Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Will to Paradise

Continuing with yesterday's theme of how to resolve and overcome our pathological and destructive solutions, Conquest reminds us that "the huge catastrophes of our era have been inflicted by human beings driven by certain thoughts."

Therefore, we need to expose these thoughts, but also inquire into why they are so darn appealing. For clearly, the appeal doesn't lie in their being true or effective, but in some deeper wish.

Conquest asks "How did these mental aberrations gain a purchase?" And "Who were the Typhoid Marys who spread the infection." Marx? No, he caught it from Hegel. Hegel? Nah, he had influences that go all the way back to Plato. Plato?

Well, Popper certainly thought so, but he didn't get Plato's esoterism or irony. Still, we could say that Plato misinterpreted is a consistent disease vector, as described in The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization.

But the real problem, as always, is man. There is something in human nature that is prone to detach itself from the Real, which is what Genesis 3 has been trying to warn us about for 3000 years. Any and all destructive ideologies will repeat the archetypal pattern laid out therein.

What are some of the characteristics of this archetypal booboo? I would say that it results in a vertically closed system, or a system closed to the transcendent Other; that it absolutizes the relative, or elevates the finite to the infinite; that it displaces relationship with division; and that it severs complementarities and elevates one side to the ultimate (examples of irreducible complementarities include part-whole, man-God, time-eternity, subject-object, substance-form, etc.).

Most of the particular ideological pathologies flow from these initial errors. For example, everyone believes in paradise, but the sane among us understand that it cannot be attained in this world.

The leftist refuses to believe this, and uses the inevitable flaws of the world -- the world not being heaven -- to justify the drive to utopia. Thus, the world as-it-is becomes one unending excuse to for the revolutionary to destroy -- to "fundamentally transform" -- the world.

This results in countless broken eggs but still no omelet. Therefore, more eggs must be broken. No, it is not a sustainable exercise, because you eventually run out of other peoples eggs.

In France we see the first revolutionary non-omelet and anti-paradise, "in the sense of the complete destruction of the existing order, and its replacement by abstract concepts -- these latter formulated by, and dictatorially enforced by, theorists with no experience of real politics." This then "spread over half the world."

Plus ça change... And the more the left hopes, the more conditions remain hopeless...

"[T]here is something infantile or childish in the whole revolutionary-despotic approach, which is, in effect, based on the simpleminded attitude 'If I were King...,' that it only needs well-intentioned people in power to solve everything by mere decree."

It seems that lies and violence go together like... truth and freedom. For if we cannot appeal to truth-in-freedom -- or the freedom to independently arrive at truth -- then the only alternative is enforcement of the Lie...

No time this morning. School started, lots of traffic, blah blah...

21 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

It seems that lies and violence go together like... truth and freedom. For if we cannot appeal to truth-in-freedom -- or the freedom to independently arrive at truth -- then the only alternative is enforcement of the Lie...

I was reading a link this morning to one of the British newspapers (I forget which and how I got there) decrying the current use of the word "migrants" to describe the wave of people flooding into Europe. It's too dehumanizing and unfriendly, apparently; no, all these people are refugees and must be treated as such.

In truth, I am certain that many of them, particularly those fleeing from ISIS and other hotbeds of Muslim violence, really are refugees. But then again, a lot of them aren't, and the way they are forcing themselves through looks more and more like an invasion. For that matter, the other day I saw someone disagreeing with the word "migrant" because it is too soft for what these people are doing, implying that as they come, they plan to work and in theory return to their home country when the work is done.

In any case, language is being used to obscure the truth of what's happening around the world, wherever large numbers of people are leaving 3rd world countries for the first world. Because of this, it is difficult to have anything like an informed opinion on what is happening; it seems as though nobody in a position of authority (ha!) knows what to do (or is willing to do what is right, whatever that may be), and things are getting uglier and uglier.

Short of a miracle, or a great many miracles, I'm starting to suspect that this century is going to be even bloodier than the last.

9/03/2015 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Well, Popper certainly thought so, but he didn't get Plato's esoterism or irony. Still, we could say that Plato misinterpreted is a consistent disease vector, as described in The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization."

Yep. I disagree with most of Plato's apparent conclusions, but I love his questioning, and I lol at the idea that the society described by Socrates in The Republic, was what Plato was advocating for as an ideal. I'd go so far as to say that every line of questioning that ended in a statement, was only intended to be setting up the starting point for the readers line of questioning and re-questioning.

