Friday, November 11, 2016

Everything has Changed. Nothing has Changed.

We should not be frightened: what we admire does not die. Nor be delighted: neither does what we detest. --Nicolás Gómez Dávila

I awoke this morning thinking about this curiously airy state of mind since last Tuesday's election. It's too important merely to enjoy. Rather, we need to stand back from it and observe it -- be in it but not of it, you might say. Let us not mimic the unseemly emotional incontinence of the left when their savior healed the planet back in 2008.

Now that I'm pondering this, it seems I've always been this way -- that is, holding a part of myself in reserve from events around me. You know, the Witness. Or Ironist, anyway. For example, I attended a lot of rock concerts in my adultolescence, especially between about 17 and 25. You remember the drill: you get totally wasted beforehand, and hope to peak when the band comes on stage.

Nevertheless, even under those chemically fortified conditions, I was never able to "lose myself" completely. Let's say I'm at the Inglewood Forum, with 18,000 people who are singing and moving in unison in a kind of group trance. Now I find the whole idea creepy, but even then I was on the outside. I was inside the music, to be sure, but not inside, or at one with, the crowd. A part of me noticed what a bunch of undignified animals they were.

I could never figure out if this Witness was a good thing or a bad thing. Was it just a neurotic and excessive "self-consciousness," something I needed to annihilate? That was actually the idea behind a lot of psychotherapy models back then -- to completely break through all defenses and inhibitions, behind or underneath which we would find our radiant and unsullied True Self.

I actually started reading psychology before I ever dreamed of -- or was consigned to -- being a psychologist. I've mentioned before that I was caught by total surprise when my brain unexpectedly clicked on at around age 25, at which point I began reading everything in sight. Prior to that, I may have read one book on a voluntary basis -- Ball Four, by Jim Bouton. But being an autodidact meant being unguided by any coherent tradition or narrative; instead of approaching something from the center out, I just began nibbling randomly at the periphery.

Anyway, most of the psychology books I read back then were of the Strip Away All Inhibitions! variety. I'll bet I still have a few of them tucked away in my closet... Let us rummage...

Not sure why I haven't inflicted these upon the library. I suppose I was waiting for just this moment. Don't worry. I won't spend a great deal of time on this self-indulgence. Let's begin with R.D. Laing, who was quite big back then. His basic point in The Divided Self is that normality is madness and madness normality. In short, western civilization is insane, largely due to its pervasive repression. I'm sure he blames Christians for that. So let's all take our clothes off and engage in a cathartic primal scream.

There's an Aphorism for that: To educate man is to impede the 'free expression of his personality.' One wants to post a sign in public places: Thank You For Repressing Yourself. Or, No Shame, No Service. In fact, shame was a big thing we needed to do away with according to the New Psychology.

Time out for another Aphorism: Modern man imagines it is sufficient to open the windows in order to cure the soul's infection, that it is not necessary to clear out the trash.

I read somewhere that a mob of progressive snowflakes -- must have been in San Francisco -- actually engaged in a group primal scream to discharge their trauma over the election. And since they think in these terms, they imagine that the people who supported Trump were engaging in their own primal scream by electing him. It can't be the ideas. Rather, just a howling mob. (What would the left do without projection?)

I can see that if we proceed down this path, this post will rapidly spiral out of control. Back to matters at hand: this curious state of mind.

I am of course relieved, not so much because Trump won but because the left has been thwarted. But has my life actually changed? Unlike liberals who abuse their children with horror stories about the monster Trump, I assured mine that our lives wouldn't change much if at all under a Clinton administration. Indeed, I told him that if we didn't own a television set, we might very well notice nothing at all. I told him I was worried about the future of the nation, but reassured him that I would probably be dead by then.

Politics is like flypaper for irrational exuberance. I remember writing posts in the wake of the 2008 and 2012 elections, counseling readers -- or myself, anyway -- to not get caught up in the negativity, that Obama would surely crash and burn once he underwent the formality of actually existing, instead of being only a projection of infra-religious liberal fantasies.

So we certainly don't want to mirror the left by projecting our conservative fantasies onto Trump! And even if he accomplishes everything he sets out to do, it won't alter our existential circumstances. I mean, we're still going to die.

Nor will the struggle ever end. Look at the Reagan years, a "golden age" of conservatism. Some even imagined we had arrived at the End of History. But human nature emerged intact, such that we find ourselves battling for the same ideals -- indeed, the same ideals enunciated by the founders 240 years ago.

