Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wrapping our Minds Around the Ontology of Trinity and Trinity of Ontology

We've analyzed the first two sentences of Schuon's essay on Man in the Cosmogonic Projection, but with the third sentence things get... interesting:

The divine Essence, "Beyond Being," reverberates in Relativity, giving rise to the Divine Person, to Creative "Being."

Obviously, any sort of fundamentalist or literalist or sola-scripturalist will object to the suggestion that there is something beyond the personal God, or that the personal God is relative to anything; rather, everything is relative to God, and that's the end of it.

I think it's a matter of what you can "wrap your mind around." The great majority of Christians presumably could (or would) never wrap their minds around Schuon's description, which is fine. Indeed, Schuon would say that this is the very purpose of exoteric religion: to provide man with a means to wrap his mind around an ultimate reality that is -- obviously, and by definition -- unwrappable.  Man cannot contain what is uncontainable -- at least outside the fact and principle of Incarnation. 

Incidentally, it's difficult to write about this subject without sounding elitist, or esoteric, or Gnostic, but this is not my intention. Rather, the purpose is fundamentally no different from the fundamentalist, as I'm just trying to conceptualize God in a manner I can wrap my little mind around -- or, more to the point, in a way that doesn't repel what I call my intelligence. Sr. D:

God does not ask for the submission of the intelligence, but rather an intelligent submission.

Nor, of course, would we ever presume to cut God down to the size of our own conceptions of him. Indeed, that is the whole problem of which Schuon is speaking: there is the God we can imagine and the unimaginable Godhead, and these two are distinct but related, in a way that just may be analogous to the reality <---> appearance complementarity discussed in the previous post.

This has been an issue from the earliest days of Christianity. "As the Greek Fathers insisted," writes Ware, "A God who is comprehensible is not God." Rather, such a God "turns out to be no more than an idol, fashioned in our own image."  

[W]e need to use negative as well as affirmative statements, saying what God is not rather than what he is. Without this use of the way of negation, of what is termed the apophatic approach, our talk about God becomes gravely misleading.

Or, "As Cardinal Newman puts it, we are continually 'saying and unsaying to a positive effect.'"  In this mythsemantical realm, negative x positive = a deeper positive.  Call it the metabolism or respiration of mystical theology.

Yes, that's all orthodox, as it places the relativity squarely on our side of the infinite <---> finite divide.  But Schuon is hinting at something more radical, at something that occurs -- if that's the right word -- on God's side of this divide.

Like anybody could know that!

Well, bear with me. In my opinion -- for what it's worth, since I'm just another amateur theographer -- Christian metaphysics tends not to explore and draw the vast metaphysical consequences flowing from a trinitarian Godhead as opposed to a purely monistic one.  If there are no such consequences, then what's the point? Why does God go to all the trouble of disclosing the intimate and indeed personal nature of reality, if it makes no difference to our conception of it (and of him)?

If I'm not mistaken, this is one of the points of the whole communio movement, which highlights the possibility "of created participation in uncreated being ":

Since the being of God is decisive for the being of whatever is not God, the being or nature of the Judaeo-Christian God must be elucidated. 
The first and decisive assertion is that this God is triune, three Persons in one God. Thus are avoided the inadequacies inherent in both polytheism and even certain traditional monotheisms. 
In Greek philosophy substance denotes a being that stands on its own, that does not inhere in nor form part of another being. It tends to connote independence and even separation, apartness, isolation. Baneful results for certain religious approaches to God are obvious, for the deity becomes not only the One, but the Alone, even the Alien. 
The Judaeo-Christian God, on the other hand, and precisely as triune, emphatically reveals that by virtue of his divine unicity God is not reduced to the isolated and phthisic status of a monad. In Greek philosophy substance and relation tend to be mutually hostile, so that the more one really is (substance), the less one is related (relation). 
The ontology implicit in the triune God simply undoes this. For this God, substantial being is being related; relation is substance. Thus, God's very being is the relationships of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for God is not first Father, and then only derivatively and subsequently Son and Holy Spirit. Rather, the very substance of God is originally communicated Being. Hence, all being, wherever it is in being, is inescapably "being with" (emphasis mine).

It seems that God is an eternal dancing in which dancer and dance can only be artificially or accidentally deustinguished:   

This is aptly expressed by perichoresis, which comes from Greek words meaning "to dance around with." If the anthropomorphism be permitted, perichoresis means that God is so full of being that his oneness is manyness, a manyness that in no way divides or separates, negates or isolates his oneness. 
Thus a term from "to dance" expresses God's being happy with himself, with his shared beingthe being together of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a kind of joyful unity in diversity....

With this in mind, I don't think Schuon's characterization is so wide of the mark -- or at least there is a way to reconcile it with a Christian metaphysic:

Within this view it is perfectly "natural" that God, whose very being is communicated plenitude, should also communicate being to that which of itself is not God and, hence, which otherwise is simply not at all. 

(That and previous quotes yoinked from

Monday, December 28, 2020

In the Beginning is the With

In a remarkably concise but resonant essay called Man in the Cosmogonic Projection, Schuon sketches his -- he would say everyone's -- map of ultimate reality, or his ultimate map of reality. This isn't the first time I've read it, but on this occasion I found myself wondering exactly how it can be reconciled with Christian metaphysics.

Then, in an idle moment, a thought popped into my head: Christianity of itself obviously doesn't have an explicit metaphysic, only an implicit one. What it says about creation (limiting ourselves to the Bible) is rather brief and to the point: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

From the Jewish perspective -- or so we have heard from the wise -- this is partly to cut us off at the pass before we waste our lives trying to understand things we can't possibly understand: the world is created. Now, get over it and do something to make yourself useful.   

In a way this makes practical sense: either the world is created or it isn't, and it's above our praygrade to know which. Not only does it cost us nothing to assume it is created, but the principle of creation opens up whole new dimensions of interesting entailments without which we could scarcely be human. 

Actually, we couldn't be human, period. Remove the Creator and you have eliminated transcendence from the cosmos. Man is just another animal. Some men pretend not to be animals, while the rest are leftists.

Aquinas himself readily conceded that there is no way to prove whether the cosmos is eternal or had a beginning. Nor -- obviously -- does Big Bang cosmology settle the issue, since it is only the beginning of our cosmos, not the beginning of existence, let alone being, much less beyond-being.

The prologue of John is intended to parallel Genesis 1, although with a new trinitarian twist. Bear in mind that, being Jewish, he would have fully assimilated the principle of creation, so he's not denying monotheism, only fine-tuning it.      

Well, now that's a coveniedence: I just got my morning email from The Catholic Thing linking to this morning's essay, called Recovering the Theology of Creation, perhaps just what we need to set the stage for where we think we're going with this post:

Hans Urs von Balthasar writes somewhere that “the Christian is called to be the guardian of metaphysics in our time.”

That's a bingo.   

