Friday, July 27, 2012

The Order of Obama's Disordered Mind

For those joining the program in progress, we've been searching after the order of the cosmos, which is what humans are always doing anyway. The only difference is that we are explicit about it. For example, Obama's belief that we didn't build this isn't just ignorant, it's positively tenured.

But beyond that, it is also a statement about the order of reality, about first principles and primary ideological commitments. You will have noticed that Obama was quite passionate when he made the statement, and that the audience was whooping it up and egging him on -- as if he were auditioning to replace the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in the First Church of the Perpetual Victim.

Yeah, all you millionaires and billionaires out there who pull down 250K -- okay, $167K after taxes to pay for roads and teachers -- you may attribute your success to brains and sweat, but there are plenty of smart and hardworking folks out there, so you're just wrong -- not to mention, greedy and selfish.

Are there people who are just lucky? Of course! That is not a bug but a feature. Thanks to the freedom that is built into the market, it's not like some kind of linear machine, whereby you insert intelligence at one end and extract cash and other valuable prizes at the other. Sometimes intelligence and hard work will pay off. Sometimes they won't. Rule #1: Life isn't fair.

And sometimes a crass idiot -- say, Barack Obama -- will reach the pinnacle of success. But do I believe we need to tear down and reform the whole system just because this dimwit makes more money than I do? No, not at all. Thanks to this feature of the system, it gives hope to every moron that they too can make it in America. Imagine the despair if this weren't the case?

In places where self-appointed elites who are smarter than the rest of us attempt to impose a "fairer" order from on high, it never results in more fairness, or justice, or general affluence. Thanks to the Wisdom of Crowds, the unruly crowd demonstrates more wisdom than the pinheads who imagine they know better -- for which reason William F. Buckley famously resnarked that he would prefer to be governed by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty.

The critical point is that the Order of Things is not static but dynamic. This dynamic order, as Mises and Hayek recognized, contains an infinitude of intelligence, dispersed throughout the system. In this context it is perfectly acceptable to say you didn't built that. Why? Because the hidden hand of the marketplace converts your intelligence, your ideas, your desires, even your greed, into social goods.

This is something the leftist refuses to believe: that order emerges from chaos. Instead, he believes that order emerges from order -- specifically, his own special insight into the order of reality. This is the impulse that prompts the leftist to believe that he can design a medical system superior to what the market would produce (if it were allowed to do so instead of being distorted by the state), or that he can steer the entire macroeconomy -- at no cost and with no unintended consequences -- simply by stealing from the future and pouring it into the present.

Why does the leftist refuse to believe in the order of reality? Pride would appear to play a predominant role. In particular, the tenured class is perpetually aggrieved at the fact that its economic station doesn't reflect its brilliance, whereas some businessboob lives on his own tropical island with a stable of supermodels. It's not fair!

Which only goes to show their own intellectual shallowness, because the privilege and pleasures of the life of mind -- of the true philosopher -- greatly exceed those of the sensory nervous system (to say nothing of the "pleasures of spirit," so to speak, or, even better, when all three -- body, mind, and spirit -- are integrated, which one might say is the "unsurpassable order" for human beings. Nor would the Raccoon exchange this proper dynamic order for anything in the world).

Taranto discussed this the other day. He was pondering the question of what seems to be eating at the perpetually embittered former Enron advisor Paul Krugman -- who would appear to have it all, except for sanity, charm, looks, and non-beady eyes that don't dart around like Scrat searching for his missing acorn:

"Status anxiety, that's what. He is part of America's intellectual elite. By the measure of his credentials -- Ivy League professorship, Nobel Memorial Prize, New York Times column -- he arguably is at its very pinnacle, the elitest of the elitists and, thanks to the Times, one of the most famous. He is also, as any observer can attest, a very self-important person."

So in a just world, Krugman's economic acumen shouldn't only be acclaimed by all, but by all rights he should be running our lives, no?

"It's common for eggheads to nurture ressentiment against fat cats. Intellectuals are apt to hold a self-serving belief in cognitive meritocracy, in the idea that the brightest are also the best. They envy the rich because wealth is a concrete measure of status that is out of proportion to what the intellectual believes to be true merit. If they're so rich, how come they're not smart?"

At the moment it's a little difficult to imagine a more frightening scenario than the order of the world reflecting the order of Paul Krugman's head.

