Thursday, November 05, 2020

Life in the Delta

 This morning perhaps we will try to dig a little deeper and pull out some aphorisms we haven't re-repeated on multiple occasions. 

Then again, why do we repeat them? You can't criticize someone for insisting that 2 + 2 = 4, so long as there are people -- especially people who want to run your life! -- who argue otherwise:  "Okay, we get it. Now say something more novel and interesting, like 2 + 2 = 5, or 17, or pi, or black lives matter, or Biden wins, ANYTHING BUT FOUR!!!"

Well, first of all,

He who does not doubt does not shout.

But if we repeat ourselves, it is for a number of sound reasonssuch as

Truth is never a definitive conquest. It is always a position that has to be defended.


Man soon releases the truths that he catches, as if they were burning his hand.


Strictly speaking, it is in reiterating the old commonplaces that the work of civilization consists.


Moreover In certain eras, -- especially the present era -- the intelligence has to devote itself merely to restoring definitions.  Why "especially"? Well, was there ever a previous era that not only pretended 2 + 2 ≠ 4, but that believing in the correct answer makes one a fascist? Or fourscist?  


Even the sophists with whom Socrates socratized weren't fascists, just nihilists.  Even they weren't so bold as to say, as does the contemporary left, that THERE IS NO TRUTH, AND WE POSSESS IT!  Or they say, "hands off my body!"  But you never hear them say "hands out of my mind!"  


Why is that?  Well, for a materialist, only matter is real.  Which is of course a nonsense statement, being that any statement is immaterial.  Nevertheless, never, ever, expect a leftist to be intellectually consistent, or you are entering a world of pain.  Come to think of it,


Intelligent discussion should be reduced to clarifying divergences.


Calmly, openly, dispassionately, disinterestedly.  In other words, not in a newsroom or a university campus, of all places!


Back to those good ol' truths:  


Nothing is more outdated at any moment than yesterday’s novelty.


Common sense is the father’s house to which philosophy returns, every so often, feeble and emaciated.


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

Are we opposing novelty to common sense?  NO!  Didn't mean to shout, but education of the soul consists precisely in a kind of battle, in which ground is occupied, settled, and consolidated, and from which one launches new vertical adventures and conquests.   The new world can't be discovered until the old world is reduced to civilization.  There's a reason why Indians didn't discover Europe.  

Here again, postmodernity is the doctrine that claims there is no solid ground under our feet, and that we have only to push off from there, toward endless progress-unto-utopia.  I feel like I'm insulting your intelligence to explain why this is so totally stupid -- or even the very substance of stupid.  Moreover, this form of invincible stupidity is an intellectual sin, perhaps the second worst.  It's not just an elementary error, it's a primordial catastrophe.

Here is the deal, and it is a big one:


Intelligence has the capacity to discover new truths by rediscovering old truths.

Do you see why? Of course you see why.  The wheel is a real invention.  It's permanent. You don't need to reinvent it, but nor do you just move on to the next discovery without taking cognizance of the old.  A wheel will take you lots of places.  It makes no difference that it was discovered 5,500 years ago.  

Another common error is the belief -- or imputation -- that we conservatives are somehow anti-novelty or anti-progress, when it is the precise opposite.  The point is... how to put it... What we call progress isn't just anything.  Rather, it presupposes a ground and destiny, or origin and end.  Progress takes place -- and can only take place -- in the space between these two.  But it is by no means an "empty" space, but rather, filled with archetypes, structures, cathedrals, mansions, legends... you name it.  

We'll be getting more deeply into Percy's Message in the Bottle as I get more deeply into his message, but he posits a useful schematic involving the symbols for Alpha, Omega, and Delta (αΩ, and Δ), which I will immediately purloin in order to say that you and I are here, i.e., in the delta: α <-->>> Δ <<<-->  Ω

On and in which we will continue flowing in the next post...

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

There's an Aphorism for Everything, Including This

Well, we believed all along the president would have to exceed the margin of fraud. We just didn't realize there's no such thing.  Any lead, no matter how great, falls within the margin of Democrat fraud.  

Nevertheless,

Defeats are never definitive when they are accepted with good humor.
Moreover,

With good humor and pessimism it is possible to be neither wrong nor bored.

Humor and (terrestrial) pessimism, to which I would add dignity. For 

Today the conservative is merely a passenger who suffers shipwreck with dignity.

Let us extend our hand across the aisle, and in a magnanimous gesture of good will, assure our Democrat friend that

we do not share his ideas because we understand them and that he does not share ours because he does not understand them.

Technically his ideas aren't even real anyway, for

Evil only has the reality of the good that it annuls.

Moreover,

Evil promises what it cannot deliver. Good delivers what it does not know how to promise.

