Friday, July 25, 2014

Flying into Reality on Wings of Imagination

A purely "scientific" philosophy ends by denying what we know to be true... --Eliot

Cardinal Newman spoke of the illative sense, which is, according to Prof. Wiki, "the faculty of the human mind that closes the logic-gap," "thus allowing for assent" to translogical truth.

It seems to me that it is related to the higher imagination; or at least that it allows us to imagine and apprehend higher truths. It is, writes Moore, "a means of perception beyond the merely ratiocinative faculty," and although not rationalistic, "far from irrational in its workings and conclusions."

Kirk writes (in Moore) that it includes "impressions that are borne in upon us, from a source deeper than our conscious or formal reason. It is the combined product of intuition, instinct, imagination, and long and intricate experience." Thus, it is very much incarnotional, that is, embodied gnotions of enlived truth.

It is not that the illative sense necessarily discloses truth, any more than does logic. It will be irrational if a man's nature is either too irrational or too rational. The illative sense can always assent to a false proposition. Which is why it must be disciplined and guided by tradition. If your illative sense informs you of truths with which none of the luminaries of the past agree, then you are probably a mere ec-centric, or just somejerk outside the Circle.

You will have noticed that an education that is merely "useful" or pragmatic or utilitarian will not engage, much less develop, the illative sense. Might this be one source of the irrational dreams and schemes of the left, with its alternatively withered or perverse fantasies? "The problem with rule by the specialist is not so much that he knows more about something than other people, but rather that he sees everything through that one thing which he knows, however well" (Moore).

Conversely, the Raccoon tries to see any-thing through the lens of Everything.

We all must think and act on the basis of truths that cannot be demonstrated in the usual way. Reason #72B for why it is so fruitless to argue with a leftist is that they habitually try to deploy reason to prove things into which they themselves were never reasoned. Obama -- and liberals in general -- should stop pretending to anchor what he wants to do in the constitution or in the rule of law, since he's going to do it anyway. Just be honest about your dishonesty! That's all we ask.

One such trivial but typical example occurred in our comment section just yesterday, where our wisely anonymous visitor took us to task for affirming the truism that dependent and ineffectual people will tend to support the state which renders them comfortable in their condition of dependence and dysfunction. Or in other words, we should not be surprised when the drug addict votes for the dealer.

Our visitor attempted to prove with corrupt "data" that the people who are actually most dependent on the state are independent-minded conservatives. His error was in trying to prove his crankish illative truth with empirical data at all.

Note that the contradictory data will in no way alter his leftist convictions, because again, he was never reasoned into them to begin with. His particular views are informed by a much grander, unconstrained vision of mankind (not the actual men, mind you, for whom he has such contempt; think of Obama, who loves immigration but must hate the illegal immigrants who suffer under his policies).

All such philosophies are founded upon "something no normal man would believe, if it were suddenly propounded to his simplicity" (Chesterton, in Moore). Such disordered thinking ultimately redounds to a "cleverness actively deployed in the cause of Nothing" (Lewis, ibid.).

Along these lines, it is always useful to remember Gödel, who logically proved to the eternal satisfaction of the metaphysically adequate that man has access to a whole realm of truths that cannot be proved with mere logic. Yes, you are freed from the chains of logic that bind you to the terrestrial! If you want to be.

As alluded to above, the illative sense is bound up with various experiential modes that are only present in a body, or better, a person. Therefore, if our ultimate truth does not converge upon Personhood, let alone Life, then we can be sure we're on the wrong and even tenure track.

Moore speaks of "the utilitarian university," where "knowledge has become disintegrated" and therefore produces "unintegrated people." Nor can human beings create life, not in the laboratory, much less in the soul; they can never put all the dead fragments of the universe back together again. Ironic that they conquer nature only to be conquered by her. D'oh!

In reality -- in the Cosmic Uni-versity -- we are images of Truth, but if truth is presented to us as so many isolated and atomistic fragments, then our interior will reflect this mindless and lifeless fragmentation. Your soul will look cubist rather than toroidal.

But as we ʘnce put it, we are not meant to be "a scattered, fragmented multiplicity in futile pursuit of an ever-receding unity, but a Unity that comprehends and transcends the multiplicity of the cosmos."

Only with the illative sense are we, in the sometime, sometimeless words of Petey "Back upin a timeless with the wonderfully weird Light with which everything was made, a Light no longer dispersed and refracted through so many banged-up and thunder-sundered images of the One."

Indicted by time, we are reprieved by eternity. Which is why I'd rather be a living slave in the vertical than a lifeless tyrant in the horizontal.

I am not writing for scholars, but for people like myself.... [W]hat one must be guided by, scholar or no, is not particularized knowledge but one's total harvest of thinking, feeling, living and observing human beings. --Eliot



Blogger Van Harvey said...

"...Note that the contradictory data will in no way alter his leftist convictions, because again, he was never reasoned into them to begin with. "

Yep. The facts don't matter because the conclusion preceded them - they never even imagine what they believe to be true, they simply accept or assert it. Impervious to facts, exiled from Reason, an unimaginably shallow state of mind.

