Saturday, November 28, 2020

First Things First

Let's review.

Okay. Review what?

Good question. We're nearly caught up (or given up) with our desk-clearing, with just a few miscellaneous zingers, gags, and aphorisms strewn about, such as  

Modern philosophy erects a wall of separation between intellect and reality.

We could spin that one into another whole post, but why bother? We get it, and they never will: truth is the link between intellect and being. If not, then to hell with it.  

As everyone knows, anything deep and true is conservative. Some things are true but not particularly deep, e.g., science. Others are deep but not true, assuming ideology can ever truly be deep. For it is written:

Confused ideas and murky ponds seem deep.
Jump headfirst into this shallow pond, and you're likely to knock yourself unconscious.  

Ideology is the antithesis of philosophy as such. There is a law of identity in this here cosmos, such that One ≠ Two; and the very point of philosophy is to comprehend and assimilate the oneness of this one. If we couldn't do this, there would be no such thing as progress.  

There exist many sciences, from physics to chemistry to biology and on up.  But to posit two or more philosophies is incoherent. Even if one hasn't arrived there, one must implicitly posit oneness as both the ground and telos, or alpha and omega, of thought.

I love simple and straightforward definitions of things, with few adjectives, less equivocation, and no poetry. The latter of course has its uses, but also its misuses.  Beware of, say, bad poets masquerading as worse judges. It's how we end up with a SCOTUS decision that includes the following purple passage by Justice Deepak Kennedy:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Yes, the infamous Mystery Passage. Nice sentiment, but what does it have to do with the Constitution as written, much less with abortion? Does the baby get to exercise this liberty? Or nah? 

Note that it pretends to be a principle, but this is precisely what it can never be, on pain of eliminating the Constitution and even law itself. 

For if law reduces to my right to define reality as I please, then we are all as crazy as the craziest progressive, with no cure. This crock of a doctrine simply allows imbeciles to call themselves philosophers. 

You wouldn't say there are "two physics" -- although I suppose that horsesh*t  has already left the barn too, what with the calls for gendered physics and maths of color.

Let's get back to the principle of one philosophy. Now, this doesn't mean we can't argue over the substance of this one philosophy, but let's not pretend old nobodaddy can be plurabelle.  Don't be buffaloed: nobody's right if everybody's wrong. Likewise, if everybody's right, then nobody is. 

Moreover, if you only understand one side of the question, you understand neither side, let alone the top and bottom.

I know we've discussed this before, but here it comes again: one cosmos, one human nature, one truth, one God, just ONE, gagdaddit!

Allow me to quote Cardinal Mercier on the matter: "philosophy does not profess to be a particularized science, with a place alongside other such sciences and a restricted domain of its own for investigation." 

Nor is it merely the sum of these particular sciences. Rather, it is their unity, both anterior, in a pre-differentiated manner, and posterior, in all their differentiation, i.e., in a higher unity: we analyze in order to synthesize, and abstract in order to unite.  

Science itself is the reduction of multiplicity to unity: as it advances -- say, from geocentrism to heliocentrism, or from Newtonian to quantum physics -- it unifies more disparate phenomena. It becomes both truer and deeper. 

Unless it fancies itself to be truth itself, much less the "deepest truth," at which point it careens off the shallow end into anti-philosophy, i.e., a silly caricature if itsoph.

The Cardinal defines philosophy as "The science of all things through their ultimate and deepest reasons." Again, it is the final answer to the Last Why. The deepest knowledge is the end of the line. It is known with certitude, and this certitude equates to rest. But the left hates rest -- it loves the opposite, "activism" -- and aways wants to stir things up.

For example, who, even a decade ago, would have predicted we would be relitigating the question of free speech? Or that half the country would favor corporate censorship of the other half?  Even Petey didn't see that coming.

Chesterton: "When a society has two souls, there is -- and ought to be -- civil war.... for anything which has dual personality is certainly mad; and probably possessed by devils."

