Saturday, May 16, 2009

Holy Hologram, Shabbatman, Break Out the Shark Repellant!

Hmm. I'd like to post something about this new book I just finished, Why Us?, but as you know, I don't roll on shabbos. Rather, Saturday is re-run day, in which we delve into the knowa's arkive and chew on a predigested bobservation from one or two years ago.

To be honest, the book didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, but it's always good to have some scientific back-up, because I mostly rely upon common sense, logic, metaphysics, and plain old cʘʘnvision. Regardless of what metaphysical Darwinians say, and how loudly they say it, some things just cannot be true. Period. And one of them is metaphysical Darwinism.

So I've selected a couple of posts from one year ago that touch on some of the topics discussed in Why Us?, which I will use as templates to insert some observations about the book.

By the way, some readers apparently wonder why I keep hammering away at atheism, radical secularism, leftist statism, and metaphysical Darwinism. I would turn it around and say that if the reasons are not self-evident to you, then you have some spiritual work to do, for you are like the fish who doesn't see the water because he is swimming in it. Which wouldn't necessarily be a problem were it not for the fact that these are shark-infested waters, and you are exsanguinating from the intellect. And meta-cosmically speaking, you're either in the game or on the menu.


Science and religion both build magnificent cathedrals, but whereas the religious cathedral is analog and "continuous," the scientific one is digital and therefore unavoidably discontinuous and atomistic. It can only approximate or model reality, whereas religion "mirrors" it.

Or, you could say that man is a mirror facing in two directions, above and below. When he turns to the above, he is like the moon reflecting the light of the sun. But when he turns to the below, he reflects the darkness and obscurity of matter, which can only be illuminated by his own intellect "shining" upon it. Otherwise, the world is as flat as a manflake, devoid of depth, dimension, and meaning.

Ideally, pontifical man is the axis mundi who -- like the vertical ray of creation itself -- transverses across all levels of reality, from mystical union above to quantum physics below. As a result of the law of inverse analogy, the paradoxical continuity of the quantum world is a mirror of the highest state of consciousness, in which the many are reconciled into the One. In other words, mystical union is not possible because of the "quantum universe"; rather, vice versa: the discrete matter of middle earth dissolves into the ocean of quantum oneness because it is a distant echo of the One. Oneness cannot not be, whichever end you look at.

You could even say that science (or scientism) is the "worldview" of the linear left cerebral hemisphere, whereas religion embodies the worldview of the right. This is why the naive scientistic fundamentalist always sneaks a foolish version of religion in through the back door. Obviously, the right brain is every bit as "epistemophilic" (knowledge-seeking) as the left brain, but the answers that satisfy the left brain have no necessary relevance to the right. Hence, try as he might, the naive atheist is fighting a quixotic battle against the very forms of thought that give access to Higher Things, e.g., transtemporal vision, spiritual intuition, transcendent art, mythic imagination, archetypal resonance, and so many others. After all, a love of truth is the very basis of religion.

All of these transcendent modes unavoidably "return" to the atheist, except in a laughably crude manner. For example, the recent crop of bonehead atheists are known for their lack of literary skill (Hitchens excepted), but one assumes that they aren't trying to produce such juvenile prose -- that they are at least aiming, however awkwardly, at some sort of transcendent aesthetic ideal in their rhetoric. Perhaps not. Perhaps the medium is the message which mirrors the dreary architecture of their skeevy souls.

Man -- a proper man, anyway -- hungers for the transcendent. And even -- or especially -- an improper man will seek after the transcendent in the immanent. Because man must "transcendentalize" something, he will do so to matter, and thereby become either a hedonist, a virtual animal, or a sort of anti-religious religious fanatic. Of the three, the animal might actually be highest (or least low), since at least he -- like any animal -- doesn't try to wring more pleasure and/or wisdom out of matter than there is in it. Rather, he simply accepts it for what it is, and takes his bovine pleasures as they come.

But one of the marks of the postmodern inversion is to essentially locate the good and the true in matter and the cosmic center at the periphery; thus, the "inverse" wisdom of the the secular left, which is none other than the mind turning on God and therefore itself, and systematically taking a wrecking ball to the beautiful spiritual cathedral man has built brick-by-brick over the centuries. Scratch the surface of any leftist policy, and you will see this assault on the spiritual norms of western civilization.

In the process, man loses his both his center and his spiritual resonance with the beautiful archetypal forms anterior to him. He becomes a kind of orphan of being, i.e., Existential Man, who, in the words of Schuon, embodies "the codification of an acquired infirmity." This is the final "intellectual atrophy of man marked by the 'fall,'" entailing a hypertrophy of practical (i.e., left brain) intelligence but the loss of any capacity to assimilate it into a higher kosmic context.

"Skeptical rationalism and titanesque naturalism are the two great abuses of intelligence, which violate pure intellectuality as well as the sense of the sacred; it is through this propensity that thinkers 'are wise in their own eyes' and end by 'calling evil good, and good evil' and by 'putting darkness for light, and light for darkness' (Isaiah, 5:20 and 21); they are also the ones who, on the plane of life or experience, 'make bitter what is sweet,' namely the love of the eternal God, and 'sweet what is bitter,' namely the illusion of the evanescent world" (Schuon).

Is it any wonder that conservatives are so much happier than liberals, when the kookbook of liberalism is quite literally the recipe for unhappiness? Of course Michelle Obama is the bitterest millionaire; except that she has plenty of company, i.e., Michael Moore, Sean Penn, George Soros, Jimmy Carter, Keith Olbermann, Alec Baldwin, Bruce Springsteen... the list is endless. For it is a list of losers who are spiritually vacant and unconsciously in search of the reason in politics. Hence their energy and fanaticism that can never be matched by the Hordes of the Happy, for the same reason it is literally impossible for a normal person to understand what motivates the jihadi, who is none other than Envy with a bomb attached (whereas the leftist is Envy with a gargantuan state attached).

