Friday, July 29, 2016

The Devil's Catechesis

We're talking about minds and worlds, i.e., the access to the latter given by the former. For example, animals know nothing about aesthetic worlds, i.e., beauty. While they are no doubt "attracted" to certain patterns or colors or shapes, they do not reflect upon it. Likewise, they do not wonder about truth, nor do they nurse regret over what they ought to have done.

So, the human world is a specifically human world, containing categories found nowhere else in nature: experientially "negative" qualities such as guilt, shame, and envy, as well as a host of positively transcendent ones such as love, exaltation, laughter, awe, reverence, etc. It is as if there is a human "form," not just externally, i.e., the body, but internally, i.e., the soul.

Or just say "human nature," which is precisely what the left denies, always and everywhere. Indeed, in order for leftism to work, it must not only deny human nature, but abolish it. Yes, there is a contradiction at the core of leftism, to wit, "there is no such thing as the soul, and we will gleefully annihilate it!"

Example. In this enjoyable book on Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History, Stark references Engels, who wrote in 1844: "We want to sweep away everything that claims to be supernatural and superhuman.... For that reason, we have once and for all declared war on religion and religious ideas..."

Likewise, in 1911, the Socialist Party of Great Britain proclaimed that "Socialism is the natural enemy of religion.... No man can consistently be both a socialist and a Christian.... Socialism, both as philosophy and as a form of society, is the antithesis of religion."

True then, true today: socialism is at war with the very transcendence that defines our humanness. Which is why the DNC wanted to paint Bernie Sanders as a secret atheist in order to fool some of those deplorably dim Democrats who still insist upon calling themselves Christian. How can a Christian be so stupid as to not realize his whole philosophy and way of life are under attack? By a lifetime of the Devil's Catechesis, I suppose.

Speaking of the Devil's Catechesis, out here in California, the indoctrination begins early, with seven year olds being forced to learn about "LGBT History." The California State Board of Education voted unanimously to shove this pernicious twaddle down the throats of our children. They want to ensure that the most vulnerable among us grow up irreparably warped. It is child abuse, pure and simple.

(Related: Obama to Name Navy Ship After Notorious Child Molester. Why not? No more perverse than having the mothers of would-be cop killers speak at their convention.)

Back to minds and worlds, if we ever left. There is the world and there is our description of the world, and the two are often conflated. For example, if I recall correctly, only 17% or whatever believe the country to be "on the right track," whatever that would be. I would interpret the statistic to mean that people are feeling a lot of existential anxiety that is not being "contained" by "the system"

One of the key functions of this so-called system is to contain our anxiety; sometimes a dysfunctional and self-defeating system such as the New Deal successfully contains group anxiety, whereas a functional one unleashes it -- as in how inner city blacks only began rioting in the 1960s with the passage of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts, in the context of low unemployment and a greatly expanding economy. Clearly, Democrat rhetoric is successful in containing black anger, frustration, and anxiety, despite the damage and destruction done to them and their communities by Democrat policies.

I well remember the anxiety unleashed on the left in the midst of the incredible success of Reaganomics in the 1980s. Indeed, I probably have my REAGAN HATES ME! t-shirt stored away somewhere.

Perhaps you will have noticed that the whole noxious spectacle of the DNC convention was to convince us not to believe our own lying eyes. But it goes deeper than mere empirical reality, rather, to an existential and even ontological level -- to more primitive levels of existence and being. Very hard to paper over those. When these levels are "uncontained," it is like trying to tell someone in the midst of a panic attack to just calm the fuck down. It doesn't help.

America is -- or at least was -- a unique place, in that it was founded upon the idea of sharply constraining the realm of politics, such that we could claim our own existence without placing the blame on (or giving credit to) the state. In other words, liberty. Never forget that liberty is a terrible thing, for while it connotes the joy of freedom it also implies the terror of nothingness -- of life without a net. Humans are not accustomed to this, and in most places and for most of history they have utterly rejected it in favor of collective security.

It is not so much that collectivism is designed to prevent anxiety. Rather, it is our default state. Human beings were social animals long before they became individuals, such that the progression into individuality is always accompanied by a degree of anxiety. You can't have one without the other.

This is precisely why psychotherapy was invented in the west and nowhere else. Over the years I have had the opportunity to conduct psychological evaluations of people from third-world and non-western cultures, and it is often so ridiculous as to be comical. Here I am, deploying concepts and techniques designed for modern, self-aware, neurotically conflicted westerners, on people who don't even know they have a mind.

