Saturday, August 06, 2022

What We Can Know and What We Can't Not Know

Enough about the pathologies of language. What about its virtues? What is it -- and by extension, this blog -- good for? 

Well, for starters, we would not and could not be human without it. In the beginning is the Word, whether we're talking about the Godhead or manhood, the latter somehow being a reflection of the former, or else I'm not here and this isn't happening. 

Like anybody could even know that. Correct: we cannot know with certitude if we are or are not a reflected image of Ultimate Reality, capable of knowing all that can be known.

But we can take a hint, for you will have noticed that even asking the question requires capabilities that infinitely transcend physics and biology, matter and life. The bottom line is that if God doesn't exist, only He knows it with ironyclad certitude.

For our part, we can be pretty darn certain that the Creator exists, in part because we can know with 100% certitude that we aren't the Creator. 

Given our infinite distance from the rest of creation (even while acknowledging the obvious continuities with realms below), this infinitude requires a sufficient reason, the reason being Infinitude itself -- which is to say, the celestial ray that emanates from the vertical Center to the cosmic Periphery. Without it, we couldn't have knowledge of God or of anything else.  

Pieper writes that "I only 'know' something properly when I know it with certainty and reliably." And this knowledge, in order to be knowledge, "concerns man's relationship to reality as a whole." 

So really, if we're going to presume to have knowledge of anything, it must be in the context of knowledge of everything, otherwise it's just special pleading with a host of buried assumptions that ultimately reflect the inverse mythopoetic assertion: Ye shall be as gods.  

Now, who could possibly have knowledge of everything? Only two entities, one in actuality, the other potentially -- which is to say God and man, respectively. 

Man has the potential to know anything that can be known, but only because it is always already Known: we might say that if God is Being Known, man is Knowing Being. Thus, we are always "on the way" to knowledge, while creation is God "on the way" to being known. 

Recall what Pieper says about perfect knowledge being absolute certitude. Thus, *ironically,* we can never have absolute certitude with respect to scientific knowledge, which is always provisional, falsifiable, and context-bound. Rather, we can only have absolute certitude about the Absolute itself, such that

knowledge is perfect when the highest possible fullness of being can be seen, the highest possible object, reality of the most perfect kind (Pieper).

We've already alluded to the Absolute and Infinite. These two wouldn't be complete without the Perfect. 

Which is what now? Well, think about it: we all recognize perfection, if only because we recognize imperfection. 

But it is never a mere binary; rather, we all come into the world -- I did, anyway -- with an implicit Scale of Perfection that applies to every realm of Quality. It's why we can know with a kind of certitude that one thing is better or more adequate or more beautiful than another. Any man can know with absolute certainty that the Beatles weren't perfect, but he can know with equal certainty that they're better than Miley Cyrus. Conversely, if you can't know that, what can you know?

This is indeed why you can't judge a man by his race, sex, or creed, but you can judge him by the contents of his record collection.

A note to myself suggests that "imperfect knowledge of the highest thing is superior to perfect knowledge of lower things," but that's a false dichotomy, again, because the latter is always a kind of imperfect knowledge of the highest thing, precisely. 

What you have read thus far will probably be the most "original" thing you read today, and I'm pretty sure this originality contributes to the blog's widespread and growing unpopularity. And yet, it isn't original at all. Come to find out that some guy named Thomas was pre- plagiarizing me over 700 years ago:

Intellectual natures have a greater affinity to the whole than other beings.

Our intellect is understanding extended to infinity.

This ordering of the intellect to infinity would be vain and senseless if there were no infinite object of knowledge. 

Each particular knowledge is also derived from some completely certain knowledge.

The intellectual soul is said to be like the horizon or boundary line between the corporeal and incorporeal.

The source of every imperfect thing lies necessarily in one perfect being.

The final happiness of man consists in this -- that in his soul is reflected the order of the whole universe.

The last end of the universe must necessarily be the good of the intellect. This, however, is truth. Hence truth must be the last end of the whole universe.

And of this post. Except to say that, despite the lack of interest, I suppose I'll keep trying, because

The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.

Friday, August 05, 2022

Just Say NO to Verbal Drugs

As we've no doubt said before, progressivism is the opiate of the tenured, but in order to achieve its psychoactive effect, it requires a hated out-group. 

