Friday, December 26, 2014

Everything Must Go

I apologize in advance for this disjointed offering.

I hope everyone is having a fine Boxing Day. In my case, in the course of moving some boxes from the garage back to the slackatoreum, I discovered a cache of early church documents. I wonder what's in them? The oldest ones seem to go back about thirty years. Will they prove embarrassing to the Lodge? Do they fill in some of the gaps in our sometimes frankly mythological understanding of Raccoon history? More importantly, wouldn't it be nice to extract any worthwhile nuggets, so I can toss this dusty pile into the recycling?

There is way too much for a single post, unless I exercise the strictest self-indulgence.

Now, this is a little weird, because a loose page on top of the pile speaks to our recent discussion of what happens when inside and outside are conflated. It is undated, but I'm pretty sure it's from the '80s (more often than not the notes are incomplete sentences, but the meaning is clear): "Apparatus for perception is split into minute fragments and expelled -- leaves him in a state which is neither alive nor dead."

This is a key principle, because when a person conflates inside and outside, perception obviously becomes distorted. It is more like apperception, whereby the person makes "sense of an idea by assimilating it to the body of ideas he or she already possesses." We all do this to a certain extent, but the pathological version is characterized more by a forced expulsion of the unwanted psychic fragments into the outer world, which then causes the person to feel persecuted by them:

"Perception becomes impossible -- imprisoned by menacing presence of expelled fragments [which] lead independent and uncontrolled existence outside him."

Then what? "Each particle is contained by or engulfs a real external object." It is as if the mental process is reversed, and instead of objects becoming ideas, ideas become external objects. The nicest thing we can say about it is that inductive reasoning is rendered impossible, because the person will generalize from his own systematic misperceptions.

So, I think we can toss that page in the trash. Only about a thousand more to go.

This is from a paper I seem to have written around the same time, with a real typewriter. It shows how some people never change: "As opposed to the horizontal accumulation of unconnected facts taking place in time -- something which western science does par excellence -- this is a vertical process, a way of connecting ourselves with the primordial reality that is now." However, it would take many years for Bob to explain how such diffuse pneumababble is any different from merely deepaking the chopra.

Here is another one that goes back to our current subject: "It is possible to be in a language, but for the language to not be connected to reality." Or, in a word, tenure. So "Be quiet! God is not done talking!"

The "first human crisis is consciousness itself; the next crisis is leisure, prosperity, affluence..." I still think this is true: that human beings are still adapting to this new and strange state of being self-conscious, and that when people have affluence and leisure -- AKA slack -- they don't generally know what to do with it. Often they find that the space is populated by persecutory mind parasites, which I think is largely what animates the left. I mean, when you're reduced to scanning the world in search of microaggressions, that is a hint that you have no real problems -- or that you are projecting your internal persecutors into the world as a way to manage and cope with them.

Here are some notes concerning theoretical biologist Robert Rosen: "Organisms are not a special case but an indication that the laws of physics are profoundly incomplete. The universe described by these laws is an extremely impoverished one in which life cannot exist."

Or in other words, there is no way with the existing laws of physics to get to biology: "biology is unreachable by physics," so we end up "looking at a universe in which we cannot exist." D'oh! Physics is a necessary but not sufficient cause of life. The sufficient cause is vertical.

"Where does the genotype end and the phenotype begin?" ("An organism's genotype is the set of genes that it carries. An organism’s phenotype is all of its observable characteristics...") Now, all the characteristics that define us as truly human are phenotypic. A merely genetic human would not really be human at all, because, among other reasons, humanness is intrinsically relational, or takes place in a phenotypic space between genotypes. To put it crudely.

"Our model is not identical to the thing modeled." If we forget this, we may "create worlds with no external referent." This is a more subtle instance of the more primitive apperception alluded to above, because everything outside the model is subsumed into it. Like Marxism, for example. What is Marxism -- or leftism in general -- but an all-encompassing way to misperceive and misunderstand human nature and the world more generally?

Some things cannot be simulated -- economies, for example. Or human minds. Of course, we can reduce anything to number. But there are some things that, if reduced to number, are denuded of meaning. For example, you could say that a human being is 97% water, or $3.52 worth of minerals, or a member of the 99%, but this tells us less than nothing, because it obliterates the deeper and higher truth.

