Friday, January 03, 2020

Lose Your Muscles and Make Yourself Useless!

What we now call "wokeness" is the transformation and internalization of a mechanism -- political correctness -- into a person.

If we're going to be perfectly accurate, it results in the destruction of the person, which is one of its purposes, because it sacrifices the individual to the collective, when the whole point of the collective is to serve the individual -- not, of course, in a selfish way, but rather, to facilitate the actualization and flourishing of personhood per se. And critically, personhood is intrinsically intersubjective, so an atomized person is no person at all.

In short, there are two wrong ways of being a person: for the individual to be swallowed by the collective, or for the individual to exist entirely apart from the matrix of trinitarian intersubjectivity -- on one end socialism, on the other a largely irrelevant fringe of radical libertarianism represented by oddballs such as Murray Rothbard.

The Woke Person is nothing new. Rather, he is simply Socialist Man, or again, the successful eradication of man -- successful because the man does it to himself. Free will is turned against itself, strangling the individual in the approved and predigested line of the day. Someone else has done the "thinking," and it is for the woke person to simply take it on board, like an update for your computer operating system.

For example, no properly woke person knows why he is so passionate about transgenderism, or why it even became such an urgent topic of discussion. Thinking is not the point for the woke. Rather, your job as a woke person is to act on these thoughts, not to think them. Same with the redefinition of marriage, or giving free stuff to criminals who break into the country, or forcing female athletes to compete with men who think they're women.

This may sound a little odd when I first describe it, but when you think about it, you will understand that your Gagdad is speaking unalloyed truth: that for many, if not most, people, their minds operate more like a muscle than a mind. Yes, I am being literal, because when we come into the world our minds are largely submerged in the body, and only with development do we become increasingly de-somatized, so to speak, capable of genuine conceptual thinking instead of the musclebound kind.

Example. Okay, take "projection," which used to be (and still is) a psychoanalytic term of art, but has now become a colloquialism that is sloppily deployed by all and sundry. But when I use the word, I mean it in the precise sense as a primitive psychological defense mechanism that operates like a muscle, evacuating thoughts and feelings from Person A (the projector) and forcing them into Person B (the projectee).

The projector -- by definition -- doesn't know when he is projecting, whereas the target of the projections can tell when he is the recipient. To cite an obvious example, the president and his supporters are constantly being called "racist" by unhinged leftists. But we aren't racists, so why is this happening? What's going on?

Easy: the mental muscle of the leftist shoves this nasty sentiment into us, so he may then legitimately attack us for harboring these nasty sentiments. As such, you can see that the initial action (the projection) legitimizes literal muscular action, up to and including violence (e.g., Antifa, attacking conservative speakers on college campuses, chasing us out of restaurants, etc.).

But none of this is my point. My Real Point is that leftism is always totalitarian in its essence, and that political correctness is by no means an accidental accretion, but rather, an intrinsic feature: no muscular denial of thinking, no left. Everywhere and everywhen. Period.

(And importantly, just because the left uses this mechanism, it doesn't imply that everyone who uses it is a leftist; rather, leftism is simply the institutionalization of a pathological form of thinking that is a universal and permanent possibility of the human condition. It can only permeate collectives because it first infiltrates individuals.)

All of the above was provoked by the following passage in an essay called Philosophy and the Common Good, by Mr. Pieper:

It is an essential characteristic of every totalitarian regime that those who have political power claim to define, exhaustively and definitively, the concrete content of the bonum commune [common good].... [E]verything which does not meet the criterion is declared "socially unimportant" and "undesirable" if not forbidden, and is suppressed.

Boom. Notice the muscularity of the process: forbidden and suppressed by power. To be Woke means to have the punitive power to suppress and forbid.

The other day I heard Dave Rubin compare it to a vast circle of wokery, with each person holding a gun to the head of the person next to him. This explains how they can adjust their thinking muscles in an instant (Just Like That, as the meme teaches us). Look at Joe Biden: now that he's in the circle, he will say whatever he has to in order to prevent the guy next to him from putting a bullet into his head, even if it means disavowing everything he's ever thought, said, or done.

Since we've discussed fake muscular thinking, what about the real kind? The first thing to understand is that their are degrees of thinking, with ideology at one end, philosophy at the other; the former always has an explicit content, while the latter is an asymptotic process that can never fully grasp its object, only love it from afar. Which is why it is called philo-sophy and not possessophy.

