Friday, June 16, 2017

Point, Center, Circumference, and Radii

"Heart knowledge," writes Schuon, "is one with what it knows." This is in contrast to merely mental knowledge, which is necessarily more or less distant from the object of knowledge.

The first mode is analogous to the radii extending from the center of a circle to the periphery, the second to a series of concentric circles around the same point. Note that the first is continuous, the second discontinuous.

Recall the old gag that God is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. In the visual given above, we might say that the central point is radiated and prolonged "everywhere" (this going to the immanence of God) whereas the concentric circles assure that the circumference is "nowhere" because they go one forever (this going to the transcendence of God from the perspective of any particular circle).

We could say the circles end in matter (the matter of physics), although this is not entirely true on the human plane, since man can continue falling right through matter and into various "negative" spaces. Or maybe you haven't seen CNN or MSNBC. Recall that Dante, for example, numbers nine dimensions of hell. Nor is it necessary to believe in an afterlife to perceive these infrahuman circles! Or maybe you've never been to college.

It seems to me that various disciplines address themselves to one of the concentric circles -- physics, biology, psychology, anthropology, etc. Now, a major error of anti-BoBs everywhere is to elevate one of these outer circles to the central point.

The worst offender, of course, is physics, which deals with the shell and pretends it is the kernel. Other disciplines fall in line, bowing to King Physics when push comes to shove. For example, the typical biologist will insist there is nothing in biology that cannot be reduced to physics. Which is just plain stupid.

Likewise, the same sort of gnosis-all denies free will because BIOLOGY, just as he denies religion because NEUROLOGY or DARWIN or whatever. Again, the point is that in each case, the periphery is elevated to the center, which is another way of acting out Genesis 3 all over again. It's what man does, but only every time.

I... No, I shouldn't. Should I? I'm conflicted. I don't mean to ridicule anyone. It's just that... It's such a fine example of what we're talking about. Besides, it's public knowledge. Presumably he wants his views to be noticed. I certainly don't care if someone wants to hold me up as a bad example. Indeed, I wish it would happen more often. It's fun.

Maybe if I just whisper it. Between you and me. First let's provide some context. For many years we had a couple of good friends who banished us when Mrs. G converted to Catholicism. Turns out their adult daughter is a lesbian, and we all know God Hates Fags, so the wife had effectively joined the biggest Hate Crime Family on earth or something.

This despite the fact that my wife loved their daughter, and we had never even had a conversation touching on homosexuality -- which I rarely think about anyway except when homosexuals want to force me to pretend they can exist in a state of matrimony, which is impossible for obvious reasons. I mean, just for starters, anyone who believes in biology knows they cannot actually "have sex," unless sex is defined in a completely unbiological way.

The other day I was wondering what had become of these erstwhile friends -- for whom there are no hard feelings at all -- and stumbled across this post on the subject of religion. You might say that it consists of an indiscriminate anti-religious rant by a cranky old spot on the periphery yelling at the Center while denying it exists.

All religious faith, for example "consists of ridiculous magical fantasies -- by actual grown-ups." And "although faith may be idiotic, it is also entirely normal for most human beings to embrace it." Why? Because "magical thinking may be instinctual to human beings," such that "our brains are broken."

Now, if religion is instinctive, then we can no more escape it than birds will fly north for the winter or salmon swim downstream to spawn. And if our brains are broken (compared to what?), well, why would someone imagine that we can use it to think, let alone know truth?

Our innate defect is such that it "behaves exactly like actual brain damage. Brain tumors, strokes and degenerative neurological / psychological diseases are known to occasionally cause the strangest side effects. Cases such as 'mistaking one’s wife for a hat' or being completely unaware of the left half of your environment or losing all memory of an experience just minutes after it occurs have come to us through many non-fiction books and films."

Presumably, the more religiosity, the more evidence of damage. So, Aquinas' Summa Theologica, for example, is like the diary of a massive stroke victim. Interesting. In the sense that the worse one's logic, the more interesting the conclusions to which it gives rise.