One God and one Truth. Conversely,  many demons and countless lies.

I gotta get some work done, but not before we locate a few aphorisms to help wrap things up in a more restful and slack-infused way:

Because opinions change, the relativist believes that truths change.

Truths are not relative. What is relative are opinions about the truth.

The truth does not need the adherence of man in order to be certain.
To change thoughts repeatedly is not to evolve. To evolve is to develop the infinitude of a single thought.  --Dávila 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving & Envy Thwarting

Thanksgiving is nice, but a more spiritually efficacious holiday might be StopResenting. Or at the very least, these two are complementary: it is impossible for a resentful person to feel thankful, while a thankful person isn't bitter, resentful, and envious.

Even a secular person understands this relationship, or at least I did. Back in graduate school one of the more important theorists we studied was Melanie Klein, whose work focused on the ins, outs, and what-have-yous of primordial -- which is to say, constitutional -- envy.

Why is envy even included in the standard package of humanness?  Is it the shadow or exaggeration of a healthy impulse, or is it a pure privation, or negation, or mind parasite?  We'll get back to that.  Suffice it to say that it appears quite early in our vertical adventure, on page 3. There it describes how, even in paradise, humans find a way to be resentful instead of thankful.  

Note as well that the adversary recognizes this weak link in the human psyche, and exploits it to the hilt.  Could it be that envy is the human kryptonite throughout history, right down to this morning's headline?  Signs point to Yes, but we need some further analysis.  

Let's say the serpent is the very spirit of envy. This cunning spirit puts the bug in Eve's ear that she deserves more -- that someone, somewhere, is having more fun than she is, in this case, God.  

Given the close relationship between man and envy, is it possible that human beings couldn't exist without the potential for envy?  I'm going to say Yes, but with an explanation. Analogously, we could say that human life can't exist without water. Does this mean man must drown? 

If envy is a pathology, or exaggeration, or privation, the question is, of what? Of what healthy impulse or striving?  For we don't want to posit a dualistic or Manichaean cosmos with two ultimate principles fighting it out for supremacy, i.e., an eternal struggle between giving thanks and taking offense.

Let me begin by reviewing my psychoanalytic learnin's, which I haven't looked at in many years. Envy "is a destructive attack on the sources of life, on the good object, not on the bad object."  

This is key, for not only is it an attack on the good object, but envy transforms the good into a bad object.  In other words, the object doesn't start off bad, which then justifies the envious attack; rather, it starts off good until it is transformed by envy.

For example, consider the very next biblical story about Cain and Abel.  Cain envies Abel to the point of murdering him, but not because Abel's offering is bad. Cain is subsequently cursed for his envy, but this might be another way of saying that envy is the curse, for no one who is envious is happy. "Of the deadly sins," writes Joseph Epstein, "only envy is no fun at all" (in The Politics of Envy, by Hendershott).

Hendershott notes that "the envious want the unattainable -- and they want it all."  Being that the unattainable is by definition unattainable, it is as if the envious person has discovered a perpetual unhappiness machine. We are tempted to say that socialism is the collective institutionalization of this machine, but be patient. We'll get to the insultainment.

Why is there a movement to "forgive" college debt? Could it be that these people are unusually envious - even that they went into debt in order to pursue advanced degrees in resentment, and that doing so only made them more resentful?  

Is it possible to eliminate the envy of of the envious by placating it? Or is it preferable to shun envy and marginalize the envious?  The progressive obsession with "equality" is founded on the notion that we can create economic conditions in which envy will disappear.

Is it possible to create conditions that would eliminate other human foibles, say, gluttony or lust?  Knowing what envy actually is, how could one possibly believe it could be eliminated?  Indeed, there is reason to believe that the attempt to eliminate it only aggravates it, largely because indulging a bad habit only fuels it. 

Never underestimate the human ability to justify envy over the most trivial of differences:

History has shown that envy increases in communist countries because the stakes become so small that even the smallest advantages are envied.  

