Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Common Nonsense: This is Heaven, but Heaven is Not This

So, is common sense rooted in principles, or do principles flow from common sense? And is common sense universal, or does it change from epoch to epoch, culture to culture, cable network to cable network?

First, we had better define the term. Before looking it up, I would say that it must have to do with knowledge accessible to every normal man by virtue of being one. It is preconceptual, or archetypal if you are Jung at heart -- not quite knowledge, but ready to become so: pre-knowledge.

In Bion's scheme, a preconception mates with experience in order to become a conception, and a conception goes on to become a grownup concept. But there can also be *bastard* concepts that are not the product of this proper union. Although this no doubt sounds abstract, it brings us right back to the left, for so many of their miscegenational ideas are infertile precisely because of this cognitive mismating.

"Homosexual marriage" would be as good an example as any, because this cannot be a preconception anchored in the nature of things, only a bastard of a concept imposed from above. And it surely cannot flow from common sense, unless every human until a few years ago lacked common sense. Among other things, the left is a war on common sense. And common decency. And our common heritage.

In the excellent Book of Absolutes, Gairdner has academically incorrect and therefore instructive chapters on the universals of human life and culture, the constants of nature, the universals of human sex and biology, the universals of language, and the universals of law. I am tempted to just say Read the Book, because that's an awful lot to cover in the spacetime of a post, especially because it's been five years since I read it.

Oh, and Gairdner has a new book coming out next year called The Great Divide: Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never, Ever Agree. This second book is no doubt a logical extension of the first, for what is leftism but the political implications of relativism and rejection of absolutes, i.e., a deeply principled political stupidity at war with Reason?

I'm going to try to skim that book later today and maybe get back to it tomorrow. Meanwhile, another book we haven't discussed but which I can heartily endorse is Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy, which is an introductory guide to his trans-thinking.

It is especially recommended to those of you who are a little intimidated by the master, but hey, who would be intimidated by this easygoing and nonjudgmental visage?:

Chapter five condenses his system to the very essence of what we might call Metacosmic Common Sense -- although he would hasten to add that this is no more "his system" than the sun can be private property. Rather, it shines equally upon the good and evil, the intelligent and stupid, the gifted and the tenured.

I realize this is controversial, but I am highly attracted to the idea that truth is anterior to revelation, or in other words, that we do not necessarily need the supplement of revelation to fill in the lacunae that result from our being mere creatures, or middling relativities of the Father.

On the other hand, revelation is sufficient to put us in contact with these necessary metacosmic truths, which is why, for example, a simple person of faith can be so much wiser than a brilliant scientist when it pertains to essential human truths beyond the scope of science -- and why we would prefer to be governed by the first 500 people in the Boston phonebook than the Harvard faculty.

Well, maybe not Boston...

I would also add that the metacosmic truths we are about to discuss are highly abstract, and that in the absence of revelation they are like forms with no content or a soul with no body. Also, revelation adds many details that cannot be captured in the abstract, nor can one have an intimate personal relationship with an abstraction.

Here is an example of a first principle that seems to me unassailable, that "God is ineffable," such that "nothing can describe Him or enclose Him in words." What mischief results from believing otherwise!

For it is not as if we are faced with a binary choice between a conceptual absolute posited by the mind and a paltry relativism that implicitly elevates man to God. Rather, we simultaneously posit the existence of the Absolute and our inability to contain it/him; or, if you can contain it, it is not God. (We could say that an "it" can be contained by the mind, whereas a person can never be.)

Before starting this post, the thought popped into my head: any valid knowledge of God is obviously already God and must come from God. However, the converse is not true: God is not that knowledge.

A map is not the territory, but nor is it other than the territory, in the sense that it provides points of reference on a human scale. Just so, metaphysics and revelation provide us with humanly realizable points of reference that permit us, say, to orient ourselves to eternity via time, or heaven via earth, or the celestial via the terrestrial, etc.

Indeed you could say that earth is heaven, but that of course heaven is not earth. Thus, Jesus can rightly affirm in the Gospel of Thomas that the kingdom "is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it" (#113). Some men, anyway. But we couldn't even know of paradise if we didn't sometimes catch glimpses of it herebelow.

For Schuon, "metaphysical doctrine is nothing other than the science of Reality and illusion." The postmodern secular leftist type will usually say that we can only know appearances and not reality, but we respond that we can know appearances precisely because they are appearances of a reality anterior to them; optical illusions only exist because of optical realities.

Now, the same doctrine "might be articulated in a number of ways, from a variety of viewpoints," for the same reason a truth can be expressed in different languages. You could say that a valid religion is a richly symbolic "metaphysical vocabulary" -- or that, conversely, a religion that fails to embody and communicate these truths is no religion at all.

I suppose where I differ from Schuon is that his preferred vocabulary is ultimately Advaita Vedanta, whereas I believe this fails to adequately convey certain fine points that are better expressed in the language of Christianity (although Ramanuja's interpretation of Vedanta gets the job done where Shankara fails, and is easily assimilated to Christianity).

It's getting late, isn't it? To be continued...

