Flat and Explosive
Let's conclude our little investigation into the satanic fingerprints on the hysteria, paranoia, and violence of the contemporary left with a crack by Schuon that summarizes in a sentence or two what it took us a dozen posts to convey. He adverts to various 19th century strands of humanist thought that were
"intended to achieve a perfect man outside the truths which give the human phenomenon all its meaning. As it was of course necessary to replace one God by another," the whole trend gave rise to "a new ideology, one equally flat and explosive, namely the paradoxically inhuman humanism that is Marxism."
As an aside, the book from which that is extracted, The Play of Masks, is one of Schuon's last; it was published in 1992, and while he lived to 1997, his final works consist mostly of poems.
At any rate, I've been rereading some of his late works, and they are so concentrated that it is as if he were attempting to pack the whole existentialalda into as compact a tortilla as possible. There is scarcely a wasted word, let alone sentence.
Thus, in the little passage referenced above, every word counts: one cannot conceive of a "perfect man" in the absence of conformity to the truth that renders perfection (i.e., sanctity) possible; one cannot eliminate the Absolute without substituting a false one in its place; a humanism in the absence of the divine devolves to human animalism; and a "flattened" ideology becomes "explosive" because it is essentially the Revenge of Denied Verticality.
The bottom lyin': "The internal contradiction of Marxism is that it wants to build a perfect humanity while destroying man." Which only happens everywhere it is attempted. I would certainly widen out our perspective to include fascism and Nazism in the mix, for in the end there are really only two alternatives: ordered liberty and top-down tyranny.
This tyranny occurs necessarily if we begin by denying human nature. Which the left does by definition in insisting that man has no nature, precisely.
The left claims that man is defined by his race, or class, or gender, i.e., that essence is posterior to existence. This may sound eggheadish, but it really goes to the... essence of the distinction between left and right: the left begins with existence, while we begin with essence. The rest is commentary.
For example, our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, makes some bold assertions about man's essence: first, that he is created; second, that creation entails certain intrinsic rights; and third, that it is the purpose of government to preserve and protect said rights.
Conversely, for the left there can be no "self-evident truths," since there are no evident ones -- except perhaps the self-beclowning truth that truth is inaccessible to man. If man is "just anything," then there is no barrier to forming a government that treats him as such.
The left is "half right," in the sense that there is no such thing as Man in reference to man only. Nor is there any such conceivable thing as God.
Instead, what we have down here is a God <--> Man dialectic or complementarity. Don't misunderstand me: God is in no way dependent upon man, except insofar as he wishes to be known by man. Then he "puts himself in Man's hands," the ultimate expression of this being the Incarnation.
In short, God "coon-descends" in order to commune-icate in a mode accessible to man, and it is in the resultant space that divinity -- and divinization -- occurs.
We know what happens when we eliminate God from the complementarity: "its absence brings about incomparably worse abuses than its presence," although there will always be abuses, man being what he is. Man cannot bring about heaven on earth, although hell is always within reach.
We might say that God too is "within reach," although beyond our grasp. God is beyond our grasp because only God can grasp God.
In fact, this is equally true of everything, that is, every intelligible existent. As we have mentioned before, we can only know things because they are created; but we can never know them completely for the very same reason, i.e., that complete knowledge is reserved for God.
In any event, human happiness depends upon our being in conformity with the nature of things -- their nature and ours. "Integral meaning and happiness" are "anchored in man's deiform nature without which life is neither intelligible nor worth living." Man is at once rendered stupid and pointless.
Here again, this is literally true, and the most efficient way of saying it. For Camus, for example -- a quintessential existentialist -- the only serious philosophical question is whether or not to commit suicide.
True, not to make this personal, but I am Sisyphus, and every post is a new rock I attempt to push up the hill. But the hill is real, and it is outside and above me. If an existentialist is to be true to himself, there can be only an imaginary boulder which he rolls around on horizontal ground. In this flatland ontology, man, boulder, and hill are all ultimately meaningless.