In short, "The physics of color can be just as well understood by the color blind." Indeed, even Stevie Wonder knows that leaves are green / They only change to brown when autumn comes around. The question is, could a place like this exist so beautiful / Or do we have to find our wings and fly away / To the vision in our mind?. Yes. The latter, so long as it is connected to reality.

Rosen felt that biology needed to readmit teleology if it was to provide an intelligible basis for life: "final causation is simply describing something in terms of what it entails rather than exclusively what entails it."

This is especially relevant for human beings, who are able to consciously initiate causes. In other words, we are not merely caused, but cause -- a truth which Marxism again denies, since it says that we are essentially the consequence of our class. We are materially determined, and have no soul-essence that may freely determine our future. Or else!

"Is time the process of pulling the objective into the subjective?" I would say so. In other words, of we go back, say, 4 billion years ago, there is only an "objective" world, since there are not yet any subjects in it, no points of view (we will exclude God from this discussion). The first itsy bitsy teensy weensy bit of matter that wrapped around itself and decided to go on being is like a huge tear in the fabric of objectivity. Suddenly there is a hole in the cosmos -- the very rabbit hole through which life jumps in.

Cosmic evolution blah blah yada yada, what is human knowledge but the interiorization of the exterior, or a pulling of the object(ive) into the subject?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

And the Insane Word Became Flesh: Islamic Rage, Macroaggressive Feminists, and Racist Hallucinations

To post or not to post... We'll give it a shot. Yesterday we were discussing the historically gradual separation of interior from exterior, or subject from object, or psyche from environment. Of course, this first required the discovery of the interior, which is another way of saying the invention of the individual.

Importantly, this is both discovery and invention; like any new land, we cannot discover it without simultaneously changing it, at least if we are going to actually live there. And once there, it is hard to revert to the state of pre-discovery and put the truthpaste back in the tube. In other words, it is very difficult for us to know what it was like to be a pre-individual hive-person. Unless you've been to graduate school, in which case you might have a feel for it.

And yet, we do see reversion to pre-individual ways of being, for example, in the liberal mob. A liberal by definition rejects or falls short of his concrete individuality and instead identifies with an abstract group of some type, usually a persecuted one. But the persecution, at least in America, is usually a projection of the interior into the exterior.

If this were not the case, then, say, Thomas Sowell (and other black thinkers such as Jason Riley) would be as freaked out about our omnipresent racism as Obama, Sharpton, Holder, and the rest of the left wing rabble. But he's not at all freaked out about it. Rather, like any sane individual -- or, let's just say individual -- he is concerned about the bill coming due on the left's flagrantly irresponsible use of the race card to purchase power.

Let's put it this way: if you believe, as does Obama's spiritual mentor, that America should be damned, then these murdered police officers are just more chickens come home to roost. It's the price of progress.

As Sowell writes, "No politician in the country has done more [than deBlasio] to play the race card against the police and spread the notion that cops are the big problem in minority communities." This is what happens -- and perhaps should happen -- if the black community is really a "'colonial' society being 'occupied' by white policemen who target young blacks." If you were in that situation, wouldn't you lash out violently?

So, as I said yesterday, this separation of inside from outside is very much an ongoing struggle, for some populations much more so than others.


Consider the Eleven Most Politically Correct Moments on College Campuses in 2014. Let's look at the first: "microaggressions." What is a microaggression? As they candidly acknowledge, it has no objective definition, since there is no such thing as truth anyway ("there are no objective definitions to words and phrases").

Therefore, a microaggression is anything that offends a liberal for any reason at any time. Follow this insane logic to its ultimate end, and feelings become the only arbiter of reality. From here it is but a step to totalitarianism, which differs from mere tyranny, in that the latter doesn't care what you think, only what you do. But the leftist totalitarian cannot tolerate deviant thoughts, and tries to exert control over interiors.

So, if you find yourself being accused of microaggression, you really need to ramp it up and be more aggressive. And if you're not accused of microaggression, you need to grow a pair and start offending these victim-bullies.

Look at #2: feminists are somehow upset that someone invented a nail polish that changes colors when it comes into contact with the so-called date-rape drug. That's a good thing, isn't it? NO! "I don’t want to fucking test my drink when I’m at the bar... That’s not the world I want to live in.” The latter part is the operative principle of the left: That’s not the world I want to live in! And You'd better conform yourself to mine, or else!

Yes, but... this is the only world there is.

