Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting Your Heart & Mind in Order (In That Order)

Knowledge is dangerous; that is, it can always cut both ways, depending upon who has it and what they intend to do with it. For example, no morally sane person is troubled by Israel having nuclear weapons. Conversely, all morally sane people are troubled by the prospect of Muslim nations possessing those same weapons.

Therefore, knowledge must always be subordinated to something beyond knowledge, at risk of sinking beneath itself. As Green writes, knowledge may well fuel pride, as in the timeless stories of Adam, Prometheus, Icarus, Gruber, and countless others.

But this should not discourage one from seeking knowledge, any more than Charles Manson's impending nuptials should steer us away from sex. In short, misuse of an object or idea does not detract from its proper use.

"The fact that knowledge can puff up," observes Green, illustrates the point that "knowledge is inherently a moral reality," and "can be used for good or ill" (emphasis in original).

This is elementary, similar to the principle that rights not only come with responsibilities, but that the responsibilities must be prior to the rights. In other words, you cannot give rights to an irresponsible entity, or one without free will. You can't give a bear the right to roam free through a city. Why? Because the bear has no responsibility.

The left, of course, never stops talking about rights, but these rights are always in the abstract, disconnected from the responsibilities that legitimize them. The notion of rights without responsibilities is precisely analogous to the absurdity of knowledge without truth or art without beauty. Not only is the one severed from the other, but rights, knowledge, and art are deprived of their sufficient reason. They become meaningless if not pernicious.

Want to confuse a liberal? Try this: let's assume for the sake of argument that you have the constitutional right to abort your baby. What is the corresponding responsibility in which this right is grounded, and without which it makes no sense? Remember, it must be something even "higher" and more fundamental than a dead baby. What could it be?

Now, one of our cosmic principles is that any truth speaks of the One Truth. It is this latter to whom (or in whom) our knowledge is ultimately answerable. "[W]henever we come to know something, our very capacity to know is brought about and sustained -- in every instance -- by God." So long as we bear that in mind, we avoid pride on the one hand, and the temptation of a false absolute -- idolatry -- on the other.

Yesterday I had a conversation with the mother of one of my son's friends. He's extremely bright, full of philosophical and theological questions that don't occur to most adults. He's also very interested in science; at nine years old, Stephen Hawking is one of his heroes. Therefore, he was quite distressed to learn of Hawking's pronouncement that God doesn't exist.

This is a fine example of knowledge not only severed from truth, but even from the possibility of truth. It's an elementary metaphysical error, entirely self-refuting but self-aggrandizing at the same time. It equates to saying: "there is no God, and I am that one." For if God doesn't exist, obviously only He can know it.

I would add that Hawking's denial serves as a kind of implicit acknowledgement of God. As Green writes, "all persons, at some fundamental level, know God but suppress this knowledge."

As we have discussed in the past, since our human personhood exists in a vertical space, we are just as prone to repress the higher as we are the lower. Just as one can only pretend that the unconscious doesn't exist, one can only pretend that the supra-conscious doesn't exist. But once one stops pretending, one sees evidence of both everywhere.

Imagine the vertical as an AM radio band reaching from 540 to 1600 kHz. The average station is set somewhere in the middle, at 93, or 1070, or 1110. But the rest of the band is always there, waiting for someone to tune into the frequency. Much of what we call "higher knowledge," for example, is just regular knowledge tuned to a higher frequency.

Take the example of a church. On the one hand it's just a building, not fundamentally different from any other. But tune into the higher sacred frequencies, and it is transformed to "heaven on earth." For that matter, a sacrament is an occasion for the inflow of those higher frequencies.

This also goes to why we cannot comprehend certain evils and certain people. We just can't pick up the frequency they are hearing. This is because "The mind's pursuits are always, and without fail, related to one's 'loves,' or to the state of the heart.... we really cannot know what we do not love" (Green).

This would explain a great deal -- for example, why Obama doesn't understand the constitution, and why we do not understand his animosity toward it (or toward Israel, or the police, or our military, etc.).

Well, the contractors are back, so that's the end of this post.

25 comments:

julie said...

...rights not only come with responsibilities, but that the responsibilities must be prior to the rights. In other words, you cannot give rights to an irresponsible entity, or one without free will.

This, I think, is why the Ten Commandments were given not as a list of rights (or prizes, as they too often become), but as a list of restrictions. Restrictions necessarily impose responsibilities, but when in service of Truth they confer freedom.

mushroom said...