At least the outright hedonist is not as pretentious and destructive as these endarkened souls. He's just searching after ecstasy -- which in its literal sense means to exit the closed circle of the ego, i.e., "stand outside" -- except that he tries to spring his mortal cage from below instead of above. This is certainly possible; the trouble is, there's no floor there, so one tends to keep falling, which, for awhile, gives a kind of thrill from the bracing "movement." This lasts until one begins to notice the gradual absence of both heat and light (i.e., heart and intellect), as one drifts further and further from the central sun which makes the earth humanly habitable.

This postmodern downward movement really gained steam in the 1920s, but was then placed on hold due to the great depression and World War II. Afterwards it started up again in earnest in the Beat movement of the 1950s, and then reached a critical mass in the 1960s, trickling down into a baby boomer generation that had such a weakened spiritual immune system that the virus took over the host. We still haven't recovered from this adolescent peter pandemic, and perhaps we never will. To paraphrase Christopher Dawson, you can undo in a matter of weeks what it took millennia to build.

Again, that would be our precious Western cathedral, which can only be "animated" by people who can see and appreciate it, just like any work of art -- or even like the quantum world sightlessly envisioned by physicists. Dogs don't get jokes, they don't understand baseball, and they certainly don't get religion. In an analogy I have used before, even something as luminous as scripture is nevertheless like a reflector light on the back of a car. It gives off no light of its own, otherwise it would be visible to dogs and atheists. Rather, it must be "lit up" by something external to it, which would be the uncreated intellect. Shine the intellect on scripture and it suddenly glows in the dark, as light reaches out to light, in the process compressing time and history into an eternal point.

But a dog will just bark and chase after the car. Plus, he wouldn't have the foggiest idea what to do with it if he caught it. Piss on it, I suppose. And if dogs were capable of sinking beneath themselves, they might even consider it a work of art and call it Piss Car.


Well, I never did explicitly insert anything about Why Us? One of the main points I wanted to discuss was how the brain only interprets reality with the use of an internalized map. Again, it's just common sense, but Le Fanu cites the latest brain research that shows how we do not have any unmediated access to reality in the manner believed by the naive materialist.

Instead of quoting him, I'm just going to summarize my own understanding. What we call "reality" is something that is constructed through the interface of sensory and other kinds of input, as it "strikes," so to speak, our internalized map. I would compare it to the way a hologram works, creating a three-dimensional image as a result of the interference pattern produced by a coherent beam of light (a laser) and the light scattered by an object (and if this isn't how holography works, then by golly it should work this way).

Thus, reality is a kind of wave front, or interference pattern. Now, if you have internalized the rigid and reified Darwinian model to understand everything, then any input that strikes it will just be ignored or incorporated into the model. As a result of this unnatural selection process, the person will create a flat and two-dimensional photograph, not a hologram.

But as we have discussed on many occasions, the deep structure of religion also provides a model of reality that is "illuminated" by grace, or by "light from above." So God is in the light -- indeed, he is the Light -- but if you don't have the right map, it will just bounce off of you as if it doesn't exist.

Well, I gotta get some work done. Out.

Friday, May 15, 2009

If Man Can Explain Darwinism, then Darwinism Cannot Explain Man

Metaphysical Darwinism, that is.

Consider the strange inconspicuousness of language. Picking up exactly where we left off two posts back, "the word is able to reveal much more by effacing itself in service than by emphasizing itself in dominion" (HvB).

In this regard, have you ever noticed that sometimes, if the writer is too gifted, the writing begins to draw attention to itself, rather than what it's supposed to be "about?" This isn't generally a problem so long as style is in the service of substance, but sometimes a writer can be so gifted that the gift starts to take precedence over its purpose. In a way, it can be as distracting as bad writing. Keep this point in mind for later, because it illustrates how intelligence can hijack itself, and one can get stuck on smart.

HvB continues: "In man's sense-bound language, then, the image is maximally transparent to the essence precisely insofar as it is not an expression but only a sign of the content that is to be spoken. It is precisely the inconspicuousness of the word that enables us to measure the excessive magnitude of what the mind holds within itself" (emphasis mine).

In my book, I made reference to this enigma in a number of places. Note that phrase the excessive magnitude of what the mind holds within itself, for it is one of the insurmountable realities for which Darwinism can never account. It is as if all animals are swimming beneath the Tide of Life. Then, while drifting along in this tide, along comes Man, who is able to poke his head out above the waters and survey the whole thing, even areas beyond the tide, e.g., the big bang. We are clearly in, but not of, the tide. If that weren't the case, you couldn't even understand this sentence.

On p. 100 of the Coonifesto, I asked the non-rhetorical questions, "leaving aside the matter of how and when [mankind's] creative explosion occurred, the question remains, exactly what did humans discover when they discovered art, religion, love, truth, beauty, language? In other words, what is the ontological status of this new dimension? Is this realm really nothing more than the banal and meaningless side effect of a complex neurological system? Or is it an ontologically real (but more subtle) world that we have the unique privilege of entering, an independent, virtual space with its own laws, attributes, categories, and characteristics?"

Now, for a metaphysical Darwinian, these are stupid questions with ready-made answers: there was no creative explosion. Don't believe your own eyes, and certainly don't believe the fossil record. Forget about those beautiful masterpieces that suddenly appear on cave walls 40,000 years ago. All that stuff -- love, truth, beauty, religion -- it's all just a trick of the genes. The only truth is random genetic copying error + reproductive success. And even that's not "truth," since a genetic replicating machine cannot know truth. Rather, it's just what we can know.

And there is no such thing as "reality," since all we can ever know is an effect of our genes. In other words, we are seeing what the genes show us, nothing more. You only imagine that you can raise your head above the tide of life. In reality, you're all wet, just like everyone else.