To restate the obvious, hatred is not necessarily an unpleasant emotion, otherwise Christ wouldn't have had to advise followers to "love your enemies." 

In other contexts, holy hatred is perfectly acceptable and even necessary, but the limits on its exercise make it hard to abuse. "Hating the sin" is likely to boomerang on the self, and that's no fun.

Pieper writes that when speech is no longer deployed to communicate reality to others, it "is deprived of its nature and degraded to the level of a 'hormone' or a drug which is administered to the other person." 

A hormone? What, like estrogen? Is "soy boy" literal and not figurative?

I'm not an endocrinologist, but I do know a thing or two about hormones, since I myself am personally missing one: insulin. As far as I know, insulin as such isn't particularly psychoactive. You know when it's low, but that's because you're not getting enough glucose in the brain, which seems to happen every morning as I'm composing these vertical murmurandoms. It's why they may end not in a caffeinated bang but a hypoglycemic whimper. 

Based upon my day-to-day experience as a psychologist, I would guess that the most consequential hormones are testosterone, estrogen, thyroid, and cortisol -- or male, female, metabolism, and stress, respectively. Men who are high in estrogen are more vulnerable to depression, bitchiness, manboobs, and dementia, but it's difficult to say whether progressivism is a cause or consequence of low T in men. Probably both.

Back to our subject: why is it that people enjoy being lied to, and will actually seek out lies that would seem to be unpleasant? 

I am reminded of a song by Tom Waits called Lie to Me: "I have no use for the truth," so "Lie like a dog / I really don't care if you do / Never stop telling me lies." I sometimes wonder what happened to her...

This goes to the difference between the hard totalitarianism of, say, the Soviet Union, and our soft totalitarianism, in which citizens beg the media to tell them lies that are alternatively comforting (what recession?), terrifying (we're all gonna die from global warming!), rage-inducing (structural racism!), or bracingly hateful (Trump supporters are white supremacists!). 

On the one hand, the question is, why do people want to believe unpleasant lies? On the other, the question answers itself: what do you mean, "unpleasant"? Unpleasant for whom? Yes, it's unpleasant for police to be vilified by the left, but not for Obama or Al Sharpton or Joy Reid. They get high from the scapegoating. Which is the purpose of scapegoating.   

The "divisiveness" of our culture is at once obvious, but that doesn't mean it's predictable. We don't know what will happen as a consequence of speech becoming detached from reality, only that it will be catastrophic (i.e., non-linear and abrupt). 

life necessarily unfolds within the medium of the word. In short, the threat to society lies in the threat of the decay of communication and the danger that reality and truth may become unrecognizable to us all (Pieper).

We're halfway there, in that half the population is already there:  

genuine communication is replaced by something for which the term "power structure" is far too positive a name. Actually, it is replaced by something more like tyranny....

Once the word, as it is employed by the communications media, has, as a matter of principle, been rendered neutral to the norm of truth, it is, by its very nature, a ready-made tool just waiting to be picked up by "the powers that be" and employed for violent or despotic ends.

In truth, there's nothing "neutral" about this, because it results in the word itself bringing about "an atmosphere of epidemic susceptibility to the disease of despotism" and "the degeneration of language to an instrument of force."

The left insists that narratives are simply pretexts for political power. Be careful what you wish for:  

the sophistical corruption of the word [and] the abuse of language by the communications media could actually be diagnosed as a symptom of the despotism to come (Pieper).

That little preview of coming attractions was published in 1964, just before LBJ (Brandon the 1st) won in an epic landslide and subsequently defeated poverty, fixed education with a tsunami of federal dollars, instituted medicare for only $10 billion, solved the border crisis with the Immigration Act of 1965, made blacks forever happy and grateful with the Voting and Civil Rights Act(s), and generally made our Society Great again. What could go wrong?

Maybe this:

once we have lost sight of what is truly real, an illusory reality may take its place..., a pseudo-reality which looks so real that it is virtually impossible for me to find out the truth.

And maybe you don't like this pseudo-reality, but reality is a democracy, and with the god of government all things are possible! 

The progressive's needs are few: for someone else to do something, for an unrealistic policy to hope for, and for someone to hate.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

The Diagnosis and Treatment of Logopathology

Let's continue our foray into the logopathologies to which man is heir. 

