Friday, July 11, 2014

Cosmic Orthodoxy and How it Affects Your Wallet

A couple of posts back we dropped a casual reference to Cosmic Orthodoxy, which got me to thinking: exactly what did I mean by this term? Was I just joking? Being provocative? Poetic?

No, I meant it literally. Again, ortho-doxy is straight or right thinking; thus, cosmic orthodoxy is the correct view of everything, or rather, of the whole. It doesn't necessarily mean that one is correct with regard to every particular -- the history of any religion or science proves this -- but that one's overarching view is correct, or at least adequate; or even better, not infected at the start with a principle or axiom so fundamentally incorrect as to bar progress, or generate absurdity, or refute itself.


For example, the first principle of Cosmic Orthodoxy is that there is one. This probably sounds slightly tautological, but it isn't at all, for we know full well that there exists an influential mob of half-educated mediocretins -- we call them the tenured -- who believe otherwise.

These lazy folkers enforce an orthodoxy that insists that there is and can be no orthodoxy at all, only a pluralistic miasma they call "diversity or "multiculturalism" or a government or campus that "looks like America," etc.

In short, they believe in orthodox relativism, or that relativism is the right and proper stance toward reality. Thus they refute themselves right out the gate, but these are not the sharpest bulbs in the knife socket. Which isn't problematic for them, since, in the absence of truth, no one can really be deeper or brighter than anyone else, and besides, so long as you're a ward of the state with a guaranteed gig in the looniversity bin, who cares?

In other words, there can be no vertical measure of proximity to truth, which does wonders for one's self esteem -- or intellectual pride -- until one realizes that any scholarship produced by such heterodorks is equivalent to winning a trophy for showing up: the bland writing for the blind.

It reminds me of 1974, when the Nobel Prize in economics went to two illustrious experts, Freidrich Hayek and Gunnar Myrdal. These two experts could not possibly disagree more on the nature of economic reality, nor is there any way to blend them into some kind of hybrid "middle way," for this would be the middle way of ice cream and excrement or orange juice and arsenic.

Now, the reason why there is economic truth is because there is truth; and the reason why there is truth is because there is reality; and the reason why there is reality is because there is creation; and the reason why there is creation -- including all this ongrowing creativity and novelty -- is because there is a Creator.

But the central point to bear in mind is that economics is not an ad hoc or sui generis discipline unattached to everything else, or something that only emerges at the level of human interaction. Rather, to the extent that it "works," it is because it mirrors certain principles of Cosmic Orthodoxy on its own plane.

Again, the views of these two men, Hayek and Myrdal, could not possibly be more different. To honor them simultaneously is analogous to handing out the Pulitzer Prize in poetry to T.S. Eliot and Maya Angelou, or a Templeton Prize to Thomas Aquinas and Deepak Chopra. It just makes no sense, for starters; it is utterly incoherent. Unless, of course, one is a relativist, in which case it is inevitable that we will conflate shit and Shinola.

"Actions," writes Easterly, "follow from principles and understanding." Although failure to act has its own consequences, "wrong actions are equally a danger," so "it is critical to to get the principles of action right before acting."

Or in other words, Doctrine and Method: the same principle that applies to religion applies equally to to economics, i.e., truth and its application.

The application of Myrdal's truth has directly led to a literally incalculable number of deaths, because it is impossible to calculate the number of deaths that wouldn't have occurred had authoritarian technocrats put Hayak's principles into effect instead of Myrdal's (or rather, if these meddlesome authoritarians hadn't existed to begin with, or had simply obeyed the Law).

It's like asking how many died as a result of Karl Marx. Only God knows. Given the guilt that would result, I suppose it's a sort of perverse mercy that Marxists don't know God. Yet.

"The technocratic illusion is that poverty results from a shortage of expertise, whereas poverty is really about a shortage of rights" (ibid.). Consider America at the time of the founding. The average person at the time was probably poorer, say, than the people flooding our southern border. But they had their sacred rights, and that was enough.

Imagine, however, if, instead of securing our sacred rights, our forebears had burdened us with Authoritarian Experts like Myrdal or Keynes or Krugman. Had that happened, our subsequent development wouldn't have. It is very much like Marx, who railed about the misery of the proletariat when, for the first time in history, masses of people were rising out of subsistence -- not due to Myrdalian principles, but to straight-up cosmically orthodox Hayekian ones of spontaneous order resulting from dispersed and decentrailized knowledge known by individuals and no one else.