I remember evaluating a recent immigrant from the deepest interior of China. He grew up a peasant in conditions hardly different from 500 or a 1000 years ago. No offense, but his worldspace was so narrow that he simply had no words for concepts we take for granted. Offering such a person "psychotherapy" was as bizarre and beside the point as giving acupuncture to your car. Rather, he needed a shaman or witch doctor or spirit visitation or something. Short of a blow to the head, I couldn't imagine his world, and he certainly knew nothing of mine.

There's a lot more of that going on than we realize. In other words, much of what passes for horizontal multiculturalism is really a vertical and hierarchical multi-worldism. It's why you can't argue with a liberal -- unless they have an unusually open mind and a deep regard for the truth that is prior to them.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My World and Welcome to It

So, -- continuing with yesterday's line of thought -- evolution doesn't involve only changes "of" the world, but into worlds. Oddly, the first thing that occurs to me is the Dunning-Kruger effect, whereby half the people are too stupid to understand what the other half knows, while half are too intelligent to understand how little the other half knows.

Actually, it can't be a fifty-fifty proposition, because an IQ of 100 doesn't get you too far. But are there worlds intelligible to the intelligent that are foreclosed to the less gifted? I don't see any way to avoid that conclusion.

However, there are other factors at play, because high intelligence, while it may give access to other worlds, hardly guarantees that said world is real. I keep hearing how Trump's core supporters are white working class males without college degrees. The implication is that they are too stupid to know they ought to be voting for Hillary. Conversely, you will never hear them suggest that the self-defeating blacks who inevitably support the Democratic party are too stupid to know better.

But just as reliable as the black vote is the tenured vote, who no doubt have higher than average IQs but lower than average contact with reality. Indeed, it is precisely their intelligence that facilitates the unreal abstractions they inhabit. So, IQ surely cannot be the last word in wisdom and prudence. Consider the left's ubiquitous support for tyranny. What if we had listened to all those smart people? What if we elected some clever and smooth-talking Marxist community organizer?

How do we know if an alternate world is a higher one? The question, although it may sound a little odd or irrelevant, really goes to the core of the matter. Consider Jesus, whose public career began with the announcement of another world -- the Kingdom of Heaven -- in the presence of this one. Is this world higher? Lower? Parallel? Real? An abstract fantasy no better than the tenured visions of Bernieland?

The other day, when I caught a bit of that Bill Maher interview on MSNBC, he made the comment that what unifies Republican concerns is that none of them involve reality. For example, our belief that biology rather than neo-Marxian sociology determines our gender, places us in an unreal world. Pay no attention to those visibly complementary genitalia that serve an actual biological purpose. No, the reality is that biology is whatever we want it to be.

Who's living in the fantasy world? And why only genitals? Why not say that hands are for walking and feet for grasping? Why impose our oppressive, binary conception of limbs upon the growing child?

Another point comes to mind, and that is the question of personality style. I mentioned the other day that I gave my son the Myers-Briggs Test, and his personality is quite different from mine, even "opposite" in many ways. Whereas he is clearly a thrill-seeking and adventurous ESTP, I am an eccentric and inward INTP. The point is, we inhabit quite different worlds.

For starters, he is more attuned to the exterior world, whereas I prefer to explore the interior. We are both adventurous, only in different dimensions. He would be miserable if forced to live like me, whereas I would be bored stiff in his world. I mentioned that he resonates with Trump, and it turns out that they share the same ESTP style.

Conversely, my type, the INTP, would never get into politics to begin with. Here is a little bit about how we roll:

They may appear to drift about in an unending daydream, but INTPs' thought process is unceasing, and their minds buzz with ideas from the moment they wake up. This constant thinking can have the effect of making them look pensive and detached, as they are often conducting full-fledged debates in their own heads, but really INTPs are quite relaxed and friendly when they are with people they know, or who share their interests. However, this can be replaced by overwhelming shyness when INTP personalities are among unfamiliar faces, and friendly banter can quickly become combative if they believe their logical conclusions or theories are being criticized.

I've mastered the combative part. Now I am either bemused, silently horrified, or prone to a cold fury that I keep to myself. I don't get rattled, and I no longer bother arguing with them. For this, I credit the influence of Dennis Prager.

When INTPs are particularly excited, the conversation can border on incoherence as they try to explain the daisy-chain of logical conclusions that led to the formation of their latest idea. Oftentimes, INTPs will opt to simply move on from a topic before it's ever understood what they were trying to say, rather than try to lay things out in plain terms.

Right. I'm sure I've never done that.