I am 100% certain that this is a false view of man, whereas the metaphysical Darwinian is 100% certain that he is correct. Indeed, yesterday Queeg said that Darwinism was actually a "fact," not a theory. This is such a childish view of science that it hardly needs rebutting. Headbutting is more like it. (No, that wasn't a physical threat.)

But Raccoons are well beyond the cramped confines of natural science anyway. Just as the Darwinian knows "for a fact" that he is just a side effect of his genetic programming, I know for a fact that the human world is indeed a "virtual space with its own laws, attributes, categories, and characteristics." And ironically, this conviction only grows, the more deeply I evolve into this space. I am quite sure that most of you have had the identical experience I have had, of gradually exploring and assimilating more of this space as it comes into focus. Look, there's old Krishna! Hello, Moses! How's the mishpokhe? Say hello to Eckhart for me, will you?

Indeed, I would say that it is precisely analogous to physical birth. In watching Future Leader grow up these last four years, it is like seeing a brain-damaged stroke victim slowly regain his faculties. Imagine the blooming, buzzing, and swirling chaos into which he was born. Ever so slowly, day by day, he brings more of this reality under personal control. But in the process, he's not just "conquering" reality, but colonizing his own mind. For what we call reality is mainly a projection of mental space. The more mental space you colonize, the richer reality appears.

But the Darwinian doesn't just colonize mental space. Rather, he is like the imperialist who subjects it to tyrannical control. Again, this is simply a truism. Read any book of sociobiology or evolutionary psychology, and you will see how they are able to reduce anything and everything, no matter how noble or lofty, to selfish genes.

Again, for the benefit of the retarded, I have no problem with natural selection, so long as it is in service to Truth. If it claims to be the total truth, then we're gonna have trouble. For if you cannot see that truth transcends the genes, then there's no hope for you at this time.

Let's go back to language. DNA is a language, just like speech. Let's suppose that, like any other speech, it has a meaning. Just as words do not refer to themselves, but become "transparent" in pointing to their meaning, I believe the human genome is transparent to its meaning. And what is it trying to say? Does it really just point to its own survival? Is the biosphere really just a tenured deconstructionist who believes that genetic language is a closed and self-referential system, with no reality beyond itself?

Here is what I believe. Take it or leave it. What Life is "trying to say" is Man. And what Man is "trying to say" is God.

At every level, reality points beyond itself to its meaning. Let's take the example of Future Leader again. Everyone loves a baby. But that's only because the baby is the quintessence of something that points to its own fulfillment. If the baby were arrested at that stage, he would be as much an occasion for joy as that paralyzed and demented stroke victim. He would be death, not life, being that life by definition reaches beyond itself. It is a "bridge" between matter and Mind, just as Mind is a bridge between Life and Spirit.

If man does not point beyond himself to spirit, then he rapidly devolves into a demon. The other day a reader paraphrased Dostoyevsky, who said something to the effect that to love man without loving God is the essence of the satanic. Do you understand why? If you are sufficiently "in" the human space alluded to above, then it's just obvious. But try explaining it to someone who is not in that space! Good luck.

Again we return to the critical relationship between truth and freedom, the latter being a necessary condition of the former. Thus, if the Darwinian wants to explain how man may know truth, he must first explain how it is that man is free. How is that rope over there standing up from the ground, all by itself? Easy. The rope is dangled from above, not just shooting up from below. Freedom "uses" genes, just as truth uses language to express itself. HvB:

"The excitement of the artistic language of, for example, architecture and music consists in the freedom with which nature-bound expressive forms can be used to bring out the inner contents of the mind. A necessary relation between essence and appearance, hence, a form of truth given in nature, is reshaped by a free relation, so that what is necessary itself becomes itself the expression of freedom."

This is again why it is axiomatic that if man can explain Darwinism, then Darwinism cannot explain man, and if Darwinism is true, it cannot be.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Post-Human Language and the Dreary Fate of Homo Numericus

Vanderleun has a piece today that really got me to thinking about language. I'll see if I can weave some of it in as we continue our reflections on Balthasar's analysis of The Word. If I exceed the limits of fair use, I'll make up for it by exceeding the tasteful limits of slavishly bromantic manlove.

Vanderleun's analysis goes to the very heart of the dichotomy between secular and sacred culture, which in the first and final analysis is the division of qualities and quantities. Only someone who has already quantified the world can easily believe something as unbelievable as materialism or metaphysical Darwinism. Because one cannot quantify the world in this manner unless one has first quantified the self. And once you do that, it shouldn't be surprising that you see nothing but numbers, or perhaps even just 0 and 1.

Now, reality cannot be understood, or even thought about, in the absence of language, so you can well appreciate the importance of a proper understanding of the nature of language. In a way, it is as important as getting your anthropology correct, because if your analysis of human nature is wrong, then so too will your political theories and prescriptions be wack. One of the fundamental reasons we know why the left is intrinsically wrong, is that their anthropology is horribly wrong: good theory, wrong species.

In response to Vanderleun's piece, I left the comment that "It seems that we have no idea what we have lost in reducing the scope of language to the quantification of the world. It's like an entirely different species: Homo numericus." Indeed, I would say that we are different species, and that this is something that is becoming increasingly evident to both sides of the cultural divide. I have nothing in common with Perez Hilton, or Wanda Sykes, or Keith Olbermann, or Al Sharpton, etc.

Bear in mind that one of the definitions of a species is two beings that can have fruitful intercourse. And without even getting into who is right and who is wrong, I personally find it impossible -- not to mention, perverse -- to have verbal intercourse with a leftist. There's just nothing to talk about, because we inhabit diametrically opposed world spaces. I know this may sound harsh, but it is simply a fact that we need to recognize.

In fact, I believe that if we could back away from the surface arguments and clearly define our first principles, it would lead to a lot less pointless combat. The problem is, the left is never honest about their first principles, and the right will never defend theirs (by which I mean the GOP; the first principles of conservatism are articulated all day long on talk radio and the internet, but no place else).

