Monday, March 16, 2009

Holy Poverty, B'atman, We're Blankrupt!

First of all, while I'm warming up my fingers here on the sacred keyboard, everyone should eventually find the time to listen to Evan Sayet's new talk on why the left inevitably hates what is good, promotes the wrong as right, and celebrates behaviors that lead to failure.

Of course that sounds polemical, but it clearly isn't. There's just no other way to say it. His analysis is really quite brilliant, but it all hinges on the rejection of the Absolute, i.e., God. Once that happens, then various cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual pathologies must follow, for it is The Law, a law none of us above a certain age need to be reminded of, for we have witnessed on a first hand basis the cultural deterioration of the past 40 years, as leftist ideas have come to dominate media, entertainment, academia, and nearly all professional organizations.

So, just watch it (not now, but later, when you have the time). It's a sort of master key with endless implications, in its own way as powerful as Rene Girard's theories of mimesis, scapegoating, and human sacrifice (as most ably summarized in Bailie's masterful Violence Unveiled). As a matter of fact, it would be interesting to try to synthesize Bailie and Sayet, and see what comes out. We'll talk more about it later, but the key idea there would be the disturbing reversion to barbarism and neo-pagan magic caused by the left's rejection of our specifically Judeo-Christian metaphysics, i.e., the cluelesside of the West.

Put it this way: as Schuon said, "The claim that knowledge as such could only be relative amounts to saying that human ignorance is absolute." Thus, the left goes about needlessly proving this truism with their proud displays of absolute ignorance, since the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are all above their praygrade, which is the minimum wages of death. To think that you are the Absolute is the ultimate form of identity theft, and it carries the death penalty.

Now, back to the Theo-Logic. Again the Theo-Logic attempts an immanent phenomenology of worldly truth, mostly keeping God out of the picture -- or, to be perfectly accurate, considering only the revelation of God given in and through creation, since any thinking person implicitly understands that there could be no truth in the absence of God; but one can arrive at this conclusion through generic natural theology, i.e., without any direct revelation, e.g., Taoism and Vedanta.

The point is that natural theology surely leads to the conception of the Absolute, although we must leave it to revelation to disclose more personal information about its specific character -- e.g., whether or not it is a person, whether it cares about human beings, whether it actually roots for one football team over another, etc.

I believe we left off with the idea that only in man is the truth of being progressively unveiled to itself. Man is the hole in creation through which truth and beauty surge into the world. Or, as HvB puts it, "The world is unlocked in its objectivity only in man, because his self-consciousness gives him the measure of being." In other words, our receptivity to being allows objects to unlock their secrets and reveal their essence. Being is obviously loaded to the gills with a literally inexhaustible truth, just waiting for a subject to unpack its presence under the tree of life.

In this regard -- and we will get more into this later -- you will notice that there is a parallel process of mutual "endeepening," as objects penetrate the interiority of subject, and subjects further extend themselves into the depths of the object.

True, as Thomas said, all knowledge begins in the senses; however, not in a static way, but in a dynamically expanding way. Think of how the human subject has delved all the way "down" to the subatomic level, with no end in sight. In fact, there is no end in that direction, only a "relative infinity" that mirrors the true infinity of the Divine. Clearly, the idea that we could ever locate the absolute in that direction is pure metaphysical folly, since the merest act of knowing obliterates any materialistic paradigm. It is not so much that this or that truth is absolute, but that any truth "participates in" or "converges upon" the Absolute. Otherwise, as Schuon said above, only man's ignorance is absolute.

As Stanley Jaki has pointed out, objects object. That is, they push up against us, or vice versa. We cannot make them go away, but must be receptive to them. Now, to be receptive is another way of saying "empty." In fact, in Biblical terms, it is a state of poverty, the recognition of the need for something outside of ourselves to complete ourselves -- even though this completing can never be complete in this realm.

To be "poor" is to be capable of receiving, and therefore to "put the life back in truth." Think about what a hell this would be if it were actually possible to have some complete materialistic explanation of existence: "The subject that already contained the whole reservoir of its truth in itself would be struck with the curse of Midas: wherever it turned, it could find only itself and its own truth." This is indeed the geistatory hell of the atheist, who is a vertically closed system trying to subsist on his own metaphysical defeces. They cannot digest God, so instead they try to devour weak and vulnerable theists as a kind of compensation.

The human being, if he is to evolve, must be an open system, both horizontally and vertically. No flower is stupid enough to turn away from the sun. Only human beings can turn away from the real central sun and imagine they create their own light.

