Monday, September 26, 2022

Social Justice and Antisocial Injustice

  • Modern stupidities are more irritating than ancient stupidities because their proselytes try to justify them in the name of reason. --Dávila

Woke up wondering about the relationship between things that can't be and things that can and must be, i.e., the impossible, possible, and necessary, respectively.

In particular, I wonder if impossibilities can nevertheless yield positive metaphysical knowledge. Bear in mind that we don't yet know the answer, but I suspect there's something to my suspicion.

Among the most consequential impossibilities are called beings of reason. A being of reason is a rational concept that nevertheless cannot properly exist; it is essence deprived of existence, for example, a unicorn. We can describe what the word means, even though it has no referent in the real world. In fact, even "triangle" or "circle" are beings of reason, since we never find a perfect example in the real world.  

Circle and triangle are formal beings of reason, but there are also purely logical or mathematical examples, such as, say, the square root of negative one. 

So, some things that really exist can exist only in the head, hallucinations being another example. But if there are hallucinations and beings of reason, this is only because there is Being, full stop. If this weren't the case, then we could never distinguish between existence and fantasy, reality and tenure.

The Yves Simon Reader has a helpful chapter on The Distinction of Thing and Object. In the parlance of our times, these two are used synonymously, but in reality, things come first, objects second. In other words, things have to first exist before we conceptualize them as objects of thought. For example, a woman must exist before a man can pretend to be one. 

Now, some objects relate to things, others only to other objects. I don't yet want to descend into the insultainment portion of our program, but consider "the patriarchy," "white privilege," or "equity." Each of these is a being of reason -- an object of thought -- which refers only to other objects within a certain ideological framework, but not to actual things, AKA reality (the same goes for "trans" man or woman).

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that ideology as such is a complex being of reason with more or less tenuous relations to the Thingdom of Reality. Many more such examples come to mind, and you could say that this is one Hayek's biggest big ideas -- that the term "social justice" isn't even wrong, just nonsense:

Look, I've got certain information, certain things have come to light, and uh, has it ever occurred to you, man, that given the nature of all this new shit, that, uh, instead of running around blaming me, that this whole thing might just be, not, you know, not just such a simple, but uh -- you know?

Wait. Wrong nonsense. That sounds like Biden's babbling spokestoken, who is Diversity Hire Incarnate. 

All three volumes of Hayek's Law, Legislation and Liberty are on the permanent syllabus, so it's difficult to narrow it down. Volume 2 is called The Mirage of Social Justice, and it is indeed a mirage because it is an ideological being of reason with no connection to the real world. It is an idea, and may even be a beautiful idea, but it

is simply a quasi-religious superstition of the kind which we should respectively leave in peace so long as it merely makes those happy who hold it, but which we must fight when it becomes the pretext of coercing other men.  

But progressives always exempt themselves from the separation of church and state. 

Bottom line: social justice "does not belong to the category of error but to that of nonsense, like the term 'moral stone.'" 

Moreover, it is used as a pretext to impose an order from on high, so it is neither social nor just. "Antisocial injustice" is more like it. And if you don't have time to read Hayek, just reach for this aphorism when they try to bash you over the head with their idea of Justice, and you won't go wrong:

“Social justice” is the term for claiming anything to which we do not have a right (Dávila).

In case you were wondering how Biden, the Obamas, the Clintons, et al, became wealthy. It certainly wasn't by creating anything of value, least of all justice! 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Original Sin for Thee, Progressive Sanctity for Me

This will be a short post, or rather, one that lasts as long as this here cup of coffee, then it's off to the land of errands. Lucky -- or unlucky, depending -- for you, it's a pretty big cup. 

One of the problems of living in Christendom -- AKA western civilization -- is that its underlying concepts and principles are so pervasive that they either become saturated with meaning (thereby losing their capacity to shock) or are unconsciously assimilated and taken for granted. 

This results in even the enemies of civilization arguing from ideas appropriated from Christianity (e.g., freedom, transcendent and pre-poltical human rights, anti-racism, etc.) and which their own metaphysic can in no way support or defend. Hence the intrinsic absurdity of the left.

But absurdity isn't just absurdity, rather, it's diabolical. This is because absurdity is a sundering and scattering of the links of intelligibility; it is an attack on meaning that pretends to be meaningful. 

The other day we mentioned one such example, the use of the word "progress" for its systematic undermining. You tell me: how can progress exist in a universe drained of its transcendent absolute? Absent the latter, there can be only random agitation, fluctuation, and repulsion, in a kind of ontological Brownian motion.  

A Thought of the Day from Chesterton, by way of PowerLine:

When a religious scheme is shattered... it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. 

Note the themes of dismemberment and scattering: again, diabolical. Dávila makes the same point with the usual brevity and flair:

The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues.

Oopsie! Sorry about all the broken eggs.  

About their intrinsic absurdity, you will have noticed that the left is incredibly adept at slamming on the brakes just sort of the reductio ad absurdum:

The theses of the left are rationalizations that are carefully suspended before reaching the argument that dissolves them.

Now in reality, everything is connected: after all, it's why we call our home a universe. And the universe is not merely an "object," nor the sum of all objects. 

Rather -- and this should be self-evident -- a kind of symphony with both interior unity and exterior order. Analogously, there is the melody which can only reveal itself in time, and a chordal structure that is hierarchical and present in every moment.  

Truth Itself is indeed symphonic, and in addition to the more complex chordal structure, there's a kind of immediately present timbral structure that is accessible to even the musically unschooled: bass, drums, and cello down there, flutes and violins up there, piano holding things together in the middle of it all, etc. Principles above, facts below, and a mind in between linking the two.

Speaking of which, what or who is it that holds everything together? Where or what is the Unity? It is present, there's no doubt about that (barring psychosis). But what is it, and by virtue of what principle? This has been a long strange argument: water? Fire? Air? Many? One? Geometry? Math? Clock? Machine? Matter? Idea? Organism? Reason? The dialectic of class? 

How about all of the above. Except for the last, which is too stupid for anyone short of tenure:

Two contradictory philosophical theses complete each other, but only God knows how.

Among race realists there's a saying that evolution doesn't stop above the neck. Nor does ontology. For there are plenty of real things in this universe, and not all of them are material, that's for sure.

About the left stealing their ideas from superior minds. One of them is the notion of "original sin." For

Socialism is the philosophy of the guilt of others.

In other words, everyone is born into sin -- sins of whiteness, private property, masculinity, heteronormativity, etc. -- except for the leftist. Therefore, the goal is always to reform everyone else. The leftist is not in need of reform, which is why whole categories of humanness are off limits to critique: women, blacks, homosexuals and perverts of various kinds, but only so long as they are creatures of the left. Absurd but effective.

Also, regarding metaphysics more generally, if you think there are no absolutes on the left, you've never spoken to a leftist. Not only are they everywhere, but if you find yourself on the wrong side of one, you are committing idolatry and taking the name of the Lord in vain. For

The progressive believes that everything soon turns obsolete except his ideas.
Which means that their metaphysic is necessarily relative and yet magically elevated to absoluteness, such that (paraphrasing Dávila) they defend their convictions by accusing those who challenge them to be out of date. Or -- bringing it back to Chesterton -- as if truth can be discerned with reference to clock or calendar. Nevertheless, this is the original meaning of political correctness: today's truth, or else!

Which makes "truth" a function of force, and therefore no truth at all. But you knew that already.

Friday, September 23, 2022

The Endless Beginning

The usual Friday free association. Or at least it always seems to happen at the end of the week. 

