... now... it's almost too late to do something... must act NOW because,

"All five mass extinctions of life on the planet, reaching back more than 500 million years, were preceded by many of the same conditions now afflicted the ocean environment, they said. "

And so naturally since many of the same conditions brought about all five previous mass extinctions, this one is due to man! (dum-dum-dahhh!)

At least they are consistent in their blind idiocy.

Cue the troll.

6/21/2011 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Leftism is really a Fonzie scheme..."


Lol. Aaaaaaaeeee!

6/21/2011 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van @ 8:30, isn't that what we'd be doing if memories could actually be shared and downloaded?

Just imagine the viral codes that would be transmitted. Mind parasites leaping from brain to brain with no filters to dilute their effects...

***

I would guess that the vast majority of popular songs are about love (I can't really speak for contemporary music, since I don't listen to it).

These days, even when they're about love it usually isn't good love. Much less romance or marriage or sacrifice.

6/21/2011 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No coincidence, then. Secular culture = the death of love.

6/21/2011 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger horatio said...

You folks are missing out on the contemporary folk rock resurgence with Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, etc-great songwriting with heart, love, and nostalgia.

6/21/2011 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob - Oh, absolutely. When you kill the family, as the secularists have done, you kill love.

Horatio - I've no doubt; I was thinking more of the stuff that gets played on most pop stations, and the stuff all the young'uns I know tend to listen to. At turns sad, painful, shallow, bitter and mindless. No men pouring their hearts out about how they work their hands to the bone for their women, no women promising to give their man everything in love.

6/21/2011 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of the destruction of the family, Vanderleun provides today's illustration:

"Here’s what the see-no-evil crowd doesn’t want to talk about: there’s a thug element in the black American community which has been glorified for years. The seed was planted during the Johnson administration, which spawned the Great Society and the massive expansion of the welfare state.

Despite all protestations to the contrary, that expansion destroyed the basic underpinning of any civilized society, namely the nuclear family. Nowhere has that destruction been more prevalent than in the black American community, which now boasts an out-of-wedlock birthrate of 72 percent.

It’s not as if no one saw it coming. Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted that America would pay profound consequences for “defining deviancy down,” specifically citing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program as the prime culprit. Before the advent of the Great Society, AFDC had been reserved for widows, as a means of funding once-married women who had lost the primary male supporter of the family. In the 1960s, president Johnson and Congress changed the qualifications: any household where there was no male family head present became eligible for taxpayer subsidies."

6/21/2011 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

killing bad guys

Are you six years old or something?

how do you "build" a culture?

Where do you think culture comes from?

it says that they fought against fascism before and during World War II. Oddly, I am quite sure this didn't involve killing nazis.

Maybe they are thinking of people like Erich Fromm who wrote about the authoritarian mindset that gave rise to fascism.

they were and are the fascists (the liberal fascists, as demonstrated in Jonah Goldberg's book of the same name).

Oh please. I cannot believe that you are dumb enough to take that book seriously. Even Goldberg doesn't believe his own thesis.

6/21/2011 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me be clear -- the folks who want more freedom from government authority are authoritarian fascists, as proved by psychologists from Uncle Fromm to Bob Newhart.

6/21/2011 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Marxist psychologists are excellent authorities for people in need of one. Beats freedom.

6/21/2011 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Or self-motivation or personal responsibility...

6/21/2011 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Leftists always conflate American conservative classical liberalism and the authoritarian right of Europe, which is just relentlessly kooky. We are the polar opposite of the authoritarian right and left, since we don't want to confer that kind of authority upon the state to begin with. See the Federalist Papers for details.

6/21/2011 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And ironically, Uncle Fromm wrote of "freedom," but in a vulgar Marxist/materialist way that renders it both pointless and far less robust. It's amazing how much more sophisticated psychologists the Founders were, rooted as they were in the Athens-Jerusalem matrix of perennial truth about man instead of false and fanciful humanisms emanating from the modern Marxian left.

6/21/2011 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Speaking of just making shit up and AGW.

That AT piece also illustrates why con artists should only lie about the dead.

