Friday, December 31, 2021

From, To, and Away from Truth

I mentioned that I'd recently reread a book called Thomistic Psychology, by Robert Brennan, which I first read almost two years ago, just after the curtains opened on Lockdown Theatre. It seems like last week, and I mean that literally. 

The book made a big impression on me at the time, and has again this time. It makes me wish I could have run into it during grad school, but what are the chances? 

None whatsoever. I would have been much more inclined to investigate, say, "archetypal astrology," or the Harmonic Convergence, than the superstitious musings of some medieval monk. 

Like any good progressive, I thought I could discern truth by the calendar. And like any ambitious young wannabe published, I knew that this year's model was the best, or at least conferred the most status. 

So, there is no way in the world I would have had the slightest interest in "Catholic psychology." Only now can I see that it's just psychology, full stop, and that there are gaping holes -- not to mention no floor and an arbitrary ceiling -- in what I had taken to be psychology. 

Yes, you could say that in the larger scheme of things I am indeed a "doctor" of "psychology." Or used to be, anyway.  

It could have turned out otherwise -- unless contingency and free will are illusions, and the current Bob was a cosmic inevitability. 

But these two -- contingency & free will -- are literally as self-evident as any other primordial categories of experience, such as objects, consciousness, and desire. Some people get their kicks pretending to deny these, but no one can actually live his life as if accidents and choices are but illusions, objects are ideas, and consciousness is just biological noise.

Note that it's ideological scientism that denies free will, while it is religious predestinarians who are apt to deny contingency. I won't argue with the latter, since there is such a thing as a useful piety -- a "saving illusion," or what in Buddhism is called upaya, i.e., skillful means. 

The average man is... average. Or, in our time, perhaps a little below average. 

Okay, way below.

It wasn't always this way, but there are real human costs to television, journalism, atheism, and mass higher education, the latter being neither elevated nor education, just ideological indoctrination for the sake of the ruling class. Ignoring the indoctrination disqualifies one for membership in the ruling class, but at least it renders us unfit to be ruled by them, so there's that.

Time out for aphorisms while this post decides where it wishes to go, if anywhere:

On the discipline of psychology: In the social sciences, not knowing how to express oneself skillfully is sometimes enough to found a school of thought. Illustrious names from the past pop into my mind, such as Lacan, Foucault, R.D. Laing... 

On contingency: Chance is sometimes an artist; deliberate will never is.

On free will: Necessity and freedom are not symmetrical concepts; in fact, if I affirm necessity, I deny any freedom, but if I affirm freedom, I do not deny any necessity.

On the Woke: The perfect conformist of our time is the ideologue of the left.

On scientism: One of the worst intellectual disasters is the appropriation by mediocre intelligences of the concepts and vocabulary of science. (Like FJB, they listen to the the science!) 

On our bureaucratic masters: In the end a bureaucracy always turns out to cost the people more than an upper class. (So let's hand them $5 trillion more to Build a Better Bureaucracy!)  

Now, one is always arguing either to or from first principles. 

Except when one is actively running away from principle. Therefore, it would seem that we can argue toward truth, from truth, or away from truth. I suppose we can also deny truth altogether and thereby pretend to convert a truly vicious habit into a virtue -- to rebrand adolescent destruction deconstruction.  

We could visualize it thus:

From principle: O --> (k)

To principle: (k) --> O

Away from principle: O --> (-k)

No principle: Ø --> (-k)

The third is always present in some form or fashion in what we call "mental illness" (e.g., denial, repression, projection), while the fourth is more of a spiritual illness; it is frankly diabolical, or at least one of those cosmic interstices where the evil one is free to exert influence on the unprincipled. Such persons aren't even intellectually dishonest, since honesty presupposes the existence of truth.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Symbolic and Diabolic

Of course demons can't stand one another. What's the alternative? That they love each other? No, Demonville must be like the Hitler-Stalin pact, a relationship of pure expedience, and even then marred by paranoia and double-dealing. 

By the way, even if one is skeptical about the existence of demons, spooklating about their nature helps to further our understanding of what man must be like: angelic nature illuminates human nature, just as do material or divine nature.  

In other words, man can do things that neither physical nor living matter could ever do on their own terms. What is the principle of man, his sufficient reason? Obviously it cannot be reduced to biology or physics, unless we expand those two disciplines beyond their intrinsic limitations. 

Thus, we -- or materialists, rather -- may not know what this principle (of humanness) is, but we know it must exist, or we wouldn't be here. Or, we'd be here but wouldn't know it, since matter doesn't know anything.

Pretending otherwise is like trying to build a house out of feet and inches -- or worse, meters and centimeters -- or trying to fill your bank account with numbers. Numbers count wealth, they don't create it. Likewise, matter specifies man's form in time and space but it can't conjure a soul. Nothing comes from nothing, every time.

Speaking of which, an understanding of the angelic relationship to materiality helps to illuminate ours. That is, while man is a substantial union of matter and form, angels are pure form with no need of matter. And above that is God, who is both immaterial and formless. He cannot have a form, because this would be a limitation. Infinitude is like this blog: informal.

Yesterday we alluded to the fact that demonic friendships -- such as they are -- are "welded together by a common hatred of God and men." Here again, this helps to illuminate the human world. 

You will have no doubt noticed that conservatives hate because they love, while for leftists it is the other way around: their hatred is prior to the love. And while their movement opposes God and man, it all begins with a more general hatred of reality. If they resent human nature, for example, it is because it places sharp limits on their godlike desire to redefine and manipulate reality. 

We've all heard the crack that conservatives love people, it's mankind they can't abide, while progressives luv mankind, it's just people they hate. To be a conservative in America is to know that one is well and truly hated by a third or so of the population -- or two thirds in California, and 95% in academia. An esteemed dean at San Diego State University assures us that,

Just so we’re clear on the Right’s agenda – racism good, abortion bad, money good, women bad, capitalism good, sustainability bad, stupidity good, science bad, power good, equality bad, white people good, nonwhite people bad. Stench, indeed (https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/12/is-there-a-distinction-between-the-academic-left-and-the-twitter-fever-swamp.php).

Conversely, we do not hate leftists in this way. Rather, we only detest their ideas and policies. For example, yesterday a leftist friend from down the street broke his pelvis, and our immediate response is to help him out in any way we can for the next couple of months. He's just deluded, not malign. 

He also happens to be a secular Jew, which raises the evergreen question of why such an intelligent group of people so disproportionately supports Democrats? 

Part of the answer is a historically understandable distrust and resentment of Christians. Today Christians are their greatest friends, whereas the left is filled with crude anti-Semites such as Omar, Obama, and Sharpton. 

Nevertheless, the progressive left abounds with conspiracy theories to explain away that inconvenient reality. Predictably, 80% of Orthodox Jews approved of President Trump, while 80% of secular Jews in the U.S. were victims of TDS.

Culture easily swamps mere intelligence, especially given the perverse pleasures of resentment, projection, and superiority. Asian-Americans will eventually come around -- meanwhile the beatings at the hands of Biden supporters will continue -- and Hispanics are well on their way, each trend alone catastrophic to the electoral prospects of the progressive hate-cult. 

Okay, I get it: you don't come here for the political BS. You come here for the spiritual BS. So let's get back to the remaining highlights of Angels and Demons before wrapping it up.

Demons communicate with each other, but very much in the manner of our news media; that is, they are the ultimate propagators of fake news:

the intention guiding the act of informing is always perverse; its purpose comes from the wicked design of the demon, who seeks to turn others away from God, whereas enlightenment is a communication of truth that aims to direct the beneficiary toward God.

Simple as. Watching the average news broadcast is a seminar not just in stupidity, but a kind of diabolical stupidity devoid of truth, beauty, or virtue. Darkness visible.

Oh, and it's not just me: "the demonic world as a society of intelligent, wicked beings" is "not without interest for political philosophy."

You don't say. Tell us more.

demonic society provides the theoretical model by which to speculate about the possibility of a society that rejects any reference to the objective moral good. 

But why speculate about abstract theoretical models when you can look at real world examples such as China or San Francisco?

Here's another helpful hint: the demons work to make "apparent goods gleam" (emphasis mine). 

Obviously, even progressives don't want bad things for themselves; they may be ignorant and crazy, but they're still self-interested. It's just that they transform evils -- e.g., sexual perversion, abortion, tribalism, racism -- into goods, and goods -- e.g., fossil fuels, limited government, free speech, self-defense -- into evils.

