Friday, November 06, 2015

The Top Ten Commandments of Nihilism

Today is Friday, which is the day we trundle down into the knowa's arkive and see what we can find. Today I tripped over an old box labeled THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF NIHILISM. Here's the first, with much extraneous pnemuababble edited out for your convenience. Even so, I consider it all rather obvious, and therefore lame by our standards.

.... [T]he first commandment of nihilism is the converse of the actual first commandment. Instead of “I am your God and you shall have no other gods before me,” the parallel looniverse of the secular left begins with the commandment that “There is no Absolute and you shall abase yourselves before all of the sacred relativities we have inserted in its place.”

From this first commandment follow all of implications and ramifications of nihilism. You might say that the subsequent nine commandments are fractals of the first, in that each of them represents the first in miniature -- or shall we say, the first commandment applied to this or that more limited realm -- just as the real first commandment is the basis and foundation of the other nine (i.e., take away the first and the subsequent nine are drained of meaning).

Also, it should be kept in mind that the first five commandments apply to the vertical (i.e., human-to-God relations), the second five to the horizontal (i.e., human-to-human relations). But in the case of the ten commandments of nihilism, there is reversal, such that the vertical commandments become horizontalized, while the horizontal ones become verticalized.

The first commandment of nihilism is that God, the Absolute, does not exist, and that you shall have no gods before this. Therefore, the commandment affirms that the vertical does not exist, and that there is only the horizontal, or relative.

This redounds to the horizontalization of the vertical, which instantaneously creates an absurd universe. Whereas God created the universe ex nihilo -- i.e., something from nothing -- the devout nihilist creates (although it is really an act of destruction) nothing out of something.

One reason why we object to leftism is that it represents the political program of nihilism -- i.e, the horizontal implications of the vertical commandments of nihilism. However, since the nihilist's cosmos is literally upside-down, this means that that the nihilist's political program becomes absolute -- which is to say, totalitarian.

.... Man was made to know and to worship the Absolute. If you eliminate the Absolute, then you will simply insert something else in its place -- a false absolute -- which is what all statist, socialist, and collectivist schemes do.

In this regard, America's founding prophets were the diamatriarchal opposite of Hillary. In contrast to her, their philosophy represents the political program of true vertical insight and understanding. This is why they could say with perfect clarity that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.

This is just another way of saying that the Absolute exists a priori, and that our inalienable rights only exist in light of this fact. Take away the Absolute, and no rights can intrinsically exist.

.... If human beings are really nothing more than Darwinian machines that result from a random shuffling of genetic material, then obviously there can be no absolute rights, only human agreements. By definition, our rights cannot be rooted in anything transcendent or timelessly true.

Again, the only thing we ask of leftists is that they have the courage of their absence of convictions and admit that their first commandment pulls certain inevitable ramifications in its wake, including the absence of any meaning aside from what they make up -- which is the denial of meaning, precisely.

Liberty too can only be derived from the real first commandment -- which is why the first commandment of nihilism always leads to one or another form of slavery....

This is why surrender to God is the way of liberty, while surrender to anything less is the way of slavery. Therefore, St. Paul is simply passing along a metaphysical truism when he says Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

.... A nihilist thinks he is free -- after all, he has replaced God with himself, and is therefore the most exalted thing in the universe. However, there is a big difference between being "lost" and being "free." If I drop you off in the middle of the Sahara desert and set you loose with no means of communication or transportation, you are certainly free.

But one is only free in a meaningful sense if the freedom has a direction, a meaning, an end. Your freedom is only valuable because it is the existential prerequisite to arriving at a meaningful destination.

Secular leftists are not necessarily mentally retarded, but they are spiritually so by their own acknowledgment. Indeed, they are proud of their infirmity. They write books about it, teach classes in it, publish newspapers to propagate it, found political programs upon it. Their nonstop evangelization obviously implies that they want us to be like them -- which is to say, slaves: it's always back to Egypt for you!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

On Speaking Truth to Freedom and Freedom to Power

In a diabolical subversion, the left has managed to use the power of the state -- which is founded on certain a priori truths -- to deny the truths upon which it is founded.

This has been done in the name of a "liberalism" that now means precisely the opposite of what it originally did. The result is a subversion --> inversion --> perversion of the very values and virtues that are supposed to define us.

I was reminded of this when viewing this awful video of Latino children cursing at Donald Trump. It is perverse on several levels, but prior to the perversion are subversion and inversion. To the inverted person, it isn't perverse at all to abuse children in such a despicable way. The left doesn't know this is inappropriate, nor do they have any moral basis for seeing it as such.