I recently read somewhere that the right is the party of ideas, while the left is the party of promises. But unfortunately, elections are won by promising stuff, which is why Republicans don't articulate their ideas, but just promise less stuff. A true conservative, who offers you nothing but your own freedom back, would be pretty much unelectable. But remember, unlike the free market, Democrat statism is a zero-sum game: whenever the government does something for you, it does something to you.

This is perhaps the greatest danger of socialized medicine. I heard Mark Steyn raise this point the other day. That is, once socialized medicine is in place, it causes a massive existential shift in our relationship to the state. Suddenly, whether we like it or not, we are all wards of the state. From that point on, elections are fought on left wing turf, and there's no turning back. It creates a new kind of human, steeped in dependency instead of freedom and self-determination. Then, to disagree with the Machine is to be opposed to health, or to be in favor of sick children, or to steal grandpa's viagra, or to deny Herb his right to a sex-change operation.

A "religious world" is a verbal world. Ah, but so too is the world of quantity. It's just that the languages are quite different, not just in terms of their content, but in the very nature of the language used. For the secular world, mathematics is their fundamental language. Whatever cannot be quantified and brought under the dominion of mathematics is not real.

I could cite any number of shocking examples, but a Darwinist, for example, would insist that altruism cannot be "real," but is simply a trick of "our" selfish genes (for in this upside-down world, the genes aren't ours, rather, we are theirs). It is the end result of "inclusive fitness," whereby we are willing to sacrifice for our children because our genes have a 50% investment in them. To quote a scientist in the excellent Why Us?, "While no one is prepared to sacrifice his life for any single person [they will do so] for two or more offspring [each of whom shares 50 percent of their parental genes], or four half-brothers [4 x 25 percent], or eight first cousins [8 x 12.5 percent]."

I suppose it's heartening to know that Dupree would risk his life for 1/8 of me. Yes, it's crazy, but this is what evolutionary psychologists believe, and must believe, given their first principles. If you insist that love is a reality in its own right, then you have said something that is completely incompatible with metaphysical Darwinism.

Again, first principles. I am with Prager on this, who talks about valuing clarity over agreement. If our first principles differ, then naturally, there cannot be agreement on their conflicting implications and consequences. We just need to be honest and up front about our first principles, and then let the chips fall where they may. For example, I believe that human beings are endowed by our Creator with the inalienable right to liberty. For the leftist there is no Creator, and liberty is a gift of Obama. Different first principles, different people.

Back to language. Vanderleun talks about how, in order to begin to enter the world of the epic poem, we must "make a leap of imagination from the present day to the night gatherings around bonfires and flickering torches in which these tales of love and death were told."

Obviously the Bible is an epic, and I think we need to pay attention to Vanderleun's advice when entering its world. First of all, it is a world -- a sacred world, or the world of the sacred. Although the epic must be told in a horizontal manner, the obvious purpose of the epic is to attune us to the timeless world of the vertical, which is always present but unnoticed unless we do the noticing -- similar to quantum physics, whereby we decide whether the fundamental reality is particle or wave. Only we can decide whether words are just digits or something more.

The Bible is obviously based upon an oral tradition that was eventually reduced to written form. This is fine, but I wonder if, because we live under the Reign of Quantity, this doesn't render the Bible a closed book for many people? Consider what Vanderleun says about the epic poem: "Part story, part panegyric, part worship, the reciting of an epic was an event that could span days, even weeks. How the earliest bards held all of the poem in memory is still somewhat of a mystery," but he cites the analogy of jazz, which relies upon an underlying fixed structure, over which the soloist freely improvises. Just like human freedom, this musical freedom is not absolute but relative, as it is constrained by the underlying structure.

Again, I cannot help wondering if this isn't the manner in which we are supposed to engage revelation. Because this is exactly what I try to do every morning, which is to say, "riff" over the cosmic chords provided by the Creator. It's really a kind of singing, just singing about this sacred world I find myself in. It is not the world of Darwin, or of matter, or of colliding physical forces. I know it's a real world, and in fact, I also know that it is the cause, not a meaningless effect, of lower worlds. But I have no inclination whatsoever to argue with someone who insists that he is simply the expression of his selfish genes. What can I say? Your genes won. Now go away.

Here is the takeaway point. Vanderleun writes of how contemporary poetry is, "for the most part, deeply embedded in the secular culture, and there is no affirmative available to that culture, since the affirmative depends on a belief in something other than, larger than, the self.... Poetry can't matter as it once mattered because the base ground of being has been yanked out from under the culture, leaving it stranded in mid-air, unable to ascend, having only the fall before it."

Swish! (I mean that in a non-gay way.) To paraphrase the anthropologist Weston LaBarre, "in the symbolic pyramid of culture, very few bricks touch the ground." For secular culture, language is atomized and severed from its sacred ground, which is why it can only speak of a post-human world inhabited by post-humans -- of Homo numericus instead of Homo noeticus. Let's just hope they don't succeed in doing to us what we did to our Neanderthal cousins.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Remembering Your Allforabit and Mythsemantics

Let's talk about words -- which is all a deconstructionist thinks you can talk about, language being a self-referential system of symbols. But human language rides piggyback on a much deeper reality that penetrates to the very source and possibility of truth. If that weren't the case, then we couldn't even have language at all.

First of all, language presupposes a special kind of world in which one thing can stand for another. The word "symbol" means to throw together or across, and this is indeed the function of language, except that language bridges two realities that are already language. Truly, in the beginning was and is the Word.

For example, take a simple description of a material object. As we have already discussed, appearance itself is a kind of language, specifically, the language of being. We have a word for being, that is, being; but being has an infinite and inexhaustible number of words for itself. Being is always hidden beneath or behind the appearance, and yet, never stops revealing itself. Thus, we have to visualize a kind of continuous flow, as from a mountain spring, or from Dupree's magic keg.

