The occasional commenter has suggested that I only ridicule the tenured because I envy them. But it has never occurred to me that teaching some predigested course to a bunch of adolescent mediocrities would suit my temperament. I'm interested in the unknown, not the known.
Once something is known, it quickly becomes tacit knowledge for probing further into the unknown -- like the stick of the blind man we discussed a few posts back. To obsess over the stick is to miss the point of the stick. Rather, its purpose is to reach beyond itself into the unseen, the unknown, the unassimilated. I don't want to practice the servile art of stick making; rather, the quintessential liberal art of inward mobility. I want to be an explorer. A pneumanaut. A vertical adventurer. Doesn't everyone?
Well, no. Apparently it's a caste thingy. There are warriors, priests, merchants, laborers, et al, and it is very difficult if not impossible to oust a person from his caste (any more than a person can fundamentally change his innate temperament). In fact, now that I think about it, most of the problems in the world are due to miscaste people.
Think of all the intellectual lightweights in Washington who fancy themselves geniuses, beginning with the dimwit at the top. Obama should be a salesman. Indeed, he is a salesman, maybe even a brilliant one. Say what you want, but he has become a wealthy man from selling his crap, and it presumably requires more skill to peddle crap than Crayolas.
It also requires a degree of sociopathy, because one must make the sale without feeling guilty about it. For example, I see no evidence that Obama has any qualms about having sold Obamacare to a gullible nation. Perhaps he even believes his own bullshit, which is the pinnacle of salesmanship: autopullwoolery.
About being miscaste. Plato suggested a way around this: that we only cast philosophers as kings. I can't see how that could possibly work, because a lover of wisdom is indifferent to power, plus it just brings a plague of sham philosophers, similar to how widespread access to higher education has caused an epidemic of worthless Ph.D.s and idiot professors.
In his Language of the Self, Schuon has a chapter on The Meaning of Caste. It's a very unAmerican idea, but then again no, because our founders were quite aware of the natural -- not hereditary -- aristocracy, and intended to create a system which would redound to their leadership without having to impose it on anyone. If one must be ruled, who doesn't want to be ruled by the best people -- as opposed to being ruled by people who pretend to be better than us?
For example, George Washington is a better man than I. Barack Obama -- or Joe Biden, or John Kerry, or Harry Reid on down -- only pretends to be.
"In its spiritual sense," writes Schuon, "caste is the 'law' or dharma governing a particular category of men in accord with their qualifications. It is in this sense, and only in this sense, that the Bhagavad-Gita says: 'Better for each one is his own law of action, even if imperfect, than the law of another, even well applied. It is better to perish in one’s own law; it is perilous to follow the law of another.” For example, it is dangerous for Lileks to pretend at home repair. He may fool himself, but he doesn't fool the expert.
Again, think of all the societal problems caused by intellectuals who aren't wise, holy men who aren't holy, military people who aren't warriors, etc. Yes, in America you can be -- or at least pretend to be -- anything you want, but it doesn't mean you should be. Should women be warriors? Should homosexuals? Our society has become so deranged that it is no longer permissible to even ask such questions.
Of the castes, "There is first of all the intellective, speculative, contemplative, sacerdotal type, which tends towards wisdom or holiness; holiness referring more particularly to contemplation, and wisdom to discernment." (Bear in mind that in our upside-down world, an Al Sharpton or Fred Phelps or Jesse Jackson or Deepak Chopra or Jeremiah Wright are all certified holy men.)
"Next there is the warlike and royal type, which tends towards glory and heroism; even in spirituality -- since holiness is for everyone -- this type will readily be active, combative and heroic, hence the ideal of the 'heroicalness of virtue.'" (Typical miscaste knights would be Colin Powell, Wesley Clark, or John Kerry.)
The knightly type possesses "a keen intelligence, but it is an intelligence turned toward action" as opposed to contemplation and speculation. Here I am again reminded of a George Washington, for the strength of this type "lies especially in his character; he makes up for the aggressiveness of his energy by his generosity and for his passionate nature by his nobility, self-control, and greatness of soul." That's GW.
"The third type is the respectable 'average' man: he is essentially industrious, balanced, persevering; his center is love for work that is useful and well done, and carried out with God in mind; he aspires neither to transcendence nor to glory -- although he desires to be both pious and respectable -- but like the sacerdotal type, he loves peace and is not interested in adventures; a tendency which predisposes him to a contemplativeness conformable with his occupations."
The majority of men are of this nature -- happy so long as they are productively employed and able to support their families. My father was like this. There is certainly nothing wrong with it. To the contrary, the whole system would fall apart without such individuals, who are selfless in their own way. Which is another reason why Obama's devaluation of work is so sinister -- as if everyone should be writing poems and novels. This will only result in more bad poetry and literature than we already have.
"Lastly there is the type that has no ideal other than that of pleasure in the more or less coarse sense of the word; this is concupiscent man who, not knowing how to master himself, has to be mastered by others, so that his great virtue will be submission and fidelity."
I think you see the problem. Liberals pander to caste four, those with "no ideal other than that of pleasure," and who either do not or cannot master themselves. These masterless men now presume to be our masters, so the world order is truly inverted.
In fact, I'm afraid it's even worse than that, for the lowest caste -- or out-caste -- is composed of those who are completely outside the human system, so to speak. Perhaps you've never met one, in which case you are either sheltered or lucky. These are human beings who possess no "homogeneous nature," but rather, are chaotic and mercurial. They exhibit "a tendency to realize psychological possibilities that are excluded for others" -- in other words, they engage in things you or I wouldn't dream of. They are prone to "transgression" and find "satisfaction in what others reject."
Maybe I'm just sensitive, but I have always been aware of this type of person, and instinctively stayed away. However, they can be charismatic; think of a Charles Manson, or Adolf Hitler, or any number of celebrities and entertainers. Schuon writes that such individuals are capable "of anything and nothing," and are laws unto themselves. John Lennon was of this nature: if he hadn't been a musician he would have been a criminal or parasite.
God help us when the miscaste and uncaste organize into a voting bloc. Not for nothing does the Obama administration vehemently oppose any reasonable effort to reduce voter fraud, and now proposes to repeal laws that prohibit millions of felons from voting. Naturally they frame it in terms of racial demagoguery, but "Caste takes precedence over race because spirit has priority over form; race is a form while caste is a spirit" (Schuon).