Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Wheel of Misfortune & the Merry Growround

I really want to get back to our pneumoanalysis of totalitarianism, but haven't had the time. So it's on to Letter X, the Wheel of Fortune, which I originally discussed in the context of a book by Fr. Seraphim Rose, which traces the dialectic of nihilism in the postmodern world through the stages of liberalism --> realism --> vitalism --> nihilistic destruction.

In case you can't make out the action in the card, our unKnown Friend of many years writes that it consists of "three figures in animal form of which two (the monkey and the dog) turn with the wheel, whilst the third (the sphinx) is beyond the movement of the wheel; he is seated on a platform above the wheel."

UF continues: "The monkey descends in order to rise again; the dog rises in order to descend again." Thus, without the sphinx above, the wheel "evokes the idea of a vain and absurd game."

Which indeed life is and must be in the absence of the transcendent "higher third" of which we have spoken in the past. The existence of this higher third, which accompanies us through life, is without a doubt the most shocking feature of this cosmos, and renders any form of materialism utterly beside the point (of life and even existence).

The conquest and colonization of this transcendent position is the true vocation of man, but obviously the vast majority of men prefer the dog and monkey show, as it informs every page of nocturnal metahistory -- by which we mean that the same returns or that history st-st-stutters. The plots change but the theme is pretty constant, otherwise we wouldn't recognize ourselves in the mirrors of revelation and literature.

UF goes on to enunciate the orthodox Raccoon position, which posits the existence of two metacosmic (meaning that they flow from outside time and space) movements (↓↑) that determine whether one's life will be a dreary wheel of misfortune or a veritable merry growround:

"The one is based on the idea of the Fall, i.e., degeneration and descent from above below."

Importantly -- and this is a cornerstone of the whole innerprize, so listen up -- "According to this class of ideas" -- which, of course, is from the vertical perspective -- "it is not the monkey who is the ancestor of man, but rather, on the contrary, it is man who is the ancestor of the monkey," the latter of which "is a degenerate and degraded descendent." After all, if there is evolution, then by definition there is both involution and devolution (which are simply movements on the vertical plane).

If you have difficulty with this concept, just remember the self-evident fact that, just as God is not in the cosmos, but rather, vice versa, man is not in the world. Rather, the world is essentially -- or a priori -- in the human soul. It's all in here, just waiting to be discovered and unpacked -- even atheism (but only in the devolving movement from man to monkey).

It cannot be emphasized too strangely that this inwardness is literally everything. Speaking of God, Meister Eckhart writes that "It is remarkable that anything should pour forth and yet remain within." This pouring forth takes place in the "deep within," so to speak, and "when I say the inmost, I mean the highest, and when I say the highest, I mean the inmost part of the soul -- there I mean them both together in one," a place "where time never entered." It is what we call the inmost upmost vertical bigending (p. 257).

UF continues: "The other class of ideas comprises the idea of evolution, i.e., progress transforming from below above. According to this category of ideas, it is the most primitive entity -- from the point of view of consciousness as well as biological structure -- which is the origin of all beings," and "which is their common ancestor."

So the Wheel of Fortune depicts a quasi-human entity who is on the way down. In contrast, the sphinx "represents the plane and stage of being from which the monkey is moving and towards which the dog is approaching." Now, "Does not the monkey lend itself marvelously to serve as a symbol of the animalization which is effected at the expense of the Angelic and human elements of the prototype being?"

Yes, of course. Man is poised between the two extremes of existence, the spiritual and the material. We are lured by vertical memoirs of the former and hypnotically seduced by misplaced hopes in the latter. Schuon has written that man is "condemned to the absolute," but I prefer to think of it as having a passion for wholeness and a gnostalgia for eternity. The one is aspiration, the other inspiration, or exhalation and inhalation. Our very breath reminds us of the rhythm of eternity.

An insurmountable problem with reductionistic Darwinism is that it only deals with half the circle, which ignores "the ultimate as well as the effective cause of the whole process of evolution," without which it is unintelligible (to the awakened intellect, not to tenured bipeds falling up the academic ladder). Darwinism will always be unintelligible in so far as it "refuses to accept the other half of the circle, that of involution."

Understood esoterically, evolution embodies the mystery of "Fall, perdition, redemption and salvation." As such, one must understand that Darwinism really is fully intelligible to people who have exiled themselves from the fulness of reality. But it would be incorrect to say that they have it "half right," for half of reality is actually no reality, being that it is analogous to living in the "outside" while denying the existence of an inside.

The metaphysical Darwinian is actually a passenger of evolution, not a witness, for to witness it is to have transcended it -- i.e., to have realized the full circle in the flesh. But of course it is an open circle, so that it constitutes the spiraling ontological and temporal structure of being.

