Friday, October 24, 2014

The Blinding Light and Omniscient Darkness of a World Made of Language

Back to words -- or messages, messengers, and recipients. Deconstructionists like to pretend that the world is made of language, but they don't really believe it, any more than the liberal believes in racial equality. Rather, they first redefine the plain meaning of the word and then pledge their allegiance to their little delusion.

But for the Vertical Church of the Orthoparadoxical Trinity, the world really IS made of language, bearing in mind its three modes alluded to above. The postmodernist collapses these three, so that language refers only to itself: words point only to other words, with the result that speaking becomes indistinguishable from the ceaseless cranio-rectal exploration of the tenured.

Speaking of which, this superb book on how Israel went from being adored to despised by the left has a chapter on the malignant leftist intellectual assclown Edward Said, that reminds us of how intellectually depraved he and they are. As far as I am aware, there is nothing analogous in contemporary conservatism to these fashionable intellectual darlings becoming Academic Superstars and shaping whole generations of morons. (Even a public intellectual such as Russell Kirk is simply preserving and handing along the Permanent Things.)

In the 1960s it was provocateurs such as Marcuse, Adorno, Sartre, Michael Harrington, et al. Nowadays it is Said, Chomsky, Zinn, Foucault, Derrida, Rawls, and the rest of that rabble. Such people are not even confused, rather, grandiose transmission belts of Confident Error to the McDullards of academia (both students and other professors).

The reason conservative thinkers are not generally subject to such systematic nonsense is that we are by definition much less influenced by these types of fashionable intellectual vaudevillians (there are always exceptions -- some so-called conservatives even voted for Obama). A hundred years from now no one will know these noams, but people will still be studying Aristotle, Aquinas, or Burke, for the simple reason that the former are always intellectual reactionaries who react to and recoil from truth. Truth is one, while its endless alternatives constitute the fashionable nonsense of the day.

As to the linguistic composition of reality, Balthasar writes that "By keeping himself open in his suspended center to movement toward the depths, [man's] language is constantly enriched from heaven and earth."

In other words, man is the recipient of a continuous stream of horizontal and vertical murmurandoms, but only if he opens himself to them in freedom. For example, vast swaths of the world -- mostly the Islamic world -- systematically close off the horizontal messages, while perhaps an equal number of cardiomyopic assouls in the west shut out the vertical.

Of note, once one forecloses the vertical, that is hardly the end of it. Like any other form of repression, there is always a return of the repressed, but in a disguised, projected, or transformed way. Which is why there is no one more superstitious than the secular leftist, just as there is no one more "concrete" than the Islamist who rejects reason and empiricism.

In other words, if one cannot penetrate and illuminate the horizontal world rationally, then it is as if one is left with a kind of dense concrete block of unintelligibility. This also explains why their visions of heaven are so concretely sensual, whereas the left wing political heaven is always an unattainable and destructive abstraction that they nevertheless cannot stop loving with mind, body, and heart.

As a matter of fact, this goes to one of the reasons for the left's reversal on Israel, because during its first twenty or thirty years, Israel was probably the most purely socialistic nation that has ever existed, right down to kibbutzniks who didn't own so much as their own pants, and whose children were raised collectively.

Of course this beautiful idea eventually fell apart in practice, so Israel became the most convincing proof ever that socialism cannot work even under the extraordinary conditions of being a voluntary system among ethnically, religiously, culturally, ideologically, and linguistically similar peoples. How then could it possibly succeed in a place like the US, where it can only be forced upon an ethnically, culturally, religiously, linguistically, and ideologically diverse population?

Obama does not know this. Why? Maybe because Edward Said is one the floundering fathers from whom he got his crazy dreams. I don't have time to get into the details, but suffice it to say that Said is as thoroughly rotten as they come. To assimilate his ideas is to become rotten, or to allow one's mind to rot from the inside out. Even to look up to such a person signifies a broken moral and intellectual compass. In other words, his perverse ideas simply do not resonate in the sane (even leaving aside Said's dishonesty, pomposity, and wretched scholarship).

Note that for a postmodern thinker such as Said, it is naive to think there is such a thing as unambiguous truth, for which reason his lies become understandable as the means for revolutionary change, which is the real point. A lie that furthers Palestinian barbarism is a good thing.

