Sunday, August 18, 2019

Does the Geneva Convention Cover Spiritual Warfare?

That's a rhetorical question. The Geneva Convention presumably treats all war as war, even vertical warfare between immaterial entities.

Which of course allows the demonic forces a foothold on the same plane as the angelic, which is the raison d'être of the U.N. Imagine, for example, Iran on the Human Rights Commission, or Islamic countries condemning Israel as "racist." Demons in high places.

Speaking of demons in high places, we could also veer into the usual diatribe about the media/academic complex. But I want to make a slightly different point -- that we know President Trump is waging effective spiritual warfare in light of the frenzied reaction of our journalistic and tenured demons. The New York Times, or Washington Post, or CNN, don't need an ombudsman. They need an exorcist.

How do we identify demonic activity? And how do we distinguish it from the usual give and take of political conflict?

Yes, Nicolas? To scandalize the leftist, just speak the truth.

Quite the case (and we're talking about leftists here, not liberals). As we know, each leftist is a unique combination of ignorance, low IQ, dishonesty, indoctrination, and/or mental illness. One leftist might be quite intelligent but thoroughly indoctrinated to the point of tenure, while another might be stupid and malleable, yet another envious and resentful. All equally precious in the eyes of Marx!

I used to think the above gag was sufficient to explain the left, but we've seen such an acceleration of the crazy during the last 15 years or so, that some other factor must be involved. Let's first consult MOTT to see if our Unknown Friend can provide any clues.

"There are spirits whose thought and imagination are put to the service, without reserve, of that which is true, beautiful and good..." Which is precisely as it should be. We are all in contact with angelic presences all the time, or we'd be utterly lost in this cosmos. Indeed, couldn't even know that this is a cosmos.

If you have a fine intellect but aren't motivated by the love of truth, then something is deeply wrong with you. Your mind -- or soul, rather, since the soul is our organ of vertical perception -- is being influenced and possibly hijacked by something un- or anti-divine. After all, the intellect is of the same substance as the truth it seeks.

Thus, if you are one of those postmodernist cretins who don't believe in the existence of objective truth, then it follows that you don't believe in the existence of your own mind. Or worse, you willfully insist on its existence with no basis.

There are also "spirits whose will, infatuated with an aim, make use of thought and imagination so as to win others to their cause, so as to sweep them away by the river of their will." That wasn't entirely clear, but I think the main point is the misuse of our God-given freedom for anti-Divine ends.

To back up a bit, man qua man is characterized by intellect, will, and sentiment, which correspond to the true, good, and beautiful, respectively. It cannot be overemphasized that each of these -- intellect, will, and sentiment -- is an adequation; each has a proper object. If this isn't the case, then our highest gifts reduce to nothing.

Yes, literally. For if there is no truth, then of what use is the intellect? If no freedom, then what use the will? Moreover, like the Trinity, these three can be distinguished but never separated, for if we do not possess free will then we cannot know truth, and if we cannot distinguish good from evil then we cannot rightly exert or will. Likewise, if we cannot discern and create beauty, then art is impossible.

In addition to truth, beauty, and goodness converging on their own objects, the three together converge upon the highest object, AKA, God. Here again, if they don't, then there is no explanation for how and why truth is beauty and vice versa. Nor could there be such a thing as a beautiful soul.

Later MOTT speaks of two principles that must be distinguished, a serpentine one involving "opposition from which there proceeds friction which produces energy," and an angelic one involving "concordance from which comes fusion which engenders force." It is said that

"Truth springs from the clash of opinions," but actually it is not the truth which springs forth, but rather combative intellectual energy, for truth is revealed through the fusion of opinions and not through a clash. A clash certainly produces intellectual energy, but hardly ever discloses truth.

At least on the principial plane we are discussing. We're not necessarily speaking of the "prudential plane," so to speak, which is much more ambiguous. Principles are not and should not be ambiguous. It reminds me of a couple of important aphorisms:

Intelligence is the capacity for discerning principles.

And Engaging in dialogue with those who do not share our assumptions [or principles] is nothing more than a stupid way to kill time.

Notice how intelligence is rendered stupid by engaging in such argument. For example, I believe in the Constitution. Others believe in the "living Constitution," which logically reduces to no constitution at all, and its displacement (as per the above) with the will, no longer anchored in anything but force.

Or, I believe a baby is a baby, while another believes the baby is a part of the woman's body. But to even use the word "baby" (or fetus) is to acknowledge the lie. With equivalent logic one could say the mother is simply the baby's body.

Just about out of time, so we'll end with a few more aphorisms. Being that I used to be a liberal, I can certify the following as 100% true:

Let us say frankly to our opponent that we do not share his ideas because we understand them and that he does not share ours because he does not understand them.

If they understood them, then they could explain them without resorting to lies, distortions, and slander.

Two more:

The intelligent man quickly reaches conservative conclusions.

Therefore Conservatism should not be a political party but the normal attitude of every decent man.

So, what interferes with knowledge of Principles? Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Political Warfare and Spiritual Warfare

As I recall, MOTT has some helpful things to say about the waging of pneumo-political warfare against the dominions of the left. For the left must ultimately be an instantiation of powers, principalities, and spiritual wickedness transcending -- or rather, subtending -- it. According to no less an authority than yesterday's post, there is apparently a ruler of the darkness, a Cosmocrat of the Dark Aion, a Big Kahuna of the Friggin' Loonies.

If this is so, how can we discern his movements and activities? How do we know when it's him and not just the usual ignorance, stupidity, bad luck, mental illness, genes, higher education, human nature, etc?

This is indeed a complex plane of phenomena, with no purely monocausal explanations. Being that this is a hierarchical cosmos, there is no pure determinism, whether via God or matter.

Indeed, you may have noticed that one mark of the devil is the crude simplification of this plane to a single cause or two. "Climate change" comes to mind, with the reduction of inconceivable complexity to the presence of carbon dioxide. Or Marxism, which reduces history to "class warfare." Any such abstract generalization is false, and leads straight to intellectual perdition if not the real thing. Hell on earth, while you wait!

In reality,

The natural and the supernatural are not overlapping planes, but intertwined threads (NGD).

At the very least, one must hold in mind two opposing theses. There's a reason why we have two eyes: their slightly different vector results in the emergence of a third dimension. Just so, complementarity is a vital principle to bear in mind in thinking about the world.

As always, Señor Dávila says it best. Here are seven aphorisms that I've taken the liberty to arrange stepwise in order to help you float upward on the wings of imagination:

In philosophy nothing is easier than to be consistent.

In reality, Every truth is a tension between contradictory evidences that claim our simultaneous allegiance.

As such, The simplistic ideas in which the unbeliever ends up believing are his punishment.

But Reason is no substitute for faith, just as color is no substitute for sound.

Which is why Philosophy ultimately fails because one has to speak of the whole in the terms of its parts.

And let's face it, The doctrines that explain the higher by means of the lower are appendices of a magician’s rule book.

Pay attention here, for The life of the intelligence is a dialogue between the personalism of spirit and the impersonalism of reason.

I could even toss in some Gödel here, because the reason his theorems are true is because the person always transcends and escapes any attempt to confine him to logic or computation. Or, if our synaptic activity is computational, the computation is in the soul, not vice versa.

Back to MOTT. There may be other chapters that touch on our subject, but I mainly remember Letter XI, The Force. Even the title gives it away, for what is the left but the will displacing freedom and truth?

The wife just now emailed me a typical example from here in the People's Republic of California, where public schools force children to drink leftist koolaid without a straw. In my own school district they force kindergarteners to learn about "gender fluidity" under the banner of preventing bullying of children who don't even know if they're a boy or a girl.

In other words, children are bullied by the state to be as confused about gender as are the parents who bully their children into being as confused about gender as they themselves (the parents) are. The whole point of the diabolical exercise is to confuse the natural law and therefore our natural rights, and to thereby sow chaos into the very ground of being.

Here's a paragraph from MOTT that echoes what was said above about the intertwined threads of vertical complementarity:

The saying "Nature is fundamentally supernatural" is therefore profoundly true. For natural and supernatural life always originate from the same source. The source of all life is religion, conscious or unconscious...

The following goes to the spontaneous order and unity of spirit vs. the chaotic scattering of the diabolos; the latter is what he is and does:

In the world there are therefore two different kinds of arriving at a conviction: one can be illuminated by the serene clarity of contemplation, or one can be swept away by an electrifying flood of passionate arguments aiming at a desired end.

Now pay attention, for this makes sense of the obvious, or explains why things are the way they are:

The faith of the illuminated is full of tolerance, patience and calm steadfastness -- "like crystal"; the faith of those who are swept away is, in contrast, fanatical, agitated and aggressive -- in order to live it needs conquests without end, because it is conquest alone which keeps it alive.

Ah, you might call this "conquest without end" the Satanic Eucharist. It is indeed why the left must reach deeper and deeper into our personal lives and even our souls, in order to conquer and claim them for its disordered appetites (for you can never get enough of what you don't really need, so the hunger is never satisfied). It's why in California it is against the law for me -- a clinical psychologist, AKA "healer of souls" -- to help someone who is fundamentally confused about his sexual identity or the object of his disordered sexual urges.

This is liberal fascism, AKA repressive tolerance, or what Petey calls totolerantarianism. For what is the left but violent intolerance masquerading as a magnanimous (i.e., large souled) and peaceful coexistence?

More on these irreconcilable pneumo-poltical attitudes:

In the world there are therefore two kinds of faith, two kinds of instinctivity, two different ways of seeing the world, two different ways of looking at it. There is the open and innocent look which desires only to reflect the light -- i.e. which wants only to see -- and there is the scrutinizing look, which seeks to find and lay hold of its desired prey.