Back to the questions at hand: 

Should we suppose that God accepted some limit on his freedom when he created man, by whom his world could be brought either to perfection or destruction? Is he powerless in the face of autonomous man's "No"?

And how is this divine powerlessness related to the Godforsakenness of his Son on the Cross?

Revelation only gives us what happened, and it is up to us -- if we are so inclined -- to puzzle out the hows & whys of it, that is, to deepen our understanding and to seek the principles by which it is both possible and necessary. In so doing, there are clearly a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous, and certainly a lotta strands.

To be perfectly accurate, Christ founds a church and promises it a means of assistance -- a power from on high -- to both guide us to all truth and to pass it along. This is just my opinion, but I suspect this friendly vertical helper is given corporately, not individually per se; or rather, individually to the extent that the individual is part of the body.

Now, before modern science elbowed itself above the epistemological pack and elevated itself to the now discredited metaphysic of atheistic scientism, theology was considered a science. Back in the day, science referred to any organized body of knowledge, with its conclusions susceptible to demonstration via causes and principles. 

Indeed, principles themselves are causes, in that they are that from which other things come to be. In the Catholic philosophical view, this is how God is to be regarded: as the first principle from which creation -- AKA everything -- flows. This principle is, among others, first cause, unmoved mover, necessary being, the Intelligence of intelligibility, the Person of personhood, the Giver of law, the Reason of reasons. Logos for short.  

But this understanding has an objective and a subjective side. Knowing it is not the same as assimilating and understanding it, which of course takes a lifetime & thensome. Knowing is comparatively rapid and easy, while understanding is -- curiously-- a never-ending & ever-deepening process. 

This is because the Absolute Principle is of necessity Infinite (you could say that Infinitude is the first entailment of Absoluteness, even though they are only separable in the abstract). While we can conform ourselves to the latter, we can never do so completely, since we are finite.

Somewhere Schuon reflects upon the above in terms of a or the Trinity; can't remember the details, but let's say the Absolute is Father. If so, then Infinitude is the Son. In between is Perfection of every kind. Whatever the case may be, I don't think the Creator goes to all the trouble of revealing himself as Trinity, only to leave it as his own Personal Mystery completely inaccessible to us.

Again, from our side of manifestation, it isn't all that difficult to reason ourselves up to the First Principle. But it is very much as if this Principle comes down to correct us and let us know that He is actually a Three. (I want to say that God's pronouns are I, Thou, and Perfection.)

That's not something we could have worked out on our own, at least with certitude, but once given, not only does it make more sense than the alternatives, but it resolves a lot of absurdities and enigmas that arise if we regard the Principle of principles as an absolute monad. 

Among other things, if that is the case, then it is very difficult to figure out where we fit into the cosmic picture. My son and I enjoy watching Cops on TV. Whenever the Cops roll up on some crazy situation, they separate the parties and question them. Inevitably the question arises: Okay, who is he/she to you? 

In the ultimate cosmic context, I suppose this is the Question of questions, or certainty one of them: Okay, who are you to God? Now, every philosophy or theology or science asks precisely this question, and probably even exists to answer this question, whether explicitly or implicitly. 

For example, the village atheist will say, There is no principle and I mean nothing to it. But without nonlocal principles, nothing means anything to anybody, nor can there be anybody to know it. 

However, it is self-evident to me that everything means something, and I mean this literally. Some things admittedly don't mean a lot, but they are certainly not without meaning, because otherwise we couldn't even know of their existence. In other words, an "unknowable object" is strictly unthinkable -- which shows the close relationship between being and knowing.

This is one of the first things that will strike the curious primate: whence this infinite intelligibility? By virtue of what principle is it entailed?   

To be continued... because there can be no end. For

Religious thought does not go forward like scientific thought does, but rather goes deeper.


Every beginning is an image of the Beginning; every end is an image of the End (Dávila).

Thursday, September 22, 2022

What's Your Superpower?

We're still on the subject of relationship between divine and human freedom. We've dismissed the easy answers (no God / all God), so now we'll widen our scope and consider some other possibilities.

Here's a question: what is your superpower? If you're reading this -- let alone understanding it -- you no doubt have more than one. But let's just suppose you are an animal endowed with reason. This being the case, then your superpower is rationality.

But even such a seemingly modest claim involves a host of presuppositions and entailments. It's not at all obvious how it got here -- that is, by virtue of what principle(s). Things have their reasons, and we are owed a rational explanation for our rationality.

Owed? How did this verb find its way into the cosmos? For it is an obvious departure from the natural world of mere isness, and implies the complementarity of freedom <---> obligation, in short, the supernatural world of ought. Thus, supposing you are a moral agent, then that is another literal superpower. 

Backing up for just a moment, this line of thought was provoked by a passage I read about Tolkien, to the effect that The Lord of the Rings involves a "triple conflict" of "grace against nature and nature against anti-nature" -- or "between the supernatural, natural, and unnatural." 

So, three levels. Everything that defines man qua man is supernatural, although obviously not "outside" nature. We're still animals, but not only animals, or we could never know it. There is no merely scientific explanation for how this can be the case, because the very conduct of science presupposes what is in need of explanation: the rational, truth-seeking scientist. The practice of natural science is already supernatural.

But for this very reason it can also be subnatural -- for example, the Nazi physician Josef Mengele, or the diabolical surgeons who are at this veery moment castrating and mutilating children a result of their own perverse ideology.

Say what you want about gender ideology, it isn't remotely natural but explicitly anti-natural, a clear example of the vertical realm that bisects the horizontal: it has an up and a down, not only vis-a-vis truth, but beauty and goodness as well. 

And the superpower of freedom is precisely what allows us to ascend or descend on this scale. It is the ground of the very notion of "progress," for if one denies supernature, then progress reduces to will. Which reminds me of a tweet at Happy Acres:

How can there even exist judgmental relativists, e.g. progressives?

This is not a trivial question but a deeply metaphysical one, for it goes to the heart of progressive ideology. It is the first principle they need to defend: if there is no supernature, then why are you so agitated, insistent, and authoritarian about your imaginary "ought"? By virtue of what principle is one ought distinct from another? Supposing I am a fascist, or racist, or homophobe, why are these bad, if there is no objective truth or morality?

Me? I think racism is immoral because I believe in an objective morality that transcends nature. It's also why I know it is wrong to cut off a man's -- let alone child's -- johnson. I'm not a nihilist. 

Now, way back at the top of this post we alluded to the definition of man as an animal endowed with reason. Not only does this make man supernatural, but it presupposes the supernatural ability to know abstract and immaterial essences. To put it conversely, the world is not intelligible, nor are we intelligent, if we can't know essences. But we can, and now we have to explain how this can be so.

Let's say, for example, "natural selection" is true. What is natural selection? It is essentially

Bing! Stop right there: get your own essences, because no naturalistic or materialistic metaphysic can account for them. 

Once again you are presupposing what is at issue. You're begging the question. You need to demonstrate how demonstration is possible, and then how a chance animal can know necessary truth. In short, how on earth are you able to transcend natural selection and discern its essence from above? Magic?   

This whole discussion is very much tied into our first -- and essential -- definition of man, that he is an animal endowed with reason. We know what animals are. What is reason? 

I don't know how it happens, but the right book is always falling into my hands, in this case one called The Yves Simon Reader: The Philosopher's Calling.    

We all know what "responsibility" is. Animals, for example, are not responsible for their actions, which is why we don't put them on trial for pooping on the rug. Conversely, everyone knows man is responsible for his actions, unless he is asleep or insane. But if man is responsible, it presupposes that he is free to choose between alternatives. 

