Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Conservative Exodus and Liberal Slavery

As promised, the quest for the nonlocal Object of Virtue continues.

What do you mean, "nonlocal Object of Virtue"?

Well, it reminds me of the title of one of Dávila's collections of aphorisms: Annotations on an Implicit Text. In other words, it is as if these timeless nuggets are the footgnosis of a text that isn't here.

Where is it then? It is everywhere in general and nowhere in particular. It is available to every man, by virtue of being one. The annotations on it were true yesterday and will be true tomorrow, suggesting that their textual object is also trans-temporal and hyperdimensional.

Or, it is like language itself. As Professor Chomsky proposed before sanity and decency abandoned him (or he them), language has a surface structure and a deep structure. All humans have the same deep structure, whereas a particular language furnishes the surface structure.

The deep structure is as it were noumenal, in that it cannot be directly perceived. Rather, it is implicit in language itself. One cannot speak the deep structure for the same reason one cannot hear musical theory.

This would imply that, say, the Ten Commandments are local expressions of the nonlocal Object of morality. They are not the thing itself and should not be worshiped as such. They are still phenomenal, and indeed, the second commandment might even be seen a self-referential joke warning for us not to turn morality into a soph-reverential idol. We are frankly in love with Wisdom, but she is not God.

There are also the four cardinal virtues and their opposite number, the seven deadlies. The latter imply that there is also a nonlocal Object of Vice.

Uh oh. Could this be the entity called Satan? Perhaps like language, Satan can only be known via the surface structure of particular acts and beliefs. On the surface the acts may appear random and incoherent, but perhaps there is a secret order. We will no doubt return to this idea.

Right now. Because it really reminds me of psychoanalysis, in particular, of the discovery of the unconscious. It's been a long time since I thought about it, but while others had noticed that man is driven by "irrational" subterranean forces he doesn't understand, Freud was the first to propose that they emanate from a deeper order -- that the outward disorder has an invariant deep structure.

Today we call this a "personality disorder," but the latter word -- disorder -- is a bit misleading, or at least ambiguous, because we're really talking about an enduring order, albeit one that leads to chaos in one's life.

You could even say that it is very much analogous to the oxymoron of a "planned economy" or centralized state. Indeed, these are collective versions of individual pathology, in that they are orders that inevitably provoke chaos.

To pretend to plan an economy is to attempt to do something that not only cannot be done, but will engender misallocations, shortages, surpluses, price distortions, black markets, etc.

Similarly, a rigid personality disorder will be recognized by the chaos it generates in the persons's life. The chaos follows them like the dirt cloud around Pigpen. Psychological health lives in the shadowland between order and chaos. Too much of either makes life unlivable -- either for oneself or the people around oneself.

Note also that just as excessive topdown order generates chaos, excessive chaos will evoke order -- as in how the chaotic breakdown of the black family calls forth the police which they then complain about. Hey, feel free to police your own children, because we really really have better things to do.

Here is where the liberal desire for topdown control meets with the chaos which liberals simultaneously create and promise to remedy. As George Gilder puts it, liberal policies ensnare the poor

"in a welfare state for women and children and a police state for two generations of black boys. Some seventy programs annually dispense close to $900 billion mostly to single-parent families totally incapable of raising boys." As a consequence, "as many as a third of black makes under 35 are in prison, on probation, or on the lam."

Now, the welfare state is the indulgent mother, the pathological Matriarchy. The police state is the Father after it is too late. Rather, he can only come in amidst the wreckage and try to impose some order after the fact. But since the source of the disorder is in the psyche(s), there's not much he can do.

Look at the Gentle Giant of Ferguson. Strong-arming store owners and charging police officers is prima facie evidence of a deep disorder, of no impulse control. I am not advocating shooting every person with poor impulse control, but you can well understand that if a person cannot stop himself from acting out violently then someone else will have to. I suppose we could shoot them like animals with tranquilizer guns, but the animal always wakes up behind bars in the zoo, where he belongs.

Back to the Object. Again, MacIntyre's point is that the Object of Virtue is broken and fragmented, such that it is "no longer possible to appeal to moral criteria in a way that had been possible in other times and places"; and that this represents a "moral calamity."

First of all, it is not a calamity to the left. Rather, it is what they call "liberation." And an opportunity.

I do dwell on this problematic from time to time. For example, can you think of a single person who is so universally morally esteemed that his condemnation would be sufficient to end the career of a politician? Liberals of course try to do this, but to comical effect, for example, bowing before the moral authority of Jimmy Carter, or Michael Moore, or Ted Kennedy, or Als Sharpton and Gore.

Why isn't Obama universally morally condemned? Because the world is a morally sick place. Speaking of Gilder, one has only to consider the Israel Test to appreciate how morally deranged the world is. That this anti-Semitic turd is our president not only speaks to our moral deterioration, but more problematically, to our literal destruction, since those who bless Israel are blessed, just as those who curse it are cursed.

Now, what does that really mean? Yes, we love Israel -- the country and people -- but more important is Israel the Idea. And this Idea goes back to the Object of our interest, since the whole idea of Israel was and is to fashion a people in conformity with the divine order. Christianity is simply the prolongation of this one story bildung of metanoia, redemption, and soph-improvement.

Remember too that in one mishnavious version, the cosmic purpose of Israel is to put back together those fragmented shards of light and return them to their brightful owner. Certainly America's founders were aware of the fact that they were attempting to continue the Exodus into freedom and light.

