Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts Without a Thinker and Thinkers Without a Thought

Oh yeah. Before being pulled into a meditation on the cosmic order reflected in architecture, we had been meditouting the cosmic order reflected in the Tarot, and were just about to open up Letter IX, The Hermit.

Tomberg claims that a person who is "truly young, i.e., living for an ideal," is instinctively drawn to this figure. This attraction is similar to the Jungian concept of archetypal projection.

The archetypes are "within" -- you might even say they form the implicit structure of withinness -- but must first be located without. Upon contact with an exemplar, we have a kind of interior recollection that lights up the inner archetype.

In fact, it reminds me of an aphorism: When imagination and perception coincide, the soul is burned (Davila). Without the experience, the archetype will remain an empty category -- a letter addressed from the Self to one's self, but lost in transit.

The archetypal Hermit is "a wise and good father... who has passed through the narrow gate and who walks the hard way -- someone whom one could trust without reserve and whom one could venerate and love without limit" (Tomberg).

The reason why there are so many false teachers is that we have an innate need for actual(ized) ones -- just as counterfeit money depends upon the existence of the real thing. But since our culture has largely -- and proudly -- severed itself from its own wisdom tradition, the Deepaks of the world rush in to fill the void. Which expands the negative space of the void. Existence actually becomes more "thin" and weightless.

The Hermit "possesses the gift of letting the light shine in the darkness -- this is his lamp." And here is a critical point: "he has the faculty of separating himself from the collective moods, prejudices and desires of race, nation, class and family -- the faculty of reducing to silence the cacophony of collectivism vociferating around him in order to listen to and understand the hierarchical harmony of the spheres."

You know, like the sober and lucid Chris Matthews, who cut through the confusion of yesterday's events and clearly discerned the hand of white racist Republicans.

Likewise, the Hermit "possesses a sense of realism which is so developed that he stands in the domain of reality... on three [feet], i.e., he advances only after having touched the ground through immediate experience and at first-hand contact without intermediaries." This is none other than 〇-->(n), or the transformation of prior reality into thought, or being to knowledge.

So the Hermit is an archetypal reflection of the good father, behind or above whom is the Father in heaven. The Hermit is a little word from our nonlocal sponsor, so to speak.

As UF says, he also represents the method of obtaining valid spiritual knowledge, in that he is able to synthesize within himself the three great antinomies with which any thinking man is confronted, and which any efficacious philosophy must reconcile. These are the complementary pairs of 1) idealism <---> realism; 2) realism <---> nominalism; and 3) faith <---> empirical science.

Consider the first antinomy, idealism <---> realism. Most philosophers come down on one side or the other of this pair -- and when you think about it, you really have only three choices: idealism, realism, or both.

Actually there is a fourth option, which is total confusion: an arbitrary, a pre-philosophical, and ad hoc blending, based upon the needs of the moment. Leftism in general and scientism in particular fall into this category.

Tomberg writes that "the idealist (e.g. Hegel) considers everything as so many forms of thought, whilst the realist (e.g. Spencer) affirms that objects of knowledge have an existence which is independent of thought."

In the case of realism, "it is the world which bears the word and it is the human intellect which listens." But in the case of idealism, "it is the intellect which bears the word and it is the world which is its reflection" (MOTT).

Who is right? Boxers or briefs?

"Let us not prostrate ourselves either before the world or before the intellect, but let us prostrate ourselves in adoration of the common source of both the world and the intellect -- God: God whose Word is at one and the same time the 'true light that enlightens every man coming into the world' and the creator of the world -- 'all things were made through him, and nothing that was made was made without him" (Tomberg).

The source of both world and intellect is Word, or Logos, "whose objective manifestation is the world of prototypes underlying the phenomenal world, and whose subjective manifestation is the light or prototype of human intelligence." You see, the universe meets in the middle of the monkey, and we are the monkey in the middle, i.e., between world and God.

This formula gets us out of many philosophical pickles, and arms us against satan's deadly pickoff move. For example, our former scientistic jester would presumably insist that a random contingency -- the human subject -- is able to affirm valid knowledge of reality, which, as soon as one actually thinks about it, disproves itself. Yer' out!

Therefore, one must not think in order to continue believing it; or else engage in counterfeit thought. But why bother thinking anyway, since the subject isn't really real, and can have no valid knowledge of reality? Why not just sit around serenading your cat?