Let's get back to Voegelin. He directly addresses the issue we've been discussing, writing of how symbols become erected into the "entities" of ideology, which is to say, how reality -- which is always a verb -- is transformed into the nouns of ideological doctrine (which is an instance of Whitehead's fallacy of misplaced concreteness).

Intellectuals are obviously much more prone to this fallacy than the ordinary intelligent person, say, a businessman, who, if he were to operate his business along Marxist lines, would be out of business in a week. Sure, Marxism works: in the land of the tenured, where one is generously compensated for producing ideas that do not work in the real world because they are detached from said world.

Such a thinker "pays for his intellectual cleanliness the price of denying truth altogether." But actual truth only exists in the messy field of tension between knower and known. Or, as Voegelin explains, truth is not "a bit of information that has escaped" the notice of others, but "a pole in the tension of order and disorder, of reality and loss of reality."

Man's epistemophilic instinct actually has two components. On the one hand we are repelled by disorder, on the other, moved by a kind of longing for truth. You might say that there is an attractor, O, which provokes our desire and pulls us toward it; but also a kind of "inverse attractor" (Ø) that repels us, even though we must always tolerate it on pain of magically eliminating the tension between Ø and O via some defective dogma.

One of the most adequate formulations of this tension was set forth by Paul, who called it the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. To imagine one may reach the other side of this tension is to convert truth into a kind of "absolute object" that derails us into "doctrinaire existence."

For those who subsist in such an impoverished and unhappitat, "the subfield is a closed world; there is nothing beyond it, or at least nothing they care to know about, should they uneasily sense that something is there after all." But truth remains: "When it is excluded from the universe of intellectual discourse, its presence in reality makes itself felt in the disturbance of mental operations," i.e., a state of pneumapathology.

Just to wrap this up, we know that Obama didn't build you didn't build that. Rather, this defective idea was built by a quintessential man of tenure, George Lakoff. Now, Lakoff is the same intellectual who counsels those on the left to counter conservative arguments by placing their hands over their ears while chanting LALALALALALALALA!!!

In other words, don't just do something about reality. Shout over it!

Lakoff hasn't discovered anything new, since denial is a well known psychological defense mechanism. But shifted to the intellectual and spiritual planes, it results in "a whole class of phenomena" being "denied cognizance" and therefore existence. Which wouldn't trouble us if not for the fact that "every now and then, there happens along" an assoul

"who takes himself seriously and faces everybody else with the alternative of either joining him in his intellectual prison or being put in a concentration camp." Thankfully we don't have concentration camps. Rather, we just toil for the state for several months of the year, or are herded into the leftist seminaries called "public schools," or are corralled into "insurance exchanges" on the way to socialized medicine.

There is another alternative for the ideologue, but this "would release a flood of anxiety, and the dread of this flood keeps the doors of the prison closed.... The alternative to life in the paradise of his dream is death in the hell of his banality."

And yeah, he built that.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama and the Authoritarian Enlightenment

As mentioned at the top of yesterday's post, man's existence is a search for order. Throughout most of history, and in most civilizations, this order was (and is) imposed from on high.

While these orders may have initially emerged spontaneously, they eventually become crystalized around things other than the engendering truth(s) they are supposed to reflect. Voegelin's entire corpus is the residue of his search for order -- as is the Knowa's Arkive and Seer's Catalogue of soiled bobservations.

At issue in the current presidential campaign is two fundamentally different orders, one that relies on liberty, individual initiative, self-mastery, and the spontaneous order of the free market; the other of which champions an order imposed upon us by the state, which consists of elites who have a special insight into the order of things, and who do not trust the individual to arrive at this order on his own.

This dialectic has been present throughout history, the reason being that it is present in each human subject. For just as society is man writ large, man is a micro-society. There are various ways to describe this tension in man, but it essentially comes down to individualism <---> socialism, which I would suggest is ultimately rooted in male <---> female (or, more abstractly, contained <---> container).

For example, when people speak of a "nanny state," they are intuiting and expressing a genuine truth about the deep order of things.

Due to a semantic confusion introduced over the past several decades, there has been a reversal of what the words "liberal" and "conservative" signify. As a result, it is conservatives who are champions of change and progress (especially via the free market), liberals who wish to resist change by imposing a static, top-down order on the rest of us.

Let me provide a historical example. As mentioned a couple of days ago, I'm reading this history of Prussia, and last night was learning about the revolutionary movements of the mid-19th century.

Among other things, what these liberals -- radicals -- were demanding was a fixed constitution, freedom of expression, and a political order rooted in common language and values, rather than one imposed by a distant state.

