Monday, April 03, 2017

The Self-Evident Truth of the Founders and the Progsplaining of Monsters

In the previous post we touched on Schuon's old-school definition of philosophy as the science of fundamental principles -- a science that operates via an intuition which "perceives" as opposed to a reason that can only "conclude." And of course, reason can only conclude based upon premises that must be furnished from another source.

In short, there is no way around an extra-rational judgment; the attempt to ground truth in reason alone quickly ends in tautology.

As Schuon puts it, "There is no faith without any knowledge, nor knowledge without any faith." That's just a fact. Any failure on your part to assent to its truth renders you a stone cold idiot, for "Faith is the intuition of the transcendent; unbelief stems from the layer of ice that covers the heart and excludes this intuition."

Now, there are two related kinds of extra-rational judgment; let us call the one "intuition," the other "faith." Each of these is a mode of perception of invisible realities.

To put it conversely, in the absence of faith and intuition, we wouldn't be able to see anything other than what we see physically, and would thereby be reduced to animality; or, we would see surfaces -- appearances -- only, with no access to underlying realities, whether scientific, aesthetic, or religious.

Faith is the implicit perception of an impending (vertical) discovery: not only will it be "rewarded" with the knowledge of which it is a foreshadow, it is already a kind of knowledge, in the same sense that a flower turning toward the light is already a kind of prelinguistic "knowledge of the sun."

Or, to quote Schuon, "The mystery of faith is in fact the possibility of an anticipatory perception in the absence of its content; that is, faith makes present its content by accepting it already, before the perception properly so-called." Faith is never static, but always on-the-way.

It seems to me that faith may be thought of as a kind of formalized intuition, whereas intuition is an informal faith.

In a way, these two have the same relationship as revelation and intellect: somewhere Schuon equates revelation to exteriorized (divine) intellect, and intellect to an interiorized revelation. Indeed, the existence of the intellect may be the most accessible miracle available to man.

The point is, a small minority of human beings are "intellectual" in the non-debased sense of the term (i.e., there are countless debased intellectuals, AKA the tenured).

But the Good News is that God is fair, such that the non-intellectual nevertheless has access to the highest wisdom available to the intellectual, via faith.

To be clear, the intellect is by no means superior to faith, for, to paraphrase Schuon, the latter involves intuition of the sophsame "intellectual object" that is the reality behind appearances. Both are ways to penetrate more deeply, from the surface to the ur-Face.

Faith is "to say 'yes' to the truth of God and of immortality – this truth which we carry in the depths of our heart," and "to see concretely what apparently is abstract." It is "a priori a natural disposition of the soul to admit the supernatural; it is therefore essentially an intuition of the supernatural, brought about by Grace."

Not to grind gears too abruptly, but all of this is just by way of a pre-ramble to discussion of another book I read over the weekend, Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea. One might be tempted to think the ideas presented above are excessively abstract or impractical, but it turns out they are the very essence of common sense.

Recall Madison's gag about how government -- or, let's say "political science" -- is "the greatest of all reflections on human nature." The reason this is so is that if we don't get human nature right, then our political system will be either stillborn or monstrous; and if we don't get our political system right, then it will produce stillborn or monstrous humans.

It reminds me of that line about how the problem with capitalism is capitalists, whereas the problem with socialism is socialism. Analogously, the problem with Christianity is Christians, whereas the problem with Islam certainly appears to be Islam, given how every majority Muslim country is such a trainwreck.

Back to my main point, which is that America was founded upon an ontological common sense that cannot be surpassed, only denied, eroded, or attacked. Which is what the left does, all day long, especially since Woodrow Wilson, who said as much quite explicitly (for progressives were more honest about their agenda in those days).

Wilson was nothing short of an American Monster. As far as he was concerned, "the Founders' propositions were only relevant to the time of the Founders," and "because history had moved on those propositions had been rendered obsolete."

Thanks for the tip, assoul!

