Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday Morning Metaphysical Joyread

Intellectual intuition involves the direct perception of Truth. Logic, on the other hand, is merely a mental operation that can lead to true or false conclusions, depending on the data provided it. Logic is particularly useless--even dangerous, as reader Van pointed out a couple of days ago--without the a priori intuition of Truth, without which logic alone eventually leads one over the abyss. The most important truths are indeed "self evident," that is, evident to the higher self. Clearly they are not necessarily evident to the lower self, which is why liberty and human dignity are a tough sell in the Middle East, which awaits the day that its progress is not thwarted by the infrahuman majority in its midst.

In fact, the application of pure logic would dismiss as silly superstition those transcendent truths that are known directly by the higher mind. This is why you cannot prove the existence of God to such a logic-bound individual, any more than you could prove it to a dog--even a very good dog, like mine. Religious truths are conveyed through symbolism and analogy (with the assistance of grace), more like a great work of art than a mathematical equation. Although not logical, it would be a grave error to suggest that the great revelations are illogical, any more than a Shakespearean sonnet or one of Beethoven’s symphonies are illogical.

In the case of those latter two modes, poetical and musical truth are conveyed directly to something analogous to the senses, only on level that obviously transcends them. Those who demand “proof” of God are almost always coming from a place where the transcendent truth is simply unavailable to them. It involves a kind of invincible ignorance disguised as healthy skepticism. It reminds me of Bion’s description of the psychotic mind, which, he said, combined the characteristics of arrogance, stupidity, and curiosity. When you put those three together, you end up with a kind of arrogant, omnipotent ignorance that is inordinately proud of its own stupidity.

Then there is the “cultured” man of the European variety who is too sophisticated and knows too much to ever consider the possibility of truths that lie on plane higher than his own exalted mind. These people too are “impenetrable.” They suffer from a distorting mental hypertrophy that is to the mind what those musclebound bodybuilding freaks are to the physique. Only the delusional members of the cult believe that they actually look good.

On the scientific plane, we are dealing with truths that provide causal explanations for various material processes. As such, science is obviously entirely appropriate to the horizontal plane to which it is addressed. But religious truths do not have to do with horizontal causation. Rather, they are intended to provide the higher mind with a means to realize vertical truth. There is nothing that can be provided by mere logic alone that can help one ascend this vertical hierarchy.

Again, religious truths are seen directly, in the very same way that your eyes see directly in the material plane. When you see something directly before your eyes, only a fool would ask you to prove that vision exists. When you hear the obvious beauty in a work of music, to such an extent that it moves you to tears, no one asks you to first prove to them that hearing exists--as if the existence of mere hearing could explain musical truth anyway. Frankly, you wouldn’t even know how to respond to such an individual. What, prove to you the truths that are furnished by my own senses? How about proving to me that your mind exists and that it can discriminate between truth and error, then we’ll talk. Because I’m not sure it does or can.

While the lower mind is active, or “male,” it has always been understood that the higher mind is passive, or “female” in relation to Truth. The lower mind is an acquisitive mind, a grasping mind, even a restless and greedy mind. Part of the reason it is restless and greedy is that it can never be satisfied with what it is capable of acquiring, what with its own inherent limitations. The mind cannot rest until it has found its proper home, and that home is only found in the transcendent metaphysical truths to which it is conformed. There are certain things that the human mind is designed to know, and once it knows them, it settles down, as in marriage. In fact, it is a marriage--a metaphysical union.

Likewise, there are certain things human beings were not necessarily meant to know. It is not that we should not or cannot know them, only that these things are “accidental” and not essential. Someone who rejects the divine in favor of the material plane has rejected what is essential in favor of what is accidental and contingent. Therefore, their soul will suffer proportionately. They will “think,” but the thinking really won’t get anywhere, at least philosophically. Any end to their thinking will, as Schopenhaur recognized, be arbitrary. Even the greatest philosopher simply stops asking “why” at a certain arbitrary juncture and thus founds a school.

On the secular philosophical plane, there is nothing you can prove that you cannot equally disprove. It is “a journey of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing,” a "systematic abuse of language designed for that purpose." If a man doesn’t realize this by the age of 40 or so, he hasn’t learned much in his life's journey. He doesn't necessarily have to do anything about it, but he should at least realize that the intellectual game is up, that it’s all for show--for vanity and amusement.

The secular philosopher doesn’t only end his thinking at an arbitrary point. The truth of the matter is that he also begins it at an arbitrary point that can never be justified by his own philosophy. Postmodern philosophers like to congratulate themselves on the idea that they begin with “ignorance” or total skepticism, but it is an odd philosophy that begins by declaring to people that they cannot know what they most certainly do know.

These thinkers take great pride in living in darkness, and ridicule those of us who simply enjoy the sun’s rays, which both warm and illuminate. In the final unalysis, I don’t really care where those rays come from, and I certainly don’t care if some boneheaded secular philosopher tells me that the sun doesn’t exist. That’s fine. We have no quarrel. I know where you’re coming from, because I’ve seen the darkness. But you can’t know where I’m coming from until you step outside into the inner Light.

