Friday, March 06, 2015

The Economics of Interior and Exterior Poverty

Here's one for the Glass Bead Game: what does idiom -- the unthought language of the self -- have to do with economics?

This question occurred to me while reading this piece on the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. The question occurred because I immediately recognized the implicit answer. Even now I haven't explicated it -- that's what the post is for -- and yet, I know the answer is there.

In fact, this is a kind of mini-example of idiom in action, or at least an analogous variant of it. It all has to do with recognition -- or re-cognition -- which is "the identification of something as having been previously seen, heard, or known."

Except that I hadn't previously cognized the connection, at least consciously. But the orthoparadoxical term "unthought known" precisely goes to this process of unconscious re-cognition. While it might sound annoying or cute -- like some overworked wordplay the B'ob might force into existence -- it's really the perfect way of expressing it: something we know in our bones but haven't consciously innertained in skulldom. You could call it the realm of the bone-known, but I think you'd agree that Bollas' term is preferable.

Let's start with a question; in fact, Shem's "first riddle of the universe,"-- "dictited to of all his little brothron and sweestureens,"-- "asking, when is a man not a man?" The winner gets "little present from the past."

Give up? "Shem himself, the doctator, took the cake, the correct solution being — all give it up? -- when he is a... Sham."

So, are you a sham or are you the real deal? And how would you know the difference?

Reality is usually thought of as what is outside ourselves. But we couldn't know that reality unless there were something equally real on the inside.

Let's discuss de Soto's view of economic reality; he speaks of how "the Third World's poorest are relegated -- banished from their nations' official economies to what he has called 'the grubby basement of the precapitalist world.'" Now, why are they so banished to this psychopneumatic backwater? Because of "a lack of enforceable property rights."

Now let's go back to idiom, that is, the private language of the self. How is this language spoken? Largely through objects in the external world. You might say that culture is the collective sum total of "psychicized" objects for personal expression.

In other words, culture is in one sense "out there," i.e., exterior to the self. And yet, cultural objects have only the meaning we lend them. If I were to drop you in, say, Saudi Arabia, or interior China, or UC Berkeley, there would be very few objects there -- a very limited vocabulary -- for the expression of your idiom. You would be unable to find -- forbidden from finding -- the objects to express your unique idiom.

Not only that -- and this is a key point -- but your idiom wouldn't even be yours. Rather, with no strictly private property, what's yours really belongs to the state, plus the state puts sharp limits on personal expression anyway.

To take an obvious example, suppose you were an artist working in the Soviet Union or in Nazi Germany. If so, your idiom would have been restricted to socialist realism or classical kitsch. In Germany, for example "modern art was [seen as] an act of aesthetic violence by the Jews against the German spirit." And only Hitler decided "who, in matters of culture, thought and acted like a Jew."

Thus the tyranny of aesthetic correctness, which is ultimately enforced by the absence of any inviolably private property, right down to the first property, which is your soul.

As our fathers told us, certain truths are soph-evident to anyman to the right of the left, that we are endowed by our Creator with the liberty to discover and appropriate our own idiom; and that this right co-arises with -- for it cannot be actualized in its absence -- the right to property.

Looked at this way, "private property" is a kind of language, the idiomatic language of the self. You want what you want, and I want what I want. Liberals hate this idea, because they want you to want only what they want. They want to restrict idiomatic expression to their own idiom.

Or just say PC, which is really a pre-emptive attack on personal idiom, on our cosmic right -- and for Raccoons, our coonstitutional duty -- to be different. Have you ever watched MSNBC? The reason why it is a failure is that it is so dreadfully boring, frankly as boring and didactic as Soviet or Nazi art.

To paraphrase George Carlin, my stuff is your junk, and your junk is my stuff. In other words, stuff I like -- objects that speak to my idiom -- might just be a collection of junk to you, like my shelf full of vintage Barbies.

But on an even deeper level, this is the source of the energy of the private economy: I will give you this for that because I want that more than I do this. Simple as.

