Friday, January 29, 2021

You Have Answers, We Have Questions!

"The factor that sustains consciousness in its multidimensional concern with meaning is questioning" (Hughes). That's true as far as it goes, but it doesn't go very far if there are no answers. And even answers don't go far enough unless they are related to the Answer.  

Thus, one of our first principles around here that the first object of the human intellect is intelligible being. Or, as Schuon expresses it, "The worth of man lies in his consciousness of the Absolute." This is so because the human station is characterized by this implicit consciousness of the Absolute, precisely. Always has been, always will be. 

For which reason man cannot surpass the imperative to ceaselessly surpass himself -- until the lights go out. Here again, the man who fails to surpass himself is a failure at the one thing needful.  

I could trot out a batch of aphorisms, but you get the point. And you -- yes, you there -- never will. Unless you exchange paranoia for metanoia immediately.

Human nature -- obviously -- comprises both being and becoming. There is a word for any philosophy that defaults to one side of this complementarity: wrong. As God's essence is to exist, I suppose we could say that man's essence is to become who he is -- more deeply, integrally, luminously, etc. 

"The dynamic core of human consciousness," writes Hughes, is this "omnidimensional desire to know that unfolds in the uncountable variety of human interests," gorounded in "a desire to understand the origin and ground of meaning itself."   

Our omnidimensionality is vertically reminiscent of the tridimensionality of the Godhead -- in other words, you could say that our restless omnidimensionality -- which is ceaselessly engaged with unity -- is a distant analogue of the divine perichoresis. If your mind isn't dancing, it ain't right. 
Do the monkey bone, do the shingling, get your slack back and take trip, slip, lose your grip & turn a backover flip and say: not the god of the philosophers, not the god of the scholars! (author too embarrassed to take credit).

This "questing consciousness" of ours "seeks out and discovers 'eternity,'" thereby becoming what it quintessentially is. Ultimately, our quest for God is God's quest for man. 

Who said that!

Now, this questioning quest begins vaguely but becomes increasingly differentiated through history. To cite one of the most obvious differentiations, primitive man locates his multitude of gods in the exterior/immanent world. It takes some time -- and psychological development -- to integrate these projections and to locate the one God beyond space and time. So if you see a Jew today, thank him.  

Speaking of which, and with great irony, Sr. Dávila observes that Unless circumstances constrain him, there is no radically leftist Jew. The people that discovered divine absolutism does not make deals with the absolutism of man. Among other celestial violations, statism is idolatry.

For this and additional reasons, In the Christianity of the leftist Christian, one of the two elements sooner or later eliminates the other. 

Why is that? Easy: antithetical first principles. If you think Judaism or Christianity are consistent with the first principles of the left, we have another aphorism for you: The theses of the left are rationalizations that are carefully suspended before reaching the argument that dissolves them.

True, there are plenty of "thinkers" on the left (too many!). It's just that their thinking isn't tall enough to reach the ground:
Consciousness is an emergence from the very ground of reality that is simultaneously the goal of its questioning concern (Hughes).

If this is starting to sound repetitive, I suppose it is, because in our Age of Stupidity it is necessary to repeat the fundamentals, since we are surrounded on all sides by a toxic culture that conspires to draw us away from them: from the ontological center to the existential periphery. 

Well, they won't get me! For our consciousness "constitutes an irruption of awareness of meaning," and is the site "where the 'cosmic process becomes luminous for its meaning.'" They can't reach their grubby hands into this space for the same reason that one can add an infinite number sides to a polygon without ever forming a real circle.  

Consciousness is the meeting place of man and God. If not, then it is the intersection of animal and contingency, or of primate and rationalization, AKA the Place of Tenure. Presumption + Stupidity, like MSNBC

Again, the divine presence is always here, but it unfolds and differentiates in the course of mankind's engagement with it. 

For example, it has always been true that All men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. But man is a little slow, dim, and thick. He still struggles with this questiondespite profiting so much (in multiple ways) from the answer.  

That's enough perfect nonsense for today. 


Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of which: "we can consider an architectonic pair of intellectual viae: first, the intellectual path to knowledge of God and, second, its correlative return pathway when all reality is judged in light of Him who has been discovered as the Source and Ultimate End of all reality" (Garrigou-Lagrange). More quotes as they become available.

Gagdad Bob said...

The classic "way of discovery... first ascends to God and then descends from Him to the things of the universe."

Gagdad Bob said...

"[M]an who is endowed with intellectual knowledge is opened up on the intelligible world and able to become, in some way, everything that is intelligible."

julie said...

If this is starting to sound repetitive, I suppose it is...

