Thursday, September 30, 2021

You Load Umpteen Puns, And Whaddya Get?

An author way older and deeper in... Dude.

Because our new, post-retirement lifestyle is so formless and enslackened, we're thinking of changing our approach to posting, so it's even more multi-undisciplinary. 

We're on the cusp of 16 years of blah-blah-blogging, which sounds like a lot, but it's all just one timeless pneumagraph: the shutter opens with birth -- the second one in particular -- and closes with death. For some, anyway. 

Back when I was a timebound clockjockey, I had to work around the structure of my servitude to the conspiracy, which necessitated writing first thing in the morning. But now there's no structure except for the natural rhythms of baseball season, the beer o'clock call to prayer, the daily hajj to the mailbox, etc. 

As result, there's been a reversal of figure and ground, such that structure is the exception, abiding the rule. There's a lot more gazing out the window of time and onto the landscape of archetypal mischief and celestial goings-on. Sometimes it's a party. Other times a war. Or rather, it's always both. But it's never boring.  

The point is, the membrane between here and there -- or this 'n THAT! -- has become much more permeable, so quiet murmurandoms wash ashore all day long. But they also float back out unless I take the time to pick them up out of the sand.

Is this all a bit circumnebulous? I guess what I'm saying is I need to strike when the irony's hot, and there's no longer any pattern to when that might happen. And if I don't do so at the moment, it's hard to reheat the vertical souffle. Even if I technically remember the content, it's difficult to recreate the melody.

Be assured that although we are pulling out of what you earthlings call "the world," we retain over-the-subjective-horizon culpabilities that allow us to drone on as usual. 


Yesterday I was reading a book called We Hold These Truths, by John Courtney Murray. Some of it is dated -- it was published in 1960 -- but much of it is as timeless as.... as those timelessly self-evident truths referenced in the title. 

Truth by definition is timeless, at least "at the top," so to speak. On contact with time, truths become relativized (and multiple), but nevertheless, any truth is grounded in the transtemporal Truth from which it derives its authority and demands our assent. A person of good will spontaneously assents to the truth. The bad guys make it up as they go along but still appeal to the very Truth they deny.  

But the first duty of the intellect is to acknowledge and respect the Truth which transcends us. Which is why the adversary is described as "a liar from the beginning." Truth has no beginning, again, because it participates in the timeless. Only lies have a beginning. Truly truly, truth is anterior to time; it is with God.

This, I think, sheds light on our primordial catastrophe. Note that the "fall" is coeval with the Lie. The rest is commentary. For if the cosmos does not conform to the pattern of being< --> truth <--> intellect, then we are well and truly sealed in our own permanent stupidity: there is no exit from genebound animality and lifetime tenure.

Severed from being, the intellect is inoperative and even inconceivable. In other words, all knowledge, is -- wait for it -- of something. Moreover, our knowledge must be determined by this something. Our intellect is a passive power relative to being. If it isn't, then to hell with it. 

Or, look at it this way: some people say modernity begins with the idea that I think, therefore I am. But a real principle, among other things, presupposes no prior truth or principle, and Descarte's principle presupposes a number of things, for example, logic and the capacity of thought -- which for him comes first -- to arrive at being -- which is second. How is this even possible?

It is not possible, because all the thinking in the world can't lead us to reality unless reality is there first. You can pretend thought is able to escape itself into reality, but it's really the other way around: reality flows into us, such that we are able to reflect upon it via thinking.

To assert that our thinking comes first is to steal God's thunder, but with no subsequent (en)lightning: it is to shut ourselves

in a solipsism from which nothing will enable us to escape. Modern subjectivism is, in the intellectual order, analogous to what the sin of the angel was in the moral order. The angel placed its ultimate end in itself... 

Likewise, Descartes places "the terminus of the intellect within man" and thereby definitively closes "off the only route that leads to God. Descartes and Kant, the founders of idealism, are great, fallen intellects." Which is why their errors are so perennially popular: because they appeal to destructive nihilists, power-mad egomaniacs, and intellectual narcissists. Eight year olds, dude. 

All truths converge upon one truth, but the routes have been barricaded. --Dávila

Monday, September 27, 2021

Take Me to Your Leader, So I Can Laugh in His Face

With this morning's post I do not bring peace, but a sword! Same as always.

