Friday, October 24, 2014

The Blinding Light and Omniscient Darkness of a World Made of Language

Back to words -- or messages, messengers, and recipients. Deconstructionists like to pretend that the world is made of language, but they don't really believe it, any more than the liberal believes in racial equality. Rather, they first redefine the plain meaning of the word and then pledge their allegiance to their little delusion.

But for the Vertical Church of the Orthoparadoxical Trinity, the world really IS made of language, bearing in mind its three modes alluded to above. The postmodernist collapses these three, so that language refers only to itself: words point only to other words, with the result that speaking becomes indistinguishable from the ceaseless cranio-rectal exploration of the tenured.

Speaking of which, this superb book on how Israel went from being adored to despised by the left has a chapter on the malignant leftist intellectual assclown Edward Said, that reminds us of how intellectually depraved he and they are. As far as I am aware, there is nothing analogous in contemporary conservatism to these fashionable intellectual darlings becoming Academic Superstars and shaping whole generations of morons. (Even a public intellectual such as Russell Kirk is simply preserving and handing along the Permanent Things.)

In the 1960s it was provocateurs such as Marcuse, Adorno, Sartre, Michael Harrington, et al. Nowadays it is Said, Chomsky, Zinn, Foucault, Derrida, Rawls, and the rest of that rabble. Such people are not even confused, rather, grandiose transmission belts of Confident Error to the McDullards of academia (both students and other professors).

The reason conservative thinkers are not generally subject to such systematic nonsense is that we are by definition much less influenced by these types of fashionable intellectual vaudevillians (there are always exceptions -- some so-called conservatives even voted for Obama). A hundred years from now no one will know these noams, but people will still be studying Aristotle, Aquinas, or Burke, for the simple reason that the former are always intellectual reactionaries who react to and recoil from truth. Truth is one, while its endless alternatives constitute the fashionable nonsense of the day.

As to the linguistic composition of reality, Balthasar writes that "By keeping himself open in his suspended center to movement toward the depths, [man's] language is constantly enriched from heaven and earth."

In other words, man is the recipient of a continuous stream of horizontal and vertical murmurandoms, but only if he opens himself to them in freedom. For example, vast swaths of the world -- mostly the Islamic world -- systematically close off the horizontal messages, while perhaps an equal number of cardiomyopic assouls in the west shut out the vertical.

Of note, once one forecloses the vertical, that is hardly the end of it. Like any other form of repression, there is always a return of the repressed, but in a disguised, projected, or transformed way. Which is why there is no one more superstitious than the secular leftist, just as there is no one more "concrete" than the Islamist who rejects reason and empiricism.

In other words, if one cannot penetrate and illuminate the horizontal world rationally, then it is as if one is left with a kind of dense concrete block of unintelligibility. This also explains why their visions of heaven are so concretely sensual, whereas the left wing political heaven is always an unattainable and destructive abstraction that they nevertheless cannot stop loving with mind, body, and heart.

As a matter of fact, this goes to one of the reasons for the left's reversal on Israel, because during its first twenty or thirty years, Israel was probably the most purely socialistic nation that has ever existed, right down to kibbutzniks who didn't own so much as their own pants, and whose children were raised collectively.

Of course this beautiful idea eventually fell apart in practice, so Israel became the most convincing proof ever that socialism cannot work even under the extraordinary conditions of being a voluntary system among ethnically, religiously, culturally, ideologically, and linguistically similar peoples. How then could it possibly succeed in a place like the US, where it can only be forced upon an ethnically, culturally, religiously, linguistically, and ideologically diverse population?

Obama does not know this. Why? Maybe because Edward Said is one the floundering fathers from whom he got his crazy dreams. I don't have time to get into the details, but suffice it to say that Said is as thoroughly rotten as they come. To assimilate his ideas is to become rotten, or to allow one's mind to rot from the inside out. Even to look up to such a person signifies a broken moral and intellectual compass. In other words, his perverse ideas simply do not resonate in the sane (even leaving aside Said's dishonesty, pomposity, and wretched scholarship).

