Friday, September 26, 2014

A Window on the World, a Mirror of Reality, a Ladder to God

Apropos of yesterday's post on the mental slavery of feminism, it seems that folks these days are in need of liberation from liberation -- from faux liberation, or from various forms of slavery masquerading as liberation.

Remember "sexual liberation"? How about freedom through drugs? How did homosexual liberation work out -- at least before the state covered their asses by spending a disproportionate amount of our money on developing a treatment?

There is no "freedom from" without a "freedom to"; the former is the province of politics -- i.e., negative liberty -- while the latter is the province of ethics. Without the freedom to do what is right, one has only the liberty to do what is wrong. In other words, human behavior is intrinsically teleological -- or, the very existence of the virtues reveals the shadow of the cosmic telos herebelow.

"The noble man," writes Schuon, "is one who masters himself and loves to master himself," while "the base man is one who does not master himself and shrinks in horror from mastering himself." Thus, modern liberalism is like a factory for producing ignoble men and base women. To ask such human beastlings to be dignified is like asking Al Sharpton to vacate the sewer.

Furthermore, "The noble man feels the need to admire, to venerate, to worship; the vile man on the contrary tends to belittle, even to mock, which is the way the devil sees things" (ibid). The cheap, mocking humor of a Bill Maher or Jon Stewart is of this nature. They don't even want to understand what they mock, because it would diminish their unearned superiority. Intellectual narcissism only survives in a sharply constricted world, or in a sea of their own stupidity.

Even a hundred years ago, Chesterton had enough insight into the modern world to see that real "liberality" (i.e., of spirit) has "nothing to do with liberalism; in fact, it cannot even now coexist with liberalism."

Nor, for that matter, can someone interested in human beings in their integral totality coexist with what are called "humanists," who take one aspect of man and absurdly expand it to the whole. Synedochebags.

Speaking of cosmic orthodoxy, one of the primordial distinctions we must make is between man and God. To say "man" is to evoke God, as relative to absolute. Man the relative potentially spans the vertical axis "where life opens onto the spirit and where it becomes spirit." It is very much like those paintings of the head-chakra opening out to eternity, or of luminous halos that signify the same.

For, just as the five senses are windows on the world, the intellect is like a two-way mirror that reflects both matter and spirit, or world and God (and world because God). The intelligence actually liberates us in six directions, up and down, in and out, forward and back (or divine and human, interior and exterior, past and future). Moreover, each of these conditions the others, so as one expands, so too do the others. Isn't it obvious that the wider the intellect, the more one perceives of the world?

Likewise the truism that the unexamined life is not worth living; one might say that the unexamined life can't be lived, at least humanly speaking, for such an examination is required in order to colonize the interior world. Otherwise we become subject to it, i.e., to mechanical patterns and mind parasites of various kinds.

About man's vertical bi-directionality, the irony is that a Christian, according to Chesterton, is "a man who believes that deity or sanctity has attached to matter or entered the world of the senses." The world reveals itself to the intellect for the very reason that both are revelations.

But the unaided intellect could only go so far up until a man became "a miraculous medium between heaven and earth."

This is indeed why the cosmic ladder goes all the way to the top, because it first went all the way to the bottom. Or just say humility and plenitude, kenosis and theosis.

Gosh! No time today, and less time Monday...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why are Feminists Such Pussies?

We are batting around this idea of a Cosmic Orthodoxy. If there were a Cosmic Orthodoxy -- a correct way to think and to act -- life sure would be less complicated, wouldn't it? We could just get on with it, instead of having to take time out of our day to battle the follies of liberalism and other cosmic heresies -- although I suppose it must be conceded that the heretics among us do unwittingly serve one purpose, in that they provide us with dense objects against which to burnish our sacred pliers with the blowtorch of love.

I suppose the rock bottom principle underlying the possibility of a Cosmic Orthodoxy would be one, i.e., one human nature and one truth which discloses itself in both material and immaterial reality.

In our quantitative age we seem to have no trouble agreeing that this is the case on the lower planes -- e.g., physics and chemistry -- because few people argue for a multicultural approach to these disciplines (although, to be sure, there are a few in every cloud).

Then again, these same people would disagree that these planes are "lower," since they reject verticality a priori. Thus, to the extent that reality exists, they would insist that it is physical, or electrochemical, or genetic, or what have you -- anything, so long as it isn't human, let alone divine (however, as we shall see, those latter two categories always manage to slip in through the backdoor).

Now, to even perceive the simplest object is to participate in transcendent oneness, otherwise perception would consist in perceiving only an atemporal formless blob with no outlines or divisions -- not even the self-evident distinction between the senses and the intellect.

