Friday, September 26, 2014

A Window on the World, a Mirror of Reality, a Ladder to God

Apropos of yesterday's post on the mental slavery of feminism, it seems that folks these days are in need of liberation from liberation -- from faux liberation, or from various forms of slavery masquerading as liberation.

Remember "sexual liberation"? How about freedom through drugs? How did homosexual liberation work out -- at least before the state covered their asses by spending a disproportionate amount of our money on developing a treatment?

There is no "freedom from" without a "freedom to"; the former is the province of politics -- i.e., negative liberty -- while the latter is the province of ethics. Without the freedom to do what is right, one has only the liberty to do what is wrong. In other words, human behavior is intrinsically teleological -- or, the very existence of the virtues reveals the shadow of the cosmic telos herebelow.

"The noble man," writes Schuon, "is one who masters himself and loves to master himself," while "the base man is one who does not master himself and shrinks in horror from mastering himself." Thus, modern liberalism is like a factory for producing ignoble men and base women. To ask such human beastlings to be dignified is like asking Al Sharpton to vacate the sewer.

Furthermore, "The noble man feels the need to admire, to venerate, to worship; the vile man on the contrary tends to belittle, even to mock, which is the way the devil sees things" (ibid). The cheap, mocking humor of a Bill Maher or Jon Stewart is of this nature. They don't even want to understand what they mock, because it would diminish their unearned superiority. Intellectual narcissism only survives in a sharply constricted world, or in a sea of their own stupidity.

Even a hundred years ago, Chesterton had enough insight into the modern world to see that real "liberality" (i.e., of spirit) has "nothing to do with liberalism; in fact, it cannot even now coexist with liberalism."

Nor, for that matter, can someone interested in human beings in their integral totality coexist with what are called "humanists," who take one aspect of man and absurdly expand it to the whole. Synedochebags.

Speaking of cosmic orthodoxy, one of the primordial distinctions we must make is between man and God. To say "man" is to evoke God, as relative to absolute. Man the relative potentially spans the vertical axis "where life opens onto the spirit and where it becomes spirit." It is very much like those paintings of the head-chakra opening out to eternity, or of luminous halos that signify the same.

For, just as the five senses are windows on the world, the intellect is like a two-way mirror that reflects both matter and spirit, or world and God (and world because God). The intelligence actually liberates us in six directions, up and down, in and out, forward and back (or divine and human, interior and exterior, past and future). Moreover, each of these conditions the others, so as one expands, so too do the others. Isn't it obvious that the wider the intellect, the more one perceives of the world?

Likewise the truism that the unexamined life is not worth living; one might say that the unexamined life can't be lived, at least humanly speaking, for such an examination is required in order to colonize the interior world. Otherwise we become subject to it, i.e., to mechanical patterns and mind parasites of various kinds.

About man's vertical bi-directionality, the irony is that a Christian, according to Chesterton, is "a man who believes that deity or sanctity has attached to matter or entered the world of the senses." The world reveals itself to the intellect for the very reason that both are revelations.

But the unaided intellect could only go so far up until a man became "a miraculous medium between heaven and earth."

This is indeed why the cosmic ladder goes all the way to the top, because it first went all the way to the bottom. Or just say humility and plenitude, kenosis and theosis.

Gosh! No time today, and less time Monday...


mushroom said...

...the vile man on the contrary tends to belittle, even to mock, which is the way the devil sees thing

Yes, it is a weakness I have. I have to watch and keep this in mind.

mushroom said...

This is indeed why the cosmic ladder goes all the way to the top, because it first went all the way to the bottom.

I ran across a quote from St. Augustine this morning: God makes of sons of men sons of God, because God hath made of the Son of God the Son of man.

julie said...

Re. mockery, perhaps a caveat is in order? I don't think it is vile to mock that which is intrinsically disordered. Sometimes, it's the only way to shed a little light on the insanity, and goodness knows there are plenty of times when granting dignity to nuttiness only makes things worse.

It is, however, vile to mock what is decent and good, much less to mock what is holy. Think of how our culture tends to view innocence, modesty, and self control...

There is no "freedom from" without a "freedom to"; the former is the province of politics -- i.e., negative liberty -- while the latter is the province of ethics. Without the freedom to do what is right, one has only the liberty to do what is wrong.

And along those lines, apparently at University of Michigan, sexual violence can include things like "discounting the partner's feelings regarding sex; criticizing the partner sexually; ... withholding sex and affection; always demanding sex..."

At that rate, it seems like a Michigan student's best bet is to transfer out, since nobody can avoid being guilty of at least one of those at any given point.

julie said...

I like the Augustine quote - it is quite fitting.

Again, re. mockery (and being aware that I may simply justifying my own occasions of bad behavior), even Jesus made statements that could be taken as a gentle poke at someone else's expense ("should I give the children's food to the dogs?") - though of course with the plan to bring to light something much deeper. And other times, he just flat out insulted people, though only with the truth.