Note that for a postmodern thinker such as Said, it is naive to think there is such a thing as unambiguous truth, for which reason his lies become understandable as the means for revolutionary change, which is the real point. A lie that furthers Palestinian barbarism is a good thing.

This view of reality could not be more opposed to ours (again, it is reactionary, i.e., a reaction to truth). Now, we agree that there is ambiguity surrounding language, not because of a deficiency of truth but because of an excess, an overflowing mystery through which meaning is conveyed through words even while always transcending them. "Language acquires its depth, its infinite significance, its poetic, prophetic, lawgiving power from knowledge of this mystery" (Balthasar). Thus, "When the mystery of the ground of being fades, then the expressive power of words fades also."

Furthermore, all speech that we call "great" is "rooted, without qualification and without exception, in the religious, in the reverent vision" of this perpetual differentiation of the primordial Word.

Now, theo-logy, as Balthasar reminds us, is at one end "the speech of God," but at the other "the speech of man in God." In other words, there is mystery at both ends, and yet, it is not a "barren" mystery, but rather, an endlessly fertile one. "If man is ultimately gifted with speech because he himself is a word of God," it means that man is simultaneously word, recipient, and speaker in return. This is the only possible source of our own potential "wholeness," which comes via participation in this eternal divine trialogue at the heart of things.


Blogger julie said...

Speaking of deconstructing and language, and going back to the commentary re. the Hannon piece earlier this week, Rogelio Bueno provided (in the comments to that post) this link to an article that touches on similar themes, but expresses it far, far better.

A big part of the difference, I suspect, comes from the fact that the Hannon piece was written from the standpoint of deconstruction, and thus was already writing from the wrong end of the equation, even though he did have a good point hidden in there. The Touchstone article, linked above, sidesteps all of that nonsense quite neatly, and gets to the real point: the damage that is done to an entire culture that accepts homosexuality as a legitimate expression of human relationships.

(And apologies in advance if i've already sent the conversation off the rails...)

10/24/2014 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

On Words and Mystery; it's fascinating that anyone previous to Christ had at their disposal the same vocabulary He did. And yet, "no one spake as this man."

10/24/2014 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

For people like me that were baptized in Christian Zionism, it's hard to see Israel as ever doing anything wrong. I suspect the decline of Christianity in Europe as well as the academic antagonism toward conservative Christians is related to the increased hostility toward Israel.

The left probably looks at Netanyahu being invited to speak and being welcomed by fundamentalist Christian groups as more evidence that Israel is a problem.

10/24/2014 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Re Hannon, for me, the moment you enlist someone like Foucault to support your thesis -- the moment you even take such a loon seriously -- you have gone seriously off the rails.

10/24/2014 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

God gives us certain shorthand words to help us avoid whole territories that are either barren or floridly psychotic. Once such word is "Foucault."

10/24/2014 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Likewise, no one has ever been wrong by affirming the opposite of whatever Chomsky says.

10/24/2014 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As I've mentioned before, I once actually went to see Chomsky speak in person. It was during the presidency of Bush I. I don't remember much about it, except his assurance that Bush was about to invade his beloved Cuba.

10/24/2014 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. Foucalt, lol.

I think the only reason I got through the Hannon article in the first place was that I pretty much skimmed to the end. I wanted to give it a chance, because people I respect saw something worthwhile in it. And that's about all I'm going to say on that.

Anyway, the Touchstone piece resonates, where the Hannon went thunk.

10/24/2014 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One helpful point about the chapter on Said is the author's explanation that Marxists simply changed from the conflict between economic classes to a permanent conflict between races, genders, and "sexual orientations." I guess I hadn't quite made the direct connection to Marxism. But it explains everything from Ferguson, to the phony war on women, to the redefinition of marriage, the left's war on stopping voter fraud, etc.

10/24/2014 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In other words, "truth" resides in skin color, genitalia, and sexual perversion.

10/24/2014 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Also, socialist Zionism left something to hook the left. Remove that and you're left mostly with a lot of white European colonialists who are therefore inherently bad.

