Friday, August 24, 2018

Connecting the Biggest Dots: Can I Get a Withness?

Connecting the dots. You could say that that is what this blog is all about. In fact, it's what life is all about, and not just the lives we lead, but life as such. An invisible thread runs through everything -- a riverrun circulating from Eve & Adam to every atom.

Life itself is a continuous process that connects outside to inside and not-me to me. Once the outside is in -- say, in the form of "facts" -- then we need to connect them. Likewise food. Since I have diabetes, my body can't on its own connect the dots between carb and cell. If I don't take insulin, then the carb-dots just pile up until I croak.

It seems that something similar can happen with facts or knowledge or data. Yes, we always need to connect the dots between them, but also, we need keys to assimilate these into our substance, otherwise they just build up like too many carbs. As Eliot rhetorically asks,

Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

I'm just winging it here. No plan. Or better, just riffing on the motif of "connecting dots." Or, trying to go meta and connect the dots of dot connecting to something beyond their mere connectedness.

I'm also not explaining it very well. You could say that any "narrative" is an attempt to connect the dots. In the case of art, the narrative presumably comes first, in that the artist will choose and structure the details and characters in order to support and disclose it.

Conversely, in science the narrative is supposed to always be subordinate to the facts. The facts will supposedly "tell us" their narrative, even though they never actually do. Facts do not speak, much less for themselves. If they could, then human beings would be utterly superfluous.

Any fact you care to name must, in order to be one, be situated in a prior narrative, AKA metaphysic. A metaphysic is your ultimate narrative, and thus, your ultimate connection of dots.

And now it really gets strange, because most people operate without any conscious metaphysic, and most of the others deny that metaphysics is even possible. Trouble is, you have to connect a (literally) infinite number of dots to conclude that the dots not only aren't connected, but can never be connected. Rather, they're just a bunch of random dots. Said the random dot.

For example, atheism. A-theism is really a-connectedness, and in a big way. Put conversely, think of all the dots that theism connects: all of them. Including the biggest dots we can imagine, e.g., time and eternity, absolute and relative, God and man, man and man (via an interior love as opposed to mere exterior juxtaposition), and much more.

Knowledge itself, for example, in classical Christian metaphysics, is our own apprehension of the intelligibility implanted into things by God. It is how and why knowledge is possible: any act of knowledge testifies to the connectedness between intelligence and intelligibility -- from God through objects and into us. To know something is to connect the dots. Always.

And now I'm thinking about the Trinity. As we know, this word is not mentioned in scripture. Nevertheless, it is surely there, only in the form of dots that were discerned and connected by the apostles and early fathers. The Father had to be connected to the Son, and they in turn had to be connected to the Holy Spirit, in such a way that they are coequal persons in one substance. There is no way to connect these big ol' dots but with the principle of the Trinity.

Come to think of it, much of early Christianity consisted of dot-connecting, didn't it? The first thing the early Christians did was to consult the Hebrew scriptures, thereby discovering hundreds of connections -- i.e., prophecies, typologies, and synchronicities. And what is a synchronicity but God punning around? And what is a pun or witticism but a connection of dots, say, between "Peter," "rock," and "Church?"

What is the connection between "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," and "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God."

Consider what's going on there: two ultimate examples of dot-connecting. However, they can't be contradictory. Rather, we have to somehow connect to dots between them! It must go something like this:

"In the beginning is God-and-Word, distinct but inseparable. This Word is with God and is God; thus, God's Isness is always a Withness. In the beginning the God-with-Word creates the heavens and the earth. And it is always the beginning."

Man is such an inveterate storyteller that he might as well be called... Homo storian or something. It's what we do, which is to say, try to connect the dots. They say -- they being the tenured -- that it is strictly impossible for us to connect the dots, and that it is an exercise in premodern naiveté to think otherwise. But I do think otherwise, and I don't think it's because I'm naive.

If you want to simplify your life, you can just stipulate that God is the ultimate connecter of dots and be done with it. Trouble is, if you reject God, it hardly means you have abandoned dot-connecting. To the contrary!

And this is where the left comes in, because what is the left but a frenzied gang of tyrannical dot-connectors? Let's begin with Marx. He starts with the principle that connecting the dots is impossible, because God doesn't exist. Getting you to believe in God is just a way for the ruling class to control you with a fake narrative!

But then Marx goes on to connect all the cosmic and historical dots, only in such a way that it justifies tyrannical control by a ruling class. Gosh, almost like he naively projects his own bad motives into the religious or something!

It's enough to make a fellow suspect that religion is our primary bulwark against the tyrannical dot-connectors of the left.


julie said...

A-theism is really a-connectedness, and in a big way.

Not only that, but it is a rare a-theist indeed who is content to simply leave the dots disconnected, which might be relatively harmless. No, they usually reconnect them, using either themselves or something other as the center. The idiots claiming atheism as an excuse to erect baphomet statues in public spaces.

julie said...