The philosopher

who wants to know what all that is [is] fundamentally about, what "reality" "really" means -- or who seeks this kind of knowledge does not start out with a definitely formulated question in the way a scientist does.

Precisely this attitude of wordless listening [(---) and (o), respectively] enables him, on the one hand, to see all information from every branch of knowledge as a contribution to the answer he is really looking for; on the other hand, it disposes him not to be satisfied with any of these items of information but to remain open to the ultimate "wisdom," aspiring to which is central to the concept of philo-sophia (Pieper).

Now, philosophy can never be "practical" because it can never be "muscular." It can never force, only show. It can be detached from neither love nor freedom, because its essence is the free exercise of a loving relationship to wisdom hersoph. If philosophy becomes "for" something other than its own sake, then it is no longer philosophy.

The bottom line is that we have too many useful idiots running around, when we need more useless ones. Any imbecile can see there are problems, but it takes real wisdom to ignore them.

Only a discerning encounter with the mystery -- which consists in the fact that something is -- only this experience gives us the awareness that the light which makes things "positively" knowable, is simply unfathomable and inexhaustible and thus, at the same time, makes things incomprehensible.

It is true that the world is intelligible and that the mind may attain knowledge of it. However, the deeper truth is that we can never know it completely, for this would reduce to a closed ideology and therefore hypertrophic muscleheadedness.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Who Rejects God Believes in Fairy Tales

This essay looks good: Knowledge and Freedom (from Exercises in the Elements). There was a time I didn't understand or even see the necessary relationship between these two, but you may be certain: there is no knowledge in the absence of freedom, and vice versa; to affirm one is to imply the other.

That's the good news. The bad news is that you have only to deny one in order to limit or destroy the other.

But the left takes no chances, and undermines both. Which is why few institutions are less intellectually and spiritually free and open than our corrupt and fraudulent educational establishment, which every year cranks out millions of closed-minded clones who are "triggered" -- which is to say, traumatized -- by truth.

Now that I think about it, truth is traumatic, at least much of the time. Yet it is still truth, and it is up to us to adapt to it, rather than vice versa.

I first encountered this principle back in grad school, and it has been with me ever since. Really, it's just a more abstract and formal way of talking about Freud's concept of "resistance," which is present in everyone to a greater or lesser degree. To put it simply, the more we have of it, the crazier we are, since resistance is always resistance to the truth.

To jump back a bit -- more than a bit, actually, to the very Beginning -- why would such a cognitive capacity be woven into the human psyche? Why is it part of our standard equipment? I would say for the same reason we have an immune system to identify foreign invaders and preserve the integrity of the body. Just so, we need to be careful about what we let into the psyche, for reasons of both self-flourishing and self-preservation. In other words, humans cannot survive without accurate information about the world. And yet, too much of the wrong kind of truth can wreck a man.

Regarding the latter, you don't have to read too much history to realize that people believe a lot of things not because they're true but because they're consoling, or convenient, or containing. They can help to structure an otherwise chaotic mind and world.

In this regard, I present you with two diametrically opposed opinions. First, the other day, Democrat mouthpiece Chuck Todd suggested that the millions of us who support the president are predisposed to do so in light of our belief in Christian fairy tales:

“Why do good people support Trump? It's because people have been trained from childhood to believe in fairy tales. This set their minds up to accept things that make them feel good. The more fairy tales and lies he tells the better they feel. Show me a person who believes in Noah's ark, and I will show you a Trump voter.”

“Look, this gets at something that my executive producer likes to say, voters want to be lied to sometimes. They don't always love being told hard truths,” Todd proclaimed.

That's deep. And brave. Now do Islam. And Judaism. We'll wait.

But that's not my point. Of course Todd is a coward, which is why he plays the bully. The deeper point is that he's saying the exact same thing I am -- that people are motivated to believe a comforting lie because truth can be painful. So we both agree on the mechanism, but we disagree on who is using it to distort reality beyond all recognition, Trump supporters or Trump haters such as himself.

Now, denial wouldn't be very effective if it didn't deny denial! In other words, denial always covers its tracks, so the the person engaging in it doesn't know he is doing so. Nevertheless, it's not that easy to eradicate the truth. In fact, it can't be done. So, what happens to it?

