Thursday, July 07, 2011

It is Not Good that Man Should be Allone

Theology, if it is to retain its status as the "queen of sciences," must not only be capable of "dialoguing" with science, but accounting for its very possibility. No one doubts that it can do this; the question is whether it can be done in a simplistic or sophisticated manner -- if the queen can be truly regal or just a drag.

For example, one could simply say: "God created the world and scientists, ergo, religion explains science." This type of explanation is unlikely to persuade anyone who doesn't already believe it.

Atheists believe the converse, and it is of course no less simplistic: that man creates religion and everything in it. While this is a "scientific" explanation, it is just the mirror image of the first, and unlikely to convince anyone who isn't already inclined to believe it. Both statements are tautologies anyway, in that they conclude at the end what is foreordained at the start.

In the last couple of posts, we have been discussing John Paul's theology of the body. Here is a perfect example of how theology needn't only "dialogue" with science (assuming that psychology and human sexuality are sciences), as if the two are equal partners on the same plane of being.

Rather, I find John Paul's approach to be both much higher and deeper than any merely human model of human sexuality. Prior to knowing anything about his theology, I had believed modern object relations psychoanalysis to provide the most comprehensive and realistic account of human sexuality and sexual pathology.

But I find that John Paul's theology is capacious enough to contain the psychoanalytic explanation, whereas the reverse is strictly impossible, at least in official circles, in that psychoanalysis is a thoroughly secular enterprise (Jungians excepted) that even began with overt hostility toward religion (e.g., Freud's Moses and Monothesim and Civilization and its Discontents or Madman Reich's further reduction of psychoanalysis to a cult of pure id).

Sounds crazy today, but the latter superegomaniacal idiot had a major influence on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and is often cited in the counter-culture illiterature of that era. There is nothing "new," much less "progressive," in these thinkers. Rather, their entire bloated corpus comes down to a new way to preach to man what he wishes were true, and for which there is always a ready audience of suckers.

It's just that in the subsitious modern world, the intellectual infanity must be clothed in the trappings of science, which is how we end up with leftist pione'er-do-wells such as Herbert Marcuse, Norman O. Brown, Erich Fromm, and all the rest of those adorning acolyte weights. To this day, trolls such as William often cite their less-than-worthless "research" to prove the truism that people to the right of Marx are sexually repressed and/or mentally ill for reasons that follow inevitably from their false assumptions. (A few years ago the hapless John Dean published a book based upon this literature, with not the vaguest idea that he was but a tool and useful idiot for the propagation of cultural Marxism.)

Likewise, conservatives are intrinsically "hypocritical," since, deep down, they are no different from the leftist who knows that there is no such thing as "sexual morality." Rather, the latter is simply a bad-faith cultural construct designed to prevent man from being what he actually is, which is to say, a polymorphous seeker of sexual release.

I'm just thumbing through Kimball's book, which includes Freud's well-known statement that "It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of [sexual] instinct." Therefore, our "truest" self is our most primitive, pre-personal self, AKA our animal nature. As such, it is every man's task to "liberate" this "person" (which is really a thing). It is the exact inverse of the traditional view, which draws our animal nature up into the properly human sphere.

It is facile in the extreme to suggest that the latter is accomplished via "repression." While that certainly occurs, the real way is transformation. But there is just enough truth in the theory of repression to appeal to people who are sexually unhappy, and who believe that they would find happiness and sexual utopia if only they could f*** anything that moves.

In this regard, it is critical to bear in mind that this movement was not rooted in knowledge or wisdom. Rather, it was a doctrine of boastful ignorance founded upon a systematic denial of human nature. I don't have time to go into details, but thinkers from this era are impossible to parody; Kimball has many more examples in a chapter called "The Marriage of Marx & Freud." Talk about a pomosexual union.

Back to Wojtyla and the capaciousness of his worldview. Not only did he open and widen the Church's views on sexuality, but early on he formed a network of connections to the scientific world, especially to physics and biology.

For his part, one of the physicists in this network expressed the same principle I mentioned above regarding human sexuality. That is, Wojtyla's "way of thinking" -- in particular, his metaphysic -- provided a way "in which one could speak coherently and in a connected way about everything," from the most vast and abstract to the most mundane and particular. And this is indeed what we ask of a metaphysic: to provide a kind of comprehensive "map" of reality, in which everything can find its rightful place.

