Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Give Me a Premise and I Will Destroy the World!

It seems to me that Corbin's remedy for the error of reductionism is a defiant expansionism: we should resist all attempts to trap the soul in the tautologous absurcularities of its own reason. Auto-pullwoolery is never the solution to man's terrestrial challenges.

Man cannot contain himself. Even on the physical plane, our skin doesn't actually contain us per se. Rather, it is a semipermeable membrane through which pass moisture, light, and sensations (and probably some more subtle energies as well, e.g., certain kinds of touch). It is simultaneously inward and outward turning.

This two-faced property of inside/outside proceeds all the way up the cosmic hierarchy. It not only defines life, but also mind: the mind too is a kind of membrane that bounds the "self." However, there is no self without an and ultimately the Other, this otherhood being built into the very nature of things, i.e., the Trinity.

At risk of belaboring a point that no one outside the Coonosphere will appreciate anyway, this is my main argument against both artificial life and the likelihood of discovering intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos, for an artificial intelligence will not cohere around a nonlocal interior, and the evolutionary circumstances for its terrestrial appearance are so insanely specific that it could never occur by chance.

If we do ever discover an intelligence that is in any way analogous to ours, then it will simply be because God didn't limit it to one planet. The aliens will be "like" us because they have the same source, which is not from below, but above.

This has nothing to do with "creationism," mind you, nor intelligent design. Rather, it follows from the principles involved. The argument -- which is highlighted in a book I recently read, Who Designed the Designer? -- is metaphysical, not merely empirical or (lower case r) rational.

For the intellectually honest, the conclusion is ineluctable but not of course foolproof, since a fool can prove anything. Just as that Greek guy who said "give me a big enough fulcrum and I can move the world," if you allow me to specify the premises, I can prove whatever I want.

How can someone be a devotee of reason and not understand that reason is tautologous, simply following from its premises? How can they not know of their master, Gödel? Or that they are contained, not container?

"Who designed the designer?" is, of course, a trick question. To even ask it is to betray an implicit premise, or to not understand the nature of a first cause. Or, it is just an incoherent projection of human limitations.

Corbin speaks of a "primary theology" which is prior to all of our secondary elaborations, rationalizations, and intellectualizations, the latter of which may perversely function to distance us from that First Naked Encounter with the Nameless Other.

This, I think, must be the function and the appeal of what a Catholic would say is at the center of the whole existentialda, which is to say, communion. Can't get more physical than that that. It is meant to be a primary, irreducible encounter that bypasses all of our (sometimes) unhelpful pneumababble. Its motto might be Just duit!

However, for Corbin -- and I suppose for any esoterist -- communion would nevertheless ultimately be the outward instantiation of an inward principle, albeit the Highest Principle. It is not the only way to know the principle, except for most people. After all, most people can't even read between the lines, because their literacy obscures the transliteracy of the text. It takes a long time to unlearn to read!

In any event, First Theology is not a thought but an experience. All other theologies are number two or lower. Ours is always a "theology of reception," as Son to Father. It is "given." It is gift.

Not to in any way devalue Aquinas's immortal accomplishment, but even he -- when he had that direct encounter and contemplative infusion of First Theology -- was heard to exclaim that All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me. Everything short of this is number two or lower!

Faith and belief are no doubt essential, but they have a function. They are not ends in themselves, but serve the higher purpose of assimilation, such that we may actually believe what we profess to believe. Faith is indeed the evidence of things unseen, or the establishment of a kind of link through which a flow of energies takes place. Without this infusion, "you have nothing -- just a catechism as a list of doctrines, more or less abstruse and impenetrable" (Cheetham).

Just as it is up to us to look through Galileo's telescope in order to see what he's talking about, it is up to us to peer through the teloscape in order to understand what scripture is going on about. The former is necessarily a kind of echo of the latter, otherwise science itself would be strictly impossible.

We might say that First Theology is to theologians as genuine art is to critics. Obviously, all of the Shakespearean criticism in the world doesn't add up to single Hamlet. The tenured will apparently be analyzing it "forever," without ever exhausting it or equalling it. This is because art is what we call a clue as to the Way Things Are. It is why we are "attracted" to art in the first place. The critic is the parasite, not the host.

