Friday, January 15, 2021

You Are Here: Your Ultimate Map of Reality

It seems to me that because there are "two sides to every story," people often conclude that objective truth is unattainable by man. 

But it actually proves the opposite, because the logic of argument implicitly assumes the object of its search. In other words, no one -- assuming sanity and intellectual honesty -- argues for the existence of "things that are not," much less "things that can never be."

Here at One Cosmos we symbolize the implicit-but-always-present object of this search "O." In our view, one is free to deny the existence of O, but never in a self-consistent way. For on what rational basis can one deny the potential conformity of mind to reality? One is in effect saying: there is no possibility of truth, and that's the truth.

This goes to one of the more subtle "proofs" of (or ways to) God. The problem, of course, is that Proofs for the existence of God abound for those who do not need them (NGD), while no amount of proof is sufficient for the person without a knack for these things, i.e., vision, intuition, gnosis, common sense, pneumacognition, and/or infused contemplation. 

Ultimately -- and this is not a tautology -- The sole proof of the existence of God is His existence (ibid.). 

The reason this isn't a tautology is that proof of God is the experiential realization of his necessity, bearing in mind that this realization has many horizontal and vertical degrees and modalities, e.g., truth, beauty, love, mystical union, vertical recollections, eschatological murmurandoms, and various other Magic Moments of theophanic breakthrough -- for which we use the "empty symbol" (?!).

Even the most spiritually bereft and psychically desiccated atheist has been privileged to experience at least one episode of (?!), and probably more, for Celestial Central radiates and can't help radiating its presents down and out. 

Exactly what is happening during a theophanic breakthrough? In virtue of what principle is the breakthrough both possible and even inevitable if you would only get out of your own way and open yourself to the divine energies?

As it so often happens when (?) meets (!), I've been reading all about it in a book called Transcendence and History: The Search for Ultimacy from Ancient Societies to Postmodernity, by Glenn Hughes (see sidebar below).

No, there's nothing really new in it for the seasoned One Cosmonaut, but it's always gratifying to run into even a single individual who sees the world as we do. I won't say it can get lonely inhere, because with God one is never allone. Also, Hughes comes at it with a very different sensibility -- i.e., scholarly sobriety as opposed to loosey-nousey divine comedy and metaphysical mischief. 

Let's first jump to conclusions and lay out the under- and overall vision with a sample passage:

First of all, the timeless ground is real. The structure of reality includes the transcendent ground of meaning [O], which we experience through participation. It is a "flow of presence" in all human consciousness, whether we attend to it or not, and however sophisticated or unsophisticated our imaginative or conceptual portrayals of it. 

So, the irreducible structure of reality is an experiential and participatory flow of presence, in case you haven't gnosissed. How to symbolize this flow in the most abstract and universal way possible? Easy for me to say: O --> (k) and O --> (¶), the first more epistemological, the second more ontological.

Or better, these should be visualized as vertical relations, and with the arrows going both ways; oh, and in such a manner that the flow of presence is a spiraling movement toward increased depth and richness, sponsored at every step of the journey by the always complete but unattainable (by man, in this life) O.

Like the following: read s-l-o-w-l-y and see that the divine presence 

is understood precisely as the nonfinite condition for the existence and good of every finite thing. Every place becomes the place of the intersection of the timeless with time. And human being is where that intersection comes to self-recognition and self-realization, where the flow of eternal divine presence orients temporal existence, through human consciousness, toward timeless meaning and truth.

Orients. Where are we? I mean ultimately? Correct: we are "in" reality. What is the nature of this place we call reality? Correct again: it is at the crossroads of vertical and horizontal energies:

Human beings, then, always "remain in the 'in between,' in a temporal flow of experience in which eternity is nevertheless present.... at every point of the flow there persists the tension toward eternal being transcending time [O]." 

What is our ultimate "point of reference?" Is it O? Yes and no. Although Hughes doesn't express it this way, my view is that in a trinitarian cosmos -- or a cosmos everywhere stamped with the imprimatur of the Trinity -- the point of reference is more properly understood as (↑↓), not so much a "place" as a relation, or a "place of relation. Why so?

So as to avoid the twin errors of a radical transcendence or immanence. The former error persists in Buddhism and Vedanta, while the latter error is at the heart of scientism, Marxism, and any manmade ideology more generally.

I guess we'll leave off with this passage, because we agree with every word of it: 

History is not simply the unfolding of time; it is the intersection of the timeless with time. Historical progress, consequently, is not simply movement forward on a time line. It is, most essentially, success in attuning social and personal life to the truths of timeless meaning, a success that waxes and wanes...

