Friday, November 15, 2013

The Liberal Media: The Onans they've been Writing For

Most things are a means to some other end, but some things must be ends in themselves, otherwise the whole existentialada falls apart at the seams. Thinking, for example, is always about something else. Most people stop thinking at some arbitrary point and call it a deity.

The materialist, for example, stops his thinking at an abstraction he calls "matter" or "nature." Matter is the end of his cognitive striving, although it is a dead end.

Or, more to the point, it is a logocidal deadened end -- murdered by his prior assumptions, since no one has ever proved that matter is literally dead, not to mention mindless. If the cosmos were either of these things, it couldn't bloody well conjure materialists out of its barren womb, now could it?

In order for there to be an intelligible cosmos, some things must be, as Hart puts it, "autotelic" -- auto meaning self, telic meaning end. Thus, in the words of Professor Wiki, an autotelic entity is something "having a purpose in and not apart from itself."

Truth, for example, is quintessentially autotelic -- at least for a wholesome human being. Truth is never for the sake of something less than itself. Rather, human beings must have a "disinterested interest" in truth, regardless of the implications.

Now, one thing you will have noticed about particularly brazen liars such as an Obama or Clinton, is a peculiar relationship to truth. It is not just that they lie, which anyone can do. Rather, their type of lying is always parasitic on a consciously known truth which must be avoided.

Imagine you are having a deep, passionate, and intellectually honest discussion with another person. In so doing, you don't simply throw out predigested talking points. Rather, it will be as if you are consulting the deepest part of your own nonverbal experience, struggling to put it into words.

Conversely, if you saw yesterday's press conference -- or really, any time the president must speak off the cuff -- you can almost see the wheels spinning inside, as he recognizes a truth and then struggles to find the words to avoid acknowledging it.

There is something fundamentally sick about this. Of course, it is one of the most common tools of the dark art of politics, but for some people the tool becomes the master. From the very beginning (you can look it up), I noticed that Obama wasn't just a liar, but rather, a Lie.

Fouad Ajami has a nice piece in the WSJ that touches on this question. In Obama's case, he was able to conceal the Lie under a veneer of charisma -- at least for the weakminded souls susceptible to such a frivolous appeal:

"The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama's policies -- and, more significantly, in the man himself."

To quote the Poet, In my beginning is my end, and this end and beginning are always there. Yes, character is destiny, but absence of character is fate. Thus, Obama was fated to this dead end, which will be either a pathetic whimper a catastrophic bang, depending upon how soon his "signature achievement" can be erased from history.

There are deeper layers to the Obama Fail, for reasons alluded to above. Again, certain things must be ends in themselves, e.g., truth, beauty, love, and, most importantly persons.

But think about the pathological narcissist: his soul-sickness revolves around the fact that he is his own end. He is "self-sufficent" or "autotelic." Not really, of course, since the narcissist unconsciously craves the adoration of the crowd.

But consciously he is Above It All. He cannot take in new information, since this is a direct threat to his illusory omniscience. Thus, his is really an "ignorant omniscience," because you have to be rather stunningly ignorant to imagine you are omniscient -- about, say, an infinitely complex healthcare system containing more information than any human being -- or any group of human beings -- could ever master.

Jim Geraghty, in this morning's jolt, writes of yesterday's sad performance, which you will especially want to watch "if you’ve been wondering when the rest of the world would see the same guy you’ve been seeing since, oh, 2007 or so... in over his head, out of touch with the real world, banal in his off-the-cuff remarks, and unable to distinguish between good intentions and genuine results."

This goes to the fact that inside every narcissist is a withered homunculus that has been shielded from reality by a grandiose "false self." Grandiosity is always a primitive defense mechanism against its opposite, e.g., helplessness, absence of control, lack of primary affirmation during childhood -- not to play amateur psychologist, but the very things Obama missed out on in his dysfunctional upbringing. Thus, beneath the nicely tailored big boy clothes and polished babble, we see his "hapless, meandering, slow remarks."

Jonah Goldberg describes the darketypal mask Obama has plucked from the ancient gallery, old Narcissus: "In every tale of hubris, the transgressor is eventually slapped across the face with the semi-frozen flounder of reality. The Greeks had a god, Nemesis, whose scythe performed the same function. It was Nemesis who lured Narcissus to the pool where he fell in love with his own reflection."

So, Obama is indeed drowning, but the liberal media helped construct the pool -- or narcissistic matrix, if you like. The very media that has spent six or more years mirroring and reinforcing Obama's omniscience is now "discovering" that the omniscience is just a fantasy. Some enterprising investigative journalist needs to trace the fantasy back to the autotelic media hacks who made this self-absorbed adolescent president possible.