As for career paths, politics would pretty much come in last:

INTPs are solitary, eccentric, and independent.... INTPs duly struggle in finding careers that meet their needs.... INTPs live primarily in their own heads, and have little interest in social distractions like chitchat and motivational speeches.

And our purported weaknesses would not be conducive to a public career, in that we are supposedly Very Private and Withdrawn, and vulnerable to insensitivity, absent-mindedness, condescension, and loathing of rules and guidelines.

Not me at all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Liberal Emotiology: I Feel, Therefore I Am (and You Must, Or Else)

It is clearly not possible to even begin to think about the world in the absence of the category "transcendence." The moment one thinks, one has already transcended the world, or rather, realized that the world consists of more than its physical constituents. Although science is literally inconceivable without transcendence, it can never account for it. Rather, transcendence is a necessary condition for the practice of science. Ultimately, no God no science, but that's the subject for a different post.

"For example," writes Spitzer, "the laws of physics described by standard equations... cannot be identified by direct observation or standard scientific instruments or tests." So, where are they? We know them by their effects, but we can never perceive the thing itself.

I suppose the strangest and most surprising thing of all is that these transcendent laws are intelligible to our own transcendent consciousness, *almost* as if they were made for each other. Einstein famously observed that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe was its comprehensibility.

We can compare this to how our senses work. Obviously our senses are proportioned to the environment they sense. To paraphrase Einstein, we might say that the most non-sensical thing about the world is that it can be sensed. Nevertheless, our senses interiorize a world that is exterior to us, as does our consciousness. Just as our senses are made for the physical world, our consciousness is made for a transcendent one (without excluding the physical).

I suppose I first encountered these ideas in Ken Wilber's Eye to Eye back in the early '80s. Humans have three "eyes," the eye of the senses, the eye of reason, and the eye of spirit. Even the tenured are forced to recognize the first two in some form or fashion, but seem to know nothing of the third.

But consistent with what we said yesterday, just because we ignore the third eye, it doesn't mean it stops "seeing." By way of analogy, there are certain people who are physically blind, and yet, will flinch if you take a swing at them. Something in them still "sees," except that the seeing isn't conscious. One of the purposes -- or outcomes at any rate -- of the spiritual life is to train the third eye, so that it can become familiar and comfortable in the spirit-realm. Notice, for example, how the spiritually untutored -- Bill Maher comes to mind -- simply ridicule what they cannot perceive. How easy is that?

And yet, they do perceive it. Or better, the perceptual apparatus is still there, but not seeing what it should. We all perceive higher values. Where did Bill Maher get his? From reason? No, because again, reason cannot furnish its own materials. Probably he derives them from his feelings, which is not generally a good idea. I mean, feelings should be consulted, or at least not ignored, but they should never be dispositive.

This is one of the main characteristics of the left, that they replace thinking with feeling. To the extent that they deploy their third eye, it simply ratifies what they feel about this or that, conferring upon it the familiar arrogance and self-righteousness. This is a kind of master key to understanding the preoccupations of the left, and how they transform the subrational to the transnational. Then their own feelings acquire a kind of omnipotent authority to which they are in no way entitled.

Think, for example, of their attitude toward the redefinition of marriage, or envy of the rich, or global warming. Because they consult only their feelings, and their feelings are imbued with a kind of bogus omnipotence via an absence of higher reflection, mere sentiment is transformed into a categorical imperative. Then, the person who denies the imperative -- that would be us -- is rendered evil. Yes, it is evil to transgress genuine moral imperatives. The left just substitutes the real ones with their feelings.

Back to how the higher fields of transcendence might operate. Spitzer writes that "they could exist in the same way as physical laws and constants -- as determinative information in the universe as a whole." This information "is not a thing, but rather, a controlling influence on things" and their relations.

In the past, I have used the example of how language works (probably borrowed from Polanyi). There are 26 letter of the alphabet which may be combined in certain ways to create words. The purpose of letters cannot be found in themselves; rather, they can only be understood with regard to what they converge upon, i.e., words.

The same relation applies to words and sentences, sentences and paragraphs, paragraphs and blog post, blog post and ... well, it depends. In most cases, the post is converging upon O. We are trying to aim language at higher realities -- not realities disclosed by the senses or by mere reason, but those realities disclosed by a proper awakening and discipline of the third eye.

The really shocking thing is that from the moment of the Big Bang, the universe is implicate with innumerable information fields that will only be explicated much later.