Which is why the leftist can never be truly happy, for

In the intelligent man, faith is the only remedy for anguish. The fool is cured by “reason,” “progress,” alcohol, and work.
As we all know by now,  the Raccoon is never at home in this world, since this world is merely the stage of a journey. In this coontext,

The Church’s function is not to adapt Christianity to the world, nor even to adapt the world to Christianity; her function is to maintain a counterworld in the world

Here's one that even -- okay, especially -- I must remember, being that I tend toward stoicism, disillusionment, cynicism, and frivolous wisenheimerism -- to 

live the militancy of Christianity with the good humor of the guerrilla fighter, not with the glumness of the entrenched garrison.

 We all have televisions. We see with our own eyes that

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

Between us and this mob -- besides our weapons -- is none other than Cocaine Mitch, who must remember that

Politics is not the art of imposing the best solutions, but of blocking the worst.


This doesn't mean we can't be disgusted, for indeed
 
God is the transcendental condition of our disgust.

I want to say this is "literally" true, but that's redundant.  Dis-gust is simply the recognition that something is present that shouldn't be present (or absent that shouldn't be absent).   For example, that pineapple should not be on a pizza, but pepperoni should be.  Simple teleology, really.

Now, as we've discussed before, there are trials and there are chastisements, and sometimes it's hard to tell which is which.  Which is this?  Are we being chastised?  Or is this an opportunity for... growth, or something? Well, 

God sometimes prunes our branches like an impatient gardener.

And in fact,

Souls that Christianity does not prune never mature.

C'mon, man! Who is as worthless as a man who hasn't suffered for the sake of truth and virtue?  Without the trial there would be no heroes, only metrosexual soy boys and other Biden voters.

Yes, the left is absurd. How does one respond to absurdity?  Surely not with reason. You'll both get dirty, except the pig will like it.  Instead, bear in mind that


The opposite of the absurd is not the reasonable, but the happy.


Remember too that


Nothing that satisfies our expectations fulfills our hopes.


To not recognize this is to set oneself up for a spectacularly undignified collapse -- as we saw every day with the spectacularly undignified left over the past four years.   If you feel as they do, you will behave as they do, and they behave as they do because of misplaced and displaced hope which they imagine will solve their personal problems.  Eight year olds, Dude.


I'm not saying to stop fighting.  Rather, to just do so in the spirit of Karma Yoga, which is to say, for its own sake -- for the sake of truth, love, beauty, and all the rest.  Not only is this enough, it is a freaking privilege.  For most of history and in most nations even today, doing so is asking for the hemlock.


Here are a couple of important meta-historical considerations: that 


Everything in history begins before where we think it begins and ends after where we think it ends.


And


Determining what is the cause and what is the effect tends to be an insoluble problem in history.

Don't be fooled by that dissolute and pathological liar, Time, first cousin of that bald old cheater, Death.   According to Petey, things are already conceived and quickening in the womb of being that won't become manifest for years and decades.  


One must live for the moment and for eternity. Not for the disloyalty of time.


Forest and trees. Temporal succession is a lot of trees.  The forest can never be seen from within time, only from outside and above.  (Let's not even talk about those fake forests that fall under the heading of "ideology.")


More generally, God is the supreme ironist.  He does not play dice with the cosmos; rather, with your expectations and presumptions. Irony, as in, for example, sin and redemption, or death and resurrection.  As Joyce put it, Phall if you but will, rise you must:

Such is the complexity of every historical event that we can always fear that from a good an evil might be born and always hope that from an evil a good might be born.


Yes, those four years were filled with joyful vengeance and precious liberal tears, but were just a passing day in the larger scheming of things. For 

History is a succession of nights and days. Of short days and long nights.

Today's bottom line -- well, frankly, there is no bottom line because each of the above could qualify as one -- but above all else, remember that

The truth does not share the defeat of its defenders.


Come to think of it, I believe this is one of the lessons of spiritual crucifixion and cross-bearing more generally.  No, not some masochistic notion of martyrdom, but rather, that 


Resignation must not be an exercise in stoicism but a surrender into divine hands.

We're not done.  More of the same tomorrow.  (Aphorisms courtesy of Sr. Nicolás Gómez Dávila.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Putting the -Ing in the Thing

According to the Aphorist, To write honestly for others, one must write fundamentally for oneself.

Here goes.   

Must clear desk in anticipation of tonight's catastrophe.  

Here's a book by Fulton J. Sheen called The Philosophy of Science (see sidebar). It was published in 1934, but somehow is as true today as it was then.  

This goes to one of our pet peeves and pet hobbies, which is to say, the timelessness and universality of truth.  Put conversely, why would someone want to waste his time learning truths that have an expiration date, or that only "appear" true?  I only want to waste my time on things that are true now, have always been true, and will always be true.  Is this too much to ask -- that truth actually be true?

