Saturday, October 08, 2022

On the Attainment of Perfect 20/∞ Insight

On the one hand, everything is what it is. On the other, nothing can merely be what it is; or, everything is what it appears to be, and more.

What is this supposed to mean? It goes back to what we were saying a few posts back about the distinction between object and thing: the thing is what it is, while the object is that thing as an object of thought. 

Does this not plunge us into a Kantian blunderland and sever the contact between mind and reality? Is this the end of common sense, of the conformity of mind to reality? No, but we do have to explain why. It’s just common courtesy.

Some people think that if we take one step in this direction -- toward the subjective and transcendental side of things -- there’s no getting back to realism, i.e., to objective truth and our adequation to reality. 

If that’s the case, then we can only pretend to be different from the subjectivists, relativists, postmodernists, and progressivists. In fact, we must be as unhinged as they are, only pretending to be in touch with a “reality” that is untouchable.  

But even to be unhinged and out of touch presupposes a hinge that is attached to something fixed and stable. In other words, ideologies are unhinged from, and out of touch with, reality, not from another unhinged delusion. To put it more simply, the ideologue is stubbornly tethered. To unreality.

But hold on: if we can only know objects (of thought) and not things-in-themsleves, how then are we hinged, and to what is the hinge affixed? 

As Simon writes, "this is where the skeptical doubt comes in.” Since "the thing extends beyond the perceived object,” it leaves us with the question of how we are to "get hold of the thing to compare it with the object and its idea…. To the extent that it exceeds the object, the thing in itself, by itself, is something unknown.”

Turns out that this is the subject of chapter 13 of Lonergan’s Insight, The Notion of Objectivity. I mentioned the other day that I’ve been climbing this mountain of a text with the help of a sherpa named Terry Tekippe, who wrote a book called An Introductory Guide to Insight. Mainly, it helps one skip past the exceedingly pedantic parts, and focus on the merely pedantic ones. 

Tekippe confronts the same question outlined above, for “if the known is merely a subjective persuasion, and not a knowing of objective truth, it would not be worth much.” Moreover, focusing on the structure of knowing would seem to be an “unpromising approach,” for 
If we are seeking objectivity, why would we look for it in the knowing subject? We distinguish between objectivity and subjectivity. Surely subjectivity would be sought in the subject, but why would objectivity?
It reminds me of something Petey once said, that “Paradise is walled by complementarities.” I think I finally understand what he meant. For it is actually an arbitrary move to radically distinguish object and subject, as if they are two completely different dimensions. Once we separate these complementary modes, it is indeed difficult if not impossible to rejoin them. 

But what if “objectivity, paradoxically, requires a subject to be objective”? Better yet, what if it’s not even a paradox but an easily graspable principle? 

Let's put it this way: everyone begins life as a progressive, in the sense that we were all children once, and children don’t think the same way adults do. This doesn’t just involve less “content” but a different form of knowing. 

Since I know a great deal about developmental psychology, I could play that card, but I will resist the temptation to do so and simply cling to our sherpa, who writes that
maturing as a knower requires learning to discriminate sharply between fantasy and reality. Fantasy is subjective; reality is objective. But note that this growing ability is not in the objects surrounding the child, nor even in the objects of his imagination. The growing sense of objectivity, then, is in the maturing child.
In short, objectivity is in the subject. You could say that this is just a dishonest trick, but it is actually a way to avoid the trickery of not even dishonest subjectivists who locate truth in the subject in order to deny Truth and elevate the will to power. 

What is objectivity, after all? We all know it when we see it, if only in light of its absence; for example, it is the opposite of whatever the gaslight media is trying to tell us, or it is what they systematically avoid telling us.

In the first place, objectivity "consists in distinguishing oneself from other things,” which is, speaking of tricks, a neat one. How is it accomplished, and by virtue of what principle is it even possible? How did we ever escape animal planet, i.e., from the mere registration of the senses to the immaterial registration of the registration? 

My dog doesn’t take a disinterested stance toward treats, and wonder about other dogs who might be more deserving. I can’t even recall how many times I’ve asked her “who’s a good girl?,” and not once have I received a satisfactory answer. 

As we advance in cognitive maturity, we gain judgment and are able to make sound judgments. And what is a judgment? 

