Friday, September 21, 2018

Trial by Ordeal and Ordeal by Trial

Regarding the malignant spectacle to which the left has been subjecting us this week (and what is the left itself but a malignant spectacle?), it is a perfect exemplification of Schuon's solid gold maxim:

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

This is precisely the dynamic that is playing out this week. To imagine that being groped in high school is a legitimate trauma is to not know what trauma is. Not to say it wasn't unpleasant, but words have meanings.

I see this all the time in my clinical practice, and the maxim has never failed: people who claim to be traumatized by the less-than-traumatic inevitably turn out to be self-centered, narcissistic, weak, hysterical, melodramatic, and of generally low character. They imagine they are being bullied ("Dr. Ford won't be bullied into testifying!") when they are the bullies.

It's breathtaking, really. Imagine slandering a man 36 years after the fact, and insisting that he defend himself against the charge before he even knows exactly what it is! It makes Kafka's The Trial look fair by comparison. Here's how it begins, with a bit of light editing consisting of a single word (Brett instead of Josef):

Someone must have slandered Brett K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested.

A few paragraphs later:

"You can't leave, you're being held." "So it appears," said K. "But why?" "We weren't sent to tell you that. Go to your room and wait. Proceedings are underway and you'll learn everything in due course."

In the present case, Brett K. actually survived the legal proceedings. Hence Plan B, the extralegal ones:

"How can I be under arrest? And in this manner?" "Now there you go again.... We don't answer such questions." "You're going to have to answer them," said K. "Here are my papers, now show me yours, starting with the arrest warrant."

Show me yours. Nah. What do you think this is, America? You testify first, then we'll let you know what you're being charged with. "But that's not justice!" That is correct. It is social justice, good and hard.

My recollection is that the book goes on in this vein for a few hundred pages, with no resolution (nor did Kafka actually complete the book in his lifetime). Let's cut to the chase and find out how K.'s ordeal-by-trial ends. A figure appears before him:

Who was it? A friend? A good man? Someone who sympathized? Someone who wanted to help? Was it one person only? Or was it mankind? Was help at hand? Were there arguments in his favor that had been overlooked? Of course there must be.... Where was the Judge whom he had never seen? Where was the High Court, to which he had never penetrated? He raised his hands and spread out his fingers.

But the hands of one of the partners were already around K.'s throat, while the other thrust a knife deep into his heart and turned it there twice. With failing eyes K. could still see the two of them immediately before him, cheek against cheek, watching the final act. "Like a dog!" he [K] said; it was as if the shame of it must outlive him (emphasis mine).

That is definitely the operative phrase, because we already know the left's machinations are designed so that the shame of the accusation will outlive the proceedings (as in the case of Clarence Thomas). Indeed, Democrats are already gearing up to impeach Herr K. once they take control of congress in January.

And now I'm almost out of time for the real post! Again, we're on the subject of Beginnings -- beginnings of everything, from interior to exterior, vertical to horizontal. Hayek begins his introduction with a comment by historian Guglielmo Ferrero, that "there seems to be only one solution to the problem: that the elite of mankind acquire a consciousness of the limitation of the human mind..."

This brings to mind something I heard from Ginator Sillibrand yesterday, that she believes Professor Ford. Why does she believe her? Because she's telling the truth. That's not circular logic. That's unalloyed female logic, as any mature conservative woman knows.

First of all, like anyone could know that. But that's just a tiny example of ignorance-of-ignorance in action. If Hayek is correct, then ignorance of ignorance may be man's deepest and most persistent problem, perhaps even worse than knowledge of what is untrue.

After all, science for example, in the ultimate sense, is always "knowledge of what is untrue." It operates via the principle of falsification, such that it eliminates errors without arriving at an unchanging positive truth. In the words of the Aphorist, Being only falsifiable, a scientific thesis is never certain but is merely current. So long as we bear this in mind, then we are respecting the limits of science.

Nevertheless, Each one of a science’s successive orthodoxies appears to be the definitive truth to its disciple, the dim ones, anyway.

I apologize for wasting so much time on the circus, because now I'm out of it. Perhaps that is part of the left's strategy: to cause us to waste all our time and energy in defense of the obvious.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Beginning of the Beginning

Every beginning is an image of the Beginning; every end is an image of the End. --Dávila

It's been one thing after another during the last week, so not only have I had no time to post, I don't even remember what we were talking about. Among other nuisances, it's that time of year when I have to complete all of my continuing education units.

Looks like we're on the subject of Where Philosophy Begins, which is not a small matter. Indeed, where one begins might well determine where one ends, so be careful! And I do mean this quite literally. For example, in the words of the Aphorist,

The philosopher who adopts scientific notions has predetermined his conclusions.

