Friday, January 03, 2014

History: Wall or Bridge?

If time has its problems, then history is like time on stilts or steroids or stuck on stupid.

However, like time, history must have an upside and not just an oopside, hence, everything that falls under the heading of "evolution."

That is to say, even when absurcularists use that term, they don't envision things going backward and getting worse. "The evolution of man" is a oneway affair, hard as some humans, some cultures, and some political parties try to prove otherwise.

Does history occur in time, or does time occur in history? In other words, is history just a side effect of time?

No, probably not. I say this because we have already established or at least insisted that time is a side effect of creativity -- ultimately divine creativity -- and what distinguishes history from mere animal duration is its creative development. In other words, animals have no history because they live in an essentially timeless state that is free of creativity (and therefore freedom).

Also, as Berdyaev writes, "Movement in historical time is not in a circle; it is in a line, moving ahead." So, time is a lying serpent that consumes its own tail, while history is a tale with a point, extending in two directions from a central point. While this pointed tale "aims at a goal," the goal is not to be found in history, much less time. Alienated from this deus-orienting goal, we are indeed stuck in a disorienting gaol, subject to a kind of "evil endlessness" or naughty infinity.


Unless what?

Use your logic: unless we can somehow escape from history -- or, more likely, whatever it is that lies beyond history can inscape to us.

Which is what Berdyaev means when he says that "the only way out is a break-through of the transcendental. Immanently, history may aim at the establishment of a perfectly rationalized and mechanized society" -- c.f. the historical nightmares of the left -- "But I do not want this." Rather, "I want the Kingdom of God, that comes unseen."

In other words, we don't want some broken promidise brought to us by leftist nightmarians, but a break-in and break-down of the real thing. You might say that leftism always revolves around counterfeit (↑). I suppose there is also a counterfeit (↓), most recently in the form of the divine charisma of the evolutionary lightworker, racial healer, and oratorical genius of the Tell-O-Promptly.

Remember Berdyaev's crack about how time recovered from its illness is eternity? Well, here he goes one further, and claims that "If there is no eternity, there is nothing whatever."

This claim is true. I say this because, on an even more basic level -- again, use your logic -- there is either God or nothing, with no possible alternative. So, if there is no God, then absolute nihilism is the only honest option. Of course, there are any number of intellectually dishonest options, otherwise universities would go out of business. Nor would we be open for isness.

Another critical point: (mere) time is quantity. It is why, in the words of The Clash, Clocks go slow in a place of work / Minutes drag and the hours jerk. But history lifts us from quantity to quality -- I would say toward the source of qualities, qualities that ultimately flow from the the One, the Good, the True, the Beautiful, etc. There are many cryptic allusions to this in the Book of the Personalized Blessing, such as

Reverse worldward descent and cross the bridge of darkness to the father shore.... rest your chronescapes and preprayer for arrisall.... Floating upstream along the ancient celestial trail, out from under the toilsome tablets of time.... Returning to the Oneself, borne again to the mysterious mamamatrix of our birthdeath, our winding river of light empties to the sea.... Etc.

Hey, I'm with you. I hate to refer to my own book, but if I don't, who will? Speaking of which, how about this for a deal: just write a review on amazon, and I'll knock five bucks off the price! It doesn't even have to be flattering, just ecstatic and fawning. Make it fun -- try to top each other in your outrageous but accurate claims for the transformative power of the cult of Raccoons! Alternatively, just write a review, and Petey will absolve you of the burden of reading the book.

Or not. There's no pressure. But I think we could all benefit from some fresh blood around here, don't you? Back when I was a member of PJ Media, we got more people wandering in and going wha'? Of course, I quit PJ Media because Charles 'Queeg' Johnson did. Who knew he had lost his mind? Oh well, God sometimes works in annoying ways.

Back to the topic at hand. Speaking of insanity, because there is God or nothing, it is quite insane to look for salvation in history. It just makes no sense: "Nothing is more pitiful than consolation derived from the idea of the progress of humanity and the happiness of future generations." We know this is true, because we are the happy generations promised by the liberal politicians of the past. But are liberals happy? Of course not. Can't happen, so long as they project it into the future.