Which is precisely why they insanely accuse us of racism, white supremacism, genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc. The leftist is intimately familiar with the reality of these subterranean impulses, and they have to be located somewhere. They can't be in the left, because the left is "tolerant." Therefore, they are absurdly projected into us.

Now, how exactly does one do battle against a hallucination?

First of all, you don't, not directly anyway. Speaking as a psychologist, fighting against it actually transfers a kind of power to it. It reminds me of Great Danes. We have two of them, and if you try to push them, they instinctively push back. Lean into them and the lean right back.

Which leads back to the supposed subject of this post, spiritual warfare. But now I'm out of time, so, to be continued....

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Fredogate and Spiritual Warfare

This is an all-new post. I apologize in advance for its wooliness and circuitousness, but it is spontaneously unfolding in real time, and maybe I'm out of practice.

It has come to our attention that there are two types of conservative, one that thinks the left is in error, the other viewing it is satanic. No doubt never-Trumpers fall into the first category, and many of them wonder how a conservative Christian could support this president. But if the left is satanic, the question answers itself.

A trivial but illustrative example occurred yesterday, with the Fredogate kerfuffle. A fair number of prominent conservatives defended Fredo and denounced his heckler, on the grounds that conservatives should never behave this way. If we do, then we are no better than the left.

First of all, if only. If Antifa restricted itself to giving clever nicknames to conservatives and requesting selfies with them, we could hardly condemn that. All in good political fun.

I was listening to the radio yesterday morning on the way to work, and while Rush Limbaugh reacted to the incident with merriment, Dennis Prager dismissed the Fredo-baiter as a jackass and a fool, and adopted the view that we should never do this to a public figure. This is one of the rare times I disagree with him, because this was nothing like chasing public figures out of restaurants, or harassing them outside their homes, or in any way encouraging violence. The Fredo-baiter should not be compared to, say, people who camp outside Senator McConnell's home and threaten to stab him in the heart, or who spit on the president's son.

In short, this is spiritual warfare. There are rules.

What's the difference between calling someone a Nazi and suggesting they are diabolical? For if someone is literally a Nazi, then we are wholly justified in stopping them by any means necessary. Not only is it morally acceptable to punch a Nazi, you could even argue that failing to do so is a sin of omission.

But we are not Nazis, to put to put it mildly. I won't go so far as to say I am a good person, but I'm certainly not evil. I don't deserve to be punched or worse, just because I am a Trump supporter. Nevertheless, that's what they say.

Which is a hint into the diabolical nature of the dynamic. But first we need to define our terms, beginning with diabolical, which is to say, relating to the devil, AKA Satan. Let's say the leftist grudgingly concedes I'm not a Nazi. But I'm calling him satanic! Isn't that worse? Besides, isn't that a priori crazy, since Satan doesn't exist, whereas Nazis do?

I would turn it around and say that the very existence of Nazis is a proof of the diabolical. I remember coming to this conclusion at least a couple decades ago, when I was trying to wrap my mind around the Holocaust with the meager tools available to a psychologist, and came up far short. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but evil of this depth and on this scale requires a proportionate explanation. True, Hitler had an abusive father and deeply painful childhood. But so did Churchill. File under "so what."

I was discussing the question of Satan the other day with my 14 year old. I made the point that the story of, say, Adam & Eve is clearly allegorical, symbolic, archetypal, etc., but the Church does not view Satan in this manner. Rather, he is a person and he is real. It's up to us to figure out how this could be so, but it does explain a great deal, like an unknown variable in physics that ties the cosmos together.

Quick timeout for some aphorisms while I gather my thoughts. Note that each of them would apply to conservative Never-Trumpers, if any still exist:

No one is more respectful of “others’ beliefs” than the devil.

The devil can achieve nothing great without the thoughtless collaboration of the virtues.

He who does not smell sulfur in the modern world has no sense of smell.

Many think that the devil died, but he merely walks around today disguised as a man.

I also find some of Schuon's thoughts on the subject helpful. Somewhere he draws a distinction between the satanic and the luciferic: the latter merely opposes and subverts the good, while the former inverts and thereby renders it evil. And woe unto them who call evil good and good evil, and who turn darkness to light and light to darkness!

What I want to say is that political warfare must have different rules from spiritual warfare.

But first, back to our definitions. I was reading a book the other day that asks Who is the Devil?, and it says he is, among other things, "the Commander-in-chief of the fallen angels."

Angels? Aren't we just digging a deeper epistemological hole? No, because I also snatched up another volume at the church rummage sale called What is an Angel?, and angels -- I'll bottom line it for you -- are simply the spiritual intelligences that fill and complete the hierarchy between man and God. Human beings are ensouled matter, while angels are purely spiritual beings unencumbered by matter (there are other differences, but this will do for now). These beings populate the vertical world both above and below, the latter being the whereabouts of the fallen angels.

There are, by the way "angelic intelligences" (so to speak) among humans, by which I mean an intelligence that is simple, intuitive, and cuts straight through to principles, essences, and primordial causes. I certainly experience Schuon in this way. It is quite distinct from garden-variety human thought, no matter how intelligent or penetrating. Not to imply that Schuon is omniscient or infallible, only to highlight this different form or modality of thought. (And of course, there are also counterfeit versions of this, e.g., Marianne Williamson, Deepak, and all the rest.)

Speaking of the Devil, let's get back to him. A big difference between standard and fallen angels is that the former love, while the latter hate and are motivated by hatred. Which reminds me -- and you will have noticed this -- of how we conservatives hate because we love, whereas leftists love because they hate. For example, they hate the world as it is, they hate human nature, and they hate the constraints of reality in general. Which is why they always offer political solutions to existential problems, as if we can ever be free of the latter. Yes, we can transcend them, but through religion, not politics.

Now, you might say that in positing this vast realm of vertical intelligences, I am confining myself to a world of superstition. However, "confine" isn't quite the right word. Above our world, writes Corte, is "another domain even even richer, more wonderful and diverse," with an "infinite variety of invisible essences":

Let unbelievers enclose themselves within their narrow thoughts and limit their vision to this small world that we can see, to this brief life which is but a preamble to our immortality. They sometimes say religion narrows the mind! We answer them with the grandiose vision that faith unfolds before us....

The earth is so small and the heavens so vast! What could be more natural than to admit that between the human race and God's throne there is a great multitude of pure spirits, of ardent thoughts, with intuition as vivid as lightning and as big as the stars, spirits endowed as we are..., with intelligence, will and liberty...

At the very least, even if you don't want to call them angels, you need to deploy some sort of cognitive placeholder for this mysterious realm, just as, say, physics has a category of "dark matter" without having any idea what it is. But it's there just the same, whatever it is.

Another important principle to bear in mind as we proceed is that the cosmos is one, or it wouldn't be a cosmos. The cosmos isn't just an exterior totality, but an interior unity as well, and this unity obviously encompasses the vertical as well as horizontal. So, there is indeed a lower vertical, the question being how it fits into the unity. (Note that various forms of Gnosticism solve the problem by positing a separate and coequal power of evil, whereas materialists affirm the unity by simply banishing both good and evil to the contingent world of illusion and opinion.)

Returning to the reality of pure spirits. Yes, you could say that's pretty weird, but not as weird as spirits bound up with matter. In other words, human beings are actually weirder and less obviously explicable than angelic beings. And in the words of the Aphorist, The world is explicable from man; but man is not explicable from the world.

To be continued, I guess....

Friday, August 09, 2019

We Don't Believe in Miracles, We Just Savor Them

Maybe you've noticed that our postmodern, post-literate, and post-rational world denies but doesn't actually eliminate the miraculous. Rather it just kicks the miracle down the road, or paves the road over it. And under it, come to think of it. Meaning that their desiccated cosmos just hangs suspended between its alpha and omega, with no ground, principle, or reason. You know, a miracle, only in the magico-superstitious instead of metaphysical sense.

Looked at another way, this form of thought conceals an unthinkable anti-thought at its foundation, one that restricts our view of reality -- like looking at the world from the bottom of a well and concluding it is a circular disc. Given the implicit assumptions, this view isn't wrong, just very limited.

As anyone who hasn't been to college knows, there are no less than four Big Miracles that can never be eliminated from our discourse. At the very least there is existence; there is life; there is a kind of infinite intelligibility; and there is the human person.

These fan out into love, truth, intelligence, beauty, science, music, painting, poetry, faith, virtue, nobility, selflessness, progress; miracles of sound, rhythm, and color; and the sheer miracle of the present, which is to say, conscious awareness, or being-for-itself, leading all the way back up and in to our ground, source, and destiny.

To be perfectly accurate being-for-itself does not and could not exist, for it is always being-in-relation, which might be the rock-bottom mirrorcle of them all, in that we and everything else are images of the Trinity. We couldn't know a single thing if being weren't constantly in relation to the knowing intellect.

Or, to quote W. Norris Clarke, to be is to be substance-in-relation. Behind or within the I AM is always the WE ARE. Being is always twogather in threeness, which is why you need to take existence personally.

In the previous post we spoke of scotomas and scotosis, i.e., scientistic holes in the whole of reality, which render it less than wholesome, which is to say, healthy. The failure to appreciate the irreducible WE of the subjective horizon would have to constitute the most conspicuous hole in the materialist metaphysic.

Indeed, even if you disagree with me, you need someone -- me -- with whom to disagree. I know. Ironic.

