Thursday, April 25, 2013

First They Came for the Dumpsters...

It seems to me that this book by Josef Pieper, Enthusiasm & Divine Madness, speaks to our current subject of Death, but I don't yet know how. Just a suspicion at this point.

The book is a meditation on Plato's Phaedrus, a dialogue on whether it is a good idea for pedophiles to be in love with their victims. A guy named Lysias says No, just be detached and dispassionate about the whole thing, while Socrates disagrees.

Am I missing something? I mean, right off the top of my head I can think of a third option.

At any rate, Plato's evocation of Athenian society very much reminds me of the contemporary left's culture of death, with its childishness, pseudo-intellectualism, and irony toward everything except itself. Pieper writes of how Plato depicts the callow intellectuals of the day: "Theirs is a world of sophisticated irreverence and detachment, of enlightened health doctrines and simultaneous depravity."

Enlightened health doctrines and simultaneous depravity. What a perfect description of the contemporary left in general, and of my city in particular. Here in Calabasas, the city council has infamously banned cigaret smoking even outdoors, and has also outlawed plastic bags in grocery stores. I'm having to deal with these fascists at the moment, because of the remodeling.

In fact, looking back on it, it was probably a mistake for me to call the city planner a fascist, because it seems to be slowing down approval of the Plan.

We came to their attention due to having a dumpster on the street from an Unauthorized Company. Something to do with a certain environmental policy that the trash company must promise to uphold in Calabasas. That's when I called him a fascist. "I know, I know. just following orders. Where have we heard that before?"

First they came for the dumpsters, and I said nothing...

The Phaedrus, according to Pieper, "is from the start governed by the enthusiasm of the younger generation for Sophistry. Perhaps we should term it fascination and enchantment rather then enthusiasm."

Either way, we can see that human nature hasn't changed, and that even 2500 years ago there were plenty of youthful, low-information Obama supporters.

Pieper writes that sophistry is indeed a phenomenon we "encounter in every epoch": "It is inherent in the nature of Sophistry to expound the avant-garde ideas of any given time. It always presumes to be exactly what is necessary and correct 'now'; to be the timely and modern thing. Sophistry and topicality are co-ordinate concepts in a highly specific sense."

So, sophistry is always temporocentric, which is why, for example, Obama's so-called "evolution" on state-imposed redefinition of marriage -- which amounts to a ban on human nature, or to mutation by decree -- is really just another typical example of leftist regression. It has nothing to do with human norms or with the nature of reality, and everything to do with popular sophistry and crass political utility -- "as though," in words of Socrates, "it were good sense to deceive a few miserable people to win their applause."

Well, I suppose I'd better hit the publish button before the electricians flip the switch...


Gagdad Bob said...

Thanks to the liberals that run California you can't have the wrong kind of dumpster in the street, but you can take a dump in the street.

julie said...

I like the veto message at the end, there. They should make a standardized version.

John Lien said...

Maybe you can pay some homeless guy to take up residence in your dumpster. It would be akin to discovering an endangered tortoise.

Had to look up Plato's Phaedrus to make sure you weren't pulling my leg.

Gagdad Bob said...

No, it would be wrong to pull someone's leg in such a detached and dispassionate manner.

Gagdad Bob said...


I thought about putting a homeless guy in the dumpster, but most of them smoke, so it wouldn't work.

ted said...

Just as I read this quote by Pieper:

"It is inherent in the nature of Sophistry to expound the avant-garde ideas of any given time. It always presumes to be exactly what is necessary and correct 'now'; to be the timely and modern thing. Sophistry and topicality are co-ordinate concepts in a highly specific sense."

I came across this quote by Teilhard:

"It has become fashionable today to mock or treat with suspicion anything which looks like faith in the future. If we are not careful this skepticism will be fatal, for its direct result is to destroy both the love of living and the momentum of mankind."

I am going to ponder all of this at my nearest dumpster.

Gagdad Bob said...

Sometimes Teilhard's exuberance would get the better of him -- to put one's "faith" in the future seems like a poor choice of words. Nor would I place hope there. Faith and hope are virtues, but vertical ones. Applied to the horizontal they can go seriously awry.

ted said...

I like that: faith and hope as vertical virtues!

Gagdad Bob said...

In fact, what is progressivism but secularized Christian faith and hope?

ted said...

...or spiritual fascism :)

Gagdad Bob said...

It sounds polemical, but there is nothing that can't be excused by an appeal to "progress." It's a magic word for the left, but it is meaningless in the absence of objective norms.

ted said...