Gagdad Bob said...

One can mock without being a mocker; or making a mockery of mocking.

Leslie Godwin said...

Ben is getting the rest of the gallstones removed this afternoon at 2:30 PM Pacific Time.

I know he would appreciate any prayers you could send his way.

Thanks, Mrs. G

neal said...

That word dog more closely means beloved family pet in the original. Not mockery, a challenge.

Easy to be feral. Hard to break, requires some agreement of faith between consenting parties.

Really hard outside the Garden.

I think another thousand years of struggle would repair a lot. That is going to require the patience of the Saints.

mushroom said...

...discounting the partner's feelings ...

That's so ugly. Nobody should have to go through this.

mushroom said...

I agree about mockery. The object and the intent are really what define it as vile. If the intent is to correct or illuminate or expose evil as evil, sometimes it's good.

I'm just talking about me and my penchant to go for a cheap laugh at somebody's expense. My comment on Jabba's sister yesterday might be such a case.

Mockery should never be an attempt to make myself look bigger and better by tearing down someone else. That's the Maher/Stewart model -- scrawny, ugly little dweebs trying to impress the chicks.

Crud, I can't help myself. Is there a Mockers Anonymous?

Van Harvey said...

"There is no "freedom from" without a "freedom to"; the former is the province of politics -- i.e., negative liberty -- while the latter is the province of ethics. Without the freedom to do what is right, one has only the liberty to do what is wrong. In other words, human behavior is intrinsically teleological -- or, the very existence of the virtues reveals the shadow of the cosmic telos herebelow."

And then of course there are those in pursuit of a freedom from within:

Stephen Hawking makes it clear: There is no God:
"The physicist explains that science now offers more convincing explanations for existence. He is therefore an atheist...."

Ah, the burgeoning frontiers of autism. Be fruitful and multiply!

"Doctor: Ray, can we try something?
Raymond: Yeah.
Doctor: Do you know how much 312 x 123 is?
Raymond: [saying digit after digit] 3-8-3-7-6.
Doctor: [amazed] He's right.
Charlie: What?
Doctor: He's right!
Charlie: He's right?
Doctor: Yeah.
[the calculator shows 38376]
Doctor: Ray... How much is 4343 x 1234?
Raymond: [saying digit after digit] 5-3-5-9-2-6-2
Charlie: He's a genius...
Doctor: Right.
Charlie: He's a genius!
Doctor: Ray! Do you know how much a square root of 2130 is?
Raymond: 4-6 point 1-5-1-9-2-3-0-4.
[the calculator shows 46.15192304]
Raymond: 2-3-0-4.
Charlie: That's amazing! He is amazing! He should work for NASA or something like that.
Doctor: [walking to Raymond] If you had a dollar... and you spent 50 cents, how much money would you have left?
Raymond: About 70...
Doctor: 70 cents?
Raymond: 70 cents."

Yes indeedy, you too can know the nature of reality and not be pestered by that pesky withinness - it's all explained, right Rain man?!


Leslie Godwin said...

Update re. Ben's surgery: He didn't have the surgery today at 2:30 as planned. He said there were too many more serious cases. He was told that they would do the surgery in the morning.
Mrs. G

Joan of Argghh! said...

I had some thoughts on mockery a while back on my blog:

The mockers’ brand of comedy carries the stench of predictability. An agile mind cannot be entertained by mockery; possibly it can be “a”mused, but not actually engaged. Anybody can let mocking arrows fly, but so few actually hit the mark of Truth. The twang of the string is all they really want.

Jesters were a much better muse for the politically inclined, as their barbs were founded in the funniest thing around: Truth. And Truth is hard to come by. That’s why comedy is hard and dying is easy. Tragedy writes itself without regard of life or circumstance, but Comedy needs an outside observer with a mind large enough to put A next to Z and come up with 42.

Mockery plays to the lowest of natures: the decaying intellect infused with self-regard.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Freedoms, both from and to, cannot be found in an environment of oppression and suppression. One must be exposed to Truth, even hints of it, to feel its magnetic draw. And all of Creation is tossing out huge hints. But those that are oppressed in mental, moral and cultural slavery scare have any exposure to a thought that can render them susceptible to curiosity, much less Truth. This is the evil of slavery, of Islam, of corruption: it suppresses exposure to the Truth. It must, of course, in order to survive.

julie said...

Joan, there's a picture here that sums up your comments quite nicely. Sometimes, not even a jester is needed - just eyes to see...

John said...

I find the examples of John Stewart and Bill Maher to be quite different. While Maher mocks religion using strawman arguments, Stewart mocks all mainstream media because of its stupidity and false propaganda.
On this blog, straw man arguments are regularly used, for example, to mock and criticize Islam. Ironically, one can often see these inane remarks juxtaposed with a quote from Schuon, perhaps the staunchest defender of authentic Islam that ever lived. As with the case of Maher, these weak arguments tend to lead new readers to dismiss what might otherwise be interesting arguments in other domains.

julie said...

