Friday, May 26, 2017

Growing With the Flow Between Reality and Thought

As a deus-praying Raccoon in good standing, I am bound to agree with Kierkegaard that the deepest -- or highest -- truths do not reveal their "innermost significance when directly communicated" (Watts). But... what I just said right there is among the deepest and highest truths. So, how do I get away with communicating it so nakedly? Is there some kind of exemption for meta-truths?

Why, yes. There must be such an exemption, or we can't think at all. The point is, you have to define your exemption up front and be prepared to live with it. In faith.

For example, there is a widespread faith in contemporary philosophy that metaphysics is impossible. But that's a metaphysical belief -- similar to how the positivist claim that only empirically or logically verifiable statements are true cannot itself be empirically or logically verified. Checkmate.

I often go back to St. Francis Assisi's gag about how we ought to preach the gospel at all times, and even use words if necessary. Thus, words are a kind of poor substitute for experience, which puts the whole notion of "sola scriptura" in an interesting light: for only scripture would equate to no experience and therefore no gospel.

It goes back again to Gödel, doesn't it? I don't mean to namedrop him so often, but what could be more important than knowing up front that what you know can never contain reality? With that in mind you will no longer be fooled or taken in by manmade ideologies, for Gödel has opened an escape hatch that can never be closed.

The same cannot be said for God-given ideologies, assuming they exist. Do they? Let's stipulate that either they do or don't. But if the latter, that falls under Gödel's hammer, because it attempts to contain the uncontainable. The truth is, you can't know a priori if God-given ideologies do not exist. Rather, you have to keep an open mind. Forever.

Which means that, in order to be intellectually honest and consistent, you have to be open to God. But wait. The word "God" has an awful lot of baggage -- cultural, historical, and personal (and the latter both conscious and unconscious). In other words, we are forever trying to get around Gödel by containing what is by definition uncontainable.

Which is why I often apply the unsaturated symbol O to the reality in question. We must always be "open to O" because we cannot not be -- not in reality. That is, unless we arbitrarily close ourselves to O, which is psychic death by asphyxiation or auto-endarkenment. In order to thrive, the psyche needs nonlocal air and light.

In my morning rounds, I bumped into a provocative piece called This is Your Brain on Ideology. The author's name was unfamiliar to me, but a look at his twitter feed finds him to be a bit of an atheistic twit. Or in other words, a closed-minded ideologue.

For example, he pompously claims that "A curious mind is fatally toxic to religions," so "Keep asking questions." I don't know which religion he's talking about... oh wait. I do. However, for us, the whole point of religion-as-such is to maintain an open relationship to the ground of all questions. A curious mind is indeed fatal to ideologies, but if you don't have a permanent and unquenchable curiosity about O, then you're doing it -- not just religion, but Life -- wrong.

I'm hardly suggesting that people don't reduce religion to ideology and even ideolatry. Of course they do -- just as they expand ideology to religion. It has gotten to the point that the whole "religious vs. irreligious" distinction is of no use at all. Rather, man is either religious or pretending not to be.

What we call "faith" does not properly begin prior to thought, although there are people who do deploy faith in that manner. Rather, for us, it begins where thought -- manmade thought, precisely -- ends.

In other words, there is always a gap between thought and reality. But in reality, if you're doing it correctly, there is a kind of circular flow from reality to thought and then back again. It is tempting to crystalize the flow into an ideology, but it can't be done. You just have to grow with the flow.

Really, it comes down to a simple acknowledgement of the infinite, doesn't it? What makes you imagine you can ever contain the infinite within finitude? The same restriction, of course, doesn't apply to God, who does it all the time.

Literally. For what is time but the moving image of eternity? Likewise, what is space but the radiant image of the infinite? O is immanent because transcendent, and transcendent because immanent. There is no way of getting "outside" or "beyond" this statement, because reality is what it is despite the banal rewordgitations of infertile eggheads.

Our Father who art in heaven.

In other words, not "contained" here, but Absolute, Infinite, Transcendent.

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Yesterday it occurred to me that it is as if this is a picture of verticality. Of note, it obviously implies that God's will is not always done down here. Which is why we pray that it be done; which is to say, the point seems to be to align our will with God's will, which I visualize as being open to, and in alignment with, O. It is simultaneously the best we can do and all we can do.

So it would seem that in order to open the doors of consciousness to the dimension of 'infinite reality' with its 'infinite possibilities,' one first needs to renounce one's total trust in, and attachment to, the rational mind... (Watts).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Rabbit Hole Higher than Me

Fell into an unanticipated rabbit hole, the spirit blowing where it will and all...

It was evoked by this provocative point which will stand as our invocation:

According to Bloom, if you are a worthy thinker such as Max Weber, and yet a lesser man than the great-souled Nietzsche, you will inevitably convey something diluted when you try to capture and express Nietzsche’s thought. The only guard against it is to keep saying to your readers, your students, and yourself, as Bloom does, “look higher than me."

Sounds like I ought to reread The Closing of the American Mind. I'm not sure I got much out of it the first time. In my defense, I was still a liberal when it came out in 1987. 1987 was so long ago that the NY Times actually gave it a positive review, according to the blurb on the back. The book was an unlikely bestseller that many more people bought than read.

Hmm. My highlighting suggests that I was one of those who made it to the end. I wonder what I found noteworthy at the time? Pardon the self-indulgence. If I find nothing of general interest, I'll move on.

I do remember this line from the foreword by Saul Bellow: "It may well be that your true readers are not here as yet and that your books will cause them to materialize."

Ah, my True Readers. I guess a few have materialized, but most are taking their time.

When did tenure go from an honorific to a joke, and then from joke to disease? It seems that the latter occurred some time in the 1980s, but most people failed to notice it at the time, perhaps because they projected their past experience of college onto the present; someone who attended college, say, in the 1950s, assumed it had the same value in the 1980s. Therefore, most people missed the deterioration, and here we are, in the end stages of the disease.

The tenured. "Particularly revealing are the various imposters whose business it is to appeal to the young. These culture peddlers have the strongest of motives for finding out the appetites of the young -- so they are useful guides into the labyrinths of the spirit of the times" (Bloom).

What an important but unappreciated point: because of the idiotic idea that everyone ought to attend college, it has become Big Business. And in order to succeed, a business must cater -- if not pander -- to its clientele. The clientele of the university consists of immature minds eager to conform to the latest intellectual fashion. Gravity takes care of the rest.

Truly: it inevitably goes downhill from there, for example, when students make "demands" of the university. In my state, these aggressively illiterate and entitled students thugs demand

a 4-year housing guarantee to live in the Rosa Parks African American Themed House; bring back the building’s lounge; paint its exterior the “Pan-Afrikan colors” of red, green and black; and force all new incoming students to go through a mandatory diversity competency training.

How can a world become so inverted? And yet, no one can look these goons in the eyes and calmly tell them to fuck off. One has to pretend they have a point. I mean, Pan-Afrikan colors. My spellcheck won't even acknowledge the word "Afrikan."

Which only means my computer is racist and must be forced to undergo diversity competency training. Besides, the thing is a kind of silvery color, so that's flat-out triggering.

What ever happened to not judging computers by the color of their monitor but the content of their components?

Students. "[S]tudents are only potential, but potential points beyond itself.... No real teacher can doubt that his task is to assist his pupil to fulfill human nature against all the deforming forces of convention and prejudice."

Er, what human nature? Once you've gotten rid of that, then human potential no longer points beyond itself: a Progressive is born, such that the soul's progress is barred. No, that's too soft a characterization; the soul is aborted, and your reason for being is forever unknown to you. Which is hell, precisely.

Know thyself. Good advice for two or three millennia, at least until the recent discovery that there is no self to know ("who" discovered it, I wonder?). Now we say: know thy self doesn't exist, and besides, it's just a social construct rooted in oppression.

Rawls. Not the wise one, Lou, but the leftist quackademic, John. If you draw out his principles, "indiscriminateness is a moral imperative because its opposite is discrimination." Discrimination is bad, even though it is the quintessence of thought, i.e., discrimination between the real and unreal (also more and less real: for indiscriminate flatlanders there is only one or the other, which excludes the vast spectrum of more and less real).

Minorities. "For the Founders, minorities are in general bad things, mostly identical to factions, selfish groups who have no concern as such for the common good."

You will have noticed that the modern left is precisely an agglomeration of self-styled minorities. It is in principle opposed to the Individual, the real persecuted minority, for there is no smaller unit than one. And the purpose of "civil rights" is to protect this individual. The Constitution knows nothing of groups, except perhaps citizens and non-citizens -- another vital discrimination the left ignores.

Multiculturalism. We -- the Christian West -- invented it, numbskull: "Only in the Western nations, i.e., those influenced by Greek philosophy, is there some willingness to doubt the identification of the good with one's own way." But so-called "multiculturalists" place cultures with no such doubt on the same plane as ours!

Which is not just crazy but suicidal. Literally, as we saw in Manchester the other night. Speaking of which, this is the best book I've read on the subject: Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West. That's another rabbit hole I could jump down, but I will restrain myself and stay in this one.

In any event, "The scientific study of other cultures is almost exclusively a Western phenomenon, and in its origin was obviously connected with the search for new and better ways, or at least for validation of the hope that our own culture really is the better way, a validation for which there is no felt need in other cultures."

There is of course a way to rank cultures and distinguish between healthy ones and those that are just collective forms of mental illness. Two words: integration and actualization.