For example, the laws of physics were (are) buried in there, as was mathematics, life, mind, all of it. This is why I came up with the idea -- at least I think I did, because I've never really heard anyone else explain it quite this way -- that when merely biological homos became human, they specifically entered a "human space," so to speak, that pre-exists us. Life is the exploration and colonization of this space.

Think of Jesus' ungrammatical crack that "Before Abraham was, I AM." There is definitely something similar going on with all humans, which is why Plato was correct that the most important things involve vertical recollection, or what he calls anamnesis. Much of scripture is understood in this way, as in, "oh yeah, I remember paradise!" Or. "I remember escaping from slavery," or "I remember driving in that nail at the Crucifixion," etc.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Religion in the Raw at the DNC Convention

"The hard problem of consciousness," writes Spitzer, "really begins with the hard problem of living systems."

In other words, the mysteries of life and of consciousness are really two iterations of the same mystery. In neither case can the phenomenon be reduced to its physical constituents without eliminating the higher principle that animates, defines, and illuminates it.

Life is transcendence, because "in living systems, physical processes are oriented toward objectives that lie beyond them..." In short, organisms are oriented toward their own future. In Robert Rosen's expensive terminology, they are anticipatory systems.

And "if a living system cannot be reduced to physical processes, then how much more irreducible will be consciousness in animals and self-consciousness in humans?" (Spitzer). Animals have their ends and we have ours. But ours are infinitely remote from other animals, whose aims, while transcendent, are nevertheless quite "close" to the body and its immediate needs. Animals always orbit closely to their own biology.

Conversely, man's transcendence can -- and should -- go all the way up, and to all points in between. Actually "should" is not quite the correct word. In reality, our consciousness always proceeds to God; or better from God, who is its sufficient reason. As daylight is to the central sun, consciousness is to God, simultaneously distinct and yet "not-two."

So much becomes clear if we simply dis-invert the cosmos and see things from the top down instead of bottom up! Then, instead of the impossible leap from matter to consciousness -- the infinite journey from existence to experience -- we see a kind of smooth transition from Creator to creation: from supra consciousness to consciousness, from mind to life, and from life to matter.

In another book that I almost understood, Rosen argued that it was simply metaphysical prejudice to assume that the simple, linear, and unambiguous physical systems described (and describable!) by physics were the cosmic norm.

What Rosen really accomplishes is to provide a scientific alibi for accepting Whitehead's conceptualization of reality: that everything is process and that all processes have a degree of life and of consciousness, however attenuated. Then you don't have to somehow magically shoehorn them in later. The cosmos is an organism that converges on God; cosmic evolution is simply the mirror image of a prior involution. For this roundtrip back to God, we must unpack what is involved in us (as potential) in order to realize it in time. Woo hoo!

At the remote end of our consciousness is the necessary being we call God or O. Between man and God is a whole hierarchy of transcendental values that are easily discernible as Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Unity. Without these transcendentals, nothing makes sense down here. Man is always oriented toward his own transcendence, no matter how hard he tries to deny it.

This explains how and why man is necessarily, always and everywhere, homo religiosus. I say, if you don't believe in God and religion, try watching a few minutes of the DNC convention. There you will see religion "in the raw," that is, the religious impulse untethered from and unbound by any divinely authorized channel. This is why it so resembles madness, because both madness and transcendence are "unmoored," so to speak, from physical reality, only in opposite directions.

Looking at the convention the way I have described will help you to avoid throwing up. And if the spectacle does not induce vomiting, then you are ontologically insensate to what is going down.

Our way turns a pagan ceremony, rife with hatred, scapegoating, and magical manipulation of reality, into an interesting cosmo-anthropological study. They are always trying to bait you, to drag you down from your peaceful transcendent perspective. But you must remain detached and alert: wise as the serpents on stage but innocent as doves.

You're really looking at a lower form -- or better, mode -- of humanity, and I mean that literally. Not only do they violate every commandment of God -- each being a signpost to transcendence -- but they incorporate the violation into their platform: idolatry, murder, theft, envy, deceit, etc. Truly, it is a "plunge into darkness." Which is why they project their own darkness into Donald Trump. This remarkable crockstep unity is either an example of DNC-MSM coordination, or of instantaneous nonlocal quantum coherence on the lower vertical plane.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Soul and Consciousness, Tool and Brain

In Spitzer's The Soul's Upward Yearning: Clues to Our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason, there is a chapter on The Soul and Its Brain, which I've been meaning to discuss. Not much time this morning, but at least we can lay a foundation or something.

