Saturday, May 30, 2020

Q & A on the Riots with Señor Dávila

These are more than riots, they're a revolution!

Revolutions do not solve any problem other than the economic problem of their leaders.

Yes, but surely you acknowledge racial injustice?

In order to enslave a group of people the politician must only convince them that all their problems are a consequence of racism, sexism, or class.

Wait -- you don't want social justice?

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

I get it. You don't want The People to be liberated.

For a couple of centuries, “to liberate man” meant to facilitate mob behavior.

But Americans have every right to air their grievances!

It is customary to proclaim rights in order to be able to violate duties.

I get it. You just don't tolerate people who don't look like you.

Unlimited tolerance is nothing more than a hypocritical way of giving up.

But I heard the mayors of Minneapolis and Atlanta criticize the rioters.

The smile with which the pig hears the one who criticizes the mud!

These aren't mobs, they're courageously standing up for minority rights!

Minorities that become majorities continue to believe they are brave.

Unity now! Together we're stronger!

The revolutionary is ultimately an individual who does not dare to rob by himself.

What about my rights 'n stuff?

In order to corrupt the individual it is enough to teach him to call his personal desires rights and the rights of others abuses.

But life is unfair! The world owes me a living!

We only know how to carry ourselves with decency in front of the world when we know that we are owed nothing. Without the pained grimace of a frustrated creditor.

Last night I heard Don LeMon and Fredo Cuomo point out that it's simplistic to characterize the conduct of the rioters in negative and judgmental terms. One man's looting is another man's retail therapy.

The arguments with which we justify our conduct tend to be more stupid than the conduct itself.

It's not arson -- it's the fire of freedom and justice!

Activism burns without giving light.

Don't you think it was wise for Mayor Jacobin Frey to give the rioters space to blow off steam?

No one grants humanity certain extreme liberties except someone indifferent to its fate.

One thing I don't get -- why do they burn down their own cities and businesses?

The liberal is capable of sacrificing even his interests to his resentment.

And cleaning up this mess is going to cost billions.

Every “liberator” finally passes on the bill.

So, what's really going on here?

When one does not concede to the leftist all that he demands, he proclaims himself the victim of an institutional violence that is licit to repel with physical violence.

You don't think they're frightened?

The frightened liberal is a bloodthirsty animal.

But if this isn't really about the police, who's to blame for urban squalor and unrest?

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

Any final thoughts?

Our civilization is a baroque palace invaded by a disheveled mob.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Dis-covery and Re-discovery of Reality

Time enough for a brief post for which several titles come to mind, including Where is Reality? and Between Matter and Neurology, the latter being the unending answer to the permanent question of the former. Man is in essence an abiding (?), and philosophy begins -- and ends -- in (?!).

Why, you may ask, do I keep harping on this? We get it, Bob. Reality exists, and can only exist, in the great In Between -- in the quasi-infinite space between immanence and transcendence. Life is a bewilderedness adventure, an exodeus, an expansion into the endless frontier, a careful documentation of our ignorance, multi-undisciplinary circumnavelgazing, ad gnoseam. Move on.

Well, I can't. There's an old gag about how even the most exalted egghead generally has One Big Idea that he spends his life rediscovering in various ways. Is it possible this applies to me? That I too am exalted?

Hmm. I'm almost afraid to look, but let's glance back at the very first article I ever published in a -- back off, man, I'm a psychologist! -- scholarly journal in 1991, the same year I got my license to cure souls and save mankind.

Indeed, it looked at the time as if Bob were off to a promising career. Which leads to a host of ancillary questions: what on earth went right? How and why did Bob abandon a life of distinguished mediocrity for an anonymous plunge into eccentric psycho-cosmography?

Wait -- a licensed psychologist? Don't make us laugh!

The greater the importance of an intellectual activity, the more ridiculous is the claim of certifying the competence of those who exercise it. A diploma of dentistry is respectable, but one of philosophy is grotesque (Dávila).

I suppose you could say that I abandoned licensure, certification, and societal validation for a vertical career that has no point. Lo and behold, it's working! I may be grossly misgodded, but at least I'm not grotesque.

