Friday, September 03, 2021

Melody and Harmony in the Cosmic Suite

Along the vertical spectrum there are three principle degrees of abstraction to which we have access; from the bottom up, they are 1) the positive sciences, which still have one foot in matter, 2) mathematics, and 3) the metaphysical, this latter being completely immaterial and going to the sort of cosmos in which math and intelligible matter can even exist. 

The vertical spectrum can be further subdivided in any number of ways, for example, between physics and biology, psychology and neurology, theology and metaphysics. Nevertheless, despite these divisions, it's all still -- somehow -- One Cosmos. 

In the previous post we added "indivisible," but that's only half the story, for in reality, it is always both divisible and indivisible, continuous and discontinuous, radial (the Cosmic Ray from the center out) and circumferential (semiautonomous circles around Celestial Central).  

This goes to one of those primordial complementarities we've heard so little about. However, as with all such complementarities, one pole must be prior, and in this case it's indivisibility, for the alternative is both inconceivable and impossible: no amount of parts adds up to the whole if the whole isn't already fractally present in the parts. 

In the absence of this prior unity, the best we can accomplish is an aggregation, agglomeration, or agglutination; a blob, glob, or mob. 

G-L agrees that "A being's quantitative unity in space is not the criterion for its substantial unity. This quantitative unity presumes only an accidental union (an aggregation of molecules)." In short, there is the accidental unity of the blob, and the substantial unity of the whole: substance and accident, another one of those primordial complementarities. 

This calls to mind a mundane but insultaining political thought: you will have noticed that the left always makes transparently fraudulent appeals to "unity," even while its primitive identity politics assures that real (substantial) unity is impossible. They invent fake unities such as the LGBTQ community, the black community, or Latin-x community, etc.  

First of all, these aren't real communities, since a "black community" of Sharptons, Obamas, and Waterses has no commonality with a "black community" of Elders, Sowells, and Thomases. Second, there is no substantial unity among the primitive tribes to which the left never stops pandering. The only unity is accidental, revolving around force, cash prizes, and demonization of those of us who don't belong to a tribe of DNC certified victims. 

Rather, we are members of a community with a higher unity revolving around civilization, natural law, the Constitution, etc. Our movement rests upon a substantial unity, not an accidental one of skin tone, genitalia, or sexual deviance.   

Which, come to think of it, mirrors the substantial unity of the Vertical Church of the Friends of Reality, the body of Christ, in which it doesn't matter whether you are Jew or Greek, man or woman, slave or free, for all are one in this Christ person-principle.

Or, if you prefer to keep things metaphysical and not theological, the Logos-Christos is the very principle whereby this real substantial unity is possible. In the absence of this principle there could be no substantial unity-in-diversity on the human plane. Rather, we'd just be radically individualistic monads, which redounds to Marxism at one end or libertarianism at the other, for extremists meet.

Even so, humans can't help possessing implicit knowledge of the whole, even if they explicitly deny it:

Indeed, the most influential form of atheism, namely Marxism, asserts in the strictest form this unity of being in all that is, by declaring all being to be matter (Ratzinger).

This absolute denial conceals an affirmation of the Absolute. Conversely, we say Yes! to a rational cosmos right up front:

Logos signifies reason, meaning, or even "word" -- a meaning, therefore, that is Word, that is relationship, that is creative. The God who is logos guarantees the intelligibility of the world, the intelligibility of our existence, the aptitude of reason to know God and the reasonableness of God.... The world comes from reason, and this reason is a Person, is Love (ibid.).

With regard to the substance/accident complementarity, the alternative view is that substances do not actually exist, but rather, are only verbal entities. This modern baton was handed off to the postmodern crowd, which promptly hurtled into the abyss, with the view that words only point to other words, sealing us into an ever-shrinking circle of non-being.

For us, being is happily the object of the intellect, and the two -- intellect and intelligible being -- are a diversity-in-unity. We reject the notion that the sciences are just "well-constructed languages" with no anchor in being. 

I've gone on too long; we'll conclude with this: "What makes a man is not freedom, morality, religion, sociability, or speech. It is reason, for all the other notes are deduced from reason" (G-L).

