Secular Myth and Religious Science
Just as it is impossible to look at a dead universe and foresee life, it is impossible to look at animals and see an incipient man. You could say that man is just a weird animal, but that doesn't quite cut it; for he appears more like an alien "from another land" than "a mere growth of this one."
As we hope to explain, "It is not natural to see man as a natural product" (ibid.). For man is not simply an extension of animality, nor a prolongation of biology. What then?
Well, for starters -- and this is as true today as it was when Chesterton wrote it in 1925 -- "there is not a shadow of evidence that this thing was evolved at all." The thing to which he refers is "a mind with a new dimension of depth."
Again, this dimension is at a right angle to everything that came (chronologically) before. As we have
argued declared in number of posts, depth is the dimension of soul; or of height, if you like (or even breadth). Either way, soul is the nonlocal organ of verticality, or of vertical perception. It is truly what defines the human person and sets him apart from all other things in existence. A man without a soul would be an animal; I'll give you that.
The soul is not a product of evolution because it cannot be a product of evolution. No one has ever explained how this could even be possible, let alone actual.
Nor is there "a particle of proof that this transition came slowly, or even that it came naturally." Indeed, how could something that is self-evidently trans-natural ever have arisen via nature? If nature is capable of rising up and outside itself, then this only proves that we have no idea what nature really is. Show me the naturalistic principle that renders the human subject even possible (just the subject, mind you, not even the soul).
We are told that there is a definable line between this cosmos and whatever "preceded" it, i.e., the Big Bang. To be sure, the Big Bang cannot be the beginning of existence per se, only of this existence (or order). Similarly, there is an identifiable boundary between life and death, or living and nonliving matter. Neither is a continuum, but rather, a singularity: a sudden transition.
Likewise the human person: "It was not and it was; we know not in what instant or in what infinity of years. Something happened; and it has all the appearance of a transaction outside of time" (emphasis mine).
Now, why is the Conspiracy resistant to such a self-evident truth? It didn't used to be this way. Rather, all men at all times have intuited the vertical ground of the soul.
Consider the cave painting in yesterday's post. Someone was driven to produce that. He did not first attend kindergarten, where he was furnished with crayons and finger paint and encouraged to express his creativity. Nor can one say it was simply "spontaneous," because there was nothing in his environment answering to the spontaneous urge. Rather, the creative impulse must have come "out of nowhere."
Besides: urge to do what, exactly? Yes, to create an aesthetically beautiful image. Is your soul really satisfied by a deduction from a priori Darwinian principles, through which you may confidently affirm that he did it for reasons of more booty? Then you, sir, have lost your soul. And that includes your intellect.
Clearly, that image is prima facie evidence of a "transaction outside of time." How do we know this? For starters, because it is timeless -- 30,000 years later, and we're still admiring it. Furthermore, it is something that human beings -- so long as they are human -- will always and forever be capable of admiring. There will never be a man incapable of appreciating timeless beauty -- nor timeless truth or universal virtue. Although the left is certainly doing its best to abolish man, there will never be a day when humans cannot potentially know and appreciate transtemporal truth and objective morality.
Humanness is an irreducible cosmic category, something we must simply accept and move on. This is the point, say, of the Declaration of Independence, i.e., that all men are created, and created equal. Just declare it and move along, for to deny it renders any good polis strictly impossible.
In other words, to say that there are no self-evident truths about man is to not only say that we shall argue over first principles forever, but that there is no way to arrive at the truth anyway. What is left? Power, or the law of the Obama jungle.
Chesterton cooncurs that the existence of the soul "has nothing to do with with history in the ordinary sense." Rather, "the historian must take it or something like it for granted; it is not his business as a historian to explain it." He can, like an idiot, defer to the biologist, but the biologist is even less equipped to deal with the question.
What is the question again? How did this mysterious alien being get here?
The other day, our invincibly dense anonymous troll expressed disdain for the function of myth. What is myth? First, myth is something produced by (or better, "in") man, not by a man. It embodies a kind of higher (which is to say, vertical) collective wisdom; one might say that it is analogous to what instinct is in animals. Thus, a proper myth reveals vital truths about human nature. Are there myths in Genesis? Of course. As if this is an insult!
There are also secular myths that provide a ground for psychic unity, making us spiritual brothers, so to speak. When I was a child, I heard the one about George Washington having never told a lie. When I was in college, I heard the one about him being nothing more than a racist slaveholder looking after his own economic interests.
The former is infinitely closer to the truth of the matter, the truth being that every American (and frankly, every human being) must count himself lucky and grateful that such a great soul appeared when and where he did in the stream of history. And that's the point of the myth, jackass. Not only does it save a lot of time, but it inoculates one against infectious tenure.