This entails the defense of the person as destined for the knowledge of God..., but it also entails guarding a proper understanding of natural being, that is to say, of the intrinsic and deep meaning and mystery inherent in all created things.

That's another bingo. 

For some religions, this world is a place of illusion or distraction to be overcome so that our souls may be lost in unity with God. But this is not possible for the Christian. We understand that God has created all things and called them “very good.” The mystery of our faith thus entails coming to understand the ways in which created things stand in relation to the One who made them.

That's a trifacta. But the Christian doctrine of creation doesn't only distinguish itself from Buddhist or Hindu doctrines that would negate the significance of the human person, it also distances itself from the pure and simple monism of Judaism (or of Islam or even certain Protestant denominations that deny free will).

Limiting ourselves again to the Bible (as opposed to tradition more generally), John outlines a more differentiated doctrine of the One, and he does so with a single preposition: with. Yes, God still is; moreover, he is still I AM.  However, there is more to AM than meets the I -- specifically the We implied by with.

At risk of straining language beyond it's carrying capacity, the Christian ought to say: I AM, therefore WE ARE;  and WE ARE, therefore I AM.  These are true simultaneously and irreducibly: there is no I prior to We, just as there is no Father prior to the Son.

Here is where things get a little dicey as it pertains to Schuon's essay, and yet, I believe he's on to something. He begins with this account:

The entire world is Maya, but Maya is not entirely the world. The divine Essence, "Beyond Being," reverberates in Relativity, giving rise to the Divine Person, to Creative "Being."

Now, at first blush this might sound suspiciously un- or even anti-Christian, but there is a way to understand it as quite Christian indeed. Begin by replacing "Maya" with the less loaded "appearance," and its truth is self-evident -- so self-evident that there's a blunt and pointed aphorism for that:

The universe is important if it is appearance, and insignificant if it is reality.

The Christian believes the world is real, but not ultimate reality; for the same reason, he believes the world is Maya, but not only Maya. The following aphorism describes and prescribes the proper balance:

Christianity does not deny the splendor of the world but encourages us to seek its origin, to ascend to its pure snow.

In other words, it doesn't deny that the world is Maya, but Maya isn't just "appearance." Rather, it is an appearance of reality, precisely.  

And back to the little preposition alluded to above: with. If John is correct, then, thanks to the Incarnation, the appearance is now ultimately with the reality in an intimate and final way: there is an unbreakable bond between the two. A martial covenant even.

I think we'll end for now. We're just getting started -- we've only discussed a couple of sentences in a ten page essay.  We'll leave off with an aphorism which may have sounded a bit cryptic before you read this post:

Any shared experience ends in a simulacrum of religion. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Freedom From and Toward Reality

The previous post ended with the question as to whether the liberal values animating the Enlightenment inevitably redound to the anti- and illiberal values of the contemporary left. 

As great as our founders were, did they create a damn slippery slope leading to today's slippery Dem dopes? Why does the left's vaunted "progress" always proceed backwards?  How does George Washington end in Nancy Pelosi? Is there some sort of cosmo-historical law we're ignoring? Is it just political entropy, or something worse?

3,545 posts far exceeds the carrying capacity of my head, but I'm sure we've discussed this in the distant past. I no longer recall the details, but one book that described the plunge was Fr. Seraphim Rose's Nihilism: The Roots of the Revolution of the Modern Age. At risk of reinventing the historical wheel of karma, let's refresh our memories.

A note in the book indicates that I read this in July of 2004, some 15 months prior to the birth of the blog. Another life. A different Bob entirely. Just as each generation must engage the past anew, I suppose each new iteration of ourselves must do so as well. Can't change the past? Of course you can.

In tracing the path from liberalism to nihilism, Rose suggests that once we abandon the Absolute, we are on the path to... where we are today:

Nihilism -- the belief that there is no Absolute Truth, that all truth is relative -- is... the basic philosophy of the 20th century (from the Introduction).

Rose characterizes classical liberalism as a "passive Nihilism," or "the neutral breeding-ground of the more advanced stages of Nihilism." Why? What's the problem with freedom?

Jumping ahead a bit, the problem (in my opinion) is the ontological distinction between "freedom from" and "freedom to." Once reduced to the former, then freedom is robbed of its proper telos, which is conformity to truth, beauty, virtue, and ultimately to God. 

But the immature, stupid, and crazy tend to reduce freedom to merely freedom-from: from maturity, from objective truth, and from psychological integration, precisely. See any Democrat street protest for details. When a progressive uses the term "revolution," he always means against the order of reality.  

Many liberals don't even know this permanent revolution has passed them by -- beginning with Joe Biden. Speaking of former selves, whoever Joe Biden was 50 or 25 or even 10 years ago cannot possibly be reconciled with the Joe Biden that exists today, since there's no way to reconcile the vacuous liberalism of the former with the hateful leftism of the latter.

Thus we see the Nihilist dialectic unfold in Biden himself: 

Liberalism is the first stage of the Nihilist dialectic, both because its own faith is empty, and because this emptiness calls into being a yet more Nihilist reaction... 

As predicted by Fr. Rose, this "becomes a perfect parody of the Christian love of truth" that "sees only 'race' or 'sex'" in its place," or an "absolute truth from below."  

But our real freedom is rooted in a kind of soft necessity in the absence of which liberty reduces to the anarchy of Antifa and BLM:

This necessity is found in the mind's assent to first principles, in which there can never be a defect of truth, and by which certitude of knowledge is acquired. In this sense we are determined. There is no liberty regarding first principles, as there is no liberty for an acorn not to become an oak. Our assent to first principles is necessary and spontaneous (Sheen).

Necessary and spontaneous. That right there is quite... pregnant with meaning, but we're out of time. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

First Principles of Thought and Stupidity

What are the principles by virtue of which thought is possible? 

Well, it depends on what we mean by "thought" -- by which we don't mean just anything, e.g., Dr. Jill Biden's subliterate doctoral thesis, much less Michelle Obamas's 8th grade level master's thesis. Rather, the value of thought derives from its being in conformity with reality. To put it another way, thought is the link between being and truth.

Or so we have heard from the wise. Or from some voice in my head, I forget which.

How is it possible to think unless thinking can be resolved to first principles? I don't know. Ask a leftist, for whom thinking, principles, reality, and truth are completely independent of one another.

By the way, we got off to a late start this morning, so don't be surprised if things end abruptly. I was tempted to give myself a timeout for the rest of the year, but I also find myself toying with this subject, especially after reading an admirably clear presentation of it in Sheen's God and Intelligence in Modern PhilosophyLet the plagiaphrasing begin:

Traditional philosophy begins with common sense. Its basis is the certitudes of the immediately evident principles which are apprehended by the light of intelligence from the most simple and evident facts about us.

What we're looking for is the principles with which one cannot possibly disagree without implicitly agreeing with them. Are there such principles? Or are postmodernists correct that we live in a cosmos of absolute relativity and therefore utter stupidity? 

