Friday, October 08, 2021

The Ivory Tower of Babbling Idiots

Another quick one while waiting for the school bell to ring.

Over at American Digest is an essay by Mr. Yarvin Moldbug on his concept of the "Cathedral." Although an intellectual brother shamus, he's a smarter feller than myself and draws a lot of water in dissident conservative circles. In short, he's not exactly a lightweight -- unlike me, whose career has slowed down a little. 

(https://americandigest.org/long-read-of-the-week-a-brief-explanation-of-the-cathedral-by-curtis-yarvin-aka-moldbug/#more-27032) and (https://graymirror.substack.com/p/a-brief-explanation-of-the-cathedral)

In our nomenclature we call it the Matrix, but we're describing the same private residence. The deeper question is, what is the actual cause of the Cathedral-Matrix? What is its deeper structure -- that which unifies its diverse strands and what-have-yous? 

First of all, the Matrix clearly exists, although it can only be clearly seen from outside and above; from the inside it just looks like "the world," nor do its unhappitants even notice the sentient Agents that prevent them from leaving the Matrix.

The mystery of the cathedral is that all the modern world’s legitimate and prestigious intellectual institutions, even though they have no central organizational connection, behave in many ways as if they were a single organizational structure (emphasis mine).

This, I think, begs the question, because a central organizational connection is precisely what must exist in order to explain the diverse phenomena. 

Consider science as such, which always involves the reduction of multiplicity to unity. Prior to Einstein, for example, physicists looked at the world and saw no connection between, say, gravity and time. Rather, these were totally unrelated concepts. But with deeper conceptual insight we are able appreciate the connection between them.

Analogously, what is the connection between such diverse phenomena as totalitarian wokeness, economically absurd socialism, wicked tribalism, vicious race war, biology-hating genital mutilation, special rights for cross-dressers, climate magic, feminist witchcraft, and anti-Western barbarism in general? 

How could someone embrace such a range of florid lunacies unless they are but surface features of some deeper structure? And why these features in particular?  It's such a grab bag of insanity that perhaps we need to look at the bag instead of the content. 

While we can detect no obvious organizational connection between them, they are highly correlated. And they retain these correlations even as they move across long periods of time. 

Consider the fact that "In 1951, Harvard, Yale, the Times, and the Post were on the same page," just as they are today. However, the Yale of today is is so different from the Yale of '51 that they might as well be different planets: "If you could teleport either Yale into the other’s time zone, they would see each other as a den of intellectual criminals." 

Literally, at least with respect to how they regard us. AG Garlic Merman, for example, wants the FBI to hunt down those of us who are not on board with teaching our children the ins and outs of race-based nihilism.  

Likewise, I regard them as criminal, but not merely in a legalistic sense, rather, in ethical and metaphysical terms. For the first duty of the intellect is to discern between the Real and the unreal or the less real. One who fails to do so is unqualified to teach, for what is he teaching if not truth? Like, just his opinions? 

I'm starting to run out of time because school is about to begin. But let me jump waaay ahead to the distant past, and suggest that the Matrix-Cathedral has a nonlocal typological structure, and that the blueprint of this structure describes a certain tower.

Put it this way: once upin a timeless some status seeking narcissists decided to make a name for themselves by building a private residence so high that it reached the heavens -- up there where the Ultimate Principle dwells, above the clouds discussed in the previous post. A Swiss fuckin' watch, if I understand correctly.

But doing so went against the very Principle the people presumed to reach. As a result, these babbling idiots were scattered and the tower left unfinished. Ever thus to deadbeats.

Let's check out Dennis Prager's exegesis of the scandal: "The sin of the builders of Babel" was "wanting to do so solely to make a name for themselves, to bring glory to themselves. As God is completely absent, they recognize nothing higher than themselves." But ironically, the tower "is so far from the heavens that God must come down to see it."

Of course.  

Not all towers are bad, but there are rules for building one. For example, later in Psalms there is reference to how God has been a shelter for me / And a strong tower from the enemy. Later again we read of my fortress / My high tower and my deliverer / My shield and the One in whom I take my refuge

It seems that the problem lies in attempting to build a tower without the proper cornerstone, in which case you are entering a world of pain. Am I wrong? 