Now, progressives are by nature more prone to this illusion, because they literally believe history has sides and that they are on the right one. It makes no sense to them that history could suddenly veer off course three days ago. They have no theory to explain this. Well, no theory except, racism, sexism, homophobia, and Islamophobia: the "whitelash," as Van Jones put it.

People think this election was unusual in offering such flawed candidates. But elections usually come down to the lesser of two evils, because it's much easier for human beings to know what to hate than what to love. Politics, as they say, is the organization of hatreds. In my case, for example, I can say without reservation that I despise the left (not necessarily the individuals, mind you, but the ideology). But can I say without reservation that I love any politician, let alone Trump?

I've been thinking of another ironic aphorism to the effect that one can only embrace without reservation lost causes. Why is this? Well, prior to Tuesday I assumed Clinton was a sure thing, which made it easy for me to express my hostility toward the left with no ambivalence or restraint.

But now Republicans are in charge, and once your beautiful ideas are mingled with actual human beings -- or even just with reality -- you are bound to be disappointed. I'm thinking again of when Reagan became president -- or Thatcher prime minister. In both cases it took a couple of years for the improvement to manifest.

In Reagan's case, there was a sharp downturn in the economy before it began its unprecedented growth. For the past eight years the Matrix Media has given Obama a pass on the weak economy. I will be surprised if they give Trump a month. And if the positive results aren't immediately seen -- which is impossible -- there will be War.

Which means there will be War. The next four years -- starting this very moment -- will be relentless War. There will be no honeymoon, no slack, no courtesy, no forbearance. Scott Adams has suggested that the de-Hitlerization of Trump will take a little time, but that it will happen. I'd like to believe that, but I am skeptical. Reagan was never de-Hitlerized, and the media are only more ideological today than they were then.

My point is that it's a long season. Don't get too upset after a loss or too exultant after a victory. The first thing they ask when you win the Super Bowl or World Series is "do you think you can repeat next year?!" Because in reality there is no victory, only struggling toward it.

Furthermore, it is vital to struggle on behalf of the good, while leaving the rest to providence. Do the right thing for its own sake, not because you expect a certain result. The celestial goal is fixed, but the terrestrial route is always circuitous.

Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems (NGD).

And no man can solve politics, because there is no human solution to the problem of Man.

Oh, and if you want to see what voters rejected last Tuesday, just look at the unrepressed expressions on the faces of the howling and demented mobs. They remind us of what we despise.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pig Wrestling and Spiritual Warfare

If nothing else, this election shows that in order to defeat the inveterate (for it is in their nature) bullies of the left, one must bully right back. Genteel conservatives such as George Will and Charles Krauthammer win every argument but lose the war.

But is bullying a bully actually bullying? One of the most common cinematic themes is the bully getting his just desert, often at the hands of another bully. Many films come to mind, but True Grit is typical. Recall that Mattie, whose father has been murdered, is unable to find justice through official channels, so she hires Rooster Cogburn to get the job done.

Toward the beginning of the film, Mattie inquires about apprehending her father's murderer:

-- Why aren't you out looking for him [her father's murderer]?

-- I've no authority in the Indian Nation. He's now the business of the US Marshal.

-- Who's the best marshal they have?

-- I would have to weigh that... William Waters is the best tracker. He is half Comanche and it is something to see him cut for sign. The meanest is Rooster Cogburn. He is a pitiless man, double tough and fear don't enter into his thinking. He loves to pull a cork. The best is probably L.T. Quinn, he brings his prisoners in alive. Now he may let one get by now and again but he believes even the worst of men is entitled to a fair shake.

-- Where would I find this Rooster?

-- At the Federal Court this afternoon.

Later they show Rooster on the witness stand, being cross-examined by a defense attorney who shows that he likely murdered a couple of suspects in his custody:

-- How long have you been a Deputy Marshal, Mr Cogburn?

-- Four years, come March.

-- How many men have you shot in that time?

-- The prosecution objects!

-- Overruled!

-- How many men have you shot since becoming a marshal?

-- I never shot nobody I didn't have to!

-- That's not the question. How many?

-- Shot or killed?

-- Let's restrict it to killed, a more manageable figure!

-- Well, twelve to fifteen, stopping men in flight and defending myself et cetera.

-- Twelve to fifteen? So many you can't keep a specific count. I have examined the records. A more accurate figure is available. Come now, how many?

-- Counting them two Whartons, twenty-three.

-- I felt you'd come to it with a little effort. Twenty-three dead men in four years. That makes about six men a year!

-- It's a dangerous business.

-- How much more for those you arrest!

I remember seeing that film when I was 13 or so. I wonder: was there anyone in the audience who didn't identify with Rooster over the condescending and smooth talking criminal lawyer who may know the law but not the human heart? But that was a different age.

