Thursday, September 23, 2021

Checking in with the Ground of Cosmos and Psyche

I was going to say "rethinking the foundation of" but the foundation can't change, only its entailments and our depth (or lack) of understanding. What is is, even if we pretend it isn't.  

However, as we know, even that which isn't -- or even cannot be -- has real world effects. A sovereign nation can't have open borders. Nevertheless. 

Likewise, the world can insist that human biology is irrelevant, at least for a while. But eventually biology will extract its vengeance -- no different than if we were to deny the laws of physics or economics. Regarding the latter, we've passed the point that we can solve the problem of dysfunctional monetary policy by printing more money. Nevertheless.

Where is the Flood when you need it?

Speaking of which, notice how the left has an intutive sense of the Ground and its effects, only they displace and project it into the imaginary world of Climate Catastrophe (among others). They agree that we are Doomed -- after all, this is what it means to be under Existential Threat -- only project their wild Boschian fantasies into the weather.

Same as any primitive people, I suppose. God isn't dead, he's just back to a pre-Judeo-Christian form of tossing lightning bolts from the sky and causing floods, fires, famine, and hurricaines. Climate change causes everything. Just like God.

Obviously the softer the science the easier to deny: not only can anyone deny human psychology, but denial itself is one of the most important things to know about human psychology -- that man's psychic armamentarium includes the ability to deny unpleasant and unwanted truths. 

This (like psychological defense mechanisms in general) is a Good Thing, or at least it has a proper function. But just because man can only handle so much truth, it doesn't mean he should live in a world of lies. This turns a defense into an aggressor, very much like an autoimmune disease that turns on the host.

Speaking of foundations, we see this defense mechanism articulated right out of the gate in Genesis, with Adam's dissatisfaction with, and denial of, mere creaturehood. And every denial contains an affirmation, in this case, "we shall be as gods."  Here is an example of the Ground mentioned in the title: its essential Isness never changes, only the effects.

Cosmos and Psyche

It's getting to the point that we need a new constitutional convention. To be sure, the old one is adequate for us -- white European male Christians and their families -- but not the others (and they aren't shy about saying so, from Woodrow Wilson to Ruth Ginsberg). The existing constitution can't work in a matriarchy, a matriarchy of color, an Islamist patriarchy, or a pansexual utopia. It can't work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Africa, etc.   

To say that man is the "political animal" is a tautology, unless these two form an irreducible complementarity. If that's the case, then we still have to give a specific meaning to "political animal." It can't be "a man with politics," because politics goes to the essence of what man is

Nor is there politics without man. Evolutionary psychologists like to reduce politics to what we see among other primates and social animals, but that's just instinct. And if politics reduces to instinct, then biology is sufficient to explain it. Even though biology is whatever they want it to be. Nevertheless.

This is not to say that politics is free of biology. To the contrary, it pervades our politics -- for example, in the estrogen-driven Democrat party and the low-T Republican castrati who seek its approval. AOC at one end, Jonah Goldberg, David Brooks, and David From at the other, and not a testicle among them. 

A "People" is presumed by the Constitution. It doesn't work with multiple peoples with "identities" completely at  odds with one another. It WILL NOT WORK in a country of Ilhan Omars, Al Sharptons, Don Lemons. Its first words are WE THE PEOPLE and their POSTERITY. I used to assume that the make-up of the people was irrelevant, and that it applied to all people at all times.

Not only is this a Big Mistake, it is one of the biggest mistakes of the left. To believe it is to have not only given in to the left but to be an implicit leftist. For just as politics is downstream from culture, culture is the externalization of a people. I no longer see my culture out there among the culturati. It still exists, but only in certain little islands of resistance. Oddly, in the "information age" it is more accessible than ever, but our New People reject it root and branch. 

To give these concerns some context, over the weekend I read a book called Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics. It is by Mary Eberstadt, one of those respectable conservatives from whom the left has little to fear. The book makes some vitally important points, but presented in such a way as to not offend our new ruling people. Don't worry, she's not one of those deplorable Trumpian insurrectionists!

I'm running late, so I don't have time to review the book. However, much of its argument is presented in this recent essay called The Cross and the Crisis, which I will try to edit down to its essential points. First, there is the ever-present choice between Order and Chaos (which brings to mind an aphorism -- Either God or chance: all other terms are disguises for one or the other).