We'll have to resume this discussion in the next post, in which we will endeavor to prove that the progressive tower contravenes any number of metacosmic bylaws.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Calculating God: Foggy with a Chance of Insight

Just a brief post that will continue until the school bell rings, i.e., until the student wakes up.

By way of context, the fact that we are living through such radically crazy times has prompted me to reexamine the Ultimate Ground of things. 

On the one hand, O is the apophatic godhead beyond-being, and there's nothing we can say about it without having to immediately unsay it on pain of misleading the public. In other words, O is beyond time, language, specification, and understanding, since these latter would place limits on the Limitless. Like quantum physics, if you can understand it, it's not God. 

This is why genuine theo-logy entails the mastery of unglish obliterature. 

That said, from our perspective -- i.e., the perspective of the maninfestation -- O manifests an implicit nonlocal order, or vertical hierarchy. You could say that this is the "first fruit" engendeered by and from O. 

At the top of this more "visible" goround plan is the Outward Face of God -- the great "AM," so to speak -- if anyone asks -- above and beyond which is the mysterious "I" of pure subjectivity hiding in or above that Cloud of Unknowing. 

This is why we can look up and see the cloud, but even the bestavus can see no further: "Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain."

Later, the same meteorological language is used when "a bright cloud overshadowed them, and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud." One may fish many similar examples, and not only from the Judeo-Christian stream. 

Looked at one way, a cloud is just something that blocks the sun. But looked at from both sides now, and you realize it's but the end product of a nonlinear process involving everything from Hayward breezes to butterfly sneezes, Climbing to tranquility / Far above the cloud / Conceiving the heavens / Clear of misty shroud. So don't be so quick to dismiss our eyewitless foggus!  

As mentioned in the previous post, when things get crazy -- whether in individuals or groups -- it allows us a clearer understanding of sanity. Indeed, we needn't even think about sanity until there is insanity. Likewise, we don't think about virtue until there are criminals, nor truth until there are liars, journalists, and tenure. Nor I suppose do we think about paradise in the afternoon until it's lost by eve.

So, you may have noticed from the sidebar that I've been reading a lot of radical literature, since it makes more sense in the context of these radically insane times. 

For example, I recently reread the biography of Father Seraphim Rose. I want to say that he was a "radical" Christian, but this overlooks the fact that nothing by definition can ever be more radical than Christianity -- of Infinitude clothed in finitude for our convenience. There's nothing beyond that, except for finitude to return to infinitude and complete the circle.

I've also been reading radical libertarian economists such as Rothbard, von Mises, and Hoppe. In normal times, such thinkers appear a tad extreme. But in crazy times, they start to make more sense.

Oops! That was the school bell. Let me conclude with one last thought, which goes to a surprising coonfluence of economics and theology.

I'm not going to have time enough to flesh it out, but one of the most appealing aspects of Austrian economics is its epistemological humility and its appreciation not just of the known Unknown, but of the unknowable Unknown.

Then I read the following passage by a very libertarian and Hayekian-sounding theologian named Ratzinger: 

But if the logos of all being, the being that upholds and encompasses everything, is consciousness, freedom, and love, then it follows automatically that the supreme factor in the world is not cosmic necessity but freedom.

That's the libertarian part. Here's the explicitly Hayekian part:

this leads to the conclusion that freedom is [orthoparadoxically!] the necessary structure of the world, as it were, and this again means that one can only comprehend the world as incomprehensible, that it must be incomprehensibility.... 

[T]ogether with freedom the incalculability implicit in it is an essential part of the world. Incalculability is an implication of freedom; the world can never -- if this is the position -- be completely reduced to mathematical logic

Halt, who Gödels there!    

Monday, October 04, 2021

Being, Becoming, and Beclowning

Possibly no more posts this week, since I'll be back in the classroom. Yes, the wife is off to visit her mother in Del Boca Vista, and I've been appointed substitute teacher.  

You will recall that we've been reexamining the Ultimate Ground of reality from various angles. Why have we been doing this? Because the country has become so unhinged from reality, that perhaps the reality from which it has become unhinged will be easier to see. 