Clarke writes of "the experience, without which none of us could be truly human, of knowing other human beings as equally real with ourselves....

"This experience can be condensed as follows: I know that we are, that we are like each other, that we can engage in meaningful communication with each other." In short, subjectivity is always intersubjectivity, so that in a way, love is simply the radical ratification of being. Or in other words, it (being) is good!

And please note that the existence of this WE could never be known unless first lived. To live outside the WE is no more conceivable for us than trying to imagine the consciousness of a reptile, or the color of sound.

Not that it matters in terms of the truth which cannot not be, but it is interesting that science is catching up with the trinitarian nature of a cosmos that is substance-in-relation, or "self-communicating active presence."

This is laid out in a recent book called Mimesis and Science: Empirical Research on Imitation and the Mimetic Theory of Culture and Religion. I don't know that I can recommend it, since it doesn't affirm anything that isn't covered in our bʘʘk in a much more thoroughly frivolous manner.

The scientific upshot is that the primordial We of the mother-infant dyad is the portal to "more complex social, cultural, and representational abilities." Not I think, therefore I am, but we are, therefore I am, and the resultant We can lift us above the closed circle of neurology, such that we may think about thinking.

Speaking of miracles, of the self-expression of being, and of the cosmic journey, yesterday I read a fascinating article in the latest National Review (dead link) about a contemporary American composer and pianist named Michael Hersch. You'll want to read the whole thing, but here is a man who seems very much in awe of the miraculous gift he has been given:

He sits down to play his massive and monumental piano work The Vanishing Pavilions.... It is apocalyptic, visionary, and staggering. And it takes approximately two and a half hours to play. Hersch does not play it all, in this pre‑concert concert. He plays excerpts, a little suite. And he plays it with his prodigious technique, one that draws gasps. Apparently, his fingers can do whatever his brain commands.
He was not a child prodigy, and didn't discover his gift until the late age (for classical music) of 18, at which time it was somehow waiting there, not only fully formed but unspoiled by the kind of drudgery that might have been imposed by more agenda-driven, or less child-centered, parents:

I didn’t look at it as, ‘I have so much to catch up on.’ People sometimes say, ‘You started so late, it must have been daunting.’ But I wasn’t thinking in terms of chronology or lost years. I was just overjoyed at my luck. I had found this world, and I had it all to explore.

'His parents, he says, have "caught a lot of flak from people who think, ‘What if he had started at four or five?’ Well, maybe I would have burned out.”

Remarkably, he doesn't have to practice in order to play even the most difficult pieces, nor does he "struggle to compose, but he does need time. He cannot be rushed. He works on a piece in his head until it’s ready. Then he writes it down, with no revision. It took almost a year to write down The Vanishing Pavilions, which runs more than 300 pages."

Hersch speaks of how "the music is lying dormant, waiting for you. You can activate it anytime, simply by engaging with it”; and of how "it just anguishes me that there are so many people out there, possibly, who could have been like me, or are like me, who weren’t fortunate enough to have a brother who would say, ‘You need to sit down and listen to Beethoven.’ What about all the people who are just as talented as I am, or more talented, and didn’t have the opportunity?”

Now, there's a guy who doesn't waste his time wondering if miracles exist. Rather, he just enjoys them.

Monday, August 05, 2019

What's Before and After Science?

Just as there are people we call uncultured, there are folks we would call un-cosmoed. Ironically, more often than not, it is the most cultured person who is the least cosmoed.

Likewise, uncultured people often implicitly retain their cosmic perspective, which is one of the reasons why so many deplorables are repelled by the deplorable left.

Contemporary liberalism is provincial, ahistorical, and unphilosophical in the extreme, which is why there is usually so much more wisdom in a simple person of faith than there is in the tenured herd and the media mob.

An uncultured person is what? Related words include countrified, unlearned, unrefined, unsophisticated, roughhewn, raw, -- but also, in a wholly positive sense, natural, unartificial, guileless, pristine, unsullied. Likewise, we know the positive connotations of cultured, but the latter can also veer into sophistry, intellectualism, artifice, decadence, and, in these latter days, mere conformity to intellectual fashion.

So much of contemporary debate can be cast in these terms of cultured-uncultured. It is a major source of the left's toxic arrogance, and why they simply cannot conceal their contempt for half the country, and condescension for the other half. Or, they treat half the country as if it is stupid, the other half as if it is evil.

Now, what is an uncosmoed person? I would think that first and foremost it is someone who imagines he can enclose the cosmos in some little manmade ideology -- who imagines he has demystified the cosmos just because he has memorized a few words and concepts such as "big bang," or "DNA," or "natural selection," or who simply fails to draw out the implications of everyday words such as "person," or "love," or "truth," or "beauty," or "universe."

Each of the latter is an irreducible mystery, in the sense that we only imagine we have banished a mystery by saturating it with some readymade ideological content.

But mystery itself is a mystery, in that it is a mode of knowledge, not a problem to be solved. Indeed, life without mystery would be unendurable. Give me mystery or give me ego death (but I repeat myself)!

Mysticism is the empiricism of transcendent knowledge.

Mystery is less disturbing than the fatuous attempt to exclude it by stupid explanations.

The mystic is the only one who is seriously ambitious (NGD).

Another way of conceptualizing this whole area is to say that man is always and everywhere metaphysical; even if we don't want to be, we can't avoid it. It's one of those modalities into which we are necessarily plunged, like space, time, matter, language, gender (one of two) and intersubjectivity (two of one).

It says here in this book on Man and Metaphysics that

the geometer or the mathematician could never have laid a true foundation for his discipline, however rigorous it may be at its own level, without recourse to metaphysics in the form of an affirmation of the existence of God as the locus or creator of the eternal verities.

Unless your rigorous discipline just hangs there suspended in mid-air, with no sufficient reason or transcendent ground. If that is the case, then you need to explain how it could be the case. But they never do. Which is about as sophisticated as thinking that babies are delivered by a stork. Truth, they must imagine, just grows on truth trees.

This or that science studies one particular aspect of being, from physics to chemistry to biology. But the object of metaphysics is being as such as opposed to such and such a being. Its object is everything, and in order to approach it, we need to do so with our own transcendent unity and totality. We need All We Are in order to be adequate to the Everything That Is. This includes reason, of course, but also experiential knowledge of transcendent realities, AKA mysticism. Either the soul of man forever escapes any attempt to contain it in reason, or reason defies logic (see Gödel for details).

Here is how Schuon defines mystery. See if you don't agree:

By ‘mystery’ we do not mean something incomprehensible in principle -- unless it be on the purely rational level -- but something which opens on to the Infinite, or which is envisaged in this respect, so that intelligibility becomes limitless and humanly inexhaustible. A mystery is always ‘something of God’ (Gnosis: Divine Wisdom).

Again: mystery is a mode of intellection, but not a mode the typical intellectual will endorse, since it is an affront to the narcissistic co-opting of the intellect for purely egoic -- or defensive -- purposes.

In the past I have discussed how, just as there are psychological defense mechanisms that apply to the lower vertical, there are what we might call "pneumatological defense mechanisms" that apply to the upper vertical, e.g., pride and envy. In many ways, we could say that sin by definition obscures the metaphysical object, and that there are intellectual sins no less than sins of the will. Again, you will have noticed how grandiose and narcissistic are so many "intellectuals," such that their own gifted intellect negates itself at the root.

In any event, "intellectualization" is one defense mechanism that is deployed in both directions, the upper and lower vertical. Wiki defines it as

a defense mechanism where reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress, by 'using excessive and abstract ideation to avoid difficult feelings'. It involves removing one's self, emotionally, from a stressful event. Intellectualization may accompany, but 'differs from rationalization, which is justification of irrational behavior through cliches, stories, and pat explanation.'

One can glean at a glance how both intellectualization and rationalization would apply to the upper vertical, in particular, vis-a-vis the New Atheists armed with their rationalistic "cliches, stories, and pat explanations." Which leads us back to our discussion of Brendan Purcell's From Big Bang to Big Mystery: Human Origins in the Light of Creation and Evolution, which then veered into an extended Voegelinapalooza.

By the very title, one can appreciate that the author is a deeply cosmoed man coming from a cosmic perspective. I just opened the book to page 98, where we seem to have left off in our discussion, and Purcell (borrowing from Lonergan) is discussing what he calls the "scotosis" of scientism, which is to say, its ontological blind spot, i.e., "the non-occurance of relevant insights for whatever reason," and "the reality eclipsed because not questioned."

In short, in any form of scientism, there is a hole where reality should be, but which is filled with ideology -- similar to the scotoma we all have in our field of vision, where the optic nerve connects to the eyeball. Without even being consciously aware of it, our brains just paper over the hole and create the illusion of continuity.

Think of the scotosis that results from any attempt to reduce the cosmos to its mathematical elements; to do so is to reduce quality to quantity, semantics to syntax, and ultimately subject to object. But then there's no subject left to understand and appreciate the mysterious and beautiful math. Nor taste the delicious irony. (Note also that the scotoma of scientism can fashion a prison or serve as an escape hatch, once the hole is recognized.)

A more balanced and reasonable -- not to say nuanced -- view would be closer to the one enunciated by Pope John Paul II in 1991 (quoted by Purcell):

Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and from false absolutes. Each can help the other to enter into a more complete world, where both can prosper.

Here it isn't just a matter of rejoining left and right brains and east and west hemispheres, although that's no doubt part of it. Rather, the real action is vertical and hierarchical, and lies in keeping things in perspective. The uncosmoed person always lacks perspective, since the cosmic is the ultimate perspective (excluding the perspective of God, since we can't see from that particular vertex).

