Ask Not What Being Can Do For You
Is it possible for man to be at home in the Cosmos?
Yes and no.
First of all, think of how that question doesn't arise for other animals, which cannot transcend their immediate environment.
A dog knows nothing whatsoever of a cosmos; or, its cosmos consists of nothing beyond the orderly succession of meals, walks, naps, and the like.
And so long as that pleasurable order is maintained, the dog will have no complaints -- similar to how the grazing 47% have no complaints about Obama.
But a man who is adapted only to his immediate surroundings is hardly a man. Rather, in a very important sense, man is never adapted to the environment, and is constantly trying to break out of it with questions, abstractions, theories, myths, rituals, drugs, etc.
Think of how slaveowners didn't want their slaves to learn how to read, because they didn't want them to even conceive of the wider psychospiritual world beyond the plantation.
Same with the slaves of North Korea, and, to an increasingly shocking extent, the passive American humanoids whose mental horizons don't extend beyond the academic rantations of the left.
No wonder Obama wants to drive literature from the classroom, as it has always been one of the great windows on the wider world.
Then again, if students are just going to be exposed to leftist subhumanities anyway for the sake of "diversity," it hardly matters if they read that kind of wet excrement or Obama's dry executive orders.
Now, sanity, according to Sheed, "involves seeing what is."
That is a fine definition, but the first question a dishonest man -- or the aspiring sophist -- will ask is: is, in relation to what?
And this innocent sounding question is the loophole that has been discovered by the secular left, which allows them to affirm that nobody is insane except for those who believe somebody is.
In other words, the left, in their denial of God as the source and vector of transcendence, has devolved to the infrahuman notion of sanity as nothing more than conformity to the environment (e.g., "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter").
There is no privileged perspective outside this or that environment that permits one to make any objective judgments about sanity as such, because any such judgment will just be another conditioned perspective, undoubtedly rooted in power or self-justification.
Ultimately, we can say that in the absence of God, there can be no such thing as sanity -- including moral sanity. There can be no answers to our incessant "why" questions, and the sooner you stop asking them, the saner you will be. From a Darwinian standpoint, such ultimate questions are pure noise, with no possible answers.
Here is a perfect aphorism by Goethe: "Every epoch which is in the process of retrogression and disintegration is subjective, but all progressive epochs have an objective trend."
Which is why we can state with certainty that self-styled "progressives" are objectively disordered -- or insane if you like.
I don't want to pretend I spent the weekend hanging out with the venerable Goethe. Rather, that quote is from a typically lucid little book by Pieper called Living the Truth.
The book actually consists of two separate works, one on Truth, the other on the Good. But he links the two in such a way that one can see how human goodness is entirely dependent upon truth: ought must be rooted in is, or you will inevitably end up doing what you oughtn't.
As soon as you think about it, it's a little obvious, isn't it? Obama, for example, has done all sorts of things he oughtn't have done. Why? Because he has never been exposed to any Is other than that which he assimilated from his leftist professors in college.
Thus, like so many others who have spent too much time in the looniversity bin, "everything President Obama 'knows' about American history comes from left-wing academics like American University professor Peter Kuznick."
In short, Obama's Is isn't. Not even close.
Pieper sums it up very neatly: "All obligation is based upon being. Reality is the foundation of ethics. The good is that which is in accord with reality."
As such, "he who wishes to know and do the good must turn his gaze upon the objective world of being. Not upon his own 'ideas,' not upon his 'conscience,' not upon 'values,' not upon arbitrarily established 'ideals' and 'models.' He must turn away from [these] and fix his eyes upon reality."
Or, as my good friend Goethe once quipped, "All laws and moral principles may be reduced to one -- the truth."