Not true. As we have discussed in the past, just as, in terms of economic development, there is the first world, second world, third world, etc., there are various psychic worlds inhabited by different populations. Al Sharpton's world is not our world, because, among other reasons, his is a demon-haunted world peopled by projections of his own sociopathy. Does it surprise you that a sociopath should see sociopathy everywhere, or that envious people see greed everywhere, or that racists see race everywhere? Then you are not Raccoon material.

#3: promoting anti-rape culture is just another form of rape-culture, since men shouldn't have to be told to respect women. Feminism is sort of like the Wife From Hell, only in collective form, isn't it?

First of all, these women don't even want to be respected as women, because they have rejected their own femininity (which is a big reason why the men around them behave the way the do; if you think men are hateful, don't be surprise if your world is peopled by hateful men, as per the above). Happy Acres Guy's hypothesis is correct, that "we are treating women like men, and they are screaming for help."

Such ovary tower feminists are desperately in need of a strong and virtuous man to put them (meaning the sick part that is screaming for help) in their place. Short of that, there is no cure for their female psychosis. Healthy females know exactly what I'm talking about, and won't perceive any aggression whatsoever in this observation (except perhaps in the way that spiritual combat must be "aggressive," or at least firm, in the face of hysteria).

Rather, they will say to themselves, there but for the grace of God... -- just as I say the same thing in contemplating who I might have been in the absence of my wife. The spiritual transformation is mutual because the sexes are complementary. It's why we have them instead of "genders," which are to sex what the constitution is to liberals: anything you want them to be. You're freeeeee, like a fish liberated from the water.

It also occurs to me that "angry feminist" is a pleonasm, like a Palestinian "day of rage." What is the difference between a day of rage and any other day? A run on rocks, I guess.

Speaking of our Muslim friends, my attention was also arrested by this interview with a member of the Islamic State. They too project their interior into the exterior, which is the sole source of their motivation. In other words, if they were to withdraw their psychic projections, they would have absolutely nothing to do but sit in the sand all day and contemplate the pathetic state of the Islamic world. But by projecting this into the west and attacking it, it converts weakness into strength, and every day can be a bracing new day of rage.

You know what they say: all peace and no rage makes jihadi a dull goy.

The projection obviously feels quite real, hardly different from a hallucination: "there were 50 new fighters who came every day.... And I just could not believe the glow in their eyes. They felt like they were coming to a promised land, like they were fighting for the right thing."

Thus, there are real physiological changes that take place with the new reality, surges of adrenaline, testosterone, dopamine, serotonin, and other vivifying and self-rewarding hormones and neurotransmitters. The fantasy becomes even more real in this way, as the insane word takes on flesh.

As with the left, regress equals progress, since they live in an inverted world: "Slavery absolutely signals progress.... I would say that slavery is a great help to us and we will continue to have slavery and beheadings, it is part of our religion."

Multiculturalism. Isn't it beautiful?

Memo to feminists: this is what rape culture actually looks like:

"[C]apturing women is permissible if they are nonbelievers." If the slave is "a virgin, he [the owner] can have intercourse with her immediately after the ownership is fulfilled." However, "If she was not a virgin, her uterus must be purified." (Don't ask.)

What about underage girls? Please. These are not barbarians. There are strict and even convenient rules of engagement: "It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn't reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse.... However, if she is not fit for intercourse, he [the owner] can only enjoy her without intercourse."

I will just conclude by emphasizing that all of this has very much to do with the holiday we celebrate tomorrow, only in the manner of a pneumagraphic negative. Which we will further discuss as this series of posts spins out.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stop Contaminating Our Outside with Your Inside!

One thing that comes through in Inventing the Individual is the gradual historical differentiation of various spheres, powers, and concepts that had previously been merged. Most of these are things we take for granted, because they seem so fundamental to our experience, for example, the notion of a private self.

In a way, it is analogous to biological development, which is teleologically drawn toward differentiation and specialization. Think of how we all transition from zygote to blastocyst to fetus, as cells slowly differentiate into specific organ systems. Well, it is the same way with human development, both individually and collectively.

Most of the sciences were once fused with what we now know of as mythological approaches; for example, astronomy emerged from astrology, chemistry from alchemy, and meteorology from primitive superstitions about manmade climate change.