10/24/2014 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"... the ceaseless cranio-rectal exploration of the tenured."

Oh. My. Joan? Gotta be a tweet or two in that.

10/24/2014 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

D'Souza's America also proved to be an enjoyable romp through the leftist intellectual playground. I would highly recommend that book as intellectual inoculation for any child about to enter the left wing seminary known as college. So many diseases there!

10/24/2014 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "...the moment you enlist someone like Foucault to support your thesis -- the moment you even take such a loon seriously -- you have gone seriously off the rails."

'zactly so.

10/24/2014 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Know them by their fruits. His were not only inedible, but provoke the gag reflex.

10/24/2014 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Probably a murderer too, if knowingly transmitting AIDS is murder.

10/24/2014 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The Touchstone article is very good. How could I argue with a guy who uses "feather boa" the same way I do?

I'm sure there's still good stuff at First Things, but the reason I stopped picking up their feed a while back is that some are too eager to be taken Seriously by the Serious -- or something like that.

Well, I've read Foucault, you know.

Well, I might have read the warning label on a dildo once, but I don't brag about it.

10/24/2014 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You've got to operate on a higher plane than the Intellectually Serious, not descend to their level...

10/24/2014 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I cannot even begin to explain to my kids what I'm laughing at over here...

10/24/2014 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

You're laughing at a phony dick. In other words, Foucault.

10/24/2014 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Mushroom said "Well, I've read Foucault, you know."

I've got Foucault and Derida on my bookshelf. And Chomsky. Strictly as "Defense against the Dark Arts" materials. It's an important subject to learn, but care must be taken. For in referencing such bilge as if it were sensible, you cannot avoid inverting some section of your own sensibleization mechanism, a tweak which might go unnoticed until you're in a precarious moment of truth, and then as you take your next step it's as if you were the Coyote on watch at the cliff as the Road Runner zooms up to "Beep! Beep!" behind you.

And you know what happens next.

[fallllllllllll..... "Poofff..."]

But my Dark Arts books are clearly marked with philosophical warning labels, such as "What utter Bullshit!" and the like, so as to prevent any unwitting ingestion by the innocent.

Can't be too careful. Wouldn't want Prof. Snape on your ass.

10/24/2014 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I'm just reading a chapter on radical revisionist left wing Jewish historians and journalists, and you can well understand how the weak-minded are seduced by their prophetic blather.

10/24/2014 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Julie, thanks for the link to that outstanding Touchstone article. It is without a doubt the best expose on the damages of homosexuality that I've read.

10/24/2014 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The damage is extensive, widespread, and scientifically well-documented. Which the anti-science left doesn't want to know.

10/24/2014 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just read the Esolen article. Very good. I had very close male friendhips as a boy, which were not intruded upon by even the possibility of homosexuality, let alone expression. Esolen is right: the meaning of everything changes when you start telling kids they might be homosexual.

10/24/2014 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

My son and his best friend are incredibly close, but both are raised in families where homosexuality is either unthinkable or just weird and ridiculous.

10/24/2014 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Wow, an honest leftist.

10/24/2014 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray said...

Unlurking for a moment (River Cocytus here)

Good stuff. For things that a Reactionary (in the sense of a reaction against revolution - ergo, counter-revolutionary) check out Reaction Times.

I've been writing esoteric pieces for The Mitrailleuse - I used some of our stuff for work on Egregore theory, which I think has been formally and permanently infused into the intellectual bloodstream, thanks mostly to your exegesis here.

Glad to see you're still clunking along, jolly Raccoons.

10/24/2014 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Hey River!

10/24/2014 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Relieved. I thought maybe some cult-deprogrammer had gotten to him.

10/24/2014 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...


River! How's family?

10/24/2014 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

If you ever want to be entertained, watch the Foucault/Chomsky debate that happened at MIT in 1971. What's most fascinating is how radical Foucault comes across to Chomsky (actually making him uncomfortable with these extreme ideas). Of course today he is channeling Foucault: "If you want to stop terrorist, stop acting like one." Ugh.

