Friday, November 20, 2020

Everybody's Got One

Suppose someone approaches you and sincerely asks what they might read in order to better understand the conservative perspective. Easy. You respond without hesitation: the New York Times! Could anything else better illustrate the ignorance, craziness, and girlish hysteria of the left? 

Problem is, this person already reads it every day and swears by its honesty, neutrality, and objectivity, so it's obviously not working as we would have anticipated. The question is, how can an intelligent person read the Times and not know he's being lied to, indoctrinated, and manipulated by mentally ill 27 year old grievance studies majors who know nothing? 

Indoctrination is easy. The hard part is keeping people from discovering they're being indoctrinated. You all remember the Matrix: keeping millions mindlessly dreaming their lives away in their pods -- or glued to their screens -- is easy. The hard part is tracking down and neutralizing a single dissenter who doesn't go along with the programming: Neo.  

Neo. Which, of course, is an anagram of One (and also implies novelty, and therefore individuality). 

Hmm. If we are on the right track, then it would appear that controlling millions is easier than controlling a single person -- especially in a free society such as ours, in which people accept the yoke voluntarily. And indeed, there are many wise old sayings, gags and aphorisms that go precisely to this truth; moreover, the left itself is a war on genuine individuality, so there's that.  

Put it this way: oneness is the point -- of both departure and arrival -- of both illiberal leftism and conservative liberalism.  The argument -- if they would permit us to be heard -- is over the nature of this one.  

For us it is in the Creator -- the very principle of oneness, and without which oneness is inconceivable -- followed by family and individual. 

We place family prior to individual for trinitarian reasons, i.e., the irreducibly intersubjective love without which mere human beings cannot actualize our intersubjective personhood; it's really more of a complementarity of three terms: lover, beloved, and love.

The left is an ontological cancer on these truths. For it too posits the one, but locates it in a rootless and atomistic human animal, which is in turn subordinated to the tribe and the state.  

The atomistic human animal and omnipotent state necessarily go together, for in a community -- or herd, rather -- of radically selfish ones, there is no way to control them except by means of the heavy hand of state coercion. There are no immanent self-evident truths below to constrain these beasts, nor any God above. Indoctrination is one way to control them, but some people are too stupid even for college. 

Thus -- as we all witnessed on our TV screens earlier this year -- the left is in essence a riotous throng of post-literate animals running wild, wanting what they want, when they want it, which is to say, in the ahistorical NOW. Not only do they want it, they are entitled to it, because of justice or something, i.e., perhaps reparations for low IQ and absent fathers.

Will the left permit this behavior when it threatens the Harris-Biden state instead of just human beings and their property?  I doubt it, but we shall see.  They either won't authorize it to begin with, or will check it before it damages the "brand."  

Nevertheless, the future isn't written, and there is the ongoing struggle in the Democrat party between the lying manipulators and the true believers. Even Petey cannot say at this juncture how this will play out, but I would put my money on the young and energetic true believers.  

The old-school manipulators and frauds -- the Pelosis, Obamas, and Clintons -- believe they're just holding the wolf by the ears, and maybe the wolf, like a spoiled child, will exhaust itself from the prolonged tantrum.  

In reality, I think the wolf already has them by the ovaries, and they're trying to figure out how to appease the beast.  Perhaps the otherwise pointless lockdown is buying them time.

Anyway, back to the Great Divide touched on above, between the two types of One.  Let's try on a few aphorisms for size:

To be a conservative is to understand that man is a problem without a human solution.

Precisely. Let's be blunt, the better to clarify our differences.  For we will never, under any circumstances, agree with the left.  The best we can do is to politely explain why we can never agree.  One reason why we can never agree is that we know there is no human -- much less political! -- solution to the problem of man.  

In fact, -- and the founders spoke of this ad nauseam -- our political operating system won't even function with a deeply non-, much less anti-Christian citizenry. Or maybe you haven't noticed. Or you've noticed, and you think the solution is the problem. You are a Times reader.  You are sick. By which we mean,
The conservative is a simple pathologist. He defines sickness and health. But God is the only therapist.