It calls to mind an aphorism: A work of art has, properly speaking, not meaning but power (Don Colacho). Or, its meaning flows from its power. It first "makes an impression" on us, after which we explore the nature of the powerful impression.

Am I just repeating myself? Sometimes I feel like Schuon, who wrote in the preface of one of his books that "Everything has already been said, and well said; but one must always recall it anew, and in recalling it one must do what has already been done: to actualize in thought certitudes contained, not in the thinking ego, but in the transpersonal substance of human intelligence."

So, I suppose this blog really is one great big exercise in vertical recollection, or at least avoidance of vertical forgetting, especially mine.


Blogger julie said...

From the point of view of (¶), it's all recollection, even when we encounter it for the "first" time...

6/02/2015 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"I suppose this blog really is one great big exercise in vertical recollection, or at least avoidance of vertical forgetting.."

Or a kind of prayer.

6/02/2015 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

simply following from its premises

They probably don't do geometric proofs in school anymore. You can't do proofs without axioms and the axioms in Euclidean space are not the same as non-Euclidean.

6/02/2015 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

It's a different person that goes back and recollects -- like the comic that only needs one joke when he works the senior center.

6/02/2015 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Olden Ears said...

I read that the preacher's job is not to teach. It is to remind.

6/02/2015 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"This, I think, must be the function and the appeal of what a Catholic would say is at the center of the whole existentialda, which is to say, communion. Can't get more physical than that that. It is meant to be a primary, irreducible encounter that bypasses all of our (sometimes) unhelpful pneumababble. Its motto might be Just duit!"

That was Jest Suite.

6/03/2015 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"So, I suppose this blog really is one great big exercise in vertical recollection, or at least avoidance of vertical forgetting, especially mine."

God gnos I need it. Thanks, Bob!

6/03/2015 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous The Sphinx said...

"He who questions training only trains himself at asking questions."

6/03/2015 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous The Sphinx said...

"Learn to hide your strikes from your opponent and you'll more easily strike his hide."

6/03/2015 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Furious said...

And why am I wearing the watermelon on my feet?

6/03/2015 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

So...Amazon recommended this book to me:

Written by the founders of The Church of the Latter-Day Dude.

I've read some of the sample writing and it looks like the Dude Way is similar to the Raccoon Way of Slack.
Plus, it's funny. I reckon I'll hafta buy it now, through Bob's Amazon link, of course.

Well played, Amazon, well played.

6/03/2015 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The good news: the electricity finally came back on, after having been out since 8:00 AM. The bad news: I guess today's post will appear tomorrow.

6/03/2015 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow - sounds like a frustrating day. I hope the weather wasn't too hot. Was it the whole neighborhood, or just your house? If that's not too nosy.

6/03/2015 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

14 houses, AKA, our side of the street, for "routine maintenance." Be nice if they gave some advance notice, but SCE is as responsive to the consumer as is the government.

6/03/2015 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That sucks. I'll bet having their full attention is more unpleasant than merely having your power shut off for a day, too.

Glad that's all it was, though.

6/03/2015 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That happened to me last week, but it was at night, and it was due to a car crash, so I guess it wasn't the same thing. Fortunately I have a few lanterns, so I was able to read more of my books. We actually have a good utility team here, but probably because it's a small town and conservative county.
Big city utilities, however, are mediocre at best, bureaucracies that can care less about their customers. Particularly in leftist-run cities.
When I was stationed in San Diego they weren't too bad, but I hear San Diego is now run by leftists, so it's really gone down hill, according to a few friends I have that still live there.

At any rate, it should still be a private business, perhaps with reasonable govt. QA inspections, or better yet, just get rid of the monopoly.
I know, ain't gonna happen in my lifetime.

6/03/2015 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of books, at least I had the chance to read The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, and it's really great. Gives you all you need and more to cause a leftist's head to implode.

6/03/2015 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A Prager University Commencement Address, although students really need the speech before they enter college.

6/03/2015 07:16:00 PM  

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