Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Solution to Institutional Stupidity: No Child Left Below

If one is to live a life in the mystery of God -- or O -- one must relinquish a lot of conscious plans, in part because the decision to surrender to the high life doesn't necessarily yield immediate "sense" or purpose. Frankly, it will usually be seen as a little "crazy," at least by contented inhabitants of the Matrix.

What I mean is that the element of time must be considered, and as we all know, time takes time, and eternity even more. Things don't happen instantaneously, as if by magic. An acorn doesn't just "decide" to be a tree, and then skip the process of actually becoming one.

Rather, there is a maturational or formative process that operates from the inside out via formal and final causation. Thus, on a personal level it is very much analogous to the belief in liberty and spontaneous order as opposed to the conviction that it is preferable for one's life to be ordered by distant, top-down decision makers. Left to your own devices, you'll only mess things up.

Obviously there is a great deal of truth in the latter, as many, if not most, people will misuse, abuse, or otherwise waste the freedom their smarter-than-average furbears fought so bravely to secure. But liberty is no picnic, especially for people with spines of jelly and no stones.

This becomes especially problematic once the habits of freedom are lost, stolen, or betrayed. People inevitably behave less responsibly when there is no penalty for doing so, which is then used as evidence by the left to prove that citizens cannot cope with liberty, and require an intrusive state to care for them. It's a great little scam they have going.

An obvious example is our contemporary "urban culture." These people are so obviously messed up and dysfunctional, how could you be so heartless as to deny them the help they need from mommy government? And when we say "urban culture," we are not only referring to inner city Americans. Rather, the identical phenomenon has occurred in England and other western welfare states, as compellingly described in Dalrymple's Life at the Bottom. From the review at the top:

"[T]his volume puts forth a vision of the modern world and of intellectualized modernism as hell," describing an underclass that is "'not poor... by the standards of human history' but trapped in 'a special wretchedness' from which it cannot emerge."

Ironically, the clueless liberal reviewer at Publisher's Weakling doesn't like it, in part because Dalyrymple "offers few concrete or theoretical solutions." In other words, s/h/it will concede that Dr. Dalrymple's diagnosis of the failings of liberalism is both astute and provocative, but hey, how come he doesn't offer any liberal prescriptions? Doy!

Either the problem is in man, or the problem is in "institutions" and other collectivities. The left locates the problem in abstractions such as "institutional racism," but the much deeper problem facing the underclass is the institutional stupidity its members have imbibed from the left. To put it another way, members of the underclass who refuse to absorb left wing institutional stupidity will not remain there long.

This can be demonstrated empirically with statistics showing that there is no such thing as "the poor" in any reified sense. Rather, it is only an abstraction created by the left, and which specifically eliminates the temporal element in order to create the illusion of stasis.

But the plain fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Americans are not still in the "underclass" five or ten years later, which means that there is really no such thing, and therefore no basis for their class warfare.

In other words the left wants the people who fill the lower quintile or decile at any given moment to abandon the well-understood behaviors and values that will lift them out of the underclass, and instead do battle with those "selfish" people who have already successfully risen out of it.

And if this abstraction doesn't succeed, there is never a shortage of individual exceptions, of heartbreaking stories provided by the media to "prove" that The System Doesn't Work, and that we need a huge welfare state to help their Cavalcade of Victims.

But nearly five decades since the War on Poverty commenced with the shit heard 'round the world, there is, curiously, the same percentage of people in the bottom quintile. How can this be? Can't we just empty out that quintile and put everyone in the top 75%? Can't we give all Americans a free college education, so that half the population will no longer be fated to a life of below average intelligence? Let's do it! While we're at it, let's make every man tall and handsome, and every woman a California Girl!

When I say that our educational system consists of liberal seminaries, I am not only being quite literal, but plagiarizing Dennis Prager. I think the only way one can recognize what is otherwise a banality is to hold a different set of values. Then one sees quite vividly that children are being forced by law to undergo statist indoctrination (unless one can afford a private school).

