Friday, June 22, 2018

The Infrahuman Left

The first essay in Schuon's The Play of Masks, Prerogatives of the Human State, is one of his most dense and concentrated, essentially summarizing the whole existentialada.

This was his penultimate book, appearing in 1992, which was followed by the equally short and dense Transfiguration of Man in 1995. Then it was all poems until his death a few years later at age 90.

This first essay is packed with so much essential truth that it's worthy of a line-by-line exegesis. Not only is the book a fractal of the cosmic interior, but so too is each essay, right down to the last sentence. What? Okay, here's the last sentence:

Without objectivity and transcendence there cannot be man, there is only the human animal; to find man, one must aspire to God.

That sentence is very abstract -- i.e., universal -- and yet applicable in a fully concrete way. For example, one can readily apply it to the leftist hysteria of the week, i.e., THE CHILDREN!!! Is there a single MSM journalist who is being objective about this? Of course not. If they were, then they couldn't indulge in the virtuous pleasure of crying in front of the camera, or calling us Nazis, or hounding law-abiding officials from restaurants.

One wishes they were only human animals, but they are something much worse, for a man who fails to transcend himself sinks beneath himself, and that is what we are witnessing this week.

One could cite hundreds of examples, but consider just Peter Fonda. Imagine how lacking in insight one must be in order for him to call someone else a Nazi while wishing to "rip Barron Trump from his mother's arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles" and see Kristjen Nielsen "stripped naked and publicly whipped."

The field of psychology, like everything else the left touches, has been ruined. However, this should not detract from the importance of its genuine discoveries, such as the defense mechanism of projection. Fonda shows us exactly how this works, as he projects his own inner Nazi into others and attacks them for it.

But this is simply what the left does, in all times and in all places.

Put conversely, remove projection from the human repertoire and the left would have little to talk about. They would be deprived of the bulk of their obsessions; or, they would have to hate themselves instead of us, which is precisely what they wish to avoid, hence the massive projection. I mean, imagine being morally instructed by the likes of Sean Penn, or Robert DeNiro, or Harvey Weinstein!

Let's get back to our exegesis: again, no objectivity and transcendence, no humanness. What was the error of our first parents? Clearly it was a plunge into subjectivity, i.e., the rejection of an objectivity that can only be rooted in God. What else is new? As the only thing new in the world is the history you don't know, you might say that the only new behavior is the archetypal fall that's about to be replayed.

Let's circle back to the very first sentence:

Total intelligence, free will, sentiment capable of disinterestedness: these are the prerogatives that place man at the summit of terrestrial creatures.

Now, that is a mythfull! It cuts through reams of lies, sophistry, indoctrination, and tenure. First of all, it affirms that there is a summit of intelligence, which is in stark contrast to the first principle of the left, which collapses the cosmic hierarchy in favor of a barbarous leveling. An immortal aphorism comes to mind:

Liberty is the right to be different; equality is a ban on being different.


Back to our human trinity: Intelligence. Free will. Disinterested sentiment. Many people manage one or two, but we need all three. Think, for example, how any intelligence in the psychic world of the left is totally undermined by their unhinged passion. Or, think of scientism, which flames out when it must account for free will.

Next sentence or two:

Being total, the intelligence takes cognizance of all that is, in the world of principles as well as in phenomena [i.e., vertical and horizontal]; being free, the will may choose even that which is contrary to immediate interest or to what is agreeable; being disinterested, sentiment is capable of looking at itself from without, just as it can put itself in another's place. Every man can do so in principle, whereas animals cannot...

These observations are at once deeply obvious and endlessly profound. Think of how man uniquely transcends the bounds of his neurology, and instead "opens out" to everything. Science -- either science as such, or such-and-such a science -- can in principle never account for this. It is an a priori principle that animates science, not one that is "discovered" by science.

The very purpose of free will is to choose between good and evil. The left, of course, either denies this distinction or affirms that it is simply a matter of opinion. Once again, the plunge into subjectivity and away from God.

Sentiment capable of looking at itself from without and putting itself in another's place. The left cannot possibly be more lacking in insight and self-awareness than it is today. Really, the next step is violence. Not that it isn't already occurring, only that the violent acting out will have to become more pervasive. The left is about to go full Palestinian on us.

By the way, when I call the left "infrahuman," does this mean I want to kill or torture them, like Peter Fonda? Of course not. I am not a leftist. It means I want to elevate and liberate them from their own self-imposed shackles of unhinged passion enclosed in horizontality.

To be continued....

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The How and the Why of this Haunted Cosmos

I want to briefly follow up on the idea that something analogous to Multiple Personality Disorder "happens at a universal level" and that "the one universal consciousness could, as a result, give rise to many alters with private inner lives like yours and ours. As such, we may all be alters -- dissociated personalities -- of universal consciousness."

Now, as Stanley Jaki reminds us, "'exact science' deals only with numbers and measurements of material change," whereas "theology measures nothing." Quantities and qualities. Horizontal and vertical. Object and subject. Exterior and interior. Reason and intellection. Effect and cause. Many and One.