And it is the same for poverty in contemporary America, which was actually losing the fight until authoritarian liberal experts decided to declare war in it. There can be no exit strategy from such a fanciful war, for the same reason there is no exit strategy from any delusion. Rather, the delusion is the strategy.

We have Providence to thank for the fact that our founders were firmly rooted in Cosmic Orthodoxy, in nonlocal principles that apply to all men at all times. If they were alive today -- which they still are, by the way -- they would no doubt call King Barry before the tribunal of world history and formally charge him with Plundering Our Wallets, Ravaging Our Economy, and Burning Our Constitution.

(yoinked courtesy Happy Acres)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How Crazy is Obama?

Where any person or body of men, who do not represent the Whole, seize into their hands the power of the last resort, there is properly no longer government but what Aristotle and his followers call the abuse and corruption of one.

That was Jonathan Swift, who looked upon such a usurpation "as a greater evil than anarchy itself; as much as a savage is in a happier state of life than a slave at the oar."

Than again, Swift also spoke of our wholly irrational -- or at least arational -- "love of life, which, from the dictates of reason, every man would despise, and wish it at an end, or that it never had a beginning."

So, Dear Leader and his low information lowlives are putting our irrational love of life to the test, but the primary victims of his follies are and will be those they are supposedly designed to benefit. For example, even more low IQ illegals will only put more downward pressure on the wages of gardeners, housekeepers, and day laborers, while further increasing black and teen unemployment.

In an information economy that is already sorting by intelligence as never before -- the main driver of "income inequality" -- Obama is further reifying a two-tiered system in which the minority of HiQs create the wealth while the majority of LowQs vote.

Thus, while they cannot create much wealth they can surely appropriate it via the abuse and corruption of government. We're already there. Those with eyes open have seen the lightning. When the earth-rattling Thunder will arrive is anyone's guess, as it will no doubt come as a thief in the night, or like an IRS audit. Or, like bankruptcy: very gradually and then all of a sudden.

You know the old crack: never attribute to malevolence what can be more readily explained by stupidity. But the psychologist in me -- admittedly a mere remnant these days -- wants to toss in a third possibility, psychopathology. For there is something worse than mere stupidity, and that is a vast and secure knowledge of things that just aren't so.

I read much more history than I do psychology, but when I do, I am always impressed by the terribly destructive combination of confident error and primitive mental illness; or of crazy people doing evil things in the name of some kooky doctrine they've gotten lodged in their heads.

When I say "primitive" mental illness, I mean that type which causes a man to act out his pathology instead of thinking about it. In other words, for such a person, action is a substitute for introspection -- as indeed it is for a child.

A child doesn't have the vocabulary or self-distance to adequately describe what is going on inside. Therefore, a child psychologist must observe the child in action. His office is typically filled with toys, dolls, action figures, and other objects to which the child will be spontaneously attracted and then use to symbolically play out his conflict.

Perhaps he will pick out a male doll with which to bash a female doll while saying "bad mommy!" Or maybe he'll pick out the male doll, toss it across the room, and yell, "so stay in Africa! I don't give a fuck!," and then score some choom from another doll for the purposes of self-soothing, or to nurture his grandiosity.

At any rate, it is this deadly confluence of Higher Stupidity in Low Psychic Places that should concern us all. By now you all know and have even forgotten about Bion's Grid, which is not a sports bar but a visual means to conceptualize -- or a conceptual way to visualize -- various psychic and cognitive combinations.

For example, it is quite possible -- in this day and age, perhaps even likely -- that the most intelligent person in the world may devote his entire life to extending and refining a lie. In fact, it seems to me that this is inevitable so long as one is ignorant of the source of truth. That is, the sufficient reason of the intellect is the Truth of which it is a reflection and to which it is an adequation. Exclude Truth, and what is intelligence but an elaborate way to be stupid?

Or, to express it in the simplest way possible, to posit absolute relativity is to say that man's ignorance is categorical.