Perhaps we should put them on a scale, as we do with other crimes: spinning and twisting of words isn't as serious as linguistic abuse or first degree logocide, let alone a White House press boofing. But the lesser crimes lead to the more serious ones, in part because they are essentially a warrant for the passions to authorize the will to do evil in good conscience. 

For example, if President Trump is actually a Nazi, or Ron DeSantis an antisemitic homophobe, or Brett Kavanaugh a rapist bent on denying women's rights, someone is likely to take the language seriously and do something about it. And in his corrupted conscience, why wouldn't he be a hero for doing so?

The first and most consequential lie occurs back in Genesis 3. One chapter later, the first murder. Two more chapters and God is in full facepalm mode: And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

It all begins with speech being cleverly used for extra-linguistic purposes: to deny reality and manipulate one's fellows, instead of conveying reality to them, which is the proper end of language. Pathological use of speech regards one's interlocutor not as 

a "partner," another "subject" on the same plane as myself. Instead he is an object to be "worked on," the object of a "power grab," who is being "given the full treatment." So what is really going on is in effect the exact opposite of what appears to be  going on (Pieper).  

Wouldn't it be great if we had some kind of institution that could help mediate between appearances and reality? I would call it the media, but not only is that word already taken, it is the very anti-institution that abuses language and manipulates people, treating both as tools in service to power. 

I have pretty low expectations of my species, so it's remarkable that so many of us not only don't trust the media, but hold it in utter contempt:

Television news is today considered the second-least trusted institution in the country, following Congress.... Just 5% of Republicans said they had "a great deal or quite a lot of confidence" in newspapers (https://www.axios.com/2022/07/08/news-republicans-democrats-trust-partisanship).

"Trust fall in the news media been driven mostly by Republicans," such that Big Media has essentially been reduced to Democrats telling outrageous lies to fellow Democrats. One thing I don't understand is why rank-and-foul Democrats aren't pissed off at the media for constantly lying to them and treating them like mentally ill children

Oh, wait. I just figured it out. Professional courtesy.

If I am pandering to you, on the one hand I am robbing you of your dignity and treating you with contempt. But on the other hand, if you are generally clueless, the pandering will feel like flattery -- like you are special, and I understand your specialness. I feel your pain, as a serpent once said.

Now, it has long been recognized that the Democrat party scarcely consists of any coherent ideology, but rather, a menagerie of disparate identity groups to which its elites pander. 

Often the pandering is mutually exclusive, but the children were too stupid or too manipulated to notice -- for example, that illegal immigrants harm the interests of black and Breakfast Taco citizens, or that an Asian American is about 100 times more likely to be assaulted by an African American than vice versa, or that defunding the police makes white liberals feel incredibly virtuous while the black victims stack up like cordwood, etc. 

Well, I guess you could say that the Democrat party is undergoing a full-blown Crisis of Noticing, and that all the lying in the world can't prop up the narrative. Does this mean I am cocky about November? Please. If there's a way to screw things up, Republicans will find it.

For Republicans are no less subject to Genesis 3 All Over Again, often just in a different way. There's even an aphorism for that:

The progressive forgets that sin frustrates any ideal he longs for; the conservative forgets that he corrupts any reality he defends.

The irony is built into the nature of things:

Such is the complexity of every historical event that we can always fear that from a good an evil might be born and always hope that from an evil a good might be born.

One of the biggest causes of MAGA was Obama, just as Brandon is the primary cause of the ultra-MAGA he decries. Still,
To be a conservative is to understand that man is a problem without a human solution.

So, 

No paradise will arise within the framework of time. Because good and evil are not threads twisted together by history, but fibers of the single thread that sin has spun for us.
With respect to our subject per se, any idiot blogger can recognize the logopathology that pervades our culture. But
The conservative is a simple pathologist. He defines sickness and health. But God is the only therapist (Dávila x 5).

There's an old saying that "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." Likewise, if you glimpse utopia around the bend, blow it up.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Lying Ghouls, Credulous Fools, and Power Tools

Although The Rape of the Mind was published in 1956, its description of how to commit textual assault is timeless: "facts are replaced by fantasy and distortion. People are taught systematically and intentionally to lie. History is reconstructed, new myths are built up," all in order "to confuse the luckless citizens of the country" and "strengthen and flatter" the rulers. Big Education, Big Journalism, Big Entertainment, Big Tech, Big Climate, Big Race, and Big Woke, all in service to Big State. 