In short, how psychically integrated and actualized are the people produced by this or that culture (or subculture)? In the Palestinian terrortory, for example, we can say "not very." That alone is sufficient for us to determine that it is objectively evil. What about Israel? The question answers itself, except for leftists and other anti-Semites.

Greek philosophers -- our cognitive founders -- were the first to raise this question. "They related the good to the fulfillment of the whole natural human potential and were aware that few, if any, of the nations of men had ways that allowed such fulfillment." True in 300 BC, true today.

Truth? Oh please. Cultural relativism has succeeded in "destroying the West's universal or intellectually imperialistic claims, leaving it to be just another culture." And "imperialistic" is a apt term, for we should want to be conquered by truth. Anyone who doesn't ardently desire to be so conquered makes a god of himself, and it's Genesis 3 all over again.

Bottom line: look higher than me. (As if you don't know that.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Finitude and Infini-Dude

If you didn't make it to the end of the previous post, we left off with a hint or suggestion that it is as if our two cerebral hemispheres reflect -- or are the reflection of -- two "ultimates," one finite, the other infinite. Each maps a different terrain, one having more to do with physical survival, the other with spiritual awareness and perception.

It is difficult to have a spiritual life without a robustly functioning right cerebral hemisphere -- just as, for example, it would be a challenge to breathe or maintain one's heartbeat without a medulla, or to have an emotional life without a hippocampus.

Now, not only can finitude never contain infinitude, it won't even admit it really exists, except maybe as a word -- a placeholder, like "zero." It never really ponders the ineluctable fact of infinitude.

Conversely, finitude fits easily into a tiny corner of infinitude, with room left over for every philosophy ever devised by man. But reality is under no obligation to fit into the schemes of the tenured, or Gödel was just deepakin' the chopra, bigtime.

Religions are finite expressions of the infinite, or forms of the formless. Christianity goes one step further, and claims that a particular person is an expression of the infinite; and not only an expression, but its very incarnation.

Or in other words, Jesus contains the uncontainable. Which perhaps "explains" -- in a manner of speaking -- the Resurrection, which is a reflection of the fact that Death -- which is finite -- could not contain him.

Death is finite. Whew! That's a relief. But life is infinite, which means that, in order to properly understand it, we must invert the cosmos and look at it bright-side up. As the Fathers said, God became man so that man might become God; in so doing, Life takes on Death so that Death might become Life.

Not biological life, of course, biology as such being merely a "downward projection," so to speak, of the Life Divine (the bio-Logos). If the universe were fundamentally dead, you couldn't squeeze life out of it in... 13.7 billion years, no matter how hard you tried.

Analysis true: "Kierkegaard wants us to realize that, ultimately, we can rationally understand neither the world we live in nor our true nature or purpose in life" (Watts). So stop trying!

Or rather, always situate reason within Reason. In short, in order to be a true Christian Dudeist, you must abide in the dynamic space of complementarity -- the pneumatic third -- between these two: ultimately "between" finitude and infinitude. Animals are finite. God is infinite. You are the monkey in the middle.

For finitude is a mode of the Infinite. Just as creation reflects the Creator, immanence always points to transcendence. Frankly, nothing is merely "natural," full stop. Nature itself is supernatural, everywhere spilling out of itself and flowing back to its nonlocal source.

This is precisely what is happening when you view a landscape of primordial beauty: you are participating in this return -- so long as you are looking through the right brain. Otherwise it's just another blandscape.

Looking through. That reminds me of a comment by William Blake (in Upton): "I question not the doctrines and practices of my religion any more than I would question a window concerning sight; I look through them, not with them."

I'm also thinking of how the synapses of the brain work via electrical polarity. No polarity, no action. For us, what is the ultimate polarity? It is by definition "God and man" -- or Creator and creation, and therefore Infinite and finite, Absolute and relative, Eternal and temporal, Whole and part, etc.

So: in order to cultivate a vibrant spiritual life, one must maintain the polarity between self and God, AKA (¶) and O. This is what prayer is all about; or humility, which is a sine qua non.

Note that humility has nothing to do with "humiliation," but rather, is simply an objective appreciation of our finitude. Awareness of finitude makes a man humble. Or should, anyway.

A kind of "energy" is potentiated with the polarization of God and man. If we fail to polarize, then "we dissipate our energy and squander our lives in a variety of meaningless ways" (Watts). This is where "desire" comes in to fill the void.

Obviously, a kind of polarity is created by what we Want and Don't Have. So we fill our lives accumulating the latter and then re-potentiating until the next purchase. I'm obviously not some anti-capitalist imbecile, but you have to use it, rather than vice versa. We've all been there.

For Kierkegaard, Abraham represents a kind of cosmic hinge. Think about it: he -- the father of us all -- allows himself to be completely polarized vis-a-vis Yahweh (similar to Mary's later submission and polarization). He "represents the first man in the Bible to devote himself in complete faith, and through free choice, to One God -- an act that represented a radically new understanding that formed the foundation of Western civilization" (Watts).

Foundation! I say (!) because this foundation is.... empty, so to speak. It is not an assertion, but a listening, an "active passivity." Go. Go where? To the land I will show you. B-... Just go, alright?

Here is how Rabbi Kushner describes it in one of our favorite little mystical tracts:

Abraham, our father,

Was simply told to leave....

This is the setting out.

The leaving of everything behind.

Leaving the social milieu. The preconceptions.

The definitions. The language. The narrowed field of vision. The expectations....

To be, in a word: Open.

AKA the receptive state of (o).

And

If you think you know what you will find,

Then you will find nothing.

If you expect nothing,

Then you will always be surprised.

Boo!

Friday, May 19, 2017

I UnKnow, Wherefore He Is

Just another wild & wooly Friday post.

However, there is always an underlying method to our muddiness, in that every post, in one way or another, is trying to vault you out of your familiar absurcumstances. If the post can do that, then it has succeeded. So, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Which actually goes to the explicit subject of the present post, which has to do with the complementarity of knowing and unknowing. Unlike my competitors, I'm not trying to tell you what to think, but rather, to help you break out of what you think you think. It unsays as much in what remains of my sidebar.

The following strikes me as a key complementarity: "knowledge is objectively certain, but cannot tune in to the living process of reality, nor can it embrace the infinite. In contrast to this, faith is highly uncertain, but allows us direct access to the infinite reality of our own being" (Watts).

As such, the opposite -- or complement -- of knowledge is not ignorance but not-knowing, or what Keats referred to as negative capability: the ability to abide "in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."

As it so happens, I first stumbled upon this concept by way of Bion, who applied it to the practice of psychoanalysis, through which we can only pretend to understand the mind -- beginning with our own, let alone the patient's. Any such knowledge involves the process of an unknown and unknowable reality giving itself over to our understanding on a moment by moment basis: out of the formless and infinite void, thoughts arise, we know not from where.

Or, to paraphrase Jesus, it is like the wind, which blows wherever the heck it wants to -- gosh! -- such that "you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going." As if anyone could know that!

Here is an analogy of what Bion means by what he calls "transformations in O":

"Let us assume a painter sees a landscape and paints it. The landscape, according to our terminology, will be O," whereas the painting is "the end result of a series of transformations." Obviously there is a relationship between the painting (the transformation) and the landscape (O), but the number of potential transformations is literally inexhaustible -- and this is for just one landscape! Each one will transform something "invariant" from the landscape to the painting, otherwise we couldn't recognize the relationship. But there is no limit to the ways this can be accomplished.

It reminds me of an example Christopher Alexander provides in volume one of The Nature of Order. In it he reproduces a series of self-portraits by Matisse, each one showing very different features that couldn't actually be present in the same person. And yet, each one is clearly recognizable as Matisse. How did he do this?

First of all, this is what separates the genius from the Sunday painter, but that doesn't answer the question.

It must go back to what was said above about the mysterious invariant in the transformation. As Alexander puts it, a person's unique character "is something deeper than features: it is an inner thing which exists over and above the features, and is not even dependent on these features" (emphasis mine). That is weird! "What in the world is going on? What is it that Matisse is seeing?"

"The answer is, this 'character' is the wholeness. It is the overall vector, the overall qualitative structure, the overall field effect of the face." You can describe the face in terms of its elements or features, and yet, an accurate depiction by an average painter might not capture the character, while the "inaccurate" one by a gifted artist does.

I'll give you another example that we were discussing just last night. The wife, whose hobby is photography, -- c.f. here, at parkourmom99 -- has been trying to photograph our Great Dane. You'd think this would be easy, but despite hundreds of attempts, none of them capture his character. The photographs could be of just anydane, and simply don't convey his comical and endearing blend of traits. She might capture one of them, but not the unique combination. Maybe someday.

Conversely, our son is somehow a perfect subject. It's as if every photograph captures his spirit. Again, it's weird.

The thing that always bothers me is that we are in such a strange circumstance, and yet, people are forever wanting to normalize it, as if intelligence is "just anything." It's not! Rather, it is a daily miracle, one of three that are enough to keep us busy for the rest of our lives (the other two being existence and life). "With intelligence, the curve springing from God closes on itself like a ring that in reality has never been parted from the Infinite" (Schuon).

Ironically, you can't leave God even if you tried. Rather, one can only pretend to. But this pretense can become like a block of granite or thick layer of ice that forms the boundary between the kingdoms of heaven and hell.

Therefore, you might say that (to mix metaphors) our terrestrial exile is built with bricks of (k), or with the type of self-enclosing knowledge that characterizes scientism and other pneumopathologies. "Theory" is etymologically related to sight, but any theory that pretends to be consistent and complete renders itself blind in a deeper sense.

