Monday, July 01, 2013

Stupid Burns but Intelligence Incinerates

Just as "the existence of a visual field presupposes an eye," writes Davie, "the existence of a world presupposes an 'I,'" that is, a subject. Thus, to say "world" -- or, better, cosmos, order -- is to say I and all this implies.

And it implies a lot, not the least of which being a kind of irreducible bipolar field of order, one exterior and objective, the other interior and subjective. Very much like form and substance, you will never find one without the other, that is, a world without a subject or a subject without a world.

It also means that every person is a world, which should not be confused with relativism, since it is an objective statement about the truth of things. Just because in a roomful of people, each person will have a different view of the room, it doesn't mean that the room has no objective existence.

One could also say immanence and transcendence. God exists both within and beyond this polarity, whereas man always lives within it. Or perhaps we should say a normal man, for the essence of pneumopathology involves the collapse of this space.

I've been reading a lot of Voegelin lately, and he reminds us that virtually all political pathologies -- i.e., ideologies -- result from a de-differentiation of this space. It was a singular evolutionary achievement for man to differentiate the two spheres, so to re-collapse them is a definite step backward.

At the very least, it represents the move from a sophisticated theology to an unsophisticated one, e.g., the pure transcendence of Islam or the pure immanence of scientistic atheism.

Thus, progressives aren't only fellow traveling in reverse, but they "start" their retreat approximately three or four thousand years ago, certainly before the Hebrew discovery of the transcendent God. Prior to this, God is thoroughly con-fused with the world, hence the barbarism of pagan polytheism, which is just a fractured, personified, and immanentized projection of the psyche.

I might add that the same accomplishment occurs on an individual developmental basis. We all must proceed from a state of fragmentation to unity, and with each conquest of unity there is a deepening of our subjectivity. Human psychospiritual growth and the achievement of depth are covariant.

Bion called this the PS <--> D dialectic, and it is fair to say that this is a permanent feature of our existence, short of mystical union. You may think of PS <-->D as analogous to the breakdown and synthesis of catabolism and anabolism, respectively. Too much of either -- an unbalanced state -- is pathological. For example, if I don't inject insulin, I will enter a state of pathological catabolism, as my body starts to consume itself. And we all know about pathological anabolism, e.g., Barry Bonds, Ryan Braun, and Alex Rodriguez.

There is another complication for the immanentizing ideologues, at least in the Judeo-Christianized west. That is to say, once discovered, the eschaton cannot be undiscovered -- you can't put the truthpaste back into the rube -- hence the ubiquitous apocalypticism of their programs, pogroms, schemes, and scams.

As Voegelin puts it, "The apocalyptic movements have become socially dominant to such a degree that today we are living in an age of apocalyptic politics." Indeed, "We are submerged with apocalypses of all sorts in the newspapers, the college textbooks," and other media. The Obama cult of 2008 was a recent example. The irony is that these apocalyptarians always manage to bring about a real apocalypose - not the apocalypse of God, of course, but the apocalypse -- the unveiling -- of Man.

When fallen and unredeemed man is unveiled, we don't even see a trousered ape, again, because the man-ape lives in a pre-differentiated world, and is therefore not susceptible to immanentized myths of messianic salvation. An Obama is only possible in a Judeo-Christianized culture that has moved back to de-differentiated pseudo-messianism.

To put it another way, no one aware of an actual transtemporal savior could possibly confuse him with Obama -- or confuse salvation with politics more generally.

Davie makes the important point that the Immanence <---> Transcendence dialectic cannot be infinite in both directions. Rather, it is only infinite vis-a-vis the rightword term, which goes to the very nature of transcendence. In short, "there is a limit of contraction..., but no limit of expansion." That being the case, "there is a limit of opacity..., but no limit of translucence."

Which is why you could say that stupidity always has its limits, whereas intelligence has none. Whatever is knowable may be known by human intelligence, and the "adventure of intelligence" is never over -- unless we artificially and arbitrarily stop with some limiting ideology. But doing this renders intelligence stupid, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the current state of academia.

Having said all this, there is another twist, and it goes to the infinite difference between revelation and ideology. That is to say, an unlimited intelligence -- not limited by any boundary -- can easily become a kind of runaway catabolic process, with no end. Schuon speaks of this in terms of the qualities of fire and water, or of the "dry path" and "wet path."