Furthermore, "liberals argued that industrialization and mechanization were the cure for, not the cause of, the social crisis, and called for the removal of government regulations that hindered investment and obstructed economic growth."

"Conservatives," on the other hand, were what we now call leftists: they -- ironically, along with the Marxists (or left Hegelians) -- argued "that the responsibility for arresting the polarization of society must lie with the state as the custodian of the general interest."

Some were proponents -- sound familiar? -- of authoritarian enlightenment, and "favoured the use of illiberal means to achieve progressive ends."

From the peculiar psyche of Hegel came the argument that the state "was an organism possessing will, rationality and purpose. Its destiny -- like that of any living thing -- was to change, grow and progressively develop. The state was 'the power of reason actualising itself as will'; it was a transcendent domain in which the alienated, competitive 'particular interests' of civil society merged into coherence and identity."

Most people don't know this, but when Hegel died of cholera in 1831, he was working on a book with broader appeal, called You Didn't Build That!

Hegel was the first assoul to suggest that "the state had a quasi-divine purpose; it was 'God's march through the world'... by which the multitude of subjects who constituted civil society was redeemed into universality." The state is "the highest expression of the ethical substance of a people, the unfolding of a transcendent and rational order..."

Now, just subtract "God," and you have the modern left. Or, more precisely, imbue the Dear Leader with divine-like properties.

What did Evan Thomas say? "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."

Newsweek was almost right: we're all Hegelians now.

For Obama is not some America-loving cretin, like Reagan: rather, he is all about "‘we're above that now.’ We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial. We stand for something.... He's going to bring all different sides together.... He's the teacher. He is going to say, ‘now, children, stop fighting and quarreling with each other.’ And he has a kind of a moral authority that he -- he can -- he can do that."

And so he has.

I've suddenly been called away to work. The end

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Obama, the Malfunctioning Pharaoh

Man's existence is a search for order. Back in the day -- we're talking ancient times -- man sought order via alignment with the cosmos. This approach survives today, for example, in the form of astrology, or new year celebrations, or the search for a mythical TOE (theory of everything) that would reduce all existence to an elegant equation.

Hence the excitement over the apparent confirmation of the "God particle" -- as if metaphysics may be reduced to physics. Why not just enjoy the science on its own level? Failure to curb one's titanic enthusiasm here is tantamount to winning an Oscar and imagining this crowns one "king of the world."

But if one has exiled oneself from the Ground, this doesn't mean one will cease searching after it. Doesn't work that way. It's just that the search will be displaced, no different than, say, the neurotic person who compulsively searches for his father's love via repeated homosexual encounters. The compulsion is fueled by virtue of the fact that no amount of the latter substitutes for the former, for you can never get enough of what you don't really need.

Likewise, it is beyond obvious to say that God -- or the Ground -- is much more than the sum of the parts of the universe, just as no amount of two-dimensional planes adds up to a three-dimensional object. God is capacious enough to contain all possible universes, let alone this one, just as the mind can conceive any number of truths. Don't worry, your mind will never run out of real estate. Unless you aren't real astute, and end up building your own wall around it.

Remember, a cosmos isn't just a cosmos. Rather, "cosmos" is simply the word we use for the existence of the total order at any given time. We always have a sense of this total order, even if the vision or content change from century to century. Today, for example, most people go on living in a pre-Einsteinian cosmos in order to prop up a disordered and defective worldview, e.g., atheists or literal creationists.

Anyway, back in the old days, the ruler was seen as the living link, so to speak, between the celestial (i.e., cosmic) and terrestrial orders. In ancient Egypt, for example, "the Pharaoh is supposed to be the mediator of this order to society" (Voegelin). Thus, if there was disorder -- if things were falling apart and getting too out of hand in the herebelow -- it was "because of the Pharaoh's malfunctioning."

Before you laugh at Egypt for having made no psychospiritual progress in the past 5,000 years -- okay, after laughing -- realize that we do the same thing, albeit in a more or less mature and sublimated manner. If you think back to 2008, the left spoke as if the existing Pharaoh had become so toxic that the cosmos itself had strayed from its axis. In fact, ever since then, Taranto has had a running gag called Everything is Seemingly Spinning Out of Control, based on an epically silly AP headline from that year.

If Obama was good at one thing, it was at exploiting this longing on the part of the left for a new and improved Pharaoh to realign the cosmos. Unfortunately, now that he himself has become the malfunctioning Pharaoh -- i.e., the Emperor's New Empty Suit -- he has been shorn of this one acknowledged skill.