Which is not so simple in practice, and can even get you killed in most parts of the world. de Soto himself survived the bombing of his office by socialist terrorists in 1992. As Fox Butterfield might say, "Economist Targeted for Assassination by Leftists Despite Helping Lift Millions from Poverty."

One thinker -- who uses his words instead of bombs to express his idiom -- praises de Soto "for demonstrating how property rights -- often disparaged by left-leaning intellectuals as an instrument of the privileged -- help the poor:

"He has helped explain to convincible [heh] readers how radically egalitarian the rule of law and property rights are. Plutocrats, strongmen -- they have their muscle. They can take what they choose in lawless situations. But the poor and weak are protected by the rule of law and property rights."

So the krugmaniacal Obama, that phony Shampion of the Poor, has spent the last six years undermining the very thing that relieves poverty, both exterior and interior. If he had his way, the whole world would be as financially and intellectually impoverished as MSNBC.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

A Daze of Future Past

This idea of idiom -- of certain eerily specific aesthetic objects "speaking" to us in an unfamiliarly familiar way -- seems to have spoken to the idiom of the audience. In other words, this line of thought about interior resonance seems to be resonating with your interior(s), so we'll continue the investigation.

Several people spoke of this very blog speaking to their idiom. One -- and you are not aloon -- didn't even understand it at first, and yet, was ineluctably drawn into the One Cosmos web.

This is interesting, because it highlights the element of "vertical recollection." In other words, the exterior object resonates with some interior reality, or form, or archetype, that has been "forgotten," as it were. Yes, paradise has been lost, but perhaps in the same way that our idiom has been forgotten. It is a mythic way of describing a psychic reality.

But that's only an analogy, because chances are you were never consciously aware of it, so it couldn't have been literally forgotten. But it is buried, and the problem is that life can pile more dirt on it and bury it more deeply.

Or better, as Schuon has expressed it, it is as if there is either a thick sheet of ice or that our consciousness has become fragmented and dispersed. "Mistaking the ice that imprisons us for Reality, we do not acknowledge what it excludes and experience no desire for deliverance; we try to compel the ice to be happiness.” Ooh. That's good.

Conversely, postmodernity is like a caricature of dilation. It is ec-static to the point of total dispersion.

Elsewhere Schuon writes of how our subjectivity may become crystalized or dilated, and that each of these may be positive or "privative." What is commonly called "the ego" in spiritual circles is like a privative crystalization (likeways any mind parasite). But there are also privative dilations, like the liberal totolerantarian whose mind is so open his brains fall out.

When we speak of idiom, it seems to me that we are mostly talking about liberating crystalizations, whereas a liberating dilation is essentially slack, or an attitude of openness to the real.

Our soul is a "form" -- the form of the body -- but it is also fractally "structured" in such a way that it is constituted of other forms. Of course, the immaterial is defined as that which cannot be divided, but that doesn't mean it can't have it's own particular configuration. If "the soul is all it knows," then there is infinite room for differences... speaking of unique idioms, this makes perfect nonsense to me, or almost, anyway:

"For that (the rapt one warns) is what papyr is meed of, made of, hides and hints and misses in prints. Till ye finally (though not yet endlike) meet with the acquaintance of Mister Typus, Mistress Tope and all the little typtopies. Fillstup. So you need hardly spell me how every word will be bound over to carry three score and ten toptypsical readings throughout the book of Doublends Jined..." (JJ).

I'm consulting the arkive, trying to draw up some relevant material, and found this subjoycean nonsense:

"Ah, remama when you was older than abraham and young as a babe’s I AM and the world wiz fresh anew, when heaven touched the earth and angels whispered their psycrets through the wind, rivers, mountains and stars? I do. Who could forget our universedidsay?"

But then, "as we adapt to our baffling new conditions and lose our innocence, the world is increasingly demystified and we become subject to the brutal 'reign of quantity' inside the prismhearse of the senses -- or the senses prolonged into material space, i.e., materialism. Much of spiritual growth involves the reversal of this process, or what I call the remystification of the world. For if you're not amazed, you're just wrong.