Schuon has his own way of describing our permanent state of not-knowing, which is always in dialectic with our knowledge: "Whether we like it or not, we live surrounded by mysteries, which logically and existentially draw us towards transcendence." Why is that? Because if we could actually map reality in our heads -- if our knowledge were in perfect conformity to Total Reality -- it would connote complete immanence. Existence would be a closed circle instead of an open spiral.

I have this idea that any manmade map of reality is analogous to pi, which goes on forever without ever being able to resolve itself; in other words, the most perfectly detailed expression of pi is helpless to map the simple reality of a circle -- and what is more simple than a circle, AKA O?

"[T]he information-processing systems of the rational mind," writes Watts, "can comprehend only data existing in the finite world of form, whereas our 'faith-mind,'" -- which is a higher function -- "is the only 'wavelength' of the brain that permits us to attune ourselves to, and realize both the infinite, formless realm and the finite realm of existence."

The linear and timebound left cerebral hemisphere -- so to speak -- can never "contain" the right. But the right contains the left, such that in it we can reconcile finite and infinite. But never in any final way. Rather, its an ongrowing innerprize. It's the work of a lifetime, but the yoke is easy.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Something About Mary

A last minute cancellation has left an opening. Let's try to use this opening for an Opening.

It goes without saying that the feminine is a dimension of the divine. Nor is it merely an add-on: a compensation, an echo or consort. Rather, it -- She -- is absolutely primordial and essential.

We all -- meaning human beings -- intuit this on some level, so it has to be expressed in some form or fashion. In Christianity the principle form is Mary, but then what happened to Sophia, who is all over the OT? Is it possible they are two formal expressions of the same trans-formal reality?

"Scripture provides a sound basis for calling Wisdom not only a mother but a virgin, bride, partner and playmate as well" (Gottfried Arnold, in Cselenyi).

Hmmm, I like that last one: think of the psychic benefits of having a playful mother. My wife has an incredibly playful relationship with our son. My mom was... kind of a buzzkill. Fortunately, I don't think she was that way when I was a baby, when so many tracks of neurology are laid down and etched into our psyche-soma.

I believe Schuon traces masculinity all the way back and up to Absoluteness, whereas the feminine goes to Infinitude. There is no thinking per se beyond these two primordial categories, i.e., Absolute and Infinite.

By the way, just because Thinking Stops Here, this doesn't imply that reality ceases with it. Rather, it simply means we are at the threshold of the apophatic God -- the Godhead, the Ain Sof, the great Beyond-Being, the Divine Go-round of O. (And we use "O" advaitadly, because it is nothing, a void, until we give it content, i.e. wisdom, or it gives content to us, i.e. revelation.)

Oh, and by the way, I just have this suspicion -- a cosmic hunch -- that O is feminine, just as it looks.

It's like the "womb of God," which is of course represented herebelow by the womb of Mary. In a beautifully orthopardadoxical way, Mary contains that which contains her. But is this not the point of the spiritual adventure? To try to give birth to the God who contains us? We'll no doubt return to this theme as we go along.

Mary is also the Universal Church, or the womb of saints. But what is creation but the womb of saints? That seems to be the whole point of having a cosmos -- which, according to Paul has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Ouch!

Now, I concur with Hartshorne that the world is woven of complementarities, but that in any complementarity one side takes precedence. Thus, in the Absolute-Infinite complementarity, the former is first among equals. I mean, someone has to wear the pants in the divine family. HE is strength, while SHE is beauty. (Also, pure infinitude would yield to the cosmic inversion of absolute relativity, or the Left.)

The mother goes to inward relations, the father to outward relations; also, I would say that relationship as such is interior, and that relations are by definition relative. Thus, feminine-infinitude is the divine ground of appearances, of mamamaya.

Note that the Abba-solute has an ontological and not temporal precedence. It is not as if there was a "time" prior to infinitude.

In fact, it is very similar to the orthoparadoxical relationship between Father and Son, wherein Father is obviously primary, even though there was never a time that the Son was (or is) not. Rather, it is a perpetual -- or eternal -- begetting; or better, be-giving. The Father is always giving Being (to the Son), because that is how he rolls, has always rolled, and always will roll.

As the Fathers emphasized, begotten not made, the latter going to temporal creation. In contrast, the Son is... an atemporal creation, or perhaps Logos UnCreate, or something like that.

The command just popped into my head: honor your father and mother. Suddenly that command is loaded with metaphysical implications.

Another point just bubbled up: "Let Us make man in Our image, so male-and-female We is created. (First person plural is prior to first person singular.)

Now, that's provocative and even O-vocative (i.e., giving voice to O): maleandfemale is the unit of creation, and this unit is relation. Why? Because God is relation -- or, as W. Norris Clarke puts it, substance-in-relation.

And what is substance? Every existent thing is a combination of Form and Substance, the latter masculine, the former feminine: substance is like the womb, form the seed. It's mom'n'dad all the way up!

Well, that's about all we have time for. You take it from here. Hopefully you have a few seedlings to play with.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Satan's Frenzy and God's Peace

Ever wondered what a demonic swarm looks like? Wonder no more! The media swarm has reached peak frenzy in the last couple of days. Or has it? Will it just burn itself out? Or -- being that it is demonic -- does it draw on an occult source of energy in order to fuel the frenzy?

Yesterday we spoke of grace, another nonlocal energy that fuels the human adventure. However, it is never frenzied. It is energetic, to be sure, but it is a kind of calm energy. It is also focused rather than diffuse, the latter being characteristic of the demonic kind. Both give "pleasure" in their own ways, as do love and hate. Just as scientism is a kind of cheap omniscience, hatred gives an egalitarian joy that is within anyone's reach. It is why the left is addicted to it.

Of note, the left's perpetual tantrum is also wrapped up in a covert superiority that is both a cause and consequence of the hatred. Speaking of demonic influence, it's very much like the Palestinians: if they're hateful enough to use themselves as bombs, then the hatred must be justified! Except it's not. Rather, the hatred comes first, justification for it later.

Sobriety. That's what it is. Is the left ever sober? No, their baseline is hysteria, and hysteria always exteriorizes, fragments, and dissipates.

Conversely, grace interiorizes, centers, and synthesizes. Which is why, as Spitzer notes, "fear and anxiety should be mitigated as quickly as possible by turning to the Lord in trust and prayer." It's the difference between reluxing in the spiritual kingdom of heaven or dissipating (or hardening) in the material thingdom of heathens.

"When I open myself to God's grace," writes Spitzer, "I often find that I am intellectually open, creative, serendipitous, synthetic, and comprehensive." Concur. It seems that "the Holy Spirit works within our creative subconscious and directs us toward 'serendipitous' discoveries in a subtle way -- allowing us to come to the main insight ourselves" (ibid.).

By the way, is grace synonymous with the Holy Spirit? I like to think so. It simplifies matters.

Put it this way: grace is the presence for us of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus is the presence of the Son.

Note also that this grace is not just an energy but a link: ultimately it is the link between God and man, and this link is of course love. But all love is an iteration or prolongation of this same link: what links us to each other is the very same force that links us to God.

In the past we have discussed Bion's concept of "attacks on linking," a primitive psychological defense mechanism that destroys meaning by dismantling the links -- relations -- it is founded upon. Yesterday I alluded to the mental operation of (PS) <-> (D), which is analogous to catabolism (breaking down) and metabolism (synthesis).

Looked at this way, grace isn't just the metabolism, but a harmonious complementarily between breakdown and synthesis.

In turn, this provides a fruitful way of looking at suffering (which is the subject of Spitzer's book). Look at your own life: I won't even ask you how many times suffering turned out to be the vital prelude of a higher synthesis. Absent the suffering, the synthesis or integration wouldn't have occurred.

The other day I was thinking about the times in my life when certain paths were barred or doors slammed in my face. At the time these were painful or frustrating or puzzling, but in hindsight they were not only vital but life saving -- not biologically but spiritually. Thank God I didn't try to break down those doors or willfully push my way down the closed path. I give up easy. As it pertains to my own ego.

There's a famous passage where Paul thanks God for the affliction of his Thorn. I can relate. Humility is like a self-administered thorn. You can do it yourself or wait for God to take care of it, but his thorn will probably be bigger, depending upon how far up you have fallen from humility. Pride elevates so high that you live beneath yoursoph.

Speaking of which -- or whom -- I've been looking into another mater, the possibility that the Holy Spirit is feminine. I can't wholeheadedly recommend it, but I recently read The Maternal Face of God?, which has got me to wondering (note the question mark in the title). My preluminary answer is Why Yes, of course the Spirit is feminine.

One particular passage caught my attention. I haven't thought it out, but something in it tickled my epiphunny bone:

[M]an is aided by two principles: the Logos and Sophia. The Logos is a principle directed from God toward man while the principle of Sophia is directed from man toward God. The former (God's descent into the created world) is a theurgic act, and the latter (man's ascent to the spheres of heaven and becoming part of the divine) is a sophiurgic act. These two principles meet and unite in the Son of Mary, Jesus Christ.

First of all, this is very clear explication of what we call (↓↑). As we already know, these are not -- and cannot be -- linear arrows that are separate from one another. Rather, they are ultimately two aspects of the same spiraling arrow. You might say their relation is conjugal. Or at least ought to be. Otherwise you're living in sin!

