Friday, July 24, 2020

Fact-Checking God

Yesterday a commenter took issue with our characterization of the purpose of religion, which is to provide man with knowledge of the Absolute -- not absolute knowledge, of course, since this is reserved for the Absolute, AKA God. As he so eloquently put it, in speaking of the Absolute, I am simply projecting my "shitty, imperialist, fundamentalist religion onto the more honest and humble faiths of the people Christianity aims to conquer."

Which isn't exactly what I said, but details can get lost in the heat of the moment.

Of course -- contrary to the imputation of fundamentalism -- the language of religion is often conveyed via symbolic points of reference; by way of analogy, this is similar to the relationship between a two-dimensional painting and a three-dimensional landscape. The painting is a transformation of the landscape made possible by various constants that are preserved and transmitted to the viewer.

In the absence of the Absolute no genuine knowledge of any kind is possible, since all knowledge partakes of absoluteness insofar as it is true. We might go so far as to say that any "proven fact" is like a fragment of God: a luminous clue coming into view.

So human beings have an implicit grasp of the Absolute, regardless of whether they choose to deny it. To the extent that we think at all, we are engaging it, either in a from-->to or to-->from direction (i.e., inductive or deductive, respectively, leaving aside direct vision or intuition for the moment).

One of our favorite little books is Schuon's Echoes of Perennial Wisdom, which reduces his thought to bite-sized aphorisms. Here's the first one:

The worth of man lies in his consciousness of the Absolute.

Boom. Please don't misunderstand him and say to yourself, "I'm not aware of this Absolute of which he speaks. Is he saying I'm worthless?"

No, the opposite: you are a human being and therefore conscious of the Absolute, whether implicitly or explicitly. You may not think well, but you can't even think badly in the absence of this ground.

With this in mind, we see that dysfunctional thinking is obviously a privation -- just as, say, blindness isn't just another type of sight. In order to repair and restore our thinking... well, we'll get into that later. But this is certainly one of the purposes of religion: to helps us to think properly and fruitfully about ultimate things -- the Permanent Real -- and to adjust our behavior accordingly.

Second aphorism:

Man is made for what he is able to conceive; the very ideas of absoluteness and transcendence prove both his spiritual nature and the supra-terrestrial character of his destiny.

One can see the necessity of this metaphysical truth directly via intellection, as we are now doing; one can also see it via the grace of faith, which provides man with a way to know truths he cannot or does not grasp on his own; or one can grasp it implicitly, say, by disagreeing with it. For on what basis do you disagree? Keep thinking, and don't stop. You'll get there.

Jumping down to the fifth aphorism,

Our deiformity implies that our spirit is made of absoluteness, our will of freedom, and our soul of generosity...

"Deiformity" is one way of putting it. America, for example, is explicitly founded upon this self-evident principle: that man is created by God, which has a number or immediate implications, in particular, natural law and natural rights.

Although these two -- law and right, truth and freedom/will -- are horizontally complementary, the former nevertheless takes precedence, for who -- besides the left -- would want to give absolute rights to an intrinsically irresponsible being? Rather, we are given rights because we are first responsible, i.e., capable of knowing the Law and feeling guilty when we transgress it.

Of course, our fallen nature shuffles the cards, clouds the intellect, disorients the will, and generally disrupts our intimacy with the Absolute. We'll no doubt return to this subject later, but again bear in mind that our fallenness is a privation. Thank God we can know of the privation, for if we can't, then... well, ideology is just one of nasty developments that follow the denial of this reality.

One more passage from Schuon before we jump back to Voegelin:

One of the keys to understanding our true nature and our ultimate destiny is the fact that the things of this world are never proportionate to the actual range of our intelligence. Our intelligence is made for the Absolute, or else it is nothing. The Absolute alone confers on our intelligence the power to accomplish to the full what it can accomplish and to be wholly what it is.

Wait -- let me fact check that....