Comes to mind.
Commentus interruptus

Gagdad Bob said...

Reason is no substitute for faith for the same reason color is no substitute for music, or left brain for right.

Anonymous said...

Each soul creates a story, which is an aggregate of smaller stories. So, the dots all connect, and they always connect to create a story line, and these subplots all connect to form the overarching mega-narrative.

Everything goes into the permanent record (the "AR"). So it matters what happens, because it will never be forgotten. Every little drama, like the time you spilled milk at your third birthday party, will always be extant and available for review by yourself (or others).

Each soul enacts a massive and sprawling multi-life mega-narrative over the centuries and eons, but certain themes do emerge and these become integrated and the overall work generally has a fell and awesome grandeur and beauty which is unique to that soul.

Now back to the present moment.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Raccoon Kindred.

We are the Smelliban, olfactory savants and rebels. We have seized Zyzzyx, Nevada,and now control the town and a swath of territory some hundreds of yards wide surrounding. We did not disturb the endangered Pupfish.

We now reveal a gradual and general blunting of the olfactory sense led to the decline of Western Civilization. When the nose is restored to its former central position in life, as it is on the face, then we can connect all the dots and be wise and great again.

An sniff analysis of captured Democrats indicate these are aberrant people. Their scent profile reveals phenols, organic amines, and pheromones which betray a mutant and Denisovian genetic element and outrageous dietary you suspected all along.

Come to the Desert and let us parlay....we can reawaken the olfactory bulb of any and all with our herbal expertise. Well worth the trip.

Van Harvey said...


Gagdad Bob said...

There's a great quote by Schuon that sums up the left in general and the self-styled Resistance in particular:

"In reality, man has the right to be legitimately traumatized only by monstrosities; he who is traumatized by less is himself a monster."

I have definitely found it to be the case that patients who are traumatized by trivia are monstrous.

Now, apply this to trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, political correctness, speech codes, etc.

The left is monstrous because it is in a perpetual state of being traumatized by the non-traumatic: they suffer from PNTSD: Post Non-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

julie said...

Conversely, some people I know who have struggled with real trauma are often some of the most decent and kind-hearted. Not always, of course, but often.

julie said...

Speaking of the monstrously triggered, so this week we attended our first mass in our new parish. Good place, good priest. During the homily, however, a woman actually interrupted him and started yelling "Fake news! Fake News!," because he felt it extremely important to discuss the issues that have come up recently, particularly in light of the Nuncio's letter. Some other people called her out and she finally shut up and let the priest talk (and his homily gave the subject exactly the kind of seriousness and honesty the situation requires), but I've never seen that in any mass before.

Was also surprised that they read the whole section of Paul's letter concerning wives and husbands.

Crazy times, but still there are good people.

Gagdad Bob said...

And then there are those who actually want to look like monsters. Something tells me it wouldn't take a psychologist to unearth trauma in his past.

julie said...

No joke.

Reminds me of that old far Side Cartoon, "How nature says, 'do not touch'"

Van Harvey said...

Gagdad quoted "In reality, man has the right to be legitimately traumatized only by monstrosities; he who is traumatized by less is himself a monster."

O, there's a keeper!

Anonymous said...

Modern Christianity is loony tunes.

We have televangelists proclaiming that Florida hurricanes are caused by gays. Comeon. If that’s God’s plan... hell, even I can plan better than that. First threaten the gays in a clear and obvious way then bring on the hurricanes. Badda bing – no guesswork there. Personally, I would’ve send a bearded robed guy carrying a stick to San Franciscan gay pride day and threatened the sodomites with plagues of boils, frogs (boiled frogs?) and ultimately, their first born adopted son. An even more manly-man kind of God would’ve blinked them all out of existence after making them all dance WMCA in unison. But our God has to be “mysterious”.

How do we know that God (as the ultimate performance artist) didn’t tire of endlessly making all perfect universes and then decided as a change of pace, to challenge himself by creating a universe with a super powerful satan? How do we know that SuperPowerfulSatan wasn’t underestimated and wound up locking God into a metaphysical box and is now pretending to be the real God? That’d sure explain the screwed up nature of the Bible, this crazy new breed of Mammon-Christianity, and all the rationalizing guesswork being done by all these wild philosophers about a god who never, ever, obviously, physically shows up.

How do you know you’re not just worshipping a SuperPowerfulSatan posing as God?

Gagdad Bob said...

Easy. Just take seriously a defender of the opposite, such as yourself.

neal said...

If the climate, or what used to be known as the immediate cosmos responds to human moral behaviour that is just very old news, rode hard and put up wet. I think it is funny that everyone makes fun of the connection in nice weather.
Geezy Pete, we did not stop at naming critters. We named as far as the visions will take us.
If the weather holds.

The Bible is just the Farmer's Almanac. Best to pay attention.