This view of reality could not be more opposed to ours (again, it is reactionary, i.e., a reaction to truth). Now, we agree that there is ambiguity surrounding language, not because of a deficiency of truth but because of an excess, an overflowing mystery through which meaning is conveyed through words even while always transcending them. "Language acquires its depth, its infinite significance, its poetic, prophetic, lawgiving power from knowledge of this mystery" (Balthasar). Thus, "When the mystery of the ground of being fades, then the expressive power of words fades also."

Furthermore, all speech that we call "great" is "rooted, without qualification and without exception, in the religious, in the reverent vision" of this perpetual differentiation of the primordial Word.

Now, theo-logy, as Balthasar reminds us, is at one end "the speech of God," but at the other "the speech of man in God." In other words, there is mystery at both ends, and yet, it is not a "barren" mystery, but rather, an endlessly fertile one. "If man is ultimately gifted with speech because he himself is a word of God," it means that man is simultaneously word, recipient, and speaker in return. This is the only possible source of our own potential "wholeness," which comes via participation in this eternal divine trialogue at the heart of things.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eavesdropping on Nature's God

Continuing with yesterday's line of thought... well, first of all, here are some highlights from the second repost I promised:

Reader Magister commented that "Feminists seem to be perpetually at war with their own bodies." However, this resentment is projected into men and into babies, as if it's our fault that their bodies are so sexually alluring, or the baby's fault that women have such nice cozy wombs just perfect for perpetuating the species. It's almost as if the female body has a purpose or something.

However, feminists reject the sufficient reason of their bodies -- for readers living in Rio Linda or laboring under the delusions of gender theory, that means the reason why your body exists. I mean, everything has a reason, right? Can we at least agree on that? Or do feminists now regard logic as an abusive form of mansplaining?

No? I see. It's a form of rape. Besides, that's not funny!

Did you know that 90% of workplace deaths occur to men? So, why isn't everyone freaking out about MORTALITY INEQUALITY!

In my response to Magister's comment, I wrote that, "Speaking of cosmic rights, the baby certainly has a legitimate right to the mother's body, which is why, you know, breasts. (Which are to be distinguished from boobs, which is what breasts look like to a man.)

"More generally, as we've discussed in the past, not only are our minds intrinsically intersubjective, but so too are our bodies. Man and woman point beyond themselves and 'refer' to one another. So to say that we 'own' our bodies and that's that is a little simplistic, to say the least, and certainly not humanistic." (I don't want to imply that I am devaluing the gift of our individuality, only that it is a gift that must be given in return, ultimately for reasons of cosmic math, i.e., to assure that 1 + 1 = 3.)

The reasons humanism is not humanistic are that a) human beings could not have evolved from such a static situation, and b) no existing human being lives as an isolated body, cut off from the rest of mankind. Rather, a living body is an open system at every level, biologically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually. Or supposed to be, rather.

Now, in order for language, or information, or meaning, to exist, one thing must be capable of standing for another. This is an extremely simple and basic concept, so simple that you have to be the victim of a public education to not know it.

Of note, this feature is woven into the very fabric of existence, and was here long before human beings arrived on the cosmic scene. Consider DNA, for example, through which a gene, or combination of genes, stands for -- one might even say "symbolizes" -- this or that trait.

But even prior to that, we know that the world is always susceptible to intelligible abstraction, which is why, for example, we can talk about a "big bang." We can talk about a big bang because of background radiation that encodes information referring to that primordial event -- just as light striking your retina can tell you that a star existed a billion years ago, or however long it took the light to get here and now.

This means that at the moment of luminous impact, our present and the star's past -- or the star's past and future -- are thoroughly entangled in this moment of knowing. When the star gave out that light a billion years ago, little did it know that it would someday arrive at the back of the eye of a lifeform that didn't yet exist. But stars were bigger back then. It's the cosmos that's gotten smaller.

Now, perhaps the one Big Idea I have retained from Christopher Alexander is that Life Itself is latent or implicate everywhere in the cosmos, but becomes manifest or explicate under certain conditions.

This is an extremely handy idea for discerning the Living from the Dead at every level of the cosmos. But it is really helpful in sorting between the humans and the zombies, because the language of the latter is both dead and endeadening (see the leaden communiques of our anonymous troll, for example). There is something wrong with their whole encoding system. They radiate Death from every pore.

Now, to recognize the implicit Life in things is to realize that "The universe is made of person-stuff. I always thought it was made of machine-stuff, but now I see that it is not" (Christopher Alexander).

