Thursday, August 19, 2021

Is or Is Not, the Soul of Every Judgment

It's just common sense that common sense is a good thing. But exactly what is common sense? 

Not to immediately descend into pedantry, but is is not only an interesting little word, but probably the most important word in all of philosophy, since it is -- as Garrigou-Lagrange has written elsewhere -- the soul of every judgment.

In other words, a thing either is or it is not; every argument, philosophical or otherwise, ultimately reduces to whether or not something really exists and is therefore "really real."

For example, everyone is talking about President Biden's moral culpability for the Afghanistan fiasco, but they forget that he cannot be held responsible since his mind no longer exists. It is not.

Nor can it be the fault of the 81 million who voted for this decroded turnip, since they never existed

So, who is to blame? We can't yet know, since we do not know who is actually making the decisions. 

Philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, science -- all, in different ways, revolve around this business of isness.  Followed by why, how, for what end, etc. 

Back to common sense. Let's begin with the plain dictionary meaning before digging down to a more precise definition: "good sound ordinary sense." That's a bit circular: what's common sense? Good sound judgment. What's good sound judgment? Common sense.

Then there's this: "good judgment or prudence in estimating or managing affairs," which connotes being "free from emotional bias or intellectual subtlety; not dependent on special or technical knowledge." 

These are better, but they raise as many questions as they answer: common sense is something that is "evident by the natural light of reason and hence common to all men"; it involves "ideas and conceptions natural to a man untrained in technical philosophy."

But if common sense is natural to all men, why is it so uncommon? For if it is common to all men, then the left does not exist. But the left obviously exists -- it is -- so where does this leave us? It leaves us with an ideology that is intrinsically "unnatural," i.e., not an accordance with man's real being. 

There is also the more technical definition of common sense, which is the native faculty that unites all the senses into a more general judgment. It's so fundamental that we don't notice it, but none of our senses knows about the others; the eye perceives light but knows nothing of sound; likewise ears and color or touch and taste. 

Raw perception is a material process, but the synthesis of perceptions into a unitary judgment is an irreducibly immaterial process: our common sense is not itself a sensation.  We know that the yellow bird sings -- it both is and is doing something -- even though the eyes know only yellow and the ears only birdsong.

Indeed, the senses don't even know anything about isness -- being -- since that is an abstraction from them. My dog doesn't know she exists. Nevertheless, she does. She is.

Did I just assume her gender? Speaking of the death -- or murder, rather -- of common sense, transgender activists teach us that the only way we can ascertain a person's gender is to ask them. Otherwise we're left without a clue. 

Do you see how this again comes down to the question of isness?  What is a man? We do not, and cannot know. Unless we ask. This person's opinion of what he is reveals what he really and truly is, notwithstanding superficial appearances such as a johnson. Therefore, what is is just your opinion, man. 

It is no exaggeration to say that this goes to the essential rift in our civil war, AKA Woke War I. To cite a most conspicuous example, our side insists that a natural right to free speech really and truly exists; it is not an opinion, a preference, an expedient, something for the sake of something more fundamental. Rather, it simply is. It is self-evident. It is common sense.

Let's turn to scripture for some additional illumination, page 25:

LEBOWSKI: What... What makes a man, Mr. Lebowski?

DUDE: Dude.

LEBOWSKI: ... Huh?

DUDE: I don't know, sir.

LEBOWSKI: Is it... is it, being prepared to do the right thing? Whatever the price? Isn't that what makes a man?

DUDE: Sure. That and a pair of testicles.

Lebowski turns away from the Dude with a haunted stare, lost in thought. 

LEBOWSKI: ... You're joking. But perhaps you're right... 

Of course the Dude is right: for it is common sense. It is not a matter of opinion. It simply is, and it devolves upon us to know what is. Any alternative ultimately reduces to nihilism -- or worse, to a nihilist who thinks nothing of cutting off your johnson.

Speaking of lunatic opinions in the Land of What Is Not and Cannot Be, I heard a good explanation of the whole transgender fad the other day. First of all, the real thing -- the thing that actually is -- is exceedingly rare, affecting fewer than one in 10,000, most of them male, and most of whom will become homosexuals or cross-dressers if left alone.

But according to Abigail Shrier, in the last decade or so we've seen an exponential increase in young girls and women claiming gender dysphoria. She cites one UK clinic where there has been an increase of over 4,400 percent! What's going on behind the hysteria?

Hmm. Sounds like plain old hysteria. But there's something else: it's in that little prefix, trans. It goes without saying that the person with "gender dysphoria" is unhappy; indeed, the person is dysphoric.

The question is, why? And will self-mutilation help the matter? Or perhaps even aggravate it?

