Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Absolute Cosmic Bullshit of the Left

A few days ago I wrote that "just because the Absolute is not (exhaustively) expressible, it doesn't mean it isn't knowable; indeed, we cannot not know it and still think, since all thinking is rooted in it."

In response, reader Gabe Ruth wrote that he struggles "with seeing that this is self-evident. Are you saying that it is (self-evident)? I guess I mean more precisely, are you saying that the physical world cannot be the Absolute, and we can know this?"

Yes to the self-evidence of the first; and yes, the physical (I would say natural) world is not and cannot be absolute. I affirm that the Absolute Is, and that it is not the natural world; or, to put it in a less saturated way: O Is, and O is not ø. An even simpler way would be: O.

In contrast, it is not quite right to say that ø is not; rather, it both is and is not, since its "isness," or being, is borrowed from O. In other words, while the the Absolute is absolute, it necessarily entails relativity. Conversely, the relative cannot be absolute, for absolute relativity is an absurdity. Therefore, O entails ø, while ø implies O. Which is why one is only "nothing" to the extent that one is detached from God, or O. ø is always "manmade," similar to the idea that God sends no one to hell who hasn't chosen it for themselves.

In a typically lucid but extremely pregnant (yes, you can be more than a little pregnant) formulation, Schuon writes that "The prerogative of the human state is objectivity, the essential content of which is the Absolute."

Let's break that down. Unlike any other creature, the human being is capable of standing "outside" or "above" himself in a disinterested way, and apprehending the objective truth of things. If this were not the case, then science would be impossible, not to mention any practical notion of justice. Our judicial system is predicated on the idea that twelve human beings can consider the objective facts in a disinterested manner in order to arrive at a verdict. (The same applies a fortiori to constitutional democracy, without which there can be no "political justice.")

This notion of objectivity applies both to the within and without, or to the object and the subject. This is obvious in the case of science, since it is again founded on the idea that one may know the world in a disinterested and objective manner.

But what about the subject? Isn't it by nature "subjective?" Well, first of all, if that were entirely true, then science would be impossible, because all knowing would be fatally contaminated by subjectivity. But clearly, the subject partakes of objectivity, which is how and why it is able to know objectively.

The same applies to knowledge of the subject. For example, a routine part of conducting a psychological evaluation involves assessing a patient's capacity for what is called "insight." What this essentially boils down to is the ability to reverse one's gaze and look at oneself in an objective manner. It may come as a surprise to you -- maybe not -- how few people are capable of this. Generally speaking, the sicker the person, the less insight.

Really, it is astonishing what most people don't know about themselves. I often think to myself, "my God, I know more about this person in five minutes than they have learned about themselves in 50 years." I mean, really. What a strange way to live!

I might add that I am not necessarily speaking of the usual defense mechanisms such as repression or projection, through which the person systematically denies and splits off an unwanted part of the self. Rather, I am thinking of something more analogous to pre-scientific cultures that have not yet established the psychic capacity to view nature objectively. Obviously, science can only take place if the psyche isn't entangled with nature, so the latter can be apprehended in an objective manner.

The same applies to psychic reality, i.e., the self. In both cases, what is required is the colonization of a third dimension that "lifts" oneself, so to speak, above the flow of phenomena.

For example, in order to be a historian one must rise above history and regard its temporal passage from a higher vantage point. Likewise, in order to be a scientist of any kind, one must rise above nature. And in order to be a psychologist -- an adequate one, anyway -- one must have this same capacity as applied to the flow of psychic experience.

Schuon goes on to write that "There is no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence," which is a very compact way of saying what we have just said above. Knowledge, intelligence, and objectivity are interrelated in ways we don't necessarily appreciate.

And we certainly don't appreciate the implications of this epistemological trinity. Indeed, for 50 or 100 or 150 years -- depending on where one draws the line -- the psychospiritual left has been engaged in a jihad against objectivity, which means that it is by definition at war with intelligence and truth.

Oh. That's explains a lot, doesn't it? Here, let Bill Whittle spell it out for you:



Note that Critical Theory applies to everything and everyone except the person who wields it. Which is why we have a kind of insight into the motivations of the left, of which the typical liberal is utterly bereft.

