Friday, May 20, 2016

Cosmic Sex Education

The liberal fraud of sex education involves the bait and switch of telling children they are nothing more than biological beings -- thus excising sexuality from transcendence -- and then insisting that sexual identity is anything we want it to be, thus isolating it from biology altogether (so much for the left being "scientific").

The upshot is a denial of both transcendence (spirit) and immanence (biology), while introducing a counterfeit version of each. Counterfeit immanence redounds to infrahuman animality, while counterfeit transcendence is an omnipotent attitude toward one's own sexual nature -- as if one chooses it rather than vice versa.

But as Pieper writes, "The more necessary something is, the more the order of reason must be preserved in it." Thus, because "sexual power is so noble and necessary a good, it needs the preserving and defending order of reason." The virtue of chastity simply "realizes the order of reason in the province of sexuality." One wants to say that this virtue is precisely what renders sexuality human sexuality.

As such, unchastity "is in its essence the transgression and violation of the rational order in the province of sexuality," such that "in intemperance man sinks to the level of a beast" (although a specifically human beastling, not an innocent animal).

There is so much deliberate sexual confusion propagated by the left -- it is one of their prime directives -- that a review of our Cosmic Sexuality is in order. Perhaps the best place to start is an essay by Schuon called The Message of the Human Body, the sexual polarity -- or complementarity -- of which is not accidental but essential.

For to say that we are in the image of the Creator is to affirm that man -- including the body -- "manifests something absolute and for that very reason something unlimited and perfect."

This is not to reduce spirit to matter or form to substance, but only to say that the former are prolonged all the way into the latter, such that the body will reveal traces of its source. We are not Manichaeans. We do not deny the body, but rather, situate it in its proper context.

Time out for some aphorisms courtesy Nicolás Gómez Dávila:

'Sexual liberation' allows modern man to pretend to be ignorant of the multiple taboos of another kind that govern him.

The sensual is the presence of a value in the sensible.

Monotonous, like obscenity.

Sex does not solve even sexual problems.

It is impossible to convince the fool that that there are pleasures superior to those we share with the rest of the animals

Eroticism, sensuality, and love, when they do not converge in the same person, are nothing more, in isolation, than a disease, a vice, and foolishness.

Back to Schuon. Even our vertical posture is "a direct reference to absoluteness," such that man is "not only the summit of earthly creatures, but also, for this very reason, the exit from their condition." Thus, our verticality is not capped at the top, but rather, more like an open-ended arrow pointing to a perpetual transcendence.

Herebelow the Supreme Principle bifurcates into Absolute and Infinite: "the masculine body accentuates the first aspect, and the feminine body the second."

Let's pause here for a moment and consider what Schuon has just said. Perhaps you've never heard this expressed before. For me, it is a quintessential example of vertical recollection -- of anamnesis -- because as soon as you hear it, you say to yoursoph, "of course! How stupid of me not to have realized that." But it's why we have beauty contests for women and strength contests for men.

The converse would be perverse, i.e., strength contests for women (women are of course free to play sports, but it is not essential that they do so) and beauty pageants for men. We all know this in our bones, such that one must undergo years of liberal indoctrination to subvert these deep cosmic values. It doesn't mean we reduce a man to his strength or a woman to her beauty; again, these are simply archetypal prolongations from the source.

"Now, each of the bodies, the masculine and the feminine, manifests modes of perfection which their respective gender evokes by definition; all cosmic qualities are divided in fact into two complementary groups: the rigorous and the gentle, the active and the passive, the contractive and the expansive."

Aaaaaand we're outta time.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Common Good and Other Illusions

Pieper has some good thoughts that go to our recent excursions into the parallels between man's original sin and his fatal conceit.

By way of background, note how the sufficient reason of our constitution is to safeguard our pursuit of happiness. This pursuit is an individual matter (or at least not governmental), and for good reason(s) -- one reason being that the government could not possibly define the common good except vis-a-vis its enumerated powers, e.g., law enforcement, justice (the legal kind), and military defense.

