Monday, April 30, 2012

Catch a Falling Man

I believe we were discussing man's sufficient reason, i.e., why we are here. This reason needs to be proportionate to the phenomenon, and although natural selection is sufficient to explain some aspects of man, if pushed too far, it quickly becomes absurd and ultimately self-refuting.

Again, in taking a moderate, realistic, open-minded, and non-dogmatic stance, we must battle illiterates at both extremes, whereas those two extremes only have each other to hector and harass (i.e., William and his literalist demons). So our job is more difficult, in that we must wage a two-front war against two types of illiteracy.

Or, looked at vertically, we could say that the Williams of the world -- the transmitters and enforcers of cultural convention -- always have a two front war, in which anyone who doesn't stick to their narrow map is persecuted, punished, or marginalized, irrespective of whether they are above or below.

For example, consider the utter contempt with which the left treats a black person who matures beyond leftist dependency or a woman who has no need of feminist paranoia and bitterness, to say nothing of a homosexual who doesn't define himself by his sexuality, and who therefore has a sense of proportion (and of propriety). Since they threaten the entire liberal fantasy, they must be either ignored or attacked, starved or suffocated.

Think of all the brilliant bloggers out there, and compare them to the best and brightest of the liberal media. If you could combine the depth of Tom Friedman with the anger of Paul Krugman and the inanity of Maureen Dowd, you'd have the perfect liberal.

Come to think of it, in my entire life I don't recall encountering a deep or serious discussion of religion in school or in the MSM, which is quite an indictment.

For this represents a rejection of depth itself, with catastrophic consequences, because, as alluded to above, we end up with shrill and shallow anti-religious bigots of William's intellectual caliber against shrill and shallow specimens of, say, Pat Robertson's pedigree. No wonder they hate each other. They certainly deserve each other.

Now, a human being testifies to no less than three miracles: of intelligence, of free will, and of love.

The sufficient reason for intelligence must be truth, while the sufficient reason for our freedom must be goodness itself, hence our ability to distinguish good from evil in the dimension of virtue. And the sufficient reason of love must be beauty itself, hence the love of all things beautiful, both objective and subjective.

Or, to turn it around, human intelligence is "absolutely meaningless" (if such a thing may be conceived) in the absence of the Absolute, just as our freedom is absurd in the absence of a transfinite end, and love deprived of truth and beauty becomes demonic.

Hitler no doubt "loved," but what did he love? Surely not beauty or decency, let alone truth. As such, he was lovelessness personified, just as the person who embodies intelligence and virtue is the sage and/or saint, which is to say, the apex of humanness.

As usual, Schuon expresses it in an extremely compact manner that is both intellectual and practical: "the sufficient reason for human intelligence" must be "knowledge of the Sovereign Good, and in consequence all that refers to it directly or indirectly"; for free will it must be "the choice of the Sovereign Good and in consequence the practice of all that leads to it"; and for human love, "love of the Sovereign Good and all that attests to it."

Which is why we are to love God with all our mind (as intelligence loves truth), with all our strength (as the will loves virtue), and all our heart (as the soul loves beauty).

No one but One accomplishes this "perfectly," which is to say, integrally, but our own integration and actualization depend upon it; in other words, we are to simultaneously become what we are and all we are. Only man has the great privilege of failing to accomplish this, since other animals "are what they are," and nothing else. Which is why all men are in need of mercy.

In short, man is duty-bound to surpass himself, but clearly, on pain of absurdity, this is something that no man can do unaided. For in the absence of God, a man is just a man, if that! Cows don't fail to "measure up," any more than William does. He is what he is, and no man can save him.

Or, he has already saved himself, and thus condemned himself to the two-dimensional paradise of the human bovine, where there is plenty of grass and one doesn't notice the fences. In any event, failure to surpass oneself is to sink beneath oneself.

In reality, just as man's intelligence testifies to metacosmic intelligence as such, our own undeniable transcendence testifies to the Transcendent, i.e., the Sovereign Good.

Thus, we can only transcend ourselves by virtue of God's prior "pouring out" of himself, which is grace. You might say that grace searches for man until a man catches it.

18 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Come to think of it, in my entire life I don't recall encountering a deep or serious discussion of religion in school or in the MSM, which is quite an indictment.

Yes; in grade school, such discussion is strictly verboten (unless it involves a week-long celebration of Muslim lifestyle, complete with approved clothing and Koran readings), and by the time most kids hit college they haven't the faintest idea of religious depth. Meanwhile, between the MSM's non-coverage and Discovery networks "historical" musings about religion, the only thing most young people conclude is that it's a waste of time.

