Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Existential and Essential Threats

Dennis Prager often talks about how concern for the soul has morphed into an obsession with the body, i.e., with health, fitness, diet, etc. If the soul is the form of the body, then in these soulless times people are left with only the husk, unconcerned with -- if they are aware of it at all -- the fate of the kernel.

There must be considerable overlap between these soulless utensils and the radical environmentalists who confuse heaven and earth, thereby displacing notions of sin, purity, armageddon, and apocalypse to hysterical fears about the weather.

Yesterday while listening to the radio in the car, someone said something about "existential threat," and the notion popped into my head of essential threats, i.e., threats to our essence as opposed to our existence. For we can survive an existential threat but lose our essence -- which is the collective equivalent of "gaining the world but losing one's soul."

For example, we purportedly "won" the Cold War in 1991. That had been seen as an existential threat, but it was also an essential threat, being that communism and Americanism are at philosophical antipodes. Prager refers to the "American trinity" found on any coin, consisting of of Liberty, E Pluribus Unum, and In God We Trust, each a reflection of the others.

Conversely, the unholy trinity of the left would consist of illiberal and unjust Equality, divisive Multiculturalism, and a satanically inspired In Man We Trust.

Coincidentally, I'm reading Steven Hayward's new book (his two volume biography of Reagan here and here is indispensable). Apropos of what was said above in paragraph two, he speaks of his bewonderment at "how so many people who are concerned about understanding ecosystems and preserving the right order of wild nature could seem so indifferent or hostile to the idea of human nature and of the protection of human ecosystems." As if those things will just take care of themselves!

One side effect of the devolution from soul to body is the reduction of quality to quantity, or vertical to horizontal. The left is the horizontal party par excellence, not only failing to nurture the soul, but harboring an overt and unrelenting hostility to its very existence.

Thus, Hayward speaks of "the central obsession with much of the intellectual class," which understands problems in the most "simplistic terms" and deploying quantity "as a cudgel against existing institutions and structure."

This is consistent with our last post, which touched on the implicit agenda of the left, which is destruction per se -- in this case, quantity used as a weapon against quality. For example, the left uses any benign instance of quantitative disparity as proof of malevolent discrimination -- unless, of course, the numbers are in their favor, as in academia, the NBA, journalism, or the permanent shadow government.

Similarly, they use raw income statistics to promulgate the fiction that women are underpaid, or crime statistics to advance the lie that blacks are discriminated against in the criminal and judicial systems.

Anyway, because we have tended to focus on existential threats to the exclusion of essential ones, we have failed to take cognizance of the threat to our essence posed by the left. I've only just begun Patriotism is Not Enough, but Harry Jaffa certainly knew that "the most fundamental political question is the nature of the human soul."

For the same reason, he recognized in 1991 how our existential victory over communism could conceal the left's essential victory over us:

The defeat of Communism in the USSR and its satellite empires by no means assures its defeat in the world. Indeed, the release of the West from its conflict with the East emancipates utopian communism at home from the suspicion of its affinity with an external enemy. The struggle for the preservation of western civilization has entered a new -- and perhaps far more deadly and dangerous -- phase" (Jaffa, in Hayward).

Precisely. Looked at this way, the difference between Obama and Bush is just a family squabble between global elites, whereas Trump is the uninvited guest crashing the party.

For example, we've never had an administration that spoke truth to the satanic Powers and Principalities of the UN as Nikki Haley did the other day. That is the kind of firm pimp hand needed to deal with these truly awful human beings.

The same pimp hand, by the way, that Trump is applying to the Democrat operatives in the MSM. He must slap at them and continue slapping until journalistic morale improves.

Hayward paraphrases a formulation by Jaffa to the effect that the fate of the world hinges on the United States, the fate of the U.S. on the conservative movement, and conservatism on the... Republican Party, of all things. I would only add that the fate of the Republican Party hinges on the preservation of the American trinity alluded to above. But in any event, "the Democratic Party is just as intellectually corrupt today as it was in the 1850s" and at every point in between.

For it has no "intellectual" basis at all, only an "anti-intellectual" one. Not anti-intellectual in the sense of uneducated, uncultured, and hostile toward ideas. Rather, they are the enemy of the intellect per se, such that they literally use man's intelligence in order to undermine the intellect -- or use thinking to render coherent thought impossible.

To take one obvious example, this is what Darwinists, sociobiologists, and evolutionary psychologists do when they use the miraculous gift of intelligence to affirm that intelligence is just a side effect of random mutation, ultimately rooted in mere matter -- a flagrantly self-refuting absurdity if ever there was one.

"Nothing," writes Schuon, "is more contradictory than to deny the spirit, or even simply the psychic element, in favor of matter alone, for it is the spirit that denies, whereas matter remains inert and unconscious. The fact that matter can be thought about proves precisely that materialism contradicts itself at its starting point."

In short -- and try to disprove this! -- "the subjective could not arise from the objective, and to believe otherwise is to understand nothing of subjectivity."