"In the semantic fog that permeates the atmosphere, words lose their direct communicative function." Paradoxically, communication as such is no longer occurring, even though something is being communicated -- just not reality-to-other-minds.

Recall the dual vector of language, which links to reality at one end and minds at the other. Let's say I tell you that inflation is transitory -- or that the U.S. is systemically racist, women earn 70 cents to the manly dollar, Monkeypox doesn't discriminate, elementary school children need to be groomed, etc. These are all obvious lies, so what is being communicated? Easy: power. 

Note also that each lie pretends to "empower" this or that client of the state, whether stupid and unhappy feminists, dysfunctional blacks, promiscuous compulsive homosexuals, or mentally ill teachers and students. The Lie promises increased empowerment, but "power to live in unreality" is like "freedom from truth," a contradiction in terms.

The word, once considered a first token of free human creation, is transformed into a mechanical tool (Meerloo).

True, but the person who assimilates the Lie also becomes a tool, which is the greater purpose of the exercise: for credulous fools to become power tools for lying ghouls

For example, it is critical for you to believe in climate change in order for the incredibly lucrative grift to continue for wealthy Democrats. You will never benefit from the lie, but consenting to the lie will certainly benefit the powerful. 

I suppose you also get some virtue and status, in that you get to signal your superiority to people like me, so that's something. It reminds me of how poor whites were harmed by the institution of slavery, but at least they got to signal their superiority to blacks. 

Why do the words keep changing? Because you can't keep language separate from reality forever. Rather, reality eventually comes roaring back, no matter how hard you try to keep it at bay. Indeed, reality may be defined precisely as that which comes back despite all our efforts to redefine it.

Politicians seeking power must coin new labels and new words with emotional appeal, "while allowing the same old practices and institutions to continue as before... The trick is to replace a disagreeable image though the substance remains the same" (ibid.).

Which reminds me of what we said a few posts back about how this represents the opposite of "transubstantiation," in that the Liar changes the semantic accidents while the underlying substance endures. 

For example, killing a baby is still killing a baby even if we call it "a woman's right to choose." Taxes are taxes even if we call them "investments," and men are still men no matter how much we pretend that guy is Female Athlete of the Year. Less than ten percent of the population still commits more than half the violent crime, even if woke prosecutors don't charge them.

My morning indoctrination from the NY Times contains the following howler: although 98% of Monkeypox cases afflict less than 1% of the population, "Nothing about the virus limits its spread to only men who have sex with men (not all of whom identify as gay or bisexual)." So, even if it does in fact disproportionately affect homosexual men, they aren't necessarily homosexual men, so there.

Ever wonder why they hate us so much? Totalitarians fabricate "a hate language in order to stir up mass emotions." Again, the ghouls lie to the fools in order to turn them into powerful tools. It may be sick, but you can't say it doesn't work. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Missing Links, Lying Finks, and the Endless Insurrection

We left off yesterday with the key point that "Speech which emancipates itself from the norm of (real) things, at the same time necessarily becomes speech without a partner" (Pieper). Again, words have a two-way vector, linking to things at one end and minds at the other. 

It reminds me of a finger pointing at the moon. Successful communication will have occurred if your partner looks at the moon, not at your finger or a streetlamp. 

Another kind of communication will have occurred if a person successfully convinces you a streetlamp is the moon. But this isn't really communication at all; rather, practiced systematically, it "strikes at the very foundation of our existence." 

Again, every government engages in such discommunication some of the time, and some do it all the time. Our current crisis of authority and trust has to do with being ceaselessly lied to by our government and its allied institutions (media, academia, woke corporations, etc). The Z Man often touches on this subject. For example,  

cooperation is what makes deception possible, as cooperation involve[s] complex rules. An individual can exploit those rules to gain benefit without having to contribute. The more cooperative a society, the more opportunities there are for free riders to game those rules through deception in order to prosper from the cooperation of others in the group.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and you're reelected. 

Given that we live in an age of universal deceit, at least by those in positions of authority, the evolution of lying suddenly matters a great deal.... Before the mass media age, it was... much harder to promote official lies. Mass media results in a sense of mass cooperation, which means the communications revolution has revolutionized mass lying.

