I don't know, the thought just popped into my head. I was over at Instapundit and noticed a link to a book called Language Hacking French: A Conversation Course for Beginners. Sure, I wish I knew French, but that's not my point. Besides, I still have so much English material to get to that hacking another language seems frivolous.
And in any event, what I really want to do is hack into God, and that can be done in any language. If it can be done at all.
Come to think of it, Pentecost Sunday was just a few days ago. What was that all about? I mean originally?
I'm no expert, but it seems the main point was the transmission of a preternatural ability to proclaim God in any and all languages. I suppose that's a case of God hacking the brain's language center so we can in turn hack God (and what is the Incarnation itself but God hacking mankind? "God hacks man so that man may hack God," you might say).
That's an intriguing point, because it is often said that it is impossible to translate the Koran. Rather, one must hear it in the original Arabic, such that any attempt at translation inevitably betrays it.
Not so with Christianity. No one believes you have to speak Aramaic or Greek or Hebrew to get the essential message. Pentecost announces this principle loud and clear, that language is no barrier. Any language can transmit the Word.
Back to the hackery. Note that many if not most philosophers don't even believe it is possible to hack into reality, let alone ultimate reality. Kant, for example, famously claimed that we can know only phenomena. But the noumenon -- whatever reality is behind the appearances -- is forever closed to us. It is the one completely unhackable system.
Lately we've been discussing Gödel's theorems, about which opinions vary. Some people think they mean we can only use logic to chase our own tails, i.e., that we can never escape our absurcular systems of thought. Others -- myself included -- think they mean we can indeed hack the wider reality beyond logic.
Remember the logical positivists? Even though this philosophy has been thoroughly debunked, there are still many implicit or unconscious positivists who maintain that only empirically verifiable statements are true. This despite the fact that the belief that only empirically verifiable statements are true cannot itself be empirically verified. So that's the end of that.
Postmodernists also insist that reality can't be hacked, even while presuming to have discovered the ultimate hack. It is another form of cheap omniscience attainable by anyone, hence its popularity among the tenured.
For example, instead of engaging in the hard work of ascending toward Shakespeare, one just dismisses him as an exemplar of white privilege. One can do the same thing with math, physics, history, any discipline: instant intellectual supremacy. (This guy has countless examples of such systematic idiocy masquerading as scholarship.)
Back to hacking God. I recently read Jennifer Upton's The Ordeal of Mercy: Dante’s Purgatorio in Light of the Spiritual Path. Recall that we spent a month or so blogging about the prequel, which covered Dante's Inferno. Ironically, I enjoyed Hell more than Purgatory.
Note that Dante was so bold as to attempt to not only hack heaven, but purgatory and hell to boot -- or in other words, to provide a comprehensive map of the vertical. All in Italian, of all languages!
That book must have popped into my head for a reason. Let's try to find out what it was.
Ah, here we go. Not only did Dante hack the above three nonlocal localities, but in so doing hacked death itself! For "he presents himself in the Purgatorio as a living man engaged in a pilgrimage through the postmortem states" (Upton).
In fact, these states aren't even that far away, rather, just a micron or quark to the north: "in reality these postmortem states are even closer to us than the impressions brought to us by our five senses."
Which is very close, even touching. Indeed, each of our five senses involves a form of touch, whether of solid matter, lightwaves, air vibrations, or air-/foodborne molecules. Evidently there is a vertical version of each of our senses. Or so we have heard from the wise.
For example, once Dante exits hell and stands on the shore of purgatory, he can see a lot more: "now, when he lifts his eyes, he sees not only Purgatory but the starry sky above. This is deeply renewing to him; through the physical forms perceived by his senses the celestial archetypes are beginning to shine."
But guess what? I think Dante is us and that Purgatory is here. Therefore, we can -- and must -- in this life raise our inner eye upward toward the spiritual horizon and thereby perceive how those celestial archetypes shine herebelow. You know -- metaphysical transparency, or celestial translucency. Subtle vibrations are everywhere.
Conversely, think of how the postmodernist fixes his gaze downward and creates his own hell -- a spiritually opaque world of raw absurdity and naked power.
To be continued...