Friday, March 16, 2018

Transcendence or Hand Grenades

In yesterday's post I did something I try always to avoid, in that I tossed out a lazy and inadequately supported statement. I hate it when others do it, because this endeavor -- the Raccoon project -- calls for precision, even if precision poetry. The last thing I want to do is deepak the chopra. Nor does it matter if what I said is true. It still needs fleshing out.

This is the statement: "the cosmos is in the soul, not the soul in the cosmos," and later "the cosmos is in us, and we are in God." Those are not the sorts of things you can just toss out there, unless maybe you're passing a joint while doing so. If truth is "just anything," pretty soon it is just nothing.

Yes, religion is often guilty of this sort of thing because of the I-AMbiguous nature of the subject. You might be tempted to believe that science is innocent of this abuse, but you would be wrong. If anything, it is the bigger offender, because nothing about science (or scientism) is grounded in anything (or everything grounded in nothing).

And that's just the metaphysics. Concepts such as "big bang," "evolution," "consciousness," and "person" are thrown around as if they are self-evident. Which they are, so long as you buy into the whole paradigm, but the paradigm is absurd if you take it seriously.

Truly, scientism isn't "in the world" but in its paradigm. Therefore, it sees what the paradigm allows it to see. As soon as we realize the paradigm is in us, we have transcended it, as outlined in yesterday's post. And then you have to account for how this inescapable transcendence has gotten into the universe.

But it cannot be a scientific account, because then you're back where you started, safe inside your little paradigm. This is part of what I mean by saying that the cosmos is in us rather than vice versa. However, I'm saying something a little more radical, because I don't merely mean our representation of the cosmos, but the cosmos as such.

As we've mentioned any number of times, "cosmos" or "universe" are already profoundly metaphysical concepts that assume the oneness of creation. Why should creation be one? Because we intuit it as such. Deep down we know there is an Absolute, and that it is a contradiction in terms to affirm two Absolutes. Reality is one, and we all know it, if not explicitly then implicitly.

The only exceptions to this are the mentally ill or brain damaged. For example, people who are subjected to early trauma, abuse, and deprivation often suffer from a kind of primordial rupture on the ground floor of their neuro-psyche. As such, they have difficulty with most any kind of integration, whether of emotions, thoughts, or actions.

I read a short book the other day that touches on this, God and Philosophy, by Etienne Gilson. To paraphrase and expand upon an amazon review, Greek philosophy was eventually able to arrive at That Which Is -- the objective Absolute, so to speak -- while it fell upon the ancient Hebrews to not only discover the subjective Absolute -- He Who Is, or I AM -- but to then put the two together in a daring cosmo-historical act of integration.

But then Uncles Rene (Descartes) and Manny (Kant) came along and ruined everybody's lives and ate all our steak by demolishing this unity with a "'purely rational' philosophy which holds nearly every intellectual today in bondage." This is the paradigm capture alluded to above, although the prisons are diverse, for truth is one while ideology is many -- a fractured fairy tale.

In any event, any metaphysic worthy of man must account for the IT IS as well as the I AM, i.e., objectivity and subjectivity. Sure, you can reduce the latter to the former, but that doesn't actually solve the problem, any more than throwing a hand grenade onto the board solves a chess problem. Frankly, you can eliminate any problem via reverse transcendence, or "transcendence from below," but this is always accompanied by a destruction of humanness.

For example, the male-female relation is a problem. There is a cosmically correct way to deal with the problem, and then there are the left's ways, which naturally end in more problems -- which is precisely why women are less happy today than when feminism got hold of them. It is impossible to be happy while living in defiance of one's archetype instead of in conformity with it.

So many aphorisms. Regarding what was just said in the paragraph above, Christianity does not solve “problems”; it merely obliges us to live them at a higher level. Again, transcendence, not hand grenades.

About the futile attempt to enclose the cosmos in (lower case) reason, civilization is the irrational fusion of opposing terms. Those who aspire to a “rational” civilization plan slaughters. See 20th century for details.

About the metaphysical slide from oneness to diversity, After conversing with some “thoroughly modern” people, we see that humanity escaped the “centuries of faith” only to get stuck in those of credulity.

About the implicit oneness, Faith is not an irrational assent to a proposition; it is a perception of a special order of realities. It is not a conviction that we possess, but a conviction that possesses us -- from outside the cosmos. Faith is like an air hole at the top (in addition to letting in the light and warmth).