One can well imagine a similar courtroom scene with Donald Trump on the stand and some sleazy and pretentious media figure cross-examining him. In fact, we scarcely have to imagine it, because we saw it in the debates. The left's entire campaign -- involving a conspiracy between the DNC and the Matrix Media -- revolved around this sort of shaming strategy.

Here we see an interesting dynamic: is it possible -- or does it make sense, at any rate -- to be shamed by the shameless? One of the outstanding characteristics of the left is that they are indeed shameless. They are routinely caught doing and saying things -- think only of Hillary or Obama -- which would cause you or I to be mortified. And yet, they have this superhuman -- or infrahuman -- ability to utterly deflect it.

A good example is dirty Donna Brazile, who was caught funneling debate questions to Clinton. Not only is she not ashamed, she is defiant -- even going so far as to claim she is being persecuted for being a Christian woman! Now, that brings shamelessness to a metaphysical level.

Or think of John Podesta, or the rest of the DNC cretins and MSM propagandists (but I repeat myself) revealed as duplicitous hacks. No shame.

Cut to the secret tape of Billy Bush and Donald Trump. A typical Republican -- the good trackers who follow the letter of the law and bring them back alive -- would have been sunk. John McCain refused to get into the mud with Obama and the left, as did Mitch Romney. The criminals got away.

They say it is pointless to wrestle with a pig, because you both just end up dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. But what if the winner of the pig wrestling match gets to be president? The odious "never-Trumpers" not only imagine it possible to defeat pigs without getting muddy, but to engage in the process while maintaining one's honor, dignity, and savior faire intact -- without so much as a single hair out of place.

The first instinct of a normal human being in our victorious situation -- in other words, a conservative -- is to be magnanimous, to seek unity, to reach across the aisle, and all that. Ignore this instinct! This is spiritual warfare, not cricket.

To extend the metaphor, it is more like a deadly mud-wrestling match with a pig, in which only one party comes out alive. In such situations one does not have the luxury of being kosher.

Even so, I recommend firmness, not cruelty. As Churchill said, if you have to kill a man, it costs you nothing to be polite.

-- I still think you showed poor judgment in this affair, but you're not the scoundrel I took you for. You have my thanks and, with certain reservations, my respect.

-- How nice! How is sis?

-- Gravely ill, I'm afraid, but still able to direct her affairs. She commissioned me to pay you the balance of the moneys due. You will find that it also covers an additional sum... for saving her life.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

What if I Told You that Democrats Want You Back in the Matrix?

I suppose the theme of The Matrix has been beaten to death. Yes, it's a cliché, but perhaps not yet a completely worn out one, or at least I can squeeze out one last dollop of truthpaste.

As Mohammad and José will soon be the most popular names of Democrat children, perhaps a generation from now Neo will be a common name among children of conservatives. I know that I am raising a Red Pill child -- a red diaper baby -- from the ground up. At 11 he already has more politico-economic sense than I did at 40. Of note, I don't force anything down his throat. That would be the way of the blue pillheads.

Rather, I ask him to explain from first principles or economic logic what is wrong with this or that Democrat promise -- for example, raising the minimum wage, or raising taxes, or a federal law forcing "gender pay equality." Each of these has an emotional appeal -- and only an emotional appeal -- but is easily demolished via an understanding of first principles (such as supply and demand) and the incentives being put in place.

This goes to why I transitioned from left to right. Did I already mention this? I'm forgetting, because I detailed it in a lengthy comment while attending a seminar a couple of weeks ago, but then the comment was lost due to malfunctioning hotel wifi.

You could say that it had to do with accidentally stumbling upon a number of what I thought to be "universal truths" to which any intellectually honest person would be forced to assent, irrespective of whether one calls oneself liberal or conservative. Truth is truth, obviously.

Actually, that tautology goes to one of the things I discovered after realizing that Truth is true: that for the left, this is not the case. Rather, what they say is true. But this simply follows from the principle that truth is relative -- or, as it is more commonly expressed, that no one can know the truth, such that all opinions are equally valid.

We have seen this principle ruthlessly applied during the Obama era. For example, it is at the very heart of all the racial healing Obama has brought about over these past eight years. We don't need to rehearse the whole disgusting record, but on numerous occasions I have seen liberal apologists on TV being confronted with the facts of the Michael Brown case (among others), only to respond that the facts were in the eye of the beholder, and besides, it illustrated a much greater problem -- for example, of police brutality toward minorities, or discrepant rates of incarceration.