For example, a strictly scientistic account of human sexuality reduces to animal sexuality, which may be further reduced to genetic transmission and survival. All of the elaborate ritual surrounding human mating is really just a genetic trick to get oneself -- and the other -- over the genetic hump. The various sociobiological explanations of something as complex as "love" are mostly silly, but from the scientistic perspective, if genes explain everything, then everything is explained by genes. Does this include the explanation? Don't ask!

At the heart of Wojtyla's metaphysic is not matter, or math, or physics; rather, "love" is "at the very center of the human condition." While this undoubtedly sounds both sentimental and mythological to the uninitiated, this is not the way it is intended.

Rather, he means it quite literally; and because the human being stands at the "center" of creation (which he certainly does in the evolutionary/vertical sense, analogous to a dot at the top of a three-dimensional cone), then love is at the center of the cosmic center.

In 1956 he wrote a letter to a member of his intellectual circle, correcting the false impression that he would like to see everyone married. Rather, "the most important problem is really something else."

That is, everyone "lives, above all, for love. The ability to love authentically, not great intellectual capacity, is what constitutes the deepest part of a personality. It is no accident that the greatest commandment is to love. Authentic love leads us outside ourselves to affirming others.... Marriage makes sense... if it gives one the opportunity for such love..., if it draws one out of the shell of individualism and egocentrism."

Even deeper than love -- or, perhaps we should say a predicate of love -- is relationship. As such, I believe it would be slightly more accurate to say that relationship is at the foundation of Wojtyla's metaphysic, and that love is at the center of his theology. To get from the former to the latter requires the "leap of faith," in that it is possible -- even necessary -- to arrive at relationship using pure logic and no revelation at all.

But to know that this is a relation of love requires the lovers to reveal themselves as one in an eternal circle of lover-loved-love. In my view, everyman is a trincarnation of this ultimate reality, which is why it is not good that he should be allone -- which he cannot be anyway, because deepdown and wayup he is always allthree.

29 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

they would find happiness and sexual utopia if only they could f*** anything that moves

Referring to the post from day before yesterday, I'm pretty sure this is why Bill Maher is a vegetarian. In his thinking, one never knows.

7/07/2011 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"There is nothing "new," much less "progressive," in these thinkers. Rather, their entire bloated corpus comes down to a new way to preach to man what he wishes were true, and for which there is always a ready audience of suckers."

And of course an eager willingness to force people to accept what they wish were true, in place of what can be demonstrated to be true.

Proregressive all the way.

(Cue trolls for demonstrative evidence)

wv:mommah
I understand.

7/07/2011 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"Therefore, our "truest" self is our most primitive, pre-personal self, AKA our animal nature. As such, it is every man's task to "liberate" this "person..."

So a diabetic should indulge his cravings?

7/07/2011 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

News Flash....
...Bob's Book Is On Kindle...

Cheers!

7/07/2011 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I'm just thumbing through Kimball's book, which includes Freud's well-known statement that "It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of [sexual] instinct." Therefore, our "truest" self is our most primitive, pre-personal self, AKA our animal nature. As such, it is every man's task to "liberate" this "person" (which is really a thing). It is the exact inverse of the traditional view, which draws our animal nature up into the properly human sphere.

Sexuality is a powerful force; in a way, it is like a great body of water. Channeled and contained, water brings life. But when something happens to unleash its full force, it brings about destruction, as we've seen in numerous ways this year. When enough people were convinced that sexuality needed to be freed from "repression," it is as though they willfully broke down dams or unleashed a tidal wave on an unsuspecting populace. The constraints of marriage have been breached, to the detriment of all.

7/07/2011 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That is, everyone "lives, above all, for love. The ability to love authentically, not great intellectual capacity, is what constitutes the deepest part of a personality. It is no accident that the greatest commandment is to love. Authentic love leads us outside ourselves to affirming others."

Yes. This is why it's so important to me to try and see people for who they truly are, and not for who I only think they are or ought to be. Not that I succeed, by any measure, but that is the ideal I hope to approach. Otherwise, it seems impossible to love authentically if all you see in the other is a reflection of yourself; or worse, if what you see is something less than a person.

I have an inkling that the Love that is the center of it all knows us with a clarity we would find overwhelming, even devastating, if we grasped even the smallest portion; and yet, incomprehensibly, we are loved in wholeness. No man can love that way, but every man can try, and of course one of the best and fullest ways to try is within the confines of marriage.