Any comprehensive account of reality requires both sides of these related complementarities; ultimately they may be reduced to Creator and creation; or, if you're not ready to make that leap, to Principle and Manifestation, Absolute and relative, Ground/Source and echo/prolongation.

These also relate to the How and the Why, science going to the former, theology to the latter. Along these lines, I've mentioned this story in the past, of the young scientist

who gave a factory tour to Lord Kelvin, arguably one of the greatest scientists of his time. The factory created equipment that measured the effects of electricity and was built by Lord Kelvin himself. Unfortunately, the young man giving the tour was not aware of this fact.

After the young man spoke in great detail of all the equipment the factory made and how these gadgets measured electricity, Lord Kelvin complemented him on the tour, but wanted to ask one last question to his tour guide, "What is electricity?" When the young man was unable to answer this question, Lord Kelvin consoled him by explaining that both he and Lord Kelvin were equally ignorant of the answer to this question.

The moral of the story is that it is one thing to measure how electricity behaves, but it's a completely different thing to understand what electricity actually is at its essence. Fr. Jaki would use this story to argue that science and theology should not be combined, but rather they should stay within the parameters that each naturally adhere to.

In short, science can tell us pretty much everything about electricity except what it is. Which equally applies to everything, or to every conceivable thing.

Including the mystery of diversified human subjectivity. The idea that it is reducible to a vast case of Multiple Personality Disorder comes straight out of Scientific American, but there is nothing remotely scientific about this. And yet, it is nevertheless able to conceal this fact by hiding behind the prestige of Science, which is one of our two most successful and influential religions in our time. In order for one's idiocy to be truly comprehensive, one needs both scientism and progressivism, which are analogous to (faux) doctrine and (perverse) method.

Was that last sentence a little over-the-top? Well, think of the global warming racket: it is pure scientism, but it animates thousands of practitioner-activists to do what they do, AKA practice their faith in the real world. Likewise, transgenderism is just pseudo- or anti-science. And yet...

There is no physics without a metaphysics. Physicists don't like this idea, which results in a naive collapse of the two, or an elevation of former into the latter. A physicist imagines he is qualified to discourse on metaphysics by virtue of being a physicist, but it is obviously not so: physics is about quantities, metaphysics about qualities or principles.

Yesterday a thought floated into my head: A Principle is worth a thousand facts. And as Dávila says, Four or five invulnerable philosophical propositions allow us to make fun of the rest.

Therefore, Ha Ha.

Now, what would be one of the four or five invulnerable p's that allow us to make fun of our Scientistic American and his MPD theory? In reaching for a principle to account for the mystery of subjectivity, he latches onto MPD. But what is the real principle?

Most people will say "God" and let it go. But this is just a shorthand way to convey essential metaphysics to a large and diverse collective, few members of which will have the time, inclination, or ability to study metaphysics. They are by no means wrong, but some people are built in such a way that they keep asking Why? (And recall that Why? is to theology/metaphysics as How? is to science.)

Consider just that last parenthetical remark: science -- or scientism -- would quite literally have us believe that the Why? may be fully reduced to the How? In this (anti-)metaphysic, knowledge of how something works is sufficient to explain why it exists. But this doesn't even suffice with mechanical objects. For example, I can know how a watch works, but that doesn't explain why someone wants to know the time, let alone what time is, and why it is. Why time?

An alliterative way of posing the problem is to say that for scientism, semantics may be reduced to syntax; in other words, meaning may be reduced to grammar, message to means. Which means that no meaning is possible, since the meaning of any statement about the world would be reducible to its arrangement of words.

Which is literally like trying to understand a melody by examining its notes. In fact, just yesterday I heard a haunting melody -- Autumn Leaves, performed by Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis. You can pause the video and examine the melody note by note, but none of these notes conveys the haunt. Indeed, the haunt just disappears. Does this solve the problem? Does it satisfy your curiosity about the haunter and the haunted?

Speaking of which, we clearly live in a haunted universe, no? Everything speaks to us, just as if it's haunted by subjectivity, intelligibility, and muffled cries for help. Cries for help? Sure. Objects want to be understood, and we desperately want to understand them. And certainly people want to be understood. But why? Because of some quantitative formula accessible to the physicist?

Please. Let's get back to the question of invulnerable principles, which really go to the Why? of things. Here, try this on for size: "The question of the 'why' of creation has given rise to many speculations. We have more than once answered them in the course of our expositions" (Schuon).

Were you not listening?

the cosmogonic projection has as its ultimate cause the infinitude proper to the Absolute. Now, to say infinitude is to say All-Possibility and consequently the overflowing of the divine potentialities, in conformity with the principle that the Good wills to communicate itself.