I'll leave off with a footnote on p. 27 that I think is pregnant with words, but blogviating them would veer into a vast new subject. Instead, I'll let you work out the implications on your own:

The term diabolos -- the divider, the one who opposes the "sym-bolos" that unites -- translates [to] Satan.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Scatterbrains and Nonlocal Pests

Now that I'm a full-time gentleman loaffeur and vertical hedonist, the reading tends to run way ahead of the blogging. By the time I get around to writing about this or that matter, the spirit has moved on to the next shiny squirrel. 

This subject of demons is a case in point. Two weeks ago I was babbling over with enthusiasm about naughty angels, while this week it's Maximus the Confessor and Mexican garage rock (https://open.spotify.com/album/2IgygCCKlFvGdG6FGQwDmg).

Who can keep up with such impulsive zigs of zagsy?

As you know, the blog is one man's struggle to somehow keep it together, but it's an ongrowing challenge, and where does Artie Shaw fit in? Oddly enough he does fit in, and not just because he lived a few exurban blocks away in Newbury Park. Rather, he was a true oddball, and not just because he divorced Ava Gardner. He also divorced Lana Turner (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artie_Shaw#Personal_life).

Now, what do demons do all day with their idle hands? According to Bonino, they basically oppose man and God, and in particular, the former's journey to the latter.

Or, we can begin the analysis at our end, and ask: just what is it that interferes with the vertical adventure? Clearly, something gets in the way, or this would be heaven. Why can't a man even pretend to get along with Ava Gardner? 

There's a kind of jihad going on, and like the more familiar one, it's an unholy war, or a war on holiness. Again, this is just an empirical fact, the question being, who or what's behind it? Is it organized? And who's in charge?

It reminds me of when you see the seeming coordination of the propagaslight media mob. Last week they were all using the phrase viral blizzard. Who put this cliché in their ears, and why did they all repeat it? 

I mean, at least come up with your own way of expressing it, like viralanch or scarenado. It's the same with insurrection. What happened to mostly peaceful protest?

Anyway, the hostile forces. I first began taking these forces seriously in 1995 or so, because that's when I began opposing them. Little did I know that embarking on the Spiritual Path is a formal declaration of war against them -- whoever or whatever they are.  

Back then I would have regarded Christian ideas about Satan as naive and superstitious. But Vedantic ideas about demonic hostile forces? Sophisticated

Here's a passage from an old favorite, The Adventure of Consciousness, nor do I necessarily disagree with the description: The adverse forces

are highly conscious forces whose sole aim, apparently, is to discourage the seeker and divert him from the path he has chosen.... With remarkable skill, they take apart the whole system of our quest to prove that we are deluding ourselves and that our efforts will come to nothing....

These nonlocal pests  

have a thousand and one ways of attacking us -- for it is indeed an attack -- and the more determined we are, the more relentless they become....

But if you stay in the matrix, they mostly leave you alone:

As long as we march with the common herd, life is relatively easy.... however, as soon as we want to get out of the rut, a thousand forces rise up, suddenly very interested that we behave "like everybody else"; we discover how well organized the imprisonment is.

Interesting, the very same reality was described in my thoroughly secular training in psychoanalysis, but in that religion it's called resistance. That is, the moment the patient tries to improve, resistance gets in the way. 

But who or what are the resistors? Here's one definition, from A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought:

Resistance is an attack upon the capacity of the mind to think and know (the epistemophilic instinct) which Bion referred to as "attacks on linking."

Attacks on linking? Is this what demons do?

Of course. It's even in the name, for diabolos is the scatterer, is he not?

Back to Bonino: while the intention is to sow division -- both extra- and intrapsychic -- the demonic world "is not sheer chaos. It exhibits a certain form of unity and social cohesion." For

Just as evil is a parasite of the good, anarchy is a parasite of order. If anarchy were to triumph, it would immediately self-destruct. Among the demons, therefore, a certain order remains that continues, at the very heart of their chaos, to give testimony to the divine wisdom and goodness.

So, demons are a left-handed compliment to God; we don't say complement, because that implies a Manichaean dualism.

Now, here is something I did not know, but the moment you hear it, you say of course: despite their "order," it turns out that "the demons detest one another" as much as, say, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They agree on the ends -- destruction and regression -- but theirs is "a confederation welded together by a common hatred of God and men." 

Same with the demons. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Reality = Reality + The Perception Thereof

I'm under a hard out this morning, time only for some psychic doodling on a virtual napkin, or on back of the envelope we're always pushing around. 

Here's a wild thought:

Our intellects do not create the world they know. Rather, it is the other way about: the world of reality is the cause of our knowledge of it (Brennan).

Or, perhaps you attended college and learned the insight-out kantrary thesis: that reality is all in your head.

But that makes no sense, for how can the greater stupidity come from the lesser stupidity?   

Brennan's characterization is either true or it is false; but if the latter, then we could never know it, since we couldn't exit the world of our creation. Perception would indeed be reality, meaning that all human beings would immediately be granted tenure. But if everyone has a PhD in Reality Studies, then no one does, so this whole line of thought is absurd.   

If we're going to be strictly logical. 

Speaking of which, sometimes logic itself is illogical, recalling Chesterton's gag about the madman who loses everything but his reason.   

Such a man would no longer be a human being -- a person -- in that persons have two additional coequal branches of contact with reality, the realities of Goodness and Beauty; plus we are open systems, both horizontally and vertically, not to mention intersubjective and trinitarian.  

Clearly, there is more to reality than that which is accessible to idiot savants such as Stephen Hawking, who ultimately knew everything about nothing. Granted, he was better at math than I am. But so is everybody. What can a mathematical pinhead really tell us about a mythsemantical punhead? That's a rhetardical question.

At any rate, for a hell roost of heathens, reducing persons to the logic they deploy is like trying to enclose the ocean within the drop. Yes, the latter can be done, but not with your wideawake and cutandry logic!  

I had a dream. In fact, I'm having one now, more on which later. 

I spent the other day immersing myself in the dreamworld of René Guénon, who is logic on steroids. At first his metaphysics of the Infinite makes a great deal of sense, until you realize that that ultimate reality cannot be enclosed in Aristotelian logic, since the ultimate category is Person, not syllogism.

Who said? Tell them I AM said so!

There is indeed a logic within this trinitarian personhood, but it isn't the cold and unforgiving logic of your 9th grade algebra teacher, nor the IRS, rather, the bi-logic of Ignacio Matte Blanco, which is the subject of yet another dream. 

Let's just stipulate that it's a party up there and I hope it never stops, and that considered in this festive atmansphere, Guénon is a bit of a buzzkill, even though he makes some valid points. I don't have time to belaborate. Let's just say that people are logical, not vice versa. 

(Primary source: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1855752026?ie=UTF8&tag=onecos-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=1855752026; secondary source: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1853434388?ie=UTF8&tag=onecos-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=1853434388)   

Let's start over. By which I mean, let's go back 400 years or so, to before we were Enlightened by the likes of Descartes and Voltaire. Look, everybody makes mistakes. It's not too late to admit we made a wrong turn. Indeed, acknowledging that we're lost in history is the first step to being found. Or are we too proud to ask for vertical directions?

That's a loaded question for those who deny the vertical at the outset -- or who enter verticality in order to close it for the restavus. 

As it so happens, as it so often does, I'm reading a book that goes to just this question, called The Wisdom of the World: The Human Experience of the Universe in Western Thought, by Rémi Brague. What is the difference between the universe and the experience of the universe? 

That's actually a good question, because the universe -- the totality and unicity of things -- must somehow encompass both the objective universe and its subjective experience, no? And can subjectivity be enclosed in logic or math or physics? 

We'll wait.

I'm only up to p. 36, so don't hold me to it, but I suspect Brague's point is that Enlightenment thought has painted us into a coroner, and that in order for the cosmos to reopen for isness we'll need to tyrone back the hands of time to a more holistic and soulful understanding.

According to Professor Bæchphlap, 

Brague shows how modernity stripped the universe of its sacred and philosophical wisdom, transforming it into an ethically indifferent entity that non longer serves as a model for human morality.

This blog is allabout resurrecting our first experience of the cosmos, not by going back -- which nocando anyway -- but by forging ahead and bringing the Enlightenment with us, to a post-postmodern vision of the world. Yes, we are the cutting edge of the cosmos! 

Do you ever get the feeling that this blog has devolved into an annoying metaphysical comedy site? Or has it always been this way? Either way, I expect it to get worse. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Satan's Greatest Hits

We know that criminals as a class -- luckily -- are significantly more stupid than the average human being. What about demons? After all, just how bright can a being be who abhors being?  

Or, could it be that we're making the elementary mistake of attributing to demons what is more razomably occamable to plain old low IQ? 

FJB, for example, is an idiot. Ah, but who is pulling his strings? More to the point, who is pulling theirs? Who's behind him, and what's behind them? How to explain Slow Joe's intelligent ventriloquists and slippery puppeteers? 

Hard to say, being that quite intelligent people are easily as susceptible to demonic influence as anyone else, especially given their typical hubris, for pride is always a point of entry for our vertical antagonists.

Almost by definition a liberal is someone smarter than you are. After all, what else qualifies them to run your life?  

True, they're also more virtuous than you are, but what fun is virtue signaling without the intellectual condescension? You rarely see one without the other, being that truth and goodness converge even in the inverted reality of the left. For as the Philosopher writes,

the intention of every man acting according to virtue is to follow the rule of reason, wherefore the intention of all the virtues is directed to the same end, so that all the virtues are connected together in the right reason of things to be done.... [T]he intention of the sinner is not directed to the point of straying from the path of reason (Thomas, emphases mine).

Oh. This is helpful. A few pages later he suggests -- after ruling out all the objections -- that "inordinate love of self is the cause of every sin." Which means that intelligence alone is only a sufficient cause, and requires the necessary cause of excessive self-regard.    

Let's look for some more hints about how the demons roll.

There is in fact a correspondence between a subject's cognitive power and the degree of universality of the species that he utilizes. The greater the intellectual power, the more rarified and universal are the angelic species utilized (Bonino).

"Species" is a term of art referring to the concept which the intellect abstracts from the data of the senses. 

Which suddenly reminds me of a very wisecrack by the Aphorist to the effect that The liberal mentality is an angelic visitor impervious to earthly experiences.

As usual, Dávila has nailed it, for the left is full of sweeping generalizations that perhaps make superficial sense until you realize they are wholly detached from the senses, AKA, from the real world. 

Examples abound from the low-haranguing fruits of the left, but here are some of their greatest hits:

In America, poverty is the main cause of crime.

Blacks (apart from their behavior) are disproportionately victimized by police violence. 

Women (because they are women) are subject to a "pay gap."

Intelligence tests do not reliably measure intelligence.

Printing too much money doesn't cause inflation.

Rent control doesn't cause housing shortages.

Minimum wage laws don't cause unemployment.

Celebrating sexual deviancy doesn't cause more of it.

There is empirical proof of manmade catastrophic climate change.

Defunding police will reduce crime. Just look!

Strict Gun control laws reduce crime.  Just look!

"White privilege" actually exists.

As does the "Patriarchy."

Not forgetting "homophobia," "transphobia," and soon, "pedophobia." 

All these illegal immigrants are obviously making California a better place to live. 

Electric cars prove that Milton Friedman was wrong about free lunches. 

That was a straight-up insurrection on January 6. 

Sure, Nancy Pelosi is normal.  

College makes you smarter. 

Biden won the 2020 election fair & square. 

This is a Pandemic of the Unvaccinated.

Trump supporters are racists. 

Every one of these is a naughty angel, being that each is a generalization with no connection to the empirical world. Rather, they're just dead -- or undead -- viral concepts in search of minds to host in order to propagate themselves.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

A Holly Folly Christmas

Early in the morning and not a creature is stirring except me. O, and the Heart of the World.

1:  Prisons of finitude! Like every other being, man is born in many prisons. 

From the grilled windows of the senses each person looks out to the alien things which he will never be. 

[T]hey touch the invisible bars -- the cold glass  pane against which they hurl themselves like captive birds.

Even if his spirit could fly through the spaces of the world like a bird, he himself will never be this space, and the furrow which traces in the air vanishes immediately and leaves no lasting impression.

No one can tear down his own dungeon; no one knows who inhabits the next cell.

The mere fact of existing as an individual constitutes renunciation. 

The limpid mirror has been shattered, the infinite image has been shattered over the face of the world, the world has become a heap of fragments.

In the One Ocean the waves rise and sink; body floats past body, figures and generations, century after century are all so much foam falling prostrate on the broad beach of eternity in a most tremendous obeisance. 

2:  Then it was that God created a Heart for himself and placed it at the center of the world. 

And so the Word came into the world. Eternal life selected for itself the abode of a human Heart.

How exposed God had made himself! What folly he committed!

The divine Ocean forced into the tiny wellspring of a human Heart!

Thus does this Heart hover between heaven and earth like the narrow passage in an hourglass, and incessantly the sand of grace trickles from the upper compartment down to the earthly bottom.

Everything that had been one becomes double, and everything double becomes one.

And the two oceans crash into one another in that Heart, like fire and water, and the eternal struggle between heaven and hell is decided within that narrow battlefield.

The circulation of love begins.

3: Reverse worldward descent and cross the bridge of darkness to the father shore.

Insinuate! Now put down the apple and back away slowly, and nobody dies! 

But no body crosses the the phoenix line lest it be repossessed and amortized. 

Don't worry, it's just aphasia go through before the gnosis in your head becomes real.

O, too old, older than Abraham, younger than a babe's I AM.

Ascent you a Son, amen for a child's job! That's the New Man, we're just putting him on.

And Mamamaya! baby makes Trinity, so all the world's an allusion.

A Divine child, a godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin' Yes!

Blissfully floating before the fleeting flickering universe, stork naked in brahma daynight, worshiping in oneder in a wee cosmic womb with pew, it is finally...

Christmas! 

(Parts 1 & 2 from Balthasar's Heart of the World https://www.amazon.com/dp/0898700019/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=onecos-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=fd2e0b164c968a7a865f10a1e126c10d&creativeASIN=0898700019; no one foolish enough to take credit for part 3)

Friday, December 24, 2021

Progressivism: Chicken Soup for the Soulless

If nothing else, the principle of Original Sin prepares us to consider man's proposals and solutions (especially to the problem of man!) with great skepticism -- or without the childish naivete of the tenured snob, the woke mob, the media blob, etc. 

For we don't just predict the failure of the left, we guarantee it.    

The doctrine of original sin, which can be established on purely philosophic grounds, has an immediate bearing on the study of human nature.... [T]he fact is that no human being exhibits the excellencies which we theoretically attribute to human nature (Brennan).

On paper, man is a good idea, even very good -- if I understand correctly, a Swiss watch. Considering him from the cosmic angle, he potentially spans the entire creation, from corporeal matter to subatomic physics at one end, to philosophy, ontology, metaphysics, and mystical union at the other. 

And yet, we still screw up, every time -- at least on a collective basis; the existence of saints only rubs it in. Suffice it to say, there is no Group Saint. 

The perennial question is, why is man such a chronic underachiever? If your philosophy doesn't address this head on, you're like a child who wanders into into the middle of a movie and wants to know... 

Look, say what you want about the left, at least it's an ethos: at least they know that we are the problem, and that elimination of conservatives is the solution. I'm old enough to remember when they didn't mean that literally. 

I haven't read this entire essay by Roger Kimball, but I don't have to, because we always agree. Only the style is different, that and the substance (https://newcriterion.com/issues/2022/1/the-right-targets):

the “culture war” we have been hearing about for decades has not died down or petered out. On the contrary, it is raging with more virulence than ever. Invocations of 1858 and the advent of civil war may be exaggerated, Podhoretz grants. Nevertheless, “We’re in a war, and it’s a war to the death. Now they [the Left] actually admit it. They used to pretend. Not anymore.”

Cancellation is political assassination by other means. Indeed, the mass movement from blue states to red is a wave of asylum seekers and political refugees by another name. Except the migrants are trying  to escape from the asylums. 

Me? I'd be the first to join them if I weren't the laziest man in Los Angeles County, which places me high in the runnin' for laziest man worldwide. Nor do I find it to be exactly the County of Angels... Condado de los Diablos is more like it, albeit with strikes mixed in with the gutters until harvest time.

The woke culture of the Left seeks to destroy not only America as we know it but also the political, moral, and economic foundations upon which it rests. The conflagration is partly physical, as we saw and see on city streets throughout the country. It is also partly spiritual, as the most basic human realities and aspirations are deconstructed and politicized (ibid.).

Yup, one of those irritating situations: an all-consuming whirlpool of nihilistic self-engorgement (Kimball). 

If I'd been invited to contribute to this symposium on conservatism, I'd... only beclown the proceedings and embarrass the movement. I am a Useless Man and this is a Useless Blog. Indeed, if it had a purpose, it would be like all the others. I'm sure there must exist some other superfluous bloggers, but I haven't run into them.

Yes, I have a super power: fluousness.

The point is, this blog comes after all that -- after you've gotten your way politically and removed every obstacle to utopia, then we can get down to the real struggle. Josef Pieper asks, 

Once the means of living have been obtained, in what will this now-secure life consist? Furthermore, is it not patently absurd to say that the meaning of life consists in securing the means of livelihood? 

Yes to the second: it is absurd, a performative tautology. As to the first, "all practical activity"

serves something other than itself. And this other thing is not practical activity.... the ultimate meaning of the active life is to make possible the happiness of contemplation (ibid.).

Bottom line: "politics must inevitably become empty agitation if it does not aim at something that is not political." 

Which is precisely why the left has the advantage over us, because they know of no higher life, such that politics is their religion. Sure, it's a religion of empty agitation, but at least it keeps them on the streets. 

Imagine not knowing the pleasures of higher worlds! I suppose that's one of the things that keeps me here, being that these worlds are as close to California as they are to Florida, Texas, or Tennessee.   Wherever you go, there you are, and so is God.

It is requisite for the good of the human community that there should be persons who devote themselves to the life of contemplation (Thomas).

You're welcome.

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

But 

It is impossible to convince the fool that there are pleasures superior to those we share with the other animals (NGD).

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The New World

I was struck by the following passage from Thomistic Psychology:

But now, with the advent of thinking processes, a completely new world is opened up to us: a universe of ideas and volitions, an immaterial expanse of creativeness, a region liberated from the probabilities of sense (Brennan).

So many extravagant bells and whistles go along with the human condition, but surely this is the most consequential, for this "new world" is the human world, precisely. If you're reading this, you're in this world, no matter how much you try to pretend otherwise.

Well, not exactly, for man is apparently free to choose to be in or out of the real world, AKA reality. As you've noticed, alternate universes not only abound, but are but a click away.

Indeed, one small click for man can be a giant leap into a parallel looniverse -- for example, from the prospect of an inconvenient cold to WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!, from a long forgotten spree of trespassing to THE DARKEST DAY IN OUR DEMOCRACY!!!, from minimal safeguards against election fraud to JIM CROW ON STEROIDS!!!

Man's freedom to inhabit fantasy worlds is one of the lessons of Genesis 3, the principle of which is still undefeated after 12,000 years or so. In short, if even your Creator has to ask Where are you? (3:9), you know you're lost in the cosmos.

Where are you? 

A quick skim suggests that it takes until Genesis 22 for man to explicitly respond, Here I am, full stop, with no evasions, excuses, or rationalizations. Finally, man and God begin seeing I to I. 

But it's only a beginning. Nevertheless, as the Poet says, In my beginning is my end, as the Aphorist says, Every beginning is an image of the Beginning; every end is an image of the End, and as the Novelist says in about a billion ways, gosh!, the end-and-beginning is at hand.

Let's get back to the demons, which make their -- or its -- first appearance rather early in the saga of man-in-the-cosmos, in the first line of Genesis 3. 

Now, they say Genesis 3 was actually written several thousand years before Genesis 1, but it appears later in the Bible, and for good reason. For if it had come first, it would imply some rather serious Manichee business, as opposed to the radical monotheism and even more radical triunity before and after that. 

Well, I got sidetracked, so that's it for now.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Weird and Revolting

I have a lot of catching up to do, because I must have been absent from class the day they covered the detection and eradication of demons. 

At any rate, the following passage, from the book Thomistic Psychology, is a good place start; I rate it somewhere between Self-Evident and Change My Mind:   

As a part of creation, man stands on the fringe of two universes: one, the world of matter and material dimensions; the other, the world of spirit, which has neither length, nor breadth, nor weight, nor any other tangible property (Brennan).

I suppose you can try to change my mind, but in order to do so you can have no recourse to your own immaterial mind, but rather, will have to rely on something concrete and tangible, like a hammer, skateboard, or SUV. Still, these latter can be quite effective, as proved by BLM. 

If, on the one hand, man

is akin to the animal, plant, and mineral, on the other, he is neighbor to the angels. Truly, he is a denizen of two worlds, a horizon and a meeting place.... He is placed between beast and angel, sharing something of the destiny of both.

I know what you're thinking: brutes and angels, left and right.

WRONG!

That is so simplistic. 

Seriously, if our political enemies consisted only of beasts, they'd be rather easy to control and defeat. Rather, in order to understand what's going on, we must distinguish between good and bad angels, for a demon is simply an angel gone rogue. 

Simply?

Analogously, think of man's physical stature, which is similarly -- and conveniently -- smack dab in between the cosmic and subatomic worlds, such that we can know both, even if science hasn't yet figured out how to reconcile the extremes. 

At any rate, you will have noticed that, although we can posit these two worlds, literally no one actually understands them; or, to paraphrase Feynman, thinking you understand quantum physics is proof you don't. The same can be said of cosmology, e.g., "what was before the Big Bang?," or "what is it banging into?," or "where did those beautiful equations come from?" 

Science cannot answer such questions. Rather, such questions only highlight the necessary and proper limits of science. Nothing wrong with that. 

But this is an example of something I alluded to yesterpost -- that no exoterism, whether religious or scientistic, is capable of an integral account of our cosmic situation. Only the philosophia and religio perennis can provide this.

Speaking for myself. Also bearing in mind that "esoteric" might not mean what you think it means, for orthodox Christianity is more than a little esoteric once you naught every I and cross every me.

What do I mean by that crack? Well, try this on for size, from a mainstream book I read yesterday called The Gift of Being: A Theology of Creation:

if we think of the emanation of creation as a great chain of being, that chain closes back on its point of origin. Thus, the symbol of the circle unites the mystery of origin and end. 

Here we see an understanding reflected in the great Summa writings of the Scholastics which begin with the discussion of God as the source of being and end with the treatment of eschatology where creation closes back on its point of origin (Hayes).

Pretty, pretty weird. But is it weird enough? 

NO!

What if... what if the circle is a river, maybe even a riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay... Like some kind of commodius vicus of recirculation, or samething.

imagine the circle to be a river. For, as we read in Eccl 1:7, the river returns to its point of origin.... (Hayes).

Okay, fact check. Here's the Biblical passage in context: 

The wind whirls in a circular motion / And returns full circle. / All rivers flow to the sea, / Yet the sea shall not be filled. / To the place where the rivers flow, / There they return again..., 

Hmm. What kind of sea can never be filled? Easy: the sea of being. Being + being does not add up to more Being. Nor, for that matter, does Creator + creation = more Creator. 

Now, is it time to admit this post is slowly going nowhere?

NO! 

Here's an intriguing point about demons:

The demons are allergic to reality, like a man who happened to be allergic to oxygen (Bonino).

Now we're getting somewhere. Does this imply that people who are allergic to reality are evidence of demonic influence? Or do you have a better explanation for progressives? 

At the very least it highlights the question of whether the things we might be tempted to attribute to demonic activity might have a more banal explanation. 

Again, animals are not demonic because they have no free will to exploit. They just do what they're hardwired to do. But man lives in an epistemological and moral phase space, and this is, I believe, where the Hostile Forces may exert influence. 

It's one reason why they say idle hands are the work of the devil. Don't even get me started on the idle minds of the tenured! 

Another important point is that demons aren't "below" us; rather, since they are angels, they are ontologically above no matter how lowdown they are. They chose their path, and they would like for us to make the same choice. But in their case, the choice is said to have been instantaneous and final, whereas for us, time takes time. Except for Jesus and Mary, it is never a straight line between here and our proper end. 

We'll conclude with this:

For God grants his creatures not only their existence but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus cooperating in the accomplishment of his plan.

And

the closer a creature is to God -- in other words, the higher and more perfect it is in the hierarchy of beings -- the more important is its participation in the execution of the benevolent designs of providence (Bonino). 

This applies to angels and men, except that "the supernatural adventure of men" not only "unfolds in time," but was preceded by -- or possibly even sparked by -- something "instigated by the revolt of the demon, so that it is like the deleterious prolongation thereof."

Ah, another hint: demons are always revolting, in more ways than one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

With Great Slack Comes a Little Courtesy

"Do you renounce Satan, and all his works and empty promises?"

Sure... I guess so... Er, like what?

In other words, that's a three-part question. Anyone can renounce Satan, but who is he, what does he do, and what does he promise? And why is he even here?  

Let's find out! And try not to sound totally kooky along the way -- a way that will no doubt be nonlinear, because no post is ever thought out beforehand, so it's a wonder they ever cohere. 

Remember the Coon Promise: every post is freshly half-baked each morning, and primarily for my own consumption. If you find the blog interesting, it is partly because neither you nor I know where the next sentence is coming from and where it might go. 

Moreover, you probably have to deal with the nuisance of time, whereas I am privileged to roll around timelessness all day. I have nothing to do and nowhere to go, so for me everywhere is here and it's always now. 

Which may sound easy or difficult, depending on your personality style, but in any event, I've been training for this my whole life, so it suits me to the goround. Nor have I ever claimed to be normal, so don't even go there. 

Yesterday I was reflecting on something Schuon says about the legitimate need for esoterism. Not to say everyone needs it. 

Indeed, I've been known to envy the person who doesn't. I've heard people insist that the Bible is a total program for knowledge and action, an unambiguous blueprint for life, with nary a single contradiction or conundrum. I used to argue with them. 

Nevertheless, if you're the sort of irritating noodge who likes to think through every entailment right up to its necessary principle.... well, loose ends, contradictions, absurdities, trapdoors and exploding cigars are everywhere. 

And not just in religion. Rather, in science for sure. Which was the point I was cogitating. Let me first cite the relevant passage by Schuon. 

Obviously, in order to follow a religion in good faith -- without fooling oneself, AKA autopullwoolery -- one must be able to believe it. BUT

since, with the best will in the world, one can only believe what is credible, the man who knows to a sufficient degree two or more religions, and in addition has some imagination, may feel himself prevented from adhering to one of them by the fact that it presents itself dogmatically as the only legitimate and the only saving religion...

You know the type: believe this or you go to hell. But what if, no matter how hard you try, you honestly find it unbelievable? What are you supposed to do? Just pretend? You can't fool God.  

This Believe or else! is not what the Church has ever officially taught. Rather, it's a gift from God, not a threat, much less a protection racket. 

We're all familiar with St. Augustine's gag that The same thing which is now called Christian religion existed among the ancients, in various symbolic, mythic, virtual, and anticipatory forms. The Church itself "rejects nothing of what is true and holy" in other religions.

Follow the Light and assimilate the truth, and you can't go wrong. 

Back to the main point: "In fact, sapiential esoterism -- total and universal, not formalistic -- can alone satisfy every legitimate mental need" (Schuon, emphasis mine). 

And when he says "every," this again applies to science no less than religion. It is the best explanation for the whole existentialada. 

But again, it's not for everyone, nor could it ever -- God forbid -- appeal to more than an encentric Coonatic fringe, for it only speaks to those to whom it speaks, and not to anyone else. Rather, it just triggers the others, especially those who cannot leave it alone. "Spiritual masochism" comes to mind, pervert.

The point is, integral esoterism puts us in contact with the formless essence which religion clothes in doctrinal form. Indeed, the Catechism quietly expresses something similar in a different way when it says "We do not believe in formulas but in those realities they express" (emphasis mine). 

In other words, -- just as with science -- reality comes first, thoughts and words second; moreover, our thoughts, words, and dogmas terminate in the realities which they only symbolically describe. For exoterists it's often the other way around, but that's okay, especially if it keeps them out of trouble and ensures a good night's sleep.

So, just as science terminates in the real objects it describes, religious doctrines terminate in objective spiritual realities. With this in mind, it doesn't matter what you call it, so long as you acknowledge a category that is covered by the word "demonic."

I was thinking about this the other day with regard to the wild popularity of the new Spiderman movie. Why are people raving about it? I think partly because it openly deals with certain facts and realities that our secularized society tries to forget -- for example, that life is a struggle between good and evil, that parallel universes are so close they can touch us, and certainly that with great power comes great responsibility.

I could go on all day, but I have to have some respect for the timebound reader. With great slack comes a little courtesy to the reader who has only so much. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

How to Distinguish Your Friends from the Demons

By way of an appetizer before we get to the main curse (did Petey actually just say deviled eggheads?), I've been rereading Robert Brennan's Thomistic Psychology (see sidebar), which I first read a fortnight ago. Seems longer than that, but I double-checked and it was just before Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve.

In the Introduction, Mortimer Adler makes the excellent point -- and I know it's excellent because I've made the same point many times -- psychology is not yet a true science, because it is essentially pre-paradigmatic, meaning that there is no agreement on its proper object, let alone its content.

Imagine if, say, physics, were in the same primitive stage of development. Physicists would still be arguing whether the cosmos had a beginning, about the nature of the ether, if sublunar objects behave differently than celestial ones, or whether the physics department has enough people of color.

I've mentioned that back when I started grad school, there was a required course which surveyed the main schools of psychology, from behaviorism at one end to psychoanalysis at the other.  

The mere fact that there are diverse and irreconcilable schools of psychology makes the implicit point that psychology literally doesn't know what it's talking about, since any science is supposed to be about a well-defined object. But in psychology, the objects are literally in the heads of the theorists, in that -- obviously -- only one (at most) theory can be correct, or there must be a "meta-theory" capable of harmonizing them from above. 

I say, One Principle, One Logos, One Cosmos, One Anthropos, One Bios, One Physis, all the way down and back to three.  

Having said that mean stuff about the others, Thomistic psychology makes a compelling case for being the only truly scientific psychology, demons and all. For example, it clearly defines its proper object at the outset: it is the study of the soul. It also clearly defines the soul: it is the form or principle of the living body. Human psychology therefore pertains to the soul of man, which is -- or used to be -- a rational soul. Remember?

I don't want to get too far into psychology per se, rather, just make a few points to lay a foundation as we resume our discussion of the demonic. But for a psychologist to swear on the one hand that "there is no such thing as demons," and on the other, "transgenderism is perfectly normal," is not even bullshit. 

It reminds me of the top-down, bureaucratic normalization of homosexuality back in 1973, which was before my time, so don't blame me. Not only was there no debate to settle or even define the issue, the vast body of research from <1973 was magically disappeared -- as if it were no more legitimate then Soviet psychiatry (which, ironically, has made a big comeback in wokademia, as have McCarthyism, heresy hunting, and witch burning).

The larger point is that such radical discontinuity can only occur in a pre-paradigmatic science with no stable object of study. One day sexuality has a natural telos, which is to say, reproduction. The next day you're a hater for even suggesting such a monstrosity. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bongwater. 

It's the same with regard to the trannies and other misfits: one day they're pathetic weirdos, the next day they're better than you, you deplorable heteronormative bigot. The cosmically correct response is, of course, to feel sorry for them, not hostility -- unless they become activists and start frightening the children and horses.

Adler:

the moment I received the degree [of psychology] -- supposedly a competent worker in the field -- I could not tell my students, my colleagues, or myself, what psychology was about, what its fundamental principles were...

Same. Or maybe the opposite, in that I knew what psychology was about. It's just everybody else that was wrong. Indeed, my doctoral dissertation proposed a "new paradigm" for psychology, and was even published in two different professional journals. 

Interestingly, those articles still hold up, at least to the extent they can be reconciled with the deeper and more explicit principles of Thomistic psychology I've embraced since then. Turns out I was following in the footsteps of Thomas without knowing it. Indeed, if I had known it, I would have no doubt run in the opposite direction, since I was an anti-Catholic bigot at the time, like any other modern sophisticate.

Each of the diverse schools of psychology differs

from the others, not because of contrary discoveries, but because of the "point of view" which motivated its method of research and determined the restricted field of phenomena it was willing to explore (Adler). 

"Even to a sophomore, it was apparent that the psychologists had shut the front door on philosophy only to indulge in some surreptitious 'philosophizing'" through the back. 

So. Important. Especially that little word motivated. For real science is disinterested; or, interested rather in the intelligible real and nothing else. Wishes and feelings don't enter into it. Uncorrupted by passion and other psychic crosscurrents, the intellect is actually infallible; if not, then we can all fold up our seats and go home.

Infallible? Yes, literally, in the same sense that your normally functioning senses are infallible. If that potato chip tastes salty, that's because it is salty. If the tree looks green, it's because it is green. If you hear a siren in the distance, hide behind the wall with the Murphy bed, Dupree! 

Same with the intellect, which knows a thing or two about a thing or two, and with certitude:

there is no error in intellect in its simple apprehension of the essences of things.... Where error occurs in the field of intellectual cognition, it will always be discovered in judicial acts.... (Brennan, emphasis mine).

For example, most for my former colleagues judge that essences do not exist because the soul doesn't exist because God doesn't exist, etc. Poor judgment, that's all. But is it frankly demonic? Too soon to tell. More scientific data is needed. To be continued...

Sunday, December 19, 2021

I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning in the Ratings

Most of you know that before I was a critical demonologist I was a clinical psychologist. 

Along the way, and to this day, I've maintained a flourishing pslackology practice, albeit with an exclusive clientele of one. While the patient still has occasional relapses of undudeness, I'm proud to say that these are few and far between, and that 90% of the time he abides. 

No joke: I've always been openminded about things, but the queer nature of the times we're living in demands a supra- or infra-natural explanation. 

Don't get me wrong -- by no means do I believe that demons explain everything, but then again, nor do I see how we can truly understand What's Going On without recourse to demonic influences. Denying their influence would be naive in the extreme, which is just how Satan likes it. It would be as childish as, say, the conspiracy theory that FJB legitimately won the 2020 election.

The operative word is indeed influence: for demons do not and cannot cause human actions, only influence them; which is another way of saying that man is condemned to freedom and that there's not a damn thing he can do about it, no matter how many times he votes Democrat. 

I myself reached peak naivete in perhaps 1988, when I nabbed a PhD while no one was looking. Like any other properly indoctorated product of the tenure machine, I knew that belief in angels, demons, and immaterial beings more generally was pure superstition, and that what folks used to call "devils" were now understood to be unconscious projections, i.e., projections of what are called unconscious objects.

But in the long run, everybody's at least a little stitious, because these two -- demon and unconscious object -- prove to be equivalent categories with identical content. Except that psychotherapy is much more expensive -- and lucrative -- than exorcism and more practical than freelance ghostbusting.

Indeed, what is psychotherapy but a modern form of exorcism, the only difference being that it is less effective?

The following passage by Grotstein from his Who is the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream is one I would have endorsed as recently as 1995 or so, when I began having my doubt about doubt:

In the dazzling light of the Enlightenment, preternatural spirits, presences, angels, and demons, along with their cosmologies, were bleached into oblivion. These designations waned, and their remains were reminted in the alchemy of a newer "scientific" lexicon. 

Nevertheless the spirits that occupied their successors (i.e., "internal objects") continued to haunt our minds. 

So, people -- obviously -- continue to be as haunted and taunted as ever. However, nowadays we're far more sophisticated, so we know that the real causes of mental illness are are scientifically provable things such as Trump's mean tweets, White Privilege, the Patriarchy, and the Climate Crisis.

Let's refrain from calling them demons or objects, and instead just focus on the continuity of the phenomenology. According to the esteemed shroomhead Terence McKenna,

Whatever their status in the world, their persistence in human experience and folklore is striking. In all times and in all places, with the possible exception of Western Europe for the past two hundred years, a social commerce between human beings and various discarnate entities, or non-human intelligences, was taken for granted.

After all, it isn't difficult to believe in the Ultimate Intelligence -- indeed, it takes real effort and limitless chutzpah to not believe in a principle higher than oneself -- so how hard can it be to posit the existence of intermediate intelligences between man and O?  

Moreover, as with God, once you permit yourself to believe in them, it quickly becomes necessary to do so. Like the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz, they start peeping out from behind the shrubbery, giggling and looking up your dress. 

Besides, it's fun. I say, if two ontologies are otherwise equal, why not pick the one that provides more kicks 'n giggles? 

It's also more dangerous, but that's part of what makes it fun: there's much more on the line, for as one demon put it, you stand to win everything. So, call it. I can't call it for you. It wouldn't be fair.

Here's a relevant passage from the Book of the Same Name:

Indeed, if truth were a democracy, each person from the dawn of history getting one vote, the belief in such spiritual beings populating the landscape "would unquestionably be the most firmly established truth in man's whole armamentarium." 

But truth isn't a democracy, because five tech lords with a blacklist make a majority. 

So anyway, I'm always curious about what's going on in Demonville, which is only a micron or two away, like a parallel universe only in the same universe, since there's only One Cosmos. 

With that in mind, yesterday I read a book called Angels and Demons: A Catholic Introduction, instead of monitoring diabolical activity in the usual way, which is to say, by checking out CNN or MSNBC.

To be continued...

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Vertical Causation and Absolute Stupidity

What is vertical causation, and does it exist?

Defined negatively, we could say it is any type of causation that isn't horizontal. Unless you wish to pretend that all causation is horizontal. Then again, to the extent that you're actually thinking and not just behaving like a machine -- and we're not ruling this out -- then you are partaking of vertical causation. 

What is the cause of a true thought? What is causing your thoughts right now? Your "brain"? What do you mean, "your"?  

There can be no greater category error than conflating material and immaterial realities, or subject and object. 

Think about thinking in the most abstract way possible, and where does it end? It ends in a mysterious property we call "subjectivity," beyond which we cannot venture. We know there are objects, and we know there are subjects, because the object is the very first property discerned by the subject. Although the subject is and must be ontologically prior, it is epistemologically later.

In other words, the human baby doesn't start with the infamous cogito -- I think, therefore, you know, the thing -- and take it from there. Rather, we start out life by discovering things. Still, the most interesting things are other subjects, especially the one we call m(o)ther. After that it's all downhill.

Now I'm thinking of the Absolute Principle incarnating as an infant, and before that, a fetus, embryo, zygote, and blastocyst. Is the principle of humanness found in that direction -- as if we could keep going until we find the human archetype down there somewhere? Did you look beneath the refrigerator? Under the cushions?

A similar massbackward approach characterizes physics: as if we merely have to keep dividing and subdividing matter until we reach rock bottom. But we can zee no bottom in that direction; rather, the exercise must end in finer and finer iterations of nothingness. 

Not to say that these little nothings do not exist. They do exist, just as do photons emanating from the sun.  No matter how dim the light, it's still light and not darkness, the latter being a total privation and literal nothing. No amount of shadows adds up to a quanticle of light.

Likewise, no matter how stupid the idea, it's still a thought and not clump of matter. 

These preluminary meditations are brought to you by the book Vertical Causation, by Wolfgang Smith. In it he expresses some ideas that are strangely similar to mine, but it's not so strange when you realize that I stole them from him.

Especially the one about physics and the insane spiritual quest to ground everything in nothing:

from the vantage point of the metaphysical traditions, their quest points "downwards" in reference to the scala naturae: from the pole of morphe to that of hyle, namely a descent which cannot but lead eventually to the "nothingness" of prima materia

I know: why all the pretentious Latinisms when plainspoken Thomism is tricky enough? 

Suffice it to say, there is an ascending and descending scale of being in the cosmos, and that one will not discover reality by fleeing down into matter, all the way to its necessary but inconceivable principle, in that formless matter can be posited but not understood. For prime matter is matter without form, which is to say, devoid of the very principle of intelligibility. 

In the material world, everything is hylomorphic, meaning matter + form. Again, we can posit formless matter, but that's not how the cosmos rolls, unless maybe we're talking about the Creator, who begins by creating the formless material to which he will give form. Even believing this in a naively literal manner is philosophically superior to the truly childish belief that form somehow could "evolve" from prime matter, which is to say from nothing.

Ontologically speaking, it thus appears that contemporary particle physicists are actually moving in the wrong direction: "away from reality," towards the nether pole of hyle, where nothing at all exists (Smith).

That's not quite true, for physicists are moving in the proper direction for physicists. They're only going the wrong way to the extent that they pretend to be philosophers. 

Conversely, the philosopher is always free to descend to the bottom end of the cosmos, and indeed, a complete philosophy must be able to account for it. But the lower is seen as an effect of the higher, not vice versa, for that would constitute a kind of absolute stupidity.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Many Rivers to Cross

Every day I try to read a little Schuon in order to supplement whatever else I happen to be reading, the reason being that he never fails to pull me back to Celestial Central, where one can abide in the Essence. There, the light of the essential helps to illuminate and integrate everything else. 

Out on the periphery, a lot of things about exoteric religion frankly -- and inevitably -- don't add up. But viewed from the center out, one can better appreciate the nature of these forms. 

The Center is where everything coheres and makes sense, but life is a constant struggle against the forces that conspire pull us down and out. It's hardly a new dilemma, being that it's been going on since man became man. In may ways it is what we are: analysis and synthesis, dissipation and coherence, every moment of every day.

Come to think of it, just as creation implies creator, man God, and contingency necessity, it's accurate to say that Celestial Central can only be understood dialectically -- or complementarily -- with the terrestrial periphery. If you prefer a geometric analogy, the circle has a central point and a peripheral diameter. Just like us.

Except to say that we are more spherical; plus we're situated in time, so the sphere is moving; plus the sphere is ordered to O, so it has direction and finality, a vertical telovator. 

Speaking of which, one of the characteristics of Schuon's writing is its sphericality. What? You heard me: 

[T]he sphere contains the greatest volume for a given area. Schuon's style likewise contains the maximum amount of meaning for a given expression. His language, at once symbolic and dialectical, always possesses a dimension of depth and is not exhausted by its surface (Nasr).

That's the good news. The bad news -- or maybe even better news, depending -- is that his writings aren't for everyone, but rather, "open their embrace only for those for whom they are meant" (ibid.). 

This is not meant to sound elitist. It's just that not everything is for everybody -- this blog for example.

Can you imagine? Not to sound tautologous, but I only write for those few, if any, for whom my writing is intended. It would never occur to me to make a general raccoomendation to all and sundry! It would be crazy for me to address my writing to people who would only regard my writing as crazy. Thus, we can confidently say to every troll: I wasn't speaking to you.

I had intended to discuss Smith's The Vertical Ascent, but now that we're down this rabbit hole, might as well see where it leads. 

There is actually a peripheral relationship to the book, in that Smith also uses the image of the circle to convey his metaphysic: think of the central point as God in his atemporal heaven, and the periphery as the material/sensible world of horizontal causation subject to time and space. Between the center and periphery are lines of vertical or nonlocal causation that characterize the intelligible world. 

In The Essential Schuon, Nasr makes a point with which we wholeheadedly cooncur, that

to read his works is to be transplanted from the shell to the kernel, to be carried on a journey that is at once intellectual and spiritual from the circumference to the Center.

But again, I would no more recommend Schuon than I would myself. I would, however, emphasize the need for something in your life that effectuates this phase transition from circumference to center. 

Individual needs and abilities vary greatly, but there's always something for everyone, because this is The Way It Is -- i.e., the way we're structured. It's also the way God is structured, and if it's good enough for the macrocosm it's good enough for the microcosm.

But your transition, in whatever form it takes, needs to taken seriously and engaged consciously. For the vehicle -- the spoke from periphery to center -- is not the destination, rather, only the means of getting there. As they say in Zen, once you cross the river you can ditch the boat.

Well, not really, because while there's only one ocean, every day is a new river.    

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Spiritual Intoxication and Bibulous Bobness

Continuing with yesterday's post, Bonaventure characterizes the contemplative life as a "twofold movement" of "ascending and descending." 

Which makes perfect nonsense, since we could hypothetically (but literally) ascend forever and not reach God, unless God condescends to meet us. In short, proving the existence of God is a matter of mere logic, but knowing him is a different martyr.  

On the one hand,

God, the Principle and the End of all things, can be known with certainty in the natural light of human reason from created things (Dei Filius).

But that's not the end of it, although it would be in the absence of a hand-Me-down from God. Thus, in addition to the natural way to God, "it has pleased His wisdom and goodness to reveal Himself" in "a supernatural way." 

Somewhat ironically, to deny the first more general revelation is an intrinsic cosmic heresy (i.e., in the nature of things) and an extrinsic Catholic heresy (i.e., specifically heretical to Catholic teaching). Thus, a person may have a valid excuse for the latter -- say, invincible ignorance, or end-stage progressivism

For example, I am of the belief that President FJB should be permitted to receive communion, so long as the Pope and bishops make it clear that such a recipient is not culpable due to advanced dementia. Same with Nancy Pelosi, who, in case you were wondering, is not spiritually intoxicated.

Switching seers for a moment, Schuon says in various ways that metaphysics isn't for everyone. Indeed, I can hardly affirm a metaphysical certitude without being misunderstood by someone somewhere. Which is probably why the blog seems to always attract more grumbling trolls than groveling admirers. 

Put conversely, there is nothing so freaking obvious that it triggers no oblivious freak. Perhaps you think I'm weird, but you have no idea how much weirdness I must suppress in order to be even minimally misunderstood. Truly truly, the sons of Toots have no place to lay their heads!

"For the inferior man," writes Schuon, "only what is contingent is real." However, if all men were metaphysicians there would be no atheists and certainly no anti-Bob contingent. But that's not the human world we live in, where God has ordained that It Shall Take All Kinds.

Similarly, coming at it from a Christian perspective, Fr. Joseph Fenton writes that the pure metaphysics of, say, the Upanishads, is "far too abstruse and esoteric to influence the thought of most men." As such,

Apart from the influence of divine revelation, the general run of mankind has never had the complete and accurate knowledge of God which is necessary for the perfect enjoyment of the cultured social life. 

In other words: no revelation, no civilization, and soon no fun on pain of cancellation. In case you were wondering about the pervasive decay and rot. 

Which is always with us, so don't get me wrong. It is always the end of times and the beginning of times, the latter thanks to the ceaseless vertical ngression in the absence of which we would quite literally sophicate. Or, as the Aphorist has written,

Every beginning is an image of the Beginning; every end is an image of the End.

But thankfully, amidst the ups & downs, the strikes & gutters, the old still point of the turning world is still here & now, where it's always bein', nor would I

live for even a fraction of a second if I stopped feeling the protection of God’s existence.

For 

Even in the immensity of space we feel caged. Mystery is the only infinity that does not seem like a prison.

Bonus quote from Schuon:

Metaphysics has as it were two great dimensions, the one “ascending” and dealing with universal principles and the distinction between the Real and the illusory, and the other “descending” and dealing on the contrary with the divine life in creaturely situations, and thus with the fundamental and secret “divinity” of beings and of things....

By comparison with the first dimension, the second is mysterious and paradoxical, seeming at certain points to contradict the first, or again, it is like a wine with which the Universe becomes intoxicated.  

Speaking of the perfect enjoyment.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

St. Obvious, Pray for Us!

Sometimes our bottom line is an analytic proposition such as "all bachelors are unmarried." 

In other words, the truth of this statement is vouchsafed by the meaning of the terms. This truth is a priori, in that one needn't examine every or even any bachelor in order to know it. 

At any rate, our point this morning is that analytic propositions are rest stops of the intellect, or at least used to be. Now that the cancer of deconstruction has spread throughout the body of language, it is as if there can be no peace of mind with regard to even the most trivial of tautologies, such as female athletes are women, or inflation is a monetary phenomenon.

Other cognitive rest stops are synthetic propositions such as "all progressives are little girls." This isn't self-evident on the face of it; rather, one must examine a sufficient number of progressives in order to arrive at the conclusion that they are indeed both immature and dickless, therefore girls, and not proper women or men.  

But all vulgar insultainment aside, that's not what this post is about. Rather, it's about another kind of rest stop. I don't know if it has a name, but it is quite familiar to me. 

For it is as if it is a self-evident truth, but not necessarily to everyone, only to me: cosmic O-mail addressed to Bob. While it could be self-evident to others, it may or may not be, depending on a host of factors and variables. I may be able to talk you into it, but I'm not sure about that, since no one talked me into it. Rather, the moment I heard it I knew it was true. 

Then again, sometimes there had to be a great deal of preparation prior to acceptance of these truths. For example, I remember trying to read Schuon 25 or 30 years ago and getting nowhere. Whereas once the ideas and principles bounced off me like tennis balls off a battleship, at some point they penetrated my shell and caused a great joyful disturbance. But now I read them and quietly nod to myself, "of course. What could be more obvious?"  

Call it a "personal bottom line." This is in contrast to a collective bottom line such as "all men are created equal." At least for actual Americans (i.e., deplorable insurrectionist homophobic white supremacists), this is essentially an analytic proposition. We can't not look at human beings this way. It's what makes us Americans. 

Nevertheless, roughly half the country rejects this proposition, self-evident though it may be, in favor of the proposition that the most important thing to know about people is their race, or gender, or sexual proclivities. 

Let's get down to cases. In fact, this book on St. Bonaventure is full of statements to which my response is simply of course. It is as if these statements only affirm what I already know in my heartmind, AKA nonlocal intellect (the intellect being our vertical organ, or organ of vertical cognition).

Examples.

The triad of Trinity-creation-humanity manifests the dynamism of God's self-communicative love whereby creation and humanity spiral forth from the overflowing goodness of God.

Ho hum. Tell me something I don't know.

In a sense the new birth of creation and the destiny of history are contingent on the freedom of the human person.... one's relationship with God influences the destiny of creation and the consummation of history. Our lives not only make a difference but a cosmic difference.

Anything else, St. Obvious?

Again these aren't statements of which one may convince others with argumentation. Rather, one either sees the point or one doesn't. It is much more akin to perception than to discursive reason, although by no means contrary to reason. Those with ears, let them see!

God is not simply Being but God is that Goodness which is beyond Being, and which gives rise to Being.

Like anyone could not know that.

if there are only two divine persons, there could only be love for one another.... the highest perfection of love demands that each of the two persons in love share that love with an "other."

That's actually more of an analytic statement, in that if one understands the meanings of the terms, the conclusions follow. 

a world that manifested the glory of God but did not include some creature able to perceive and revel in that glory would make little sense.

Wrong: no sense.

O?

[T]he figure of the circle attests to the perfection of bodies both in the macrocosm and microcosm.... But this figure is not complete in the universe. Now, if this figure is to be as perfect as possible, the line of the universe must be curved into a circle.... Therefore, when God became man, the works of God were brought to perfection. This is why Christ, the God-man, is called Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end.

Thus, "the final end of the universe has been realized." And of this post.

Wait -- an encore that brings the post full circle:

there is a light within the human soul that enables one to know things with certainty; it is a divine light which illuminates the truth of things and allows one to judge the certitude of things.... In fact, it is because of this light that humans have knowledge of things they have never experienced through the senses... 

A stounding O!

One more:

contemplation is that resting in God whereby one's entire life is centered in God.... For Bonaventure, contemplation is the goal of Christian life.

Mission accompliced. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Physics ≠ Metaphysics

Waaay back when I knew everything about everything and nothing about anything, I published a lengthy scholarly article with the portentous title Wilfred Bion and David Bohm: Toward a Quantum Metapsychology

Says here it was published in 1991, Volume 14, Number 4 of the prestigious journal Psychonalysis and Contemporary Thought.

Hmm. I wonder if the journal still exists, or if it sunk under the weight of its own self-importance -- me along with it? 

I don't like to look back, so we'll make this brief. Here's a link to what was going on in the journal that year (https://pep-web.org/browse/pct/volumes/14): similarly life-saving breakthroughs such as Psychoanalytic Life History: Is Coherence, Continuity, and Aesthetic Appeal Necessary?

I'm gonna say No to the first two, Yes to the last. After all, I severed relations with that prior Bob a long time ago, and haven't spoken to him in years. So much for continuity. 

On the other hand, there does appear to be an implicit order of continuity, AKA the Dark Side of the Rug. It seems that this order is more quantum in nurture, in that there are instantaneous leaps from there to here with nothing in between, more on which as we proceed. (Hint: vertical causation.)

Here's a doozy: On the Phylogeny of the Oedipus Complex: Psychoanalytic Aspects of the Ethology of Anthropoid Apes. Dr. Holmström no doubt thinks he's illuminating man when he's merely anthropomorphizing apes. Been there dumb that.  

That website only goes up to 2003, at which time there was still a great deal of intellectual bullshit, but I don't yet see signs of highly advanced anti-intellectual woke bullshit. Let's try to find something more recent.

I give up. It must no longer exist despite my association with it.  

The reason I bring this up is because I hadn't thought about theoretical physicist David Bohm in a long time, but he figures prominently in this book I just read, The Vertical Ascent: From Particles to the Tripartite Cosmos and Beyond, by Wolfgang Smith.  

There once was a time when -- like any other contemporary western egghead on the make -- I assumed that the latest science discloses the foundations of reality, and that physics not only informs metaphysics, but ultimately is metaphysics. 

Thus the spate of books in the '60s and '70s on the Vast Spiritual Implications of the Transformative and Empowering New Quantum Paradigm, such as The Tao of Physics, The Holographic Universe, The Physics of God, Quantum Spirituality, and other sub-juvenilia. Embarrassing, but you gotta start somewhere, even though it's like starting with Toni Morrison instead of Shakespeare.

I could still be writing that new-age nonsense today, but for whatever reason I was spared popularity or even basic appeal, and I aim to keep it that way.  

As alluded to above, the most perfect physics conceivable does not equate to metaphysics. Indeed, it's in the name: after physics. After we're done playing around with physics, we turn to deeper things -- for example, the principles by virtue of which physics, and especially physicists, are even possible

As we've said before, supposing physicists discover the final Theory of Everything, it won't account for the consciousness of even the most literal-minded physicist, for subjects aren't objects, qualities aren't quantities, and I is not just another It, although progressives never stop trying.

Science as such is the search for causes. It proceeds in the direction of multiplicity --> unity, but the unity is ontologically prior, nor can science ever account for the nature of this unity, rather, it is a necessary condition for the very existence of science. 

In other words, even if whole and part are complementary -- for you never see One without the others -- the whole must be ontologically prior, since no amount of parts adds up to a whole (>insert adolescent joke about a-holes<).

Well, we didn't get very far, so we'll continue later. I do have a life, even though it may not look like it from the view outside my head.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Cosmic Christology and the Last Go-Round

We're juggling two books at the moment, one on Bonaventure, the other on the nature of vertical causation, and as usual, connections are forming like filamentous hyphae in the great underground Mycelial Network. Let's formally introduce the two and check out the mushrooming conversation under my cap. From the first:

The pattern of Bonaventure's thought is "circular" -- we come from God, we exist in relation to God, and we are to return to God (Delio).

Agreed. Strange things are afoot in the Circle of (k). But they certainly beat the familiar existential alternative, which is to say, we come from nothing, exist in relation to nothing, and return nothing, i.e., that All we are is dust in the wind, dude.

Ontologism or existentialism,  being or nothingness, open or closed cosmos, red- or bluepill, O or Ø.

The basis of this "circle" is the Trinity in which the Father who is the fountain-fullness of goodness communicates goodness to the Son who, in turn, loves the Father in the Spirit (ibid).  

This also checks out, although one could describe this meta-cosmic spiral in more abstract terms so as to not shock the squares.

Just as the Father is the source and goal of the immanent emanations of the Trinity, so too the Father is the source and goal of all created reality. Thus, everything flows from the Father and ultimately returns to the Father (ibid).

Although that's a slightly linear way to describe the circle, since its beginning has no beginning and the end has no end. 

Therefore, it is literally the case that any point on the circle is both beginning and end, source and goal; after all, there was never a time that the Father had no Son or the Son no Father; to which I would add that there has never been no Creator, Creativity, and Creation, but that's just my opinion. It's not mandatory, but nor is it entirely bogus

It reminds me of modern physics, which tells us that because space got bent, a straight line will eventually wind up where it started. Except the real world isn't just two- or three- or four-dimensional; rather,

like water, it has many qualities and dimensions. Like the water of the ocean, the world has an overwhelming fullness as it flows from the depths of God. 

Like the ocean, it is deep and contains many levels of meaning. Like the water of a river, the world flows in such fluidity and richness that it cannot be contained in any one form or category (Zachary Hayes, in Delio).

Be water, my friend! 

Created existence, therefore, is a dynamic reality, directed in its inner core to a fulfillment and completion which is to be the mysterious fruit of its history (Hayes).

Wait. Why mysterious? Looks pretty obvious to me. 

Get a clueprint, people!

The Trinity provides a "blueprint" for creation since the relationship between the Father and Son/Word, united in the Spirit, is the ground of all other relationships (Delio).

As Petey so often says, The ultimate ground is the final goround

Cosmic Christology. A Raccoon has only to hear the term to know it's true. 

Bonaventure offers a rich anthropology that is grounded in a cosmic Christology. His theology of Incarnation is much closer to the cosmic Christology of the Greek Fathers than to Anselm's doctrine of satisfaction, as he highlights the Incarnation as both a work of redemption and cosmic completion.

There's obviously nothing wrong with the former unless it is wrenched from its total metacosmic context and seen as the sole "motive" of the Incarnation -- as if the whole ongoing adventure of the Godman is because man was naughty. That's a little narrow-minded and self-interested, doncha think? 

We'll resume the conversation later, but meanwhile, 

Party on, Coons, and be excellent to each other.