Yes, exactly. Person-stuff. Among other things, this means that human beings -- better, Persons -- are not late arrivals to the cosmic manifestivus, but its whole basis; or rather, its quintessential expression, only made explicate and local. For anything, the end reveals its purpose, right? Final cause is chronologically last but ontologically first.

This is why everything makes so much damn sense, but it also explains when and why things don't, because things are supposed to make sense. Absurdity is the exception, not the rule -- just as most things in the world -- unspoiled nature, that is -- are oddly beautiful. Why? What's with all this useless beauty? Indeed, what's with all this useless truth?

So, that is the end of the old post. On to the new. Recall what was said about cosmic messages: somehow, everything in nature is a message, or encoded information. I recall Chesterton making this point. He says something to the effect that if we're going to talk about messages, it makes a great deal of difference who the messenger is. Agreed, the world is a message. But from whom?

The message of Darwinism (or any other secular philosophy) is that there are no messages -- at least no human messages, nothing addressed to us. Yes, there are instructions for encoding proteins, but that's pretty much it: we might say there are messages but no messenger and no recipient.

So, how did humans decode the message? I guess you'd have to say that, like the NSA, we're just eavesdropping on conversations (or monologues) that are none of our business.

All of this goes to the fact that it is impossible to imagine a more inhuman philosophy than humanism, since it isolates the human being from this whole trimorphic network of messenger-message-recipient. In his From the Divine to the Human, Schuon has a typically illuminating essay called The Message of the Human Body.

Now, in the Raccoon view of things, everything is a revelation. Or in other words, there is revelation proper, AKA scripture, or the Incarnation, or direct mystical experience (or infused contemplation).

But obviously the creation itself is a revelation, as is the human person. By way of comparison, I can know with certainty that another person exists, for he is revealed to me. However -- and this is where revelation proper comes in -- I cannot truly understand "what he's like" unless he reveals it to me. So, the world is like that: it certainly reveals a Creator, even if it cannot necessarily convey intimate details of his subjective life -- what he's really like.

Back to the human body: what is its message? "Choom Gang '79?" No, no, not the tattoos. Just the body itself. Schuon suggests -- or reads, rather -- that the male body accentuates absoluteness, while the female body expresses the infinite; or I suppose one might say strength and nurturance.

"Even without knowing that femininity derives from an 'Eternal Feminine' of transcendent order," writes Schuon, "one is obliged to take note of the fact that woman, being situated like the male in the human state, is deiform because this state is deiform." Nor can there be any strict demarcation between the two, because we all descend from the "primoridal androgyne" that "survives in each of us."

This seems like common sense -- and certainly common experience: "the feminine body is far too perfect and spiritually too eloquent to be no more than a kind of transitory accident." Can I get an amen or two from a man or two? Dávila says something similar: The laws of biology alone do not have fingers delicate enough to fashion the beauty of a face.

The child too carries a message, which all spiritually attuned parents recognize. (Again, for Jesus to emphasize this reality in the ancient world was almost unheard of.) The child reveals to us "what is simple, pure, innocent, primordial, and close to the Essence." His "beauty has all the charm of promise, of hope, and of blossoming," of "a paradise not yet lost" (Schuon).

You could say that the child has not yet drifted so far from the "divine intention"; they are much higher upstream, where the crystal waters flow. Thus the necessity of retaining the message of childhood in the wisdom and maturity of the adult, e.g., "the qualities of simplicity and freshness, of gratitude and trust, which he possessed in the springtime of his life."

There's more, but that's enough for today....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Where Do Babies -- and Men and Women -- Come From?

Insufficient time for an all new post. But don't go away! I found one from SIX years ago and another from FOUR years ago, and if you're like me, you probably don't remember that far back anyway. Plus, they go to exactly the subject discussed in the latter half of yesterdays's comment section: whether heterosexuality and homosexuality are just relative societal constructs that mutually define each other, like up and down, or east and west.

The first post begins with a quote about a daring "artist" whose work, if I recall correctly, involves menstrual blood or her aborted baby or something:

Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding the form and function of a woman’s body. --A Yale Woman

There is then a second quote from a psychoanalytic anthropologist, Weston LaBarre, who wrote an apparently obscure book back in the 1950s that I stumbled upon and found extremely useful in illuminating that yawning abyss between ape and man:

Luckily, there are always enough women who respect themselves as women to serve as models for those who do not.... Clearly, a society's attitudes toward women and toward maternity will deeply influence its psychological health and all its other institutional attitudes.

