Friday, August 06, 2021

The Linguistic Map is not the Divine Territory

Retirement involves a great deal of goofing off. Frankly, it takes all day just to get nothing done. 

But a helpful comment from yesterday reminded me that, just because I live like some kind of sad-asssed refugee from the f*cking sixties, it requires little effort on my part to simultaneously type and goldbrick. 

What's it like to be a non-organized vertical ObOspontaneously abiding in the moment and typing whatever drifts into his head? Keep reading to find out.

True, there are a lotta strands to keep in the head, but I find that if I pursue them one by one, they have a way of pulling themselves together without my having to force the issue. One warp leads to awoofer.

I don't want to jump down another rabbit hole, but something G-L said prompted me to pull a few volumes of Polanyi from the shelf and weave his thoughts into the magic carpet. It may or may not prove relevant as we proceed:

Theological accounts of God must, of course, appear meaningless and often blatantly self-contradictory if taken to claim validity within the universe of observable experience. Such a result is inevitable, whenever a language that is apposite to one subject matter is used with reference to another altogether different matter (Polanyi, emphasis mine).

To take an obvious example, using Newtonian terms and concepts to describe subatomic processes inevitably generates paradoxes and absurdities. 

Come to think of it, it isn't possible to describe a dream with wideawake language or cutandry aristotelian logic; rather, one must supplement symmetrical with assymetrical logic. Bomford shows how this nighttime logic can help us understand infinite, atemporal, and suprasensible realities that are described in the more concrete and ready-to-hand modality of scripture (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1853434388?ie=UTF8&tag=onecos-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=1853434388). 

Although everyone moves, thinks, and has his being in an implicit metaphysic, not everyone is a metaphysician. Indeed, hardly anyone in the extra-Coon world. 

Bomford is another tempting rabbit hole, but let's stick with Polanyi. The basic problem, I think, is how to describe a higher level with the means of the lower level from which it has emerged? This is a recurring motif of verticality -- for example, using only physics and chemistry to describe the biosphere will result in an impoverished model and generate insoluble paradoxes; likewise reducing mind to brain or soul to psychology.

This has always suggested to me that -- being that we are a very new species, only around 50,000 years old -- we're still struggling to map the nonlocal and immaterial territory we find ourselves inhabiting. For this reason, God has reached down to us in various ways to assist us in the task of pneumography and vertical navigation. But obviously, in so doing he must meet us where we are. 

Anyone can see that we aren't where we were two or three thousand years ago. Does this invalidate the divine message? 

Here we circle back to the question of historicism raised in yesterday's post. Was the old revelation so historically and culturally conditioned that maybe we need a new one for our cosmically stupid times? 

Suffice it to say that G-L's purpose in writing The Philosophy of Being and the Development of Doctrine is to explain why the old revelation was ahead of its time then and remains so today. Moreover, we only are where we are because of the gradual historical assimilation and exteriorization of the old message.

Just as the achievements of biology can never be exhaustively represented by physics or chemistry, nor can man's spiritual adventures ever be reduced to words. Recall yesterday's image of the oppressive grid made of crisscrossing bars of journalism and tenure. Contrast this with an organic tapestry with intertwined threads of the natural and supernatural.

Backing down to where we lifted off yesterday, G-L wants to vindicate the proposition... 

Too formal... Put it this way: why is there so much idiocy among the educated -- or credentialed, rather -- and so much wisdom in revelation and scripture? 

One immediately flashes back to Paul's gag to the effect that the wisdom of the tenured is so much lunatic babbling to the Creator. Pick any atheistic philosopher from the past 300 years, and you'll understand what he means. For in the words of the Aphorist, 

He who speaks of the farthest regions of the soul soon needs a theological vocabulary.