Yup. I have consulted both the cosmos and my own head, and I rate this fact absolutely true: I AM contains the cosmos, not vice versa; and we can either know truth or we can't, and our vertical adventure in consciousness never ends. Nor can the cosmos be just a little bit pregnant with meaning.

In his Gnosis: Divine Wisdom, Schuon has a whole essay devoted to The Sense of the Absolute in Religions. It is highly raccommended, but I think we'll move on, because we've discussed it all before ad gnoseam.

If I hadn't first read and assimilated Schuon, I don't know what I'd have been able to make sense of Voegelin's claim (mentioned in yesterday's post) to the effect that "Christianity is not an alternative to philosophy, it is philosophy itself in its state of perfection."

Another one of our favorite books is The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement. If we're not careful, this post will end up excerpting it until the clock runs out. Oh well. Can't be helped. The Spirit bellows where it will.

Christianity is in the first place an Oriental religion, and it is a mystical religion.... When we see the shallow syncretism, the sentimental fascination with anything Eastern, and the bogus "gurus" crowding round for the pickings, it is easy to sneer. Whose fault is it that so many have had to resort to Tao or Zen in order to rediscover truths which were actually part of the Christian heritage right from the beginning?

So, don't blame the pneumopathic Chopras of the world for Deepaking the pockets of the ignorant rubes. I myself was once one of them. I suppose every new age nitwit is hoping that he too can learn the Secret -- the secret of charging the rubes $100 a month to be a resident of nirvana. The Brooklyn Bridge? That's $200 a month.

Remember: A Raccoon will never ask for money, because where they get it, it doesn't cost a thing.

This is beyond the satirical powers of the Babylon Bee:

The Integral community includes tens and even hundreds of thousands of people all across the globe —- but, due to something we might call “developmental privilege”, remains predominately white.

We white folks can't help it how enlightened we are! Don't hate us because we're more brilliant and virtuous than negroes!

Back to Clement. Recall what was said yesterday about how "the gospel appeared to offer the answer to the philosopher's search for truth." Clement agrees that for early Christian thinkers, "The whole of life, the whole universe was interpreted in the light of Christ's death and resurrection."

"Our higher faculties reflect divine qualities" and arouse "within us an attraction towards what transcends us, a 'desire for eternity'":

Thereby we become greater than the universe into which we were born and which seeks to take possession of us. Thereby we assert our basic freedom. Ultimately, then, being in the image of God signifies personality, freedom.

Wait. Better fact-check that one too.

100% true, at least for those with eyes wide open. Of course, for "someone who chooses to hide his eyes by lowering his eyelids, the sun is not responsible for the fact that he cannot see it" (Gregory of Nyssa).

Again, ignorance of the Absolute is a privation. If not, then absolute ignorance is the standard, and our trolls -- not to mention the new age integralists, the most virtuous and evolved white people ever -- are the best and brightest the cosmos has to offer. And that's a fact.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Word Made Fresh

Back to the questions raised in the previous post: how and why did Christianity triumph over its cut-rate competitors, e.g., pagan polytheism, human and animal sacrifice, ancestor worship, various spiritual nostrums & Gnosticisms? Was it just survival of the fittest & littest?

Yes, in a sense, in that Christianity is obviously... how to put it... a more adequate reflection of human nature and therefore of our pneumo-cognitive striving. It's a far superior map to what preceded it (and to what lay ahead), to put it mildly.

Indeed, if it is what it says it is, it should be the most adequate map conceivable, of both man and cosmos (speaking metaphysically, of course). However, bear in mind that we're attempting to approach this subject with as few preconceptions as possible, religious or otherwise.

For example, we could say that Christianity triumphed because of the Holy Spirit, or because Christ promised it would, or because of the supernaturally graced courage of Paul, but these beg the question and assume what needs to be proved. Leaving out purely supernatural factors, what was the appeal and why did it spread?

Well, we can't leave out all supernatural factors, for the simple reason that man qua man is the being with inherent supernatural needs and drives. (I will henceforth use the less saturated term transnatural.)

