Monday, February 06, 2017

E Relativismi Absolutus

We've all heard the cliché that "we are a nation of immigrants." First of all, we're a nation of settlers. The immigrants came later. But the relationship of nation to immigrants is that of whole to part. You cannot add up a bunch of diverse immigrants and hope that a nation will emerge. That is the way of Balkanization, strife, and violence.

Rather, vice versa: one begins with the nation to which the immigrants must adapt. In short, we assimilate immigrants. It is not up to us to be assimilated into their strange gods, beliefs, practices, and sports.

That thoughtlet was inspired by a passage in an essay by Schuon, A Sense of the Absolute in Religions. You could say the emergence of what is called "modernity" is characterized by the discovery of the Other(s). Especially the really weird and/or annoying ones. We're not just talking about an Englishman meeting a Frenchman or what have you.

Most people prior to modernity -- and well into it -- passed their entire lives without ever encountering a genuine Other. But in the so-called Age of Discovery we met all sorts of strange beings, for example, when Columbus bumped into Native Americans.

Anyway, Schuon highlights the problems that occur "when the diversity of traditional perspectives gives a pretext to those who wish to destroy the very idea of the absolute and the values connected to it."

Now, there is a valid, healthy, and necessary form of relativism; and a sick, twisted, and even demonic one. Leftism, of course, champions the latter, because it is an ideal pretext to attack and undermine the Absolute, AKA God.

The valid form of relativism is encapsulated in the motto of the United States, e pluribus unum. But look at how the meaning has been changed by the left:

"The traditionally understood meaning of the phrase was that out of many states (or colonies) emerges a single nation. However, in recent years its meaning has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions, languages, and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation -- illustrating the concept of the melting pot."

What a nefarious sleight of hand! Because of this verbal legerdemain -- word of the day, legerdemain -- the leftist can say with a straight face that this or that recently arrived immigrant is JUST AS AMERICAN AS GEORGE WASHINGTON or whomever.

Well, it depends, doesn't it? If they just want to recreate the third world socialist craphole from which they escaped, then they're not really American at all. I used to live in the San Fernando Valley, parts of which have been slowly transformed into Mexico.

But if Mexico is such a great place, why did they leave? Likewise, if Islam is such a wonderful religion, why not live in an Islamic country infused with Islamic values? Why come to a Judeo-Christian nation, of all places?

Because of what the left has done with diversity: which is to say, deployed it as a Trojan Hearse to sneak in their death culture and normalize their absolute relativism, a relativism that has severed itself from its very reason for being, i.e., the Absolute.

Absolute relativism does not, as the left suggests, elevate every culture to equal value. Rather, it just undermines the sane, decent, and functional ones, i.e., ours.

What is the solution? "Confronted with a relativism that is growing ever more intrusive, it is necessary to restore to the intelligence a sense of the absolute, even to the point of having to underline for this purpose the relativity in which immutable things are clothed" (ibid.).

Go back to what was said above about e pluribus unum. The first English-to-Latin translator I googled suggests per diversitas immutabile, or "through diversity, the immutable." We could equally say e relativismi absolutus or something.

But the purpose of religion is to disclose the absolute beyond religion. If it doesn't do that for you, then you're doing it wrong. But in any event, don't be like a dog or a liberal and stare at the finger to which religion is pointing! (Or the Absolute to which their relativism properly points.)

For "with God, truth lies above all in the symbol's effective power of enlightenment and not its literalness.... The uncreated Word shatters created speech while at the same time directing it toward concrete and saving truth" (ibid.).

In other words, the One, by its very nature, cannot be contained by speech, certainly not on any one-to-one basis. Rather, it pours itself out in diverse manifestations.

But don't confuse the appearance -- the diversity -- with the reality of which it is an inevitable expression! That's just stupid, for the expression is not as real as the reality it expresses.


julie said...

One thing that has been very interesting about reading the Old Testament is how opposed to multiculturalism it is. There were strict rules about how non-Jews were to live and conduct themselves in Israelite territory, and if someone wanted to actually become an Israelite it took serious dedication and a couple of generations, even for people who were from friendly cultures. Unfriendlies required far more time. Of course, the Israelites pretty quickly set about ignoring all those restrictions (and what a long history of the consequences we now have!), but nonetheless there's a good template there for a wise approach to immigration and integration. Much faster and on a large enough scale, no matter how peacefully they come it becomes not merely a migration, but an invasion.

Gagdad Bob said...

In that same chapter by Schuon, he writes that "If Christianity 'places God in man' through the mystery of the Incarnation, Judaism in turn 'places man in God' through the mystery of the 'chosen People'; it is impossible to dissociate the God of the Jews from His people: to speak of Jehovah is to speak of Israel, and conversely."