If the Pharodent were to encourage such absurd flights of infantile phantasy this time around, it would simply expose the freudulent hate-and-switch at the root of his previous success. And few figures are more forlorn than a fading pharaoh falling from the fictional pyramid he so fleetly flew up just a few years back.

Remember the immortal self-beclowning of Mark Morford? "[I]n response to... those with broken or sadly dysfunctional karmic antennae -- or no antennae at all -- to all those who just don't understand and maybe even actively recoil against all this chatter about Obama's aura and feel and MLK/JFK-like vibe."

Hold it right there. No one has accused Obama of cheating on his wife.

"To them I say, all right, you want to know what it is? The appeal, the pull, the ethereal and magical thing that seems to enthrall millions of people from all over the world, that keeps opening up and firing into new channels of the culture normally completely unaffected by politics?"

Hmm, let me think. Joe Biden said he was clean, and Harry Reid said he didn't talk like a negro. Is it that?

"No, it's not merely his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric. It is not fresh ideas or cool charisma or the fact that a black president will be historic and revolutionary in about a thousand different ways. It is something more. Even Bill Clinton, with all his effortless, winking charm [sic], didn't have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high-vibration integrity."

I see. A Pharaoh then?

"Dismiss it all you like, but I've heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who've been intuitively blown away by Obama's presence - not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence..."

Well, at least you're not the last person to get burned by Tony Robbins.

I don't know. This all sounds a little... what's the word?

"... gooey. Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul."

Now, not only do I not see Obama as an Evolutionary Lightworker who is attuned to my Deeply Spiritual Being, but rather, as a plain old Presidential Failure. But that's all he is: a failed president. Sure, that's bad, but imagine how bad one must feel in the wake of a failed god.

That equates to an ontic collapse, a complete failure of cosmic order -- similar to how the collapse of the Soviet Union left historian Eric Hobsbawm heartbroken. But the heartbreak was misplaced, because it should have been over an utterly wasted life spent using one's god-given talents to defend evil. That is heartbreak, especially when it occurs so close to the night, when no man can work.

Just to wrap this up, on the ontological plane we are discussing, the principle of the cosmological ruler/mediator was eventually displaced -- at least for some -- by the Christic God-man who embodies the trans-cosmic order -- the logos -- in a more direct and personal -- rather than political and collective -- manner. He, of course, cannot be surpassed. But the left will never stop trying, for it is What They Do.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Space: The Final Up-, Down-, Back- & Frontier

Within this space "Man discovers his existence as illuminated from within by Intellect or Nous" (Voegelin). The latter is both a part of existence -- obviously -- and yet transcends it in such a way that it may search after knowledge in various directions: up, down, forward, back, and laterally.

For example, "up" is the realm of metaphysics, theology, intellection, and the most general and universal principles; "down" is the plane of sensation, physical law, and empirical knowledge of things; "lateral" involves especially the human world, rooted in introspection, empathy, and natural reason; "back" is, of course, history, prehistory, and mythology, all the way down to the upagain of metaphysics and revelation -- to the origin and ground that is simultaneously meaning and end.

All of these areas -- and more -- are illuminated in the space of (¶). Furthermore, everything we have said thus far is already known by you, even if you don't yet consciously know it, or refuse to acknowledge it for reasons unknown only to you.

Truth remains evertrue, even if it is known by no one. It is your cosmic birthright -- at once gift and limit, for while these categories permit us to think, we cannot think beyond or outside them. So, in the words of Socrates, it's a good nous/bad nous situation.

When one refuses, or is in revolt against, truth, one has entered a state of pneumapathology. As we have disussed in the past, psychopathology is more of a lateral or horizontal phenomenon, rooted in disturbances either in the nervous system or in human relationships.

But pneumapathology is more of a vertical phenomenon rooted mostly in spiritual relationships, and secondarily in the body.

I won't spend too much time on the latter, because it's a rather murky subject area, but the literature is rife with vivid accounts of spiritual energy run amuck in the body. Most people on a spiritual path are familiar with its whims.

Voegelin describes pneumapathology as "a loss of personal and social order through loss of contact with nonexistent reality," i.e., the "up" alluded to above.

In fact, I would say that it is man's primary vocation to allow this nonexistent reality to ex-ist, which means literally to stand-out, march forth, and come into being.