"Oy, what is it with these anonymous bonehead trolls?"

41 Comments:

Blogger ted said...

Well, maybe not Boston...

Ha! You had to go there.

7/16/2014 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Great pic of Schuon at the end, and clearly one of the most photogenic people on planet earth. How could you have that face and not be a spiritual philosopher savant? He makes Rasputin look like Shepherd Smith.

7/16/2014 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

You beat me to it with the caption on that second photo, Bob - I was just thinking how I wish there were a way to simply post the Schuon stare whenever a random troll stops by to berate you for having the wrong opinion.

7/16/2014 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

He is all out of bubblegum.

And he can see Them just fine without the sunglasses.

7/16/2014 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Speaking of archetypes, I think I may have fallen for that dancing lady on the English Beat album cover you have on the sidebar.

7/16/2014 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Schuon Caption Contest:

I don't know how to respond. I have forgotten how to be so stupid.

7/16/2014 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

How on earth can you disagree with what you do not understand?

7/16/2014 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"... for what is leftism but the political implications of relativism and rejection of absolutes, i.e., a deeply principled political stupidity at war with Reason?"

If not that, not much.
If that...
... not much.

7/16/2014 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I remind you of Deepak Chopra?

7/16/2014 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I'd expect to see actual laser beams coming out of his eyes with that one.

7/16/2014 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

The Chopra comment, that is.

7/16/2014 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

(We could say that an "it" can be contained by the mind, whereas a person can never be.)

That right there is worth the price of admission.

7/16/2014 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh, right. Impeach Obama and Biden is president.

7/16/2014 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Homosexual marriage" would be as good an example as any, because this cannot be a preconception anchored in the nature of things, only a bastard of a concept imposed from above. And it surely cannot flow from common sense, unless every human until a few years ago lacked common sense.

Common sense changes all the time. Slavery, eg, used to be pretty damn common; now we pretty much acknowledge it as wrong. This is a good thing, and so is giving homosexuals permission to marry who they like.

You want a static world because you are afraid of a dynamic one. Understandable I suppose, change is pretty scary, but difficult to reconcile with spiritual aspirations. You can't know a living god with dead concepts.

7/16/2014 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Schuon said...

⇁˛↽

7/16/2014 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just because slavery existed (and exists -- some 30 million in the world today), it does not mean that it was a product of common sense. Rather, it exists despite common sense -- because of power -- the same reason why "homosexual marriage" exists.

7/16/2014 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I realize this is controversial, but I am highly attracted to the idea that truth is anterior to revelation, or in other words, that we do not necessarily need the supplement of revelation to fill in the lacunae that result from our being mere creatures, or middling relativities of the Father."

Doesn't seem controversial to me. Not in that sense.

7/16/2014 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And when I say common sense, I mean that no one would choose slavery for himself, therefore it is wrong.

Likewise, marriage is the foundation of civilization. Without it, civilization cannot endure. Homosexual arrangements? Who cares what these 1% do with their sex organs? Might as well fret over who pedophiles are supposed to marry -- and make no mistake, there are psychologists who do fret about it.

7/16/2014 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Leave it to a lefty to conflate common sense with what used to be a common thing (still is in many muslim countries).

Talk about missing the forest and the trees.

7/16/2014 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ironic that our anonymous trolls are, to a man, both common and lacking in common sense.

7/16/2014 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. psychologists fretting over pedophiles, the Dr. over at Maggie's Farm had a post on perversion in which she appeared to be wondering if it's just "sick" to Westerners because it isn't culturally-normative here, as opposed to other parts of the world. I found her musing to be rather disturbing. Pedophilia is intrinsically evil and terribly wrong. Its effects on the children are traumatic and often devastating, and can last a lifetime, even if there's no lasting bodily harm. To imagine otherwise is to be willfully blind.

7/16/2014 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The Doctor confuses normal and average. If one cannot distinguish between the two, one cannot claim to be a healer of souls, only a mechanic.

7/16/2014 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

We have no female trolls, but why do they always act like ex-wives?

7/16/2014 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Haahaha

They really do, don't they? I had never thought of that before.

7/16/2014 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

BTW, when I say that no one would choose slavery for himself, I mean everyone but liberals.

7/16/2014 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Bob,
Aye. Liberty is much too scary for lefties which is why they prefer a nanny state to make them feel safe.
They won't be safe, of course, quite the contrary but only feelings matter to them.

7/16/2014 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "The Doctor confuses normal and average."

Confusing normal with average is another means of abandoning principles for particulars, and it is helped and aided by what we wish were true, rather than what is true. Our aninnymouse says:

"Common sense changes all the time."