Note that there is not, nor can there ever be, any scientific explanation for why one chooses a scientific explanation. Or in other words, scientism can never be reduced to science. Rather, it is just another epistemologically dead-on-arrival ideology, no different than any other, from Marxism to feminism to radical environmentalism.

While looking for that aphorism, I found a number of others that bear on our subject, for example, What is capable of being measured is minor.

Of course, he means this in the philosophical, or ultimate, sense, but the main point to remember is that quality can never be reduced to quantity. You can try, but supposing you have understood the meaning of the quantity in question, you can only do so from the perspective of Qualityland, so you're right back where you started. In the Beginning.

Or in other words: Science, when it finishes explaining everything, but being unable to explain the consciousness that creates it, will not have explained anything. Right? How can an intelligent person not know that?

Partly because we don't look at intelligence the right way. For example, it is a truism (or so we are told by the wise tenured) that two intelligent men -- say, Hayek and Obama -- can believe opposite things. Well, if that's the case, then what good is intelligence?

More problematically, how do we arbitrate between the two, if we cannot do so with intelligence? Do we need a being who is more intelligent than Hayek or Obama to resolve the dispute?

Nah brah. That makes no sense at all. Not only can we know some things with certitude, but we are entitled to know them. Just as there are "civil rights," there are cosmic rights without which man is not man.

Here again, I mean this quite literally: to deny these rights is to remove man from the cosmos, when the whole point of man's existence is to know the cosmos. We are the truth-bearing being, the one who knows oneness, or the Principle behind the manifestation, the Truth behind the appearances.

Now, maybe you don't believe man is the truth-bearing being. One question: is that true? You do the rest.

Have you ever wondered why an intelligent person can believe such stupidities? Or are you like me, and never stop wondering? One reason, I think, is conveyed in the following aphorism: The great imbecilic explanations of human behavior adequately explain the one who adopts them.

Now, most "philosophies" are really autobiographies in disguise. They don't really explain the world, but they do explain the person for whom the explanation is adequate. I first realized this back when I was an intern at Camarillo State Mental Hospital. I was about to say that it no longer exists, but it is now the home of a California State University campus, so it is the same place with a different name.

Okay, my mind is being blown at the moment, because I'm thinking about the truth of that little joke. Seriously, things made more sense in that lunatic asylum than they do today -- 30 years later -- on a typical liberal university campus. At least the hospital treated the lunatics. Now the lunatics run the asylum, with the purpose of cranking out more lunatics every year.

And if you really want to freak yourself out, please read Heather MacDonald's new book, The Diversity Delusion -- and she doesn't use the word "delusion" loosely. Delusional ideation is one of the principle symptoms of psychosis, and a mental hospital is where you find psychotic people.

Example. If you are like me, you will find the following statistic most distressing; it will make you feel sick and it will make you feel helpless, the recipe for existential nausea:

From 2013 to 2016, medical schools nationally admitted 57 percent of black applicants with with low MCATs [Medical College Admission Test scores] of 24 to 26 but only 8 percent of whites and 6 percent of Asians with those same low scores.

If true -- and this was reported in the NY Times -- this means that if you have the choice between a black or white doctor, it is irrational to choose the former (assuming you know nothing else about them). This is horrible, and it is not because the person who prefers a white physician is racist! To the contrary, this whole ugly scenario is a direct consequence of the left's ugly policies.

At any rate, the book is filled with similarly nauseating information, and is highly raccoomended. As is her previous The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe. She is one of those National Treasures.

Where were we? Oh yes, the Beginning. So, where do we begin? Hayek's Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 1: Rules and Order (which we've been discussing) begins with an observation by Montesquieu, that

Intelligent beings may have some laws of their own making; but they also have some which they never made.

Now clearly, if we are to have a proper beginning, we want to begin with those things -- those laws or principles -- that we never made. If these are manmade, then we are trapped in our own recursive absurcularity. Recall that this is precisely where Descartes begins -- "I think therefore I am" -- such that, once inserted, it is impossible for him to pull his head out of his own aseity and touch the objective world that precedes him.

Four or five invulnerable philosophical propositions allow us to make fun of the rest. Descarte's is one of them, ha ha.

Okay, smart guy. Quit stalling. Where do you begin?

Well, for starters, I begin with not knowing. Obvious, right? But you'd be amazed at the number of people who not only don't know what whey don't know, but don't want to know it. But the older I get, the less I know; or, the more I unKnow.

For example, I knew much more back when I was in grad school. By the time I graduated, I had a theory to explain everything. But now? Aphorisms:

To mature is to comprehend that we do not comprehend what we had thought we comprehended.

And That which is incomprehensible increases with the growth of the intelligence.

It sounds paradoxical, but truly, the more you really know, the less you know.

I have to stop, because I'm behind with my work-work... We'll pick up the thread on Friday.