Friday, October 13, 2017

Dirty Harvey and the Image of God

We are in the midst of a discussion of the human telos, which, if I am not mistaken, has something to do with Harvey Weinstein.

Why Dirty Harvey? Because even liberals seem to understand that he is a poor example of humanness. That being the case, something must have gone wrong in his development; something must have prevented him from being the Harvey God intended him to be.

Again, the two operative words are integration and actualization. And as usual, as soon as I start thinking about a subject, books fall into my hands that relate to the same subject. I wonder about that: is it just because my preoccupations are so vague and universal that everything speaks to them? In that case, what looks like synchronicity is just inevitability in disguise.

I don't know. We can never see beneath the veil on this side of the rug. But I just started reading a seemingly unrelated book that has an awful lot about integration -- specifically, the metacosmic integration made possible by Christ. Indeed, if Christ is who believers say he is, then he is in principle the last word in both integration and actualization. Or first and last, which is to say, archetype and fulfillment.

Now, man must love and will the good; indeed, willing the good is a function of loving it, which "completes or perfects the human being teleologically." We must also love truth, such that real knowledge is another form of teleological completion or perfection.

In any event, we can see that what we "must do" -- i.e., what is necessary for man -- is very much a function of our purpose. Because there are things that we cannot not be, there are things we should not fail to know and do.

The "Catholic intellectual vocation," says White, calls its practitioners "to be people of a holistic integrity." Off the top of my head, this may be what most distinguishes us from the animals: they too should be integrated, but they can never attain a holistic integration.

A dog, for example, may achieve a perfect integration with its archetype, and thus be honored by the Westminster Kennel Club. But a dog is nevertheless enclosed in its archetype. There is nothing holistic about it, in the sense of being ordered to, and integrated with, the Whole.

Not so with man. Why? Because our archetype is ultimately the Godman, being that we were created in the Image and Likeness of the Absolute.

In this context, "microcosmos" is too confining a word. "Micro-theos" is more like it, so long as we don't misunderstand the implications. Dirty Harvey, for example, certainly pretended to be a "micro-god." Big difference. Still, we need to know why it is so different, and why his approach is intrinsically deviant, i.e., what one mustn't do.

"Every facet of our life needs to come progressively into the light of Christ," so that "we may live in a more truly human and divine way," the one being a reflection of the other:

When human beings are integrated morally, intellectually, and spiritually, their intellectual concerns and their moral patterns of life cohere. Their artistic sense and their capacity for self-giving are united. Their forms of recreation and rest are in harmony with their sense of worship and commitment. Their relationships of human love are deeply related to their aspiration to divine love (emphases mine).

What this really amounts to is an integration that is both vertical and horizontal; or better, horizontality integrated with verticality. Horizontality inevitably involves an element of contingency. Indeed, if there were no verticality then man would be condemned to either a pure horizontal contingency or an unyielding determinism. Only our verticality lifts us from these twin hells. Transcendence is always there amidst our immanence.

But it is not enough for man to merely be free; rather, freedom in the absence of a telos is just nihilism by another name. Dirty Harvey's worldly power made him "free" to engage in all sorts of intrinsic transgressions. And don't think for one moment that thousands of other reptilian Hollywood denizens don't want to be just like Harvey! They just don't want to get caught, that's all.

For example, in this morning's jolt, Jim Geraghty writes that

For decades, the stars and powerful players of Hollywood instructed us about which political candidates deserved election. They told us which causes were worthy of support and which ones needed to be opposed. In their works and in their speeches, they told us how to be a better person.


That's the key: our moral superiors in Hollywood don't just tell us whom to vote for and what policies to support, but how to be better human beings. And you cannot presume to know what is better without an implicit standard of what is best, i.e., without a telos. What -- or who -- is their telos? They don't really ever say, but it's usually someone who is Really Brave, by which they mean someone who Stands Up to Republicans and all they represent. In short, someone like Dirty Harvey, who is a bully for the left, which absolves the rest of his bullying. Or did, until a week ago.

But real integration -- and therefore integrity -- is "rare in the world today, where we are constantly confronted with stories about morally divided lives.... De-Christianization leads to re-paganization. We begin to serve multiple gods and suffer the division [read: dis-integration] of our selves. Without the grace of Christ, the integration of the human person is made more difficult, and even on many levels impossible" (emphasis mine).

I think you can look at this in two ways: yes, without the grace of Christ, integration on many levels is impossible. But you can turn it around, such that "integration of many levels" is the grace of Christ, precisely. That such integration is even possible, let alone actualized, is nothing less than the Trinity in action, call it what you will.

For In the Beginning are the uncreated Persons of the Trinity. It is that ultimate harmony of which we are the image and likeness.

I don't mean to leave you hanging, but that's as far as I've gotten in the book. However, I'm also rereading Schuon's Roots of the Human Condition, which not only complements the above, but provides an even deeper... integration.

The title provides a hint, doesn't it? Roots of the human condition. You might say that our task herebelow is to trace the latter up into the former, i.e., to scamper up that venerable Tree with Roots Aloft and Branches Down Below.

Example. Okay,

To know, to will, to love: this is man's whole nature and consequently it is his whole vocation and duty. To know totally, to will freely, to love nobly; or in other words: to know the Absolute..., to will what is demanded of us by virtue of this knowledge; and to love both the true and the good, and that which maintains them here below; thus to love the beautiful which leads to them.