Now, reason as such is always tautological: premises in, conclusions out. Therefore, man is not "merely" or only rational, if only because he is free to be irrational. Which again points to the verticality of human transcendence: we can only choose rationally if we are free to do so, and we are only free to the extent that we can choose the true and good. 

About this superpower of freedom. Again, what exactly is it, and how does it get here?

I have to run, so we'll continue this tomorrow, but here are a few helpful aphoristic hints. Although Dávila came up with them, credit Bob for putting them in an ascending order that even tells a kind of story (and implies the ideological anti-story):

If determinism is real, if only that can happen which must happen, then error does not exist. Error supposes that something happened that should not have.

The stone is right, wherever it falls. Whoever speaks of error postulates free actions.

To admit the existence of errors is to confess the reality of free will.

In any proposition about man its paradoxical fusion of determinism and freedom must emerge.

Determinism is ideology; freedom is experience.

The permanent possibility of initiating causal series is what we call a person.

Freedom is not the goal of history but the material that it works with.

The free act is only conceivable in a created universe. In the universe that results from a free act.

The prestige of freedom in a society that professes scientific determinism is a Christian holdover.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Little Big Metaphysic

I was just now flipping through the Theo-Drama, trying to decide if I need to read the whole thing again, when I was arrested by the following passage on p. 50:

What is the relationship between divine and human freedom? Should we suppose that God accepted some limit on his freedom when he created man, by whom his world could be brought either to perfection or destruction? Is he powerless in the face of autonomous man's "No"?

Awkward questions without facile answers. Or rather, I can think of at least two very easy answers: 1) It's not even a meaningful question, just silly; and 2) God is by definition omnipotent, so our so-called freedom doesn't enter into it. 

Wait, there's more:

And how is this divine powerlessness related to the Godforsakenness of his Son on the Cross?

Again, two easy answers, 1) What Godforsakenness? It's just an executed criminal, and 2) What powerlessness? It was the plan all along!

Now, exactly no one up to the moment of the Resurrection -- and even for some time thereafter -- would have called this a great plan, ingenious, a Swiss freakin' watch, because, for one thing, no one understood the plan. 

Rather, the narrative is simply given to us raw and undigested, at least in the first three Gospels, where the facts are seemingly less conditioned by theological reflection than in John, where the relation is clearly reversed. Still, the synoptics do not pretend to be biography in the modern sense. Rather, they convey an understanding that only occurs later, and is retroactively poured back into them, so to speak. 

As a matter of fact, I was just reading about this in a personally helpful book called The Shape of Catholic Theology. It was helpful to me for reasons mentioned the other day -- that I am hardly a trained philosopher or theologian, rather, just a lapsed psychologist with too much time and too many tomes in his hands. 

No one would ever think of just diving into, say, physics, without a guide or textbook to narrow the search, define terms, differentiate the settled from unsettled, mark out fruitful from unfruitful paths, etc. 

Come to think of it, there's a paradox at work, in that I never stop learning, but know far less than when I began blogging 17 years ago. I know all the hard stuff. It's the basics I keep learning.

You could say I jumped into post-graduate work before mastering the fundamentals, or really, even graduating from elementary school, so there's been a lot of remedial work along the way: bonehead theology, so to speak. 

On the other hand, sometimes it takes an idiot. In other words, there are times that fresh and untrained eyes can see a problem from a perspective the expert can't. Aphorisms:

Philosophy gives up when one stops asking simple questions.

Or sometimes just one:

In philosophy a single naïve question is sometimes enough to make an entire system come tumbling down.

Thaaat's right, reader. The beauty is its simplicity. If your philosophy gets too complex, something always goes wrong. Therefore,

Common sense is the father’s house to which philosophy returns, every so often, feeble and emaciated.

Back for a moment to the "simple" narrative of the Gospels. Obviously, they embody both a letter and a spirit. If there is only the former, then the first question that arises is, Nice story, but what does any of it have to do with me? And if only the latter, the question is Why not just give it to me straight instead of clothing it in a fairy tale?  

But it turns out there are more than just two meanings, for there is the literal, the allegorical, the moral, the anagogical, the metaphysical, the mystical, etc., all at once

But enough about The Big Lebowski. Let's get back to those two tricky questions raised at the outset. Now, what I would say is that if a simple question is enough to blow up your metaphysic, then either metaphysics is impossible, or you need a bigger metaphysic. The modern belief is that grand philosophical narratives are strictly impossible, and are just the superstitious residue of a less enlightened age. 

Actually, these narratives are worse than that, for they are just an oppressive tool of some power-wielding minority. So long as this minority is white, male, and Christian. All others may control the Ring, e.g., women, blacks, homosexuals, etc. So long as they're leftists. In other words, just hand the Ring over to the progressive Orcs, or else!

This hypocrisy reminds me of an aphorism, that

Philosophers often start from their conclusions in order to invent their principles.

Now, no one would accuse the left of engaging in serious philosophy as opposed to spinning out fairy tale narratives for the most childish among us. 

As it applies to the question of whether God is powerless in the face of autonomous man's refusal, one approach begins with the conclusion that God does not exist, therefore it's a silly question. 

The other side begins with the conclusion that God is omnipotent, therefore, of course our No! doesn't enter into it, and is part of the plan.

But I say, get a bigger metaphysic, one that can reconcile divine and human freedom. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

On the Eighth Day, Man Derailed the Train

The following post is what we call a Train Wreck. It is borrowed from the band King Crimson, whose intricate compositions sometimes fall apart in mid-performance. Such occasional fails are inevitable if the band is to be on the knife-edge between memory and improvisation, lending a kind of drama to the proceedings. Apparently, playing in 17/14 time isn't as easy as it looks. Will the center hold, or will it fly apart? 

Likewise, this post was begun yesterday but ended in a train wreck. This morning I tried to get it back on the tracks, but it derailed again. Still, I don't think it's totally worthless. However, it's better to treat each paragraph as a separate unit, rather seeing it as a unified post. 

We've been meditating on the subject of Truth per se, which is transcendent, eternal, outside of time, yada yada, and about what happens to it when it takes the plunge into history. This plunge takes the form of a pilgrimage or journey -- the Creator's own journey in his own creation -- which must one of the weirdest stories ever told, hence its appeal for metaphysical tree-dwellers such as ourselves. 

For Balthasar, "it is a basic Christian requirement that existence should represent itself dramatically." Moreover,

the libretto of God's saving drama which we call Holy Scripture is worthless in itself unless, in the Holy Spirit, it is constantly mediating between the drama beyond and the drama here.

There is God's narrative and our narrative, and how do the two relate? Both play out in freedom, except the former can never be detached from its telos, whereas ours cuts both ways. I want to say that our engagement with God-in-time ends in the train wreck of the Crucifixion. But God's narrative ends -- so to speak -- in the Resurrection, which comes as a total surprise to our narrative. Didn't see that coming!

Again, as mentioned a post or two ago, the human drama begins with a frank refusal that sets us on a narrative (crash!) course divergent from the divine will. In one sense, the temporal form of revelation -- salvation history -- is the story of the attempt to realign the two: of thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

There's no drama without an antagonist. This shapeshifter takes diverse forms, beginning with the Serpent in the Garden. His motto is always Thy willfulness be done on earth as it is in hell (willfulness defined here as the severing of freedom from the true and good).  

Balthasar points out that "the theatrical is a primitive human instinct"; as there are cathedrals in space, he alludes to "cathedrals in dramatic form," which is to say, extended in time. Some drama is merely escapist, drawing man out of himself. But the divine drama is clearly inscapist, in that reveals man to himself and draws him toward his transcendent end.