7/07/2011 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I remember vividly seeing through the game when I obtained my masters degree. To me it meant nothing, but my parents were overjoyed. It then occurred to me that this is a general principle, at least in my life: I am much happier about, say, my child taking his first step than about any accomplishment I might have had. Likewise, to make him laugh is much better even than making you folks mess your screens. Certainly just seeing is face is no comparison to seeing mine....

7/07/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, exactly! Because of course marriage at its best results in children, and so you get to love both in an adult way and in a parental way, which does outshine anything you've felt before - even as it doesn't (oughtn't) replace the love for your spouse, but rather enhances it.

Motherhood is such an incredible grace; every day brings new joys, and even when things are challenging or difficult I find I am happy to have whatever the problem is, because always there is an uppertuneity to give love. This week we're opening up more of the house for him to explore; the delight he expresses at these new little freedoms is contagious.

7/07/2011 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Tangentially apropos (and, I admit, somewhat schadenfreudally entertaining), atheist girl objectifies an other as a scary, slavering horndog for daring to ask her for a conversation:

"And it’s rather obvious why atheists aren’t taking over the world, isn’t it? Despite their enthusiasm for Darwin’s theories, they seem to lack the rudimentary animal vigor necessary to the procreative project. The world of atheism is apparently a place where nervous Nice Guys make fumbling advances toward awkward Nerd Girls — and it creeps the girls out, as well it should."

The sexual revolution, with all of its pleasures, has been particularly ill suited for creating more of the world's most pleasurable creatures.

7/07/2011 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Sounds like a new category for Taranto: "The Lonely Lives of Atheists."

7/07/2011 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Brazentide said...

Crazy enough, I was just going to ask about the potential for a kindle/iBooks version of OC today...

Fantastic news!

7/07/2011 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. the Taranto heading, :D

Back for a moment to the topic of authentic love, one of the benefits of seeing other people clearly is that every person is such a mystery. When a person knows that he is loved for himself, that mystery doesn't dissipate, it opens and deepens, and both the loved and the lover grow as a result. In some ways, the better you know and love someone, the more mysterious they become. Also, loving and being loved tends to bring out the best in people. This is again why parental love is so important: properly expressed, it literally nourishes the very best in the developing child.

7/07/2011 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Even deeper than love -- or, perhaps we should say a predicate of love -- is relationship."

And/or, or maybe aka, integration.

"As such, I believe it would be slightly more accurate to say that relationship is at the foundation of Wojtyla's metaphysic, and that love is at the center of his theology. "

That is well put.


"To get from the former to the latter requires the "leap of faith," in that it is possible -- even necessary -- to arrive at relationship using pure logic and no revelation at all. "

True.

"But to know that this is a relation of love requires the lovers to reveal themselves as one in an eternal circle of lover-loved-love. In my view, everyman is a trincarnation of this ultimate reality, which is why it is not good that he should be allone -- which he cannot be anyway, because deep down he is always allthree."

, and Excellent.

(I'm practicing my brevity. Besides, Julie already said more than what I was thinking, and said it much better.)

wv:sumbeeds
A Catholic thing I suppose?

7/07/2011 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger swiftone said...

...everyone "lives, above all, for love. The ability to love authentically, not great intellectual capacity, is what constitutes the deepest part of a personality. It is no accident that the greatest commandment is to love. Authentic love leads us outside ourselves to affirming others.

Someone tell me how to communicate this to an antireligious daughter whose marriage is foundering. If it comes from Wjotila it's pahson before we begin. Let me be loving, please, please...

7/07/2011 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger swiftone said...

Just reading through comments. Julia at 10:06... kinda reminds you of the Corps of Engineers and their levy projects (which probably doesn't make sense unless you got the Corps' flood in NO and are getting soused now in ND and down stream.)

7/07/2011 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That's right, I had heard about the flooding. Just awful, and completely unnecessary.

As to teaching about love, that's a tough one, and of course much depends on the details of the marriage. The best way to communicate the idea of authentic love is simply to live it, which of course is anything but self-evident or everyone would do it and the world would be near-perfect.

I'll bet that everyone here loves someone - friend, family, self or spouse - who is anti-religious and who needs to be connected to that source, somehow. Me, I just try to love them as best I can, and trust that with love Christ will gain a foothold. Not cloyingly, and not in a way that indulges and encourages whatever it is that causes their problems (though here again, the ideal and my execution are two very different things). Rather, I hope it is with the sort of strength and depth that encourages their successes and doesn't add to their burdens in failure. And mostly, if it seems needed I try to model for them the behavior that will lead to their own success.