But to otherwise pretend to know what's good for us -- well, that is quintessentially Fatal Conceit territory. Besides, if you ask the state to define the common good, it will always and everywhere do so in a way that is good for the state.

It's just like the market. All of its millions of transactions occur because a person on one end wants the item or service more than the money it costs, while the person on the other end wants the money more than the item or service. In short, they have to agree, and this agreement yields a subjective sense of satisfaction.

Imagine some governmental entity presuming to understand those millions upon millions of experiences of satisfaction. Madness! If anyone is "satisfied" with ObamaCare, it is pure coincidence, because it specifically abolishes the nexus of satisfaction. You can be resigned to it, but not satisfied in the true sense.

It is as impossible to define the common good "as it is to define the 'essence' of the human person." In short, no one can do it but the person in question. Unless he is a child -- which is precisely why the left necessarily treats us as schoolchildren who are never permitted to graduate.

Here "we are able to identify once again an essential element of totalitarian regimes." That is, "the political powers claim the right to define in complete detail the specifics of the [common good]."

Remember the good old days when a liberal was just someone who wanted to reach into your shower and adjust the temperature? Now he's someone who wants to reach into your pants and adjust your biology.

"What is so ruinous here is the fact that the 'plan' becomes the exclusive standard that dictates not only the production of material goods but equally the pursuits of universities, the creations of artists, even the leisure activities of the individual -- so that anything not totally conforming to the standard is suppressed as... 'undesirable.'"

Amazingly, these liberal drones submit "voluntarily," or at least with no resistance, via the instinct to conform backed by the soft tyranny of political correctness.

It requires courage to stand up to the tyranny; in fact, "Courage is a testimony to the existence and power of evil in the world."

In short, "because justice and goodness do not automatically prevail on their own," courage is required to bring them about. "It is a liberal illusion to assume that you can consistently act justly without ever incurring risks" -- which reminds us of the old gag about liberals always dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good -- which is to say, courageous.

"To be courageous means: to oppose injustice in the face of overwhelming external power and to accept willingly any resulting disadvantage, be it only public ridicule or social isolation."

What is a bad man but a good man's teacher? And what is political correctness but the coward's inadvertant lesson in courage?

If a pornographic novel is advertised as 'risqué,' then in truth nothing at all is being risked. It would be much more risqué to declare publicly that chastity is part of what makes a person whole; this would be much more dangerous. --Josef Pieper

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Garbage In, Liberalism Out

In my lifetime the left has been wrong on every major issue. That’s quite a record, and it leads one to wonder about the source of their preternatural consistency. What is it in them that causes such awful decision-making?

Whatever else it is, it involves an absence of the virtue of prudence. Prudence, writes, Pieper, is "highest in rank among the four cardinal virtues."

Recall the other three, justice, courage, and temperance. Why would they be subordinate to prudence? Because, for example, courage without prudence is just rashness or recklessness. Justice without it is -- well, anything from tyranny to social justice, which amount to the same thing in the end. And temperance without prudence reduces to a lukewarm relativism.

So prudence "is the mother of the other three virtues" and "precondition for all that is ethically good." But why, exactly?

Because prudence first and foremost implies contact with reality. Obviously, if we don't know what reality is, then we cannot make prudent decisions about it.

For example, if I fool myself into believing that socialism is actually possible, untold destruction follows from that single error.

As Hayek and von Mises teach us, the evils of socialism don't occur because it is possible but just poorly executed, but because it is strictly impossible. It pretends to know what no human being can possibly know, so its judgments are poisoned at the source.

Clearly, "to do what in reality is right and good presupposes some knowledge about reality; if you do not know how it is with things and how they stand, you are [practically, concretely] unable to choose what is ethically good." Not only do good intentions mean nothing in this context, but an intention detached from reality can't actually be good.

The sharp ideological differences in the country are a direct consequence of differing ideas about reality. Or, one side believes reality exists, while the other maintains it is both relative and a consequence of perception; which is to say they don't believe in reality at all. So really, the debate reduces to people who believe reality exists vs. people who don't.

