Saturday, October 14, 2023

On the Deep Structure of the Progressive-Terror Industrial Complex

There is no shortage of opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but they mostly touch on the symptoms and not the cause -- the surface and not deep structure. What I wonder about is the deeper structure that accounts for the agreement between, say, Hamas and BLM. What does beheading Jewish children have to do with exploiting white guilt to finance a real estate empire? What's the connection?

Some events are like a sword slicing through history and dividing one side from the other. For example, Pearl Harbor was such an event. Prior to it there was still a lot isolationist sentiment, but after the sword fell, most everyone found themselves on the same side. Certainly one would have been hard-pressed to find pro-Japanese sentiments, let alone demonstrations and "days of rage" against American colonizers.

But in this case, the moral revulsion didn't last 24 hours before the usual suspects were making excuses, adding "context," and blaming the victim. 

This week we have been witness to the greatest atrocities and mass slaughter perpetrated against Jews since the Holocaust. Sickeningly, on many of your campuses, events are being held to support those who carried out this savagery and to blame the victims, innocent Israelis.

VDH  describes the sword of (a)morality cutting through history:

In a strange way, this reign of death has become a touchstone, an acid test of sorts that has revealed the utter amorality of enemies abroad and quite dangerous people at home.

For example, 

the overt support for Hamas killers by the diversity, equity, and inclusion crowd on a lot of campuses exposes to Americans the real moral and intellectual rot in higher education.

So, diversity, equity, inclusion, and... genocide. We could say that this nexus us just a coincidence, or again, search for some deeper structure that renders the connection perfectly intelligible.   

For example, this guy says

The war in Gaza is part of a global war between an alliance of militant Islam and communists on one side [of the Sword], and Judeo-Christian Western civilization on the other.

This one agrees that 

None of the horrors you are witnessing this week -- not the massacre of Jews, not the betrayal by public figures and popular activist movements, not the moral insanity of our universities and cultural spaces -- happened by accident.

Rather, there's that deep structure again:

Every time we pressed on one of the newly mass-embraced policy proposals or narratives -- intersectionality, decolonization studies, the Iran nuclear deal, Russiagate, Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, critical race theory, COVID lockdowns -- a weird thing would happen: The idea itself fell apart at the seams within seconds of contact with reality....
The more we listened to freshly minted universal experts, the more we were struck by the increasing lunacy of their pronouncements on every topic under the sun, always backed by “studies” and “science”

But what unites the lunatics? Is there an order to it, or just an axis of bad or stupid actors wanting to cause chaos and suffering? 

There's also decolonization, the outcome of which 

is barbarism. For Hamas, it means murdering women, children, and the elderly, executing innocent people on the street, and mutilating infants in their homes. For the radical academics..., it means destroying our best institutions, obliterating academic standards, and elevating witchcraft, voodoo, and pseudo-science into positions of prestige. The philosopher Leo Strauss once defined nihilism as opposition to civilization as such—and this is precisely what the decolonizing academics have done....

Americans need to understand that the massacre in Gaza is not only a foreign outrage. The same ethno-radicals who cheer Hamas’s destruction of civilization abroad also want to commit civilizational suicide here at home.

So, is nihilism the answer to the question of deep structure? But nihilism is no structure at all. The following may be crazy, but it insists on its own necessary logical structure:

"Academics in the area of border studies: you cannot teach about displacement, dispossession, suffering, resistance, decolonization, and abolition without Palestine. You can’t be for Abolish ICE, anti-border violence, or anti-carceral without supporting freedom for Palestinians.” 

”When I say ‘no walls, no prisons, no cages’ this is what I mean," Martinez posted on X earlier this week above a picture of the Hamas terrorists storming into Israel on their way to rape women, slaughter babies, and take elderly Holocaust survivors prisoner.  

So, in a way, we don't have to look hard for the deep structure, since they never shut-up about the intrinsic relationship between diversity, equity, inclusion, decolonization, open borders, freeing violent criminals, Jew-hatred, CRT, White Privilege, the destruction of western institutions and intellectual standards, and outright genocide. 

What's the first step one needs to take in order to find oneself on the lunatic side of the Sword? It's easier to describe what things look like from our side of it:

To be a conservative is to understand that man is a problem without a human solution.

Freedom is the right to be different; equality is a ban on being different.

Man is an animal that can be educated, provided he does not fall into the hands of progressive pedagogues.

What is called the modern mentality is the process of exonerating the deadly sins.

Let us say frankly to our opponent that we do not share his ideas because we understand them and that he does not share our ideas because he does not understand them.

If the leftist is not persecuting, he feels persecuted.

The cult of Humanity is celebrated with human sacrifices.