I’m going to go with Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, who says that the soul of every judgment is the verb to be

And what is that supposed to mean? It simply means that in the end -- or at the end of our thinking -- mature judgments come down to a simple matter of Yes or No: either it is, or it is not. 

To be continued...

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Stupid Ways to be Intelligent, Part One of an Infinite Series

Well, this is ironic: you don’t have to believe in angels to know that 

There is no skepticism among the angels; the skeptical doubt that the human intellect cannot really live with cannot even be faked by the angelic intellect. Regardless of the state of his will, an angel can no more feign doubt about the object-thing than the skeptic can feign doubt about the object-phenomenon…
Try as we might, we can’t really know what it is like to be another kind of intelligence, from angelic or celestial above to bovine or progressive below. There are hints, clues, and analogies, but human is human, and it doesn't get worse than that, nor can we exit our own nature (without divine assistance, but that's a different subject).

Having said that, intelligent beings of various stations do share a common element: intelligence. It’s just that intelligence has different forms, and to say form is to say limit. Only in God are intelligence-and-intelligible one, or rather, not-two. This is irrespective of whether one “believes” in God, for truth is that which is true even when we stop believing in it, precisely.

We all know of politicians and even human beings who are more animal than human. And yet, not only are they human, they are all too human. Their intelligence exhibits such traits as cunning, deceit, hiding, lying in wait, and self-preservation. 

And if you’re lucky, you have encountered a person or two with seemingly quasi-angelic intelligence, that is, an intelligence that “sees” directly into essences, as if there is no mediation between it and the intellect. 

Schuon comes to mind. Of course, this is not to imply that he was infallible, which would be absurd. But he did see metaphysics with a clarity that for most people would take a lifetime to attain, if at all — just as you could devote your life to being Michael Jordan, or Mike Trout, or Michelangelo, and reach an inevitable ceiling well before attaining the goal.

Back to what intelligence is. Soon we will be discussing this in tedious detail — when we get to Lonergan’s Insight — but one thing we can say about human intelligence, to paraphrase Steve Earle, is that it ain’t ever satisfied. This is very much in contrast to animals, but also to human beings who are indeed too easily satisfied, and arbitrarily stop asking Why

To a certain extent this failure is excusable, since most people do have to get on with it, and have neither the time nor the aptitude anyway. 

Indeed, one of the causes of our current Existential Crisis is hordes of college-indoctrinated and puffy pridelings with zero aptitude for higher things, i.e., the objects of a proper liberal education. That would be beyond their capabilities, which is why academia must devote whole departments to Studies of the Unreal. 

One would think that a degree in Unreality Studies would be easy, and it is, so long as one is confined to an unreal environment. In our day, the most unreal environments are academia, journalism, and politics, which is precisely why these fields attract the kinds of infrahuman intelligences alluded to above.

Thursdays are take-the-boy-to-school days, so I am almost out of time, but human intelligence is characterized by the pure and unrestricted desire to know. And like anything else in the world, it has its sufficient reason, nor is it in vain.

We'll continue this discussion tomorrow, unless too distracted by the baseball playoffs. Meanwhile, even disordered people can be accomplished artists, or we'd have far less art.
Last night I dreamed I made it to the promise land
I was standin' at the gate and I had the key in my hand
Saint Peter said "Come on in boy, you're finally home"
I said "No thanks Pete, I'll just be moving along"

I ain't ever satisfied

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

A Very Average Post on a Very Unimportant Day

Well, having finally penetrated and gained some insight into Bernard Lonergan’s Insight, it’s turning out to be a vertical adventure:

Depending on the reader and the book, it is a question of reading or of having an adventure.
Boom stars:

Collision with an intelligent book makes us see a thousand stars (Dávila).

It’s not so much that he’s saying something different from what we've been trying to say for 17 years -- that's right, October 5, 2005 -- rather, that anyone else is saying it. Nor is it exactly giving me new and unfamiliar insights, rather, deepening the same old insight into my own insight. 

In. Sight. Interesting word. Itdefinitely a kind of seeing, only not of visible objects, obviously, since those are outside and these are inside. 

But “seeing within” is precisely what defines humans as human. Consciousness is strange enough, but ours is Mighty Strange, in that it folds back on itself and somehow has awareness of the Great Indoors (notwithstanding leftist proglodytes, for whom an absence of reflection is both a cause and consequence; show me a self-aware progressive and I’ll show you a red pill beginning to take effect). 