The real problem? Only a religious person "would deliberately initiate a world-killing nuclear holocaust if given the chance." Those hundred million killed by godless ideologues in the 20th century? Hey, mistakes happen. Nobody's perfect.

What he says about Islamists is no doubt true, but to lump them in with Christians is like saying that cancer cells are no different from healthy ones because both are alive.

"We humans are intelligent as animals go, and we enjoy the gift of consciousness. But in no way does that make any of us rational."

Any of us? You don't say. The whole thing reminds me of how a little philosophy inclines one to atheism, while a lot of it takes one to the threshold of religiosity. Unless one just stops thinking at an arbitrary point -- or, better, confines oneself to one of those outer concentric circles and pretends it is the center.

"Levels of religious delusion vary in individuals, all the way from the suicide bomber to someone who may describe themselves as simply believing in a 'higher power.' But SOME degree of delusion is present in every case of faith." Except faith in matter, of course. That's rational. Those who don't share his faith in matter "should be crushed wherever they are encountered."

I'm a little confused: "We dehumanize those with different beliefs," which often leads to brutality and murder.

What about dehumanizing "bat-shit crazy right wing religious nuts"? No worries: that never ends in violence. Just ask Steve Scalise.

More proof that Democrats are never violent:

30 comments:

julie said...

And if our brains are broken (compared to what?), well, why would someone imagine that we can use it to think, let alone know truth?

Clearly, religious belief is an evolved and positively adaptive behavior. After all, look how many studies have shown, over and over, that people of faith - particularly certain kinds of faith - tend to live longer, be healthier and be happier than those who don't. Setting aside for a moment whether God is real, the beneficial effects of religious living would indicate that the brains of the faithful are not broken at all - rather, they are better evolved.

Gagdad Bob said...

Just today Drudge linked to a study proving that meditation reverses the aging process at the cellular level or something. The same is no doubt true of contemplation and prayer.

julie said...

Reading the linked blog article, criminy that guy is bitter. I love how he implies, throughout the rant, that somehow he himself is exempt from any irrationality.

***

Heh - I just reread my first comment. me fail English? That's unpossible!

Gagdad Bob said...

He's quite bright, but few medical doctors are good writers, let alone philosophers. Lively and fun-loving. He doesn't actually come across as bitter in person. I guess he's kind of like Spock, who thinks he's all Vulcan and forgets he's half human.

julie said...

Good point. One of the hazards of writing on the internet, especially when it comes to things we probably wouldn't say in person.

Gagdad Bob said...

Maybe he's become a bitter old crank in the meantime. That can happen with aging liberals, since there is no good news to balance the bad.

julie said...

True. And sad. His post was a couple years ago, halfway through Obama's second term. You'd think they would have been happier then, considering all the things that were going in their favor at that point. Imagine how he must be now, absent a miracle.

Gagdad Bob said...

Liberals use politics to "existentiate" their own interior, which is why they are always freaking out. The only alternative is to own their interior, something they cannot do and remain on the left.

Gagdad Bob said...

It occurs to me that when I met the friend mentioned in the post -- must have been 1987 or 1988 -- I was to the left of him. For example, not only did I subscribe to The Nation, but to Mother Jones, the Utne Reader, and something called Z Magazine, which was practically communist. He was way too devoted to science to be that loony.

For example, I remember getting into an argument with him over solar power, and he calmly explaining why it would be impossible in principle for it to ever replace fossil fuels. I even remember what it felt like to reject science because it clashed with my idealistic beliefs!

Conversely, after my conversion, I remember calmly trying to explain to his wife that, irrespective of how one feels about abortion, Roe v. Wade couldn't possibly be constitutional. She could no more understand that than I could understand the point about solar. In most people feelings come first, reasons for them a distant second.

In any event, my friend is probably just an old-fashioned liberal who hasn't realized there are no liberals left on the left. They're all over here on the right.

Gagdad Bob said...

I remember another argument. He was an early adopter of CDs, while I was a vinyl holdout. He blinded me with science, mansplaining why CDs are objectively superior to vinyl, even though my ears told me otherwise.

In hindsight, we now know that first generation CDs mostly sounded terrible, so in that case my feelings were more reliable than science!

julie said...

