Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Flattening the Curve of Original Sin

The modern man is the man who forgets what man knows about man. --Dávila

"It is a commonplace of the Christian tradition," writes Barron, "that the fall had implications at all levels of a person's being," affecting "not only the will but the body, the passions, the imagination, and the mind as well."

Well, that's kind of a downer. Is there anything we can do about it? Is there a vertical CDC that can help us mitigate this spiritual malady, and perhaps prevent it from spreading down and out, to our descendants and contemporaries, respectively?

Yes, but it's not a government agency. Indeed, the whole idea of the intrusive, activist, all-powerful state is founded on the presumption that it -- its highly trained experts in self-deception -- knows how to undo the effects of the fall without even acknowledging its existence: we can fix it, and besides, it never happened!

Which is precisely why the credentialed morons of the state end up amplifying the effects. Analogously, if we know the Chinese flu is out there, it provides a modicum of protection against it, being that this knowledge will alter our behavior. But if we deny the problem, we end up like Kaiser Wilhelmio: it's no big deal, and besides, it's Trump's fault!

There are so many aphorisms about state-sponsored stupidity, it's hard to pick just a few:

Liberals can be divided into those who believe that wickedness is curable and those who deny that it exists.

Asking the State to do what only society should do is the error of the left.

With the generosity of his program does the liberal console himself for the magnitude of the catastrophes it produces.

Political wisdom is the art of invigorating society and weakening the State.

While we ourselves cannot fully undo the effects of the fall (more on the only efficacious treatment later), we can at least mitigate them if we know in advance the mind is fallen. In short, we will be less likely to fool ourselves because we will be less likely to trust ourselves. Unlike, say, atheists and Darwinians, we won't be so quick to naively accept the pronouncements of a contingent being such as man.

In short, if we are totally ignorant (or in denial) of original sin and place our full faith and trust in man, we are headed for an even greater fall. For which reason the Aphorist says (again, it's hard to confine ourselves to a few):

Men are divided into two camps: those who believe in original sin and those who are idiots.

Nothing makes more evident the reality of sin than the stench of the souls that deny its existence.

Evil, like the eyes, does not see itself. May he who sees himself as innocent tremble.

He who does not believe in God can at least have the decency of not believing in himself.

To believe in the redemption of man by man is more than an error; it is an idiocy.

So, if you're rotten and you know it, clap your hands!

Barron goes on to say that it isn't only Christians who will clap. Rather,

the philosophical schools of the ancient world were moral training grounds, places where one passed through a strict discipline in order to learn how to properly think. It was a basic assumption among these philosophers that there is something wrong with the way most people naturally act and reason (emphasis mine).

Who can doubt it? There is no question that 30 years ago I had more raw neurological candlepower than I do today. There is also no question that I had more raw stupidity than I do today. Why is that? Well, I can think of One Big Thing of which I was totally ignorant, and which colored everything else: I completely trusted my own mind, of all things.

Now, it is possible to go too far in the other direction, as did, say, Luther. In overemphasizing the corruption of the mind, he purged his novel and idiosyncratic version of Christianity of intellection, clearing the field for a host of rotten philosophies to dominate intellectual discourse down to this day. Luther railed against "whore reason," but had no earthly idea of the tenured whores to come. Gonorrhea is one thing, AIDS another.

Thus, Barron suggests that "this very exaggeration of the motif of the fallen mind contributed to the counterreaction of the Enlightenment." While the enlightened ones would have agreed that there is something wrong with the mind, they felt it could be fully rectified. (To be perfectly accurate, the radical Enlightenment thinkers felt this way, in contrast to our own Biblically informed and therefore properly skeptical founders.)

Enlightened. As if there can be such a thing as light without the divine Light!

Yes, en-lightenment can be facilitated, but one must first acknowledge the darkness, or rather, the nature of the darkness. For it isn't just that we lack light. Rather, the light shines alike on the good and the wicked, the wise and the tenured. However, we are so composed that this light is always mingled with our own darkness, if only because we are material beings, and matter isn't fully translucent to intellection.

Anyway, if you assume people are stupid until proven otherwise, you'll rarely be disappointed, plus you'll have a good laugh along the way.


Anonymous said...

Well Dr. Godwin, great post as usual.

I accept all of the premises therein: Man is fallen, things are not the way they should be, the mind is not to be fully trusted, people can improve themselves, and God is real.

The sections of the post dealing with the deviations and errata made by people who fail to discern their fallen nature are all reasonable conclusions.