A revolution of lying. Hmm. I call it a Satanic Coup, or maybe the Endless Insurrection

institutional lying has exploded over the last thirty years in America. Every day someone from the government stands in front of cameras and blatantly lies about things. They know they are lying. The people in the press room know they are lying. Everyone in the room knows that the people watching it know everyone involved is lying. There is the sense that the people in these positions look at lying as a game where the biggest liar wins the day (https://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=27934).

That's too cynical even for me. Do they in fact know they're lying? Some do and some don't. AOC, or Karine Jean-Pierre, for example, are far too stupid to know they're spreading misinformation, and Brandon has been lying for so long he doesn't know the difference. Someone knows, but the press is systematically incurious about who.

This absence of curiosity is a passive form of lying, analogous to a "negative hallucination" -- it is Move along, nothing to see here, Don't believe your lyin' eyes, or What johnson? I don't see a man in the swimming pool. Look at the pained faces of Doocy's peers when he goes off narrative with one of his mild provocations. The constipated expressions are a measure of the distance between narrative and reality.

I was just now looking up something by Bion on negative hallucination, but this will have to do:

Truth is essential for mental growth. Without truth the psychic apparatus does not develop and dies of starvation. 

Yes, but only the psychic apparatus. The body of course goes on, and our government, media, and universities are teeming with these martyrs to untruth.  

That's not just my opinion. Rather it is confirmed by our nonlocal correspondent reporting from the scene of this endless crime:

this highly "perfected" usage of words divorced from their roots in reality, actually has another purpose altogether: that namely this kind of language inevitably becomes an instrument of power, and at bottom is so from the very outset (Pieper).

From the very outset? Yes, as in He was a liar from the beginning. Also a murderer, of course, but his first victim is Truth, and gravity takes care of the rest. 

If human beings are trinitarian in nature, it makes sense to undermine them in this way, i.e., via the destruction of the possibility of real communication (which again follows on trust). The moment a person

deliberately ceases to govern his words with a view to stating the reality of things, he automatically ceases to communicate anything. For language becomes communication the moment it expresses a link to reality, and by the same token it ceases to be communication the moment the link is destroyed (ibid.).

Again, the first lie is from the lips of the Serpent (or from God, according to one of our anonymous trolls, even though a "lying God" is a violation of the first principle of logic). In any event,

When one person ceases to speak to another in the artless and spontaneous manner which characterizes genuine conversation, and begins to consciously manipulate his words, expressly ceasing to concern himself with the truth... he has, in reality, from that point on ceased to regard the other person as a partner in a conversation (ibid.). 

The left loves to say that "we need to have a conversation" about this or that. Whenever you hear this line, you're about to be treated as a thing in the way of power. You're about to be rolled.

To be continued...

Monday, August 01, 2022

Inexact Sciences and Sciences of the Inexact

We left off yesterday with the metalinguistic principle that words have a dual function: they are about reality and for communication; or for the communication of reality. If not, then we're done here: we are all tenured. 

Sounds simple, but you could say that this is the wedge where the Evil One gains entry and causes so much mischief. And there are actually two wedges, again, the one between words and reality, and the one between minds; the is former an "objective" space, the latter intersubjective, i.e., between subjects.

But even the objective world is imbued with subjectivity or it couldn't be known. 

This is somewhat paradoxical, but it's really orthoparadoxical, so it's cool. It doesn't mean we're falling into subjectivism, although it's certainly possible for that to happen if you don't situate yoursoph in a larger metaphysic which is the very ground and possibility of objectivity. Most folks just call it "God," but whatever you call it, it is the Fact without which there couldn't be any others.

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

The life of the intelligence is a dialogue between the personalism of spirit and the impersonalism of reason (Dávila x 2).

Subjective and objective, respectively. I might add that the intersubjectivity alluded to above is also grounded in the Godhead -- i.e., between the Persons -- but you already knew that. Except for the guy who believes the Serpent is the hero of Genesis. 

On the one hand, paying attention to vulgar politics is a waste of time, but on the other, you can learn a lot about reality by watching the unreality of the Brandon administration play out. I'm talking about Jen Pierre Psaccharine's daily briefings. In a way, they're a microcosm of the Devil's playground, of what he can do to a mind -- and to language -- if given a free rein.  

