Wednesday, January 04, 2012

You're Not Special, You're a Jackass

First, an ironyclad point of orthoparadox: our thesis is that the normotic person is not normal in the cosmic sense of the term, i.e., in conformity to his nonlocal archetype. Rather, he has a pseudo-normality that conceals and oppresses a true self which has been developmentally stunted somewhere along the lyin'.

We are coming at this from a conservative classical liberal point of view, in which (to plagiaphrase someone) individuality is freedom lived. But one might just as easily reverse the terms and say: freedom is individuality lived. It should go without saying that you are only truly free when you are yourself. Otherwise, who is free? And for what?

What is freedom? The individual. What is the individual? Freedom.

However, freedom is not at all synonymous with an absence of constraint, which would immediately reduce to nihilism. Rather, genuine freedom is always freedom for. Thus, we may speak of the "yoke of freedom"; or, wisely crack that man is condemned to freedom (and to truth, which really rubs insalt to the injury).

Actually, we prefer "liberty," which is perhaps the second most important Raccoon macro-value after Truth. And in fact, you cannot have one without the other, for one must be free to discover truth, and truth is what sets one free; this is why the compulsory truths of, say, political correctness, or of reductionistic Darwinism, involve an intrinsic contradiction. To say that "I am a contingent assemblage of selfish genes" is to say that "I am a moron. Please ignore me."

You might say that Truth + Liberty = Authentic Being. Being that the left denies absolute or transcendental truth, we can have nothing in common with them. Or, we have in common a fallen self which we re-cognize and they don't.

And being that they believe in positive liberties granted by the state instead of negative ones protected by the state, there is again no common measure between us. In exchange for political power, the leftist substitutes for timeless truth the petty dictates of time-bound political correctness, which strangles the individual and nourishes the hardened collective ego.

Belief in permanent truths results in the ordered liberty, or "disciplined mischief," of the Raccoon. To deny them results in mere horizontal license, and in a system that cannot be sustained. To the extent that such freaks appear "unconventional," it it is in a blandly predictable and drearily conformist manner (the "herd of independent minds"). There is nothing individual, much less creative, about a Madonna and her legions of cultural spawna. She can only engage in a kind of reactionary parasitic "anti-normotic" illness that mimics actual creativity and true selfhood. How daring! Life reduced to one long wardrobe malfunction.

Most of these dramatic deviations and disturbances may appear to be signs of "empowerment," but are really just another form of psychic slave rebellion from a self that is the actual slaver. Bollas writes of how certain homosexual's "adornment in exaggerated representations of the subjective element can be a defiance of the normotic way of life. Where the normotic parent may have stressed 'reasonable' thinking, the homosexual may espouse the superiority of anti-reason. Where the normotic parent never tolerated the controversial, the homosexual may become perversely addicted to collecting controversies."

Bollas adds that compulsive sexual promiscuity among many homosexuals "has the character of a material phenomenon, and is in part an inverted representation of the normotic illness." Honest and self-aware homosexuals will know exactly what Bollas is referring to. The rest will feel victimized, which is to take a secret pleasure in participating in one's own auto-subjection. It is also abnormal, so you can't win. Or whine. Check mate.

If we take a godseye view and consider the world a work of art, the genuine artistic co-creator is an archetypal example of freedom lived, or of potential actualized, at least in the aesthetic sphere.

For example, in a banalogy I have used before, I am "free" to play the saxophone, but not in any meaningful way, unless I undergo the years of discipline it takes to transcend mere freedom and transform it into something higher. Although a cosmic master of sonic vibration is much more constrained than I am when he places the sax in his blowhole, those musical constraints -- or boundary conditions -- are precisely analogous to the intrinsic truths that allow oneself to ascend to its proper soul station.

Just so, to deny the intrinsic spiritual truths that in-form the soul is like trying to play the sax without harmony, melody, chords, rhythm, pacing, etc. But conversely, to only conform to these moral truths in a rigid, exterior way, without realizing and assimilating their inner meaning, can result in a superficially good and decent person, but still, something will be missing... *cough* romney *cough*...

That something is the true self. And for the true self, truth, virtue, and beauty fundamentally involve consciousness of a plane of reality, not conformity to a rigid exterior model. I don't just want my son to "be good." Rather, I want him to know, understand, and love goodness. Nor do I want him to take the easy path of the tenured, and merely obtain good grades without being intelligent.

Our essentialist idea of a true self parts ways with the existentialists in all their variety, who believe that the self is entirely self-made, so to speak. First of all, the true self cannot possibly be self-made -- any more than you could make your liver or kidneys. It is an organ, except that it is a multi-dimensional organ that transcends space and time, at least to a certain extent. But the fact that the self may know timeless truth proves that its ultimate source is outside time.

