One Human is a Statistic, a Billion is a Tragedy
Coincidentally, during that long day of darkness, ignorance, and fear, I was able to read a most illuminating book called The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels, which I mention because it's not the sort of subject we usually blah-blah-blog about. Perhaps we should, because fossil fuels are arguably the greatest thing for cosmic evolution since the opposable thumb, and people need to stop being defensive about them. Rather, they deserve a full-throated celebration -- intellectually, morally, and spiritually, let alone economically.
Perhaps the word "spiritually" comes as a surprise, but I'll provide a brief example. The book is filled with examples of how wrong the left has been about energy depletion and about "climate change," such that if we had heeded their constant warnings of catastrophe, we'd all be living as I did yesterday, in my energy-deprived state.
One of our most distinguished environmentalists is Bill McKibben. When I say "distinguished," I mean wrong about everything all the time. But he is also a moral imbecile, an intellectual sociopath if you will (hence the spiritual angle). We can thank God that his inhumane ideas have never been implemented. (Here is an especially nauseating article that really puts the puff into puff piece. Imagine the MSM treating a conservative intellectual with such drooling fawnmanship.)
In that piece of puffery, McKibbon is quoted as saying that "Human beings -- any one of us, and our species as a whole -- are not all-important, not at the center of the world." Easy for him to say, since capitalism has been good to him, and he lives in his Vermont paradise amidst "red pines that go for miles." (I might add that if human beings are not all-important, then we can safely ignore this one's self-important squawking.)
Although McKibbon calls himself a "Christian," his first principles are at antipodes to Christianity. If you ask me if he's Christian, I would respond, "hey, is the Pope Catholic?"
McKibben is a biocentrist, whereas Christianity is person-centric; this person-centrism is of course tripolar, as in divine, human, and the mysterious Third. How McKibben uses Christianity to undermine itself could be the subject of a whole book, so I'll leave it at that.
Epstein cites a review of McKibben's first book, The End of Nature, a worldwide bestseller first published in 1989. The author of the review enthusiastically agrees with McKibben that the nonhuman world cannot be regarded in terms of utility; rather, it not only has "intrinsic value," but "more value" "than another human body, or a billion of them." You might say that one human is a statistic, a billion -- or 7 billion -- a tragedy.
Some of those human bodies think human beings "are a part of nature," but they are just evil or stupid, or probably on the payroll of the oil companies.
No, "Somewhere along the line -- at about a billion years ago, maybe half that -- we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.... Until such a time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."
I guess HIV was the wrong virus.
But a billion years ago? Homo sapiens has only been here for 100,000 or 200,000 years max. Which means that a literal reading of Genesis is much closer to the truth. But how does anything have value in the absence of human beings? When the author says "quit the contract," -- first of all, what a bizarre metaphor. But to the extent that there was a "contract," it was the prehuman one that confined life to mere animality. Thank God we broke that contract and became human persons!
Maybe I will end up blogging about the book. Meanwhile, back to yesterday's post....
"The energies of life," writes Cheetham, "come from the Divine." If this premise is correct, then we are alive because God is. And although "these energies permeate the universe," it is possible for them to deviate from their course (as in the case of forest-dwelling McGibbon apes), to "get blocked and stifled, or run in little eddies that go round and round forever in one place."
The realm of spirit is life -- and mind -- transposed a higher key. Or better, life and matter are spirit transposed to a lower key, since the source of life is at the top.
It isn't possible to define life with precision, but we can specify the conditions under which it manifests locally; mainly it requires three things, a boundary between inside and out, self and not-self; far from equilibrium conditions (equilibrium equating to death by entropy); and partial openness through which matter, energy, and information are exchanged.
How would this apply to vertical life and growth? Well, first of all we need a firm but flexible boundary between self and other, or me and not-me, or I and environment, or feminists and their triggers. (Dr. Dalrymple alerts us to the young lady who "seemed always liable to burst into blushes when there was no need at all. There appeared to be no line of demarcation between the young person’s excessive innocence, and another person’s guiltiest knowledge.")