Let't talk about dignity: when someone is lying to your face, they're trying to deprive you of your dignity, aren't they? To put it conversely, an adult human being, by virtue of being one, is entitled to the truth. Therefore, truth and dignity are very much entangled. 

But truth itself is also entitled to a certain dignity. For my money, if you live your life not caring about the intrinsic dignity -- or privilege -- of truth, then you're paving your own way to hell, brick by brick. So don't blame God when you arrive there. 

"Anyone who speaks," writes Pieper, "has a desire to communicate." Yes, but what if one desires to "communicate" a lie? First, this means that truth is superseded by passion, such that the order of the world is inverted, which, you might say, is both the first and most recent crime, AKA Genesis 3 All Over Again.

Of course people are capable of lying. But can a lie, strictly speaking, constitute communication, given the fact that the person who is lied to only appears to share in a reality?

Like anyone else who has an extensive education in the social sciences, I have been lied to. A lot. Then again, was it a lie if my professors really believed it? For on the one hand,

It does not appear that, in contrast to the natural sciences, the social sciences reach a state of maturity where anything idiotic is automatically obvious.

My field -- psychology -- used to be merely idiotic. Now that it has been fully infested with wokeness, it is flat out crazy, and has surrendered with both hands any and all dignity it could once claim. Thus,

The natural sciences, where the process of falsification prevails, take only errors out of circulation; the social sciences, where fashion prevails, also take their achievements out of circulation.

Nevertheless, in the final analysis,

Properly speaking, the social sciences are not inexact sciences, but sciences of the inexact (Dávila x 3).

Sciences of the inexact: metascience. Which is a subset of metaphysics, as is the metalanguage under discussion. 

Back to the potential problems of language:

Speech which emancipates itself from the norm of (real) things, at the same time necessarily becomes speech without a partner (Pieper).

Or on other words, cosmic ønanism -- for which reason this type of communication is infertile. Either that or it engenders monsters and/or clowns (or oftentimes monstrous clowns), in case you haven't (lower case g) gnosissed. 

Let's not pass over that little truthbomb: emancipates itself from the norm of real things. For it is certainly possible to emancipate oneself from real things. I know this, because I was once paid good money to help people who had become, in one form or another, emancipated from real things. But I was in the minority, for the majority of psychologists are of the liberal persuasion, and will do their utmost to further emancipate their patients from reality.

What is meant by the "emancipation from the norm of (real) things?" What is meant, essentially, is indifference toward the truth. After all, truth implies a link to reality (ibid.).

For example, biological reality. From the actual APA website:

Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Some who do not identify as either male or female prefer the term “gender nonbinary” or “genderqueer.”

Or this:

The negative impacts of climate change on the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and nations are growing more frequent and severe, with members of some groups—including persons of color, persons of lower socioeconomic status, women, older adults, children, and persons with disabilities—at greater risk than others.

Remember when "the inmates are running the asylum" used to be a metaphor? 

To be continued...

Sunday, July 31, 2022

The Corruption of Language and the Abuse of Man

"The basic problems for the man tamer are rather simple," writes Meerloo. "Can a man resist a government bent on conditioning him?" You can certainly fool some of the people some of the time, and even most of the people most of the time, and the left makes up for the difference by cheating. 

They call it Our Democracy, which means that there is an annoying middle man between would-be tyrants and the levers of power they crave.

The taming is carried out by Big Education, Big Government, Big Media, Big Tech, and corporate Big Woke. It seems that most people don't even notice they're being smothered under a pillow of lies, perhaps because "the seducer conditions [them] to catchwords, verbal stereotypes, slogans, formulas, symbols," etc.

Others, such as our readers, notice the suffocation and don't like it. Meerloo describes victims of tyranny for whom "the most upsetting experience they faced... was the feeling of loss of logic, the state of confusion into which they had been brought -- the state in which nothing had any validity." 

In other words, like hell, or like CNN being piped into your head 24/7 (but I repeat myself). Interestingly, Meerloo highlights the now obvious fact that it is the educated who are more vulnerable to the indoctrination, oftentimes precisely because of their intelligence -- or an intelligence that has lost the plot. Conversely,

Often those with a rigid, simple belief [AKA, Deplorables] were better able to withstand the continual barrage against their minds than were the flexible, sophisticated ones.... The simple man with deep-rooted, freely absorbed religious faith could exert a much greater inner resistance than could the complex, questioning intellectualist.