As we know, "person" is etymologically related to persona, which alludes to the mask used by actors on stage. What with the three persons of the Trinity, Christianity and drama are related at the very foundation.

Revelation cannot be a "subset" of history, rather, vice versa: for it reveals what history and man are about, i.e. their principle and telos. 

Balthasar makes an important point about the dialogue of the players in the drama, that

the action is not reducible to dialogue; not every plot is unravelled in speech and counter-speech. Something that is beyond the speakers and governs them can make itself known, whether they are aware of it or not.

For example, one of my Bibles has Christ's words in red. Obviously the words are important, but, taken out of context, they can be reduced to a kind of self-contained doctrine that obscures the importance of the narrative form, which is to say, Christ himself as he undergoes time. I would say that this latter is the ultimate context in which to comprehend the words (AKA the passion play).   

The divine drama cannot be exhaustively expressed in or contained by a doctrine from our side, because there's simply not enough room in human language. In other words, eternity cannot fit into time -- nor the Absolute into the relative, the Infinite into the finite, the Word into words.

Therefore, this Truth is "stretched out" in time, so to speak, meaning that it has a coherence -- the coherence being discerned in the connecting thread -- but not "complete," in the sense that it is and must be an ongoing unveiling: a narrative.

What's the word, Jeeves? Asymptomatic? No sir: asymptotic. Yes, that's the one: forever approaching but never reaching its telos, or Omega point, because the latter is outside time. As is the Alpha. History is what happens in between these two, but again, it's not a random walk through 4D. We are ordered to our end, even of we diverge from it. Train wrecks are the price of freedom.

Speaking of which, slow down, Bob! Sharp turn ahead!

There is an "infinite" distance between the states of IT IS and I AM. And I put "infinite" in quotes, because there isn't even a way to conceptualize the distinction between objects and subjects, at least if we limit ourselves to the tools of the tenured. 

Our ancient furbears, Homo erectus, arrived on the scene about two million years ago and exited the stage some 100,000 years back, around the same time we got here. If you're looking for a literal Genesis, this is the place to begin.

Credit where it is due: Homo erectus invented "the Acheulean stone tool industry, succeeding the Oldowan industry" (Wiki), which sounds impressive until you realize that this pretty much consisted of Sharpened Rock version 2.0. 

Now, this is interesting, for it confirms a suspicion laid out in the bʘʘk: the recent discovery of a one year old Homo erectus lad showing that "this species lacked an extended childhood required for greater brain development, indicating lower cognitive capabilities." Man cannot enter the human narrative -- or any narrative -- without this extended neoteny. 

Specifically, what I suspected was that no amount of raw intelligence could have resulted in the genesis of our humanness (AKA Homo sapiens sapiens), because what was required was the emergence of intersubjectivity, and with it, the possibility of vertical ensoulment, which is when the real human story gets underway.

It seems there is a convergence between Homo erectus and Homo pomo, because neither possess the cognitive tools necessary to get the job done.


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Theo-Drama and Atheo-Farce

I don't want to dive all the way back into the Theo-Drama, because even flipping through its 2,600 pages would take all day. Best I can do is check out the highlights and notes to myself. The post may come together, or it may be a bunch of scattered fragments, any one of which might have been the basis for a decent post if Bob weren't so lazy.

First, to set the stage, the aim of Balthasar's work is to approach revelation from the standpoint of a dramatic encounter between God and man -- or, an encounter that takes on the form of a dramatic unfolding. How could it not? The entire thread from Genesis to right now may be be regarded as a cosmo-anthropic divine drama. How did you get here? Where are you situated in the plot? Who's your costar, and what's the conflict?

A note at the beginning says "Graft oneself onto the endless adventure of the incarnate God." Sounds like good advice. Or possibly insane. 

Elsewhere it says "God comes into the world with a mission: to change man and alter history." Mission accomplished! Or rather, mission being accomplished, since the adventure did not end at Calvary or with the Ascension. Rather, that's when act three really gets underway:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

This is just me talking, but if act one is the drama of the encounter between God and Israel, and act two the drama of the Godman here on earth, then act three is the prolongation of the latter via the Church, or the Body of Christ. 

There is a horizontal aspect to this, i.e., the unfolding story which may be plotted along the temporal line, and a vertical aspect which fructifies time from above via a mysterious character called the Holy Spirit.

Here's an intriguing note: Jesus is God's "anthropology" and our "theology," since he is their intersection, precisely. Which reminds me of an aphorism about scripture, which is also a kind of controlled intersection:

The Bible is not the voice of God but that of the man who encounters Him.

It occurs to me that the narrative cannot be a drama at all if it comes only from one side or the other. If it is all rigidly scripted by God, then we have no role to play. And if it is just us writing on the walls of our prison, then it is but a random walk through the corridor of time, with no telos. Aphorism:

History would be an abominable farce if it were to have a worldly culmination.

This doesn't mean it isn't an abominable farce. But it does mean it must be either a Theo-Drama or an Atheo-Absurdity. Clearly, those are the only two options on the menu. 

But ironically, picking one or the other takes on its own dramatic structure, which comes down to the structure of man's encounter with Truth. So you can pretend to jettison the true and the good, but not the drama of doing so. And what a lousy ending! To paraphrase Marx, history repeats itself, the first time as farce, and then every time as farce. 

I think we can all agree that, absent any transcendent telos, "history" not only makes no sense, it cannot possibly make sense, and besides, it's not even history, just a bunch of tenured primates taking random snapshots of a river with no beginning or end. 

Attention, primates!

If history made sense, the Crucifixion would be superfluous.

And if the Crucifixion is the end, then history is superfluous. But again, history is this ongoing drama of the Incarnation prolonged in time. And if existence really were meaningless, then man could never know it.

Another note: the aim is to make the individual's short and finite span of life co-extensive with the life of the cosmos and beyond. Again, we are playing a role in a drama that began long before our birth and continues long after. And yet, in another sense the drama has been "resolved," in that we know its telos via faith and hope, which are like nonlocal tentacles that "touch" their object.

Here's a question: How does God overcome man's No without depriving him of his freedom?

Note that one of the dramatic devices of the narrative is an ongoing series of Yeses without which the drama would have ended (or at least God would have had to find other takers). Come to think of it, we might also say that the whole drama is triggered by that primordial NO in Genesis 3. Eve is the original Drama Queen.

The subsequent drama is enabled and moved along by the varied Yeses of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Mary, Jesus, the original twelve, Paul, and everyone since then who responds in the affirmative. 

Looked at one way, we could even say that history is a dialectic of Yes and No! There's an aphorism for that, for what is history but "the dialogue between two men: one who believes in God and another who believes he is a god"? For that matter,

Men are divided into two camps: those who believe in original sin and those who are idiots.

In case you were wondering why life itself is a dramatic struggle against these idiots. 

We'll close this out with another aphorism:

For history to be of concern to us, there must be something in it that transcends it: There must be something in history more than history.

Which means that progressives are half-right but totally wrong, in that there is a "right side of history," but only because it has a transcendent end. 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Divine Sitcomedy

The prime directive for the interpretation of dreams in psychoanalysis is free association:

patients are invited to relate whatever comes into their minds during the analytic session, and not to censor their thoughts (Prof. Wiki). 

In order to get along socially, we have to activate the Filter without which others would endure the horror of seeing us as we are. 

Interestingly, now that I am retired, it seems that my filter is growing feeble due to nonuse. This must be one of the causes of the phenomenon of Grumpy Old Manhood. You no longer have to please anyone, or try to "pass" in the Conspiracy. You can be as weird as you want to be. I find that I've pretty much lost my tenuous grasp of unreality.  