In other words, what the Founders regarded as "self-evident truths" amounted to nothing more than historically conditioned illusions and/or expedients.

Let Wilson progsplain it to you rubes: although "a great deal of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual," we now know that this was just a lot of "vague sentiment and pleasing speculation." Thanks to the pretentious bloviating of Hegel, we know better: the state is the March of God on Earth.

"For Wilson, history had moved on and, as a result, the thinking of the Founders had become, as he says in the quote above, 'nonsense.'"

What kind of person presumes to reduce the undeniable truths that permit human flourishing to mere nonsense? A demonically inspired monster, that's who.

The "self-evident truths" propounded by the Founders were the precise opposite of historically conditioned beliefs subject to future revision. What they meant by the term "self-evident" was that the power to understand these truths was available to all human beings, by virtue of being human. They are "no sooner understood than they are believed," the reason being that "they 'carry the light of truth itself'" (Arthur Herman, in Curry).

I think I'll stop here. On the Raccoon calendar it is the Feast of Opening Day, and I need to finish my work before the sacrament of the First Pitch at 1:00.


ted said...

But the Good News is that God is fair, such that the non-intellectual nevertheless has access to the highest wisdom available to the intellectual, via faith.

This is almost like a True egalitarianism. In that, we all have equal access to God irrelevant of class, economic, or educational status.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I learn new things with each visit to the blog. I never realized Wilson was such a nihilist.

After all questions about faith and intuition are asked, and satisfactory conclusions arrived at, the question of individual agency remains.

Faith and intuition, once enshrined as leaders of the being, still have to work out what is the mission, the agenda, what is on the plate, what is the overall gist of the visit here. If not already certain, then one must put up the antennae and await marching orders from the ether; a daily or perhaps hourly task.

The job, family duties, and relationships of course must be duly carried out according to societal expectations and best lights at all times, but often there is more to be done. Something special.

Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussaude really nailed it cold and wrote well upon the matter; worth a look.

Of course I can write all these cheerful things and still be feel totally lost and afraid. Go figure.

julie said...

The "self-evident truths" propounded by the Founders were the precise opposite of historically conditioned beliefs subject to future revision. What they meant by the term "self-evident" was that the power to understand these truths was available to all human beings, by virtue of being human. They are "no sooner understood than they are believed," the reason being that "they 'carry the light of truth itself'" (Arthur Herman, in Curry).

Thus the reason progressivism so fiendishly works to destroy the possibility of understanding anything.

mushroom said...

The essential role of intuition and faith goes along with my recent reading about left brain/right brain stuff.

Yes, Wilson was evil.

Gagdad Bob said...

A truly malignant racist, too.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

Schuon visions are always a source of inspiration because his visions are from the inalienable source. Faith is the key that opens the door of the house of knowledge and once the knowledge is divorced from its source and becomes mechanical, perversions flourish. Misinterpretations and misapplications are the problem and this apply equally to all religions. There is no problem in islam for those who honestly want to live islam and understand islam. What is islam but surrendering to god in pure heart with loving inclination to wish well to all irrespective of all the abused criteria which we see rampant in our miserable humanity which is paying dearly for its misconduct. What is god but the paradoxical names that rein all over and is watching and nothing escapes his attention and everyone will get his book in his hand to read, and as he said in the quran, we oppressed you not but you have oppressed yourself. The problem we think there is no judgement day and there is no testing in this life and it is a free world to do everything we wish without accountability. My faith we are all going to be summoned in the presence of the one, the one as John Wheeler put it, the mysterious quantum of action, the fundamental creative building force that motivates all the particles and the forces we know. Our soul is our imaginative and intuitive tool, our window to higher and larger reality , our window that receives the radiations of the divine names to move us from our subjective limited consciousness to the divine objective unlimited consciousness.

julie said...