Thursday, August 01, 2019

I Took the Pill Less Swallowed, and That Has Made All the Difference

So, back when these posts were written, they were intended to be permanent, i.e., etched in eternity, since they go to unchanging principles that guide man and govern the cosmos. While this may sound grandiose, it is actually what thought is: conformity of the mind to reality. If we have no access to reality (a la Kant), then the mind only conforms to itself, and we are reduced to the cognitive onanism of the media-tenure complex.

Nor does this mean I'm not grandiose. Rather, I'm just honest about it. In all humility.

As we've said many times in many ways, knowledge -- whether of truth, beauty, or virtue -- is an adequation. If it isn't, then we are irreversibly plunged into absolute relativism, which is to say, ineradicable stupidity. That knowledge is an adequation is probably the most important Fact of the Cosmos, or at least I can't think of a higher or deeper one, since without it no real knowledge (knowledge of reality) is possible.

Is knowledge of reality possible? Yes or no. Take your choice: red pill blue pill. Depending upon your choice, you will inhabit mutually exclusive worlds. Which isn't quite accurate, since no one can consistently say No to reality. I believe the following post touches on this question, but you will have noticed that no modern -ism or -ology can be intellectually or spiritually consistent.

Rather, these folks are always cafeteria cretins who want to have their crock and eat it too. The left is always appealing to God-given rights while denying they exist.

I think we can all agree that existence is a problem. But only for man. Even -- or especially -- Stalin knew that "no man, no problem." Thus, we shift the blame by focusing on existence. In reality, the problem is man. Yes, to borrow one of the left's favorite adjectives, man is problematic.

Back to the Yes/No, Red Pill/Blue Pill dichtotomy. Our metaphysic accounts for both, in that, on the one hand we are created in the image and likeness of God, while on the other are fallen beings. Thus, our minds have the potential to conform to reality; or not. Which is another way of saying that we are vertically free to act against our own interests. If we aren't free to choose badly, then we aren't free at all.

The previous post left off with the assertion that the lofty goals of lefty gnostics "need not be understood very precisely."

In fact, this mystagoguery isn't optional for the political gnostic, since both the goal and the means will be seen as dangerous or cuckoo if spelled out in detail. It's not a bug but a feature. Look at the hostility directed at the two or three "moderates" in Tuesday's debate. No intoxicated gnostic who is drunk on power wants these buzzkillers around. You can't simultaneously pretend to save the world and be sober at the same time.

Expressed another way, the political gnostic needs to arouse and enlist emotion without engaging the critical intellect. Or, if intellect is involved, it must be in conformity with deeper emotional prejudices.

This is why political differences have much more to do with culture than with fact and logic. We talk about a "culture war" as part of a wider political conflict, but it's really the other way around: the political war is a subset of the culture war.

I just recently read a book called Four Cultures of the West that adds some useful insights, one of which is that the cultural container is just as important as the content.

For example, during the "religious wars" of the 16th and 17th centuries, religion was just a pretext to unleash violence and barbarism that had more to do with cultural differences than with religious doctrine. As O'Malley explains, different cultures were "doing battle with one another under the cover of religious polemics."

That line struck me, because it applies equally to the present, in which divergent sub-cultures are battling one another under the cover of political polemics. This is much easier for a conservative to appreciate than it is for a liberal, since liberals are always blinded by the conceit that their ideas and policies are entirely rational, "reality-based," and universal.

It is difficult for barbarous liberals to recognize they're actually part of a tribe, despite the fact that they openly embrace the neo-tribalism of identity politics. They are under the influence of deeper springs of kinship and xenophobia, even while projecting these into conservatives.

Consider this typical example dissected by Taranto (second story down), a "lurid fantasy" penned by some liberal hysteric who imagines that the people who disagree with him constitute a tiny and irrelevant minority fit only to inhabit reservations. In other words, half the country should confine itself to self-enclosed ghettos. What's especially ironic is that we already have self-enclosed ghettos crawling with political eccentrics and gnostic fringe dwellers. But maybe he never went to college.

Indeed, it is an enduring theme on the left that the mere fact of conservatism requires some sort of pseudo-scientific explanation, since the ideas and principles it promulgates needn't be taken seriously. Thus, the two cultures are often operating on different levels. Conservatives argue fact and logic, but liberals ignore this in favor of a hermeneutical/deconstructive approach that "interprets" what conservatives are "really saying."

For example, when we say we cherish the liberal principle of racial color-blindness, they interpret this as a cover for racial bigotry. Or, when we suggest it is a dangerously radical thing to redefine the essential unit of civilization, they interpret this as "homophobia." When we say that we don't believe women are an oppressed minority, they interpret this as misogyny. Defending our natural rights under the first amendment is just a pretext to engage in "hate speech" (which is really violence).

More generally, what we call "reality" they dismiss as a "talking point." For truly, the principle talking point of the left is that "truth" is just another talking point.

Here again, the left wages a culture war without even knowing it. Nor do they engage on the plane of ideas, but only pretend to do so. For them, there is no need to actually do the math to determine if an unconstitutional "wealth tax" will do anything to mitigate our fiscal calamity. Rather, this is just another prog-whistle that only the envious can hear.

The four cultures described by O'Malley are the prophetic, the academic/professional, the humanistic, and the artistic. Ironically, there is a huge culture war between these first two that goes mostly unacknowledged, at least on the left.

For example, there is no way to reconcile the intellectually suicidal relativism and deconstruction of the humanities with the cheap omniscience of scientistic know-it-alls who can't explain how we can even know a single thing.

This leads to all sorts of interesting conflicts, for example, that sexual orientation is genetically fixed and yet gender is just a cultural construct imposed upon us.

One could also the cite the Darwinian principle that homosexuality is the one thing that should never occur in a natural system revolving around reproductive success vs. the romantic idea that there can never be anything unnatural about any form of sexuality.

Of the prophetic idiom, O'Malley writes that "fundamentalists both religious and secular are comfortable here," for "it is the culture, above all, of the reformer decrying injustice and corruption in high places."

It is the culture that denounces the existing order while holding out vague but grandiose "promises of better times to come," i.e., weaponized hopenchange. It is "the culture of great expectations, expectations that surpass anything that seems humanly possible." And it is always gnostic, since it is "revealed to the few, hidden from the many."

Here is where extremes truly meet, e.g., the gnostic flower girl Marianne Williamson and the floridly gnostic Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

Monday, July 29, 2019

On Becoming Homo (?)ian

Our church recently had a rummage sale, and I snatched up about a dozen or more volumes from the 20th Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism -- basically all the ones you'd need in order to create a cosmos just like ours. Consider the titles, in ascending order: The Creation. What is Life? The Origins of Man. Primitive and Prehistoric Religions. Spiritual Writers of the Early Church. Who is the Devil? What is an Angel? The Origins of Christian Philosophy. Man and Metaphysics. Etc.

Some volumes are pretty good, others a little wooly. However, to paraphrase the Aphorist, Christianity may not not solve every earthly problem, but it is the only doctrine that raises and endeavors to address them all. Think of it: is there any other contemporary philosophy that even pretends to address the questions of our origins, nature, destiny, and purpose in a systematic and intellectually satisfying manner? Consider the alternatives: materialism, scientism, Darwinism, Marx and all his retarded progeny. Those are all nice philosophies, except they don't apply to this cosmos or to human beings.

Anyway, maybe I'll try to work in some of this new material as we proceed in unearthing and revisiting the old....

"By gnostic movements," Voegelin is referring to such ersatz religions as "progressivism, positivism, Marxism," not to mention "communism, fascism, and national socialism." He tosses in psychoanalysis, which is only half-true (but more true when this was written in 1960), and would require some lengthy qualifications, so we won't go there. At least for long.

Suffice it to say that there was a time when psychoanalysis took on the trappings of a hierarchical, gnostic cult that had all the answers to life's conflicts and enigmas, with analogous rituals such as sacrifice (of money), descent into the netherworld (of the unconscious), forgiveness, rebirth, and initiation. It can become a kind of closed world, which is precisely when it becomes pneumopathological (as is true of any open system that closes itself to the vertical and horizontal Real).

[And it is entirely possible that it has reverted to form in the 25 years since I last had any intimate contact with that world. Like the rest of the humanities, I suspect it has been hijacked by the left and rendered inane if not demonic -- or both, like deconstruction, feminism, African-American studies, etc.]

For me, the psychoanalyst W.R. Bion provided the means of escape from psychoanalysis without invalidating it. It's too bad something analogous can't happen with Darwinists and other reductionoids, since it is simply a statement of fact that no ideology can enclose the soul, unless the soul wants to be enclosed, which is to say, swaddled in twaddle, muffled in piffle, and cocooned in buffoonery. When one realizes this (?!), it is either liberating or terrifying, depending on how badly one is in need of an intellectual onesie.

[For what is man, really? Homo sapiens? Homo faber? Homo lumens? Homo religiosus? Good questions. One could indeed say Homo (?)ian, for enclose him as you will in theory, he can always ask another why? And why is that? Because man is simultaneously finite and aware of the infinite. He knows when you're trying to pull the natural wool over his transnatural I AM.]

[Something in man always transcends nature, or he is no longer man. Deny it and you have transcended it. Man "in his being is an addition to nature: Homo additus naturae" (Man and Metaphysics). Or, viewing our predicament from right-side up, creation is a prolongation of the Logos in which man participates. As we've pointed out on many occasions, viewed from the bottom up the cosmos contains a number of unbridgeable gaps and disconinuities. Viewed from the top down the discontinuities are seen as necessary distinctions in the spectrum between absolute and relative.]

