Thursday, October 20, 2016

Principles of the Unprincipled

We're on the subject of principles, in particular, those cosmic principles that cannot not be true -- for example, that truth exists and man may know it. If it doesn't exist, then you may stop talking -- and thinking -- now. And forever. There would be no point. Except mere animal satisfaction and survival. Which also would have no point.

Speaking of which, why is it that man is subject to distinct joys and pleasures of which the animal can know nothing? Why are there pleasures of the mind and joys of the spirit?


An intelligent idea produces sensual pleasure.

Very good. I--

I'm not done!

Go on then.

It is impossible to convince the fool that there are pleasures superior to those we share with the rest of the animals.

Like aesthetic pleasure?

Exactly. For To be stupid is to believe it is possible to take a photograph of the place about which a poet sang. And When things appear to us to be only what they appear to be, soon they become even less.

Each of those aphorisms reveals a principle. In fact, what makes the Aphorisms so resonant is that they usually do that -- it is the secret to their power (that and the poetic means of expression). Come to think of it, I can think of few things more powerful than a Cosmic Principle beautifully expressed.

Think of the alternatives: there can be truth expressed in a banal or shabby way, just as there can be falsehood expressed in a beautiful way.

Then again, I'm not so sure about the latter, for awareness of real beauty tends to converge upon truth. We'll leave music and painting to the side, but can a person who loves truth be fooled by a beautiful falsehood masquerading as truth?

You will recall how the media swooned (and still swoons) over Obama's rhetoric, but to me it always betrayed its inner ugliness, its hidden agenda. You can't put lipstick on a pig.

Or, you can. But it's still going to be ugly -- perhaps even more ugly in a way, in the sense that its essence is being distorted. There is such a thing as "ugly cute," as in the case of certain dog breeds. The AKC doesn't downgrade a pug because it doesn't look like a lab.

This morning in a link at Happy Acres I was reminded of what ugly falsehood in puffed-up rhetoric smells like. It is by the professional negro Tavis Smiley, who claims to be frightened that Donald Trump will literally bring back slavery.

Before addressing the aesthetic barbarism, the man is quite obviously hallucinating, in that he is seeing something that does not -- and will never -- exist. Scott Adams discussed this yesterday:

"In nearly every scenario you can imagine, the person experiencing an unlikely addition to their reality is the one hallucinating. If all observers see the same addition to their reality, it might be real. But if even one participant can’t see the phenomenon – no matter how many can – it is almost certainly not real."

To suggest that America under Trump will enslave blacks is, to put it mildly, "an unlikely addition to reality." (Of course, Adams goes too far in suggesting that if a single person doesn't see a phenomenon, it isn't real, for "negative hallucinations" are actually more common than the positive variety, plus it ignores the qualifications necessary for vertical perception; but these are subjects of a different post.)

Here is an example of elaborate falsehood, or a kind of ornate vacuity; note also the pomposity, an important feature of this type of crude persuasion:

"I’m not sure [Trump] and I share an understanding of what makes a nation truly great. For me, it starts with how you treat the children, the poor, the aged and infirmed, how you embrace equality as you labor for equity. Equality means that everyone gets the same in America, whether they need it or not. Equity says we commit to ensuring that all fellow citizens have the basic resources that will give them commensurate opportunities to contribute meaningfully to our society."

Is there a principle in there somewhere? Everyone gets the same in America, whether they need it or not. Okay. My question for Mr. Smiley clown: Are you getting the same as everyone else? Or is Time paying you more than it pays, say, its janitors?

"While I’m not an angry black man, I do have a righteous indignation that burns inside me about the myriad of injustices that result in a daily contestation of people’s humanity."

Translation: you're an angry black man yelling at your hallucinations.

And frightened by them, in that these hallucinations are indeed "hair-raising, bone-chilling, spine-breaking, [and] nerve-wracking."

This illustrates one of the elementary principles of developmental psychology, called "projective identification." It is more primitive than mere projection, such that the person projects unconscious material (e.g., thoughts, desires, emotions, impulses) into the environment, and feels them returning in a (usually) persecutory manner.

