The Planet of the Apes, or Welcome to Liberal Paradise!
Well, that is precisely what this desultory series of posts has been driving at, going back at least a month. It might have started with Studying God in the University of the Cosmos, but it feels like longer. A number of recent books have synchronistically converged on the issue (e.g., The Common Mind), or maybe I just read them in light of this question of Cosmic Principles.
But if you ask me directly, it's difficult to respond. It's like trying to see a distant star at night: look directly and it disappears. But look away and relax, and it pops into your peripheral vision. Oddly, it's brighter when implicit and unconscious than when explicit and conscious.
Truth is more than a little like this, isn't it? Try to stare it down directly and we are simply not adequate to it. But relax and allow it to seep in, and there it is. Transposing from the empirical to the spiritual eye, you could call this receptive and enslackened mode "faith."
This would also go to how truth may be more adequately embodied in myth, parable, poetry, and other symbolic forms that preverberate in the soul. Some truths "become less evident by endeavors to explain them" (Johnson, in Moore).
My son, for example, is at an age in between the ability to understand revelation concretely and to do so more abstractly -- or between Piaget's concrete and formal operations thinking. Thus, I don't quite know how to respond when he asks a specific question about, say, creation, or Adam & Eve, or the Flood. I try to explain to him that revelation is about man in general and about him in particular, and in this sense is truer than true (i.e., truer than the mere empirical or rationalistic truth which are its prolongations on lower planes).
The typical atheist becomes stuck in concrete operations thought when he must deal with anything above the plane of matter; in other words, there is no fundamentalist more fundamental nor literalist more literal than the bonehead atheist. Somewhere along the lyin' they convinced themselves that they could profitably stare down truth without the vital supplementary (one might say "female") modes of faith, intellection, intuition, higher imagination, etc. This strategy is always tied up with the pride which would be mitigated if they had only understood such cautionary tales as contained in Genesis, e.g., the fall of man, Cain & Abel, the tower of Babel, etc.
In The Common Mind we read of "the attempt to integrate the intellect with the whole personality, and in so doing oppose intellectualism." That would be an example of a Cosmic Principle, but difficult to express in the form of a Top Ten list, for it implies, and is implied by, so many other truths.
Such as the principle that man is in the image and likeness of the Creator; that man spans the vertical spectrum from the lowest to the highest planes, for better or worse; that knowledge is em-bodied and in-carnated; or even prior to this, that man is adequate to reality, not with his fragmented and desiccated ego-mind, but with his unified soul-intellect.
Conversely, intellectualism is the way of the tenured, of the infertile egghead who imagines (in the lower sense) that truth can be eagerly grabbed at instead of invited in. Only with higher intellect properly so-called (the nous) do we preserve the essential "otherness" of primordial truth, which is always relational and therefore personal.
Or in other words, if we can grasp it with our shriveled tenureMind, it cannot possibly be true. This is something, by the way, that Darwin -- who was far more intellectually honest than his latter day wackolytes -- understood. One thing that rightly puzzled him was why we have any right to trust the cognitions of a modified ape. For if an ape is capable of knowing truth, this is no mere ape but an entirely novel cosmic category irreducible to random genetic error.
Which is again why even a literalist reading of Genesis is more true than a strict Darwinian approach, because the former is true where it counts, i.e., on the human plane. Indeed, it preserves our humanness where Darwinism necessarily unexplains and eliminates it.
Reason only permits us to proceed from the known to the unknown. Thus rationalism begins with what it needs to explain, that is, the prior human ability to know. Therefore, it seems to me that one of our Top Ten principles must surely be that reality is intelligible and that man may know it. But these are really two sides of the same principle, which is Creation, or Rational Creator.
Therefore, in my view, to even talk about "truth" is to implicitly acknowledge the Creator. The problem with the left -- and with its retarded sister scientism -- is that it neither acknowledges its first principles nor follows them all the way to their inevitable conclusions, which is why they are so free to engage in such sloppy thinking. There is no liberal to whom one cannot say: tighten up that loose shit!
Or, to the extent that their excrement is tight, it is because it is circling around a tightly closed tautology of rationalism and intellectualism: garbage in, tenure out.
In The Common Mind, reason is opposed to common sense, the latter of which "perceives truth, or commands belief, not by progressive argumentation, but by an instantaneous, instinctive, and irresistible impulse; derived neither from education nor from habit, but from nature..."
In other words, transnatural intellection is to the human being what natural instinct is to the animal. Among other things, it is a homing instinct that orients us to the truth -- or source of truth -- that precedes us and of which we are ultimately constituted.
Moore continues: "That which is self-evident can neither be proved nor disproved by reason or logic" -- for example, our self-evidently free will. To deny free will is only to affirm it, since a truth not freely arrived at is no truth at all.
There may be an even more general principle behind the ideas discussed in this post. Perhaps it is this: that reality both Is and is anterior to our knowing it. But in knowing this we know that knowledge is always bound up with this prior reality in which we participate through assimilation.
Correct thinking requires a kind of negation. To paraphrase Russell Kirk, conservatism is the negation of ideology. Leftism is a parody of this, in that it is the negation of principle (or the blind acceptance of unarticulated principles). There is a big difference between a political animal and an animal with politics.
In response to James's question, I think in hindsight we will be able to compile a suitable list, as we leisurely dilate on it via our peripheral but wide open cʘʘnvision.
Oh, one other important implication of the above: "Thus, the 'rights' of slave owners are as meaningless as is the 'right' to abortion," since "Laws cannot be legitimate when they violate the foundation of law itself." One might say the same of Obama's attempt to demographically destroy the incarnational truth of America via open borders.