I suppose we could say that Reason-Logos provides both the horizontal melody and the vertical harmony for the Song Supreme. Without a rationality rooted in being there can be no freedom, morality, or knowledge. In other words, our freedom is ordered to the good because our intellect is ordered to the true.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

One Cosmos, Indivisible

Yes, indivisible, which is the principle and prerequisite for a host of overlapping entailments, among which are interiority, unity-in-diversity, intersubjectivity, personhood, intelligence, intelligibility, understanding, and more. 

Each of these realkategories (a German-sounding term I just made up) is only possible because this is One Cosmos, indivisible; we could even add "with liberty and justice," and if time permits we'll explain why. Suffice it to say that only a very specific -- not to mention unlikely -- type of cosmos allows for the existence of free will.  

Okay, a hint: it must be a rational cosmos: if things are fundamentally irrational, then obviously the possibility of rational choice is eliminated at the root. Is this why, everywhere and everywhere, Job One of the left is to efface primordial distinctions and to thereby sow chaos? 

Yes, and because of this they never stop gaslighting us. They can scarcely yell one thing without dementedly screaming its opposite, e.g., "Our Afghan mission was an unprecedented success, and besides, it's all Trump's fault!," or "Black lives matter, and defund the police!," or "follow the science, and men can give birth!" 

It is precisely this cosmic indivisibility that is a necessary condition for the writing of this post -- indeed, for saying anything about anything, AKA discovering the truth of things: in a word, affirming their isness. As mentioned a post or two back, to say something is true may be reduced to the statement that something either Is or Is Not.  

But how are such statements possible unless there is a real underlying unity between knower and known?  We cannot know a thing that is fundamentally unconnected to us. From our perspective such things don't exist, because we can't know what we can't know. This isn't just the inevitable domain of unknown unknowns, but of unknowable unknowns. 

As G-L reminds us, "the first operation of the intellect" -- the operation we always do and can't help doing -- is "simple intellectual apprehension." This spontaneous apprehension is anterior to both reason and judgment:

The gaze of our intellect is fixed first upon the natures of sensible things.... To understand is a kind reading into the interior.... For sense knowledge is occupied with sensible, exterior qualities, whereas intellective knowledge penetrates all the way to the essence of the thing (Thomas, quoted by G-L, emphases mine).

This goes to what I meant in the first paragraph with regard to interiority, intelligence, intelligibility, and understanding being entailments of cosmic indivisibility. For ultimately -- in the first & last analysis and every one in between -- "the object of the intellect is that which is," AKA being.  

I know what you're thinking: this is all a bit abstract and eggheady, Bob. You're making dryasdust medieval scholasticism sound like a party at Foucault's place. But to say that being is, and is intelligible, is probably the most profound -- and surprising -- thing one could say about the world (for the implications are literally endless).

Do things make sense? Or does sense make things? That may sound like a Sphinx-worthy antithesis, but it really comes down to that: for modern Kantians, what we call things are just consequences of our own psychic categories. But for realists such as ourselves, it is the things themselves that truly make sense, i.e., disclose their real natures to the intellect.

After all, if they don't, then to hell with it. If the world is but a projection of our own neuropsychology, that's just a step away from saying that perception is reality. But if perception is reality, then there is no reality. To even say reality is to affirm the existence of something distinct from our own perceptions, and will still be there when we look away -- for example, Americans stranded in Afghanistan. The Matrix Media will of course expend every effort to make them go away. We'll see.

In truth, to say reality is to say appearances; but this is a complementarity, not a duality, for appearances are of reality. Isn't this the point? It takes the form of, "I thought it was this, but it turned out to be that." 

For example, "it sure looked like the sun circles the earth, but it turns out the earth circles the sun." Then, "it looked like the sun is stationary, but it turns out it's just one of a hundred billion stars spiraling around a galactic center many lightyears away." Etc. 

However, we don't just go from one appearance to another equally unfounded one, but to a deeper understanding of the reality behind them. Just because there's no end to this fun-filled interior journey, it hardly means reality doesn't exist, or that it's just a winding road from nowhere to nothing.  

I thought this post would get more deeply into the chapter, but it didn't. Oh well. More fun for future Bob!

Monday, August 30, 2021

World War ∞

If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then the converse is equally true: politics is the continuation of war by other means. And if the latter is true, then it follows that the war -- we call it WW∞ -- is literally endless, because man is -- among other things -- at once Homo politicus and Homo bellicose: a homicidal prostitute, if you like.