Prager mentioned another recent example, with an Orwellian story from Maryland about how children can no longer graduate high school without being "environmentally literate." You can be sure that this will not revolve around sober and skeptical questioning of Algore-style hysteria and pseudo-science, just as the California requirement that children be "culturally literate" doesn't involve learning just how crappy most cultures are. Indeed, it is against the law to depict any culture in an unflattering light, which means that the left has succeeded in making it against the law to think.

My kid has only finished kindergarten, but he has already imbibed a number of precious values that will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life. This is because in his religious school there is not only an emphasis on intellectual formation but of moral formation, or the articulation and development of the conscience (which in many ways is the marker of genuine psychospiritual maturity). Throughout the year he learned that life consists of choices and that he is free to choose between them. This is on the one hand liberating, but also a burden, in that it means that we are responsible.

To propagate the opposite lesson -- that we have no meaningful freedom and that we are oppressed and victimized by "the system" -- is a form of child abuse, because it not only stunts but warps moral development, since it legitimizes violent action to right the injustice.

Frankly, violence is indeed justified against a tyrannical regime, but the left's misuse of this valid principle results in frivolous Europeans rioting because they might not be able to retire in state-funded affluence at the age of 50. Once one is "entitled," then removing the entitlement is felt as a form of persecution and oppression, as when the civil right to a lavish pension at taxpayers' expense is threatened. No appeasement of greed, no peace!

We got off on this tangent as a result of mentioning the temporal element in the divine life. It occurred to me while flipping through the John Paul bio we've been discussing. It describes the years during which he underwent his "priestly formation," as one does not, and cannot, simply "decide" to become a priest. For one thing, the decision is not ours to make. Rather, it is a calling to a vocation which can only gradually be heard and revealed.

For John Paul it was "an evolutionary process of gradual clarification or 'interior illumination.'" As the process unfolded, there was a simultaneous "progressive detachment from my earlier plans."

You might say that as the interior priest "grew," the exterior ego shrank. He began to recognize that "the people who had touched his life most profoundly... were not fragmentary incidents in a life, but signposts along a path pointing in the direction of the priesthood." And if one draws out the implications of this ontology, then they were also pointing to his papacy and even to this very post, among literally countless other "goods" that resulted (yes, I realize it may not be good for you, but that's just the way God rolls).

But there is also effort or willed cooperation with the call (↑). Elsewhere it describes how he later encountered a certain philosopher, and how "after two months of hacking my way through this vegetation I came to a clearing, to the discovery of the deep reasons for what until then I had only lived and felt.... What intuition and sensibility had until then taught me about the world found solid confirmation."

This describes the Raccoon's familiar transition to post-egoic knowing, or what we might call the conviction of the mind by the intellect. After that, one is capable of "thinking in God" as opposed to just feeling, sensing, or being attracted.

In a way, one might say that John Paul was pulled into the vortex of O, and that innumerable others have been pulled along with him, as if in his wake. In fact, I think this is a good analogy of how the nonlocal saints are able to exert such a profound influence upon our lives. One doesn't just enter "a book," but in a sense enters them.

This, of course, would be the inner meaning of Jesus' statements about "preparing the way," or of living "in" him. A friend once told me that he drove cross country by staying close behind large trucks pulling him in their wake, thus saving lots on gas.

Reminds us of an old post, Breaker Breaker, Anyone With a Copy, Come On. It's from January 2006, and its subtext is that I had already reached the outer limits of my self, and was running short on ideas. Fortunately, I gave up trying to come up with any, which is what has made the subsequent 1,691 posts possible. I very much feel as if both I and this corpulent corpus were given shape through deriving below some big ol' mothertrucker in the sky. Of course, your smileage may vary.

An apt aphorism or two of Don Colacho come to mind: of how in genuine spiritual development "the materials are not fused in a new alloy; they are integrated into a new element," and how "The quality of an intelligence depends less on what it understands than on what makes it smile."