From whom did Bob borrow the preconceptual symbol O, and why? (In this context, "preconceptual" means an innate category of thought awaiting experience in order to be real-ized.) Bion:

I shall use the sign O to denote that which is the ultimate reality represented by terms such as ultimate reality, absolute truth, the godhead, the infinite, the thing-in-itself. O does not fall in the domain of knowledge or learning save incidentally; it can 'become,' but it cannot be 'known.' It is darkness and formlessness but it enters the domain K when it has evolved to a point where it can be known, through knowledge gained by experience.

Similarly, "the reader must disregard what I say until the O of the experience of reading has evolved to a point where the actual events of reading issue in his interpretation of the experiences."

[This applies, for example, whenever we use the term "God." For clearly, God by definition can never be contained by any thought, concept, idea, or experience. And yet we can obviously have "knowledge of God," which is none other than O-->(k). Dogma, you might say, is (k)-->O. It clearly has its place, but it must be complemented by O-->(k), or risk becoming static and sterile. You know the old gag: "faith seeking understanding," or (o) seeking O-->(k).]

[O] stands for the absolute truth in and of any object; it is assumed that this cannot be known by any human being; it can be known about, its presence can be recognized and felt, but it cannot be known. It is possible to be at one with it. That it exists is an essential postulate of science but it cannot be scientifically discovered.... The religious mystics have probably approximated most closely to expression of experience of it. Its existence is as essential to science as it is to religion (ibid).

It exists is an essential postulate of science but it cannot be scientifically discovered. That's what you call a key principle. The typical muddleheaded materialist will deny what he can never actually do without, which is to say, Absolute Reality:

The whole of human history is evidence of how man is never in fact without an absolute and how the real problem becomes one of correctly defining the nature of the meaning of something which reason itself is tireless in seeking and evoking (Man and Metaphysics).

[Thus, "If you don't believe in Spirit you will believe in Matter -- and in spirits under the counter!" In short, every man has a religion and can't help having a religion. Identify a man's absolute, and the rest falls into place. "Our freethinkers are less free than they suppose, and are still very religious, though devotees of religions which flourished many centuries before our own era" (Origins of Christian Philosophy.)]

You can see how Bion would be considered controversial among fellow analysts, especially the old-school ones of the time who were well up in the hierarchy of the Church of Psychoanalysis. The peevish poobahs whose pride and identity revolve around their superior intellects don't generally like to be informed that they not only know nothing, but that what they know is a kind of cowardly lyin' in the face of the uncontainable Wizardry of O.

Back to Voegelin. He writes that none of the above-noted gnostic nostrums "began as a mass movement." Rather, they always begin with some intellectual clown, or posse of clowns, who tries to enclose O and thereby drink the ocean. If their arguments were compelling, then no one would have to be forced to accept them, which shows the lack of intellect at the heart of this destructive intellectualism.

You will have noticed that Obama always speaks as if everything he says, believes, and prescribes is self-evident. But again, if it were true, then no one would have to be forced to accept it. If he actually had faith in truth, then he would simply express it and wait for others to nod in agreement, as they did back in college.

One conspicuous irony -- and this is vividly displayed in the rantings of Obama's spiritual mentor -- is that these types of political religions are ultimately "modifications of the Christian idea of perfection" (Voegelin). For the Christian, life is a pilgrimage toward a goal that isn't attainable in this world, even though it is the source and vector of meaning in this world.

In this context, one could say that time -- its human structure and meaning -- is a measure of the distance between man and God: "The Christian looks at creation as irreversible in time, directed toward a definite end, namely its divinization, and with no return" (Origins of C. P.). Time and creation are vectorial.

But gnostic man simply transposes this journey to the immanent plane, which thereby becomes both his axis in space and his destiny -- or his fate -- in time. Instead of the pilgrimage of cosmotheosis, life is reduced to a vain exercise in cosmobliteration; or, as we've said before, cutting off your nous to spite the face before you were born.

Classical liberty and progressive liberation turn out to be opposites. For to be liberated from O is like being liberated from gravity -- exciting at first, until the oxygen -- and money -- runs out.

When the teleological component is immanentized, the chief emphasis of the gnostic-political idea lies on the forward movement, on the movement toward a goal of perfection in this world. The goal itself need not be understood very precisely; it may consist of no more than the idealization of this or that aspect of the situation, considered valuable by the thinker in question (Voegelin).

Of the prophetic idiom, O'Malley writes that "fundamentalists both religious and secular are comfortable here," for "it is the culture, above all, of the reformer decrying injustice and corruption in high places."

It is the culture that denounces the existing order, while holding out vague but grandiose "promises of better times to come," i.e., weaponized hopenchange. It is "the culture of great expectations, expectations that surpass anything that seems humanly possible." And it is usually gnostic, since it is "revealed to the few, hidden from the many." Which brings us full circle and ends this post: the enemy of Homo (?)ian is the man who collapses the space between ? and O.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

If You're Going to Strike at God, It Helps to Kill Man First

Picking up where we left off with the previous post -- in fact, let's continue downstream from its last sentence: "Indeed, this seething [politico-psychic] frustration is probably a permanent feature of deicide, as the murderers vainly attempt to force transcendence to be immanence, which is of course impossible."

Naturally, attempts at the impossible will result in frustration, and frustration is one of the causes of anger. Statements like that are why I have a PhD in psychology and you don't.

Come to think of it, another source of anger is "comparison," especially in a free country in which we are supposed to be equal. Ironically, there is less anger in highly stratified societies than there is in free ones, because in the latter you have no excuse for your failure.

Consider the race riots that only began in the mid-60s, precisely when the impediments to achievement were falling like dominoes. And the anger is only more institutionalized today, when economic prospects are better than ever for the disciplined and talented, irrespective of race. And why on earth would feminists be angry? (Hint: it has nothing to do with the world outside their heads.) Just because you fail to achieve, it doesn't mean you didn't have the potential to have done so with more prudent decisions.

Now, if one wants to make sure that God's not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead, one must somehow go after and eradicate the psycho-pneumatic matrix out of which contact with, and experience of, God emerges. One must sow the divine ground with salt, so to speak, such that nothing grows and (equally important) nothing grows (i.e., the literal expansion of nihilism which we've seen over the last six decades or so).

For Marx and his contemporary heirheads, God can be nothing more than a fanciful human projection. Therefore, our proper task is to withdraw the projections and thereby reclaim the psychic substance we've dribbled away via this psychic process. In short, the best way to kill a god is to become one.

Ironically, both religion and anti-religion posit a new kind of man, a novel cosmic development. For example, in Ephesians, Paul advises us to take off the old man and put on the new.

Indeed, remaining in the old man's shoes is identified with mental futility, while shedding the old coot is both a cause and consequence of vertical renewal via our participation in the divine grace.

Just so, the (hello,) NewMan of the left isn't just devoid of religious delusions, but "has taken God back into his being. The 'non-man,' who has illusions, becomes fully human by absorbing the 'superman.'"

Hence the breathtaking arrogance of the left, which they truly cannot help. After all, when one is the center of the universe, it's a little difficult to hide one's light under a bushel.

An essay by Doctor Zero, The [lower case r] republican virtue of humility [deceased link] touches on this theme. You might say that the new man of the left barters away his abstract freedom in exchange for something a little more concrete -- power, cash, privilege, or other valuable prizes.

Doing so is "only natural," whereas placing ultimate value in something as nebulous as "negative liberty" (i.e., our sacred rights conferred by the Creator) is only supernatural. Thus, under our Constitution you can't choose to be a slave, but you can get around this by choosing to have masters. At the moment, some two dozen Democrats are competing to be your master (or mistress). Each wants to limit your constitutional rights in order to expand your unconstitutional ones, such as free college, free healthcare, and punishing or rewarding groups based upon a hierarchy of racial grievance.

Back to Voegelin. He writes (quoting Bottomore) that "The struggle against religion is therefore a struggle against that world of which religion is the spiritual aroma." (Note that we don't so much project into God as he does into us.)

This is why leftist culture is every bit as iconoclastic as the Taliban thugs who blew up those magnificent Buddhist statutes. The left does the same thing with language in particular. As I've said before, the first victim of the left is always the poor dictionary -- that is, the plain meaning of things -- but the dictionary is only an emanation of the logos, so we're back to deicide.

The left is a lexicographical tactic more than an ideological strategy.

And The progressive travels around among literary works as the Puritan did among cathedrals: with hammer in hand.

Again, fascism involves the violent rejection of transcendence; although I suppose we should qualify that, since Islamofascism -- or most any other kind of "religious fascism" -- involves a violent rejection of immanence.

In any event, for the liberal fascist, "once the world beyond truth has disappeared," it is necessary "to establish the truth of this world" (Bottomore, in Voegelin). Never mind that truth is always transcendent. That's none of your business. As the barbarians of the Jihad Squad might say, just grab your hammer and get with the pogrom!

For once the center of power has shifted from God to man, from transcendent to immanent, "it seeks not to refute but to annihilate" (ibid.).

And this is where the real action -- or acting out, rather -- begins, for "Here speaks the will to murder of the gnostic magician.... critique is no longer rational debate. Sentence has been passed; the execution follows" (ibid.).

The political platforms of the left are gradually transformed into scaffolds.

For The cult of Humanity is celebrated with human sacrifices.

The new man of the left, because he has taken what can only abide beyond into himself, "experiences himself as existing outside of institutional bonds and obligations." Like Kamala or Bernie, it's Laws for thee, exceptions for me.