True, our unaided senses would essentially reveal the murky contours of a blob, but the mind never actually stops there. Even infants learn almost right away that they live in a sea of objects, not just a sea. In other words, they are liberated into and then out of the senses -- and thus ushered into the world of transcendence -- as a birthright (unless something goes catastrophically wrong, as in severe autism or early tenure).

But for a human being, "unaided senses" is very much like the fanciful notion of an "unrelated person." In truth -- and this would be another element of cosmic orthodoxy -- humans are irreducibly intersubjective, meaning that they are members of one another from the ground up. For me, this is a reflection of Trinity (the ultimate metacosmic principle) in man, the microcosmos.

But this intersubjectivity also applies to the nonhuman world. In other words, we are thoroughly entangled with the world, which is precisely why we can truly know it. If this weren't the case, then we would indeed be trapped in Kant's phenomenal world, i.e., in the forms of our sensibility.

Chesterton provides a vivid analogy, writing that it would be as if all knowledge were nothing more than pictures we paint on the inside of our windows, and then mistake for the landscape outside the house.

Yes, Kantianism really is that stupid -- and infertile, since it is impossible for the intellect to mate with reality. Rather, it can only mate with its own images, which is to say, engage in cognitive onanism and call it truth.

This is very much like devoting one's sexual energy to pornography and calling it love. But self-love is an oxymoron. Love is other-directed, beginning in God. Thus, it is important to be lovable, so as to be worthy of the love received. Self-love bypasses this trinitarian circuit. The narcissist's soulmate is himself. Nice to know Obama has found his.

One of our cosmic principles is, of course, that the ultimate reality is not substance but person; or, one might say that the ultimate substance is a dynamic threeness, not any kind of isolated monad. The moment you think about this, it is soph-evident.

To cite one obvious and all-pervading example, there is the knower; there is the known; and there is knowledge. Like the Trinity, these are distinct but not radically divided from one another, or we couldn't really know anything. Rather, we would again be confirmed old bachelors consoling ourselves with mental masturbation, like Kant.

Thus, as Chesterton said -- but I will shout for emphasis -- "SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS WAS ONE OF THE GREAT LIBERATORS OF THE HUMAN INTELLECT"! How? Well, for starters, he liberates us into reality. I was reminded of this yesterday in viewing this short video on feminism. Think of the cosmic irony: the most self-styled "liberated" women in history are voluntarily enslaved to a masturbatory ideology!

Now, the Raccoon believes that if you are going to submit to an ideology, then make it a fun one, not a grim, resentful, joyless, and embittered one, right?

If Kant is right and perception is reality -- or the only reality we can know -- then at least perceive something pleasant, dammit! Besides, as alluded to above, your prime directive is to be lovable, not to imagine that you will finally love yourself if only men stop controlling your pathetic life. There is a reason feminists are unloveable and therefore filled with so much anger and resentment.

They are also weak-willed pussies. I mean, why the reliance on patriarchal government to somehow rid the world of patriarchy? Putting a woman in the White House will be every bit as effective in promoting female happiness as Obama has been in making blacks so deliriously happy. It will only highlight the fact that the state can't cure your misery.

source: Happy and not embittered Acres

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cosmic Heresies and their Alternative

In the Aristotle/Thomist tradition, the function of the intellect is to essentially identify form in substance -- to "pull" universals out of particulars, or knowledge from the senses; it is what allows us to see any dawg and immediately know he is a member of the category "Clinton."

It seems to me that Chesterton is trying to do something similar in his book on Thomas Aquinas, only on a much higher level: that is, pull the essence of Thomas himself from his sprawling corpus, which most of us would have neither the time nor brains to assimilate. Etienne Gilson remarked that he had spent his life studying and writing about St. Thomas, and now a journalist comes along and "writes a better book about him than I have!"

This idea of a simple essence -- or essential simplicity -- appeals to me, for reasons alluded to in yesterday's post: I have this sense that things can't be as complicated as scholars make them out to be, and that deep down there must be a simple explanation for It All -- or at least a simple approach to it, and that so many arguments between scholars are at the margins of reality, not at the center. (And I mean scholars within tradition; those outside tradition are each arguing from their own manmade centers, so there is no hope for them.)

Yesterday I read that Charles Hartshorne once planned on writing a book to be called The Universal Orthodoxy. I'm kind of glad he never got around to it, because I am definitely going to steal that title if I ever write another book. Frankly, I've been looking everywhere for that title, so I am relieved to have finally found it. Cosmic Orthodoxy would work just as well.

Now, in order to write it, I will have to do for me what Chesterton did for Aquinas: extract the essence without making me look like a simpleton. But the idea of a Universal Orthodoxy would follow from the principle that there is a Universal Man, or that man exists.

Remember, a nominalist doesn't believe in the existence of universals, so there is no category of man, only individual human beings. Thus, once you take a single step down that path, there is no possibility of universality, of a metacosmic key to unlock the damn world enigma. And in rejecting Thomas, the world stepped right on to that path.

