Dreams of Reason and Nightmares of History
Wait! Don't go away! It's not as dry as it sounds. Far from it. Rather, it provides something like a Master Key to understanding our whole civilizational decline, from Moses/Socrates/Jesus to Obama/Biden/Reid.
But before getting to that, a brief comment about the surprising architectural skills of the Dreamer. Now that Alexander has schooled me on what to look for, I can't help but noticing what a marvelous architect I am.
In your dreams!
Yes, in my dreams. I already conceded that.
The question is, how can this be? I don't have any architectural training, and probably not even good taste. Not so my Dreamer, who has an unerring sense of what goes where (unless he's just being ironic or trying to make a point).
Last night, for example, I somehow got through security and wandered into the most beautifully constructed high-end country club. Here words fail, since I'm not an architect or an interior decorator or a Lileks, so I am reduced to such feeble adjectives as "cool!" or "awesome!"
The thing is, I've noticed the phenomenon before, but I always marked it down to more of a literary/narrative/cinematic skill. But now I see that this cannot be the case, since it takes more than just glibness or a good eye to produce these fabulous sets (which are not copies of anything I've ever actually seen in awakeworld). Now that I know what to look for, I see that my Dreamer knows all about the 15 fundamental properties of life as elucidated by Alexander, e.g., strong centers, gradation, echoes, local symmetries, good shape, etc.
I have a feeling the dream might have been provoked by watching the popification on TV yesterday. Again, now that I know what to look for, I was noticing how the beautiful architecture in Vatican City manifests so many of the Fifteen Fundamental Properties.
Now, it may seem like a trivial observation to say that the Dreamer has "good taste" in architecture, but the implications are actually quite profound. For it suggests that, just as man doesn't invent logic but discovers it to be woven into the very fabric of his being, it also turns out that Good Taste isn't just subjective, but rather, that an aesthetic sense is also built into the f. of our b.
And this is indeed Alexander's point: that aesthetic reality is just as objective and as real as material reality. In fact, the two can only be artificially separated, because nature herself effortlessly tosses out beautiful objects, just as does the Dreamer.
Odd, but nature rarely makes ugly things. Rather, almost all of the ugliness in the world comes from man. Only man could makes a place as ugly and lifeless as, say, Lancaster, CA, or MSNBC. But the California desert itself -- unmolested by man -- has a kind of austere beauty thingy going for it.
Now, what does all of this have to do with Benedict's Regensburg Lecture, whatever that was? The LoFo world, if it remembers it at all, will have remembered it for accurately describing the problems of Islam, thereby earning the condemnation of the same LoFo world (which is led by the mullah-terror & nasty-old-leftist complex).
Alert readers will recall last Tuesday's post, wherein I mentioned the term "rapprochement." Now, how many times a year does one hear that word? And yet, I'm reading The Regensburg Lecture yesterday, and it must have turned up a dozen times. In the words of Beavis, this means something, numb nuts.
Remember what I said about my use of the term, which is intended in both its colloquial and human developmental senses? But my ultimate point was again to suggest that man begins his journey fused with nature, just as the infant starts out fused with the (m)other. Our separation from nature culminates in the scientific revolution, whereby we are able to study nature in a wholly objective, abstract, and quantitative way. But now it is time for a rapprochement of mind and nature, which is one of the themes of my book, of this blog, and of Alexander's whole approach.
It is also the theme of the Regensburg Lecture, but by now I'm accustomed to these dense synchronicities.
To preview where this post is headed, Benedict locates the ground of western civilization in a unique synthesis of revelation and (upper case R) Reason, which was achieved by the Bible being filtered through the Greek mind. This observation itself isn't new, i.e., the Athens-Jerusalem matrix.
What is apparently new is Benedict's suggestion that this syntheses, this "Greek turn" was providential, not just some random occurrence. Fascinatingly, he supports this through recourse to Paul's Dreamer, who tells him (see Acts 16:9) DON'T GO TO ASIA, but rather, MACEDONIA IS REALLY NICE THIS TIME OF YEAR!
Could it be that the whole of western civilization hinges on a dream?
Western civilization begins with the vision of a rapprochement of God and Reason. As we proceed, we will appreciate just how different this is from the dreams of the left and of Islam, for in each case, no such rapprochement is possible.
Islam, for example has a strictly voluntarist theology (which is really no theology -- i.e., theo-logos -- at all), rooted in God's will, not his logos (Reason). This can be appreciated with reference to the differences between "Israel," which means wrestle with God, and "Islam," which means submit to Allah. In Islam no wrestling is allowed, except with others, who had better submit on pain of violence and death.
Likewise, for the leftist there can be no rapprochement of Reason and Revelation, since the latter is just a dream (heh). But as soon as you think about it, you realize that this is no different than Islam, for which there also can be no rapprochement of knowing and being. In both cases, there is no Logos/Reason lighting up the world from within.
As a result, all that is left is submission, either to Allah, or sharia, or the caliphate, or political correctness, or Obamacare, or the tyranny of relativism, whatever. What is not permitted is liberty in its classic sense, predicated on the individual's access to the Truth of Things. Authoritarianism to follow.
To be continued...