As in the French Revolution, things can get out of hand pretty quickly, as the will to murder lashes out in all directions, and the fickle finger of fatwa falls on whom it will. Every normal person and personal norm gets a turn in the progressive barrel. There's no logic to it except for the underlying will to annihilate. Remember that Satan is 1, a liar, and 2, a murderer, the second always justified and facilitated by the first.

Now, political correctness is fundamentally a War on Noticing, so no one is supposed to be cognizant of any of this, hence the institutional amnesia of the media-academic complex, which restricts consciousness to the momentary in time and the immanent in space, AKA the Narrative.

In the words of Voegelin, "the being of the world and ego is restricted to the knowledge of the immediate or existent." It isn't just "radically anti-philosophical" but "a work of magic."

On the grave of the murdered God the golem is celebrating a ghastly ritual.... The goal has been attained.... This is the closing act of the order of being when gnostic magicians lay hands on it. --Voegelin

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Nietzsche in Reverse

In his parable of the madman, Nietzsche implies that one must be both a little crazy and ahead of one's time to recognize that God is dead -- like a wild-eyed prophet, really, bearing the stark news that men are not yet prepared to accept:

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?," he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers."

But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns?

Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us -- for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.

[Comment from the future present: I had a guffah-ha! experience the other day while reading this excellent essay on Dávila, highlighting his link to Nietzsche, his twin aphorist from a different father:

For all his talk about the Church and civilization, why was this conservative and reactionary thinker likened to Nietzsche? For one, several of Gómez Dávila’s aphorisms seem to be responses pointed at Nietzsche’s philosophy: “The death of God is an interesting opinion, but one that does not affect God.” One student describes Gómez Dávila as an interlocutor of Nietzsche, because they are both confronted with the same problem of transcendence within humanity. According to Gómez Dávila, the suicidal factor of modernity to which society had become most accustomed consisted of “shooting a bullet into the soul,” killing God. Modern man had replaced God with a label, “humanity” that represented nothing: “Many love humanity only in order to forget God with a clear conscience,” he wrote.

But Gómez Dávila was no nihilist, though he was a cynic and Epicurean. He was sympathetic to Nietzsche, writing that “Nietzsche would be the only noble inhabitant of a derelict world. Only his choice could be exposed without shame to the resurrection of God.” For Gómez Dávila, Nietzsche’s inquiry was an honest one; it destroyed him and proved the importance of hierarchy: From Nietzsche’s commitment to criticize morality and uphold perspectivism came the possibility to recognize man’s finiteness, and this is represented in Nietzsche’s tragic spiritual collapse. In many ways, Nietzsche had correctly assessed the problems of modernity when he dismissed the importance of God: Gómez Dávila wrote, “Reading Nietzsche as a response is not understanding him. Nietzsche is an immense interrogation.”

It was Nietzsche’s nihilism, and the “suicidal” impulse of the West that chose doubt and cowardice over faith that paved the way for a true rediscovery of God, although we are still trying to get there. Gómez Dávila does not view Western civilization’s course as irreversible: His aphorisms demonstrate his view that there is hope for the future because it is connected to a redemption that can only come about through the questioning or outright denial of God. From this point, it is possible to bring about a resumption of the natural order of things. Perhaps this is the task that Gómez Dávila envisioned for the conservative, the reactionary, or the philosopher.

You might say Nietzsche was the last honest atheist. You might also say that honesty is one of the names of God -- or that honesty is of course ordered to the very truth that is unthinkable in the absence of God. No wonder he went insane. But insanity is one of the two honest responses to atheism, the other being suicide.]

Again, Nietzsche is refreshingly candid, not to mention poetic, about the implications of deicide. I'll take a deicidal literary genius any day over an atheistic mediocrity, because at least the former points up and out in spite of himself. In other words, to deny God is to have transcended the material world (and let us not forget that transcendence proceeds in both vertical directions, which is why man is the only creature who can sink beneath himself).

The problem with our contemporary atheists is that they are shaped by an altogether different culture than was Nietzsche, essentially the cramped world of scientism instead of the wider world of art, letters, and literature. You might say that the styleless style of contemporary atheism that flows from vulgar scientism is just too facile to be true. With a little education, anyone can believe it, which our trolls prove. To put it another way, nothing can be as easy as atheism, let alone everything.

Being an intellectually consistent atheist poses as much -- if not more -- of a challenge than being a consistent theist. After all, a theist has the aid of heaven, whereas the atheist must accomplish his promethean -- not to say sisyphean -- task on his own. (Interesting that no matter where man goes, myth has been there first, from stealing light to rolling stones. Myth always comprehends man more than man comprehends myth, unlike, say, science, where this relation is reversed.)

In a way, the mythic situation sketched out by Nietzsche parallels the situation of Adam, or, if one prefers, the first man who awakened to his manhood and thereby became one. These questions confront any man qua man, e.g., Where are we moving? Is there any actual direction, or is this a meaningless question? Is there any up or down, or any vertical at all? Are we not floating, as through an infinite nothing? And how shall we comfort ourselves? What means of atonement, what sacred rituals shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of man too great for a mere man, an unimpressive biped who learned to yap just yesterday and hasn't shut up since? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of our manhood?

If it is true that myth shapes man -- that there exist preconceptual categories through which thought courses -- then each man is heir to the ontological inclinations of all men, irrespective of whether one calls it theism or atheism. Thus, we have "prophets of atheism" such as madman Nietzsche, who has more in common with a prophet of God than with the contemporary atheistic scribbler.

Now, man in his natural state is spontaneously oriented to God. This is something no one could deny, because the anthropological evidence proves there is no culture without the conception of an absolute that accounts for the genesis of the cosmos, the purpose of existence, and the means of salvation.

That being the case, in order for the madman prophet of atheism to succeed, he must not only murder God, but destroy the very conditions that make God necessary. Because if he doesn't eliminate those conditions, then they will continue to evoke God.

Consider a physiological analogy. You can ban sweets, but so long as human beings have a sweet tooth, they will keep discovering and being drawn to sweets.

Continuing with the analogy, the dietary madman can't just ban sweets, but must flood the world with anti-sweets propaganda, so that a kind of unnatural aversion is superimposed over the natural attraction.

Ideology functions in the same way, for example, vis-a-vis the LGBTQETC agenda. In order to transform something everyone knows is unnatural into something natural, the instinct of aversion must be displaced, which is how and why "homophobia" was invented. I suppose there are a handful of true homophobes with psychological issues of their own -- people with an infrarational (and not transrational) animus toward homosexuals -- but the real purpose of the homophobia accusation is to shame and pathologize normalcy. Similarly, if Islam really means what it says, why wouldn't someone be Islamophobic? (And recall that phobos is fear, not hatred.)

So in order to truly eradicate God, we must amputate, excise, or in some way annihilate that part of man that is spontaneously oriented toward his creator and source. We have seen how this works in America over the past seventy-five years or so, whereby the legal system now functions in this overtly destructive manner.

To take just one absurd example that comes to mind, a few years ago the County of Los Angeles was forced (not that there was any resistance on the County's part) by the court to remove a tiny cross from its official seal, which required millions of dollars to track down every last seal on every car, every office door, every building, every piece of stationery. The cross had always been there, as it is a banal historical fact that the territory was settled by Spanish missionaries, but as always, history must bow before ideology. Plus, you know, the government has so much money anyway, we don't know what to do with it. After all, we only have 60,000 homeless people living in Los Angeles alone...

In Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, Voegelin explains how it all goes down. It is the task of the ideological historian,

once the world beyond truth has disappeared, to establish the truth of this world. Thus, the critique of heaven is transformed into the critique of earth; the critique of religion, into the critique of law; the critique of theology, into the critique of politics (Bottomore, italics in original).

Note that this is no longer a disinterested quest for truth as we have come to understand it, but a kind of mental or psycho-spiritual activism; it is no longer theory, but practice:

Its subject is its enemy, which it seeks not to refute, but to annihilate.... It no longer acts as an end in itself, but only as a means. Its essential emotion is indignation; its essential task is denunciation (ibid).

Boy, is that true. In another book I was reading this weekend, I came across this little wisecrack, that "Indignation usually erupts into exaggeration." Over the past three years we've seen how the Trump-derangement of the left has transformed its seething hordes of simpleminded imbeciles into even simpler imbeciles convulsed by even more hatred than usual. It hasn't worked thus far, so expect the seething to be cranked up to 11 until the 2020 election and beyond. Indeed, this seething frustration is probably a permanent feature of deicide, as the murderers vainly attempt to force transcendence to be immanence, which is of course impossible.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Leftism is the Solution to the Pathologies it Engenders

On purely logical and dispassionate grounds, the existence of thought is a cruel hoax in the absence of God. Put conversely, to engage in thought is to implicitly posit God.

Except to say the hoax can't be cruel, since there is no one responsible for this impractical joke. Rather, it's just an unnecessary, superfluous, and annoying activity that interferes with the real action of existence, which is to say food and sex, and the power to obtain them.

It is therefore ironic that the people who most insist that thought has no ultimate significance are the most certain of the ultimate truth of their own insignificant thought. For the restavus, we have only faith, not certitude, (o) not (ø).

The world seems so obviously defective, why should it make sense? In other words, perhaps all the disorder in and around us results from the fact that the disorder is built into the cake. We look for truth, for meaning, for order, but in vain, since there is none to be had. Our search for meaning is an itch that cannot be scratched; or worse, it is like phantom limb pain, so it is an itch with no source.