10/24/2014 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This book on Israel, although fantastic, is also quite distressing. The international left is just surreal in its anti-Semitism. It's frightening to think that millions of otherwise intelligent people can believe such evil things, and be completely impervious to logic and evidence. It's got to be demonic, since there is no rational explanation.

10/24/2014 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I need some relief -- some Light. On to the Lincoln bio!

10/24/2014 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

There's always Sunshine Pop...

10/24/2014 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

How is Rebecca Bynum's new book?

10/24/2014 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good name for Obama's political philosophy: surrealpolitik.

10/24/2014 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Still waiting for Bynum's book to get here. Looking forward to that one, as I've read several pieces of hers that have a distinctively Raccoonish perspective -- actually, somewhat more like what I might have believed ten years ago, but we'll see...

10/24/2014 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Happy sunshine.

10/24/2014 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

More sunshine.

Imagine a Palestinian writing a song that doesn't involve genocide.

10/24/2014 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Groovy sunshine.

10/24/2014 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. Palestinian sunshine, that sounds like a challenge.

Actually, this guy is the closest I know of. If the Middle East had more like this, the world would be immeasurably better for it.

If you don't want to listen, do scroll down for the translated lyrics, they are lovely.

10/24/2014 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The comments to Lazy Day are pretty funny:

"Makes me want to stay home from work and chase bunnies and rainbows all day long while eating a vanilla ice cream cone."

10/24/2014 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And this is just funny. Especially from the outside, for someone who doesn't have to live that way...

10/24/2014 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. Lazy Day, that is so incredibly 60s, I had to check and make sure I wasn't suddenly standing in the Brady Bunch set. Having said that, it is impossible to hear without wearing a big cheesy grin.

10/24/2014 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray said...


Two in tow, now. As the Bard said, "The world must be peopled"

How are things with y'all?

10/24/2014 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Two here, too :)

At present, they're bouncing around the kitchen singing Beatles tunes.

10/24/2014 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's funny how kids instantly react to the Beatles. In the past I've tried to analyze why this is. Both the lyrics and the sound play a part...

10/24/2014 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

@Van: already got two Instapundit retweets on gems from this lovely essay!

As for the rest of youse guys, I still like the Hannon article, haven't read enough of Foucault to be thrown by a shout-out to him for an alloyed support in the effort to speak to Millennials and other mentally stunted products of our culture.

The Touchstone article, is much, much better. Agreed on that point.

10/24/2014 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

@ Bob: Yeah - the girl hears the opening strains of "Eight Days a Week" or "Yellow Submarine," and says, "Music!"

Then she sings along.

She has Eight Days memorized already, but Yellow Submarine is a little tougher for her brain to hang onto, since most of it is just syllables to her ear.

10/24/2014 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Crap. Now I have to read Foucault so I don't embarrass myself amongst Raccoons.


10/24/2014 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

:-) Cheer up Joan, you'll love kicking those cans!

10/24/2014 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

If it makes you feel any better, Joan, I've only seen the Wiki...

10/24/2014 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Part of the appeal to children is those simple sing-along choruses...

10/24/2014 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Plus I think the concepts - and the mental pictures inspired - are often simple enough for even the youngest kids to grasp at some level.

10/24/2014 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And my kids get excited about anything featuring numbers and colors, so there's that...

10/24/2014 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I had some Foucault in my library, but brought it in to the neighborhood household hazardous waste roundup a few years ago.

10/24/2014 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

So it's probably a good thing that my brain only has room for one Foucault. That pendulum trick is pretty cool.

10/24/2014 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

True about the concepts and mental pictures: they couldn't be more simple, but as we know, simple is not easy. A lot of the early songs were consciously written in the first person, too, which may help. It's like they're singing to you: I want to hold your hand, I'm happy just to dance with you, do you want to know a secret, etc....

10/24/2014 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, good point - a lot of kids' shows use that trick, too. Depending on the kid, they may go for years thinking the TV really is talking to them.

10/24/2014 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Skorpion said...

Trippy sunshine.

10/24/2014 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Psychedelic bubblegum sunshine blues.

10/25/2014 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

With fractals!