If the Muslim world practiced Islam as Schuon understood it, there would be no problem whatsoever. There would also be no beheadings or stonings, no honor killings, no child brides, no women forced into burkhas, no violent jihad, no forced conversions, no slavery.....

Sadly, mainstream - and yes, "authentic" - Islam has little or nothing to do with Schuon's understanding of the faith. And frankly, I suspect that he was aware of that and behaved accordingly.

As to Maher and Stewart, they may both have moments where they are in touch with the truth - and Stewart probably more than Maher - but neither of them gets a pass. And if Stewart invites you onto his show... just say no. Unless you're in on the gag.

John said...

What you say is true of all religious worlds, it goes without saying.
Certainly, the last 50 years have been particularly violent with Muslims.
WWI and WWII, for the Christian world eclipses anything they have come up with, this far, however. I longer view of history brings perspective. Indeed, much of the violence from the Islamic world is a (inappropriate) reaction to the artificial states, etc created by Christian victors in those wars.

julie said...

Right. They'd be happy, prosperous, and peacefully keeping to themselves, if only all those awful European Christians had stayed away all those centuries!

Sumdood said...

I didn't do nothin! I wuz just sittin here praying, and these Christians came up and started trying to stab me with a sword for NO reason!

John said...

Conquering lands and meddling with others is found everywhere there are men. Islam didn't invent violence. In any case, I wasn't arguing that they would do so. There are, of course, many millions of happy, peaceful, devoted Muslims in the world.

Gagdad Bob said...

No matter what Schuon says about the subject, there is just absolutely no way in the world he can be considered any kind of orthodox or mainstream Muslim.

julie said...

Re. the peaceful Muslims - so what? A significant proportion of them may live peacefully themselves, but will still praise God every time a jihadist lops off an infidel head. How many of Alton Nolen's spiritual leaders go around stabbing people? Probably none. But how many of them taught him that doing so would be evil? Again, I'm guessing, probably none.

Gagdad Bob said...

Islamic countries in aggregate are the most miserable places on earth to live. There is a reason for that. Just as North and South Korea are the identical people divided only by an ideology, you could say the same of Israel and all the hellish places that surround it. Islam is like a recipe for human disaster. Apparently.

Gagdad Bob said...

I once tried to get my anti-Semitic Jewish father-in-law to admit that he would prefer to live in Israel than the Palestinian territories. He wouldn't do it. That's what I call intellectual consistency.

julie said...

Ha - now that's faith!

Gagdad Bob said...

He was the most corrosively cynical man in the world, and yet, had a kind of childlike faith in the New York Times. Although he was one aggressive child.

Van Harvey said...

John Doh!: "Hi, my name is John and I'm an anonymous.
aninnymice: 'Hi John!'
John Doh!: "I've been trying so hard to act like a real somebody for so long now, it seems like it's been for hours, maybe even days."
aninnymice: "Good for you John!"
John Doh!: "I do my best to say what I think, but it's so hard to resist... to take just a sip of 'straw man', or to sneak in a shot of 'might otherwise be interesting arguments'... it is so hard. But I know that with every new comment I have a fresh chance of beginning again, so... I will endeavor to persevere!"
aninnymice: "Thanks for sharing and keep trying John!"

John said...

In fact, I never said anything about Schuon, himself, being mainstream. Simply that he defends mainstream orthodox Islam (In the same way that you defend orthodox Christianity, without, evidently, being a Christian). And that, regardless of the countries they come from.
I can also see that you have never travelled to Morocco where people are remarkably happy and nonviolent. Much safer than, Chicago, for example. With the further advantage of not being governed by Rahm E.

I fail to see what you are getting at.

Van Harvey said...

John said "I fail to see what you are getting at."

That's ok. And if in fact it doesn't apply to you, that's even better.

Leslie Godwin said...

Ben said he is going in for surgery now,
Mrs G

Leslie Godwin said...

It sounds like Ben' surgery was a total success. He thanks everyone for their prayers. Please check his blog for future updates.
Mrs G

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for your prayers, my friends.
I got to go home yesterday. Unfortunately, they insisted on my neighbor Terry being there to drive me home.

It sure is good to be home, I tell you what.
I'm still purty sore but I'm gettin' better.

P.S. Actually, I pulled a fast one and drove myself home so I wouldn't hafta leave my truck there.
There was no problem driving (the nurse thought I shouldn't drive cuz I had one percoset 6 hours earlier. A perc that didn't work after four hrs.).

Besides, I never drive faster than
i can see.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

An ignoble person has pignity but not dignity.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

It ain't mockery if it's true.

Joan of Argghh! said...

*Waves to Ben*

So glad to have you back in the fray, Ben! How'd Skully fare through it all?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Tidal Waving to Joan."

Without his grog Skully was inconsolable. He actually made a Nun cry after hearing the Skully Grog Blues.