Now, when we talk about the rejection of absolute truth, we are ultimateluy talking about the rejection of love, for as HvB explains, "love presupposes knowledge, while knowledge presupposes being. But the love that stands at the end of the sequence as the goal of its unfolding, in another perspective, at its beginning, is the basic impulse underlying it. Eternity is a circulation in which beginning and end join in unity."

Where have we heard that before? Yes, truth ends in the love that is so merciful that it eternally pours its infinite truth back into being, i.e., "the love that moves the sun and stars," speaking allegheirically. More on which later. Dante letta me forget, eh?

Lesson! My yokes are easy, my words enlight! To be empty is to be capable of listening to the creation. Really, it's just common courtesy, no different than allowing the other to speak without interrupting him. "This openness to any truth that might show itself is an inalienable perfection of every knowing subject, and, as knowledge increases, it cannot contract but only expand." Thus, as we evolve, our emptiness grows, to such an extent that, in the begending, nothing returns to Nothing, the alone to the Allone.

Conversely, only animals, or very simple people, or the tenured, are "full," but this type of opaque fulness conceals an existential emptiness, as most anyone who has attended college knows. There is poverty and there is poverty, and the good kind begins with the truism that there is an Absolute and I am not it, which brings us back to Sayet's talk. To believe oneself to be the absolute is to be darkness visible, like a Bill Maher, who is absolutely overflowing with bitter and acrid narcissistic emptiness.

Truth is always veiled in mystery, thank God! If the acquisition of truth does not increase the mystery, then yur doin it rong. "If truth failed to behave in this way, it would be intrinsically finite, hence, exhaustible, and the subject would inevitably reach the point when truth ceased to open and began to wind down to a conclusion." Instead of the open spiral up and in the cosmic eschalator, "truth would round itself out and become spent." We will have circumnavelgazed the whole of creation, only to find some worthless lint in the ombilicus. Bah.

You see little lambs, if truth were like this, it wouldn't be truth, now woolen it? If we could contain it, then we would be the truth, not the truth contained. No, thank God, the truth always shatters our crocks and containers, which hurts so good, for it is again the breakthrough of love into being. O, to be pierced by one of those divine eros right through the heart, to die in the arms of Truth!

To contain truth would be to render it finite: it "would suggest the possibility of attaining a standpoint that comprehended truth from above, a standpoint, then, that was beyond truth. But if it were beyond truth, then it would obviously be outside of being, which is to say, in the middle of nothing."

Here again, back to Sayet's talk and the catastrophe of the left, for there is either the meretricious wealth of the existential Nada, or the spiritual poverty of the super-essential Fadda'.


julie said...

I haven't read the post yet, but hand in hand with Sayet (I assume - haven't listened yet, either) is this eye-opening post by the other Dr. Bob this morning.

julie said...

Okay, listening to Sayet at around 19:00, (paraphrasing)

"... not only must the modern liberal attack that which is good and right and true, he must justify the crime... He must elevate the degree of evil committed by the victim."

This is the exact inversion of what it is that we try to do with, for example, mind parasites (I'm not sure if I'm putting this well, but bear with me). What I mean is, as was mentioned in the comments here last week, feelings of for instance lust or envy must be, not justified (made acceptable), but transposed into a higher vertical key - so that base lust is transformed to a reflection of divine Love, and the depth of envy becomes its opposite, the height of Charity. But that's a difficult thing to do, as we all know. Instead of transforming the bad into the good, they drag the good down into the bad, and crap all over it just to make sure it is put in its place. That way, it's all bad so that it's all "good."

(Sorry, this feels very badly worded, but hopefully the point comes through)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

To be "poor" is to be capable of receiving, and therefore to "put the life back in truth."

And hungry for the truth. It's sUPper time! Lotsa meat, pudding and ice cold milk with a grogerita chaser.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Or vice, versa.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said, Julie. I get it.

"That way, it's all bad so that it's all "good."

Yep. The those who allow that to happen will either repent or say something like "how dare you convict or judge me?" With as much outrage as they can muster.

Thus, even a truthful observation becomes a personal attack.
Which is why the Left came up with code words, PC speech, etc.. They attack speech, twist it and charge the speaker of reality with a thought crime.
All to deflect from what the reality the speaker is talking about.

And unfortunately, far too many Republicans fall for this trap.
Just look at the recent Steele and Gingrich debacle (among others).