This nonexistent reality is necessarily no-where until we render it some-where. Thus, the human being is analogous to a lens or prismhouse through which the light of (↓) is refracted into various spiritual "colors," e.g., love, truth, beauty, compassion, wisdom, and all the rest.

If you look closely, you can actually see this light in certain people, just as you can see the darkness in them. With eyes not made by Darwin, of course.

Now, (¶) is ultimately the divine presence in man. No, make that penultimately, because we need to preserve a little space for ʘ, more on which later. Actually, it is more a matter of degree or of development, analogous to the difference between a child's ego and an adult ego. You know the story -- when we were children, we spoke and thought and reasoned as William Yelverton.

Looked at from a certain angle, one can discern in history the repeated pattern of explosive encounters with O, gradual loss of O, and then sudden reacquisition (so to speak) of O. O is, among other things, what Voegelin means when he refers to "order," specifically, the human order (about which we will have much more to say as we proceed).

For example, just yesterday the pattern was revealed in this massive History of Prussia that I'm reading for some reason. Wait a second -- let me go fetch it.

By way of context, areas of Prussia were hotspots in the religious wars of the 17th century. It was here that Lutherans broke from Catholics, and that Calvinists broke even more radically with Lutherans. For example, "At the heart of the most committed forms of Calvinism was a fastidious disgust at the strands of papalism that survived within Lutheran observance."

But the real issue beneath the outward historical pattern is loss of contact with O. Man cannot live without this contact, which explains the passion and urgency of the actors. One offshoot of Lutheranism was Pietism, just one of many religious movements that longed for a more intense and committed encounter with O, as it were:

"Pietism was about living to the full Luther's 'priesthood of all believers'; Pietists cherished the experience of faith; they developed a refined vocabulary to describe the extreme psychic states that attended the transition from a merely nominal to a truly heartfelt belief.... Perhaps because it was driven by such explosive emotions, Pietism was also dynamic and unstable" (Clark).

True dat. You see, the state craves one kind of order, while (¶) craves another, and these were generally at odds until the establishment of the United States, which was founded on the principle that all men have the intrinsic right to pursue O -- or not -- in their own way. This was the American creed until 2008, when President Obama openly declared that the order of the state trumps the order of O.

That's enough Prussia for the moment, but one thing this demonstrates is that the problem was not with Catholicism per se, only the extent to which the Church had become ineffective in helping people maintain contact with O. This is what produces the offshoots.

But today, due to the same force (↑), people are abandoning many of the mainstream churches and returning to Catholicism and Orthodoxy for a more intense religious experience (which was clearly one of the purposes of Vatican II). Now that the latter two are no longer mixed up with the state, they can focus more purely on O.

This sure is going slowly. No wonder there are 34 volumes of it. Out of time again.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Penetrating to the Core of Leftist Rot: Rules for Ridicule

This brief blast (unfortunate choice of terms for a Unabomber victim -- let's say righteous rant) by David Gelernter touches on some of the matters we've been discussing lately. As lucid as it is, it cannot penetrate to the core in the way Voegelin does, for he is still operating in the realms of fact and opinion rather than the Truth beyond which there can be no truther (although the book, America Lite, no doubt takes the argument deeper and higher).

For it is not sufficient to be conservative and therefore "correct" about this or that public (and private!) policy. Rather, this correctness needs to be grounded in something much deeper, otherwise (among other problems) it will have the tendency to merely provoke -- and even feed -- its reactionary opposite among leftists, who may not know much, but at least know who they hate.

There is a kind of conservatism that is in perpetual duality with the left, another kind that flies above -- and below -- it. (In other words, it is both transcendent and immanent, whereas leftism is pure "middle range," which renders it absurd and ungrounded.)

This is why (lower case) reason is powerless to explain how Obama remains politically afloat; and "even more surprising than his political super-buoyancy is the resurrection of big-government, 1930s-style economic thinking in the Democratic party long after it was taken out with the trash along with Jimmy Carter, and once more (for good measure) after Gingrich smashed Clinton in the ’94 midterms. The failure of central planning and state-managed economies is one of the big themes of the 20th century. But Obama’s handlers have yet to tell him" (Gelernter).

Why would they? They don't know it either (the tenured? Of all people!), plus he'd refuse to believe them anyway, just as is true of at least half the citizenry. And anyone with a financial interest in the status quo will be impervious as well -- the millions of state employees, bureaucrats, public school teachers, state college administrators, and other assorted dependents and rent seekers; and more generally that half of the population that is able to tax the other half for what it imagines is a lifetime of free lunches.