Intelligence is related to both fire and light, but also "includes an aspect of agitation and destructiveness." And "Even the most penetrating intelligence, if it relies too much on its own strength, runs the risk of being forsaken by Heaven: forgetting that the knowing Subject is God, it closes itself to the divine influx," i.e., (↓). We must remember that "fire illuminates, but it also consumes and destroys" (emphasis mine).

I guess no one says it anymore, but the media-academic rabble used to insist that Obama was unusually intelligent. Even if true, it only makes matters worse in a man who recognizes no extrinsically transcendent limits to his ambition, his authority, and his self-regard -- or to his monomania, egomania, and pyromania.

13 Comments:

Blogger Kurt said...

Wow. My morning Bible reading was in I Corinthians today: "We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God." (v1b-3)
The man who thinks he knows something...seems our world is full of such folks these days (and I have been guilty of it, too.) When I shared these verses with my wife she said - "And when you get all puffed up there's no room on the bench for anyone else." No one else, not even God.

7/01/2013 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes. As soon as you discover you're more intelligent than the herd, you're headed for a fall.

7/01/2013 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Love the title today. Now to read the post...

7/01/2013 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...pagan polytheism, which is just a fractured, personified, and immanentized projection of the psyche.

You've probably said this before, perhaps in different words, but that really gonged today.

7/01/2013 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

It's been taken care of OT. See Ephesians 2:13-16.

One new man.

7/01/2013 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

There have been lots of unveilings in various places just over the last couple of hundred years.

And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. -- Isaiah 66:24

"Hell's comin' to breakfast."

7/01/2013 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

GB re your first sentences--- recalls Schwaller's Doctrine of Anthropocosmos: Man IS the Cosmos. [so let's paaah-tay!]

this sentence
'Just because in a roomful of people, each person will have a different view of the room, it doesn't mean that the room has no objective existence.'
-it doesn't? Donde esta that OE?
[our ideas of/POV re things are mightily hard to separate from their 'actuality', so much so that one laughs eve as mouthing that word!]
Where we see a Chippendale
a termite sees: Lunch! Of course some see a Chippendale
and also see 'Lunch! Ooh-ga'

7/01/2013 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

"We must remember that "fire illuminates, but it also consumes and destroys" (emphasis mine)."

This is why you always need to know your actual safe capacity.

No point trying to get to 200% if you are just going to spontaneously combust at that point.

Now, if your goal is to increase your capacity, which means 105% in fixed increments with time for rest is good.

But don't overtrain!

7/01/2013 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

"Even if true, it only makes matters worse in a man who recognizes no extrinsically transcendent limits to his ambition, his authority, and his self-regard -- or to his monomania, egomania, and pyromania."

I do wonder how much money he will get from the lecture circuit after he loses his job since nobody is really excited about his inherent awesomeness any more.

I remain convinced that he pretty much has no actual control or actual authority over anything, since it's pretty apparent that he has no idea what he's doing.

I mean, he's precisely inert.

7/01/2013 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger DTC said...

"Which is why you could say that stupidity always has its limits, whereas intelligence has none."

Something I recall attributed to Dag Hammarskjöld: God has placed limits on human intelligence but none at all on his stupidity. If you don't agree you haven't been paying attention to SC Justice Kennedy.

7/02/2013 03:39:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

And holy fire consumes and destroys that which needs tobe destroyed.
Yeah,it can be psychiclly painful if we allow it to burn but it also makes us more free...of burdens, addictions, bad behavior, etc., etc..

The fire helps us transcend our selfs. Dare I say we all oughtta welcome the fire.
Well, those that are ready that is. It won't burn those who don't make Truth, Goodness and Beauty THE priority and sancrosant, because thie fire is Holy.

7/02/2013 04:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"I've been reading a lot of Voegelin lately, and he reminds us that virtually all political pathologies -- i.e., ideologies -- result from a de-differentiation of this space. It was a singular evolutionary achievement for man to differentiate the two spheres, so to re-collapse them is a definite step backward"

Yep, Self-awareness vs Soph-awareness. Btw, it might seem surprising, given their history (then again...), but the Greeks truly feared the idea of a lack of limitations, especially in another man - it was purely unreasonable.

7/02/2013 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

Reminds me of the poem by art prodigy Akiane where she says " those who claim to know the truth pull the trigger at the universe...

The smugness of wackademics and journos who have been brainwashed at journo school.. has to be seen to be beleived..

7/12/2013 06:19:00 AM  

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