And with our self-styled progressives in charge, we are of course seeing this progress wane before our very eyes. It's wane's world now. We just live in it. Oh well. What cannot continue will not continue. And in reality the waxing is always already underway, if you know where to lOOk. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The First Principle of Normality

The first task of philosophy -- come to think of it -- must be to distinguish the real from the unreal. Reality, of course, is one. If you do not accept this principle, then you are dismissed. For to differ on a principle so fundamental is to differ on everything else. 

As the Aphorist says, Intelligence is the capacity for discerning principles. And Intelligent discussion should be reduced to clarifying divergences. Thus, the most intelligent -- or consequential anyway -- discussion involves the clarification of differing fundamental principles. 

For example, I believe political violence is always wrong (at least in a free society such as ours). The left believes it is good so long as it is being committed by the left. Big difference. 

On what deeper principle can the left's seemingly contradictory stance be founded? It can't be the principle that "might makes right," for if gangs of deplorable MAGA rioters and looters were to burn down our cities to exert political pressure, the left would immediately recognize it as fascism.

Nevertheless, there is a deeper principle involved in the left's seeming lack of principle, most ably articulated by comrade Lenin; for him, the question always comes down to: Who and Whom. When the left is the hammer, it is Good; conversely, when the left is the anvil, it is Evil. 

We see the same principle with regard to racism: it is always bad unless the left engages in it. Thus, affirmative action is just racial profiling under new management.  

But just try explaining this to an NPC leftist. It will not compute. Instead, one will be greeted with regurgitated epithets such as RACIST, FASCIST, and in recent days TERRORIST, INSURRECTIONIST, and TREASONIST.

Nevertheless, these NPCs make it a special point to visit our comment section on a daily basis and rewordgitate their memes. For it has never occurred to them that Engaging in dialogue with those who do not share our assumptions is nothing more than a stupid way to kill time, for both NPC and living human alike.

So, we don't engage in dialogue with people who have never even examined their own principles, any more than we would ask a dog why it is such a slave to instinct. We prefer the mode of meta-level insultainment, i.e., Four or five invulnerable philosophical propositions allow us to make fun of the rest.

Back to our main theme, which is the one reality and its many alternatives. Now, man is always arguing 1) from principle; 2) toward principle; or 3) from or toward any or no principle at all, this latter corresponding to the intellectual Calvinball of the left. 

A normal person...

STOP! That right there is controversial, isn't it? For one of the first principles of the left is that there can be no such thing as normality because there is no such thing as human nature. "Normality" presupposes a transcendent essence, but transcendence presupposes God, and the left can't consistently go there: In the Christianity of the leftist Christian, one of the two elements sooner or later eliminates the other (NGD).

This principle-of-no-principle leads directly to a host of "illogically logical entailments" such as men can be women or marriage can be anything. For the normal person these are absurdities, but for the absurd person they are normalities. How can one argue with a person who doesn't even bow to the principle of non-contradiction? One can't.  

For example, if a person who believes in the principle of free speech argues with a person who believes in the principle that free speech means suppression of thoughtcrime, the argument inevitably ends with the former expressing impermissible thoughtcrime. Banished from Twitter. No conversation for you!   

Nevertheless, we believe in human nature and in normality, including intellectual normality. Is there such a thing? Of course there is: for it is identical to asking whether truth exists. Supposing it does, then it is normal to conform to it.  

Cue NPCs: NO EVIDENCE ELECTION RIGGED. NO EVIDENCE ELECTION RIGGED. Which peacefully coexists with 2016 ELECTION RIGGED, 2004 ELECTION RIGGED, and 2000 ELECTION RIGGED. 1960? NOT RIGGED. NIXON BAD.

Now, to reject the principle of human nature is to reject any principle of objective morality. Give Lenin credit for intellectual honesty and for arguing from first principle:
We reject any morality based on extra-human and extra-class concepts.... there is no such thing as a morality that stands outside human society; that is a fraud. To us morality is subordinated to the interests of the proletariat's class struggle.... all morality lies in this united discipline and conscious mass struggle against the exploiters.

Mass struggle against the exploiters. Or in our day, the left's victim culture whereby certain citizens are innocent and others guilty by virtue of immutable characteristics such as Whiteness or Maleness. 

For example, Biden's pick for head of the Civil Rights Division is innocent of racism despite believing the chemical melanin renders blacks superior, or that race should go into determining who pilots your plane.

About the principle of non-contradiction that permits and constrains normal thought. As it so happens, the latest Hillsdale Imprimus discusses this in the context of 1984, which has arrived 36 years late. Nevertheless, "better late than never" according to our technofascists.

As the first essential step of his education, Winston has to learn doublethink -- a way of thinking that defies the law of contradiction [which] is the basis of all reasoning, the means of making sense of the world.

Note well that last one, for it means that denying the law of non-contraction renders one forever incapable of making sense of the world. And there's a name for a world that isn't reducible to rational sense: hell.