I don't presume for one second that I can help anyone -- beginning with myself -- in the absence of divine intervention. I couldn't even type this sentence without it; for God exists for me in the same act in which I exist.  Here's another good one:  

I distrust any idea that does not seem obsolete or grotesque to my contemporaries.

Especially the New York Times, or Big Tech, or your average woke college student. If people who disagree with me don't frankly find me monstrous -- or sick, twisted, fascist, and paranoid -- then I'm doing something wrong.  Fortunately, they do, albeit not nearly enough of them.

Back for a moment to our antithetical understandings of the one and how this plays out culturally, personally, and politically. Come to think  of it, as politics is downstream from culture, I would suggest in turn that culture must be downstream from one's one (for example the oneness engendered by human sacrifice is quite different from the nonlocal oneness of God's church). 

I'm going to try to order the following aphorisms stepwise, from self-evident conclusion to conclusion, and see where it leaves us:

1. Modern history is the dialogue between two men: one who believes in God and another who believes he is a god.

2. To call the problems that depend on the very nature of man “social” is only useful in order to pretend that we can solve them.

3. In order to enslave the people the politician needs to convince them that all their problems are “social.”

4. As the State grows, the individual shrinks.

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

6. For God there are only individuals.

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

8. Social salvation is near when each one admits that he can only save himself.  Society is saved when its presumed saviors despair.

It was nice to see our saviors so filled with despair these last four years, but remember what I said above about the wolf, the ears, and the ovaries. That can't continue.

Meanwhile, the wife had a temperature last night, so, out of an abundance of paranoia, I slept on the couch. Or "slept," rather.  This gasbag is out of gas. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

With Anti-Intellectualism, Anything is Possible!

It's true, or I wouldn't say it.

Perhaps the major reason why most people reject reality is that it places so many annoying constraints on what we can do or think or want. 

For example, people want more money (or more votes, to be perfectly accurate), so they pass a "minimum wage" law in order to make it illegal to pay someone what his labor is worth. The entirely predictable result is that unemployment increases and businesses close. But the politician feels good about himself, and that's what matters. 

Policies such as the minimum wage, rent control, racial quotas, et al, can't work in reality. But they do in theory, and that's enough for the anti-intellectual.

In reality men and women are quite different, and thank God and natural selection, in that order. But here again, for some reason this bothers a lot of women (of both sexes), so it isn't just rejected but attacked -- as if reality is the problem!

Well, reality is the problem. But it is also the solution, and indeed, the only solution to the problems intrinsic to reality. 

In this regard, it is no different than nature as such.  Nature causes a lot of problems -- little things like, oh, disease, death, accidents, etc. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just magically wish these away, or bribe nature to leave us alone and take the next guy, or perhaps conduct a human sacrifice to appease and get her off our backs?

Maybe, but nature provides a means to her own mastery and transcendence. How? By being rational, or subordinate to reason. This is why prescientific approaches such as alchemy, astrology, and haruspicy didn't actually help us, but gave only the illusion of help. They made the anxiety go away, at least momentarily.

Similar to progressive polices, although not as destructive on such a catastrophic scale.

There's an old gag... it's on the tip of my Tongan... can't find it, but while looking for it found this by Claude Bernard: "Science increases our power in proportion as it lowers our pride."  "Proud scientist" should be as oxymoronic as "humble ideologue."  If only.

Anyway, I recently read an outstanding book by Fulton Sheen called God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy, originally published 90 years ago but as true today as it was then and always will be. Yes, always, for 

It is only accidentally that St. Thomas belongs to the 13th century. His thought is no more confined to that period of human history than is the multiplication table.  

Supposing we are to be born at all, we have to be born sometime and somewhere. For Thomas it just happened to be Sicily in 1225.  Only a parochial bigot or tenured ape would hold it against him. 