That's a tall order, but is it really? Eh, I don't think so. Seems like the bare minimum. Indeed, it should "come naturally" (or supernaturally naturally, to be precise) to us, just as eating grass comes naturally to an herbivore. In order for it to not come naturally, something must get in the way. What could that be? Who or what is trying to prevent us from being ourselves, i.e., from actualization of our archetype and integration with our telos? More on that later. Because we're outta time.

Let's just say that Reality -- ultimate Reality -- is not actually that complicated. Rather, we are. Also the world, what with its crosscurrents of turbulence, contingency, karma, fluctuation, relativity, finitude, and other people. The Conspiracy.


"Intelligence is the perception of a reality," which is ultimately rooted in "the perception of the Real as such" (emphasis mine). Because we can know, Reality Is; but this still doesn't go far enough. For Being Is, and Being is a communion of Persons characterized by love, truth, and beauty. And we are not other than That.


Van Harvey said...

"Dirty Harvey and the Image of God"

Now wait a minute....

Petey said...

What is a bad man but a good man's teacher? Dirty Harvey has a Ph.D. in badness.

julie said...

re. Harvey as micro-god,

Still, we need to know why it is so different, and why his approach is intrinsically deviant, i.e., what one mustn't do.

One major difference is that Harvey demanded from his victims what God would never compel: love. Or really, what he demanded was a twisted parody of love; even had he demanded the actresses "act" as though they genuinely loved him, it could only ever be a parody since the genuine article cannot be had by force.

julie said...

De-Christianization leads to re-paganization.

Apropos, at Bookworm's, Look to the pagans to understand why Western Civilization matters

Anonymous said...

IDK. Acting out like Harvey usually indicates there is some unmet psycho-sexual need. I envision a happy day when every person can get their love and sex needs met quickly and efficiently. Perhaps by an affordable service that does a screening assessment and then provides the right kind of gratification at the required intervals to meet the need and shut it down as a disturbance. So people can get on to other things. Its an area where more could be done.

That being said if you can't get your needs met, its better to suffer whatever feelings of frustration, hollowness, incompleteness, loneliness, blue balls, congested vulva, sadness, etc rather than to inflict grief on others. Harvey wasn't willing to put in the discipline to suffer without acting out, so yeah, he should be punished.

Anonymous said...

This new guideline just in from the Surgeon General:

"Come on, people now.
Smile on your brother.
Everybody get together.
Try to love one another right now."

Robert Dylan, Director of the Centers from Disease Control in Atlanta, added a warning:

"They'll stone you when you're driving in your car.
They'll stone when you're playing your guitar."

Adding, cryptically,

"I would not feel so all alone. Eeeeeverybody must get stoned."

Many here in Washington are wondering if these officials have gone outside the usual decorum of their respective offices. More at 11.

ted said...

All that work, and this is where we end up?

julie said...

Crazy; I really don't follow how Jesus Christ reduces to feminist epistemologies.


Reading the Light of Christ, this observation about religious skepticism is interesting:

"This viewpoint is unsatisfying, however, because it is based in resignation. Religious skepticism claims that it is the guardian of human happiness. but in fact it stems from the fear of making a mistake, and is based on its own form of spiritual paralysis and even despair. ... Imprisoned in our own pleasures and limited sense of understanding, we grow old and self-referential."

I had a discussion with someone nominally Christian recently where it seemed this was the case. Feeling that religion ought to be nice and progressive, this person finds it offensive when someone in the church actually stands for timeless truth. Rather, he is in essence resigned to the idea that as modern man progresses in niceness, so the Church should abandon its old and timeworn teachings in favor of whatever passes for goodness at any given moment. We are, after all, so much more enlightened than those old time people were!

Joan of Argghh! said...

For Being Is, and Being is a communion of Persons characterized by love, truth, and beauty. And we are not other than That.

Stumbling along in my thoughts about Hollywood and the false impression that art imitates life, I posited out loud that, "For the Christian, the attraction to the beauty of LIFE simply makes all other projections of it a lie."

Twitter interacted with, "...and yet...the entire doctrine of Medieval Christianity was that this life was unimportant except as preparation for the hereafter"

I found myself replying: "But if eternity isn't time-centered, rather Being-centered, the we'd best find out who we are."

I don't think I'd ever had that thought before that moment, but eternity is a Being, not a place or time. Eternity is one big personal interaction with Another and as Lewis states, "We cannot meed the gods face to face til we have faces."

julie said...

I finally got around to watching Song of Bernadette last night. If nothing else, it serves again as a reminder of just what a struggle life was for most people for most of time. Not that it wasn't also beautiful and joyful and everything else, too. But no wonder Medieval Christianity directed people to focus more on preparing for the hereafter; most people, if they survived to adulthood, watched people of all ages struggle, suffer and die with little hope of relief for things we consider to be inconsequential today. No wonder, then, that they were more concerned with eternity.

Bernadette didn't care at all about her own suffering in this life; she had the promise that in the next she would be with Whom her heart desired.

And agreed, eternity is a Being. Is Being.

Rick said...

Holy Moly:

It’s coming to NYC

Van Harvey said...

Yeah, I get it, but... what with hurricanes, and power mad sleazebags, some of us are pining for the daze of the 6' tall invisible rabbits. Among other things. What's in a name? Annoyance. Sheesh.