Speaking of beginnings -- and ends -- what else can "We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For!" refer to but narcissistic autoteleology? Or in other words, political mutual masturbation.

We'll conclude with a comment by Berdyaev: "For Marxism human personality is only a means, not an end in itself. The human soul is not of unconditional value, as in Christianity." Rather, human beings are simply a means to the triumph of socialism, and to this latter divinity "human sacrifice is offered."

How many millions will be sacrificed on the altar of Obamacare, no one can say.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Sophish Gene

Hey, we take our spiritual joy where we can find it -- in this case, the epic schadenfreudian merriment of watching Obama crash and burn.

Obama has not only hit the ground, but is burrowing toward the center of the earth. Someday, perhaps "obamacare" will only be used to describe a violent clash with reality -- as in "this vehicle is designed to survive an obamacare-type collision."

Ironically, Hart's chapter on spiritual bliss provides another kind of schadenfreude, as he subjects Darwinism to a metaphysical crash-test of obamacarian proportions. And like Obama, Darwin cannot survive the impact.

I don't have much time this morning, so just read the book. I don't want to quote the whole thing.

I am, however, intrigued at how he and I inhabit the same attractor, but come at the issue from slightly different angles. That's how you know 1) that the attractor is real, and 2) that you really understand it, because it is inflected through your own personality, making it both universal and particular.

In fact, I think this should apply to spiritual know-how in general; or, the task is to convert abstract knowhow to concrete be-who, i.e., "it is" to "I am." Freud once described the process of psychoanalysis as "where id (it) was, there ego (I) shall be." Likewise, we might say something along the lines of "where dogma (or doctrine) was, there soul shall be."

But that's getting into a somewhat different subject. Back to the ananda-schadenfreude. In One Cosmos, I mentioned how the linear and atomistic understanding of genetics had broken down with advances in understanding.

Ironically, biology held to this simplistic paradigm borrowed from physics long after physics had abandoned it. In other words, quantum physics not only renders an atomistic view impossible, but ultimately reveals that there is no part of the cosmos that isn't entangled with every other part. It's all one roiling ocean of entangled quantum energy.

Turns out the genome is more like a gumbo than a computer, with unfathomable interaction between the parts. Thus, "the notion that DNA should be thought of as some kind of deterministic digital code that constructs vehicles for itself -- 'survival machines,' to use a popular phrase -- seems to be falling irretrievably into ever greater disfavor" (Hart).

You might say that if the genome were as simple as previously believed, it would be too simple to give rise to minds that comprehend it.

But "there is not really any such thing as a 'gene for' anything as such, so much as a kind of pluripotential genetic record of the evolutionary past that, in the present... can be used in vastly differing ways by cells, organisms, species, and ecologies" (ibid.). It's more like a thesaurus than a novel.

However, hiding behind a wall of inconceivable complexity is no metaphysical escape either, because it provides no inscape to the utter simplicity and unity of our subjective selves.

It is nice to see Hart give Richard Dawkins the obamacare treatment. For genes are not "selfish," and they certainly don't determine causality at a higher level -- any more than events in the quantum world determine whether or not I can type this sentence.

As Hart describes, genetic codes are not computer programs and human beings are not robots. Rather, these are just runaway metaphors, or scientistic myth run amuck.

One thing Darwinism omits -- and must omit, based upon its prior commitment to a materialist metaphysic -- is our openness at both ends, toward both the natural and supernatural worlds.

So yes, human beings are adapted to the physical world. But we are also adapted to the the world of human subjectivity -- one might call it the psychosphere -- and a world of transcendent truth -- the pneumosphere.

The result is that our genes do not survive "because they are in some mystical sense 'selfish' but precisely because the complex organisms to which they belong are not."

Thus, "Rather than genes fashioning vehicles for their survival, life has fashioned a special genetic legacy for itself," which vastly exceeds "the narrow requisites of private survival" (ibid.).

So, if it weren't for our sophish genes, they couldn't even give rise to a Richard Dawkins strong enough to resist them and fall into sophistry.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

If You Like Your Prison, You Can Keep Your Prison

Within the great open spiral of reality, God is "the original source and ultimate end of all desire" (Hart).

Outside this benevolent spiral, one necessarily lives in the closed circle of nature, in which desire can have no end beyond its immediate gratification. Everything else is just distraction, pretext, or self-delusion. Love reduces to sex; truth to utility; politics to power; order to force; beauty to fashion. Most sinister of all, human beings are reduced from ends to means.