As the saying goes, you can drive out nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back. But you can also drive out the transnatural with a pitchfork -- or with anything from lions to guillotines to Antifa mobs -- but he always comes back too. With a vengeance. Which our contemporary political religions prove every day. The gods of godlessness are a jealous, zealous, and bellicose bunch.

Let's be perfectly accurate: man is a religious being with a transnatural nature and transnatural needs. This is so obvious that we shouldn't even need to say it, but we are living in an age in which a host of perfectly settled fundamental truths and natural laws are under assault and being relitigated by the left -- everything from freedom of speech to human equality to the right to self-defense and more.

It is wrong to think of this as a war between the religious and irreligious. Unless -- ironically -- the left is regarded as the former and we represent the latter (or perhaps better, they are merely religious while we are transreligious).

It is clear enough that leftism in all its forms is a political religion. What is less well understood is that Christianity may be regarded as a cure for the primordial religiosity that has plagued mankind since time out of mind (c.f. Gil Bailie's Violence Unveiled or God's Gamble: The Gravitational Power of Crucified Love).

In other words -- again, if it is what it says it is -- Christianity cannot be "a" religion; it cannot be merely a particular species of a more general class. Rather, it would have to be the other way around: Christianity is the kingdom, as it were, of which other religions must be members.

Of course, this is what all religions claim, or people wouldn't follow them. No religion announces that it has discovered a small piece of the puzzle, so we ought to adhere to it with our hearts, minds, and lives. Rather, every religion claims to be an absolute and total explanation.

Or, let's just focus on the Absolute. Man has an an implicit understanding of this category, for it is the ground of the very possibility of thought. I could explain in detail why this must be the case, but if I do, it will swallow the whole post.

Really, it's rather self-evident. Axiomatic. You can always argue your way to the principle, but arguing itself presupposes the principle, or why bother arguing? By virtue of what principle do you suppose that argument -- or reasoning -- will arrive at truth? In other words, why argue if there is no ground from which it proceeds or telos to which it is ordered?

So, the Absolute is. And truth is conformity to it. What's the alternative? There is truth but we can't know it? There is no truth and we can know it? There is no truth and we can't know it? These are all logically self-refuting, so we have only the one alternative: there is truth and man may know it; the universe is intelligible to intelligence, and these two resolve to One, AKA the Absolute.

Or, viewed from the top down, the absolute bifurcates waaaaaay updream into subject and object, knower and known, transcendence and immanence, heavens and earth, vertical and horizontal, Adam & Evolution, yada yada and blah blah.

Again, I could say much more, but longtime readers are already falling asleep. Let's move on.

Recall that we're rereading an essay by Voegelin called The Gospel and Culture. In it he writes that

If the community of the gospel had not entered the culture of the time by entering its life of reason, it would have remained an obscure sect and probably disappeared from history.

He goes on to say that -- and this is still big, it's the thinkers that got small -- "The culture of reason"

had arrived at a state that was sensed by eager young men as an impasse in which the gospel appeared to offer the answer to the philosopher's search for truth.

In other words, Christianity didn't just spread because it appealed to the unlettered peasantry, but because it explained a great deal more to intellectual elites. "The Logos of the gospel," writes Voegelin, is the sophsame Logos of philosophy, reason, and history, from Abraham to Plato and everyone in between (and since):

Hence, Christianity is not an alternative to philosophy, it is philosophy itself in its state of perfection; the history of the Logos comes to its fulfillment through the incarnation of the Word in Christ.

Okay, but is it still perfect?

As if perfection could ever surpass itself! It only goes to 10, not 11.

True, but lʘʘked at from a slightly different, orthoparadoxical angle: as if it could ever stop surpassing itself!

What could we mean by this? What we mean is that Christianity isn't just about a fixed doctrine.

Yes, it is that, but the purpose of this affixed doctrine is to ceaselessly surpass ourselves; we can never arrive at the father shore toward which the surpassing is ordered in this lifetime. It is the Word baked fresh anew each morning in boundless depth, toward the infinite horizon.