But when shown that those are equally bogus, the blacktivists simply retreat into deeper swamps of bogosity. There is simply no reaching them with fact or logic. While I have the highest admiration for scholars such as Heather MacDonald who dispassionately lay out the facts, she is coming from one level, while the left is coming from another.

Or, back to our original theme, she is coming from outside the Matrix, while her detractors are coming from deep within it, such that it would require a muscular proctologist to pry them out.

Let's pause for a moment. This is not a political disagreement per se, because that would presume two sides operating from the same level. For example, let's say I am having a mathematical argument with someone holding a baseball bat. I suggest that 2+2=4, and he expresses his disagreement by fracturing my skull. Has he actually prevailed? Well, yes. But has truth been vanquished? No. Truth remains true, regardless.

The structure of that little absurd scenario is identical in form to most any argument with a liberal. For example, I say: labor, like anything else, doesn't escape the principle of supply and demand -- increase its cost and you will have less of it, AKA more unemployment. The liberal responds with his verbal brickbat: YOU HATE POOR PEOPLE YOU ARE A TOOL OF CORPORATE GREED YADA YADA!

Different levels, you see.

Here's a principle we can surely agree upon, right? After all, we're all Americans. Freedom of speech. Why do we have free speech, anyway? A typical liberal might suggest that it is gift of the government, but that is not what the founders had in mind.

Rather, it is a natural right that comes from the Creator; or in other words, it is in the nature of things. If you understand what a human being is, then you understand why he is entitled to freedom of thought, speech, and association -- why he requires these things in order to be human.

Which is why there are no speech codes on the right. Taste, yes. Decorum too. But on what possible divine-human principle can one ground governmental restrictions on speech? (And they are of course governmental so long as universities are propped up by federal and state funding.) To deny speech is to deny man; more insidiously, it is to prevent man, i.e., man in his principial fullness.

Or, as the Aphorist says: "All truths converge on the one truth, but the routes have been barricaded." Conversely, "God is the impediment to modern man."

In other words, the road to God is assiduously blocked by the left, for the very reason that God is the left's biggest roadblock. Discover God, and the left's principles disintegrate. This is precisely why "The left's theses are trains of thought that are carefully stopped before they reach the argument that demolishes them" (NGD).

Now, the only way out of the Matrix is via God. And I mean this quite literally, for any escape from the Matrix is categorically impossible without divine aid.

What I mean is that absent the transcendent Absolute, we truly are consigned to Kant's phenomenal Matrix. Of course we cannot know reality, rather, only the appearances given us by our neurology. We are in a closed circle from which we can never escape. End of story. Relativism reigns supreme, in which case it is indeed just as valid to say that Michael Brown was a Gentle Giant as it is to say he was a vicious thug too stupid to anticipate what happens when you charge a policeman and try to separate him from his gun.

I know I mention him a lot, but if you don't believe me, then believe Gödel. For our purposes, what Gödel proved with epic finality is that every Matrix has a hole. It brings to mind Leonard Cohen's great line that There is a crack, a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in.

Ponder that one for a moment, for it extends vertically all the way back to our implicit memories of Eden, for what exactly happened there? We could say that man, faced with a primordial choice, chose the blue pill. For which reason we have the second commandment reminding us not to worship our own manmade idols, or to take up residence in our blue pill hallucinations.

Come to think of it, that is also why we have the second amendment to defend ourselves from blue pill poppers who want to force their barbarous idols upon us.

The left long ago lost the debate of ideas. Which is why their most effective idea is to just flood the zone with blue bodies:

Monday, November 07, 2016

How Do We Get Outta Here?!

This post was written yesterday (Sunday), not today. As I wrote it, it had a different vibe from weekday posts. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it is more detached from time constraints, and even from any audience. It feels more like just... thoughts bubbling up from the ground. More so than usual, at any rate.

Programming note: early appointment tomorrow Wednesday, so no post. As to the election: I'm not falling for it this time, as I did in 2012, so Clinton wins easily. With a liberal-industrial complex that subsumes the media clones, the cultural zone, the feminist crones, the low IQ drones, and their wealthy padrones, she just has too many shortcuts to 270. So this world -- at least the plane they operate on -- belongs to the wicked one. What else is new? Just more grist for the cosmic mill.

So: God is simultaneously the source of our greatness and of our nothingness. Remove God from the equation, and we are certainly not great and not even nothing; rather, just an absurdity. All life becomes a kind of brownian motion writ large.

But in reality we are always situated between these two poles, from which our freedom arises. In other words, if there is only God, then we are not free, rather, only prolongations of his omnipotence; and if there is no God, then freedom is either illusory or meaningless. In other words, we are either determined, or we have "freedom" with no telos, which equates again to absurdity.