Seems like a good place to end for the day.

17 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

On the surface the acts may appear random and incoherent, but perhaps there is a secret order.

Yep.

7/28/2015 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...MacIntyre's point is that the Object of Virtue is broken and fragmented.

Maybe I'm missing the point -- which happens a lot, but it's not the Object that is fragmented, is it? It's like what happened at the Tower of Babel when man tried to construct his own object. God came down and "broke up" the language. The Object of Virtue is still there and coherent, but we can no longer talk about it or communicate with it coherently.

That's kind of scary when you think about it. That seems like the recipe for a really nasty war.

7/28/2015 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, that would be correct. It is as if the container of it is broken. Or the mirror. The ark has a leak. The book is missing a bunch of pages.

7/28/2015 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Some people suggest that Christ came back to restore the object. This would make sense of all the warped and twisted precedents, in particular, human sacrifice.

7/28/2015 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Bob, got this quote from HappyAcres, as it relates:

That which is known as the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist; from the beginning of the human race until the time when Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed began to be called Christianity.

— St. Augustine

7/28/2015 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I've cited that one myself a number of times.

7/28/2015 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

It does make sense.

7/28/2015 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I do dwell on this problematic from time to time. For example, can you think of a single person who is so universally morally esteemed that his condemnation would be sufficient to end the career of a politician?

Sadly, no. Then again, all the best people I can think of are not known by very many people. And if they were, they themselves would be more likely to be condemned in the current culture.

I tried picturing what would happen if a Chopra condemned someone, but a) he'd only condemn the right, and likely only for behaving morally, and b) he already does that, and sways no one who isn't already on his side.

The Dalai Lama? No, because even when he says something important, if it doesn't align with what people already think they just ignore him.

7/28/2015 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

When you boil it all down, people are either members of the world's oldest religion or the second oldest.

7/28/2015 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Mushroom said "It's like what happened at the Tower of Babel when man tried to construct his own object. God came down and "broke up" the language. The Object of Virtue is still there and coherent, but we can no longer talk about it or communicate with it coherently."

A thought that's been plaguing me recently, thinking of the 'Tower of Babel' and transposing it to another key of the mind, thinking that what is often seen as God's punishment is, usually the natural consequences of man's errors and misbehavior, what if the story is speaking of something far more devastating than merely confusing the words we use through different languages, and more along the lines of making the means we use to speak and convey meaning to each other through the same language, become meaningless, because they've literally (literally literally) lost what gave them their meaning.

How might that work?

Look at the stories we have, or had. There was a time, not so very long ago, where a game of verbal charades, even between pre-teens, could start with "Pilgrims..." and someone would complete that with "... Progress", or given "Plutarch's..." -> "... Lives of the noble Greeks and Romans...", "Aesops..." -> "... Fables", and even "Samson and..." -> "...Delilah.", all of which, today, you've got a very, very, very iffy chance of getting more than 1 completion.

I've even seen "Three little..." fail to find anyone think of "...pigs".

Even 10 years ago, if you mentioned something as meaningless as a T.V. show, 'Seinfeld' say, and everyone would know something about it. Today, there's a good chance that only some people will even recognize the show's name, let alone know anything about it.

The point being, that if we do not have shared stories... it doesn't matter what language we technically speak, we're all speaking different languages.

Today, we've built an enormous tower of technological civilization with all the abilities to serve ourselves we can dream of, and almost no ways left to communicate to each other, but the fad of the moment. Even 'speaking Seinfeld' (for those of you poor schlubs who liked the show[ducks, runs]), are met with an annoyed "WHat?".

Our tongues have already been confused.

What's that next step...?

Oh yeah... the tower falls down.

Ouch.

7/28/2015 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

By the way, there's no way to see every post in July. Can't get there from here. Click on the archive and you get how ever many posts you have it set to display on one page, but no forward or back buttons to load more. If I search a term and chance on July 6, say, I can't move beyond it or follow the thread of the posts.

*Insert graspy little raccoon paws here* I want my MTV!! Er, Cosmos.

7/28/2015 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just switched it over to weekly. How's that?

7/28/2015 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Thanks! Aesthetically, it's a BIG list, but yes, that makes it easier to point someone to a series. It's not that it was monthly, it's that it wouldn't display the whole month when you selected it, and there was no way to load or see all posts for July. Weird.

7/29/2015 02:51:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"To pretend to plan an economy is to attempt to do something that not only cannot be done, but will engender misallocations, shortages, surpluses, price distortions, black markets, etc."

Yep, toilet paper rolls downhill, unless you ain't got any because of commies, socialosts, or tyrants by any other name, including tyrants.
In any event, crap flows downhill too, and there's always plenty of that. More so if tyrants are in charge.

7/29/2015 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In other news, life imitates Fahrenheit 451.

7/29/2015 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Back to the Object. Again, MacIntyre's point is that the Object of Virtue is broken and fragmented, such that it is "no longer possible to appeal to moral criteria in a way that had been possible in other times and places"; and that this represents a "moral calamity.""

Certainly our perception of the object is broken, into a gazillion pragmatic uses.

Funny thing about MacIntyre's book, the first few chapters I was humming along, scribbling in the margins, and then my pen sort of stilled, and mid way through chapter six, it just sort of stopped getting picked up again, for long anyway.

Still there. I don't think it's too worried.

7/29/2015 09:31:00 PM  
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8/06/2015 03:57:00 AM  

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