Let me see if I can compile a list of the differentiations brought about by Christianity: private from public self; inner from outer; individual from family; person from state; woman from man; child from father; law from custom; voluntary from compulsory; science from magic; and more.

One of the most critical of these is the gradual differentiation of inside from outside, which is most definitely ongoing. For example, mental illness almost always involves some conflation of inner and outer. Take a person with agoraphobia, i.e., fear of leaving the house. The fear is real, but what is she actually afraid of? The outside, or her own inside projected outward?

Sometimes entire political movements can be rooted in this atavism, for example, oh, THE WHOLE FREAKING DEMOCRATIC PARTY! The list is endless. For example, feminists tell us that there is a one in five chance of getting raped in college, whereas FBI statistics say that it is actually about a .06 chance. So feminist paranoiacs multiply the threat by a factor of (math is hard). But whatever the factor, it is not a factor of external reality, but of internal reality projected into fearsome men. Which I find fascinating.

Or, the left's complaints about the so-called 1%. This generous 1% pays 40% of the income tax. The 3% pays over half, and the 10% pays 71% to subsidize your lifestyle of being a professional complainer, since your half only accounts for 3% of federal revenues.

Likewise, are blacks really unfairly targeted by police? The short answer is of course no. Not only that, but both blacks and whites are in reality unfairly targeted by black criminals. The latter is the objective, verifiable truth, whereas the liberal belief is again a projection of the interior into the exterior. Which we wouldn't mind if they didn't proceed to act on the belief, as did the recent police assassin.

Do women really earn 77 cents on the manly dollar? No, of course not. That's just economics being infected by mind parasites. Do 97% of scientists believe in AGW? No, again, that's just some kind of projection of superego authority into omniscient science.

A critical point is that science only became possible with this withdrawal of psychic projections from the external world (I have posted on this subject a number of times, plus it's covered in the book). Siedentop only touches on this, but it's nice to have a little scholarly back-up for the common-sense revelations given to me by Petey.

Abelard reminds us that Christ said I am truth, not I am custom, or opinion, or political correctness. Which is why I believe that any truth is a function of the All-True, and why I have no concern that any new truth could possibly undermine the One Truth. Rather, it's all Good. Literally, because the Good and True converge in the Beautiful Three.

One of the problems of ancient thought is that it was too rooted in deduction from a priori principles (speaking of Schuon in yesterpost's comments, he sometimes makes this error). Conversely, it distrusted the empirical world as an ever-changing illusion, so it was very weak on induction. Thus, the development of science was hindered by Aristotelean assumptions such as the belief that the celestial sphere must operate on different laws than the terrestrial, or that things "seek" their home instead of being pulled there by gravity.

"The Christian preoccupation with 'innerness' and human agency -- an intensified awareness of the difference between 'inner' and 'outer' experience, between the will and the senses -- contributed to a veritable outburst of logical studies in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries" (Siedentop).

Note that this is prior to the scientific revolution that it rendered possible, for "It reflected a growing distrust of the coercive potential" of extra-mental "general terms or concepts." In other words, it was necessary to stop projecting these concepts into the world, and actually examine the world without preconceptions.

One of the preconceptions that had to be eliminated was teleology. But then science become re-conflated with a new conceptual abstraction that literally banished teleology, instead of simply excluding it for the sake of scientific method. As we will see, there are many Christian ideas that became detached from Christianity and then re-united with a more primitive reality.

One of the biggies is liberty. The very same liberty that was only made possible and intelligible via Christianity has been hijacked by the left and rendered absurd and destructive. With Christianity, individual and collective are irreducible complementarities, I would say due to the trinitarian structure of reality. But the left posits a radically detached individualistic interiority and fuses it with the exterior collective of the coercive state, in a wholly unholy alliance.

Too much time on comments to yesterday's post, so this one is over.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Liberal is Like a Christian, Only Worse

This subject of Inventing the Individual is too large for me to get my mind around. Normally, when I write, I like to do so from the center out. In this case, I need to start from the outside in. I have to pick a random spot at the periphery and try to start boring in from there. In so doing, maybe I'll even find the center -- the attractor -- at which point this rambly stream of consciousness will become more orderly. Don't count on it.

Perhaps I should begin with the idea that Christianity is the most important revolution in human history, and that Paul is its most important revolutionary. This is a consistent subtext of the book -- that Christianity initiated a turn in history that is still very much in progress (indeed it is progress). In Raccoon parlance, I would say that it is an extension the previous cosmic revolutions of existence, life, and mind, for it is the vertical prolongation of mind into spirit and God.