Why do our corporate and technological elites embrace envious socialism?  Easy: to deflect the envy that would otherwise be directed at them.  

Wealthy mediocrities -- celebrities and the like -- know full well that they don't deserve their wealth (nor for that matter do they not deserve it; it's just a fluke of the free market, or a consequence of the greater good of freedom).  Claiming to support socialism is analogous to a business putting up a BLM sign: don't attack me! I'm on your side!

In simple societies, the fear of envy is very high. Tribal people believe that they will be envied by their neighbors for any advantage they may gain, and they are likely to believe that the hostile wishes of their neighbors can harm them...

Exactly.  Simple societies like San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Manhattan.   

Question: is envy socially constructed? Or is it innate?  Trick question! For there is no such thing as a person outside a social context.  As we've discussed in manyposts, We is ontologically prior to I, and is its necessary ground (no We, no I).  

Now, there are many possible links within this We, for example, love, curiosity, empathy.  But there can also be envious or greedy or hateful links. Could it be that envy comes down to a persistent intrapsychic link within the structure of the self, only projected outward?

That's what I think, for what it's worth.  Its why envy cannot be eliminated by being indulged.  You can project the unwanted contents of your psyche all day long, but this doesn't actually eliminate it. 

Still, externalizing it is preferable to introspecting and realizing what a rotten and envious person you are.  Better to accuse Trump of racism, or fascism, or being power-hungry, than to confront one's own inner tyrant. Better to cry "structural racism!" than own up to one's failure.  What a seductive -- and addictive -- temptation. 

Is envy getting worse in our day?

Although all generations have been vulnerable to the anxiety caused by the movement to an other-directed society, millennials, the first generation raised on the Internet and social media, have been the most affected by the shift.

Thanks to the internet, we are exposed every day, all day long, to things we can't have and people we'll never be.  

Now, when is it time to reach for one's revolver?

when envy masquerades as resentment or righteous indignation, the envious feelings become legitimated -- even moral.  

Antifa, BLM, feminism, Critical Race Theory, et al. What are these but envy that has been to college? And wants you to pay for tuition?

Demagogues appeal to envy because they believe that promising to destroy the advantages enjoyed by others will win votes and inspire loyalty.

Now, does this mean Biden & Co, will actually destroy the advantages enjoyed by their class? You're not too bright, are you?  No wonder you spent all that money on a worthless degree.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Language Finds a Way

Time only for a brief.  

In the recent election it seems that two viruses proved decisive -- first, the Chinese virus that facilitated all the cheating; and second, the English virus that was so effectively contained by Big Tech, Big Media, Big Debate Moderator, etc., such that truth was not permitted to spread into the population. 

In other words, totalitarianism works, at least for awhile, but language always finds a way, doesn't it?

To plagiaphrase the scientist in Jurassic Park: if there's one thing the history of politics has taught us, it's that language will not be contained. Language breaks free. This is true. But how, and why?

First, why do people everywhere & when want to contain it? How do they do it? And how do we avoid it and them?

Let's proceed directly to the insultainment portion of this post, and put forth the hyperthesis that what we call the "left" is always the anti-language faction (cf. the well known phenomenon of the "totalitarian temptation"), while the essence of liberalism involves setting language free.  

In short, free your speech and your aseity will follow. One need only ponder this mystery for about two seconds to see that it's not a mystery at all.  

Rather it's terribly obvious.  No one is banning speech, books, tweets, ideas, professors, and bloggers but the left. Me? I want the left to speak, in order to show how crazy they are. I've never banned a commenter no matter how stupid, for what is a dullman but a brightcoon's teacher?  

There is obviously a "conserving" aspect of language that is as vital to its flourishing as is the liberating function. It's called, in a word, truth. Free speech without a nonlocal telovator literally goes nowhere.  

