Friday, July 10, 2020

Reality: Experience or Concept?

Now here's an interesting resource that will keep me occupied for the next six months or so: a whole website obsessively devoted to Voegelin, including a page with hundreds of excerpts touching on every conceivable subject -- for example, Where Does the Beginning Begin? I think I know, but let's get his take:

As I am putting down these words on an empty page, I have begun to write a sentence that, when it is finished, will be the beginning of a chapter on certain problems of Beginning.

The sentence is finished. But is it true?

I know that feeling: As I tap away at the keyboard, I have begun to write a sentence that, when it is finished, will be the beginning of a post about an unKnown subject that will come into focus as the writing proceeds.

Was the end there all along? That's how teleology works: the first shall be last. Although the end is ontologically first, it is temporally last, i.e., the mature oak is somehow lurking nonlocally in the acorn.

I know from experience that new ideas have a habit of emerging while the writing is going on, compelling changes in the construction and making the beginning unsuitable.... the story has no beginning before it has come to its end. What then comes first: the beginning or the end?

That sounds like a trick question. I'm guessing it's a both/and situation, AKA beginning and end are complementary, and that we exist in the tension between these polar directions. These poles don't arrive at their destination but ceaselessly point the way there.

If you're in the mood for irreverent orthoparadoxical aphorisms, we might even say that there is no God, only the ceaseless movement toward or away from Him.

Neither the beginning nor the end comes first.... Is then the whole, with its spatio-temporal and existential dimensions, the answer to the question: What comes first?

Hmm. No, it can't be, because that would entail a determinism that is inadmissible by anyone with a functioning brain.

The whole as a literary unit called "chapter" is not the answer either.

I knew it. What then?

The whole is no beginning in an absolute sense; it is no beginning of anything at all unless it has a function in a communion of existential concern; and the communion of concern as a social field depends for its existence on the communicability of the concern through language.

Now -- whether Voegelin realizes it or not -- we are beginning to touch upon a trinitarian metaphysic, for what truly comes first is the very possibility of communion and communicability, or soul-to-soul touching via meaning, which is a form of Delight.

You, my friends, love to understand, and the more deeply the better. And I love to be understood. These are very specific *feelings* (or something), irreducible to anything else. Nor is there any genuine substitute. Of course there are distractions, evasions, and counterfeit forms, but no one who has tasted the Real Thing will be attracted to or seduced by anything less.

Do you not agree, Eric? Yes: our writing

is not a piece of information about familiar objects of the external world; rather, it seeks to communicate an act of participation in the quest for truth.

This is the key to the enigma, because we're talking about a form of writing that isn't just about abstract meaning but experiential meaning.

Via a typical series of miracles, I first encountered this notion in the spring of 1985, nearly two decades before bumping into Voegelin. I won't bore you with the details, but it was definitely a Come to Jesus moment, only without Jesus per se. By which I mean it was an ontological breakthrough -- whether me into it or it into me, it no longer matters. But it was both.

The main point is that it is easy for language to become saturated by constant use and thereby become incapable of conveying the experiential meaning it did when first developed. How do we keep language alive? Which means, how do we communicate in such a way that the experience -- not just the abstract concept -- is provoked in the recipient?

Yesterday while rereading Koestler's Act of Creation, I found a good example. In a footnote, he discusses the etymology of "wit," which is Too Good to Check:

"Wit" stems from witan, understanding; whose roots go back to the Sanskrit veda, knowledge. The German Witz means both joke and acumen. It comes from wissen, to know; Wissenschaft -- science, is close kin to Fürwitz and Aberwitz -- presumption, cheek, and jest. French teaches the same lesson. Spirituel may either mean witty or spiritually profound; to amuse comes from to muse ( à-muser), and a witty remark is a jeu d'sprit -- a playful, mischievous form of discovery.

How experientially rich with implications are the original connotations of the term! Moreover, it conveys the purpose of this blog, which is to combine all of the above: wit, understanding, knowledge, joke, acumen, science, presumption, cheek, jest, spiritual profundity, amusement, playfulness, mischief, and discovery.

You'll know it has succeeded if you endure something like a guffaw-HA! experience, as opposed to merely knowing it outside the experiential matrix, AKA the primordial womb with a clue.

We'll leave off with a relevant observation by Voegelin:

we are still living in the reality of the cosmos and not in the universe of physics, the brainwashing propaganda of our scientistic ideologues notwithstanding.