It reminds me of how, say, medical science made such strides during our previous Civil War because doctors were able to see what was going on inside all the maimed and mangled bodies. It's the same now, except in Civil War II most of the maiming and mangling is on the inside. It is admittedly hard to look at this festering sinkhole of disease and filth, but we must overcome our squeamishness and bear in mind that the prospect of a cure for these unfortunate souls hangs in the balance.  

The current era is indeed a boon to psychology, even if we mourn the loss of so many fellow citizens to the spiritual plague of progressivism. So let us highly resolve that these undead shall not have been triggered, traumatized, and feminized in vain -- rather, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of Trumpism on steroids, and that a government of the sane, by the sane, for the sane, shall not perish from this earth.

As we know, the word radical is related to root. However, this has nothing in common with progressive cliches about "root causes," since those are always about horizontal or lateral distractions, never the depth. They're forever searching for the "root causes" of things, but the real purpose of this is to obscure the actual causes. For example, the real cause of crime is people doing bad things. The solution is to put them in jail.  

Lately they've been looking for the root causes of illegal immigration, when everyone knows it results from sh**hole countries happily turning their problems into our problems. For the left, this will persist until our country is transformed into a sh**hole and no one will want to come here. Problem solved!

But when we refer to root causes, we're speaking of vertical ones. Just as we can track causality backward from proximate to proximate cause, we can trace them upward from level to level. At the top, of course, is the First or Uncaused Cause without which causality has no ground or metaphysical basis. But thankfully God exists, so causes are everywhere. Which is another way of saying that being is intelligible.

This argument goes back a long way, even to the twilit roots of tenure in the ancient world. In one corner we have Parmenides, who denies becoming, and with it, multiplicity, in favor of immutable Being. Change is impossible, since Being is Being, and nothing comes from non-being.

In the other corner we have Heraclitus, who denies Being in favor of becoming -- or in other words, All is Change. You can never step into the same universe twice, and anything we say about it is just an abstraction from the ceaseless and total flow, not really real. 

Including the truth of that statement? 

Shut up!

Here's how Garrigou-Lagrange describes the stalemate:

If something becomes, this comes from being or from non-being; there is no middle. But both hypotheses are impossible: indeed, nothing can come from being... because being is already that which is, whereas that which becomes, before becoming, is not. On the other hand, nothing comes from nothing.... Therefore, becoming [too] is contradictory (emphasis mine). 

Blah blah yada yada, then Aristotle comes along and separates these two quarreling cousins with the principles of potency and act, thereby reconciling being and becoming and rendering both intelligible. We might say that the "root cause" of change is the reduction of potency to act. Potency itself is neither Being nor nothing, but something that abides between. 

Orthoparadoxically, potency is a kind of "non-being that is" (ibid). This is not a contradiction, because while potency is non-being in relation to act, it is nevertheless being in relation to nothingness

Just like us, come to think of it. Relative to God, creatures are nothing, but in relation to nothing they're everything. But human beings inhabit a third world whereby we become who we are in relation to God: change and changelessness are thereby reconciled, and some people say man as such is the cosmic link between the two, but that's a somewhat different subject...  

Does this make Parmenides the first conservative and Heraclitus the first progressive? A qualified NO to the first but a definite YES to the second, e.g., Hegel, Marx, Bergson, etc. We say NO to the first because conservatism is (or should be) a reflection of the third position that creates a stable but free context for orderly change -- for example, in the "radical conservatism" or "conservative radicalism" of the Founders. 

To quote Chesterton,

It is true that a man (a silly man) might make change itself his object or ideal. But as an ideal, change itself becomes unchangeable. If the change-worshipper wishes to estimate his own progress, he must be sternly loyal to the ideal of change; he must not begin to flirt gaily with the ideal of monotony. Progress itself cannot progress. 
It is worth remark, in passing, that when Tennyson, in a wild and rather weak manner, welcomed the idea of infinite alteration in society, he instinctively took a metaphor which suggests an imprisoned tedium. He wrote-- “Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.” He thought of change itself as an unchangeable groove; and so it is. Change is about the narrowest and hardest groove that a man can get into.

 "Yeah, well hold my artisanal gluten-free beer," says the Eternal Progressive.