Friday, May 25, 2018

Something Stupid This Way Comes

In the previous post we explained why it is that evil is simultaneously necessary and forbidden, rooted in the ontological distance between the Principle and the Manifestation, or Creator and Creation. For the very same reason, we would say that stupidities must proliferate. Like disease, we can never eradicate these mind parasites, only try to identify and control some of their main types and vectors.

On the one hand we have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which seems to work pretty well. You will note the modesty of the name: control and prevention as opposed to elimination or eradication.

Conversely, thanks to Jimmy Carter we have the federal Department of Education, when it would be preferable to imitate the CDC model and simply try our best to prevent the most common stupidities on a pandemic scale. Instead, the DoED -- like all leftist projects -- ends up spreading the pathologies it presumes to cure. Democrats have for decades been living off the messes they make, whether the question is race, poverty, crime, energy, education, gender, whatever.

Why must wackiness this way come? Because, as Schuon explains, "there is inevitably a separation between the thing to be expressed and its expression, that is to say, between reality and a doctrine."

Nor does it matter one whit whether we are speaking of a scientific doctrine or a religious one: in the final analysis -- assuming one wishes to be intellectually honest -- both necessarily fall short of the mark, since "no doctrine can be identified with what it intends to express" (emphasis mine). No matter how accurate the map, the map can never be the territory. If it is the territory, then it is no longer a map.

Most religious folk intuitively understand this. It's those naive devotees of scientism we have to keep an eye on. Hayek in his way and Gödel in his are two of the main inoculations against scientistic presumption and stupidity. For example, thanks to Hayek, we know that rational planning is impossible under socialism, for the information is infinite while the minds of the planners are finite.

In short, finite minds do not possess infinite knowledge. Ah, but they can always force the issue, which is why on the left power is substituted for knowledge:

Hayek argued that all forms of collectivism could only be maintained by a central authority of some kind..., and that such planning in turn leads towards totalitarianism.... a central planning authority would have to be endowed with powers that would impact and ultimately control social life, because the knowledge required for centrally planning an economy is inherently decentralised, and would need to be brought under control.

It's the same with science more generally: scientism reduces a complex reality to a linear equation, for example, vis-a-vis climate change models that pretend CO2 can be turned like a knob on a thermostat to control temperature. But we know full well that CO2 levels have been much higher in the past, with no corresponding increase in temperature.

This post is veering and even careening into the Great Unintended. Focus!

So, how do we preserve truth while minimizing stupidity? Back to what Schuon was saying: "If the expression of a thing could be adequate or exhaustive in an absolute sense or from every point of view," then "there would no longer be any difference between the image and its prototype," with the result being that "it would be pointless to speak of thought or even simply of language."

It sounds obvious, and yet, this is another one of those Keys to Everything. Moreover, every inadequate doctrine gets this wrong, which in turn causes our necessary and inevitable stupidity to become "crystalized," so to speak; instead of a way to truth, it becomes an infirmity, a stumbling block.

Hovering over the whole thing is the principle of creation. Tweaking what Schuon says above, if our expression could be adequate or exhaustive in an absolute sense or from every point of view, then we would be the Creator, not the creature. Rather, there is an absolutely necessary gap between Creator and creature, and it is precisely this gap that simultaneously facilitates both our quasi-divine knowledge and our ineradicable ignorance.

Thus, our knowledge always faces in two directions. Scientism, of course, faces only down, and thereby negates itself. Likewise, there are stupid form of religiosity that face only up, thereby negating the world, or at least rendering it completely unintelligible.

No one has expressed this orthoparadox more clearly than Josef Pieper. In a passage called Things Are Unfathomable Because They Are Created, he writes that

it becomes evident that being true and being unfathomable go together, and that the comprehensibility of a thing can never be fully exhausted by any finite mind -- for all things are created, which means that the reason they are knowable is also the reason they are unfathomable....

For this reason our questing mind in its search for the essence of things, even of the humblest and simplest things, finds itself perforce on a path without an attainable destination. This is so because all things are created; it is so because the inner lucidity of all things flows from their original in the infinitely radiant fullness of the Divine Mind.


julie said...

Why must wackiness this way come? Because, as Schuon explains, "there is inevitably a separation between the thing to be expressed and its expression, that is to say, between reality and a doctrine."

Which is why they usually end up whining, "but real socialism hasn't been tried yet!"

julie said...

It's probably wrong that I find this so hilarious, but Andrew Sullivan's lamentations are just too precious not to share. Trump made leftists racists! He's just like Richard III!!!!!

"Richard invades the dreams of others, just as Trump insinuates his sickness into our unconscious."
Living rent free in Sullivan's head.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Stupidity checking in.

