Thursday, July 19, 2012

Immortality is Fleeting, Socialism is Forever

Not much time for a new post this morning. The mother-in-law has been visiting, which gets me out of my usual rutine. It reminds me once again that pneumablogging is a delicate business; either that, or my isness is an unusually delicate business. In any event, she returns home today, so blogging should return to normal tomorrow.

Fortunately, a little Voegelin goes a very long way. Do they still make Bacardi 151? Sort of like that. I conducted a brief but memorable experiment with that particular beverage back when I was a college sophomore or less.

I just looked it up, and it says that the demon rum² is now conveniently "equipped with a flame arrester in the neck of the bottle to prevent large volumes of the flammable liquid from igniting... Nevertheless, incidents of severe injury have been alleged."

You don't say?

I didn't know -- for how is an 18 year old supposed to know this stuff? -- that it is intended to be used as a component in cocktails, not the main ingredient. I don't like to think about it -- my liver is subject to flashbacks -- but I probably had a dangerous level of blood alcohol as I sat there bobsmacked in my political science class. Maybe the only time I was ever "beyond drunk." Friends of the time may disagree.

As far as I can recall -- which admittedly isn't much -- it was qualitatively, not just quantitatively, different. Perhaps like absinthe. Something tells me ge would know.

The moral of the story? Don't drink anything that requires a flame arrester: rocket fuel, nuclear waste, 75.5% alcohol, etc.

Back to Voegelin's discussion of immortality, which we began two days ago. First of all, what is immortality? For it seems that no human group is unfamiliar with the concept. Indeed, one definition of humanness could be "awareness of mortality," and therefore immortality. But which comes first? I'm pretty sure they co-arise, but we'll look further into this breaking story as we proceed.

Whatever else it is, "immortality" is a word, a symbol, a signifier, a container (the latter of which we symbolize [♀]). Yes, but of what? In other words, what does it mean?

True, you could look it up in the dictionary, just as you could look up, say, "drunk on Bacardi 151," but that would hardly convey the actual experience. Trust me.

Again, the type of symbols we're talking about are intended "to convey a truth experienced." They "are not concepts referring to objects existing in time and space but carriers of a truth about nonexistent reality." As such, the symbols are meant to facilitate "a consciousness of participation in nonexistent reality."

Therefore, "when the experience engendering the symbols ceases to be a presence located in the man who has it, the reality from which the symbols derive their meaning has disappeared." The symbol remains, of course -- i-m-m-o-r-t-a-l-i-t-y -- but people only pretend to know what it refers to. In technical terms the container (♀) remains, but the user simply fills it with his own idiosyncratic content (♂).

If you understand this problem alone, you will have understood one of the most ubiquitous problems in all of philosophy, metaphysics, and theology. What is "liberty," for example? Same container, radically different content for a liberal conservative vs. an illiberal leftist.

Likewise, what can it mean when an atheist "disbelieves" in God (O)? It means precisely nothing unless we're talking about the same experience. It either means that O cannot be experienced, or that "that wasn't O you experienced, just... your brain, or something." But if he is intellectually honest, shouldn't the atheist say the same of himself? "This is not atheism I'm experiencing, merely my own nervous system."

More generally, when I read theology or scripture, I am not looking for "information." Rather, what I am after is "a meditative reconstitution of the engendering reality" that brought the symbols about. When they fail to provoke this -- when the symbols cease to be translucent to reality -- we are stranded in the stoned rubbish of teenage wasteland, when

you know only / A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, / And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, / And the dry stone no sound of water.

Yeah, I know, TS: tough shit. Nothing you can do about it.

Not true: "For a man does not cease to be man, even when he runs amok in worlds of his own making, and a madness of the spirit is never quite undisturbed by a knowledge of its madness, however skillfully suppressed."

In short, man = man, wherever and in whatever condition you find him. And "the madness we call modernity is accompanied throughout by thinkers who, correctly diagnosing its cause, set about to remedy the evil by various attempts at recapturing reality."

In other words, a constant theme of modernity is the experience of alienation. The alienation is real enough -- for example, just read a couple of Hallucinations From My Marxist Father(s) -- it's just that socialism is not the cure. Are citizens less alienated today than 50 years and 15 trillion dollars ago? Or even three years and 5 trillion dollars ago?

I don't think so. Rather, leftists seem as alienated and angry as ever. Which is to say, their alienation is always already cranked up to 11.

To be continued....


EbonyRaptor said...

We are like donuts. God is the donut (w)hole.

Gagdad Bob said...

ʘ really?

julie said...

Mmmmmm.... Donuts...

julie said...

Apropos, pornifying the classics. Literally filling the (♀) with (♂).

mushroom said...

Regarding the qualitative versus quantitative in inebriation, I vote for tequila. As my buddy used to say when offered tequila, "No thanks, I don't do drugs."

I don't remember drinking any 151 -- which doesn't necessarily mean anything.

mushroom said...

Rather, what I am after is "a meditative reconstitution of the engendering reality" that brought the symbols about.

And that can happen in the strangest places and the most unexpected ways. I guess by definition it has to be unexpected, hence the meditative part.

Gagdad Bob said...

It's always grace, IMO. And Voegelin's.

mushroom said...

RE: Julie's link. Egad.