First of all, no one knows what the relationship is between soul and brain. It is a Total Mystery that is not susceptible to any merely rational explanation, the reason being that your reason will still have to explain the Reasoner.

Besides, who said you could rely upon reason to arrive at the answer? That's a very unGödelian sassumption that can never be proven, plus, reason can only operate on premises supplied from outside the chain of reasoning. Thus, reason is founded upon non-reason (or trans-reason, if our Raccoon fathers are correct).

You might say that not a soul knows the answer. Then again, you might say that not a brain knows, which illustrates the dilemma. Spitzer tips his hand in the title, implying that the soul contains the brain, rather then vice versa. Any properly indoctrinated, post-sensible biped knows that the flow of causation is the other way around -- that the brain contains the soul, which, by the way, doesn't exist.

Hey, that's what I learned in graduate school. And also the opposite of what I learned. That is, I had to take the usual physicalist courses in neuroanatomy, psychobiology, neurobiological development, etc. But none of that exterior paraphernalia had much practical application. Rather, the real action was in the software, the programming, the Great Interior. They didn't call it the soul, despite the fact that psych-ology is its study.

I remember a helpful book by a Buddhist fellow named B. Alan Wallace, called The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness. Sounds chopraesque, but it isn't, at least as far as I can recall. He states in the Introduction that "Strictly speaking, at present there is no scientific evidence even for the existence of consciousness!" Rather, "All the direct evidence we have consists of nonscientific, first-person accounts of being conscious."

And the "first-person" perspective can never be scientific. Rather, science is always from a third-person, I-it, perspective. And even then, how did this mysterious "I" sneak into the equation? Ideally, science would be an it-it relation, i.e., purely quantitative. The I, to the extent that it exists, would simply serve as a link between quantities, like an equal sign.

But we all know how subjectivity "infects" science, most notoriously with regard to "climate science," but also gender, IQ, and other sensitive subjects. In other words, there are subjects -- souls -- so sensitive that they cannot bear the truth of certain subjects.

Last night, because of the DNC hacking brouhaha, I checked into the Crazy Liberal station to see how they were coping. Instead, it was Chris Matthews interblowing Bill Maher. Republican denial of AGW came up, and they chuckled over how the absence of snow on Kilimanjaro is all the proof we need that GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL AND WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! I hadn't heard that one, but a quick search revealed that this was one of the feary tales peddled in Al Gore's Oscar-winning science fiction thriller, and that it has no basis in fact.

I see that Wallace begins his introduction with a quote by the always pithy A.N. Whitehead, to the effect that When we consider what religion is for mankind, and what science is, it is no exaggeration to say that the future course of history depends upon the decision of this generation as to the relations between them.

Which I would modify to say every generation, since each generation must face anew the primordial and irreducible conundrum of a world and a world-sensorium -- AKA subjects and objects, interior and exterior, perception and perceived -- and the relations between them.

So don't pretend to know the answer! Without first consulting a Senior Raccoon. For "Modern science does not know any better than Augustine how or why consciousness originates, nor does it have any way of directly detecting the presence or absence of consciousness in a human fetus or even a human adult" (ibid.). Wallace quotes from The Dictionary of Psychology that "it is impossible to specify what [consciousness] does, or why it evolved. Nothing worth reading has been written about it."

Until today.

One thing you will have noticed is that there is a political bifurcation that mirrors the complementarity of Inside and Outside. That is, the left is the party of the Exterior, while conservatives are the party of the Interior. For the left, all problems are located outside the individual. We call those individuals victims, and without these passive amoeboids the left would have no political traction whatsoever.

Because the left is running out of victims, they have invented the term "microaggression" to create more of them. Black Lives Matter -- and the Professional Negro Industry in general -- is in the victim business, as are the open border enthusiasts. In other words, they have no enthusiasm for importing high IQ people from first world countries who won't serve as liberal victim fodder.

Look at their first instinct in the DNC scandal: "We are victims of Putin's hackers!" The left specializes in transforming bullies into victims, which is why the mother of notorious bully Michael Brown will be speaking at their convention. Their whole war on cops is rooted in this inversion. It's why they want to outlaw bullying, for if we legislate against bullying, only legislators will bully.

Just as it takes a Constitutional Scholar like Obama to lose more Supreme Court cases than any previous president, it takes a true genius such as Stephen Hawking to come up with the following: "it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion." Nothing demonstrates more the limitations of genius than when they step outside their narrow speciality. As if the soul can be contained by matter!

This ramble will continue tomorrow, when I will have more time to penetrate beneath the surface and hurl some real insults.