Many never know what they're missing, but they seem to spend an awful lot of time trying to fill that void, and wondering why their lives are so empty.

4/30/2012 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Can't say the mainstream churches have done such a bang-up job either, unfortunately.

4/30/2012 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Agreed. Growing up, I was never in a church or church-related program that provided any depth, discussion, or explanation. They were either focused on demonizing others - Mormons, New-agers (don't let your kids play with unicorns! Seriously.), other churches that had more successful missionaries or just believed the "wrong" things; or, they were intent on manipulating emotions, guilt always being a biggie, but usually interspersed with kumbaya-style touchy-feely moments. Deep down, they all seemed pretty shallow. And of course, I knew so much more then...

4/30/2012 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Obviously they must speak to a lot of people, or people wouldn't be religious. But as Schuon says, any religion needs to address the "average mentality" to which it is a divine message. But to suggest that the intellectually gifted should have no access to the divine message, wouldn't speak very well of God. In any event, it is entirely untrue, except that one must venture slightly off the beaten track in order to find it. Seems that conventional religions have an over hasty equation of intellect with pride, which is certainly a problem, but obviously not a fatal one.

4/30/2012 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Again, agreed. They didn't often do much for me, but that's not to say they didn't and don't provide something for most people. For instance, I couldn't go to my sister's church on a regular basis; it has a big focus on making Sunday services more like entertainment, but that isn't to say that it's not perfect for her and her family, who would probably all be driven insane by having to sit through more sedate or traditional services, and pondering anything like the writings of anyone in the raccoon store would be right out. There's no question it's helped them all to focus their lives on the Absolute in a healthy way, and that's great.

It's just not what I need, and if that's all I had to go on I'd probably still be an atheist.

4/30/2012 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Hitler no doubt "loved," but what did he love? Surely not beauty or decency, let alone truth. As such, he was lovelessness personified, just as the person who embodies intelligence and virtue is the sage and/or saint, which is to say, the apex of humanness."

Loved? Hmmm... I question that. Urged no doubt, obcessed, sure... desired, yep, but Loved? The man had no beauty or truth in his mind, plans or ideas... the idea that he "loved", causes doubts to spring up like white flies from my lawn.

4/30/2012 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's sort of what I meant, i.e., "lovelessness personified." I use him as an extreme case to illustrate a more general problem of what happens when we love the wrong things. It's similar to how "intelligence" can know falsehood, which renders it unintelligent.

4/30/2012 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Or, he has already saved himself, and thus condemned himself to the two-dimensional paradise of the human bovine, where there is plenty of grass and one doesn't notice the fences. In any event, failure to surpass oneself is to sink beneath oneself."

Yep, lifting yourself by your own bootsoul straps, tends to... cause you to fall down.

Thinking of many of those who I have, and still, catch the 'Jesus Willies' from, those whose image of The One who managed it, is often little more than that of a touchy feely saccharine santa... their ideal of what they'd like Him to be... they seem to be attempting to save themselves through who they wish they were.

Isn't that going back to the boot straps?

Can the Image make it through that image?

4/30/2012 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "It's similar to how "intelligence" can know falsehood, which renders it unintelligent."

Danke, now I gotcha.

4/30/2012 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I like the point about freedom/good -- will/virtue. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty -- but obviously, where the Spirit is, there is going to be goodness. Yes.

As far as cousin Pat and the mainstream churches go, popular Christianity just does too much good for too many people for me to offer much criticism. I suppose we could say the same thing about MacDonald's with regard to nutrition. It's consumer religion. It creates a social network in a benign atmosphere. It encourages at least superficial conformity to better standards. If we don't expect too much of it, it won't disappoint us.

4/30/2012 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I agree. And in any event, as Prager always says vis-a-vis Republicans and Democrats, when it comes down to a choice between the stupid party and the evil party, I choose the stupid party.

4/30/2012 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Re Robertson, I was just talking about his homosexuals-cause-hurricanes sort of comments, not whatever good he does, just as I realize that there are countless good liberals who just have some dangerously kooky beliefs.

4/30/2012 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I had a co-worker who started out as sort of agnostic, but he would watch the 700 Club for the news because they covered different stuff with a different perspective. He said he always got a little nervous when they started up with their words of knowledge.

Last time I saw him in person, I gave him my own copy of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible which is great for the hyper-analytical. And I had notes in the margin. A few years later, he called me and asked to talk to his brother who still in town and having some problems. So I guess Pat didn't scare him off totally.