Consider just the progress of science. What does it do? It relentlessly strikes down falsehood, superstition, and sacred cowpies without fear or favor, until nothing is left standing but Truth.

Well, not exactly, and for obvious reasons, beginning with meta-science at one end (i.e., the principles by virtue of which science is possible and my understand itself) and scientism at the other, which foolishly equates its necessarily falsifiable proposals with Truth itself.  

You will have noticed that the left likes to think of itself as the "party of science."  Even on its face the opposite is true, but the claim becomes plausible if we think of vulgar scientism as a contemporary mythology of tenured fools, credentialed tools, and digital ghouls. 

Consider the following statement: One ought to believe in science.  No doubt true, as far as it goes. Problem is, there is no Ought in science. Science describes only narrow slices of what Is, never what ought to be.

Yes, there exists an objective land of Ought, but the moment we advert to it, the fool will accuse us of religious dogma. So, who let the dogma in? Did we invent it? Or does it emanate from an immaterial source?

Some if not all of you probably wonder about the irritating wordplay. What's that all about, and is it really necessary? Yes, it is necessary, if only for myself, in order to keep language free.  There is something that is not only freeing about language, but is freedom itself.

A few posts back we described this discovery of freedom in literal terms, with Helen Keller's dramatic inscape from a cramped animality to the wide-open spaces of the logosphere. 

Yes, the truth will set you free. But at the same time, freedom sets one upon the path to truth. In other words, truth itself is the principle, the reason, and the telos of freedom.  

If this is not the case, then freedom has no value at all.  Come to think of it, this is precisely why the left devalues and attacks even the possibility of truth. In their postmoderm, post-truth, and post-literate world, truth poses an everpresent threat to their power.  

This is so obvious that it qualifies as a soph-evident banality: to understand it is to confirm it, once and for all. It goes from hypothesis to principle, just like that. Unless you've successfully internalized a vertical barrier or roadblock.

Now, the purpose of thought it to arrive at principles.  Here again, this goes to precisely why it is impossible to argue (rationally) with a leftist. Oh, they have plenty of principles alright. It's just that the "principles" are ruled by immanent expediency (i.e., the needs of power) instead of transcendent truth, and  can never be reconciled with one another.  Nor are they ever pursued to the absurd conclusions that annihilate them.  

This is why, in order to be a leftist, one must be a little bit educated. But never too far!  Rather, it is obviously critical to stop thinking before the point at which the principles of leftism devour themselves.

The left has near total control of big tech, big education, big journalism, big government, big gender, big poverty, and big entertainment, and yet, it's never enough. Again, language always finds a way. Because -- in a manger of speaking -- it is the way, the truth, the life, the light, etc.

I'll end with a cryptic anecdote. I've been married for, let's see, 33 years. Once upon a time my wife decided to take a leap of faith and assume I was actually trying to help. It changed everything. Although she still needs to be reminded every once in awhile.

Truth cuts both ways. The skill of a surgeon vs. the rusty blade of a 27 year old tech overlord with an advanced degree in nothing. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Experimental Nonfiction: In Search of the Last Why

What I say here will seem trivial to whoever ignores everything to which I allude. -- Dávila 

With our new & improved format, or absence thereof, every post is at most halfbaked & halfbarked fresh each morning, with no past and apparently no future. O God help us in the hour of our dearth of ideas! 

Neither forethought nor hindsight is put into it, just an insolent breach in the discontinuity of language, an invasion of the left brain into the right, or of day into night. A little bitty tear in the fabric of spacetime, so baby don't cry, don't cry.

Or perhaps it is an invasion by the dark into broad daylight. Wouldn't that be something! 

Because make no mistake, and make it again: you are deceived by the clarity and metricality of things and are in desperate need of poetry and noetry and even worse in order to seed beneath the sufferance of the times. 

I am just the manumit for your minervous wreckage, because this -- let's be honest -- is worse than poetry, it is ten minutes of belabored mindjazz in ten minutes of labored reading.  We all have our unbearable crosswords to puzzle. This is yours.     