And how does the leftist deal with this? By projecting it into conservatives and fantasizing about the nature of our hidden motivations. But in order to do this in a productive manner, one must first have self-awareness, or personal insight. This is why a good therapist should undergo a lengthy personal therapy before he gets near a patient.

So liberals always deal with conservative arguments by imputing hidden malevolent (never benign) motivations, often in frankly absurd ways. The latest is that conservatives who support Herman Cain are racists. How can this be, you ask? I mean, liberals were obsessed with Obama's race, whereas conservatives couldn't care less about Cain's. But as Taranto helpfully explains, "white Republicans are so racist that they're willing to elect a black man president just to keep black people down. The absurdity of that formulation underscores the left's desperation to keep the idea of racism alive."

Now, just as there can be no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence, "there is no freedom without objectivity of the will" and "no nobility without objectivity of the soul" (Schuon). This explains why the left's attack on objectivity redounds to the erosion of freedom, but also nurtures the awesome nobility of these elevated human beings:


22 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

In contrast, it is not quite right to say that ø is not; rather, it both is and is not, since its "isness," or being, is borrowed from O.

In case that's all still too murky, let me shed a little light on the conversation with my favorite analogy: light.

Specifically, if there weren't any, there'd be no way to know it, and darkness would be meaningless as well. Shadow only has existence because it is recognizably an absence of light; even though it appears to be a presence, it's actually an absence or a lack. There is no darkness so deep that a candle can't chase it back.

Notably, the world as we know it is visually intelligible because of the interaction between light and dark (or "not-light" or "less-light"). Without something to veil the full force of the source - without a bit of relativity from which to view the Absolute - everything would just be undifferentiated light, which is all well and good except that, again, there'd be no way to understand that the light Is if there's no way to step back from it and say, O! There it is!

At least, that's my take for the moment. It may be flawed, of course...

10/20/2011 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

Bill Whittle is a moron.

Learn from a Rhodes Scholar how Wall St has screwed us:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgwf31Di7NY

10/20/2011 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And now we know the value of economic advice from a Rhodes Scholar in HIV/AIDS in British and American Prisons. Which we already knew.

10/20/2011 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Objectivity, knowledge, intellegence. Another trinity to absorb.

How do animals learn without being objective? For example, a dog that learns the kitchen sounds and smells that preceed his dinner has learned something. It is dog kowledge, isn't it? I agree that the dog never steps back and ponders, "Hmmmm, certain sounds and smells at certain times lead to dogs being fed. This may be pointing to a universal dinner theory. ROWL!"

Am I confusing simple learning like stimulus-response with knowledge of a universal truth?

10/20/2011 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, that is just neurons firing and wiring together. It is not understanding.

10/20/2011 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Think about what an animals mind is adequated to: it has only to do with immediate survival. Now think of what the human mind is adequated to: moral and aesthetic realities, truth, beauty, music, poetry, humor, etc., etc. There is no effect without a cause, ergo, the human mind is not explained by any reductionistic theory.

10/20/2011 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To put it another way, man is proportioned to nothing less than the absolute -- which is another way of saying that we are in the image of the Creator-Absolute.

10/20/2011 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Open Trench said...

Julie, what would you like to see happen with our nation?

How about you, RG?

I have put the question to myself and I cannot recommend any changes; we seem to be in "the pocket" historically speaking.

Loosely, we correspond to Rome immediately after winning the 3rd Punic War, and to Egypt during the reign of Amenhotep III, shortly before the Amarna period.

There will be some sort of American spirit efflorescence, followed by a shake-up or decline in our common weal, followed by a militant/expanding period where communism may get a second chance and become somewhat dominant.

America should reach its zenith of cultural brilliance right around 2150 a.d. At this time there may still be American communists but they will no hope of holding power and will give way to a new type of government as yet unseen.

This I scry; you try?

10/20/2011 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Our judicial system is predicated on the idea that twelve human beings can consider the objective facts in a disinterested manner in order to arrive at a verdict. (The same applies a fortiori to constitutional democracy, without which there can be no "political justice.")