They concede the narrative, intent and meaning to the Left's agents and attack the messenger (in this case, Rush), which allows the Left to attach that now toxic speech to Conservatives.

Best for them both to point out the lies and perversion that those on the Left propagated and attached to Limbaugh (and the Right), rather then surrender the truth to them.

Too many Conservatives are far too concerned with not offending the delicate sensibilities of those who are trying to stifle free speech. It's insane and cluelesside.

I understand why this is happening, because for at least four decades public schools, the MSM, politicians, etc., have indoctrinated folks into a perverse groupthink that says we must never offend anyone, which is freakin' impossible anyway.

Jeff Goldstein said this recently, which explains it better than I, but Bob has essentially said the same thing differently:

"In the simplest terms, taking someone else’s signs, ignoring their meaning, and then adding your own meaning in place of the original meaning, is NOT interpretation. Interpretation requires that the receiver attempt to decode the message sent by the author. It does not justify replacing the author’s message with one of your own creation and then pretending what you’ve done is anything other than engaged in a bit of creative writing."

This is what the Left does, and we must not allow it. If a politician isn't bright enough to point this out they should just shut up or deflect, at least. But it's not like they should be surprised since the Left only does this all the time.

Okay, got a bit off topic there, sorry.

mushroom said...

I'm not sure equating animals and the tenured is fair. My dog has never crapped in her food bowl, and the cats never resort to coprophagia.

Julie, that is very well said.

wv says there's a loboa in the grass.

Anonymous said...

Well, our dog was definitely coprophagic, but we gradually weaned her from the academic journals.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I like Jackie Mason.

Jackie Mason

"During a performance at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in NYC, Mason referred to Obama as a "schwartza" -- some say it's equivalent to the "N" word -- others say it's just part of the Yiddish culture and a literal translation of the word "Black."

"We spoke with Mason by phone a few minutes ago, and he was outraged at the criticism, saying, "I'm not going to defend myself. Chris Rock has told a lot more jokes about whites than I have against Blacks. What about the demeaning words Blacks say about Jews?"

Mason added, "If it's a racist society, the white people are the ones being persecuted because they have to defend themselves." Mason called people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson "professional racists."

Mason added, "I'm an old Jew. I was raised in a Jewish family where 'schwartza' was used. It's not a demeaning word and I'm not going to defend myself."

Now that's the way to hand the "offended" their asses on a platter. Schmucks.

julie said...

Ew - almost lost my lunch on this one (so of course, I'm sharing it here). Can you guess who's getting a furtive stroking under the facade of an article of general "scientific" (it's at least as accurate as phrenology!) interest?

An excerpt:

Hairline: His face shows he's highly independent and doesn't do what other people want him to do, says Haner. His hairline goes straight across, meaning he is a rule breaker and paradigm shifter.

Ears: Big ears are a positive trait: They suggest a strong sense of confidence and the ability to take risks.

Jawline: A narrow jaw line, Haner says, shows a person is willing to listen to other people's opinions.

At least she didn't describe the lips as "purple"...

julie said...

Oops - forgot the link.

Anonymous said...

FYI: Audio MP3's of Gil Baillie.

5 in total. Registration required, but no biggie. Longish but very good.

All the best, Mike

Van Harvey said...

"Thus, the left goes about needlessly proving this truism with their proud displays of absolute ignorance, since the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are all above their praygrade, which is the minimum wages of death. To think that you are the Absolute is the ultimate form of identity theft, and it carries the death penalty."

Now that's compact... a veritable halOgen light verse.

Rick said...

Watched Sayet’s new talk. Good stuff but he often if not always says Republican when he means and should say Conservative. He is right about many things. One of them critical: we are running out of time. Another generation and we won’t have people around who remember what the country used to be like.
He believes the Democrat/Left can be separated into the reachable and the not-reachable. I believe he is right. I know a few such youngins. The Adopt-a-Democrat program actually sounds like it could work. Except that normally I am repelled by the word program. Sounds expensive.
I like the Merry Christmas wishing and general rejection of PC talk and America bashing at all opportunities. I began verbally rejecting the “Happy Holidays” a couple of Christmas’ ago. Not at all in any aggressive way. 9 out 10 times when someone says Happy Holidays they seem to not want to have to put it that way. I’ve found a genuine, pleasant Merry Christmas response is returned 9 out of 10 times with an, “Oh Yes!! Merry Christmas to you tooo!” As if they’ve been holding it in. Because they have – if they are over 40. The 10th guy I couldn’t care less about. He’s a mow-ron.