And Popper was a poopy-head.

9/03/2015 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The French Revolution should be the answer to leftists. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and the rest legally killed off their millions, and you are worried about kids praying over their lunch.

Julie, I prefer the term "invaders".

9/04/2015 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, unfortunately that seems the most truthful. Unfortunate because it will never be used by the loudmouths of the world, and by the time those in power wake up to what is happening, it may well be too late. Certainly, it will be too late for any truly humanitarian solution.

9/04/2015 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Heard the very end of the interview yesterday of author of Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child. Sounds right up our alley, but I didn't care for his first book, so I'm a bit wary.

9/04/2015 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Actually, the book I read was on the ten ways to destroy your child's imagination, which wasn't his first.

9/04/2015 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Mushroom said "Julie, I prefer the term "invaders"."

Yep.

Filed under 'Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it's lessons':
Insert record: 'Muslim hordes sweeping into Europe.'
Associate with 'German hordes sweeping into Europe.'
Cross Reference with Fallen and Forgotten Empires: Rome, Europe

9/04/2015 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Addendum: Insert notation recognizing Rome's attempted solution: Offer citizenship to the German hordes, thereby magically transforming them into Roman hordes.
Cross Reference with American attempt to offer citizenship to 'undocumented immigrant' hordes, thereby magically transforming them into Democrat hordes.

9/04/2015 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Note: Surprising data dump from A.I. bears remarkable referential similarities to that recorded in human minds when bursting into laughter.

Interesting.

9/04/2015 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as it's a misunderstood Plato that can have negative consequences, it's also a misunderstood Hegel who has the potential for aberrations. And granted, Hegel can easily be misunderstood, given his immense complexity. So there is always a risk that lesser minds will absolutize and reify what in the original Hegel is only a part and in flux, for instance. Now, Marx certainly was a lesser mind.

Was Hegel needlessly complex, and is he thereby co-responsible for at least some later misunderstandings? Possible; I'm not competent to judge this. However, to infer from the mere fact of misinterpretation (Marx) that the interpreted base itself (Hegel) necessarily is, at its deepest level, junk doesn't make much sense. By this standard, you would have to throw out the entire Bible.

I'm sort of getting tired with this knee-jerk bashing of Hegel, of making him an easy bogeyman. Don't you feel a small moment of shame when you engage in such facile (and perhaps in some quarters fashionable) reductionism vis-a-vis one of the great minds of humanity?

9/04/2015 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

We are not persuaded by appeals to notoriety. You'll have to tell us precisely why his mind is so great, and we'll take it from there.

9/04/2015 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In other words, we are happy to discuss in more detail why we reject Hegel, but just because we have considered and rejected him doesn't make us reductionists.

9/04/2015 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Aninnymouse said "And granted, Hegel can easily be misunderstood, given his immense complexity." Intricacy can be impressive and profound, but complexity for complexities sake, aka:Hegel, is but muddying the waters to appear deep.

9/04/2015 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

On the surface Hegel is very deep, but deep down not so much.

9/05/2015 07:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van Harvey, have you actually read a fair amount of Hegel, and can you therefore be sure that he's only being complex for complexity's sake?

Gagdad, when have you ever "considered" Hegel? All I've seen from you so far is making him a punching bag in passing. Have have you actually ever read him, or even tried, so that it's your own well-considered jugdment that he only gives the appearance of depth? That certainly isn't the impression I'm getting from the way you mention him, namely, as a sort of tribal marker for the "wrong" side in the history of thought.

As to "appeals to notoriety," that's also precisely what you are engaging, only that you prefix the undoubted Hegel notoriety with a negative marker.

9/06/2015 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Aninnymouse said "...have you actually read a fair amount of Hegel, and can you therefore be sure that he's only being complex for complexity's sake?"

Yes.

9/06/2015 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking only for myself, I was very much influenced by Hegel back in the day, via such thinkers as Ken Wilber, Charles Taylor, and Errol Harris. I was never a Hegelian per se, but I found him quite compatible with others whom I embraced back then, such as Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin.

9/06/2015 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For example, here is an old post from when I was still under the influence. Its thesis make me cringe a little, but fortunately I've achieved a higher synthesis.

9/06/2015 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

It would be weirder if something you wrote nine years ago didn't cause at least a little cringing...

9/06/2015 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In a parallel universe I am furiously deepaking the chopra.

9/06/2015 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

There, but for the grace...

9/06/2015 09:06:00 AM  

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