This is very close to the root of the right/left split. It is not that justice is never done, but certainly the “objective facts” are often disregarded. The Simpson trial is one case, but another I was personally involved in fell much the same way. The jurors knew that the accused was guilty but acquitted him on other grounds. The defense looked for jurors on the basis of how they would see both the victim, who testified in court, and the defendant. The prosecutor thought a presentation of the facts would be sufficient. It wasn’t murder but it was not trivial.

In politics, almost half the voting population does not want “political justice”. The equitable and objective “rules” of the Constitution are a hindrance to them, so they use any means necessary, including the courts and bureaucratic mandates to subvert the rules. Instead of appealing to an objective standard of justice, they appeal to some emotionally charged situation that might have been avoided or was “corrected” by violating the rules.

10/20/2011 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Really, it is astonishing what most people don't know about themselves. I often think to myself, "my God, I know more about this person in five minutes than they have learned about themselves in 50 years." I mean, really. What a strange way to live!"

One of the first Truths of Western Civilization is "Know thyself", and of course, as demonstrated by the Greeks who discovered it, it's also one of the most consistenly ignored - or taken for granted - which amounts to the same.

10/20/2011 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Thanks Bob.

Different creations, different hungers.

'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'

Dogs, on the other hand, dogfood.

10/20/2011 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

And lol, I'll tell Adam tonight that my daily read liked his Howard Stern clip(Adam Sharp, SharpElbows... name dropper... yeah... but it is fun)!

10/20/2011 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Stu said...

I had a business meeting in Manhattan this week, and decided to have a little fun on Wall Street afterwards. I don't work on Wall Street, but I looked the part in my suit. I stopped at K-Mart on the way, bought some poster board and a sharpie, and created this sign:

I am the 91% of the employed work force.

I am the 53% of American tax payers.

I am the 5% that carries most of the tax burden.

I work very hard.

I do not complain.

I do not envy those who have it easier.

I DO NOT SCAPEGOAT WALL STREET (or anybody else) FOR MY PROBLEMS.

I took a spot on the sidewalk next to some leftist protesters and held up my sign. I ended up staying for about 2 hours.

A lot of people stopped to talk and take pictures. Mostly tourists. To my surprise, the majority of the passers-by were very supportive of my message. "You're absolutely right." Thanks for bringing some common sense down here." That kind of thing.

The highlight of the afternoon was definitely when an angry-looking guy came up to me. He was dressed like a biker and had really long hair. I was expecting him to try to start an argument, but he said, "I grew up in Communist Cuba. I know where this leads. Thank you." That was pretty cool.

All in all, I'd say 60% of the feedback I got came from supporters, 30% came from friendly leftists who wanted to discuss things, and 10% from angry leftists who wanted to argue.

The angry leftists were quick to point out the inaccuracies in my sign. 9% unemployment doesn't equal 91% employment. The 53% statistic only accounts for people paying federal income taxes. One older lady yelled at me about a spelling error.

But I got the sense that most of the protesters were there for the same reason as me. To have fun. It was a friendly atmosphere, and one of the leftists I was standing next to actually took it upon himself to be my "bodyguard." And the police were good about quickly shooing away the angry die hards.

I saw a few hard core communists, angry leftists, wacko environmentalists and the like. But most of the protesters were either college kids or under-employed working folks looking to blow off some steam.

After being there in person, I got the sense that the whole Occupy Wall Street movement was pretty harmless. The event seemed to be more about having fun and comraderie than promoting hard core leftist ideology. And there was no unified leftsist message to speak of.

Just my two cents...

10/20/2011 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "Yes, that is just neurons firing and wiring together. It is not understanding."

Or maybe it is simply standing, rather than understanding. Dogs seem to be able to grasp what's on the surface, and they can make an amazing number of connecitons on the surface of things; pleasure, pain, game... but they aren't able to go much under the surface, they can't get to the depth. Which, being unaware of it's existence, works just fine for them - and for us with them.

10/20/2011 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Stu said "After being there in person, I got the sense that the whole Occupy Wall Street movement was pretty harmless. The event seemed to be more about having fun and comraderie than promoting hard core leftist ideology. And there was no unified leftsist message to speak of."