True all the way through.

Van Harvey said...

"...This also goes to why we cannot comprehend certain evils and certain people. We just can't pick up the frequency they are hearing. This is because "The mind's pursuits are always, and without fail, related to one's 'loves,' or to the state of the heart.... we really cannot know what we do not love" (Green)..."

This and Julie's comment, big gong'rs.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van,
Ironically, one of the mantras of the left is "all you need is love."
If they actually practiced that, they wouldn't be so better n'
envious all the time.

Not as good as love and truth, but even if lefties just focused on love they wouldn't be so damn angry when we conservatives try to stop them from stealin' our money and liberty.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I meant bitter, but better works too.

Gagdad Bob said...

All you need is love. Of other people's stuff.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ha! That's a good one, Bob.

Leftists do love to pilfer. And they love being perpetual victims and bullies at the same time.
No wonder they are so screwed up.

Skully said...

Lefties love to hate, too.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Imagine the vertical as an AM radio band reaching from 540 to 1600 kHz. The average station is set somewhere in the middle, at 93, or 1070, or 1110. But the rest of the band is always there, waiting for someone to tune into the frequency. Much of what we call "higher knowledge," for example, is just regular knowledge tuned to a higher frequency."

That is an outstanding way to say it.
We can either tune in to higher frequencies, or lower frequemcies that turn one into lower freaq's.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Freaqanomics: leftist economics.

Gagdad Bob said...

Watching Obama. What comes after insufferable?

Gagdad Bob said...

Matthews must be tingling all over himself.

Gagdad Bob said...

Audacity: stealing from the Bible to support his power grab.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That speech wasn't even wrong, and literally diabolical.

julie said...

I'm not watching, but it's not surprising he's using the Bible to back up the power grab. I hear there's a penalty for taking the Lord's name in vain....

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I predict lefties will suddenly find religion like Obama has and completely misinterpret scriptures.

Obama thinks he has the moral high ground but in reality it's the immoral low ground.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speaking of audacity, Obama makes his unConstitutional decree and then says he wants a rational debate with Congress.

Nuts!

Paul Griffin said...

it must be something even "higher" and more fundamental than a dead baby. What could it be?

Unfortunately, I think we all know the answer to that question, because if we're honest, we all have that part of us that wouldn't hesitate for a second to reply, "It is my highest responsibility to do whatever the hell feels good right now, everyone and everything else be damned."

Put that voice in control, and a baby is just another person that's not me, which means it's just another /thing/ to be thrown away if it does not serve that "higher" responsibility.

As usual, Johnny Cash says it better

Joan of Argghh! said...

I once heard the parable of the sower described for modern ears as, "the kingdom of heaven is like a radio set to a good frequency, but the devil comes in the night and turns the dial to some noisy static."

Speaking of which, Obama is talking.

mushroom said...

I hear there's a penalty for taking the Lord's name in vain....

Half the distance to the goal line and loss of down.

Anonymous said...

"Knowledge is dangerous; that is, it can always cut both ways, depending upon who has it and what they intend to do with it. For example, no morally sane person is troubled by Israel having nuclear weapons. Conversely, all morally sane people are troubled by the prospect of Muslim nations possessing those same weapons."

What a silly generalization. Israel's most recent treatment of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip due to "Operation Protective Edge" - heck, even their general treatment of the Palestinians in past 50 years - should certainly make any morally sane person wary of their possession of nuclear weapons.

Cousin Dupree said...

Good point. Pretty irresponsible of Israel to not have nuked them long ago.

Captain Obvious said...

Yup. Probably would have been more merciful all around.

chey said...

There is an interesting mix of sane brilliance and murderous bullshit here. I can't stay away for long. But the spirit here that believes in "responsible nuking" has turned one cosmos into more of a vice than a source of nourishment.

julie said...

Hi Chey. Nice of you to stop by and comment.

Come to think of it, the US and/ or Israel might have a lot of success if they just went ahead and Nuked the Moon. It's a plan so crazy, it just might work!

Joking aside, nuking Japan at the end of WWII, as shockingly horrific as it was, probably saved a million lives. Sometimes, a nation must do what it must do, cold-bloodedly, in order to prevent an ever-increasing body count and bring an end to the madness.

War is never the answer, except when it is.