Throughout all ages, world without end. A drop embraced by the sea held within the drop. The food that never runs out, the dream that never runs dry, the son who never stops rising in the yeast, the yada beyond which there is no yadder.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

We are All Christians Now

Especially secular and anti-Christian westerners. We could delve into the reasons why, but this would be the subject of a different post. Suffice it to say that there are plenty of excellent books on the subject, and that leftism is just another boring and stupid Christian heresy.

One thing that renders it heretical is that it can only be imposed by force, because ultimately it is force. Christianity has the force of truth, whereas leftism must always force its truth, beginning with the young and immature. We certainly teach our son about the left, but I would never force it (or any other ideology) on him. In other words, we homeschool him.

The left is always at war with freedom and truth (each being unthinkable in the absence of the other) because it is at war with transcendence. When this war goes from symbolic to literal -- as we are seeing in our streets -- this is fascism (now unironically referred to as antifascism).

For fascism is the violent resistance to transcendence. For example, to recognize the transcendent greatness of a Washington or Lincoln, let alone Jesus and Mary, is to understand the reasons for the left's antipathy toward their symbolic representations. In the words of the Aphorist, The progressive travels around among literary works as the Puritan did among cathedrals: with hammer in hand. On the other hand -- the hammerless one -- symbols of immanent terror such as Marx, Lenin, Castro, and Che won't be touched.

In an essay called The Gospel and Culture, Voegelin asks,

Why could the gospel be victorious in the Hellenistic-Roman environment of its origin? Why did it attract an intellectual elite who restated the meaning of the gospel in terms of philosophy and, by this procedure, created a Christian doctrine? Why could this doctrine become become the state religion of the Roman Empire?

How could the church, having gone through this process of acculturation, survive the Roman Empire and become the chrysalis, as Toynbee called it, of Western civilization? -- And what has blighted this triumphant cultural force, so that today the churches are on the defensive against the dominant intellectual movements of the time... ?

That's a lot of questions, and the questions could scarcely be deeper, because they go to the very foundations of everything and everyone. Moreover, we still live in the light of the reality that engenders these questions. And as we know, there is far more Light in a good question than a bad answer.

As to the latter, much of the contemporary crisis of culture consists of bad answers to poorly formulated questions. Nevertheless, the questions arise out of Christian civilization and could only arise out of Christian civilization.

(BTW, in order to comprehend the Christian west, we must properly speak of the Judeo-Christian stream that begins with Abraham's Yes to God; prior to this -- or between Abraham and Genesis -- is a general typological/mythopoetic sketch that applies to mankind as such, or to HCE [Here Comes Everybody].)

After all, only a Christian can logically affirm that black lives matter, because saying so is rooted in the deeper principle that all lives matter. And all lives matter because human beings are uniquely individual persons created in the image of God.

To insist that black lives matter merely because they are black is to sacrifice a universal principle to a concrete and contingent attribute. There's a name for the ideology that privileges the particularity of race over universal principle: Nazism.

Unlike in the Christian west, there is no principle in Chinese Marxism -- or any other form of Marxism -- affirming the inviolable dignity of Uighurs, let alone the Christians whom they presumably marytred just yesterday because they do so pretty much everyday.

Nor in Islam is there anything about Jews and Christians -- the kaffir -- being equal to the ummah. Rather, these vertical distinctions of human beings are built into their heretical teaching. I myself live in California, where conservatives are routinely persecuted and silenced for their wrongthink by the Caliban. I can't blame them, given their twisted assumptions and post-Christian superstitions: garbage in, Gavin out.

Ramblin' again, and now we're out of transcendent timelessness. To be continued for sure...

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Meta-Mystery and Mega-Stupidity

Whatever we can know of this world is always bisected by mystery. And there can be nothing more mysterious than subjectivity itself, which is the very light that illuminates the world.

But this light cannot be parthenogenetic. Rather, it must have its own sufficient reason, as there is no such thing as an effect without a cause, nor can the effect contain something that isn't in the cause.