Always remember that you first live in experiential reality before their soul-killing abstractions, and the ideologues will never catch up with you.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

No Exodus for You!

We left off with the idea that history is the flow of presence characterized by the intersection of time and eternity, or vertical and horizontal.

If there were only horizontality, there could be no awareness of time, no history, no now, and no humanness. We inhabit an ambiguous space indeed, where time passes and we are aware of its passing, but which can only be recognized from above, beyond, or outside time.

No wonder humanness cannot be described without ambiguity or ambi-valence, without a "nevertheless" or "having said that": mortal and immortal, animal and divine, earthy and celestial, body and soul, intellect and passion, etc. Why, it reminds us of God himself, about whom nothing can be said without immediate qualification, since he is beyond any univocal or mono-logical attribute.

As we've iterated and reiterated any number of times, man is composed of irreducible complementarities, male and female being only the most obvious. Qualify that: not totally irreducible, since one of the complements is usually prior, even in the Godhead.

For example, the Father is mysteriously "prior" to the Son, but certainly not temporally, since there was never the Father without the Son. Moreover, they are coequal branches of the Godhead, sharing the identical substance.

We also left off with an observation about the historical omnipresence of the Logos. We could say that the Logos is precisely that which illuminates the space -- the presence -- where eternity bisects time. John says as much, about the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world.

Seriously, where do you think the Light comes from? Physics? Chemistry? Natural selection? If that's what you think, then you haven't yet begun to think, and certainly not about thinking.

Christ is both the "historical Christ," with a "pre-" and "post-" in time, and the divine timelessness, omnipresent in the flow of history, with neither a "pre-" nor a "post-" (Voegelin).

This seems perfectly clear to me in all its ambivalence. You can try to eliminate the ambivalence, but only at the cost of clarity. Call it Bob's Certainty Principle of Uncertainty, and vice versa. (Voegelin says something to the effect that our quest for truth in the luminous in-between is ultimately penultimate; the moment we default to ultimate ultimacy -- i.e., collapse the vertical tension -- we descend into ideology.)

So many of the early church councils accomplished precisely this: the specification of ambiguity with great precision, e.g., one God in three persons, two natures in one person, one scripture and multiple authors, etc. -- all simultaneously clear and ambiguous, AKA clearobscuro. With this in mind, we see

God reaching into man and revealing himself as the Presence that is the flow of presence from the beginning of the world to its end. History is Christ written large.

The inter-mediate nature of consciousness itself allows us to think about the inter-mediate nature of everything else, in that everything is mediated by vertical and horizontal. Man is both temporal and transtemporal, every time. And timeless.

Alienation. What is it? And why are leftists by definition so alienated?

Well, alienation is our lot, isn't it? Genesis 3, once upon a time and every time. Because of the ambivalent structure outlined above, man is never going to feel fully at home in this world. We can try, but there just aren't enough drugs. We're always shadowed by sobriety, and always vulnerable to persecution by reality and conscience. These two nuisances can never be vanquished except in Democrat politicians.

The symbol "alienation" is meant to express a feeling of estrangement from existence in time because it estranges us from the timeless: we are alienated from the world in which we live when we sense it to be the cause of our alienation from the world to which we truly belong; we become strangers in the world when it compels conformity to a deficient mode of existence that would estrange us from existence in truth.

This alienation can be wrongly expressed in a multitude of good and bad ways, as foreign country (good), desert (fine), class struggle (stupid), identity politics (evil), patriarchy (hysterical), white privilege (pathetic), Trump derangement (sick), etc. All share one thing in common: enslavement in Egypt. But unlike the Jews, they reject any and all possibilities of exodus, because their very lives are structured by the master-slave intra-temporal dialectic.

The only real way out is by the ceiling, not the door. Indeed, the doors aren't even guarded anymore. People of all races and creeds are free to walk right through but will still feel alienated, from Don Lemon to LeBron James to Barack Obama to countless other Millionaires of Color.

This is why the most important thing to know about any leftist is who's your daddy? For feminists it is Daddy; for professional Blacks, white privilege; for homosexual activists, heteronormativity; for Islamists, Judaism and Christendom; for our trolls, Cousin Dupree.