How do we know a first principle when we see it? What are its qualifications? Well, it "ought to be one about which it is impossible to be mistaken." It should "be so evident as to admit of no error." Moreover, no sneaky stuff, no conditions, no special pleading, and no appeals to authority: it must be naturally known.

The first principle of thought is the foundation of all our intellectual constructions. There is no certitude in the last analysis unless they can be resolved back to the first principles of thought. Only on condition that the first principles are firm and stable will the conclusions be firm and stable, and the nearer our conclusions are to the first principles the more certain they are...

As we've suggested before, what instinct is to the animal, intellect is to man. Sheen suggests something similar, that "What the determination of form and end is for plants, what instinct is for animals, this and more the first principle is for man."

Why? Because, as our frequent commenter Nicolás has said

Intelligence is the capacity for discerning principles.

 Which is precisely why

Nearly every idea is an overdrawn check that circulates until it is presented for payment.

Your little idea must ultimately be backed by the full faith and credit of the First Bank of Reality, otherwise you're just circulating so much funny money. Your intellectual paper money must be founded on something solid, on real wealth -- which is also why

The doctrines that explain the higher by means of the lower are appendices of a magician’s rule book.

For to reduce the higher to the lower like trying to live inside your bank account, or to avoid starvation by eating money. Why do we laugh at these folks? Because

Four or five invulnerable philosophical propositions allow us to make fun of the rest.

I'm almost loathe to discuss it, because it was such a dreary and tedious book, but this is all covered from the other side of the spectrum in Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity. What makes it tedious is that the authors attempt to be fair and dispassionate in describing these morons, instead if doing so in an insultaining and ironyclad way. 

For if first principles are immediately evident to the light of intellect, then these ideas are immediately seen to be idiotic by that same light. No one needs to describe them in excruciating detail.  The bottom line is that leftist scholarship is full of the kind of thinking that renders intelligent thought impossible. 

Literally. For it is -- proudly -- mired in relativism, subjectivism, radical skepticism, social constructivism, and suspicion of any and all meta-narratives (except its own).  It rejects objective truth, the power of reason, the existence of human nature, and the capacity of language to communicate truth. Indeed, it is the philosophical antithesis of common sense realism, in that its first principle is

a broad rejection of the correspondence theory of truth: that is, the position that there are objective truths and that they can be established as true by their correspondence with how things actually are in the world. 

So it is an overt rejection of the very classical liberal enlightenment values that undergird our civilization. Which got me to thinking: isn't the progressive left just an inevitable entailment of these values, once they are detached from the Absolute? Yes, but we're out of time....

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Miraculous Encounter of Thought and Being

A commenter on the previous post lamented our preoccupation with intelligence and intelligibility, dismissing the former as "a tool, a buzzing blinking contraption. Like a calculator."

Naturally, it's difficult for human beings to imagine things from outside their humanness. It's literally impossible to think about what the world is like without language, since language is how we think. We can't imagine what it's like to be a dog or a bat or an insect. 

In fact, people at situated at the right side of the bell curve can scarcely imagine what it's like to occupy the left side -- say, the mind of Alexandria Cortez -- nor, for that matter, does she know anything about our end. We know this, because everything she says about us is wrong -- e.g., racist, sexist, fascist, homophobic, etc. That isn't intellection, just projection -- like maps of old that that say "monsters be here."  

Anyway, it's easy to take intelligibility for granted, since it is literally impossible to imagine the universe without it; a cosmos presumes its own intelligibility, or it's just a chaosmos.  

And one must be bereft of curiosity to not wonder how and why the intelligibility gets in, and how it is that our minds are able to extract this intelligibility.  Is it just a miraculous coincidence? Or are there sound metaphysical reasons?

As we often say, the humble person of faith who believes in a literal seven day creation is infinitely closer to the truth than the arrogant person of tenure who imagines that everything came about by chance.  In fact the doctrine of creation -- properly understood -- is the initial bifurcation in the flowchart of being and knowing: either the world is created -- i.e., is dependent upon  higher source -- or it isn't.  There is no in between.

But if it is not created, one must accept all the consequences that flow from this.  Which the anti-creationist never does and can never do without committing intellectual suicide.

Note the qualifier: properly understood.  It seems that few Christians and fewer pagans actually understand the metaphysical doctrine of creation. This is because western Christendom departed from the last common teacher of the undivided faith at the same time the scientific revolution was getting underway.  

This led to the split between science and faith that persists to this day -- which is really a disastrous and totally unnecessary division between (lower case) reason and intelligence. And only intelligence can heal the split, because intelligence is what unifies and synthesizes, precisely:
Our intellect in understanding is extended to infinity (Thomas).

This is self-evident: there is no limit to what we may know, for to even draw a boundary between appearances and reality -- AKA phenomena and noumena -- is to presume what is on its other side: "the intellect is therefore naturally capable of knowing everything that exists." And

Our intellect in knowing anything is extended to infinity. This ordering of the intellect to infinity would be vain and senseless if there were no infinite object of knowledge (ibid.).

This accords with one of our favorite passages by Schuon:  

The first ascertainment which should impose itself upon man when he reflects on the nature of the Universe is the primacy of that miracle that is intelligence -- or consciousness or subjectivity -- and consequently the incommensurability between these and material objects, be it a question of a grain of sand or of the sun, or of any creature whatever as an object of the senses.

In other words, the gap between the senses and the intellect is literally infinite, and demands an explanation: how did we get here, i.e., from the world of concrete sensations to the world of abstract concepts?  

Note that the concrete sensible isn't even a "fact" until there exists an intelligence to regard it as one. Does a dog or a journalist live in a world of disinterested facts?  Nor is it possible to "evolve" into the human world, again, because we're not talking about a continuous line but a discontinuous leap in being. There is no line that leads from touch or sight to pi, or to the theory of relativity, or to the self-evident truths undergirding our political system.

This is not to deny the fact of evolution. Indeed, is to render the fact of evolution intelligible. To imagine evolution "explains" human intelligence isn't superstitious, or even a little stitious. Rather, it's substitious.  It begs the biggest question of all, which is how the intellect transcends the mere shuffling of material genes.

No sense organ is aware of itself or of its operation. The eye neither sees itself, nor does it see what it sees. But the intellect is aware of itself and of its act of knowing (ibid.).

Here again, if you believe this capacity is a miracle brought about on the sixth day of creation, you're closer to the truth than the person who believes it miraculously came about as a result of matter somehow transcending itself. This latter doesn't explain anything, i.e. how transcendence appears in an immanent world -- how objects become subjects, how the outside gets in, how mere existence becomes experience.

To judge one's own judgment: this can only be done by the reason, which reflects on its own act and knows the relation between that upon which it judges and that by which it judges. Hence the root of all freedom lies in the reason (ibid., emphasis mine).