Now, the same principle applies to life, mind, and spirit. We can talk about each of these, but we must not confuse our language with theirs. For example, let's take DNA. Is DNA really the "language of life?" Or is, let us say, "joy" or "ananda" or "bliss" the language of life? We'll get back to that question later.

But even to say that DNA is the language of life is to say that life has a language -- that it speaks. As HvB puts it, "The leaf, the flower, and the fruit are, of course, beautiful and pleasing even as appearances, but they demand to be interpreted as the revelations of the life principle at work in them, which does not appear as such."

Obviously, no single expression could ever exhaust or contain the "life principle," for, like being itself, it is a constant flow of living words from depth to surface. This flow is the life principle. Thus, "only when we understand the depth along with the surface" does life itself "take on a decipherable meaning." To only skim along the surface of life is to miss the mark entirely.

The problem is only compounded when this principle is applied to the level of mind, which provides us with an intimate, first hand experience of the flowing structure of reality as such. As a matter of fact -- you will forgive my gnostalgia -- I discussed this at length in my doctoral dissertation, which was published in two lengthy articles back in the early '90s. You could summarize my views with a quotation from one of the twentieth century's great physicists, Werner Heisenberg, which appears at the beginning of the dissertation:

The same organizing forces that have created nature in all its forms, are responsible for the structure of our soul, and likewise our capacity to think.

I don't see how one could argue with that statement and still call oneself a scientist. Nevertheless, it is the kind of statement that is utterly beyond the scientistic Queegs and queeglings of the world, who only communicate surface to surface, like ants bumping their heads together and exchanging their precious bodily fluids.

I'm afraid that this post is beginning to get out of hand. The subject is so vast that it's starting to escape the ability of a mere post to contain it. You could say that it's slipping the surly bonds of human language. I'll see what I can do about that. I'll try not to harm reality too much in reining it in.

Okay. Let's get back to Balthasar. He writes that "the sounds of a word do not betray the essence of the speaker in the same way that, for example, his tone of voice or the laughter accompanying his speech expresses something of his frame of mind." Speech "spans the arc between inside and outside," but nevertheless "forbids any direct intuition [I would say perception] of the essence that speaks itself."

This is a key insight, for not only does language span the distance between word and thing, but even more mysteriously, between inside and outside.

I believe we can see how this applies to each level of reality: matter, life, mind, and spirit. To talk as if there is only an outside is to miss the ultimate significance of language altogether.

Here again, this would be our principle beef with the Queegs of the world, who use the gift of language to deny and reject the gift. It is what makes them so ungrateful, on the one hand, but also so boring and repetitive, since they use language in such a way as to sever it from its dynamic ground and source. It's a self-enclosed hell to which they are welcome. I understand Queeg played on a number of records in the past. But now he is a broken record, and records weren't made to be broken.

Here is the other quotation that accompanied the one by Heisenberg. It's from Finnegans Wake: When a part so ptee does duty for the holos, we soon grow to use of an allforabit.

Now, what does that mean, and why did I think that it was so important that it should appear at the beginning of my dissertation? Om my word! I can think of about a dozen reasons off the tip of my geistberg. For a human being is the petit part who is able to know the holy-whole through the magic allforabit of language.

Indeed, man himself is the allforabit, that is, the microcosm who stretches vertically from shore to cosmic shore and seen to shining seer. We stand on one shore and reach to the other, so you could even say that man is the word of the cosmos. Except we are not the last word, because, try as we might, we cannot span the distance. For that we require the first word, which is none other than Alpha. And Alpha is just the shadow of Omega, cast back in time. Indeed, this is how God can telos all about himsoph down and out here.

So, if you're still following me, Jesus is the ultimate allforabit, is he not? Indeed, the human bit could not contain his overflowing All, which is why the latter could even vanquish death, similar to how life makes easy work of the laws governing matter. For Spirit is to mind as mind is to life as life is to matter. Note that the first and last Word is at the top, not the bottom. And the last word is not "nothing" but "everything."

But the Word is always in service to its Mutterer and Father. "Thus, the word is able to reveal much more by effacing itself in service than by emphasizing itself in dominion" (HvB). Therefore, it is expedient that I go away now. But don't worry. I'll leave you with my allforabit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Don't Burn Your Bridge of Flames

Okay people, now you've done it. That embarrassing piece of fluff Dupree knocked out yesterday only generated twice the usual traffic, and now he's demanding "equal time." I can't deny that he has a point, because every time I toss out one of those piece-of-my-mind red meat posts, the blog suddenly becomes popular.

I don't even remember where we left off. I'll just start typing, and see if it eventually turns into writing while we wait.

Let's talk about the mystery of unity. On the one hand, as HvB says, we are all members of the species of humanity, even though the species doesn't exist outside the individuals who express it. Each of us contains the whole of human nature, even though the whole transcends us. This is indeed a paradox, for it means that we somehow contain what contains us.

At the same time, "to be a particular man never means to be only a specimen of humanity." Indeed, this would be a kind of insult, as if one were completely interchangeable with anyone else. This is true of insects, or sheep, or MSM journalists, but it is manifestly untrue of persons, each of whom is utterly unique. But how can the unique be a member of any class?

I know that I am unique, which is one of the reasons why it is sometimes difficult to find other people to play with. If this fellow likes philosophy, then he doesn't like baseball. This one likes baseball but doesn't like jazz. This one likes theology, but doesn't want to talk about the first lady's butt. You can see the problem.

This irreducible uniqueness can only be a spark of the divine, since God is uniqueness as such. Man cannot be quantified: "persons, insofar as they really have a uniqueness that images and reflects a glimmer of God's uniqueness, cannot be numbered. Each of them is a world unto himself" (HvB).

This is again a paradox and a mystery, so long as we remember that paradox is the threshold of truth and mystery one of its modes of articulation. For it means that man is forever polarized within the space of two centers; we are "bi-centric," which is what it means to be a human being. Emphasize one center over the other, and our humanness is diminished and we are no longer be-ing but been. Stick a fork in our road, or we're done.