The essence of ideology -- and we'll have to resume this discussion tomorrow -- is the pathological effort to eliminate the alienation by forcing this world to be a place without alienation, AKA utopia. Being that utopia is noplace and nohow, this strategy assures there will be no solution and increased alienation despite so much improvement in, say, race relations. You will have noticed that the better they are, the more alienated and angry is the race activist. No exodus for you!


He who jumps, growls, and barks has an invisible collar and an invisible chain.

Today the individual rebels against inalterable human nature in order to refrain from amending his own correctable nature.

Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems.

The only possible progress is the internal progress of each individual. A process that concludes with the end of each life. --Dávila

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Cosmic Plumbing and The Flow of Presence

Why do ideologues cling to their ideology despite its proven failures? For the same reason mental illness persists despite the fact that it doesn't make the mentally ill person happy:

[S]ometimes we wonder about an ideologue's resistance to rational argument. The alternative to life in the paradise of his dream is death in the hell of his banality (Voegelin).

Again, ideology elevates an otherwise banal life into an intense, readymade psychodrama. This explains how and why for people who already practice a genuine religion, political religions hold no allure.

Ideology and religion should be at vertical antipodes, but, just as ideology is a political religion, there's a great deal of dysfunctional religiosity that is more ideological than religious in the proper sense of the term (political Islam being only the loudest example).

Human existence necessarily takes place in the presence -- no, it is this Presence -- of a luminous, flowing, and expanding cruciform space between immanence and transcendence.

So long as you live, this is where you are, no matter how much you may deny it. We are only humanly alive in the Truth of this Presence (and Presence of Truth), and this Presence has a distinct structure. It's not just a blank epiphenomenon of the laws of physics, but the place where physics literally comes to light in the unending quest to explore and discover reality.

Nevertheless, the ideologue "tries to pull the timeless into identity with the time of his existence" via "the dream act of forcing the two poles into oneness" (ibid.).

For example -- speaking of physics -- note how scientism is but the perverse use of scientific findings to deny the possibility of the scientific knower, up to an including Intellect itsoph. Science become ideology is called scientism, which is just another dysfunctional religion, no more genuine than Nancy Pelosi's "Catholicism" or Joe Biden's... you know, the thing.

The flow of Presence mentioned above isn't time, nor is it in time (or time alone). If it were solely in time, then we could never know it, because to know it is to transcend it.

It's difficult to speak of these things without sounding cutely paradoxical, but I'm actually trying to be as literal as I can be. I'm in the space right now (as are you, uncomprehending trolls excepted), simply describing what's going on experientally within the contours of this pleasantly lit space. And suffice it to say that Voegelin is never being cute:

I shall use the term presence to denote the point of intersection in man's existence; and the term flow of presence to denote the dimension of existence that is, and is not, time.

Correct: the ideologue is in need of a cosmological plumber in order to unblock and open up the vertical pipe that connects him to O. This is the legendary "golden pipe" that Toots Mondello would speak of when he'd had a few too many. It also reminds us of an Aphorism which we will allow to speak for its elf, since we have only ten minutes left this morning:

The sewers of history sometimes overflow, as in our time.

But while looking up that aphorism, I was reminded of these:

History is the series of universes present to the consciousness of successive subjects.

Precisely. Which, by the way, goes to the depraved and dysfunctional historical understanding of our contemporary iconoclasts.

History is not cleared of its miasmas except in the brief periods in which Christian winds blow.

A slight exaggeration, unless you recognous with the Fathers that the Logos is and has always been here (albeit not necessarily in the flesh), and is the source of all truth of any kind.

That's all the time we have left for the Presence. Tomorrow we won't be as ontologically squeezed.

Monday, July 06, 2020

The Road to Hell is Paved by Saintly Ideologues

Time enough for a short post consisting of MORE STUFF I CAN USE!

We ended in the midst of a discussion on the intrinsic impossibility of honest debate with ideologues who inhabit second realities impervious to reason. As they say, you can't reason a person out of something he was never reasoned into. It is why leftists respond to rational argument with irrational slander, every time. Math, physics, merit, standards, the National Anthem, anti-racism: all racist.

As we know, no amount of logic, evidence, or personal behavior can impact a leftist's delusions about race. The delusions are rock solid, and they are rock solid for a reason: because they serve purposes having nothing to do with race. I know, Captain Obvious, but perhaps we can dig a little deeper.