A common example would consist of projecting anger into someone else, and then re-experiencing it as fear. In reality, the person is just fearful of his own projected anger. I want to say that this is a particularly transparent case, but the process is ubiquitous on the left. It is the only way to make sense of "trigger warnings," "safe spaces," "dangerous speech," and the like. These people are literally afraid of their own shadows. But then, Jung is wasted on these youths.

I don't want to leave on such an aesthetically depressing note. Let's conclude with some aphorisms that beautifully illuminate the type of intellectual and rhetorical pathology exemplified above:

'Social justice' is the term used to claim anything to which we do not have a right. And 'Social' is the adjective that serves as a pretext for all swindles.

As for how to avoid vacuous bloviating,

The fewer adjectives we waste, the more difficult it is to lie. And Prolixity is not an excess of words but a dearth of ideas (Aphorisms of Don Colacho).


julie said...

This morning in a link at Happy Acres I was reminded of what ugly falsehood in puffed-up rhetoric smells like.

The sad thing is, I know a lot of genuinely decent, well-meaning and truth-loving people who have whole-heartedly swallowed the lies of the left. For instance, there are far too many Christians convinced that natural disasters are caused by man-made global warming (which is caused primarily by sin).

...these hallucinations are indeed "hair-raising, bone-chilling, spine-breaking, [and] nerve-wracking."

Conversely, speaking of negative hallucinations, what to make of the people who insist that real dangers that should genuinely scare the bejeebers out of people aren't worth acknowledging? Say for instance, a possible Hillary-instigated nuclear war with Russia.

In Hillary's America, everyone gets the same nuclear bomb dropped in their laps. Or, everybody should get the same high-quality healthcare they have in Venezuela.

julie said...

'Social justice' is the term used to claim anything to which we do not have a right. And 'Social' is the adjective that serves as a pretext for all swindles.

There's a big church nearby where I go to weekly meetings. In their Totally Awesome Loft geared for pandering to teenagers, they have a list on the wall of all the things they consider important. Listed above everything else is social justice.


Another set of lies swallowed by the kind-hearted and good-intentioned.

Gagdad Bob said...

When I was in Santa Barbara for my seminar, I entered an extraordinarily beautiful church. Can't remember the denomination. Episcopalian I think.

Yes. Here it is.

But the pillars you see in the photo were plastered with pro-illegal immigration propaganda of the most jarring kind. Even the boy noticed that that type of thing doesn't belong in this kind of space.

Liberals. Is there anything they can't spoil?

julie said...

Sadly, very little.

Gagdad Bob said...

A little research reveals that the reverend of the church is -- or was, until his recent retirement -- a homosexual activist. Sounds like a nice but profoundly misguided soul.

mushroom said...

The problem with Tavis Smiley's projected anger is that it can contain the seeds of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Keep screaming "racism" and "injustice" long enough and loud enough, and somebody might decide to give you some serious social injustice up-side of your head. I am reminded of my parents' statement in response to crying, "I'll give you something to cry about."

I thought we would all eventually learn to live in harmony, but if a person insists on loudly singing a completely different song, he should not be too surprised to be kicked out of the choir.

julie said...

Bob - at least he's (in theory) some kind of a Christian. In some churches these days, it's just fine if the pastor is an atheist.

Mushroom - I've often had the thought recently, about various things ruined by SJWs, that I never had a particular dislike for [insert irritating, dogmatic and thought-controlling victim group here] before, but that is changing. It's easy not to be bothered by people who are happy to leave you alone. When they demand your approval, your money, and/ or your obeisance, though, that's something else entirely.

Anonymous said...

Black slavery in present day America, what a ridiculous notions.

Gagdad Bob said...

24% white!

I have the hair-raising, bone-chilling, spine-breaking, and nerve-wracking fear that white slavery is upon us.

Cousin Dupree said...

What if you just avoid committing first degree murder?