I think your breakdown pretty much applies to here in St. Louis as well, 30% friendly leftists open to discussion, 10% angry leftists, and the rest along for the 'fun' and loosely understood 'good intentions'. The problem is that those 10% run off, and even threaten the lives & families of the friendly leftists (this poor lady was terrified), to get control of the occupation. They don't need complete control, in fact they absolutely Need the other 90% to lend them their credibility... and mass.

Don't let it their small percentages distract you, they are the ones calling the key shots, and they are the ones who will cause as much trouble as they are able - and that means anything they can manage to get away with.

There's a lot they want to get away with... including your liberty to ignore them.

10/20/2011 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I only just watched the videos. Good grief, the people in those last two are breathtakingly stupid and lacking in self-awareness. I thought it was funny when the interviewer asked the one woman about her iPhone, and she said "oh, well, it's helping me with Twitter and Facebook..."

If these people really understood and lived by what they believe, they'd be living like the Amish. I'm with Stu and Walter Russell Meade on this one, inasmuch as I highly doubt these protests will accomplish anything.

However, Van also makes an excellent point - those who show up just to have fun are, by their presence, tacitly accepting the class warfare aspects of the protests. How much more would they be willing to "go along" with? And even though the message isn't unified, can it not honestly be stated that they are almost all there because it's easy to blame "Wall Street" for their personal troubles?

10/20/2011 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Open Trench said...

Thank you for your report, Stu. Your observations and interviews represent knowledge of the most accurate type, down at the street level.

It confirms my observations that leftists are a good sort of people in general.

Here in my left-leaning town, I see orderly streets, well-groomed children, many luxury automobiles, and stores full of meat, produce and other goods. The people I talk to are occasionally troubled by interpersonal conflicts wtih family members or romantic partners, rather than on spiritual matters or politics.

I do see a sprinkling of derelicts and drunks.

I am satisfied with conditions in my area. I am in awe of our species in general. This comfortable society is more than I could have come up with.

I am curious about what other people see and hear directly, rather than what they read or watch; but especially I'm interested in peoples emotions.

10/20/2011 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Btw, for those 90% that are at least somewhat open to discussion, if you can get them to ask a few key questions of themself... you can see the shocked disbelief at believing the answers they didn't realize they knew.

These questions won't solve things today, and no one is going to say "Wow! I'm not a leftist, I'm for the Free Market! How can I join you?!", but you never know where they may end up in the future if you can show them that there is another path.

We've seen at least a couple putting one foot forward. Questions to ask yourself

10/20/2011 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Stu said...

I agree with you Van, that the ideas are dangerous. And I certainly not want the true believers ever to gain absolute control of the mob.

But I just don't think that the majority of the protesters, after actually seeing them, have the capacity to do much harm. Seems like they just want to blow off some steam. But maybe that's what people thought in September 1917...


My favorite question to ask people was: "So you want to more fairly distribute the wealth. Fine. But could you explain to me how wealth is created?" That was a real stumper.

10/20/2011 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Stu said "My favorite question to ask people was: "So you want to more fairly distribute the wealth. Fine. But could you explain to me how wealth is created?" That was a real stumper."

LOL, perfect.

I'm in cautious agreement with you about their current status, at least here in St. Louis, it hasn't taken off as they'd hoped. The high-princess of darkness, Lisa Fithian, came here after Chicago and tried to ignite it, but fell flat.

I think both Patch at Poedpatriot, & Sharp, have video of the numbskull commie from MORE (aka Acorn) trying to direct their 'march'... and the rank & file began chanting "No Leaders! No Leaders! No Leaders!"... lol. If you're gonna kick off a new cult of personality, gotta remember to get someone with one to get it rolling.

Keeping a close watch though, you wouldn't believe how desperately committed the true believers are to making this THE final spark in their plans.

10/20/2011 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

I guess the Pope must be a "leftist"?

10/23/2011 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Gosh, Will E., for a smart guy you sure are dumb. I find it amusing that "The New Civil Roghts Movement" can't wait to pull out the Pope as some sort of trump card just because he's against hunger, in favor of infrastructure, and believes that wealth for the sake of wealth is probably a bad thing. Shocking! Since when do you - or they - care what the Pope thinks about anything?

Also, commenting on Thursday's post where your lame argument hasn't been called out in full seems like a seriously pussy move, but maybe that's just me.

10/23/2011 09:17:00 AM  

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