Boom: and now we understand the link between metaphysics and politics. Another foolish commenter suggested that "the true mystic is singularly disinterested in politics or stolen elections." Nah. The reality is that the true mystic is singularly interested in any and all conditions that permit and promote the flourishing of true mysticism. Which any form of materialism obviously doesn't.  

We're running out of time, but the question of real intelligence -- our knowledge of truth -- is very much tied in with the doctrine of creation. To put it conversely, if you're wrong about creation, then you're wrong -- ultimately -- about everything.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Living Between the Must Be and the Can't Be

 I want to make a u-turn back to a drive-by passage from a couple of weeks ago:

Without the intelligence there can be no continuity and no fluidity in the universe.... Discard the intelligence and you create a gap in the universe that no instinct or imaginal can fill.... Recognize the intelligence and you have a harmonious progression of perfections reaching even to God himself. Posit intelligence, and evolution becomes intelligible; deny it, and it becomes absurd (Sheen).  

Which brings to mind an aphorism, a truism, and an insult, which walk into a blog:

Agreement is eventually possible between intelligent men because intelligence is a conviction they share.

Men disagree not so much because they think differently but because they do not think.

The intelligent man quickly reaches conservative conclusions.

All of which begs the question: exactly what is intelligence and what is thinking? And what is the relationship between them?

Me? I've been thinking about thinking ever since I learned how, or thought I had, anyway. This is partly due to how unexpected it was: I wasn't used to it, so I didn't take it for granted.  "What's happening to me?," I asked.  "Why this annoying gap between impulse and action?"  

Which brings to mind a riddle: what is the biggest space in the world? 

Hmm, let's think. Yes, it must be this one: the space between intelligence and intelligibility!  After all, everything we can possibly conceive of is situated here, either in actuality or potential. If there's anything bigger than that, God's keeping it for himself.

Alternatively, perhaps it's the space between the necessary and the possible -- or between the Things that Must Be and those that can Never Be, AKA possibility.  All of evolution, for example, occurs in the space of the possible. Obviously evolutionary change isn't impossible, nor is it necessary, like a mathematical procedure or logical entailment.

If we could draw a map of our place in the cosmos, it might look like this:

MUST BE   {you are here}   CAN'T BE

Obviously, what we call thinking occurs in the middle area, between the brackets. Now, all thinking is an adequation, but bad thinking must be an adequation to things that can't be, which makes it an inadequation; these types of pseudo-thinkers tend to be inadequate to the task of realizing their own inadequacy.  Mr. Dunning meet Mr. Kruger. Mr. Biden meet Mrs. Harris. Again.

As we've discussed on numerous occasions, God is precisely that (or who) must be and cannot not be; for if God isn't, then nor is the cosmos (i.e., the cosmos as integrated totality of intelligible reality knowable by intelligence).  Instead, the cosmos reduces to a body without a head, such that it isn't even a body (i.e., organism) anymore. 

In reality, man inhabits -- or is in contact with --  two very different and yet intimately related worlds:

the first world without the second merely means the knowing of the letters of a language without being able to put them together into words and propositions. The second kind of world without the first means attempting to carry water in a bucket without a bottom to it (in Sheen).

In reality, we always begin by sensing a material object, but knowledge doesn't end there. Indeed, sensation isn't really knowledge at all. Rather, knowledge is an abstraction from sensation: it is immaterial and conceptual. And again, we always live in both worlds -- indeed, our world is always an integration of the two.

So long as we are aren't abstracting about things that can never be. Or, alternatively, prevented from abstracting about things that are.  

Jumping ahead a bit, what is, for example, political correctness, but a mechanism that forbids us to reason about what is, and forces us to conform our minds to what isn't? For example, it forces us to pretend men and women are identical and interchangeable, or that there are no cognitive or behavioral differences between ethnic groups.  

Progress. Yes, we all believe in. Except some of us posit a metaphysic that renders it incoherent and impossible, "for nothing is more unintelligible than an eternal becoming without a thing that becomes" (Sheen).  

In other words, change must occur to something enduring that is changed; if  things have no nature, no essence, then there is no subject of the change, no ontological continuity. Every moment, you'd be a brand new person in a terrifyingly novel world.

There's a name for that: psychosis. 

The collapse of our two worlds into one has disastrous consequences:

First, if the intelligence is destined merely for matter and for the practical, is organic and not spiritual, why are things intelligible? Why can things be known? Why are things known? 

Because reality is an IQ test? 

Second, if God is not the Principle of things..., then what ultimate explanation is there for the intelligibility in things?

Again, man exists between the Must Be -- beginning with God -- and the Can't Be -- which encompasses the countless ideologies from empiricism to scientism to Marxism to feminism and all the rest. Or perhaps we can just say that history is a constant struggle between God and ideology, or between O and Ø.  

If there is a world, it is infinitely incomprehensible without God. But there is a world. Ergo.

Blah blah yada yada, the rest is commentary. 

On the one hand God must be, and although we can know this as postulate -- as O -- he is like the bucket alluded to above, one with a secure bottom, and a top that goes on forever:

There is no doubt that we do not comprehend Him in Himself, but we comprehend Him as an inevitable postulate..., and we reach the height of comprehension in declaring Him, properly speaking, beyond our comprehension (Sheen). 

We are faced with a binary choice: infinite incomprehensibility, AKA incurable stupidity, at the one end; or endless comprehension of the infinite at the other.  But

When a society has two souls, there is -- and ought to be -- civil war.... for anything which has dual personality is certainly mad; and probably possessed by devils. --Chesterton

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Fleeing Personal Problems through Politics

The previous post left oof with reference to so-called "forces of within" and to how one of the primary purposes of ideology is to manage these forces, especially envy and resentment. Externalizing these is as easy as falling from paradise, especially with the readymade categories provided by progressive politics.  

If envy didn't exist, nor would the left, because these vindictive snowflakes would necessarily tend to their own business instead of concerning themselves with ours. But it seems that envy is baked into the the psychosocial cake, or at least coincides with the emergence of history from our prelapsarian innocence.

Man evolved as a social animal, and envy is the glue -- or part of the glue -- that holds the group together. It must be the dark side -- or a privation -- of something that had a positive function in binding together small human groups.

Let's try to analyze this from the ground up: man is first a familial animal before he is a social animal per se. However, the social and familial can only be artificially separated, which is precisely why so much crazy seeps into the sociopolitical. It helps to explain the perpetual hysteria of the left, and why progressives are rebellious adolescents with daddy issues when they aren't abandoned children with mommy issues.  

Bob, is it really that simple? Probably not, but before we dive in to the subject, let's drop a few aphorisms behind enemy lines in order to soften the ground:

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

2: Socialism is the philosophy of the guilt of others.

3: “Social justice” is the term for claiming anything to which we do not have a right.

4: The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another’s goods but the one who defends his own. 

5: It is not enough for the democrat that we respect what he wants to do with his life; he also demands that we respect what he wants to do with our life. 