However, the problem with most of these big name philosophers who spend their lives in academia is that they lose the old common touch  almost as if they're afraid to be understood by our kind, because it would imply a certain vulgarity, or lack of seriousness; Voegelin falls into the same category. 

C'mon, man. Who are you trying to impress? It won't work anyway, since the left will just slander you if there's any danger of becoming influential.  

If you really understand something, and that something is important, it can be explained clearly to any intelligent adult, and doesn't need a bodyguard of verbiage to set off the fireworks. Which is why we love Sr. Davila, who says the most with the least: the most stars with the least dynamite. 
Only ideas save us from adjectives. 
Wordiness is not an excess of words, but a dearth of ideas.
Clarity is the virtue of a man who does not lack confidence in what he says.
The deluded are prolix.
What do I know. I’m a blogger. But if there’s one thing I remember from my old Strunk & White, it is Omit Unnecessary Words, whether crafting a gag or revealing the Secrets of the Universe. 

To say something is very important instead of important is just very, very lazy writing. Especially when it comes to so-called news, never trust an adjective. Besides, the journalistic Eye of Sauron exists in order to systematically ignore the Very Important and distract us with the Very Trivial or Very Fake.

If I were to attempt to write something like Insight, I think I could manage it in pamphlet form. Yes, I sometimes turn on the gas. Okay, always. But this is blogging in real time, not a polished book I’m trying to sell.

No, I’m not complaining. Apparently, metaphysics is difficult. Or better, it seems that it's either easy or impossible, like hitting 62 home runs. Impossible (without steroids) for everyone except one guy for whom it seems rather easy: see ball, hit ball. Of course, it helps to be 6' 7" and 282 pounds.

Someone said the same of Shakespeare: if writing all those plays were difficult, it would have been impossible. Put another way, one can’t try to be a genius. Either one is or one isn’t. When someone is trying to be what he isn’t, you can smell it:
Vulgarity consists of pretending to be what we are not.
And thanks to widespread access to higher education, there are more uneducated intellectuals than at any time in human history, credentialed vulgarians one and all. They’re still intellectuals — and then some — in the sense that they live in a world of ideas. It’s just that the ideas are childish, shallow, ignorant, false, and even delusional; they exude pride and have the density of granite. On Moe’s scale, they are Curly.

But for both our sakes, I’m going to forgo a full plunge into Insight until I can digest it a bit more. Let’s first finish this collection of essays by Yves Simon, another prominent 20th century philosopher. Now, speaking of vulgarity,
to a vulgar concept corresponds a vulgar fact; to a scientific concept, a scientific fact; and to a philosophic concept, a philosophic fact.
To which we could add psychological or theological (and many other) concepts and facts. Indeed, the very same fact can be viewed through the lenses of the diverse heuristics, as discussed in yesterday’s post.  

In other words, sometimes the fact is a product of the heuristic (which is why mere science cannot perceive philosophical or theological facts without leaving science below), while other times the same fact is present to each, but illuminated in a different way. 

Without the self-reflective judgment of philosophy, science doesn’t even know what it knows; it can pronounce on what is — or at least what appears to be -- but not why it is, or who's behind that curtain of appearances.  

Why can’t people just stay in their ontological lanes? Probably because the vertical highway has been collapsed and turned into a oneway street. Only in such a vulgarian world can an atheist be considered a philosopher, an ideologue a scientist, or a groomer a teacher.

Anyway, there is something that is before anything and everything, the ultimate a priori, although it proceeds both outward and upward. It is inside existence, and therefore outside nothingness. What is it? It resembles divine infinitude, if such a thing existed, and it is like a tunnel to everywhere and -when.

Let’s say we find some footprints in the sand. What do the footprints tell us? Well, first of all, they tell us, meaning they somehow point in our direction. However, they also point to the one who made them, so they are bidirectional. 

Now do the footprint of intelligibility per se. Who made it, and why does it speak to us?

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

A Heuristic for Heuristics

I am still being oppressed and victimized by technology, making blogging a challenge. Thus, this post probably didn't get as far as I would have liked, but it's not nothing. Call it an Introduction to a Foreward to the Preface of an unwritten text.