Like all other organs, the self requires time in order to reach maturity. But the function of the self is much more complex compared to, say, the kidneys, which mostly have the one task of filtering blood.

The self, on the other hand, has the ongoing task of metabolizing and synthesizing internal, external, past, present, and transpersonal experience into a higher subjective unity. This is why you might say that the self is man's first "hyperdimensional virtual organ," so to speak. It is just as busy as the heart or lungs, except that it accomplishes its feats in a higher space that obviously exceeds three or four dimensions (cf. the phenomenon of dreaming).

In turn, this is why the normotic personality may appear outwardly normal, even while living a life in which he systematically denies the sufficient reason for man's existence. From the human standpoint, it can never be "normal" to be a radical atheist or leftist, for both of these categories prevent man from discovering transcendent truth and becoming what he is -- from actualizing his real nonlocal potential.

Yesterday I mentioned the "destiny drive," which is to the self as final cause is to biology. Biology is incoherent in the absence of final causation, in that each organ obviously has a function to fulfill within the context of the whole, and failure to achieve this function is the very definition of pathology. In other words, we can only know about sickness because there is a thing called "health" (which with good reason is etymologically related to wholeness).

But what was the Self designed to do? Well, if you are a Darwinist, it is a moot question, because the self reduces to biology, which in turn reduces to physics, which has no purpose at all. This down-and-backward looking metaphysic hurls the self against the dead rocks of the cosmic past (HT Vanderleun), so it can actualize no intrinsically real future, i.e., destiny.


Rick said...

"I don't just want my son to "be good."

From time to time I hear an Orthodox Christian say that God does not want us to be good. Near as I can telos, they mean not "ultimately". He wants us to be saved. One must be fit for Heaven. Fit as the Saints. Fit is part of it, but Saint is the rest.

I believe it was St Michael of the Barbarino who said. "I invented the line, because before that everyone was just milling around."

Van said...

"To say that "I am a contingent assemblage of selfish genes" is to say that "I am a moron. Please ignore me.""

Speaking of which, Sam Harris conducts an interview to prove that 'from nothing, nothing comes'... unintentionally, of course.

Sorry for the OT, back to reading.

John Lien said...

"But what was the Self designed to do? Well, if you are a Darwinist, it is a moot question, because the self reduces to biology, which in turn reduces to physics, which has no purpose at all."

If this were true, it wouldn't bother almost everyone who reads it. Which should clue in the materialists that something is wrong. You have to kill something inside yourself to believe it.

The truth sometimes hurts but you always agree, deep down. I could never agree with that.

Gagdad Bob said...

What the materialist doesn't appreciate -- and this will be the subject of a future post -- is that I am much more, not less, cynical than they are. Certainly too cynical to ever believe in Darwinian fairy tales.

mushroom said...

And being that they believe in positive liberties granted by the state instead of negative ones protected by the state, there is again no common measure between us.

So true. And, unfortunately for liberty, as you have pointed out before, the extremes of the spectrum tend to meet on the Dark Side of the Moon.

But conversely, to only conform to these moral truths in a rigid, exterior way, without realizing and assimilating their inner meaning, can result in a superficially good and decent person, but still, something will be missing... cough romney cough...

The more I see of Mitt, the more he reminds me of my older brother. My brother is in his seventies, and he has always claimed that he has never in his entire life had a drink of any alcoholic beverage. With anybody else, I'd probably say, Yeah, right. But knowing what a self-righteous prig he is, I'd say he's telling the truth.

I didn't drink until I was about 20, and I quit before I turned 30, so it was quite a challenge for me to restore balance to the Force. But I got it done.

mushroom said...

...I am much more, not less, cynical than they are. Certainly too cynical to ever believe in Darwinian fairy tales.

I just wanted to make sure no one missed that.

Gagdad Bob said...

Unfortunately, Romney is bland normal, but Santorum is kind of scary normal.

Back in the '70s, when I was a National Lampoon reader and P.J. O'Rourke was a writer for the magazine, he tried to start a movement of what he called "pants down Republicans," consisting of post-normal conservatives, so to speak. I don't quite relate to South Park Republicans, so it seems that there really isn't a name for what we are, but I know one when I see one.

Gagdad Bob said...

You could say Coonservative, but that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Maybe Wrypublican...

Gagdad Bob said...


Gagdad Bob said...

I guess some people go for Paul because he has the weird factor nailed, but he's unelectable...

Gagdad Bob said...