That's certainly one way of looking at it, and we actually respect the person who looks at it this way, so long as he truly lives by it -- Nietzsche, for example.

One of Nietzsche's finer qualities was that he at least had the good sense to merely go insane instead of trying to impose his insanity on the rest of us, as do the many existentialists who have followed in his wake.

If you want to go nuts, hey, go nuts! But what gives you the right to impose your insanity on the collective? What, are you nuts? What if we don't wish to be rescued by a bunch of statist nuts?

Aphorisms:

Social problems are the delightful refuge of those fleeing from their own problems.

As such, In order to enslave the people the politician needs to convince them that all their problems are “social.”

And The more severe the problems, the greater the number of incompetents that a democracy calls forth to solve them.

Therefore, Social salvation is near when each one admits that he can only save himself.

This gets to the nub of Voegelin's argument in Science, Politics, & Gnosticism. In it he has a chapter called The Murder of God. It's peculiar that something that doesn't exist needs to be murdered at all, but that's just one more irony lost on the left. Shoot first, ask questions never.

In order to solve a murder, you need to discern what? Motive, means, and opportunity. What could be the motive for this deicide? Hatred? Yes, but of what? Can't be God, can it?

Voegelin writes that the aim of political gnosticism "is to destroy the order of being, which is experienced as defective and unjust, and through man's creative power to replace it with a perfect and just order." The left simultaneously denies existential problems and pretends they are susceptible to political solutions.

Now, if there is no God, then there is no intrinsic order, not to mention any basis for justice. Therefore, injustice and disorder are precisely what we should expect to see, and we have no right to expect otherwise. There's no crying in Darwinism. Deal with it.

Conversely, for the believer, order is necessary, disorder contingent. In fact, disorder has its own necessity -- "relative necessity," as it were -- because it is not the Order, precisely, but a deviation from it. Everyone and everything necessarily falls short of its ideal, since we are creature, not Creator.

Therefore, for us, the existence of disorder is a banality, not a crisis per se. Indeed, most of us learn by the age of seven or eight that "life's not fair," and move on. Others become Democrats.

The task of man is indeed to "repair the world" (ticoon Olam), but this is because there is an ideal, precisely. It is not for us to reinvent the world order, because that's not repair, it's destruction. We are to be jehovial witnesses to this ideal, not witless juvenile idealists.

But for the gnostic, "the givenness of the order of being must be obliterated." The order of being is "essentially under man's control," and "taking control of being requires that the transcendent origin of being be obliterated: it requires the decapitation of being -- the murder of God."

That's a pretty bold statement. Are we seriously charging the left with deicide? Not necessarily. It could be abortion, i.e., killing him in the womb of speculative thought, for the gnostic insists that "man should stop creating gods because this sets absurd limits to his will and action; and he should realize that the gods he has already created have in fact been created by him" (Voegelin).

Beneath the destructiveness there is envy. Envy is built into man -- at least post-lapsarian man -- but if unacknowledged and forced underground, it can take on literally cosmic proportions. Thus, one of the motives in deicide is envy of the Creator: "If there were gods, how could I endure not being a god!" Therefore, there are no gods, and I am he!

[As it so happens, I'm currently reading a book that asks Who is the Devil?, and it hews remarkably close to the present post. You could summarize it by saying that he is 1: envy, 2: rebellion, 3: lies, and 4: murder -- not just of such and such a man, but of man as such.]

In the Marxist version, man is a product of nature, which is a process through which man is gradually revealed to himself. Thus, the final apocalypse of man leads to the murder of God, for this bang ain't big enough for the both of us. God and socialist man cannot coexist (for the same reason God and Satan ultimately cannot coexist).

Now, to kill God is to kill man. Except man survives the operation. But in what form? There is the trembling little man, murder weapon in hand, blood dripping from the blade. Now what?

"The madman does not go backward, he goes forward.... [I]f the deed is too great for man, then man must rise up above himself to the greatness of the deed." Reminds me of another aphorism: With the generosity of his program does the liberal console himself for the magnitude of the catastrophes it produces. Thus, leftism functions very much like alcoholism, as it is the perpetual solution to the unavoidable problems it causes.

But in reality, "the nature of a thing cannot be changed; whoever tries to 'alter' its nature destroys the thing. Man cannot transform himself into a superman; the attempt to create a superman is an attempt to murder man. Historically, the murder of God is not followed by the superman, but the murder of man: the deicide of the gnostic theoreticians is followed by the homicide of the revolutionary practitioners" (ibid).

Yes, leftism is a gnostic cult that denies God so as to diminish and control man. And The cult of Humanity is celebrated with human sacrifices (Dávila).

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Thought, Meta-Thought, Non-Thought, Anti-Thought

It is difficult to conceptualize the differences between thinking and its competitors, because if one hasn't thought about thinking (metathought or thought² for short), genuine thinking may appear similar, if not identical, to non- and anti-thinking.

Anti-thought is not non-thought, the latter of which is just stupidity. MSNBC is anti-thought. Local TV news is non-thought (although permeated by anti-thought when it presumes to think about anything of substance; in general, journalism is an eddy of anti-thought in an ocean of non-thought).

No Thought is another matter entirely, with mystical and apophatic implications. I'm not sure if we'll be touching on it, since I haven't read this post in over seven years, if ever.

Anti-thought is an active perversion of thinking, and often exhibits a great deal of intelligence. It is a type of thinking that is detached from its proper object, -- or end -- which is reality in all its inexhaustible richness and depth (AKA being).

In normal times, anti-thought would be arrested and interrogated by philosophy. In abnormal times it might be healed or at least mitigated by psychology. But now psychology itself has careened into anti-thought; or, more accurately, anti-thought has infiltrated and corralled psychology into its dark principality (and let's not even talk about philosophy, except to say the greater the height the farther the fall).

I first began thinking about thinking exactly 34 years ago (?!), in the spring of 1985. And now that I'm in this gnostalgic mood, I just pulled a book from the shelf, Second Thoughts, by W.R. Bion (not recommended to the laity). The title is a play on words, because it is Bion thinking about his own thinking, providing "second thoughts" about various papers he had written over the preceding fifteen years or so. The book first presents the paper, followed by his second thoughts and re-servations. (Ironically, this is exactly what I am doing at the moment: having second thoughts about this post written seven years back.)

I see that one of the papers is called A Theory of Thinking. His first thoughts begin with the idea that his theory covers the same ground as various philosophical theories, with one difference: his theory is intended for use (i.e., clinical work leading to growth), analogous to the difference between, say, abstract theories of meteorology vs. whether you should to take an umbrella to work today.

For Bion, thinking is "dependent on the successful outcome of two main mental developments." The first of these is "the development of thoughts." That pretty much happens automatically, unless one is in a coma. The second involves the development of "an apparatus to cope with them." Thus, "thinking has to be called into existence to cope with thoughts."

Davila: Educating the individual consists in teaching him to distrust the ideas that occur to him.

This theory reverses the usual way we think about thinking -- as if thinking produces the thought. But for you thinkers out there, you know that thoughts just come to you unbidden, and that you couldn't create one via thinking any more than you could create life in a test tube or Obama could create wealth in any context.

Thus, "thinking is a development forced on the psyche by the pressure of thoughts and not the other way around." Psychopathology may occur at either end, with the creation of new thoughts or with the management of existing ones; in other words, there may be "a breakdown in the development of thoughts, or a breakdown in the development of the apparatus for 'thinking' or dealing with thoughts, or both."

Now, thoughts aren't necessarily of the same order. Rather, they arise on various planes of consciousness which we call "vertical." We can have empirical thoughts, sensory thoughts, spiritual thoughts, emotional thoughts, aesthetic thoughts, etc.

Some of our thoughts are quite primitive, and we clearly do not have control over them, as they are essentially "pre-human." Men, for example, beginning at a certain age, are bombarded by sexual thoughts. It's as if a primitive part of the psyche is unleashed, and now the mind has to develop a way to cope with these thoughts. Much of Arab culture revolves around the wrong way to do it. But increasingly, the modern left provides a cornucrapia of bad and infertile ways to think about sexuality.

There are also "empty thoughts," which is to say, categories of thought awaiting "realization." These consist of a kind of blueprint (or clueprint) awaiting fulfillment via experience. Jung called them "archetypes," but you could also just call them "human nature."

As Bion describes it, "when the pre-conception is brought into contact with a realization that approximates to it, the mental outcome is a conception." Thus, it is as if there is an implicit or nonlocal thought that only becomes explicit and local through experience -- somewhat analogous to the wave/particle complementarity in physics, where observation pulls the latter from the former. (Or, in Aristotelian terms, you would call it potency and act.)

Some thoughts are "unwanted," which means that emotion has clouded the picture. In other words, what happens if we have a true thought that we nevertheless don't want? The mind has a number of mechanisms to deal with this exigency, just as the body has ways to deal with unwanted invaders.

But just as the body can mistakenly attack itself -- what are called autoimmune disorders -- the mind too can mistakenly attack its own substance. For example, if man is in the image of the Creator, then any form of vulgar anti-theism would represent a psychic autoimmune disorder (with predictable consequences).

There are several mechanisms to avoid thinking unwanted thoughts, ranging from the primitive to the more sophisticated. The most primitive include denial, splitting, and projection, which, working in concert, displace the unwanted thought (or thought fragment) into the environment (which becomes "psychicized"), or into other minds. This doesn't actually eliminate the thought, but it is preferable for such a person to feel persecuted from outside than inside the head.