Well, it returns in various ways, in the form of persecution. Forgive me if this is all too obvious, but the most common way for truth to haunt the person who denies it is in the form of symptoms. Indeed, virtually every patient I see presents with what are called "symptoms" -- both psychic and somatic -- which are really just "transformations of truth," so to speak.

It's really rather profound: truth is easily transformed into pain, but one of the purposes of the transformation is to prevent the person from connecting the pain to the truth it simultaneously reveals and conceals. This is so common as to be... commonplace. When you see a real doctor, you might say something like: "I'm having this pain. What's really causing it, Doc?" Same thing when you see a so-called doctor such as myself, only it's more like this: "I'm having this pain, Dr. Gagdad. Please don't tell me what's really causing it." Again, that's what Freud calls "resistance," and it is ubiquitous.

Now let's contrast Todd's foolish take to this one by Dennis Prager, which goes to the question of what leftists really believe, and why they believe such crazy things. "How," he asks, "is one to understand what leftism stands for?"

The truth is it is almost impossible. What leftist in history would have ever imagined that to be a leftist, one would have to believe that men give birth or men have periods, or that it is fair to women to have to compete in sports with biological males who identify as females?

There are two primary reasons it is so difficult, if not impossible, to define leftism. One is that it ultimately stands for chaos.

He means this literally, and goes on to provide a partial list of specific policies which I would say are both a cause and consequence of Chaos (yes, such dis-order is demonic, but let's stay on track), including open borders, imaginary genders, meaningless "art" requiring no talent, "Drag Queen Story Hour for 5-year-olds," "rejection of the concept of better or worse civilizations," "the end of all use of fossil fuels," the dismantling of capitalism, etc.

How is it that we who believe in authorized "religious fairy tales" are so much more in touch with reality than the people who explicitly reject them? Prager goes on to explain why, but it is for reasons we've discussed on numerous occasions. The bottom line is that man is religious and cannot not be religious, in the sense that the human qua human is ordered to the Absolute, AKA God. Remove the real Absolute and man will inevitably replace it with an unauthorized false one. This story is told in Genesis 3, and retold in and by every subsequent generation.

How do we avoid being seduced and hypnotized by a fake religion such as leftism, feminism, Marxism, environmentalism, progressivism, et al? Well, when you put it that way, the question answers itself. For example, the other day, Prager published another essay on true Judaism. I suppose Todd, if he is to be intellectually honest and consistent -- an impossibility, but we'll let it pass -- would have to call this "fairy tale thinking." Prager mentions seventeen metaphysical, ontological, existential, theological, epistemological, and ethical principles (or fairy tales, you decide), including,

--"There is one universal God" [or Absolute]. This God is the Creator of the world and the God of all humanity. Given this principle, racism is impossible.

--"One universal God means there is one universal morality." [Morality is not relative.]

--God is incorporeal, eternal, transcendent, personal, and the source of goodness and morality.

--"God's primary demand is that people be good." (Indeed, if people were only good, this would be paradise. We would say the restoration of God's grace is the necessary condition of real goodness, i.e., sanctity, but such theological distinctions would be the subject of a different post.)

--"There is an afterlife -- God rewards the good and punishes the bad." If this weren't the case, then God would be unjust, which would defy logic.

--"Human beings are not born basically good." (There are two kinds of people -- those who believe man is fallen, and idiots.)

--"Therefore, evil comes primarily from within the human being, not from external causes, such as poverty." Interior chaos generates the exterior kind. See Democrat run cities for details.

--"All people are created in the image of God." Somewhat of a no-brainer if you understand what man is, and that he couldn't possibly be what he is if God weren't Who Am.

--"Judaism is a religion of distinctions," which is to say, a cure for the formless chaos of the left, e.g., "God and man, Good and evil, Man and woman, Holy and profane, Life and death," etc.

I suppose if you want to be really stupid, you could oppose such fairy tales to science. In which case,

Man's self-limitation to scientific knowledge in the strict sense can mean that he loses his openness for the unlimited object of knowledge [the Absolute]. In other words, there is a particular form of intellectual un-freedom, the root of which is the exclusive ideal of science (Pieper).

