Wednesday, April 03, 2013

An Entomologist's-Eye View of Predatory Liberalism

Just finished After Tocqueville: The Promise and Failure of Democracy. However, there must be a Volume 2, because he left out the promising part. Rather, his description of the nature of advanced liberalism leaves little reason for optimism.


"[T]he moment the germ of liberalism is introduced into the traditional body politic, that body is doomed to death. And its death leaves Power standing alone above the brittle shell of its defunct contents."

If you've ever wondered why the state behaves so stupidly, this is why. The state is not about intelligence but about power. Which is one reason why things get worse only a little more slowly when Republicans are in charge.

In a functioning democracy -- not merely a place where "voting" takes place -- there are centers of power distributed throughout the society. But "the state is at war with the intermediary institutions of society." "All command other than its own, that is what irks Power" (Williamson).

We certainly see it in Obama, what with his attacks on the Catholic Church, private enterprise, the Boy Scouts, marriage, the family, self-defense, educational choice, etc. In each case the goal is to crush a little area of power that has the effrontery to challenge the state.

Thus, "these characteristics are entirely expectable in a pseudophilosophy emanating from a moral and intellectual delusion that fatally misconstrues reality, which it almost violently denies even as it revolts against that reality. Power is required to defy the universe..."

It takes a whole lot of energy to deny and defy reality (which is one reason why mental illness is so taxing). This would explain why the left, in order to have any power at all, pretty much needs all power.

Which is why they are so offended by the existence of, say, talk radio or FOX News. How dare they defy the herd! Likewise, one conservative truth teller in the humanities department is a major headache for the left, as is a black person who has strayed from the ideological plantation.

In addition to destroying intermediate institutions, the left must create a different kind of human being. The whole scam collapses if they can't accomplish that, hence the totalitarian temptation that is never far from leftist thought: "liberalism depends on a certain kind of human being, a type it must either create or extend, if necessary by eliminating uncooperative types" (ibid).

This is because "Liberalism is inspired by faith in a specific view of human nature to which it is irrationally wedded, a view that requires closing certain lines of enquiry on the assumption that they are beyond debate."

How, you ask, is this different from, say, the Inquisition? First, the Inquisition wasn't only an aberration, but perfectly contrary to Christian ethics. Conversely, inquisitorial tactics are essential to leftism.

Moreover, the Christian Inquisition only resulted in -- what, 5,000 deaths? whereas leftism murdered 100 million or so just in the 20th century. And this doesn't take into account the unintentional deaths resulting from, for example, the banning of DDT or the breakdown of the black family.

"Liberalism for this reason should be recognized as a new religion, a system of moral absolutes based on a denial that moral truth is knowable, which consists of nothing less than the deification of man" (ibid.)

No, it is not "ironic" that those who supposedly deify man also murder him in the tens of millions. Rather, predictable, for "Modern history is the dialogue between two men: one who believes in God, another who believes he is a god" (Davila).

Leftism is ultimately an assault on the very civilizational foundations that gave birth to it. Thus the special animus for Christianity:

"The Left hates Christianity and its satellite institutions because they represent metaphysical reality, which leftists have always despised, denied, and labored tirelessly to overthrow, for the purpose of supplanting it with a synthetic version of their own construction."

The resulting spiritually and intellectually enfeebled mass men are "fit for nothing but socialism." But the state prefers such a "mass undifferentiated man because he is easier to govern." Like shoveling around bags of wet cement.

Now that I think about it, contemporary liberalism features two main types, the agitated and excitable hysteric-activist and the LoFo slugs who are manipulated by them.

Marriage -- or the sacralization of the male-female union -- is the foundation of civilization, so the left's attack on it is utterly predictable.

Someone -- I think Mark Steyn -- mentioned that the same people who have spent the last 40 years telling us that marriage is either a meaningless piece of paper or an oppressive institution now want to buy into it.

This will work out as well as their infiltration into the educational system (or into anything else, for that matter; they can't even run the Post Office, but they're qualified to redefine man). Only an omnipotent state can presume to invent marriage instead of simply recognizing it.

But progressivism continues to progress -- or metastasize, rather -- so now we are stuck with "America's first ideological president," fully equipped "with his pseudo-intellectualism and suprapolitical vision."