Now back to the dialectics of nihilism. Let us stipulate that religion deals with absolute truth, or at least purports to do so. In the end, in the absence of absolute truth, the only option left open to an intellectually honest person is nihilism, because nihilism is simply the doctrine of relativity drawn out to its logical conclusion.

An honest nihilist such as Nietzsche realizes this: God is dead and therefore man becomes God and everything is possible. In the final analysis, the existence of God is the only thing that prevents the intellectually consistent human being from inevitably coming to the same stark conclusion as his Nietzsche brother: “I am God and all is permitted.” Nietzsche also knew full well that once the appeal to absolute truth is set aside, raw power comes in to fill the void. He wasn't necessarily suggesting that this is a good thing, only that it is. So deal with it.

Scientific or logical truth is by definition relative truth. Thanks to Gödel, we know that there is no system of logic that can fully account for itself, or that can be both consistent and complete. Rather, completeness is always purchased at the price of consistency, while a rigidly consistent system will be incomplete -- say, a consistent program of materialism or determinism. Such a philosophy will leave much of reality -- including the most interesting parts -- outside its purview. This is why Marxism is such an inadequate theory. In explaining everything, it explains nothing. But at least it’s rigidly consistent, like Darwinism.

But if there is no absolute there is only the relative, incoherent though that philosophy may be (for the existence of relativity, or degrees of being, proves the absolute, since the relative can only be assessed and judged -- or even perceived -- in light of the absolute). In the face of the the absolute we are easily able to judge various cultures on the basis of their proximity to the ideal.

But once we have destroyed the absolute and descended into relativity, then what necessarily follows is multiculturalism, moral relativism, deconstruction, “perception is reality,” etc. All cultures become equally cherished, with the exception of the culture that believes some cultures are better than others. All truths are privileged with the exception of Truth itself. Belief in Truth itself is "authoritarian" or "fascist."

Ironically, in the relative world of nihilism, I am necessarily all. The world literally revolves around I, since my truth is absolute. The ultimate questions have no answers except for those I might provide.

This is why leftist academia has become so corrupt, for how can it not be “corrupting to hear or read the words of men who do not believe in truth?” “It is yet more corrupting to receive, in place of truth, mere learning and scholarship which, if they are presented as ends in themselves, are no more than parodies of the truth they were meant to serve, no more than a facade behind which there is no substance” (Rose).

The emptiness of relativism evokes the next stage in the nihilist dialectic, realism. This is a novel type of debased realism that entirely excludes the vertical and affirms that only the horizontal realm is real -- that is, the material, external, and quantifiable world. In one fallen swoop, this philosophy of unreality becomes the paradigmatic lens through which mankind is now supposed to view the world. Thus, we somehow purchase "reality" at the price of our own absolute unreality.

My book begins with a quote from Richard Weaver: “The modernistic searcher after meaning may be likened to a man furiously beating the earth and imagining that the finer he pulverizes it, the nearer he will get to the riddle of existence. But no synthesizing truths lie in that direction. It is in the opposite direction that the path must be followed.” Nevertheless, it is in this downward direction that our fall inevitably takes us.

Here philosophy is officially replaced by modern misosophy: hatred of wisdom. It is a childishly naive ideology that confuses what is most obvious with what is most true, and what is most fundamental with what is most real. The cosmos is officially turned upside-down and inside-out, incoherently elevating insentient matter to the the ultimate.

As Father Rose writes, “Worship of fact is by no means the love of truth; it is, as we have already suggested, parody. It is the presumption of the fragment to replace the whole; it is the proud attempt to build a Tower of Babel, a collection of facts, to reach to the heights of truth and wisdom from below.

"But truth is only attained by bowing down and accepting what is received from above. All the pretended ‘humility’ of Realist scholars and scientists... cannot conceal the pride of their collective usurpation of the throne of God...”

Such an individual “becomes a fanatical devotee of the only reality that is obvious to the spiritually blind: this world.” Human beings are reduced to races or classes, spiritual love to animal sex, higher needs to lower desires, while the earth is elevated to Goddess, the dramatic to the significant, the celebrity to the important. A new kind of human monster emerges -- for a monster is simply a human being existing outside the human archetype -- and takes his place a bit lower than the beasts.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Mantyss said...

Included in this fascinating post, we find:

"...the only reality that is obvious to the spiritually blind: this world.”

A question could be posed: why is the world obvious, and the spirit subtle?

Contemplating this, an image of a warm bath and the word "immersion" come to mind.

The Lord immerses us in a spell-binding world where attention is focused on matter, and diverted away from spirit. Why?

The Lord wants us to interface hard with matter; we have some kind of a job to do here related to matter. What is it?

