Sunday, January 24, 2021

Unity, Or Else!

"The horizon of modernity," suggests Hughes, "was established through the absolutization of immanence," AKA "nontranscendent reality."  

We rate this suggestion Entirely Plausible, with the caveat that it is strictly impossible for man to deny transcendence, any more than he could deny, say, language, for to deny it is to affirm it, even if one attempts to deny it with an interpretive dance.

To be perfectly accurate, one can obviously pretend to deny transcendence, but this hardly eliminates it. Seriously. Eight year olds, dude.

The far more interesting and consequential question is, What happens to transcendence when someone denies it? Where does it go? How is it transformed, distorted, and symbolized?  

And, more to the point, what happens when a mass political movement is organized around the violent rejection of transcendence, as with Marxism or national socialism or Antifa or BLM?

To ask the question is to answer it. Unless one is on Twitter or Facebook, in which case to ask the question is to be censored by the very fascists one is describing.

Happy Acres Guy asks: Did you notice how quickly Lefty relativism turned into Lefty absolutism? (https://twitter.com/HappyHectares/status/1352975030531973120) 

Why, yes. We've noticed it for a long time, for it is one of the permanent possibilities of man: the ineradicable freedom to get it utterly and catastrophically wrong.

Longtime readers -- if they've been paying attention -- already know how and why leftism is a destructive political religion, so let's try to build on that foundation rather than just rebleating ourselves. 

Among other things, this religion believes men can be women, that it is possible to run a modern economy on renewable energy, that it is possible to control the world's temperature, that the most effective way to end racial discrimination is make racial colorblindness illegal, and that forcing businesses to overpay employees will increase wealth and employment.

And that was just day one. What other strange gods does the left have in store for us, good and hard?

Ironically, another hallmark of the postmodern left is "incredulity toward metanarratives," but this is just a consequence of the rejection of transcendence, since "meta" and "trans" are synonymous. But here again, the only way to eliminate metanarratives is to...

Come to think of it, I can think of several ways. For example, psychosis is characterized by a terrifying loss of any metanarrative, or alternatively, a rigid and unbending one, e.g., a fixed paranoid delusion. In each case, reality is denied, or rather, the organ through which reality is contacted and interpreted -- the intellect -- is dysfunctional.

But there are nonpsychotic ways to seal oneself in unreality, e.g., indoctrination, ideological deformity, and miseducation. There are also purely utilitarian reasons to render oneself stupid, for it is difficult to get a journalist or professor to see something when his paycheck, his prestige, and his social standing all depend upon not seeing it. 

The bottom line is that the Absolute is the bottom -- i.e., the ground -- of intelligible being. It is the first object of the intellect. Always was and always will be, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Like it or not, the soul of man is immaterial and immortal.

Only human participation in a dimension of meaning that is nonparticular, nonfinite -- a realm of transcendent meaning -- justifies any metanarratives about humanity (ibid.).

"Nonparticular" and "nonfinite." Or in other words, universal and infinite. The left likes to talk about "unity," but there is and can be only one unity and one ground of unity. 

Or is that too complicated? For in the absence of transcendence, you won't have unity, rather, its impossibility. And because it is impossible, it must be violently forced into being. Hence all the censorship, repression, and threats: unity, or else!

Here is another pet point of ours: that symbols of transcendence "tend, in the course of their use and diffusion, to become cut off from the experiences of transcendence that originally engendered them." These symbols can "lose the power to communicate, or to evoke, such experiences and insights." 

Seeing through our vernoccular, these symbols become saturated and thereby unfit for the influx of transcendent experience and meaning.

This is a genuine problem, partly because people don't recognize it as one. And it is a more general problem, because our minds are on the one hand narrowly adapted to survival, but ultimately conformed to a reality that vastly transcends mere biology or psychology. Language can become disengaged from transcendent reality, resulting in an enclosed world of concretion and literalism. 

You will have noticed that this error characterizes two kinds dysfunctional religiosity, one of which unironically calling itself "a-theism." 

Suffice it to say, one must be careful with language, because it can both engender the experience of transcendence and foreclose the experience. Just don't blame transcendent reality for rendering its experience impossible. That was you, not God. 

13 comments:

Gagdad Bob said...

Job One, Day One: deny the very metanarrative that unites us:

Among the 17 executive orders emitted by the Biden Administration on January 20, perhaps the most disturbing was the abolition of the 1776 Commission, the body President Trump formed last year to "enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776 and to strive to form a more perfect Union.”

Gagdad Bob said...

The new metanarrative:

In dissolving the commission, the Biden Administration clearly signaled that it was siding with the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” a malignant, anti-American fantasy whose guiding axioms are that America was founded as a “slavocracy” and that the American Revolution was fought primarily to perpetuate the institution of slavery.

Gagdad Bob said...

Stipulated: one of us is psychotic.

julie said...

Wow.

Some of them are already starting to feel buyer's remorse.

Oops, there went the jobs. But hey, Joe's already started ramping up foreign wars again, so maybe all those newly-fired oil workers can go get shot in Syria, instead.

julie said...

Weird, my link didn't work. Trying again...

Gagdad Bob said...

Orange Man Bad, Green Man Worse.

Gagdad Bob said...

I don't think the average American even knows yet that Joe has dementia. Wait until they discover the magnitude of the Lie.

julie said...

It's really amazing. I wonder when the press is going to decide that he's done, and start allowing footage of his sundowners slip through?

Gagdad Bob said...

Whenever it is, it will be pervasive and simultaneous -- like the herd they are -- accompanied by shock, I tell you, SHOCK that Joe is suddenly so out of it.

Gagdad Bob said...

And if people point out that this was obvious a year ago, they will be accused of peddling a conspiracy theory and banned on social media.

julie said...

Yep.

ted said...

Mussolini's version of fascism was so much sexier.

Andrew MacDonald said...

Happy to see politics are welcome here along with spirit, and nice to read that GK Chesterton called those the only two things worth speaking about. I'd felt some shame with my becoming conservative over the last few years. No local allies.