Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crusade My Ass

I'd like to go back to that word "rapprochement" that we were discussing last week, specifically, to the rapprochement of mind and nature. Until the appearance of man -- and not just genetic Homo bigbrain, but self-conscious man firing on all psychopneumatic cylinders -- mind and nature were "fused," so to speak, so no rapprochement was necessary. Only after man discovers his separation -- which is the same as his Adamic uniqueness and alone-liness -- is a rapprochement necessary.

For millennia, religion was the principle means of this rapprochement -- of harmonizing man and cosmos. But with the scientific revolution, a principle of separation was established, i.e., the infamous mind-matter dualism. What this implies is that our separation -- our exile from nature -- isn't accidental, but essential.

In this view, religion, instead of being rooted in the essential (i.e., the unity of things), is itself rendered accidental, i.e., just a weird contingency of anthropology. In snort, religion is consigned to history, whereas science is elevated to a kind of timeless and transhistorical realm.

In fact, for the lofo left, science is the only human endeavor that slips through the net of historicism and transcends their own self-imposed relativism. But this is really just the same old pagan religion in a new zeitguise, this one called scientism.

In other words, we still have the same need of a rapprochement of mind and nature. Indeed, this is just about the first thought a normal human being entertains, and is even the basis of thought: "Hey, there's all that stuff out there. And here's me in here. How do the two relate?" Scientism just dismisses the latter observation (of the interior subject), which is no rapprochement at all, for it's like calling divorce a form of marriage or blindness a form of sight.

Even if you get away with the linguistic theft, no fertility or vision will result. Subjective and objective aren't just separated, but the Object has obtained a restraining order barring the Subject from coming within a hundred yards. But obviously you cannot eliminate the subject from the cosmos. Rather, you can only pretend to have done so.

So, just as in developmental psychology, there are mature and immature forms of rapprochement. Again, in psychoanalytic parlance, rapprochement involves a kind of dance of separation from, and re-union with, the mother. To put it mildly -- because it means that psychologists will never run out of patients -- "Disruptions in the fundamental process of separation-individuation can result in a disturbance in the ability to maintain a reliable sense of individual identity in adulthood."

As mentioned last week, Benedict uses that same term -- rapprochement -- to describe how Christianity was uniquely able to reconcile reason and revelation -- or Athens and Jerusalem -- into a complex but harmonious unity that benefitted and deepened both partners:

"The inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history" (Benedict). This forged a unique European identity which was instrumental in turning back the tide of Islam, which very nearly succeeded in conquering Europe and sealing a caliphate worse then death (but let us not speak too soon).

Schall suggests that "it was precisely the success of the Muslim armies in former Roman Empire territories that finally turned Europe in on itself to develop its own separate culture." Crusades my ass. Who allows barbarians to plunder their empire without putting up a fight?

Oh, right. Liberals.

Now, in Islam there is one truth, and it's called the Koran. That was easy! Likewise, for scientism there is one "truth," and it's in nature. Both approaches are inherently defective, and leave gaping holes in the whole.

By way of contrast, Schall notes that "In Christianity, any thought of a 'two truth' theory," that "a truth of reason can contradict a truth of revelation, is excluded as inherently heterodox." Yes, the result may be a stubborn orthoparadox, but nevertheless, we must insist upon that rapprochement of mind and nature.

Er, why? Well, just for starters, "Christian revelation does not allow it to imagine that Christ did not actually exist." In other words, not only does the world reliably reveal truth, but even ultimate truth. Nor can the mind -- or philosophy -- deny "the existence of what does in fact exist or our ability to know reality through the powers inherent in us." This represents a HUGE difference from both Islamic voluntarism and leftist materialism.

However, as in developmental psychology, rapprochement is a never-ending process. We never stop needing other people, but at the same time, this is not a static situation but a dynamic process. A marriage, for example, is constantly growing in depth and "higher unity," so to speak.

Just so, the historical event of rapprochement (of reason and revelation) is not a one-tome deal. It's not as if, say, Thomas took care of it, so we don't have to think about it any more. Rather, "the 'event,'" writes Schall, "once put into existence, is still going on."

Why is this? Primarily because no one else can reconcile your own subject to the world, not to mention the fact that "one's own uniqueness is itself a part of the meaning of universal humanity." Secondarily, new information about the world is always coming in, and needs to be woven into the unity -- say, quantum physics, or chaos theory, or natural selection.

All of this goes against the multiculturalism and relativism of the left, because it implies a universal path for mankind. It not only explains why Europe is dying, but why "Europe's own intellectual crisis is a spiritual crisis for the rest of the world. For other countries to flourish properly, they too need to be what they potentially are." The "inner rapprochement" discussed in this post is "universal and not simply European."

This is an ironic twist on the leftist cliche of being a "citizen of the world," for the only legal path to world citizenship -- in an actually meaningful sense -- is via the timeless principles of modern conservatism. Crusade my ass. The only viable human future will revolve around the "American trinity" of liberty, e pluribus unum, and In God We Trust (or of ordered liberty, of a philosophico-scientific rapprochement of mind and nature, and of one cosmos under God).

To be continued....


mushroom said...

The ongoing part seems to be our stumbling-block. We defeat some dire threat then think we can relax, failing to grasp that warfare is constant. We only faced imminent defeat because we let our guard down and thought we could coast.

I know it personally in the spiritual realm, and it is obvious in the political realm. It's not that we can never relax, we just can't stash the sword and shield in the attic.

River Cocytus said...

One reason such things used to be displayed publicly and proudly, methinks, mushroom.

mushroom said...

That's true. I guess we are supposed to be ashamed of being warriors.

julie said...

... Benedict uses that same term -- rapprochement -- to describe how Christianity was uniquely able to reconcile reason and revelation -- or Athens and Jerusalem -- into a complex but harmonious unity that benefitted and deepened both partners

Or to echo UF, through rapprochement, two antinomies are resolved in a higher third...

River Cocytus said...

For anyone of the poetic sort as I am, etymology is a kind of scripture of the Book of Nature:


Van Harvey said...

River, that's a thought that's been running around my head for ages, without any word to clothe it in.

Very immodest.