, what IS Common Sense, doesn't change, if one holds to reality and principle, it is stable no matter how circumstances change, or how wildly responses must change with circumstance - the center holds. But to the extent that what is accepted as common sense changes, he is correct, which is why I'm extremely leery of common sense as it is rarely what it seems to be. As aninny says,

" Slavery, eg, used to be pretty damn common"

It was always wrong to own another person, but it was always desirable for some to do so, and the more a person focuses upon what they wish to be, the less they allow themselves to see, or think about, how wrong that might be. The Democrat Supreme Court Justice who decided that the right of Contract (one of the very few Rights in our Constitution before the Bill of Rights) needed to yield to the 'greater good' ("Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge" case), was the same Justice, then the Chief Justice, Taney, who decided that it was for the greater good that the right people should own the lesser people, in the Dred Scott case. The very same thinking that makes it seem for the greater good to violate the rights of all with a Progressive Income Tax, Social Security, Medicaid, and to violate reality itself with Gay Marriage or raping children... the more desires depart further from reality, the more 'normal' they seem.

"You can't know a living god with dead concepts. "

Very true, but you can live with making a god of dead concepts... it all seems very normal to those enthralled to them... it even seems to be for the greater good.

7/16/2014 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Rudyard said...

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

7/16/2014 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares what these 1% do with their sex organs?

Hey, you brought it up, you seem obsessed with them, and Obama, and the left...can't keep from thinking about unclean things, what's up with that?

At any rate, I thought you people were big on rights, and it isn't clear to me why the rights of a minority population should vary based on whether they are 1%, 10%, or .01%.

Rather, [slavery] exists despite common sense -- because of power -- the same reason why "homosexual marriage" exists.

That is some grade-a messed-up thinking there, friend. Let me try to grasp it. So the things you don't like, as disparate as slavery and the right of two guys to get married, are due to "power". I assume that means the things you like, like apple pie and and Jesus and heterosexuality, exist for some other reason. What would that be?

7/16/2014 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

And of course anon can help but go full retard.

7/16/2014 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Pretty simple: marriage is a natural right that is prior to the state, and without which the state cannot exist. "Homosexual marriage" is a creation of the state, and cannot exist without it. Thus, it comes into being through the state and for the benefit of the state (i.e., it is championed mainly by statists).

7/16/2014 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

He's beyond full retard. If you ask me, anony been drinkin' sea water and it's batshit crazy.

7/16/2014 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To imagine that two men can exist in a state of marriage is, as Ben says, to go full retard. There is obviously no point arguing with a person who doesn't even know the difference between men and women.

7/16/2014 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

aninnymouse said "Let me try to grasp it"

It'd be simplicity itself for you to do so. All you have to do is explain how your understanding of Rights, would prevent govt from 'sacrificing' the rights of the 1%, 10% or 99%, for what they assumed to be 'worth it'.

But your conception of Rights won't prevent that, will it.

The fact that Gay Marriage isn't even up to being wrong, doesn't give me, or govt, the power to prevent same sex couples from sexing it up as couples.

They do have a Right to live their own lives - but that is only possible under a concept of Rights that recognizes and upholds, what is true.

An understanding of reality, truth and an awareness of the nature of what it means to be human; such Right Reason is the only thing that makes it possible to understand Natural Law, and Rights, and so to secure them by binding power down with Law.

But desiring to use power to evade, deny and violate what is Right and true, to pass laws which violate the rights of some for 'the greater good', is what puts you, and all of us, at the tender and unrestrained mercies of the powerful. Your desire to deny and violate what is right and good, to satisfy and flatter your urges, frees power to do whatever can be made to seem desirable.

But don't bother yourself too much over it, as the book Gagdad mentioned noted, 'the left will never, ever, understand or agree with the Right'... for the moment they do, they cease being of the Left.

And that isn't gonna happen for you, is it?

7/16/2014 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I should add that, as a libertarian, I don't really care what sorts of contracts two people draw up between themselves. But to call a homosexual relationship "marriage" is pure fantasy. They're pretending to be married, and they want to state to ratify the pretense -- like men who think they're women, or people who think scientology is a religion.

7/16/2014 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Matrimony, in fact, means, "mother making". Two people of the same sex cannot live in matrimony, holy or not.

7/16/2014 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just to clarify, I'm not an upper case Libertarian, just an improvisational neotraditional retrofuturistic bohemian constitutional conservative liberal. But you knew that.

7/17/2014 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Leslie:

Actually, here in California two people of the same sex will soon be able to live in "matrimony," because Democrats have come up with a crazy law that will allow men to claim to be mothers on birth certificates, making them mothers by legal fiat.

The State. Is there anything it can't do?

Idea: a law that will permit whites to claim to be black, so they too can benefit from state mandated racial discrimination.



7/17/2014 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Hey, waitaminnit - I thought your ideas all came prepackaged! I don't recall seeing any of those extras when I was shopping for political labels.

7/17/2014 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Idea: a law that will permit whites to claim to be black, so they too can benefit from state mandated racial discrimination.

Ha. I was just reading something about a black woman who is angry because all these white drag queens keep trying to act like black women. Schadenfreude - it's what's for breakfast!

7/17/2014 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "dea: a law that will permit whites to claim to be black, so they too can benefit from state mandated racial discrimination."

Too late. Elizabeth Warren already used claims of Indian blood, not one drop of which is in her veins, to get into Harvard, and the Senate.

Good idea though. Obviously.

7/17/2014 07:33:00 AM  

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