Friday, April 24, 2015

Truth and "Truth," Freedom and "Freedom"

Yesterday we spoke of how the ultimate reality is being-for, being-from, and being-with, AKA Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But modernity is founded upon a denial of this reality, such that there is no fundamental being-from, nor a being-with, just a being from, with, and for myself only. Or just say a culture of narcissism.

Remember, the tragedy of Narcissus is that he is enclosed in the orbit of his own image. To the right we see him lovingly admiring his own reflection, like Obama gazing into his own selfie. It is not so much the gaze that is important, but rather, the space in between, which forms the horizon of his subjectivity. It shows how Narcissus condemns himself to an ontological prison in which he is forever from, for, and with himself, in a closed circle. It's what we call cosmic ønanism.

Paraphrasing Ratzinger, this is how man, instead of being in the image of the Creator, becomes his own idol. Such auto-idolatry "is the image of what Christian tradition would call the devil -- the anti-God -- because it harbors exactly the radical antithesis to the real God."

Thus, to the extent that we "liberate" ourselves from our divine prototype, we open the way "to dehumanization, to the destruction of being itself through the destruction of truth." Any radical liberation movement, whether Marxism, feminism, homosexualism, etc., ends up "a rebellion against man's very being, a rebellion against truth, which consequently leads man... into a self-contradictory existence which we call hell."

You know the old gag, "I don't believe in miracles, I only rely on them." Well, I don't believe in hell or the devil, I just struggle against their annoying powers and principalities every day.

About the self-contradictory nature of modernity. Me, I can't stand contradictions. If I detect one in my melon, I feel compelled to resolve it, or synthesize it at a higher level (or formulate an irreducible orthoparadox).

For example, the typical modern sophisticate will generally hold an implicit metaphysic which simultaneously renders freedom impossible while elevating it to a kind of absolute value. He never pauses to inquire into the real nature of freedom, i.e., what it is, how it got here, what we're supposed to do with it, etc.

But as Ratzinger says, "freedom is tied to a measure, the measure of reality," which is to say, "to the truth." Thus, "freedom to destroy oneself or to destroy another is not freedom, but its demonic parody." In short, freedom is not the measure of man, for if so, man truly is a big nothing, just as that big nobody Sartre said. Rather, man must be the measure of freedom, "otherwise it annuls itself."

Imagine believing that, since we are free to eat anything we want, we can live on sawdust and grass clippings. This obviously won't work, because our body is what it is, so our freedom to eat is conditioned by that prior truth.

The upshot is that just as there can be no I in the absence of the prior We, there can be no freedom in the absence of the prior Truth. Furthermore, the immediate implication is that freedom not only implies responsibility, but that responsibility is prior to truth. Here again, this is illuminated by Genesis, which shows that with man's freedom comes responsibility. But Adam prefers freedom without responsibility, and off we go.

"The truth shall set you free." This radical and revolutionary statement has not only lost its power to shock, but is probably ignored by most people. But to turn it around, the absence of truth means the absence of freedom. Thus, the Lie enslaves, the biggest and most tenured lie of all being the postmodern idea that there is no such thing as truth, only "truth" and therefore only "freedom."

Ratzinger calls this counterfeit freedom "a regulated form of injustice." For example, if we have a radical right to "sexual freedom," this means that human sexuality has no order, no telos, no reason except for one enclosed in Narcissus' own reflection. Being that this imprisonment is a "right," the right must be enforced, which is how it becomes against the law to decline to cater a make-believe marriage, or for a psychologist try to help a person overcome his homosexual urges. In the modern world, regulated injustice masquerades as freedom.

We only give a child more freedom as they prove themselves responsible enough to deal with it. Why then do leftists call for the "liberation" of Palestinian savages? Or, why does Obama treat morally insane mullahs as responsible adults?

We might say that truth is not in man per se, but reflected in man. Analogously, the moon is not the sun, but the light that reflects from it is not other than the sun. Thus, man must orient himself to the truth, and conduct himself in light of it. Ultimately our freedom exists in the space between us and God, which again is the antithesis of the narcissistically self-enclosed and self-regarding "freedom" of liberalism.

"Responsibility would thus mean to live our being as an answer -- as a response to what we are in truth.... This truth becomes visible in the mirror of God's essence, because man can be rightly understood only in relation to God." For real freedom is "the fusion of our being with the divine being..." (Ratzinger).


mushroom said...

...freedom to destroy oneself or to destroy another is not freedom, but its demonic parody.

That's a good way to put it.

Steal, kill, and destroy -- it's all they know.

julie said...

...which is how it becomes against the law ... for a psychologist try to help a person overcome his homosexual urges.

And just think how seriously f*cked up that is. With all the arguments about how we are born, the most fundamental - the set of chromosomes which determine whether we're the sower or the fertile ground - are given the least weight. Conversely feelings, which may in fact be influenced by pivotal events at key points in a person's development and have been known to change over the course of many people's lives, are treated as all but immutable in the case of same-sex attraction. Never mind that many people genuinely do want to redirect themselves, never mind that it is actually possible to do so and there are a plethora of documented cases, once a person identifies as gay it's a hate crime to suggest therapy if he's unhappy about it.

Gagdad Bob said...

Libtard 101: "He claims that he wrote this to try to get to the truth of it, but everybody’s truth is totally subjective."

julie said...

Wow. That producer must have some pretty serious testicular fortitude to be trying speak this particular truth to the power center of LA. I hope he can find some similarly bold actors. Guessing his audience will probably be small, but the protesting crowd should be quite sizable.


Speaking of "truths" that have nothing to do with reality, doomsday predictions from the first Earth Day.

Paul Griffin said...

julie, at the heart of today's insanity is always some sort of deconstructionism. It started with art, ignoring the artist's stated purpose and vision and the things they actually DID, and instead reading the "secret" meanings of their work and the true (racist/misogynistic/homoerotic/etc) intent of the artist, probably unknown even to him, there to be discovered only by those wise enough to pry open the man's heart and judge its contents these many years later.

After its wild success in academia, it is being applied to us all. Actions are thrown out as an invalid criteria for judgement, and instead the "secret" intent, the heart of the person being judged is what is the only valid criterion for determining guilt or innocence. As long as your intentions are judged to be good (whatever that means), your actual actions and their horrific consequences are of no consequence to the deconstructionist. You are judged innocent. But once your true intentions are ferreted out to be secretly racist, or homophobic, or whatever the word of the day is, your actions again have no bearing on your guilt.

You are guilty because the inner workings of your true heart have been laid bare before the wisdom of your betters. You have not /acted/ in a guilty manner, your heart is corrupt. You are guilt personified, and you will therefore always be guilty, no matter what you say or do. Argument and evidence are of no consequence because they believe they sit in the position of God over you, and judge your heart as though they were He.

This is the throne they wish to usurp:

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

julie said...

Yes, well said.

mushroom said...

Rock on, Paul.

julie said...

This cracked me up today. Not the reaction of the administration (though to be fair they were more concerned about the language), but the fact that any student group in the country felt comfortable putting up these posters in the first place. Though the more I think of it, considering that not long ago (and probably still today) Youngstown still self-segregated by race - Italians, Greeks, Jews, Irish, etc. - it's not so surprising they might resist forced acceptance of sexual weirdos.

Gagdad Bob said...

Oh well. No reason to be proud of normality anyway, although it is fun to tweak the proud and fascistic abnormals.

No coincidence that the abnormals are all so proud, since pride is a cause and consequence of their abnormality. It is probably also the most popular defense mechanism against the whole reality of sin, since it "cometh before a fall."

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