Indeed, this is always a movement, not a static condition. It is more like a perpetual self-giving of God to man (↓) and man to God (↑), a point we will expand upon later, if we ever do.

Consider the strangeness of it all: from the standpoint of the species, our essence -- that which defines us as unique and particular -- can only be a kind of "accident." But from the standpoint of the essence, our common characteristics seem more like accidents.

In other words, the things we share with everyone else are more or less generic by definition, or just "average." Man has "intelligence." He has "language." He has "art." So what? These things don't mean much until you have your own particular versions of them.

Therefore, it is clear that "the concept of unity, which everyone takes for granted as something well known and transparently obvious, is at bottom as full of mystery as all the other fundamental concepts pertaining to being" (HvB). In reality, we do not know what unity is, since our own unity only exists in this bi-centric complementarity of universal and particular. "We can never lay hold of what unity is beyond this duality." "Beyond" this complementarity is not One, but zero.

It very much reminds me of music. I have always been drawn to musicians who are not just musicians, but who have created their own musical world, so to speak. Thelonious Monk is an example. Sun Ra. Duke Ellington. Brian Wilson. Sinatra. Johnny Cash. Ray Davies. It is as if these artists are at a "right angle" to music as such. They have discovered and colonized their own musical worldspace, and to the extent that they have followers, they will just sound like imitators, with the "essence" missing -- like an Elvis impersonator.

But how can one be a musical world of one's own, and still achieve perfection? In other words, what can be the standard of measurement for the unique, since the unique by definition cannot be compared to anything else? This is what some clever fellow meant when he said that "great art cannot surpass itself," since it is already a kind of absolute. Who's better, Aretha or Sinatra? Who knows? They each achieved aesthetic perfection in their own unique way.

Now, you might think that this has nothing to do with theology, but you would be wrong, for it is one of my ongoing struggles. That is, how do I reconcile the uniqueness of me with the universality of, say, the Catholic church? I only really feel as if I am spiritually flying when I'm "doing my own thing." As soon as I try to subordinate myself to another authority, I'm grounded. I know exactly how Blake felt when he said something to the effect that he needed to develop his own system or be the slave of another man's.

But at the same time, I am well aware of the dangers of this approach, and would never make a general recommendation that everyone else should be an off-road spiritual aspirant or extreme seeker. That would be a disaster. Perhaps some people are truly called to this lonely vocation. I don't know.

I do know this. The other day I mentioned the idea that I am not a Christian per se, but on a Christian adventure. I look at it this way. There can be no question that we need the pillars of dogma and tradition, without which Truth cannot survive and be handed down. Now, when someone argues from the standpoint of their particular faith, they are arguing from the "inside out," from first principles to their consequences. Again, I don't want to ever minimize the importance of that.

But I feel as if my particular adventure embodies the opposite movement. That is, I am not arguing from Christianity but toward it, from the outside in. This is exactly what it feels like to me. It's as if I am in this vast phase space with a throbbing mystery at the center drawing me further and further in. I find it so fascinating, that I don't want to end the journey just yet. You know, like Frank:

Hey baby, what's your hurry / Relax and don't you worry / We're gonna fall in love / We're on the road to romance / that's safe to say / But let's make all the stops / along the way.

Again, this is a real ontological movement. As HvB describes it, it is a movement "in which we go out from the empty universal to the particular and return to the universal laden with its fullness." This is virtually identical to how Bion describes mental growth, in which conception involves the "mating" of a preconception and a realization to produce a thought.

Now, another mystery is how we can gauge "progress" for something that is unique. How can the unique surpass itself? And if it was unique before and is unique now, aren't they two different uniquenesses, unique being by definition a singular instance?

That's a difficult question. I'm stumped. Can't we just talk about the hump, the slump, the bump, and the plump rump on that grumpy frump?

This strange journey from unique to unique, what is it? How is it possible, and where does it take place? Yes, it is a kind of progress, and yet, it cannot be reduced to an abstract and impersonal dialectic of progress, à la Hegel. It seems that it simply must be "tolerated" and borne again and again: "Just as the gap between essence and existence can never be closed by thought, there is no way ever to bridge in any real sense the gaps between essence and appearance, universality and particularity."


Are we moving toward the fire yet? Or will the fire come to us?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Liberal Deconstruction of Female Beauty, or The Empress's New Butt

This is Dupree speaking. Bob had to leave early for work, so he's letting me sit in the big chair. He left it entirely up to me to choose a topic.

Hmm, serious post or frivolous post?

It's Monday. I'm still recovering from partying with Mama last night -- my usual gift, the suitcase of Bud. How about if I start out with some superficial frivolousness just to get warmed up, and then move on to the more serious frivolousness?

In the past, I believe that Bob has written a number of posts about how difficult it is to argue with a fantasy. If both parties aren't living in the same reality -- AKA reality -- then there is no basis for discussion. But one of the main features of leftist thought is this insane idea that different cultures just have different realities, and that we must respect them all as being of equal value. This is a surefire recipe for disaster.

For example, liberals always want us to talk to the terrorists -- I mean "man made disaster facilitators" -- but how does one begin to have a rational conversation with someone who lives in a malevolent fantasy? By virtue of talking to them, you're just reinforcing their belief that the fantasy is real. This is why no amount of "negotiation" with Palestinian or Iranian dictators will come to any good, unless it begins with the banal but fundamental truth that they are insane psychopaths. But that is the one thing that is off the table. It's like talking to Jeffrey Dahmer but dancing around the cannibalism part.

One more reason why I detest the left is that they are constantly trying to distort reality in the manner so accurately described by George Orwell. This may seem like a trivial example, but the in-your-face insistence that our first lady is some kind of smokin' hot babe is a case in point. All heterosexual men know that this is an outrageous lie. Who are they trying to kid, and why?