In the Matrix of the Circle, when we encounter other persons -- if we are honest with ourselves and true to our impoverished view of reality -- our only task is to determine what benefit we can extract from them: how to manipulate them to our advantage. It is silly, for example, to hold a leftist -- say, Obama -- responsible for lying to us, when the leftist doesn't exist in the naive framework of truth <--> falsehood.

Rather, the leftist knows only power <--> obedience. Thus, if Obama should be forced into conceding a bit of power back to his beleaguered subjects, it won't be because Obamacare is a fraud, a swindle, a lie. Rather, it will be because Power is threatened.

Only those outside the Matrix of the Circle can see how power is maintained within its borders: basically, He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

Any discerning person can see that when master liars such as Obama or Clinton commit logocide, they are speaking their native tongue. To them, lies flow as easily as does truth for the innocent. I'm sure the average person doesn't appreciate just how cosmically pathological this is.

Imagine how a normal person would feel about perpetrating the most massive consumer fraud in the history of the nation. Not only would you not defend yourself. Rather, you'd never forgive yourself. But then again, none of you would be capable of a lie of this magnitude and this level of destructiveness. Even Bernie Madoff feels a little guilty.

The Circle is an existential prison, full stop. Or in other words, existence itself becomes a prison. This makes a man cynical and rebellious, or meek and submissive. For many, the goal will be to become one of the prison guards -- to dominate the other prisoners -- since escape is strictly impossible.

Barring that -- to paraphrase myself paraphrasing someone else -- he may decorate the walls of the prison (art), or fantasize about a world beyond the prison walls (religion), or study the composition of the walls (science), or work to assure a long life behind bars (medicine), etc.

Well, we say: let the dead bury the tenured. We're busting out!

For in reality, "to exist is to be drawn toward the absolute, where alone one's nature can find its own perfection" (Hart). Do you see the difference? Existence isn't closed upon itself. By its very nature, it is open to what transcends it. In the absence of this opening at the top, life would be unendurable. I too would become a drug addict or liberal.

No wonder leftists are so obsessed with bossing others around. For it is a way of putting themselves out of their own misery by putting others into it. Think of all the misery being caused by Obamacare. Why? What is the original source of this sadistic impulse? Just the cheap tingle up the thigh from being one of the prison guards, I suppose. For some people, power is the only grace they know.

The most subversive act imaginable in the prison is to pretend it isn't one: to ignore the rules and make contact with those living in freedom on the outside, whether "dead" or alive.

Thus, for example, "Every act for the sake of good is a subversion of the logic of materialism" (Hart). For the leftist, this is inconceivable, which is why he projects his own malignant logic into us: there must be some sinister ulterior motive, e.g., racism, homophobia, misogyny, the lust for power!

Well, no. Some of us just love virtue, that's all. Like truth, it is its own reward.

The reward being what now exactly? Easy: truth and love fuel the open spiral; they are both cause and effect, so this is an autocatalytic process, the closest thing to perpetual motion we can ever discover.

Today's bottom line? "As a species," writes Hart, we have been deeply shaped "by transcendental ecstasies whose orientation exceeds the whole of nature." These are formal and spiritual causes which pull us up, over, and out, from the absurcular prison to the inspiraling telovator.

Man moves in a vicious circle. To break out of that circle requires an act of spirit, not submission to the organic cosmic rhythm --Berdyaev, Slavery

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blessed are the Low in Information, For Theirs is the Kingdom of Obama

In the end, it's all about this vertical escape hatch, isn't it? Everyone is looking for the divine sonroof, but it seems that in the contemporary world most of the preferred escapes are substitutes for the real thing. Power, fame, promiscuity, consumption, television, intellectualism, food, what have you -- all are fake exits, i.e., spiritual nul de slacks, like a door painted on a brick wall, giving the illusion of depth.

And yet, each of these is only possible because of the mind's prior intentionality. Again, this means that consciousness is always about something outside itself, meaning that it is intrinsically and unavoidably bound up with transcendence. You might say that intentionality is a side effect of our innate transcendence-drive toward the inborn TOE (Theory of Everything) grail.

As mentioned in yesterday's post, conscious intentionality can be directed toward objects, but for human beings it is quintessentially directed toward subjects.

In fact, in the final analysis, religious experience is predicated on the mind's intentionality toward the ultimate Subject, just as scientism is science transformed into the religion of the ultimate Object. Which is why science fits comfortably into a little corner of religion, whereas the constricted space of scientism has no room for nonlinear and nonlocal subjects with dimensions of more than three or four.

As Hart writes, everything that makes life so groovy lies "outside the circle of what contemporary physicalism, with its reflexively mechanistic metaphysics, can acknowledge as real."