For this reason we invented the term "fertile egghead" for those of us who are fertilized -- "overshadowed," so to speak -- by light from above. Others are rendered infertile by the darkness below. These we call eunuchs for the kingdom of man.

These sentiments were provoked by a passage in The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas, which reduces some of the great man's thoughts into bite-sized aphorisms worthy of Dávila, except without the humor and the sting.

For the usual mysterious reasons, I was guided toward the book this morning. Let's try to find out why. In the introduction, Pieper says that,

In the opinion of Thomas, not only does mystery put a limit to the penetrability of reality, but ordo itself is interwoven and crossed by mystery.

And not just theological mystery. Then again, perhaps lesser forms of mystery are actually rooted in this deeper metaphysical principle: in the meta-mystery. I'm gonna go with that, because I like to be cosmically consistent. I don't like loose ends, especially with regard to something so fundamental.

Note, for example, how much mischief and mayhem could be avoided if only our ideological eunuchs for the kingdom of Marx could abide by this principle! No one would be rioting in order to force their ideological dreamworlds on the restavus, that's for sure.

When Hayek's knowledge problem is ignored by the left (and this ignorance defines the left), it forms the basis of their chronic stupidity problem. Which would be fine if it only affected them. But unfortunately, their stupidity affects all of us, especially when allied with state power. Good intentions + the unlimited coercive power of the state is by far the most successful recipe for hell on earth. Or just say socialism.

This same subject is discussed from various angles in Sowell's foundational Knowledge & Decisions. The book is so dense with principles and rich with their implications that it's impossible to summarize. Here's the first paragraph:

Ideas are everywhere but knowledge is rare. Even a so-called "knowledgeable" person usually has solid knowledge only within some special area, representing a tiny fraction of the whole spectrum of human concerns. Humorist Will Rogers said, "Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

Those of you who have attended college know better than anyone that "Ideas are everywhere but knowledge is rare." And if you haven't yet figured that out, it is in all likelihood because the indoctrination was a complete success: only the patient died.

There's a paradox -- or twist -- at play here, because the evolution of civilization correlates with increased ignorance. For example, you don't have to go too far back in history to a time when almost everyone had to know how to farm or hunt. Now almost no one does, and yet, there is more food than ever.

Likewise, my ignorance of computer technology is essentially total, and yet, here I am. It reminds me of Bloomberg's comment a few months back about farming: "I can teach anyone how to be a farmer 1 dig a hole 2 put a seed in 3 put dirt on top 4 add water 5 up comes the corn."

Notice the deeper pattern: total ignorance arrogantly masquerading as total mastery. It's analogous to me teaching a writing class: "1 plug in the computer 2 turn it on 3 log on to the internet 4 start typing 5 out comes the post."

A few posts back we were goofing on Native Americans who seem to think it possible to inhabit the microcosmos of an actual Native American. The problem is, they are at once too intelligent -- they know too much -- and too ignorant -- they know too little. Regarding the latter, how many of them would know how to survive in the wild under paleolithic conditions? How many would want to?

Sowell asks,

What then is the intellectual advantage of civilization over primitive savagery? It is not necessarily that each civilized man has more knowledge but that he requires far less. A primitive savage must be able to produce a wide variety of goods and services for himself...

Conversely, I don't know how to make a moccasin, locate roots & berries that won't make me sick, or hunt for animals with weapons I don't know how to make. In a pinch I could probably scalp someone -- the right someone -- but that's about it.

You've probably heard the old cliche about how modern man knows more and more about less and less, to the point of knowing everything about nothing. But the converse is equally true: with the advance of civilization we know less and less about more and more, to the point that we know nothing about nearly everything.

This blog teaches that the two punchlines are but sides of a single metacosmic gag, and tries to integrate and synthesize the Everything and Nothing, Knowledge and Ignorance, Mystery and Mister O.

How does this relate to Aquinas? We don't know, but we're about to find out. I hope.