This dovetails nicely with one of our obsessive preavocations, which is the discovery and elucidation of principles, axioms, and perennial truths to which we are entitled by virtue of being human. Yes, being a man has its share of inevitable burdens. God knows this, and for this reason provides certain compensations and consolations. 

What would a human life be in the absence of universal truth?  Well, for starters it wouldn't be human, just another chapter in the pointless story of animals.

Since the crock is running down, I'm just going repeat some important passages with or without comment:

If a progressive universe is a contemporary ideal, then the philosophy of St. Thomas is its greatest realization.

Our self-styled "progressives" hold an implicit metaphysic that renders progress both unintelligible and impossible. 

The modern God was born the day the "beast intellectualism" was killed. The day the intelligence is reborn, the modern God will die. They cannot exist together; for one is the annihilation of the other.

Which certainly goes to the depth and intensity of our current political divide. Truly, the two sides are absolutely and permanently irreconcilable. The difference is, our side must be understood, while theirs can only be imposed; hence their barbaric hatred of free thought and expression. 

Here is a lifelike pneumagraph of One Cosmos:

The intellect, then, is the perfection of the universe because it can sum up all creation within itself. In doing this, it becomes the articulate spokesman of the universe and the great bond between brute matter and Infinite Spirit.

"What happens, then, when a philosophy rejects the intellect?" Same thing as when a political ideology does: it "knocks the world into an unintelligible pluralism."  These relativistic anti-humanists "are suffering from the fever of violent emotion, and so they make a philosophy of it."

Or misosophy.  Being that Sophia is the primordial feminine, this is truly the last ugly word in misogyny.  

St. Thomas is not "premodern," because this makes the elementary error of trying to discern truth by clock or calendar. These latter measure time, but even then, not really; rather, just space. But truth transcends both.  It is neither ancient nor modern, and most certainly not dumb-as-a-post modern:  

It is ultra-modern, because it is spiritual and is not subject to decrepitude and death. "By its universality, it overflows infinitely, in the past as in the future, the limits of the present moment; it does not oppose itself to modern systems, as the past to that which is actually given, but as something perennial to something momentary. Anti-modern against the errors of the present time, it is ultra-modern for all truths enveloped in the time to come (Maritain)."

Oh, and speaking of pleasures we share with neither animal nor Antifa (but I repeat myself), "The intelligence is life and the greatest thing there is in life."  

But "The spirit of modern thought, whatever else it may be, is anti-intellectual." How so, exactly? Well, "To begin with, there is a confusion of the intellect and reason."  

The Intelligence does not explain; it does not reason; it grasps. It sees an intelligible object as the eye sees a sensible object. Reason, on the contrary, is related to the intelligence as movement is related to rest; as acquiring a thing is related to having a thing.

Having said this, while they are distinct they cannot be separate, which is why things aren't true because they are rational, but rather, rational because true. Do not make the crudimental error of confining truth to reason, or you'll be waiting for Gödel forever.  

I guess that's it for today.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

If Language Could Speak

Well, I think we've identified the fly in the ointment of being: language.  

Me?  I love language, nor would I ever take it for granted. It is such a luminous miracle, that with every post I can't wait to inflict it upon my unwary readers.

Wait a second. A voice is coming into my head. It appears to be the far off Voice of Language itself, saying: 

Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

I am being reminded that even words about God aren't God. That's bibliolatry. But looked at from another angle, language is not not God either, or God couldn't have just told us what he did! 

This touches on the eternal mystery of immanence-transcendence, in that God is immanent because transcendent. In a flatland cosmos there can be neither Creator above nor creation below, and certainly nothing in-threetween.  Unless one is just plain careless, the world itself proves the existence of God.  God is necessary. We are contingent.

Nevertheless, even in our contingency we necessarily partake of a bit of necessity. This is what it means to be in the image and likeness of the Creator.  Because of this principle, an atheist could not possibly exist in a godless universe; if God exists, only the atheist can not know it.

