Sunday, September 24, 2023

What Else Makes a Man?

Yesterday we touched on "intelligence, sentiment, will," i.e., "truth, virtue, freedom." There's also objectivity, but I suppose this is an intrinsic component of human intelligence. Some people believe objectivity is just a human conceit, but 

Unless one accepts that man is fundamentally objective, one quickly finds oneself in refutation of oneself (Bina & Ziarani).

Clowns gonna beclown themselves: 

One has to start with the self-evidence of objective truth. Any attempt to deny the self-evidence of truth -- or being, or reality, or absoluteness -- will be self-defeating. 

Think about all those progressives who insist on the principle that all truth claims are masks of power:

Any system of thought that proposes an absolute principle while denying the notion of truth -- hence the notion of objectivity -- is condemned to self-refutation.

Aside from tenure, why do people do this? Not sure, but let me think back to when I was an idiot and see what I can come up with...

Okay, it's definitely a status thing in the context of a system that rewards intelligence. In this system -- moreso today than ever before -- their are hordes of sub-mediocrities who are completely unself-aware and simply imitate other high-status primates. It's a shortcut to superiority over others while creating a superficial explanation for everything -- like, say, the 1619 Project. It provides a cheap omniscience while conferring prestige on its proponents, so what's not to like?

Rob Henderson recently dismantled a work of "anthropology" along these lines called The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Omniscience? Check. Status? Check. Just look at the universal acclaim on amazon -- NY Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, Washington Post, LA Times, WSJ, NBC, et al. To garner the praise of all those prestigious legacy sources implies that the book must be truly horrible.

Hmm, I always check the negative reviews first:

People were, are and can become again sweet caring bush hippies grooving sustainably with nature. War, conflict, genocide, cannibalism, slavery and the rest of human nastiness are departures from the fact that people were all basking in freedom, equality, anarchy, mutual aid, caring and all other good things until Eden was destroyed by evil men who didn't or don't take Rousseau's opinions seriously. This exercise in historical make believe would be a funny self parody if people didn't take this exercise in wishful thinking seriously.

They make a point of rejecting Eurocentrism yet the entire book is based on narratives from Anglo-European writers or their interpretations of romanticized Indigenous values.... Sort of an "Ancient Indigenous Wisdom" fallacy. 

We have two fan-boys of slavery-driven economics hoping a lack of total pre-historic knowledge might somehow be hiding some success of a slave-driven economy.

they have fallen into the same bad habits of prejudice, bias, and unsubstantiated generalization as all of the white, male, Eurocentric scholars who they criticize on almost every page. 

In short, 

leftist propaganda disguised as history based on undocumented conjecture.

Well, that was fun. But did we learn anything? I think so. Again, consider the universal praise by Trusted Sources -- all the Smart People -- in comparison to the value of the book, which is quite literally less than nil. What's going on here, aside from a massive jerk circle of mimetic and status seeking elite opinion?  

Oh well. Let's move on. Truth will always be an unpopular, rearguard action. And

We conservatives provide idiots the pleasure of feeling like they are daring avant-garde thinkers.

Going back to what makes a man, what about imagination and creativity? I guess those would be a combination of intelligence and possibility, the latter being a reflection of Infinitude, another name for which is All-Possibility.

That's a coincidence: in the very next paragraph Schuon goes into the question of objectivity, which in one sense is superior to subjectivity, but it depends, for "reason is objective only on condition of basing itself on exact data and of proceeding correctly." 

Look at how climate alarmists, for example, reason perfectly correctly about their catastrophically flawed data. Or the idiotic book mentioned above -- as Henderson says, the authors 

repeatedly ask the reader to “rethink,” “reimagine,” and “reconsider” everything we think we know about the development of human societies, suggesting that humans have become “stuck” to such an extent that we can no longer imagine the possibility of “reinventing” ourselves.

"Reimagining" ourselves implies that we were only imagining ourselves before. How about a little objectivity?

Sentiment "lacks objectivity only when it is excessive or misplaced," and "not when justified by its object and is, in fact, a kind of adequation." In other words, loving lovable things is a kind of objectivity, whereas loving evil, or hating the good, or believing falsehood, are inherently pathological. 

Now, the author of The Dawn of Everything (Graeber) was a far left anti-capitalist activist, so he essentially wrote a 700 page tribute to his own misplaced sentiment. The existence of this stubborn and dogged tendency to misplaced sentiment tells us much more about human nature than anything in the book. Someone needs to reimagine reimagining!

For Schuon, human intelligence involves the realization of an "equilibrium between the intelligence of the brain and that of the heart," so it is not as if we should toss sentiment aside, for, among other reasons, it is connected to spiritual intuition (as opposed to mere reason), so there is the possibility of a dysfunctional rational objectivity and a functional sentimental subjectivity.

To be continued...  


julie said...

In this system -- moreso today than ever before -- their are hordes of sub-mediocrities who are completely unself-aware and simply imitate other high-status primates.

I'm reminded of the really obnoxious ad campaign for some beauty supply company, something along the lines of "beauty for the rest of us" as though somehow only a tiny subset of people were allowed or encouraged to use beauty products. Objectively, the whole idea is patently silly, but I'll bet it works pretty well for those who are insecure about their social status.

julie said...

"Reimagining" ourselves implies that we were only imagining ourselves before. How about a little objectivity?

One of the interesting things about reading historical works - whether the Bible or any other ancient text - is discovering just how much we haven't been imagining ourselves. Aside from our flashy technology, people really haven't changed all that much, and anyone who thinks we can just imagine away basic human nature and return to an Edenic existence is an idiot. Notably, most of the people who think this way don't ever try living that way themselves.

Gagdad Bob said...

Chesterton or Lewis said something to the effect that the doctrine of the fall is the most empirically verifiable thing in all of history.

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