Back in the brayday of the new atheism, there was a book called Climbing Mount Improbable, explaining how natural selection could account for every biological development, even those things about which Darwin himself had reservations.
I didn’t read the book, so I guess I have no opinion, but a Raccoon has no dog in that fight anyway, which is between an impossible metaphysic and a silly one. The former is unworthy of the intellect, the latter unworthy of God.
Besides, we’re looking at Mount Impossible. Therefore, no amount of probability or possibility can get us to the top. Impossible means impossible.
For example, creating something from nothing is impossible for any finite being. Nor is it a matter of an infinite amount of time to get the job done, because time itself is on our side of the divide; “nothing” means no time either, and I think we can all agree that natural selection requires time. Not to mention information, process, organization, interior relations, dissipative structure and more, followed by a consciousness capable of understanding all of this.
And as we said a few posts back, if there exist Laws of Evolution, then their discovery would mark their transcendence, so now we’re back to goround zero, since there is no explanation for our transcendence. In short, we’re back on that desert plain with the mountain rising before us.
If we’ve learned nothing else from Donovan, it is that first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. Same mountain seen from different stages on the journey of enlightenment. Nevertheless, you can't just skip ahead.
Now, speaking of natural selection, I think we can agree that biology is fine for the other animals, but that it takes man only so far. For what is a merely biologically mature human being? Biological maturity may be necessary, but never sufficient to get us up the mountain.
But supposing there is a human telos, it cannot be something we simply “invent.” We didn’t create ourselves, nor can we perfect ourselves if we pretend to go it alone, detached from the Creator.
Put conversely, if we can perfect ourselves, this presupposes an objective standard given from outside or above. Here is a passage from the foreword to Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism: "Although we must individually, deliberately and consciously seek to become fully human, it is not through our own efforts”
that we become ourselves. We are not constituted in a way able to bring off our own self-becoming. There is no pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. There is no program or method by which we can climb to heaven based solely on our own initiative.
What then? Call it what you want, but it is a descending energy or influence:
It is that energy which embodies the will of Heaven. If we are to individually fulfill and express our nature, we must first recognize our radical dependence upon that Power which constituted us in the first place. As Schuon tells us, “Nothing can be accomplished without the aid of heaven.”
Which means that, in terms of this mountain before us, it cannot be climbed without vertical assistance. Again, from a purely biological standpoint it is Mount Impossible. But if there is a metacosmic telovator, then it becomes Mount Possible, so long as we cooperate with it.
This introduces another player in our little terrestrial scheme, and without which the whole plot line collapses. Let’s call it the Ought.
Now, there is no man who is unaware of this Ought, even if it is so distorted that it defeats its own purpose. In other words, there are people so twisted by the fall that they are driven to do exactly what they ought never do, under the delusion that they ought to do it.
By way of example, the lowest hanging fruit is a Hitler, who truly believed he ought to eliminate every last Jew in order to improve the world. Clearly, he was compelled by this Ought, and the Ought was connected to a teleological “good” that justified it.
Stalin was driven by a similarly perverse Ought, as is every leftist to a greater or lesser degree. For example, we ought to eliminate gas stoves, or teach children about sodomy, or defund the police. The list of bad Oughts is endless.
Now, we might say that the Ought is always connected to a mountain of some sort, except that it may or may not be the real mountain, rather, one invented by man -- for example, eliminate private property, end White Privilege, or Smash the Patriarchy. These are all imaginary mountains that millions of people spend their lives trying to climb (and often in order to avoid the real mountain).
But we ought to climb the actual mountain -- the one with the human ideal or telos at the top.
Allow Schuon to explain: "There is something that man must know and think; and something that he must will and do.” Among other things, he "must know that God is Necessary Being,” i.e., “that which cannot not be, whereas the world is merely possible, which may or may not be.”
So, you could say that the mountain is Mount Necessary and that climbing it is both possible and normative, in other words, that which we ought to do and are indeed called to do. It is our vocation to be mountain climbers, but just make sure it’s the right mountain, for history is littered with examples of people who struggled all the way to the top of their mountain only to realize it was never really there.
In the next post we will transpose the mountain into a conical form that has a string dangling from the point at the top, such that we are always at the center, and the center oriented to the origin.