About reducing subject to object, One to many, soul to matter, He who does not believe in God can at least have the decency of not believing in himself. Because The doctrines that explain the higher by means of the lower are appendices of a magician’s rule book.

About being stuck in a paradigm and calling it freedom, The philosopher who adopts scientific notions has predetermined his conclusions.

In philosophy nothing is easier than to be consistent. Rather, the trick is completeness! And no man can pretend to be complete without God.

As to our initial problematic statement about the cosmos being in the soul, Schuon writes that "the Intellect coincides in its innermost nature with the very Being of things." Or in other words, we are ultimately in conformity with reality. If not, then what is the point? This is the truth that sets us free. Every alternative places us in bondage: God or Egypt, transcendence or hand grenades.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

There's Room at the Top of the Cosmos

I caught an article the other day that depicts the entire known universe in a single image:

Boom. Or ¡BANG!, rather. There it is.

Three things: first, that's us in the center. Second, you have to imagine it as a three-dimensional cone, with the central point closest to us. Third, it is not to scale, since it would be impossible to depict the vast distances involved. If it were to scale, our sun, which you see at the center, would be so tiny as to be invisible.

Interestingly, it looks very much like any other mandala, which is a symbolic representation of the cosmos. I wonder if this is because it is a perennial nonlocal form to which humans have vertical access?

Also, the sphere has always been understood as the perfect form, and the cosmos must be a perfect sphere, since it is expanding in all directions from a central point at 68 kilometers per second.

So, what is it expanding into? That's a nonsense question, or at least beyond the limits of the model. Ultimately the mathematical model must be tautologous, forbidden by Gödel to step outside itself. Only humans can do that, not science.

Therefore, there is a strange loop involved in gazing at that model; or better it is like a Klein Bottle, in which yer inside is out and yer outside is in. Again, we are at the center of the model, implying that we are "contained" by it. And yet, we are looking at it from the outside, such that it is we who contain the cosmos, not vice versa.

Is this possible? No, it's necessary: the cosmos is in the soul, not the soul in the cosmos.

Again, consider the logarithmic scale of the image above, such that as one gets closer to the center, things get smaller and smaller. But that is only the "reality," not the Reality. For in real Reality, at the center is the largest imaginable thing in all of existence, which is to say, the human mind -- the same isness that transcends the whole business.

I've mentioned before that I read a novel some 35 years ago called Little, Big. I don't remember anything about it except that it depicts a world of concentric circles. However, unlike standard geometry, the closer one gets to the center, the larger the world, to the point of infinitude.

Here again, this is very much like our world, being that the infinitude is at the center, not the periphery. Think, for example, of childhood. On the one hand, it was a small world -- our house, our family, our neighborhood. Nevertheless, remember the infinitude? It was everywhere and in every thing.

The good news is that there's still room at the top, as man always "opens out" to infinity. As such, it is as if there is a pinhole at the center of the image, with Light streaming in -- the same light that illuminates the image. This pinhole is a window or a door, depending. Jesus said "I am the way," but he might have said ways, e.g., the gate, the vine, the light, the truth.

God has opened a door in the middle of creation, and this open door of the world towards God is man; this opening is God's invitation to look toward Him, to tend towards Him, to persevere with regard to Him, and to return to Him (Schuon).

It is the actual river that runs up Mount Improbable:

the human state is a gate of exit -- and the only gate for the terrestrial world -- not merely out of this world or the formal cosmos, but even out of the immense and numberless objectification that is universal Existence.

Maybe you can't see it, but at the very center of the center -- the beating heart of the cosmos -- would have to be the cross. God is "outside" the circle, but when he condescends to enter, he is cruciform.

Schuon often uses the image of the circle as a point of reference. God is at the center, radiating outward, with each concentric circle representing a world -- for example, worlds of matter, of biology, of mind. In one sense the material world -- or the world of the material ego -- is the most distant from the center, but it is possible for man to plunge right past it, into "negative" spaces of falsehood, evil, and tenure.

In any event, in this view, the spiritual adventure is a journey back to the center:

The subjective principle emanating from the divine Subject crosses the Universe like a ray in order to end in the multitude of egos.... Man marks the limit of the "creative ray" for the terrestrial world that is his; his sufficient reason consists in being this limit, that is, in providing a stop -- after the manner of an echo or a mirror -- to the "ray of exteriorization".... it is at the same time a door open toward the Self and immortality (Schuon).