I am reminded by an old excerpt from you:

“Progress can only exist in the light of permanence, otherwise it is merely "change." The secular folks who go by the name "progressive" are in fact mere "changeists," since they reject that by which progress can be objectively measured, i.e., God, the Absolute.”

Gagdad Bob said...

It's funny how all the working guys instinctively reject leftism, which is one of the things that has saved us from the fate of Europe, where the pinheads dominate. Just told the dumpster story to the guy putting in the tile in the bathroom, and he says "that's bullshit! They can't do that. That's like telling you you can only drink Michelob in your house!"

Gagdad Bob said...

Leftism is rule by 8th grade student council nerds.

Gagdad Bob said...

I like guys who actually know how to do stuff. There is no question whatsoever that this craftsman knows more about tiling than Obama knows about the Constitution.

Gagdad Bob said...

Only a craftsman who didn't know what he was doing would be drawn to deconstruction. Then he could rationalize his mistakes as New Developments in Tiling.

Gagdad Bob said...

Someone once said that academia is very much like the auto industry, in which you have to come out with a new model each year, even if there's nothing wrong with the old model.

It certainly applies to Aquinas. Just read in this Gilson bok that "I am more convinced than ever" -- and this is after a lifetime of study -- "that the basic metaphysical positions of Thomas Aquinas are still far ahead of what is considered most progressive in the philosophical thought of our own times."


Come to think of it, I remember some musician -- Herbie Hancock, I think -- saying the same thing about Duke Ellington.

In short, you can't measure truth by a calendar.

Gagdad Bob said...

... and the surest way to fall behind is to keep up. (Petey's Aphorisms)

julie said...

Heh - reminds me of a couple of things software/ electronics related: first, how irritating it is when software updates are put out just for the sake of change. They almost always screw up something that worked just fine, and very rarely improve anything.

Second, I was reading somewhere recently that planned obsolescence is not working so well these days, for instance with computer sales. People are generally pretty happy with what they have anymore, and there comes a point where faster and bigger just don't matter so much for most people.

Either way, if it ain't broke...

mushroom said...

Phaedrus and Sophists reminds me of Pirsig, which reminds me that it's nice weather and I should be out on my bike, and I'm stuck in here trying to follow the new release notes' template for my software release.

Teilhard helped get on the right track many years ago, but that's very true that it's not the evolution of the human race in time, but "... forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

River Cocytus said...

Don't worry, they're working on planned obsolescense - my version of XP became counterfeit when my college discontinued support of it. Now it, with that same fascist aplomb of the big 0, tells me that I 'might be a victim of software counterfeiting!' The way to resolve it? Buy a new license.

My 'alma mater' is more like a wicked stepmother, really.

mushroom said...

My work laptop had a firewall related problem last month that required re-imaging and upgrading to 7 from XP. 7 is OK. It comes up a lot faster than XP.

Some dope at BB talked my wife into 8 for her non-touchscreen desktop. I installed it because she insisted, but I have a feeling I'll be installing Linux on it shortly.

ge said...

No matter how we feel, we abide in the nature of mind;
No matter how we live, we stay in the nature of mind;
No matter how we move, we move in the nature of mind.
In luminous spaciousness, coming and going are impossible –
No movement in the victors’ dimension!
Whatever we say reverberates as mind's nature;
Whatever is expressed is articulated as mind's nature:
In luminous mind no verbal expression manifests,
For the speech of the victors is ineffable.
Whatever ideas emerge are thought as the nature of mind;
Whatever concepts emerge are conceived as the nature of mind:
In luminous mind ideas and concepts never truly exist
For the mind of the victors is a thoughtless mind.

-Dowman's newest Longchenpa translation...

ge said...

kindly take or leave this addtional quote from above source, for a Dzogchen peptalk re 'effortlessness':

So don’t try! Don’t try! Don’t struggle and strive in practice!
Don’t seek! Don’t seek! Don’t seek intellectual truth!
Don’t meditate! Don’t meditate! Don’t contrive meditation!
Don’t analyze! Don’t analyze! Don’t analyze in or after an event! Don’t practice! Don’t practice! Don’t practice the upshot of hope
and fear!
Don’t reject! Don’t reject! Don’t reject emotional karma!
Don’t believe! Don’t believe! Don’t believe in righteous religion! Don’t trap yourself! Don’t trap yourself! Don’t cage your mind!

ge said...

RIP great singer!

George Jones