Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Spacetime and Other Problems

An inexcusably rambling post, but what's done is done.

It has probably occurred to you that the problems of time cannot be solved by more of it. Time itself is the problem. No time, no problems. But how and why did it get this way? 

We live "in" time and space. But we are not -- or so we have heard from the wise -- of time and space. Or at least some “part” of ourselves is not their product (i.e., evolved in time), but rather, is said to be a special creation, something inserted or added to the already existing one. The human soul seems to be Bonus Material that is both unnecessary and gratuitous, and maybe even a hassle.

In a wide-ranging discussion yesterday, my son asked whether existence is even a good thing. He’s very sensitive to the evil and suffering in this world, and wondered whether the whole existentialada might not be worth the salsa. 

I certainly know what he means. Is it worth the bother to exist, or rather, why not create existence minus all the suffering? Or, how about just a floor to the suffering? 

If there is an infinite intellect behind it all, he no doubt considered and rejected this idea, and indeed took it on directly with the assumption of human nature. Reminds me of this:
The history of Christianity would be suspiciously human if it were not the adventure of an incarnate God. Christianity assumes the misery of history, as Christ assumes that of man (Davila).
Who would invent such a God? I know I wouldn’t.    

The problem of evil is a notoriously difficult one, and without question the strongest argument against the existence of God. However, it seems we cannot have a creation genuinely separate from the Creator and not have Problems. Best we can do. 

Rather, we have to look at things from the other way around and wonder why there is all this beauty, truth, and goodness. How did they get here? Obviously they’re not self-explanatory. As to the dark side of our spacetime matrix,
that which is “other than God” could not possess the perfections of God, hence in the final analysis and within the general imperfection of the created, there results that privative and subversive phenomenon which we call evil (Schuon).
Evil “must be” if there is to be anything at all, even though, at the same time, it doesn’t cease being evil: freedom permits any number of things that are against the natural law. Absurdity only enters the picture when the left conflates the possible with the natural and necessary, as with the transgender insanity. In any event, 
the “absurd” cannot but be produced somewhere in the economy of the divine Possibility, otherwise the Infinite would not be the Infinite. But strictly speaking, evil or the devil cannot oppose the Divinity, who has no opposite; it opposes man who is the mirror of God and the movement towards the divine (ibid.).
But let’s get back to where we find ourselves, which is to say, spacetime. Schuon breaks it down for us:
Space has three dimensions: length, width and height; then six subjective dimensions: above, below, right, left, before, behind. 
Analogously, time has four objective dimensions -- the four phases of a cycle: morning, day, evening, night; or spring, summer, autumn, winter; or again, childhood, youth, maturity, old age -- and two subjective dimensions: the past and the future; the present being beyond our grasp, as is the center in space.
If you’re like me, you’re no doubt thinking to yourself waitwut? But Schuon is on to something with the distinction between subjective and (merely) objective modes of space and time. You may recall a few weeks back, when we were discussing the nature of objectivity, which is actually a mode of the subject. 

What do we mean by “objective”? Ultimately we mean that something is, but this only follows the considered reflection and judgment of a well-informed subject. Obviously, only a subject may know what is objectively true. It’s how we distinguish between a hallucination and the objective world.

Back in the old days of clinical psychology, we used to have a concept called “reality testing.” Part of a routine mental status exam was to assess a patient’s capacity for reality testing, i.e., their ability to distinguish between mental content and objective reality. 

The weakness here, of course, is that it presupposes the sanity of the psychologist, and this can no longer be taken for granted, to put it mildly. For the very concept of sanity must be nested in a hierarchy of objective truths from top to bottom. I want to say that your sanity is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore, for example, it does no good to affirm physics and deny biology, or to affirm biology and deny the human nature that transcends our animality.

But now that perception is reality, reality testing is off the table. For example, if a man claims to be a woman, there is no objective standard outside this subjective claim. 

Same with wild claims of "systemic racism" or “patriarchy." Indeed, if you subject the former to scrutiny, then you’re the racist: "Psychologists need to work with individuals to challenge their or others’ denial of structural racism as a means of working toward eradicating it" (APA website). Paranoia, projection, and subjectivism are the new objectivity.

Here’s another doozy from the APA, this one regarding the recent mass shooting in Colorado:
The gunman in the Colorado Springs shooting has been charged with a hate crime. It is clear that violence rooted in hate and racism is all too common.… We need to commit to both eliminating hateful rhetoric and strengthening gun laws.

So, because of this non-binary mental case, normal folks need to give up our first and second amendment rights. I have a better idea: how about if we stop pretending mental illness is normal?

I’m afraid that’s not going to happen in our lifetimes, and probably not ever. What we used to know of as sanity will be limited to a marginalized and persecuted remnant. Humans specialize in adapting to the culture, and if the culture is insane, then abnormality is the new normal. In case you haven’t noticed.

There’s more, but let's give it a rest.


Cousin Dupree said...

Why the Left Relies on Statistical Illiteracy. I know: because they rely on every other kind, so it would be unfair to exclude statistics.

