Friday, June 20, 2014

Another Crappy Day in Paradise

So: I think we can stipulate that postmodernism does the work of the devil (see yesterday's antepenultimate paragraph). But that's too passive -- like the classic "mistakes were made." For it must mean that postmodernists are the devil's slavish cabana boys and girls.

And don't worry for the moment about whether Satan exists, for if he didn't, then liberals would have to invent him. Which they have, so it's a moot point. Nor does it matter if the satanism is unwitting, for that's exactly how Satan would have it, right? Duh!

Just lately I've been thinking about how much more simple and elegant it is to just believe in the existence of Satan, and leave it at that. No need to overthink it. No one disbelieves in wind just because they can't see it. Rather, we see the effects, and that's sufficient.

But if postmodernism = satanism, I suppose we should define our terms. For example, postmodern presumes something called "modern," but is postmodernism merely an extension of this -- an intensification and prolongation of its assumptions -- or is it really something new and unprecedented?

It comes down to identifying exactly when man took the wrong ontological turn in that fork in the historical road, but you could trace that all the way back to Genesis if you want. Indeed, some Gnostics trace it to the emergence of life, which you could say is a kind of cancer on matter. Or hey, why not the Big Bang, which is a noisy interlude in serene landscape of eternity!

If I understand God correctly, then the wrong turn isn't in history, but literally initiates history. The Fall is ontologically prior to time and history, so it's naturally everywhere and everywhen. You know, pervertical.

Which, like belief in satan, isn't such a bad working assumption. At the very least you will be immune to surprise when man fucks up, which he is bound to do. It is how, with our activated CoonVision, we could foresee endstate Obamaism in all its horror way back in 2008, before he was even president.

Well then, what's the point of history, if it's all one big clusterfark? We'll return to that one in a moment. Let's get back to modernity.

As they say, the past is a foreign land, and since we are all inhabitants of the Land of Modernity, we can't see the latter so well either, because it is That through which we do the looking. It is the map with which we are attempting to view the Map, so you see the problem. It's why, for example, Richard Dawkins' ultimate truth looks suspiciously like Richard Dawkins.

What are some of the features of modernity? As it so happens, this is discussed in this other book I'm synchronistically working on, Revolt Against Modernity. Yes, postmodernism is always revolting, but he's talking about the verb, not the adjective.

Because of the left's unrelenting logophobia, it can be difficult to nail down definitions. For example, what is an American conservative? Someone who wants to conserve liberalism. And what is a liberal? Someone who wants to eliminate liberalism and revert to statism.

Likewise, there are many premodern elements in postmodernity. Indeed, in a relativistic cosmos this is inevitable. Since in reality truth cannot be surpassed, the relativist can only go backward or in circles. Which is precisely why the "progress" of the progressive is so regressive -- as if paganism, or the cult of the body, or hedonism, or irrationalism, or materialism, are new ideas!

Also, it is important to point out that contemporary conservatism didn't become "conscious" until there was a pressing need to conserve what was being newly threatened by the left.

Before Woodrow Wilson and FDR, there was little need to defend the obvious. A conservative movement only occurs when "cherished notions, folkways, beliefs and norms appear threatened." Thus, conservatism is like an immune system, which doesn't have much to do until faced with a threat.

Which means that so-called (contemporary) liberalism is -- you guessed it -- a cultural and political autoimmune disorder. When Obama promised fundamental change, that's the Big Tumor speaking. Any serious disease causes fundamental change. So what?

The absurdity at the heart of contemporary liberalism is the belief that we can have freedom 1) with no ontological foundation for it, and 2) imposed from on high by positive law, instead of being a natural, bottom-up right.

Another heteroparadox: "If one understands the modern world to have its conception in a lust for power through knowledge, then in its old age [post]modernity is the struggle for power without the presumption of something knowable."

This is the Machiavellian turn, i.e., political power without the Good, accompanied by knowledge without the True and art without the Beautiful. And "diversity" without unity, the One.

Simultaneous with this is a radical demystification of the cosmos, which is either a primitive defense mechanism or a clever dodge, but either way it "represents the enduring human aspiration to become gods." So we're backagain to the future in Eden, as usual.


Magister said...

Lots of bons mots here. This one I particularly relish:

postmodernists are the devil's slavish cabana boys and girls

And it points to something distinctive about "postmodern" culture: its devil-may-care attitude toward what came before. Greg Gutfeld has a new book out on "Cool" culture that articulates the postmodern indirectly:

when it comes down to it, being cool means not caring. And not caring means inevitable decline. What cool does is tell people that decline is actually kind of awesome (if it’s done with the right amount of ennui — see France), while acting mature and aging gracefully are quaint. And before you know it, you’re that fifty-year-old idiot, sitting in the corner of a local bar, dressed like a Beastie Boy, your faded tattoos stretching over mottled fat like Satan’s Saran Wrap, as you try to convince yourself that the worn-out chick with the gray Volvo eyed you up a second time
Without the uncool, the cool wouldn’t exist. Why is that? Because cool contributes nothing to ‘how things work.’ Oh, something that appears cool can work (see everything made by Apple). But making such products does not rely on its makers being or appearing cool, but thinking and working hard. Behind that cool is a ton of very old-fashioned hard work performed by anonymous badasses. But they hide it — like the ugly coal plants that ultimately fuel every electric car.
The desire to be cool desires from a desire to be liked. But also from a perceived lack of worth. Not being able to accept yourself as ‘cool’ in your own right means you must be deemed cool by someone else who can say, ‘Yeah, he’s cool.’