Try this on for size:

the boundary between order and mystery passes through this world itself; the effort of human thought, says Thomas, has not been able to track down the essence of a single gnat.

Not only is this true, it will always be true: whatever we know will always be surrounded -- or bisected -- by what we don't know. This ignorance is a precondition of knowledge. If everything were already lit up, we could never see the light.

The intellectual light dwelling in us is nothing else than a kind of participated image of the uncreated light...

Correct. See paragraph 2 above. And the Light of intellection contains the principle of freedom within itself: "Wherever there is intellectual knowledge, there is also free will."

Any truth partakes of All Truth, because light comes from Light. That's my bottom line. How?

The highest perfection of human life consists of the mind of man being open to God.

From the one first truth there result many truths in the human mind, just as the one human face produces many images in a broken mirror.

[T]he light of our intellect, which is either natural or a gift of grace, is nothing other than an imprint of the first truth.

[S]o also the interior light of the mind is the principle cause of knowledge.

Every rational being knows God implicitly in every act of knowledge.... nothing is knowable except through its likeness to the first truth.

The natural desire for knowledge cannot be satisfied in us until we know the first cause.... Hence last end of the creature endowed with a spiritual intellect is to see God in his essence.


The last end is the first principle of being...

Now, having said all this,

This is the final human knowledge of God: to know that we do not know God.

And to come full circle back to the first paragraph above, knowledge from top to bottom is always bisected by mystery. For

Whatever is comprehended by a finite being is itself finite.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Live on Radio KBOB

This post took an abrupt and unanticipated turn, and it's too late to turn back now.

Last week I was rifling through Voegelin's mail, and noticed a reference to Balthasar's A Theology of History, which prompted me to reread it. Akashic records indicate that I first read it in 2004, which is well before I could have possibly understood it.

Looks like I only got up to page 40 or so before throwing in the towel, so "reread" isn't quite accurate. But nor is "reading" the correct word, because I was just as capable of reading then as I am today. What's going on here?

Whether due to limitations in von B or in me, I often find him obscure. However, this time around I understood way more than I did the first time. And I wonder if this in turn speaks to Voegelin's theory of history, in that the cosmos I inhabited in 2004 was less luminous than the one I'm sitting in today. It reminds me of the phrase "shedding light on the subject." The subject hasn't changed, but somehow I'm able to shed more light on it (or it on me?).

Voegelin (writing in 1950) calls it a "masterwork of its kind," and claims it "is the most competent philosophy of history from a strict Catholic position that has ever come under my eyes." I still can't give it a general raccoommendation, for the same reason I don't advise cracking a textbook on quantum mechanics just for fun, or going to the batting cage and trying to hit a 95 mph fastball.

That last one is an apt metaphor, because the first time I tried to hit off Balthasar, I whiffed. Couldn't hit his hard stuff, let alone the curveballs, of which there are many. At this point I can at least make contact, but I don't pretend to be a .300 hitter.

I do understand the first sentence:

Since man began to philosophize he has sought to grasp things by distinguishing two elements: the factual, singular, sensible, concrete and contingent; and the necessary and universal (and because universal, abstract), which has the validity of a law rising above the individual case and determining it.

That was clear enough: man -- human consciousness -- always inhabits two realms which can be formulated in different ways, but it is strictly impossible to reduce one to the other. Not only does this correspond "to man's way of knowing" but "to the structure of being." Which is a good thing, because it means that knowing corresponds to being. How convenient!

Consider the Kantian alternative: knowing and being are like two circles with no contact. All we can ever know is the phenomenal. The noumenal -- the thing in itself -- is forever unknowable.

Like anybody could know that! In other words, to claim reality is unknowable is to claim a great deal indeed about reality. How does he know it's unknowable? What, is he God?

Notice that Kant can't help distinguishing the two elements as described by Balthasar. However, he doesn't so much distinguish as drive a permanent wedge between them. For the Raccoon, this is literally the most soph-defeating thing one could possibly do, for it seals one in a state of permanent and ineradicable stupidity, and why? Just to preserve a perverse form of poorly understood Christianity?