Such "ideological thinking" is "an infallible sign of the hopelessly immature political mind." Among other things, it "induces a false spiritualism far more damaging and dangerous than materialism itself."

Indeed, "Civilization and ideology are mutually exclusive things" (ibid).

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Your Inside is Out when Your Outside is In

It seems to me that the world is a landscape of psychopneumatic attractors. I mean this literally, because this is literally how we experience the world. Things grab us, right? Unless you're kind of braindead, in which case maybe only journalism and other bodily functions grab you.

So, different things grab different people -- it takes all kinds to make a world, and vice versa. What is indeed so surprising is how specific the attractors can be. It is by no means obvious why the world should be built in this way. But it is strictly impossible to understand this absolutely vital phenomenon within the standard scientific paradigm.

And when I say "absolutely vital," I'm again being literal, because in a certain way, this attraction is our whole life. This thing moves us. That thing leaves us cold. This person excites. That person bores. This writer expands. That one contracts. Etc.

For example, when I think of the four great "B"s of large scale orchestral music -- Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Barry -- I have to say, I truly only "get" Barry. The others are too vulgar for me. More generally -- as you all know by now -- everything Bob does has got to be funky. Obvious when you think about it, but why?

Alexander gives the example of a particular painting. The painting attracts us. Thus, there is a relatedness that occurs between you and the painting. What is the nature of this mysterious "between?"

In the past I have discussed this in terms of "links" -- e.g., of love (L), or hate (H), or knowledge (K) -- but what are the links made of? And how did they get here?

Let's say we're particularly attracted to the blue hill in the painting. Alexander suggests that we "do not, I think, experience the bit of blue as if it were your self."

Rather, "you experience something stretching between yourself and the blue hill, something that seems to mobilize your self, stretch it out toward the bit of blue, connect with it."

Again, it's a relationship, in which the painting reaches out to us, and vice versa: "stretching between you and the blue hill, something comes into existence."

And it's not just our everyday, mundane self that is tickled. Rather, "It is as if the eternal you, the eternal part of you, your eternal self, is somehow being mobilized..."

Whatever the case may be, that's exactly what it feels like. And no theory that ignores such a central feature of our existence can be adequate. Several aphorisms come to mind:

Any theory is false that seeks to characterize as delusion what one day affected us nobly.

There is evidence that disappears along with those who deserve to perceive it.

We have reached such an extreme of ineptitude that we only believe to be real what would persist if the arts were abolished.

Each of these aphorisms goes to the idea that our (constant) experience not only doesn't deceive us, but mirrors the very structure of reality.

Yesterday we spoke of how experiences within this space -- which Winnicott called the "transitional space" -- incarnate or potentiate the substance of our being, as we assimilate them. From the article:

"Winnicott related the concept of transitional object to a more general one, transitional phenomena, which he considered to be the basis of science, religion and all of culture. Transitional objects and phenomena, he said, are neither subjective nor objective but partake of both" (emphasis mine).

Here is how Grotstein describes it: "Where Winnicott truly surpasses is in his delineation of potential or transitional space, the domain of the intermediate, the area sacred to [ortho]paradox." It "seems to correspond to the metaphor of a post-natal umbilicus, the imaginary yet concrete experienced connection between mother and infant..."

"One can picture this connection as a Moebius Strip of connected disconnectedness or of a 'Siamese twinship' in which there are two heads connected to one body. In one perspective they are invisibly connected; in another they are separate."

In the past I have in fact used the Moebius Strip or the Klein Bottle as models of reality. Why is that? Because in each case the object conveys the paradoxical idea that the inside is the outside, and the outside is the inside. This way one can preserve unity -- each object has only one side -- and yet duality -- each has two sides.

It seems to me that it is the same with the cosmos, which is why the subject is in the object, and vice versa. Yes, the Klein Bottle is a metaphor, but it is only a metaphor because metaphor is possible. And metaphor is only possible because the Cosmos is something like a Klein Bottle, in which interior and exterior, subject and object, are reflections of the same underlying reality. (BTW, it also explains why parables not only work but may be unsurpassed in their ability to link worlds.)

Posts will be shorter and shallower until this remodel business is over.... "

Monday, April 01, 2013

If You're Bored, You're Wrong

Very little time today. Chaos reigns, what with Easter vacation going on and the remodel about to commence.