Guess I must be semi-crazy:

24 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

People inevitably behave less responsibly when there is no penalty for doing so

Vanderleun links today to a pertinent article about black racism and "youth" violence.

Back to reading...

6/29/2011 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

The quality of an intelligence depends less on what it understands than on what makes it smile.

Oh, I like that one.

This describes the Raccoon's familiar transition to post-egoic knowing, or what we might call the conviction of the mind by the intellect. After that, one is capable of "thinking in God" as opposed to just feeling, sensing, or being attracted.

Our scientistic jogger dropped a load at the end of yesterday's post about the totally gay bromance between Jesus and John. Poor Willy, how could he have even the slightest inkling about the truth of that affection? John was simply trying to get as close as he physically could to the very living heart of God, an experience that would indeed take one beyond mere feeling, sensing, or attraction. To "think in God," to abide in O in such a way, to be within Being... no words could begin to explain to one who can't know.

William's comment makes me weary on a day that has already gone long. But the thought of John, resting his head on Christ's heart, now that truly brings me joy. Oh, Love - how beautiful that must have felt.

6/29/2011 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If true, this is good to know. He was one of my childhood heroes. And when I say "childhood," I mean until around 40. Too bad he didn't have time to compose All You Need is Intelligence.

6/29/2011 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. Lennon, indeed. I never would have guessed, but it's nice to know even a Beatle can be mugged by reality.

6/29/2011 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Gosh, I hope not!

I had assumed that there was an official English translation being published somewhere, and thus the blog was taken down to avoid copyright issues. Think I'll keep telling myself that...

6/29/2011 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Do Racoons tend to blame themselves first?

6/29/2011 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'm just assuming the question thing is still open, although that last one wasn't the one I had earlier today.

6/29/2011 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Well, I blame myself for angering all the right people, without which I wouldn't feel as blameless.

6/29/2011 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ah, this isn't my question from earlier. I'm too afraid to ask it still, but..

Do phob...wait... Bob, I have a friend who has phobias. Or did. Anyway, do these nonthings have a common cause? Or common type of cause? You see, my friend can only spell "early childhood trauma". Being a nondoctor I tell mysel..eh him.. that that is too simple an explanation and to get a second opinion.

6/29/2011 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

There is no general rule. Some seem to have obvious causes, like my fear of Gloria Allred, while others are obscure and undoubtedly partly genetic. The current understanding is that genes load the gas and that trauma pulls the finger, but who knows?

6/29/2011 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Genes too, possibly. Ah, my friend had a feeling. Since he says there were no giant tarantulas where he grew up. But there may have been an evil petting zoo.

Sorry for that diversion, back to the post..

6/29/2011 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

From your post..

"I say that our educational system consists of liberal seminaries...
...and then...
My kid has only finished kindergarten, but he has already imbibed a number of precious values that will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life."

My bride and I are hoping our kid will be able to walk through that seminary with the BS bouncing off him like bullets off of Superman's chest. I mean, each child must be so equipped when he walks out the front door at 18, no? I hope he can maintain the will to send truthful dispatches back from the front lines. Cause that's where our little baby is headed this fall (gulp). Prayers if you got 'em.

6/29/2011 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Indeed. Passing through the liberal valley of death can be extremely enriching and strengthening for the would-be conservative, as he learns to hone and sharpen his wits against the adversary. Liberals have no comparable experience, which is one of the reasons they cannot think.

6/29/2011 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For example, it just popped into my head that I actually subscribed to The Nation for a good ten years!

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

Can't we give all Americans a free college education, so that half the population will no longer be fated to a life of below average intelligence?


It's like mileage standard they are pushing of 56.2MPG by 2025.

This can be easily achieved if the Republicans in Congress will drop their sinister resistance to repealing the Law of Gravity.

Since weatherstripping has done so much for the economy, new green jobs need to be created in the lubrication sector to eliminate friction.

