Friday, March 03, 2017

Flat and Explosive

Almost time to move on to the next subject, except I don't really have a particular subject in mind.

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.

But explosive.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

A Void is Not a Home

Feeling a little... wooly this morning. This shaggy post is the result.

We left off with the idea that the left is an inverted parody of divine creativity. And it's either one or the other: as Fr. Rose says, "It is quite clear now that the Revolution and God can have nothing to do with each other," such that the left's mission "cannot be completed until the last vestige of faith in the true God is uprooted from the hearts of men and everyone has learned to live in this void."

The aforementioned Void can even resemble the Divine Plenum from a certain perspective. On the one hand, "Finite beings produced from the plenum by God are non-existent prior to his creative act of will." In short, God is "the sole active ground of all contingent existents, of all things that stand out from" it (Creel). Man is only Something -- or better, Not-Nothing -- because God Is.

Remove God from the equation, and man is necessarily reduced to an absurd nothingness. But at first, it seems that man -- both individually and collectively -- revels in this bracing liberation from: wheeee!

But sooner or later we will look around for the to, only to discover that it doesn't exist -- that we are liberated into nothingness, precisely. It's like escaping from Alcatraz Prison -- wheeee!-- only to die of hypothermia upon plunging into the bone-rattling currents.

Which reminds me of something Schuon says to the effect that modern man is, as it were, encased under a thick and impenetrable sheet of ice that builds and builds like a glacier, separating him from his vertical source. "Mistaking the ice that imprisons us for Reality, we do not acknowledge what it excludes and experience no desire for deliverance; we try to compel the ice to be happiness.”

Or to compel the Nothing to be Something. Which it can never be. Nor can the Something ever be Nothing; rather, it can only tend in that direction without ever arriving there. To arrive there would be to successfully arrive at a Counter-God, but this is analogous to radiating light eventually forming a "counter sun." Not gonna happen in this cosmos.

But unlike sun rays, human beings have freedom of will, such that they can attempt to create and worship a counter-sun, such that they will call this darkness Light (or Enlightenment).

In this universe -- which, properly speaking, is no longer a uni-verse -- "there is neither up nor down, right nor wrong true nor false, because there is no longer any point of orientation" (Rose).

One is tempted to say that this is the world of "fake news," but it isn't even that, because the counterfeit must be parasitic on the very genuineness the relativist denies.

In reality, they're just murmurandoms from the void. Sometimes they might even be "true," but they are not written because they are true, because this would connote adherence to a principle that cannot exist for these purblind darklings.

Finally man hits the cosmic bottom and arrives at "nothingness, incoherence, antithesis, hatred of truth" (ibid). For you or I this would represent a depressing development, and it is a depressing development.

So, how does the nihilist deal with the depression? By a frenetic activity designed to pull others down with him. Thus, "the first and most obvious item in the program of Nihilism is the destruction of the Old Order" -- its laws, institutions, and customs.

Everything must go! "Effective war against God and His Truth requires the destruction of every element of this old order; it is here that the peculiarly Nihilist 'virtue' of violence comes into play."

Here again, this violence represents an inverse parody of God's creativity: "appeals to violence, and even a kind of ecstasy at the prospect of its use, abound in revolutionary literature."

Which the left absurdly projects into conservatives, as if we are the howling fascist mobs that wish to violently shut down dissent!

I heard one leftist compare our forthcoming southern wall to the Berlin Wall -- which is only to confuse a home with a concentration camp. Would you trust your political future to people who can't make that elementary distinction?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Inverted Parody of God's Creation

Let's continue our plunge into the demonic abyss of the left with an observation by Fr. Rose: the "endeavor to Nihilize creation, and so annul God's act of creation by returning the world to the very nothingness from which it came, is but an inverted parody of God's creation."

This would appear to be a Big Clue as to what is going on: The Inverted Parody of God's Creation. Therefore, by knowing how and why God creates, we may gain an insight into why the godless left "creates" -- which is to say, destroys.

For example, God is motivated to create -- or so we have heard from the Wise -- out of love. Therefore, we may reliably deduce from this principle that the nihilist must be motivated by hatred. And if we examine the world (or turn on the news) to seek confirmation of our thesis, it isn't difficult to find. For it is only everywhere.

Let's dig a little deeper into God's motivations. Although God is free to create this or that world, I don't believe he is "free" -- in a manner of speaking -- to create "nothing," or to not create at all. This is because creativity is in the very nature of God. We all have a thing, and creativity is God's.

Analogously, being that God is good, we could say that he is not free to be evil. These sound like limitations, but they aren't in reality, since nothingness and evil are privations.