If the content of the blog is getting more peculiar, obscure, and eccentric, I suppose this is why. At this rate, the blog will eventually become my own personal dream, inaccessible to anyone else. Well, not really, for reasons we'll get into.

At any rate, I finally understand what Davila means when he says... can't find it at the moment, but something like The only honest dialogue is between two solitaries. Why? Because only the solitary can arrive at knowledge without the ubiquitous pressure to conform. 

This pressure is pervasive, and we are constantly adjusting to it. It's obviously one of the principle explanations for the existence of the left, which is nothing if not mimetic, since it is composed of ideas so detached from reality that no one could arrive at them independently.

The perfect conformist in our time is the ideologue of the left.


If one does not wish to be a conformist, one must not be a progressive.

But merely opposing the left is a kind of trap, a mirror image of their knee-jerk opposition to reality:

Conformity and nonconformity are symmetrical expressions of a lack of originality.

Rather, one must be motivated by a disinterested love of truth into which one is drawn, never compelled. Philo-sophy: it is primarily a verb -- a lifestyle -- and only secondarily the content per se. 

Here's a good one:

The recluse is the delegate from humanity to what is important. 

True, but he can also be the delegate of what is totally insane or evil, like the Unabomber typing his manifesto, or Hitler kampfing away in his jail cell.

Philosophy is a solitary attitude. The adherence of any crowd to a doctrine converts it into a mythology.

There's safety in numbskulls, which is one of the appeals of ideology, being that it shelters one from reality. These collective delusions confer a ready-made defense against unpleasant existential truths. Ideologies are always incoherent or inconsistent, but that's the price of denial.

Now, what prevents Bob from totally spinning out of control? How are his flights of funzy any different from the Oozlum bird disappearing up his own aseity?

Since we're free associating, a number of principles come to mind, for example, that

All truth goes from flesh to flesh.

Which means that while I may look like an impervious hermit or nervous wreckluse, I am in constant dialogue with various luminaries who keep me in check. This is indeed a "society," but it is an eternal fraternity that very much includes the technically no-longer-living, but only biologically. I want to to say that truth and life are synonymous on the pneumatic plane.

Back to my controlling authorities. There are some good passages on this in The Shape of Catholic Theology, by Aidan Nichols. First of all, I'm obviously not a trained theologian, just an amateur. Therefore, instead of having been "shown the ropes" ahead of time, I've had to discover them on my own, which has resulted in a lot of zigs and zags and nul de slacks. Now, I would agree with the following:

Unless we inherit a spiritual tradition to interpret it, the experience of life teaches us nothing.

And you have to enter the tradition from the inside, otherwise you're like a deaf man pretending to describe music. You could spend your life studying Christianity

from a purely descriptive standpoint, in what may be called an empirical way, amassing facts about Christianity: its origins, history, and present diffusion.... Such a person may be enormously erudite but could never become a theologian (Nichols).

Mere objectivity would be "epistemologically defective," indeed fatal -- no more appropriate or generative than studying rocks by interviewing them.

Nevertheless, there is an objective content, but it must be entered and engaged via the subjective plunge. You can't ask for a bath -- or to be baptized -- without getting wet. Above we referenced the "flesh to flesh" transmission, but what is transmitted is immaterial. Thus, "tradition is more a medium than it is an object." Real theology is always a vertical contact sport.

This post is getting overlong without ever having gotten to the main point. I wanted to say that free-associating on the word "dream" prompted the recollection of Balthasar's Theo-Drama, which is a very long meditation on what we were discussing in the previous post, of the dreamlike narrative that ensues when the Creator makes a visit herebelow and submits to his own creation. The Divine Sit-Comedy?

Well, that's my dream and I'm sticking to it, but we'll continue interpreting it in the next post.

    Friday, September 16, 2022

    God's Own Dream

    Never heard of him, but Pieper quotes the 18th century German philosopher Christian Wolff:

    The truth that is called "transcendental" and is conceived as inherent in reality as such... is the ordered structure governing all existing things.

    The transcendent Order from which immanent order flows is in contrast to the dream, which involves "inconsistency in the transformation of things. The truth implies order, the dream disorder."

    Freud famously imagined he had discovered the implicit order, or deep structure, of dreams, and for awhile there I myself believed it. For the cult of psychoanalysis is exactly that: a cult, featuring a prophet, revelation, dogma, disciples, apostolic succession, sacraments, rites, purity tests, and of course, plenty of cash. 

    Still, Freud's racket was better than what we have today in psychology, which isn't even a fairy tale. Speaking of which, if we ignore those transcendental principles referenced above -- should they 

    ever disappear from the universe of all existing things, then the real world would dissolve into a fairy tale (mundus fabulosis), the equivalent of a dream (Wolff).

    Obviously, we are there: western civilization has exchanged the order of truth for the disorder of the dream. But is it really a disorder, full stop? Just because Freud got it wrong, it doesn't necessarily mean that the dream has no order. Clearly, dreaming has some kind of order, or it would be a literal chaos with no narrative structure, characters, dialogue, scenes, themes, etc.

    Thinking back on when I used to interpret dreams, I never did so in an "orthodox" manner that reduced them to some preconceived structure. Rather, I would approach them as one would a work of art -- a film or novel -- and try to discern the intent of the Dreamer, i.e., the underlying theme.

    And as a matter of fact, I didn't come to post-graduate work in psychology in the usual way. Rather, my undergraduate degree was in film, of all things, more the artistic than technical side.

    There has never been any conscious plan, but once I made the impulsive decision to veer into psychology, I couldn't help but see human life as a bad movie -- or a movie that is going badly -- and unhappy patients as being trapped in a plot unwittingly written by themselves: just like a horror movie, except the calls are coming from inside the head.

    It was also during this time that -- unlucky for you -- I discovered Joyce, and more particularly, Finnegans Wake, which is what exactly? You could say it is the most complicated dream ever dreamt, which is to say, all of human history packed into one crazy dream in a single night of one individual, who is human nature writ large, AKA Here Comes Everybody. 

    No one has ever come close to fully understanding the book, and no one ever will. However, the very idea of it drew me in like a moth to the flame. It didn't take much of a leap to regard it as literal, in the sense that history is indeed a nightmare from which we cannot awaken, and the more one studies history, the more evidence one finds for this endless nightmare. To study history is to float over a sewer in a glass-bottomed boat, a sewer called human nature.

    I know, I know, there's plenty of good stuff down there, but it is clearly the exception, and it is always fragile and surrounded on all sides by the things one naturally finds in a sewer. Like today, for example. How insentient does one have to be in order to not smell it? 

    Time out for some aphoristic back-up:

    Civilizations are the summer buzzing of insects between two winters.

    I'm an optimist. I say it's late autumn. 

    History is a succession of nights and days. Of short days and long nights.

    And the nights are, of course, when the most intense dreaming takes place, like REM sleep.

    Our civilization is a baroque palace invaded by a disheveled mob.

    Led by a dementia patient. 

    What we call the "news" is really the Dream Police: it defines the parameters of the dream and marginalizes or punishes those who stray from it. For example, today's dream is that sending illegals to wealthy Democrat playgrounds that claim to welcome Diversity is a "political stunt." Okay dreamer.

    Pulling out for a moment from this civilizational nosedive, it occurs to me that to become a Christian is to plug into God's own dream, so to speak. Thus, for example,

    The Church’s function is not to adapt Christianity to the world, nor even to adapt the world to Christianity; her function is to maintain a counterworld in the world.