I see in postmodernism a profound nagging fear of death. Being postmodern means being trapped in the present between two eternities of nothingness -- and then laughing hysterically.

The moderns (I hate these imprecise terms) confronted this nothingness and sought to find alternative grounds of meaning. The postmoderns think there are no such grounds, and are trying to force themselves to be happy about it.

But they aren't, ultimately.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Before Woodrow Wilson and FDR, there was little need to defend the obvious. A conservative movement only occurs when "cherished notions, folkways, beliefs and norms appear threatened." Thus, conservatism is like an immune system, which doesn't have much to do until faced with a threat."

Indeed. not only do we hafta defend the obvious, we hafta defend the obvious obvious or the known knowns.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye, the postmodern sloths (PMSers) ain't even happy in their quest to make everyone equally miserable.

Of course, it does enrage them to see folks that can be happy regardless of the best efforts of the PMSers to destroy our lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness.

Probably because they cannot obtain joy no matter how fascist and sadistic they get and they can't steal ours, although they will keep trying to their bitter end.

mushroom said...

Nor does it matter if the satanism is unwitting

Unwitting the witlessnesses since Lucifer's Day Off.

mushroom said...

Having a real "personal" Satan, this apparent antipode and negation is a lot less work.

If God is creatively drawing creation back to Himself with the purpose being the further revelation of Himself, He is one pole, and He uses Satan as the other pole through which it is all drawn. Current flowing from one to another.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Lucifer's Witlesses.

julie said...

Hey Bob, this title looks interesting: Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity

Gagdad Bob said...

Looks very good as far as it goes, but he is described as an "atheist humanist," which no doubt prevents him from Going All The Way to where the facts lead, nor can he clear up the nasty paradoxes and absurdities that result. But I will probably read it, because I can always benefit from an up to date review of the science.

julie said...

I missed the "atheist humanist" part; if he's serious about his work and seeking the truth, it would be surprising if he doesn't eventually change his mind.

Gagdad Bob said...

That's usually a bridge too far for someone who has spent their entire life immersed in a materialistic worldview.

Reminds me of what an announcer was saying the other day about how hard it is for a player to change his swing by the time he makes it to the big leagues. Nowadays they put on these defensive shifts that dare the hitter to hit the ball into the huge hole that results, but they just can't do it.

julie said...

Good point; like I was saying in Thursday's comments about people who never learned certain habits (re. toilet seats and toothpaste lids) in childhood. By the time they're adults, no amount of nagging is likely to bring them around. Though miracles do happen...

Gagdad Bob said...

Coonish sentiments.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Very Coonish. I see she has a book coming out later this year. Might be worth checking out.

Peyton said...

Coonish indeed. The essay reminds me of the ending of "The Great Divorce."

Gagdad Bob said...

It's hard to go radically off the rails so long as one never forgets Gödel. The article bogs down pretty quickly, but this I like:

'"Kurt Gödel was a believer” or, at least, a knower ”whose engagement with God included a reworking of the ontological proof of God’s existence. Born in 1906, Gödel was arguably the great mathematician of his time. Certainly no twentieth-century thinker did more to show that the human mind cannot be reduced to a machine. At twenty-five he ruined the positivist hope of making mathematics into a self-contained formal system with his incompleteness theorems, implying, as he noted, that machines never will be able to think, and computer algorithms never will replace intuition. To Gödel this implies that we cannot give a credible account of reality without God. But Gödel’s God is not the well-behaved deity of the old natural theology, or the happy harmonizer of the intelligent-design subculture. Gödel’s God hides his countenance and can be glimpsed only in paradox and intuition. God is not an abstraction but “can act as a person,” as Gödel once wrote, confronting those who seek him with paradox, uplifting man through glorious insights while guarding his infinitude from human grasp. Gödel’s investigations in number theory and general relativity suggest a similar theological result: that God cannot be reduced to a mere principle of the natural world.'

Peyton said...

I see what you mean about the article bogging down -- the author in fact tries to reduce God "to a mere principle of the natural world."

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

John Kenney Jr. said...

Lately we've had an idiot -- either that or a pioneering genius -- commenter who denies the baleful effects of absent fatherhood. In the new Hillsdale Imprimus, Dr. Dalrymple takes issue with our ideologue savant:

I didn't get that idea from that article, I got the impression that he was talking about the debilitating effect of absentee fatherhood.