Look, we're talking about an average looking woman here. Sarah Palin is not going to lose any sleep over the comparison. But why is this lie being promulgated with such urgency and to such absurd lengths by the liberal media? There must be something more significant going on when someone is in such an insistent state of denial. It reminds me of the liberal love-fest over the Edwards' marriage a couple of years ago. How'd that work out?

Here is a typical tongue bath by closet lesbian columnist Sally Quinn. She says that the first lady's arms -- her arms, fer cryin' out loud -- "are representative of a new kind of woman: young, strong, vigorous, intelligent, accomplished, sexual, powerful, embracing and, most of all, loving."

Hmm. That's quite a devastating indictment. A young, intelligent, and sexy woman is a "new kind of woman"? This is insane. Not only is Quinn seeing something in Michelle that isn't there, but she's not seeing things that have always been there in abundance. Or perhaps she's never strolled through the UCLA campus on a warm September day. Oh, mama!

Now, I am quite confident that I speak for all heterosexual males when I say that we don't place a great premium on upper arms. It's not that they are unimportant. To the contrary. It's just that it is one of those areas for which one does not get "bonus points" for being normal -- like having five fingers, or one head. Rather, you only get points taken away for having a dimpled pair of wobbly bingo flaps like Helen Thomas trying to get the President's attention at a press conference.

Look, I don't make up the rules, but there is no such thing as an "upper arm man" or "bicep dawg" unless he is a pervert. I have to assume that Sally Quinn has some serious bat wings going on.

Next: "This is a woman who has the courage to say 'I am mom in chief' and make her children and her family -- unapologetically -- her No. 1 priority. She is able to do this because she is so intelligent and accomplished that she doesn't have to prove anything to anyone. She is healthy enough to be able to say, this is who I am, these are my values and my priorities."

Okay. I'll bite. Mrs. G. gave up her career in a nanosecond to be a full time mom. I call this common sense, or the maternal instinct -- plus having a sugar gagdaddy.

However, this is a form of common sense with which the left has been at war for the past four decades. It's crazy. What was once the norm is systematically undermined by the left, and then, when a left wing woman returns to the norm, that makes her intelligent, accomplished, self-confident, and healthy. Spot the internal contradiction! I believe without a doubt that there is no more critical societal role than motherhood. But where has Sally been all these years?

The slobbering continues: "Nothing could be more empowering than to see a woman with all of the attributes of Michelle Obama embrace her children the way she does. She loves those girls, and she is giving them a role model for the kind of strong woman that she wants them to be. A woman should have the right to choose. In every respect. Having a great education, a job, a career is fulfilling. She has a Harvard Law degree and had a powerful job herself. She will take on projects in the White House that will ultimately prove to be transformational."

Wow, she loves her children! She's even going to be their role model! This is unheard of!

I have to take issue with the "accomplished" part. My understanding is that she was given a meaningless but extravagantly overpaid position at a Chicago hospital because of her husband's ability to funnel some serious pork their way. In fact, the job was so critical that she wasn't even replaced when she quit. How will they ever get by without a Diversity Whatever?

Now, this: "Michelle Obama happens to be physically beautiful. She is tall, regal, elegant and statuesque, and her power has been enhanced by that attractiveness."

Look, I'm not trying to be mean, but someone has to say something about this madness. Believe me, I'd say the same thing if conservatives were insisting that Mamie Eisenhower was Marilyn Monroe. But why are otherwise heterosexual men cowed by this surreal agenda? I mean, I wonder if Bob would even touch this topic, for fear of the backlash. But we're not going to fall for it. Here, Sally, I'll spell it out for you:

Average looking first lady:

Above average looking first lady:

Notice the difference? Sally does. She says that the first photo is of "a clearly sexual woman with sexy arms. A woman who is proud and unashamed of her sexuality in a city where that is not the usual image of a powerful woman."

Did you notice the arms in the second photo? I didn't either. But now that you mention it, I find them perfectly acceptable. I see two of them, with no bye-bye fat waving in the breeze.

I have a question for all of you folks out there, even liberals. We're all sexual. But are any of you especially "proud" of it? To the extent that someone is, it usually means that they are unconsciously ashamed of it. But why pride? That seems like such a childish emotion to attach to human sexuality. Paris Hilton is no doubt proud of her sexuality. Would that make her a good first lady?

I think the real issue is that politics is show-biz for the unattractive, so that anyone who isn't a total troll tends to stand out. But it's all phony, otherwise they'd say the same things about Sarah Palin that they say about Michelle Obama. Plus it would have the virtue of being true.

Well, that's about it. Bob will be back with his usual pompous fare tomorrow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On the Probability of God's Certainty

I woke up a little sick of hearing myself think, so I'm tempted to just sew an open thread. Plus I overslept.

Before getting to the Sunday rerun, I want to say something about a comment from yesterday. Although appreciative of my efforts, he concluded by saying that

"Your most irksome, yet somehow endearing trait, is your obsession with atheists and leftists. I am an addict, and I know obsession when I see it. You have the disease of addiction, and it takes a very strange form. Your readers are all enabling you as codependents, because none are willing to stand up and say, 'Sir, you repeat yourself endlessly. Whyfore do you do this?'"

I'll take that as an honest question. The reason I do it is because I sincerely believe that the ideals that have always animated the United States are under systematic and continuous assault by the left, and that if they are successful in radically transforming the country, it will eventually spell the end of civilization. I've seen the changes just in my lifetime, and at this rate, the game will be over in a generation or two, when there will be no one left alive who remembers the way things were. At the very least, a new Dark Age will be upon us, until such a time as the perennial truths are rediscovered -- if they ever are.

In terms of my own influences, one person I don't mention enough is Dennis Prager, to whom I have listened for years. In fact, when I started listening to him, I was in the position of the liberal who can't stop reading my blog, even though he disagrees with me. By constant exposure to his thinking, it eventually eradicated the virus. But it took a long time, and I don't think I could have ever recovered in the absence of the day-to-day exposure. Even now, I don't find him repetitive, since the virus is constantly mutating and requires new responses from the spiritual autoimmune system. Among media figures, I consider Prager irreplaceable.

