Friday, July 20, 2012

Some Place, No Place, One Place, Every Place

As mentioned a couple of days ago, this particular collection of essays by Voegelin might be the most dense with implications of any book I've ever read. It's a little overwhelming to even know where to start. I'm tempted to jump ahead to what I just read yesterday, but that might make the task more daunting, so I'd better just proceed from the beginning, page by page. One of the purposes of doing so is to try to wrap my mind around this unruly beast.

Okay, just one quote from yesterday's lectio divina. It's from a lecture called Wisdom and Magic at the Extreme; in it Voegelin speaks of a time -- this would be 1973, so it's only worse today -- "when all of us are threatened in our humanity, if not our physical existence, by the massive social force of activist dreamers who want to liberate us from our imperfections by locking us up in the perfect prison of their phantasy" (emphasis mine).

"Even in our so-called free societies not a day passes that we are not seriously molested, in encounters with persons, or the mass media, or a supposedly philosophical and scientific literature, by somebody's Utopian imagination."

See what I meme? It reminds me of jazz, in which one can improvise for twenty or thirty minutes over just a couple of choice chords.

Why did this happen, and why is it happening still? Why are we being harassed by utopians who are driven by a strange passion to (dis)order our lives before they have even ordered their own? And why is it being done to us by the most privileged, educated, and cultured members of society? How did things -- the things of the mind and spirit -- ever become so corrupted?

The first order of business is to cross the border of isness, into the space where engagement with reality can actually occur: "We have to break jail, and restore the philosopher's freedom of reason..." One is tempted to say that one must Tune In -- to reality -- Turn On -- to O -- and Drop Out -- of unreality, or Ø.

Eu-topia means, of course, no-place, or Ø, precisely. Since we can never have it, we always want it, which is perhaps the major source of the left's energy. In other words, the left takes advantage of the intrinsic tension that forever defines the human station, between the Way Things Are and the Way We Wish They Were. In order to make progress of any kind -- personal, societal, historical -- this tension must be respected, not annihilated.

For example, this is the tension that drives a market economy, and causes an inventor or entrepreneur to create something that didn't exist before. Thus, this is the same tension that Obama devalues because he deeply resents it: you didn't build that!

To which one wants to respond: You didn't say that. Somebody else built that teleprompter.

When you give something to someone, you eliminate this tension. But that's only on the material/economic plane, where it's bad enough (unless we're talking about the legitimate entitlement-state of childhood).

The consequences are even more devastating when applied to the psychological and spiritual planes (although the three are very much related, something recognized by the Founders, what with their emphasis on the sacred rights of property, without which it is difficult if not impossible to secure any other kind of right; in the hierarchy of being, rights come from up above but they are secured from down below, backed ultimately -- when push comes to shove or ideologue comes to steal -- by legitimate violence).

To paraphrase Voegelin, oppressors such as Obama have a theory of oppression which assures a monopoly of oppression to themselves. Thus, with a straight farce he can say that no one founded General Motors but that He saved it.

Again, Utopia is no-place. It doesn't exist because it cannot exist, at least not on the macro/collective level. Certain pockets of sanity and decency can come pretty darn near to it, until the barbarians find out about it.

For example, believe it or not, the university was once a pretty good place to obtain the beginnings of an education. Tenureman (T) is actually a relatively recent phenomenon. Before the 20th century, for example, the greatest philosophers were mostly just curious and wonderfilled civilians, not credentialed idiots.

According to Voegelin, this permanent idiot class, or looniversity bin, really didn't become institutionalized until "the populist expansion of the universities, accompanied by the inevitable inrush of functional illiterates into academic positions in the 1950s and 1960s." The fringe is now the core, and vice versa, which is why discussion of reality is one of the few grounds for denial or revocation of tenure.

Of course, it is still permissible to be in contact with reality, but there is strict adherence to the policy of "don't ask, don't tell." Don't advertise this contact or you are toast.

How did Voegelin get away with it? That's a long story, but some of the details are instructive. One of the disturbing trends he noticed about the academic world was its "violently restrictive visions of existence that... surrounded me on all sides..." Therefore, "Something had to be done. I had to get out of that 'apodictic horizon' as fast as possible."


Yes, you know -- the bovine certainty of such soul-killing ideologies as Darwinism, scientism, positivism, Marxism, Keynesianism, atheism, behaviorism, feminism, etc. All that dreary monolithic diversity to which we have become accustomed.


That would be mysterious "subjective horizon" to which your cosmic bus driver often alludes, i.e., GAGDAD BOB, FLOATING IN HIS CLOUD-HIDDEN BOBSERVATORY, JUST BEYOND THE INTERIOR HORIZON OF THE UNITED STATES OF MIND. This is where we live and where we write. It is where the bus is headed, the filial deustinocean that we can never quite reach.

Importantly -- and why is this controversial? -- this horizon is infinite. Therefore, to deny it is to live in NO PLACE. But there's a twist to it, because this latter is really a man-made SOME PLACE that doesn't actually exist. Rather, it is one of the many restrictive "second realities" discussed by Voegelin.

In reality, there is only ONE PLACE, one human happitat but numberless unhappy ones, more on which in a moment. Allow Voegelin to just complete his thought as to why he felt so compelled to escape the apodictic horizon of academia. For whatever reason, "I was attracted by 'larger horizons' and repelled, if not nauseated, by restrictive deformations."

Now, about that SOME PLACE that is NO PLACE and the ONE PLACE that is EVERY PLACE. I know this might sound cutely paradoxical and all, but it is truly orthoparadoxical, a rock-bottom truth beyond which there is no truther. It is the one truth that permits all the others that ceaselessly flow into this ONE PLACE.


