Let us continue our excursion into the purification of the intellect.
Again, although the term -- purification -- will sound anachronistic to the postmodern, post-literate, and post-reality ears of the left, it is quite obviously one of their enduring preoccupations, extending back to the French Revolution, when the penalty for impure thoughts was separation of them from the body.
We see this same obsession with Impure Thoughts in all subsequent revolutions, from communists to Islamists to our contemporary cancelists.
Here again, this obsession with the thoughts of other people represents but the transformation of an archetypal religious concern that essentially coarises with man.
This is just another way of saying that the serpent has always been with us. He likes to accuse other persons (starting with God) of crimethink, which is why Jesus makes the point of advising us to remove the plank from or own heads before complaining to the authorities about the other guy's splinter.
Man has been dealing with this question of impure thoughts since the beginning of his terrestrial career some 50 to 100,000 years ago. And the earliest and most persistent solution to this problem has revolved around human sacrifice. Unless you have a better idea.
Today this ritual scapegoating is called "cancellation." It's the same mechanism, only sublimated: instead of killing the body, they only kill the career and/or reputation, and banish the victim to the wilderness, exiling him beyond the borders of the cult.
This is all exhaustively outlined in the works of Gil Bailie, Rene Girard, and others, so I don't want to repeat it here. It's also discussed in various anthropological studies of millenarian / apocalyptic movements.
Now, to a certain extent, you could even say that the modern west is just an accident of one man's pathological obsession with impure thoughts, and a desperate attempt to deal with them.
This man was Martin Luther, who is Patient Zero of cancel culture. His was the first successful revolution in the west since the revolution of Christianity some 1000+ years before. That first revolution truly overturned the order of the world; so too did Luther's, to such an extent that we are still dealing with the aftershocks.
Luther suffered from a truly morbid scrupulosity, even to the point of what we would now recognize as Panic Disorder: he just couldn't eliminate the Bad Thoughts from his head. I read somewhere that his confessions would last for hours, but that he always came back for more. No amount of forgiveness could expiate his guilt over his own disgusting impurity.
Eventually he landed on the idea that there was nothing he could do about his impurity and sinfulness, but that Jesus had done it for him. In a new twist on the meaning of Christ's redemption, he likened it to a blanket of white snow over a stinking pile of dung (regarding impure thoughts, he also had an obsession with feces, and scatological references abound in his works.)
But with that little maneuver, the intellect was severed from the body, somewhat analogous to Dr. Guillotin's invention, only leaving the organism alive. But the intellect was ruined, a victim of original sin. And if you want to see how ruined, just listen to one of those famous TV snake handlers like Joel Osteen or whoever it is this week. Look ma, no brains!
Once the intellect was severed from Christianity, the path was cleared for the new & improved ideologies that continue pestering us to this day. For the descendent of Luther there is no defense against them but "faith," which is no defense at all.
To be perfectly accurate, it can still be a defense for the faithful, but it can have no impact on the faithless materialist who -- ironically -- has a total but misplaced faith in the powers of his own omniscient and omnicompetent intellect.
Let's talk abut these people, since they occupy all the positions of power in our culture. There is no one in the ruling class who isn't a demented child of Luther, practicing the one true faith of progressivism in one of its many two-faces.
That may sound polemical until you think it through, all the way down to the ground. Then you'll see that it is obvious.
In The Active Purification of the Intellect, Garrigou describes a certain modality of morbid tenure. Such self-styled intellectuals
are afflicted with almost a mania for collecting. Theirs is an accumulation of knowledge mechanically arranged and unorganized, somewhat as if it were in a dictionary. This type of work, instead of training the mind, smothers it, as too much wood smothers a fire.
Under this jumble of accumulated knowledge, they can no longer see the light of first principles, which alone could bring order out of all this material and lift up their souls even to God, the Beginning and End of all things.
Here again, Luther and his progeny can offer no defense against such intellectuals, for he regarded our reason as an enemy and even "plague": we must accept things on faith, and pretending otherwise is a grotesque fall into pride and hubris.
This approach is similar to that of the Islamist, who would agree that anything not in the Book is unnecessary and probably the work of the Devil: "man, made from a bad tree, can do nothing but want and do evil" (Luther). Good works count for nothing and good thoughts even less, for man is "innately and inevitably evil and corrupt" and reason but his filthy whore.
Let's fast forward 500 years and see how this comports with the cult of antiracism: to the extent that you are white, you are innately and inevitably racist. And if you deny your racism, this only proves how racist you are. This kind of anti-logic is called a Kafka trap, but it could also be called a Luther trap: if you don't agree that your intellect is utterly wrecked by original sin, this only proves how wrecked you are by sin.
Now, this is not to say that the intellect escaped the consequences of the fall. If only! But a casualty is not necessarily a fatality, although it certainly can be, or maybe you didn't attend college.
Moreover, the wound becomes fatal as a direct consequence of turning away from God and sealing the mind from the flow of grace. To put it conversely, an "ungraced intellect" isn't just wrong but...
I don't want to exaggerate, but let's just say a liar and a murderer. It results in a literal spiritual blindness, such that, instead of 20/∞ vision, one is reduced to 20/Ø vision, which is no vision at all. In the words of Fr. G, the refusal of grace "takes all penetration away from us and leaves us in a state of spiritual dullness, which is like the loss of all higher intelligence."
So, Luther is not correct that we born into total and inescapable cosmic stupidity. Rather, full blown leftism is an acquired condition.
Once again the post has run overlong. To be continued...