The materialist, for example, stops his thinking at an abstraction he calls "matter" or "nature." Matter is the end of his cognitive striving, although it is a dead end.
Or, more to the point, it is a logocidal deadened end -- murdered by his prior assumptions, since no one has ever proved that matter is literally dead, not to mention mindless. If the cosmos were either of these things, it couldn't bloody well conjure materialists out of its barren womb, now could it?
In order for there to be an intelligible cosmos, some things must be, as Hart puts it, "autotelic" -- auto meaning self, telic meaning end. Thus, in the words of Professor Wiki, an autotelic entity is something "having a purpose in and not apart from itself."
Truth, for example, is quintessentially autotelic -- at least for a wholesome human being. Truth is never for the sake of something less than itself. Rather, human beings must have a "disinterested interest" in truth, regardless of the implications.
Now, one thing you will have noticed about particularly brazen liars such as an Obama or Clinton, is a peculiar relationship to truth. It is not just that they lie, which anyone can do. Rather, their type of lying is always parasitic on a consciously known truth which must be avoided.
Imagine you are having a deep, passionate, and intellectually honest discussion with another person. In so doing, you don't simply throw out predigested talking points. Rather, it will be as if you are consulting the deepest part of your own nonverbal experience, struggling to put it into words.
Conversely, if you saw yesterday's press conference -- or really, any time the president must speak off the cuff -- you can almost see the wheels spinning inside, as he recognizes a truth and then struggles to find the words to avoid acknowledging it.
There is something fundamentally sick about this. Of course, it is one of the most common tools of the dark art of politics, but for some people the tool becomes the master. From the very beginning (you can look it up), I noticed that Obama wasn't just a liar, but rather, a Lie.
Fouad Ajami has a nice piece in the WSJ that touches on this question. In Obama's case, he was able to conceal the Lie under a veneer of charisma -- at least for the weakminded souls susceptible to such a frivolous appeal:
"The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama's policies -- and, more significantly, in the man himself."
To quote the Poet, In my beginning is my end, and this end and beginning are always there. Yes, character is destiny, but absence of character is fate. Thus, Obama was fated to this dead end, which will be either a pathetic whimper a catastrophic bang, depending upon how soon his "signature achievement" can be erased from history.
There are deeper layers to the Obama Fail, for reasons alluded to above. Again, certain things must be ends in themselves, e.g., truth, beauty, love, and, most importantly persons.
But think about the pathological narcissist: his soul-sickness revolves around the fact that he is his own end. He is "self-sufficent" or "autotelic." Not really, of course, since the narcissist unconsciously craves the adoration of the crowd.
But consciously he is Above It All. He cannot take in new information, since this is a direct threat to his illusory omniscience. Thus, his is really an "ignorant omniscience," because you have to be rather stunningly ignorant to imagine you are omniscient -- about, say, an infinitely complex healthcare system containing more information than any human being -- or any group of human beings -- could ever master.
Jim Geraghty, in this morning's jolt, writes of yesterday's sad performance, which you will especially want to watch "if you’ve been wondering when the rest of the world would see the same guy you’ve been seeing since, oh, 2007 or so... in over his head, out of touch with the real world, banal in his off-the-cuff remarks, and unable to distinguish between good intentions and genuine results."
This goes to the fact that inside every narcissist is a withered homunculus that has been shielded from reality by a grandiose "false self." Grandiosity is always a primitive defense mechanism against its opposite, e.g., helplessness, absence of control, lack of primary affirmation during childhood -- not to play amateur psychologist, but the very things Obama missed out on in his dysfunctional upbringing. Thus, beneath the nicely tailored big boy clothes and polished babble, we see his "hapless, meandering, slow remarks."
Jonah Goldberg describes the darketypal mask Obama has plucked from the ancient gallery, old Narcissus: "In every tale of hubris, the transgressor is eventually slapped across the face with the semi-frozen flounder of reality. The Greeks had a god, Nemesis, whose scythe performed the same function. It was Nemesis who lured Narcissus to the pool where he fell in love with his own reflection."
So, Obama is indeed drowning, but the liberal media helped construct the pool -- or narcissistic matrix, if you like. The very media that has spent six or more years mirroring and reinforcing Obama's omniscience is now "discovering" that the omniscience is just a fantasy. Some enterprising investigative journalist needs to trace the fantasy back to the autotelic media hacks who made this self-absorbed adolescent president possible.
Speaking of beginnings -- and ends -- what else can "We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For!" refer to but narcissistic autoteleology? Or in other words, political mutual masturbation.
We'll conclude with a comment by Berdyaev: "For Marxism human personality is only a means, not an end in itself. The human soul is not of unconditional value, as in Christianity." Rather, human beings are simply a means to the triumph of socialism, and to this latter divinity "human sacrifice is offered."
How many millions will be sacrificed on the altar of Obamacare, no one can say.