Monday, January 19, 2015

We All Worship the Same God, We Just Agree Different

I award this post the Raccoon Squeal of Approval, and declare it to be nihil bobstat, that is, vaguely plausible and free of anything Bob wouldn't say, and probably containing some things he wishes he had.

We all know that contemporary liberalism is a secular religion -- only the most successful one ever -- and that man, as homo religiosus, cannot not be religious, but rather, only pretend not to be. Kristor implicitly argues that this is because we come into the world with certain universal archetypes that shape our experience:

"Not only is there always a state religion, but there is always a king of some sort, a father of the country. Likewise there is always a class of priests and judges, always a class of warrior nobles, always a class of merchants, always monastics and hermits, a market, a language, families, patriarchs, prophets, sex roles, etc. These things are built into man. They can be suppressed for a while, or injured, but not permanently eliminated from the constitution of human society. You can’t get rid of them, any more than you can get rid of the pancreas or the spleen. The functions they mediate must be mediated, and one way or another they will be mediated."

Actually, you can get rid of the spleen. But no sane person asks for it to be removed. Rather, it usually follows some terrible accident. Likewise, there are some archetypes we can dispense with, but this usually results from a terrible developmental accident of some kind, say, sexual abuse.

First of all, what is an archetype? I would say that they are to the vertical what instincts are to the horizontal. Our minds are not "blank slates," any more than our bodies are. Rather, our bodies have built in needs, expectations, and abilities. Similarly, we come into the world expecting, say, a mother and father. Thus, we are also entitled to a mother and father, just as infants are entitled to milk and not bourbon.

You could also say that an archetype is an "empty category" awaiting experience to fill it out. While it has a general outline, it has no specific content until we encounter it in life. It is the blueprint (or clueprint), not the building materials or finished project. Therefore, it is a kind of final cause. Archetypes operate as attractors in the subjective phase space of the interior world. Kristor alludes to several: father, judge, warrior, hermit, prophet, sex roles, etc.

In a subsequent series of posts I hope to discuss the classic Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. While doing a little research on the author, I came across an interview in which he speaks of how the Law is built into us. Yes, we are all little lawyers:

"Belief in law comes from early childhood," he said. "A child says, 'It's my toy.' That's property law. A child says, 'You promised me.' That's contract law. A child says, 'He hit me first.' That's criminal law. A child says, 'Daddy said I could.' That's constitutional law."

From the same piece: "Berman's main contention is that law is a foundational principle of Western society that derives its moral and religious dimension from God as the first lawgiver." Thus, any law must be grounded in the Law, just as any truth is a reflection of the One Truth.

So, because there is Law, there are promises, contracts, private property, justice, injustice, and a supreme court, or a final court of appeal.

And in fact, although we appeal to this court in this life, our real hope is that it is still very much in session in the next life -- in other words, that in the end, justice will prevail and the scales will be balanced.

I suppose we could say that social justice warriors imagine that the scales can be balanced in this life. Like all leftists, they immanentize the eschaton, in this case eschatological justice. This results in the "divine judgment" taking place right here and now, only promiscuously mixed with the demon-haunted wrath of the social warrior. This is why, when the radicals succeed, life looks like a vision of Hieronymus Bosch, as in the French, Communist, and Nazi revolutions.

Just as truth implies a truth-giver, law implies a law-giver. Kristor points out that language is only a kind of prolongation of this primordial Truth. Language cannot not speak of truth, because its substance is truth. It reminds me of a current in the ocean: the current is distinct from the ocean, and yet, nothing more than the substance of the ocean. Likewise, a word is distinct from the truth while being composed of it. Language converges on truth; or, truth is its alpha and omega.

Back to our religious nature. Since the leftist denies his religiosity, it naturally expresses itself in a covert and subconscious manner. For us their religiosity is transparent, whereas for the leftist it is hidden, because it must be denied by the person who regards himself as superior to religion. In other words, the leftist has a hypertrophied vertical defense mechanism deployed to repress spirit.

Today's holiday is only peripherally about the human being named Martin Luther King. Rather, he has been swallowed by his projected archetype, just as other leftist icons have been eclipsed by theirs -- FDR, JFK, Nelson Mandela, etc. So thick is the ideological penumbra surrounding these icons, that the actual person can't be seen at all. And if you try to point to the man beneath the projection, the left's reaction bears an uncanny resemblance to how Muslims react to cartoons of Muhammad.

20 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

"You could also say that an archetype is an "empty category" awaiting experience to fill it out."

Do you suppose there are bad archetypes residing as empty categories which are built into us also? In other worlds, empty categories that one shouldn't fill with experience lest it give them some sort of legitimacy or identity.

1/19/2015 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's a good question. Think of how a rabbit, for example, must have some sense of the "bad archetype" of the predator, otherwise it wouldn't know to run away.

Infants do have certain in-built defense mechanisms that allow them to deal with a less than optimal environment, for example, the "bad mother." But the bad mother wouldn't be an archetype per se; rather, the baby simply has a "place" to put the experience of the bad mother, and try to segregate it from consciousness. So perhaps "bad archetypes" are acquired as opposed to given. You could say that a mind parasite is like a man-made archetype....

But I need to think about it later, because now I'm trying to get some work done...

1/19/2015 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"You could also say that an archetype is an "empty category" awaiting experience to fill it out. While it has a general outline, it has no specific content until we encounter it in life. It is the blueprint (or clueprint), not the building materials or finished project. Therefore, it is a kind of final cause. Archetypes operate as attractors in the subjective phase space of the interior world. Kristor alludes to several: father, judge, warrior, hermit, prophet, sex roles, etc."