Rick said...

I was poking around last night trying to get the Balthasar volumes straight (I did) and see that he has published an enormous amount of books. RE the current trilogy you are reading, is it the first book of his that you have read? I found that he even has one called “Test Everything..” which the other day I accused the both of us of doing :-) Plus a number of other books which look as if they were purposely written as intro to his way of thinking about Christianity.. Have you read any of them?

Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, he has a huge body of work, but his major work is the three part, 16 volume, systematic theology that I'm plowing through. Thus far I've read five of seven volumes of the Glory of the Lord and one of three volumes of the Theo-Logic. I've also read some of his more minor works in the past, plus a couple of introductory works by others.

A lot of his books are collected essays, although some of his earliest works were excellent volumes on church fathers such as Origen, Maximus, and Gregory of Nyssa. Then there is all of the channeled material by his collaborator, Adrienne von Speyr, which is a whole other world unto itself.

Van Harvey said...

Julie, just finished Dr. Bob's link from your first comment above. Horrifying, and absolutely unsurprising.

As I've said ad infinitum, the proregressive infection entered our culture through the school system, which had mainlined the rousseauing message of determinism from the very start, and unless we get off the educrats i.v. drip of indoctrination, no other 'solution', especially political, will succeed.

Aren't I a little ray of sunshine.

Anonymous said...

Coming to your neighborhood Obama’s (Highly Creepy) ‘Pledge Project’

Anonymous said...

This was an exceptionally good post.

However, the dim view of non-believers is a bit heavy handed.

We all know of non-believers who became believers, perhaps even are one ourselves.

But, believers who become non-believers are rare birds indeed. I know of none.

What does this evidence say? I think it means that non-believers are never quite sure of their footing and harbor a bit of belief in hidden places.

They are the more scared among us. The more fearful a person, the more ego structure they need, and the harder it becomes to see God clearly.

So, to ascribe any kind of willfull intent to a non-believer is a little off the mark. To say they are scared is more like it.

And fear is bad, no doubt about it.

In the light of this, what to say of non-believers? They are just waiting to be relieved of their burden. They are not any kind of enemy that I can see and have zero power to truly derail this world.

God draws us all in at his own pace.

So, what am I trying to convey here? I'm not sure. Some kind of condescending schlocky fecal material?

Or? You be the judge.

EMTA -Early Morning Troll Attack, Smokes them every time.

Anonymous said...

Good call, I agree.
(With the fecal material statement that is)

Rick said...

Thanks, Bob. Yes. I should have said “an enormous amount of individual books outside of the already enormous 16 volume trilogy”. BTW, I wonder if the 16th volume (brief Epilogue) is a little like the interview after the marathon, or with the boxing champ after the big fight :-) Oh..and yes, I saw mention of the 69 books(!) he dictated during Adrienne von Speyr’s mystical experiences.

And this provocative clip on the Balthasar wiki page: “Balthasar's most controversial theological assertions were that Christ deposited His Divine knowledge with the Father before the incarnation (kenotic doctrine), the possibility that all men will be saved, that Christ literally was "made sin," and was for a time separated from the Father in suffering in Sheol pain worse than hell.” I felt this in my bones a few weeks ago when we were talking about temptation.

While reading McGinn’s Eckhart I’m forgetting who is saying what (Eckhart or Balthasar), they are such similar thinkers at times. In fact (well…my experience so far, anyway) it often seems as though Eckhart is the more youthful and Balthasar the more ancient. But I’ve only read a tiny bit of Balthasar… here and a little in MOTT.

Anonymous said...

I really like Sayet a lot. As Ricky pointed out, he should not say "Republican" when he should say "Conservative". Actually I'd go a step further and say that he really should say "classical liberal". Ideally he'd be able to simply say "Liberal", but it is one of the great tragedies of our age that the viscously illiberal Left has managed to appropriate that word to itself. Nothing would improve America for the better politically than to begin to disentangle the term "liberal" (good) from "leftist" (sheer evil).

Van Harvey said...

Sayet's mention in the Q&A portion, of standing up at a dinner party, and calling his cousin's comments (that 'we only have troops in Iraq and not Sudan, because the Sudanese are black and Iraq has oil!') asinine and went down the obvious reasons why he was asinine which moved his cousin not one bit... but that there was another couple at the table who had never heard those reasons. They are who you may reach and may be worth reaching. Never forget, that in public, the fool you are upbraiding, is not necessarily your audience.

Speak out, don't let the idiocies pass unopposed.