One thing I've come to appreciate/ understand, more and more with each passing year, is the truism that there is nothing new under the sun. Man may come up with new technologies and claim for himself an evolution in which he horizontally surpasses himself, but a quick look below the apparent transcendence reveals every time that he's the same old, same old fallen rascal he ever was.

History is fractal. And absurcular. He who has eyes, let him see, and he who has ears, let him hear. Or else.

Else what?

Oh, the usual: Gods of the Copybook Headings, through terror and slaughter return...

Anonymous said...

there is no radically leftist Jew.

Well that at least gave me a good laugh. Love it when goyim make pronouncements on who can be a Jew. On shabbos even!

Walter said...

What the fuck are you talking about? I converted when I married Cynthia!

Petey said...

Thank you, Walter. If you will it, it is no dream!

I might add that one of the blessings of language is that so long as words have meaning and the principle of non-contradictions applies, anyone is able to make valid pronouncements about the essence and existence of a thing. Which is precisely why the left attacks language and denies the principle of noncontradiction. Which, of course, they never do consistently, or feminists couldn't give opinions about men, blacks about whites, or normals about Raccoons.

Gagdad Bob said...

Truly, the left can ruin anything:

"All the exalted ideals of the American experiment, and the bitterness of its contradictions and hypocrisies, are placed in volatile admixture through an utterly American contraption, a device you might say is the result of a collaboration between Benjamin Franklin, Leo Fender, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the mongrel machine that Hendrix made into a medium for a new kind of virtuosity.

"More recently, the tune has served as a provocation to adopt a position: to raise a fist or take a knee (or to protest those very actions). But songs do not reduce to statements of ideology. They are fluid, elastic atmospheres that allow for multiple inflections, hospitable to those contradictions that Walt Whitman celebrated when he said, in his own “Song of Myself,” that he contained multitudes.

"His rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” turned it into a blazing freak flag, a protective shield for eccentrics, oddballs, weirdos, outsiders, marginal people of every sort."

Gagdad Bob said...

(By which I mean ruin Hendrix. Not to mention the New Yorker.)

DAT said...

Hughes? who is this

Gagdad Bob said...

Imagine writing this paragraph. You can't. (From this morning's NY Times email instructing me on how to think about race.):

The decision to choose leaderless or leader-full models is a refutation of the ideal of the traditional hero: martial, dominant and authoritarian in style, if not substance. It also recognizes the ways in which so many important figures have been excluded from being cast as heroes because they don’t fit the standard image, whether because of queerness, gender nonconformity, femininity, or mental or physical disability. The practice of overlooking these heroic people is ironic, given that navigating disadvantage often requires heroic labors. And although a few such outsiders make it into the annals, generally it is only if they are seen as “transcending” their very human qualities.

Gagdad Bob said...

Excellent point: "Distinguishing the Left's particular hatred of America from their general hatred of reality & the human condition is difficult."

I suppose the leftist would say it's nuanced.

julie said...

Imagine the amount of brain damage you have to have to even begin to write that NYT paragraph.

I could be wrong but having a "leaderful" system sounds suspiciously like a combination of "everyone gets a trophy" and "too many many chiefs, not enough Indians."

No thanks, I prefer an organizational system that actually fosters achievement.

Cousin Dupree said...

Indian is not the preferred nomenclature -- Casino-American, please.

Gagdad Bob said...

Here's a doozy:

Ethnic Studies is about people whose cultures, hxrstories, and social positionalities are forever changing and evolving. Thus, Ethnic Studies also examines borders, borderlands, mixtures, hybridities, nepantlas, double consciousness, and reconfigured articulations...

Gagdad Bob said...

The new curriculum, which will eventually be promulgated throughout the California school system of 6 million children, would “critique empire and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism … and other forms of power and oppression,” according to the proposal. It would “build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance.”

Thanks for the warning!

Gagdad Bob said...

Meanwhile, the city of Seattle has already created a proposed framework for implementing ethnic studies throughout its K-12 curriculum. Math teachers will ask the following questions: “identify how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color,” “analyze the ways in which ancient mathematical knowledge has been appropriated by Western culture,” “how important is it to be right?” and “Who gets to say if an answer is right?”

Gagdad Bob said...

"Identify how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color."

I know! Pretending 81 million people voted for Biden.

Van Harvey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
julie said...

Ye gods - I was serious about the brain damage comment; this is how it happens.

Van Harvey said...

"The factor that sustains consciousness in its multidimensional concern with meaning is questioning" (Hughes). That's true as far as it goes, but it doesn't go very far if there are no answers. And even answers don't go far enough unless they are related to the Answer."