That's just a fact. The question before us is the relationship between language and reality. One side (the idiocracy) would enclose us in language, while our team makes the outrageous claim that words ultimately refer to real things exterior to us (and interior to us, come to think of it). We will expand upon this insult as we delve deeper into the book

Sure, sometimes it can sound as if one is talking nonsense, when one is merely speaking of the nonsensuous with the available vocabulary. Looking back on it, this is how I made the prodigal journey home from East to West: the simple realization that the concept -- or better, the experience -- is one thing, the vocabulary another. The map is not the territory, nor can one eat the menu. The bottom upshot for today is this:  

Mysticism is the empiricism of transcendent knowledge.

The objectivity of mystical experience cannot be demonstrated. Just like that of any other experience.

Oh, and man's prideful intelligence is to transcendent reality what good intentions are to conduct: more often than not a road to hell.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

If Truth Evolves, It Isn't

Lotta durned innarestin' questions raised by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange in this here new translation of his The Philosophy of Being and the Development of Doctrine. I'm only into the first 34 pages, but so far it's a purt' good story. Made me cogitate to beat the band. Parts anyway. 

Just one thing: does he have to use s'many Latin words?

As we know, one of the perennial cosmic heresies of the left is historicism. This term has a number of connotations, but the focus here is on the idea that all truth claims are historically conditioned and cannot be understood outside their historo-cultural matrix. Here we arrive at hell's bottom: birthplace of such twisted ideologies as multiculturalism, moral relativism, deconstruction, CRT, et al. 

Like all heresies, historicism takes a perfectly useful  and even trivial partial truth but expands it all out of proportion -- as is true of any ideology, say the Barbaric Larcenous Marxists of BLM. If these criminal retards and political psychopaths were only defending the proposition that race has no bearing on a person's natural rights, we'd be right there along side them protesting. 

Hell, if blacks were truly being denied their natural and civil rights, we'd even go so far as to join them in protesting with guns, bombs, arson, and other mostly peaceful means.

Anyway, the underlying issue G-L addresses here "is the historical contextualization of all truth claims." At the extreme other end of historicism (here in Celestial Central) is the proposition that the most important moral, political, and philosophical truths are timeless, universal, and self-evident; they are "in the nature of things" -- a nature that includes the human person -- and are accessible to any person in all conceivable times and places. Where one happens to find oneself thrown into history has nothing to do with it.

"A metaphysical doctrine," writes Schuon, "is the mental incarnation of a universal truth." Conversely leftist ideology is the emotional incarnation of a universal lie. Marxism, for example, denies the Absolute while privileging its own counterfeit absoluteness; likewise the diabolical doctrine of anti-racism, which would imply that, say, Obama, is 50% victim and 50% oppressor of himself.

I know what you're thinking: the Progressive Savior is a hypostatic union of perfect Victim and perfect Oppressor, having two complete and distinct natures at once. Although he is Victim and Oppressor, yet Obama is not two, but the One we've been waiting for.

A moment's reflection will tell you that our quintessential transhistoricism is one of the bases of our value and dignity, i.e., our consciousness of the Absolute and all this both presumes and entails. 

For example, what sort of being is potentially conformed to the Absolute? Only human beings, hence the literally infinite divide between man and beast (notwithstanding the equally obvious continuities). 

Likewise, in what sort of cosmos is this mysterious adequation of intellect to intelligibility even possible? The number of cosmic coincidences needed to render this reality possible makes the whole scheme look suspiciously con-spiratorial (in the literal sense of "breathing together," or even where threegather).

Schuon: "Man is made for what he is able to conceive; the very ideas of absoluteness and transcendence prove both his spiritual nature and the supraterrestrial character of his destiny."

Come to think on it, "One of the keys to the understanding of our true nature and our ultimate destiny is the fact that the things of this world never measure up to the real range of our intelligence" (FS) -- which is another way of saying that all ideologies are self-imposed means of enclosing the intellect behind a grid of crisscrossing bars of stupidity and pride; or maybe envy and ingratitude; or perhaps journalism and tenure.

With regard to these ideological grids, "The world scatters us, and the ego compresses us; God gives us recollection and dilates us..." (ibid.). 

Dilation is required for any birth, whether the first or second. 