Oh, it's "climate change" now so they don't have to deal with little inconsistencies like this:

McCall doesn’t look like itself this spring. Spring is nearly two months late; tulips are just starting to head. There are plumes of water cascading down every hillside and several feet of dense snow remain locked up in the barely higher elevations. Snowpack is typically 400 to 600 percent of normal for this date, and 1,250 percent of normal in Bear Valley Basin.

6/21/2011 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

"Ack. Every click brings new horrors."

Loud laugh out loud.

6/21/2011 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

American style liberalism never took root there.

I wonder if part of that is due to the church-state amalgam that dominated in the Spanish and Portuguese areas. There was a more homogeneous source of authority in Mexico, Central, and South America, just as in some of the European countries.

6/21/2011 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

"Anything less is just zoology or economics."

Another chuckle, a hit on the funny bone. And maybe it's not *even* economics.

"Leftists always conflate American conservative classical liberalism and the authoritarian right of Europe, which is just relentlessly kooky."

Aye. I remember the "a-ha" I felt when in a conversation once in which I realized that the alternative to the person's leftism in their mind was definitely not classical liberalism and the moment of realizing that their entire "this or that" was my "that". It was a little disorienting.

In fact, it might have even been a conversation with a friend who finished his PhD recently in sociology, with a dissertation on Populism I think in Peru, Brazil, or another South American country. Interesting... It seems like leftists want to forget that there is a wider spectrum than the spectrum of left to "right" that they acknowledge.

wv: kingsmst
Not sure, but it seems relevant. :)

6/21/2011 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It seems like leftists want to forget that there is a wider spectrum than the spectrum of left to "right" that they acknowledge.

Almost like there's a third dimension...

;)

6/21/2011 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Off topic, I'm not a tennis fan but this article about the longest ever tennis match is pretty interesting:

Both players, clearly, served well. But their ground strokes were near-perfect, too. They each made dozens of winners, and few unforced errors. Isner remembers feeling so happy with his game that "it's hard to explain. I never thought about technique. I had no dark thoughts in my mind. I was just swinging away and the balls were going in - no matter if it was a big point, or whatever. It was crazy."

Mahut, meanwhile, recalls a spiritual dimension to his play. "When we got into the money-time at 6-6 [he says 'money-time' in English], there was only John, myself, and my team. No one else. I didn't hear the crowd. There was only the present. I didn't think about the point before, or the point after. I just stayed in the moment. I had absolutely no fear. The level of focus and awareness I had was so high. Normally, you don't keep up for a long time. But that moment - I kept it for a long time."

Mahut's enjoyment, he says, was triggered by more than competition. After the many frustrations in his career, his pleasure came from fulfilling his potential. Mahut's description is similar to what the French cyclist of the Fifties, Jean Bobet, calls "la volupté": a sensual state of perfect sporting execution. "La volupté," wrote Bobet, "is delicate, intimate and ephemeral. It arrives, it takes hold of you, sweeps you up then leaves you again. It is for you alone. It is a combination of speed and ease, force and grace. It is pure happiness."

6/21/2011 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Brazentide said...

A discount on your malpractice for inflating the roster of a hard-left political lobbying group?

Tacky.

Makes you wonder how many real members they have...

6/21/2011 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger LexAequitas said...

Perhaps your insurance carrier simply finds that psychologists who join this group are sued for malpractice less frequently?

After all, it's not like "solemn vows" do very much in the statistical sense. Even your own value system apparently allows for murder so long as you deem the victim a "bad guy".

When up to 20% of the victims of Catholic clergy abuse are girls, I think it's highly dubious to cast it as purely a homosexual problem. It's sort of like saying the Senate is an all-male body.

It's also quite bluntly false that a man cannot be married to a man. There ARE men married to men in many places. You may not believe they are, but others do recognize these marriages. You do not have rights over the English language, or what other people choose to recognize. Even if you were correct that marriage has "always" (heh) been defined in a particular way, there's nothing to say that definitions cannot be changed. And to claim that it's the state changing this is ludicrous -- "the state" enacted things like DADT, remember?

You had once brought up straw man arguments, saying you hope you never made them. Looking at the group's letter regarding Israel, I think their position may be quite a bit more nuanced than "demand[ing] that Israel cease defending itself". That would make your statement a straw man argument.

6/22/2011 05:55:00 AM  

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