Suppose you awakened one morning in a desert or a dense forest, with no map or compass. How would you find your way out? Well, that is approximately our situation down here, isn't it? Here we are. How do we orient ourselves? Is there a north star, a fixed reference to guide us?

For most of human history, religion has served this purpose -- more specifically, religion understood as communication from beyond the world system. Within the world we have things like math, or logic, or induction, or empirical observation, but none of these can transcend themselves. Ultimately they are closed circles. They are like dry bones with no animating spirit.

Hmm. Is there perhaps something that unifies those modalities just mentioned? Yes: intelligence. Could the existence of intelligence itself lead the way out? For how did intelligence get in here, if it doesn't somehow already inhere in here?

First of all, what is intelligence? There are different ways of looking at it. There is human intelligence, but there is also the intelligence of a single cell, compared to which matter is utterly stupid. But how does intelligence arise from utter stupidity?

No, supposing that intelligence exists, we must trace it all the way down, prior to the emergence of life. It must somehow be in the nature of things.

We are accustomed to scientism denying final causation, AKA teleology. But here they also deny causation at the other end. Thus, we are to believe that intelligence simply emerges with no formal or final causation; or that an actuality exists with no prior potential to have become actual. It must therefore be an uncaused cause. Which is another name for God.

One of Aquinas's proofs of God is that every effect has a cause, and that a cause cannot give to the effect something it does not have.

By way of analogy, imagine a chandelier hanging by a chain. We may follow each link upward to try to discover what is causing it to hang suspended in mid-air. You can try to avoid the problem by suggesting that the chain just goes on forever, but this simply defers explanation of how the chandelier is hanging there in the first place. No link can explain that, no matter how many we posit.

Note that we begin with an empirical observation: a light suspended in mid-air. However, with pure metaphysics -- even if we cannot see it -- we know that there must be something like a "ceiling" to which the chain is affixed. Ultimately the power of each link derives from that -- again, even if we have no way of seeing the first.

Could intelligence be similar to the chandelier? Does it go all the way up? And down? Note that it is strictly impossible for it to go all the way up unless, like the chandelier, it is hanging from something. It can only go up if it has first come down, otherwise you are just positing a form of the "endless links" theory.

"How is it possible," wondered Einstein, "that mathematics, a product of human thought that is independent of experience, fits so excellently the objects of physical reality?"

Note that he assumes a couple of premises: that mathematics is "a product of human thought"; and that it is "independent of experience." First of all, those two seem contradictory: if mathematics is independent of experience, then it cannot be a product of human thought; and human thought is an experience, in which case mathematics would be dependent upon it.

Most if not all of these problems vanish if we do not start by severing being and knowing. Note that Einstein tries to have it both ways: if math is a product of human thought, then it is on the knowing side; but if it is independent of it, then it is on the being side.

Even prior to Kant we have Descartes inverting the cosmos with his "I think, therefore I am" gag. In other words, he tries to derive being from thinking, which no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time, but completely fails at providing any kind of self-sufficient guiding star (remember, we are lost in the desert bewilderness, trying to find a way out).

How about starting where we always start, with Being Is? The real miracle is that Being Is, therefore I Think. For me, that would be our ground floor -- or rather, the ceiling to which the Lamp of Intelligence is affixed.

Schuon expresses it in as concise and lucid a manner as is possible:

"The first thing that should strike a man when he reflects on the nature of the Universe is the primacy of the miracle of intelligence -- or consciousness or subjectivity -- whence the incommensurability between it and material objects, whether a grain of sand or the sun, or any creature whatever as an object of the senses."

Not that "I think"; rather, that "thinking is." Or better, intelligence is. In fact, we can cut out the middleman altogether and just say: I AM. This presumes that existence is personal -- or rather, that Being is a Person, with all this implies. You might say that persons dangle from Personhood, as does intelligence from Truth.

"[C]ertainly, it is not our personal thought that preceded the world, it was -- or is -- absolute Consciousness, of which our thought is a distant reflection precisely -- our thought which reminds us, and proves to us, that in the beginning was the Spirit."

For "Nothing is more absurd than to have intelligence derive from matter, hence the greater from the lesser; the evolutionary leap from matter to intelligence is from every point of view the most inconceivable thing that could be."

Absurd and inconceivable, perhaps, but this has never stopped our Ministry of Truth from propagating it.

"The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve" (Eugene Wigner).

Except that we do understand it if we get our bearings right. And we even deserve it by virtue of our God-given intelligence, for intelligence without truth is an absurd cruelty.

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