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