7/25/2014 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"The problem with rule by the specialist is not so much that he knows more about something than other people, but rather that he sees everything through that one thing which he knows, however well"

Indeed; often, I don't think they are even aware of the lens and its distortions, but rather believe that they are seeing everything with perfect clarity. This also goes back to the Bobservation the other day about being shut up in someone else's prison.

7/25/2014 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

On contradictory data, don't expect liberal justices to be moved by mere reality on ObamaCare.

7/25/2014 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

For those in power on the left, the only reality is the one that suits their purposes at any given moment.

7/25/2014 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Just received the urban dictionary word of the day, which is #nofux. Used in a sentence, you could say that the liberal attitude to reality is to give it #nofux.

7/25/2014 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. Gruber, I love this comment by Ace:

"Hey man sorry about that weird thing that happened in your mouth."

7/25/2014 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"His particular views are informed by a much grander, unconstrained vision of mankind (not the actual men, mind you, for whom he has such contempt; think of Obama, who loves immigration but must hate the illegal immigrants who suffer under his policies)."

I think that's my favorite of Thomas Sowell's books - clarifying.

7/25/2014 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Sowell's great book goes to the truism that there are always two types of men: those who believe in original sin and those who are idiots.

7/25/2014 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

There are always two types of trolls: those who are addicted to Bob, and those who pretend not to be.

7/25/2014 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Nice Sinatra video - I like that little laugh he does right in the middle.

7/25/2014 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That video is from a world tour he did in 1962 with a swingin' jazz sextet, to benefit children's charities -- hospitals, special schools, and orphanages. He always had those two sides, e.g., philanderer and philanthropist.

7/25/2014 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - Maybe instead of "Frank," his Momma should have named him "Phil"...

7/25/2014 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I have a record store display that declares:

It's Frank's World. We Just Love in it.

7/25/2014 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...


7/25/2014 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Like so many things that liberals say, Gruber’s denial is not intended to persuade the intelligent, but rather to fool the ignorant."

Liberalism in a nutshell.

7/25/2014 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

From today's Goldberg file:

'This is funhouse logic. As NR put it in an editorial, "It's an odd world in which judges are accused of usurping the role of Congress for ruling that the executive branch must follow the text of a law Congress wrote." Seriously, who knows what will happen if the courts start adhering to the law as written? That's like saying the IRS should be politically neutral. Madness!'

7/25/2014 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Conversely, the Raccoon tries to see any-thing through the lens of Everything.

Yep. All of the illusionist art depends on getting attention focused on one detail after another so the suckers don't see through the trick.

7/25/2014 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger neal said...

The thing is, if one lives a short life, then one relies upon information that is as best, questionable. No one that lasts longer talks about eternal stuff; too many words.

The thrill of the hunt, and all that. Funny how demigods are just bluecollar, and do not follow trying to capture anything, just fix more than gets broken.

7/25/2014 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"In reality -- in the Cosmic Uni-versity -- we are images of Truth, but if truth is presented to us as so many isolated and atomistic fragments, then our interior will reflect this mindless and lifeless fragmentation. Your soul will look cubist rather than toroidal."

Toroidal or not toroidal, that is the question.

7/25/2014 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speaking of Johnathan "Hans" Gruber, I guess the IRS has selective hard drive-o's.

7/25/2014 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Apparently, Planned Bondagehood has a lot of XXX-o's.

7/25/2014 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

it's not child abuse when the Planned Perverted Parenthoods do it.

7/25/2014 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

PP is just taking over where the KKK left off, and much more efficiently too.

7/25/2014 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Get this, leftists cheat. As if we need studies to prove it.

7/25/2014 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Not surprising. Getting through the day in a fully socialist society pretty much requires people to lie and cheat as much as possible, in big ways and small, or suffer the consequences.

7/25/2014 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ha! I love this quote by Mark Steyn:

"John Kerry is the physical presence of American absence."

7/25/2014 08:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, no, lamers.

7/25/2014 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

SOP for the leftist mouthpieces.
They know most of their herd won't actually watch the TWO videos of Gruber to see that it is not taken out of context, or his already prepared written speeches that say the same thing.
Or the C-Span video of Sen Baucus-D who also says the same thing.

There is no loophole here no matter how loopy much you want there to be one, Anon..

7/25/2014 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Going back to the original article at The Money Illusion, I really don't think this guy's attempt to read Gruber's mind at the time holds water. The further context just doesn't make the statement any better. Here, in toto, emphasis mine:

"Yes, so these health insurance exchanges . . . will be these new shopping places and they’ll be the place that people go to get their subsidies for health insurance. In the law it says if the states don’t provide them the federal backstop will. The federal government has been sort of slow in putting up its backstop in part because I think they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it. What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits — but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges."