With one exception: mathematics. Mathematics is clearly universal, although there are no doubt feminists and professors of black studies who would insist that math is gendered or that the white man's numbers are privileged. But we give those people Ph.D.s to humor them and make them go away, not because we take them seriously. Everyone else knows that math is math, and that there's not a damn thing we can do about it (notwithstanding liberals who abuse math and statistics to prove anything; the fact that they bother to misuse math is a kind of backhanded respect for its authority).

Math is all well and good, but no one has ever -- or will ever -- be able to use it to create a cosmos. In other words, let's say that physicists eventually find a way to resolve the four fundamental forces into one simple equation. Remember, the equation is abstracted from reality. You cannot reverse imagineer the thing, and magically produce reality from the equation.

It seems to me that this is something those atheistic devotees of science always forget: that science is about reality, not reality itself. Reality Itself always transcends science, obviously. It is an Inexhaustible Mystery, which we mean quite literally.

For what is a mystery? Rizzi speaks for us in defining it as "an area of reality so intelligible that we can never understand it all." So to say "reality is a mystery" is not some kind of evasion or mystagoguery, but an objective principle, indeed, one of the First Unavoidable Principles of Cosmic Orthodoxy.

In this sense, reality -- or being -- is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be enjoyed. True, there can be annoying mysteries, like, for example, "Why do we tolerate the IRS?," but that's not a true mystery, because there is a rational explanation, no matter how irrational.

But real mystery flows from the inexhaustible intelligibility of being. Notice that the essence of scientism is to imagine it possible to contain this mystery in science, which usually comes down to math -- the notion that quality can be reduced to quantity, semantics to syntax, subject to object. Thus, these dweebs must feel that reality is some kind of annoying mystery, like the IRS.

For, you see, nominalism -- which is a cosmic heresy -- is nevertheless, like all heresies, a partial truth. This is most relevant in the study of human beings. The fact that we can say "human being" means that man may be reduced to a universal category.

However, the fact that each soul is unique means that every man escapes -- transcends -- category. Or in other words, that each man is an inexhaustible mystery, analogous in this way to the God who birthed him and to the Being that nourishes him.

Which is also why leftism is a cosmic heresy -- well, there are actually a number of reasons why, but in this case because its first principle is to sacrifice the individual for the group, and thus hack away at man's very reason for being; for if man isn't a significant other, he is an absurd and insignificant unit of the state.

Not much time this morning... to be continued...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Manichee in the White House

People correctly intuit that truth must be simple, which is why they so often seem to organize themselves around a simple -- but incorrect -- truth.

But "incorrect truth" is an oxymoron, so it is equivalent to ordering oneself to error, i.e., failing to discriminate between appearance and reality. And if you don't do that, you can't even get to first base, let alone back home, which is only the whole point of the game of life.

Islam is famous, for example for simplifying religion to the point of gross distortion. True, "there is no God but God," but such a formulation goes way too far in excluding the non-God, i.e., the good old Many, and if we reduce the Many to the One, then there is pretty much no point to existence -- at least our existence. God may have some weird point, but it is utterly unknowable to us, not even by analogy.

Chesterton wants us to retain three simple but extremely fruitful principles from Aquinas, and let the philosophers argue over the details.

For what is a philosopher, anyway? Among other things, he is someone who is not only "trained to put up with philosophers," but "patient with clever people when they indulge in folly." But a Raccoon does not suffer academia gladly, so he doesn't look back, and lets the dead bury the tenured.

These Three Things are 1) the goodness of creation, 2) moderate realism, AKA the vindication of common sense, and 3) "the primacy of the doctrine of being." To appreciate these Three is... well, it is to be sane. It is also to be human. And ultimately it is to turn the world right-side-up -- that is, if you have inherited the inverted world of the left and are in need of reorientation.

And most of us can't help assimilating some of this inverted world, because it is the world we are expected to live in. Or in other words, it's Barack's world, we just pay taxes in it (and we are merely using Obama as a symbol for the much wider and deeper pneumapathology he represents).

Dennis Prager touched on this during his program yesterday. He mentioned the absurdity of a nut like Paul Krugman accusing conservatives of "living in a bubble." If only! It is quite literally impossible for a conservative to get through the day without being drenched in liberalism. Obviously it is everywhere, in the news media, in the educational establishment, in entertainment. You would have to live like the Amish to somehow avoid it.

However, a New York liberal such as Paul Krugman can easily lead an intellectually friction-free existence, encountering no serious opposition. One suspects that this is at the heart of his and Obama's incessant deployment of the Straw Man. It is the closest thing to disagreement in their perfectly insulated bubbles.