For example, what's really happening when a typical race-obsessed leftist calls a racially colorblind person a racist? First of all, you will notice that there is an immediate shift of planes -- or modes, rather -- from the logical to the moral. In other words, instead of addressing the argument in the mode of reason, the person is attacked from a childishly Manichaean standpoint of good vs. evil.

Childish arguments are appropriate for children. But how and why do they persist in adults? That is the subject of a future post, as it is elaborated in a book called Worldview and Mind. While I can't recommend it, it nevertheless contains some STUFF I CAN USE!

"Dogmatic propositions," writes Voegelin, "survive socially, even when their fallacious character has been thoroughly analyzed and exhibited to public view." As such, there again must be something -- for there is no effect without a cause -- "engendering them and sustaining their life."

I know: the leftist reveals the whole plot when he shifts modes from the rational to the moral; for every time he accuses you of being evil (a racist, a sexist, a homophobe), the real point is that he is elevating himself to membership in the Righteous, and Righteous people transcend any need to be logical. Sanctity is its own argument.

Al Sharpton or Barack Obama or Cornell West, for example, don't need to make sense, because the fulgurant light of their holiness radiates from them so profoundly. Only racists aren't blinded by its power.

Here's a compact truthbomb that has been thought and said and understood by countless normal people, but is still worth mentioning because it is so fundamental and so irrefutable (by intelligence, anyway):

a universe which contains intelligent beings cannot originate with a prima causa that is less than intelligent.

As we know, the universe is a vertical hierarchy deployed in time (i.e., horizontally). As we also know, there is no hierarchy that isn't conditioned from the top down, i.e., teleologically. Having said that, I guess I don't have to repeat what Voegelin says about it.

In short, the telos of thought is O: "the knowledge of something that 'exists' beyond existence is inherent to the noetic structure of existence." Sounds paradoxical but it isn't, because thinking has a Point, and the Point is located nowhere in existence. If you believe otherwise you're well on the way to ideology, whether scientistic, political, or spiritual.

Can you say more about that? Sure. Let's begin with "experience." Where in existence is this thing called experience? Correct. It is nowhere, inasmuch as anything to which we can point must presume it. You can pretend to make it go away, as do materialists, but that's just the thinking of a preoperational child: "out of sight, out of mind."

Would it be correct to say that experience doesn't exist, or that it partakes of a real mode of non-existence? Yes, paradoxical as it sounds,

existence is not a fact. If anything, existence is the nonfact of a disturbing movement in the In-Between of ignorance and knowledge, of time and timelessness, of imperfection and perfection, of hope and fulfillment, and ultimately of life and death.

And "if man's existence were not a movement but a fact, it not only would have no meaning but the question of meaning could not even arise."

Another quickie: consciousness is "the point of intersection of the timeless with time." The Cross roads, so to speak. How wide is your intersection? That's really the question.

Ideologues, for example, reduce the intersection to a oneway horizontal road. Then they insist we must arrive at the destination now. All we have to do to forge this intersectional paradise is to hand over ultimate power to the state and joint the utopian in his imaginary intellectual prison. For those who resist in preference to reality, there are gulags and concentration camps that actually do exist.

This goes back to the appeal of ideology and its "resistance to rational argument. The alternative to life in the paradise of [the activist's] dream is death in the hell of his banality."

In other words, ideology -- which is to say, political religion -- is a way for the leftist to transform his banal life into a world-historical drama of good vs. evil, starring himself.

In this dream of self-salvation, man assumes the role of God and redeems himself by his own grace

It's past 10:00. Work to do. To be continued.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

How Not to be an Idiot

As mentioned in the previous post, this volume of essays by Voegelin is brimming with allusions and references to my Unwritten but unKnown text.

True, my text doesn't explicitly exist, but this doesn't mean it isn't floating around somewhere in the implicate order -- you know, in the vertical Cloud. It seems to me that E & I are peeking at the same ur-text from different spacetime locations, such that when he makes a point that resonates in me, it is because we must be viewing the same transcendent object through the pneumatic haze.

I'll cite various examples in no particular order. Then we'll circle back and try to assemble the puzzle pieces into a pattern and see if we can make out what they insinuate about the implicate text.

Oh, c'mon -- it'll be fun! Just remember to keep an open mind and "listen with the third ear," which is what we psychologists do when listening to a patient babble on about their problems. I may react to some of them as we proceed, but we still need to maintain an open stance toward the totality, i.e., to the hyperspatial pattern that emerges when seen together.