"As we fall down & out, life at the center is exchanged for life at the periphery; or, we are booted from the spacious interior to the cramped and contracted exterior."

So, "As we dissipate outward, we gain a new 'center of gravity' and lose the old center of levity. Returning to this eurhythmic center of groovity is the goal of life, or the final coonsummation. To put it another way, God is always present. It is man who is absent. Which is why we say on our celestial birthday -- which is every day: Come in, open His presence, and report for karmic duty."

It never fails. I always end up getting distructed and hypnoteased when I dig down into the arkive, because it's like I'm reading it for the first time. However, I'm obviously repeating myself, because this idea of idiom is everywhere down there. If I am -- and you are -- a pattern, then if we examine our past, we should find its soulprints everywhere. For example,

"Now, the fact that we understand objects, i.e., The World, means that the world is made of 'communication.' It is full of messages of all kinds, just waiting to be decoded -- quantum mechanical messages, genetic messages, chemical messages, pheromonal messages, divine messages, signs from the third base coach, etc.

"Thus, prior to what appears to be the most obvious ontological fact of existence, i.e., the distinction between subjects and objects, there is something even more fundamental: communication. 'Comm-unication' is the prior oneness that bifurcates into subjects and objects, and without which objects could not be known and subjects could not know them."

Or, just say Trinity. But "contrary to what atheists and other assorted morons are always saying, if this were a meaningless universe, no one could ever realize it.

"Now, interestingly -- this is getting a bit aheart of oursophs -- but what distinguishes the Trinity from those cheaply made bargain gods is that it is irreducibly communicative. Thus, this unique metaphysic renders what is otherwise quite problematic -- an intelligible cosmos that never stops communicating with its mumblers in goodsounding -- an inevitability.

"The cosmos 'speaks' because there are subjects; and because there is a Subject, the cosmos speaks. True, you are free to argue that the cosmos doesn't speak intelligibly, but not without sacrificing truth, freedom, and intelligibility. And since the substance of man is one part truth, one part freedom, the materialist commits ontological suicide.

"Which is fine. The immorality -- the unforgivable crime -- occurs when these undead body snatchers engage in the soul murder of others, especially the innocent kits. Which is why we say without exaggeration or hyperbole that the leftist takeover of the educational system is a kind of....

"Let's see, 'genocide' is already taken. Let's call it 'pneumacide,' i.e., the murder of the spirit. This is no joke, as anyone can attest who has recovered from the assault of these delumenationists. I know for a fact that I'm still recovering, and maybe always will be. It's somewhat analogous to nearly dying from some terrible illness, and then having some permanent residuals as a result.

"An image comes to mind. On the original Star Trek, they were beaming down some crew members to a particular planet. But in this case, there was a danger that they might rematerialize within solid rock, and then be unrecoverable. In so many ways, a secular brainwashing is to be beamed down into solid rock is it not? Or maybe ice.

"We must melt the ice, pulverize the rock, and regain our original fluidity. This can only occur in the Great Interiority of the subject, not by chasing phantoms in the object world, which reduces the subject to an effect rather than a cause. Freedom 'enters' in this space between subject and object, because, like truth, it is prior to both.

"But for the same reason, as Balthasar explains, man is the first entity that is freely capable of lying. That is, with the emergence of man, the Lie enters creation. In fact, if you remember your Genesis, the very first recorded statement of man is a lie to God: I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.

"The Bible often makes a critical point by virtue of the order in which something occurs, so surely the first utterance of man is fraught with existential and spiritual significance.

"In this case, you could say that the Bible records the emergence of the first liberal, in that Adam immediately tries to excuse his culpability by depicting himself as the victim: hey, you scared me! It's your fault! But that doesn't fly, so next he blames the woman. In fact, there is also an oral teaching that has been handed down from generation to generation and which still lives today, in which Adam blames his malfeasance on conservative talk radio.

"Now, the Lie is the beginning of man's self-imprisonment under that sheet of ice alluded to above. It reminds me of when children used to get trapped in those old refrigerators that locked from the outside, for once man gets into the Lie, it is very difficult to get out. For inside it is as dark, cold and airless as the hole in a troll's soul.

"Truth, like love, radiates, whereas the lie compacts and restricts. Or, looked at another way, truth is like an infinitely hard jewel, whereas the lie disperses and dissipates. The left conflates all of these categories, resulting in faux beautiful 'radiant lies' such as socialism, or the 'hardened falsehoods' of political correctness. This results in a kind of perverse mirror homage to conservatism, because the left is not about 'progress,' but about conserving their 'permanent lies.' This is also why it is such a parody of religion, since, in denying the sacred, it confers sanctity on the profane.

"Because truth radiates, we have speech, or communication. If we didn't have speech, we would combust from the heat. As HvB says, in the absence of the gift of 'saying truth,' we would be 'burned up by an inward abundance that could not be expressed outwardly. It would be like a light that had to shine in itself without being able to emit any rays.' Most Raccoons are en fuego, and the only way to turn down the heat is to post about it and try to light up some other folks. Yes, we arsons of God.

"But this heat ultimately radiates from that burning bush that is never consumed. This is an irreducible mystery, for the more light we radiate, the more comes in -- like a brush fire that begins to generate its own wind. True, the Spirit blows where it will, but it blows even harder in certain self-generated weather patterns. This has been my experience of immersing myself in the world of HvB, which is like a tornado that lifts my little house over the reignbelow. Call it a Funnel of Love."

It is a fact that the gradual approach of these ontological levels of the spirit's form of existence is synonymous with an interior 'clearing,' irradiation, and illumination of being. The spiritual substance is light in itself.... Certain accounts of this fact suggest that the levels between matter and spirit are also levels of being's intelligibility. --Theo-Logic: The Truth of the World

Hey, sorry I got hypnotized by my own past. I promise to push this subject into the land of the new tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Idiom, Resonance, and Destiny

It seems that the poetic mode of knowledge is very much tied in with the slack required to exercise it. Through it "we gain our first touch... of our final purpose, which is to experience happiness, a resting from activity, a return to where we began, to a state of repose: leisure" (Taylor).

Thus -- and this is impoïetant -- "the poetic precedes the scientific" as "the passive precedes the active."

I was reminded of this the other day in the account of the 12 year old Jesus hanging out with the teachers in the temple, "both listening to them and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46, emphasis mine). So, we would do well to remember that listening and inquiring are prior to teaching or evangelizing or bloviating. We should make ourselves as receptive as Socrates, who knows only one thing. However, unlike Descartes, who uses his One Big Think as a foundation to build upon, Socrates uses his only as a vast and fruitful space of unKnowing.

This is a resonant space; or in other words, truth seems to have a "frequency" or vibrational quality that stirs our inner tuning fork. Aristotle (in Taylor) compares it "to musical modes and rhythms," such that "some philosophers say that the soul is a tuning, others, that it possesses tuning."

Now, tuning is not the tune, but we cannot play the tune unless the instrument is tuned. Therefore, playing music or thinking truth requires the proper tuning. How do we tune the soul? In other words, what would be the mind-brain-relations analogy to tuning an instrument? Remember, proper tuning only "prepares" us to play something. It is not the playing itself.

Obviously -- whether or not the educrats would express it this way -- the purpose of a public education is to help tune the soul so that it resonates with truth.

How's that working out?

What does the barbarized and liberalized (but I repeat myself) soul resonate with, anyway? I don't really want to know.

We've discussed this subject in the past, in particular, with regard to some of Christopher Bollas's ideas of the destiny drive, psychic idiom, and the unthought known. These terms are all related, in that we become ourselves (via the destiny drive) by finding the objects and relationships (idiom) that somehow precede us (i.e., are known but unthought, the unthought known).