And then on to the substance of the post, which I am now reading and will edit or pad as necessary. Gags that don't pass the test will be ruthlessly striken:

Let's discuss one of my favorite subjects, the ambiguity surrounding the form and function of a woman's body...

The first thought that occurs to me is that leftism is neither scientific nor religious, so that it naturally results in ambiguity -- which is just a fancy word for confusion -- about the form and function of the human body -- indeed, about the very purpose of human existence. It is how and why one is reduced to being a "performance artist" to begin with. Suffice it to say, there are no conservative performance artists.

Feminist delusions aside, there is no confusion at all on the scientific level, nor is there confusion on the religious; the tricky part is harmonizing these two, which is the very purpose of the latter, esoterically understood, i.e., the conjunctio oppositorum of male-and-female.

Let's start with some psychoanalytic observations that are sure to bring some very surprised and disappointed google searchers to this site. As I discussed in the Coonifesto, the human being is intrinsically trimorphic, consisting of the three-in-one entity of father-mother-baby.

Let's set aside for the moment the question of whether these represent archetypal religious categories, and speak purely in terms of evolutionary psychology. The fact is, none of these three -- father, mother, baby -- could have evolved in the absence of the other two. As LaBarre puts it, the "functional togetherness of individuals is the essence of human nature; it is openly visible in the very physiques of women, children, and men."

For example, the helpless baby -- whose neoteny and neurological plasticity are the very gateway to humanness -- is only made possible by the full attention of the mother, who is in turn only made possible by the protection of the father. In this regard, both the baby and the father have diverse "claims" on the mother's body. From a psychoanalytic standpoint, you could say that the breast both refers to and rightfully "belongs" to the baby, while parts south are claimed by the father. (And please, no idiotic complaints about the oppression of "owning" someone else; that has precisely nothing to do with this discussion, which is about love, not hate.)

LaBarre explains: "No wild animal has a permanent breast. The female in Homo sapiens possesses such a specialization alone of all the mammals -- with the exception of the domesticated milch animals which are man's own creation long after the fact of his humanity. This anatomical feature in humans, however, is more than a mere 'domesticated' trait and certainly more than a merely cosmetic creation of sexual selection. It is, rather, one of the causes of human domestication itself, in a complex chain of mutually related factors."

But the baby is again key, as the greater closeness and intimacy of the mother-infant bond has later profound effects on our desire and ability to bond with the opposite sex and recreate that kind of physical-emotional intimacy. (The postmodernists definitely take love for granted, as if it has no prior necessary conditions in development.)

Let's pause here for a moment, and think about all the weird google searches that are going to end up here. But in a logoistic cosmos, the world is made of language, and the human body is no exception. And what is the message of the human body (restricting ourselves for the moment to science)?

It is that the body is not made for oneself, but for the other. I can't remember the psychoanalytic theorist who discusses this, nor does it really matter, but it is a kind of narcissism to presume that one's genitals belong to oneself, so to speak. Rather, penis "belongs" to vagina, and vice versa (obvious, right?). The one is obviously meaningless in the absence of the other, for it is robbed of its sufficient reason; each is a signifier that doesn't refer to itself, but to its complementary opposite, on which it has a "lawful" claim ("lawful," as in being "in the nature of things").

This, I suggest, is the "spirit" of the truth which the Biblical injunction condemning onanism (and homosexuality, for that matter) is really about, for it violates God's design: that it is not good for man to be alone (or with a narcissistic image of himself, which amounts to the same thing via proxy).

As LaBarre explains, one of the "wrong messages" one may internalize from a dysfunctional childhood is that "there is no love to be had in another's body, and his only pleasure resources are in his own body and his own mind; he is not taught by love of the Other, the not-self that lies outside his own organic skin." Thus, the real injunction is against a self-sufficiency that forecloses the space where love and knowledge (not to mention religion) occur. The same thing would apply to alcoholism, or food addiction, or any other activity that encloses us in vice instead of versa.

LaBarre writes that "the permanent human breast and heightened sexuality evidence a persistent and organically rooted inter-individual interest in other persons." (LaBarre was an atheist, but nevertheless, his focus on persons lifts him above and beyond his self-imposed naturalistic horizon.)

In other words, our intrinsic intersubjectivity -- which is what marks us as human -- rests upon a foundation of interobjectivity, of bodily need for the complementary other.