Anonymous said...

That's racist!

I do what I want said...

Systemic racism made me do it.

Gagdad Bob said...

We will never conquer systemic racism until we eliminate equality.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Regarding Trinity Episcopal's new rector(ess).

Gagdad Bob said...

Theologically adrift, with no rudder, sail, compass, or anchor.

Gagdad Bob said...

Tomorrow's CE seminar might actually be a little interesting -- it's on memory and the brain, how it works, why it fails, and how to improve it.

I'm guessing there will be no post, but maybe I can compensate by passing along any helpful hints via LIVE COMMENTING.

This I already know: get sufficient sleep, exercise every day, and avoid inflammation.

Anonymous said...

Different anon here.

I love this place... you guys! But maybe not for the reasons... I keep coming back because of the insights I gain about my father. He is an INTP. His beliefs are different but his attitudes and behaviors, virtually identical. Absolutely fascinating. I understand him better thanks to you.

Gagdad Bob said...

You have an INTP father? That must be... interesting. Although I am an INTP, I'm very E with my son -- we talk all the time, and I try to make it all very clear to him instead of just weird or eccentric. On a number of occasions, however, I have told him that when he gets older he really needs to read the blog for a full explanation. Or apology.

Gagdad Bob said...

I also wonder if most INTPs are a little... difficult? I'm not built that way -- rather, cheerful and easy going, although I do need a fair amount of Bob time with myself.

julie said...

You think INTPs are generally difficult? Interesting. I wouldn't have used that description, though "easygoing" seems to fit pretty well. Provided enough alone time, that is.

ted said...

Bob, maybe more mysterious than difficult.

Gecko said...

Thanks, Bob and Joan, for the Santa Barbara Episcopal Church information.Glad to hear Trinity Church has a new minister. All Saints By the Sea is another beautiful Episcopal Church here that we used to attend until we had to listen to Jesus being born in Palestine one Christmas season which was the final straw. Bishop Bruno and the non celibate lesbian Glasspool helped select the new rector (who is a lesbian married couple with a now ten year old girl) which pushed our lovely church too far left for us to accept. Such a sad state of affairs. Sure wish they had become Unitarians instead of ruining our church.

Rick said...

OT but O this is good:

julie said...

I watched that last night. What is it about someone exposing the truth in the midst of a den of vipers that's so satisfying?

Honestly, most of the time I'm not a fan of watching him talk. In this case, though, it is just so good to have someone who fearlessly steps into the midst of these people who hate everything about America and call them out on their nefarious deeds. That line about Hillary and Catholics was priceless.

Rick said...

Yes, and I loved how he pointed out one-by-one Hillary's campaign team (NBC, CNN, etc) ala Walt Kawolski-style in Gran Torino.

Gagdad Bob said...

The Episcopalians got me to wondering what it would be like if Paul were still around, and could write a letter to them.

He'd need a bigger flamethrower, that's for sure. At least if he recognized them as Christian.

julie said...

There are Episcopals still fighting the good fight - our Joan's family being one example.

I wonder what Paul would write to many of the Catholics of today, as well...

Gagdad Bob said...

That occurred to me too. A leftist Catholic should be an impossibility.

julie said...

OT - listening to Trump's speech in Gettysburg, how can you not love this:

One of the first things he's going to try to enact is a rule that for every new federal regulation to be passed, two must be repealed.

julie said...

Again - I don't know if he will be able to do even a tenth or a hundredth of what he says he wants to do, but if he can... wow.

julie said...

Canceling billions in payments to UN environmental programs - again, wow.

julie said...

Canceling every unconstitutional executive action or order by Obama.

And people are afraid he's going to be just as bad?

Rick said... the dustbin of history.
Where it belongs.

Magister said...

go Trump

ENTJ here, was ENTP when younger, funny how one grows into being a dad

"A common example would consist of projecting anger into someone else, and then re-experiencing it as fear. In reality, the person is just fearful of his own projected anger."

boom, SJWs in a nutshell