The higher mind is truly a mirrorcle of the absolute. In fact, its very existence establishes its own proof of the absolute, just as eyes prove the existence of material objects that can be seen. If truth exists, then surely it is accessible to us. If it doesn’t exist, then there is no point in pursuing it or even speaking of it. We should banish it from our vocabulary as sort of persistent illusion to which the fallible human mind is subject. Of course, the academic left is already hard at work on this diabolical project of “deconstruction,” but the fact of the matter is, the Left as such--whatever you wish to call it--has always been with us, and always will be.

For the deep structure of the Left may be traced all the way back to the first appearance of humanity in its horizontal manifestation. It is not so much that relativism is incorrect as such. Obviously, our own existence proves that relativism is real, otherwise there would only be God. But by the same token, relativism cannot be absolute. Rather, the absolute is precisely that which makes hierarchical relativity possible to begin with. By definition, there is no such thing as an incomplete hierarchy. To paraphrase Richard Weaver, if a series is hierarchically ordered it is conditioned from top to bottom and so cannot be infinite. If it is infinite, it cannot be conditioned top to bottom, and there is no higher or lower.

Clearly, our own existence proves beyond the doubt of a shadow that we inhabit a hierarchical cosmos with degrees of being--atoms, molecules, cells, animals, Man. Man is an arrow that points beyond himself to his source above, not below or behind. So before you even think about caterpultering your buddhafly, make sure you depart and bewholed and always aim your eros for the heart of the world.



dicentra said...

In the final unalysis, I don’t really care where those rays come from, and I certainly don’t care if some boneheaded secular philosopher tells me that the sun doesn’t exist. ... But you can’t know where I’m coming from until you step outside into the inner Light.

While I was doing PhD work at Cornell (literary theory), I was struck with the total inability of those around me to comprehend even the most basic level of religious consciousness. We would be reading texts written by overtly religious people -- often with overtly religious content -- and it was either nonsense to them or invisible. Calderon's allegorical plays seemed downright pedagogical to me, but to my colleagues they were incomprehensible.

I often felt like I'd stumbled into a colony of congenitally blind people whose ancestors had been sighted, evidenced by the traces of sight-oriented language in their vocabulary. They had paintings in their possession and were trying to figure them out, running their fingers over the textures on the surface of the canvas, measuring the frame size, obsessing over the nuances in the frame contours.

And I'd come up to them and say, "you hang them up on the wall and look at them. It's decoration. See, this one is a landscape, and this other one is a still life."

Absolute incomprehension. It wasn't long before I gave up completely: they had no referents for the terms I was using. I just kept my mouth shut and did what was necessary to keep the grades up. You can't have a class discussion on color with people who "know" that color doesn't exist.

Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, you might as well try to describe music to a deaf person. Spiritual capacity does, to a certain unavoidable extent, seem to range across a continuum, just like all other modes of intelligence. There are spiritual geniuses and spiritual retards, and a lot of people in between. I, for example, flunked out of business school in 1976. I'm not ashamed to admit that I am a retard when it comes to entrepreneurial intelligence.

Mark L. said...

Bob ~

You may be an entrepreneurial retard but from what I’ve seen you certainly know how to get down to the business of what’s truly substantial.

Great post today. It was just what I needed to counter the nauseum induced by seeing a bit of Richard Dawkins’ “The Root of All Evil”. Man! Talk about a “thinker” who takes “great pride in living in darkness”...

Nice comment from Dicentra but I’m surprised there weren’t more comments on your post. Well, I dug it anyway. Looking forward to tomorrow’s.

Jacob C. said...

Bob: It's probably late enough that no one will read this, but I was reminded today of Jung's proposition that there are no meaningless coincidences.

I went - though I wasn't on the schedule and in fact haven't been to church in over two years - to Perpetual Adoration; any Catholic will likely know what that is. They had a paper back for people to write the petitions for which they were praying; I wrote Help for all those who are losing faith and sat down in the back for thirty minutes.

And then when I left, I felt a strange urge to turn to the local jazz station - and THIS came on.

The best is yet to come and babe, won't it be fine?
The best is yet to come, come the day you're mine

Come the day you're mine
I'm gonna teach you to fly
We've only tasted the wine
We're gonna drain the cup dry

Wait till your charms are right for these arms to surround
You think you've flown before, but babe, you ain't left the ground

Wait till you're locked in my embrace
Wait till I draw you near
Wait till you see that sunshine place
Ain't nothin' like it here

The best is yet to come and babe, won't it be fine?
The best is yet to come, come the day you're mine
Come the day you're mine
And you're gonna be mine

I never heard myself making this particular sound before, but halfway through the song I started crying and laughing - hysterically - at the same time.

I don't usually give any credence to coincidences, but... I can't help but think He's trying to tell me something.

Sal said...

jacob c. -
we're all about the synchronicity here, so you're in good company.

Was going to post this earlier as a general example of someone who 'gets it', but time was not on my side. So, jacob c., this one's for you: