Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Fresh New Sayings

Just some random thoughts that aspire to be aphorisms. If I had more time I could make them more concentrated and pointy.

Two things interest me: universality and certitude. Make that one thing.

There are limits to knowledge. Which is not to say there is no knowledge of the Limitless. 

If reality is what exists independently of the mind, then we are sealed in ignorance. Conversely, if reality can be known, it is because the immaterial knowing subject is no less real than what it knows.

Sight is to touch as reason is to faith. Do you hear me? 

Science is not equipped to answer the question of how science is possible. Limited to strictly scientific categories, neither science nor scientist are possible, and certainly not important. 

Cynicism its the tribute narcissism pays to credulity.  

Between intellect and reality is ether nothing or everything. 

The most certain truths completely escape language, for example, experience. Boredom is the incapacity to be shocked by its presence.

The intellect sheds light on reality, as reality transmits light to the intellect. Thankfully, God sheds darkness on the intellect, without which we could never know what can't be known. Faith allows us to see into this darkness, or at least bump into things.

Certitude and truth are two sides of the same reality. When certitude is joined with falsehood, it is polite to yell fire in the hole! 

Progressive wisdom begins with fear of the mob. 

Being becomes knowledge that knowledge may return to being. 

Believing the truth surpasses knowledge of its countless models. 

Doing good presupposes seeing things as there are. Seeing things as they aren't is Satan's portal.  

The left makes things so complicated. Why not just outlaw irony, perspective, and common sense?

As all reasonable people know, man is free because he is rational. If he isn't rational then he isn't free, and if he isn't free he isn't rational. Tell me again: how is it that man lacks free will?

Science is the discovery of necessity. It can't prove the existence of freedom because it presupposes it.

Sending every young adult to college will not raise IQ one iota, but that's not the point. Rather, it will contribute mightily to our collective stupidity.  

Anti-gun legislation is weaponized defenselessness.  

The most important things are not means to an end, but for their own sake. There's a name for useless people trying desperately to make themselves useful: Democrats

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Freeform Aphorizing

Theology for Dummies, AKA atheism.

Wokeness is the ruling class high on estrogen.  

Some people think they are able to manage their lives without the state -- like a host in no need of parasites. 

The desire to reimagine the police is a consequence of imagining them. In other words, delusions are cured by more of them.

For the left, it's an easy choice between St. George and Uncle Tim. Nothing triggers them like a black person who doesn't speak like a retarded child or behave like a raging psychopath.

If less than 6% of the population commits more than 50% of crime, we need to reimagine statistics. 

Disparate impact will not be eliminated until there is equality of outcome between the gifted and stupid.

Standards are barriers to equality. In order to equalize slam dunks we need to either lower the basket or eliminate it entirely. 

Equity is achievable, but only with more inequality between citizens and elites.

You know you're privileged when your insanity not only costs you nothing but assures a lucrative career in journalism, academia, or politics.  

Imaginary oppression is license to oppress. In Christianity, the holy one was an innocent victim. For the left, the victim is the innocent and holy one. 

Social justice is just the left's appeal to your heart on behalf of its fist.

We are guided by continuous feedback from reality. The left used to just ignore the messages, now they shoot the messenger.

Progressive attacks on free speech are an autoimmune disorder of the soul.

Wisdom puts limits on mere knowledge. Without it we are limited by the arbitrary limits of our own ideology.

Ideology is reality enclosed in thought. Reality is the transformation of uncontainable being to thought and knowledge.

The primordial revelation consists of: 1) the intelligible object, 2) the intelligent subject, and 3) the flow between them. Which presumes an even more primordial link between intelligences, or between Subject and subjects. 

Is comes from nature, ought from God, must from the state. State compulsion to do what we oughtn't, or to pretend nature is what it isn't, is justification for revolution. 

In the absence of freedom there is no meaning. Doctrines that deny free will aren't even meaningless. 



Friday, April 30, 2021

More Pompous Pronouncements

It's a truism that people are conservative about what they know best. Which is why people who know nothing are the ideal liberals.

Systemic racism. What, like the minimum wage? 

Neither causality nor purpose are intelligible without the element of chance, AKA  holy happenstance; without it, what is, is.

Surprise must be a primordial category, contained eminently in God. Without it, creation is a machine and art an algorithm. Determinism is absolute boredom. 

For a child, an immutable parent would constitute the ultimate nightmare. It is a living death.

The message of the internally related Trinity: don't absolutize the Absolute.

Logic is circular. But there are larger and smaller circles, not to mention a sphere.

Traces of spirit etched in time. Metahistory and history.

Knowledge is the conquest of ignorance, wisdom its restoration.

Let's start with what we don't know. It's the first step to sanity.

Tradition is an ensemble of successful adaptations and solutions to problems we no longer remember precisely because they were successful. Which is why solutions proposed by the left are predicated on not understanding the problem. 

Intelligence is the power without which humans are deprived access to whole worlds, including the most interesting material ones.

Political correctness is a declaration of war by omniscience on curiosity.   

Virtue signaling alerts us to toxic narcissism and dangerous psychopathy. Understood this way, the snake's  rattle is a courtesy.

A wise man said that without God, even truth is an idol. Which is why the first commandment precedes the second and third. No God, no truth, all vanity.

To be the man you gotta beat The Man. Or god and God, in the case of the left. 

 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

More Brain Droppings

Just some more aphorisms I've been toying with...

Race, class, and gender are shorthand for the reduction of essence to existence, subject to subjection, bee to hive.

"Social justice" was invented to enable losers and criminals to launder their envy, hatred, and destructiveness.

The left declares war on the very hierarchy that is the cause and consequence of liberty and equality.

Progressivism: a lawsuit against the real on behalf of the perfect.

Crimes of the left are purified of their criminality by the angels of good intention.

In the left's war on civilization, language is a battlefield: words are the POWs, concepts the wounded, and souls the dead. 

In order justify its greed for power, it is prudent for the state to attempt the impossible. Its inevitable failure justifies the seizure of more power.

Liberation and social justice, AKA chaos and theft.

Direct assaults on liberty are more difficult than attacks on the order that renders it possible.

White liberals will never forgive black conservatives for having no need of them.

The left is always clamoring for an honest conversation about race. In order to smoke out and denounce the honest.

There's no White Privilege like the privilege of pretending it exists in order to gain more of it.

Progressivism: time become demonic.

Denying the existence of evil is naive, but comprehensive schemes to abolish it are diabolical.

I have a theory called Climate Stasis. It's also always wrong.

Does God require narrativity because history exists, or vice versa?

The left isn't abandoning colorblindness because it failed but because it succeeded.

Even in dreams we are "in" a world. Just watch the news.

There exists an eminent contingency in God: his creativity.  

To say time is an illusion is to say there is no essential distinction between concrete facts and abstract possibilities, or in other words, nothing is possible. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Wisdom of a Fool

Lately I feel like I have nothing much to add to the argument, or at least nothing I haven't said before. I do, however, have a bunch of aphorisms, such as 

Faking intelligence is easy. Pretending to be witty is impossible. 

It's no one's fault if you reject free will.

Biden's spending plan: ripping off the future and passing the savings along to you!

Social Justice is envy with a PhD. 

Climate models may not be perfect, but at least they're more accurate than the climate.

Progressivism is natural selection in reverse: rewarding failure to adapt.

Civil rights activism, the grift that keeps grifting.

White privilege: the right to have a low IQ without blaming another race.

History will not be kind to those who anthropomorphize history. Nor are those who think history has sides on the right side of history. 

If we can put a man on the moon, then surely we can come up with a better cliché.

It only looks like the left wants to normalize pathology. The real goal is to pathologize normality.  

Gentlemen, you can't defend the Constitution here! This is the Supreme Court!

Bruce Jenner for governor: The Man Who Would be Queen.  

Happiness is pretty simple for a leftist: something to blame, someone to hate, and someplace to wreck.   

Socialism only killed 100 million people in the 20th century because the wrong people were in charge. With more effective leaders, they would have surpassed 200 million.

The most disordered among us are ordered by the perception of oppression. Without the projected structure of perceived racism, they'd have no structure at all.

Theories that can neither predict nor be falsified are maps to utopia.

If a woman has the right not to be sexually harassed, what is the corresponding responsibility? 

I'm old enough to remember when black was a race and not just an ideology.

Only liberals mean what they say. Everyone else is secretly motivated by their worst instincts.

The left isn't totally opposed to free speech; rather, they just want to ensure that it remains safe, legal, and rare.

Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; for the rest, politics and journalism.

Blaming greed for income inequality is like blaming gravity for my failure to make the NBA.

The Green New Deal will create full employment by giving everyone a job pulling their neighbor's rickshaw.

Joe Biden is only incompetent to control his own affairs and family, not you and yours.

We need to eliminate scores to give more people access to athletic success.

If raising taxes makes you charitable, then supporting the military makes me a hero. 

Behead those who say Islam is violent! And loot those who say blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime!

Free college = nationalizing the means of unproductivity.

Paranoia was given to socialists to explain their failure.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Racism, Antiracism, and Anti-Antiracism

The following represents a preliminary attempt to wrap my mind around a very large subject.

Lately I've been reading a book on evolutionary psychology called Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition, by Kevin MacDonald (see sidebar). Like anyone else who honestly considers the evidence of racial differences that are more than skin deep, the author is smeared as a hatethinker. Such heretics call themselves "race realists," while progressives call them Nazis. I suppose I would call myself as moderate race realist, which is still more than sufficient for banishment to the hate community.  

Granted, it's a touchy subject for a number of reasons, but it needn't be. Compare it to something a little less controversial, sexual differences. Despite the insane propagandizing of the left, normal people not only understand that men and women are fundamentally different, but prefer it that way. 

The sexes evolved through different evolutionary pathways, but are obviously complementary, one specializing in strength, competition, and abstract intelligence, the other in nurturing, intersubjectivity, and emotional intelligence, with obvious overlap in between. Why is this a problem?  

It's a problem because it clashes with progressive theology, the first principle of which is Thy Slate Shall be Blank, or Else! If we are born a blank slate, then the state can push us around like so many bags of wet cement in order to bring about utopia. 

At the same time, the evidence of evolutionary psychology implies that human nature isn't necessarily a simple and straightforward concept. For if the races are different, which is the real human? 

Here again, I don’t see this as a big problem, for just as human nature is fully instantiated in both men and women, so too is it present in all human beings of any race. Essence cannot be actualized in the absence of a form that simultaneously expresses and constrains it. 

Ah, but here’s an interesting catch, for where did this concept of a transcendent human nature come from? We don’t see it in Africa, or Asia, or India. Here at One Cosmos we regard it as a Christian idea, but for a strict evolutionist this begs the question and puts the cultural cart before the genetic horse.  

Suffice it it to say, I’ve been pondering this question for several weeks, and I believe I’ve arrived at a satisfactory resolution. Those who have read the book of the same name will recall that I tackled this subject in my own freewheeling and somewhat naive way in Chapter 3, Psychogenesis: the Presence of Mind.    

I say "naive" for two reasons, first because I didn't understand back then that evolutionary psychology was such an offense against the one true faith of progressive Blank Slatism, and second, because I actually succumbed to a bit of B.S. of my own, since I... how to put it... overemphasized the discontinuous leap into universal human freedom, while underemphasizing the particularized genetic continuity.  

Because of the latter, it is as if human nature is present in different musical keys, or perhaps like pure light passing through a prism and coming out different colors. Thus, human nature is simultaneously no race and all races. It reminds me of the pseudo-controversy of Jesus' race. The fact that he was of Middle Eastern descent is entirely accidental to his incarnation as and of human nature as such, which no mere race can ever exhaust, otherwise we could ourselves be perfect men. 

The fact that no man can be perfect tells you a great deal, for it means that he has an essence he can never reach but is perpetually striving toward. 

The other aspect of my resolution to this problem involves the difference between belief and discovery. For example, we don't dismiss the universal truth of the theory of relativity because it was discovered by a Jew. Just as there is no such thing as "Jewish physics," I would say there is no such thing as "Christian personhood," even though Christians are responsible for discovering personhood (with all its cosmic and meta-cosmic implications).

Conversely, evolutionary psychologists regard any and all religious belief as constrained and determined by genes -- as if there is a gene for "belief," with no possibility that the belief might actually conform to transcendent truth. Obviously, biologism doesn't allow for transcendent truth, even though -- like all ideologies -- it makes an exception for the affirmation of its own truth.

On the practical/political side of the equation, the only possible solution would be a passionate embrace of the objective principles animating western civilization (rooted in genuine discoveries about human personhood), and an insistence that anyone coming into this country understand and live by them. But the left embodies the opposite: a passionate rejection of those timeless truths, accompanied by a cynical strategy of killing them via the democide of open borders. 

Let's end with an observation by Schuon, in order to deflect attention from myself:

Races exist and we cannot ignore them, less than ever now that the time of closed [genetic] universes has come to an end....

If racism is something to be rejected, so is an antiracism which errs in the opposite direction.... the fact that races are not separated in completely watertight compartments in no way means that pure races are not to be found as well as mixed ethnic groupings. Such an opinion has no meaning for the simple reason that all men have the same origin and that humanity as a whole -- often wrongly referred to as the human race -- constitutes one single species.
Or this:
the existence of Christ or of the Vedantic doctrine adds nothing to the value of a white man with a base nature any more than the barbarism of certain Africans tribes takes anything away from a black man of saintly soul...

foreign races have something complementary in relation to ourselves without there being in principle any 'lack' in us or in them either. 

And about progressives who deny the provenance of progress?

Now, there are few things so absurd as the anti-Westernism of those who are themselves westernized.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Waiting for the Thunderbolt

Ever had that feeling that you've said everything there is to say? I get it every six months or so. You could say I'm waiting for the next thunderbolt. I'm also anticipating another thunderbolt -- this one exterior -- that collapses the deranged Empire of Wokeness. For what cannot  continue will not continue.

I've decided to reinstate the Now Reading list to the sidebar, because readers have a right to know what I'm inhaling. As you can see, it's a diverse and contradictory list, from traditionalism to evolutionary psychology to demonic influences to alt-right hate thinkers. My job is to somehow reconcile them all, which isn't that easy. Some would say it's frankly impossible, but I am committed to making diversity work.

For example, the alt-right tends to be indifferent or hostile to Christianity. I sympathize with their view, as I would certainly choose moderate atheism before, say, the radical National Council of Churches, or any other form of leftist Christianity -- which is just mental illness or demon possession masquerading as Christianity.

The other problem I'm seeing with the alt-right is the rejection of universalism. It's a mirror image of the left's absurd relativism, which devolves to tribe vs. tribe, and ultimately to power. Realpolitik types will say that we are naive, since politics always reduces to the will to power anyway. All the fancy rhetoric just covers naked self-interest.  

Well, even if universalism was discovered by white Europeans, it's still universal. In other words, it makes no sense to me to attribute abstract universalism to racial particularism, just as it makes no sense to say that modern physics is a Jewish thing. If there are no universals then we are screwed. I don't care which race discovered them. 

Yes, western civilization is probably doomed in the long run -- human nature being what it is -- but we certainly won't pull out of our suicidal death spiral by rejecting the universalism of the founders, rather, by reaffirming it. If I reject the identity politics of the left, it's because it is barbaric and regressive, not because of my own tribal loyalty. 

Moreover, half my tribe is composed of lunatics, idiots, craven conformists, the power hungry,  and the demon-possessed. Obviously, I have much more in common with Thomas Sowell or Clarence Thomas than with Joe Biden or Rachel Maddow. 

I'm not naive about racial differences. I just think we should hold all races to the same universal standards and let the chips fall where they may. If the entire NBA is black, or the entire Berkeley math department is Asian, I couldn't care less. 

I guess the deepest analysis goes to the very nature of intelligence, which is, among other things, the capacity for discerning principles. If it's merely a function of biology, then to hell with it. Sure, a German Shepherd is smarter than a Great Dane, but neither can ever transcend dogginess and know the absolute.

Intelligence is obviously bound up with natural selection, but to reduce it to such is both self-defeating and ultimately absurd. We could say that intelligence is accidentally genetic but essentially transcendent, on pain of being able to say nothing about it that isn't reducible to reproductive interest, or "selfish genes." If that's the case, then Europeans are wrong and Muslim immigrants are correct, because the latter have more children.

If we are to prevail it can't be just because we are more intelligent, but because we understand what intelligence essentially is; and

One of the keys to the understanding of our true nature and of our ultimate destiny is the fact that the things of this world never measure up to the real range of our intelligence. Our intelligence is made for the Absolute, or it is nothing. Among all the intelligences of this world the human spirit alone is capable of objectivity, and this implies -- or proves -- that what confers on our intelligence the power to accomplish to the full what it can accomplish, and what makes it wholly what it is, is the Absolute alone (Schuon).

Moreover, to be intelligent is to know reality and to thereby be more real:

Intelligence is the perception of a reality, and a fortiori the perception of the Real as such. It is ipso facto discernment between the Real and the unreal -- or the less real... 
Intelligence gives rise not only to discernment, but also to the awareness of our superiority in relation to those who do not know how to discern.... we cannot help being aware of something that exists and is perceptible to us thanks to our intelligence, precisely....

But the same intelligence that makes us aware of a superiority, also makes us aware of the relativity of this superiority and, more than this, it makes us aware of all our limitations. This means that an essential function of intelligence is self-knowledge: hence the knowledge -- positive or negative according to the aspects in view -- of our own nature (ibid.). 

Now, leftism is predicated on the denial of human nature, so it is intrinsically stupid, irrespective of race. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Biology & Meta-Biology, Bobology & Meta-Bobology

Gödel's theorems mean that no matter how complete the formal system, it will always leave a semantic residue: semantics cannot be reduced to syntax, meaning to grammar, reality to mathematics, quality to quantity, etc. This seems intuitively obvious, but it's nice to have logic on one's side. 

The bottom line is that man will never arrive at a theory of everything, but will be perfecting it until perishing from global warming in a few years. 

At the moment, I'm cross-referencing our favorite logician, Gödel, with our favorite biologist, Robert Rosen. 

As Gödel was a "meta-logician," I suppose we could say that Rosen was a meta-biologist, although he would no doubt object to the characterization, since it might imply an element of woo-woo or oogily-boogily. 

Rather, he believed that he was the one pursuing hard science, while pulling no metaphysical punches. It's the reductionists who are the softheads. Rosen was a real scientist, proof of which is found in the fact that I don't understand half of what he says. I do, however, get the big picture.

Indeed, the big picture is the meta-picture, precisely. I won't say it's the only thing that interests me. Then again, it does seem to be my default setting, and indeed the default setting of any philosopher properly so-called. Now, to even call oneself a "philosopher" strikes me as unbearably pompous, for what is philosophy but error on a grandiose scale, with no hope of arbitrating between this doozy and that whopper?

If I actually believed that, I would despair, for it would mean that the bOb is pointless in a double sense, or nihilism squared. It would of course mean that life -- anyone's life -- is utterly meaningless. But it would also mean that my life in particular is not even meaningless, what with its meta-preoccupation with universal truths. 

The moment I began studying psychology, I couldn't help thinking about metapsychology, i.e., the larger system of which one's psychological theories must be a part -- both the truths entailed in one's psychology, and the axiomatic truths it presupposes. 

Moreover, without consciously realizing it, I was always on the lookout for logical and meta-logical inconsistencies in this or that system or paradigm. In general, the only way to harmonize such inconsistencies is with recourse to a higher truth in a vertical spectrum. Once you do this, you realize that, for example, mind cannot be a material process for the same reason that physics cannot describe reality. Again, there is always a semantic residue in such attempts at reducing one level to another.

For Rosen the duality of quantity and quality is not the same as that between hard and soft science, respectively. Rather, it rests on "presuppositions about the nature of material reality and on how we obtain knowledge about it." The duality between syntactics and semantics goes to "what is true by virtue of form alone, independent of any external referents, and what is not."

Which raises an interesting question: can formal truth be true in anything other than a trivial sense? In other words, is mathematics true only within its own system, or does it disclose real truth about the actual world? If one says Yes to the latter, this has enormous metaphysical (because meta-mathematical and trans-human) consequences.

The reductionist is guided by the conviction that "Qualitative is nothing but poor quantitative." Given this presupposition, "everything we call a quality or a percept is expressible in terms of numerical magnitudes, without loss or distortion.... therefore, every quality can be quantitated, and hence, measured or computed." Thus, "Everything else we call science is ultimately a special case of physics."

Put that way, it sounds almost like a straw man. And yet, it must be the metaphysical underpinning of science, so long as science is "true." If reductionism is not the case, then what is the foundation of the world? Not in some airy-fairy way, but precisely? What are the ultimate truths that must be and cannot not be, in order for mundane science to be true (at least as far as it goes)?

Now, some people couldn't care less about such questions: "most practicing mathematicians, like most practical (empirical) scientists, go on about their business, indifferent to such matters, convinced to the depths of their soul about the reliability of what they do." 

Wait a minute -- depths? Soul? How did these contaminants get into the lab?! I suppose we can say that wherever the reductionist goes, he goes there too and spoils it.

In Hilbert's formalistic school of thought, semantics can "always be effectively replaced by more syntactic rules." That is to say, "any external referent, and any quality thereof, could be pulled into a purely syntactic system." 

But a syntactic system is "a finite set of meaningless symbols" guided by a finite set of rules for combining them. Such a system is necessarily consistent, but is it complete? Yes, if you and I are machines. But if we were machines, could we ever know it? If math is just about more math, where's the inscape hatch? And if math is about the world, what is the world about? 

Well, thanks to both Gödel and common sense, we know that whatever the mind is, it isn't a machine or computer. 

But if reductionism is obviously wrong, does this imply that the opposite approach is the correct one? I don't think so. Rather, I suspect a kind of eternal complementarity between the extremes of empiricism-idealism, subjectivity-objectivity, quality-quantity, etc.  

The ancients began at the other end -- the other end of reductionism -- in that for them

life simply was; it was a given; a first principle, in terms of which other things were to be explained.

To us this may seem naive, but is it any more naive than for a conscious lifeform to declare itself to be absolutely contingent? Whence this absoluteness? How did it sneak into the lab? Must have been smuggled in by Soul and Depth.

We are told that biology reduces to physics. But what if physics is an entailment of metabiology or something? Well, stranger things have happened.  

On the one hand, biologists have convinced themselves that life is somehow the inevitable necessary consequence of underlying physical (inanimate) processes.... But on the other hand, modern biologists are also, most fervently, evolutionists; they believe wholeheartedly that everything about organisms is shaped by essentially historical, accidental factors, which are inherently unpredictable and to which no universal principles can apply.

In short, "they believe that everything important about life is not necessary but contingent." 

That's what you call meta-irony, only without the self-awareness necessary to generate a guffah-HA! experience.

I'm running out of time, so I'll end with this thoughtlet: biology is indeed reducible to physics at one end, while referring to life at the other. But what does it mean to be "about" life? For that is life?

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that what we call life is ultimately rooted in the principle of Life Itself, just as the mind is grounded in the principle of Consciousness Itself, and persons in the principle of Divine Personhood. Above that it goes dark. Which is not to say that we can know nothing about it, only that it exceeds our puny models. Call it the principle of Divine Overflow.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Leftists May Have No Consistent Standards, But at Least they're not Hypocrites

For obvious psychopolitical reasons, the following passage from Incompleteness caught my attention:

no validation of our rationality -- of our very sanity -- can be accomplished using our rationality itself.

Thus, there exist millions of people who are completely sane from within their ideological system, but only insane from outside it. We call these lunatics progressives.  It's not quite correct to say that they "can't be reasoned with." Rather, they can only be reasoned with -- in the manner described by Chesterton in chapter 2 of Orthodoxy, The Maniac:

The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

Similarly, Goldstein writes that "Paranoia isn't the abandonment of rationality. Rather, it is rationality run amuck, the inventive search for explanations turned relentless." Such a person is "irrationally rational," characterized by "logic run wild." 

More cosmic Orthodoxy via Chesterton:

Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite.... The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

Flipping through this maniacal chapter, there are some additional statements that prefigure Gödel:

the strongest and most unmistakeable mark of madness is this combination between a logical completeness and a spiritual contraction. The lunatic's theory explains a large number of things, but it does not explain them in a large way....

His cosmos may be complete in every rivet and cog-wheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world (emphasis mine).

One more important observation:

As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.

The normal man "has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet he sees all the better for that."

Note that this stereoscopy isn't so much horizontal as vertical: it requires the recognition of a hierarchy of levels, both on the terrestrial and celestial planes. To reduce the hierarchy to a single level is to guarantee inconsistency and ultimately absurdity. To appreciate hierarchy is to situate things in their proper place. 

Contrast this with the ideologue, the man of system, the progressive lunatic. As Goldstein says, "Anything at all can be deduced within an inconsistent system, since from a contradiction any proposition can be derived." 

Thus, it is common for conservatives to point out the daily hypocrisies of the left, but this gets us nowhere, since it is utterly beside the point. You can't be a hypocrite if you have no consistent principles. Rather, they would only be hypocrites if they were to deny their hypocritical expediency in service to power. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

High on Ideology

I'm not quite retired, so this post ends abruptly in mid-flow. 

A few quick hits from Incompleteness; ponder them in terms of the permanent truths of metaphysics as opposed to mere math:
--Once proved, a theorem is immune from empirical revision. 
--Mathematicians carry all their gear in their craniums, which is another way of saying that mathematics is a priori.
--Gödel's conclusions are mathematical theorems that manage to escape mathematics. They speak from both inside and outside mathematics.... Our minds, in knowing mathematics, are escaping the limitations of man-made systems, grasping the independent truths of abstract reality.
--They [the theorems] are at once mathematical and metamathematical.... It is as if someone painted... a landscape or portrait that represents the general nature of beauty and perhaps even explains why it moves us the way it does. 
--It is extraordinary that a mathematical result should have anything at all to say about the nature of mathematical truth in general.... mathematical reality must exceed all formal attempts to contain it (emphasis mine).
As to the latter, it is indeed extraordinary that mere quantity should reveal so much about qualities that seemingly transcend it. For it is as if money actually can buy you love after all. 

But how does math escape its own logic and break its own rules? How can 1 + 1 = 3, let alone beauty or laughter? Put in abigger way, how does the cosmos transition from 13 billion years of tedious and repetitive Isness to a regime of living Ought? How does existence turn itself inside out and become experience? What is experience? I'm having one now, as are you. But what is it and how does it get here?

The answers may surprise you. For they are -- like mathematical truth -- a priori. However, unlike the mathematical, the requisite gear for answering them is located not only in the cranium but in the thorax region. Attaining a total view requires the integration of these -- or, in the words of Schuon, "the Unicity of the Object demands the totality of the subject," "totality" being cranium + thorax, or head + heart. 

Limited to the head, 1 + 1 would always add up to 2; limited to the heart, 1 + 1 seems always to result in THAT'S RACISS!

With these thoughtlets in mind, let's get back to our central question, which is whether or not -- as with any other formal system -- the theorems may tell us something exoteric doctrines. The reason why this is important is because it may explain why the absurdities of exoterism are inevitable, as is true of any formal system, whether secular or religious. It doesn't imply that they are wholly false, just incomplete.

Empiricism and rationalism, for example, generate absurdities, but this doesn't mean they don't provide pieces of the puzzle or that they are devoid of truth. Rather, if pushed too far, they reveal will reveal inconsistencies. 

Same with religious dogma. It too is quite useful, especially in a practical sense, just as, say, Newtonian physics is quite helpful in our day-to-day lives, even if we now understand that it becomes inconsistent at the margins (where quantum and relativity theories take over and provide a more accurate picture of the macro- and microcosmos).

In an essay called Esoterism and Tradition (contained in the book Frithjof Schuon: Life and Teachings), Laude writes that religious tradition may provide "the best possible approximation on the terrestrial level of a conformity to Reality," even if it begins to fray at the "human margin." 

This is because tradition as such involves the attempt to clothe the formless in form. God is -- by definition -- supraformal, but is,  in the absence of a form, literally unthinkable. Thus,
the form is and is not the essence. The form prolongs the essence but it may also veil it. The essence transcends the form but it also manifests itself through it.

Hmm. Is and Is Not. We're not in Athens anymore! -- i.e., no longer dealing with Aristotelian logic, where things can't both be and not be at the same time. But this is precisely the dilemma Gödel resolves vis-a-vis the theorems. For just as no formal system exhausts reality, "the Divine Essence... transcends all determinations" (Laude):

We could say, simplifying a little, that exoterism puts the form -- the credo -- above the essence -- Universal Truth -- and accepts the latter only as a function of the former; the form, through its divine origin, is here the criterion of the essence.

Esoterism, on the contrary, puts the essence above the form and only accepts the latter as a function of the former; for esoterism... the essence is the criterion of form; the one and Universal Truth is the criterion of the various religious forms of the Truth (Schuon).

Now, "Inconsistent systems are of course complete, because we can prove anything at all in them. They're overcomplete" (Goldstein). They simultaneously explain too much and not enough -- or rather, it is precisely in explaining too much that they paradoxically fall short of a complete explanation.

I cited several examples of this phenomenon in the previous post -- Marx and Freud, for example, in explaining everything, end up explaining nothing. But this is what any ideology does: it superimposes a limiting framework on reality, thus conflating what is with what the ideology permits us to see. 

Z Man's post this morning touches on our subject, as it seems that hateminds think alike (The Narcotic of Unreality: https://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=23484):
This is how our public discourse has become increasingly bizarre. As soon as you exclude realty from the debate, you are left with various forms of unreality. Since none of the unrealistic options can possibly lead to a solution, the debate breaks free from the problem itself. The measure of acceptance is no longer about facts and reason, but some other standard.
Thus, our real crisis isn't about Chinese opioids or Chinese flu,
but the unreality pandemic plaguing our rulers. As the range of acceptable debate narrows, they are left with an increasingly bizarre set of choices.... Like an addict searching for the next high, our rulers are riding a dragon of depraved reality avoidance, taking the rest of us into the abyss where all addiction leads.
This is obviously true, but why is it true? I don't want to imitate our leftist fiends and try to explain too much, but if Genesis 3 All Over Again teaches us anything, it is that man is always tempted to reject transcendent truth in favor of seduction, hypnotism, narcissism, and idolatry. 

This being the caseconfining oneself to some faux-complete ideology will always feature these characteristics. From the outside they look crazy, but from the inside the craziness is completely normalized, and we are the abnormal ones.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Fun with Gödel

So, I hate it when people start their sentences with "so."

Anyway, yesterday I was flipping through The Largish Black Book of Bob's Quasi-Infallible Aphorisms, Epigrams, Gags, Zingers, Precepts, Gnomes, & Oracles and came across one that goes to our present discussion of Gödel's Theorems and how they might relate to the exoterism/esoterism distinction in religion:

The founder of an ideology is someone to whom the ideology doesn't apply

For example, consciousness is determined by one's class. Except for Marx, who somehow transcended the formal constraints of his own class consciousness in order to peer into the eternally true dialectic of scientific socialism. Nice trick! 

Or Freud, who proved that the conscious mind is determined by the unconscious. Except for his conscious mind, of course. Likewise, natural selection proves our minds are genetically determined. Except for people who promulgate genetic determinism. At least if free will doesn't exist, then no one can be wrong about its existence.

Structural racism proves it's impossible for black people to succeed in a white world. Oddly, the argument is made by black people who are more affluent than I'll ever be, such as Oprah or even the founder of BLM. She owns several more houses than I do, thus confirming another epigram: In the contemporary West, who knows how to be a victim knows everything. She lives by the adage, Marx for thee, Smith for me

This is reminiscent of an old saw to the effect that if someone is good at lying, then he's good at everything. Take current President Obama: is there anything he doesn't know?

It was at this point that I realized two things: first, that many of Bob's aphorisms make this same point, if not directly then in a roundabout way; and second, that Gödel's Theorems are one of the wellsprings of humor. In other words, if the comments about Marx or Freud or BLM are amusing, it is thanks to our implicit understanding of the theorems, which generate a kind of endless paradox due to the shift of levels (i.e., from within and beyond the formal system).

Let me cite a few of Bob's more Gödelian aphorisms:

Fidelity to the dictionary is resistance to tyrants. This is because the left never stops using language in order to undermine language -- in their case from below rather than above. 

I know how to doubt. Do you know how to believe?

Note that it is via doubting the formal ideological system of the Matrix that we are able to transcend the Matrix. Not so the blue-pilled Eloi, who are captive to the formal system of the Conspiracy.

A rationalist is someone who has forgotten where his premises came from

For they came from outside his rationalist system, precisely.

I'm not a believer, just a lapsed unbeliever

In other words, faith is not just an open and living communion with the Cosmic Subject, but first and foremost an escape from the "belief" that the Matrix is reality.

Truth is nice, but repelling error is enough.

Possessing truth is for Matrix dwellers. For fugitives from the Matrix, love of, and communion with, Truth is all there is. Among other reasons, this is because truth is a person, and a person can be defined (at least negatively) as the thing that transcends any formal system.

Leftists don't have ideas. Ideas have them.

Self-explanatory. If to be conservative is to reject ideology, to be progressive is to be confined to, and constrained by, one, which results in the larger portion of reality being unknowable, unthinkable, and unsayable.

With certain caveats, since reality will still be known, only this knowledge will be denied and projected, mainly into "conservatives," who are thereby seen to be everything leftists deny in themselves: racist, misogynist, greedy, selfish, superstitious, anti-science, etc.

Here's a good one: Ignorance is infinite, therefore God exists.

Note that for the ideologue, his ideology contains reality within finitude, thus "disproving" God. What's really happening is he's explicitly denying omniscience while implicitly assuming it, for if God doesn't exist, only He can know it; and if He does exist, only He could not know it.

Why not just throw more Asians in prison?

Here again, this is a commentary on the kookery of structural racism: the left likes to say there are too many blacks in prison, which is just another way of saying there aren't enough Asians, Jews, and Norwegians. 

Being born in the U.S. isn't fair!

If your first principle is equality, then it is entirely unjust that you are an American citizen of whatever race. So move out already! We don't need more immigrants, rather, fewer citizens.

Man does not live by facts alone. For Life Itself is the transcendence of mere fact. 

More Gödelian hijinks:

There is an inherent right to privacy, and babies don't have it.

Sure, he knows everything. But that's all he knows. 

True, a PhD in education knows nothing, but at least she knows how to teach it.

It is in the nature of a progressive to disbelieve in human nature.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 11, 2021

All Cretans are Liars and All Leftists are Cretins

Before getting to the heart of the matter, I want to highlight a few more passages from Rebecca Goldstein's Incompleteness. Frankly, I don't understand why more people don't talk about Gödel. Then again, whenever the Matrix excludes or vilifies an idea or a person, there's a damn good reason: it's not helpful to the Matrix. 

For the left, anything outside the Narrative simply doesn't exist. And if it insists on existing, then that's when the left becomes explicitly (instead of just implicitly) violent. 

For example, why doesn't BLM celebrate Thomas Sowell or Clarence Thomas or Candace Owens? Why does the Party of Science flee from the science of IQ? Why don't AGW hysterics push for nuclear energy? Why do feminists reject womanhood? Why do the Champions of Democracy want to dilute your vote by flooding the country with illegal Democrats and making it easer to cheat? Why doesn't the founder of Black Lives Matter want to live amongst blacks?  

As alluded to in our previous offering, postmodern proglodytes don't mind the Theorems so long as they can twist them to their ends, i.e., that there is no truth and man can't know it. This is essentially an updated version of "all Cretans are liars," i.e., "all leftists are cretins." 

Jumping ahead (or above) a bit, another question I want to delve into is the possibility of an a priori metaphysics. Long story short, this is a non-starter (literally) for Thomism, which insists that we must begin the vertical ascent at the bottom and the exterior, AKA objects and sensations. 

I'm a somewhat simple but definitely vulgar man so I'm no doubt missing something, but the statement all knowledge begins in the senses isn't a sensation. Just sayin'.

I suspect the reasons Thomas says this are twofold, 1) to protect the majesty of both God and formal revelation, and 2) to prevent man from getting too full of himsoph.  As pride is the root of all sin, humility is the foundation of... No, it's just the foundation, period. And if you think you can read God's mind, well, you're like Adam, only worse!

Later we'll circle back to Genesis, only literally, for extremes meet.

Now, you don't have to be a mathematician to know that mathematics is a priori. Why not metaphysics? 

In ether worlds, we don't need matter to know that 2 + 2 = 4, let alone that 1 + 1 = 3. Why then would we start at the contingent end to trace the contours of Necessary Being? 

As 2 + 2 will always be 4 in every real world (leftworld being fundamentally unreal, which is the whole point), we can affirm with equal certitude that -- for example -- the Absolute is, that Absoluteness entails infinitude, and that infinitude implies radiation, extension, creation, and mayaplicity (i.e., appearances "separate" from Reality).  

About the apriorism of math, Goldstein agrees that 

the mathematician neither resorts to any observations in arriving at his or her mathematical insights nor do these mathematical insights, in and of themselves, entail observations, so that nothing we experience can undermine the grounds we have for knowing them.

Nothing we experience can undermine the grounds we have for knowing them. Bear that in mind.

Now, I ask you: wouldn't it be nice if we could say the same of our ultimate theory, or of our theory of the Ultimate? But in a post-truth, anti-intellectual world plunged into the tyranny of relativism, we are supposed to repeat with a straight face the crooked farce that There is no Truth, and Man is its Messenger

Well, there are degrees of bullshit, and that last statement attains the highest and most "esoteric" (in an inverse manner) one. Indeed, this is the cautionary entalement of Genesis 3, precisely. You could go so far as to say that this is the quintessence of Satan's own metaphysic. If you don't believe me, believe the Aphorist:

No one is more respectful of “others’ beliefs" than the devil.
For as it pertains to the pervertical diseases of multiculturalism, "diversity," and moral relativism, Satan is OG. Again, he is the ontological sponsor, guide, and protector of the left in all its forms throughout all of history: he is the divider and the scatterer, the very principle of chaos, entropy, and vertical gravity. Here are a couple more wise slayings just to twist the hammer:

The proclamation of our autonomy is the founding act of Hell.

Here begins the gospel of Hell: In the beginning was nothing and it believed nothing was god, and was made man, and dwelt on earth, and by man all things were made nothing.

 Now, by way of inverse analogy, we do in a very real way begin with the senses. Here's another aphorism to prove the point, but only to people in need of no proof:

Mysticism is the empiricism of transcendent knowledge. 

I'm going to stop right there, not because we're anyone close to finished with this subject, but because I don't want to make the reader sick. I hear that people who go on this "internet" thing prefer concision and brevity, so I've been doing it all wrong. 

Friday, April 09, 2021

Shedding Metalight on the Subject of Subjectivity

Just to make sure we're on the right track, yesterday I reread a book called Incompleteness, on Gödel and his theorems. We've discussed this book in the past, but one of Goldstein's main objectives is to correct the common view that the theorems forever seal us in a closed world of subjectivity, cut off from reality. 

She compares this misconstrual to the common misunderstanding of Einstein's theory of relativity, which is actually a theory of absoluteness. Yes, motion is relative, but to an absolute: the speed of light. Nevertheless, many vulgarians think it implies that "everything is relative" or something. 

Likewise, a common postmodern interpretation of the Theorems maintains that 

the very notion of the objectively true is a socially constructed myth. Our knowing minds are not embedded in truth. Rather the entire notion of truth is embedded in our minds.... Epistemology is nothing more than the sociology of power (Goldstein). 

And we all know where this leads: to Foucault and other metacosmic perverts. Could Gödel actually be an oddfather of the left? Not bloody likely. Yes he was crazy, but not that crazy.  

Rather, as Goldstein explains,

Gödel's theorems don't demonstrate the limits of the human mind, but rather, the limits of computational models of the human mind (basically, models that reduce all thinking to rule following). 

Along these lines, I also re-skimmed Robert Rosen's Life Itself for additional hints at where this series of posts might be headed. Lots of important stuff in there, but I'll try to limit myself to the most relevant passages:

The celebrated Incompleteness Theorem of Gödel effectively demolished the formalist program. Basically, he showed that, no matter how one tries to formalize a particular part of mathematics, syntactic truth in the formalization does not coincide with (is narrower than) the set of truths about numbers.

In short, semantics cannot in principle be reduced to syntax, or meaning to order. This is big. No, bigger than big: infinite. For "no finite set of numerical qualities"

exhausts the set of of all numerical qualities. There is always a purely semantic residue that cannot be accommodated by that syntactical scheme.

D'oh! 

Or Woo Hoo!, depending on how you look at it, because it means that meaning always persists despite our efforts to contain it via form. Which goes precisely to our larger point -- or intuition -- that esoterism can never be reduced to the exoteric formulations of dogma. 

In one sense this is blandingly obvious, but in another it is anything but, being that for the great majority of people, esoterism is by no means obvious. It may be obvious to you and me, but we're weird. Ofttimes the conventionally religious person makes even less sense to us than does the babbling village atheist. At least the latter isn't an affront to our hindbrain, even if he's a hindrance to our front brain.

Biology may look "soft" to a physicist, but don't confuse complexity with softness. Rather, as Rosen points out, a material system is not necessarily -- in fact, usually not -- a simple system but a complex system, because the latter has more qualities than can be accommodated by mere syntax.

For example, this is why climate science is such a travesty. Economics too, at least the kind that pretends to leap over Hayek's wall and know the unknowable. 

Now, meta-questions about this or that discipline aren't usually contained in the field itself -- for example, physics isn't equipped to answer metaphysical questions, and to the extent that it tries, it merely beclowns itself (e.g., via materialism, positivism, scientism, or any other approach that tries to magically explain the higher via the lower).

Gödel, in the words of Goldstein, was primarily interested in shedding metalight on the metalevel of reality. But I would say it was more of a.... not light per se, but a cleaning of the window, so to speak. The theorems themselves aren't the light, but they do allow us to transcend the relative darkness of mere syntactical formulations, if you're following me, and it is this higher metalight that is of interest to us.

But ironically, Gödel himself was limited and hemmed in by his own Platonism. On the one hand he was "committed to the possibility, pace the positivists, beyond our experiences to describe the world 'out yonder.'" 

But he limited this yonder to "a reality of pure abstraction, of universal and necessary truths," as opposed to plugging into the living God -- or let's just say to the Cosmic Person, who can never be reduced to any form of syntax, not even to his own name! While he is the logocentric source of speech, he also shatters speech, for the Singer transcends the song. 

We're running out of time, and there is much more to come, but let's just stipulate at this point that the Principle that ultimately explains why semantics cannot be reduced to syntax is the Person.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

O, ʘ, and Ö

An idea just popped into my head that may prove true, false, or not even false. Let's find out!

More generally, my discarnate collaborator only throws out titles for posts, leaving the details to me. These gnomic utterances always reflect a primordial truth -- however obscurely -- even if my efforts to explicate it may fall short.

The idea is this: that perhaps Gödel's incompleteness theorems go to the differences between exoteric and esoteric religion. 

As we know, the theorems mandate that a system can be complete or consistent, but not both; completeness is purchased at the cost of consistency, and vice versa. According to Prof. Wiki,

The first incompleteness theorem states that no consistent system of axioms is capable of proving all truths about the arithmetic of natural numbers. For any such consistent formal system, there will always be statements about natural numbers that are true, but that are unprovable within the system. 

The second incompleteness theorem, an extension of the first, shows that the system cannot demonstrate its own consistency.

Maybe I'm missing something, but it strikes me as self-evident that no one outside of God could be wholly complete and consistent. Indeed, necessary and eternal being is the source of any consistency or completeness herebelow; for example, every "whole" derives from wholeness as such.

For the restavus finite beings, we are more or less one or the other. Physics is rigorously consistent but obviously incomplete, helpless as it is to explain (for example) the consciousness of the physicist or the conformity of mind to being.

Most religions take a stab at completeness, but if one pushes the doctrine too far, it will reveal inevitable inconsistencies.  The Bible, for example, isn't self-authenticating.

Esoterism is as close to completeness and consistency as man can get. Yes, there is incompleteness, but that is down to our not being God. And there is inconsistency, but this is in the nature of things. Somewhere Schuon has an illuminating comment about this, or at least a decent alibi. 

One the one hand,

only sapiential esoterism, total and universal -- not partial and formalistic -- can satisfy every legitimate need for logical explanations.... it alone can answer all the questions raised by religious divergences and limitations.

Nevertheless, there are limits to the expressible, and 

it is no one's fault if within every enunciation of this kind there remain unanswerable questions, at least in respect of a given need for logical explanation and on the plane of dialectic.

For, just as no form can exhaust the formless, "it is all too evident that wisdom cannot start from the intention of expressing the ineffable." 

Wisdom can never be complete, but it is certainly more complete than knowledge, reason, information, or fact. There's an incompleteness built into the nature of things, at least on this side of rug, if only because it's not that side.  

More details to come. Retirement doesn't mean there aren't trivialities to deal with.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Caste and Character

Change my mind:

Psychologically speaking a natural caste is a cosmos; men live in different cosmoses according to the "reality" on which they are centered; it is impossible for the inferior really to understand the superior, for he who really understands "is" what he understands (Schuon).

Elsewhere in the same essay (on The Meaning of Caste), Schuon writes that "the fundamental tendency in a man is connected with his 'feeling' or 'consciousness' of what is 'real.'" 

The idea of caste represents a quasi-mythological preconception of what we now understand about character, which is indeed very much inherited (e.g., neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, not to mention general intelligence, impulse control, time preference, and others).  

You could say that these more "granular" traits and tendencies go into the formation of more general categories and types such as contemplative, warrior, artisan, merchant, peasant, and schlub.

For example, our criminal class -- or underclass, if you prefer -- tends to be low in intelligence but high in time preference and impulsivity. 

Leftists are more emotional than logical, in large part because they are more feminine than masculine. A "male leftist" is a contradiction in terms, no matter the anomaly between zys legs. A happily married (to a man) feminist is another contradiction in terms.  

As to what is more real to this or that caste, for the contemplative (priestly) type it is the transcendent as such, whereas for the knight-warrior it is the transcendent ideal as instantiated in action and struggle: his imperative is to vindicate the ideal in battle. 

For the merchant "it is riches, security, prosperity and well-being that are 'real.'" I have some very successful businessmen in my extended family (billionaires even), but talking to them about anything transcending matter would be like discussing poetry with my dog. Indeed, they even have a kind of condescending and worldly cynicism about the transcendent, as if we are trying to put one over on them.   

We can see how this plays out in our elite merchant hive of technoid insects. The vertical Dunning Krugery in these inferior superiors is strong! These folks not only lack "the mentality of the higher, but cannot even conceive of it exactly," which results in an interpretation of what we are saying in terms of what they are capable of understanding, which isn't much. Certainly we see this in our trolls. Thus,

men whose souls are fragmentary and opaque pretend that they can instruct us in the "psychology" of greatness and of the sacred.

When this type of person becomes an "intellectual," the intellect remains tied to the opaque and the fragmentary, AKA matter. How could it not? As Schuon says, "caste can be lost but not acquired." People are who they are, and not someone else. Pretending otherwise is a great source of vulgarity -- for example, the editorial page of the NY Times, which features anti-intellectual lunatics posing as intellectuals. They are also full of pride, which is always a giveaway. 

There is an interesting inverse analogy between the man with no point (discussed in yesterday's post) and the pointless man, since both wander off the grid, so to speak. The "shudra" is like "a body endowed with human consciousness" and therefore "properly qualified only for manual work of a more or less quantitative kind."  

We are all familiar with this type of person, if only because we can see them on TV flooding our southern border. There is no question that our economy requires such people, but up to a point. You can't produce wealth by everyone being everyone else's gardener and nanny. 

I myself toiled in solidarity with this type for a good portion of my life, for not only did I work in a supermarket until I was 33 years of age, I fit right in. I was one of them -- a body endowed with human consciousness -- until some sort of light unexpectedly switched on when I was around 25 or so. Even so, I still consider my self a thoroughly blue-collar suburban shaman.

This is an accurate description of us: "it is bodily things that are 'real'; it is eating and drinking" or "the satisfaction of immediate physical needs" which "constitute happiness." You can usually trust this kind of person, because they are very uncomplicated -- like a man, only more so. 

At least so long as he is gainfully employed. This type can get into a lot of trouble without a simple job, which is why they have been among the primary victims of the global economy. A person who loses his factory job is not going to become an engineer or doctor or lawyer. More likely a fentanyl enthusiast. They don't deal well with the pointlessness.

Monday, April 05, 2021

The Point of Pointlessness

Lately I've been thinking that the blog needs a point. Personally, I've never had a point, as I seem to have been born without one. 

I was just a kid in the '60s, so I can't be absolutely sure if I was literally born pointless or inhaled too much of the hippy vibe growing up (in California no less), but if you called me an "alt hippy," you wouldn't be wide of the mark.  

I've always been this way: no master plan, no future, not even a tomorrow, just moment to moment, takin' her easy for all you sinners out there. I never planned to be a psychologist -- of all things -- just as I never planned not to be one, but here we are, since I up 'n decided to retire, just like that. I couldn't care less about psychology (except for the perennial kind ordered to human nature).  

*Ironically,* I finished grad school in 1988, the same year Prozac came to market. In terms of therapy, medication is cheap while talk is expensive. More to the point, it never occurred to me that I had the power to cure souls. Perhaps help them "adjust," but to what? Reality?   No way. Maybe to some very narrow slice of conventional reality that interests me not in the least.

Which is perhaps a bit strange: how many people can well and truly look back at the end of their career and say: eh, so what? I never, not for a moment, lived to work. Rather, vice versa: worked to live. 

But at the same time, I never, ever, lived for life. Rather, life is far too interesting to merely live it. Animals do that. So much of what folks call "living" never held the least interest to me. The business of doing was always a distraction from the more vital isness of being. 

Meta-living? Perhaps. Yes and no, because extremes meet: two things have always preoccupied me: 1) the present moment, and 2) eternity. Truly, nothing else is really real or worth the effort. 

Rather, reality -- or the most real -- is always the bifurcation of time by eternity, which is what gives the present moment it's depth, its light, its "heft." There's no place like OM, nowhere else to go, to be, or to see. You're here. Might was well enjoy it.

It took me a little while to consciously embrace this philosophy -- or "natural theology," so to speak -- for the simple reason that no one else seemed to embrace it, certainly not in my bourgeois, middle class neck of the woods. There were no models anywhere, except maybe bums and hobos. True, my Uncle Peter never seemed to have a real job, but not because he didn't want one.  He was just an amiable loser.

Apparently, a fair number of people -- especially men -- have difficulty with retirement, and women struggle with the point of life after the children leave the nest.

For me it has always been the other way around: doing stuff was pointless, not doing them the point. The best things in life are free of a point; they aren't for the sake of something else, but for their own sake. 

But for the average person, there is a sort of "wall" between doing and being. They become anxious with nothing to do, and therefore can't enjoy it. Here again, I'm the opposite: I dread the Full Plate.

I'm reminded of a remark by Eckhart about "living without a why." That's all I remember about it, but the phrase stuck. Come to think of it, when I was younger, I used to "advocate" this philosophy to others, until I realized that it can't really be a universal imperative per se, but only applicable to the personalities who are destined to be this way -- any more than it would make sense to advise a midget to pursue the dream of an NBA career.

Rather, it comes down to natural castes, or karma, or dharma, or something. Schuon discusses this in an essay called The Meaning of Caste. You know them well: there are natural priests, aristocrats, kings, scholars, knight-warriors, merchants, peasants, outcastes, sociopaths, etc. 

Moreover, our entropic and chaotic times are characterized by a deep and systemic confusion of roles, e.g., peasants posing as scholars and rulers, crazy outcastes (e.g., cross-dressing freaks) pretending to be warriors and athletes, merchants posing as police (our technofascist overlords), criminals as presidents, etc. 

Only in such a world can a lazy but smooth talking anti-intellectual such as Obama be seen as a Philosopher King and Evolutionary Lightbringer. And yet, here we are, in his third term.

The idea of natural castes is obviously at antipodes to the naive and outmoded blank-slatism that is the first principle of the anti-science left, i.e., that anyone can be anything with enough social engineering. The alt-right recognizes that people are who they are, except they attribute this solely to genetics, since that's all they have (they tend toward atheism and scientism). 

Genetics obviously plays a large role, but just as there can by definition be no gene for homosexuality, nor can there be a gene for the priesthood, at least in the sense I am using the term (a supernaturally natural, intrinsic priesthood). The alt-right talks about a "gene for belief," but this explains nothing. Is there a gene for a belief in belief? 

The point is, the human station is bound -- or bordered -- at two ends. At one end is biology, about which there can be no doubt. But to reduce the human person to biology is both self-defeating and obviously soph-defeating, because it reduces wisdom to knowledge and ought to is. Ought we believe in genetic determinism? You see the problem. Let's say ta-ta to tautology and hello to our vertical telovator.

Anyway, the human station is bound at the other end by... you name it. Men call this boundary -- or beyond this boundary -- "God," but this can cause as much confusion as it clarifies, especially in these crazy times, in which the Average Moron will immediately ask, Whose God?  

Anyway, reducing transcendence to immanence is always an error. It is a cosmic heresy, whether it is reduced to dialectical materialism or the dialectic of natural selection. Not only is transcendence real, it is the most real, and certainly more real than the material plane. Worlds will continue to come and go, but 2 + 2 will always be 4 in every one of them, except where truth is attacked and reality denied, AKA, on the left, which always -- for this is its deep structure -- replaces truth with power.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Prolegomena to a Christian Dudeism

A short post. For a change.

Unless and until the dictionary folk decide to redefine the term in keeping with the dictates of the left, abide can be a transitive verb meaning

1: a: to bear patiently: TOLERATE

   b: to endure without yielding: WITHSTAND

2: to wait for: AWAIT  

or an intransitive verb meaning

1: to remain stable or fixed in a state 

2: to continue in a place: SOJOURN

Now, it is axiomatic that the Dude abides, but in various ways and in diverse circumstances throughout history -- and, in the archetypal sense, throughout metahistory.

Genuine abiding is always in the context of a sojourn, which is to say, a spiritual journey, and this journey is ultimately the return to God, i.e., to the ultimate principle that ties the cosmos together.

In the Hebrew Bible, the most extreme case of patience in the face of unchecked aggression is in the book of Job. Despite being a blameless and upright dude, he enters a world of pain, only for things to work out pretty good in the end.  

There is a great deal of abiding in the New Testament as well, especially in John:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

Because some of the apostles were out of their element, Jesus explained further:

I am the vine, and you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

John writes that although "the world is passing away," "he who does the will of God abides forever." Likewise, Peter says pretty much the same thing, that the word of God "lives and abides forever." This implies that abiding is the nexus of time and eternity.

Now, one of the four cardinal virtues is fortitude. However, there is the active fortitude required to, say, check the aggression of worthy adversaries in a war without rules, but there is also a passive form of fortitude that is not to be confused with pacifism, the latter being just a nihilistic pose for fragile people with emotional problems to hide behind. Am I wrong?

As it pertains to the interior sojourn, Fr. Reginald explains that the virtue of patience

is the most frequent form under which fortitude of the soul is exercised in the vexations of life. 

In the tournament of life, there are the inevitable ups and downs, strikes and gutters, but both forms of fortitude helps us to "to bear the evils of life with equanimity of soul" and "ascend toward the same summit."   

Conversely, "the impatient man, no matter how violent he may be, is a weak man." Though he may claim to be perfectly calm -- even calmer than you are -- "when he raises his voice and murmurs, he really succumbs from the moral point of view." 

Now, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is Holy Saturday, which Pope Benedict called a “'no man’s land' between the Death and the Resurrection." It seems that between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is the abiding.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You

Back in the day, I used to occasionally dredge the arkive and pull up a moldy artifact worthy of a re-read. 

After, all, these posts are never intended to be timebound, otherwise why bother? Nothing is more disposable than yesterday's news, so even when a post is oriented around the hysteria of the moment, it is in order to elucidate a deeper principle. If they're only about the left's daily tantrum, to hell with it. Who needs another voice yelling at you about things you can see with your own three eyes?

There were other excuses. For example, presumably few folks read the blog every day, let alone every year or decade, so for them an old post will be as new. 

For that matter, these decroded posts might as well be new to me, since they're banged out spontaneously in a certain frame of mind. Reading is very much a different mode, i.e., receptive but critical vs. expressive and perhaps a tad forgiving. 

Rereading a post allows me to view it with more critical distance and see if it passes the current sniff test. If something smells off, I can excise the rotten part and perhaps save the rest of the post from infection. Moreover, I inevitably encounter cringworthy passages I can blot from the Akashic record. 

The bottom line is, I really have no idea what's down there, so I'm as surprised as anyone else.

And frankly, at the moment I have nothing new to report, just the same old counter narrative. When this occurs, I never know if it's the end of the blog or just the end of a cycle. In any event, it affords me the opportunity to look down and back. Gnostalgia. 

Now, these are dark times. But so too was Obama's previous reign -- or incarnation, rather -- so I thought to myself, why not go back exactly 12 years and see what we were going on about? Maybe we can learn something, if only this too shall pass. No doubt into something even worse.  

Here it is, March 30, 2009:  Surfing the Eternal Waves of Novelty to the Sands of Time

We were discussing the freedom of the object -- which in itself is a strange sounding notion, being that we usually think of freedom as residing only in the subject, if indeed we acknowledge spiritual freedom at all. 

To put it another way, if the subject weren't free, then it would not only be an object, but we would have no name for it. Or any other names, for that matter. Bottom line: to say object is to say subject. Now, one of these must be prior, and it surely isn't the former.

The infinite plenitude of the object world reminds me of something I once read on the back of a Sinatra album by the king of comedically bad liner notes, a man named Stan Cornyn. 

For you youngsters out there, vinyl albums used to have an essay on back about the music thereinsometimes by a critic or celebrity, other times by an obsequious PR flack such as Cornyn. Although Frank -- overly harshly, in my opinion -- dismissed the song as "a piece of Shit," Cornyn enthused that Sinatra's phrasing   

comes out mmmmmmmmm all the way. If he runs out of gas on a phrase, which is a very rare bird for the man, then he runs out of gas two-and-a-half miles after anybody else would. He sings like he's got an extra tank of Texaco in his tummy (emphasis mine).

That's the point we're driving at: the object world always appears to us as if it's got an extra tank in its tummy: no matter how much we know, there's always more to be known. The tank never reaches empty, or we would be as God.

When we look at the world "the possibilities of life are infinitely more abundant than what is actually on display.... There is an incomprehensible prodigality in the very essence of life" (Balthasar). 

I remember something Whitehead said along similar lines -- that out of the infinite pool of possibilities, only a relative few undergo the formality of becoming. Potential is infinite. Reality is finite. Or, time is the serial crystallization of possibility.

Of course, the higher up the ladder we ascend, the more this becomes apparent. For example, one of our unavoidable limitations -- or sad conditions of existence -- is that a single lifetime can never be sufficient to actualize all that is latent within us. D'oh!

In the words of the Aphorist: The intellectual capital of the adult is often restricted to a small lottery he won in adolescence.

This is an odd situation that should be noticed by more people, but I think the problem is that most people foreclose their infinite potential so early in life, they don't really feel the sting, except in a vague or displaced manner. 

Then again, it would be a waste of timelessness to dwell on this inherent lack, because life itself floats atop this infinite sea of potential. Imagine if existence were as simplistic as imagined by the metaphysical Darwinist or bonehead atheist, deprived of its intrinsic mystery. 

This is indeed one of the purposes of a spiritual practice -- not to sit safely on the shore like the village atheist, nor to drown oneself in the ocean like the nondual mystic, but to ride these ceaseless waves of novelty from the depths of being to the shore of existence.

As Balthasar expresses it, we cannot look at the reality of undeveloped possibilities as "a realm of limitation and poverty." Rather, "the very purpose of this fullness in the womb of life is to illustrate life's richness and superabundance. It would betoken the poverty of being, and ultimately of the Creator, if everything possible were also actual" (emphasis mine).

Imagine the alternative: some musician might come along and write the last song, or a poet might compose the last poem: "That's it. We're done here. We've run out of songs and poems." 

But this can never happen. You can call it a privation, but it's also a mercy, for it means existence is a gift that never stops giving. The cosmic tank is always half full. 

Which is no doubt why we often inappropriately idealize artists, who seem to live on that shoreline between infinite potential and finite actuality. This is the dreamscape between thought and expression. To paraphrase someone, the Aeon is a child playing with colored balls along the shore.

In turn, the purpose of a secular indoctrination is to crush this natural mysticism and to replace the infinite world with godless abstractions and progressive concretions. Then, once the soul is sophicated, it projecst the "missing infinity" into time. Thus is born every spiritual perversion from leftism to scientism to liberation theology to gaia worship. It is the elevation of Ø to O.

However, it isn't exactly correct to say that the infinite cannot be found in the finite, for in truth, this is the only place it can be found -- just as it is impossible to locate substance in the absence of form. Rather, form is precisely where you will find the substance, and vice versa. 

Thus, "the finite appearance as such is the coming to light of a certain infinity." The realization of finitude is at once the "revelation of its intrinsic infinity. This infinity truly becomes visible in its appearance as the excess that does not become visible." Again, finite reality always sings to us as if it's got an extra tank of Texaco in its tummy.

As such, any knowledge is surrounded by a penumbra of mystery, which gives it its... tang. Again, imagine how dreadful life would be if there were some one-to-one correspondence between object and subject. Obviously, subject and object are stuck with each other until death do they part, but a statically bi-polar situation would be a marriage made in hell.

And that's no joke, for Raccoon Hell is a place where everything simply is what it is, with no remainder. Knowledge of any kind is always surrounded on all sides by the great unKnown.

This latter is surely "known," only not in an explicit manner. It is this unKnowledge that allows us to tend toward the actualization of a self which can never be fully known to us. It is reminiscent of the "luminous darkness"of faith, which allows us to approach the unKnown God who is increasingly known without ever exhuststing his knowability.  

Thirst runs out before the water does. --NGD