10/25/2014 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

After Sgt. Pepper came out, every group started putting out songs featuring an Obligatory Psychedelic Freak-Out. One of the most superfluous ever was on the otherwise catchy track Susan, by the Buckinghams. Unadulterated self-indulgence masquerading as profundity.

10/25/2014 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another egregious case, starting at 1:50. Trivia: that's none other than Glen Campbell on lead vocal.

You probably had to be stoned to appreciate the profundity of the psychedelic interlude.

10/25/2014 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Did you folks know that XTC created a mythical alter-ego band called Dukes of the Stratosphere that recorded authentic psychedelic sunshine tracks that sounded like they had been recorded in 1967? Vanishing Girl.

10/25/2014 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Skorpion said...

My favorite Dukes of Stratosphear track -- here they sound like The Yardbirds on 500 mikes of Owsley's finest.

10/25/2014 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That really does sound like the Yardbirds! Another good track is 25 O'clock, where they sound like the Electric Prunes, with a nod to Pink Floyd at the beginning.

10/25/2014 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

There's a really enjoyable collection of modern retro psychedelia and garage rock called Children of Nuggets, now sadly out of print. It also has some retro sunshine nuggets on it, such as Tracy Hide by the Wondermints (who have since become Brian Wilson's back-up group).

10/25/2014 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

lol - just catching up, I made the mistake of watching the fractals for too long. Suddenly I'm thinking, don't go into the light!!

Actually, just by the sound of it I don't think the fractals are even necessary. It's like an audio contact high.

10/25/2014 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Apropos of previous few posts: "A man and a man, or a woman and a woman, cannot reflect the union of Christ and the church, instead only reflecting Christ and Christ or church and church."

10/25/2014 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thus, "When the mystery of the ground of being fades, then the expressive power of words fades also."

Aye, and it always leads to pandermonium.

10/25/2014 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If progressive ideas are so wonderful, why don't they put them before the electorate instead of imposing them afterwards?

Rhetorical question. Leftism is a Lie that requires a bodyguard of lies.

10/26/2014 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

So, Led Zeppelin is getting sued by the estate of Spirit for stealing Stairway to Heaven from them. Seems like a bit of a reach. You decide.

10/26/2014 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

On the other hand, this theft is more obvious.

10/26/2014 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If you're going to steal, don't make it this obvious: Curtis Mayfield helping himself to some Isleys.

10/26/2014 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I guess everyone knows that George Harrison got busted for unconsciously plagiarizing He's So Fine from the Chiffons.

10/26/2014 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

In my dreams I've been combining the lyrics to one song with the music of another -- it's been playing on a continuous loop in my head night and day. Had to look it up, it's true:
"'O sole mio" is a globally known Neapolitan song written in 1898 ...The rewritten version was entitled "It's Now or Never" and was a worldwide hit for Presley."
~ Professor Wiki

10/26/2014 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yup. Just threw in some contemporary lyrics.

Eric Carmen of the Raspberries was famous for reworking classical motifs into rock songs. I think that's why their melodies endure.

10/26/2014 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I believe Rachmaninoff was his favorite target of plunder.

10/26/2014 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just looked it up: " Carmen was contacted by the Rachmaninoff estate and an agreement was reached in which the estate would receive 12 percent of the royalties from "All By Myself" as well as "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again", which was based on the third movement from Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2"\

By "contacted" I think it means the Russian mafia greeted him at his door.

10/26/2014 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

In Soviet Russia,
door knocks you.

10/26/2014 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Who knew?: plants don't like being eaten but babies don't mind having their skulls crushed.

10/26/2014 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Just use the scientific word for "crushed" and all will be well..

10/26/2014 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

The music from "All By Myself" brought this to mind:

It's the Chris Bliss juggling masterpiece.

10/26/2014 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

It stands to reason that the IRS, like the DOJ would steal money from law abiding citizens, just because they can:

10/26/2014 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The greatest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he doesn't exist. Which is why he has an ambivalent relationship to the left, since they make his existence so obvious.

10/26/2014 05:53:00 PM  

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