"Conservatives are keenly aware of this problem, because the mass of researchers have tilted to the left for a generation and more. Shoddy research dovetails astonishingly well with radical polemic.... Every public policy arena amenable to professional expertise attracts a pile of half-baked research, eagerly cited and repeated until much of public opinion takes it as some sort of proven truth....

"The monolithic politicization of science and social-science professionals, alas, is likely to become worse. "

Gagdad Bob said...

Psychology has been taken over by spiteful mutants:

"within every human population there is a defect rate and those defects have consequences. Some of the defects turn out to be harmless, like stupid people who can be employed in simple labor. Other defects can be quite harmful, like murderers and rapists....

"Spiteful mutants are the men in dresses demanding everyone pretend they are some third sex rather than a lunatic. These are the feminists who make war on the normal sexual relations of society. The people policing speech online and inflicting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion programs are spiteful mutants. These are the human defects slowly making life impossible in Western countries."

julie said...

The weakness here, of course, is that it presupposes the sanity of the psychologist, and this can no longer be taken for granted, to put it mildly.

Every now and then I waste a little time reading things on reddit. The number of people posting on there who need serious therapy is probably at least 80% (I'm being kind), and in the comments there are often recommendations that the original poster go into therapy. On the one hand, they're usually right, the person does need therapy. On the other, the likelihood they will get effective help becomes smaller every day.

Re. abnormality being the new normal, my kids have a friend who goes to public school. I was driving them to their TKD class a couple of weeks ago, and she was talking about how a group of girls was about to jump her that day for the usual psychotic teenage girl reasons. Afterward she shrugged and said, "it's not that bad, pretty normal really. You get used to it. You guys would do fine in school. Really, it's great."

Actually, I should be thanking her. My daughter is a social butterfly and wishes she could be in school, but hearing stories like that is starting to convince her otherwise.

julie said...

Completely unrelated, how is Mrs. G doing? She has been in our prayers this week.

Gagdad Bob said...

Thanks for asking -- surgeon just called & said she came through beautifully.

julie said...

Glad to hear it. I hope everything goes beautifully in her recovery.

Gagdad Bob said...

Regarding the mental health crisis, it is becoming more a consequence of psychology rather than caused by lack of access to "psychological resources."

In hindsight, a turning point was in the 1970s with the normalization of homosexuality, which was not only based on no new research, but a denial of all the research prior to that.

Again, once you deny biology -- in this case the objective telos of sexuality -- then reality is off the table. It hardly means homosexuals should be mistreated or abused, only that there is such a thing as normality. I have an abnormal pancreas, and it would do me no good to be told it's normal. Rather, it would be a death sentence.

julie said...

Agreed. And the comparison really is an apt one; how many people - particularly gay men - have literally died because they were not only told their behavior was perfectly acceptable, but were encouraged to go as far as they could with it? Their average lifespan is something like two decades shorter than that of the average American man, but telling them so is practically a hate crime.

Gagdad Bob said...

Homosexuality is associated with all sorts of negative outcomes, from substance abuse to child abuse to suicide and shortened lifespan in general. They want to claim this is due to societal rejection or something, when they are the most coddled and protected class in existence. If societal disapproval causes these outcomes, then conservatives should be the leading edge of anonymous sex and STDs.

John Venlet said...

The mental health crisis, as you refer to it, is only a crisis to those individuals, such as most I encounter here, who have the mental acuity and critical intelligence to know the truth of the matter. We are undermanned, so to speak, in being able to fight against the insane/possessed because even though the insane/possessed are actually a minority, the minority in the political class/media/so-called elite do control the messaging, what is often call "the narrative" today. The political class is our main human enemy, due to the fact that the political class routinely strokes the insane/possessed egos of the media, who then feed the political classes' messaging to the mere voting insane/possessed. The only method I know to battle against it is to speak vertical truth. Admittedly, doing such continually reduces the number of individuals who have interest in being friends or acquaintances, and often riles them to bouts of anger against the vertical truths I speak. But, it's not like I have not been warned by Scripture that such would be the case. So be it. And suggesting to those who tend to distance themselves from me to listen to The Byrds' song "The Christian Life" usually just produces a blank stare.

Gagdad Bob said...

Love the Byrds and everything Byrd related, e.g., Gram Parsons & Gene Clark.

julie said...

On a musical note, I have a randomish playlist going & a piece by Anat Fort Trio just came on. Daughter says it sounds like something that should be the soundtrack for an ice cavern level in a video game.

Music really can sound cold.

Gagdad Bob said...

They're on ECM records, home of slow and meditative European jazz, with almost more classical than American influence. I have a pretty large sampling of ECMs, since they're always of high quality and recorded extremely well. Lots of space. In fact, the company's motto is "the most beautiful sound next to silence."

Gagdad Bob said...

As for the ice cavern sound, many of their artists are from places like Finland or Sweden, so the music is definitely cool and chilly without being cold.

Van Harvey said...

Good news!