Any form of scientism is a fairy tale. Leftism is a materialistic ideology. Ergo, leftism is a fairy tale.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A Course in Hallucinations

Another attempt at a brief and pointed post. Otherwise I won't be able to post until Wednesday, and I want to maintain contact with my nonlocal sources before they become impatient and maybe leak to someone else. I want them to know I am reliable and not some kind of flake who doesn't take the voices in his head seriously.

Voices in the head. Don't pretend you don't hear them. For what is life but an unending commentary on existence? You could say it's a monologue, but in reality there is no such thing, for language itself is irreducibly dyadic and intersubjective, in that its reason for being is communication from party A to party B, even if both parties are in the same being. (The Trinity, for example, involves a kind of perpetual exchange between persons inhering in same substance.)

Therefore, the voice in our head must have a from --> to relation, but from Who to Whom? Moreover, there are diverse modes of speech, from the literal to the allegorical to the poetic, so the voice must be interpreted in terms of both content and mode or genre.

And even literal speech is never actually literal, because a word is a symbol, and a symbol points to something other than itself. If I write "chair," I don't mean the letters that constitute the word, but that thing over there that you can sit on. Now, what if I say something more abstract, like "justice" or "being" or "God"? To what am I pointing? Language is still mediating, but from whom to what?

There's another twist: that one must be adequate to interpret the message. Someone could relate a perfectly sound mathematical equation to me, but I would have no way of knowing whether or not it is true. Rather, I'd have to take it on faith.

Now, what if existence itself is a message? To turn it around, how could it not be a message, for everything we do, all day long, involves, or may be traced back to, the interpretation of the world. For example, at the moment I'm typing on a computer keyboard, which presupposes a computer science rooted in various related disciplines such as information theory and digital transmission.

The so-called "scientific revolution" was revolutionary precisely because we began listening to the world in a specific way and interpreting the message. To everyone's surprise (boo!) it spoke in pure mathematics, to the point that it was eventually forgotten that it doesn't only speak in terms of abstract quantities.

Soon enough there was a counter-revolution (Romanticism) that felt the math nerds were totally ignoring the aesthetic message of the world. Positivists insisted that math is the only message, while our existentialists and deconstructionists maintain that there is no message at all. The latter are essentially saying: there are no voices in my head, and I obey them implicitly! Come to think of it, that's what leftists say as well.

For example, the message of biology is that you are a boy or you are a girl. Period. DNA has spoken! If you go the ER with a serious medical problem, they're going to want to know: man or woman. It will be of no concern to them what you think you are, or what you want to be. If they do care about that, then you are in the wrong ER. Unless it is a psychiatric emergency, which is another matter entirely. As a psychologist, my stock in trade is what people feel is the case as opposed to what is actually the case.

Is the truth true if we don't want it to be? No, truth must by definition be what IS, regardless of how we feel about it. Same with reality: it doesn't disappear just because we're not in contact with it.

Some people on the left -- the Deepaks of the world -- will tell you that "perception is reality." Indeed, Deepakrat presidential candidate Marriane Willamson is a student and teacher of the Course in Miracles, which started off as a voice in the head of a psychologist named Helen Schucman, which she presumed to be Jesus. Strangely, despite the voice insisting that illness is an illusion, she died anyway of pancreatic cancer. Now, who are you going to believe, the voice in this lady's head or your own lying eyes?

Yeah, you could say that death is a Course in Reality. It has its downside, but think of how little we could understand of reality in its absence. Why would we need to learn anything about the world if we were immortal?

For example, the word from reality is that we shouldn't jump off buildings or walk in front of buses. But if doing so didn't result in injury and death, we'd have no reason to learn about gravity, or the physics of collisions.

Besides, if everything is love, then nothing is. And if perception is reality, that's another way of saying that there is no such thing as reality and therefore nothing to perceive. Nevertheless, you have to pay for such wisdom with real money. Try paying for it with LUV and see how far it gets you.

Which leads to the question: who is really saying this, and why is anyone listening? Examples:

"It [the Course] states that everything involving time, space, and perception is illusory."

"Healing is accomplished when the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain."

"A mind and body cannot both exist."

To this latter I would say that man is by definition both material and spiritual at the same time, which is kind of the Whole Point, certainly of the Incarnation. If this weren't the case then God would just incognate as a voice in our head.

A voice in my head once remarked that the two essential principles of Christianity are Incarnation and Trinity, and that everything else is, as it were, an entailment of, or commentary on, these. I believe it.