In this regard, the importance of father cannot be overemphasized, and more generally, the trimorphic situation that made (and makes) the emergence of the human being possible. For humanness could never have developed in a diadic, much less monadic, situation. Obviously this is a fruitful area for theological speculation as well, but we will defer that discussion for now.

What LaBarre means is that the female was able to specialize in motherhood only by "luring" the male with year round sexual availability (i.e., the loss of estrus). So you could say that the human female was the "domesticate" of the male; or, you could say that the human female was clever enough to trick the human male into imagining that she was his domesticate. Or, you could say that the helpless baby was cleverest of all, ensuring his own survival by coaxing intersubjectivity and monogamy out of proto-human apes.

But the story obviously didn't end there. As LaBarre explains, once the trimorphic situation was in place, human beings were subjectively "plugged in" to one another in an entirely novel way that allowed us to fully transcend Darwinian evolution in an ever-upward spiral. "The real evolutionary unit now is not man's mere body; it is 'all - mankind's - brains - together - with - all - the - extrabodily - materials - that - come - under - the - manipulation - of - their - hands."

Here I should point out that the emergence of the human hand (or something similar) was another necessary condition for the emergence of humanness, as its infinite uses emancipated man into the world of abstraction (for example, many evolutionary psychologists believe that human language first began as sign language, which would explain why the language center is in the left brain, as it controls the right hand).

LaBarre notes that "It is a tragedy of our male-centered culture that women do not fully enough know how important they are as women." In this regard, we can see how the sort of contemporary feminism embraced by an Aliza Shvarts is simply a pathological image of the "patriarchy" it presumes to overturn. In reality, it does not advance the cause of women, but undermines the very possibility being one, Shvarts herself being a fine example. She represents a cutting edge that cuts only downward:

"... [W]e reward those that discover, as Shvarts has, new and ever more deeply depraved, depths. And don't think this little episode of glorifying multiple spontaneous abortions is the end. I often think 'Surely, we've reached the bottom.' And just as often I am reminded, as I am by the depraved Ms. Shvarts, that there really is no bottom.... I'm predicting, and I won't be wrong, that her 'show' will be attended by throngs and a major gallery in New York will sign her. Few of the people involved will have children. Childless and soulless are the hallmarks of that tribe. Such is the nature of the parasites we've allowed to infest us" (Vanderleun, emphasis mine).

In attacking the very foundation of society, radical feminism drags down men and babies with it, and then wonders why everything is so "ambiguous." Once you determine that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, you are only one step away from the human jungle from which we emerged. Babies don't need mothers, boys don't need to be men or husbands or fathers, and -- pardon my Greek -- penises might just as well refer to anuses as vaginas.

I had wanted to get into the religious angle of all this, but that will have to await the next post.

The human female is in every significant respect exuberantly more mammalian than any other mammal. Among mammalian infants, the human infant is as extravagantly infantile as they come. And among male animals, the human male is too without a doubt the best mammal in the business. In these [evolutionary] circumstances, with father come home to stay, it is clearly the inescapable predicament of Homo sapiens to become human. --Weston LaBarre

That's enough for today. I don't want to abuse the reader's attention span...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Monkey in the Middle of the Cosmo-Christic Revolution

I suppose a few more words about words are in order, since I don't have time to come up with a new subject.

Balthasar shares the Raccoon principle that "the true image of God lies in the reciprocity of man and woman" (to which I might add the baby; the tripartite family strikes me as the most adequate earthly icon of God).

In order to eliminate God -- or the vertical, if you like -- the left has succeeded in changing the plain meaning of man, woman, child, and marriage. Now, grace is a force multiplier. I frankly don't understand how a marriage can truly thrive in its absence. Seems a rather foolish and shortsighted thing to exclude it before one even embarks upon the project.

Odd that a complete nobody from nowhere would suggest that though the heavens and the earth may pass away, his words will not. This can only mean -- among other things -- that these words are both prior to and beyond existence: before Abraham was, I AM. This would also explain their peculiar power, in that they must be grounded in a different source. Thus his words possess an "incomprehensible, and yet evident, superiority over all things past and present" (ibid.). Which is why they persist.