Most people probably take this line of demarcation for granted, but if everyone had healthy boundaries, I would be out of a job. But at least there would be no women's studies departments, so, even-Steven or effin' Stephan.
There is no end to the mischief caused by poor psychic boundaries. It explains why leftists think the way they do more generally, for it is not so much the thoughts that are wrong but the very structure of the apparatus of thought. Like the foundation of a house, if it isn't secure, then the whole structure is in danger of collapsing.
Leftists unconsciously recognize this, hence the pervasive defense mechanisms of political correctness, speech codes, demonization, slander, imputation of imagined motives, trigger warnings, Citizens United hysteria, etc.
From the cosmic perspective, each of these really functions to keep the leftist's cognitive system closed and sealed off from reality, or to repel any information that would threaten its infantile omniscience and moral superiority. It's all a noxious exercise in pathological self-esteem, which itself is a kind of static equilibrium between (self) image and likeness: I am my own ideal.
I've been reading a book by David Horowitz called Left Illusions, and he describes the pathology as cogently as anyone. For example, the left's demonization of conservatives far exceeds the most extravagant dreams of Joseph McCarthy. Furthermore, these professional McCarthyists don't just talk about it, they get things done, which is why academia and the MSM are so monolithically left wing.
As to our far-from-equilibrium condition, this may be considered from a number of angles. You might say that the furthest from equilibrium are man and God, or (¶) and O. Thanks to this deusequilibrium, everything else is possible, e.g., love, truth, justice, creativity, evolution, and beauty.
For example, premise one is I don't know. Premise two is Truth is. Conclusion? Man may know truth, but only insofar as he maintains that vital disequilibrium between himself and the Source. If he imagines that he is the source, then this is the end of both disequilibrium -- and thus the further evolution of thought -- and vertical openness. We have torn up the Cosmic Contract.
Or, just see Genesis 3. What's really going on there? Well, there is something man shouldn't do, on pain of death, which is to say, existential equilibrium. What might that be? I would say it involves rejecting our complementary pole, and presuming to carry it within. It may be summarized with the atheistic formula, There is no God, and I am he.
That is by definition the ultimate equilibrium, and thus the ultimate death. I'm sure Mushroom can provide scriptural support for this view.
The third characteristic of life is the open exchange of matter, energy, and/or information. In the case of spirit, we're not so much concerned with matter, but then again, forget what I just said, for a central theme of Christianity is that matter itself is to become divinized, or infused with those higher energies. It's a messy job, but someone has to do it. Unless you tear up the contract.
This goes to what we said in the previous post about "first" and "second" theologies. Theology is a kind of information, but if you confine it to the head, then you're a pretty weak be-er, just foaming at the mouth.
Rather, the whole point is to draw that information/energy all the way down and out. In other words, like sap from the upside-down cosmic tree, it should proceed all the way from the roots to the trunk to the branches to the leafy individuals. And then there is the prolongation from leaf-to-leaf, i.e., "love thy arbor."
This, I believe, goes to Petey's jehovial witticism that It's a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf.
Interestingly, the footgnote to that very passage goes to exactly what was said above: "In the incarnation humanity is the 'boundary' or 'frontier' between the visible and the invisible, the carnal and the spiritual, like a mediator between creation and the creator" (Olivier Clement).
The leaf motif also reminds me of the final death scene in Finnegans Wake: "My leaves have drifted from me. All. But one clings still. I'll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff!"
So long as a single green leaf remains, the tree is still alive with lff.
A world without soul is a world without anima, without anima-tion. It feels dead and unreal.... That is what Reality is for us -- being intensely alive. And the energies of life come from the Divine. To tap into this energy it is necessary to sacrifice ourselves, to sacrifice the merely personal, the closed-off and isolated world of the person as ego, in favor of the transpersonal divine context out of which our own tiny individualities flow. --Thomas Cheetham