Yesterday we spoke of the baleful effects of the self-esteem movement. To even place children in this position is to transmit the message to them that their opinions are of some consequence. I didn't know much as a ten year old, but at least I knew enough to know I didn't know shit about politics, and that any adult who imagined otherwise had to be dangerous.

I don't get it. Mexicans have already (by definition) made one country in their image. They flee that country in the millions, and now they -- at least the 67% who vote Democrat -- want to remake this country in their image. But to where will they flee if they succeed? They've already succeeded in making California a failed state under one party authoritarian rule, just like their homeland.

Charles cites a passage by James Madison that perfectly encapsulates what I would call the "political metaphysics" of our nation:

"In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power." But in America it is precisely the converse: here "charters of power" are "granted by liberty."

This one is worth emphasizing, because it is the key to the whole existentialada. As Charles writes, "the American people were telling the government of their own creation what its powers were, not being told by that government what their liberties were."

It's quite a striking contrast: for the left, liberty is granted by power. But for us, power is granted by liberty.

In order to truly appreciate this, one must again realize that liberty is not mere absence of coercion. It cannot be defined just negatively (which is where libertarians go off the rails).

Rather, it is completely intertwined (as discussed in the last couple of posts) with truth, and before that, the divine love. In other words, while the source of liberty is not in the state, it still has a source. That source is and must be God (as made explicit in the Declaration).

The other great difference from the left is that liberty -- being that it is grounded in God -- is always relational. An abstract and atomized liberty divorced from relationship -- and therefore responsibility -- is either nihilistic or demonic. For example, liberty divorced from truth is just anarchy. Isolated from virtue it devolves to the will to power.

Schindler describes it thus: "recognition of the right of each self in itself to immunity from coercion by others, rightly conceived, needs to be tied from the beginning to the immanent demand within each self to be responsive toward others."

In other words, "rights are protections of the self from intrusive action by others inside what is an anterior responsibility of each self to serve the others." Again: liberty is prior to (state) power, and prior to liberty (or at least coeval to it) is responsibility.

If freedom isn't ordered by truth and relationship, then to hell with it.

It only makes perfect sense, because how would it be possible to have a system of self-rule composed of irresponsible people? The only way is the way of the left: to have these pathetically dehumanized people dependent upon the state, so that on election day they can be relied upon to lick the hand that feeds them and keep the machine going for another cycle.

Thus, these dependent state drones aren't responsible, but they are predictable and therefore manageable. At least until the money runs out. Then you will see their other side, i.e., the animal nature that you forgot to civilize into western values of self-reliance, delayed gratification, impulse control, monogamous marriage, etc. If you think Black Lives Matter now, just wait until they can't be pacified by white liberal cash and other valuable prizes.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

A Presidential Pestavus to the Restavus

Time only for a brief one...

As usual, one book comments on another, in this case the secret of liberty on the order of love.

Yesterday we spoke of how genuine freedom is founded on the love of truth and truth of love. We might say that love bifurcates into freedom and truth.

Charles reminds us that for the founders, the great danger was self-love, AKA pride. They were careful students of human nature and of history, history being human nature prolonged in time. And looked at from one angle -- the angle of the Fall -- history is one disastrous pride-a-thon.

Self-love is a meretricious version of the real thing, which is why it is no coincidence that the left never stops preaching this unholy croctrine ("self esteem") instead of the self-offering of real love.

Along these lines, last week I heard Dennis Prager issue an interesting challenge. First, think of the finest person you know in terms of character. Then ask that person if he or she had "high self esteem" as a child. Prager says he has never met one who did.

This is not to suggest that people of good character have low self esteem or are masochistic, only that they are not prideful and full of themselves. They are secure, but not obnoxious.

Because of pride, human beings long for distinction. The ultimate (and proper) distinction is being known by God, and indeed, God and individual are two sides of the same coin (i.e., without God, we'd all be more or less the same, like other animals; God is the source of our a priori distinction-in-personhood).

But what happens in a secular age when the connection to God is attenuated or lost?

Like any other instinct, the lust for distinction doesn't go away. It is just displaced to the horizontal/human plane (or lower), so that these useless people want to be known and affirmed by lots of other useless people. This is how excellence is displaced by celebrity, and how we end up with a useless President Kardashian.

Anyway, our "founding prophets" (as Charles calls them) were well aware of the phenomenon, which is precisely why they designed the government the way they did.