Speaking of which, here's an example:

In our time, the law of non-contradiction would mean that a governor, say, could not simultaneously hold that the COVID pandemic renders church services too dangerous to allow, and also that massive protest marches are fine.

Well, unless there is a "higher" principle involved, Lenin's principle that whatever contributes to the left's success is good. Nothing more opposes the left's project than genuine religiosity, so Governor Newsom's logic actually checks out.

Just getting started. To be continued. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Fun Size Nuggets of Anti-Wokeness

Damn:  this is one of the best essays I can remember reading in a long time, Psychopathy and the Origins of Totalitarianism, by James Lindsay:

<https://newdiscourses.com/2020/12/psychopathy-origins-totalitarianism/>

The only drawback is that it's way too long -- at 8,538 words, to be exact. I extracted a number of passages for use in today's offering, but they came out to over 1,500 words, which is probably longer than one of our typical posts. Is it possible to boil it down further, to bite-sized aphorisms?

There's nothing in the post that we haven't touched on over the past 15 years, and I suppose that if we were to lay those posts end to end they'd fill a book or two, so who are we to diagnose logorrhea in someone else? 

Despite the wordiness, one of the guiding principles of this blog is to reduce the verbiage -- in other words  to say as much as possible with as few words as necessary  This requires a relentless vertical integration and synthesis that harmonizes the realms below without distorting, much less denying, them. This is more challenging than any reductive, one-dimensional religion such as atheism, but also much more fun.

On the one hand, we want to know Everything there is to Know about Everything there Is. On the other hand, we want to say it as economically as possible, because knowledge is infinite while time is short and getting shorter all the time. In an analogy we've used before, our life is like the opening and closing of the aperture of a camera. 

The length of one's life is the shutter speed, but under the best of circumstances we have only so much light with which to work and use to develop our pneumagraph of the whole. That this is even possible is about the most unlikely thing we could imagine (a fact that must, of course, be incorporated into our picture!) 

Yes, people have developed some pretty awful photographs over the years, from Marxism to National Socialism to Islamism and all the rest, but it's a wonder they can do it at all. What is reality that man art mindful of it? It must include man's ability to know reality, which presumes reality's ability to speak to man.

On to the essay. Of note, it is partly inspired by Pieper's (speaking of writers who say the maximum with the minimum) Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power, of which we have often written. Really, the title says it all: logocide is always a prelude to homicide. 

Not only is language "special," it is a divine gift and therefore sacred. If one is aware of the sanctity of speech, one trembles at the thought of committing the type of intellectual sin discussed in yesterday's post. Which is why intellectual dishonesty is among the most spiritually depraved conditions to which a man may sink, for it not only enables everything else, but justifies it.

While Lindsay doesn't mention him, his ideas are  also exhaustively described by Voegelin, with concepts such as doxic thinking (confusion of the model with reality), eclipse (closure of consciousness against reality), open existence (consciousness oriented toward truth and transcendence), amathia (willfully ignorant flight from the transcendent), and second reality (the fictitious world that masks or eclipses the real one).

Lindsay's essay is all about second realties and how they get that way. And what we can do about the people inhabiting them. Of course, if there is only one person inhabiting a secondary reality, we direct him to his local psychiatrist or psychologist. But what if there are millions? And what if these millions form a political movement that exerts pressure on the restavus to take up residence in their pseudo-reality?

I know what you're thinking: if you don't like California, move to Texas. Believe me, it's tempting. 

Anyway, every normal person feels this pressure to conform. Its essence is totalitarian; or rather, while the totalitarian temptation is fundamental to leftism, it is nevertheless a symptom of something deeper. What could it be?

Lindsay's analysis comes as close as secular thinking will allow:

Pseudo-realities are, simply put, false constructions of reality. It is hopefully obvious that among the features of pseudo-realities is that they must present a plausible but deliberately wrong understanding of reality. 

Therefore, because the construction is false, it must be defended. But it can never be defended with logic consistently applied. As we know, there are two things the woke progressive can never do, on pain of waking up from xyr wokeness: 1) be consistent in xyr principles, and 2) stop projecting. 

pseudo-realities do not attempt to describe reality as it is but rather as it “should be,” as determined by the relatively small fraction of the population who cannot bear living in reality unless it is bent to enable their own psychopathologies, which will be projected upon their enemies, which means all normal people.

But the projection too is a symptom, although it later becomes a cause. For example, supposing a woke person projects racism into me, this might cause xym to key my car or turn me in to the authorities for wrongthink.

The basic and ineradicable issue for the woke person is that reality can never mirror their psychic distortion. But instead of changing thoughts, like the restavus do, the woke bloke doubles down and tries to cut reality down to the size of his dreamworld. 