As we all know by now, no fact is a fact outside some interpretive framework. For example, the existence of crackheads and skanks is trivial. Their existence only becomes factworthy in the larger context of the morally depraved president who raised them, in which case they become more evidence of his general depravity. 

You've heard the cliche that men are entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts. Looked at another way, we aren't actually entitled to opinions, since there is no right to be wrong, but we are entitled to our facts depending upon our heuristic.

"Heuristic" is a much abused word these days, but according to Big Webster, it is etymologically related to "discover" and to "I have found," and is a technique "providing aid or direction in the solution of a problem," BUT -- and this I did not know " -- is "otherwise unjustified or incapable of justification." 

So, one's heuristic is precisely what allows us to identity facts as facts. But the heuristic itself is not a fact. Rather, it is said to be unjustified and unjustifiable, which makes it just your opinion, man

Is there a way out of this viscous absurcularity? Well, Big Webster did put a qualifier in there: if our heuristic is truly unjustifiable, then it appears we're stuck. But if it's only unjustified, it implies that you're telling me there's a chance it could be justified.

This problem reminds me of yöu knöw whö, because it seems that our heuristic necessarily includes at least one fact unjustifiable by the heuristic, which is to say, the heuristic itself.

In these times -- the time of progressive Orcs -- there is a controlling heuristic that goes by the name of the Narrative. This Narrative has its own facts, and these facts are determined by its heuristic lens. 

For example, at the moment, this lens -- which reminds me of the Eye of Sauron -- is combing through the wreckage of Ian, in search of facts that will damage Governor DeSantis. 

Conversely, 17 years ago the Eye scoured the soggy landscape of Katrina for facts that would damage President Bush. State and local governments were invisible and irrelevant to the Eye.

Thus, quintessential cases of the Narrative creating the facts needed to justify and feed itself. 

The question is always the degree to which the Narrative is known to its users. The answer is that most of its users are too stupid or too indoctrinated to know anything about it, much less question it. The unexamined life is not worth living, which is precisely what makes these progressive media-academic hacks so not-even worthless.

Now, like anyone else, I have a heuristic. However, not only do I examine it every day, but I am very cautious about the facts I let in. Come to think of it, my heuristic is so broad and deep that it tries to account for everything, so it illuminates a lot of facts that other heuristics either overlook or dismiss as irrelevant, while dismissing with extreme prejudice facts that the Narrative considers vitally important. 

For example, Race, Gender, and Class are central to the left's heuristic, while mine regards the first two as accidents of human nature, the third as a fallacy of misplaced concreteness. 

Similarly, I recall last year, Brandon saying something to the effect that every department and every decision in his administration would see and be seen through the Eye of Equity, which is always left undefined, in the hope that people will conflate it with equality. Very different eye. For one thing, the Eye of Equality is colorblind.

Continuing with yesterday's post, there are different levels and dimensions in this cosmos, each requiring its own heuristic. The heuristic of modern science only emerged a few hundred years ago, prior to which time a lot of folks tended to employ a defective heuristic for understanding material reality.

But that's not quite correct, since people certainly had a great deal of commonsense understanding of the physical world, indeed, more than most moderns. I mean, you try to construct a cathedral, or sculpt a Pieta, or build a Great Pyramid. 

What they lacked was a deeper, abstract heuristic that could account for the properties of material reality. For example, people imagined that a different heuristic applied to celestial than to terrestrial reality. Newton's heuristic revealed the unity of these two, but left time out of it. Then Einstein came along and discovered the unity of time, space, and matter. 

There are always divisions followed by new and deeper unities. I'm thinking, for example, of how Darwin's theory of natural selection seemingly broke the unity of God and man. But this can only be the case if natural selection is applied to realms it cannot even perceive, let alone explain. Different dimensions, different heuristics.

Still, something draws me to the notion of a Heuristic of heuristics -- i.e., that it really is One Cosmos, and to even say this implies one ground, one source, one explanation. It doesn't mean we can know it in some inexhaustible sense, but at the very least we can posit it as an ontological placeholder, which I call O. O is necessary, even if we necessarily can never contain or exhaust it.

Conversely, we are contingent. Then again, since we can know this with absolute certitude, this ironically partakes of Necessity. 