6: Maturity of spirit begins when we stop feeling responsible for the world.

I've ordered these in a certain way so as to illuminate the process: 1) denial and externalization, 2) projection into others, 3) envy, 4)  rationalization, 5) punitive control, and 6) growing the hell up and minding your own business, AKA tolerating the terror of freedom.

Let's get back to Feminism and Freedom. Now, contrary to what feminists teach, women have always exerted control over men -- well, some women, in some ways, over some men. 

Or perhaps you are too stupid or oblivious to have noticed. I began noticing it when I was, oh, 11 or 12 years old. I won't bore you with details, but every man knows what I'm talking about, and every man must somehow come to terms with this form of female power.

Let's stipulate that feminism was invented by females too stupid or oblivious to understand the nature of their power over men. Or too envious. Or perhaps just too unattractive, simple as.  

Note that there is no explicit counter-philosophy to feminism, because no man is stupid or reckless enough to promulgate it. Well, maybe Nietzsche, but not because of any lack of intelligence. I have only vague recollections, but Prof Wiki has the goods:

From the beginning, nothing has been more alien, repugnant, and hostile to woman than truth -- her great art is the lie, her highest concern is mere appearance and beauty. 

But its complicated:

women are on the whole cleverer and more wicked than men -- which in Nietzsche's view, constitutes a compliment. Yet he goes on to claim that the emancipation of women, and feminists, was merely the resentment of some women against other women, who were physically better constituted and able to bear children.

One fellow claims Nietzsche isn't anti-woman, just anti-feminist. 

In any event, so long as genes have anything to say about reality, feminism will be here to bitterly struggle against that reality:

In the end it is impossible to overcome the biological inevitability of sex roles, but it is possible to try -- and to violate liberal values in the process (Levin). 

Hence the soft but increasingly hard tyranny of illiberal leftism. Is there anything maternal about the left, in a healthy or wholesome sense of the word?  Likewise anything feminine? Kamala Harris, for example, is neither; and yet, she is certainly both in the pathological sense, i.e., simultaneously the mother from hell and the ex-wife from hell.  But one could say the same of Hillary Clinton, Gretchen Whitmer, Nancy Pelosi, Lori Lightfoot, Sandy Cortez, et al. If you love women, you must shudder at them.

Another important point is that more equality will only generate more resentment in the left, precisely because equality of opportunity will starkly reveal inequality of gifts, merit, and ability. Under conditions of freedom, there is no escape from certain truths about oneself, and what crazy person wants that?

This is getting tedious. Let's just agree with Max Scheler that ressentiment is always available to the disordered person, whereas "an individual of strong personality has no need to compare himself with his fellow humans, even if they happen to be superior in specific respects and abilities."

Imagine how impoverished one would have to be in order to be unacquainted with moral and intellectual superiors! Which is a good working definition of a progressive: a person with no moral and intellectual superiors. They are better than you, which is why they are qualified to run your life.

For example, is there anyone wiser and more virtuous than Barack Obama? Just ask him. Even his supporters are the very people we'd been waiting for to bend the arc of history and set it right! 

But in reality

There is something definitively vile about the man who only admits equals, who does not tirelessly seek out his betters.

Do not commit the injustice of treating your superiors as equals.

The noble one is not the one who thinks he has inferiors, but the one who knows he has superiors.

Respecting our superiors is above all a proof of good taste.

By learning to admire we are cured of the vices of mediocrity.

Hmm. Who are some of my superiors that help me keep my own mediocrity in perspective? Let's see... Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Friedrich Hayek, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln... If we look down, it should be because we're always looking up, which is structurally the opposite of resentment.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

A Critique of Pure Criticism

To review where we left off: feminism necessarily tends to statist tyranny, since only something as powerful as the state can block and undo the consequences of biology and freedom, AKA reality.  If facts are stubborn things, reality is downright intransigent.  

It's our one hope, really: that leftism will never succeed because it cannot succeed.  Miracles are nice, but in our postmodern world there is insufficient appreciation for the miracle of reality: thank God for Real Things! (And vice versa.)

Which perhaps sounds like another throwaway line, but it's not. Rather, it goes to the very foundation of our metaphysical dispute, i.e., whether reality exists and the intellect may know it. Everything else is commentary. It's the first step to the first principle. Choose unwisely and it's the last step. 

I'm reading another book by Fulton Sheen, this one called Religion Without God, which picks up where the previous one -- God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy -- left off. Note that God and intelligence is what you call a pleonasm, since there can be no real intelligence in the absence of God as its ground and vector, alpha and omega. 

Which is why our world of postmodern ideology is so thoroughly anti-intellectual: not just in- or non- or pre-intellectual, but in absolute rebellion against the intellect. Why? Again, because the intellect is the mirror of the real, and reality is the perennial constraint on progressive dreams, fantasies, wishes, desires, and delusions.

One needn't even believe in "God" to understand conceptually what we're saying. One must, however, leave a "placeholder" for the Absolute -- an empty seat at one's innertable -- which will, if one is serious, be gradually filled with content. Eventually this will result in a tipping point and whoops, there's God, maybe a little late but always on time.

Which isn't really all that different from any other skill, say, music. One begins playing a musical instrument with the faith that music will eventually be reached and made present, so to speak.  Anyone who plays an instrument will recall the point at which one broke through to the other side -- the side from whence music comes -- and became a channel as opposed to a mere tool beating against its outer wall. 

It's like a fractal iteration of the transition from will to grace, bearing in mind that these two aren't actually opposed, rather, that grace is the perfection of nature.  Man's will isn't a line but a curve, or arc, or spiral -- ultimately a projectile from and to God. Just keep peddling, and soon enough you're riding upright on the tricycle.  

Here's a forbidden thought, especially for a clinical psychologist:

The proper therapeutic for bad living is clear thinking. We must supply the will with the right kind of projectiles, and trace for it the proper trajectory, for the will, by its nature, is inspired by the intellect.

If the will is not inspired by the intellect, then it will be spired by something that runs counter to the intellect -- AKA bad ideas, which, when systematized, become worse ideology -- or by something lower than intellect, AKA the untutored will.  

Which is why so many human beings are engines with no steering wheel. As Sheen says, "our knowledge and our love should be harmonious," not unlike the Trinity itsoph, "in which Knowledge and Love are in harmonious balance -- the Son and the Spirit being equal." 

But not equivalent, or what's the point? Back to Freedom and Feminism: male and female are likewise equal but  obviously not equivalent. And vive la différence. To which the left responds: No, kill it! Preferably before it reproduces!

Harmony, balance, and proportion. Or just a little perspective, please:

In the normal order of things there is a balance between the transcendent and the immanent, for all life is an equilibrium between the forces of within and the forces of without.

We know all about the forces of without, e.g., gravity, electricity, magnetism. But what the heck are the Forces of Within?  Objectively speaking?  