So you can't have a "multicultural" chosen people, or it is no longer the people chosen!

Gagdad Bob said...

Palestinians and leftists know this, of course, which is why they refer to Zionism as "racism."

Anonymous said...

People have shown a tendency to form collectives of increasing size, from the tribe, city-state, to nation, and then to coalitions of nations. These coalitions will eventually lead to a single world government. And then to multi-planet government. It is futile to attempt to stop this trend.

However, you can slow it down and moderate the rate of change, to reduce the stress and chaos of the process. That's where America is right now. It wants to apply the brakes because things are getting scary.

The main fear is a chronic sense of scarcity, of not having enough to go around and a fear the Other will take from you and cause you to suffer. This is why poor people are an affront to the middle class. Poor people feel relaxed and happy in their environs; they haven't much to lose. The middle class can't relax in some parts of the San Fernando Valley. It is too poor, too much like Mexico. The middle class doesn't really believe they have enough, or they have enough but just barely.

debass said...

Why do we need these people? We have 95 million people out of work. We didn't have any immigration for years until I think, 1964, in order to let the previous immigrants assimilate. You can't have a nation without a border, a language, and a culture. Like you said Bob, if their culture was so good, why did they leave? Oops, got to go to rehearsal with a bunch of Leftists. I better start praying now.

Gagdad Bob said...

Do leftist musicians know about musical truth? Or is that relative too?

I forget the exact quote, but they say every man is conservative with regard to things in which he has expertise.

julie said...

Heh - that must be a principle closely related to the Gell-Mann amnesia effect, wherein every man knows how stupid journalists are about his own field of expertise, but doesn't question news articles on other topics.

debass said...

No, they are mostly unaware of what they are playing. As I said before, "they dont' know what they don't know". Very few actually "hear" the music. Most of them can't play, but I do get some respect from a few. Not many. Rehearsals usually involve me helping them practice, which if they had done it on their own, we wouldn't need rehearsal.
One problem with leftists, is that they support these bad ideas but they don't live their lives that way. They want to force this crap on other people, but don't want to pay for it or have it effect them. I don't see them going over to these third world shitholes and marching and protesting there. All violence is from the left. I can't think of one leftist idea that has succeeded, or of any gun control law that has prevented a crime for that matter.

julie said...

Re. the musicians and hearing the music, yes. A lot of people are musicians in the same way an atheist could be a Biblical scholar. All the knowledge and technical skill, when applied, but without the spirit it doesn't help much.

With leftists, there's another dark irony in that they tell their kids it's important to never judge, be a supporter of whatever the victim goup of the month is, etc., while living (at least on the surface) a more traditional lifestyle which they expect their kids to follow. And then it's a surprise when the younguns decide it's better to be a member of one of those victim groups, and act accordingly. So much for posterity...

mushroom said...

It's not just the Old Testament. Paul warned not to be unequally yoked -- Christian with non-Christian. We are asked what fellowship light has with darkness. Come out from among them, be separated.

Christianity is, in its claims, exclusive in the extreme. Strait gate, narrow way. The only sin on the left is intolerance, whereby they mean not laissez faire but acceptance and endorsement. You can't just let the idol and its worshipers alone. You have to have communion with them and knowingly eat the meat that has been sacrificed to their false god.

Gagdad Bob said...

Davila says something to the effect that the only totally false god is man. For which reason the secular humanism of the left is a totally false ideology.

julie said...

Anthony Esolen on the current state of "higher education":

"But in our world of inversions, power is granted to people who claim that they have no power and who resent the greatness of their own forebears. They do not seek “safety.” They seek to destroy. The strong man is bound and gagged, and the pistol is pointed at his head — the seat of reason itself."

"You sink yourself in debt to discover that your sons and daughters have been severed from their faith, their morals, and their reason. Whorehouses and mental wards would be much cheaper. They might well be healthier, too."

mushroom said...

That is quite a statement, and, sadly, I can't disagree with it.

doug saxum said...

A video explaining why the muslims don't seek refuge in Islamic lands.

"Hijrah" is the key.

Gagdad Bob said...

Notice also that the MSM keeps referring to it as a "Muslim ban." If it amounts to that, it is only because Muslims have thoroughly banned, murdered, or marginalized all non-Muslims from their lands!

Anonymous said...

Well of course we must take the immigrants/settlers. We don't need them, they need us. We want to help people. So therefore we help.

We sacrifice. We endanger our safety, we do with less. We don't enforce our national borders. We take in, and we love, unconditionally.

We don't need safety. We don't need wealth. We don't need security. We don't need to turn people away.

They will know we are Christians by our love. By our love. Any questions?