Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Magical Mystery & Tragical History

I could complain about having no time again this morning, but that would just be a waste of what little time I do have, wouldn't it? Maybe this will change next year, when I can start raiding my retirement accounts and extract a little slack.

And what are we to do with our slack? What is its purpose? Dávila says that "Our most urgent task is that of reconstructing the mystery of the world."

Normally we wouldn't use "slack" and "task" in the same sentence, but there are always worldly currents running counter to the stream of slack -- or just vertical gravity -- for which reason doing nothing can be the most difficult activity of all.

I am often reminded of the adage that we have a few -- or even one -- guiding ideas to which we return again and again. One of mine is a phrase that popped into my head long ago: the remystification of the world. The Official Narrative is that, over the past 300 or 3,000 or 30,000 years, mankind has experienced a gradual demystification of the world.

This was indeed the thrust of Comte's naive positivism, which held that mankind evolved in predictable stages from the theological, to the abstract/metaphysical, to the positive/scientific. There are so many things wrong with this that it's difficult to know where to begin, but let's just say that these categories are complementary, not linear.

Nor, for the Actually Sentient, does this supposedly linear development result in some kind of final unveiling of the Radical Mystery of it all. If anything, the mystery only deepens, and not just in a manner of speaking.

Rather, someone actually agrees with Bob that "Knowledge is not unlike a circle of light in a dark field of unknowing. The circumference of the circle of light is the size of our exposure to the dark. Each time the circumference of knowledge becomes larger, the length of our exposure to the unknown advances geometrically."

Thus, we should all welcome the new Light, but at the same time retain our humility and awe before the infinite mystery of the expanding Darkness. You could call this philosophy Logical Negativism, but people would no doubt get the wrong idea and confuse it with the Illogical Negativism of the left.

I suppose where Comte and his scientistic progeny are most naive is with the implicit idea that scientific knowledge is somehow unconditioned and transcendent of any cultural, historical, or personal perspective, whereas religion and metaphysics are at the opposite end: hopelessly contaminated by the human perspective.

But for the Raccoon, it is precisely the opposite: science is always necessarily perspectival, whereas metaphysics and theology provide the best and most objective view possible. Nor would I ever place metaphysics after theology, for to do so denies the very reason for theology, which is to communicate the ultimate transhuman truth of things -- the truth that sets us free (into slack), among other benefits.

In other words and ethereal worlds, what revelation reveals is meta-physical (or trans-natural) truths, while metaphysics illuminates what is latent or mythologically expressed in revelation.

That is to say, the most profound, universal, and culturally unconditioned truths are to be found, say, in Genesis. To pretend that science has somehow evolved beyond these primordial truths is one of the Founding Fantasies of the left.

Ironically, the regression to positivism doesn't lead the way to Objectivity and Universality, but rather, the opposite: the Seven Bad Ideas of Leftism are a kind of perverse remystification of the world, in that scientism drains the world of mystery at one end, while the religiously untutored masses dive into subjectivity at the other end, hoping for a little oxygen and light, i.e., a bit of Slack!

Solipsism, relativism, subjectivism, irrationalism, pervertarianism, nihilism, anything. Just get me out of this machine or cage or ideology or skull or skin or something!

Hey, it works, or it wouldn't have persisted since Genesis 3. "Leftism dulls the mental acuity. That is its purpose." In other words, it diminishes the pain of the demystification.

9 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Thus, we should all welcome the new Light, but at the same time retain our humility and awe before the infinite mystery of the expanding Darkness.

It occurs to me, part of the problem with scientism is quite similar to one of the foundational problems of leftist economics. That is, leftists tend to think of the economy as a zero-sum game; one guy has more, ergo he must have shorted some other guy who now must suffer with less. In the scientistic realm, it's more as if they think of the universe, in macro or micro, as a sort of closed quantity. Or like an enclosed space. So that as the light of knowledge increases, the amount of space remaining in the dark must decrease. False, of course, but the idea must be comforting, especially for those who believe that there is no god.

8/19/2014 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"Leftism dulls the mental acuity. That is its purpose."

Apropos, The Struggle For Stupidity.

8/19/2014 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Nor would I ever place metaphysics after theology, for to do so denies the very reason for theology ...

Right. What did they think we went looking for?

8/19/2014 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

I recently heard someone in the integral scene give a talk about "demystifying mysticism." Right there, I knew they had nothing to offer me.

8/19/2014 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Should any of us ever meet Wright, we definitely owe him a cup of coffee for "pervertarianism". That's just beautiful.

8/19/2014 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Mysterious attraction, as in attraction to the mysterious such as my wife. I know her well and yet she is still a mystery to me and I'm very attracted. Sometimes I can see the wheels turning in my granddaughter's three year old mind and yet quite often the mystery of who she is surprises me. The mysteries of those "little things", the things in our daily lives, are the source of great joy.

It seems the connection between the joy those little mysteries provide and the mystery of the big things is lost on so many. It's not that we shouldn't try to solve the mystery, but I think for many the beauty in the mystery is missed.

8/19/2014 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"But for the Raccoon, it is precisely the opposite: science is always necessarily perspectival, whereas metaphysics and theology provide the best and most objective view possible. Nor would I ever place metaphysics after theology, for to do so denies the very reason for theology, which is to communicate the ultimate transhuman truth of things -- the truth that sets us free (into slack), among other benefits."

Right on and right in!

8/19/2014 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Hey, it works, or it wouldn't have persisted since Genesis 3. "Leftism dulls the mental acuity. That is its purpose." In other words, it diminishes the pain of the demystification."

What could be more satisfying than taking what you really wish reality was, for what reality actually is? Who's gonna rock that boat? And those who'll reinforce your preferences? Good buddies. And hey, took God six days to create the world, and leftists recreate all of reality and rewrite history too, every news cycle - heady stuff.

Ditto on the preceding comments.

8/19/2014 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

In other words, it can be so painful for flat-earthers to come a-round.

8/19/2014 08:44:00 PM  

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