Bent-knee, Greenpeace, unshaven armpits, gender-fluid, Bernie, tats, piercings, pot,everything you love, all in one package. Me and my kind are getting more numerous. And what do you and your posse do about it? Oh, a blog. Whoooo....scary.

Are you a liberal in disguise? Some think so.

Allena Conrad said...

“Rather, there is an absolutely necessary gap between Creator and creature, and it is precisely this gap that simultaneously facilitates both our quasi-divine knowledge and our ineradicable ignorance.”

I have been pondering this for awhile today.
That gap is indeed necessary.
It is what makes each of us unique.
Trying to close that gap is not only
Futile, but destructive as well.
It seems many people do not really like to be unique.

Allena Conrad said...

Lol! Good grief! Sullivan has jumped all
The sharks 🦈

Anonymous said...

If from a scientific and logical standpoint our thoughts and utterances are but the expression of a combination of neurons and as we are able to think or express good or evil or a variation of same then it is reasonable to assume that we have good and evil neurons. Is it this that Jesus was speaking about when He said The Kingdom of Heaven is within you and when it states in Revelation that the number of the beast is man's number. In the run up to the abortion referendum held here in Ireland yesterday where all political leaders and high ranking medical professionals appeared to me as but mouthpieces of the beast in their enthusiasm for the introduction of this unnatural and barbaric practice it was obvious they had been deceived. Could it be that the beast spoken of in Revelation who will deceive many and have many followers is in fact man's animal nature. The result of the referendum was out today and the majority of the electorate had also been deceived into voting two to one in favour of abortion. In one of the four provinces Leinster the largest population wise and would have over half the total electorate it voted 66.6% in favour of abortion.

Allena Conrad said...

Of course! We are mostly Classical Liberals
Because we have class. 😏

Anonymous said...

Update: Opiates

Officials in Russia have discovered a new opiate menace, religion. Apparently it is wildly popular.

"Religion is the opiate of the masses," declared an official in the Ministry of Health.

Several worrisome things about this new opiate is that it is widely available, cannot be detected by current blood tests, and is quickly absorbed via the eyes and ears merely by reading or hearing the drug. There is no agent to reverse an overdose.

Officials in this country commented religion has been around the USA for decades and they were "working on solutions."

doug saxum said...

I haven't asserted any religion over another, except truth and wisdom.

julie said...

Off topic, but I find it interesting that the vegans are so often wrathful in their condemnation of meat eaters. On the one hand, a seemingly very modern problem, but on the other one of the oldest stories of mankind. According to Genesis, the first murderer was a vegetarian who was angry that his brother's offering of mutton was more pleasing to God than his offering of plants. Of course that's a simplified understanding, but there must be a reason that leftism, vegetarianism and aggression so often go together.

As Orwell famously noted, "One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ' Socialism ' and ' Communism ' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."

Joan of Argghh! said...

the inner lucidity of all things flows from their original in the infinitely radiant fullness of the Divine Mind.

This puts me in mind of the blog-mom who raised an alarm about "Show Dogs". The inner prmopt of certain scenes became apparent to the viewer. Now, the writers of "Show Dogs" may have been innocent only by dint of the culture they swim in: I mean, the Hollywood community hasn't exactly distinguished itself as a guardian of innocence. But what is inside comes out in the creative act. They can't help it. Those who are filled with the inner lucidity of the Divine can instantly discern what its absence looks like. Even those whose cultural surroundings are still reverberating with a long-forgotten divine foundation can suss out the total absence of it without exactly understanding why.

Gagdad Bob said...

There's some kind of fraternal division in the human heart that goes all the way to the bottom, such that political divisions are just the surface structure. It's why one of the themes of Finnegans Wake is the sibling rivalry between Shaun and Shem and their numberless iterations and incarnations. I don't pretend to get along with my own brothers. We're as polarized as can be.

julie said...

Joan - interesting take about Show Dogs. I probably would never have heard of it, much less taken my kids to see it, had someone not spoken up (and of course now it's completely out of the question). It was interesting to see the creator's reaction to the criticism; they either know exactly what they depicted and are trying to brush it off as overblown or, I think more likely, they literally cannot see what was wrong with the scene. As you say, they can't help themselves. It wouldn't be at all surprising if their next creative project doubles down on offensiveness, just to get back at those deplorables who don't want their kids thinking they should just go with it if someone offers them fame in exchange for a little groping.

Joan of Argghh! said...

It's a bit of exhibitionism, though I am no psychologist. The inner sin craves to be justified outside of itself. It is a compulsion that immediately defends itself if called out, with denials of any such inner constructs, such as to make you doubt what you actually experienced when you were subjected to it. The shorthand word is, "demon."