With respect to the goodness of creation, Thomas was especially eager to shoot down Manichaeism, which continues, like a virus, to mutate into ghastly new forms.

At its root, Manichaeism is always dualistic and, one might say, excessively Platonic. It denies the intrinsic goodness of creation, and therefore of embodiment and humanness. If its doctrine is dualism, then its method is "ascent," i.e., fleeing up and outta here, a la Plotinus, over the wall of flesh and into the pure land of transcendental idea.

One sees an example of modern day Manichaeism in the climate fantasists who regard man as a cancer on the planet, or in the neo-Marxian class warriors who conflate wealth and darkness (except when they don't), or in black Muslims who think a big-headed scientist named Yacub created whites to be a "race of devils." But enough about Eric Holder.

"The exact problem" with these idiots is the identification of "purity with sterility, in contrast to Thomas Aquinas who always identified purity with fruitfulness" (from the introduction). What he means is that the Manichee withdraws into kind of transcendental world of perfect ideas -- which is precisely what ideologues such as Obama do.

As the old joke about economists goes, "sure it works in reality, but will it work in theory?" One could say the same of the climate fanatics: "sure, the planet isn't warming. But that's only in the real world. The question is, does it agree with our models?" Or, one could say it of metaphysical Darwinists: "true, there is an infinite gap between animal and man. But how does that square with these bones we dug up?"

Now, Manichaeism shouldn't even be thought of as any ideology per se, because beneath that it is simply a universal temptation, or one might say intrinsic cosmic heresy. It is an error just waiting to happen, every time and to everyone. We are always free to go down -- or up, rather -- that path, but it will guarantee that we end up infertile eggheads.

The modern scam, for example, is predicated on people such as Descartes, who famously divided mind from matter, or Kant, who went one step further and divided mind from reality. How can this not guarantee infertility or monstrous pneumacognitive birth defects somewhere down the line?

Monstrous? Yes, of course. Look at Hitler, dividing Jew from Aryan, or Stalin, dividing bourgeois from proletariat, or Obama, who has managed to create more division than any president in our history because of his fundamentally divisive ideology. Before all else he is a Manichee, as evidenced, for example, by his membership in that heretical gnostic Christian sect, e.g.,

"It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere… That’s the world! On which hope sits!"

Such is the audacious hope of the political Manichee. Has this hope bore fruit? If so, what kind? You first. Looks rotten to me.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Liberal is a Man Who Can Prove Everything and Nothing

While perusing this piece this morning at Ace of Spades, a thought occurred to me: I don't have time for a post.

Then another thought: it is more than a little interesting that the logic of the left is so flexible -- a less charitable person would say nonexistent -- that it can prove anything. With one exception: the existence of God.

How weird is that? Even if we concede that the existence of God is absurd, this should pose no barrier whatsoever to the left. Rather, the very existence of the left is rooted in logical absurdities, in comparison to which God is the one and only thing of which we may be absolutely certain.

Now, as usual, this will sound polemical and bobastic, but it is not. Just think of the uses to which "leftist logic" is put, and to the many impossibilities it is able to prove: that there is no fundamental difference between men and women; or that children aren't entitled to a mother and father; or that earth is warming due to carbon even though carbon has increased by 25% over the past 17 years while the temperature has remained stable; or that charging more for energy will result in less demand, while charging more for labor will have no effect on demand; or that genes explain everything except racial differences; or that free will doesn't exist; or that homosexuality is natural and normal; or that our minds do not disclose reality... one could go on and on.

But the whole modern project is rooted in a profound and primordial illogicality, an outright rejection of reality. Once you accept this initial illogicality, then it is like the faith with which All Things Are Possible. Once you leave logic behind, then you can indeed use it to prove anything.

Chesterton makes this same point in his book on Aquinas, that "Since the modern world began in the sixteenth century, nobody's system of philosophy has really corresponded to reality; to what, if left to themselves, common men would call common sense."

Rather, each philosophy starts "with a paradox; a peculiar point of view demanding the sacrifice of what they [the common man] would call a sane point of view." One finds this initial absurdity in everyone from Descartes and Kant on down to the tenured rabble of today.

It's easy: just start by believing one little thing "that no normal man would believe," and the magic never ends. Chesterton cites several typical examples, e.g., that law is above natural right, or that things are only ideas, or that everything is relative. True, one cannot strictly prove, say, that solipsism isn't the case, but that doesn't mean that solipsism is the case. You also can't prove your eyes see the real world, but that doesn't prove you're blind.

Thomas too asks us to make just one little leap of faith, but this leap ushers us into the real world, for the simple reason that it asks us to believe that our senses disclose the real world. Yes, you can, under a multitude of guises, reject that leap of faith, but to do so is to commit spiritual suicide and cognitive cluelesside.

I wasn't kidding about having no time. To be continued tomorrow...