I'm afraid that dysphoria is built into the human condition. Nevertheless, it can be transcended. However, transcendence is by definition from and to the above. I would say that self-mutilation is an attempt at transcendence "from below." Like other varieties of human sacrifice, it is not efficacious. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Thoughts on a Grey Day

If I were to add, "by Mrs. Scarrott," do I have a single reader who'd get the reference? Probably not. Or perhaps one. I'm lookin' at you, Ted. At any rate, one would have to be familiar with the 1972 album by a "Fleetwood Mac" that was quite distinct from both the early blues band led by the great Peter Green, and the later bland mega-pop outfit.  

The final track on Bare Trees is -- of course -- called Thoughts on a Grey Day. It isn't a song, but rather, "a recorded poem written and supposedly read by an elderly woman, Mrs. Scarrott, who lived near the band's communal home in southern England" (Prof. Wiki).  If I remember correctly, they stumbled upon an old tape Mrs. Scarrott must have left in the house, and appended it to the album as a kind of Pythonesque gag. 

Yes, they had good hash back then.

You can google the poem. Mrs. Scarrott seems to have been some kind of visionary mystic. Then again, they did have good hash back then:

Love; love. So great, so divine
Trees -- the grey day has changed everything
It's beautiful, just beautiful, so beautiful
This first grey day is ours

My loving child
By grace of God we live, my child,
And love...

God bless our perfect, perfect grey day
With trees so bare, so bare!
But O so beautiful, so beautiful!
The grey-blue sky
The world is here!
Ours, just, just ours
Our own

Hold us tight
I am yours, just a dream
And go on dreaming
May this joy of ours
Never, ever cease

But this isn't a grey day. Rather, slightly hazy and humid. Nor do I know why Mrs. Scarrott's poem popped into my head. Wait -- now I remember -- I had some random thoughts to offload on this... hazy and humid day:

A feminist is any woman who is emotionally fragile and ignorant of the facts of life. Any confrontation with these facts exposes and aggravates the fragility.

Today, transcendence is displaced to the political plane and called "liberation." Naturally, this cannot be attained via politics, which further fuels both the frustration and the hope for political amelioration. The vicious circle of liberalism -- and death cycle of the soul.

Ideology denies and drives out wrongthink, but the bad thoughts don't just vanish. Rather, a conservative is someone whose unwitting role is to harbor these bad progressive thoughts on behalf of the left. It's why we are seen by them as racists, fascists, misogynists, insurrectionists, greedy, etc.  

A relentless search for imaginary oppressors to explain one's real failings. A seductive program! 

When did the left become a revolt against math and literacy? Trick question!

Servitude to the progressive narrative is freedom. Liberation from it is slavery. In California, Larry Elder wants to put y'all back in chains! 

I don't object to teaching CRT to kids. So long as children are taught all the repulsive things about other races.

The free-floating boredom of the left is a consequence of hatred of reality. Unreality may not be true, but at least it's... interesting

Not to promulgate more oogily-boogily, but the relationship between conscious and unconscious, or ego and self, is not a duality but a complementarity.  I is to AM (being) as is particle to wave. We always live and have our being on no fewer than two planes.

Relativism, the sum of all heresies.

You can't buy IQ. Only its markers. The purpose of attending an elite university is to advertise intelligence without having to undergo the formality of possessing it. 

Hard work can compensate for a modest IQ, but the proper credential obviates the need for either. Cf. Obama, Biden, John Kerry, et al.

Of course they censor the controversy. The science won't just settle itself!

Eroding merit or undermining freedom is a false choice. The left is perfectly capable walking and chewing gum at the same time.

There's no IQ in equity. Oh, wait. 

Standardized testing was implemented to diversify the student body. Naturally, the left opposes it.

If you can't be happy here, you can't be happy.

Victimology is an inverse meritocracy; it fuels a race to the bottom. The last shall be first, good and hard.

Of course our privileged white elites are against standardized testing. It would both expose them and pose a barrier to the attainment and maintenance of their unearned privilege.

Low IQ imperialism: the conquest of the right side of the Bell Curve by the left. 

Universities are seminaries of evangelical stupidity. Our citizens are more educated but and therefore more stupid than ever.

Islam is one of two religious cults not content to be left alone. The other is progressivism.

Men are much greater and much worse than the left realizes. Our range runs from the diabolical to the saintly; the left's from who to whom, or from useless to useful idiots. "The poor" are simultaneously worthless and indispensable to the left's will to power.

Me? My talents are wasted on useful pursuits. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

There's Only One Way to Skin a Catechism

Okay, let's circle back to Garrigou-Lagrange's The Philosophy of Being & The Development of Doctrine. We hadn't gotten very far, and left off with the claim 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...

I want to say that there is metaphysical truth and theological truth, and that these two should be susceptible to harmonization, whether explicitly or (more likely) implicitly. Not only do we reject any "two truths" approach to science and religion, even moreso do we reject it with regard to the deeper science of metaphysics. 

For there is only One Truth; or, perhaps better, Truth is One, allowing for the multiplicity of truths that are only possible because each is anchored in the One and a reflection of it: at the center of everything is the Truth of its Being. Otherwise it cannot exist.

Truth is at once at the center, origin, and end of things. It's why everything makes so much sense without ever making Total Sense, which is reserved for God allone (or someOne who might as well be). 

It is also why atheism makes no sense except within its own projected artificial world -- like a blind man whose first principle is that color does not exist. As always, bad philosophy is just unwitting autobiography.

Now, most people are either incapable of, or not interested in, metaphysics per se. Nevertheless, metaphysics is always interested in you! 

For Homo sapiens is the metaphysical animal: the divide between animal and man is a metaphysical one -- or, more precisely, on one side of the gap is animality, on the far side our homoerotic sapience, AKA love of wisdom. The latter is a kind of "space," or better, spacetime, since it is also developmental and teleological. It's why we live in history and not just a sterile duration. Unless you're watching CNN. 

Note that -- obviously -- only a being who has transcended evolution can know about evolution. Conversely, if our thoughts are merely a function of evolution (or genes), then we are pulled back to the animal side. To a materialist, the human side is just an illusion.  

But matter itself is but an idea; and, thanks to God, a very good and fruitful idea! If you don't think so, let's see you figure out how to create a unity of material body and immaterial soul without reducing one to the other or resorting to a crude metaphysical dualism. 

Matthew Levering, in the foreword, states that while G-L

knows that a dogmatic truth cannot be reduced to its specific formulation, he sees that the crux of the debate is whether the Church has been given a knowable, propositionally enunciable deposit of faith.

In other words, must we just take the deposit of faith on faith, or is it possible to situate it within a translogical network of axioms, principles, and propositions?  

Well, we already know that fideism is an epistemological nonstarter. However, this doesn't necessarily mean it it inefficacious. Farfromit. It just means you have different intellectual needs, and that an implicit metaphysic works just fine for you.

Schuon has something important to say about this. The question is, where among these 20 or 30 titles? 

Ah, here, in an essay called Vicissitudes of Spiritual Temperaments: "Human nature is made in such a way that it tends to enclose itself in some limitation" -- as illustrated above in the example of the blind man enclosed in his limited vision -- "and this tendency can only be accentuated in an age that is everywhere engaged in destroying the framework of universality" -- AKA, the understanding that Truth is One. 

Now, a purely fideistic approach to God generally has much in common with a bhaktic one that emphasizes devotion over intellection, or love over knowledge. Not only is there nothing wrong with this, but knowledge without love of Truth is a roadmap to hell. 

Nevertheless, good luck explaining this faith to a cynical, worldly, and credentialed yahoo whose social standing depends partly on being too sophisticated for Imaginary Sky Gods and Flying Spaghetti Monsters. There's a way of talking about religion that makes it easy for such midwits and mediocretins to ridicule and reject it. Our trolls never stop reminding us of this ironyclad principle.

Schuon compares a faith without intellect to a body without a skeleton, while a purely intellectual approach is like a skeleton with no flesh. In order to stand up on our own two wings, we need both:

Metaphysics is beyond charity, it is true, but a metaphysician without charity seriously risks compromising the doctrine because of the indirect repercussions of his vice on the workings of his intelligence.

Why is this? Again, because of Oneness: love + intellection are unified in God but separable down here. Consider: "it is not enough to be 'harmless as doves,' it is also necessary to be 'wise as serpents.'" Put conversely, do not be like the tenured, who are wise as pigeons and harmless as rattlesnakes.

Secular humanism. What could possibly go wrong (asked the serpent)? 

"humanitarianism" in fact puts itself forward as a philosophy founded on the idea that man is good; but to believe that man is good is almost always to believe that God is bad.... It is a satanic inversion of the traditional axiom that God is good and man is bad (Schuon).

Even Pope Francis (quoted in the foreword) agrees that "love requires truth. Only to the extent that love is grounded in truth can it endure over time, can it transcend the passing moment.... Without truth, love is incapable of establishing a firm bond."

One last quote from the foreword: "dogmatic formulations rely upon 'the underlying realities of universal human experience' as cognitionally available to everyone, philosopher and non-philosopher."

Let's conclude by suggesting that metaphysics gives us the widest possible horizon of being, and that God himself is always just over that horizon. And revelation is the link between.