In other words, it is fair to say that the Constitution was supposed to function as a pre-emptive Obamacide, so that such a self-regarding pestavus couldn't attain power over the rest of us, and diminish our God-given liberty. But no system is perfect.

Shifting over to Schindler, he writes that the (classical) liberal state is "limited precisely because it is subordinate to the truth about man and indeed finally the Creator, or to some transcendent order, as source of that truth."

In other words -- and this should again be self-evident -- both liberty and power must be constrained by a truth that is not defined by the state.

To be clear, our constitution rests on presuppositions which it does not invent or define. If the state starts to define truth -- for example, in the redefinition of marriage, or forcing us to pretend that men are women, or pardoning criminals because they are black -- then that is tyranny, pure and simple.

Again: the purpose of the state is to protect, truth, freedom, and natural rights. If the state becomes their source, then the state can also take them away. Which is precisely what the state has been doing since the left began transforming it into its own ghastly image.

[O]ur main cultural problems stem from a failure to understand that 'freedom possesses an inherently relational dimension' and 'an essential link with the truth'....

[W]hat the modern democratic state, rightly understood, must be about is not the deferral of truth in favor of freedom, but the integration at a basic level of freedom and truth, in such a way that each bears the essential and deepest meaning of the other... --Schindler

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Freedom is Founded on the Love of Truth and Truth of Love

Let's begin this morning with an orthoparadox: "First of all," writes Schindler, "we belong to the truth before the truth belongs to us."

For readers who 1) do not believe truth exists, or 2) do not believe it is accessible to man, you are excused.

But to the extent that truth exists, it is obviously anterior to us. I suppose there's one other possibility, the new age choprafication of quantum physics, such that we create reality -- and therefore truth -- by observing it.

Example. "There have been half a dozen different universes conceived of in the human mind." (Really? Only six?) "As each conception changes, so does reality." So, "Remember this the next time you are tempted to pick the universe you live in. There are a lot more choices than you may imagine. Ultimately this is good, because it opens the door to ponder the deep questions of existence..."

If that is enlightenment, then we need much less of it, thank you. Chopra embodies a malign complementarity of smugness and vagueness that simultaneously explains nothing and everything. Liberals should remember this the next time they are tempted to force the rest of us to live in a universe that doesn't exist. Freedom is not liberation from reality.

Back to the real reality. The "truth to which we belong is ultimately a matter of love." In other words, anterior to the truth that is anterior to us is the Divine Love. Therefore, ultimate reality -- God -- "is a Trinitarian circle of divine love."

As a corollary to "we belong to the truth before the truth belongs to us," we could say that the cosmos is in the Trinity before the Trinity is in the cosmos.

I don't find that this requires any great leap of faith, because this universe would be radically different if the Trinity weren't at its heart.

To put it another way, the most astonishing features of this cosmos are inexplicable in the absence of a trinitarian metaphysic. And while there are many astonishing features, they wouldn't matter if there were no one here to be astonished. Therefore, the most astonishing cosmic fact of all is the human being.

We don't always come out and say it, but this is one of our guiding intuitions. It says so on p. 21 of the Encirclopedia, that "human beings, by virtue of their unquestioned existence, are the meeting place of all possible scientific disciplines, the one place in the cosmos where all departments of learning harmoniously coexist in a single, multidimensional youniversity..."

Therefore, "the synthesis of all possible fields of study exists in us as an established fact: we are de facto interdisciplinary subjectobjects, unproblematically defying any reductionistic, single-level explanation."

We span all the degrees of reality from the empirical and below to the psychic and above, and perhaps this makes it appear as if there are "different universes," as per the Enlightened One.

In any event, "we gain a truer perspective of the whole evolutionary process if we study it from its most recent results rather than only from its beginnings" (Charles Birch).

At risk of relaboring the bobvious, we can explain more about matter than matter can explain about us -- unless we stipulate that matter itself is trinitarian as well, which seamlessly explains how and why it is so intelligible to our intelligence. In short, the cosmos has an exterior and an interior, and these two mirroculouly reflect one another in a truth that is prior to both.

Back to Schindler. I think we are now in a position to better understand what he means when he says that "to belong to truth is to belong to a love that, especially as seen in the light of the Incarnation, is simultaneously God-centered and human-centered." In a Word, it means that human beings can fully participate in the divine reality. Yes, we can choose God, but only because he first chooses us.

Thus, only the Creator "can establish values that are grounded in the essence of humankind," and which "are inviolable" (Ratzinger, in Schindler). This can hardly be more at odds with "picking the universe we live in." Superficially the latter sounds like a good deal, but it actually renders man absolutely worthless. It is a Devil's Bargain.

