Saturday, April 17, 2021

Leftists May Have No Consistent Standards, But at Least they're not Hypocrites

For obvious psychopolitical reasons, the following passage from Incompleteness caught my attention:

no validation of our rationality -- of our very sanity -- can be accomplished using our rationality itself.

Thus, there exist millions of people who are completely sane from within their ideological system, but only insane from outside it. We call these lunatics progressives.  It's not quite correct to say that they "can't be reasoned with." Rather, they can only be reasoned with -- in the manner described by Chesterton in chapter 2 of Orthodoxy, The Maniac:

The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

Similarly, Goldstein writes that "Paranoia isn't the abandonment of rationality. Rather, it is rationality run amuck, the inventive search for explanations turned relentless." Such a person is "irrationally rational," characterized by "logic run wild." 

More cosmic Orthodoxy via Chesterton:

Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite.... The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

Flipping through this maniacal chapter, there are some additional statements that prefigure Gödel:

the strongest and most unmistakeable mark of madness is this combination between a logical completeness and a spiritual contraction. The lunatic's theory explains a large number of things, but it does not explain them in a large way....

His cosmos may be complete in every rivet and cog-wheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world (emphasis mine).

One more important observation:

As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.

The normal man "has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet he sees all the better for that."

Note that this stereoscopy isn't so much horizontal as vertical: it requires the recognition of a hierarchy of levels, both on the terrestrial and celestial planes. To reduce the hierarchy to a single level is to guarantee inconsistency and ultimately absurdity. To appreciate hierarchy is to situate things in their proper place. 

Contrast this with the ideologue, the man of system, the progressive lunatic. As Goldstein says, "Anything at all can be deduced within an inconsistent system, since from a contradiction any proposition can be derived." 

Thus, it is common for conservatives to point out the daily hypocrisies of the left, but this gets us nowhere, since it is utterly beside the point. You can't be a hypocrite if you have no consistent principles. Rather, they would only be hypocrites if they were to deny their hypocritical expediency in service to power. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

High on Ideology

I'm not quite retired, so this post ends abruptly in mid-flow. 

A few quick hits from Incompleteness; ponder them in terms of the permanent truths of metaphysics as opposed to mere math:
--Once proved, a theorem is immune from empirical revision. 
--Mathematicians carry all their gear in their craniums, which is another way of saying that mathematics is a priori.
--Gödel's conclusions are mathematical theorems that manage to escape mathematics. They speak from both inside and outside mathematics.... Our minds, in knowing mathematics, are escaping the limitations of man-made systems, grasping the independent truths of abstract reality.
--They [the theorems] are at once mathematical and metamathematical.... It is as if someone painted... a landscape or portrait that represents the general nature of beauty and perhaps even explains why it moves us the way it does. 
--It is extraordinary that a mathematical result should have anything at all to say about the nature of mathematical truth in general.... mathematical reality must exceed all formal attempts to contain it (emphasis mine).
As to the latter, it is indeed extraordinary that mere quantity should reveal so much about qualities that seemingly transcend it. For it is as if money actually can buy you love after all. 

But how does math escape its own logic and break its own rules? How can 1 + 1 = 3, let alone beauty or laughter? Put in abigger way, how does the cosmos transition from 13 billion years of tedious and repetitive Isness to a regime of living Ought? How does existence turn itself inside out and become experience? What is experience? I'm having one now, as are you. But what is it and how does it get here?

The answers may surprise you. For they are -- like mathematical truth -- a priori. However, unlike the mathematical, the requisite gear for answering them is located not only in the cranium but in the thorax region. Attaining a total view requires the integration of these -- or, in the words of Schuon, "the Unicity of the Object demands the totality of the subject," "totality" being cranium + thorax, or head + heart. 

Limited to the head, 1 + 1 would always add up to 2; limited to the heart, 1 + 1 seems always to result in THAT'S RACISS!

With these thoughtlets in mind, let's get back to our central question, which is whether or not -- as with any other formal system -- the theorems may tell us something exoteric doctrines. The reason why this is important is because it may explain why the absurdities of exoterism are inevitable, as is true of any formal system, whether secular or religious. It doesn't imply that they are wholly false, just incomplete.

