Principles of the Unprincipled
Speaking of which, why is it that man is subject to distinct joys and pleasures of which the animal can know nothing? Why are there pleasures of the mind and joys of the spirit?
An intelligent idea produces sensual pleasure.
Very good. I--
I'm not done!
Go on then.
It is impossible to convince the fool that there are pleasures superior to those we share with the rest of the animals.
Like aesthetic pleasure?
Exactly. For To be stupid is to believe it is possible to take a photograph of the place about which a poet sang. And When things appear to us to be only what they appear to be, soon they become even less.
Each of those aphorisms reveals a principle. In fact, what makes the Aphorisms so resonant is that they usually do that -- it is the secret to their power (that and the poetic means of expression). Come to think of it, I can think of few things more powerful than a Cosmic Principle beautifully expressed.
Think of the alternatives: there can be truth expressed in a banal or shabby way, just as there can be falsehood expressed in a beautiful way.
Then again, I'm not so sure about the latter, for awareness of real beauty tends to converge upon truth. We'll leave music and painting to the side, but can a person who loves truth be fooled by a beautiful falsehood masquerading as truth?
You will recall how the media swooned (and still swoons) over Obama's rhetoric, but to me it always betrayed its inner ugliness, its hidden agenda. You can't put lipstick on a pig.
Or, you can. But it's still going to be ugly -- perhaps even more ugly in a way, in the sense that its essence is being distorted. There is such a thing as "ugly cute," as in the case of certain dog breeds. The AKC doesn't downgrade a pug because it doesn't look like a lab.
This morning in a link at Happy Acres I was reminded of what ugly falsehood in puffed-up rhetoric smells like. It is by the professional negro Tavis Smiley, who claims to be frightened that Donald Trump will literally bring back slavery.
Before addressing the aesthetic barbarism, the man is quite obviously hallucinating, in that he is seeing something that does not -- and will never -- exist. Scott Adams discussed this yesterday:
"In nearly every scenario you can imagine, the person experiencing an unlikely addition to their reality is the one hallucinating. If all observers see the same addition to their reality, it might be real. But if even one participant can’t see the phenomenon – no matter how many can – it is almost certainly not real."
To suggest that America under Trump will enslave blacks is, to put it mildly, "an unlikely addition to reality." (Of course, Adams goes too far in suggesting that if a single person doesn't see a phenomenon, it isn't real, for "negative hallucinations" are actually more common than the positive variety, plus it ignores the qualifications necessary for vertical perception; but these are subjects of a different post.)
Here is an example of elaborate falsehood, or a kind of ornate vacuity; note also the pomposity, an important feature of this type of crude persuasion:
"I’m not sure [Trump] and I share an understanding of what makes a nation truly great. For me, it starts with how you treat the children, the poor, the aged and infirmed, how you embrace equality as you labor for equity. Equality means that everyone gets the same in America, whether they need it or not. Equity says we commit to ensuring that all fellow citizens have the basic resources that will give them commensurate opportunities to contribute meaningfully to our society."
Is there a principle in there somewhere? Everyone gets the same in America, whether they need it or not. Okay. My question for Mr. Smiley clown: Are you getting the same as everyone else? Or is Time paying you more than it pays, say, its janitors?
"While I’m not an angry black man, I do have a righteous indignation that burns inside me about the myriad of injustices that result in a daily contestation of people’s humanity."
Translation: you're an angry black man yelling at your hallucinations.
And frightened by them, in that these hallucinations are indeed "hair-raising, bone-chilling, spine-breaking, [and] nerve-wracking."
This illustrates one of the elementary principles of developmental psychology, called "projective identification." It is more primitive than mere projection, such that the person projects unconscious material (e.g., thoughts, desires, emotions, impulses) into the environment, and feels them returning in a (usually) persecutory manner.
A common example would consist of projecting anger into someone else, and then re-experiencing it as fear. In reality, the person is just fearful of his own projected anger. I want to say that this is a particularly transparent case, but the process is ubiquitous on the left. It is the only way to make sense of "trigger warnings," "safe spaces," "dangerous speech," and the like. These people are literally afraid of their own shadows. But then, Jung is wasted on these youths.
I don't want to leave on such an aesthetically depressing note. Let's conclude with some aphorisms that beautifully illuminate the type of intellectual and rhetorical pathology exemplified above:
'Social justice' is the term used to claim anything to which we do not have a right. And 'Social' is the adjective that serves as a pretext for all swindles.
As for how to avoid vacuous bloviating,
The fewer adjectives we waste, the more difficult it is to lie. And Prolixity is not an excess of words but a dearth of ideas (Aphorisms of Don Colacho).