Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Absolutism, True and False

When asked about his philosophy, Schuon would say that he was an absolutist -- which, in our relativist and totolerantarian world, is intolerable.

But everyone is an absolutist, either explicitly or implicitly, overtly or secretly (especially to oneself). Look at how the left wing tech giants vow to rid the internet of "hate speech" before the sun sets tomorrow. They absolutely won't tolerate it!

Some absolutists are frankly intolerable -- Islamists, social justice warriors, Black Lives Matter, campus crybullies, etc. So, how do we determine the difference between a healthy and functional absolutism vs. a fascistic and dysfunctional one? How do we know that my Absolute is worthy of reverence and respect, while yours deserves to be kicked in the balls?

In the previous post I mentioned Gairdner's excellent Book of Absolutes, which I don't believe I've ever playgiarized with at length. He notes that "for more than a century, the citizens of the Western world have been uncritically subjected in the media, the public square, and the classroom to the disturbing idea that there is no permanent truth in human life or in the material world and that the meaning of something can therefore be found only relative to something else."

Thus, "for most of us" -- and this would include me during my academic years of peak indoctrination -- "this has become the only indisputable truth of modern times..."

"We are told that time and space are relative" -- which is of course true; which is to say they are relative to one another and to the absolute speed of light -- but also that "Cultures are relative. Moral values are relative. Laws are relative. Even biological distinctions such as gender are said to be relative (or 'constructed') at will."

Here we see how mental and spiritual toxins that once polluted only the mountain peaks of academia have flowed down into the valleys and oozed up into the plains of politics, media, lower education, and popular culture.

Thus, for the first time in history we have a president who actually believes this shit. And I think that even Hillary Clinton is surprised that more than half of her base also fervently believes this lunacy -- not as a cynical strategy to gain power (which a Clinton always understands), but in terms of non-negotiable, absolute ideals. Hence the success of the Sanders campaign.

Let's get one thing out of the way: yes, everything is relative, the question being relative to what? For the proper Absolutist, everything is relative to the Absolute, AKA God. Indeed, we don't even believe it is possible to have the word "relative" without reference to the Absolute, for they mutually define one another.

But for the absolute relativist, everything is relative to everything else. This can make no logical sense, for it means that one is truly trapped in language, and cannot make any meta-statements from outside the system, i.e., from the perspective of the Absolute.

So in reality, everything is either ordered to the Absolute in a hierarchical way, or else we are reduced to a kind of absolute disorder about which we can make no true statements at all. Which is why to be a genuine Absolutist is to be a Truthist as well.

One reason why multiculturalism is such an abomination is that culture itself presupposes certain absolutes upon which everyone agrees. Widespread agreement on these absolutes is precisely what creates the conditions for a high-trust society.

In Gairdner's more recent The Great Divide: Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never, Ever Agree, he writes of how, when he was younger, "it was common at a dinner party with family and friends to find ourselves drawn into discussion and debate over the political and moral topics of the day."

Two observations, which I too well remember: first, no one was fearful of expressing their views, as this was prior to the oppressive regime of political correctness. Second, "I cannot remember any violent personal attacks, tears, or outrage over someone else's point of view, however wacky it may have seemed..."

But nowadays I can't even imagine volunteering my views in public unless I pick up clues from my interlocutor that I am in a Safe Space (I live in one of the most hermetically sealed liberal bubbles in the country). There is no doubt whatsoever that the Trump phenomenon is rooted in this experience -- which is why it doesn't matter what he says, so long as it disturbs liberal idiots.

And when I say "idiot," that's not an insult, rather, literal, for "the ancient Greeks actually used the word idiotes... to describe anyone who insisted on seeing the world in a purely personal and private way."

"Certainly, no young person in the past would have expected to impress a teacher by arguing that all truths are relative," for to do so is a confession of absolute ignorance and/or stupidity. If everything is relative, then truly, everyone deserves an A -- or F, which literally amounts to the same thing.

Hitler was an Absolutist. As was Stalin. And Mao. And the Islamists. How then is our Absolutism different from theirs?

Simple: our Absolutism means openness to the Absolute. In other words, it is a vertically open system in which we are always relative to the Absolute. What we call "general" or "natural" grace is the downward flow of energies from this nonlocal source (to be distinguished from the special grace of Christianity).

But the false Absolutism of the left always involves the superimposition of a manmode, faux absolute on the world, thus foreclosing the open vertical flow. Then, in a perverse caricature of reality, a kind of counterfeit grace flows "freely" from the state. Thus, thanks to Obama, more Americans are dependent upon this unbought material grace than ever before in our history.

At the same time, there is a relentless attack on the competing form of vertical grace, i,e., religion. The left must attack Christianity, because if Christianity is true, then leftism is both false and demonic.

10 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Lots of good nuggets in this post.

And when I say "idiot," that's not an insult, rather, literal, for "the ancient Greeks actually used the word idiotes... to describe anyone who insisted on seeing the world in a purely personal and private way."

It is as though they believe that it is perfectly normal and reasonable for each person to have their own gravity, unrelated to anyone else's (unless they decide otherwise) nor even - especially - that imposed by the very planet upon which they live, move, and have their being.

Astronauts aside, the world is only liveable here when up is up and down is down. It isn't a matter of collective agreement, it simply is.

5/31/2016 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Simple: our Absolutism means openness to the Absolute. In other words, it is a vertically open system in which we are always relative to the Absolute.

I'm reminded of a puzzle game called starlight, where a seemingly-random pattern of stars must be rotated. From the right perspective, the stars form an image. From any other, they are insensible.

5/31/2016 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ted, I read your blog, you magnificent bastard. Keep it up!

5/31/2016 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Ha! That means a lot coming from you. I was actually keeping it low key, just a place for me to express my none-sense.

5/31/2016 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Glenn Reynolds is correct that "political correctness" is way to benign a term. Better to call it Stage 3 Invasive Metastatic Liberal Mind Cancer or something...

5/31/2016 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

One reason why multiculturalism is such an abomination is that culture itself presupposes certain absolutes upon which everyone agrees.

Right. It's what holds the culture together. Within the culture, it is possible to have respect for differences.

5/31/2016 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Allena said...

Some absolutists are frankly intolerable -- Islamists, social justice warriors, Black Lives Matter, campus crybullies, etc. So, how do we determine the difference between a healthy and functional absolutism vs. a fascistic and dysfunctional one? How do we know that my Absolute is worthy of reverence and respect, while yours deserves to be kicked in the balls?"

This made me laugh like crazy, lol

6/01/2016 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow. Facebook is going to crack down on hate speech, but posting pics of your murdered girlfriend doesn't violate any of their terms and conditions.

6/01/2016 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"So in reality, everything is either ordered to the Absolute in a hierarchical way, or else we are reduced to a kind of absolute disorder about which we can make no true statements at all. Which is why to be a genuine Absolutist is to be a Truthist as well."

A fine example of the casual destruction in which "we are reduced to a kind of absolute disorder about which we can make no true statements at all", is President Obama's Hiroshima Speech. People have tried picking out particular words to oppose, but it's what he didn't say, that speaks loudest - the vast hierarchy of Good and Bad he makes no mention of, except in the most perceptual level sympathy with physical fact of the bomb's victims.

Was there a reason for its being referred to as 'The last good war'? Swept away in silence.

An eloquent leveling speech of destruction.

6/01/2016 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger jykkj said...

You have got some great posts in your blog. Keep up with the good work.
Old_Testament

6/08/2016 10:48:00 PM  

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