Before diving more deeply into this vertical instant, are there any other chestnuts we can yoink from the flames of The Infernal Library?

Infernal library. Which brings to mind the left's impulse to throw our civilizational library into the inferno: for example, Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, and now a book that hatefully suggests it might not be such a good idea to pump up children with hormones to indulge their gender confusion.  

Come to think of it, Big Tech is rapidly showing itself to be a virtual inferno of book burning. The light it produces is brightest just before things go totally dark.

What is the problem with language, whether digital or analog? Is it problematic in itself, or only when misused?

Surely the latter: as always, corruption of the best is the worst. Everyone on our side of the aisle knows there is a profound difference between, say, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Dre. But how? By virtue of what principle?

Well, there are a couple of sub-principles between the Principle itself and the principle of language.  What are they, and in what order?  

The Infernal Library hints at the nature of the problem:

I was struck by the fact that many dictators begin their careers as writers, which probably goes a long way toward explaining their megalomaniac conviction in the awesome significance of their own thoughts. 

Man doesn't just have language, be has an imagination, and the imagination is infinite. Which isn't necessarily a problem. Problems arise when language + imagination are superimposed on the world; or, more to the point, when one begins in the head rather than with the world.    

The world comes first. Indeed, in many ways this goes to the nature of the first world in which we live, which, not coincidentally, has its roots in Christian metaphysics.  Say what you want about the world, but the world's objects will object when your words don't conform to them.  

I remember the exact moment I flipped from Kant back to reality: it was while reading chapter one of Stanley Jaki's Means to Message. Must have been 2001 or 2002, but it took awhile for it to sink in. Years, not seconds. 

At the time, I had no idea how counter-revolutionary was Jaki's principle; nor even that I had, through my extensive leftist indoctrination, assimilated its dysfunctional revolutionary counterpart in an unconscious manner. No one told me explicitly: reality begins in your head! And yet, I implicitly believed this Kantesian nonsense. 

Here is Jaki's antidote, like a cold and bracing slap in the face that awakens one from a metaphysical coma:

philosophy and science depend on a means, an object, some physical reality, which even spoken words are, as the carrier of their message....

The first step should be the registering of objects, or else the philosopher will be guilty of a sleight of hand, however sophisticated. He will have to bring through the back door the very objects the use of which his starting point failed to justify.

His starting point failed to justify.  Professor Gödel, call your office! 

If objects are not presented as the primary datum, some other factors will expropriate that role.

Factors such as, oh, desire, wish, power, will, ideology, etc.  The initial revolutionary move is absolutely crucial, and allows all the other lunacy to enter.  Is this what is embodied and conveyed in the metamythical structure of Geneses 3?  What do you think?!

Nearly every idea is an overdrawn check that circulates until it is presented for payment (NGD).

Monday, November 16, 2020

Language and Other Catastrophes

I'm sorry but I never apologize -- including for the junior-voicity Joycity of the previous post. 

First, when I said a couple of weeks ago that  I was going to stop making so much damn sense, I meant it.  Second, I had a larger point that I was avoiding, which is to say, the mixed message of language -- not this or that assertion of language, but of language itself.  It is at once a chiaroscuro of light and dark, or as Joyce would say, clearobscuro.  So let's see if we can shed a little more darkness on the subject!

Again, prior to its appearance on earth, there were no problems.  Does this mean that if we can only eliminate -- or at least control -- language, we can eradicate our problems? This is the left's strategy, but it can only give the illusion of control, while denying the real problems and projecting them elsewhere.

For example, all of the talk about "structural racism," "critical race theory," "white privilege," incarceration rates, etc., are just ways of talking around and avoiding the real issue: black failure, i.e., the achievement gap. We all recognize it.  But the left quickly transforms the concrete perception into a linguistic abstraction, and the purpose of the abstraction is to help one not see what one is seeing.