Empiricism and rationalism, for example, generate absurdities, but this doesn't mean they don't provide pieces of the puzzle or that they are devoid of truth. Rather, if pushed too far, they reveal will reveal inconsistencies. 

Same with religious dogma. It too is quite useful, especially in a practical sense, just as, say, Newtonian physics is quite helpful in our day-to-day lives, even if we now understand that it becomes inconsistent at the margins (where quantum and relativity theories take over and provide a more accurate picture of the macro- and microcosmos).

In an essay called Esoterism and Tradition (contained in the book Frithjof Schuon: Life and Teachings), Laude writes that religious tradition may provide "the best possible approximation on the terrestrial level of a conformity to Reality," even if it begins to fray at the "human margin." 

This is because tradition as such involves the attempt to clothe the formless in form. God is -- by definition -- supraformal, but is,  in the absence of a form, literally unthinkable. Thus,
the form is and is not the essence. The form prolongs the essence but it may also veil it. The essence transcends the form but it also manifests itself through it.

Hmm. Is and Is Not. We're not in Athens anymore! -- i.e., no longer dealing with Aristotelian logic, where things can't both be and not be at the same time. But this is precisely the dilemma Gödel resolves vis-a-vis the theorems. For just as no formal system exhausts reality, "the Divine Essence... transcends all determinations" (Laude):

We could say, simplifying a little, that exoterism puts the form -- the credo -- above the essence -- Universal Truth -- and accepts the latter only as a function of the former; the form, through its divine origin, is here the criterion of the essence.

Esoterism, on the contrary, puts the essence above the form and only accepts the latter as a function of the former; for esoterism... the essence is the criterion of form; the one and Universal Truth is the criterion of the various religious forms of the Truth (Schuon).

Now, "Inconsistent systems are of course complete, because we can prove anything at all in them. They're overcomplete" (Goldstein). They simultaneously explain too much and not enough -- or rather, it is precisely in explaining too much that they paradoxically fall short of a complete explanation.

I cited several examples of this phenomenon in the previous post -- Marx and Freud, for example, in explaining everything, end up explaining nothing. But this is what any ideology does: it superimposes a limiting framework on reality, thus conflating what is with what the ideology permits us to see. 

Z Man's post this morning touches on our subject, as it seems that hateminds think alike (The Narcotic of Unreality: https://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=23484):
This is how our public discourse has become increasingly bizarre. As soon as you exclude realty from the debate, you are left with various forms of unreality. Since none of the unrealistic options can possibly lead to a solution, the debate breaks free from the problem itself. The measure of acceptance is no longer about facts and reason, but some other standard.
Thus, our real crisis isn't about Chinese opioids or Chinese flu,
but the unreality pandemic plaguing our rulers. As the range of acceptable debate narrows, they are left with an increasingly bizarre set of choices.... Like an addict searching for the next high, our rulers are riding a dragon of depraved reality avoidance, taking the rest of us into the abyss where all addiction leads.
This is obviously true, but why is it true? I don't want to imitate our leftist fiends and try to explain too much, but if Genesis 3 All Over Again teaches us anything, it is that man is always tempted to reject transcendent truth in favor of seduction, hypnotism, narcissism, and idolatry. 

This being the caseconfining oneself to some faux-complete ideology will always feature these characteristics. From the outside they look crazy, but from the inside the craziness is completely normalized, and we are the abnormal ones.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Fun with Gödel

So, I hate it when people start their sentences with "so."

Anyway, yesterday I was flipping through The Largish Black Book of Bob's Quasi-Infallible Aphorisms, Epigrams, Gags, Zingers, Precepts, Gnomes, & Oracles and came across one that goes to our present discussion of Gödel's Theorems and how they might relate to the exoterism/esoterism distinction in religion:

The founder of an ideology is someone to whom the ideology doesn't apply

For example, consciousness is determined by one's class. Except for Marx, who somehow transcended the formal constraints of his own class consciousness in order to peer into the eternally true dialectic of scientific socialism. Nice trick! 