Another way of looking at historicism is to say that it is intrinsically peripheral, in the sense that there is no earthly hope of finding -- much less abiding -- in the Center. But this is the whole point! Put conversely, it takes a foolsgold-plated nihilist to maintain that the point of life is pointlessness. 

Schuon: "In order to be happy, man must have a center; now, this center is above all the certitude of the One. The greatest calamity is the loss of the center and the abandonment of the soul to the caprices of the periphery. To be man is to be at the center; it is to be the center" (as in O <-> ʘ).

Speaking of centers, let's get back to ours, i.e., the book. G-L agrees that "there are fundamental metaphysical principles constituting the ground of enduring dogmatic truth, that people know without need for study. These principles allow dogmatic propositions to be ontologically understandable by all..."

Yes, but... some aspects of doctrine are a little difficult to swallow, and not just communion. Are such things really common sense

Yes -- we suspect -- if only we go back and down far enough to first principles; the question is "whether the Church has been given a knowable, propositionally enunciable deposit of faith" which is neither myth nor metaphysics per se, while not denying their importance to the imagination and intellect in unpacking and assimilating them -- in making them fruitful. For man is more than just his intellect; he is also body, passion, creativity, love, freedom, etc. 

While the Christian doctrine surely develops in time, it does not do so in any historicist manner that would negate what went before; rather, with the passage of time the Church "does not know 'more' revealed realities, but rather knows more of what is (and was) present in the revealed realities" all along.

We might say that if the Truth "evolves," then it can't be. 

Look at me, ramblin' again. Retirement'll do that to a man, but I happen to know that another little post is already on the way, just waitin' to be born. I'll catch ya further on down the trail in the next e-pistle.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Reproach them Father, For they Know Damn Well what they're Doing

Woke up early with nothing to do, and this post is the result: nothing doing. Or nondoing something.

Here's a thought:

The noble man feels the need to admire, to venerate, to worship; the vile man on the contrary tends to belittle, even to mock, which is the way the devil sees things; but it is also diabolical to admire what is evil, whereas it is normal and praiseworthy to despise evil as such, for the truth has precedence over everything (Schuon, The Transfiguration of Man).

Come to think of it, Fr. Garrigou says something similar vis-a-vis the reductio ad absurdum of our cosmic situation, which comes down to a binary choice between True God and radical absurdity. The rest is either florid bloviation or metastatic tenure.

Under the progressive tyranny of relativism, "There are no longer any lies," -- because no Truth -- "but merely successive opinions." They say everyone has an opinion, but it's the other way around: opinions have the mind that permits them entry and propagates them.  

Regarding the need to admire, venerate, and worship, the Padre writes of how there is "nothing greater than a saint kneeling and humbling himself," and of how "we must form the habit of bowing profoundly before God and before whatever is divine in all souls."

Know what I mean? On the other hand, 

Respect for all opinions, however false or perverse they may be, is only the proud denial of respect due to the Truth. Sincerely to love the true and the good, we must have no sympathy with error and evil. Truly to love the sinner and further his salvation, we must detest the evil in him (emphasis mine).

Know what I mean? So-called "tolerance" always devolves to the totolerantarianism of cancel culture. 

Now, mockery is an essential characteristic of the left, as is the open admiration of evil (e.g. socialism, BLM, Antifa, Castro, CRT, racial discrimination, fake news, criminality, anti-religious bigotry, etc.). As such, it is both vile and diabolical. 

Except to say that the left isn't diabolical because it is evil, rather, the converse: it is the most evident instantiation of the diabolical in the contemporary world (bearing in mind that the corruption of the best is the worst, which is why, say, Youtube or the Enemedia are worse than the CCP, since no normal person expects anything of the latter).

Lies, smears, and violence have characterized the left's methods ever since... Well, no matter where we draw the line there's an ideological ancestor, but let's begin with Lenin; you will note that the left continues to follow his advice -- venerate it, one might say -- down to the letter:

In Lenin's view, a true revolutionary did not establish the correctness of his beliefs by appealing to evidence or logic, as if there were some standards of truthfulness above social classes. Rather, one engaged in "blackening an opponents mug so well it takes him ages to get it clean again."

