Friday, October 17, 2014

Secular Myth and Religious Science

"The simplest truth about man," writes Chesterton, "is that he is a very strange being."

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.


Blogger John Lien said...

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.

Yes! When I believed in Darwinism I had to, I don't know, concede? accept it as a logical conclusion?

Didn't make me happy though.

Back to the post.

10/17/2014 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

...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.

I would add that it also served as an ideal toward which one should aspire. It goes beyond simply saying, "it is not good to lie," and instills the idea that truly great men are moral, and not merely powerful.

10/17/2014 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The soul is not a product of evolution because it cannot be a product of evolution

Almost it was like it was there waiting for something to catch up and connect -- like an outlet waiting for a toaster.

10/17/2014 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


10/17/2014 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As The Church of the Subgenius (whose memes you like to misappropriate) says, "relax in the safety of your own delusions".

Honestly, most people who have gotten past the fifth grade can handle the fact that real historical figures are different from their myths, and more interesting too. The book you linked to claims to be a "richly nuanced portrait", you might try imitating it.

But you moved me to track down the source of the cherry tree myth, which I have to say gave me a good laugh. Today Parson Weems would probably work in advertising.

10/17/2014 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Walt Kowalski said...

Misappropriating memes. I got a meme you can misappropriate: Get off my lawn!

10/17/2014 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nuanced, like "In general it is the left that has pushed the US to live up to its ideals, while the right seems to think that the America is just another ethnic nation looking after the interests of its own group and to hell with the others. "

10/17/2014 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The left never told a lie!

10/17/2014 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"A man without a soul would be an animal; I'll give you that."

Or, to be more accurate, a monster.

10/17/2014 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think a soulless man would be just an animal. But a man who becomes soul-dead definitely becomes a monster, because now there is a vacuum there for demonic energies. Even Stalin must have once had a soul...

10/17/2014 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good point, Bob. I didn't consider that but there is certainly a distinction between soulless and soul-dead.

10/17/2014 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I remember reading an occult-type person who said that Stalin was born without a soul, Hitler with.

Like anyone can know that, Napoleon!

10/17/2014 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stalin was more nuanced because at least he was a man of the left.

10/17/2014 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, your reply was too nuanced for me, could you explain yourself?

To expand my point: what's the single example in the last 100 years of America being brought closer to its ideals? The civil rights movement, of course. And where were the left and right on that issue?

10/17/2014 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For the benefit of the deaf: Democrats have always opposed racial equality, then as much as now. To call southern Democrats "conservative" is absurd, since they were cheek to jowl with other big government Democrats on every issue except for race and free labor. Which is why a greater percentage of Republicans favored civili rights legislation than Democrats. If the ideal is equality before the law, Democrats have always opposed it. Republicans supported civil rights 77% of the time, a higher percentage than even northern Democrats.

10/17/2014 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

"I think a soulless man would be just an animal. But a man who becomes soul-dead definitely becomes a monster, because now there is a vacuum there for demonic energies."

This recalls Matthew 12:43-45

10/17/2014 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Also, on issues related to the progressive agenda, southern and non-southern Dems voted together 87% of the time, so it is perverse to call the former "conservative."

10/17/2014 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of founders, looks like a great new book on Lincoln. I just snatched up a used copy on amazon.

10/17/2014 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Also, under President Eisenhower, a republican for lefties that don't know, the military was integrated years before the civil rights movement.

10/17/2014 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Bob, just out of curiosity, what examples of souless men are there?
The soul-dead otoh are easy to spot.

10/17/2014 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Twenty years ago, I believed exactly what anonymous believes, right down to the last postmodern nuance. Weird how maturity kills that kind of thinking. Ah, to be young enough to know everything!

10/17/2014 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I knew everything once, until I realized I know next to nothin'. That's when my true education began.

10/17/2014 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ben: I don't know that there are any congenitally soulless people. I guess it's possible. Stalin seems to be a good candidate, because he was so lacking in anything identifiably human. Even Hitler had a girlfriend.

10/17/2014 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I wonder if a child who becomes a psychopath due to childhood trauma but chooses not to do evil could be described as souless.
They are rare but there are some out there. I recall reading an article by a neurologist, IIRC, who discovered he was a psychopath by testing himself.

10/17/2014 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of soul-killing, Islam.

10/17/2014 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ben, its is indeed possible for the soul to be scared out of the body, so to speak. This happens in PTSD for sure. With chronic PTSD suffered by an abused child, their neurology gets messed up just as they are assimilating their soul. I've seen patients who are just lifeless shells, although not evil.

10/17/2014 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

IRT Islam: Aye. And there are at least 100 million of them but probably a helluva lot more.

10/17/2014 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I know I read this book on soul murder long ago, but I don't remember if it was any good...

10/17/2014 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This is painful to talk about but there were times when Patti, during her worse bouts of PTSD would be a shell of her true self and not all there.
It really is heartbreaking to see someone suffering from that.

10/17/2014 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That could just be depression or it could be trauma... hard to tell sometimes... Depression also leaves one empty and dead.