The closest analogue would be poetry, which is also "powerful speech" -- or speech that draws part of its power from some extra-linguistic source. Note that this is not just a question of true-or-false in the conventional sense. Dávila has an aphorism to the effect that A work of art has, properly speaking, not meaning but power. Likewise the divine Word: there is meaning, yes, but it is a curious kind of meaning that has the power to perpetually deepen and surpass itself. (So much for being opposed to change!)

So words, if they are not rooted in vertical reality, are indeed like the light of dead stars. Balthasar writes that "Man and his language can certainly 'abstract,' but only as the tree draws its sap up from the earth." Thus, "every spreading of the upper leaves requires a deeper taking root below, otherwise the top breaks" and "everything has to start growing again from below."

Or above rather, since this must be that Upanishadic tree we hear so much about, its roots aloft, its convenient local branches down below. But without that nonlocal tree, what are words, really? Just piles of dead and fallen leaves swept into temporary piles by your crazy deconstructionist gardner.

Furthermore, the mad gardner assures us that the piles have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are just masks for power. Which is a curious thing, because words, in forsaking their real power, partake of a another. But this latter is merely human power, or the fallen power of the tenured, or of the state, or of the slack-denying agents of the department of Fuck You, Pay Me.

Man is the bipedal creature with one foot in the horizontal, the other in the vertical dimension. The latter "reaches without a break from the spirit through the soul and the living body down into matter" (ibid.). Lately we've been discussing the radical discontinuities between matter and life, life and intellect, Petey and troll, etc. Importantly, the discontinuity is only from the horizontal perspective, or from the bottom-up. From the top-down it vanishes, as per the inverted tree discussed above.

If this were not the case, then there would be no accounting for how "matter blooms into spirit" -- which it is capable of doing because "prior" to this, spirit has taken root in matter. We put "prior" in scare quotes because this is obviously something that is outside time.

This is one of the key principles of the Cosmo-Christic revolution, IMHO -- that there is a simultaneous "corporalization of the spirit" and "spiritualization of the body, neither existing without the other" (ibid.).

In practical terms, this means that "If the body strove one-sidedly to become spirit, without allowing the spirit correspondingly to penetrate the body and become one with it, then man would be striving away from himself into a chimerical self-alienation" (ibid.).

Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man pick apart and destroy. Or at least don't elect such a man to high office, or let him near our children, or place him on the Supreme Court.

Within the vertical there are the Two Pneumatic Winds, which we like to symbolize with the up and down arrows (⇅). Yes, you can try to have one without the other, but it will always end badly.

"[I]n this dual movement man is suspended in the middle, since neither the Dionysian drive back to the material origins, nor the Promethean drive to pure spirit brings him nearer to himself, and the two tendencies cannot be made into one.

"As a product of the maternal earth and paternal heaven he has to turn his face toward both, without being able to see both at once. He cannot find his ground or take his rest in either, or both at once, but only in him who has created heaven and earth, spirit, and matter, day and night" (ibid.).

Obvious when you think about it.

By man's keeping himself open in the suspended center to movement toward the depths, his language is constantly enriched from heaven and earth.... [But] when the mystery of the ground of being fades, then the expressive power of words fades also. --Balthasar

See our progressive troll for the fascinating details.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sudden, Like a Word

"In OUR beginning was the Word." Or so says Joan d'Argghh!: It "is the miracle that happened when man became a living soul. To even form a thought, a Word has to precede it. An Articulation of everything had to happen, a thing said, that contains everything that came into being after it."

Yes. The human word is very much like the metabolism which is the basis of life. There is nothing "in between" metabolism and death, just as there is nothing between word and... What could be its opposite, anyway? Anything we can come up with will be another word.

I think this equates to the Thomistic idea that to exist is to be intelligible, and to be intelligible is to partake of the Word. Likewise man: he has a soul, which is both his seat of intelligence and the intimate form of his identity. Thus, it has a public and private face, one that exteriorizes itself toward the objective horizon, another that is the invisible essence of the subjective horizon.

"I tried to think of my first thought and it's as impossible to know and as far away as the Big Bang. And yet, it's as true for the first man is it is for the cosmos. The Word is our soul" (J of A). Or as Aristotle put it, "the soul is all it knows." And it can know any-thing in potential: again, there is nothing in existence that cannot potentially be known, because to exist is to be intelligible.

Thus, it makes no sense to search for the "beginning" of man in historical time, for the simple reason that his beginning transcends time. "His body may have evolved from the brutes," writes GKC, "but we know nothing of any such transition that throws the smallest light upon his soul as it has shown itself in history."