We've had some awfully bad presidents in the past, but prior to Obama, I don't think a single one of them would be characterized as an out-and-out relativist. But Obama is our first thoroughly postmodern president, which also makes him post-Christian, post-literate, post-rational, post-constitutional, post-American, and post-reality.

Let's even stipulate that this cynical product of a nihilistic and spiritually corrosive academia truly believes himself to be a Christian. Well, despite our differences, there is still a thing called Orthodoxy, by which I do not just mean Christian orthodoxy, but cosmic orthodoxy. Again, religion is not about religion, but rather, about Truth. To the extent that a purportedly religious person believes things that cannot possibly be true, and which lack all reason, that can't be religion.

In this world -- and all humans know it, even if they deny it -- nothing can be more privileged than Truth. Scientists are motivated by this, as is our judicial system. Rationality itself is simply impossible -- or pointless -- in the absence of the Truth of which it is a reflection. Again, a thing isn't true because it is rational, but rather, rational because it is true. And if you need the backup of the tenured, Gödel proved with ironclad logic that the most important truths cannot be proved with reason.

But the heterodorks of the left want to have their crock and eat it too, which only results in more hunger, more poverty, more insanity. Which then results in more food stamps, more bogus disability claims, more social chaos, more psychic disorder.

Remember when we discussed Gilder's Knowledge and Power a few months back? Order and disorder are not opposites but joined at the hip, in that the tyrannical imposition of top-down order generates disorder below. Conversely, entropy and information lead to upside surprise, or evolution -- which is why the progressive left is so regressive, since they undermine the very conditions of progress.

I think it's entirely appropriate to ask ourselves, "just how crazy is Obama?" But unless you understand the dynamics of primitive personality disorders, you won't get very far. As alluded to yesterday, narcissism runs along a continuum from normal and healthy, to fragile, to a rigid and shame-intolerant closed system revolving around triumph, contempt, and absence of curiosity.

This latter form can even appear to be the most healthy, in that such a person appears above it all -- cool, poised, no drama. But this is only because the person lives behind a hardened false self to protect the shriveled and vulnerable self within, more or less developmentally arrested at the age it was traumatized by a disappointing world.

Take that same mentally ill child in a consulting room full of toys, and put him in a position of vast power, with access to the biggest and best toys in the world. And then watch him play. Or, if you prefer, watch him fuck with us, like a sadistic kid pulling wings off a fly.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Right Thinking, Right Doing, Right Being, or Why Obama Hates Me

I don't think I'll have time for a real post -- one that burdens your time and patience. But I did want to follow up on Monday's post about ortho-doxy (straight thinking) and ortho-praxis (right practice). As one commenter noted, it comes down to doctrine and method, or knowing and doing. For what purpose though?

I suppose for the Raccoon the ultimate purpose would be ortho... onta? Orthonta? That's not very euphonious, but what we mean to say is "right being."

Thus, the most general categories of our lives are thinking, doing, and being, but these can only be artificially separated. And to the extent that they are severed from one another, mischief ensues.

For example, doing without thinking, thy name is liberalism. Doing also subsumes feeling -- which is interior movement -- so the same sad principle applies: for the liberal it is always I feel, therefore I am. What they generally feel is a troublesome combination of pity and sanctimony, for example, vis-a-vis the fiasco they have engineered at the border.

What's even worse is that one left hound doesn't even know what the other left hound is up to. In other words, one element of the left manufactures the crisis (the high-power, or HiPo segment), while the more LoFo element can be relied upon to exercise its pity, the end result being the transfer of more power and authority to the HiPo statists, accompanied by a diminution of personal and collective power and sovereignty among higher abnormals such as ourselves. Those of us who don't want hordes of (mostly) low IQ illegals swamping our already failed state have no say (much less do) in the matter.

Thus, the element that manufactured the crisis can propose to dig into our pockets for another few billion in order to address it. What I don't quite understand is why the LoFos never object to the manipulation, but I guess that's what makes them LoFos, i.e., members of the lowerdoxy.

So anyway, this is just one example of what can occur when crooked thinking gets together with crookward actions untethered by any rational principle rooted in ontology, or the Way Things Are.

As to orthonta -- our unsatisfactory word for right being -- more than one luminary has observed that if only man were capable of sitting alone in a room with his thoughts for half an hour, that would pretty much solve the world's problems. Why? Because it would mean that his thoughts and feelings aren't persecuting him into performing all kinds of wrong actions, for starters.

