Monday, July 14, 2014

The Planet of the Apes, or Welcome to Liberal Paradise!

Reader James asks: "How does Cosmic Orthodoxy relate to common sense? Or to self-evident truths? If you were to start 'The Self-Evident Truth Society: Dedicated to Halting the Abandonment of Common Sense,' what would be your top ten cosmic orthodox principles, or self-evident truths?"

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?

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.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Petey said...

Eighty percent of the light in the cosmos is supposedly missing. I say liberals just don't know how to look.

7/14/2014 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Further research indicates that the present quest for cosmic principles goes back to this post Living in the Penumbra Between Time and History.

7/14/2014 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Oddly, it's brighter when implicit and unconscious than when explicit and conscious.
Makes you want to shut up once in a while. But we all gotta do something with our time. Here's a good list of some denser explicit books.

7/14/2014 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

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.

I was thinking about something along those lines over the weekend, regarding certain kinds of depression/ depressive thought patterns and how they may be affected by atheism. Essentially, because atheism is ultimately nihilistic, a "faith" that there is no god, while it may seem liberating at times (i.e., one need not conform to any supposedly confining Christian moral code), can only serve to make depression worse, because it gives literally nothing to hope in that is greater than the self, and ultimately robs existence of all meaning and knowability.

7/14/2014 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oddly, it's brighter when implicit and unconscious than when explicit and conscious.

Huh - speaking of, anybody else notice sometimes that at night, it's brighter in the room when your eyes are closed and you're trying to sleep? Or maybe that's just me...

7/14/2014 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

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."

And therein lies the main problem with leftism.
As Coolidge mentioned, there is no short cut to perfection.
There's no way one can even begin to be aware of self evident truths if one tries to bypass them.

7/14/2014 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Petey said...
Eighty percent of the light in the cosmos is supposedly missing. I say liberals just don't know how to look.

Blind Scientists Can't See The Light.

7/14/2014 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

80% Of Light Missing, Scientists Blame Black Hoes.
MSNBCBS Will attempt to shed light on this tragedy.

7/14/2014 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

I blame those green bulbs they made us switch to.

7/14/2014 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

I'm amazed these scientists can see 20% of the light with their heads up their asses.

7/14/2014 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ted:

That is an interesting list. Just lately I've purchased a whole slew of one cent used books on Amazon. I must have eight or ten in the mail. From the list I just ordered another, the bio of Samuel Johnson.

This interesting looking book on Original Sin was also a penny (speaking of cosmic principles), as was this one on Lewis. This one by Eliot was over a dollar, but is strongly recommended by Kirk.

7/14/2014 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Too may books, so little time. Because I live in a small apartment, and the bookshelves are over-full, I have made the transition to Kindle e-books almost exclusively. It actually has become a criteria for me now (with some exceptions), although the deals and availability for e-books are rarer.

7/14/2014 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

It is enough to make one wonder how much more advanced and healthy our science would be if they took some of your givens and worked with more leverage. I might have an anti-grav scooter by now instead of a googlemobile to take me to the showers.

7/14/2014 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/14/2014 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

You all have just about convinced me to get an Amazon card and account. My corruption (well, except for Fakebook) will be complete, and there will be one more ugly scar on the picture stashed in the attic insulation.

7/14/2014 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I wish they hadn't put Taranto behind the wall of pay, because no one surpasses him in wittily fisking the Loose Shit of the left, in this case, Robert Reich, who is a midget in more ways than one.

7/14/2014 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

GB said: "I wish they hadn't put Taranto behind the wall of pay..."

Solution: Type the title of the artcle into Google with Taranto, and VOILA!

7/15/2014 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Bruce Charlton offers a good insight and reminder for my philosophical orientation to life.

And I feel no need to have my Christianity underpinned by explicit and abstract philosophical assumptions - for example concerning time. My metaphysical assumptions (that is, my basic assumptions which structure the understanding of reality) are now not philosophical. Philosophy and logic are still there but not as foundations, but further down the line as properties.

7/15/2014 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ted - yes, he does make a great point. In my experience, most people seem to "feel" their way into Christianity, and to the extent that it works for them, I am all for it. They are saved, they do what they can to trust in God without question (much less questioning the nature of reality!), and that is truly enough.

Unfortunately, some of us have brains that won't stop asking questions, and that's where the need for philosophy comes in. My only quibble (?) with Charlton's take is with the implication that there is any mutual exclusivity between the intellectual path and the path of love.

7/15/2014 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

My only quibble (?) with Charlton's take is with the implication that there is any mutual exclusivity between the intellectual path and the path of love.

Great point Julie. For me, they have been mutually reinforcing!

7/15/2014 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

To paraphrase Schuon, the intellectually gifted have rights too. Why should they be excluded from the divine party?

7/15/2014 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Or maybe this goes back to doctrine (intellectual) and method (love).

7/15/2014 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

the intellectually gifted have rights too.

Or the intellectually curious anyways. Not sure how gifted I am there :)

7/15/2014 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

For the Intellectual understanding versus those who feel their way to getting it, two parables come to mind, Matthew's The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.

The obvious first impression of the workers, is alarm at those who toiled all day, yet received the same pay as those who just arrived, but the answer is that it's like getting an algebra problem: how long you struggled to get the answer doesn't make your answer any better than the fellow who solved it at a glance.

The intellectual method has to find itself past the rocks & thorns, but those who 'get it' by feeling are still just as subject to being undone by the rocks & thorns afterwards.

But still, if you get it... it doesn't matter which method you used to get there (and using both would likely be best).

Get it? GOt it? Good.

7/15/2014 09:19:00 AM  

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