Today it is difficult for me to even remember the negative emotional reaction I once had to him. And it was purely emotional, being that his facts and logic were impeccable. Thus, my only available response was anger or contempt. That is how I know so intimately what it is like to be a leftist, and why they behave the way they do. Since they cannot argue on the merits, they always must rely upon lies, contempt, deceit, superiority, distortion, sanctimony, political correctness, and the galloping herd mentality of "conventional wisdom" they help shape and enforce from preschool all the way to the intellectual kindergarten of the university.

I could go on, but it's getting late. On with the post.


As I mentioned in the book, the existence of God is not on a continuum of probability. It is not as if one becomes a believer because 51% of the evidence points in the direction of a largely nightened deity, or as if God is a plurality instead of the very ground and possibility of unity. Rather, I would say that God is either strictly impossible or absolutely necessary.

Furthermore, if he is not impossible, then he is necessary. Being that a higher cosmic power is obviously not impossible, this is another way of saying that everything proves its existence, most especially atheists, who are like branches that grow more leaves in order to prove that trees don't exist. Frankly, that argument is so green, that they're either very immature or very envious.

And rePetey after him: it's a tree of life for those whose wood beleaf. So long as you are a-living, a-laughing, and a-loving, then you beleafing. No, you cannot leaf God allone, bark as you might. You may well be dysluxic, but even the least of you is not made in the image of doG, for the woof and warp of existence are woven with threads of the vertical and horizontal. I don't mean to needle you pinheads, but this is why you're born to learn and grow in truth and wisdom, even if the best you can come up with is a crazy quilt or quasi-cult of atheistic nonsense.

The Tree of Life has it's nonlocal roots above, its local branches and district orifices down below. Which is why it All Makes Sense, including, of course, science. For if you try to grow the Tree of Life in the infertile soil below, it won't survive the transplant, and can produce nothing, not even death (which requires life). Nothing makes sense in such an inverted cosmos, including atheism, which supernaturally presupposes an intelligence perversely capable of denying its own sufficient reason. There can be no meaning, no purpose, no truth, no values, no nothing, not even nothing (in other words, no animal but man is dense enough to be an existentialist).

You know what they say: the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. Thus, their every blasphemy praises God. Only animals are atheists. But even then, not really. That's an insult to animals, being that no animal has the unnatural stupidity to deny its own intelligence, instinct being equivalent to animal intellect, just as man's uncreated intellect is his central instinct.

Which is why the vast majority of people are instinctive theists. It just means their intellect is more or less intact. A human who denies the divine is like a flower who turns from the sun. When that happens, your intellect can no longer engage in photosynthesis, which is simply converting spiritual Light into thought. I mean, you can still do it, but don't be surprised that your beleafs are so yellow and withered, perhaps even tenured. Plus, you can't digest them, unless you enjoy word salad -- which this green solid of a post is not to be confused with. Unlike other salad bars, this one actually gets you high.

Again, animals do not live in the cosmos, only in their nervous systems. Alone among the animals, human beings have broken free of their neurology, and inhabit a vast cosmos in which consciousness is the center and axis. Cosmology is ultimately the study of man -- and vice versa.

Here again, the gap between animal and man is infinite, just as is the gap between matter and life. To say that the genomes of humans and chimps are 99% similar (or whatever it is) only points to the poverty of biology to account for the infinite divide between human beings and their furry and/or tenured cousins.

This, by the way, is why Wallace -- the co-discoverer of modern theory of evolution by common descent -- concluded that it was hopelessly inadequate to account for so many defining characteristics of the human race. Ironically, as Berlinksi notes, Darwin had misgivings about the theory because, in "considering its consequences, he feared [it] might be true." But with Wallace, it was the other way around: "Considering, its consequences, he suspected his theory might be false."

And what are those consequences? They are too numerous to mention, but they ultimately result -- as is only logical and necessary -- in the elimination of Man as Such, or the Human Erase, if not in the short term, then most certainly in the long term. Don't you see it happening before your eyes?! Devilution is surely real.

People who pretend to not understand the link between Darwinism or atheism and nazism or communism are just willfully obtuse, for the great mystery of the cosmos is not why evil, or falsehood, or oppression, or ugliness, exist.

Rather, as always, the question is how truth, or goodness, or beauty, can exist in a wholly naturalistic cosmos. Not why there are sinners, but why there are saints. Not why there is despair, but why there is hope and joy. Not why there are liars who take advantage, but why there is Truth to which a good person naturally wishes to conform his being. Not why Madonna exists, but why Van Morrison does. Not why Bill Maher exists, but why Groucho did. And most assuredly, not why Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins sopher their books to exist, but why Frithjof Schuon or Meister Eckhart blessed us in their lifetomes.

As I argued in One Cosmos, Wallace came to the conclusion that "characteristic human abilities must be latent in primitive man, existing somehow as an unopened gift, the entryway to a world that primitive man does not possess and would not recognize." Such a view makes no sense in Darwinian terms, for it would suggest "the forbidden doctrine that evolutionary advantages were frontloaded far away and long ago; it is in conflict with the Darwinian principle that useless genes are subject to negative selection pressure and must therefore find themselves draining away in the sands of time" (Berlinski).

Again: in the upside-down world of secular materialism, the gaps in being are infinite and unbridgeable. But in the right side-up world of the perennial religion, the ontological continuity is infinite, extending as it does from the top down, from the One to the many, from the center to the periphery, and from the Abbasolute father to his middling relativities. In such a universe, evil and falsehood are not permitted, but they are nevertheless "necessary," or at least ineveateapple, or existence could not exist. Which is why all atheist cretins are liars. And why in contrast we are Free Men. Truth has a way of doing that.

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