For what is an activist? Usually someone acting out his private psychodrama in public. No one, for example, would even attempt to organize a community, of all things, unless his soul were quite disorganized.

Speaking of Obama, he was preposterously presented to the public as an "intellectual" -- first of all, as if that's a good thing! When the left uses that term, all they mean by it is that this is the sort of naif or knave who still believes what he was told in college -- someone who has been thoroughly indoctrinated and can be relied upon to never have a creative thought, nor to question the political hetero-doxy of the left.

Therefore, we're dealing with a kind of hardened hetero-doxy, or crooked thinking frozen in place. This is why Obama behaves the way he does, in such an obnoxiously hetero-ontic way. He is way beyond caring what normal Americans think, because he is very much a (pseudo) intellectual narcissist.

The primary drive of the narcissist is to be mirrored by those around him. However, if there is a failure of mirroring, two possibilities may result: for the healthier narcissist there will be an internal collapse, which may then be used as the basis for rebuilding the self in a healthier way.

The more pathological narcissist deals with the rejection through the defense mechanism of outright contempt, and this is Obama's approach. In truth, the contempt has always been there, only now it's much more widespread and undisguised, what with his peevish and childlike taunts at congress. But it's of a piece with "you didn't build that," "bitter clingers," "I won," global warming skeptics as flat earthers, etc.

Well, I wish I had more time to get into the dynamics of narcissism, but you get the general idea. This is a world-historical political narcissistic tantrum the likes of which we have not seen in my lifetime.

One more thought: Obama is so heartbroken about what's going on at the border that he can't even bring himself to visit the scene. Rather, he needs to console himself by attending a fundraiser with similarly compassionate millionaires and billionaires who wouldn't be caught dead down there, let alone take one of those kids into their homes. They don't believe in fences, except around their estates and compounds.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Zig-Zag Wandering in the Wild Godhead

Religion -- and the truth it embodies -- would be inconceivable in the absence of the prior unity which it is "about."

Every philosophy too is about unity, but often -- especially in the fragmented postmodern world -- a flight from it. You could say that such philosophies are wholly reactionary, without ever acknowledging the unity to which they are reacting and from which they recoil.

This is not to say that such philosophies do not seek unity, but that is the problem. Instead of situating themselves in the nonlocal vector that leads the fragmented soul from illusion to truth and appearances to reality, they work to bring about their own impoverished substitute version of unity -- usually with force, since that is the only way to get people to order themselves to such top-down disorder.

We define the left as the political action wing of this demented metaphysic, e.g., diversity, multiculturalism, and relativism. How, you might ask, can we force disparate groups of human beings to live together -- to be "one" -- without any acknowledgement of the transcendent oneness that unifies them? With multiculturalism each culture is its own atomistic one, upon which we are expected to confer respect and dignity, irrespective of whether or not they are themselves in communion with the One.

Not only does this undermine any living basis for civic life, it gives official sanction to the elevation of systematic falsehood to a form of truth -- which is like claiming illness as another form of health, or blindness as a form of vision.

Which the left also does, of course: transsexuality and other perversions, obesity, promiscuity, envy, dependence, immaturity, Masculinity Deficiency Syndrome, Femininity Devaluation Hysteria, etc. Each of these is considered to be just as valid as its opposite, which is again an implicit assault on the unity of truth.

Our "political scripture" -- e.g., the Declaration and Constitution -- are documents that are supposed to give unified form to our political body. But the left easily makes hash of these, again destroying any possibility of unity except for that imposed by power, by the state. That is never unity, just a totalist fusion.

I suppose it's analogous to a sedimentary rock, which consists of countless disparate and independent granules compressed into an object. Look closely and you can see that the individual parts are quite different, and yet, they cannot escape the pressure of being objectified into anonymous rockhood. You know, like academia.

Speaking of which, a wise goodcrack by Edmund Burke about the tenured, found in this entertaining autobiography of Russell Kirk: paraphrasing, the man who hangs around a college after having been graduated is like a fellow who builds and stocks a ship, only to never leave port and set sail.