4/30/2012 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger vogz said...

"If you could combine the depth of Tom Friedman with the anger of Paul Krugman and the inanity of Maureen Dowd, you'd have the perfect liberal."

John Shelby Spong maybe? Not Richard Dawkins, he's not postmodern enough.

4/30/2012 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Which is why we are to love God with all our mind (as intelligence loves truth), with all our strength (as the will loves virtue), and all our heart (as the soul loves beauty). No one but One accomplishes this "perfectly," which is to say, integrally, but our own integration and actualization depend upon it; in other words, we are to simultaneously become what we are and all we are. Only man has the great privilege of failing to accomplish this, since other animals "are what they are," and nothing else. Which is why all men are in need of mercy. In short, man is duty-bound to surpass himself, but clearly, on pain of absurdity, this is something that no man can do unaided. For in the absence of God, a man is just a man, if that."

Beautifully said! Our duty to surpass ourself requires mercy n' grace aplenty and a lot of help.

It also requires intellectual good works (included in the good works dept.) n' faith.

Some folks are content with basically doing good works without surpassing their minds, or intellect, or nous.

I used to be that way. It's so easy and simple. Why bother transcending my mind.
I would hafta go outta my mind to do that.

And yet...turns out I wasn't content doin' it that way.
I still found myself sayin': "Is this it? Is this all there is?"
I no longer felt spiritually and intellectually nourished.

Oh to be sure I had grown...for awhile, but eventually I realized I had to go elsewhere to find what I couldn't describe.
Until I found someone who could describe it...enough to pick my curiousity.

More God. More growth. Mind, body and spirit. More Mystery. More ?!The whole existentialada. The Vertical Church Of God Knows What as you so eloquently put it, Bob. :^)

Father Knows Best, for Real!

Some Christians think I'm outta my mind (and I Am) with this metaphysical, offroad cosmic joy ride, but I need it.
They don't get it, and that's o(k) for them.

Now my journey ain't simply a closed circle with nothin' else to see (or rarely see) but rather an infinite sp-aye-role with new discoveries, new experiences, nous knowledge and new revelations for all of me.
That's how I roll and I like it.

Certainly One Cosmos and all my fellow Raccoons under the pelt have provided a veritable feast for my soul, with goodness, truth n' beauty that promotes growth, all OmWordbound by a common thread of the Holy Spirit.

For that you have my gratitude and thanks.

God bless you guys!

5/01/2012 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Right back atcha Ben!

5/01/2012 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

An OT dieversion, your old buddy charles johnson is among those riled up at a friend of mine, Chris Loesch.

After Chris had the audacity to respond to some high minded leftists musing happily over the thought of his wife, Dana Loesch, getting raped & murdered, johnson e & his ProRegressive Leftie buds organized an attack to accuse Chris's Twitter account of being a spammer, in order to get it dropped and him silenced. Same thing they did when FreeMarketAmerica.org published "If I wanted America to fail"... because that's what 'liberals' do when people are free to speak their minds, they gang up together to shut them up.

Unfortunately for them, Chris isn't the shutting up quietly type, he began letting people know, even got me off my Twitter duff, and gazillions of others, causing the #FreeChrisLoesch hashtag to trend worldwide several times (a big thing in the Twitter-verse). The Twitter people realized what had happened, that their automated spammer algorithims were being turned into Brown Shirts, and reinstated him... and had to do so several times to get the issue resolved.

Funny as heck though, the Liztards & Progs tried to silence him and made him bigger & louder instead. Anyway, these guys put a 'Ghosts sit around campfires and tell Chuck Norris stories' type of ditty about it True Story Bro (The Chris Loesch Song). Amusing and it turned out well, but the endarkened heart of the proregressive left is taking shape in the world again, all around us, if you see a shade of it, you've got to speak up & out against it, or it will take that avenue and more over.

They are easy to defeat, but only if you try.

But if you do, ahhh the joys of Conservativism, "To crush your enemies -- See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women (or metrosexuals, as the case may be)!"

5/01/2012 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0011 said...

"Or, looked at vertically, we could say that the Williams of the world -- the transmitters and enforcers of cultural convention -- always have a two front war, in which anyone who doesn't stick to their narrow map is persecuted, punished, or marginalized, irrespective of whether they are above or below. "

Whoa. Nice.

'Transmitters and enforcers of cultural convention' would stirke me as a definition for the stereotype conservative 'Redneck'. Yet William is a Liberal and the defintion still applies due to his written words.

5/06/2012 06:54:00 PM  

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