Ratzinger: "The existence of values that cannot be modified by anyone is the true guarantee of our freedom and of human greatness." Our dignity lies not in the ability to invent reality but to bow before it.

To put it conversely, nothing is less dignified than living in your own reality. While it is proper to empathize with such lost souls, we shouldn't elect them president.

Does matter create reason? Does pure chance produce meaning? Or do the intellect, logos, and reason come first, so that reason, freedom, and the good are already part of the principles that construct reality? --Ratzinger

Monday, November 02, 2015

The Great Sin is in NOT Wanting to Be Like God

Adam. Eve. Freedom.

God presumably likes being God. What's wrong with our vertical parents wanting the same for themselves? Doesn't his injunction against their rightful ambitions amount to hypocrisy? Maybe he just doesn't want the competition.

Not exactly. "In a word," writes Shindler, "Adam's sin did not consist in wanting to be like God," for "rightly understood, that is the calling of every human being." Rather, the sin "consisted in his wanting to be like God on his own terms..." (emphasis mine).

As such, Adam is a little like our contemporary atheists, who prove with ironyclad logic the non-existence of a god who has never existed to begin with.

In Adam's case, he wants to be the god who doesn't exist. Therefore, it is not true that Lucifer is the first liberal. Rather, it is Adam himself, who "institutes the original absence of God resulting in the first culture of death."

To put it conversely, there is no real issue with Adam wanting to "be like God," so long as it is God he is wanting to be like. Indeed, that is called theosis, and it is orthodox right down to the ground. As if the Imitation of Christ is a bad thing!

Schindler quotes J Rat in a footnote: "In the account of the Fall one sees what it looks like when one accepts Satan's offer of power. Power appears as the opposite of obedience" while freedom appears "as the opposite of responsibility."

In other words, as we have discussed in the past, in order for freedom to be meaningful instead of absurd or destructive, it must rest upon a prior responsibility. Which is why we don't give freedom to irresponsible people -- babies, mental retards, Palestinians, etc.

For the same reason, we are not supposed to give power to naughty and disobedient adultolescents such as, say, Obama. To be precise, we will grant you the power, but not until you swear before God and man to be faithful -- obedient -- to the Constitution.

How's that working out?

The notion that a liberal will be faithful to anything but his own agenda represents willfully culpable stupidity. You probably deserve to go to hell for that, and if God were a leftist he'd send you there faster than the NAACP will lynch a conservative negro.

But God's cosmic mercy is prior to his social justice, so there's a good chance that you'll get off on some kind of technicality.

J Rat continues with this zinger: "Jesus' entire existence is a translation of power into humility... Obedience is not secondary for Jesus, but forms the core of his being..."

I suspect that in America, "obedience" has troublesome connotations, as it implies conformity, loss of individuality, and erosion of freedom. But every sane person wants to obey truth and wants others to do so as well.

The most obtuse deconstructionist would never tolerate deconstruction from his physician: "You don't have cancer. It's just a local rebellion against the unjust hegemony and imperialism of your body." Or, "It's not an infection, just powerless bacteria unionizing in the face of your oppressive immune system."

Our liberal media has tremendous power, but it is divorced from obedience to truth. Think of the film Truth, a title which could hardly be more appropriate in the Orwellian sense we are discussing. It's really about a rare failure of liberal media power to vanquish the truth.

In other words, as much power as they have, it is still possible for liberals to go too far -- as we saw with the hateful CNBC debate moderators last week.

We call them the "media." So, what are they supposed to mediate?

Well, if they aren't mediating truth, then what are they mediating?

Correct: power.

In order to consolidate and maintain their own power, they must dissipate and scatter yours: they "promote inattentiveness, an incapacity for the patient attentiveness and memory necessary for the self in its integrity to relate to the other in its integrity." Schindler suggests that "one can almost define liberalism as massive Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)."

How does that work, exactly? To paraphrase Schindler, it works through a combination of externalization and dispersal, which redounds to a relentless superficiality, a "bad infinity of endless successive surfaces, as distinct from gathering into the good infinity of depths and heights..."

It's the same fatal choice Adam makes when he wants to be the god that doesn't exist. If Hollywood ever turns man's Fall into a movie, they can call it Truth, the Prequel.

... I am truly myself only when I form relationships.... Worship means [reaching beyond finite goals] into being inwardly at one with him who wished me to exist as a partner in a relationship with him and who has given me freedom precisely in this. --Josef Ratzinger