Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Creation is a Gift, and There's Not a Damn Thing We Can Do About It

I'm reading a book that's pulling together a lot of loose strands of the cosmic area rug, called Heart of the World, Center of the Church, by David Schindler. I don't remember how he appeared on my radar, but he is helping me see some things on a deeper and more unified level. (Very turgid, however -- can't make a general recommendation.)

Among other things, the book is a critique of liberalism, not just the fake and malevolent liberalism of the left, but the real liberalism of American conservatism. Not a condemnation of the latter, mind you, just an acknowledgement of its limitations, or better, its inherent contradictions if separated from the Christian metaphysic that first animated it.

Here is a provocative statement, but it is the key to understanding what's going on in Indiana, with the left's assault on religious freedom:

"The increasing nihilism of liberal culture is unmasked as fundamentally gay in character," ultimately grounded in a "non-nuptial" relation to God. In the Christian view, the soul is feminine in relation to God, as is the Church to Christ. Therefore, "the world's response to God" necessarily takes "the feminine form," otherwise spiritual infertility results.

Vis-a-vis Indiana, we see a total inversion of cosmic and constitutional reality, whereby sexual perversion is literally sacralized, whereas religion is deemed perverse. How has it come to this? (I'll address this question more directly in a subsequent post.)

Schindler writes of how the "marian fiat" -- the primordial Yes to God -- is "the primary or originating act that serves as the ground of all Christian life and action." Mary's "'emptiness' and her humility [o] are what make it possible for her soul to magnify -- not herself, but the Lord."

Thus, in terms of Christian anthropology, "human freedom is receptive freedom before it is creative freedom -- or better, is a freedom that becomes authentically creative only by being anteriorly receptive." This is another way of saying that (↓) is always prior to (↑) in the transnatural cosmic spiral. Which should be obvious, or not even Darwin could get off the evolutionary ground.

You might say that (↓) is pure Gift. It is given to us, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Except give it back, "by generously extending to others what has first been given and what we have always-already first received. All that is, is gift." We "gratefully receive from God," and "this provides both the warrant for the deepest meaning of [our] giving to others." This is nothing less than the "soul's magnification of the Lord and of the riches of his creation."

Now, it goes a little deeper than this, because even more than "giver," God is gift per se; or, one might say that he is irreducibly giver-gift-recipient (or love-generosity-gratitude), each always implying the other.

Conversely, the left always wants to force the giving, which of course isn't giving at all, if only because it is predicated on taking from someone else. But more insidiously, the faux-giving is just a pretext for the usurpation of force. We see this playing out in Indiana: the left doesn't really want to "give" anything to homosexuals, rather, just use the force of the state to suppress our constitutional (and before that, natural) right to freedom of religion. Obviously there can be no natural right to what is by any definition unnatural.

The creation, being a reflection of God, is gift. One might say that the gift is simply the objectification of love. Thus, for Schindler, in "the basic structure of the cosmos, logos and love are convertible."

This is why creation "opens out" to the intellect, just as the intellect is receptive to the creation. "Simply stated, meaning and intelligibility presuppose God," such that "if God goes, so go the foundations of meaning." This is the very basis of science -- and all the further gifts it brings. Or, try engaging in science with a passive-aggressive cosmos that refuses to share its secrets!

"Intelligibility -- identifiable meaning -- does not, and cannot, outlive God. Rather, following the death of God, we stray 'as through an infinite nothing.'"

The other day, Taranto linked to this thread at Reddit on the pointlessness of life. Yes, these are deranged liberals who have strayed through the infinite nothing, but one can at least admire their honesty:

"What's the point?... Happiness? Pleasure? Why would I want happiness? Why would I want others to be happy? Why should I care about other people? Why should I care about myself? Happiness is just an illusion, free will is an illusion, pleasure is an illusion, love is an illusion, sadness is an illusion, fear is an illusion, suffering is an illusion, and we are just a bunch of atoms trying to maximize entropy.

"Nothing has intrinsic meaning nor value. If the only way to create your own meaning and value is based on your own happiness, how can I create my own value knowing that emotions are just an evolutionary biological illusions to keep us running on the treadmill of life to maximize our chance to pass down our gene pool?"

Given this premise, the conclusion follows ineluctably: "And now I have very little motivation to keep studying or doing anything."

A commenter responds "I think the exact same way.... Everything just seems pointless to me, we live a life trying to achieve happiness only to die. I just don't see the point."

Interestingly, the poster ticks off all of his liberal dreams but sadly concludes that "there is a chance that I'm going to die before I can do and see all of of those things, and all the hard work is going to be for nothing. So I come to this world, struggle for imaginary happiness and die. What's the point?"

This is a transparent reflection of the left's always-futile attempt to immanentize Christian eschatological hope. When you realize you've founded your life on an illusion, it is depressing.

Note that the unconscious assumption of the leftist is that somehow he will become happy and fulfilled if he forces the rest of us to be happy on his terms. I say, why not skip the middleman -- the coercive state -- and just be happy? If you can't make yourself happy, then what makes you think the state can by proxy?

Besides, my happiness won't really make you happy. Rather, only more envious.

23 Comments:

Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Note that the unconscious assumption of the leftist is that somehow he will become happy and fulfilled if he forces the rest of us to be happy on his terms. I say, why not skip the middle man -- the coercive state -- and just be happy? If you can't, then what makes you think the state can?"

Aye. It's really quite mad to believe that politicians and bureaucrats can (somehow) help anyone find or receive happiness.
I mean, that takes a helluva lot of faith. Particularly, since govt. has never made anyone truly happy.