Back to the article. Interestingly, it doesn't just confirm the hypothesis that I keep rediscovering the same thing; rather it seems that in the intervening 29 years I have become that which I discovered, or at least increasingly so. Whether this is a good or bad thing, it's too soon to say. Ask again in 29 years. Perhaps distinguished mediocrity would have been the more prudent path.

About "becoming what I discovered." A few selected passages:

Because it is difficult to visualize a domain such as the mind with dimensions of more than three, we tend to rely upon mental models derived from the sensual (primarily visual), explicate world. This in turn leads to the erroneous conclusion that explicate knowledge can disclose the truth of our being.


One of the perils of this form of psychic cartography is that contained within the map is a tacit structure of ideas and concepts which tends to become self-confirming: thought is thus excised from its deeper source and becomes a self-generating and closed loop. With this approach the unknown is foreclosed, and what may appear to be "discoveries" will in fact be merely verifications of one's hidden assumptions about reality.

At the time, I had never heard the name "Voegelin," but what I have just described -- i.e., cognitively and spiritually closed loops -- is another way of talking about ideological pseudo-realities and gnostic dreamworlds built upon ontological lies, i.e., not lying "about" reality but living in a lie about reality. It is analogous to an MSM news silo, only with lifetime tenure.

The silo is the matrix or reality tunnel from which only our second birth from above can begin to save us. It's the beginning of a new order of difficulties, but at least the difficulties are real and no longer imaginary: an engagement with, instead of a flight from, reality. The majority of what is given to us as knowledge, news, and information is clearly a dispersing, crystalizing, or twittering flight from.

More timeless (or fixated) autoBobography from 29 years past:

Thought begins first of all with a creative perception, which is always part of a more encompassing flow from which it has been abstracted.

Doesn't that way lie madness, postmodernness, and other dodgy subjectivisms? No, because

an enormous amount of thinking must take place before the suspension of thought can lead to a generative insight and discovery. Without this preparation, suspension of thought will merely generate undisciplined observations and chaotic and inconsistent interpretations.

But here again we must meet in the middle and not default to the other pole: "with training and preparation, our minds can become circular, saturated, and unable to perceive the truly novel." In short, we must maintain what Voegelin calls the "balance of consciousness," defaulting neither to the transcendent nor immanent poles.

In the article, I also spoke of vertical defense mechanisms, so to speak, which are ultimately defenses against God (or at least the transcendent pole or ground that inevitably leads back to him). Supposing we have an objective map of the world, it may lead to a situation whereby "the unknown is defended against through the possession of knowledge."

Which is none other than what Voegelin calls a second reality, "a fictitious world imagined as true by a person using it to mask and thereby 'eclipse' genuine reality" (Webb).

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Nurture and Nurture's God

Talk about rude: that silly title just now broke into my head and demanded that I honor it with a post! I don't like to reward bad behavior, but my head is otherwise empty this morning, so might as well.

Nor are we in the habit of quoting John Paul... Sartre around here, but he was surely right about one thing: that there is no such thing as human nature, because God doesn't exist.

Except God does exist. As they say in France, T'oh!


Thus, score one for our perspicacious Founders, who acknowledged that we are indeed endowed by our Creator with, you know, the thing. No Creator, no human nature, no natural law, no unalienable rights, yada yada. France may roll that way, but we don't. Except for the left, which would like for us to roll over like the French army.

This goes to the most fundamental principle distinguishing the left from reality, bearing in mind that it necessarily takes numerous forms. It does so necessarily because reality -- obviously -- is one, while alternatives to it are literally infinite.

For example, in reality you are either a man or a woman (with a handful of tragic exceptions that prove the rule). Deny this reality and you have LGB... then QT... followed by IA... and let's not forget U and C... not to mention 2, P, O, and the controversial SA. We might just say QWERTY as a synecdoche for the entire alphabet, but this unjustly excludes the numbers, to say nothing of the symbols... Let's just go straight to nominalism and say that every person is zir own gender. (If the Incarnation is the Best Idea Ever, then nominalism must be among the Worst.)

If human beings have no nature, this is not "liberating," but rather, the opposite, for it means we are so many bags of wet cement to be shaped in the manner seen fit by the state.