Yes. Recall the intrinsic tension alluded to above in paragraph seven. I'm starting to run out of time, so I'll be brief, but don't worry, we'll be returning to this foundation again and again. Voegelin speaks of

"the horizon that draws us [read: Attractor] to advance toward it but withdraws as we advance; it can give direction to the quest of truth but cannot be reached." Within this space certain "moving forces" become luminous, essentially "a human questioning and seeking in response to a mysterious drawing and moving from the divine side."

In other words -- or beyond words -- at the antipodes of this space are O and (¶), and within this space are ( ↑) and (↓).

These ladder "are experienced as the moving forces of consciousness.... Hence, the process of reality becoming luminous is further structured by the consciousness of the two moving forces, of the tension between them, and of the responsibility to keep their movements in such a balance that the image resulting from their interaction will not distort the truth of reality." (I symbolize this balance [↑↓] .)

For "one cannot know the mystery of the horizon and its beyond as if it were an object this side of the horizon." To do this is to violate Commandments one and two (which often topples the rest), which is the intrinsic heresy -- which we call ideolatry -- of the left in general and of Obama in particular.

This ideolatry always ends in tears and blood, because nightmares do come true. In other words, when falsehood enters history it takes on a deadly reality, as it destructively careens down the corridors of time (HT Vanderleun -- who has also advised all and sundry to pass along the following gem inspired by Harvard's Gift to Comedy and curse to economics:


julie said...

Certain pockets of sanity and decency can come pretty darn near to it, until the barbarians find out about it.

Yes. All of the programs designed to undermine traditional families come to mind.

mushroom said...

Speaking of jazz, this is melodious, maybe even theolodious post.

…liberate us from our imperfections …

"Chilling" is the word that comes to mind when I read that phrase. They might as well say, You will be punished, and, of course, you will enjoy it.

It’s the opposite of the undercurrent of joy in, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.

Gagdad Bob said...

Tweets from Iowahawk:

"Listening to Obama explain where wealth comes from is like listening to a 4-year old explain where babies come from. Adorable!

"Obama's base: people too lazy to do their own stealing.

"'Somebody else made that happen' is the economic equivalent of Creationism.

"I believe in separation of church and state. Especially for people whose church IS the state."

ge said...

Crazy styles of mass murder...our US nuts mass murder their peers; whereas muslim madmen at least choose their non-tribe perceived enemies as victims...

So this Holmes schmuck becomes 'the most [in]famous person in the
world' for a day or thru the weekend...that modern 'goal' achieved like for other perps before him

the only winners are the invisible demons urging their host on to their goal of feasting on much spilled life blood...rivers of salty tears

Calls himself 'the joker', striking
in the violent glitzy cesspool of 'state of the dark art' hollywood's finest blockbuster offering first show...

an old shrink theory on mass stabbers like Speck, and also the BTK creep was that they [only] got rox off that way; wonder does that also apply to 21st century style of methodical fame-grubber-shooter-killers? Bob?

wack: i worked at a theater in Denver, and lived in Littleton [Columbine came years later] when I went for a semester to U of Colorado/Denver, where today's killer dropped out of...

why blab to cops that youve boobytrapped your home? O, i answer own ?: if he were killed more likely others also w/out warning...

ge said...

i might have to see it after all and munch my syllables!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sad, that last link.

After having spent years studying Marxism, one would think...

No, strike that. Marxists don't think they only accept what can only be obvious to the oblivious:

Which is really Fooltopia.
Too bad Oh's wife and daughters had to suffer due to his foolish quest for Fooltopia.

Great post, Bob. Lots of good wise cracks.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Obama's base: people too lazy to do their own stealing."

LOL! The keystoned krooks.

julie said...

Heh. One of the things I like about OC is that it's pretty much guaranteed that there will be no walking over hot coals nor fasting sweat lodges of death.

ge said...

you beat me to it Julie!
"Unleash the [Healing] Power Within...get your 2nd degree burns here folks"

julie said...

The sad thing is, if you read some of the comments at the original article, there are those who have done this and apparently think people were burned because they didn't unleash the power within, or whatever it is they think they're doing. In all likelihood, though, people were burned because the coals weren't prepared properly to keep them from being burned. Physics, not psychics.

Gagdad Bob said...

Unleash the Power of Skin Grafts.

Gagdad Bob said...

Just read a passage in Voegelin that applies to Deepak Robbins & their illk:

"Some men are puffed up with arrogance, or stuffed with pride of riches, [or] social status..., so that their soul is burning with the hubris of needing no guide, but rather to be the guide of others.

"Such are the men who are abandoned by [God] and, when abandoned, will join up with others of a similar kind to spread the 'disease' of their personal existence into society and history. To many they will seem like 'somebody,' but sooner or later there will have to be paid the penalty of the ruin the nobodies have brought on themselves and their country. Justice, when abandoned," becomes a kind of self-avenging Judge of the abandoned.

Or, in the words of the psychotic patient, "karma has a way of coming back and biting you in the ass."

Van Harvey said...

"... the three are very much related, something recognized by the Founders, what with their emphasis on the sacred rights of property, without which it is difficult if not impossible to secure any other kind of right; in the hierarchy of being, rights come from up above but they are secured from down below, backed ultimately --when push comes to shove or ideologue comes to steal -- by legitimate violence..."

Very well put, Rights come from above, but are secured from below... a person could dig down into some serious depths on that little plot of terra incognita alone.

ge said...

check it out, some 'Coonish strains like it or not!
Discovered today seems a pretty brilliant orator/teacher speaking on Evola...
he goes into great depth analyzing Punch & Judy [with enthusiasm & fun imitations] also.