Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ben Carson and the God of Slack

We left off with the passionate interiority which characterizes our vertical openness to the infinite. This vibrantly intersubjective space extends from the deepest within -- our part so ptee -- to the highest beyond -- the toppermost of the poppermost.

Thus, within and beyond -- or depth and height, or immanence and transcendence -- are the immeasurable measures of the soul. These dimensions explain why it is so roomy in here -- but also, why some people feel so cramped and confined within themselves -- but more problematically, toward others upon whom they attempt to impose their own strangled sense of self.

For example, Hitler infamously sought lebensraum, or living space, but why? There's more than enough room for everyone, at present about 2.3 acres of inhabitable land for every person on earth. Clearly, there wasn't enough space in Hitler's head, which he projected outward.

Some on the left imply that there isn't enough space in Trump's head, but he's talking about a very different phenomenon. It is not so much that we don't have the physical space, but rather, the psychic space. Since so many immigrants refuse psycho-cultural integration (or are prevented from it by the left), this does represent an aggressive invasion of our psychic space. With enough of them, it will no longer be our cultural space at all (whereas in Germany, Jews were completely assimilated and even proud to call themselves German).

Indeed, in California, where I live, it has already happened. Thanks to illegals, we have one-party rule. There are a few pockets of conservatism left, but they have no influence on the overall cultural-political atmosphere (the space of freedom), which has gotten progressively smaller in my lifetime. How small? This small.

Speaking of space, one of the important characteristics of the Christian God is that he leaves us plenty of it. Or in other words, our God is a God of slack. You might think this is funny on the one hand, or just irrelevant on the other, but you would be wrong. In Christian metaphysics, slack is of the essence. It is the infinite space in which we live, such that no seelor can circumnavelgaze the soul, whereas for he whose soul is flat -- the sky / Will cave in on him by and by (Millay).

This is one of the organizing themes in Barron's explorations. For example, he writes that "In almost all the mythic and philosophical accounts of the God-world relationship, something like a zero-sum game obtains: the more one attributes to God, the less one can attribute to the universe and vice versa."

This is how it is in Islam, where there is literally no room for man's freedom. At present Ben Carson is undergoing his Ritual Humiliation by the left for adverting to this elementary truth.

It is the same with any form of predestination. Predestination is not only wrong, but anti-Christian to the core, because it leaves no space for human freedom. Indeed, to affirm predestination is to say that there is no distinction between Creator and creature. It is literally as if there is no creation, since the creation is just an extension of God.

But "the Christian tradition holds just the opposite." This is how Jesus can be man and God, without the one overwhelming or displacing the other. Somehow there's room for both! Which is a wild idea: in the same space there is room for the ultimate-universal and for the individual-particular.

"A second implication is that God can give and give and in no way be exhausted, for the world cannot take away from the infinity of the divine being." Indeed, "the divine life increases in the measure that it is given away," such that we may participate in this soul-expanding "self-forgetting generosity."

I can't help thinking of poor Pope Francis, who seems to have a rather narrow and cramped view of God's creation -- as if there isn't enough of it for everyone! Our immortal Sowell touches on this today, asking "which has a better track record of helping the less fortunate -- fighting for a bigger slice of the economic pie, or producing a bigger pie?"

Or in other words, when smallminded souls enviously fight over their piece of the flaming pie, we all lose. Not too long ago a million people a month were being lifted out of poverty in China thanks to Pope Francis's dreaded capitalism. Has there ever been a leftist program that accomplished a tiny fraction of this?

Want to know how to make a leftist miserable? Just double everyone's income. Everyone will be more affluent, but "income inequality" will be twice as wide, so envy will eat away any joy.

Now, God-world, or Creator-creation, is a relationship. Unlike in ancient metaphysics, the world is not an emanation, or mere prolongation, of God. In many ways, creation is the key to biblical metaphysics; or better, as Brueggemann suggests, the irreducible trinity of creator/creates/creation (or creatures), for a creator by definition creates, and creatures are what he creates.

Thus, the intellectual tradition animating Genesis is concerned with "the large issue of the relation of creator and 'creature'" (emphasis mine). Here again, we cannot have a relation to God if predestination is the case. A relationship can only exist in the space of freedom, and we could even say that freedom is literally a kind of higher dimensional phase space of potential choices.

And as alluded to by Barron, this represents a sharp break with both the ancients and the recents, in that the "'mythological' perception of reality... assumes that all the real action is with the gods and creation in and of itself has no significant value." For example, in Greek mythology, the gods just fuck with us for the sport of it, like Obama.