In the same book, Schuon mentions how "the internal contradiction of Marxism is that it wants to build a perfect humanity while destroying man" -- again, build existence while destroying the essence.

To exist means to survive. But is the survival worth it if it is only in the material sense? "One readily speaks of the duty of being useful to society, but one fails to ask whether this society is useful, that is to say, whether it realizes man's, and thus a human community's, reason for being."

To ask this question is to indict multiculturalism, collectivism, feminism, and the rest of the left's anti-intellectual arsenal. For "it is the individual, in his solitary station before the Absolute and thus by the exercise of his highest function, who is the aim and reason for being of the collectivity" (ibid.).

If the left prevails in its anti-human mission, it will be a quintessential case of "the operation was a success but the patient died."


julie said...

he speaks of his bewonderment at "how so many people who are concerned about understanding ecosystems and preserving the right order of wild nature could seem so indifferent or hostile to the idea of human nature and of the protection of human ecosystems."

If Darwinism is true, then clearly man has an evolved advantage in maintaining and adhering to religious belief. Someone who truly cared about the human ecosystem would recognize that, and act accordingly.

Come to think to it, maybe some of them do, hence the religious aspects of all the -isms...

ted said...

Rather, they are the enemy of the intellect per se, such that they literally use man's intelligence in order to undermine the intellect -- or use thinking to render coherent thought impossible.

Read some article where the author tried to make the claim the left can't have a coherent worldview compared to the right, because it's so on the leading edge of culture. So I suppose chaos is a more evolved posture then.

Now I also saw this great C.S. Lewis quote: "If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next… It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither."

julie said...

Precisely. Looked at this way, the difference between Obama and Bush is just a family squabble between global elites, whereas Trump is the uninvited guest crashing the party.

Related, recently I came across this blog. Not sure who runs it; the interface looks like something out of the late 90s or early 00s, but they post columns by Fr. George Rutler and others. Some good stuff there.

Anyway, this interesting story was posted yesterday. Worth a few minutes, and take it as you will.

Gagdad Bob said...

"Demonic activity palpable at Trump’s rally, pastor says." That would be Pastor Tooley, which suggests to me that the Post has been pranked.

julie said...

Wow. Yeah - if you search (maybe not Google) for his name right now, half the hits that come up are about how he made misleading claims about the rally.

What kind of Christian finds it offensive that other Christians genuinely hope that America will be blessed and guided by God? And further, that they take heart from having a president whose wife opens with the Lord's Prayer?


Rick said...

Julie - thanks for that link from And Amazing Grace. I've been to Loreto and inside the Holy House. Never knew the story till that day. I'll have to check our photos for The Hermit.

Gagdad Bob said...

I am far enough into it to say that Patriotism is Not Enough is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

julie said...

Speaking of existential threats, someone had a little fun with leftist headlines, where they switched all instances of the word "white" to the word "black."

Anonymous said...

After all the talk and accusations flung between opposing parties or masses of people, accounts are always settled in combat.

Only in the crucible of tooth and nail combat can matters such as which side has greatest virtue, which has the greater truth, which has flung their lot in with the Devil, and which has the favor of God, be determined.

The question to ask yourself is, will I fight valorously, will I prevail? Am I prepared? Have you given this weighty matter the thought it deserves?

I hope so. The preliminary jousting has become prolonged and tiresome, and the matter must come to a head so we can all move on.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

It is spiritual valor which we miss,as Schuon said truth is not a human invention but truth is the divine gift to honest people who know how to motivate their inner core to seize the truth that is everywhere outside and above. It is the leaders mission to be first in truth and honesty.Yes when physical therapy chases out the spiritual therapy from the human life and the emphasis is on sports and body building becomes the fulcrum of our essentiality and our goal, on the expense of the complete negligence of soul-building no wonder we are facing all these disturbances all over our unhappy globe. When vision becomes biased and our sight falls only on the empty half of a glass and forget the full half our conclusion will definitely be unfair. Spirit never justifies but the mental monkey is very clever in justification ,that is why human differences can not be settled in this house and it was reserved for the other house. Calling to return to the divine contract away from the human contract and to leave the self interest mode of life to the empathetic communal life mode is very telling event which is heralding the time of change, a change where no body can continue to mask his true personality. No matter what the deniers say, there a gathering day where everyone will receive his personal book. agree or disagree the cosmos is full with intelligent beings, call them what you like positive or negative and every one will accompany his suitable associate. It is unfortunate that most people deny the presence of a universal paradoxical force that we do not know when it will release the force of its other side despite the historical documents that speak to this paradoxical force. There is no sorrowless land and one should not read the events across our globe away from that paradoxical force. It is really funny to think all this artistic diversity has come into being by chance.Rain falls and rain stops with no plan.

Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED..."

Hmmm... the all caps make me suspect you might mean that. Bought.

Gagdad Bob said...

You in particular will love it, GUARANTEED!

Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "You in particular will love it, GUARANTEED!"

I can now confirm that you were 100% correct in that. Wow... tasty & nutritious!