Looked at this way, our ascent is always God's descent, and vice versa.

Mary -- who is all woman, and then some -- represents the last word in perfection attainable on our end. This meets with the descent of the Logos, and voila! The Godman.

Christ's human nature comes from Mary. Does this imply that his human nature is Sophia, so to speak? Might as well be.

Elsewhere Cselenyi reminds us that "there are polarities at every level of being. This proposition is closely related to the Sophia-principle, according to which the highest polarity in creation is the unity of Logos and Sophia" -- which is again Christ. However, I would not say polarity but complementarity; not polarized but conjugal. And of course fruitful. Fertile:

"Sophia increases new life inside individuals.... Sophia is the womb of becoming spiritual, an intermediary between God and world." Cselenyi cites a relevant gag by Angelus Silesius: "Even if Christ is born a thousand times in Bethlehem, but not inside of you, you will remain lost forever."

A womb with a pew or something.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

States & Traits, Fleeting Sparks & Burning Bushes

Hmm, not sure what's going on with the new look. I suppose I updated the blog when I meant to update the template, and now there's no going back. Oh well. Must be sound reasons for the switch, or good King Google wouldn't have done it.

As always, it's a little difficult to pick up the thread when I haven't posted for a few days. It's like a musician stopping in the middle of a solo and then trying to finish it the next week. It's much more a matter of entering the frame of mind that was present when you left off.

No, that's not right. It's not the frame, nor the content. I can always continue with the same subject, but only in an exterior way. In other words, the problem is reentering the same "space" one was in. As such, a better analogy is waking up and then going to sleep the next night and trying to continue in the same dream.

That right there is a critical point, and it actually converges on our current theme of the futility of merely objective knowledge of God: objective knowledge without subjective experience is not only empty, but Kierkegaard would say it is false. Somewhere he -- or someone -- says, better to be a passionate sinner than a hollow believer. Or some orthopardox to that effect.

The point is, it's no use pretending to be who you're not, or pretending not to be who you are. After all, we're talking about God, who cannot be fooled. He knows exactly who you are.

In psychology there is a distinction between states and traits: "Personality traits are characteristic behaviors and feelings that are consistent and long lasting. Unlike traits, which are stable characteristics, states are temporary behaviors or feelings that depend on a person's situation and motives at a particular time."

You might say that states are more spatial, while traits are prolonged in time. It's as if various potential states are at a right angle to linear time.

For example, there is the well known distinction between sacred and profane time; last Saturday evening we went to church, which I simply use as an opportunity to enter sacred time. Or rather, it is as if sacred time enters me. That is, I just close my eyes and empty my head, and the Spirit takes care of the rest.

I recently read the fourth volume of Robert Spitzer's quartet -- now quintet and rising -- on happiness, suffering, and transcendence, The Light Shines in the Darkness: Transforming Suffering Through Faith, and... Period. That sentence was long enough. Anyway, in it there are some passages that precisely parallel my own experience of what I symbolize as (↓) and (---) in the book.

One common way (↓) manifests is through "little coincidences" to which we must pay attention and not dismiss. Really, it's just a different way of looking at the world -- a more right-brained way involving pattern recognition (or recognosis). Words may jump out, -- BOO! -- whether "on the printed page or on a television program." The Spirit "works with subtle increases in tone and volume, subtle coincidences and gentle proddings."

Pretty soon you discover you're inside a conspiracy of providence! This is when the Raccoon whispers the sacred mantra to himself: Can I buy some pot from you?

As the cosmic coincidences begin to pile up "in conversations, books, and other media," it may mean the Spirit is up to something. He -- or possibly She -- "gives us the 'clue' of what to look for, but we must be attentive to how that opportunity might be actualized in our lives." Is there a way to tell when it's a clue and not a red herring?

Spitzer says Yes: it is a "sense of peace" (---) that "persists and lasts." Conversely, "if discord and anxiousness occur, it could be a sign that the Spirit is moving us away from this particular external opportunity." Or, just say increased fragmentation, AKA (•••••) instead of (•). We are always converging upon Unity -- or fragmentation.

In reality, this is simply the structure of our psychic metabolism, which is a complementarity between the two: we chew our food into fragments so it can be taken up into the higher unity of the body. Just so, all day long we are immersed in "fragments of being" that it is our task to weave into the cosmic area rug that pulls it all together. Indeed, this seems to be one of the functions of dreaming, and why people who cannot dream soon become crazy quilts.

For reasons we won't get into, Bion symbolized this psychic metabolism (PS) <-> (D). Note the two-way arrow, for we are always falling apart and coming back together. It is a process, somewhat like a whirlpool, which maintains its shape even while the content is constantly changing.

Have you ever met someone who can't maintain the whirlpool, but is just a collection of disconnected fragments? I recently had a patient with that problem, which you might say is the Problem of problems. Conversely, there are people who are utterly stable but lifeless: instead of dynamic process-structures, they are static and closed structures that cannot metabolize novelty.

By the way, the peace referenced above is not a static thing. The dead are peaceful in their own way. But real peace is a presence, not an absence; it's a thing.

Or better, a person and a relationship. So it can be accompanied by inspiration and enthusiasm, only it will have a peaceful and not manic quality. This manic quality occurs, for example, when your baseball team has a walk-off victory, or when you just made a Big Purchase, or with certain kinds of rock music. There's nothing wrong with it, just don't confuse it with the more lasting kind.

Come to think of it, "the Evil One uses exaggeration to move fervent and enthusiastic people to discouragement or spiritual pride -- or both" (ibid.). For all intents and purposes, rock music used to be my religion. But even then, there was always something in me that saw behind or beneath or above it to something else. If not for that, I'd just be one of those pathetic aging hippies who haven't taken a new imprint since 1967.

In that regard, we'll be hearing a lot about the Summer of Love, being that it's the 50 year anniversary. It is the last word in boomer narcissism, so prepare to be nauseated. I was only 11 at the time, so don't blame me.

How does all this relate to Kierkegaard? Speaking of the Summer of Love -- and of drugs -- a coincidence: "Most people, through alcohol, drugs, the splendor of nature or perhaps through insight that arises from a book or movie, occasionally have experienced profound and enlightening realizations," AKA (?!).

But then they're gone. This is why our sad old hippies never stop trying to resuscitate this corpse. I suppose you could say it's a substitute for resurrection.

This will seem off-the-wall, but I happened to read this interview with the laughably pompous and self-important Donovan, who was big in 1967. So big he refuses to leave:

... what we are listening to in popular music is really, from 1964 onwards, not only a revolution but a renaissance. The world must understand that the door that was opened -- and I kicked the door open first, it seems -- and the world was in deep trouble after the Industrial Revolution, two World Wars and a Depression and nuclear bombs and the systematic destruction of the ecosystem. We were the change. They call it the new Age of Aquarius.

The world is still not out of trouble and what we brought in, the conscious songwriters of the ’60s, and all the things we did musically, breaking down all barriers... Donovan, Paul and Ringo and my wife Linda, we are still doing the same thing...

Wow. What a jackass! Despite Donovan's efforts -- and even a hand from Ringo -- the world still has some problems. I can't imagine why.

Pretty scattered post, eh? We'll leave off with this:

"[E]nlightenment is a moment-by-moment experience. Subjective truths are the living fruits of awareness that exist only in the burning fire of subjective experience -- when the fire goes out the truth becomes a lifeless, impotent, empty 'word husk'" (Watts).

Like Donovan. Except I'm uncomfortable with that word "enlightenment." The Light is coming in, to be sure, but it's because we're in relationship to a source that transcends us, not because we possess anything.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Materialism, AKA The Bureau of Missing Persons

Again, certain problems arise the higher we travel up the epistemological food chain, where things become increasingly real.

For example, it is possible to model simple phenomena such as the solar system, and predict where this or that planet will be 100 or 1,000 years hence. This becomes quite difficult in complex systems (such as the climate), but is impossible in principle in complex systems exhibiting subjectivity and personhood -- or in other words, human beings (in short, you can't model freedom, but liberals never stop trying).

For those of you who don't know the backstory, my grad school education in psychology might have been worthless -- if not pernicious -- had it not intersected with two saving graces, one of whom was a particular professor, the other an obscure (at least outside psychoanalytic circles) theorist named W.R. Bion. It was the latter who vaulted me out of my existing orbit and taught me how to think. Or rather, taught me what I was doing when thinking (or pretending to).

However, especially in hindsight, I can see that there wasn't necessarily anything special about Bion. He didn't discover anything new, so no need to run out and purchase his expensive and abstruse little books.

For example, I'm seeing that Kierkegaard raised the same issues, as did many thinkers before him, probably going back to Socrates. As far as we know, Socrates was the first man to consciously avoid pretending to know what couldn't be known, or to always bear in mind the vast realm of the Unknown Unknown, which swamps the other three.

Of course there are the known knowns of everyday science and known unknowns of twilit philosophy. In many ways psychoanalysis is the paradoxical realm the unknown known, e.g., unconscious drives and conflicts that we only pretend not to know.

In this context, you could say that a psychological symptom is the quintessential case of an unknown known, in the sense that your conscious mind doesn't understand what the symptom means, but your unconscious mind must, or it wouldn't be there. The symptom is a communication of knowledge, only the left brain doesn't know what the right brain is up to.

Think about the miracle of mathematics, which allows us to deal with a whole realm of Objects That Aren't Here. Where do my investments exist, for example? I have a piece of paper with a bunch of abstract numbers that somehow relate to these distant objects, but imagine trying to keep track of them without the numbers.