Or Freud, who proved that the conscious mind is determined by the unconscious. Except for his conscious mind, of course. Likewise, natural selection proves our minds are genetically determined. Except for people who promulgate genetic determinism. At least if free will doesn't exist, then no one can be wrong about its existence.

Structural racism proves it's impossible for black people to succeed in a white world. Oddly, the argument is made by black people who are more affluent than I'll ever be, such as Oprah or even the founder of BLM. She owns several more houses than I do, thus confirming another epigram: In the contemporary West, who knows how to be a victim knows everything. She lives by the adage, Marx for thee, Smith for me

This is reminiscent of an old saw to the effect that if someone is good at lying, then he's good at everything. Take current President Obama: is there anything he doesn't know?

It was at this point that I realized two things: first, that many of Bob's aphorisms make this same point, if not directly then in a roundabout way; and second, that Gödel's Theorems are one of the wellsprings of humor. In other words, if the comments about Marx or Freud or BLM are amusing, it is thanks to our implicit understanding of the theorems, which generate a kind of endless paradox due to the shift of levels (i.e., from within and beyond the formal system).

Let me cite a few of Bob's more Gödelian aphorisms:

Fidelity to the dictionary is resistance to tyrants. This is because the left never stops using language in order to undermine language -- in their case from below rather than above. 

I know how to doubt. Do you know how to believe?

Note that it is via doubting the formal ideological system of the Matrix that we are able to transcend the Matrix. Not so the blue-pilled Eloi, who are captive to the formal system of the Conspiracy.

A rationalist is someone who has forgotten where his premises came from

For they came from outside his rationalist system, precisely.

I'm not a believer, just a lapsed unbeliever

In other words, faith is not just an open and living communion with the Cosmic Subject, but first and foremost an escape from the "belief" that the Matrix is reality.

Truth is nice, but repelling error is enough.

Possessing truth is for Matrix dwellers. For fugitives from the Matrix, love of, and communion with, Truth is all there is. Among other reasons, this is because truth is a person, and a person can be defined (at least negatively) as the thing that transcends any formal system.

Leftists don't have ideas. Ideas have them.

Self-explanatory. If to be conservative is to reject ideology, to be progressive is to be confined to, and constrained by, one, which results in the larger portion of reality being unknowable, unthinkable, and unsayable.

With certain caveats, since reality will still be known, only this knowledge will be denied and projected, mainly into "conservatives," who are thereby seen to be everything leftists deny in themselves: racist, misogynist, greedy, selfish, superstitious, anti-science, etc.

Here's a good one: Ignorance is infinite, therefore God exists.

Note that for the ideologue, his ideology contains reality within finitude, thus "disproving" God. What's really happening is he's explicitly denying omniscience while implicitly assuming it, for if God doesn't exist, only He can know it; and if He does exist, only He could not know it.

Why not just throw more Asians in prison?

Here again, this is a commentary on the kookery of structural racism: the left likes to say there are too many blacks in prison, which is just another way of saying there aren't enough Asians, Jews, and Norwegians. 

Being born in the U.S. isn't fair!

If your first principle is equality, then it is entirely unjust that you are an American citizen of whatever race. So move out already! We don't need more immigrants, rather, fewer citizens.

Man does not live by facts alone. For Life Itself is the transcendence of mere fact. 

More Gödelian hijinks:

There is an inherent right to privacy, and babies don't have it.

Sure, he knows everything. But that's all he knows. 

True, a PhD in education knows nothing, but at least she knows how to teach it.

It is in the nature of a progressive to disbelieve in human nature.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 11, 2021

All Cretans are Liars and All Leftists are Cretins

Before getting to the heart of the matter, I want to highlight a few more passages from Rebecca Goldstein's Incompleteness. Frankly, I don't understand why more people don't talk about Gödel. Then again, whenever the Matrix excludes or vilifies an idea or a person, there's a damn good reason: it's not helpful to the Matrix. 

