Friday, April 10, 2015

You Complete Me!

The next chapter in Heart of the World is called Saving the Achievements of Liberalism. Funny how the left talks about the fatal contradictions of capitalism, but there is a genuinely fatal contradiction at the heart of left-liberalism.

We are seeing this inevitable auto-negation play out in real time, what with our authoritarian president and his lawless and/or clueless administration eroding our fundamental freedoms. But to attack a fundamental freedom is to equally attack a fundamental truth, the one being a necessary correlate of the other. And freedom + truth = responsibility.

Thus, we have reached the bizarre stage at which our federal government -- whose sufficient reason is to preserve and defend our God-given rights -- is presuming the right to force its citizens to pretend that a homosexual union is no different from a heterosexual twodom. As such, the state is reaching down to the very ground of being in order to pull our theomorphic nature out by the root.

I am reminded of people who complain that the Church won't "allow" female priests, when in reality, the Church has no right and no authority to do so. In short, unlike the left, it is not permitted to just make sh*t up. It certainly cannot be like Obama, one day having no authority to redefine marriage, the next day persecuting people who fail to do so.

You know the old crack, I don't believe in miracles, I only depend on them. Similarly, the left doesn't believe man is fallen, but rather, only relies on his being so. You could say that the fall is both a cause and consequence of leftism. This is what you call a bad infinite, in that it is at once a downward spiral and a mocking caricature of the Divine Spiral of Ascent.

Now, God is both the source and the vector of our freedom. You may have noticed that science cannot account for free will, for which reason it attempts to make it go away through various rationalizations, in such a way that it would make Gödel sick (or sicker). That is, if man is a closed system, then no truth of any kind can be known about man -- rather, it will all be self-referential and tautologous yada yada, AKA tenure.

As the philosopher of science Stanley Jaki wrote, "All arguments against free will are so many proofs of it," because "no determinist argues deterministically."

In a sense, free will "is subjectivity itself," that is, this mysterious subjective space we are privileged to inhabit. In the end, the reality of the human subject brings one "face to face with that realm of metaphysical reality which hangs in mid-air unless suspended from that Ultimate Reality, best called God, the Creator."

That is, what we call freedom "dangles," as it were, from the celestial to the terrestrial. True, it's Frank's world, but each of us holds a world by the string.

Interestingly, Jaki goes on to say that "the reality of free will" is "the only safe foundation of democracy. Political freedom without attention to free will invites rank irresponsibility, couched, of course, in convenient slogans about human fulfillment and economic prosperity." This is what I mean about the left being absolutely committed to man's fallenness.

The idea of freedom is a Christian one. Freedom is precious, but not for its own sake, since the latter redounds only to nihilism and absurdity.

Rather, "the conviction that man is born free" is an outgrowth "of the perspective that man was given freedom not in order to do anything he wants to but that he should be able to do what he is supposed to do" (ibid.).

It can hardly be overemphasized that our authoritarian state is forcing us to do what no one is supposed to do, under the guise of "liberation." If we are free to do everything, this is functionally equivalent to being free to believe anything. But we are only really free to believe truth. Believing lies hardly makes us more free, but rather, enslaves us. It's how Beelzebub rolls.

Note that freedom "cannot be reduced to anything else," and certainly to nothing merely quantitative. In this regard it reminds me of Planck's constant, which apparently defines how small something can be. In other words, there are irreducible units of tininess, tinier than which things cannot get. Likewise, man is "composed" of certain irreducible constants. These constants can be reduced, but only at the cost of eliminating man.

Not to change the focus -- or lack thereof -- of this post, but what are the constants that define man? One of the purposes of Jesus' mission is to show us these constants. Ultimately they revolve around the related concepts (or realities) of person and Trinity, and everything these imply.

Ratzinger has a profound essay on this in a book I just read, called Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology. It has too many explosions to assimilate in the time remaining, but he writes of how person is relation, and of how this relation is grounded in love.

But love is always a relation, so man is a relation of receiving and giving. Receiving and giving what? Oh, various gifts: Love. Truth. Beauty. Freedom. We do not generate these, but rather, as the Son is generated by the Father, we receive them -- not to hold onto or horde them, but rather, to pass the gifts along.

Thus, the very form of Jesus' existence is in "being from someone toward someone," in an "absolute openness of existence without any reservation of what is merely and properly one's own."