Look at the new mayor of New York: even the most complete political expression of liberal dominance has resulted in nothing better than a f*cking plantation. And if the most liberal big city in the country is a plantation, what does that make your city, you filthy animal? That's right, subhuman -- not even a plantation.

Speaking of revulsion, this type of deferred political consolation "has always revolted me." For "nothing 'general' can comfort the 'individual' man in his unhappy fate." In other words, collectivism is no cure for the pain of history, for the simple reason that being nobody is not a cure for being somebody. Might as well amputate your melon for a headache.

Meaning must be commensurate with my own destiny. Objectivized meaning has no meaning for me. Meaning can only be in subjectivity; meaning in objectivity is merely a mockery of meaning.... If God does not exist, if there is no higher sphere of freedom, eternal and genuine life, if there is no deliverance from the world's necessity, there is no reason to treasure this world and our frail life within it.... --Berdyaev


mushroom said...

Rather, "I want the Kingdom of God, that comes unseen."


I may have to add that last quote of Berdyaev in my little notebook where the Russians are currently trailing the Colombian and the Scot.

Rick said...

I can haz fiv dolarz?

Here's my review, or rather the boy's. So he unwraps Uncle Bob's book that has been cleverly disguyzed as a stocking stuffer:

Boy: What's it about. (flipping through it)

Me: Everything.

Boy: Everything?

Me: Yep.

Boy: (flipping flipping, flipping...)
I don't know where to start.
It's like a buffet.

True story.

julie said...

Rick, :D

Clocks go slow in a place of work / Minutes drag and the hours jerk.

Ha. So this morning, I spent three hours in the holding pen at LabCorp, with a three-year-old. Just stopping in was bad enough; I can't imagine how hellish it would be to work there.

...being nobody is not a cure for being somebody.

Oh, I like that. It would make a good T-shirt. Or bumper sticker.

ted said...

Bob, you want new blood? Maybe start a facebook group. Despite its excesses and drivel, I think it would be a good place to expand the Coon-tribal-sphere. IMHO.

BTW, how was that Paleo book? New year, so I am reflecting on lifestyle stuff.

Gagdad Bob said...

I liked the Paleo book, up to a point. Probably could have been reduced to a memo, though. I found that I was already doing many paleo things, and now I'm going to do more of them. For example, I've always gotten lots of sleep, and I wake up when the body wants to. I eat mostly non-industrialized foods, and had already converted to a zone-ish diet of fewer carbs and more fat. So now I'm going to stop wearing shoes unless it's absolutely necessary, and make a few more tweaks to my lifestyle. It also got me to thinking about what a "paleo" belief system would involve. In other words, if the best health practices may be deduced from antiquity, then so too may the best ideas or belief systems be paleo. At the very least, we should think more like a caveman, using the whole brain. The ultimate in conservatism!

julie said...

Re. the barefoot thing, that's one of those Paleo ideas that gives me a little bit of pause. Depending on where you live, it may be pretty safe (and I think in the developed world we get a lot of protection from things like hookworms thanks to proper sewage), but shoes are not a recent development, and for very good reasons: nine out of ten parasites prefer bare feet. Also, if you live in a place with mostly hard floors, plantar fasciitis can become an issue if you don't have shoes with some padding.

I do think minimalist shoes are a good idea, for all the reasons Paleo advocates give for going barefoot, and of course it's often nice to wiggle your toes in the grass. It's just one of those things I take with a measure of caution. There's a reason the stereotype of being poor and unshod has always had a negative connotation.

mushroom said...

Hey, Springfield, MO made Lileks today. It's the one with the "Cosmic Fish" and the 417 area code.

Not a particularly flattering picture but better than being known for Brad Pitt.

mushroom said...

As to the Paleo, one of the things I do is eat what's in season. More meat in the winter. More greens in spring. Typical garden-y stuff in the summer. Fruit and late vegetables, like winter squash, in the fall.