Therefore, we might say that, paradoxically, we are "more free" than God himself, being that we may choose between good and evil.

But here again, choosing evil can only be a kind of parody of freedom, just as "false knowledge" can only be a parody of truth. Man is free to know truth or error, but we do not conclude that this renders him wiser than God. Likewise, we are free to love evil, but this doesn't make us more loving than God. Hitler's dog loved Hitler. Does this mean that Blondi was morally superior to us?

So, God has his "limits," in the sense that he is limited by his nature, a nature which is characterized by love, truth, beauty, unity, and other transcendentals. Another of God's limits is "existence." You might say that he is "constrained to exist," indeed, he is the only thing in existence that is so constrained. In other words, the rest of us are contingent: we may or may not have existed. Only God exists necessarily.

However, just as creation as such must exist, even if this or that particular creation is contingent, might we say that God must exist, even though this or that God is contingent? Here we are verging on heretical ground, and yet, there is a basis for thinking this is the case, if we draw the Eckhartian distinction between God and Godhead.

To back up a bit, we would again say that God is constrained to exist in some form or fashion. But prior to his existence is his sheer being-ness, or better, his "beyond-beingness." Of course I could be wrong, but I am drawn to the idea that beyond-being "crystalizes" in form of God's being.

Or perhaps we are just touching on the distinction between Godhead and Trinity, the dialectic between the oneness of God and his personhood (or his trans-subjectivity and his intersubjectivity). You might even say that the archetypes of verticality and horizontality exist in divinas, as they say. As does "relativity," God being "relative" to Godhead (and indeed, the Persons being relative to one another).

Which reminds me of something that brings us back to the main subject, the evil of the left. Having just read Steven Hayward's highly recommended Patriotism is Not Enough, I've been thinking about the intrinsic instability of liberalism that causes it to descend toward the abyss of nihilism.

The real question is, what is the nature of man? This question must be asked before any political theorizing, for if one arrives at the wrong answer, then the resultant system will be a nightmare, more or less (or sooner or later). Think of the nightmares that have resulted from believing that man is "socialist man," and proceeding to impose this definition on him.

Now, it is surely telling that for the left this is a nonsense question, for man either has no nature or has only a contingent one conferred by history, or culture, or "power," or privilege. It is precisely this "definition" of man that allows a man to pretend he is a woman.

Note again the paradox in this definition: that man is liberated from definitions, and thus more free even than God. God is constrained by his nature, but leftist man is completely free of his!

But if we follow the logic laid out in paragraph two -- the logic of inverse parody -- then what the left calls "freedom" must in reality be a form of slavery. Could this be the case? Well, if I am not mistaken, the Bible often compares sin to slavery. Conversely, "the truth sets you free." From which we may extrapolate that leftist equality sets you on fire.

Is there an appropriate equality that is in divinas? Why yes, glad you asked. It is of course between the Persons, who abide in Love. Now, what might this have to do with the nature of man -- that question we must ask prior to our political theorizing?

I obviously don't have time for an exhaustive excursus into the subject, but if we trace contemporary liberalism down to its roots, we might find a Lockean individualism favored by conservative liberals (especially libertarians), or the nature-less non-entity favored by the progressive left.

But real human nature is trinitarian in structure, such that one will find no "individual" beneath or behind it. Rather, our nature is to be relational; we are intersubjective right down to the ground (both vertically and horizontally), such that the I-We is an irreducible complementarity (as is the I-God vertically).

This in turn is grounded in the natural family; or rather, the natural family is its expression herebelow. Man cannot help being trinitarian, for he is constrained to be so. But this is precisely what releases his nature and therefore his real freedom.

The leftist alternative again devolves to nothingness. For example, the left posits the existence of special "group rights" that end up effacing the individual. A Clarence Thomas, for example, must be destroyed. Under the guise of increased freedom, he is not permitted to be free. Nor is Milo Yiannopoulos or any non-leftist woman.

As we've said before, it ultimately comes down to the choice of God or Nothing. If one is intellectually honest, there can be no alternative. For a while, the Nothing will feel "free," but this is because it necessarily begins closer to God. But as a ray of light becomes increasingly distant from the sun, so too does leftism end in a cold, dark, and lifeless universe.

God's freedom is not like that, for it is, among other things, hierarchical. But this goes to the difference between, say, the ordered liberty of the founders vs. the freedom of anarchy, which is no freedom at all.

Out of time. Not sure we got anywhere today, but we'll keep trying on Thursday (probably no post tomorrow). If nothing else, I guess we learned why this blog will never be popular.