Yesterday a reader emailed me to let me know I sounded "needy and unappreciated" in my comment the other day about having so few comments the day before -- you know, like it's a bad thing. In my ingenuous and unsuspecting mind, that wasn't my point at all. Rather, I just wish more people wanted to receive what I have to give, in order to complete that cycle. True, so long as it reaches one person, that is sufficient. But still.

"For again, the point is that a word is essentially from someone else and toward someone else.... Your 'I' is on the one hand what is most your own and at the same time what you have least of yourself; it is most of all not your own, because it is only from the 'you' that it can exist as an 'I' in the first place" (Ratzinger).

Not to sound all needy and stuff, but what I mean is you guys complete me, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.


Blogger Rick said...

Right back atcha.
(haven't missed a post)

4/10/2015 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

And btw,

"I am reminded of people who complain that the Church won't "allow" female priests, when in reality, the Church has no right and no authority to do so."

Thank you. I haven't seen the argument made this way except once. It is the same for gay marriage. Although when I saw the argument made, the person said
"bless", as in it has no authority or reference from which to bless it as it does for other things.

4/10/2015 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Leftism is so truthy, it is beyond the need for proof. Empirical evidence is just

"a way of using an individual as a metonym for systematic analysis that both overplays the role of individual heroism and effort and underplays the complicated nature of oppression as a feature of institutions, policies, traditions, and persons."

In other words, oppression is too important to require proof.

4/10/2015 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Interestingly, Jaki goes on to say that "the reality of free will" is "the only safe foundation of democracy. Political freedom without attention to free will invites rank irresponsibility, couched, of course, in convenient slogans about human fulfillment and economic prosperity." This is what I mean about the left being absolutely committed to man's fallenness"

Yep. No Free Will ->No Freedom-> No Liberty. And again, as the one who most popularized the notion first, Rousseau is the godfather of the modern pro-regressive left.

4/10/2015 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

... or Beelzebub-father, as the case may be....

4/10/2015 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

We are here. I don't comment nearly as often as I read. I suspect you have more readers than you know.

4/10/2015 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

But we are only really free to believe truth.

When you think about it, it seems so obvious. Lies=Fear. The truth sets you free. Life free or die.

I like this.

4/10/2015 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I'll second Rick @ 9:15. And 9:21.

Speaking only for myself, it's hard to find a quiet moment these days and really digest so that there's something of substance to give back to the conversation. Much less keep up with reading assignments. Hopefully that will improve as the kids get a little older & less clingy...

4/10/2015 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or when they feel less needy and unappreciated.

4/10/2015 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Does that ever end?

Re. the church and making sh*t up, it seems more and more as though, even though it is not supposed to be doing that, there are some in power who think it would be just dandy to get with the times. I'm still shocked about the Catholic teacher at the Catholic school who was fired for expressing a Catholic opinion. "Intemperately," I believe they said, although from what I recall she didn't say anything terrible. Just the truth.

4/10/2015 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Materialists contend there is no free will, rather we do stuff because our human nature compels us to do what we're hard wired to do. But we have the ability to stop our actions and to say no to self, hence what we call free will might be more appropriately called free won't.

Another dead end for materialism.

4/10/2015 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It is interesting how intimately related are truth and freedom. There is no way to have one without the other, for which reason the left takes no chances and jettisons both.

4/10/2015 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Free will and truth are intimately intertwined. One may not, for instance, freely choose to remain an infant in body, but one may choose to retain a perpetually infantile mind. It seems rather a lot of people are making that choice these days; I'm sure that when pressed they will insist that they have no choice but to do as they do.

4/10/2015 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie said "Does that ever end?" Yes. If you did it right, yes. I'm seeing it already with our oldest. Savor it.

4/10/2015 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That reminds me, I should try to remember to call my parents this weekend...

4/10/2015 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anybody ever heard of Pavel Florensky? My invisible friend at amazon drew my attention to him.

4/11/2015 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I'd never heard of him, but judging by the reviews your invisible friend knows you extremely well.

4/11/2015 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I would be surprised if our other invisible friend, Tomberg, wasn't aware of him. My amazon friend also pointed me to this, which is interesting in light of our recent discussions of God and pi. And also to this, which I couldn't help biting on, since it is so Tomberg-y. Indeed, the afterword is by Robert Powell. And I decided to begin with a Florenbsky because for three bucks, what can you lose?