For the left, anything outside the Narrative simply doesn't exist. And if it insists on existing, then that's when the left becomes explicitly (instead of just implicitly) violent. 

For example, why doesn't BLM celebrate Thomas Sowell or Clarence Thomas or Candace Owens? Why does the Party of Science flee from the science of IQ? Why don't AGW hysterics push for nuclear energy? Why do feminists reject womanhood? Why do the Champions of Democracy want to dilute your vote by flooding the country with illegal Democrats and making it easer to cheat? Why doesn't the founder of Black Lives Matter want to live amongst blacks?  

As alluded to in our previous offering, postmodern proglodytes don't mind the Theorems so long as they can twist them to their ends, i.e., that there is no truth and man can't know it. This is essentially an updated version of "all Cretans are liars," i.e., "all leftists are cretins." 

Jumping ahead (or above) a bit, another question I want to delve into is the possibility of an a priori metaphysics. Long story short, this is a non-starter (literally) for Thomism, which insists that we must begin the vertical ascent at the bottom and the exterior, AKA objects and sensations. 

I'm a somewhat simple but definitely vulgar man so I'm no doubt missing something, but the statement all knowledge begins in the senses isn't a sensation. Just sayin'.

I suspect the reasons Thomas says this are twofold, 1) to protect the majesty of both God and formal revelation, and 2) to prevent man from getting too full of himsoph.  As pride is the root of all sin, humility is the foundation of... No, it's just the foundation, period. And if you think you can read God's mind, well, you're like Adam, only worse!

Later we'll circle back to Genesis, only literally, for extremes meet.

Now, you don't have to be a mathematician to know that mathematics is a priori. Why not metaphysics? 

In ether worlds, we don't need matter to know that 2 + 2 = 4, let alone that 1 + 1 = 3. Why then would we start at the contingent end to trace the contours of Necessary Being? 

As 2 + 2 will always be 4 in every real world (leftworld being fundamentally unreal, which is the whole point), we can affirm with equal certitude that -- for example -- the Absolute is, that Absoluteness entails infinitude, and that infinitude implies radiation, extension, creation, and mayaplicity (i.e., appearances "separate" from Reality).  

About the apriorism of math, Goldstein agrees that 

the mathematician neither resorts to any observations in arriving at his or her mathematical insights nor do these mathematical insights, in and of themselves, entail observations, so that nothing we experience can undermine the grounds we have for knowing them.

Nothing we experience can undermine the grounds we have for knowing them. Bear that in mind.

Now, I ask you: wouldn't it be nice if we could say the same of our ultimate theory, or of our theory of the Ultimate? But in a post-truth, anti-intellectual world plunged into the tyranny of relativism, we are supposed to repeat with a straight face the crooked farce that There is no Truth, and Man is its Messenger

Well, there are degrees of bullshit, and that last statement attains the highest and most "esoteric" (in an inverse manner) one. Indeed, this is the cautionary entalement of Genesis 3, precisely. You could go so far as to say that this is the quintessence of Satan's own metaphysic. If you don't believe me, believe the Aphorist:

No one is more respectful of “others’ beliefs" than the devil.
For as it pertains to the pervertical diseases of multiculturalism, "diversity," and moral relativism, Satan is OG. Again, he is the ontological sponsor, guide, and protector of the left in all its forms throughout all of history: he is the divider and the scatterer, the very principle of chaos, entropy, and vertical gravity. Here are a couple more wise slayings just to twist the hammer:

The proclamation of our autonomy is the founding act of Hell.

Here begins the gospel of Hell: In the beginning was nothing and it believed nothing was god, and was made man, and dwelt on earth, and by man all things were made nothing.

 Now, by way of inverse analogy, we do in a very real way begin with the senses. Here's another aphorism to prove the point, but only to people in need of no proof:

Mysticism is the empiricism of transcendent knowledge. 

I'm going to stop right there, not because we're anyone close to finished with this subject, but because I don't want to make the reader sick. I hear that people who go on this "internet" thing prefer concision and brevity, so I've been doing it all wrong.