Well, there are certain dimensions of existence that cannot be so treated, for example, human relationships. As Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell remind us, "ain't nothin' like the real thing": I got your picture hangin' on the wall / But it can't see or come to me when I call your name / I realize it's just a picture in a frame. Etc.

No abstract symbol can replace or represent the missing person. Nor, for that matter, the missing God. As Bion puts it, certain formulations are "dependent on the presence of the experiences being formulated." We must deal "with the original object without the aid of an intervening model which [we] can manipulate." For example, "there is no brother with whom to work out problems of the relationship with a father."

Likewise, it's no use dealing with models of God, no matter how accurate. Rather, only the original will do.

Note how materialism, or any form of naturalism, simply denies the existence of persons. Materialism is the philosophy of the Missing Person. This person is somehow putting forth a philosophy that denies the existence of the person putting it forth. It is inherently regressive, because it transforms a known unknown -- the person -- into an unknown unknown. This renders the "examined life" impossible, because there is no one to examine.

Nevertheless, like a dead body floating to the surface, one cannot actually rid the cosmos of the personal without it returning unbidden. Indeed, the materialist has things precisely backward and upside down, for the personal is the ultimate category of existence; everything is reducible to it, rather than vice versa.

Yesterday a thoughtlet pops into my head: the love of truth ultimately converges upon the truth of love.

It also occurred to me that a person is never a thing or object, but a link. Or better, a person always refers to. A baby refers to mother, and vice versa. Assuming we grow all the way up, man ultimately refers to God, and vice versa. That "God refers to man" may sound strange, but it's another way of saying Incarnation.

Then it occurs to me that the cosmos is like a vast life-making machine, and that life is a mind-making machine. This makes man the God-making machine.

But this formulation has it all backward, for we must begin with the personhood of the Creator. The Creator wishes to create persons. Everything in existence is marked by traces of personhood; in other words, every existent has an intelligible interior accessible to the human subject. Knowledge is simply the interior of objects calling out to the interior of persons: they refer to us, as we refer to them, in an ever-deepening spiral.

But the ultimate truth is this mysterious human subject itself. Rather, make that the penultimate truth, because it is inexplicable if it doesn't refer to its own source, AKA God. So, to round out this roundabout post, let's get back to what Kierkegaard has to say about all this perfect nonsense:

"Kierkegaard's emphasis on the pointlessness of 'intellectually grasped' truth... explains why throughout history so few seekers have gained enlightenment from the 'great truths' provided by enlightened men..."

"[F]or when the insights of these enlightened masters are spoken by them, or repeated and recorded by others, they are invariably experienced by those listening only as objective, or intellectually acknowledged, truths that do not carry the energy of the subjective experience from which these insights arise."

"For language cannot directly communicate the subjective truth," but only "conceptual representations of their subjective insights." These representations are "signposts that merely point toward a reality that each individual must discover, or subjectively understand for themselves through their own direct experience" (Watts).

In other words, the Subject must be present to the subject. Accept no substitutes. You can't work out your God issues with your daddy, let alone with matter.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Advice for the Spiritual Pathlete

So Kierkegaard, to his credit, "wished to make people think for themselves, use independent judgment and act with deliberate choice," "based upon his realization that existential truth -- truth that can potentially transform a person's outlook and manner of living -- couldn't be communicated directly in an effective manner" (Watts).

Very much like psychotherapy, through which one is endeavoring to facilitate realizations on the part of the patient.

Realization. Funny word. It means we must somehow "make real" what is by definition already real. I first realized the gnotion when I encountered Bion back in 1985. For him, the whole problem was how to realize truths that could only be understood via experience.

It's the difference between theory and truth, or model and reality. Now, the mind lives on truth and starves without it. But the higher up the scale of knowledge, the more it is entwined with experience. Down low, anyone with average intelligence can understand math or physics or Marxism.

But up high, there are certain qualifications that no degree can confer -- for example, oh, humility, trust, reverence, submission. In other words, there is an element of preparation, just as with any other athlete. For we are spiritual pathletes, and the Spirit is the pneumotherapist.

Note that when dealing with profane knowledge, the quicker the better. A synonym for intelligent is "quick." Likewise, we call a poor student "slow."

That doesn't apply at all in the spirit or even psychic world. Bion writes that

A patient may see the meaning of an interpretation so quickly that the psychoanalyst is surprised to find a moment later that the patient has apparently no understanding of what has been said to him. The speed of his thought makes him able to closure the statement being discussed before he has had time to understand it.

Which goes to the problem of assimilation, or even metabolism -- of chewing and digesting. The kind of truth we are talking about cannot merely be known. Indeed, orthopardoxically, as it pertains to the pneumosphere, knowledge can be one of the key defenses against understanding.

Which is why garden-variety infertile eggheadery simply has no purchase in this dimension. There is no book one could write, no matter how inexhaustibly packed with truth, that a person can't get around. The ways of denial are infinite.

Which is again why Jesus... Well, I don't want to put words in his mouth or motives in his head, but this must be a big reason why he didn't simply write a book and toss it out there. Wouldn't that have been easier? "Here. Here's the truth. Now, commit it to memory and go on with your lives."

But man's Problem isn't found in a book, so the Solution won't be found there either. You know the old gag: you can't reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into.

And surely Adam wasn't reasoned into anything. Rather, he was simply obeying the dictates of his own nature. He didn't need the book. Rather, he was on personal terms with the Author, so he got the Word from the source's mouth and ignored it anyway.

What is the point of that story? What are we supposed to realize? Among others, it surely goes to the many things man can do with truth other than assimilating it.

The purpose of words is to "contain" meaning. But God by definition transcends -- or shatters is more like it -- any such containment. So, how do we... Bion recognized the same problem in psychology:

"The verbal expression can be so formalized, so rigid, so filled with already existing ideas that the idea I want to express can have all the life squeezed out of it."

Conversely, "the meaning I wish to express may have such force and vitality, relative to the verbal formulation in which I strive to contain it, that it destroys the verbal container." On the one hand, meaning that is dead on arrival; on the other, speech that is dead at conception.

How do we get around this? As you know, Bion is the fellow who stole the idea of O from me in a brazen act of anticipatory plagiarism. He adopted "the approach of mystics from the Bhagavad Gita to the present" and put forth the central postulate "that atonement with ultimate reality, or O, as I have called it to avoid involvement with an existing association, is essential to harmonious mental growth."

Note how Bion "rediscovers" the same old Fall: "Disturbance in capacity for atonement is associated with megalomaniac attitudes." You don't say.

Or better, you need to unsay what cannot be said -- which isn't the same as not saying it.

Interesting that just after this passage, Bion goes into a cryptic little riff on threeness: "When the individual is confronted with what, in comparison with himself, is an infinite number or quantity, he binds the 'innumerable' host by the name 'three'" such that "the 'infinite' number has now been made finite."

In my view, -- which of course could be wrong -- the One and the Three are complementary. Not to say the Trinity is finite, only that it is... how to put it... a kind of container of infinitude? Certainly it is a way for humans to "think about" an infinitude that otherwise cannot be thought, taught, or got, only sought. But not unproductively....

Monday, May 08, 2017

The Divine Archcomedian

So: there is no system we can invent or discover that contains us; and yet, we are obviously contained in or by some sort of system. What -- or Who -- is it?

It is God, of course -- or better, O, since the word "God" can become so saturated with meaning as to become a human projection, thus once again containing us in our own system. Certain realities cannot be reduced to words without thereby becoming mere words. This, it seems to me, was one of Kierkegaard's principal concerns.

What can a person mean when he uses the word "God?" He cannot possibly mean GOD as God exists in his own Godhood. Rather, he can only mean his opinion or experience or understanding of God. When a terrorist screams ALLAH IS GREAT just before committing mass murder, he is expressing his particular slant on ultimate reality.

Likewise, when an atheist claims that God doesn't exist, he is essentially expressing the view that God is contained by godlessness, or that ultimate reality is contained by appearances. This approach is utterly backasswards, for obviously ultimate reality is prior to our opinions about it.

Again, Hegel was deluded enough to believe he had contained ultimate reality within his system. But there are plenty more where he came from. The whole Bill Nye-Neil Tyson science-lovin' leftist pomposity is similarly rooted in the Mother of all Fallacies, i.e, that it is possible for science to transcend science.

A riddle: how is it possible to transcend religion? It isn't possible, since religion is concerned with the dimension of transcendence, precisely. Yes, there are more and less adequate maps of this territory, but this hardly means the territory isn't real.

It's like those old maps of the world from before it was explored and settled. In a very real way, man is still exploring and settling a nonlocal vertical world that he only definitively entered as recently as 40,000 years ago. Is it any wonder there are difficulties in adapting to it?

Truly, it is the final frontier, and we are analogous to the first proto-men who had one foot in the trees and one on the plains. In other words, there must have been a transitional phase between our tree-dwelling ancestors our bipedal relatives. Indeed, we are always the monkey in the middle, and always will be. It's just a matter of where we are situated on the vertical scale.

Early in his exploration of the vertical, Kierkegaard wondered whether there could be an Archimedean point from which man could objectively and disinterestedly regard the totality of existence.

The answer is Yes and No, or Not Really but Kind Of. Again, this is where O comes in (or we come into O), for we can objectively affirm its existence without claiming to comprehend it.

