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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Intelligent Stupidity and Well Adjusted Insanity of the Left

The infrequency of posting over the past week isn't due to an absence of ideas or inspiration -- AKA coonstipation -- just lack of time.

The irregularity does, however, make the continuity of logorrhea more of a challenge -- like going back to sleep and trying to resume the dream one was having. I can do that sometimes. Just not after a week.

What was the dream? Something about how to tell if conservative liberals are no better than illiberal leftists who use politics as a way to manage their psyche (mainly by projecting hatred and other impulses and emotions into conservatives). Although it's always best to deal with left wing arguments on the merits (in a face-to-face setting), this doesn't mean we can't afterwards examine leftism on a deeper level and laugh behind their backs.

As we've discussed in the past, leftism is a collective psychological defense rooted in primitive mechanisms such as denial, splitting, projection, delusion, fantasy, acting out, and even hallucination (what else to call it when someone looks at our president and sincerely "sees" a racist, or Russian spy, or anti-Semite?).

What I mean is that, if I'm having a conversation with a leftist, I don't just tell him to his face that he's crazy, or a retard, or needs to grow up. That would be rude. Nor do I like to play the Psychologist Card, because that is one of the tricks of the left. However, it doesn't mean that privately I don't regard the ineducable leftist as more in need of psychotherapy than dialectic.

In this regard, we want to do the opposite of the left, in that they dismiss conservative arguments by simply attacking our motives -- for example, we are opposed to affirmative action because we are White Supremacists, or don't accept AGW hysteria because we Hate Science. Much progress could be made in "healing our divisions" if the left would simply deal with our arguments on the merits instead of habitually accusing us of that which they are unconsciously guilty.

People who condemn imaginary motives may or may not be correct on this or that policy, but they are certainly immature, and immaturity is never the answer (and soon becomes the problem).

For example, a group of emotionally stunted liberals may "believe in free speech" as much as you or I. But this doesn't for one moment prevent them from violently prohibiting opinions they don't like, because of the nature of splitting. Splitting is a defense mechanism that allows one to simultaneously believe two opposite theses without any cognitive dissonance, or even any real awareness that one is being illogical.

To back up a bit, you might say that mature defense mechanisms are rooted in a horizontal division between the conscious and unconscious mind, whereas primitive defense mechanisms are a result of vertical splits that extend from the conscious into the unconscious. We've all heard of "multiple personality disorder," which is simply an extreme case of vertical splitting, in which the sub-personalities are autonomous and split off from one another.

But this is simply an extreme case of a much more common and mundane phenomenon. It's what humans do. Think, for example, of all the Hollywood feminists who, until a few days ago, loved Harvey Weinstein (HT American Digest). Now, if your mind is whole and integrated, then it is impossible to simultaneously "respect women" and "love Harvey." But with splitting, all things are possible!

Think of it: how can you detest Christopher Columbus, even while your public detestation is an outgrowth of the European values he brought to this erstwhile bleeding-edge world of Stone Age barbarism? Or, how can Black Lives matter to you, when your movement will result in thousands more blacks being murdered by other blacks?

Indeed, how can you protest the very flag that symbolizes the sacred right to petition government for the redress of grievances? Go ahead! Petition away! But why do so in a way that severs the limb you're protesting on? Granted, these protesters may well be borderline retarded. But that is no excuse for being crazy. Plenty of people with IQs lower than 85 are capable of understanding principles. Children certainly are (emotionally healthy children, I mean).

The other day it occurred to me that there are two main kinds of liberal: there are those who are susceptible to correction (as indeed was I), and those who are absolutely fixed in their beliefs -- who cannot benefit from any amount of fact, logic, information, or experience, no matter how brutal the mugging.

So, what explains the difference? It is certainly not a function of intelligence, or there would be no intelligent leftists such as Noam Chomsky, nor the stampeding herd of tenured lemmings more generally. Chomsky may be a genius for all I know, but this does nothing to prevent him from being a malignant retard. How is this possible?

Well, if the concept of vertical splitting didn't exist, then we'd have to invent something like it to explain someone like Chomsky. In a well-worn analogy, think of the mind as a wristwatch. We can observe the movement of the hands and changing of the date, but we have no idea why the actions are taking place. The best we can do is propose a theory that explains the phenomena. But we can never actually observe the causes beneath the phenomena, for subjectivity by definition cannot be objectified.

In this context, the concept of splitting is a way to imagine how a person can harbor mutually contradictory ideas. How, for example, is it possible for a Catholic to be a leftist? In (mere) reality it isn't possible, but that hardly prevents it from happening. Examples abound: Nancy Pelosi. Ted Kennedy. Joe Biden. Pope Francis.

You may argue that these people aren't mentally ill. Okay. But how exactly do you define mental illness? Mental illness, in my opinion, cannot be defined socially: for example, a well-adjusted, conflict-free Nazi or native American cannibal who fits in well with all the other Nazis and cannibals is nevertheless sick. But by what standard?

Ironically, psychology cannot answer the question, because it long ago drained the multicultural Koolaid to the dregs, so Who Are We To Judge? In this inverted world, judgment and discrimination based upon objective and universal standards is evil, such that the healthy person is rendered sick. Nice trick!

There is a bill in California that will make it against the law -- punishable even by prison -- to Misgender someone. In other words (to paraphrase Ace of Spades) it will be a crime for us to properly gender someone who misgenders himself.

As we've discussed before, there is rebellion and there is inversion, the latter far more pernicious than the former. The modern left has gone all-in for inversion -- for things that cannot be and mustn't be, the former going to ontology, the latter to morality; and if your ontology is wrong, then your conscience will follow.

Now, back to our definition of mental health. I dwelled on this question in the bʘʘK, but only after about two seconds of cogitation. In other words, the answer just popped into my head, but even so, I've never come up with a better one since then.

Two words: integration. And actualization. Despite the brevity, these are full of implications. Take the first, for example: the cure for the splitting described above is integration. And what is the cure for immaturity more generally? Well, immaturity presupposes maturity, maturity presupposes a developmental telos, and a telos presupposes an objective end of humanness, AKA actualization of an archetype.

So, what is this objective end? Note that the left would dismiss the question as either meaningless or pernicious. We'll pick up the thread tomorrow. If I wake up early enough. If not, then Friday.