It's fun to have friends you can have those kinds of arguments with. Healthy, as well.

Seems like it's a rare treasure these days. We've lost friends over politics in recent years, too. There was one who hung up the phone in mid-conversation over Trump; haven't heard from him since, which is sad because he was a really good friend.

Anonymous said...

Great Post as usual, Sir.

You state it is stupid to reduce biology to physics, however I note you also state homosexual matrimony is impossible for "obvious reasons." I presume these reasons are biologically based, such as genitalia. Of course, this is physics. A minor inconsistency there?

The gays have stated core matrimonial criteria are love and commitment (outside of physics).
Comments anyone?

Under cosmic unity (refer to your book), physics represents what we know about the body of God, and some about His mind as well. There is no reason to dun physics, which rightly is a core touch stone. As human perceptions enlarge, over time, physics will gradually overtake and incorporate metaphysics, which will then no longer be "meta." Comments?

Add note: The annual Raccoon gathering will be at the M Spa Casino and Resort, Henderson, Nevada, September 2-4 2017. We decided to take a rest from camping, as tent walls are thin and inapropriate things should not be shared. Bring your book and beautiful selves.

Brivilonius said...

If anyone doesn't hate me (e.g., as a troll), they can find me here:*. G.-Bob himself once said that he wants all of us to be "lightening-rods," e.g., with our own blogs. I'll try not to be tempted ever to post this again unless I am actually part of the conversation a second time (i.e., with dozens of OneCosmos(r)es under my belt, and a couple of actually relevant comments. Signed, "'Play-mobile(r)1776'" (a nickname given to me by one of yous guyses)*

debass said...

All violence is from the left, throughout history. These shooters ironically, also support gun control. Gun control legislation started after the War between the states to keep blacks from defending themselves against another group of Democrats know as the KKK. The list omitted the democrat, John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Now, California is trying to become a confederate state by becoming a sanctuary state. Maybe they will start another civil war. I'm still waiting for someone to name a leftist/liberal/democrat/socialist idea that has succeeded.

Brivilonius said...

(If I am in fact invited to this here {herebelow} discussion.) Is "California" doing this, or Jefferson State (i.e., Northern California, after the Initiative and Referendum process gives them the right to keep their tax money which L.A. [Los Angeles] keeps stealing from them)?

Cousin Dupree said...

NoCal to SoCal: we stole it first!

Brivilonius said...

You have exceeded my capacity for mental RAM, CPU, database-software, etc., sir... In case this is an opportunity for introduction, let me say that I am a 27-year-old unemployed, semi-diagnosed as mentally unsound man with a B.A. in Classics - Latin and Roman Civilization from CSU Long Beach whose main income sources include Christmas presents and Amazon's artificial artificial intelligence (mTurk[r]) crowdsourcing network. Pathetic, ain't I? Good thing Jesus was born in that manger!

Gagdad Bob said...

Good news: you are no longer semi-diagnosed.

Brivilonius said...

My first reaction was "THANK YOU JESUS." But then I thought, uh-oh. Oh, well...

Brivilonius said...

(dry wit, charity for all, malice toward none, etc.)

Gagdad Bob said...

Jesus was the world's foremost diagnostician.

Brivilonius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gagdad Bob said...

I am every bit as infallible as Hazel Motes.

Brivilonius said...

Am I supposed to Google(r) that or understand it (like,... ) [sorry]

Gagdad Bob said...

You alluded to Flannery O'Connor.

Brivilonius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brivilonius said...

"Signing off," 'Brivilonius'

debass said...

CA wants to become a sanctuary state.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/18/news/economy/sanctuary-state-california-undocumented/index.html

Gagdad Bob said...

Liberals have ruined the state. For no good reason but to advance and consolidate their own power. Sad!

debass said...

They seem to be drunk on their own power, passing laws for the sake of passing laws, that will never achieve the stated purpose. The logical conclusion is that they will eventually outlaw human existence, because it interferes with their agenda.
On a side note, the latest leftist shooter inadvertently fulfilled the leftist dream of reducing CO2 emissions. The Capitol Police reduced his to zero.