Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hell in Three Easy Steps

In order for the regressive leftist project to succeed, it had to undo and transform the existing system, rooted as it was in a fruitful and progressive synthesis of Athens and Jerusalem, or Reason and Revelation, Truth and Being.

For Benedict, there have been three stages, or waves, in the modern project of "dehellenization." Each wave represents the antithesis of a particular truth.

For example, in Aquinas' understanding, "man is not properly human but superhuman" -- which parallels Schuon's observation that man is "naturally supernatural."

To express it orthoparadoxically, man either transcends himself or sinks beneath himself. To remain a mere (biological) man is to fail to become (a spiritually realized) one. Man is a means to an end he doesn't create, but rather, discovers. Which is sort of the *whole point* of existence.

In reality this is just an empirical observation, because it isn't even possible to talk about man -- or any other universal, for that matter -- without touching the transcendent world.

Man has a proper end, which is the same as saying he is created. Conversely, if he isn't created, then there can be no purpose whatsoever to existence, and the left is correct: everything is just an absurd contingency (except the left, which magically exempts itself from its own absurdity).

Thus, a key principle of the modern project is "an adamant refusal on the part of man... to acknowledge anything that [isn't] exclusively human."

But nothing can be explained without reference to something outside or beyond it, which means that the first principle of the left is man's absolute stupidity. (Ah. That explains a lot.)

For this reason it is but a single step from relativism to barbarism, or from low information to Democrat, or from ignorance to tenure.

Likewise, for Aristotle it was a truism that man does not create man to be what he is. Rather, we are as we find ourselves: we have a nature, and we did not confer this nature upon ourselves.

Here again, the left promulgates the contradictory thesis, which ends in the various pneumapathologies of existentialism, which elevate existence over essence.

For those of you living in Rio Linda, this means that a boy can be a girl, a woman can be a radical feminist, my aunt can be a trolley car, and a man can marry a man. If there is no nature, nor is there any order.

In the March 11 National Review there's an article by Ramesh Ponnuru on the previous two Popes, JPII and BXVI. In it he notes that both men

"asserted that reason is capable of apprehending not only instrumental truths (how to achieve given ends) but also sapiential truths (what our ends should be). They insisted on both the reasonableness of faith and the need for faith in reason."

Let's look at this notion. Modernity has no issue with the idea that reason may apprehend instrumental truths and find out how things "work."

For example, a biologist can dissect a body to try to figure out how life works. But no biologist -- or no one else, for that matter -- can tell you why you are alive, any more than taking apart a watch will disclose the nature of time.

But is it really possible for a human being to sever the Is from the Ought in this abstract manner? For example, every proper scientist knows he oughtta publish the truth, and not just make up some shite for an end that is less than truth, e.g., wealth, or fame, or an academy award. But enough about climate science.

Thus, it's really contradictory to insist that man can know only instrumental but not sapiential truths, for the insistence that science should seek truth is itself sapiential -- and therefore transnatural -- to the core. Way it is. And more importantly, way it ought to be.

But once means are separated from ends, Is from Ought, man is exiled from reality. He no longer has "access to the whole."

This is an interesting variation on our fallenness, which leaves us wounded but not dead. However, the modern project completes the work of the Fall, and renders the wound absolutely fatal.

You might say that a reduction of the world to the categories disclosed by the scientific method -- i.e., scientism -- "closes off the very being that is worth reasoning about."

As a result, we know everything about nothing but nothing about everything. Or as Petey says, ignorance of the Absolute seals man's absolute ignorance.

However, on the positive side -- for the left, anyway -- this is an excellent way to create passive slaves.

Running late -- to be continued.


Magister said...

As PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said, “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”

An excellent example of stupidity concentrated and purified by idiological pressure. Clap, clap.

River Cocytus said...

Equality untrammeled by hierarchy will eventually destroy all division, then all distinction, then all intelligence.

Jack said...

So, in effect, dehellenization is rehellization.

Chris said...

The comment about dehellenization reminded me to recommend an excellent short book on Platonism. The title is "Pure: Modernity, Philosophy and the One" by Mark Anderson. Definitely racoonable.

mushroom said...

... any more than taking apart a watch will disclose the nature of time.

That's a point often missed in talking about the watchmaker. It's not so much that complexity cannot be built up from simplicity. The question is why does this damned tick? Why do the hands move in this precise manner?

Someone created a watch because they wanted to measure the days. Someone created a man to think about the cosmos.

Jack said...


Thank you for the book recommendation. I will surely check it out.

I am currently inching my way through "Plato: The Man and His Work" By A.E. Taylor. Written in the 1920's, it is perhaps the clearest exposition of Plato I have come across.

Gagdad Bob said...

A reviewer says the book espouses the idea that "a life spent disregarding and even hating the body is a requisite for the ascent of man back to his exalted natural state." If so, that is the exact opposite of what I believe, and more importantly, of the Incarnation. Sounds like western Buddhism a la Plotinus.

Van Harvey said...

That was certainly my first impression of Plato, I violently rejected it all... but I missed a lot of Socrates' famous irony.

I reread the Gorgias a couple weeks ago, translated by Benjamin Jowett, and in reading his introduction, I was amazed at how much of the wider meaning in Socrates' comments was either misinterpreted or entirely missed, whereas as I read the dialog, it was clearly, right there under the veil.

' ♫♪♬ And isn't it ironic ♬ ♪ ♫' that those who translated and commented upon Plato, and made such a todo about his famous irony... so often missed it.

Take another perspective at Taylor & Jowett, etc... they were giving us their perspective from deep within the rage of the Kantian/Hegelian age, and those two, were as anti-body, anti-pleasure, anti-this world as it is possible to get.

But then again, seeing what is 'right there' under the veil, is the main point of Plato's DIALOG's - whenever Socrates makes a point, especially if he just states a conclusion, that's supposed to be our cue to continue the dialog on our own, and subject it to the same depth of questioning, as Socrates himself subjected every statement of everyone else to.

River Cocytus said...

There should be a desire to rise above the conflicted and often irrational things our body subjects us to, but the project of rejecting and hating the body really doesn't work. This is why Christian asceticism is both important and also supposed to be ALWAYS SUPERVISED.

My patron had a saying, "There are those who harm themselves with asceticism. They are far from God."

(This coming from a guy who ate hardly more than a bit of bread for years on end.)

In Symeon, he reveals that if there is a disregard for the body, it is not a disregard directed at the body, but that the body doesn't matter much beyond the basics when you're enraptured with what transcends it.

To those obsessed with the cult of the Body and its Perfect Health and Satisfaction, this will be interpreted as a senseless hatred.

Chris said...

"a life hating and disregarding the body"- ?? Uh, ok.....

The impact of Platonism on Christianity is indisputable. Asceticism, esoterism, mysticism- all of these are about the inner journey, the grail quest? Right? This involves self-mastery and transcending the temptation of denying the reality of the soul. I guess that constitutes "hating the body" from that reviewers perspective.

This book is a little gem- check it out.

Jack said...

I have purchased but have not yet read this more recent take on Plato and how the dialogues might relate.

Rather than the Socratic/Middle/late categorization on when Plato wrote the dialogues. The author puts the dialogues in chronological order i.e. as to when in Socrates life the dialogue took place.

The approach seems interesting. I'll see how it pans out.

I do like the Taylor book. It seems uncharacteristically lucid, for a book on philosophy, and therefore very helpful.