For the same reason, this latter metaphysic cannot support science, since science assumes an autonomous space that is free of God's direct meddling, so to speak. In other words, he allows us to figure stuff out instead of, say, putting it all down in a book from which we are not permitted to deviate. There is a reason why science did not develop in the Muslim world, and why it is under assault by the authoritarian left.

In short, "the world has been positively valued by God for itself," and "must be valued by the creatures to whom it has been provisionally entrusted." Like science, environmentalism -- the sane kind -- is a thoroughly Christian phenomenon.

Unlike that irascible nonlocal y'oql known as Allah, "the purposes of the [Judeo-Christian] creator are not implemented in a coercive way nor imposed as a tyrant might. The creator loves and respects the creation. The freedom of creation is taken seriously by the creator" (emphasis mine).

Thus, the Judeo-Christian God "authors life, but there is no hint of authoritarianism" in the text. Rather, gnoetry of Genesis valorizes a "movement towards a unity of harmony, trust, and gratitude."

In short, "the creature whom [God] has caused to be, he now lets be." That's cosmic slack, baby, and without it, life is scarcely worth creating.

13 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

At present Ben Carson is undergoing his Ritual Humiliation by the left for adverting to this elementary truth.

One of the reasons Trump is so far ahead right now is his refusal to apologize to the Left for expressing Wrongthink. Or for pretty much anything, really. I would love to see more people follow that example - not that the world needs more Trumps, but rather that the world needs more people who are willing to state the truth and refuse to grovel when the harpies of perpetual offendedness descend to tear them apart for uttering hatefacts.

9/22/2015 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I can't help thinking of poor Pope Francis, who seems to have a rather narrow and cramped view of God's creation -- as if there isn't enough of it for everyone!

Someone (possibly David Warren, but I can't find the bit right now) observed the other day that if poverty is such a holy state, helping the poor to have a higher standard of living is actually doing them harm.

In short, "the creature whom [God] has caused to be, he now lets be." That's cosmic slack, baby, and without it, life is scarcely worth creating.

Amen.

9/22/2015 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"But "the Christian tradition holds just the opposite." This is how Jesus can be man and God, without the one overwhelming or displacing the other. Somehow there's room for both! Which is a wild idea: in the same space there is room for the ultimate-universal and for the individual-particular."

Two in One = Trinity
Spiritual Mythmatics.

9/22/2015 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good news from the Vatican.

9/22/2015 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha - if only the magic of pumpkin spice or caramel apple Oreos could have that effect!

9/22/2015 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

One of the things I've learned from this place is to try to see the absolute from which the relative derives. It occurred to me last week that the absolute version of equality is absolute zero, which helps explain why the left is always on the side of totalitarianism. And opposed to Christianity, which is essentially a celebration of life (Chesterton again).

Speaking tangentially of which, I wrote my email to Angus the King last night about some kind of abortion bill (something about not killing them if they can scream in pain) that is supposed to come up for something in Washington today. I said something like, "You responded to my wife's email by saying that you want abortion to be safe, legal, and rare. I thought that I should let you know that there is no safe way to dismember a baby, whether or not for purposes of eventual sale of the parts."

9/22/2015 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

What I was kind of getting at is that I think it is incumbent upon all of us to subject them to as much ridicule as their sophistry warrants.

And that's a lot of what seems to have been working for Trump, making him like the monster that just gets stronger the more you shoot it. He seems to have gotten inside the OODA loop of the political correctness machine. With a little luck, their whole neo-puritanical system may just come crashing down right quick.

9/22/2015 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Which is a wild idea: in the same space there is room for the ultimate-universal and for the individual-particular.

Just wanted to see it again.

9/22/2015 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

As long as he doesn't think a pumpkin Eucharist would be good idea, we might be OK.

9/22/2015 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

��

9/22/2015 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

[rats - trying again...]

( ゚ Д゚)

That would be so, so wrong...

9/22/2015 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Predestination is not only wrong, but anti-Christian to the core, because it leaves no space for human freedom. Indeed, to affirm predestination is to say that there is no distinction between Creator and creature. It is literally as if there is no creation, since the creation is just an extension of God.

If one had not been pounded with the doctrine of predestination all one's life, why the soul of one would just naturally leap upward in aHA! recognition of so obvious a point. It rings, it does. It wakes the sleeper to rise up and slack.

9/22/2015 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

"There's more than enough room for everyone, at present about 2.3 acres of inhabitable land for every person on earth."

OMGZ! Peak acerage!

9/23/2015 04:58:00 AM  

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