Friday, July 26, 2013

Compulsory Utopia and the Lunar Eclipse of Reality

About the "inverse esoterism" of the left. In the real world, vertical space is characterized by the descending and ascending energies we call (↓) and (↑) -- or just say grace and effort, if you want to keep the arrows out of it.

But the purpose of the arrow symbols is to avoid saturating the space with concepts, so as to keep it clear for the acquisition of experience. In other words, the concept of "grace" is based upon an experience that billions of human beings have had. But if one concretizes the word, then one's preconceptions can actually interfere with, or eclipse, the experience.

More generally, everything about religion was originally rooted in experience. Or, put conversely, nothing about it should be inaccessible in principle to experience -- at least someone's experience.

For example, I am not personally a saint. But I am utterly convinced that some people are -- that they have undergone the process of sanctification to its further reaches. And even leaving the existence of the saints aside, we can all have the experience of the sacred -- or of purity, or of holiness -- so we have only to imagine what it would be like to more or less be in that space all the time.

Reality is what persists even if one doesn't believe it. Therefore, if the vertical dynamism of (↓↑) is real, it cannot disappear just because some ideologue refuses to acknowledge it. Thus, in the words of Niemeyer -- an acolyte of Voegelin who some say understood Voegelin better than Voegelin --

"Ideological activism, then, presupposes certain intellectual and spiritual movements which can be seen as two, going in opposite directions."

Fascinating. Tell me more.

"Ontologically, the first of these movements denies reality to the given world of experience and proclaims the reality of a phantasmal realm."

This is what we might call "false ↑," in that it is formally quite similar to the religious person's recognition that there is something wrong with the world, and by extension, himself. Thus, it sponsors the urge to transcend both self and world -- or to be in the world but not of it.

But the leftist reverses things: he is still proudly of the world, but no longer in it. Rather, he is now -- without realizing it, of course -- in philosophical fairyland, relaxing in the comfort and safety of his own ideological delusions.

Now, if he would only stay there, he wouldn't be such a pest. But just as comedians secretly long to do drama, tenured activists -- or the media-politico-academic industrial complex -- aren't content to orally gratify one another, but want to screw around with the rest of us.

In short, there is the matter of that second arrow, (↓). What happens to it? Niemeyer: "the second movement pulls norms pertaining to the phantasmal realm and its present unreality into the world of experience and orients activities by them."


It's the difference between evangelizing and compelling, or between religious freedom and tyranny. Say what you want about my jehovial witticisms, but when I knock on your door -- or rather, you on mine -- I don't drag you in and force you at gunpoint to accept my worldview.

Not so the meddling ↓deologue, who wants to rearrange your world -- and your head -- down to the last detail. Every hair on your head is counted -- and that's a threat!

You see, the leftist's (↑) has given him a special insight into the nature of reality and the destination of history, so it would be cruel and uncompassionate for him to deny us the benefit -- the grace (↓) -- of his vision.

Note that the leftist's orientation is the precise opposite of philosophy. True philosophy involves a love of both reality and truth, i.e., it is "philo-ontic" even prior to being philo-sophic.

But ideology is miso-ontic and therefore miso-sophic -- always involving hatred of the existing world and possession of its secret truth. And if you do not know the secret -- which you obviously don't, or you wouldn't understand this blog -- it is only because you have been brainwashed by -- by whatever is expedient, e.g., the patriarchy, white privilege, heteronormativity, imperialism, Christianism, etc.

In other words, the leftist -- as always! -- accuses others of precisely what he engages in, which is to say, eclipsing reality by escaping into ideology.

In the western tradition, politics is "a matter of action within a world which [man] knows not to have made himself" (ibid.). But the ideologue "fancies himself engaged in making a world that so far has not had any being. Teleologically speaking, political practice is switched from the time dimension of the present" toward "the making of a preknown future."

Therefore, from the warped perspective of these pestilent Emissaries of the Future, "the present is something to be removed" in favor of "the phantasmal future whose origin is in the maker" -- the human maker.

You can't say Obama didn't warn us: on the eve of the 2008 election he told us to prepare ourselves for a fundamental transformation of the United States.

Bottom line: we hold very different truths to be self-evident, i.e., those of the founders at the beginning vs. those of the gnostics at the end of history. For the gnostics, the founders are just old (and white and male and European and rich) and in the way.

As a last asnide, the idea that human beings may gang together in the form of a state and redeem history on their own might be the most impressively pathological one in man's cognitive toolbox. It has certainly been the most deadly.

Related: "There is a puzzle before us. We are at the beginning. What are the steps to re-instill an aspirational and moral culture to all our people?... And how do we keep the vandals from ever-scrambling our efforts?

".... [P]erhaps we will have to teeter at the abyss before there can be an American Awakening.... A rejection of the addiction of dependency. An embrace that all your neighbors and countrymen are at Liberty to pursue their own happiness without your interference...."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bob's Famous "I Have a Reality" Speech

I am always struck by the inverse parallels between leftism and legitimate religion. Man's nature is to be religious, and he cannot rid himself of this orientation, any more than a fish can rid himself of water and still presume to swim. We've all got it in us, but it just comes out in perverse ways in those obnoxious, irreligious weiners.