Sorry, but I completely disagree. There is no problem in islam for someone like a Schuon, perhaps; as Jesus said, "by their fruits you shall know them." Schuon was the kind of man who would have flourished and borne good fruit whatever tradition he followed.

Sadly, on the scale of all the people who exist, he is the 1 in a billion exception. Muslim communities, taken as a whole, more often than not don't seem to bear the kind of fruit that even Muslims want to live with. Unfortunately, their solution seems to be to move to other parts of the world that aren't Muslim, then when there are enough of them they proceed to live the way Muslims prefer to live, thus making the rest of the world as miserable as they were to begin with.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you read a more detailed account of history. To take the modern day situation of some Muslim nations as a characteristic reflection of Islam - relying often on selectively emphasized negative events by certain elements of the media - is nothing but an absurd generalization stooped in superficiality, especially when many countries of the modern Muslim world hardly implement the spiritual and governing principles of Islam and are run by kingdoms, dictators, and despots. It's logically equivalent to taking the way the Crusaders behaved with respect to Muslims and Jews, or certain Europeans behaved with respect to the Native or African Americans, as representative of Christianity. You understand things how truly are supposed to be from the primary sources themselves and the people of knowledge who know them. Schuon himself considered Muhammad a true man of God even though he was only partial practitioner of the what he would deem the "exoteric" aspects of the religion.

Anonymous said...

Julie, it's best not to feed the taqqiya-loving trolls.

julie said...

No worries there - I am too busy to play whack-a-troll at the moment. Unfortunate, really, because sometimes it is entertaining, and a mischievous raccoon could have a lot of fun with this one. The tee is all set up, just waiting for a solid cluebat to come along and give it a good smack...

Anonymous said...

Taqiyya-loving trolls. That's a good one. Methinks you don't actually understand the concept of Taqiyya (only a falsified and ludicrous media created one) and also don't know the actual history of Schuon who studied under Shaykh Ahmad Al-'Alawi and was initiated into his Sufi order and was given the name Isa Nur-ad Din. Schuon describes his encounter as such: "To meet such a one is like coming face to face, in mid-twentieth century, with a medieval Saint or Semitic Patriarch."

But keep living in your bigoted delusions.

Gagdad Bob said...

*Ironically*, being lectured by the likes of CAIR or Southern Poverty Law Center types has the effect of confirming our most bigoted delusions.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe falsified and ludicrous media-created propaganda about Islam. In reality, it is a Religion of Peace.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how that works for your kind. If a website portrays a negative image of Islam then it must be right. If a Muslim group is dedicated to spreading a positive image of Muslims and Islam, it must be because they're engaging your distorted notion of Taqiyya that has no basis in Reality, where a Muslim is allowed to deceive and lie at will against the "kuffar". I count two obvious logical fallacies: confirmation bias in the former and conveniently "poisoning the well" in the latter.

How objective is the Religion of Peace
The Quran and its Message
Ashtinate of Muhammad

Of course, none of this has to do at all with indisputable facts previously relayed about Schuon concerning his positive view of Islam and his feelings towards and relationships with its particular religious figures.

Cousin Dupree said...

Islam is not the most dangerous religion in the world. Rather, that distinction goes to the religion of Nothing To Do With Islam. Indeed, every day the MSM reminds us that the motivation behind virtually every terror attack reflects Nothing To Do With Islam.

common sense bob said...

Dear Bob,

I delight in your embrace of Reid. Reid is great.
And you are a Schuon guy! Me too. Schuon makes an appearance in my (not yet published) book "Common Sense". I have a bigger role planned for him in my as yet unfinished book on the cosmic order, "Beyond Common Sense."
Great to know you are out there.
Best regards,

Bob Curry

Gagdad Bob said...

Wow -- sounds like my kind of book! If you're really going to write it, now I won't have to.

common sense bob said...

Don't hold back!
Lots of need for good books along our line!!

Gagdad Bob said...

Email me with your address and I'll send you a copy of my book. Throw in five bucks and I won't send it at all. (