To the extent that archetypes are presumed to be physically built in, as Forms, I question how and if it could be possible. However I do think they 'exist' in a very real sense, clueprints, resulting from our nature as human beings, just as whirl pools result the moment a paddle is pulled through the water.

I think that archetypes are unavoidable consequences of our ability to perceive, conceive, and choose, and that they become evermore distinct and defined, as we move through life, experiencing the results of our choices, or lack of them.

Our nature as human beings creates them. It seems to me, maybe as a programmer, that to think that they had to be defined and inserted into our nature as static forms, would be a diminishment of both our nature, and an amateurish shortcut on the partpart of The Programmer, something which I don't see evidence of elsewhere.

1/19/2015 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, they are like the units of human nature. I don't really know about their ontological status, only that they're a useful way to talk about human universals.

1/19/2015 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

There are the 22 major archana of the tarot that UF writes about and there are a few bad seeds in there (the devil an obvious one) and some if not all have two aspects (good and bad) such as The World and I forget which others. So maybe The World is the empty category and that one should only fill it with a good archetype. There are the parables of the good and bad fig trees. And sin seems to be an in-built empty category we need to not fill.

When our dog died a neighbor sent us a card that said something to the effect that a "dog" is an empty place in you that only having a dog can fill. Which seemed true and led me to think that say my son had one called "childhood dog" and that if we hadn't had the dog when he was boy then that window would have been closed in him forever.

And somewhat conversely, perhaps the empty category can be filled with the wrong archetype, such as say filling the love-er category with the father archetype and thinking since it fits in some way good (love), it must be all good (lover).

I remember once you said that if a man and wife had a daughter that the best thing the man could do for the daughter was to show her all the time how much he loved his wife. And I think we can infer that this is helping the child fill the empty categories of husband, marriage, lover within her with proper archetypes.

1/19/2015 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

As the old adage goes "no one is totally useless, they can always serve as a bad example (archetype)" :)

1/19/2015 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "... I don't really know about their ontological status, only that they're a useful way to talk about human universals."

Yep, definitely useful, even unavoidable, for talking about human nature.

How they form, develop... evolve (?) from shadowy potentials to almost palpable empty places, as with Rick's "childhood dog", and how those might impact the formation of positive or negative archetypes within your life. .. a fascinating story to be told. The word becoming flesh perhaps.

1/19/2015 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Rick, that's a good way of putting it.

Re. the law of early childhood, it's interesting to watch young kids making up a new game. More often than not, they spend more time working out the rules than actually playing, if they ever get to the game at all, and there are frequent pauses to figure out each player's role at any given moment. Also, watching my two interact, the point where they start shrieking at each other is the point where they have failed to act "legally". If I can make them switch gears, it usually puts and end to the screaming and restores harmony, if only for a few minutes.

1/19/2015 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

In other words, the leftist has a hypertrophied vertical defense mechanism deployed to repress spirit.

Now, that's no way to go through life, son.

1/19/2015 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

For some reason, I'm suddenly reminded of the Boston protesters...

1/19/2015 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Actually, you can get rid of the spleen. But no sane person asks for it to be removed. Rather, it usually follows some terrible accident. Likewise, there are some archetypes we can dispense with, but this usually results from a terrible developmental accident of some kind, say, sexual abuse."

Hi Bob,
At times I wonder why terrible developmental accidents seem to affect some people worse than others.
This is a mystery, I reckon. Just as it's a mystery how some people can go through their childhood with relatively little or no trauma and still choose to dispense with archtypes.

This brings to mind that little Iraqi kid who, shortly after the last Iraqi war started turned his terrorist father in.
Apparently it was obvious to him what his father was and he was able to determine our troops were the good guys.
Of course, this happens rarely but it does show that we do indeed have a clueprint in each of us.

For whatever reasons it seems that some are more aware of those clueprints at a tounger age than normal, while some never become aware of them (or are determined to warp them for their own selfish purposes).

1/19/2015 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That's not to say that childhood trauma in particular leaves one unscathed, even in rare instances where people deal with it better than most.

Perhaps, Bob you can exspleen it more in depth considering your own experiences talking with patients.
Did you ever have patients that became aware of the clueprints at younger ages (even if they didn't know what it was) and, in turn utilized that awareness to curtail the worst effects of the abuse they suffered from?

What makes them different?

1/19/2015 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

First of all, what is an archetype? I would say that they are to the vertical what instincts are to the horizontal.

It makes one wonder if there isn't something similar to genetics in the spirit. Or something the horizontal genetic code typifies in the vertical realm.

"Childhood dog" is a good one, Rick.

1/19/2015 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Positive X factors in children who have awful parents make me lean towards reincarnation as a possibility.

1/19/2015 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

This archetype discussion reminds me of a few years back when I was making the transition to Christian.

I was watching an episode of Cadfael on Mystery and there was some scene where a lone traveler comes to the Cadfael's monastery. As the traveler removes his cloak, you see that he is wearing chainmail and has a crusader's cross on his chest. Quite unexpectedly, the tears start welling up in my eyes. Now I see that I was instinctively affected by the righteous warrior archetype.

1/20/2015 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for sharing that, John.
It's incredible and so unique how God reaches out to us!

1/20/2015 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ben--

I don't have any ready answer as to why people respond differently to abuse -- why some people transcend it, while others are traumatized by trivia. I'm hoping this book will provide some clues.

1/20/2015 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Bob,
That looks like an interesting book. Have you read anything from the author before?

1/20/2015 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes -- very sound, very cutting edge.

1/20/2015 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Although he's a bit of a popularizer, so some of his books may veer too far in that direction.

1/20/2015 03:23:00 PM  

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