10/17/2014 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

In the last hundred years ... closer to our ideals ... I can tell you for sure a couple of eras in which it didn't happen. One would be under Wilson's racist, progressive, interventionist presidency. Another would be FDR's New Deal domestic interventionist policies. Then there was the extremely racist LBJ Great Society travesty that broke the back of the black family in America. To be fair I'll add Nixon's draconian War on Drugs which began the destruction of Fourth Amendment protections.

The bigger, more centralized you make government, the more you consolidate power, the less individual liberty you have. You can call that right or left or whatever you want to call it, but I'm against it.

10/17/2014 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Or, as LBJ said of his vast welfare trap, "I'll have them niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."

10/17/2014 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. soul murder, I've often wondered about the image of the kid holding a man's head that was making the rounds a few weeks back. However his father started out, ensouled or soulless, he became a monster and is working hard to ensure that his child becomes one, as well.

10/17/2014 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not know who you think you are fooling with the ridiculous tapdancing around the truth.

I was talking about left and right, not the Democratic party. In the civil rights era, the right was frankly racist, epitomized by William Buckley's pompous declarations of how the white race deserved to rule even when they were in the minority. The left, on the other hand, was sending worked down to the south to actually work for civil rights, often getting murdered for their pains.

Those are the facts. I know you prefer myths, but you need to come up with better ones if you want to convince anybody with even a nodding acquaintance of the actual history.

10/17/2014 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This guy is a crack-up -- like a visit to my former idiot self! Good times, good times....

10/17/2014 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

What a maroonyloon.

10/17/2014 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

I wonder what drives anon to post here. He can't be foolish enough to think he will change hearts and minds (well maybe he is but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt), so is it simply to argue? Is that something he somehow finds fulfilling? I just don't understand what motivates people like him (her?).

10/17/2014 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or in other words, what did I do to deserve all the nuanced trolls?

10/17/2014 02:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Captain Obvious said...

"Those are the facts."

Once again, from a guy who cites a cartoonist as a historical source.

10/17/2014 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

What motivates him -- if I recall correctly -- is a compulsive need to demonstrate intellectual and moral superiority, combined with an intolerance of ambiguity.

10/17/2014 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or in other words, I wish I were intellectually immature enough to know as much as he does. It's a bracing feeling.

10/17/2014 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ebony, I was just reading somewhere recently that trolls are generally just as odious in person as they are online.

In other words, he's probably just as intrusive and annoying in person.

10/17/2014 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Although I once believed the same things anonymous does (I wish I had saved some of my old letters to the editor!), I like to think I didn't have that acrid soul-stench.

10/17/2014 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I think I may have held some similarly obnoxious opinions for a while, but don't think the opportunity came up much to discuss, and I probably would have avoided anything that smacked of conflict.

In other words, I'm sure I stank, but I doubt anyone was close enough to notice.

10/17/2014 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It was pretty easy for me to be that way, because everyone else in my world was. Nowadays it's even easier. Just read in the Kotkin book that 96% of donations from Ivy League schools went to Obama. That's a level of uniformity that would make the Soviet Union envious!

10/17/2014 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous neal said...

Anon, you must know that over time, revival is what kept the rough beast at bay. One must factor in tent revivals, spontaneous eruptions of change, even outlaw fishermen into the thing itself.

That has been the blaze of light that even the most confused and wayward could not talk around. Just choice.

One could run away, or embrace the reality of it. Or be a tease, and hope that lasts longer than you will.

The problem with nihilistic history is that what is really going on is way more interesting, and open to change, than is dreamt of by rote memory.

Better to find an old man in the hills. Or some dude in a boat. A bit less and more self selective. Different consensus.

10/17/2014 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"What motivates him -- if I recall correctly -- is a compulsive need to demonstrate intellectual and moral superiority, combined with an intolerance of ambiguity."

Yes, but at some point you would think he would conclude he isn't convincing anyone of his superior intellect and tire of it.

I'm probably giving his power of perception too much credit.

10/17/2014 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume the string of content-free insults means that you have no substantive answers to my points. Guess I win by default.

10/17/2014 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Sure, if it makes you happy to think so.

10/17/2014 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I agree. I have no answer to my younger self, and my departure from him is inexplicable.

10/17/2014 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Wouldn't winning require a contest? Do you really think you are in a contest?

No one is answering you because we all know it's pointless to beat one's head against a wall.

10/17/2014 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of making miraculous leaps that defy evolution...

10/17/2014 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It's sad, actually - the real issue, underneath all the moaning about the atrocity of myth - is that this Anon apparently truly believes (going back to Monday) that it is NOT good that America exists. There is literally nothing that can be said to breach that gap, no argument to make, no rope to throw across.

10/17/2014 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It took me years to get out of the matrix. The idea that a blog comment could have turned me around is beyond magical thinking.

10/17/2014 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Why it is hard to find truth.

I just wish more nihilists had the courage of their convictions.

10/17/2014 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Exactly: no truth, no justice.

10/17/2014 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This is a very funny story if you haven't been following. The need to control even petty things so pervades the left.