The ambiguous term "prehistory" tends to elide this irruption (or vertical ingression) of soul within biology. It again implies a gradual transition where there cannot be one. It draws a linguistic veil over an intrinsic mystery and pretends the mystery is due to the veil, not vice versa. It is somewhat like the linguistic misdirection of calling a baby a fetus, not in order to comprehend, but in order to mis-comprehend or de-understand -- to render what must be a singularity into something gradual so as to avoid the sixth commandment.

Just so, the "monkey does not draw clumsily and a man cleverly.... A monkey does not do it at all; he does not begin to do it at all; he does not begin to begin to do it at all" (GKC). For to begin to do it is to be doing it: "A line of some kind is crossed before the first faint line can begin."

More generally -- you know, logic -- "it is hardly an adequate explanation of how a thing appeared for the first time to say it existed already." Unless the "already existing" is a radically different thing than we had thought it to be. Either way, the conventional explanation fails.

Importantly, it doesn't just fail atheists and other materialists, but it fails man. It is wholly unworthy of him, infinitely beneath his station. Now, why would man want to auto-castrate in this manner? I don't know, but it is mighty similar to the ubiquitous compulsion on the left to denigrate western civilization, or our Judeo-Christian heritage, or the United States, or the founders, or the free market, or technology...

But why, Bob, why? I'll tell you why: because man, as man, loves truth. Therefore, all one must do in order to pervert a man is to convince him that the lie is true, and he will defend it to the death. Or, in the case of a craven liberal, until it is extremely inconvenient to do so. Otherwise he requires a bodyguard of likeminded bullies to defend his outrageous claims.

This is why the left requires near total dominance of the media, academia, and the culture just to gain roughly fifty percent of the vote. Think about that: suppression of truth cannot occur on terms of equal power, because then truth can rely upon logic and evidence to win the day.

But the lie can hold 90% of the ideological ground, and this will never be sufficient, hence the inevitable "totalitarian temptation" of the left. Truth must be burned from our midst and its ground salted in order to kill it, but even then, you can't, because truth isn't ours to create or destroy (see the Resurrection for details). Or, at the other end, see the Soviet Union for details.

Yes, God makes a special covenant with the Jews, but Balthasar reminds us that prior to this, with Noah, he makes a more general covenant "with the whole of mankind and the whole of creation." I hadn't thought of that one before, but in Noah all peoples are explicitly blessed, although "they had already been implicitly blessed since Adam..." Even so, it's good to get things down on paper.

The wider point is that there exists "an historical logos proper to the 'peoples' as such," something touched upon by Joan, who writes of how interesting it is "that Man's first 'work' was to name the animals; to name them was to recognize his transcendence, his otherness. To see that none of them were like him was the first philosophy lesson of Man." In order to name at all, reality must first be intelligible; thus, to name is to recognize essences, which is the very basis of transcendent intelligence.

Balthasar writes of how, in the early fathers, there is "the curious alternation between two contradictory motifs. The first is a logos in the nonbiblical peoples, which in turn has in it seeds of the whole, which ripen toward the fullness of the incarnate Logos in the gospel." The second is the elucidation of the Logos as such, again, as particular is to universal. The task is actually to situate the latter in the former -- which is say, situate man in Christ rather than vice versa.

As to how this gets inverted, coincidentally, Balthasar cites Chesterton, who wrote of how "the world is full of Christian ideas gone mad. The Gospels and the Church are plundered like a fruit tree, but the fruit when separated from the trees goes rotten and cannot be used." Nor can the "ideas" of Christ be separated from the person of Christ without losing their value.

Here we confront the question of "stars that have long become extinct continuing to shine." How to tell the difference? In other words, we can look up to the night sky and the living star will look identical to the long dead one.

Every visible star is "a long time ago." But man is always "in the beginning," for we are the occasion for the light to be seen at all. It is again a matter of the Logos, for "wherever being is illuminated, however obscurely, there is [man's] humanity, and he becomes illuminated to himself as spirit."

The "miracle of language" involves an orthoparadoxical "unity of oneness and distance" (Balthasar). It is (as alluded to by Joan) "what gives man dominion over nature and raises him like a king above all the beasts.... By themselves they are unnamed, as they are incapable of raising themselves into the light of self-comprehension; but the word of man knows and names them from the height of his light, and, thus, he dominates them in their innermost being from a higher point than they can themselves" (Balthasar).

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