Thus, from our side of the fence, this insane debate about school bathrooms is... I was going to say "surreal," but it's really subreal. There is no reality to it, and yet, we are forced to pretend there is. As such, to even concede that the other side has a point is to have validated a reality that does not and cannot exist (like "homosexual marriage").

Hey, I'm a psychologist. So back off, man. I try to heal delusions, not patronize or aggravate them. Otherwise the patient will end up healing me of my contact with reality.

"The precondition for every ethical decision is the perception and examination of reality." And "prudence is the art of making the right decision based on the corresponding reality..." So there are really always two steps: 1) contact with and receptiveness to reality, and 2) deciding rightly.

But reality is messy. Just because we have contact with it, it doesn't mean the correct decision will be obvious. We are not logic machines.

Rather, organisms that metabolize living truth: prudence is "the power of our minds which transforms knowledge of reality into realization of the good."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Little Big Mankind

Picking up where we set down yesterday, it is as if God -- better, the Godhead -- breaks his Coin of Infinity in two, such that he keeps the positive infinity for himsoph but gifts us with its negative image, which is actually an infinite capacity for him. After all, nothing short of the biggest vault will hold the largest coin.

Thus, God's infinity is "imprinted within us." It sets up a dynamism, because our infinity is on a perpetual search for the object that matches it. Nothing short of God satisfies the longing. This is because only two things are beyond all possible finites: God and man, in complementary ways.

Note that this automatically renders man superior to any finite object. It is why no finite object can float our boat in any permanent way.

However, in the absence of God, our own infinitude will be experienced as a kind of persecutory defect. Instead of engendering a fruitful dynamism, it will sponsor a restless compulsion for sensations and experiences that leads nowhere in the end.

You could say that the immanent God is a kind of infinite abyss, while the transcendent God is an infinite horizon. And one can sail after him in either direction and wind up in the same harbor. As Clarke writes, "the inner spiritual ascent of the soul to the One and the outer metaphysical ascent through the cosmos reveal themselves as two sides of the same coin." They "mirror each other in different orders."

Clarke says that Augustine is typically regarded as the quintessential exemplar of the inner ascent of the soul, while Thomas is the seen as our tour guide extraordinaire for the metaphysical ascent through the cosmos.

However, looked at more deeply, Thomas' carefully constructed ladder can be repurposed as a "springboard for [the soul's] final metaphysical-mystical leap to the Infinite Fontal Source of the whole, hidden in mystery from our direct gaze but pointed to by every finite image..."

So we got that going for us.

We are always face-to-face with the Ultimate. No wonder we feel so small! And yet, no other being is aware of this confrontation. No wonder we feel so big!

You'll often hear scientistic types talk about how small man is compared to the infinite spaces of the vast starry heavens blah blah blah. Well. Lots of rocks are bigger than man, too. So what? Does it make the rock superior to man? Obviously, no matter how big the rock, it's still just a rock.

Well, the same principle applies to the cosmos. I really couldn't care less how big it is. I mean, I care, but not really. Just as an intellectual curiosity, but not as any kind of ultimate statement about anything. Man always has the infinitude discussed above, so he transcends every object, up to and including the cosmos.

Pieper writes that "whenever we speak of the ultimate, of the ultimate and last, we have already implicitly thought of a penultimate and first. And with that, something has already been said about the human being: namely that his everyday life is situated between these different states of realization, disposed toward his ultimate potential but not necessarily reaching it..."

Thus, "By the act of creating him, God sets the human being upon a path whose goal is that 'ultimate' which can be called 'virtue' in its true sense: the realization of the divine design incorporated in the creature."

When we get this principle through our thick skulls, we are in a position to understand Jesus' shockingly orthoparadoxical statement that No one is good but One, that is, God.

And no one but man is small or large enough to get the gag.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hey Buddy, Do You Have Change for an Infinity?

This post started off one way, but ended up another. It was supposed to be a pretend interview with Josef Pieper, as in me asking questions and he supplying answers. But I got carried away with the first question, so the answer(s) are thoroughly intermangled with my own bobservations, so it's really a case of aggravated playgiarism.