What are some of the things we can reliably bank on, now and forever?  As it so happens, The Philosophy of Science touches on a number of them.  But first, a few aphorisms to light the way (which we mean quite lighterally, of course): 

--The truth is objective but not impersonal. (We can never eliminate the Subject from the cosmos, for to do so is to paint oneself into a coroner with no possibility of inscape.)

--A few lines are enough to demonstrate a truth. Not even a library is enough to refute an error. (Speaking of eternal truths, Brandolini's Law of BS has always been known. It's a big reason why it is impossible to debate a leftist.) 

--All truth goes from flesh to flesh. (That's a biggie, going to our personal, incarnational, and trinitarian cosmos.)

--Truth is in history, but history is not truth. (Another biggie, and for the same threasons.)

--In each moment, each person is capable of possessing the truths that matter. 

That last one really goes to the essence of my peeve and my passion, for I am convinced that there are certain truths to which every man is entitled by virtue of being a man.  Or, conversely, we may say that the ability to know these truths (even if in potential) is precisely what makes one a man (or better, a person).  Anything that is not a man cannot know them; and to know them makes one a man.

Which is not to imply that people with whom we disagree are subhuman. However, they are definitely antihuman, and this can be easily proved -- beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... er, geometric logic... 

Maybe I should just cut to the chase and stop queeging around.  

The Principle of principles.  What is it?  

Trick question!  Loaded too, for first of all it cannot be an it.  Nor can it be singular, for this would bar us from knowing it.  If all is one, this means ONE, and you are not invited or even invented.   Could ultimate and absoltute truth conceivably consist of this monad, this absolute unicity?  It could. But it would mean 1) that we could never know it, and 2) our lives are utterly meaningless.  No lives matter.

If truth is even possible, then it entails certain necessities.  These necessities very much resemble the ontology of language, or logos for short.  For it implies intelligence, intelligibility, and some means of transmission between the two.  There must be knowable objects; a subject who knows them; and a way to get from one shore to the other.  

Here's what I say: I say you already know all this, because you can't not know it.  You cannot know anything without this being true.  You can't even utter a blatant falsehood without this being the case.  Just try.

I would even go so far as to say that you -- you over there, the village atheist -- veritably worship something.  You just don't know what it is, so you are led into confusion.  I know the name of your unKnown God, and it is this God of whom I speak, on pain of not being able to speak at all.

Speech. Now there's a mouthful and a mythful.  I've only just begun reading Walker Percy's The Message in the Bottle (see sidebar), but it looks like he is very much in the same attractor. I will keep us posted as I get further into it.   

We are the bottlefield alright. How does the message get in? And out?  Note that for nearly everyone, these are just assumed, never explained.  And yet, they are without question the most astonishing features of this very cosmos!  Without them this would be a dark and lonely place.  Or not even dark and lonely.  Just... an unconceivable nothing.

But there is something.  And we know it.  Let's call this something Being.  Note the suffix:  -ing.  It's doing something.  What is -ing, anyway? It is

a suffix of nouns formed from verbs, expressing the action of the verb or its result, product, material, etc. 

Be is be-ing.  This -ing is an activity.  This activity -- at least from our perspective -- breaks out into several branches, most obviously knowing.  We can surely know that there is an intimate relationship between being and knowing, or knowledge would be strictly impossible. It would have no ground, no principle, no justification.

You could say that knowledge is a child of being, possibly the eldest.  But it seems more likely that there were (are) triplets:  love, truth, and beauty.  For this reason, we can affirm with total confidence that science is a beautiful and lovely child of its unknown God.  That's a no-brainer, for it explains both the explainer and the explanation. 

Apologies for being so annoying this morning, but this is probably how it's going to be for awhile.

We need to write simultaneously as if no one whatsoever will read us and as if everyone will read us. --Dávila

Done! 

  

Monday, November 02, 2020

Preparing for the Catastrophe

Time for a reset. Our new digital compact is as follows: I will type whatever pops into my head, and you are free to ignore it. 

True, this is actually the same as the previous compact, except sometimes I forget it, which becomes wearying on my part. This is because I begin to imagine 1) that I have an audience, and 2) that I must somehow satisfy the expectations of this audience.  The first is untrue, the second impossible. Still, from time to time I must rediscover the obvious.

By the way, I used to have more of an audience, and the audience used to grow at a measurable rate.  I wonder if this flatlining has something to do with those google algorithms we hear so much about -- the ones that bury conservative opinions under a sea of correct ones? 

I doubt it. Rather, I have to believe that if I were more popular, I'd only be less popular. People can only take so much. Or to be precise, there are only so many people who can take so much of this, whatever it is.   You'll see: most of you will give up before this post finds its way to the end, and I don't blame you.

