Regarding the latter, several weeks ago the Office of the Cosmic Dispatcher received a request that we embark upon another chapter-by-chapter field trip into that classic work of esoteric Christianity, so those of you who don't already have the book may want to pick up a copy. If you want to ride along on the bus, that is. And don't forget the signed permission slip from your guardian angel.
You may have noticed that modern philosophy has mostly devolved to a lot of pretentious windbaggery and nut-numbing obfuscation. It is a dreary factory system in which tenured hacks pretend to publish important ideas for other tenured hacks to pretend to read.
No light results from this verbal jirque du cercle, but that's obviously not the point. The point is -- well, we're seeing it in today's reimmaculation of His Royal Pain in the Ass: the successful displacement of truth by raw power.
Remember what was said at the end of Friday's post, because there is indeed a "practical" element to postmodern thought. The thinking itself is of no practical value, i.e., in assimilating the truth of reality.
Rather, its practical application lies in defining reality so as to appropriate power. It's similar to Lenin's crack to the effect that "who controls the past controls the present."
Likewise, who controls indoctrination more generally controls the indoctrinated.
So, as mentioned at the end of the previous post, "once we detach ourselves from reality, it follows that we no longer know what the individual is or what he is for."
"The result is a monadic individual who exists only for himself -- this is the selfish and amoral side of leftism -- and the need for a leviathan state to control all these selfish and amoral monads. This ends in a combustible mixture of moral anarchy and tyrannical collectivism, each reflecting and aggravating the other."
As in the class warfare of the left, this type of thinking results from the reification of a pair of "false opposites," in this case, individual and collective. In reality, there is no abstract "individual man," nor is there a purely collectivized one whose identity can be legitimately subordinated to the state.
Rather, man is a social animal (ultimately because of his trinitarian structure that orders him to love), and in the absence of culture, there is no such thing as a man. There is no prior "state of nature" in which man appears, unshaped by culture. Our individual-ism and social-ism (in the non-political sense) are two aspects of one being.
But Gilson points out that Hegel, for example, "lives by" such antinomies, "and thinks that the effort to surmount them is what constitutes philosophy."
Conversely, the task of realism is to avoid such false dualisms, but to harmonize them in the real unity of the human person. (In psychoanalysis we call it the development of mature dependency as opposed to immature dependency or pseudo-mature independence.)
Because that is the simple reality: again, human beings unproblematically harmonize any number of dualities, both vertically and horizontally.
For example, we harmonize religion and science, or sense and intellect, or lust and love, or mind and matter. It is only when the thinker abstracts and reifies one or the other that the appearance of a "problem" emerges. But it's a pseudo-problem caused by one Big Error in methodology.
Gilson: "if there is a single initial error at the root of all the difficulties philosophy is involved in, it can only be the one Descartes committed when he decreed, a priori, that the method of one of the sciences of reality was valid for the whole of reality."
Thus, for the left, ideology defines all. First they sunder reality by superimposing their favored abstraction (e.g., race, or class, or gender), and then do violence to the person by placing him in one of their abstract categories.
The result is a genuine death culture: death to the spirit, death to the intellect, death to beauty, death to love, death to the human vocation (because we cannot actualize our vocation if we are denied our vertical station). You can still "develop," but only toward nowhere and into nothing.
So: "Consequently, it goes without saying that the fate of metaphysics as a science is sealed in advance. Deprived of concepts, it no longer has anything but ideas and finds itself irrevocably trapped in their antinomies" (Gilson).
And the most undignified antinomy of all is the one that creates millions of little guys who are dependent upon the only really actualized men -- those benevolent liberal fascists who control the levers of state power.
But if you actually imagine that the state can render you anything other than the pathetic little guy it sees you to be -- and helped create for its own purposes -- then your auto-degradation is irreversible. Party on! The Big Guys will gladly foot the bill.