It also must be noted that the mismatch between fantasy and reality will feel like an act of aggression to the offended snowflake. Which is why, for example, we are seeing the corporate crackdown on conservative thought by our technofascist underlords, who are determined to force everyone to sing from the same hymnal and hernal. 

We are literally witnessing them turn our public square into one big college campus; while college used to be an island of repression in a sea of freedom, they want the sea to be as repressive as any looniversity bin. 

Pseudo-realities are always social fictions, which, in light of the above, means political fictions. That is, they are maintained not because they are true, in the sense that they correspond to reality, either material or human, but because a sufficient quantity of people in the society they attack either believe them or refuse to challenge them. 

The credo of the postmodern progressive is Truth doesn't exist, and we are its prophets; or There are no metanarratives outside our twisted paralogic; and finally the outright threat of Be tolerant of our intolerance, or else!  

We'll end this already too long post on that note:

Because the pseudo-reality is not real and does not correspond in any faithful way to objective reality, it cannot be described in terms that are logical. In the realm of how it thinks about the world, a pseudo-reality will employ an alternative logic -- a paralogic, an illogical fake logic that operates beside logic.... a pseudo-real paralogic will always be internally (and often unrepentantly) inconsistent and self-contradictory (Lindsay).

Which we've been saying for years. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Sin Intellectually and the Rest Follows

I suppose most people, when -- or these days, if -- they think of sin, they imagine certain behaviors, from murder to theft to lying, et al. Jesus, of course, shifts the focus from external behavior to interior intent. 

Now, this cannot contradict the truism that the highway to hell is paved with good intentions, because intentions, in order to be good, must be in accordance with the virtue of prudence, and prudence always considers unintended consequences. 

Which, as you will have no doubt noticed, is precisely what makes the left so foolish and so bereft of wisdom (wisdom being synonyms with prudence). 

We won't say "evil," because the left's iniquity is a somewhat separate matter: it takes all kinds (or five kinds, rather) to make up the left, and there is a difference between ignorance, stupidity, indoctrination, mental illness, and demon possession, even if the demons exploit the first four. There is also excusable ignorance and the culpable kind, innocent stupidity mingled with the tenured kind. 

Having said that, it is certainly the case that when the left's good intentions are on the march, iniquity is in the saddle. For which reason the Aphorist reminds us -- as if we need reminding -- that

The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues.

Being that this is -- obviously -- a  human problem before it is a political problem, one will find plenty of people with good but unexamined intentions among conservatives. 

However, given the deeper principles of conservatism, such purblind worldlings must be considered accidental to the movement; conversely, the essence of leftism involves a conflation of intentions and results. Examples are too numerous to mention:

"rent control"; "minimum wage"; "affordable healthcare"; "war on poverty"; "public education"; "diversity"; "anti-hate speech"; "anti-racism"; "pro-woman"; "sex education," etc.

In each case, the intention leads to its opposite: housing shortages, increased unemployment & small business failures, more expensive healthcare, institutionalized poverty, credentialed idiocy, intellectual conformity, legitimization of hatred, structural racism, institutionalized misogyny, and increased abortion & unwed motherhood, respectively.

Since intention is prior to act, it seems to me that the greatest and most consequential evil must be intellectual sin. For example, extermination of Jews was predicated on the belief that Jewish blood polluted and poisoned Aryan blood. 

Likewise, the 100 million deaths that followed in the wake of communism's good intentions resulted from the principles of class warfare and elimination of private property.

Unfortunately, the reports of Marxism's death in 1991 are greatly exaggerated. In reality, Marxism cannot die, at least until the end of the world as we know it.  

If there is ever an "apocalypse" -- i.e., final unveiling of history -- one of the things it will reveal is the deeper structure of Marxism, the latter being only an effect of something quintessentially human. This nasty thing takes many forms; it apparently accompanies the human journey from the beginning and will be with us until the end. Wheat & tares.

Gosh. What could it be? Let's stay out of politics per se, and try to look at it as a biologist might look at any other animal. We don't consider, say, an anthill and criticize the queen for lording it over the drones. We don't criticize dogs for their prejudices against cats, or cats for sadistic tendencies towards mice.

So let's take man as we find him. As it so happens, over the weekend I read an enjoyable book called Why We Bite the Invisible Hand: The Psychology of Anti-Capitalism (see sidebar). Nothing new, really -- nothing you won't find in a book by Sowell or Hayek or Friedman, nor does the author proceed far enough in his analysis, as he is a secular thinker and stalls out at the level of sociobiology. 

Even so, not only is this deeper than any ideological leftist dares go, but even going there provokes hysteria among the usual suspects: biology is racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-LGBTQ, etc. 

More to the point, it contradicts the principles of the left, so it must be attacked and discredited. If biology decrees that men can't be women or that IQ is inherited or that envy is genetic leftism, then biology's gotta go.

To be continued....