Considering that just a couple of weeks earlier, he said much the same thing:

"Now, I guess I'm enough of a believer in democracy to think that when the voters in states see that by not setting up an exchange the politicians of a state are costing state residents hundreds and millions and billions of dollars, that they'll eventually throw the guys out. But I don't know that for sure. And that is really the ultimate threat, is, will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn't set up an exchange, you're losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens."

Gosh, it's almost like the law was intended to "encourage" the states to fall into line or else waste taxpayer money and suffer the consequences. Oh, sure - there's a federal backstop that'll kick in, well, when the feds get around to it (i.e. when they feel the states have been "squeezed" enough), but in the meantime...

Nope - not vindicated. Nice try, though.

7/26/2014 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Bravo zulu, Julie!
"Encourage" is the new extort.

7/26/2014 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Makes sense: martyr wishes to be crucified. For the victim mindset of the left -- with its inverted Christianity -- this would be the ultimate vindication. No wonder the DNC is so excited at the idea. The Palestinians are driven by the same weird psychology.

7/26/2014 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This one cent book, Divine Becoming, is as close as any I have read to my world view. There are a few annoying nods to feminism and environmentalism and tenurespeak, but a great deal that is worthwhile (although I'm only 2/3 through it).

Just now read this: "Transcendence is both a a horizontal and spiritual reality. In nature it is relative and relational, in that each entity transcends all others by virtue of difference," AKA, individualism. "Vertical transcendence involves a knowing of the self in its openness to God..."

She's the only other author I know of who so explicitly links modern attachment theory to the intersubjectivity of the trinity, which is what makes ultimate reality to be love and relation....

7/26/2014 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This is intriguing: the Hebrew word for compassion originates in the word for womb. She goes on to speculate that it is as if creation is within the womb of God, and that "God loves the world with the costly love of a mother for the fetus within." It is best characterized as 'womb-love.'"

This would explain why God so hates murder: it is an abortion of one of his beloved children.

7/26/2014 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, I think that's true.

7/26/2014 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"The nature of being is to know and to be known in an original unity, in other words, self-presence."


7/26/2014 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Attachment theory helps explain "the ground for the going-out-from-self that makes possible the encounter with God."

7/26/2014 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"As the self triangulates, participation takes on the shape of emotionally sympathetic and cognitively empathetic interaction, with other and with God, who is encountered as grace.

"Self-other triangulation is kinetically oriented towards the infinite.... Each glimpse of this horizon serves to fuel our anticipation of the telos of creation, union with God."

7/26/2014 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"The self is an ever-changing process of becoming. Self-fruition is a dynamic, perichoretic process of movement, a spiraling asymptotically toward God."


(perichoresis = the relationship between each person of the triune God: the eternal chasing and finding, finding and receiving, giver as gift and gift as giver)

7/26/2014 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Off topic re. Memorial Fund for Patti Conrad, Ben's late wife:
When Julie and I created the Memorial Fund, we set an arbitrary date for the fund to end, which is less than a week away.

If you have been thinking about making a donation, please do so in the next day or so. Any amount, no matter how small, is very welcome and gratefully appreciated. (The link is on Bob's homepage here, on the right side of the page, below the Honeymooners photo of Ralph and Norton in Raccoon regalia.)

You guys made a big difference in Ben's and his daughters' lives. Instead of going into debt to pay for funeral expenses, you provided the resources for Ben to do what he and his daughters felt best to honor Patti without the burden of credit card debt.

If you have already made a contribution, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and generosity. Julie and I hoped to give Ben's friends here a way to show their support and help in some practical way. We didn't know that enough money would be raised to pay for the memorial for Patti. Ben has commented several times, and emailed me privately, that your outreach to him at this difficult time has meant more to him than you can imagine.

If you would like to contribute, please know that even a small amount is much appreciated. You can donate anonymously, and you don't have to "publish" the amount donated.

Thank you also to all who have been praying for Ben, Patti and his girls. I am sure your prayers have been helpful. Please continue to keep Ben in your prayers.

Many thanks to all,
Mrs. G

7/26/2014 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Thank you for the reminder Leslie, I didn't realize the link was on the main page.

7/26/2014 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Mrs. G is the charitable wing of the family. I'm the militant wing.

7/26/2014 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That she is - I was just about to say thanks again to Leslie, who really did the lion's share of the work in setting up the memorial fund.

7/26/2014 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thank you, Leslie, Julie, Bob, and all my brothers and sisters under the pelt for your prayers, donations and encouraging words!
I can't begin to describe how much your paws up have meant to me, but that didn't stop me from trying:

One of the greatest lessons I learned is this:
Amidst the pain, my broken heart and sorrow, is this good and beautiful thing you all did, individually and together.
Awkwardness? No, what may have felt awkward has become something truly remarkable, because you didn't allow the awkwardness to stop you from being friends, brothers and sisters.
Instead of awkwardness you became blessings to me and in a language that cannot be constrained by words. That's the best kind I reckon!

I know now that no matter how difficult, how awkward it feels, I will always reach out in love to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
It makes a world of difference!

Thank you, and God bless you all!

7/26/2014 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


You really know how to humble a guy!

7/27/2014 10:00:00 AM  

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