    Or, you could call it a counter-dream to the nightmare of history. It resembles the transcendent order referenced above, except the latter is philosophical, or accessible to natural reason, whereas we can know nothing of God's dream unless he reveals it to us.

    But like most dreams, it's definitely a strange one -- so strange that upon hearing it, many of his disciples said, This is a pretty weird dream. Who can accept it? But this is part of the appeal, for

    Christian doctrines have the implausibility of objects that we do not construct, but that we stumble across.


    Certain dogmas of Christianity seem so evident to me that it is not difficult for me to believe in those that are difficult to believe.

    Now, we've had plenty of morons in the White House, but not since Wilson have we had a frankly demented one. What does this imply for the nightmare of history? 

    It's difficult to say at this juncture whether this is a cause or consequence of where we are in the nightmare, but it certainly seems like we've lost any connecting thread, and that we are now like a planet with no star, and therefore spinning out of control. Say what you want about the nightmarish tenets of the left, at least it's a structure. But this is madness.

    Even so, the Central Sun is always here, at least for the individual. To be a conservative is to say that there is a transcendental order in things; that this order is discovered and not invented; and for this reason ought to be conserved, precisely. The things that are not of this order shouldn't be tossed aside lightly, but rather, thrown with great force.

    Thursday, September 15, 2022

    The Bigger the Bang, the Bigger the Mystery

    Time only for a brief one, but we'll do our best to pack in some concentrated vertamins.

    Let's begin with the aphoristic stipulation that

    Myths, like the aesthetic presentation, can be truths without being realities (Dávila).

    Conversely, science can be true without being reality, to such an extent that

    Science easily degrades into fools’ mythology.


    To believe that science is enough is the most naive of superstitions.

    This reminds me of something I read the other day -- that some physicists are panicking because some of the new photos from deep space seem to imply that the Big Bang theory must be false. 

    The google machine suggests this is fake news, but the Bang itself was considered fake news at first -- as are all truly revolutionary scientific discoveries. Just as somebody always gets hurt in a courtroom, every scientific discovery threatens the interests of the prevailing orthodoxy. 

    In any event, the whole dispute is way below my post-academic pay grade. My point is that even I was a bit unsettled when I read an article by a physicist assuring me that the Big Bang couldn't possibly have happened. It was dis-orienting -- literally, since I had become accustomed to orienting the physical cosmos to this unimaginable "event" of 13.8 billion years ago. If it didn't happen, it's like our cosmic area rug has been stolen by nihilists.

    Of course, this has no effect one way or the other on metaphysics or revelation, which are the real "controlling paradigms," so to speak. Still, it left me wondering: What other so-called "truths" are just a patch-up job on the matrix? Is the border really secure? Was the November 2020 election really the cleanest in history? Was January 6 really an insurrection? Does Joe Biden even know what day it is? So many questions!

    In reality, despite any and all advances in science and technology, we are plunged into mystery at all the key places -- the joints and hinges, so to speak -- of the matrix. On these questions there has been no advance over what was known 2,000 years ago. These include

    --Why is there something instead of nothing?

    --What is life, and how did it originate?

    --What is consciousness?

    --Who am I?

    --How should I live, i.e., what ought I do?

    --Why is there evil? Or, come to think of it, goodness, truth, love, and beauty? 

    You will notice that such questions always revolve around the mysteries of origins, present being, and ultimate ends. It's not that science has answered any of these, rather, it simply stops asking questions at a certain point, for 

    Natural laws are irreducible to explanation, like any mystery.

    But a vertical mystery is not the same as horizontal question. There is an "answer" to the mystery, but it's an even bigger mystery, indeed, the biggest one (in)conceivable, which is why we symbolize it O. 

    Note that there is mystery at "both ends" of O, in that the infinitude flows in both directions, up and down. Thus, the only way we can approach it is by becoming infinite ourselves, i.e., via radical openness.

    Here we link up to Celestial Central, which is the ground of what was said above about origins, end, and present being. This may be a little difficult to conceptualize, or, on the other hand, very difficult to conceptualize. Put it this way:

    Every beginning is an image of the Beginning; every end is an image of the End.

    The "Big Bang," for example, is but a scientific image of beginning-ness per se. It is not and cannot be The beginning, because that beginning is and must be metaphysical, not merely physical. Irrespective of whether we are living in the midst of this ongrowing bang, the banging is nevertheless contingent, and dependent upon something -- or someOne -- necessary.

    This necessary mystery is O, and it is never going away. 

    You know the old saying about how if you don't know both sides of an argument, you don't know either side? Likewise, if you don't know both sides of science, you don't know either side. 

    Long story short, on one side of science is the material world, and in particular, its mysterious intelligibility. On the other side is the human being and our even more mysterious immaterial intellect. Science can only presume both, but never account for them with its own resources. Which is why

    The life of the intelligence is a dialogue between the personalism of spirit and the impersonalism of reason.


    He who understands the least is he who insists on understanding more than what can be understood.

    What is the most that can be understood? I -- or , rather Dávila -- can answer that in four words, but you'll have to fill in some of the gaps, since I'm out of time:

    Truth is a person.

    Okay, here's a hint:

    Thought can avoid the idea of God as long as it limits itself to meditating on minor problems.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2022

    Fairy Tales for the Tenured

    Between truth and dream, I know what I want: a dreamy truth -- like truth as depicted in, say, myth.

    I say this after having finally gotten around to watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy with Gagdad Jr. Myth is not truth, obviously. But equally obviously, there is truth in myth. Which isn't so strange when you think about it, for it turns out the same is true of history:

    Truth is in history, but history is not truth (Dávila).

    How can this be? I hate to give credit for anything to postmodernity, but it does at least appreciate the significance of narrative, even if it immediately throws away its deeper meaning. For it is as if they say: Truth is expressed in narrative, therefore, there is no truth. Rather, there are only competing narratives that mask the will to power. 

    To put it in mythological terms, there is only the Ring of Power, and anyone who tries to pretend otherwise is either naive or trying to con you. But the truth of what they say isn't new at all, and what they say that's new isn't true.

    It is interesting -- spoiler alert in case there's one other person who hasn't seen the movie -- that when finally faced with the choice of forsaking the ring, Frodo can't do it. Best he can do is prevent someone else from having it, Gollum. Frodo essentially murders his rival, and the ring goes down with him. 

    Now that expresses a perennial Truth of human nature: if I can't have it, then no one else can, AKA, primordial envy.  

    As we've discussed in the past, envy is not the same as greed, which merely desires the object. Rather, envy is much more pernicious, as it is driven to destroy the very thing that arouses its desire. Think of Hitler, who ordered his general to reduce Paris to rubble rather than surrender it to the allies: Paris must not pass into the enemy's hands, except as a field of ruins.

    Ironically, the Nazi general who refused the order has sometimes been called the Savior of Paris.   

    Say what you want about Hitler, at least he had a consistent ethos: with the allies closing in, he issued what is called the Nero Decree, which ordered the total destruction of anything of value before it fell into the hands of the enemy. Indeed, if Germany couldn't prevail in the struggle, then this only proved Germans themselves to be unworthy of life. Now that is pure envy. 

    Reminds me of Hillary in 2016: if I can't have the ring, then at least I can destroy Trump and democracy. The spite continues. If they're going to lose in November, might as well cause as much chaos and destruction as possible -- to our cities, to the border, and to the economy -- and then blame Republicans for it. 

    At this point I could veer into a post on Chesterton and Lewis to flesh out the notion of dreamy truth, but that's been done. At One Cosmos we prefer to employ strange words to seek out old civilizations, and to blog where no blogger has blogged before. 