Although never a fan of the show, I'm a fan of the 'Jeopardy!' style of answering a question with a question - if done consciously, it protects you from settling for the perilous 'answer that killed the question'.

'What does 2 + 2 equal?'
'What is the number 2?'
'True, and what do we mean by 'number', and what does 2 signify?'

Every question leads to more questions, and especially so for True answers, you're always left with the realization that there is a delightfully endless number of questions beckoning for you to follow

Van Harvey said...

'Ethnic studies' Yep, saw that yesterday. Get. Your. Kids. Out. Of. The. Establishment. Schools. Public. And. Private.

Gagdad Bob said...

It's literally child abuse.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yesterday my son observed that mere ignorance would be preferable to what they teach in government schools. He's already able to look at it with the horrified bemusement of a seasoned Raccoon.

julie said...

Funny, I was just now thinking exactly the same thing. How much would our country benefit if all they taught was reading, writing, and basic math, maybe how to balance a budget, and nothing more?

Gagdad Bob said...

If they taught only logic and economics, that would be the end of the left. Which is why they don't teach them.

Gagdad Bob said...

Looking back, I suppose I've spent most of the lockdown immersing myself in scholastic philosophy. It reminds me of Adam Smith, in the sense that he didn't promulgate an ideology, rather, just described what people do when they're free to do it.

Likewise, Thomistic philosophy is simply a description of what our minds do if they're free to do it.

Van Harvey said...

Gagdad "...Yesterday my son observed that mere ignorance would be preferable to what they teach in government schools..."

Yep, a wise raccoon cub, and that's the point I fleshed out to the point of obesity over five posts, that going to our schools to get an education, is far worse than simply being worthless - that'd be a relatively benign and inert problem. The problem is that doing so draws the student into a detrimental negative orbit of understanding that bars them from becoming educated, and fills them with an ever increasing absence, a perpetual sucking away, of true knowledge and wisdom.

"...Mindful that people 'are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable' and will ignore such facts and their consequences for as long as they are able to, I hereby declare my unpopular opinion:

Schools being closed has been the best & brightest spot of 2020 - why on earth would you want to reverse that?

If my opinion shocks you more than the facts that gave rise to it, it seems to me that should shock you about yourself even more, for given the importance of an education, isn't it foolish to expect good education to come from an inherently bad educational system, and even worse to persist in ignoring and promoting it? Whatever feelings you may have on the matter, I strongly suggest that you take this time to give careful consideration to the nature of our nation's school systems, and to whether or not they are fit to send either students or teachers back into, and why.

Assuming that what you mean by Education, is something more than getting a 'skilz certificate' for the job market, what's more important to a good education than test grades, is that it conveys an essential body of knowledge and general understanding which aims that student towards living a life worth living, and equips them with the intellectual means for living it well (does your school do that? These closures have seen alternatives to private and home school springing up across the nation and perhaps involving teachers you already know and trust in the form of Micro-Schools, and more, which can do that). A bad education, OTOH, requires only that students be led to misidentify a handful of good ideas as being inconsequential or even bad, or that bad ideas be misidentified as being good, to aim them towards preferences which conflict with or contradict important general truths. Do only that, and no matter how many good grades, test scores and degrees they get, the arrow of those student's lives will, over time, veer further and further from their proper target (does your school (hello '1619 Project', Common Core, etc...) do that?)..."

Van Harvey said...

Huh. Link didn't do the linky thingy. Try again: Keep the schools closed to open up Education

Anonymous said...

Substitute Math Teacher: Can anyone tell me what Algebra is? Yes, Melissa?

Melissa: Why does my math book look sad?

MT: I don't know. Why?

Melissa: It has too many problems.

MT: Well that is amusing. Now what about Algebra?

Melissa: Bigfoot is sometimes confused with Sasquatch. Yeti never complains..."

MT: Ohhhhhkay. Hmmmm. Anyone else? Roberta?

Roberta: Two cheese trucks collided. Debris was everywhere....

MT: Well I'll tell you. Algebra is that part of mathematics which uses letters or symbols to symbolize numerical quantities.

Roberta: Well you don't have to be such a tool about it, Einstein.

(The above is an excerpt of what it is like to subsitute teach in middle school).

Anonymous said...

Do not place two much stock in the influence of education on children. All children know school work is bunko and teachers are square.

Recall your school days.

Youth is oppositional. Every move made to tweak the curriculum is self defeating. The grown-up philosophy and ideas are disdained and sneered at by young people.

Recall your school days and try to say this is not true. You will not be able to.

There are always a few teachers pets that buy in but after the bullies get done with them they join the herd.

Public school is not a menace to children. It is very much the other way around. Ask a teacher.