10/17/2014 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That's funny. I wonder how MoveOn is going to weasel out of acknowledging the real winner?

10/17/2014 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Lookout, fellow Raccoons! Someone in NJ thinks we make a tasty dinner.

10/17/2014 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

When Communion Goes Wrong

10/17/2014 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This younger self you keep speaking of -- honestly, he seems like a big improvement over the present one. Now *that* is sad. What would he have said if he could have seen what a self-satisfied boob he would turn into?

On the other hand, people don't really change their basic character, so I'm pretty sure you were just as much of a douche back then as you are now. If you actually had leftist ideas it was no doubt for the wrong reasons. The real kind are not sloughed off so easily when they become inconvenient.

On the other other hand, your transition no doubt improved the average intelligence of both sides.

10/17/2014 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yeah, that's probably it. My bad.

10/17/2014 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

aninnymouse said "... means that you have no substantive answers to my points..."

Thanks for reminding me. Care to try and answer the question I asked the other day? Individual Rights? What are they?

Answer if you dare....

10/17/2014 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha hahaha!

Bob, you're a heretic!

But seriously, why is it just so funny when some peoplle try to hurl insults? Now a compliment, that would be devastating coming from this guy....

10/17/2014 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

And for soulless one, I'll nominate this lovely nurse (I might have gotten the story from here? Hard to remember), but she sure seems to fit the bill.

And aninnymouse, if you have a headache, I'm sure she wouldn't be annoyed if you contacted her.

10/17/2014 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Although anonymous is in the main correct about my treacherous douchbaggery, one way I am different is that, like him, I used to seek out conflict, whereas now his (which is to say, my former) type seek me out. Which proves to me that my karma is not yet exhausted.

10/17/2014 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Apropos of nothing, I remember -- must have been ten years ago -- getting into an argument with my liberal father-in-law and his equally liberal friend over whether WMD had been discovered in Iraq. They were obnoxiously confident in their position, because they hadn't read about it in the NY Times. They are both dead now, so there is no satisfaction in knowing that the Times is finally on the case.

10/17/2014 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Maybe apropos of something, because what can one do with people who love conflict but reject truth? They had a pretty big house, so I would just find a place to hide out with a good book.

10/17/2014 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This is funny. Chris Matthews says liberals are more complicated than conservatives.
Of course they are. They hafta lie to themselves and others all the time.

10/17/2014 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I'm actuallu surprised the NYSlimes finally admitted that there are WMD's in Iraq.
Only because ISIS has some, but still.
I reckon they didn't wanna look too stupid (too late) if ISIS uses them against Iraqi's or whoever else they get the opportunity to use them on.

10/17/2014 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van, it only took a brief investigation for the Italian authorities to find out she murdered at least 38 patients.
I guess they don't screen their hospital employees in Italy since she was posting it on Facebook.

But hey, at least it was free healthcare. Lefties should be proud.

10/17/2014 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Complicated" is a liberal euphemism for crazy and illogical.

10/17/2014 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

I guess you could say there is a Republican war on complicated women.

10/17/2014 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

""Complicated" is a liberal euphemism for crazy and illogical."

Aye, and "nuance" is a liberal euphenism for reading between the lyings. Plus, they feel smarter by saying nuance although they can't explain the nuance.
Sort of a magic word that trumps reason and logic.

10/18/2014 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Liberals are complicated, nuanced, and "socially conscious," the latter meaning utterly lacking in personal insight and bereft of historical context.

10/18/2014 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

All of which is fine. Just stop annoying the hell out of the rest of us with it (24/7). And worse.
That's all they gotta do.
But we know theirs is an itchy parasite.

10/18/2014 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A liberal is someone who can't be happy unless he's making someone else miserable. Thus, they need us in their lives, while we have no use for them.

10/18/2014 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Well, if there's one thing I've learned from them, or rather, Dems, it's to never have a religious attachment to politiciann or party.
Now if only they could learn it.

10/18/2014 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Progressive sophisticates such as Bill Maher like to ridicule the second Commandment but never stop proving why idolatry fails.

10/18/2014 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

You once indicated that moderate vices are healthy, so here's to more douchbaggery!

10/18/2014 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Waking thought this morning:
In OUR beginning was the Word.

This is the miracle that happened when man became a living soul. To even form a thought, a Word has to precede it. An Articulation of everything had to happen, a thing said, that contains everything that came into being after it.

I tried to think of my first thought and it's as impossible to know and as far away as the Big Bang. And yet, it's as true for the first man is it is for the cosmos. The Word is our soul.

10/18/2014 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

How interesting that Man's first "work" was to name the animals; to name them was to recognize his transcendence, his otherness. To see that none of them were like him was the first philosophy lesson of Man.

In the beginning. Long time ago...

10/18/2014 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Good thoughts Joan. I never put 2 and 2 together regarding naming the animals. Pretty cool.

10/18/2014 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting what this parrot can do with words, but notice that he couldn't do it in the absence of a vertical ingression -- in his case from humans.

10/19/2014 09:05:00 AM  

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