To quote Schuon, just as "the wings of birds prove the existence of air," man's religious response "proves the existence of its content" (in a proportionate way, of course, conforming to the intrinsic nature of the Mystery; we are not suggesting that religion poses no challenges at all!).

For a normal person, the shadow of a cat will spontaneously "prove the presence of the real cat" -- even if the cat is not seen -- so the crank who demands proof is frankly a little off. He's missing something that is beyond obvious for the vast majority of human beings. But if he wants to spend his life trying to prove cats don't exist, go right ahead. After all, the creator gave us free will.

For example, who is more moralistic than the leftist scold who pretends all morality is relative? In Between Nothingness and Paradise, Niemeyer quotes Lenin, who wrote that for the communist, "morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the class struggle," and defined by "that which serves to destroy the old exploiting society..."

With these irreligious religious principles in mind, we can understand the inverted morality of the left, for example, vis-a-vis the George Zimmerman case.

For the leftist, morality is deduced from the class struggle -- or, in more contemporary terms, from the distinction between victims and white privilege. As such, the logic of deduction demands that the victim -- Zimmerman -- be transformed into an intrinsically guilty "white" person, and that the thuggressor -- Martin -- be transformed into an innocent child.

This is obviously a perversion of universal principles of morality, which apply to particular acts, not to universal groups. In other words, the left sneaks the principle of universality -- and absoluteness -- into the group (which doesn't even exist in any concrete or homogeneous way). I don't exonerate Zimmerman because he is a "white Hispanic," but because there can be no natural law more natural than defending oneself from a vicious human animal pounding one's skull into the pavement.

In the real world, the most dangerous place for a black child is in his mother's womb, and the second most dangerous place is among other black (male) children and young men. But these are empirical and statistical observations that cannot be deduced from leftist principles. Indeed, they are hatefacts (I believe coined by Greg Gutfeld), so to notice them is to expose oneself as a hater. It's so easy to be a leftist!

But this is what the ideologist does more generally: that is, deduce reality from his principles, instead of actually experiencing reality. This is a constant danger to human beings, because we are indeed situated in the space between the empirical world and general principles. It is easy to default in one direction or the other, but to succeed in doing so is to eclipse experience.

This applies not just to the left per se, but to all ideologies, say, Darwinism. Anyone can see the partial truth of natural selection, but what spiritually normal person can take the vast leap of faith required to elevate Darwinism to a total explanation and thereby contract the horizons of subjectivity to a virtual nothing? By comparison, faith in the Incarnation is just a step away, requiring no great leap over chasms of contradictory data and experience.

I was thinking too of how the left inverts the great Nothing at the heart of the cosmos. What this means is that the left doesn't just mimic the exoteric aspects of religion, but even -- or perhaps especially -- the esoteric.

In fact, one might say that genuine religion is esoteric by implication, whereas leftism is esoteric in principle, deriving its exoterism -- i.e., activism -- by deduction. This goes along with Voegelin's (among many others) observation that ideologies are modern forms of Gnosticism that always vouchsoph a hidden knowledge about the secret order of the world.

The progressive, for example, presumes to know the direction of history (even though his materialism forbids the existence of any transcendent goal or purpose). At any rate, the idea that one may tell truth from a calendar is so 19th century! Nevertheless, it doesn't stop the left from, for example, redefining marriage based upon their special insight into the direction of history.

Note also that the left, because it overvalues a narrow kind of surface cognition, relies upon the "ignorance" of realities so deep that it is difficult to put them into words. For example, until the last couple of decades, no one thought it necessary to explain why marriage is limited to members of the opposite sex.

If every cultural institution needs to be exhaustively explained and defended, then nothing can be so explained and defended -- certainly not "homosexual marriage"! But that is another hatefact, because leftist moral deduction again demands that existing structures of exploitation -- AKA the real world -- be abolished.

About that great Nothing alluded to above. Oscar Milosz had the proper sense of it, writing of how modern man has repudiated this transcendent No-thing, the "only intelligible container of a universe which is as free and as pure as God's thought, the Nothing superior to any notion of finite and infinite" (quoted in Caldecott).

For the apophatheads the left, the real being of the world is located in the future they wish to bring about. Meanwhile, there is just non-being and alienation from that blissful state -- e.g., the "black alienation" described by Obama in last week's infantile discourse on race (no offense to infants).

This sets up the present world as a kind of bad nothing, for which reason, say, Michelle Obama could honestly affirm that her very first experience of being proud of America occurred with her husband's political success in 2008. Prior to that? Nothing.

But this is what happens when one rejects existing reality for possible ones. Martin Luther King had a dream. But he also had a reality.

For Marx, man is labor. This is a rather startling and nightmarish inversion of the Raccoon view that man is ultimately slack, which is at antipodes to labor. Rather, it is an end in itself, and therefore a means to nothing.