Let's open up the lines. Our first caller is Frithjof from Bloomington, Indiana. Hello Frithjof. Am I pronouncing that right?

No. Not close.

Okay. May I call you Fritz?

No you may not.

Let's move on. I understand that you disagree with Kant?

Yes, Bob -- is that how you pronounce it? Longtime listener, first time caller.

For starters*, Kant's whole approach is reducible to a gratuitous reaction against all that lies beyond the reach of reason; it is an instinctive revolt against truths which are rationally ungraspable and which are considered annoying on account of this very inaccessibility. All the rest is nothing but dialectical scaffolding, ingenious or "brilliant" if one wishes, but contrary to truth.

Wo, that's a little harsh! Sounds like you're accusing Kant of an impeccable logic starting from a basic error?

That's right, Bob. What is crucial in Kantianism is its altogether irrational desire to limit intelligence; this results in a dehumanization of the intelligence and opens the door to all the inhuman aberrations of our century, to say nothing of the last.

In short, if to be man means the possibility of transcending oneself intellectually, Kantianism is the negation of all that is essentially and integrally human.

So by committing logicide, modern and postmodern philosophy commits genocide?

Indeed, Bob. Negations on this scale are an assault on the very dignity, value, and meaning of the human station. The true philosopher and metaphysician is not just open to reality, but open to the fact of intellection itself. In the grand scheme of things, primordial intellection is as it were the "first word" that never stops speaking. Our friend Eckhart says as much.

Conversely, the modern philosopher wishes to have the "last word," and this last word is ideology in all its ghastly forms, from Marx to Comte -- scientism, positivism, progressivism, the whole ball of wax.

Wax or whacks?

The latter. Seeking to free himself from the servitude of the mind, the ideologue falls into infra-logic. In closing himself above to the light of the intellect, he opens himself below to the darkness of the subconscious.

Isn't that an insult to Satan? Is he really that stupid -- as stupid as, say, AOC, or Pelosi, or Obama?

No, he is not that stupid. But the people who are seduced by him render themselves stupid thereby. You've heard the old line by Mencken: the demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots. Satan is the world's most accomplished demagogue. As it applies to Kant, unintelligence is put forward as a "doctrine" and definitively installed in European "thought," giving birth to countless monsters of ideology.

Are you being a little rough on Kant?

Some people may reproach us with a lack of due consideration, but we would ask what due consideration is shown by philosophers who shamelessly slash down the wisdom of countless centuries. For Kant, intellectual intuition -- of which he does not understand the first word -- is a fraudulent manipulation which throws a moral discredit onto all authentic intellectuality. That includes you, Bob. Are you going to just take it, or fight back with equal energy?

No one knows the limits of thought. To the extent that he pretends to know them, he has discovered only his own self-imposed limits. By its very nature the intellect is in principle unlimited or it is nothing.

We're coming up against a hard break. Care to summarize?

One can try. Kantian “criticism" decrees that no one can know anything, just because they themselves know nothing, or desire to know nothing. And if the intelligence as such is limited, what guarantee do we have that its operations, including those of critical philosophy, are valid? Any so-called philosopher who casts doubt on man’s normal subjectivity thereby casts doubt upon his own doubting.

If there is nothing to prove our intelligence is capable of adequation, then there is likewise nothing to prove that the intelligence expressing this doubt is competent to doubt. If the optic nerve has to be examined in order to be sure that vision is real, it will likewise be necessary to examine that which examines the optic nerve, an absurdity which proves in its own indirect way that knowledge of suprasensible things is intuitive and cannot be other than intuitive.

Moreover, since philosophy by definition could never limit itself to the description of phenomena available to common observation, it is perfectly consistent only when exceeding itself -- like man himself, who, should he fail to transcend himself, sinks beneath himself.

Speaking of putting listeners to sleep, I want to say a few words about my friend Mike Lindell at my

(*Much of what follows is shamelessly plagiaphrased from this page.)