    Let's start with some additional aphorisms before we light out for the territories. Or head off to Trader Joes, whichever comes first. 

    Just as there are truths that can only be painted, so there are others that are only expressed in legends.

    The bridge between nature and man is not science, but myth.

    Man often believes he is exchanging a fable for a truth when he is merely exchanging one fable for another fable.

    What I want to say is that man cannot avoid myth, because he is a historical -- which is to say, temporal -- being. Not to champion the obvious again, but we simply cannot avoid stories and narratives to structure the deployment of truth in time. Now,

    Nothing is explainable outside of history, but history is not enough to explain anything.

    Read "narrative" for history, and you get the point. However, not all narratives are created equal, and many are created specifically to deceive, beginning with the narrator. 

    A myth is a narrative, but not all narratives are myths. Rather, there are rules, i.e., a hierarchy of truths, and if you confuse the top with the bottom, or vice versa, you are surely entering a world of pain. We'll just end with this aphoristic truism and pick up the thread tomorrow:

    News stories are the substitute for truths. 

    Fairy tales for the tenured -- for educated white women, the low information crowd, the envious, the corporate gollums, the groomers and other deviants, etc.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2022

    Brandon Version 1.0

    Truth is a property of being because being is an entailment or radiation of the principle of creation. Or, you could just say that the Creator cannot not create; moreover, since we are in the image of the principle -- its prolongation herebelow -- it explains our own boundless creativity. Creativity ultimately exists for the same reason as do truth, beauty, and virtue: the conformity of reality to the Principle. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    But of course, man is free, so he is free to ignore or deny the universal principles that govern things -- including even the principle of freedom itself. 

    However, doing so involves exchanging reality for fantasy, and we all know people who prefer to live in the comfort and safety of their own delusions. Living where I do, I am surrounded by these drones. Some of them even notice the ongoing descent into barbarism, but they see no connection between this and the one party rule they support. The hivemind by its nature has no insight into itself.

    "The opposite of transcendental truth," writes Pieper, "would be a dream mistaken for reality." But a single dream isn't enough to cover the whole of reality, which is why the left has had to invade everything in academia, even areas you'd think would be unnecessary, such as sports, weather, and experimental vaccine mandates.  

    For it seems that the opposite of "universal" is "totalitarian." Both approaches endeavor to account for everything, the former in an open-ended, spontaneous, and harmonious manner, the latter in a rigid, closed, and top-down manner. The university used to be a place to nurture open minds, whereas now it actively bans and persecutes them. Progress! 

    Way back in the day, my doctoral dissertation was on the idea of the mind as a quintessentially open system. Open to what? Since publishing a couple of articles from the dissertation in 1991 and 1994, I've refined my thinking on the subject, but I don't recall ever having packed it all into a single post. Rather, it's more of a background assumption that colors my approach to everything, up to and including God.

    A key point, I suppose, is that the mind is analogous to a biological system that maintains itself via openness to the surrounding environment, accompanied by an exchange of matter, energy, or information. This is obvious on the purely biological level, but it is equally true on the psychic level, and it is precisely this mechanism that is exploited by the media-academic totalitarians, who never stop farce-feeding us a stream of lies, especially in the post-internet "information age."

    Information in-forms, meaning that its recipients take on the very form of the in-formers, i.e., media and academic gaslighters. As it so happens, Z Man touched on this subject this morning, and his reflections may even have provoked mine: 

    From the point of view of the managerial class, it is perfectly sensible for the tech oligarchs to censure speech. It is the responsible thing to do. They are baffled as to why anyone is upset by this. Not only are they not offended by censorship, but they would also be shocked if these firms were not coordinating their efforts. It is why they mount pressure campaigns against holdouts. Teaming up to suppress speech is really just a good example of political unity when you think about it.

    When you step back and look at what is happening, it is remarkable. Managerialism in the West has achieved something that the Bolsheviks and Nazis were never able to accomplish at their peak. The operation of the managerial class is entirely informal, a habit of mind, rather than a set of rules. The communists and fascists had to rely on physical compulsion to maintain control (

    The other day I read a book called 1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder. Nothing new, it turns out, but it does have helpful review of Wilson's totalitarian sentiments and policies. You could call him Brandon v1.0, or you could call Brandon Wilson v2.0; but really, it's just the same old nightmare of progressivism. 

    Remember Brandon's Disinformation Governance Board, headed up by that ridiculous woman who mindlessly propagated every word of leftist disinformation? Nothing new. Wilson created his own Committee on Public Information in April of 1917. And just like today, the purpose was to Save R Demokrisy! Its first head, George Creel, helpfully said that

    It remains to be seen whether the people of the United States prefer facts to clamor, fairness to betrayal, and democracy to oligarchy; in a word, whether they are able to think for themselves.

    Sounds good! Except, just like today, "It was precisely to ensure that the American people didn't think for themselves that Creel would throw himself into his job" at CPI, via propaganda and censorship:

    America's media became the obedient conduit for the CPI's Division of News, which bombarded the public with six thousand press releases a week.... on any given week, more than twenty thousand newspaper columns carried material that the Division of News deemed fit to print. 

    So, just like today, they had their own gaslight media. They also knew that politics is downstream from culture, so they didn't take any chances with the primary entertainment medium of the day: the Division of Films "turned to the motion picture industry" in order "to mobilize pro-war, anti-German sentiment," and "Hollywood jumped in with both feet."

    Recruiting moviemakers was a farsighted policy, not unlike recruiting social media or Instagram to carry government propaganda today.

    Progressives would never forget to pander to emotional woman and malleable blacks: there was 

    an effort to recruit African American speakers, especially clergy, to carry the messages to their communities, and a Woman's Division to promote the same thing...

    The result was a media-storm that was coordinated, comprehensive, and virtually around-the-clock.

    The invention the 24-hour news cycle, or an unending Two Minutes Hate. Putin is the new Kaiser, as Trump is the new Debs, or at least will be when they indict him (Debs actually ran for present from behind bars in 1920, so Trump won't be the first).

    The Espionage act of 1917 "gave government officials wide latitude in limiting the spread of undesirable opinions -- otherwise known as limiting free speech," as the Sedition Act of 1918 "made it illegal to speak, print, write or publish" any "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the government." It was "the single most restrictive gag on free speech and freedom of the press in U.S. history."

    Until today.

    There were even versions of Antifa back then, semi-vigilante groups such as the American Protective League and American Defense Society. 

    The more things progress, the more they stay the same: the actions of Wilson and his henchmen

    highlight the curious self-righteousness of the American Progressive mind, and the belief among Progressives that their views once arrived at were beyond criticism; as with Wilson, opposition itself became a sign of disloyalty, even of evil.

    To bring the post full circle, this is not a dream mistaken for reality, but a nightmare propagated and enforced from on high. I mean, if I am a fascist, then Progworld is truly upside down and inside out.

    Monday, September 12, 2022

    Monotheism and Monohumanism

    We call monism the vain attempt to assemble the broken fragments of the universe. --Dávila

    Schuon, in one of his abstract moods, wondered if Unity "is really a number"; for if you want to be pernickety about it,

    number begins only with Duality, which opens the door to that projection of the Infinite which is the indefinite. Nonetheless, to say Unity is to say Totality; in other words, Unity signifies the absolute Real, and likewise with Totality, which represents the Real in all its ontological "extent"; Reality and All-Possibility meet.

    Mono-theism. Despite being mono, it seems that it's not exactly a quantity, being that it signifies a reality that must be ontologically prior to number. For even to say "one" implies a containment of what is in principle uncontainable. 