Really, creation -- including the cosmos -- is God's overflowing from his own center -- which is everywhere -- to the periphery, right down to matter, which is like a crystalized echo of His intelligence (hence its intelligibility). God is at once transcendent and therefore immanent, which is why He is farther than we can imagine and yet closer than our own heart, via His prolongation into the soul and intellect.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Crazy Must Be Gods

Apropos of our recent musings, Instapundit links to a piece at Scientistic American called Could Multiple Personality Disorder Explain Life, the Universe and Everything? Pretty silly, but it shows the lengths to which reductionites and neuromaniacs will go to deny the obvious, AKA God. Here's the bottom line:

We know empirically [sic] from DID [AKA Split or Multiple Personality Disorder] that consciousness [whatever that is] can give rise [whatever that means] to many operationally distinct centers [sic] of concurrent experience [?], each with its own [?] personality and sense of identity. Therefore, if something analogous to DID happens at a universal level, the one universal consciousness could, as a result, give rise to many alters with private inner lives like yours and ours. As such, we may [science!] all be alters -- dissociated personalities -- of universal consciousness.

Moreover, as we’ve seen earlier, there is something dissociative processes look like in the brain of a patient with DID. So, if some form of universal-level DID happens, the alters of universal consciousness must also have an extrinsic appearance. We posit that this appearance is life itself: metabolizing organisms are simply [simply?] what universal-level dissociative processes look like.

Of course, if this were the case, then no one would be able to see or know anything outside his particular dissociative process, AKA split personality. Everyone would essentially be crazy, so no one would have access to the "universal consciousness." As such, the theory is hoisted on its own retardedness.

Genuine Multiple Personality Disorder [I prefer the older and more evocative term] also happens to be exceedingly rare. Certainly I've never seen a case. Having said that, I do believe it is simply an extreme form of something much more common and indeed present in most everyone, i.e., semi-autonomous subselves with varying degrees of independence. The situation is only pathological per se when there is little-to-no integration between these centers of subjectivity.

The most common form of this lack of integration is Borderline Personality Disorder, which you might say is situated between full-blown Multiple Personality and garden variety neurosis, AKA Here Comes Everybody. Who is fully integrated and harmonious with himself all the time? A saint, maybe. Or a complete idiot.

A borderline person easily switches from one sub-personality to another (usually in the context of stress, or lack of empathy, or abandonment depression, or separation anxiety), except there is a degree of insight -- or at least potential insight -- into the switch. Typically they don't understand it while it's happening, but they can gain insight the morning after the night before. That's usually why they seek treatment: because the subselves are beyond their control and ruining their lives.

Here's a charming example plucked from thin air -- or from a combination of idle clicking and morbid curiosity: Heather Locklear is hospitalized for threatening to shoot herself 'after flying into jealous rage over suspicion her fiance was cheating, then choking her mom and hitting her dad as they tried to help her'.

I know we're not supposed to diagnose from afar, but some things can be seen from a mile away, and that right there is a borderline personality. Yes, drugs and/or alcohol may be involved, but they are both cause and consequence, in that borderlines are always impulsive and often attempt to self-medicate in self-defeating ways. The reason they self-medicate is that it confers a degree of integration or pseudo-wholeness, at least while the illusion lasts.

Come to think of it, I recently read the autobiography of Waylon Jennings, in which he's quite candid about his addiction to amphetamine and then cocaine for some 21 years, during the main part of his career. He didn't put it exactly this way, but it is clear that the bullet-proof stud we call Waylon Jennings was a product of speed. When he stopped using it, this larger-than-life character vanished with it. He could no longer storm the stage with total confidence and take over a room, no matter how large. He was just a regular guy -- who, from the perspective of Big Ol' Waymore, was almost a nonentity.

There must be a similar dynamic fueling the addictions of other celebrities, no? What struck me about Jennings is that it went on for so long that it affected a kind of relatively stable transmutation, such that the drug-fueled self became the real self, while the real self withered on the vine.

Not too long ago I evaluated the ex-wife of another prominent drug-addicted celebrity. He too had been on drugs for most of his adult life, such that when he attempted -- one of many failed attempts -- sobriety, it was as if he were beginning all over as an awkward teen.

What have we learned today? Not much yet. I want to go back to the passage about how DID may Reveal the Secret Of Everything. There are so many angles from which to approach its stupidity. For example, it certainly appeals to our gnostic sense, which we all possess, either in a healthy or a pathological way. There are of course "secrets," but they are mostly hiding in plain sight. Religion is always esoteric in a certain sense, or at least you need recourse to esoterism in order to eliminate its inevitable absurdities, infertile paradoxes, and ad hockeries posing as mysteries.

In fact, you could reframe everything the author says in straight-up religious metaphysics, such that it as if the headline is ripped straight from the Upanishads, written several thousand years ago.


Okay, There are two selves, the apparent self and the real Self. Of these it is the real Self, and he alone, who must be felt as truly existing. Or, The universe is a tree eternally existing, its root aloft, its branches spread below. This could easily be trancelighted to Christian terms, e.g., Creator-source and image-likeness.

One difference is that we do not have to resort to extreme psychopathology in order to make sense of this. After all, Multiple and Borderline Personality Disorders are associated with prolonged childhood trauma. In my experience, you might regard borderline personality as a case of chronic Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Is that what we are? A bunch of PTSD victims?

Well, before you answer... There is an ontological trauma or rupture at the foundation of things, isn't there? Adam and Eve are presumably "whole" and integrated until they take the plunge into fragmentation, contingency, impermanence, relativity, disequilibrium, et al. Life is tough. Much tougher if you pretend that severe mental illness is a kind of norm that explains everything.

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