It is forgotten that Christ came not to Christians but to man.

Right. Of course. Elsewhere Voegelin makes the provocative point -- seemingly out of the blue, and with no elaboration -- that "Christ takes form in current events." That sounds suspiciously correct, but we'll have to figure out why later. (Come to think of it, we are seeing an awful lot of Crucifixion of the Logos going on, AKA logocide...)

By spirit we understand the openness of man to the divine ground of his existence: by estrangement from the spirit, the closure and revolt against the ground. Through spirit man actualizes his potential to partake of the divine. He rises thereby to the imago Dei which it is his destiny to be.

In the openness of the common spirit there develops the public life of society. He, however, who closes himself against what is common, or revolts against it, removes himself from the public life of human community. He becomes thereby a private man, or in the language of Heraclitus, an idiotes.

In the language of Cousin Dupree, an idiot. We can choose to be one, or we can choose to actualize our divine clueprint. Of all the choices we make in this life, this is no doubt the most consequential.

Language and fact have somehow separated from one another, and thought has correspondingly become estranged from reality.

Hoo boy. One of our pet peeves. But it's much more than a peeve, it's truly a primordial cosmic catastrophe, one that opens us to all the others and transforms us into idiots and eventually leftists. We'll just leave it at that, otherwise the post will autofill with the usual harangue. Besides, passages such as the following make my point:

We enter here upon a realm of spirit-like non-spirit or anti-spirit, which finds its representation on the plane of politics in the ideological mass movements.

For example, in, oh, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, or just about any other idiot-run Demopolis:

When the refusal to apperceive becomes radical, it leads to the phenomenon of total self- and world-annihilation...

Of course, reality doesn't actually disappear just because we fail to recognize it. Indeed, reality is that which persists despite our dreams, wishes, and political delusions.

And although expressed via politics, this is nevertheless a form of mental illness simply displaced to another plane. Think of how crazy one must be to not perceive the craziness of Antifa, or BLM, or AOC, or the DNC. Yes, there are people who don't see that Joe Biden is demented. There's a clinical term for that: negative hallucination.

"With the destruction of reality the public language is destroyed," ending in "the syndrome of illiteracy which is the result of the destruction of the language." Please note that he isn't talking about mere illiteracy, which poses a problem to the illiterate person but not the society at large.

Rather, he's referring to the hordes of college-educated illiterates that compose our Elite political, academic, and media classes who, unfortunately, don't know nothing, but rather, are post-literate in a parallel looniverse of anti-truth, anti-sprit, and anti-philosophy: unadulterated Ø.

Our great Silent but Deadly Majority can plainly detect it. Progressives, of course, can't smell it -- even though they dealt it -- for it is the polluted water in which they swim. Others have a chance to sniff it out, but

The nature of problem will perhaps not be immediately apparent, for life in the insane asylum of our time has become such a habit for many that they no longer react in a sensitive manner to the grotesque events on the public scene.

In fact, one of the functions of political correctness is to prevent the average person from not only seeing and proclaiming the emperor has no clothes, but that he is hideous, monstrous, grotesque. A beast from the abyss.

How to even begin to debate such a person? We're not talking about different opinions, rather, different realities:

we all have discovered on such occasions that no agreement, or even honest disagreement, could be reached, because the exchange of argument was disturbed by a profound difference of attitude with regard to all fundamental questions of human existence....

Rational argument could not prevail because the partner to the discussion did not accept as binding for himself the matrix of reality in which all specific questions concerning our existence as human beings are ultimately rooted; he has overlaid the reality of existence with another mode of existence... the Second Reality.

Therefore, beneath what may superficially resemble rational "debate" lurks "the difference of two modes of existence, of existence in truth and existence in untruth. The universe of rational discourse collapses... when the common ground of existence in reality has disappeared."

I was amused by a trivial but typical example over the weekend. Media in 2012: Obama is so great he could join Washington and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore! Media in 2020: Trump is so evil he could join Washington and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore!

I really must get some work done today that I've been putting off, so we won't be able to discern the contours of the implicate text. In the meantime, just keep an open mind, and we'll continue our investigation in the next post.

Oh, and if you see something, don't hesitate to say something. The implicate order is so rich that no single person could ever begin to exhaust it, so all Coons on deck.