Plus, it is obvious that overweight kids have greater inertia. We need to convince parents to systematically feed their children only the attractive and brightly colored segments from the new food chart developed by the First Lady.

Let me be clear, this cannot be done without sacrifice, but we must reject the false dichotomy between classic physics and feel good politics.

6/29/2011 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

People inevitably behave less responsibly when there is no penalty for doing so

It is quite a scam they have going. It seems to be something out of the Marxist playbook. Create a problem then blame it on the people and have the state step in to provide a solution. This is the way you lead people into Totalitarianism. To bad things will fall apart before we reach utopia.

6/29/2011 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Here's another apropos article via Vanderleun, Broken Families, Broken Economy, which finishes with the following:

"Many of these young men grew up without their fathers and suffered what some call “father wounds.” Would it not make sense for such boys to attend schools properly described as “paternalistic”? These would be tough-loving places, like the celebrated (but still too few) KIPP Academies, with their Knowledge Is Power Program. Would it not also make sense to allow many more boys and girls to attend religious and other private schools, which have their “biggest impact,” according to Harvard’s Paul Peterson, by keeping minority kids in “an educational environment that sustains them through graduation”?

That idea of “sustenance” deserves pondering. Minor wounds usually heal fast. Deep ones take longer. Children scarred by father wounds and other family absences and disruptions, very much including missing mothers, need sustenance of the most personal and vital kind. Such sustenance can be provided by some kinds of schools. I once asked a nun, the principal of a Catholic elementary school, what her school’s mission was. As best I remember, her words were, “To manifest God’s love to every child.” As educational mission statements go, this is one of the briefest yet meatiest ever devised. Schools with this purpose might powerfully nourish the boys and girls​—​fathers and mothers in training​—​who are most in need of food."

6/29/2011 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I'll admit that a main appeal of this blog when I first chanced upon it (a referral from "What is Enlightenment") was seeing someone capable of "thinking in God", although I did not dress it in those exact words.

I believe that even great souls who are close to God, don't agree on everything. This is because even though all Truth is in God, created beings do not fully absorb it all. Where this has not happened, Truth shades off into opinion, of which there are various degrees. For those of us who are not even certified saints, it should be obvious that there will be less than full agreement. Even then, however, it is possible to tell - often at a glance - when someone is able to "think in God". There is a luminosity that does not just occur by happenstance, is how I see it.

wv:munged

6/29/2011 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I like that phrase, Magnus: "thinking in God".

'Munged' is a word used by some of our relatives in Wisconsin. It means "to run one's presumably grubby hands over and thereby contaminate, as with food. Or, to spoil and despoil by touch, as other people's possessions in general, or specifically, clean clothes, dishes, knick-knacks, polished surfaces, etc."

Though the word probably orignated among those with more than just a hint of obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is so useful and descriptive that even our slobs routinely deploy it.

6/29/2011 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob, have you read anything by Kyriacos C. Markides?

6/29/2011 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, Mountain of Silence and maybe one other. Meh.

6/29/2011 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I have that book and just as I was starting it found there was one before it "Riding with the Lion" so I moved to that one first. Yes, meh. Quite a bit more new age than I can stand. But then he goes and mentions someone like Schuon or Aurobindo.. And also Killistos Ware gave Mountain of Silence a thumbs-up. Was hoping this was just his "early work".
Ah, well. I'll soldier on..

6/29/2011 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Rather, there is a maturational or formative process that operates from the inside out via formal and final causation. Thus, on a personal level it is very much analogous to the belief in liberty and spontaneous order as opposed to the conviction that it is preferable for one's life to be ordered by distant, top-down decision makers. Left to your own devices, you'll only mess things up."

There's the choices... and of course those who try to avoid making a choice are just choosing the later. Naturally.

6/30/2011 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

those "Magus of Strovolos" books are like a Greek "Castaneda", fun but kind of junk-foody....I recommend
this to those who set their sights a good deal higher-'deeper'

6/30/2011 07:19:00 AM  

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