Even so, these people are motivated as much by creed as they are by greed. Human beings are not only epistemophilic, but cannot help "loving" the truth. Anyone is susceptible to living a lie, but almost no one willingly does so. Human beings are oriented to the good, true, and beautiful, so even when they aren't, they convince themselves that they are.

As Gelernter observes, "You might think that Obama makes a poor intellectual: he doesn’t seem to read; ideas evidently mean nothing to him. But notice that he governs on the basis of theories and not facts. And he graduated from Columbia and Harvard. Case closed" (emphasis mine).

Here again, these are not theories in the way you or I would understand the term, i.e., disinterested maps of reality, always subject to feedback and revision. Rather, the PORGIs discussed by Gelernter -- POst-Religious Global Intellectualistas (or Gnostic Internationalists) -- by the very nature of this designation, have converted their ideology to a religion rooted in faith and sentiment (which is an insult to the latter; instead, let's call them stupidity and emotion).

It's also an insult to religion more generally, because it implies that leftism is just another religion, like any other. First of all, in not recognizing itself as such, it is intrinsically confused about where it is coming from and to where it is going. For religion has to do with "ultimate reality" as such (O), not dogma per se, which can only be "O once removed," so to speak.

It is bad enough that the left doesn't understand this, but at least it has an excuse (i.e., an anti-intellectual climate of elite opinion that ordains materialism, reductionism, and scientism). There is no excuse for religious conservatives to get this wrong, for doing so is in direct violation of universal commanishad (or upanishalt) #3, which has to do with engaging in the kind of empty and vain pneumababble that makes God look stupid (see p. 235).

For when God and religion look stupid, this legitimately fuels the misgodded epistemophiliacs of the left, because even they know that truth, whatever it is, can't be stupid. The left feeds on this stupidity to build up their illusory intellectual superiority and self-righteous amoralism. But for every Voegelin, there are a thousand or more Joel Osteens who teach the same wish-drenched "prosperity gospel" as the left, minus most of the envy, hate, and scapegoating. Which is a start...

But it nevertheless reduces God to a banal horizontal cause on the same level as any other material or efficient cause. As Voegelin explains, "The modern reader, unless he is an expert in metaphysics, will have difficulty understanding" the principle that divine causation "does not have the meaning of cause which the modern reader associates with it."

For it is not the horizontal cause-and-effect of the natural sciences, but rather, the type of vertical causation that obtains in any hierarchical structure in which the lower is derived from the higher.

Religion "takes place" in this vertical space between...

I need to pause here for a moment, in order to introduce some symbols into the mix. We all know about O, which is simultaneously the "top" and "ground" of the vertical hierarchy. This form is definitional; it cannot be surpassed, but it can, of course (and must be) filled with the content of religious experience.

One might say that this vertical space is everything, for it is where existence becomes "self-luminous," irrespective of creed. The instrument of this luminosity is symbolized (¶). I think this is fair, because we can all agree that (¶) exists, even if our metaphysic cannot account for it. But whether one is religious or secular, this Light -- this illuminated space we call consciousness -- is again everything. It is why science illuminates so much, even if it can never illuminate itself on its own terms.

"Illumination" is in many ways indistinguishable from transcendence, because there is Light, but also someone who needs to witness it. These two -- witness and Light -- are of the same substance, which is to say, Truth. This is why something like, say, doctrinaire Darwinism, cannot possibly be true, since it has no rational basis whatsoever to affirm the truth of anything, let alone everything.

In short, if man is pure contingency (instead of partaking of the substance of Light and Truth), he has no access whatsoever to the necessary -- to the absolute, the universal, the eternal.

The point is that man both "spans" and "inhabits" this vertical space that runs from O to what we symbolize Ø. Critically, Ø is not to be understood as "falsehood," or as a kind of "opposite" of O. Rather, it only becomes falsehood -- even the essence of falsehood -- when conflated with, or elevated to, O.

To cite the most obvious example, the Darwinian referenced above begins (without admitting it to himself) by reducing O to Ø, and then concludes that Ø is all there is. But if this statement is true, it is obviously no longer Ø. Rather, it is coming from the mysterious vertical space -- the vast realm of potential enslackenment -- between O and Ø.

Thus one of Petey's Rules for Ridicule of the left: To deny slack is to steal it.

Sorry we didn't get too far, but I'm running late. We'll continue tomorrow.

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