Rather, -- and this is Kierkegaard's central thesis -- "man's true home, his true Archimedean point, can only be found in the realization of God's fatherly love for us, providing us with a stable life-view which frees us from both pride and despair" (Watts).

In other words, it is obvious that man cannot create his own Archimedean point, any more than the eye can see itself or the hand grasp itself. But this doesn't mean existence is Pointless. However, the Point, if there is one, can only be furnished by God.

In the Christian view, Jesus is the Point; but he actually points to an even deeper Point, i.e., Trinity. Interesting, isn't it, that Hegel at least intuited a necessary threeness at the heart of things, i.e., the dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis.

You might say that thesis is the Father of antithesis (the rebellious Son), and that synthesis is the friendly geist who reunites the family into a higher union.

Now, how does one transmit religious truth without reducing it to mere knowledge? This is not a problem in the sciences, where the whole point is a knowledge-to-knower transmission:

Kierkegaard perceptively observed that although direct communication can be very effective in communicating facts or information, it cannot adequately catalyze the realization of subjective truth, which is the only type of truth that can evolve a person's consciousness...

The problem is, man lives in illusion, the primary illusion being that he Understands, or contains himself. How do you communicate ideas that will vault him out of his illusion instead of merely aggravating it?

Think of how this plays out, say, in politics. You try to explain to a leftist how the world works, and he responds that you are a tool of Big Business or White Privilege or RUSSIA! or whatever. Instead of liberating him from his narrow and oppressive intellectual system, he simply incorporates you into it!

The "direct approach" doesn't work with the left, any more than it does with a paranoid personality (but I repeat myself). So, what was Kierkegaard's strategy?

"He avoids [their defenses] by challenging them undetected, through 'approaching from behind.' If one does this effectively, the person's defenses can be bypassed or sufficiently weakened, before they notice they are 'under attack,' and in this way, one can subtly undermine the confidence they have in their approach to existence" (ibid.).

You know, socratic like. Notice how often Jesus approaches his interlocutors in this roundabout, elliptical way. We may not be able to see from the Archimedean point, but we can be drawn up into a divine Archimedean spiral. To be continued...

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

A Theory of Everything (except reality)

One last post before we close the book on Kierkegaard. I'm just finishing a biography that elucidates his project and puts it all in historical perspective. Okay. Still. I don't think I'll be diving into his dozens of books any time soon in order to get all the details.

I think I mentioned this before, but it is apparently impossible to understand Kierkegaard without appreciating the Hegelian elephant in the room, to which much of his writing is a reaction.

Hard for us to understand it today, but for quite awhile there, Hegel was The Man. He dominated philosophy like no one since -- and of course we are still living with the stinking remains of his rotting corpus in the form of end stage Marxism and all its intellectual and spiritual pathologies. (Woody Wilson, our first totally unhinged progressive president, was a huge fanboy.)

So give Kierkegaard credit for seeing through Hegel's truly cosmic self-aggrandizement and trying to take him out before he could do much damage.

This was back when people were a little more clever than, say, Stephen Colbert, in their putdowns. Shopenhauer, for example, never accused Hegel of being Hölderlin's girlfriend. Rather,

always remember that we are in Germany, where we have been able to proclaim as a great mind and profound thinker a mindless, ignorant, nonsense-spreading philosophaster who, through unprecedented, hollow verbiage, thoroughly and permanently disorganizes their brains. I mean our dear Hegel.

Yes,

it was Hegel who ultimately showed the greatest audacity in dishing out pure nonsense, slapping together senseless, raving tangles of verbiage such as had only ever been heard in lunatic asylums; he became the instrument of the most ponderous, universal mystification that the world has ever seen, and this with a degree of success that will seem utterly incredible to posterity and will remain a monument to German foolishness.

That is some fine insultainment. What about his third rate followers?

the minds of the contemporary generation of scholars are jumbled by Hegelian nonsense: incapable of thought, coarse, and stupefied, they become the prey of the vulgar materialism that has crept out of the Basilisk’s egg.

I'm lookin' at you, Karl!

Oh well. Not the last time "an impudent, cocky gasbag" would be "sufficient to blow sand in Germans’ eyes."

Back to our main attractor. It seems that Kierkegaard had a similar reaction to this nightmare masquerading as philosophy. Interestingly, although writing a century or so before Gödel, he rejected Hegel's absolute idealism on grounds that would only later be formalized in Gödel's theorems:

"His fundamental dispute with Hegel was based around Hegel's claim to have developed a fully comprehensive system that could explain the whole of reality. Kierkegaard responded to this with the assertion that reality may well be a system for God, but that it cannot be so for any human being, because both reality and humans are incomplete and all philosophical systems imply completeness" (Watts).

Gödel's Theorems: 1. If the system is consistent, it cannot be complete. 2. The consistency of the axioms cannot be proved within the system. Simple as.

Note how merely remumbling these twenty words not only unknowculates you against Hegelianism (or any other such system) but frees you of the terrible burden actually reading him (except out of curiosity).

More generally, there is only so much one can read in this life. Not only can we never get to all of it, we can only take on a fraction, and assimilate even less. So one must be selective. Selective how? How can we know what to select before we even begin?

Principles, my man, principles -- two of the most important having been permanently downloaded by Gödel. In short, do not fall for any manmade system that pretends to be complete. Don't even think about becoming a materialist, a Darwinist, a Marxist. All nonstarters, because they presume a completeness that is not available to man. Thank God! For the world is a tedious place where Marx is still in charge, as on college campuses.

Of course, this was the rationale behind my approach to Ultimate Reality in the book. Let's get one thing straight at the outset: ultimate reality is O, and O is something you will never, ever contain. Rather, it contains us. End of story. Or beginning, rather. Wait -- it's both.

For, does this mean we can't know anything about O? Not at all. Rather, it is the reason we can know anything at all about anything at all: it is the ground, the vector, the destination of knowledge and truth. It "evolves" in time, but not in the impersonal, dialectical way proposed by HegelMarx.

"[B]ecause Hegel seriously believed he had reached ultimate truth, this rendered his claims comical -- whilst Hegel sought to contain all of reality in the conceptual net of his system, the actual process of existence simply slipped through its meshes" (Watts). You might say that Hegel accounts for everything. Except reality.

Reality is not an idea -- certainly not an idea in or of man. You could really take this back to the wrong turn of any philosophy that starts with ideas instead of the world -- with the subject instead of objects. Doing so is yet one more iteration of Genesis 3, and it is still very much with us today. It happens, for example, any time the left pretends it has successfully modeled the global climate, or can direct the economy from above, or inflict annoying new genders on the restavus.

Well, I suppose this means we haven't heard the last of Kierkegaard. To be continued...

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

It's the Morning of History and I'm Not Myself. Or Am I?

I'm tapped out. The only thing of cosmic interest I've been thinking about is the cave paintings left by our so-called ancestors 10- to 40 thousand years ago. I say "so-called," because if the most remarkable thing about them is totally incomprehensible to us, in what way are we related?

To back up a bit, I've been rereading Paul Johnson's sweeping History of Art, which begins at the very beginning, with the cave paintings produced during the Paleolithic era, i.e., before around 10,000 BC.

But in truth, all of this is "before the beginning," since history only begins with writing, which isn't until 3,200 BC. Therefore, it is exceedingly difficult to understand just what our esteemed furbears were up to.

But whatever it was, it was obviously quite... intense.

I was particularly struck by Johnson's point that the aesthetic movement of the Upper Paleolithic (40,000 to 10,000 BC) was the longest artistic fad in human history, "lasting for more than two thirds of the total time when humans have produced art."

That little comment is a head-scratcher and a mind-blower. Imagine being 60 years old, but having no recollection whatsoever of your first 40 years. Someone shows you an impressive portfolio of artistic objects you completed before age 40, but you have no idea why or how you did them. Frankly, they might as well have been done by someone else. In short, you cannot connect them to your personal history at all. Rather, they're just a kind of pre-personal appendix flapping beyond the horizon of your personal memory.

Or, are they just a meaningless projection from the other end of animality? This is what a materialist would have to believe: that the cave paintings -- and every subsequent art form -- are analogous to how beavers produce dams, ants create hills, and bees make hives. It's just what we do.

Except in our case, the productions are in no plausible way connected to physical survival. Yes, there are obtuse Darwinian attempts at explanations, such as a search for order or something, but these productions far exceed such concerns. Ants, after all, do not build cathedrals.

What also struck me was the determination and persistence exhibited by our ancestors. Whatever it is they were up to, it is clear that they really, really wanted to do it, in a way we can scarcely imagine.

For example, one cave in France "runs over six miles into the mountain," and I've read of other cases in which the only way to enter the cave is through a long, tight, -- and obviously totally dark -- passageway. You first!

Then there is the problem of inventing paint, brushes, scaffolding (some of the paintings are 20 feet overhead), and a portable source of light. Even if the idea had occurred to me, I would have been the first to say "screw it. Too difficult."

But that is precisely what they didn't do. The Thing I was thinking about is: is it possible to "reverse imagineer" the cave paintings and comprehend the drive or compulsion our ancestors were under?

Then another question -- or principle, rather -- popped into my head: it must be possible to integrate this into the Arc of Salvation, or harmonize it with meta-history. What if we, with the benefit of hindsight, actually understand better than they did what they were trying to do?

In other words, the purpose of any activity is teleological: it is not revealed at the beginning, but only at the end. While the telos is ontologically first, it is temporally last. For example, I may begin with the idea of a house, but it will take time to realize the house in reality.