So: "Human idiom is the peculiarity of person(ality) that finds its own being through the particular selection and use of the object [which also refers to people, ideas, and relationships]. In this restricted sense, to be and to appropriate are one."

Although I did not know it at the time (this book I'm looking at, Forces of Destiny, was published in 1989), this comes very close to a trinitarian way of looking at things. Think about it: we cannot "find our being" within ourselves per se, only in relationship, whether with people, ideas, scripture, works of art, God, etc. When we hit on one that bangs the interior gong, this means that the object is resonating with our idiom.

In this regard, "idiom" may be thought of as our unique soulprint. Now, everyone is unique, but how do we know this, and how do we make it a reality? Consider, for example, the Islamic or Academist worlds, where everyone must think the same thoughts, regardless of personal idiom. Another name for this is hell.

Of course, the same thing can happen in families, and usually does to one degree or another. For example, I was born into a family that did not share my idiom, to put it mildly, so it took quite awhile to discover the objects that bang my gong.

In one sense I was "lucky," but if Bollas is correct, there was also a Destiny Drive at work, and in hindsight I can see how I was able to manifest it by passively surrendering to its higher wisdom (or stupidity, depending on how you look at it). In other words, I never "planned" my life in a top-down way, but rather, allowed it to play out in a spontaneous and organic manner.

Not that I am a model human or anything. But at least I'm myself, so I got that going for me.

I'm sure I must have quoted this resonant passage before, but in the introduction, Bollas talks about the birth of his son: "What struck me was how he was who he is from scratch. He seemed to be in possession of his own personality, his very own unique configuration in being (what I term idiom) that has never really changed in itself."


Q: "But what is this idiom? How does one provide evidence for it?"

A: I would say, start by inquiring within. What moves your soul? To what are you spontaneously attracted? What lights you up inside? This vital work "is a form of play in which the subject selects and uses objects in order to materialize elements latent to his personality, akin to a kind of personality speech, in which the lexical elements are not word signifiers but factors of personality."


Okay, the other night I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for the hundredth time. While doing so I had a kind of flashback to when I saw it the first ten times in 1975, when I would have been 19 or so. Importantly, I was a complete idiot at the time, with no understanding of art & stuff (or of anything else, really). However, the film resonated deeply with me, but in a seemingly unusual way.

That is -- and this is in hindsight, because I wasn't consciously aware of it at the time -- it was as if the film were comforting to me. In a weird way, it was as if I were "at home" (in a psychic sense). Hence the compulsion to repeat the experience, for reasons known but unthought by me.

I won't get into that for which I was searching. Probably just the person writing this. In any event, the point is that something about it spoke to my idiom, an idiom that I was years away from actualizing. Has anyone else had this experience with an object, work of art, idea, religion, person, etc.? I'll bet you anything Rick has. What about the rest of you?

(And I see that this post has come fullcircle, in that we are inquiring into that first touch of our final purpose, which is to experience happiness, a resting from activity, a return to where we began, to a state of repose...)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Barry & Bibi, Cain & Abel, Shem & Shuan

Not much time this morning if I'm going to lend an ear to the anti-Obama. Remember the old line, "peace will only come when Palestinians love their children as much as they hate Israel?" Well, Iran will be denuked when Obama loves America more than he hates Israel. Which will be never.

Let's continue with poetic knowledge -- which is also noetic and poietic, as in poïesis -- which is the handy Greek word from which poetry is derived, and means "to make":

"This word, the root of our modern 'poetry', was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world. Neither technical production nor creation in the romantic sense, poïetic work reconciles thought with matter and time, and person with the world."

Like I said, handy word. After all, if God is the divine logotect, then theopoiesis is surely one of his tools. I first ran across the term when I was writing my dissertation on psychoanalysis and chaos theory, the latter describing open systems that are autopoietic, or "self-creating."

Actually, such systems -- including human beings -- are more self-sustaining than self-creating, but then again, the sustaining can be accomplished in creative and uncreative, predictable and unpredictable ways, and I would say that to the extent that we cooperate with God, then the poiesis will be creative. That is, it will feature novelty, surprise, beauty, and renewal.