The loony idea that everyone should attend college has resulted, of course, in the need for exponentially more professors, way outstripping the supply of intellectual firepower, which is limited by genes, culture, family, the bell curve, and other factors. Thus, we have a permanent and ineradicable idiocracy that funnels the preposterous into the impressionable, resulting in this downward politico-cultural death spiral.

Just glancing at this chapter on Thomas More in The Common Mind. A character in his Utopia observes that "there is no place for philosophers among kings," to which the narrator replies, "Yes there is, but not for that academic philosophy which fits everything into place." Rather, there is "another, more sophisticated philosophy which accommodates itself" to the reality at hand, and "it is this philosophy that you should use."

Obama is just the latest example of government by Beautiful Theory applied to the wrong species. He is also a counter-example of our first duty, which is "to preserve, such a measure of unity, small or great, as the Christendom of their age has been able to inherit." But such unity is at odds with "the pressure of centralizing and absolutist power," with "the use of positive law for coercive purposes at variance with common law and natural law," and with "respectful use of our common language as opposed to the sophistical subversion of meaning."

Thus, as we have discussed in a number of posts, there are the two unities, one of which is invaluable (and the source of value), the other worthless (and the basis of nihilism, whether acknowledged or not). This is elucidated in Letter IX of Meditations on the Tarot, The Hermit, so I won't repeat the lesson.

Suffice it to say that there is a Light that is the prior source of all color, and a Darkness that results from the indiscriminate blending of all colors. The latter is the unity the left has been waiting for, and Obama is giving it to us, good and hard.

"Ignorant enthusiasm," wrote Kirk, "cannot remake the world." But it never stops trying. And just as there are critical truths "which no amount of mental effort could have produced," there are vital lies that no decent person could have imagined or foreseen. But that's our fault, because we need to balance the innocence of doves with the wisdom of snakes.

Interesting too that we are always zig-zag wanderers in our crookward movement toward the Light, whereas it is possible to plunge straight into darkness like an anvil dropped down a well. The Adversary is efficient that way, allowing gravity to do the work.

Monday, July 07, 2014

The Religion the Almighty and Me Works Out Betwixt Us

I've been getting more than the usual interior static about what I Am. Of course I would like to settle it once and for all, so I can move on with my life. Surely there must be a shorter answer than Improvisational Esoteric Judeo-Christian Orthoparadoxical Bohemian Classical Liberal Neo-traditional Retro-futurist in the First Church of Perpetual Slack.

What I really want to believe is contained up in the mysthead, in the immortal words of the Reverend Harry Powell. There is a scene in which a slightly skeptical listener asks, hey, wait a minute, just what religion do you profess, preacher?

Harry's face hardens and he responds with a menacing, The religion the Almighty and me worked out betwixt us.

Which doesn't usually work out well. The best you can usually hope for is some ego-flattering new age mush, or an idiosyncratic jumble of truth and fantasy.

Here's Reverend Harry conversing with the Lord about his next move. Yeah, you could say he has a purpose-driven life, but so does any psychopath.

Hey, wait a minute Mr. President. Just what kind of constitution did you swear to uphold?

The one I works out betwixt what it says and what I wants it to say.

This problem still comes up all the time, and I am far from resolved about it. For example, I know for a fact that I have provoked many readers to turn or return to orthodoxy or Catholicism -- wife included -- and yet, I cannot do so myself. Why is that? And is it just a lame excuse? And if you are excluded from the general mandate, what makes you so special? What makes you different from a Harry Powell, or worse, a Deepak Chopra?

I notice that the Happy Acres Guy has confronted the same issue, which essentially comes down to the source of authority and the means of salvation. He tried, he really tried, to turn himself into the authorities and go straight, but he just couldn't do it:

"I put aside my protestant prejudices, drawn by the Catholic writers that speak to me and to the truth behind it all. And not incidentally intending to poke my finger in the eye of progressives by joining the most traditional organization."

That last one is indeed a major draw -- to join the one institution that is at antipodes to the depraved values of the demonic left. If the left hates it so much, it must be true! Although as soon as you say that, the Pope comes out with some vague, innumerate economic blather that gives aid and comfort to the demon class (and will of course further immiserate the poor).