Which reminds me.  President Trump has even some Democrats marveling at his superhuman level of energy as we approach Tuesday's singularity.  How does he do it?  How can a 74 year old man fly to four or five major campaign events and fire up the crowds, when Joe Biden can barely shuffle to the mailbox, nor would he be capable of conversing with the mailman without a teleprompter. How does Trump do it?

I know how.  It takes a great deal of energy to pretend to be someone and something one is not.  President Trump expends zero energy on that.  People call it "vulgarity," but it's actually quite the opposite.  For vulgarity, in the words of the Aphorist,  consists of pretending to be what we are not. 

Say what you want about the president, but he never pretends to be someone he isn't, whereas nearly all skank & foul politicians -- not to mention journalists, academics, and "artists" -- never stop pretending to be what they aren't. It's why most Republican politicians only pretend to be conservative, when they really crave to be accepted by the Right People, i.e., fellow vulgarians.  

President Trump is like your host, in the sense that he just says whatever pops into his head, the difference being that lots of people truly love what he says.   He is the most transparent president ever.  Imagine what it would feel like to be totally spontaneous and to be loved for it.  It would be like pouring out a kind of energy, and the energy coming back to you multiplied by a factor of 10 or 25 or 50,000. Bracing! 

Most people have to fake it in order to appear likable, and this takes a great deal of energy.  The pretense must be exhausting for someone as repellant as, say, Kamala Harris, or Obama.  Now, there is a vulgar man.  Imagine pretending to be unusually intelligent, articulate, a statesman, a literary man, when none of these are remotely true.     

Going back to the president, the spontaneous adulation must resemble what it felt like to be Elvis or the Beatles.  The remarkable thing about early "rock" (the reason I put it in scare quotes is that Elvis, or Jerry Lee, or  Bo Diddley, weren't trying to fit into some preconceived genre or satisfy any existing audience) is that its practitioners weren't consciously manipulating anyone, nor were they imitating some cultural- or corporate-approved fashion. 

Rather, they were spontaneously expressing something from deep within, and the public (equally spontaneously) loved it -- not just in America or the UK, but all over the world.   This is true multiculturalism,  in that it speaks to all cultures (as opposed to the bogus multiculturalism that pretends we should all be moved by Guatemalan lesbian poetry or infrahuman urban graffiti). 

Eventually the art form becomes self-conscious and therefore cut off from the archetypal nonlocal energies that animated it, which is what contributes to its gradual death.  Which goes back to the blog.  Rest assured: I will never try to please my readers.  Nor will I ever pretend to be something I'm not, including scholar, expert, academic, theologian, or writer. Just a blogger, which is more than I ever dreamed.  

Success is a trap, isn't it? Few musicians can survive it with their artistry intact.  It's not that one can't be popular and artistic, only that one must work hard to ignore the former unless it reflects an appreciation for the latter.  The Beatles were the quintessential examples of this. (Others who overcame their own successful formulas include Van Morrison, Miles Davis, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Scott Walker, and not many more I can think of.)

I know, I know:  okay boomer.  That's not what I mean. I'm not talking about nostalgia. Rather, how, up to that time -- 1965 -- if one were lucky enough to stumble upon a successful musical recipe, one did not f*ck with the formula.   This is precisely what the insufferable Mike Love said to poor Brian Wilson upon returning home from a tour and hearing the innovative tracks for Pet Sounds:  Don't f*ck with the formula, Brian! No wonder he went crazy.

Here's the formula:  even if you're an 80 year old self-beclowning parody, never stop singing about high school, surfing, cars, and teenage chicks, so long as it brings in the cash.  It's only cynical in the sense that pop music is always cynical, because it's consciously designed to appeal to the mob.  It's a cash grab. That's why it exists.   

No one imagined Louis Armstrong was producing art in 1927, which is one of the reasons why it is art.  No one, least of all Elvis, imagined on July 5, 1954, that That's All Right was a timeless classic.   For that matter, it didn't occur to Ray Charles that he was inventing soul music on November 18, 1954, with I Got a Woman

That was a lengthy prelude.  I had wanted to clear my desk in anticipation of Tuesday's election, which will clear off everyone's desk, like it or not.  As they say, you can accept your fate or be dragged there anyway, kicking and screaming. You know, amor fati. Doesn't mean you have to love it. 

At any rate, I do believe Tuesday --  Tiu being the ancient Germanic God of war, but that's just a coincidence  -- will be Cosmo-Historical, and that's no exaggeration.  But I'm just a guerrilla blogger, so what do I know?

Petey, on the other hand, spontaneously knows (in the usual manner of discarnate beings) a great deal, and he assures me that this is no ordinary affair. He can peek behind the veil and under the rug, and he insists that it will be catastrophic. In the best sense of the word.