Also, how does a person that believes there is no point in happiness, believing it is an illusion suddenly have faith in some idiot who wants to force his or hers pointless views on everyone else?

3/31/2015 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Besides, my happiness won't make you happy. Rather, only envious.

Taking pleasure in the good fortune of others does not come naturally for most people, alas. It's all too easy to hold ourselves and our things up for comparison and be miserable at the perceived shortfall.

Not a condemnation of the latter, mind you, just an acknowledgement of its limitations, or better, its inherent contradictions if separated from the Christian metaphysic that first animated it.

I have often seen this shortfall played out among those (men in particular) who proclaim that young men today should avoid marriage at all costs, because they are sure to end up the worse for it. They can see no reason to marry, no positive long-term benefit, only a system of abuses that are sure to befall them if they end up trapped in the feminine snare. In a Darwinian world, maybe they are even right. In a Christian world, they cannot be more wrong.

3/31/2015 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Thus, in terms of Christian anthropology, "human freedom is receptive freedom before it is creative freedom -- or better, is a freedom that becomes authentically creative only by being anteriorly receptive." This is another way of saying that (↓) is always prior to (↑) in the transnatural cosmic spiral. Which should be obvious, or not even Darwin could get off the evolutionary ground."

This brings to mind what you said the other day, Bob, irt free will, about having to receive truth.
Indeed, freedom, truth, love, peace, courage, honor, etc., all is connected to God and all must be received by us humans before we can give it.

Of course we can invent our own truth, joy, love, freedom, etc., but that would be as pointless as a lefties faith in govt. bureacrats to magically forcefeed us their own versions.

3/31/2015 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

This observation is spot on: "we see a total inversion of cosmic and constitutional reality, whereby sexual perversion is literally sacralized, whereas religion is deemed perverse."

That is exactly the issue, and I am looking forward to your further elaboration.

G.

3/31/2015 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Everything is pointless, everything is an illusion, blah, blah blah, whine.

Then why is that imbecile even bothering to tell anyone about his pathetic philosophy? What's the point?

There in no point in pointlessness.

3/31/2015 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Typical Lefty said...

Save us Obi-Wanton-Bureaucrat, you're all only hope.

3/31/2015 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just as love wishes to radiate and communicate itself, so too does misery. One point Schindler makes is that every evil is a kind of perverse or misdirected good.

3/31/2015 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good news for the left: turns out the gift of maternal love is totally worthless!

3/31/2015 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't know, our son spends a lot of time with us, and his teacher wrote the following: "Tristan is an incredibly kind person who is always thinking of others. This strength of character makes him a great team player, and a great leader. He has a rare ability to empathize with others, and thinks deeply about things. He is well-liked and respected by others for his sense of humor, his fairness, and his kindness -- he treats everyone with respect and friendship."

Now, first of all, yes, I'm bragging. But secondly, how in the world could these tenured idiots ever empirically measure such qualities!

3/31/2015 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It just occurred to me -- I live with the anti-Obama!

3/31/2015 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...emptiness and her humility are what make it possible for her soul to magnify -- not herself, but the Lord.

Kenosis, it's not just for the Messiah anymore.



3/31/2015 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The scary thing about the nihilism these people are expressing is that, for most, something is going to eventually fill the vacuum.

Next time you fly, ask your pilot if he thinks life "just seems pointless."

3/31/2015 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or your surgeon...

Dennis Prager made the psychologically astute point yesterday that the pilot wasn't psychopathic because depressed, but rather, depressed because psychopathic. Narcissism necessarily leads to emptiness, or personal nihilism, which in turn leads to the kind of depression that is intractable to medication because it's not about chemicals but character.

3/31/2015 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

When it comes right down to it, nothing is more important to the left than sodomy, killing babies, and pretending men and women are interchangeable. Weird.

3/31/2015 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Well, if the Journal of Marriage and Family says 50,000 or so years of human history are wrong, I'm convinced. They are the experts. All kids should be raised by wolves.

3/31/2015 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm convinced it all goes back to Godel: to treat transrational truths with mere reason is to miss them entirely. Or worse, to maim and pervert them.

3/31/2015 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The First Principles of the left guarantee madness and depravity, which I may get around to discussing tomorrow...

3/31/2015 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. your boy, I'm not at all surprised. Just look at his mom! But concerning the pointlessness of maternal love, I started to read that article yesterday, then stopped as soon as it was clear that they don't consider maternal time to amount to much but a combination of abuse and neglect.

Clearly, the best thing for kids is to be raised by strangers in daycare, school and afterschool programs, as the greatest danger to kids is their parents!

3/31/2015 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

"One point Schindler makes is that every evil is a kind of perverse or misdirected good."

I think Origen suggests something similar re Cain and even Judas. (will review) Maybe it's not much of a stretch to say it is a kind of perverse or misdirected love.

3/31/2015 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

Does Schindler explain what sort of relationship then an SSA person could have with God?

If it's not a feminine/nuptial position, does he argue there can be no other?

I'm sympathetic to aspects of what he says, but this is a troubling line of argument.

Any soul saying Yes to God would be in a receptive position.

Actions often say otherwise, viz. beam in my own eye. The focus in my view ought to be on the actions, not the inclination or so-called "identity."

Like everyone else, SSA people can control their desire to fornicate. To claim otherwise is ludicrous and embarrassing.

4/01/2015 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

SSA?

4/01/2015 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'm guessing April Fool's joke..

4/01/2015 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

SSA = Same Sex Attracted.

Not sure I follow the question, though.

4/01/2015 08:40:00 AM  

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