And I certainly revere those many illustrious Catholic writers who "speak to me and to the truth behind it all." Not just the most beautiful art but most of our deepest thinkers came out of the church. Then again, one of my favorites, Meister Eckhart, ran afoul of the church. Speaking of HA, I found a helpful comment there from the Meister, which very much comports with my sentiments:

"We ought simply to follow where God leads, that is, to do what we are most inclined to do, to go where we are repeatedly admonished to go -- to where we feel most drawn. If we do that, God gives us his greatest in our least and never fails."

Yes, no doubt. Cosmic Slack, and all that. But consider the mischief that can result from a misinterpretation of simply doing "what we are most inclined to do." Here we need to specify that he means vertically, not horizontally.

As we have discussed in the past, the soul is in constant trialogue with its ground and destiny; or situated in the space between the two, to be precise. We know the soul by paying attention to its spontaneous and yet specific inclinations and aversions. We are always oriented to the divine attractor -- O -- but in our own unique way, thus combining the universal and the particular, the one and the many, God and Incarnation, Father and Son, etc.

In fact, even more than an incarnation, we are an incarnotion, i.e., an idea or notion of God. While one could theoretically understand how natural selection could account for a universal type, it can never account for the unique form of our soul, which again navigates in the hyperspace of the vertical in order to discover and potentiate itself by assimilating truth.

"Even if God is in all ways and all things evenly," asks Eckhart, "do I not still need a special way to get to him?" Well, yes and no. I would say that it cannot only be special, or else you are living in your own private Idaho. Rather, the special must embody the universal. With that caveat in mind,

"Whatever the way that leads you most frequently to awareness of God, follow that way; and if another way appears, different from the first, and you quit the first and take the second, and the second works, it is all right. It would be nobler and better, however, to achieve rest and security through evenness, by which one might take God and enjoy him in any manner, in any thing, and not have to delay and hunt around for your special way: this has been my joy! To this end all kinds of activities may contribute and any work may be a help; but if it does not, let it go!"

Note the evolution he implicitly describes: we begin in the unique, the particular, the individual, but end -- if we are lucky -- in the universal. This makes sense to me. By way of analogy, think of language. Let's stipulate that you can more or less convey truth in any language. Nevertheless, in order to do so, you must speak a particular language. You cannot do so with Language as such, which is pure abstraction.

Thus, suppose there is a Religion As Such which embodies the truth of reality. Well, as with language, you need to "speak" -- i.e., practice -- a particular one. But even then there are loopwholes. Alert readers will recall that in the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the book, I endeavored to playgiarize with a kind of universal language beyond language in order to convey truth as such.

Recently I read an intriguing essay by Rebecca Bynum called God Descending. The reason I find it intriguing is that it is so Coonlike that it appears to me that we are in the orbit of the same attractor, although naturally coming at it from different angles, being that we are not the same individual. In it she expresses the wholly orthoparadoxical view that

"Just as we, in our limited ability, ascend toward God [↑], so does God descend toward us [↓], invading and encompassing his entire creation. Though God exists as an absolute, eternal being outside the confines of time and space, there must be some part of God, or level of God, that exists within those self-imposed and self-created confines -- a God of time and space. Thus creation remains a part of God, not separate from him."

This is an Exact Truth, a truth beyond which there can be no truthier. She continues:

"Ultimately of course, God the Father is eternal, absolute and unevolving, but within spacetime, he exists as actualizing potential -- he is both actual and potential.

"Therefore, as we participate in our own self-realization by growing in the spirit, that is to say, as our God-given potential becomes actual in time, we are adding our own small mite to the great actualization of the evolving God. We have been created as unique beings -- there is no one else who can contribute exactly the same bit of actualization to God and thus in a very real sense, God is dependent upon our growth, and our increasing ability to bear the fruits of the spirit, for his actualization."

My only quibble would be that she contradicts herself, in that she first refers to God as being "absolute and unevolving," and then suggests that human beings add "to the great actualization of the evolving God" (emphasis mine).

The only way to reconcile the contradiction, in my opinion, is with recourse to some version of Hartshorne's process theology, whereby God is essentially an "evolving Absolute." I don't want to get sidetracked into a defense of that proposition, but I will say that there is no other kind of God in whom I can believe. So it may well be my own limitation, but it is my own, dammit, and not somebody else's.

In fact, this forms the basis of the very multiundisciplinary religion the Almighty and me works out betwixt us, so back off! I'm lookin' at you, Bob.