Now that is a large subject. Come to think of it, in the absence of this subject, there is no large or small, significant or insignificant, meaningful or meaningless, etc.  Truly, it is the biggest of bangs, at least on our side of the rug.

Which is why the world is so small to the ideologue.  One of the purposes of ideology is to cut the world down to size and make it -- and us! -- manageable.  This is why it requires a vocabulary of about a dozen words to be a progressive activist, the most important being "you have" and "I want."  

Oof. I need to stop this reverie in midsdream. To be continued....

Monday, December 07, 2020

Kakistocracy & Cuckocracy, Toxic Women & Weak Men

I want to complete the previous post on the subject of toxic femininity. 

We left off with the observation that women can never be "equal" to men (in terms of outcomes) without the intervention of something much stronger than men, which is the state.  (We could also say God, but that's not an option for the left.)

But this only kicks the can down the road, since it sets up a new hierarchy in which weak and ineffectual men -- AKA politicians -- will have a chance to compete.  

Now you know how the Party of Feminism end up with a Joe Biden at the top. Biden will boast about a cabinet that supposedly "looks like America," but let's not confuse with power with pander. Nor will the choices have anything to do with merit, because they are designed to patronize (as in pater) various yapping, resentful, and petulant identity groups.   

It's not as if (non-Trump) Republicans don't do the same thing, except to say they do it vis-a-vis philosophy rather than identity. In other words, they pretend to support conservatives. It's how the Party of Actual Men ends up with a Mitt Romney, or John McCain, or Paul Ryan. The sooner these types die off, the better.  

The bottom line is that Democrat rule results in kakistocracy, while Republican rule results in cuckocracy.

Some more observations from the book:

It is not by accident that feminism has had its major impact through the necessarily coercive machinery of the state rather than through the private decisions of individuals (Levin).

In many ways, the soft coercion of the welfare state is a mirror image of the hard coercion of law enforcement and prison. As we know, the great majority of criminals are young men who come from broken homes with absent fathers. 

As such, the institutions of "law enforcement" and "criminal justice" are like the return of the Father, only in a crude and heavy-handed manner: too little and definitely too late. It's a quintessentially masculine response to the problem of toxic -- or uncivilized -- masculinity.  (And in this context, the defund-the-police movement is just a sick mother screaming that her murderous baby is innocent.) 

Analogously, the welfare state is like a smothering and controlling mother who doesn't allow the child space to grow. Nor is there freedom to fail. Of course, failure still occurs, just minus the freedom. Consider the female dominated public school system, which no one but the wealthy are free to avoid, and yet assures so much failure.

For example, 

In 19 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, out of 3,804 students, only 14 of them, or less than 1%, were proficient in math.

In 13 of Baltimore’s high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math.

In five Baltimore City high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math or reading.


One could cite similar statistics for Washington, D.C. Which, of course, is why Democrats would like to make it a state.  Which is also why they want children to vote. Speaking of identity groups, they need all the morons they can get.


Although feminism speaks the language of liberation, self-fulfillment, options, and the removal of barriers, these phrases invariably mean their opposites and disguise an agenda at variance with the ideals of a free society.

To put it mildly. Putting it bluntly, feminism is the very opposite of what it pretends to be. Which goes to the essence of toxic femininity, which revolves around deception (and seduction).  Conversely, toxic masculinity revolves around violence (and the coercion that is at antipodes to seduction).

Let's take a giant leap into the past -- not the horizontal past but the vertical past. Why is Genesis 3 structured as it is? Why does the whole catastrophe begin with the woman? Why is she more vulnerable to the spirit of deceit, and how is it that she seduces the man into the deception?

Hey, at least Eve didn't murder anyone! No, that doesn't occur until the next generation. But make no mistake: lies lead to violence and murder.  

Back to the text: it doesn't actually get into the why, only the what. The text is but a mythico-clinical description of what happens, and we err if we try to blame one or the other sex. 

Recall the principle discussed two posts upstream -- that masculinity and femininity are two complementary poles of a single reality. Genesis 3, being a "story," necessarily deploys in time. But in reality, the poles play out in a timeless metaphysical reality.  

Moreover, there are other considerations to consider, which we won't consider at the moment because they will take us too far afield. Suffice it to say that if we wish to have an integral understanding we must consider the fall in the context of redemption, and vice versa. It's a Big Story, the biggest ever. The struggle of Man v. Woman is just the undercard, a sideshow.

Let's ponder for a moment the following description of the Adversary:

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. 

Interesting: a liar and a murderer. Eve and Cain, respectively, are the first we know of, but again, these are characters who illustrate principles; if they don't embody principles, then there is nothing to be learned from them. But let's not get into the blame game, for there's more than enough of that to go round and round. Just call it history.

Let's come back down to earth:

Feminism has been presented and widely received as a liberating force, a new view of the relations between the sexes emphasizing openness and freedom from oppressive stereotypes (Levin).

Oppressive stereotypes like, oh, "Eve" and "Adam."  

This is, of course, a Lie, truly, among the biggest and most breathtaking ever.

And yet, it's the same old lie. Same snake, new skin.

Feminism is an antidemocratic, if not totalitarian ideology (ibid.).

Bob, you just have a problem with women. 

Well, you're half right. In fact, I have a problem with human beings. And feminism only aggravates the problem.

Today's bottom line:

Since innate gender differences express themselves as differences in the typical preferences of men and women, so that people will never freely act in ways which produce a world devoid of sexism, the equalization of the sexes in personal behavior and in the work world demand implacable surveillance and interference (ibid.).  

Good news, though: if there's one thing that unites all leftists at all times, it's the need for more surveillance and interference, AKA less freedom and more coercion by the deceitful and the violent, by liars and bullies; or, speaking mythologically, just the endlessly circular riverrun, past Eve and Adam's... 

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Toxic Feminism and Betacratic Tyranny

Nobody panics when progressive jokers blather on about something they call "toxic masculinity." But one little mention of toxic femininity -- AKA feminism -- and everyone loses their minds.  

Which isn't quite true, because their minds are already lost by virtue of believing in feminism to begin with.

Bob are you suggesting that feminism is intrinsically pathological?  Yes, precisely -- certainly in its contemporary manifestations. There was a time -- perhaps fifty or more years ago -- when a healthy man could be excused for falling for the rhetoric, if only to get these shrews to shut-up for five minutes. 

But today there is no excuse: feminism is a sickness (or a symptom of one; stay tuned to discover witch!).  It isn't healthy, least of all for women and girls.  

Moreover, since femininity can only be artificially detached from masculinity, it is the cause and consequence of sick men as well.  It is why we can never trust a "male feminist." Think it: a male feminist doesn't know.  He can never be a member of the Club, nor is he aware of the Code. And yet he's proud of it, like it's some sort of virtue!

But ignorance and stupidity are never virtues.

Does Bob sound angry this morning? Well, first of all, Bob is never angry, so you're just projecting again. 

