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