Now that I think about it, the most dangerous person in the world for the left would be the kind of conservative I have in mind....

Rick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick said...

What we need are some gold bracelets. Or name tags so we look all official-like.

How 'bout Ricopublicans?

I always get nervous when the first order of bizness is letterhead.

Van said...


Uhm... up twinkles, or... three thumbs up on that one.

I'd say two thumbs, but of course, that'd be the normal things to say.

horatio said...

Speaking of Paul, one of his fellow Austrians was on Prager a couple years back--well worth the listen.

Paul is to our climbing deficit what Reagan was to Soviet Communism. The former will be our ruin if not reigned in.

mushroom said...

Though I am not fluent in the Austrian language like Mr. Obama, I do agree with Austrian economics. When it comes to the financial situation we find ourselves in, Paul is the Antikrugman.

As far as new names, I kind of like Cooligans.

Rick said...

Bob, from "Yesterday I cited the example of Tristan's friend, whose mother is slowly driving him insane. To be in her presence is to confront a wall."

Could you provide an example? Or exparable, even.

julie said...

Re. being good vs. being goodness, in the first case one conforms oneself to an external set of rules (the Decalog, for instance); in the second, one is informed, so that instead of a casing of "good behavior" one has a skeleton of intrinsic goodness upon which the "good behavior" develops freely and without binding, as it were.


I'm with Van - two thumbs and a tail for "wrypublican"

John Lien said...

julie, I like your exoskeleton vs. endoskeleton analogy of doing good vs being good.

So I'm gonna throw this question out there. Does one become good by first stuffing one's gelatanous, blobby self into the exoskeleton while the endoskeleton develops?

In other words, do you need outside rules first to be good or is there a cartilagenous, nascent skeleton waiting to grow all on its own without outside help?

I'm going to say it's the former.

(Yeah, I'm working the biology analogy for all it's worth.)

julie said...

Oh, yes - or just to completely switch metaphors, it's like when a kid is learning to write, and must spend hours tracing letters that still hold very little in the way of meaning. It is only over time that the letters become internalized, along with the rules of spelling and grammar, so that an infinite amount of meaning can be generated by the arrangement of a handful of symbols.

Anyway, first one conforms to Truth from the outside, then one internalizes Truth, then one is formed from the inside.

Or back to a biological analogy, one wraps one's blobby self in a solid cocoon of external conformity until the internal changes set, then wa-la! A moth! ;)

I guess the point is, it's not really enough to just lock oneself into a straight-jacket of rules which exist only to exist. There must be a reason why the rules matter, and that reason has to do with fostering growth, so that when the time is ripe the rules may be realized and transcended, even as they remain always a part of one's being.

John Lien said...

@julie. Nicely said. Thanks!

Van said...

I can't adequately express my outrage at this, occurring just across the river from me.

If you don't think the like, and worse, is coming to your schools... you are insane.

Rick said...

Bob, I'm asking again, if you don't mind. I probably wasn't all that clear the first time.

You said, "Tristan's friend, whose mother is slowly driving him insane. To be in her presence is to confront a wall."

I may have missed an example. I certainly can be as dense as a wall at times. But there seems to be maybe lots of different ways a person can be a wall or reasons why they are one. I understood the wall part of your post. I think. But I want to understand "how" she was driving her son insane (in case I'd seen it before - which would lead to further understanding) and to understand her motive. Plus, I am a parent. Always concerned about the things I'm not recognizing in my own behavior.

As I said, I may have missed an example. I tend to read faster than I should. But it was a provacative part within the larger concept you were driving it. It seems to matter. This mother I'm sure thinks she's doing the right thing. She's acting like her son's psychologist in a way. Do i know enough to say that? In a recent post you said something about the therapist should make sure his self is healthy before treating others.

So, can you provide an example of how she is driving her son insane?

Gagdad Bob said...

I wanted to protect her anonymity in the unlikely event that she stumbled upon the post. But I'm sure we're safe now.

It's a complex situation involving mind parasites from various planes, but the boy is said to be gifted, with a stratospheric IQ (I think he's seven). The parents divorced about a year ago. Mother is Latina, but obviously very self-conscious about it. She projects this outward, and feels a lot of persecution about it, as if people could care less. She also projects this onto her son, as if people are judging him, when in truth, if no one told you, you'd hav no idea what ethnicity he is.

There are other reasons she feels inferior, but they are all wrapped up in her son's destiny. She got a scholarship for him to some very exclusive private school that's like an hour commute each way. There's a ton of homework, and he's obviously stressed out to the max. In fact, it's gotten so bad, that he has regressed to the point of pooping in his pants!

