Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Between You & I is What is Between Man & Animal

That title just came to me. I'm quite sure it's true, but I suppose I should explain how and why it is true and how I could know. (Bear in mind that the background of this discussion continues to be Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, in which Tallis demolishes the ground of atheistic materialism even while remaining a steadfast and unwavering atheist.)

But first a few aphorisms to warm up the old cerebrum, which I have taken the liberty of arranging hierarchically so as to arrive at the -- wait for it! -- shocking conclusion:

1: Whoever is curious to measure his stupidity should count the number of things that seem obvious to him.

2: Often the simpler a truth is the more difficult it is to understand.

3: Truth is more than an impersonal proposition; it is a manner of thinking and of feeling.

4: The truth is objective but not impersonal.

5: All truth goes from flesh to flesh.

6: Truth is a person (Dávila).

Let's start with the first: I think it is entirely accurate to say that materialism is just plain obvious to the materialist. This must be the case, or they would realize how implausible it is, and provide more intellectual support than merely ridiculing or vilifying those who disagree.

It's analogous to the Taranto Principle in politics. Like me, perhaps you've wondered why leftists are unable to think, argue, or understand another point of view. This is a function of the media, culture, and education establishment all reinforcing their presumptions, such that they never have to defend their positions.

Rather, they're all obvious. Gay marriage? Obvious. Climate change? Obvious. Gender inequality? Obvious. Etc. They no more understand that they live in a bubble than the fish knows about water.

Note also that no amount of logic or evidence is able to move the liberal, because he mistakes his certitude for truth rather than ignorance. But in reality, their smug certitude is precisely a function of their ignorance. (I'm again reminded of a Bill Maher, who is usually wrong but never in doubt; however, you will notice that it is not a serene stupidity, since it is only maintained by projecting his ignorance into others and attacking them for it.)

An immediate corollary (2): because of what is so obvious to you, it can be difficult to recognize and understand the simple truth. Here again, it's an instance of The answer is the disease that kills curiosity. Can you imagine the mind of the person who is satisfied with a materialistic explanation of himself, such that he no longer has any curiosity about consciousness, free will, and human subjectivity? That is what I'd call a Total Eclipse of the Mystery of Being.

Truth is a manner of thinking and feeling (#3). This is a truth I first realized in my psychoanalytic training -- that there is truth but there are also developmental levels, such that what is true on one level might be false on another, and the depth of a truth may depend upon depth of the person uttering it.

Thus, the level cannot be distinguished from the person(al); in short, there are deep thinkers and shallow thinkers. It's unavoidably orthoparadoxical, but perhaps you've noticed that a banality from the lips of the tenured may be a profundity from the mouth of the Raccoon. A deep person transforms the otherwise banal into profundity, like water to wine or something. Deepak Chopra and Jesus can say the same things, and yet, one is an idiot.

Perhaps that's unclear. Here's a concrete example: I'm sure Thomas Jefferson and Nancy Pelosi would agree that "all men are created equal." Or, the pacifist and Navy SEAL agree that murder is wrong. 'Nuff said.

How can something be objective but not impersonal (#4)? Isn't that oxymoronic?

Well, first of all, objective and subjective are irreducibly complementary, not a duality. Prior to the appearance of humans -- or you can take it all the way back to the emergence of life -- there is no objectivity because there is no subjectivity. If there are no persons, there are no truths -- which is not the same as saying that truth is subjective. Analogously, only persons can know that murder is wrong, but that hardly makes it a matter of opinion.

Ultimately -- as Schuon has said in so many ways -- objectivity "is none other than the truth, in which the subject and the object coincide, and in which the essential takes precedence over the accidental -- or in which the Principle takes precedence over its manifestation..." Better (or deeper) yet,

Objectivity is the perfect adequation of the intelligence to objective reality; and inwardness is the persevering concentration of the will on that “Inward” which, according to Christ, coincides with the heart... and which opens onto the “Kingdom of God”, which in fact is “within you.”

Outward truth and inward depth. If your metaphysic allows for no inwardness, it obviously has no depth. By definition. And therefore no wholeness, totality, or even objectivity, for the deeper the subject the bigger the object in your ur-view mirror.

From my flesh to yours (#5). Here again, this is a truth I realized in graduate school -- that truth must be realized in order to be more than mere surface (k). The difference between reading about anxiety and having an anxiety attack is more or less infinite. Trust me.

The Word Became Flesh. Only all the time -- for example, whenever you speak and your having spoken causes understanding in another (a subject to which we will return in subsequent posts, this one getting close to the finish line.)

Finally, our shocking but ineluctable conclusion: that Truth is a person. If Tallis could only real-ize this, it would turn his world upside down and inside out, such that everything would now come into focus. But his admirable insistence on the reality of transcendence cannot help but prove sterile if detached from the Cosmic Person.

I didn't really get around to explaining the title, at least explicitly. Well, the gap between man and animal is literally infinite -- as infinite as, say, the abyss between the truth and a lie. What is the nature of this gap, or space, or depth-dimension? It is the intersubjective space between infant and mother, person and person, and ultimately Father and Son.

The trinity may not be obvious, but it sure explains a lot.

8 comments:

julie said...

Deepak Chopra and Jesus can say the same things, and yet, one is an idiot.

I literally laughed out loud. Being able to mouth the words doesn't at all mean the speaker understands them; the depth (or lack thereof) is revealed by the context. Chopra may say something true one moment, but then draw from that truth a crooked conclusion in the next. Christ, being Truth, never does this.

The difference between reading about anxiety and having an anxiety attack is more or less infinite. Trust me.
Ugh - indeed.

ted said...

Deepak Chopra and Jesus can say the same things, and yet, one is an idiot.

It's like when someone from the left and the right cite the Constitution. They both think it's a good document, but only one believes in the right document.

ted said...

And Jesus would never say this (just generated quotes from here):


"The future projects onto subjective potentiality"

"Death is inherent in humble actions"

"The unpredictable influences pure mysteries"

Anonymous said...

Hello All:

The materialist tends to think the truth of materialism is "obvious," and there are certain compelling reasons for that.

The materialist has available a huge array of inter-subjective evidence with which to shore up the case. In other words, stuff we can all look at and agree on as factual. There is a lot of stuff, it is vary solid, it will tend to look, smell, and taste the same to various individuals, etc.

The God-lover has no such body of solid evidence. What evidence there is, lacks inter-subjectivity. The case is always flimsy and gauzy, dependent on the vagaries of thought and not anchored by the senses.

The materialist has become complacent and used to winning debates, because of the quality of the evidence. This holds out until some kind of miracle occurs, and then the materialist loses, as a supra-physical actor or agent immediately negates the materialist position.

The ancients had burning bushes, parting seas, voices from on high, chariots of fire, etc. We today could use some large scale miracles so we can finally stick it to the materialists and shut them down.

Miracles these days tend to be fleeting and small, and don't rise to the scale needed to blast those pesky pundits like Maher out of the water.

This state of affairs won't last forever. We'll get our big miracle, for the win.

Joan of Argghh! said...

"Anonymous and anyone else can say the same things, and yet, one is an idiot."

Anonymous said...

Joan, tisk tisk tisk.

Your comment leaves the field wide open for a clever counter-response, but I will hold.

I read your 500 word sentence of August 2007, and it is a good one. I presume you are no longer "the out of control woman in need of a spanking?" But, if that still holds, that's OK too.

We are sister beings, and I dig your primordial slack. I am a piece of work, I know it, I know I'm out of control and could use a spanking. Strike and strike hard; it feels good.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Such a chummy little parrot code!

Van Harvey said...

:-) I lol'd too.