"The great age of Magdalenian cave art," writes Johnson, "came to an end about 10,000 BC, with the last ice age. Its cycle was complete. Nothing of this quality was ever produced again."

Boom: it appears in 40,000 BC. Boom: it disappears in 10,000 BC. At least as far as we know. Obviously we cannot know what we don't know, so we have no idea about undiscovered caves, not to mention whatever art may have been produced above ground.

Until the emergence of megalithic architecture between 5000 and 1500 BC. Here again we have no real idea what they were up to, but boy, did they want to do it: "We have here, then, an artistic construct which, like a cathedral, was the work of generations, even in its basic design."

So, the design -- the teleology -- has to be passed down from generation to generation, with no writing, and yet, with a clear idea of the end result (and no doubt its ultimate purpose, for it is impossible to imagine this level of determination without a Damn Good reason).

Take Stonehenge, for example: its giant stones weigh in excess of four tons and had to be transported over twenty miles. Me? Screw it. In another case, creation of the monument "involved shifting hundreds of thousands of tons of earth and chalk." One of them is estimated to weigh 350 tons. So, why did they do it?

If we are going to fit this into the Arc of Salvation, we must be talking about the time between Adam and Abraham. The cave paintings and megalithic structures are postlapsarian but antediluvian. What was -- is -- going on then? Well, "there were giants on the earth in those days." And they lived a long time: over 900 years in some cases. It is after Death has entered the world, but before we know what to think about that little surprise.

In The Beginning of Wisdom, Kass writes that "Death is the mother of the love of glory, of a beautiful name for splendid deeds."

It "is also -- and similarly -- the mother of beauty, of the concern with the beautification of an ugly world, fated to decay, rife with death. In the face of death, artful men create beautiful objects -- statues and paintings, poems and songs, vases and temples -- objects they hope will last, immune to decay as their makers are not."

Mission accomplished.

Nevertheless, "Appreciation of the beautiful may inspire the soul, but efforts to capture it leave one unfulfilled -- even when seemingly successful. For what do we really have if and when we 'possess' the beautiful?"

Beauty "seems to promise some underlying goodness," but "as experience teaches, the promise is only infrequently fulfilled; what strikes us as beautiful is rarely yoked to the good." For example, I'll bet they conducted human sacrifices in those megalithic structures.

So, God needs to bring these quasi-immortal narcissists down a peg: he decides "to shorten the human lifespan to 120 years. Presumably the very great longevity invited only great mischief and danger.... Because death was for so long so far out of sight, these men were able to forget their mortality and pretend to immortal godliness."

Soon enough, because of their long lives and practical immunity from death, they had "behaved even worse than the animals. Perhaps a shorter life span could limit the damage any beastly man might cause.... Perhaps if they could not pretend to immortality, they would be more open to the eternal."

Nah. "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the Earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the day." Do over. Metaphorically speaking. But the point is to permanently "drown the natural human aspiration to apotheosis through heroic deed and to replace it with an acquired human commitment to righteousness and the perpetuation of life on earth" (Kass).

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bad News About the Good News

Maybe I have nothing to say because I've been dabbling in Kierkegaard, who would say that saying nothing is preferable to saying much of anything about God.

Rather, one must Do; or better, Be. In his view, there were few actual Christians, just a lot of people pretending to be. Which, in a way, is worse than being "anti-Christian."

"My task is to disabuse people of the illusion that they are Christians -- yet I am serving Christianity."

So, he's a kind of inverse apostle: instead of convincing people to convert to Christianity, he's trying to convince them they never did. He spent his life spreading Bad News about the Good News.

Frankly, he's a bit of a pill. An irritant. A provocateur. He likes to stir things up. He would say that any intellectual approach to Christianity is doomed to failure, and that we have to completely bypass the intellect in the act of faith. He has a point there: one can rationalize forever without taking that final leap, which does indeed require commitment.

This is why he is called an existentialist, and even the "founder" of existentialism: "To become a genuine self, an individual in the truest sense, was a central concern to Kierkegaard." He "stands against every form of thinking that bypasses the individual or enables the individual to escape his responsibility before God."

Either. Or. Which is the title of one of his most famous books. The point is, it's on you, and no amount of rationalizing can free you from making the choice rooted in faith. "Each person must choose between God and the world." And "if someone wants to have faith and reason too, well, let the comedy begin."

Who is this meddlesome noodge! I wonder what Schuon would say?

Kierkegaard’s “existence” nullifies itself through lack of sufficient reason; how is it possible to conceive of an “existential” morality, that is to say, a morality which is “lived and not thought” and therefore immune to “abstraction,” at the level of terrestrial man who is a thinking being by definition? This alternative between “existence” and “thought-abstraction” is the fundamental misunderstanding in existentialism; indeed the latter is simply one of the most aberrant manifestations of what may be described as Western alternatives.

Thank you. I knew there was something deviant in his approach, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Here's a guy who writes 35 abstruse books and 20 volumes of journals, but he's not an intellectual!

Yeah, "What is one to say of a philosopher who 'thinks' cheerfully about the insincerity or the mediocrity of 'thought' as such? Inept though that may be, an audience is never lacking for such literary artifices of a mentally compressed city dweller" (Schuon).

A mentally compressed city dweller. I'm going to steal that one. Does it not describe our blue state and bluer city mouth-breathren?

Schuon continues as only Schuon can:

The Western spirit has always lived to a large extent on alternatives.... One of the most typical examples in fact is Kierkegaard’s criticism of the “abstract thinker” who, so it would appear, is guilty of “the contradiction of wishing to demonstrate his existence by means of his thought.” “To the extent that he thinks abstractly he makes an abstraction of the fact that he exists” is the conclusion reached by this philosopher.

Now in the first place, really to think, to think intelligently, and not merely to juxtapose figurative or question-begging propositions implies by definition “thinking abstractly,” since otherwise thought would be reduced to imagination; and in the second place, there is no fundamental opposition between the two poles of existing and “thinking,” since our existence is always a mode of consciousness for us and our thought is a manner of existing.

What's with the hatred of the intellect? Yes, it is obviously misused, but so is everything. Faith is certainly misused. Why not spend one's life ranting about that?

Kierkegaard is not completely wrong. It's just that he inappropriately generalizes from the widespread misuse of intelligence:

An element of truth is contained nonetheless in the existentialist criticisms, in the sense that discursive knowledge is separative by reason of the subject-object polarization; however, the conclusion to be drawn from this is not that such knowledge is devoid of value on its own plane or that it is limited as to its content, but that it does not embrace all possible knowledge, and that in purely intellective and direct knowledge the polarization in question is transcended.

In other words, there is analytical knowledge that separates (and is rooted in separation), and unitive knowledge that synthesizes (and is grounded in unity). It's almost like left-brain/right-brain, or particle/wave, or part/whole. The world is bi-logical. Complementarity, baby. Not Either/Or, but Both/And.

Does man have a right to know? Or is his intellect totally superfluous? If so, why do we have it? What is it for? Can our highest ability really be worth less than nothing?

Meh. I can see his point, but he takes everything too far. Intelligence doesn't save. But nor does it condemn. To put it conversely, can't the whole man be saved, intellect included? Or is everything rotten in Denmark?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Celestial Living in the Sublunary World

In lieu of a hiatus, maybe I'll just continue with shortish posts for awhile, until the urge to bloviate returns...

If materialism is the case, then all problems -- and their solutions -- come down to matter. So, "if all men were exempt from material cares," asks Schuon, "would the world be saved?"

"Assuredly not," because "evil resides above all in man himself, as experience proves."

I thought of this the other day when reading this article reminding me that you and I are Richer than John D. Rockefeller.

Think about the fact that in 1924, the 16 year-old son of a sitting president died of an infected blister. How much worldly power would you give up just for antibiotics? How much wealth would you exchange for...

The medical list alone is endless: powerful analgesics, MRIs, cancer cures, organ transplants, open heart surgery, hip replacements, psychopharmacology, etc. I mean, insulin didn't become available until 1922, so I'd be a dead billionaire.

The bottom line:

I wouldn’t be remotely tempted to quit the 2016 me so that I could be a one-billion-dollar-richer me in 1916. This fact means that, by 1916 standards, I am today more than a billionaire. It means, at least given my preferences, I am today materially richer than was John D. Rockefeller in 1916. And if, as I think is true, my preferences here are not unusual, then nearly every middle-class American today is richer than was America’s richest man a mere 100 years ago.

That is what you call a miracle: that the free market system has effectively transformed millions of ordinary people into billionaires -- or, into a lifestyle beyond the dreams of a 1917 millionaire.

But has it resulted in an increase in happiness? Do the average victims of a state-sponsored indoctrination even have the historical perspective to think in these terms, or are they utterly Creatures of the Now? Certainly the left doesn't look at it this way, by definition. For, in the words of Schuon,

Progressivism is the wish to eliminate effects without wishing to eliminate their causes; it is the wish to abolish calamities without realizing that the are nothing other than what man himself is; they necessarily result from his metaphysical ignorance, or his lack of love for God.

There are no material solutions to spiritual problems. That is a category error. But every problem looks like a nail if your only tool is a hammer... and sickle.

Envy has always been with us, but the political left has existed in a conscious and organized form for a couple hundred years (think of the left as intellectualized and/or organized envy). The left claims to be "progressive," but imagine if we had enacted their programs at any point along the way -- for example, in 1917.