Nor could objects be really real, in the sense that we couldn't really know them. Not really. Rather, we would be trapped in Kant's phenomenal world -- ultimately just our own nervous system -- with no access to the noumenal. But with the Hermit's approach, both objects and the subject who knows them become really real, since they become real in the Word. In turn, assimilating this reality into the Word is to "redeem the world."

The next antinomy is realism <---> nominalism -- which can be confusing, since this type of realism is the opposite of the type discussed above.

Recall that realism originally referred to the objective reality of abstract universals or platonic forms. A realist in this sense sense of the term is an extreme idealist, e.g., Plato. For Plato, the idea is more real than the things of the world, which are just "copies." But for the nominalist, these so-called objective ideas are nothing more than words which have no independent reality.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but this seemingly innocuous fork in the philosophical road eventually wends its way to the horrors of deconstruction, multiculturalism, moral relativism, "positive liberties," "gay marriage," Gosnell, etc., the whole leftist catastrophe.

For example, marriage is a natural right that exists prior to the state, and it is not for the state to invent or impose the archetypes that distinguish us from the beasts and make us human. Therefore, to promulgate the fantasy that members of the same sex can live in a state of marriage is a barbarous assault on reality. It is not just offensive and bigoted, but magical, totalitarian, and phobic of reality.

Any scientist who actually takes the trouble to think deeply is a philosophical realist. For example, there is no great mathematician who is not an explicit or implicit Platonist. G. H. Hardy, in his A Mathematician's Apology, wrote that "It would be difficult now to find an educated man quite insensitive to the aesthetic appeal of mathematics.... A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas."

If we consider the whole idea of creation -- i.e., the cosmos....

Wait, let's stop right there: the idea of the cosmos. For that is what it is: an idea. No one has ever seen the cosmos. But it is incorrect to say we just "assume" it exists. Rather, we know in our bones that it exists -- that is, the strict totality of all interacting objects and events, which is a shadow of the Absolute.

There is no part of reality that exists independently of this Absolute. The interior wholeness we see at every level of reality is simply a fractal reflection, or distant echo, of this Absolute. It is what accounts for the organicism of organisms, the nonlocality of locality, the unity of the human subject, and the inner coherence of science.

The realist (i.e., idealist) says that "the general is anterior to the particular" (deduction). The nominalist says that "the particular is anterior to the general" (induction).

Here again, we see how the latter plays out at the local level, with disastrous consequences. For example, for the left, the collective is more real than the individual, even though nowhere does the Constitution speak of groups, much less group rights. Rather, the Constitution is of, by, and for individuals.

The Founders knew that the individual was real and that this individuality was rooted in liberty, which is the very means through which we become more real -- or realize our reality. It is this idea of liberty which is ultimately real, and which creates the possibility of real individuals (in other words, without liberty, our ideal "created" self will not be able to actualize in time; or, Image cannot embark upon the journey to Likeness).

But for the left, it is only in its concrete particulars that liberty is real, i.e, "positive liberties." In other words, liberty is not real unless the government somehow creates it and gives it to you in the form of cash, favors, birth control, dead babies, etc. You might say that negative liberty preserves the ideal reality of liberty, whereas positive liberty ends in its negation.

For the nominalist, truth, beauty and goodness do not exist "as objective realities, and are only a matter of taste," that great leveler of the hierarchical cosmos. One cannot argue with a nominalist, because their first cognitive act is to dismantle the very cognitive scaffolding that makes higher thought possible.

In truth, we clearly need both, i.e., realism and nominalism: "We cannot dispense with realism if we attach any value to the existence of objective truth (science) and trans-subjective truth (religion)."

So, what is the proper relation between these two categories? Tomberg: "The 'problem' of universals was resolved in the spiritual history of mankind by the fact of the Incarnation, where the fundamental universal of the world -- the Logos -- became Jesus Christ, who is the fundamental particular of the world."

Here, the universal of universals, the very principle of intelligibility, the Logos, became the particular of particulars, the very prototype of personality and personhood, Jesus Christ.

Which is why for the Raccoon, spiritual knowledge is embodied knowledge or it is no knowledge at all, just nice sounding words.

12 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

... the Deepaks of the world rush in to fill the void

Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

4/16/2013 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

How many a-holes, anyway.