The question is, "Why is there in us so great an urge to be conditioned, the urge to learn, to imitate, to conform, and to follow the pattern of family and group?" We provided a partial answer in the previous post, in that man is a social animal, so we were subject to selective pressure to conform to the group.  

But we depart from sociobiology in affirming the existence of a unique soul which is in an open vertical relationship to its Creator and to the Truth that surpasses us. It is precisely this that must be quashed by the Big 5 referenced above, hence the unyielding hostility to religion:

the doubting, inquisitive, and imaginative mind has to be suppressed. The totalitarian slave is only allowed to memorize, to salivate when the bell rings.

Ding! Cue the trolls. Yesterday, for example, a credentialed troll argued that "real Christianity" teaches that 

The serpent did not seduce Eve into an alternate reality, it opened her eyes to an aspect of the one true reality that had been forbidden to her by God. In fact it was God who lied to Adam, when he told him he would die if ate the fruit  The serpent told the truth. 

This is, of course, an old Gnostic heresy, but notice that one must be educated -- somewhat, but not too much -- to even know about it. Perfectly tamed!

At this point I want to shift seers over to Josef Pieper, who wrote a timelessly true essay called The Abuse of Language and the Abuse of Power; we might say that its timelessness goes to the timeless temptation symbolized by the Serpent, a threat which "exists in every society and in every age." It is

an eternal temptation which, throughout the course of history, man has always been, and always will be, called upon to resist.

Indeed, God himself teaches us to pray for nonlocal assistance in resisting it, so the temptation must be rather primordial and ubiquitous.  

This reminds me of something Hayek writes about the two forms of rationalism, one of which is deeply irrational, the other being rational presicely because it recognizes the limits of reason. He calls the irrational kind  "constructivist" or "naive" rationalism,  the reasonable kind "evolutionary" or "critical" rationalism. We'll have to get back to Hayek later, but Pieper is quite correct in pointing out how 

A person must not have progressed very far in his education if he has not discovered good reasons to justify the worst behavior. All evil which has been done in the world since Adam's time, has been justified by means of good reasons.

If Tradition is traces of the Spirit left in time, we might say that the paragraph above adverts to traces of the Serpent left in time. 

For example, the other day I caught my son watching a debate between Charlie Kirk and a guy (a former guy, it turns out; he now calls himself a she) who was defending Stalin. This fellow was clearly not stupid, and I could tell that he had read his Chomsky. But he might as well have been demon possessed. How does this happen?

How does it not happen? It reminds me of what Thomas Sowell says about poverty: the question isn't why it exists, since it is the default position of mankind. Rather, how is it that a particular people in a single place and time began generating so much wealth and lifting itself out of poverty? Always and everywhere the left wants to destroy the very conditions that produce such wealth and affluence.

It's the same with our "psychic affluence," so to speak. Most obviously, it results from a free and open engagement with all of reality, in which there can be no privileged, safe spaces from such enquiry. How have we come to the inversion of this, in which universities are islands of intolerance and repression in a sea of freedom?

 Again, it begins with the corruption of the Word:

It is above all in the word that human existence comes to pass. And thus if the word decays, humanity cannot fail to be affected, cannot fail to be harmed (Pieper).

But what exactly is this Word, and what are its proper functions? Pieper cites two: first, "reality becomes manifest through the word."

One speaks in order to make known something real in the act of calling it by name..., to make it known to someone else. 

This latter goes to the second function, "its character as communication. The word is the sign of a thing as well as for someone else -- namely for that person to whom one wants to reveal reality."

Of reality and for communication of it. So simple, and yet, so full of implications, both good and bad. 

For it seems that with great verbal power comes great linguistic responsibility, for which reason there is always the temptation to misuse language -- something which the SwampState almost can't not do. Now it's insisting the recession isn't a recession, but since when did the Swamp ever speak truth because it is true and not just expedient? 

Note that both essential functions of language are deeply problematic to the left. We could write a month of posts on this subject alone, but the best minds of the left insist that words refer only to other words, and that the whole enterprise is motivated by power, not truth. I guess we'll leave off with an aphorism:

The devil reserves the temptations of the flesh for the most naïve, and prefers to make the less naïve despair by depriving things of meaning

To be continued...