So, where does this leave us vis-a-vis our picture of the universe? In truth, man cannot be enclosed in any system, whether material, mathematical, ideological, visual, biological, whatever. Rather, the cosmos is in us, and we are in God. And the higher you fly, the deeper you go. So c'mon!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Religious Dunning-Kruger

Yesterday the term occurred to me: "religious Dunning-Kruger." Certainly it applies to Pinker, who simultaneously overestimates what he knows about religion and underestimates what religious people know about his secular humanism. The following is adapted from wiki, but with certain relevant words changed or added:

The Religious Dunning–Kruger effect is a psycho-pneumatic bias wherein excessively rationalistic people suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their spiritual discernment as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metaphysical inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own spiritual ineptitude; without the self-awareness of metaphysics, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual knowledge or experience of the spiritual realm.

Conversely, spiritually gifted individuals may erroneously assume that principles easy for them to understand are also easy for other people to understand, or that other people will have a similar understanding of subjects that they themselves are well-versed in.

At the very least, an intellectually honest atheist will want to seek out the finest in religious thought in order to refute it. Instead, they either dismiss it out of hand with a wave of Dunning Kruger, or trot out the worst examples of religious thought in order to prove their phony superiority. But if all religious thinkers were Deepak Chopra I'd be an atheist, just as if all women were Michelle Obama I'd be gay. It proves nothing.

Much of what goes by the name of "thinking" is nothing more than a crude display of intelligence signaling. Ideology in particular is a cognitive system that allows idiots to have opinions.

Conversely, orthodox religious belief is often a helpful way for non-metaphysicians to have correct opinions about the foundations of existence. That is to say, when the average person starts thinking things through for himself from the ground up, disaster is just over the horizon. My entire generation (the boomers) was guilty of this, and look what ensued.

If you don't believe me, believe the Aphorist:

To educate man is to impede the “free expression of his personality.”


Educating the individual consists in teaching him to distrust the ideas that occur to him.

What, ideas like man is perfectible and government can solve social problems? The self-satisfied individual who believes his own interior propaganda "ends only destroying values higher than than those he is capable of aiming at and engendering evils greater than those he sets out to overcome" (Schuon). For proof, look at any Democrat-run city.

Where Christianity disappears, greed, envy, and lust invent a thousand ideologies to justify themselves.

Bernie Sanders in '20!

When man refuses the discipline the gods give him, demons discipline him.

Hollywood comes to mind.

An irreligious society cannot endure the truth of the human condition. It prefers a lie, no matter how imbecilic it may be.

Bernie Sanders in '20!

The simplistic ideas in which the unbeliever ends up believing are his punishment.

Pinker deserves himself, as Times readers deserve the Times and progressives deserve progressivism.

Nothing remains of Christianity when the Christian tries to seem to the world not to be stupid.

Religious Dunning-Kruger assures this.

Back to Gnosis, which, as I mentioned in the previous post, has some really bad news for Pinker. Except it's not news, of course, but the most venerable things short of God, i.e., the principles that lead from and to him.

At the root of religious Dunning-Kruger must be a rational ego so hypertrophied that it not only obscures the intellect but appropriates some of its its function, which is precisely what allows it to pronounce on realities above its station:

[I]ntellectual genius should not be confused with the mental acuity of logicians: intellectual intuition comprises in its essence a contemplatively that is in no way part of the rational capacity.... it is contemplative power, receptivity toward the uncreated Light, the opening of the Eye of the heart, which distinguishes transcendent intelligence from reason.

For short, it is (o) and (↓).

Moreover, "Reason perceives the general and proceeds by logical operations, whereas Intellect perceives the principial -- the metaphysical -- and proceeds by intuition." Seeing is believing. Which is again where faith comes in, because believing is already a kind of seeing.

Precisely, it is a seeing-beyond-logic, through a window or door situated at the top of the vertical scale. Man is always an open system, both horizontally and vertically -- or at least is supposed to be.

But both history and simple observation of one's contemporaries show that human nature "tends to lock itself into some limitation," which is to say, man stops asking Why? at an arbitrary point, and calls it a metaphysic. Politically this metaphysic ends in a neo-barbaric atheocracy, while intellectually it ends in a prison of relativism, AKA ineradicable stupidity.