First, there is compounding family Chaos, brought on by a radical social experiment now six-plus decades in the making. Elemental human bonds have been frayed and cut, and the institution of the family has been weakened, on a scale never seen before. 
Second, and symbiotic, there is also compounding psychic Chaos of all kinds. For decades, the rise in mental illness has been documented beyond dispute. Anxiety, depression, and other afflictions resulting from disconnection and loneliness have become endemic, especially among the youngest, and most frail. Irrationalism has come unbound. 
Third, there is political chaos. Though its causes are many, the dissolution of clan and community leave their marks here, too. To put it rhetorically: how could the unattached and dispossessed people of our time produce anything but a disordered public language? 
Fourth, there is anthropological chaos of a wholly new order. The Western world is gripped by an identity crisis. In its latest form, magical thinking about gender has escaped from the academy and now transforms society and law -- magical thinking so preposterous that little children could call it out. In a shocking descent unlike any in recorded history, many people today no longer even know what little children know -- namely, who they are. Once more, irrationalism is unbound. 
Fifth, there is intellectual Chaos. Outside a few faithful institutions, American education, especially elite education, has been hiding in a postmodern cuckoo’s nest for decades. People who do not believe in truth now run institutions charged with discerning it. A little while ago, an atheist was elected Chief Chaplain at Harvard. Why not? If there is no truth, there are no contradictions. In much of the academy, irrationalism is not only unbound. It rules. 
Sixth, and most consequential: there is Chaos of a new order and significance among Catholics across the Western world. It arises from people who want to transform Church teaching – and their animus against other people who hold to the truth of that teaching.... leaders proudly brandishing the Catholic label just as proudly defy the Catechism and key points of canon law.... Magical thinking drives this kind of chaos, too.... All demand that we cancel Aristotle – that we believe “A” and “Not-A” at once.

Here we see how the diabolical seeds of chaos are sown in the ground, and we are but the beneficiaries of the bountiful harvest.  

6 comments:

julie said...

Its first words are WE THE PEOPLE and their POSTERITY. I used to assume that the make-up of the people was irrelevant, and that it applied to all people at all times.

To be fair, the left - or, let's be honest - the diabolical have been pushing that line for well over a century, so much so that for most Americans of the past few generations it became the sort of tacit "knowledge" we believe by default. After all, don't all people everywhere basically want the same things?

Well, no, they don't, but since it's natural to think so (the default assumption of most people being that everybody thinks the same way oneself does), we all did. Most still do.

ted said...

You make a great point today: the lack of balls today. I see it in myself at times. If I do engage in any political discussions these days with people, I find myself softening my posture by stating how I also find Trumpisms boorish and that this country has some blood on its hands to tend with. But when I do this, I hate myself for it. It's like I'm doing this performative dance so not to be completely ostracized by society. There comes a point when you do want to say IDGAF ("I don't give a..."), because extreme times requires extreme measures. And pandering to lefty idiots will never fly.

julie said...

In a shocking descent unlike any in recorded history, many people today no longer even know what little children know -- namely, who they are. Once more, irrationalism is unbound.

Here again why homeschooling is so important. My kids will not grow up believing that they have no history to be proud of and no culture worth celebrating.

Anonymous said...

Stage Left: Enter the troll.

This post is one of yours that calls for a rebuttal. Oh joy! Things I do not agree with.

You wrote: "This is not to say that politics is free of biology. To the contrary, it pervades our politics -- for example, in the estrogen-driven Democrat party and the low-T Republican castrati who seek its approval. AOC at one end, Jonah Goldberg, David Brooks, and David From at the other, and not a testicle among them."

This leaves you, Gagdad, wide open to the charge of being a Republican castrati. You created the category, now we ask for proof this category does not include you. What have you done, Mr. Macho? Wrote a blog? Is that enough to prove a lack of limpness? Hmmmmm.....

People in glass houses, Gagdad.

The rest of the post is patently false, foretelling spurious doom.

The truth is, our culture is vibrant, creative, competent and prosperous, and God is well pleased. Even with you, Mr. Gloomy, because you write well.

The founding fathers would be proud of you, Gagdad. You are sounding off, you are crabby, and you are out there mobilizing for action. You don't have to be right to be doing the right thing.

-Alexander Hamilton Arnold.

Anonymous said...

Julie quaffed deeply of the Gagdadian purple cool-aid and is beyond rehabilitation. She is forgiven; this was not your fault.

Ted admits to a lack of balls, however, it takes balls to admit to a lack of balls which negates the charge. That gets complicated.

Ted, there is nothing wrong with your testicular endowment or how you have tried to avoid social ostracism. You have a family to look out for and you need to do what you need to do.

The left and its PC is ferocious, I have been on the receiving end of it and was appalled. And I am an actual Democrat. Even the people of the PC don't necessarily like having PC applied to their case. It is an equal opportunity hazing.

Just pull out your Ruger Black Hawk in liberal company and watch people flinch and recoil. Ok its just an single-action cowboy revolver. It has aesthetic appeal.

But no, you are a monster. You touched the Black Hawk you fiend. How could you.

Van Harvey said...

Your page quote from Thomas Aquinas, sums it up: "The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth."

To which Hegel would reply that people shouldn't worry about such "Aristotelian contradictions", all that's needed are enough words and you can transform such errors into *truths* that people will agree upon and animate the General Will of the entire populace.

What could possibly go wrong? Of course, if you aren't bothered by Aristotelian contradictions, you'll never know or care, and tenure is assured.