This is not a new phenomenon. The left did not invent mental illness. "Human nature" (at least the fallen kind) includes an arsenhole of psychological defenses, the most important and pervasive being -- in this order -- 1) denial, 2) repression, and 3) projection.  

In fact, some theorists would eliminate the second and say that the first and third always occur together simultaneously, analogous to location and velocity in quantum theory:  what is denied is necessarily projected.  After all, denial doesn't actually succeed in ridding the mind of what is denied.  So, what happens to it?  Where does it go?    

The correct answer is "all over the place," in that there is no end to the psychic transformations that repressed material can and will undergo. Once it's out of your control -- once you are no longer master of your domain -- the permutations will be endless.  

I didn't intend to travel down this artery in this vein, so perhaps we can apply a tourniquet to stop the flow before this post bleeds out.  But consider the example of something as seemingly simple as "low self-esteem." A perception of inadequacy is rather straightforward, while its denial can take infinite form -- from somatization to substance abuse to promiscuity to narcissism to pathological lying and ad infinitum.

But enough about my ex-girlfriends.  

It reminds me of Tolstoy's crack to the effect that all happy families are alike, while each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.  I don't know about families, but it certainly applies to the mind, in that happy minds are alike in certain fundamental ways (there is such a thing as normality), while unhappy minds have an infinite variety of ways to pretend they're not unhappy and to render themselves unhappier still in the process. Does Trump Derangement make its victim happier or more well adjusted?  

That's a loaded question, Bob.  Okay, how about feminist ideology, or critical race theory, or queer studies?  Suffice it to say that happiness and gender/race-based paranoia are at psychic antipodes.  If one were happy, the theories would never need to be conjured into existence. Does a happy woman imagine there is such a thing as patriarchy? 

Back to language.  Again: Mixed. Blessing.  Oh, it's a blessing alright, maybe even the greatest, in that in its absence there are no blessings at all.  Nor any curses, so are we even-steven?

Sprechen sie Joyce, not only was he well aware of the double-, triple- and quadruple-edged s(word) of language, he knew that he himself was the worst offender.  Among the thematic binaries that repeat throughout Finnegans Wake are the brothers, one a man of action, the other a man of words: concrete and abstract; doing and mere talk about doing;  building and criticizing; etc.

Joyce knew he was a scoundrel because he knew what language can do to a person.  First of all, it makes one a liar, and the more facility one has with language, the worse the liar.  Consider, for example, the fake news and phony pundits.  Or academia.  

If we conceptualize it in a Darwinian manner, we see that there exist human environments that demand that we mentally adapt to them with lies of various magnitude.  Truth is not only unwelcome, it is punished.  You will be canceled.  The borgs on TV know exactly what they can say and what they can get away with. They know where the line is, even if the knowledge is implicit. I am always aware of the line, being that I live in the Democratic Republic of California.  

One of the primary purposes of punitive political correctness is to make us all aware of the boundary between the Truth and the Lie.  In between is a kind of demilitarized zone of phony neutrality, but make no mistake: get too close to the truth and the bullets will fly.

Bad language and the people who utter it. A perfect opening for me to discuss a book that's been patiently waiting in line for over two years, The Infernal Library: On Dictators, the Books they Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literature.   

One might be tempted to ask: what lesson can be drawn from this disparate collection of logophobic psychopaths?  I'll tell you what lesson: in the past we've discussed how one can learn a great deal about normality by studying the most abnormal among us.  My internship was at a state mental hospital, and when you deal with psychotic patients, you have the opportunity to vividly see the operation of various defense mechanisms that are more subtle in the "normal" -- e.g., denial and projection.  

A normal person deals his unwanted psychic material in relatively benign ways such as sublimation, fantasy, humor, rationalization, etc.  An abnormal person projects it into birds, or communication satellites, or space aliens, or white men, or President Trump, what have you.  