Which leads to one of my own conclusions, that some of the most important blessings Christ brought into the world are unappreciated and even unseen because they are so ubiquitous. So much of the context of our (western) world was only made possible by Christianity, and yet, because it is in the background, we don't notice it. One of these, of course, is "the individual." But with the individual comes freedom, equality, rights, dignity, consent to rule, civil society, the marketplace, and on and on.

Another critical point is that these blessings were and are very slow to come into being. It is not as if they occurred overnight; although the yeast came into the world some 2000 years ago, the bread is still rising.

Thus, it has been a gradual process of applying the moral intuitions and insights provoked by the Christian -- especially Pauline -- message. For when Paul says that in Christ there is neither slave nor free, nor male or female, this is every bit as world-shattering as contemporary revolutionaries who insist, say, that in leftism sex is just a human construct, so if you're a man you can shower in the girls locker room if you like.

In fact -- strange as it seems -- this left wing perversion of Christianity is unthinkable in the absence of Christianity, because it is just an inversion and prolongation of its egalitarian message. It has been clear to me for a long time that leftist moral appeals are rooted in a perversion of Christianity, but this book provides the full story (even if unwittingly) of how this came about.

For example, the last four months of police-bashing by the left would have no traction at all if it didn't appeal to some distorted sense of Christian morality. For if police are racists for whom it is open season on blacks, then it is as moral to kill them as it would have been for Jews to kill Nazis. A Marxist such as deBlasio is like a Christian, only worse (but from his perspective, better). Ideas and rhetoric have consequences.

Jimmy Carter too is like a Christian, only worse. Sultan Knish: "Carter couldn’t save the Soviet Union, but he did his best to save Castro, visiting Fidel and Raul in Cuba where the second worst president in American history described his meeting with Castro as a greeting among 'old friends.'” In turn, "Raul Castro called Carter 'the best of all U.S. presidents.'"

Castro is a revolutionary, as is Obama. In fact, Obama is our first revolutionary president, the first president who has overtly attempted to undo our original revolution, which was really the political application of the Pauline revolution (although I suppose that Wilson was a pre-Obama). Siedentop asks the question, "Was Paul the greatest revolutionary in human history?" You could say that the book is one extended and thoroughly documented Yes.

"Through its emphasis on human equality, the New Testament stands out against the primary thrust of the ancient world, with its dominant assumption of 'natural' inequality. Indeed, the atmosphere of the New Testament is one of exhilarating detachment from the unthinking constraints of inherited social roles. Hence Paul's frequent references to 'Christian liberty'" (emphasis mine).

This essential liberty is prior to our existence, and is the ground of being: it is "pre-social," and comes "to serve as a criterion of legitimate social organization." Therefore, anything that attacks or undermines it becomes false by logical entailment. If liberty is axiomatic, it is like dynamite at the foundation of tyranny, oppression, inherited privilege, etc. It may take centuries to blow apart the structure of lies, but blow it will. For "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Beneath this cosmic subversion is "the invention of the individual, the introduction of a primary social role" which begins "to undercut the radical differences of status and treatment" of existing societies. This revolution "sent Europe along a road which no human society had previously followed," for from the perspective of the old orders, this dangerous message of liberty would have been regarded as the essence of dis-order and societal chaos. Which it still is by the left, hence their attempt to re-exert control from the top-down.

But once the ball began rolling and the yeast rising, it was very difficult to arrest. "Under way was nothing less than a reconstruction of the self, along lines more consistent with Christian moral intuitions." For if Christ is truth, then those many pretenders to truth are rendered transparently false. Every emperor is suddenly seen as more or less naked (an insight which, ironically, eventually came back to bite the church). Along these lines, Siedentop quotes the historian Guizot:

"With the church originated a great fact, the separation of spiritual and temporal power. This separation is the source of liberty and conscience," for it "is based upon the idea that physical force has neither right nor influence over souls, over conviction, over truth. It flows from the distinction established between the world of thought and the world of action, between the world of the internal and that of external facts."

Which leads to one of our most cherished pet ideas, that the leading edge of cosmic evolution is into and over this subjective horizon, into the cosmic interior. Among other things, Christ shows us the way into this interior, or rather, he is the interior made exterior, or word made flesh.