Or put another way, to see clearly in love is to recognize what is needed (anything from help, to a listening ear, to a kick in the pants, or sometimes just presence) and to provide that whenever possible. Keeping in mind that sometimes what's needed may even be boundaries and distance. And occasionally, when the time is right, you can drop in a good word for the Good Word; if the ground is fertile, the seed will bear fruit. But it will probably take a while. Patience is helpful here, too...

7/07/2011 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Or, via Vanderleun, there's the easy way...
;)

7/07/2011 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Criminy - this woman needs to step away from the Kool-Aid:

“Being a straight woman, who may want to get married someday, means I have to entertain the notion of having a nonmonogamous marriage.”

Interestingly, it's not what she wants for herself, she just either doesn't find herself loveable/ valuable enough to hold a man's attention for the long haul, or she has a very low opinion of men in general, and as a result will probably choose exactly the sort of schmuck who thinks an open marriage would be awesome.

The sad part is how many of the commenters agree with her.

I'm pretty sure that if I had gone into my marriage with such low expectations, I'd not still be married and we'd both be worse people as a result.

7/07/2011 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Contra Rebels said...

Julie,
You might consider your own blog.

7/07/2011 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Hi Bob, Are we doing away with anonymous comments now? Looks that way from my screen. Maybe that's a good thing but anonymity can be great fun. I do love a good sockpuppet show.

Swiftone, I feel for you. As a father of a young bride, I wish my daughter and son-in-law had some, more, any(?), religion. Times are tough for a couple of BA liberal arts grads.

Also, to others who share personal, sometimes painful stories. I hear you and I appreciate your courage.
I hope it helps a tiny bit that some unknown person out in the middle of nowhere cares some tiny amount for you. (Wait, Bob has pretty much convinced me that love is a non-local phenomena so I guess the distance thing really isn't an issue.)

7/07/2011 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Contra, thanks :) I have one already, but it tends more toward the visual than the verbal...

John, Bob switched off the Anonymous comments a few weeks ago. I agree, it is fun that way but unfortunately the trolls prefer it, too.

7/07/2011 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Oh, yes. Thanks. I remember, Bob mentioning something about running a slightly tighter ship around here.

There was a commenter "anon" a few days ago but it was, um, not anonymous.

Duh!

7/07/2011 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I probably shouldn't, but I've been having fun perusing the 'bobwatch' crowd - busying themsoph safeguarding the internets from the B'ob.

They're even dredging up ancient posts from such trolloc spawn as mtcraven, inty, etc, as corroboration and proof of Gagdad's malevolent and destructive influence on the world.

I shouldn't encourage 'em, I know, but such comedy gold... free of charge... what can I say.

7/07/2011 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - it had crossed my mind to take a look, but I hate to drive up their numbers. On the other hand, I'm glad one of them finally started his own blog. Silly creatures - I was tempted to give them grief for having nothing better to do on the 4th than froth at the mouth over here, but I was too busy having fun with the family.

7/07/2011 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Since he hasn't mentioned it, I'm going to - OC-inspired haiku at the Motel today...

7/08/2011 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger David R. Graham said...

Relationship is dualistic. Love (i.e. as I think you mean it, agape love) is non-dualistic. Libido, philia and eros love are dualistic.
Relationship is either libido (superior to inferior), philia (equal to equal) or eros (inferior to superior). Only agape love is unconditional and therefore non-dualistic.

7/08/2011 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger David R. Graham said...

"I have an inkling that the Love that is the center of it all knows us with a clarity we would find overwhelming, even devastating, if we grasped even the smallest portion; ...."

Shades of Avila. Actually, it is relaxing and humorous, neither overwhelming nor devastating, although one recognizes that that could be the case during the event and after.

But it isn't. It's humiliating and thorough beyond imagining, but utterly satisfying and familiar. The truth is really not very deep, or high. And it's funny. And unforgettable, thank God!

7/08/2011 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Humorous... yes, it is most definitely that. Thanks for the reminder.

7/08/2011 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Though at the time, I'm quite sure "relaxing" wasn't a word I would have used. Also have to disagree about the depth and height, but humor can be both deep and high as well.

7/08/2011 10:30:00 PM  

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