4/16/2013 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

You see, the universe meets in the middle of the monkey, and we are the monkey in the middle

Bing!

4/16/2013 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

That's a good point with regard to nominalism. The left believes in social justice, public morality, and collective freedom -- none of which actually exist. To be punished by the left, you have to be part of a bad group and you are punished more for the group than for your individual crime. Similarly, being part of the "right" group excuses almost any individual action.

I have never been able to understand why my individual freedom should be curtailed because someone else abused their liberty and did something bad. Or that matter, why the whole class should be punished for my personal bad behavior.

4/16/2013 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

"For example, marriage is a natural right that exists prior to the state, and it is not for the state to invent or impose the archetypes that distinguish us from the beasts and make us human. Therefore, to promulgate the fantasy that members of the same sex can live in a state of marriage is a barbarous assault on reality. It is not just offensive and bigoted, but magical, totalitarian, and phobic of reality."

Very nicely stated, Bob. And so is this:

"Rather, the Constitution is of, by, and for individuals. The Founders knew that the individual was real and that this individuality was rooted in liberty, which is the very means through which we become more real -- or realize our reality. It is this idea of liberty which is ultimately real, and which creates the possibility of real individuals (in other words, without liberty, our ideal "created" self will not be able to actualize in time; or, Image cannot embark upon the journey to Likeness). But for the left, it is only in its concrete particulars that liberty is real, i.e, "positive liberties." In other words, liberty is not real unless the government somehow creates it and gives it to you in the form of cash, favors, birth control, dead babies, etc. You might say that negative liberty preserves the ideal reality of liberty, whereas positive liberty ends in its negation."

Gems, sir.

4/16/2013 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

About Realism <--> Nominalism. Pure ideal realism in this sense may become 'magical', or superstitious in the traditional sense. While it is true there is power in form, real power, there also is empty form as well. The nominalist seems like one who has been misled about things enough to mistrust the connection between the form & content, whereas the realist here is one who almost cannot divide between form and content. With Plato it might be that his solution is to displace the forms into the Ideal Realm where the form and the substance must always agree, and treat sensory forms as shadow projections.

The Incarnation does seem to be a philosophical key to this conundrum, since this conundrum is wrapped up in man, and thus anthropology. Jesus shows that the Ideal form can be an Extant form within Time, showing that there are names and realities and that what matters is their degree of coherence.

Chris Alexander seems to be struggling with this, and showing how the Object Subject is itself the device that detects, if you will, greater degrees of reality within the real; that can detect the convergence of form and substance, or of name and power.

It would seem to side partly with the realist in that the name can have power, but partly with the nominalist in that there can be empty names.

The Hermit is important here because he gives reality to his name; which forces the 'realist' to confront the peculiarity and particularity of the manifested Ideal, and forces the 'nominalist' to recognize that the connection between a man and his name might be more than wordplay.

4/16/2013 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And, speaking of what happens when the state gets to decide what makes a marriage, "Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families."

I know polygamy advocates have been waiting for the chance to make their case once gay marriage becomes law, but I had no idea it was a feminist cause. Color me surprised.

4/16/2013 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

If I were Ashley Judd and somehow managed to stop staring at myself in the mirror for a few minutes, I'd say that marriage is just a means of protecting patriarchal secession. Humans are naturally polygamous/polyandrous and monogamy is monotony.

The truth is, thankfully, I have no idea what is going on in the minds of feminists, if anything. What, now rich guys won't have to divorce their aging first wives to marry new ones?

I think they've just watched too much television, like the show with the horse-faced girl that married Ferris Bueller. Actually, I think television is to blame for a lot of what leftists believe.

4/17/2013 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Television and college.

4/17/2013 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

College television on the other hand, pretty harmless.

4/17/2013 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

OT,

According to the gospel, there is only one Christ, due to the absolute and singular nature of the event: Note that what begins with conception (The Annunciation) is completed in the Ascension of human nature to sit on the throne of God in the person of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Spirit. Not only have we run out of divine persons to incarnate, we've also lost the need for further incarnations.

This is Christian orthodoxy, simply put; those who are not orthodox believe other things. Other gospels are unnecessary to this point; better to read Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache *if* it is the Christ you are interested in.

Reading is not enough, though.

4/17/2013 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Now that's not a fair association... after all, Television does have some educational merit.

4/17/2013 10:29:00 AM  

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