Envy, of course, homes in on the existence of millionaires such as Rockefeller, and on the disparity between his and our incomes. Envy demands that this gap be closed now.

That could have been done, of course, but at the cost of destroying the Economic Progress Machine that in one hundred years would make us richer than Rockefeller. In other words, leftist policies can be fully enacted, but only once -- as in Venezuela. And good luck merely maintaining the level of prosperity that existed when you enacted them, since you destroy the very incentives that redound to the production of wealth.

Well, at least there are no longer any spiritual problems in Venezuela: spiritual hunger has been displaced by plain old hunger.

Is it even conceivable that an envy-driven leftism could be compatible with Christianity? "[T]radition has never admitted this kind of economic blackmail addressed to God" (Schuon). Nothing enslaves the spirit like liberation theology, and nothing asphyxiates gratitude -- the key to happiness -- like envy unbound.

Instead of having his gaze always fixed on the imperfections of the world and the vicissitudes of life, man should never lose sight of the good fortune of being born in the human state, which is the road leading to Heaven. --Schuon

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Inside Story of Religion

Although Schuon and Kierkegaard have little in common in style or approach, they would agree on this: "it can happen that a man is intelligent and competent, or that a minority is; but it cannot happen that the majority is intelligent and competent, or 'more intelligent' or 'more competent'" (Schuon).

Kierkegaard is on the same page: "As soon as truth is defined in terms of what the majority can understand it is ipso facto betrayed." But although "the truth is always in the minority, it does not follow that the minority always has the truth."

Nevertheless, "what most men are ready at once to understand, without further preparation, is unequivocally nonsense." Which is why people and institutions default leftward when deprived of any deeper understanding of the principles that govern human beings and their collective efforts.

These Principles have been known since Before the Beginning, from myths as diverse as Icarus or the Tower of Babel, up to more recent works of fantasy such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or Paul Krugman's latest editorial.

"In every profession, and in relation to every subject, it is the minority that knows; the multitude is ignorant." This is how we end up hoodwinked by statists and their mouthpieces in the MSM, since they presume to have the knowledge and expertise we lack. Which is what "makes the press the most profoundly demoralizing of all the forms of sophistry."

People think Trump is hard on the media. Listen to Kierkegaard: "The lowest depth to which people can sink before God is defined by the word 'journalist.'" And "If Christ now came to earth, as sure as I live, He would not attack the high priests and the like; He would focus his attention on the journalists."

Indeed, if we place all forms of literature on a vertical scale, revelation and journalism must be at antipodes. Where Schuon and Kierkegaard would differ is in the former's belief that revelation is an instantiation of metaphysical truths accessible to the intellect.

If I am not mistaken, Kierkegaard would reject that notion on the grounds that it represents an excessively abstract intellectualism. Schuon would respond that the point isn't merely to know these truths on the plane of abstract intellect, but to assimilate them via a legitimate religious practice.

On this they would agree. Sort of. For Kierkegaard, the whole point of religion is to realize its truths, not merely to "know" them with the mind.

This was the basis of his radical critique of Christianity as practiced and understood by his contemporaries: he essentially believed that the original revolutionary message had been domesticated and trivialized by respectable institutions and harmless church functionaries.

Isn't this always the way? I mean the way down, vertically speaking? I remember reading somewhere that virtually every schism, sub-schism, and sub-sub-schism is prompted by some religious minority longing for a more intense spiritual experience, or encounter with God.

Ironically, this is precisely why Catholics leave the church for Protestantism, and why Protestants return to the Church. Both are looking for the same thing, and perhaps it is more easily discovered in an unfamiliar setting -- similar to how life can be more vivid when vacationing, away from the familiar.

One of the appeals of Orthodox Christianity is no doubt its relative strangeness, especially for westerners (the same can obviously be said of Eastern religions such as Buddhism).

What we want is a Strange encounter with the radically Other. Such encounters must be the mother's milk -- or daily bread -- of religiosity, no?

This is what Kierkegaard is referring to with his insistence upon the subjectivity of Truth: not that Truth is subjective, God forbid, which would render it indistinguishable from lunacy. Rather, that it must be experienced subjectively, or inwardly; it is like the difference between seeing the notes printed on a page vs. hearing the musical performance.

So, don't misunderstand Kierkegaard when he claims, for example, that "I must find the truth which is a truth for me," or "Only the Truth which edifies, is Truth for you."

For he is not promulgating the subjectivity of Truth, but rather, the inevitable subjectivity of our response to it. In the face of Truth, "The problem is to potentialize one's own subjectivity to the highest maximum."

Really, he is advocating for a vertical plunge into the depths of Truth, which is never ending. There is no system we can master, which "presupposes a closed finality." Rather, "real life is always something we are in the midst of."

Which once again has political implications, because in the absence of this inward turn, man is just lost in the cosmos. In other words, no political program can accomplish what only individuals can do, one assoul at a time.

Kierkegaard even offered "a reward to any person who can find in the whole array of my books, one single proposal looking toward any outward change, or even the slightest hint of such a proposal" claiming "that the trouble lies in something external..."

No, the trouble is always inside. But it's easier to project the inside out and pretend to cure it with some political program.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Infrarational, Rational, Transrational

Just because something isn't rational -- or reducible to logical expression -- doesn't mean it isn't true (apologies for the triple negative). Nor, for that matter, is something necessarily true just because it is rational.

For example, many rational acts are immoral. But does this imply the converse, that moral acts are irrational? No, because such acts must comport with a higher logic -- i.e., they are transrational. Looked at this way, the immoral act becomes irrational -- or infrarational -- in the broader sense.

Some time ago I noticed that anti- or irreligious people tend to descend into a kind of sentimentality -- or that religious depth is replaced by emotional attachment. There is obviously nothing wrong with emotion, but by sentimentality I mean... What do I mean? A kind of cheapening -- a counterfeit, exaggerated, and arbitrary coloration.

That's convenient: I'm just now looking at an essay by Schuon called Reflections on Ideological Sentimentalism. In it he points out how, for example, a Kantian might imagine that his metaphysic is completely free of emotionality, when it is thoroughly rooted in it. For "its starting point or 'dogma' is reducible to a gratuitous reaction against all that lies beyond the reach of reason."

In other words, you might say that it constitutes the revolt of (mere) reason against the transrational.

But this revolt, no matter how superficially "rational" it may appear, is nonetheless rooted in passion, whether conscious or unconscious. For it is "an instinctive revolt against truths which are rationally ungraspable and which are considered annoying on account of this very inaccessibility."

Again, these truths may not be accessible to mere reason, but this hardly means they are inaccessible per se. I can't help thinking this is one more iteration of Genesis 3, with the temptation and fall having to do with the perennial attempt to enclose the transnational within the rational. Can't be done.

Speaking of which, for some reason I've recently been getting reacquainted with Kierkegaard, and I'm hearing rumors that his entire project must be understood in the context of a widespread Hegelianism that presumed to do just that, i.e., pretend that the real is rational (and vice versa). Well, it's not. Thank God. For if it were, then nothing could happen.

Which Kierkegaard means literally. There is actually a fleeting reference to this principle on p. 72 of the book of which this blog is an endless footnote. I suppose it's a kind of subtle point, but nevertheless important to understand: that the logically necessary "cannot come into existence, because coming into existence is a transition from not existing to existing. The purely necessary in fact cannot essentially change, because it is always itself."

The point is that real change is translogical. Admit it into your metaphysic and you've escaped Kant and anyone else who tries to confine you within its walls. For "novelty is truly creative and therefore contingent and unnecessary. If something is strictly determined, it cannot be novel or creative, for the same reason you cannot compose a symphony by merely applying a predetermined rule for the combination of notes" (ibob.). (One important implication is that evolution isn't logical, thank God again.)

Can't know the noumenal? Of course we can know the noumenal. If we couldn't, then life wouldn't be worth living.

Nor, for that matter, would life be worth living if we could actually enclose the noumenal within the phenomenal. Indeed, the whole freaking point of life is to apprehend and assimilate the reality behind appearances, not to do the opposite, i.e., confine reality to your puny ideas about it! That's crazy.

"There can be no such thing as a philosophical system embracing potentialities or meanings," because "a system presupposes a closed finality, while real life is something we are always in the midst of. We think backwards, but we live forwards..." And "he who clings to the external fact alone is content with an empty shell" (David Swenson).

Along these lines, here is an excellent orthoparadox: "The Truth is, not to know the Truth, but to be the Truth; to know the Truth only, is to be enmeshed in error" (ibid.). This goes to the distinction between (k) and (n): there is nothing wrong with (k) about the world, i.e., about appearances. But (k) about O -- or, to be precise, pretending to enclose O within (k) -- is just a total non-starter. Might as well try to give birth to yourself.

The Problem obviously has only gotten worse in our age: Kierkegaard "believed that [his] age suffered from an over-abundance of knowledge. Life was being made increasingly unreal, since living was being confused with knowledge about life. In this situation it would be superfluous and even harmful merely to increase the store of knowledge already existing.... this would only tend to promote the disease it was intended to cure."

God forbid that this blog add more knowledge to that steaming pile! That's what the other 152 million blogs are for. This one is for escaping all that (k) through the inscape of (n). I say, better to live by a transrational myth that proceeds from the weirdness of God than to subsist on the wonderless bread of absurcular logic.

What is crucial in Kantianism is... the altogether 'irrational' desire to limit intelligence; this results in a dehumanization of the intelligence and opens the door to all the inhuman aberrations of our century. --Schuon