Which means, as always, that the best things in life are free. Except that for these mechanistic grease monkeys, they aren't real. Thus, the best things in life are bogus. Only the worst things -- necessity, determinism, death, taxes, ignorance, and general cosmic slacklessness -- are real.

But interestingly, if you ask one of these tenured primates what makes him embrace such a pessimystic misosophy, he is liable to tell you with great pride that he prefers to confront reality with courage, with integrity, with unflinching realism -- transcendental categories each! So if they are honest, they will say that in their stoic religion, one transcends the world via a kind of fatalistic negation. Similar to Buddhism, minus the honesty and consistency.

But God is implicit in the very existence of human beings. This is because, as Hart describes, we are always "placed before the transcendent, the infinite horizon of meaning that makes rational knowledge possible," which thereby presents us "with the question of God" -- or something. You can't just ignore this something, because it is unavoidably connected to everything, i.e., every thought, every moment of conscious awareness.

It seems to me that faith has a lot of confusing and misleading connotations, but one of the more helpful ones is fidelity, or trust, or reliability. Thus, Hart speaks of our "loyalty to an ultimate ideal that beckons from beyond the totality of beings."

The atheist/materialist is no different, in that he too "strives to convince others that there is no God... out of a devotion to the absolute, to the highest values, to the divine." Which is why "one cannot meaningfully reject belief in the God of classical theism," since meaning is strictly impossible in a godless world.

In fact, one could even say that meaninglessness is impossible in a godless world, since it is always parasitic on presumed meaning. Only human beings can fall into meaninglessness. No animal is so lost and confused as to be an existentialist. No one misses what they can never know.

Which goes to the vertical commandments regarding idolatry and oneness. You might say that these two categories are at antipodes, for whatever image of God be rejected by the atheist, "it can never be more than an idol: a god, but not God" (ibid.), i.e., the very ground and possibility of transcendent unity.

Man hungers for truth, just as he longs for the good. But when these drives are deprived of their proper object and end, they can mutate into something monstrous. For what is the left but religious emotion in the absence of the religious object? (BTW, in this context we are referring to the ultimate Subject as the religious object, since God's subjectivity is an objective and necessary fact of being.)

Deprived of religion -- or, worse, when immersed in the degenerate religious marxism of a Reverend Wright -- the human being necessarily embraces a truth that is not Truth, and worships a god that is not God, usually the state, because it seems to be the most "transcendent" thing available to the leftist flatlander.

Remember the Democrat Convention last year, when we were assured that government is the only thing to which we all belong? This shows that liberals haven't made a dent in the most destructive kinds of poverty, i.e., mental and spiritual. Indeed, for the liberal, these impoverished states are mandatory -- sort of an inverted interpretation of Jesus's praise of the poor in spirit. "Blessed are the weakminded, for they shall inherit the state."

I have no doubt that Obama wishes Obamacare to do good. But that is no excuse! Indeed, we could call it culpable goodness, because there is probably nothing in the world that has caused as much death and destruction as misguided good.

I notice that Berdyaev makes a number of references to this problem, victimized as we was by communist do-gooders. He can be a little polemical -- like a religious Nietzsche -- but he writes that "No one ever proposes evil ends: evil is always disguised as good, and detracts from the good."

He makes the provocative point that God is located at either end, as source and destiny, whereas the devil is always in the middle, so to speak, where human schemes are elevated to divine ends. Thus, "There is nothing more evil than the determination to create good, no matter what the cost" (ibid.).

Unfortunately, Obama appears bound and determined that his signature accomplishment create good, no matter what the cost.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Human Beings are Out of This World!

Human beings, by virtue of being human, are literally out of this world. As we've been discussing, consciousness is always intentional, meaning that it is always "about" something outside or beyond itself.

But what makes human consciousness unique -- what sets it apart from animal consciousness -- is that ours is not just about objects.

Rather, the defining characteristic of of human subjectivity is that it is also about other subjects, i.e., intersubjectivity. This is not the same as being a mere "social animal," because that can occur on an essentially physical basis, with no deep interiority in the sense which human beings experience it.

Ants, for example, do not encounter another ant and ask themselves, "I wonder what he's up to?" Rather, their social behavior is fixed within an unvarying structure: the queen does what she does, the workers do what they do, and some lucky male gets to mate with the queen before quickly outliving his uselessness.

Both types of intentionality produce a "world space," so to speak. For example, vis-a-vis physics or cosmology, our perception extends further down and out, respectively -- from the roiling depths of the subatomic world, to the very horizon of the physical cosmos.