Moreover, there is no doubt that we in fact exist. You could say that our existence was once conditional, but now that the conditions have been met, we are necessarily here. I am a fact. And in my heuristic -- as alluded to yesterday -- I AM is the most important and consequential fact in all of existence. 

Monday, October 03, 2022

The Dimensionless Point Inside the Empirical Absolute

Imagine a series of concentric circles -- I want to say in three dimensions, which would make it a sphere, but I'm thinking rather of the two most important dimensions of all, "inner" and "outer"; or interior and exterior, subject and object, experience and experienced, I and It. 

Surely this bifurcation is the most important and consequential (and positively mysterious) in all of existence, and if your philosophy can't account for it, then it isn't one, precisely. Rather, it is either an anti- or non-philosophy, a misosophy or philodoxy (i.e., hatred of wisdom and love of opinion, respectively).  

I was thinking just this morning of how much I detest opinion, nor am I referring only to left wing opinion, since that is just hatred, envy, and perversion wrapped in ideology and indoctrination. 

Rather, I have no use for most conservative opinion, or speculation, or punditry, either. Facts and principles (including, of course, principles of morality). The rest is time wasted. 

Before proceeding any further, can the Great Indoors actually be regarded as a dimension? The word has a number of meanings, but Big Webster says that one of them is the quality, character, or moral or intellectual stature proper to or belonging to a person, and this will more than do for our purposes.

It is also the range over which or the degree to which something extends, so we're good to go, for something <---> someone is another instance of the Great Bifurcation alluded to in the first paragraph.

Back to the sphere. At its outer ring is the dual dimension of empirical reality and sense. On the one hand, there is no knowledge at the level of raw sensory perception, but on the other, what do the senses sense but the world? This is the dimension where empiricism is not only absolutely the case, but indeed the Empirical Absolute.

Now, the Empirical Absolute is obviously not the Absolute per se, unless you are so intellectually incurious as to be enshrouded in journalism or even plunged into tenure.

Not only is empiricism true on its own level and within its own proper dimension, but all science reduces to empirical reality, which, you might say, is what any scientific theory is "ultimately" cashed back into. Of course, the object of empiricism cannot literally be ultimate without falling into a performative contradiction, for we agree with the Aphorist that

Nearly every idea is an overdrawn check that circulates until it is presented for payment.

The pseudo-science of Climate Change, for example, bounces every check it writes, but is then provided an emergency loan on the basis of ideology. In realty, if a model fails to pass the test of empirical reality, then the model is just wrong. Here again, empirical reality is the Absolute Object of science. 

But the rubber checks pose no barrier to ideology, since it begins and ends in the head anyway. Like any conspiracy theory, it cannot be falsified. Note too that it covertly elevates the subject of ideology to the absolute, even while denying absoluteness. Pretty neat trick. For a f*cking retard.

The physicist is correct (or at least potentially so) vis-a-vis the object of physics, but the philosopher obviously cannot limit himself to that dimension without abandoning philosophy, for in so doing he overlooks (or better, underlooks) the proper object of philosophy, which is to say, being qua being, not one of its limited dimensions.

Let me get back to my full-dimensional sphere. Long story short, there is science and empirical reality at the periphery, then the circle of philosophy, then a circle of metaphysical principles, then one of theology. There is a dot in the middle, but it is a dimensionless point, so it is at once nothing and everything.

Focusing for a moment on the dimensionless point, there is a great deal we can say about it; indeed, we could spend our whole lives describing it and yet never exhaust it. 

Indeed, if we want to be perfectly kosher about it, most anything we affirm of it with manmode language must be simultaneously denied, meaning that this point is apophatic, such that any point is grounded in the Great Pointless (or dimensionless point), which, we might say, reveals the truth of nihilism.

What I mean is that vulgar nihilism actually does disclose a truth of things, only in an inverse and even perverse manner that essentially conflates "meaninglessness" with more meaning than we could ever exhaust or assimilate. The two can resemble one another from the standpoint of the f*cking retard.

I mentioned in a comment yesterday that I'm having some technical difficulties on my end, basically a broken computer screen and difficulty logging into blogspot on any other computer. So I'm going to end this post for now, and fill in the details of our Sphere later. Best I can do at the moment.