Time past & time future aren't time present, and apparently not time at all if we are toburrow into it today.  If there is to be continuity -- and sometimes there will be -- it won't generally be on the surface, but at a much deeper level.  

For it has come to this: we are practicing a radical version of the suspension of memory, of desire, and of understanding, and placing all our trust in God or his unconscious deuputy, or whoever takes the wheel first.  Turn off our minds, relax, float downstream, and surrender to the void. It is not dying. Of boredom, anyway. Experimental nonfiction, that's what it is.  

As our first knowledge is spontaneous, so too will be our last. Not last in terms of time, but rather, ultimacy. 

For as mentioned a post or two ago, nothing spares us the final leap back to a childlike vision in daylight, in nature, in wonder, in the garden. That we may finally see the meaning of within, amen for a child's job.

The intelligent adult is one in whom the child has survived and the youth has died. 

Ah, but what is intelligence?

Intelligence is the capacity for discerning principles.

Agreed, but children don't know principles. Let's try anyway. Let's apply them first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Or maybe the other way around, like extreme unction.  

What we propose to do is circle back to childhood via youth and adulthood, and know the place for the first time!  Prayloud to a postcrypt. I just wanted to say that. No filter! That's the rule. The wisdom we lost in the knowledge, the knowledge we lost in the tenure, the facts we lost in the journalism, and what's left?

Only this deeeeep continuity.  Not only is this a thing, it is the most important thing, for it is the very substance of philosophy.  Science deals only with this or thatoccular thing or that spatial sameone, from atoms to molecules to organisms and so on.  But what is the relationship between these?  Obviously it can never be seen, only grasped. It is not empirical but intellectual.

Nor is it new. It's called philosophy. Or, you could call it "One Cosmos," emphasis on both terms, AKA the deep unity and deep order of everything -- not every thing as the sum, but rather, the ground of being that sponsors the very thingness of things.  

Every thing, insofar as it is one, has at least one share of stock in the great corporate entity known as Being. And you'd better believe that this corporation is a person, or it would have gone blankrupt long ago.

But Being isn't just anything, much less nothing.  For one thing, it shines.  Or, in the words of John Lennon, it is shiiiiining. This morning, anyway. Nothing to say but it's O --> (k). 

Our cosmology doesn't sit next to science but rather, above. Science is only at the adult table at best. We want to know how the particular sciences are connected to one another -- for example, physics to biology to psychology --  until we finally arrive at an ocean so simple, anyone can float on it. Let that sink in!

"What are these simplest notions?," asked Cardinal Mercier.  Well, for starters (and aren't we all), they are simple and universal, and apply to everyone and everything, everywhere and at all times.  The timelessness comes to put away grownup things, for 

the process of splitting up cannot go on forever; a time comes when ideas resist further analysis; they no longer continue to be explained by previous ideas, but on the contrary are such that they explain everything else. These most elementary objects of thought by means of which others are understood are called the principles of things. They are called, too, the reasons of things....

Principles or fundamental reasons are the ultimate solutions to the problems the human mind inevitably proposes every time it sets itself to reflect upon the world or upon itself. They supply the answers to the last why and wherefore that reason asks.

I've never actually heard a child ask Wherefore? but they never stop asking Why?!  

Immature people do, however, and they do so arbitrarily.  Most people stop asking Why in college, apparently because the answers they are given there are sufficient to kill their anemic curiosity, and journalism takes care of the rest. 

A philosopher or onecomosographer is simply someone who continues asking Why?, but not forever!  This isn't a game!

Oh, wait.  It is a game, but a game has an end. This isn't a game if it devolves to infinite regression; rather it ends in a progression to the infinite -- and absolute, and universal, and timeless, and simple.  As that.  

I apologize for the style of this post. I may not be adequate to the task, but someone has to do it.  Or, put it this way: if you see something, say something. This morning I saw something.