But this only highlights the fact that the real horizon is always "within"; for when the human within encounters a physical without, it never sees only an appearance. The whole project of science is rooted in a prior human drive to delve beneath the appearance of things, i.e., to understand. And even prior to science, man attempted to understand the reality behind appearances via myth.

Until the emergence of modern superstitions such as materialism and positivism, it never occurred to human beings that appearance and reality were identical, or that the within of the world was reducible to the without.

Again, it is this within-to-within communion, or human intersubjectivity, that defines man. And even then, our encounter with physical objects isn't just quantitative. When we gaze upon the world, we do not merely see objects in motion. Rather, we are arrested by qualities -- qualities that have absolutely nothing to do with genetic survival, if that's what you're thinking.

Hart, for example, writes that "We can be drawn toward objects of aesthetic contemplation that possess no practical value for us -- that cannot nourish, protect, strengthen, or enrich us -- because we delight in a certain transcendent splendor that shines through them."

In other words, when we consider the natural world, we do not see a mere utilitarian space for the acquisition of food and sex partners. Rather, we enter an aesthetic space, a dimension of seemingly superfluous beauty that is "perpendicular" to the outward, horizontal world.

Likewise, unless we are a sociopath or a liberal, when we encounter another human being, it's not like physically bumping heads with a fellow member of the hive. Rather, every human encounter gives rise to an intersubjective space between two interior horizons.

In fact, modern psychoanalytic ("object relations") therapy essentially comes down to a systematic exploration of this intersubjective space -- which is often contaminated with mind parasites that contract it or render it less transparent. Now that I think about it, mind parasites make us a little more like ants, in that they compel a certain narrow repertoire of actions and reactions. They always diminish freedom.

Now, science and religion, in a certain sense, involve the exploration of two very different spaces. One might say that they give rise to one of those irreducible antinomies, i.e., subject/object, or interior/exterior, or form/substance.

But again, until the emergence of modern physiolatry, it never occurred to anyone that these realms were radically distinct, or that the spiritual was reducible to the physical. In reality, these are two different views of a single reality. And of the two, which is the more inclusive? I would say that objects are readily included within the subject (hence the possibility of knowledge), but that the converse is strictly impossible.

Let's look at the strange conduct of the scientist committed to a material worldview. To paraphrase Hart, just like the rest of us, he is motivated by a search for truth, in the faith that the world he explores is ultimately intelligible. Thus, he essentially uses transcendence for the project of eliminating transcendence, in the faith that his faith will turn out to be unfounded. That is what you call madness, or worse, tenure.

Hart writes that "the structure of rational consciousness is ecstatic: our minds are capable of reflecting the world because there is a kind of elation in our thinking, a joy, or at least anticipation of joy, which seeks its fulfillment in an embrace of truth in its essence."

I mean, that's how it is, for both secular and religious seekers. The secular seeker can only pretend that this is not the phenomenological structure of his quest. But he then imagines that the same thing is true of the religious seeker -- that there is no elation or joy associated with "fulfillment in an embrace of truth in its essence."

In reality, the cosmos in its entirety -- meaning both horizontal and vertical, objective and subjective -- is intelligible, and a "side effect" of this intelligibility is a kind of joy. In the words of Hart, the discovery of truth is accompanied by "a kind of delight, a kind of fulfillment that can supersede the momentary disappointments or frustrations that the search for truth brings."

Just as fragmentation seems to be accompanied by a kind of existential anxiety, the experience of unity is associated with joy. I think of the joy a mother experiences in the unity with her infant, or the joy of a happy marriage, or the joy of friendship -- in short, the joy of love.

Aesthetic joy also reveals union; think, for example, of how a dog must experience music -- just a kind of outward white noise. But human beings can know the beauty of music because they are able to get "inside" the melody, or harmony, or expressiveness of the vocalist.

Now, the Subject of subjectivity is God, the I AM of existence as such. Therefore, the interiority of the world is ultimately "the reflection of absolute reality within the realm of the contingent." From our end, we experience this as "the soul's unquenchable eros for the divine" (↑) which "underlies all knowledge, all openness of the mind to the truth of things" (ibid.).

How convenient and how wonderful "that consciousness should be made open to being by an implausible desire [↑] for the absolute to inspire and (ideally) satiate that desire [↓]. The ecstatic structure of finite consciousness -- this inextinguishable yearning for truth that weds the mind to the being of all things -- is simply a manifestation of the metaphysical structure of reality."

That structure is ultimately the unending spiral of (↑↓) described in those priceless SIGNED COPIES!

Kind of reminds me of this:

Oh, how is it that I could come out to you / And be still floating / And never hit bottom but keep falling through / Just relaxed and paying attention?


And I will remember the place that is now / That has ended before the beginning...