None of what she is doing for her child has anything whatsoever to do with his actual needs. Rather, he is being totally "used" by his mother for her own agenda -- which, even if it succeeds, won't help her.

I could go on, but I have to get to today's post. Anyway, she's so dense about what's going on, that it's very uncomfortable being around her. In contrast, her son loves being with us, which makes things awkward. He refers to our place as the "house of peace," and he's always begging his mother if she can bring him over to the house of peace. Sad....

Gagdad Bob said...

Poor kid has no slack, when the whole point of childhood is to be a sanctuary of slack. If you have no slack as a child, it's almost impossible to enjoy it as an adult. Such people generally grow up to be workaholics, hedonists, or bums.

Gagdad Bob said...

Re what you said about being her son's psychologist, that is correct. But to be a proper psychologist, you must allow the patient to "use" you in a manner consistent with their specific idiom. Likewise, a good parent becomes the object his child needs in order to help him discover and articulate his own idiom (since no one can do it on their own). This is what I mean about treating one's child as a fully autonomous subject rom the get-go. Tristan has been who he is from the start. If we had tried to make him someone else, we'd merely drive him insane, or drive his true self underground, into the unconscious, for protection. He's quite different from what I ever expected, but this is a source of delight, not disappointment.

Gagdad Bob said...

Re Tristan's friend, he's very religious -- i.e., fascinated by religious questions -- but his mother isn't. Thus, this part of himself will be stillborn, because his mother won't engage and cultivate it, so it can be articulated in an increasingly sophisticated manner. He attended Tristan's baptism, and afterwards was asking his mother if he could be baptized. But she's anti-Church, so it's not gonna happen. In any event, she may end up killing, or at least grievously damaging, the best part of him.

julie said...

Oh, how awful! If it's any consolation, re. the religion I seem to remember Mrs. G had a similar situation growing up, but there was a Catholic neighbor...

I'm not at all surprised he considers your place a "house of peace." It's possible he may carry his memories of your home with him as a refuge into adulthood, to be unpacked at a later time. He may be seriously damaged, but knowing there are other possibilities is sometimes enough to give one the motivation to seek wholeness in the right way. Just think if he didn't know your family, or anybody like you!

Still, the whole situation is just heartbreaking.

Rick said...

Thanks Bob.

What Julie said. He's blessed to know you.

The pooping thing sounds like the child of the mother who used to work here. The child is a boy of about the same age. The two mothers sound very much alike.

The mother who used to work here was not driving her son academically but keeping lots of boyish things from him. She's extremely sensitive to the topic of guns. Just say the word gun. Anyway, I don't know if you've seen the movie Iron Giant, wonderful movie. I thought it deals with the subject quite well, among others. Certainly in its way of presentation to children. I think. I don't think it's the point of the movie. You would have a difficult time arguing that it is a pro-gun movie. Or anti-gun. It simply has "gun" in it. It acknowledges their existence. Anyway, I suggested the movie to the mother -- since she only lets the kid watch the movie Cars. I mean, not even "Finding Nemo". I sent her a youtube of the Iron Giant movie trailer.
The wall, as you say.

julie said...

I love the Iron Giant; how sad that she won't let him watch it.

ronjon said...

Hollering into an empty well I suppose, but it won't be the first time.

Bob, re: Tristan's friend, I don't agree with you regarding the hopelessness of his situation simply because his mom doesn't nurture that part of himself. I'm sure this line isn't new to you as a therapist, however: My own adulthood is full of remembrances of my friend's home and family vibe, of the dramatic differences between there and my own home, and of the subsequent changes this did wrought in my own being. Now that I am raising my own kids (I'm your age but ahead of you kid-wise by a few years) I clearly see how the "two homes" syndrome plays out in my own attempts at recreating what I would call an idyllic youth for my own kids. Some of what I aim toward comes from my own parents, and some comes from other source material. I was unaware at the time that it was source material, but as I said, I clearly see it now.

Reason for comment here, when so often I could care less about you high falootin coons and your pedantic perigrinations is simply to weigh in on the side of his self-discovered "house of peace". The kid knows what he wants/likes. Indulge him as often as households et al permit. Let God do the rest.

Gagdad Bob said...

I am by no means arguing for a psychic determinism, nor am I unaware of the many ironies of development, in which bad things lead to good and vice versa. Indeed, the peril of modern childhood -- at least where I live -- isn't too much pain and disappointment, but not enough. Affluence destroys as many souls as poverty.

Still, it is a fact that most people do not become all they could be and should be, and I do wonder if there is any better way to make that happen besides leaving it to holy happenstance and divine intervention.