Marriage, for example, is quintessentially in the nature of things. Not so, says the Supreme Court: marriage is between any two -- for now -- people -- for now -- who love the state! But if anyone is free to marry, then no one is. Which is the whole point: to destroy the institution of the family, because the state is a jealous god and frowns upon the existence of mediating institutions between it and its subjects.

Now, back when I was growing up, words were still used to describe reality. This was before they were used to create, distort, and redefine reality.

Reality. You will have noticed that there is an exterior (objective) reality and an interior (subjective) reality; and if you notice a bit more deeply, that there is a relationship between these two.

In fact, there is always a relationship, such that we can never identify either pole without the other. If you don't believe me, try imagining what the world looks like with no one there to see it; or, at the other end, imagine what consciousness is like with no object or content. Apart from its complement, each is just nothing, and nothing doesn't exist.

Therefore, we must regard the categories of subject and object as arrows that point to and define one another without ever reaching that to which they point. Human existence always takes place, and can only take place, in the dynamic and generative space between these two poles.

If this sounds suspiciously subjectivist, well, it is and it isn't. It would be if there were no such thing as human nature -- or, at the other end, if there were no such thing as the laws of nature. In other words, there is objectivity at both ends; but there is also subjectivity (or interiority) at both ends, and these interpenetrate one another in the act of knowing.

Let's crank down the abstraction or put down the bong for a moment, and apply this to plain old reality. In his A Government of Laws, Sandoz writes that "whatever the political order may be, the fundamental requirement is that [it] be a fit habitation for human beings."

Again, if there is no such thing as human nature (because no God), then there is no proper political order and no necessary habitation for our flourishing: representative democracy and free markets are no better than fascism and communism.

How did that work out?

Yes, but why did it not work out? And show your work!

Speaking of which, A Government of Laws is all about showing the work of the founders, in that the subtitle is Political Theory, Religion, and the American Founding. Let's consider some of their work, the better to understand how and why the left rejects it in favor of an alternative metaphysic.

Let's start with Aristotle, who understood that

if we are to devise an optimal, or at least a moderately satisfactory order for men, we must understand who it is that will occupy this habitation so as to be able to judge its fitness for human occupancy (Sandoz).

Obvious, no? Indeed, one must have an advanced degree in political science in order to not understand this on a metaphysical level, or in other words, to be fundamentally wrong in principle. For the rest of us, we want a political order that reflects human nature.

Which is precisely what Madison rhetorically asked: "what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?"

(Not "of" but "on," which is to say, based on a consideration of who and what man is; no government could be a literal reflection of man, since he is reflected in art, religion, science, and countless other activities, so the state would have to be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnicompetent. Which, incidentally, touches on why "the notion of saving mankind through politics is, indeed, not only mistaken but ultimately disastrous.")

So, the political order isn't exactly "man writ large." Rather, it's more like a structure that permits man to WRITE and LIVE LARGE, or to become who he is: "the nature of man is displayed in the man who fulfills his potential as a human being and lives as a mature man.... This discloses the horizon for human endeavor and human actualization" (ibid.).

Ever wonder why the left infantilizes citizens and encourages immaturity, dependency, and emotionality? Well, wonder no more. It's all bound up with their initial assumptions about a de-divinized world and the absence of human nature. In reality, human beings are hierarchically structured such that there is a

series of grades from the bottom (so to speak) up to the point where he participates in the divine being as his own true self. Noetic participation in divine being distinguishes man from all other beings, insofar as man thereby has something of the divine in him (ibid.).

We're god-paddling in rather deep waters at the very edge of the subjective horizon, at the limits of our capacity to remain buoyant, so we apologize for any lack of clarity and/or linearity. We'll take another dive into the same waters in the next post...

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Fairy Tales of the Media and Opium for the Tenured

Here's a thought: "There are, and always will be, aspects of our existence that require for their expression and exploration the analogical language of myth. Philosophy, mythology, and religion, from this point of view, are linked in essential continuity" (Webb).

Frankly, I don't think this statement is controversial at all. In fact, we could turn it on its head and affirm that man qua man always lives within a mythological space or structure, even -- or especially -- when he convinces himself he doesn't.