Wait -- are you suggesting Bob is some kind of saint or something?  

Definitely not. He is not "above" anger, just way beyond it, into something resembling... how to put it... how about cold nausea? As usual, Dávila speaks -- and retches -- for me: 

Our spontaneous revulsions are often more lucid than our reasoned convictions.

One who does not share our repugnance does not understand our ideas.

And an old standby that is always worth regurgitating:

Moral indignation is not truly sincere unless it literally ends in vomiting.
First of all, if you think this problem is correctable -- let alone by politics -- you don't understand the nature of the problem, much less its magnitude. Conversely, if you do understand the magnitude of the problem, it ironically confers a kind of peace, if only the peace of resignation.  

I compare it to the peace that comes from having no options; in other words: No alternatives, No problem.  If death, for example,  were only a possibility, it would be far more anxiety provoking.

We all know people who have grown up and transitioned from illiberal leftism to liberal conservatism. How do we know when we can truly say to the convert:


Easy: when they are literally sickened at the thought of their old self.

Anyway, after completing yesterday's post, I plucked an old book from the shelf called Feminism & Freedom, and it's full of grade-A insultainment. I think we might have discussed it a number of years ago, but I don't remember.  Therefore, my bad memory is your good fortune.



Surely no body of ideas is wrong about everything, as I imply feminism is.

How can a theory be wrong about everything? Easy: just begin with a first principle that is impossible, and everything follows as a matter of logic:

Any theory whose basic assumption about human nature is completely erroneous -- as I argue is the case with feminism -- is indeed bound to be wrong about everything else.

Okay then, why is it wrong? What's the big error? Why, it's so simple, a child can understand it -- unless the luckless child has sick parents who prevent her from seeing it:

Feminism is a program for making different beings -- men and women -- turn out alike.... 
More precisely, feminism is the thesis that males and females are already innately alike, with the current order of things -- in which males and females appear to differ and occupy quite different social roles -- being a harmful distortion of this fundamental similarity.

In short: reality, i.e., the order of things, is a harmful distortion. Which means feminists are hallucinating.  For gender differences are obviously real.  

So,  how does one transform reality into something it isn't?  The "patriarchy," as powerful as it is, is not powerful enough to eliminate reality. Rather, we need something more powerful than man (let alone woman).  I know!  The State!  It can do anything.  Supposing males are always trying to dominate this or that hierarchy,

The only agency that can prevent males in a human group from dominating it is a more powerful human group. 

True, but doesn't this just mean we'll ultimately be bossed around by male feminists -- whom we already know we can never trust?  Un-men such as Clinton, Obama, Biden -- or Bezos, Dorsey, & Zuckerman?  

Sure. You got a problem with that? Ultimately,  

one group's intervention in the affairs of another to strip its males of power does not transfer power to the females of the subject group; the real power goes to the dominant members of the dominant group -- who will be males if males are more interested in dominance than females.

Call it betocracy: rule by weak but sneaky beta males instead of a strong and transparent alpha.

To be continued...

Friday, December 04, 2020

Toxic Femininity and Hell on Earth

I had an acute case of Baader-Meinhof a couple days ago. First there was a tweet that said:

Much of what we call leftism is simply femaleism.

As evolutionary biology would predict. 


Which immediately provoked the idea for this post, or at least proposed a hypothetical equation in my head:

Leftism = Toxic femininity

Later in the day I switched channels to American Digest, where I read the following:

Masculine republics give way to feminine democracies, and feminine democracies give way to tyranny.


To top it off,  later that same day I peeked over at Instapundit, where there was a link to an essay asking if our boyfriend is effeminate. The essay isn't worth reading, as it essentially lumps together every negative trait the author can think of under the heading "effeminate." 


She claims this term is "not to be confused with 'femininity,'" but rather, "is the opposite of masculinity." But according to Mr. Webster, it means precisely that, i.e., "having feminine qualities untypical of a mannot manly in appearance or manner." 

The author instead equates effeminacy with "attachment to pleasure," but there's already a word for that: hedonism.  

So, where does this leave us? It leaves us with this post, which I felt more enthusiastic about yesterday, when I started it, than I do today, when I'm dutifully finishing it. Nevertheless, I feel like I owe it to the cosmos to take seriously such a synchronicitous trifecta of internet references. 

In other words, if the cosmic slot machine goes to all the trouble of coming up triple cherries for me, the least I can do is inquire as to why. Perhaps there's a big payoff in store. Or maybe it's just God making a silly pun, as usual.   

So: is there something about leftism that revolves around toxic femininity? Well, I suppose it depends upon what we mean by "toxic." And "femininity. "

Regarding the latter, there is masculinity and there is femininity, each being archetypal and therefore teleological. Precisely because they are teleological and not simply given all at once, they can veer off course, i.e., they can become pathological.  In other words, pathology itself is a failure to achieve what the system or organ or archetype is designed to do. 

Much as I'd like to descend immediately into insultainment, this is a complex subject. Nor do I want to mirror the author above and lump everything I don't like into a bitch's brew of Toxic Leftism. 

Let's cut to the chase, or to my conclusion, and then perhaps try to back it up, even though my cerebrated angelic intelligence informs me this isn't strictly necessary, i.e., that seeing is believing.

There is masculinity and there is femininity, each an essential human quality. However, these do not constitute a dualism, but rather, a complementarity. Neither is reducible to the other, nor is it possible to understand one without reference to the other. 

Moreover, we cannot describe, say, a "healthy masculinity" in the absence of the femininity which partly defines it.  If there were no women -- no feminine -- there could be no healthy or unhealthy masculinity. And vice versa: if there is no healthy masculinity, then there can be no crazy ex-wives from hell -- Nancy Pelosi, Sandy Cortez, Hillary Clinton, Rachel Maddow, Ruth Ginsburg, Maxine Waters, et al, would all be considered perfectly normal. 

Now, Petey informs me that the masculine-feminine pole isn't just horizontal but vertical; it manifests at every level of being -- some say as being itself, being that being must always be placed in the context of beyond-being, however one wishes to conceptualize the latter.  

The point I am making is a subtle or possibly just cranky one, but there is the cataphatic God we can know about and the apophatic God about whom we can know nothing (i.e., know nothing, not know nothing). Speaking only for myself and for Petey, it looks to us like Being is masculine in relation to the ultimate feminine womb-matrix of Beyond-Being.  

This no doubt smells a bit heterodox, but there are precedents, and not just Meister Eckhart, who wrote that "From all eternity God lies on a maternity bed giving birth. The essence of God is birthing."

However, there is also the sempiternal birth of existence from being, which has always been understood conversely, i.e., the masculine God and the feminine creation (e..g., "mother nature," or "Maya," or "Prakriti").  

Here again, these views are not contradictory but complementary -- much like the two stories of creation in Genesis. The first is more like Being from Beyond-Being, the second more like Existence from Being.

Bob, could you get any further afield?  