    Two comes "after" One, only at which point can the One be apprehended and reduced to a concept. Thus, prior to Two there can be no number per se. Which immediately brings to mind male-and-female He created them, or they shall become oneflesh. Monohumanism? How?

    While two is the "first" number, it also signifies the quality of duality or of division, and thus the "desire" to transcend this division and return to Unity. At least this is what would be suggested by pure logic, i.e., the urge to merge, to reduce multiplicity to Unity, whether through love, truth, or beauty.

    However, revelation suggests otherwise, in that it surprises us with a Three! that is not a consequence of Two, but rather, the source or ground of the One and Two, of monism and dualism. 

    Apparently, what comes before One isn't zero, but Three. Or at least One and Three are complementary and irreducible to anything else. Which further implies that Primordial Relation is coequal with the Relata.

    One can appreciate how early philosophers ended up with the One; again it is where logic inevitably leads. The problem, rather, is the possibility of diversity in the face of this One. What is its ontological status? Is it real, or only an illusion, AKA maya? Is it just an extension of the One, thereby losing its own freedom, dignity, and reason for being? Or is it radically separate from the source, as in deism or existentialism? 

    It's easy enough to claim to be a relativist, but relative to what? How is relativity even possible in the absence the Absolute? That's like starting to count with two instead of one, when we already concluded that numbers as such are multiples of One. Dávila:

    The rationalist calls "absolute" the shadow that his body casts one day under a passing cloud.

    Let's conclude this annoying prologue and stipulate the following: one can try to think this through on one's own, but how many people are capable or even interested in doing so? Or, one can take it on the authority of a trusted source, and move on. Me? I enjoy lounging in the shade of insoluble problems, but most folks aren't like that.

    Let's think about "multiples of one," or of unity, rather. Let's start with, say, Life Itself. What is it? Seems to me that it is an exercise in the binding of space and time. Despite all the parts, Life has a wholeness and unity to which the parts are ordered; likewise, although the organism lives in "instants," these instants are bound together in a lifespan. 

    How is this even possible unless this prior Unity is in the nature of things? In other words, Unity can't be a "result" unless it's already present. Metaphysically speaking, if you start with duality, there's no "returning" to Unity. One invents Two, every time. 

    It's the same with Mind: what is it? Obviously, the very possibility of knowledge rests upon an implicit unity of knower and known, or of Intelligence and Intelligibility. Speaking of the One Philosophy, if yours doesn't begin with some version of this Principle, then there is again no returning to it: there is no intelligibility in the universe, and besides, no universe. Man is submerged in permanent tenure.

    Oh yeah. That just reminded me of our subject: one philosophy because one cosmos and one mankind. Or just say oneness, a oneness that permeates things and is consciously present only in man. Man is consciousness-of-unity in both space and time. 

    Unity in space is a prerequisite of science (or of any real knowledge, or knowledge of the Real), as unity in time is a prerequisite of history, whether personal or collective. Only God can say I AM. The restavus can only Become, but the very possibility of this temporal becoming abides in the atemporal Subject of subjectivity.

    This aphorism may seem like a sudden left turn, but it isn't:

    Faith is not knowledge of the object, but communication with it.

    In other words, faith presupposes an implicit unity of God and man. To have "faith in God" is to posit a unity that is given by God, without which Two can never return to One, as we already established above. Schuon has some important points on this subject as well, for example, faith "is to see concretely what apparently is abstract," and "is like an ‘existential’ intuition of its ‘intellectual’ object."

    Well, that's about the size of it this morning. We'll end with this pleasantly inspiraling thought:

    The dialectic of love is not an irreversible process of ascent but an infinite series of returns.

    Sunday, September 11, 2022

    Gravity and Levity

    Our subject is both -- or "both" -- oneness and the One, i.e., the unity of the cosmos. As alluded to in the previous post, not everything that counts can be counted:

    The Pythagorean numbers prove that number in itself is not synonymous with quantity pure and simple, for they are essentially qualitative; they are so to the degree that they are close to Unity, their point of departure (Schuon).

    This p. of d. is the Principle, don't you know, and this same pattern is fractally present in any ordinary principle, i.e., that from which something else proceeds, and those things it entails. We are always chasing our entailments, i.e., arguing to or from principles, otherwise argument would be impossible -- as it is when arguing with an unprincipled leftist. 

    Not to descend immediately into insultainment, but this absence of principles -- or constantly shifting ones, which amounts to the same thing -- is precisely why debating a leftist is like playing chess with a pigeon. 

    Again, this is not mere hypocrisy, because hypocrisy requires a principle to violate, when the left's only consistent principle is power; if one's ontology begins with diversity instead of unity, there is no principle with which to arbitrate between diverse truth claims: relativism in, tenure out. Hence,

    Engaging in dialogue with those who do not share our assumptions is nothing more than a stupid way to kill time.
    You will have noticed that this post-philosophical (and therefore post-reality) absence of principles is both convenient and effective in getting what they want. They run circles around those of us with principles, because they possess an absurcular "freedom" entirely lacking in someone whose intellect is ordered to the One. 

    Of course, this is but an inverted caricature of actual freedom, but those have been Famous Last Words ever since Socrates gulped the hemlock. We have Aphoristic confirmation:

    As long as they do not take him seriously, the man who speaks the truth can live for a while in a democracy. Then, the hemlock.

    Or cross, gulag, firing squad and other methods of Power.

    Truthlessness is at once another word for nihilism, but it is implicitly in service to the power and self-interest that is its downward telos. Which is why leftists are always so fired up with pseudo-meaning -- i.e., the Drama of Activism -- because it is a frantic defense mechanism against the unconscious (but necessary) absence of meaning. 

    In other words, no one gets excited about 2 + 2 = 4, or supply and demand, or men aren't women. But people are insanely passionate about Math is an oppressive tool of white patriarchy!, or Printing more money will cure inflation!, or Cutting off my johnson makes me a woman! (whatever that is).

    Arguing will get you nowhere, because

    A few lines are enough to demonstrate a truth. Not even a library is enough to refute an error.

    Yesterday I read a horrible story about a young Mexican psychologist who is getting his license yanked and his PhD revoked for merely defending the traditional values that all sane human beings held until about five minutes ago. 

    I can sympathize, because there is simply no way I could pass the oral exam today. Or, I could, but I would have to lie through me teeth. Think about that: you can only be granted a license to treat souls in California if you take a pledge to deny reality!

    You're probably thinking Bob is exaggerating to make a point or a joke, but Bob never exaggerates, nor does he have a point (truth being its own point). I just checked the website of the California Psychological Association, which would require a library to refute, but this gives a flavor of the evil and insanity:

    We believe that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, where the therapist's intent is to direct, redirect, or influence an individual's sexual orientation, are potentially harmful and have no place as a part of legitimate psychological practice. 

    In other words, they want it to be against the law to help some lost soul figure out why he thinks he's a she. But once you've ditched the principle of identity -- AKA non-contradiction -- then all things are possible. No biology, no problem!

    Damn. This post is slipping away from me. UNITY. According to Schuon,

    Unity is the first principle that penetrates and regulates universal Manifestation, in the sense that on the one hand it projects its reflections everywhere, and on the other hand brings phenomena back to Unity.

    How does this Unity get so messed up? That's actually a good question, and I think you'll agree that there is only one conceivable being in all of creation who could possibly mess it up. I want to say that only a disordered will could fracture the unity of things, and maybe that's what it means to be "fallen."

    I promise to maintain my focus in the next post, and not fall for the low-hanging fruitcakes.