I say "especially" because no one is more faithful (or better, credulous) than the man who believes he isn't. A stark raving atheist, for example, who has no faith in God, will always be found to have blind faith in something else -- in scientism or some other modern primitive superstition.

To grab at the most conspicuously low hanging fruitcakes that come to hand, is there anyone more mythbound than a Marxist? I am hardly the first to point out that Marx and all his retarded progeny live in a perverted space of inverted Christianity, featuring paradise, original sin, revelation, apocalypse, redemption, salvation, and countless demons. I well know about the demons, because I am several of them (i.e., white, Christian, male, cisgender, armed, etc.).

Bear in mind that our implicit mythological structure is indeed a structure and a mythological one at that.

Or, put it this way: the explanatory stories we tell ourselves are both structured and logical, although the structure isn't necessarily linear nor the logic Aristotelian. Rather, the former is vertical and the latter symmetrical and bi-logical.

That last book is NOT recommended. I just linked to it to show that I'm not alone. However, I glanced at one of the reviews, and this is helpful:

What Matte Blanco proposes is that there are two co-existing modes of being, one homogeneous indivisible mode and another heterogeneous dividing one. So we human beings live in two realities at once, merged in one being, which in turn produces the actual behaviors going from normal, neurotic, schizophrenic, psychotic and so on.

Now, human beings habitually collapse these two modes and dimensions, which is how one can end up living inside an unexamined, reified mythology that seems self-evident to the one living in it.

If you've ever wondered why leftists are so smug and superior, this is why: because you are so stupid that you can't even see what is self-evident, e.g., that President Trump is a Russian agent, that he conspired with Ukraine to defeat Joe Biden, that blacks who support Trump aren't actually black, et al.

You and I could spend all day recalling similarly malignant myths -- that the US and USSR are morally equivalent... or just say Feminism, Patriarchy, Homophobia, Islamophobia, Xenophobia, etc., each one the title of a simplistic mythology that organizes an otherwise chaotic world.

Alternatively, just survey your own past and consider all the idiocies you once believed with all your heart and mind, but have since discarded. What was that all about? How is it that so many things you believed to be self-evidently true turned out to be self-evidently false? What would have become of you had you not discarded these psychospiritual malignancies and still lived in one those reality tunnels?

Like anyone, I am sometimes a bit nostalgic for the past. But I always project my current self there, and forget about the cramped reality tunnel I inhabited at the time (different ones in different developmental times). Actually re-entering those mythic spaces is nearly impossible -- analogous to trying to "remember" what it felt like to be a pre-linguistic primate. Supposing you are successful, "you" are no longer there to experience it.

Back to the reviewer:

Matte Blanco says it is extremely improbable that psychical phenomena can be described in terms of only three dimensions. The main hypothesis is that the mind can be better understood and explained by using a multidimensional model which relies on a bi-logical or symmetrical-asymmetrical relationship, between conscious and unconscious.

Yes. One must always look at the phenomena from no fewer than two angles. Think, for example, of a great novel or film, in which the plot takes place on one plane, while the theme not only occurs on another level but is the sufficient cause of the plot, even if the theme is never worked out consciously. In fact, the plot may be the conscious elaboration of an unconscious theme or structure. Which is actually a good definition of myth.

Lately I've been trying to dig down to the ontological foundation of all this. This foundation isn't in the distant past -- or not only there -- but also in the here and now. In other words, we again partake of this vertical structure at all times, because reality is this vertical structure.

Nor should we collapse this structure and pretend to have arrived at an unambiguous, once-and-for-all answer. The result won't even be a myth. Rather, some mediated fairy tale or tenured opiate.

Speaking of getting to the bottom of our cosmos, we'll leave off with this passage from The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, not forgetting that in the grand scheme of things we are those same men on that same adventure, i.e., still dwelling in the dark as (Plato's) cavemen:

The imagery of myth "is nothing less than a carefully chosen cloak for abstract thought." And try as he might, the modern barbarian "does not quite succeed in becoming a scientific object to himself. His need of transcending chaotic experience and conflicting facts leads him to seek a metaphysical hypothesis that may clarify his urgent problems."

The Narrative is just a reality tunnel propagated by the mythstream media and enforced by political correctness and other institutions.

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