I don't know, but I'll try. Elsewhere Eckhart adverts to what we are calling Beyond-Being:

--The divine one is a negation of negations and a denial of denials.

--God is nothing. No thing. God is nothingness; and yet God is something.

--God is being beyond all being; God is a beingless being.

--The final goal of being is the darkness and the unknowability of the hidden divinity, which is that light which shines 'but the darkness cannot comprehend it.'

--God acts but the Godhead does not act. The mystery of the darkness of the eternal Godhead is unknown and never was known and never will be known.

I know: just like a woman.  

But there's more. If ultimate reality is a kind of eternal birthing, then I believe it helps us to comprehend what it means for the the Son to be eternally begotten and not made (the latter implying a creation in time). 

It also goes to the very nub of the gist of the whole point of the Incarnation, which, for Eckhart, is to facilitate this same eternal birth in ourselves:

Pay attention now to exactly where this birth takes place: this eternal birth takes place in the soul totally in the manner in which it takes place in eternity....

There is only one birth -- and this birth takes place in the being and in the ground and core of the soul.

Now, you may not agree with the Meistero, which is fine. Different storks for different dorks. Still, this is how I see it:  

And the Creator extends the same power to you out of the divine maternity bed located in the Godhead to eternally give birth.   

In other words, this is the ultimate explanation of our own inexhaustible creativity.  Or, let's say a more majestic explanation -- one that honors the extraordinary privilege of being cosmic co-creators:

Let me express myself in even a clearer way. The fruitful person gives birth out of the very same foundation from which the Creator begets the eternal Word... and it is from this core that one becomes fruitfully pregnant.

I guess we're almost done, and it would be bad form at this point to throw in some cheap shots about the toxic femininity of the left. Still, Eckhart wonders,

Why is it that some people do not bear fruit?

He suggests that it is due to a lack of faith in God. Which is not an issue for the left, since they posit no God in whom we owe our faith, only a State to whom we owe our obedience. 

Now, is this State a bad mother -- shut your mouth! -- or a bad father?

Trick question!

For it is both, the discordant marriage of a shrieking, hyperemotional femininity and an obnoxiously bullying masculinity, each equally toxic.  Also known as hell.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Absurd Gaps, Tenured Saps, and Complete Maps of the Cosmos

What else can be said about Angels and Orwell? Or have I written myself into a corner again?  

Well, one further point is that human intelligence, as great a thing as it is, is still pretty weak in the overall cosmic scheme of things. There's a reason why we not only so often get things wrong, but catastrophically so.  

Human -- qua human -- intelligence has some defects that can't really be remedied except in a handful of cases, and it can take your whole life just to track down their names and addresses. Truly, they are freaks -- faculty members of their own elite university.

There's a communion of saints. There is also a communion of geniuses -- of fertile eggheads and lumen beings.  Moreover, -- obviously -- these two converge: In a fiery intelligence the materials are not fused into a new alloy; they are integrated into a new element (Dávila).

Note that what I just said -- about the convergence of sanctity and brilliance -- is an example of a transtemporal truth that would make no sense whatsoever in the contemporary university. If would be rejected out of hand as not even wrong.

Which means that in the very place where intelligent people supposedly congregate, these folkers don't even know the first thing about intelligence, i.e., what it is and whence it comes. Thus, the intellectual community of the modern university unwittingly reflects the following ironyclad aphorism:

Intelligence isolates; stupidity brings together. 

It cannot be sufficiently stressed how anti-intellectual this is: not just unintelligent, but opposed to intelligence:

Modern philosophy, in rejecting the intelligence, has rejected the cornerstone of the whole edifice of continuity and progress in the universe (Sheen). 

Ever wonder why progressives can't help but be so backward in their thinking? Because they violate the principle that renders progress possible. 

Another key point -- this one also a bit ironic -- is that everyone believes in angels, and can't help believing in angels. However, the left does so implicitly, while assuming the function of angelic intelligence -- i.e., they claim to know things that only an angelic intellect could know.

This is a somewhat subtle point, or maybe my intelligence just isn't sufficiently angelic to explain it. But according to Sheen, modern philosophy has, in ideal, 

given man an angelic intelligence, and thus has broken continuity with the lower orders; in fact, it has given man a degenerate sense knowledge, and has broken continuity with the higher orders.

This explains so much about the metaphysical absurdity of the left, that it makes me want to slap yo' mama and my angel at the same time. On the one hand, modern philosophy insists on cosmic continuity (as must any philosophy). But it situates the continuity "below," thereby dragging down the very intelligence that posits and transcends it.  

In short, there is surely a temporal "evolution" in the cosmos, but only because it is ontologically posterior to an atemporal involution -- or to the timeless hierarchical structure of things; absent this structure, then, well, nothing.

Continuity and unity; or time and space, respectively.  Now, no one posits one without the other, since it is not possible to do so. But this doesn't stop them from trying, which is precisely what, say, an "angelic scientism" is: an oxymoronic orthodoxy. 

In other words, scientism (or metaphysical Darwinism, or leftoid neo-Marxism) reduces human intelligence to the animal or material while elevating it to a grand unified synthesis of reality.  This represents a kind of infracosmic stupidity of which there can be no stupider. 

Conversely, the sanctified intelligence of a St. Thomas

is constantly recurring to the principle of unification that runs through the universe.... For him the principle of unification is valid only on condition that there is no subordination of the higher to the lower order.

Unification is and must be from above; if it is from below, that's not unification, that's agglomeration and/or annihilation. I suppose it's a kind of unity, in that it turns your head into a desolate parking lot, but so what? Nothing is that stupid, let alone everything. 

Is life higher than matter? Is mind higher than life? Modern philosophy, left to its own resources and principles, can only say Nah

Now, the angelic intelligence can see God, and is therefore not in need of arguments to "prove" his existence. Analogously, no one has to use logic to convince me that the swimming pool I'm looking at is real. Indeed, in this context, any argument for the existence of the pool is weaker than my simply seeing it (let alone swimming in it). Merely reasoning about its existence is a defect, or at least rooted in one.  

The same principle applies to... to everything. In no persons short of God is there perfect correlation of knowledge and essence, or intelligence and intelligibility. 

But for us the perfection is on a continuum, e.g., from facts to conclusions to knowledge to prudence to wisdom. Is it controversial to suggest that hordes of intelligent people are bereft of wisdom, or that a faulty intelligence can misappropriate facts with diabolical facility?

It's getting late. We'll end with a passage by Sheen followed by an aphorism:

Without the intelligence there can be no continuity and no fluidity in the universe.... Discard the intelligence and you create a gap in the universe that no instinct or imaginal can fill.... Recognize the intelligence and you have a harmonious progression of perfections reaching even to God himself. Posit intelligence, and evolution becomes intelligible; deny it, and it becomes absurd. 
The modern aberration consists in believing that the only thing that is real is what the vulgar soul can perceive.