We can speculate on the $64 question: Why? The following premises can be forwarded:

-Heaven exists; God's rules are followed there, ignorance is not an issue.

-The inhabitants of Heaven are not fallen, and in Heaven things are the way they should be.

We must assume that perfection is attainable.

So, the existence of imperfect beings in an imperfect world has significance. It doesn't have to be that way.

The Bible posits that this situation is the fault of human beings with flawed volition.
Other scriptures posit the situation is some kind of initiation or trial.
Still other assert the situation is for improvement of the soul, some kind of education or vision quest.

Of course it is not necessary to ponder this question in order to go about the sensible task of trying to become more perfect. We all know that is the task at hand.

Well, fare thee well. I look forward to your next post.

julie said...

Indeed, the whole idea of the intrusive, activist, all-powerful state is founded on the presumption that it -- its highly trained experts in self-deception -- knows how to undo the effects of the fall without even acknowledging its existence: we can fix it, and besides, it never happened!

Scribes and Pharisees, all over again

Gagdad Bob said...

Once upon a time, every time.

Anonymous said...

We must assume that perfection is attainable.

Well I know it doesn't come in a bottle or a wallet. Maybe things coming in bottles and wallets can make one feel better, temporarily, but even ancient scripture said that addictions to such things leads to destructive pathologies. Maybe that's why "nice" people prefer spiritual things and spiritual others. Perfecting ones addiction to spiritualism doesn't really hurt anybody else.

The others, I call them Genghis Mammon. Or alkies. My, what messes they can make of others lives. Not that there's anything we can do about it, right?

Anonymous said...

I own a couple good-sized bat caves near Louisville Kentucky. I usually get 50 people a day at $6.50 for each admission ticket, but for the last two weeks tour attendance has been 3-4 people a day. I completely sanitize our famous Batman exhibit between guest photos, no worries.

I was moving between 150-200 cases of frozen bat wings and 50 cases of fresh whole bats weekly, but business has totally dried up. Nobody is buying or consuming bats anymore since this virus thing.

I have some cash reserve but this won't last long. I employ 4 mentally-disabled processers and packers whom now have nothing to do. I can't just stop paying them, Lord knows what would happen.

So yeah, I could use some activist state help right about now. How about you all?

Anonymous said...

Hello Anon 10:08

You wrote in part "Perfecting ones addiction to spiritualism doesn't really hurt anybody else."

I had never thought of it that way before, but it makes sense. Harness the power of compulsion.

If I pursue my spiritual practice as often and as devoutly as I kowtow to my addictions to liquor, drugs and porn, I'd be way better off. Hell, just replace all other addictions with the addiction to spiritualism, and jackpot.

And that would not hurt anyone. I'm going to see if I can do it.

Great comment, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the compulsion to watch Fox News...

Trish Regan is gone from there along with all of her coronavirus conspiracy theories. We're at a quarter million actual reported cases now.

But if you want to see a fuller spectrum of truthiness (or even truth), than other political sports places they’ve surpassed all the other cable news outlets, IMHO. Maybe crisis brings out the best in them I dunno. They're becoming more like Breitbart than just being corporate-government agitprop.

Anonymous said...

I believe the media will begin to lose interest in the Coronavirus thing. Media outlets cannot sustain their focus for an extended period on even a very large-scale news event.

This is because the stories will begin to sound repetitious; this is already occurring and it can't be helped. If I'm right we will see a gradual decrease in pandemic reporting (whether or not the curve gets flattened).

The media will default to a mixed bag of other reporting, until the next big thing comes along and then there will be another concentrated flurry.

-Natural Beastie

Anonymous said...

Institute Summary Report, Pandemic Deep-Dive Operation

The operation took place between 03/31/2020 - 04/03/2020

16 inner explorers went in deep to interview God about the pandemic. There was also a control group of 4.

Of the 16 three made it all the way and got credible responses. There was one fatality (our colleague had a cardiac event during the operation). The death was not linked to the pandemic.

The responses indicated the following:

-God was aware of the pandemic and had vetted/allowed it to occur.

-God alluded to virus pandemics being intrinsic and necessary components of the biome which have been operant since time out of mind.

-God indicated the link between viruses and bacteria should be looked at more closely to appreciate why this is all needed.

-God revealed the pandemic could produce some enduring positive social changes in the direction of love and unity.

-God thanked the divers for visiting and added he though humanity as a whole was doing Him proud for the most part.

The Institute makes no claim of infallibility and this report consists of the subjective impressions of employees only. Results may not be duplicable.

- Clarice M, Special Operations Director