I know. Tragedy. Progress in theology will be set back for at least another 24 hours.

If the world is a reflection of the Creator, then we shouldn't be surprised that it is neither a radical One -- a featureless monad -- nor a disorganized mess of a Many. Rather, we should expect to see wholeness everywhere we look.

A typical case would be DNA, each part of which contains all of the information necessary to create the whole.

More generally, we see that wholeness -- which is a state of irreducible interior relatedness of part and whole -- appears in a different way at each level of the cosmic hierarchy. On the plane of physics, for example, we see it in the phenomenon of nonlocality; in biology, the ecosystem; in man, intersubjectivity; in spirit, the Trinity.

By the way, I was pleased to discover an analogue of the Trinity in Judaism. In his excellent The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning, Rabbi Sacks writes of how in Genesis God is initially called Elohim, "a noun meaning roughly the totality of forces operating in the universe." Exterior and impersonal, as it were.

However, a little later he is called Hashem, which might be understood as "the transcendental reality of interpersonal relations," which is how and why "our experience of God mirrors our experience of other people."

The deeper point is that we are not related to the world in some superficial manner, like two objects placed side by side. That is exterior relationship. In contrast, interior relationship is an intrinsic connection, more in manner of how the parts of our body relate.

But there again, that is only a biological analogy. On the psychological -- i.e., cognitive and emotional -- planes, it means that there is a kind of endlessly extended space between any two subjects. It is obviously the case between two human beings, in which you can spend your whole life exploring and deepening that space with just one other person.

But it is also true with the non-human world, which is why there is no end to any discipline. There is no conceivable end to physics, for the same reason we'll never run out of poems or melodies.

Rather, we are assured a kind of endless harvest for the very reason that we are not God. Or, to be perfectly accurate, because 1) God is, and 2) because we are not him. You might say that this formula results in a burning bush that can never be consumed, or in a hidden source of nourishment that prevents us from ever going hungry.

For Alexander it means that "the character of this relatedness is not invented or concocted in our minds, but actual." It is the prior condition of everything.

Furthermore, the relation is always personal, but not in the impossibly atomistic manner of subreal modern science, but rather, in the retrofuturistic manner I have discussed over the previous 2,500 or so posts.

It can hardly be overemphasized that this is entirely consistent with the way we experience the world. It is not an abstraction. Rather, the problem is that, over the course of a lifetime of indoctrination, we superimpose a psychopneumatic grid of scientistic abstractions over the world, and then wonder why it has lost its savor.

Here is a hint: if you are ever bored, you are wrong. And I mean this ontologically, where there is no word for boredom. Rather, you should call it what it is: deadness, the deadness that results inevitably from being a closed system.

It is a truism that a closed system is dead, and that we die when we are no longer an open system. What is not generally understood is that openness is the prior condition, and deadness the secondary condition.

We cannot create life. Rather, we can only live or encounter it. We can, however, "create" death, so to speak. Once you recognize this, you experience signs of life -- and of death -- everywhere. You see how the left has managed to create a culture of death, or why television has all the life of a stagnant pond.

Again, Alexander is simply taking these ideas seriously and drawing out their implications in his chosen field of architecture. Thus, he writes of how it is only in connection with deeply "living things that I am fully real."

However, this life is coming from both ends of the relation, and is a mutually reinforcing and deepening spiral. He writes of how this relatedness "is the most fundamental, most vivid way in which I exist as a human being" (italics in original).

Under such naturally supernatural conditions we experience ourselves as we "truly are," that is, "a creature which is undivided and a part of everything: a small extension of a greater and infinite self."

I think this intense bond between man and cosmos accounts for the erotics of being, in which our lives consist of a kind of journey whereby (in the words of Christopher Bollas we discover our idiom, our unique soulstench, our fingerprint with no hands. We find our(prior)self through attraction to the various cultural objects, experiences, and persons we need in order to actualize it.

Well, the man with the sledgehammer is here, and it's challenging enough to do this when the walls aren't tumbling down around me. But if you search "Bollas" on the blog, you'll probably find a lot more on this subject of using the cosmos to discover yourself. Or is it the cosmos deploying you to articulate itself?