And when I say "renewal," I mean that it will be characterized by life. No, not necessarily biological life, but rather, the greater Life from which biology is derived, or of which it is a material echo. Life, among other things, involves continuous self-renewal. When the renewal ceases, that lets you know you are dead. But obviously, death can long precede the cessation of biological renewal. The whole point of a religious practice is to renew ourselves in order to prevent the death-in-life. L'chaim!

It must work in a way analogous to biology. I don't have time to look it up, but they say that it takes something like seven years for every molecule in our body to be replaced. Now, how long does it take to -- as Paul puts it in Colossians -- put off the old man and put on the new? This is actually a question that divides orthodox from Protestant, the latter insisting that it is a case of "once saved always saved." For too many reasons to list -- scriptural, experiential, metaphysical, etc. -- I cannot agree with that.

Hmm. Well, first of all, this post is heading off into completely unanticipated areas, but that's theo-pneumapoiesis for you. The whole point of verticalisthenics is to maintain a vertically open system by aligning ourselves with God. Then we just get out of the way and see what happens: let go and let Bob. Not Bob alone, of course, but a kind of Godbob hybrid.


Excuse me, but I thought that was the whole point. Grandiose my ass. I'm not taking credit, I'm giving it. Unless I am completely in error, in which case I do take all the credit. All truth -- even the possibility thereof -- comes from God. Error is what human beings toss into the mix.

Anyway, in the wiki article on autopoiesis, there is an excerpt from the book in which the word first appeared in 1973, called Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living:

"It was in these circumstances... in which he analyzed Don Quixote's dilemma of whether to follow the path of arms (praxis, action) or the path of letters (poiesis, creation, production), I understood for the first time the power of the word 'poiesis' and invented the word that we needed: autopoiesis. This was a word without a history, a word that could directly mean what takes place in the dynamics of the autonomy proper to living systems."

But this question of action vs. creation is not really dichotomous. That is to say, there are obviously creative actions, just as there is uncreative production. What occurs to me is that this is one of the fundamental complementarities laid out in Finnegans Wake, the sibling rivalry between Shem the penman and Shaun the postman, the intellectual man of letters, and the worldly man of action.

I think that today we can see this rivalry playing out: Obama, the dickless "man of letters" (I didn't say they were good letters) and the man of action. Who is the more creative? Who is more open to and engaged with reality, both horizontal and vertical?

In FW, Joyce often makes fun of himself (the archetypal man of letters) for being so ineffectual and impotent. The writer envies his courageous brother, just as his hands-on brother would like to fancy himself a weighty thinker (either that or devalue the whole world of thought).

Let us consult the Key, and see if there is anything else worth considering, or whether this whole post is just a dry inkwell.

Ha! Page 21: "Shaun, now called Juan (Don Juan)," is "about to depart on a great mission."

P. 27: "The double note of love and war is to become the pervasive theme of FW.... continually outcropping in the struggles between Shem and Shaun" under various guises. "Love and war are the constant life expressions of that polarized energy which propels the universal round."

Does Shem teach us anything about Obama more generally? "The answer is not far to seek: of the two sons, Shem [the penman] is the mother's pet and Shaun the father's."

Here is Campbell's translation of Joyce. You decide: "There are a few who still maintain that Shem was of respectable stock; but every honest man today knows that his past will not bear description." Joyce: "Putting truth and untruth together a shot may be made at what this hybrid actually was like to look at."

However, Bibi is about to walk up to the plate and wake Barry to the plot, so finny for now...

Monday, March 02, 2015

God's Not Only Merely True, But Really Most Sincerely True

A few more words about Poetic Knowledge and the Recovery of Education. Bottom line: the former is possible while the latter is not. You might say that the education establishment is ineducable.

Worse, poetic knowledge is not just possible but necessary in order for a man to become one, while the education industry -- or industrialized education -- renders this impossible (unless you're very lucky).