Let's start with the difference between science and philosophy, and why the former can never take the place of the latter.

A: The specialized sciences abstract from the meaning of Being as a whole, and must be satisfied with that. Conversely, the object of philosophy is 'the holy and manifest mystery of Being.'

Now, science is only possible because truth emanates from Being; when we conform to Being, truth is the result. So the method of this or that science is correct only when it allows itself to be determined and molded by its object.

The problem with postmodernism is that not only does it not submit to the object, it doesn't believe it is possible to do so. This is precisely how we end up with the perverse educational adventures of Bathroom Barry, who refuses to consider the biological object in order to determine the truth of its sex. It is literally no different than refusing to open one's eyes and distinguish a wall from a door or window.

In short, to accept the given as it gives itself is the precondition for learning anything about any thing. The only alternative is to project one's own psychic content onto the object, i.e., to be trapped in Kantworld or worse. And yet, this is the world to which we are forced to adapt, in which "perception is reality."

Note the demonic switcheroo, in that the essence of political correctness is forced submission to a reality which is only perceived. It is a secondary reality superimposed upon the first, say, "women earn 60 cents to the dollar," or blacks are disproportionately imprisoned. The left is all about replacing first reality with second reality, and then forbidding curiosity about the former.

This is why the left's answers are always so dreadfully simplistic. Reality is never as simple as the left's policies, or, more to the point, the left manages reality via a crude simplification. For reality always gives more than can be grasped by man; it is an inexhaustible 'light that can never be drunk up.'

The other day we were talking about original sin and the fatal conceit. In The Road to Serfdom, Hayek talks about why the left is always totalitarian at its core:

"The most effective way of making everybody serve the single system of ends toward which the social plan is directed is to make everybody believe in those ends.... it is not enough that everybody should be forced to work for the same ends. It is essential that the people should come to regard them as their own ends."

Which is why philosophy -- in the sense described above -- is forbidden by the left. Hey, it's why the state murdered Socrates, right? 400 years later the state tried to murder God. You'd think humans would get the message. The state certainly hasn't forgotten:

"So long as dissent is not suppressed, there will always be some [subversive Socrates or revolutionary Jesus] who query the ideas ruling their contemporaries" and put them to the test. Our new climate of intellectual fascism isn't new at all. The spirit of Obama was there in ancient Greece, preparing the hemlock.

As philosophy is adequation to Being, theology is adequation to God. Being is one of the names of God, so theology is obviously higher up the ontological food chain than is philosophy.

One reason why the left can never engage in philosophy is that philosophy -- obviously -- operates at the threshold of theology, and the left doesn't permit God. Analogously, it would be like attempting to study human biology without human psychology. There is a flow of intelligibility from the unitary human subject-object, and it is we who direct the flow into this or that sub-discipline.

But man, who is the mirror of the totality, is precisely the terrestrial analogue of the 'holy manifest mystery' of being. If we are ordered to the totality, we must in some sense be the totality in an implicit way.

Clarke touches on this in his The Philosophical Approach to God. He posits a kind of dialectic between two infinities, a "negative" and "positive" one. In reality there can be only the one infinite, but it is as if the infinite bifurcates into positive and negative images of itself, so to speak.

It's orthoparadoxical is what it is. Here is how Clarke describes it: man does not have the "positive infinite plenitude" which "is proper to God alone."

"But there can be an image of the divine infinity in silhouette -- in reverse, so to speak -- within man, precisely in his possession of an infinite capacity for God, or, more accurately, a capacity for the Infinite, which can be satisfied by nothing less. This negative image points unerringly towards the positive infinity of its original, and is intrinsically constituted by this relation of tendential (sic) capacity."

That's too much light. Can you dim it down a little?

Okay, it is as if "God had broken the coin of His infinity in two, holding on to the positive side Himself and giving us the negative side, then launching us into the world of finites with the mission to search until we have matched our half-coin with His."

But there's no such thing as a free launch. Rather, if you want the whole coin you have to pay with your ego.