Vans are about as close to barefoot as I like to go. My mom would walk out to the woodpile on snow or whatever barefoot. She just didn't care for shoes.

I know you meant well
when you bought me those clogs,
But my heels get hot
down by the muffler on my Hog.
I'm sure they're stylish,
but I'll take my boots.

-- Alan Jackson "Work in Progress"

JP said...

"But I think we could all benefit from some fresh blood around here, don't you? Back when I was a member of PJ Media, we got more people wandering in and going wha'?"

How did you get associated with PJ Media in the first place?

Can't you just wander randomly around the Internet until you find the right place to become a commenteer or something?

Gagdad Bob said...

For what it's worth, the author of the Paleo book says that foot problems such as fasciitis are a consequence of not going barefoot. I know that Tristan hates shoes and pretty much never wears them except to school. His feet are as tough as leather. And it seems that parasites are mostly indigenous to equatorial climates, although I don't know. He does say that things like athlete's foot and fungus are less common among barefooters, which makes sense.

One other thing I've been meaning to do is get a stand-up desk, or at the very least put the computer on a milk crate.

As for PJ Media, I asked to join them back when they were being formed, and they said yes. But I think that was because Vanderleun was with them, and pulled some strings or slept with someone, or something.

Gagdad Bob said...

Now I don't think they'd want something so out there.

julie said...

I can only speak to my own experience re. the fasciitis - I never had it until I moved to Florida, where tile floors are the norm. After a couple months here, walking was agony until I picked up a couple pairs of Skechers. I almost never wore shoes at home in AZ, but most of our house there was carpeted.

My boy prefers to be barefoot, too. And I was that way as a kid. Living in a glorified swamp makes me a little more cautious, though.

Re. casting a wider net, PJ Media might be out (or not - you never know until you try, after all, and if Charlie Martin can find a niche there I don't see why you couldn't), but have you considered contributing to any other web media? I'd suggest Cracked (they will take anybody, as long as you can be funny), but you probably don't want their audience...

Gagdad Bob said...

I think writing with more people in mind would probably just make me self-conscious, so the boutique approach or Cooncierge Service is probably better for me.

Gagdad Bob said...

As in concierge medicine.

Gagdad Bob said...

Minus the fees.

Rick said...

I've often thought you'd make a wonderfilled addition with your own column at Patheos with the Anchoress. I think she'd enjoy your fresh approach to their izness.

Rick said...

Back to the post for a sec,

Where you said: "Alienated from this deus-orienting goal, we are indeed stuck in a disorienting gaol, subject to a kind of "evil endlessness" or naughty infinity."

I think it was in the book "You Shall Be My Witnesses; Lessons Beyond Dachau" by
Archbishop Kazimierz Majdanski where the author mentioned how there were no clocks, watches, nor any indications "given" to the prisoners of what time it was. You had to wait to be told when it was time to eat or to end the day's work. The passing or advance of time or the state of your "progress toward an end" was withheld from you.

Rick said...

Bob, do you know the Anchoress or vice versa? Comment there ever..?

Gagdad Bob said...

I do know of her, but I don't think I've ever commented. Her blog is pretty exoteric, and I wouldn't want to say something that would just result in an argument with her commenters.

Gagdad Bob said...

Reminds me of what Schuon said: "The people we like don't like us, and the people we don't like like us" (the latter referring to new age types).

mushroom said...

That's kind of the way I felt when we were having that determinism discussion with Nomo, but he's intelligent, sensible and generous. It's not so bad to disagree with someone like that.

The worst I felt was a year or so ago when I got into an argument with a YEC fundamentalist on a forum. I could just see the spittle flying, and I was trying to be nice. As far as he was concerned, I might as well have been Richard Dawkins.

By the time that boy was finished, I was feeling sympathy for Dawkins.

JP said...

"He does say that things like athlete's foot and fungus are less common among barefooters, which makes sense."

Not wearing shoes in my house has eliminated my athlete's foot problem.