But for the most part, if you're going to activate your poetic knowledge, or plot your gnoetry implosion, you're pretty much on your own, because the government has no interest in nurturing individuals, only mindless statebots.

But hasn't education always really been for the few? How many of the many do you meet who are actually educable? The majority are trainable, while a smaller portion are tamable. That's funny, because for the past fifty years or so we've been laboring under the delusion that everyone should attend college.

However, this doesn't make the tamable educated. Rather, it is more likely to merely tame or train the educable, or pacify the wild intellect and consign it to the secular ghetto. It's how we end up with all these credentialed yahoos who fill academia and run the government. They don't shed light, they extinguish it.

So, poetic knowledge is a retail thingummy, never wholesale. In fact, not even retail, more door-to-door, or maybe some guy selling it out of his trunk. Most people who have it don't even bother trying to sell it, because the demand is so low.

So, if you're not homeschooled, then you're probably not schooled at all. The most we can hope for in a public education is that it doesn't kill the natural desire to homeschool oneself, i.e., snuff out the naturally supernatural love of learning.

The philo-sophical life revolves around being in love with, and seeking after, Wisdom, forever. But not only do these blighted infrahumans not desire wisdom, they don't even desire the desire. In other words, they are not even aware of this death in their perichoretic family! This is not even poverty, let alone mourning, because they are so full of themselves, and IT besides. No Cross for you!

Not only has the vast majority of my education taken place in the post-postgraduate slackatoreum inside my cloud-hidden bobservatory, but I have had to simultaneously disabuse mysoph of so much of the abusive sophistry assumilated during my quote unquote education. Just yesterday I was talking to a newfriend about how shocking it is that we have a president who really believes the shit I believed in college. Perhaps you don't realize how frightening this is.

This weekend I was reading in a book by F.J. Sheed of the distinction between knowledge and understanding. Specifically, he talks about how understanding can obscure knowledge. I would put it the other way around, but it's the same difference: a premature understanding of the the world -- or of human beings, or of oneself, or of God, or of history -- serves to prevent new learning.

Again, take the example of our idiot president, whose Deep Understanding of the ways of the world was set in concrete by his mid-twenties. Since then the rest has been commentary -- and deception, since he at least knows enough that he cannot reveal his gnostic understanding to the masses.

In the book, I talked about how words can deceive, especially if they are saturated with premature and unevolving meaning. Sheen writes that if one wants to take theology seriously, "the intellect must go to work, pierce through the words to the meaning, and enrich the words with the meaning -- that they may be real words" (emphasis mine).

How do we make mere words real words? Via poetic knowledge. Through this the intellect is able to make "the reality its own, then the whole man takes over -- will, emotions, imagination" (Sheed). This is how we give birth to the word: a -- or the -- word is a womb for the growth of meaning. And when the word grows in this way, "It means making the truths our own, a living part of our being" (ibid.).

Yes, "it is in the taking possession of truth by the whole man that the whole man lives." Only through this does the otherwise one- or two-dimensional word become three- or four-dimensional (i.e., vital and/or mystical). This is real intimacy with truth, i.e., knowing knaked knowledge, knucklehead.

For "Knowledge serves love, each new truth learnt is a new reason for loving God. Love craves knowledge, craves to know: it would be strange to love God and not want to know more and more about him." And "every truth revealed by God plunges deeper than [the] finite mind can follow it," but follow we must. Or are privileged to follow!

Blessed are the poor in spirit. The corollary of this is cursed are the asssouls who are wealthy in their own eyes. Or in other words, "There are three stages in spiritual growing:

"We begin from a condition of destitution, / pass from that into a second stage of true ownership, / and from that into a third, which seems to be a return / to the first, but no longer destitute" (ibid.).

To put it another way, "We begin with silence," then "progress from that into speech," and finally transition "into silence again, not a silence we lapse into but a silence we rise into..."

So with that I'll bow to the holy STFU.

[I]nfinite love has exploded into our universe; theology is an effort to diagram the explosion. --Sheed