4/11/2015 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That last scrambled sentence should be "Florensky bio."

4/11/2015 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's amazing how often God guides me to cheap books. He speaks to me in the form of irresistible bargains.

4/11/2015 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...


Though I notice the first Florensky comes at a bit of a price. I thought it was supposed to work the other way around...

4/11/2015 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Some say cheap, some say prudent. Or prudent prices, as the case might be.
Plus prudent is more pleasant sounding and not so cheap.
Even though it most likely is cheap.

This is what happens when I read PG Wodehouse.

4/11/2015 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I know my day ain't complete without reading OC and the comments also. Thanks Bob.

4/11/2015 04:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

As I conceive it, we all have inalienable duties, to go along with our inalienable rights.

4/11/2015 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Exactly. And responsibility is necessarily prior. Humanness = responsibilities.

4/11/2015 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This article linked at American Digest is provocative. It suggests that people are most influenced by those who have IQs of about 20 points higher than they. If the gap is lower, they don't pay attention, and if it is higher, they just get confused.

I have no idea if there is any validity to this, but it would certainly explain how the intellectual mediocrities of the left are so easily able to manipulate and lead the low information masses by the nose:

"In free markets people choose to whom they listen. In other words, in audiences dominated by high school graduates, who average around 105 IQ, the successful leaders will have an average IQ of 105+20=125. Speakers with [higher IQs] will be cancelled from radio, fired from TV and print or not elected because they confuse rather than enlighten their audience."

This would also explain the intellectual self-regard of the left. Since smarter people are incomprehensible to them, they imagine that this is because the smarter people are stupid. For example, Paul Krugman no doubt feels this way about Thomas Sowell, or Tom Friedman about Dennis Prager, or Maureen Dowd about Ann Coulter, etc. I am quite certain that a conservative flagship such as National Review, for example, is aimed at a higher IQ audience than the NY Times. And MSM outlets such as Time, Salon, CNN, and all the rest are so stupid as to be intolerable to anyone but the LoFos.

Still, I don't think it has as much to do with intelligence as integration. Left wing thought is severely un-integrated and dis-integrated, such that a religious conservative with an average IQ is much smarter than a leftist with a high IQ, if only because the former can draw upon the unsurpassable collective wisdom of religion.

It is also interesting that high-intelligence people necessarily tend to be loners, because there's no one to talk to! Have you ever noticed that everyday conversation can be a challenge, because you have forgotten how to be so stupid?

4/12/2015 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Interesting article. The brawl in Vanderleun's comments between self-identified geniuses has been sort of interesting, as well. They way they turn on each other (as though a broad example based on one person's experience is actually a personal insult to another born purely of envy or spite) might shed a little light on why the super smart have a super hard time getting along, as well. For a bunch of supposedly smart guys, some of them don't seem to be particularly wise. Of course, those are two very different qualities.

But yeah, apparent intelligence does matter. A couple of weeks back, my study group had a substitute speaker who was clearly just not as bright as our regular speaker. I'm sure she's a very nice lady, but listening was almost unbearable; I completely checked out while she was talking.

4/12/2015 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In the comments at the Polymathic page, someone linked another interesting article about IQ, achievement, etc.

4/12/2015 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

IRT that American Digest post,
So imagine how stupid a Sheila Jackson Lee or Nancy pelosi's constituents are. Holy moley!
Okay, we don't hafta imagine it these days.

4/12/2015 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

I read the "Square root of God" this weekend, I liked the opening and the idea of pi as a Jesus key... the rest was ok but sort of loosey?

I also suckered myself into another $2 booklet, "The blueprint of creation", which was nifty 'fun with numbers', geometry as [the title]. I get squeamish when they start doing the numerological steps 'loop this number three times, then reduce numbers (the number 12 becomes 3), and '... look at how the prime numbers line up with a scanning photo of an atom!'

But it was still cool. Beat Netflix!

4/13/2015 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

I mentioned the work of Philippe Rushton
awhile back in the context of IQ. His work is fascinating and startling to say the least. I find it dovetails somewhat with Bob's work.

4/13/2015 11:07:00 AM  

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