The materialist may be the most devout worker on this planet, depending on the intentions of the Master.

We cannot assume the spiritual orientation is better than the material. It depends on what the desired outcome is here.

We must go deep to find out what It wants from us.

11/15/2011 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Ironically, in the relative world of nihilism, I am necessarily all.

I hate Illinois Nihilists.

11/15/2011 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Gabe Ruth said...

Mantyss, that is interesting. Do you believe in the Deceiver?

The why behind this vale of tears is a most captivating question for me as well, and I agree that it must have a purpose, that it is not just a test or something like that. We have work to do, here. But I also think that work is not completely in the material world, even during our time here. The materialist is, generally speaking, quite proud, which is ultimately the only sin (placing the creature in place of the Creator). If you don't think that, you either are not a materialist or you haven't thought it through.

11/15/2011 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Sometimes I am so embarrassed to call myself a Christian.

Who knew the Wheel was a roulette wheel. Life is a crapshoot.

Via First Things.

11/15/2011 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Mantyss said...

Gabe:

Mantyss thinks only of what the Master desires. If a materialist be proud, it is of no moment so long as the materialist is bent to the task at hand.

What is the task at hand? If we do not know, then we must guess and we may be wrong. We think the materialist is wrong, but really, we don't know. We guess.

As for the Deceiver, again, we don't know if there is one. We only know for certainty two things: The Master exists, and matter exists.

From there all else is unclear.
We need someone to figure out some things conclusively instead of tentatively. Some powerful person must find the way.

11/15/2011 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Here philosophy is officially replaced by modern misosophy: hatred of wisdom. It is a childishly naive ideology that confuses what is most obvious with what is most true, and what is most fundamental with what is most real. The cosmos is officially turned upside-down and inside-out, incoherently elevating insentient matter to the the ultimate. "

Yup.

(blink)

Nothing else to add... just 'yup'.

11/15/2011 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"It cannot be emphasized too strangely that this inwardness is literally everything."

That too.

Some version of sudaphed prevents me from saying more, but... that too.

Oh, and that I sense the presense of the trench.

achoo.

11/15/2011 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

*rummages through fridge*

What? Oh, I've nothing to add. Just checking the box...

11/15/2011 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Open Trench said...

Father,a wonderful post. Thank you.

Brother, I hope you feel better soon.

Sister, may you find the snack you seek.

I love you, my family.

Sincereley, the Trench.

11/15/2011 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Sending this one out to OT -- keep your hands on the wheel there.

ge might like it, too.

11/15/2011 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That most of you simply cannot discuss your own ideas and beliefs without putting down those who think differently than you do, shows what truly ugly people you are.

11/15/2011 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse reflects "...simply cannot discuss your own ideas and beliefs without putting down those who think differently than you do, shows what truly ugly people you are."

Why Narcissus, what a truly attractive reflection you cast... cast... cast....

11/15/2011 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

We've never attracted the brightest trolls, but we've always had our share of sensitive ones, of which I am proud.

11/15/2011 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Complain about "leftists", cyber-fellate one another, call the anonymous commenters stupid, rinse lather repeat.

How Godly.

11/15/2011 05:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Complain about post, fellate oneself, call Bob stupid, rinse lather repeat.

How Atheistic.

11/15/2011 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Sensitive, and a melodrama queen to boot.

Definitely touchy about it's lifestyle (being full retard).
I don't know why it doesn't come out of the closet.

Perhaps it's upset about being evicted from a nearby park?

Wait, is that you Simple Jack?

Doc Skully, scythecallajest at large

11/15/2011 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"But if there is no absolute there is only the relative, incoherent though that philosophy may be (for the existence of relativity, or degrees of being, proves the absolute, since the relative can only be assessed and judged -- or even perceived -- in light of the absolute)."

Ever notice that the incoherent have a perpetual chip on its shoulder, is always pissed off and embraces the politics of envy?

If you mention how important property rights are and how essential to our well being gratitude is you'll see the vain pop out of their necks.

It's always funny to see a relativist nihilist call conservatives absolutely evil.
They are absolutely oblivious to irony.

11/15/2011 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

"Belief in Truth itself is "authoritarian" or "fascist.""

That's an example of some sort of inverse reality principle. The very definition of fascism and authoritarianism--raw power/force that fills the vacuum of a void of Truth--is calling Truth fascist and authoritarian. Truth is the gateway to the opposite of fascism, (er hemm...), in truth.

"1 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. ...9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

-John 10

11/15/2011 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Or rather, I should have said for clarity, those who are promoting the very definition of fascism are calling Truth fascist.

11/15/2011 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

This is a really good post.

11/16/2011 06:27:00 AM  

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