Some important implications follow this psychic expulsion of thoughts, touching on what was said yesterday about the will to power replacing the search for truth. On some level, the person who manages thought in this pathological way must feel superior to reality: instead of discriminating between true and false, "omniscience substitutes... a dictatorial affirmation that one thing is morally right and the other wrong."

Bion has just described the mechanism of political correctness, which again forbids certain avenues of thought through moral condemnation. And in the last decade or so, we have seen how nearly everything the left says is permeated with the projection of its own ideas, impulses, and emotions. When the racist anti-semite Ilhan Omar calls Trump a racist, and the left rallies being her, you know that their psycho-political world is upside-down and inside-out.

Let's flip ahead and find out what sorts of second thoughts Bion had about this preliminary sketch.

Hmm. Not too many, really. Or rather, too many: "the ramifications... are so considerable that I require another book to attempt elucidation."

Along these lines, he warns of how the thinker might seize onto a "sense of security" in order "to offset and neutralize the sense of insecurity following on the discovery that discovery has exposed further vistas of unsolved problems -- 'thoughts' in search of a thinker."

In other words, reality never stops speaking just because we have stopped listening, or because we have some little theory (or reality tunnel) to make the mystery go away and stop bothering us. A theory of thinking is not the same as the unending project of thinking.

Which leads right back to Voegelin's Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, because this is precisely what the gnostic has done: stopped listening to reality. Consider this little gem from Karl Marx's crocktoral dissertation:

"The confession of Prometheus, 'In a word, I hate all the gods,' is its own confession, its own verdict against all gods heavenly and earthly who do not acknowledge human self-consciousness as the supreme deity. There shall be none beside it" (in Voegelin).

Later in the book Voegelin outlines what might be thought of as the cure for such gnostic omnipotence: "Thus, 'actual knowledge' is reserved to God; finite man can only be the 'lover of knowledge,' not himself the one who knows.... If a thinker attempts it, he is not advancing philosophy, but abandoning it to become a gnostic."

In short, for the gnostic, "In the clash between system and reality, reality must give way."

Or, anti-thought must triumph over thought.

Friday, July 12, 2019

There is No Truth, and The Left Possesses It

A note to the reader: you will recall that I more or less ceased blogging last fall in order to take a peek at the 3,500 posts in the archive, with the idea of extracting the good bits and stringing them together into a book. I put the bits into files labeled by year, while awaiting the descent of the Organizing Principle that would pull them all together into a clear, concise, coherent, and pleasing narrative about Everything and How it Got that Way.

We're still waiting.

Meanwhile, 2012 proved to be a turning point, in the sense that that is when I begin to sound more like my current self. If the cosmos is, as I believe it to be, pneumatically teleological, then my 2012 self should be more evolved than my 2005 self, and that is indeed how it's looking. Whereas prior to 2012 the inspiration in the posts is discontinuous, I'm finding it to be more continuous thereafter.

But this introduces a new problem, because instead of just extracting the good bits from posts, I'm finding that the posts are compelling (at least to me) in their entirety. Which is why I've taken to reposting these old posts.

However, I'm not just reposting them verbatim, but interacting with them, so to speak. A good post should produce sparks in the head, and these sparks can set of conflagrations of their own. So be assured that these reposts aren't just a product of my exquisitely cultivated sense of laziness, but are revised, edited, and fortified with new material. I also make every effort to remove the gags that don't hold up, are unnecessarily obscure, or just plain irritating.

****

Sometimes I wonder how many of those who like to call themselves "progressive" are consciously aware of its mythico-scientistic roots. Then I remember that none of them do, or they wouldn't be progressives. That's certainly how it worked in my case: I discovered that I was in error, and made the appropriate adjustments to my worldview.

Why is this so difficult? Good question! Perhaps we'll return to it as we proceed.

Voegelin characterizes Marx as a "speculative gnostic" who grounded his politico-economic framework in an evolutionary vision of nature. In this scheme, all of nature is "in the state of becoming, and in the course of its development it has brought forth man: 'Man is directly a being of nature.'"

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the idea that nature is developing, except that this can have nothing to do with Darwinian evolution, which describes only change, not progress. More to the point, Marx re-buries man in nature, so that what is actually distinct in man, and belongs to his trans-nature, is annihilated. Man evolves out of mere nature only to devolve and plunge back into it. D'oh!

Here we see how the work of millennia can be undone in a single generation. Literally! Questions that had been entirely settled -- for example, the centrality of natural rights such as free speech, the constitutional irrelevance of race, the felicitous distinction between the sexes, etc. -- are once again up for debate. This isn't progress; rather, its precise opposite.

Thus, "When 'socialist man' speaks, man has to be silent," which is a rather polite way of putting it, being that it often equates to destroying the man who refuses to be silent. In any event, it is why the left would like for us to shut up, why they impose speech codes, why political correctness abounds, and why they hate God and religion. This is described in the last paragraph of the previous post, in reference to those special assouls who know exactly why

"their opinions cannot stand up under critical analysis and who therefore make the prohibition of the examination of their premises part of their dogma. This position of a conscious, deliberate, and painstakingly elaborated obstruction of ratio constitutes the new phenomenon" (Voegelin).

So if you want to talk about progress, this systematic assault on truth is indeed something new under the sun. Yes, the impulse has always been present -- see Genesis 3 for details -- but the modern statist systematization of it is new. You might say that progressivism is nothing less than the institutionalization of original sin, whereby the fall is normalized instead of resisted and reversed via metanoia and grace.

But it's not just the children of Marx who have progressed in this deviant manner, for truth is also forbidden by the dictates of Positivist Man. This humanoid beastling can also be called Scientistic Man, Atheist Man, or Darwinist Man, for each of these, in his own way, pretends that materialism not only accounts for man but exhausts the meaning of the human phenomenon. Which is only the most phenomenal fact in all of existence.

Now, a minimal acquaintance with philosophy is sufficient to establish the plausibility of a Marx, a Darwin, a Dawkins. Thus, one needs a little more than the minimum to debunk them, which I suppose is why philosophy isn't taught in public schools, in favor of multicultural mush and relativistic rubbish. As they say, a little philosophy inclines one to atheism. More than a little, and you inevitably find yourself being pulled into the Divine Attractor.

To perfectly accurate, it's not that philosophy isn't taught, but that it is conveyed via implicit assumptions that are buried elsewhere and never spoken of explicitly. For example, in science it is considered plain rude to speak of teleology, even though science is incoherent without it.

This metaphysical incoherence has provoked a backlash of "creationists" in certain quarters, but the real problem is metaphysical, not scientific or theological. You don't need intelligent design to prove the existence of God, or vice versa.

Ultimately, the only proof of God is God. Clearly, God is necessary being. We, on the other hand, are optional. We are contingent. Now, the only way a contingent being can even know of necessity is if it shares a portion of that necessity. Which is what it means to be in the image of the Creator. This is why we may know truth, and why we have the freedom to discover it. Truth is necessary to free will (otherwise freedom is arbitrary), as freedom is necessary to the discovery of truth.

Wherever there is leftism, there is the suppression of certain questions and avenues of thought. As we have discussed in the past, just as a neurosis may be thought of as a "private culture," a culture may be thought of as a public neurosis. Now, a neurosis always involves the suppression of an unwanted truth.

Just so, the neurotic culture of the left has many defense mechanisms in place, so that alarms go off as soon as anyone approaches a dangerous truth. Examples are too numerous to chronicle, but just think of how promiscuous charges of RACISM! are deployed to bar the free exercise of thought. Which is why it is so delicious to see world class race-baiters such as Biden and Pelosi having this mechanism unleashed upon themselves.

Voegelin describes the deeper structure of this process. It begins with "a thinker who knows that his construct will collapse as soon as the basic philosophical question is asked." The intellectually and spiritually normal person recognizes this and abandons the construct. Not so the leftist, who merely prohibits the question.

But why? What has happened to the person who is no longer animated by the passionate desire for truth, and yet -- without irony -- imposes a single desiccated version of it: There is No Truth, and I Am Its Prophet.

Voegelin called it an "intellectual swindle," which is an excellent way of putting it. For to exchange truth for ideology isn't just a bad deal, it's suicidal. Which wouldn't necessarily be so bad if it weren't also homicidal.

But again, why? Man has an innate epistemophilia, so what has happened to this transnatural instinct in the ideologue?

As we have discussed before, man is composed of intellect, will, and sentiment, which are ordered to truth, goodness, and beauty, respectively. To deny truth is to maim the intellect at its root. But that doesn't kill the body. Rather, it seems that the will to power rushes in to fill the vacuum. This perverse will

"has a violence and cruelty that go beyond the delight in masquerade and in the deception of others." It also "turns on the thinker himself and unmasks his thought as a cunning will to power."

Let's take another example from just last week, when President Obama decided to stop pretending he doesn't support the redefinition of marriage. It is a matter of public record that certain wealthy donors were threatening to withhold funds if he didn't openly embrace their agenda of sexual nihilism.

For Newsweek to then proclaim Obama the "first gay president" is completely absurd, in light of the fact that he is just another statist with a transparently cunning will to power.

To believe otherwise one must want to believe otherwise, which is itself another instance of the will-to-power genre, except that it doesn't accrue to the power of the rank-and-foul self-deluder, only to the powerful. In reality it is but a "graceless disorder of the soul" rooted in a "demonic mendacity" (ibid).

Again, man is intellect-will-sentiment. But if truth is denied, then the truth of man is that he is reduced to will-sentiment, or desire and force. And that is the essence of the left: I want what I want, and you are obligated to provide it.

(All Voegelin quotes are from Science, Politics, & Gnosticism.)