If ever. Today's Leninists simply displace class to race, gender, and perversion preference: identity politics is just repackaged Leninism -- both approaches deny the truth of the individual, who is (diabolically!) dragged down and swallowed into the collective. It's no wonder they love their masks: no face, no problem.

When ideological opponents 

objected to Lenin's personal attacks, he replied frankly that his purpose was not to convince but to destroy his opponent.... You can see traces of this approach in the advice of Saul Alinsky -- who cites Lenin -- to "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it."

.... there was no need to understand opposing views before denouncing them, since the very fact that they were opposing views proved them wrong -- and what was wrong served the enemy and so was criminal. 

Trump, for example, only became a criminal, racist, and fascist the moment he posed a threat to Democrat (and Republican) power.  

I can't think of any trollian commenters (the merely fatuous ones excepted) on this blog whose first and last method of argument doesn't involve the ad hominem fallacy.  Over the years I have of course been called racist, fascist, and all the rest. It comes with speaking truth to the left.

You're one to talk, bOb! Aren't you engaging in the even worse fallacy of ad demonem

Could be, but the last person to determine this would be a secular leftist who denies the existence of the demonic even while demonizing his opponents. 

From their perspective, "attacking the demonic" would constitute nothing more than wrestling with one's own imaginary psychic projections, AKA mental illness. In other words, I am merely projecting my unconscious demons into the left, as a way to manage my own tenuous emotional equilibrium.

Again, could be. In fact, I am willing to concede that either I am doing this, or Sandy Cortez is -- or Al Sharpton, Michelle Obama, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Joy Reid, Don Lemon, Rachel Maddow, etc. If they are normal, then I am certifiable. 

But when I speak of the diabolical, I am speaking of something I believe to be, 1) quite real, and 2) quite specific. It is not a vague projection, much less a smear. Conversely, the leftist does not say, "you're not describing the Evil One accurately." Rather, "you're either crazy or lying."

How are we to distinguish between mere error -- to which everyone is subject, without exception -- and something more sinister, something suggesting the soul has been hijacked by naughty vertical influencers? 

Let's consider the question from various angles. "The devil," writes Schuon, is "the humanized personification -- humanized on contact with man -- of the subversive aspect of the centrifugal existential power":

strictly speaking, evil or the devil cannot oppose the Divinity, who has no opposite; it opposes man who is the mirror of God and the movement towards the divine. 

Fr. Reginald says something similar, that God "cannot be the principle of error or of evil." Rather, "Our deficiencies require only a deficient cause, which is ourselves."  

Thus, "Evil cannot be absolute, it always depends upon some good which it misuses or perverts" (Schuon); nor is it "by definition what causes us to suffer, it is that which -- even when accompanied by a maximum of comfort or of ease, or of 'justice' so-called -- thwarts a maximum of souls as regards their final end" (ibid.). "Social justice," for example, is the inverse of justice, and therefor its denial in principle -- a principle that cannot come from above, only below.

Two further points, the first from Garrigou, the second from Schuon:

1) Wisdom is "the science of things through their Supreme Cause; in other words: the science capable of making known the ultimate reasons for things."

2) "Progressivism is the wish to eliminate effects without wishing to eliminate their causes; it is the wish to abolish calamities without realizing that they are nothing other than what man himself is; they necessarily result from his metaphysical ignorance, or his lack of love of God."

Which brings to mind a third point, Reynold's Law, which goes to the difference between wisdom and progressivism:  

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits -- self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. -- that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.  (https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/464961)

We'll conclude with this bit of common nonsense, which alludes to the fact that for the left, every damn crisis is a damnable opportunity -- an opportunity for diabolical mischief, going back to... to page one of the Theo-Drama.

It makes no sense to believe in the devil and then each time, when he appears -- most often exploiting a specific situation -- to deny that he is involved (Schuon).