The Energy Crisis of Leftist Thought
For example, the other day I overheard the wife homeschoolin' the boy, saying something about the positive and negative charges of H2O resulting in the surface tension of water. I chimed in that without the surface tension, it would be impossible to kill yourself by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Think of the epistemological tension between man and world: we call it curiosity, or wonder, or imagination. Or, the tension between men and women. Without it, culture is impossible. And without the tension between man and Absolute (as discussed in the previous post), religion is deprived of its motive energy.
Interesting that the left explicitly tries to undermine those latter two (normal sexuality and religion), but the first as well (if it contradicts leftist dogma). Feminists, for example, are dogmatically pro-androgyny, which is to say, anti- (sexual) tension. They're all for other kinds of tension, most conspicuously the tension between how the world is and how they would like it to be. This produces a kind of perpoutual (e)motion, being that reality will always be reality, and frustrate feminist attempts to make it something else.
Think I'm exaggerating? It's all beautifully laid out in Levin's Feminism and Freedom -- which was published in 1987. Since then the tension between reality and feminist fantasy has only intensified. One reason it intensifies is that there is simply no way to eliminate nature. You can't wish away innate differences in strength, intelligence, ability, and interests. You can only yell at them from your safe space.
I suppose feminists will argue that Levin is unfair, being that he uses logic and evidence, which are tools of the patriarchy. Worse, he quotes all the major feminist writers, and expects them to be intellectually consistent, another tool of oppression ("as if citing facts at odds with feminism were intrinsically presumptuous").
Hmm. Do I really want to go down this path this morning? I'd had something else in mind, but perhaps this dreary subject will shed some darkness on the main theme -- that being the ontological Tension alluded to in paragraph one.
About that ontological tension: its supreme case -- indeed, its very source -- is the ineradicable tension between Creator and creation. To say "Creator" is to give a nod to this fruitful and dynamic tension that underlies all other tensions in existence.
Interestingly, for the Christian there is even a "Divine tension," so to speak, within the Godhead, AKA Trinity. The tension, say, between Father and Son is replicated in the relation between Son and Church; the Mary-Church ceaselessly incubates and gives birth to the Son who is its Father. This same tension is what elevates the spousal relation from animal to sacramental polarity.
(Incidentally, Levin is a secular materialist, so I don't want to imply that he would have anything to do with my religious musings.)
The problem with Levin's book is that there is just too much to draw from. Here's a random example. He cites one major (male!) feminist, who writes that "Just as the normal, typical adult is virtually oblivious to the eye color of other persons for all major interpersonal relations, so the normal, typical adult in [a] non-sexist society would be indifferent to the sexual, physiological differences of other persons for all interpersonal relationships."
Alright then. As it so happens, there is a Simpsons episode in which Marge challenges Homer to remember the color of her eyes. In a perfect feminist world, she would do the same with regard to her gender. Except she wouldn't get angry at Homer for failing to notice whether she is male or female. Rather, she would be flattered.
Just as it is Democrats who are the racists, it is Feminists who belittle and devalue women. For example, give a listen to Iconic Feminist Simone de Beauvoir: "The great danger which threatens the infant in our culture lies in the fact that the mother to whom it is confided in all its helplessness is almost always a discontented woman: sexually she is frigid or unsatisfied; socially she feels herself inferior to men; she has no independent grasp on the world or on the future..."
So, almost all women are sexually frustrated male wannabe nincompoops. Project much?
Out of curiosity, I am perusing her wiki article. "The Second Sex, published in French, sets out a feminist existentialism which prescribes a moral revolution. As an existentialist, de Beauvoir believed that existence precedes essence; hence one is not born a woman, but becomes one. Her analysis focuses on the Hegelian concept of the Other. It is the (social) construction of Woman as the quintessential Other that de Beauvoir identifies as fundamental to women's oppression. The capitalised 'O' in 'other' indicates the wholly other."
There is actually some very important sense buried in this steaming pile of utter nonsense. Recall what was said above about the ontological tension between Creator and creation. Existentialists deny this tension -- or invert it, rather -- such that instead of a tension between appearance (existence) and reality (essence), there is a tension between what we are and what we wish to be. Since existence is prior to essence, we are free to choose any essence we like. Which is the recipe for nihilism, the "nothingness" referred to in Sartre's Being and Nothingness.
Being and Nothingness are not analogous to Creator and Created. That is, compared to the Creator, Creation is indeed nothing. But compared to Nothing, Creation is everything. It is infused with a being that is a prolongation of Being as such. Hence the fruitful tension between our being and God's. But for the existentialist there is only a horizontal tension between one desire and another.
Levin adverts to the "scientific sterility" of feminism, which essentially comes down to its a priori rejection of any scientific hatefacts that refute feminism. He has an ironic comment to the effect that "a case can be made that religious critics of Darwin display a stronger sense of the unity of nature than do scientific critics of innateness in man."
How so? Well, first of all intrinsically, since we have an a priori belief in the unity of nature; but also because a religious person can have no objection to Darwinian conclusions about the separate tracks of sexual selection followed by males and females which has redounded to our essential differences. Or to say "God created them, male and female," is much closer to the truth than "evolution created them but they somehow ended up with no essential differences."
Levin amusingly demolishes that latter argument, because if primordial females actually believed and behaved as modern feminists, the human race would have become extinct before it ever got underway. In a word, mothers were somewhat central to the story. They were by no means alienated Hegelian Others, but rather, the intimate other with whom the baby communes in order to discover its own selfhood.
Pretty much out of time, but let me present the passage that got this whole line of thought underway. It's about Polanyi, via Prosch, and goes to the more universal principle we're driving at:
"To see a problem and to undertake its solution is to see a range of potentialities for meaning that appear to be accessible. Heuristic tension in a mind, then, might seem to be generated much as kinetic energy in physics is generated by the accessibility of more stable configurations.... These choices resemble quantum mechanical events in that they are guided by a field that nevertheless leaves them indeterminate."
Tension + Freedom = Discovery.