As it so happens, an elderly paranoid lady lives right across the street from us.  Her projections are rather fluid, but can go from the mailman to the DWP to even my son, whose baseball flew over a fence into her backyard.  He asked if he could retrieve it, and she responds -- in a voice dripping with suspicion and hostility -- How did it get there? -- implying at once How did it get thereHow did it get thereHow did it get there

Note that it's not a "real" question but a loaded one.  I mean, the answer is obvious, so the question implies something non-obvious.  Is this just a pretext for you to spy on me? Are you in cahoots with the gas company meter-reader?

The other day she interrogated me, with the same tone, about some dog poop near her driveway. I'm surprised she didn't call 911. But she did pour bleach on the street.

In any event, my son is learning all about mental illness (and the wellness of which it is a shadow) without having to toil in a mental hospital or cable news station. All our happy neighbors are alike, while each unhappy neighbor is a Democrat.  

Getting to our main point, isn't it interesting that the Worst People in the World were all writers? Lenin, Stalin, Marx, Hitler, Mao, et al. Is this surprising? Or inevitable?  

Many dictators write theoretical works, others produce spiritual manifestos, while still others write poetry, memoirs or even the occasional romance novel. Indeed, the best-selling book of all time attributed to a man rather than a deity is the work of a dictator: Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

If the worst people in the world were all writers, I wonder if they still are?  No, check me on that.  I don't actually wonder.  Rather, they must be.  It's just a matter of identifying them. Or perhaps we've entered an age in which the Lie is so pervasive and diffuse, that we can no longer point to this or that particular author.  So many minions, partly because so many of them have attended Satan's own seminary, AKA college.  

That's ANTY-INNALLEKSHUL!  

Oh please. Let's not even digniphooey that one. I attended college, and lots of it, so I know as well as anyone what it means to be a proudly intellectual anti-intellectual.  

In the previous post -- or was it the one before? -- we spoke of the boredom of leftist writers and writing.  Why are they so tedious?  And is it merely an absence of something -- a privation -- or the presence of something actively soul-killing?

With all this power and unique knowledge, the dictator of even a small and geopolitically insignificant country should thus be in a position to write at least a moderately interesting book, even if by accident. And yet to a man, they almost always produce mind-numbing drivel. I want to know why.

How, for example, does Obama so effortlessly produce such mind-numbing drivel? Is it a gift, this ability to crank out bestselling autofellatiographies on demand? And who gave it to him? Is there something like "satanic grace"?

Yes, as a matter of fact, but that's a slightly different subject. It occurred to me a week or two ago, but if I discuss it now, we'll never finish with the dictators. Suffice it to say that, just as there is a kind of "spiral of grace" emanating from and returning to God, there is similarly spiraling energy from below, or perhaps even from man, then circling down and back up. 

Why study the blather of a tyrant? Surely not to learn anything he wishes to teach us. But you can nevertheless learn a great deal from a tyrant  -- as did I from patients in the loony bin and professors in the looniversity bin.

A deep study of dictators' works might enable me to map devastating wastelands of the spirit while also exploring the terrible things that happen when you put writers in charge.

Forget about dictators. Let's talk about presidents.  Is it just a coincidence that the worst presidents since 1912 were first known as writers, Obama and Wilson? 

Is there anything better than books and literacy? Or, is there anything worse? "A moment's reflection reveals that"

books and reading can also cause immense harm. To take just one example, if Stalin's mother had never sent him to the seminary then he would never have learned to read and never would have discovered the works of Marx and Lenin. Instead, he would have been a drunken cobbler like his father, or perhaps a small-time gangster in Tbilisi. He would still have spread misery, but on a much smaller scale...

Our bottom line for the day is that "literacy is a blight as well as a blessing," and that we need to figure out why this is the case and be able to distinguish between the two. 

The lie is the muse of revolutions: it inspires their programs, their proclamations, their panegyrics; but it forgets to gag their witnesses. --Dávila

True, but at least big tech is trying to gag us.