For the Raccoon, the most useful things are the most useless -- like this post -- having no purpose or utility but to perhaps dilate the present moment and open out into the great wide Nothing-Everything. I mean, if you can't enjoy the now, then what -- and when -- can you enjoy?

Which reminds me. They used to say the aristocracy lives for the past, the bourgeois for the future, and the lower classes for the now. But contemporary leftwing success depends upon alienating everyone from the now, and instead living for the impossible Sugar Candy Mountain of the future. Like Obamacare, the dream must be deferred, on pain of revealing itself for the nightmare it is in the present.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Oases of Slack in the Ideological Desert

I find myself in that neutral blandscape between what I had been blogging about and what I will be or could be blogging about, but with no impulsion to proceed one way or the other.

In fact, "impulsion" is the wrong word, because it only works when it is an attraction. Trying to push one's way in is like trying to press Jello through a small hole -- a hole called the present. I long ago gave up trying to do that. Much easier to be sucked up and in through the hole.

Also, we're still being plagued by the Great Remodeling. Might seem like a small thing to you, but I can't even enter my own liberatoreum today because the hazmat pests are removing the cottage cheese ceiling (which apparently contains an infinitesimal amount of asbestos). Had to remove every last object from the Divine Orifice -- the sacred omphalos of Upper Tonga -- which is beyond overkill, but this is California. I'm sure it's more dangerous walking to the mailbox and exposing oneself to the sun.

So I'm sitting here in utterly unfamiliar blogging territory, at the dining room table, and it's just not the same.

I know. First World Problems.

Every day I have to start all over, but at least there's a trace of continuity. Then again, this condition of wandering in the bewilderness is a permanent feature of human existence in tension toward the divine ground, as Voegelin puts it. I read his Autobiographical Reflections over the weekend, and he says that the essential task of philosophy -- real, literal philosophy -- is to live in the erotic tension toward transcendent wisdom:

"The center of consciousness I found to be the experience of participation, meaning thereby the reality of being in contact with reality outside myself." Thus, human consciousness "is neither in the subject nor in the world of objects but In-Between, and that means In-Between the poles of man and the reality that he experiences."

This obviously cannot be explained by -- or reduced to -- biology, because this mysterious "place" is nowhere to be found in the physical world. Rather, it is specifically in between a physical world and a world of pure transcendence at the other end. Thus the soul is the loving "sensorium of transcendence" (i.e., a love directed toward the transcendent ground).

In the past I have referred to this as the "transitional space" (coined by the psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott), and it is the discovery, colonization, and expansion of this space that characterizes our human journey -- or exodeus -- through the bewilderness.

The bewilderness -- the desert, if you like -- is this very space, and one cannot collapse this space without cashing in one's humanness to one degree or another. It is always "dehumanizing" to do so, but that hardly stops humans from doing it.

And in our day, the principle way to do it is via ideology, e.g., positivism, scientism, leftism, Darwinism, or any other dogma that freezes us at one end or the other of this Great Divide where all the light gets in.

One cannot turn this space into an object or system, as much as man tries to do so. Rather, it is "a flow of participatory reality in which reality becomes luminous to itself" (Voegelin). Nowhere else but here can the light be seen -- or participated in, to be precise.

What is so shocking is that this mysterious space is ordered. Why should it be ordered? I would say for the same reason we discover order at the levels of physics and biology. "By order," writes Voegelin, "is meant the structure of reality as experienced as well as the attunement of man to an order that is not of his making, i.e., the cosmic order."

To exist outside this order is to exist in a state of alienation, and the purpose of ideology is to "cure" this alienation in a way that only perpetuates itself (which is why, for example, leftism can never work, especially to the extent that it works). Alienation from the divine ground -- or logos -- is not only a "withdrawal from oneself" but "from reason in existence," so no manmade system can put the truthpaste back into the tube.

One who tries to do so must inevitably "arrive at the death of God, not because God is dead but because divine reason has been rejected in the egophanic revolt" -- the latter defined as "defiant self assertion claiming independence from a transcendent ground."

Which would be fine, if the ideologues would simply leave us alone. But "Anybody with an informed and reflective mind" can see that we are "hemmed in, if not oppressed, from all sides by a flood of ideological language..."

And one "cannot deal with the users of ideological language as partners in a discussion" -- i.e., you can't reason with a liberal. Rather, one can only "make them the object of investigation" (and insultainment, I might add).

We may take comfort in the fact that this is hardly the first time in history that "language has been degraded and corrupted to such a degree that it can no longer be used for expressing the truth of existence" (ibid). Moreover, "there are always enclaves" where one may continue the journey despite "the intellectual terrorism of institutions such as the mass media, university departments, foundations, and commercial publishing houses."

To paraphrase Voegelin, no one -- at least in the west -- is obligated to participate in the aberrations, disorders, deformities, and perversions of his day. But it's a constant struggle against the hostile, infrahuman forces that would compel us to do so.