Man is the "political animal," but he is also -- among others -- the rational animal, the symbolic animal, the self-aware animal, the moral animal, the artistic animal, the transcendent animal, the comedic animal,  and the wise animal (LOL!).

But each of these is a vertical category, or a modality of the vertical. 

This being the case, it is a sad fact that man is also -- and more often than not -- the irrational animal (Homo pomo), the atheist animal (Homo literalum), the devoid-of-self-awareness animal (Homo progressivus), the immoral animal (Homo cuomo), the sh*t-masquarading-as-art animal (Homo MOMO), the immanentizing-the-eschaton animal (Homo gnosticus), the unfunny animal (Homo wokiens), and the foolish animal (Homo academicus), respectively.

Now, each of these polarities is a battleground and a front in WW∞. For example, when have we not been involved in a struggle between reason and irrationality? Or worse, between the merely weak and irrational and the aggressively insane, AKA Republican vs. Democrat.

Look at the Taliban. Conquering them on the battlefield is one thing, but forcing them to reason is another thing entirely. You can leave them to slaughter but you can't make them think.

Even comedy is a battlefield, for one of the preoccupations of progressive wokism (speaking of the Taliban) is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be laughing at them. Not for nothing do they call it the Late Night War, nor is it surprising that General Gutfield is routing these enemies of merriment.  

Similarly, what is the homeschool movement but a battle against the entrenched statist forces of Big Miseducation? 

What is America -- as originally conceived -- but an ongoing revolution against those perennial reactionaries who hate liberty, individualism, and private property?  WW .  

Likewise, we supposedly defeated racism in 1865, or war itself in 1918, or fascism in 1945, or Marxism in 1991, but that's like saying we defeated Stephen Colbert in 2021. If only! For it seems that being born in the human state entitles one only to being a participant in the endless war, even -- or especially -- if it is only a war with onself.

Which my sound trite, but here again this goes to a major distinction between our side and the progressive forces of reaction:  a person incapable of governing himself is unfit for self-government. The left fundamentally agrees, but their solution is to dominate us. I suppose I would have no issue with the left if they only limited their activities to controlling their millions of constituents who are incapable of controlling themselves: Antifa, BLM, Joe Biden, et al. 

Now, back to Garrigou-Lagrange's Thomistic Common Sense, on which we've made no progress for a couple of weeks, having once again fallen from eternity into time. We try our best to minimize the latter, but it happens. At any rate, let's see if we can knock out a chapter.

"Common sense," writes G-L, "is nothing other than spontaneous (or primordial) reason." 

Now, there is, one might say, the intra-rational (logic as such) and the supra-rational, i.e., those foundational principles without which reason is impossible, e.g., the immutable laws of identity, non-contradiction, causality, finality, etc. These are the very laws of intelligible being, laws we cannot avoid and still be logical.

As we've mentioned before, Thomas doesn't so much prescribe as describe: he is simply describing what we are doing when we think rationally; from this follows the prescription, i.e., don't pretend you're thinking when you're doing something less, and certainly don't undermine man's ability to think -- to know intelligible being via the intellect.

In the margin there's a question to myself: in what philosophical universe is this activity we call "common sense" both possible and efficacious?

Big question! Big universe!

True enough, but the universe isn't so big that it can't be tamed with common sense. What I mean is that our universe is fanatically law-abiding, scrupulously adhering to certain fundamental laws such as the speed of light, Planck's constant, gravity, electromagnetism, etc. Without such laws there would be no stability below to permit all of the emergent teleological activity up here. Order comes from order. Disorder and chaos are always parasitic on order. But enough about the left. 

"Philosophy" may be reduced to four main candidates: empiricism, rationalism, idealism, or (moderate) realism. That's off the top of the voice in my head, so perhaps you can think of others. Some partake of two categories, for example, positivism, which pretends to be empirical but is really a narrow rationalism; or materialism, which is really an abstract idealism projected onto matter.

In any event. G-L says that only one of these truly recognizes common sense, and that would be the last, moderate realism. And again, moderate realism isn't really any kind of ism-ideology, but simply a description of what we are doing when we engage in intellection. 

For example, thinking begins with a conceptual abstraction from objects of the senses. You may not like this idea, but it's nevertheless true, for you can't disagree with it without confirming it. The ideology of materialism, for example, is not some bit of matter, but an immaterial abstraction from it, so the materialist is just an inadequate moderate realist.  

I gotta stop. This vertical guerrilla has some other things to do.