All cutting asnide, what did Jesus mean by this remark? A helpful footnote explains that 

the existence of evil necessitates spiritual warfare. The earth to which Christ came was under the authority of Satan. It is therefore essential that Christ wage war against the leader of vice with the weapons of virtue.

That's a timely observation, because I've been pondering just this question: the question of exactly who is in charge of this mess, AKA the world. Supposing this hostile entity called "Satan" is in charge, then this immediately makes sense of a range of phenomena -- to put it mildly. Problem is, this is not a satisfactory explanation to the modern mentality -- to put it mildly.

But let's try to approach this with an open mind and a skeptical eye -- you know, like a scientist: seek simplicity, but don't trust it.

While googling the exact wording of that last gag, I found some more good ones by Richard Feynman:

Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.


I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.


Of course, he also said a lot of dumb things. After all, he was a genius. Most of us aren't nearly intelligent enough to believe such nonsense. For example, what's the difference between knowing the name of God and knowing God?

Oh, and it was Whitehead who said Seek simplicity and distrust it.

The world. Somewhere.... Ah, here it is, from this new translation of John: 

But me it hates, because I testify against it -- that its works are evil.

Later in the Bible he's even more emphatic:

If the world hates you, you know it hated Me before it hated you.

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

The question is, what in the world is "the world," and what does it have against me? The concord points us to 1 John 4, where it says that worldly worldlings "speak as of the world, and the world hears them." If so, how to explain the low ratings of CNN?

The other day I read an interview of Michal Anton, in which he touches on some of the same issues we've been shoveling in our exhumination of the cosmic ground. I'll cite a few relevant passages: for the founders, there had to be 

at least a bedrock of rational principles that all normal citizens can agree on. It seems that if the ancient teaching is simply that no level of rationality in politics is ever possible, then not merely the US but all of modernity is doomed. 

Which goes to why I've lately been preoccupied with this question: the left has become so deranged that it seems there is no longer a single principle on which we can agree. Speaking of rationality, check out this statement by Sandy Cortez at Powerline:

The damage of this careless process created very real spillover effects into our community. It created a real sense of panic and horror among those in our community who otherwise engage thoughtfully in these discussions, and fueled the discussion to devolve to a point where it became clear that this vote would risk a severe devolution of the good faith community fabric that allows us to responsibly join in a struggle for human rights and dignity everywhere – from Palestine [sic] to The Bronx and Queens.

I'm not of the world, so I couldn't digest a single leaf of that word salad.

Are we doomed? Well, if

no level of rationality in politics is even possible, then not merely the US but all of modernity is doomed. 

Yeah, we're doomed. 

Wait -- maybe not:

when I’m feeling optimistic, I think no, some of that spirit is still there, and we may see it emerge and push back against some of the craziness that’s going on today.... I don’t think we’re going to get the answer until there’s a real test, which we may be hurtling toward. As bad as things are now, my sense is that they’re still not yet bad enough for ordinary people... to fully admit to themselves that the country that they grew up in and that they believed in is lost. But it could get there. And when it does, then that’s when we’re going to find out if any of that spirit that animated 1776 is still in the American character.

That's my sense. For backup, I call on the gentleman from Colombia: Only spectacular collapses shake progressive brains. It's not a matter of if, just when and how spectacular.

What about our side?

the entire ‘conservative establishment’ is dull, uninteresting, repetitive, conventional, predictable, and have nothing to say. 

Worldlings. These herbivorous men -- let alone progressive church ladies --  

could not found the United States of America, nor any other state. You must have the heroic virtues of courage and self-sacrifice and strength in order to do the great things that they wanted to do. And these virtues...are not merely necessary for founding but for the preservation and perpetuation of the state. 
When the left says "patriarchy," I just hear STEM, indoor plumbing, and self-defense.

Is Satan the ruler of this world, or do we just have "a hard core of the population in grip of bad ideas"?

I know: Power of And
The woke are probably out of our reach. But can we win over others? I think that’s possible, and that will have to be done through a combination of arguments, memes, art, jokes, ridicule, you name it. Spiritual warfare is vast and varied, and we’re probably just getting started. Conservatives are not really engaged in the culture.

Spiritual warfare. That reminds me of... paragraph 3.