However, I love wearing sneakers and hate going barefoot.

My wife hated shoes in the house because it mad things dirty, bringing dirt, etc., into the house.

Since I'm interested avoiding all forms of physical activity (I used to love wearing sneakers all the time), which includes cleaning, I prefer things never getting dirty in the first place, so I agreed to no shoes.

No shoes = no athlete's foot.

Never thought of that before today.

Thanks One Cosmos blog!

I do, however, wear shoes whenever I am outside, since I hate the feel of anything except socks or shoes on my feet. This includes grass. And sand.

JP said...

What about the other people who used to comment here all the time?

I seem to recall more that those who wander through lately.

Rick said...

RE The Anchoress, I hear you Bob. I don't really visit there as much as I used to. Just sort of got bored. Thought you could yoink readers otta their ruts. Maybe authors are not required to comment or engage. She doesn't seem to all that much.

NoMo said...

Hey y'all.

…”time is a side effect of creativity -- ultimately divine creativity”.

A divine creative act began time (there is no time/change in eternity). A created human’s creative act began history. A (the) divine human created the bridge from history to eternity. Will those who cross the bridge continue to make history, or has God changed eternity into history?

Just wonderin’.

Gagdad Bob said...

"Will those who cross the bridge continue to make history, or has God changed eternity into history?"

No, not history. But I do believe experience continues, which is by definition temporal. Again, I think it is a human misperception to imagine there could be eternity in the absence of time. Rather, they are complementary, and to think otherwise is just a trick of language. In my opinion.

I was actually going to touch on that subject before the post stopped. In the next paragraph Berdyaev talks about the unique personalism of Christianity, and there can be no person in the absence of time. I would add that the post-resurrection Jesus was both in time and making history. At least according to witnesses

Gagdad Bob said...


Rick said...

Caught a good movie last night on Netflix Instant -- Prince Avalanche

A little bit of a thing. Budget was about $700k and they made back only about a third of it at in the box office.

As typical these days, the trailer paints a somewhat different picture of the actual movie (I think). It does have those fun young-boys scenes like Nacho Libre, say, but that's not nearly all of it, and fortunately the best scene(s) are not given away in the trailer. It's interesting how Bob's posts lately bring out the better aspects of this movie.

Prince Avalanche

Anyone else see it?

Gagdad Bob said...

Never heard of it. Has anyone ever seen the comedy Mystery Men? Bombed at the box office, but I caught it on TV the other night, and it was delightfully weird, so much so that I'm surprised anyone thought it would make money.

julie said...

I have it on DVD. Fun movie, in spite of Jeanine Garofalo. I haven't watched it in a few years, though - maybe time for another look...

ge said...

This music blog is a big labor of love many may find revelatory....the last week they've gone Bo Diddley-crazy

mushroom said...

Too much Bo Diddley is just about right.

I think the mailman's mule threw a shoe, but he managed to get my emergency slack pack across the crick while it was froze plumb over. I may be able to make it 'til Spring now.

Thank you, Bob.

JP said...

"No, not history. But I do believe experience continues, which is by definition temporal. Again, I think it is a human misperception to imagine there could be eternity in the absence of time. Rather, they are complementary, and to think otherwise is just a trick of language. In my opinion."

We would need to think about time more clearly in order to make any kind of headway here.

Plus, it's unclear as to what eternity is anyway.

Granted, I think about time all the time and have thought about time for a long time.

I like clocks.

Not the digital kind.

They're kind of boring.

And usually not very pretty.

Which is why they are boring, I suppose.

Time wounds all heels, right?

Christina M said...

When bloggers move to Patheos, I cross them off my list. Dr. Bob wouldn't fit in there at all. The Anchoress would be asking him to tone it down and Mark Shea would be throwing tantrums over his politics. I dislike the word Patheos, too.

I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Years.

JP said...

I think I'm going to critique Amy Chua's latest book.

I think she gets some things right and some things wrong.

I suspect it is a complete mess.

(The only reason that I have an interest in her is that I enjoyed going to a party at her house.)