Of course, Jane Eyre makes me want to slash my wrists anyway, so how much worse could it be?

Can I admit something? It's like the Twelve Steps of literature. I love English novels, and I can admire and respect the skill and genius of Brontë and Jane Austen, but I really prefer writers like Stevenson, H. Rider Haggard, Doyle, Buchan, and even Walter Scott. Every time one of the Austen characters goes for a walk, I'm hoping for a kidnapping and pursuit on horseback across the freaking moors. I can't help myself.

mushroom said...

Speaking of doughnuts, I was worried for a minute about the implications of this story: Man accused in Dunkin' Donuts choking death.

Apparently, though, the victim was not choked to death with doughnuts. I can see the perpetrator using the sugar-high defense, however.

As the late Mr. Heston would say, "From my cold, dead hand".

ge said...

I lost most my bong hit [spit-take] to see that 'plug' ---should tell you i'm a poster boy for NOT graduating to stronger things [like booze] from heavensent collie

EbonyRaptor said...

A rather lengthy read - but it speaks to the left's tactic of alienation:

Magister said...

There's a sense of deadlock and doom around for sure.

The elite boys and girls have really mucked it up and are basically in-fighting and pointing fingers at each other. I get tired of their pedigreed futilities.

Lately I think a lot about scale. Where I live, the local and regional ethos is reasonable and healthy. There are problems to be sure, the most important of which is a lack of meaningful regional association. "Region" is where real itches and real solutions can be found at an effective scale.

Candide was in his own garden at the end.

julie said...

Mushroom, re. the the books, :D

Magister said...

I'm partial to Riverboat Rye whiskey, small batch beer, and good wine.

And anything home-made.

I live where people grow a lot of corn and grain, so I'm thinking of firing up a still this fall. Lots of corn, grain, peaches, cherries, and third-rate grapes grown near me.

Not a fan of the cactus stuff, but that doesn't stop me. :)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Do they still make Bacardi 151?

According to Skully, aye, they do still make 151.

I'm surprised Cousin Dupree didn't know that. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The moral of the story? Don't drink anything that requires a flame arrester: rocket fuel, nuclear waste, 75.5% alcohol, etc."

There was a time I would've disagreed with you, Bob, but now, I concur wholeheartedly.

Plus, fire n' 151 is a bad combination, according to Skully, and he would know.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Rather, leftists seem as alienated and angry as ever. Which is to say, their alienation is always already cranked up to 11."

Which is why leftist wanna build an Alien Nation rather than One Nation, Under God.

They celebrate aliens who despise liberty over those of us who are integrated in liberty.

Anna said...

""This is not atheism I'm experiencing, merely my own nervous system.""

Extremely good point. "Atheism" is a transcendent category. "Right there. Stop. Hold on. Did you just deduce (claimed) truth from something?" It's the typical cul-de-sac of the nervous system pointing back at itself rather making the full trip outside to the contact point. Ugh. Like a slipped, dud firecracker. The fact that a (claimed) truth is being strained from the considerations should be a signal that we're not in "nervous systems" anymore, Toto! Not to mention that nervous systems are so well-arranged to even get that far, but who's counting...?

By the way, if anyone has tips on why NOT moving to the middle east this fall might be wise, I'm all ears. Just saying... Culling points of view.

Anna said...

Btw, in case that was confusing, the "Right there. Stop..." etc. was being spoken to an imaginary atheist.


mushroom said...

Good points, Anna.

As far as the Middle East, I have some friends on their way to Azerbaijan which I think is kind of a dangerous place if there is an Iranian eruption. Russia is likely to view action by the U.S. and/or Israel against Iran as an excuse to do a little adventuring of her own in that region. I think there’s a pipeline or pipeline route they would like to have, among other things.

I think Syria is probably going to continue to be the surrogate area of conflict up until September/October. Some cynical people seem to think that a direct confrontation with Iran would be Obama's response to threatening poll numbers in that same early fall time frame. (I'm so cynical I think it will be an economic crisis instead, but I'm always wrong.)

With the Muslim Brotherhood in control of Egypt, Syria being a battleground, continued and increasing instability in Iraq and Libya, Turkey trending toward greater Islamic control, and the Iranians threatening a breakout, I'd advise my granddaughters to stay away from there.

But, if they told me they had a good reason and were being led by the Spirit, I'd probably buy their plane tickets and cry all the way home from the airport. Then pray a lot.

Van Harvey said...

"In other words, a constant theme of modernity is the experience of alienation. The alienation is real enough -- for example, just read a couple of Hallucinations From My Marxist Father(s) -- it's just that socialism is not the cure..."

When you deny Reality, it is an undeniable Truth that you become an alien in this world; and as Dante suggested, even if Obamao won't send them, ICE is what is waiting for you.

Anna said...

Thanks, Mushroom. That was very helpful. Wise words! I've felt a tug for a couple months to proceed with caution and prudence and to not rush over there at that time. I have a friend in Jerusalem, from Portland, OR, where I live, who would like me to head over there. He doesn't see a problem with it as he is oblivious to politics in general. He is so busy studying the deep religious past, specifically translation issues, that current events are like little blips on the radar to him.

I traveled from Scotland to Newark--by way of five days in Newfoundland--on 9/11/01 so learned to be a little on the astute side when it comes to stuff like this.