The political platforms of the left are gradually transformed into scaffolds.

Specific advice for Gazans:

Educating the soul consists in teaching it to transform its envy into admiration.

But unfortunately,

It is customary to proclaim rights in order to violate duties.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Annotations To An Implicit Text About Western Intellectuals and Islamist Barbarism

Just combing through the Aphorisms for oblique references to the barbarism and depravity of the day. Those with ears, yada yada.

Religious pathology is the key to history.

No one is more respectful of “others’ beliefs” than the devil.

Unlimited tolerance is nothing more than a hypocritical way of giving up.

Our civilization is a baroque palace invaded by a disheveled mob.

The partisans of a cause are often the best arguments against it. 

The revolutionary does not hate because he loves but loves because he hates.

The forces that will ruin a civilization collaborate from its birth with the forces that construct it.

The left does not condemn violence until it hears it pounding on its door.

The leftism of the majority of leftists is perfectly explicable, but the intelligent man who has left-wing ideas must severely examine his conscience.

“Racism” has made its enemies say as many stupid things as its partisans.

The comments of the liberal about any war reveal the type of mentality that makes the next war inevitable.

The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another’s goods but the one who defends his own.

The leftist screams that freedom perishes when his victims refuse to finance their own murder.

Every “liberator” finally passes on the bill.

Having promulgated the dogma of original innocence, democracy concludes that the man guilty of the crime is not the envious murderer but the victim who aroused his envy.

In this century, compassion is an ideological weapon.

In order to corrupt the individual it is enough to teach him to call his personal desires rights and the rights of others abuses.

One must learn to handle the weapons of the adversary, but with appropriate disgust.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Mere Ignorance and Learned Ignorance

Feel free to stop bloviating on the ins & outs of unchecked aggression and the what-have-yous of geopolitics, and stick to what you know best, Bob, which is nothing. 

Point well taken. As a multi-undisciplinary vertical slacker, I like to think I know a little nothing about everything. Which is just knowing that the best conceivable map is never the territory -- certainly including theological maps. Eckhart, for example, speaks of God and the soul as mutual abysses of infinitude, and 

taught a form of negative mystical anthropology in which God and soul are ultimately one because both are radically unknowable.

So, "striving to know God... is a constant pursuit of what is by definition unattainable," but this "unknown-knowing keeps the soul constant and still on the hunt." 

Every morning we try to bring back a little nothing from from this hunt for the unknown, starting from nowhere, for "There must be stillness and silence for the Word to make itself heard." 


Though it may be called an unknowing, an uncomprehending, it still has more within it than in all knowing and comprehending outside it, for this unknowing lures and draws you from all that is known, and also from yourself.

It lures us so long as we establish diplomatic relations with the Divine Attractor. Or rather, vice versa, for "the eternal birth of the Word from the Father is actually 'now born in time, in human nature.'" 

We must distinguish between two forms of ignorance, or between "mere ignorance" and "learned ignorance." What we know is always dwarfed by what we don't, so "from knowing one must come into unknowing":

Then, we will become knowing with divine knowing and then our unknowing will be ennobled and clothed with supernatural knowing.

It's as simple as making a space of unknowing for the reception of the higher unknown -- or of making a space of darkness for the reception of light. You don't light a match to look for the sun. 

We all have a key to the door that opens to the luminous and noble peace of the desert.
Speaking of which, "one must become as empty and bare as the desert," maybe even be the desert. 

Or, from a Jewish perspective, we are always on-the-way in the desert bewilderness:

The wilderness is not just a desert through which we wandered for forty years. It is a way of being. Even if just for a moment every now and then each day. For it is the only way to begin.

And that must surely be why He brought us out there. For there and only there might we be able to encounter the mystery.

Oh, and if "The first mystery is simply that there is a mystery" the second mystery must be that we are open to it, and that "Spiritual awareness is born of encounters with the mystery."

Which sounds similar to Eckhart's path of no path:

Leave place, leave time, / Avoid even image! / Go forth without a way / On the narrow path, / Then you will find the desert track.

"'God is a God of the present." And to go back to Jewish mysticism, 

Entrances to holiness are everywhere. / The possibility of ascent is all the time. / Even at unlikely times and through unlikely places. / There is no place on earth without the Presence (Kushner).

So, give us this day our daily... what then? Does this post have any practical purpose or advice? Well, every day I spend half an hour trying to follow the wayless way of the pilgrim, in a kind of radical openness to come-what-may. I just try to show up and let God take care of the rest. Or, to paraphrase the Aphorist, the only sensible thing to do is to keep pestering God with our prayers. I don't know what else to do, much less not-do.

(Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from The Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart: The Man from Whom God Hid Nothing.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Justice for Palestine?

Not much in the way of inspiration in recent days, even predating recent world-historical intrusions. Yesterday I pulled out a volume of Jewish mysticism from the shelf, and I considered writing a post on its similarity to Eckhart. But there's a time for medieval mysticism and a time for getting medieval, period:

Is this the time? If not, when is the time? Is there some objective standard for when to break out the pliers and blowtorches? True, there is "just war doctrine," but I don't see anything in there about justice per se. 

Therefore, I consulted Josef Pieper for a little more guidance on the subject -- in particular, the question of what sort of justice is owed a genocidal terror group with no universal standard of justice. No doubt they believe they delivered justice on October 7 -- as do our own progressive neobarbarians and Islamist apologists -- whereas the civilized world is unanimous in condemning their actions as unjust, to put it mildly. Who's right?

As Pieper says, "evil and suffering in our world have many names, but primarily that of 'injustice.'" Now, justice "is the notion that each man is to be given what is his due," but this definition presupposes the possibility of a universal definition discoverable by man qua man. 

What if the people in question have no such definition -- rather, only a particular one revolving around their own perceived benefit, whether attained justly or unjustly? Do Gazans have a universal definition of justice? Obviously not, because they have a completely different standard as to what constitutes justice for Jews: what they call justice, we recognize as intrinsically unjust.

Which shows the ridiculousness of Hamas concealing their genocidal ambitions behind other universals such as "freedom for Palestine," for in no way do they mean freedom as we define it. Any Arab living in Israel is already more free than anyone condemned to live in an Islamic state (criminal elites notwithstanding), so if they really wanted to be free, Hamas would organize a state along Israeli lines, where Arabs even serve in parliament. 

If we apply a universal standard of justice to, say, Iran, we would say that the Iranian people have the right not to be ruled by an Islamist theocracy, just as Gazans have the right not to be ruled by Hamas. But the latter voted for Hamas, and surveys indicate that the support for Hamas continues. What sort of justice is owed to people who actually don't want what is due to them by natural right, and want to inflict maximum injustice on others?

What is the basis for the moral obligation to give a man his due? Here in the United States it is in virtue of being endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, so that to deny these rights without due process is intrinsically unjust:

"It is through creation that the created being first comes to have his rights." By virtue of creation first arises the possibility of saying: "Something is my due."

We could say this same something is due Islamists, except they don't want it, nor do they want anyone else to have it. One could inform the Islamist that "I have my rights!," but for them the dar al-harb has no intrinsic rights the dar al-Islam is bound to respect. Clearly, rights of non-Muslims are not -- nor could they be -- an inalienable possession.

Therefore, by our universal standards, Islamism is intrinsically unjust, for any appeal to "natural right" would be an unforgivable usurpation of our only real right, which is to submit to Allah. 

The anthropology of Christendom is quite different, in which our inalienable rights -- and obligations -- are grounded in human nature. But in the Age of Equity and two-tiered justice, we are back to a pre-Christian and non-universal standard of justice (which, properly speaking, is no longer justice except in the particularistic tribal sense).

Perhaps when all the consequences of a false presupposition suddenly become a direct threat, men in their great terror will suddenly become aware that it is no longer possible to call back... a truth they have allowed to become remote...

Nor is it "completely fantastic to think that a day may come"

when not the executioners alone will deny the existence of inalienable rights of men, but when even the victims will not be able to say why it is that they are suffering injustice.

Actually, it's completely fantastic to believe we're not already well on the way there. There were no pro-Japanese demonstrations in the U.S. after Pearl Harbor, nor any pro-Nazi rallies, let alone Nazi supporters in congress and the media. But today our own Democrats support the so-called Palestinians over Israel by 49% to 38%. Which means they support injustice for everyone. 

Monday, October 09, 2023

Breaking News and the Breakthrough of Eternity

Well, I wasted yesterday watching sports and news out of Israel. I could write about the latter, but one of the original purposes of the blog was to turn the cosmos upside down and report on the "eternals" instead of the news (or to interpret the news in light of the eternal). Instead of covering "breaking news," the idea was to report on eternity breaking into time. 

Come to think of it, there are moments in history when the two -- time and eternity -- converge, quintessentially so in the Incarnation. This is just an image, but I'm imagining time as a wave-like function that can be closer to, or more distant from, eternity (even though, properly speaking, eternity must be equidistant to all times). 

I think we can sense when eternity breaks through, or when we are somehow closer to it. Certainly we know this individually, but it happens collectively as well. When something real occurs, it temporarily wipes away all the lies, silliness, and distractions we typically call "news": "eternity is the measure of permanence, time the measure of change." 

The return of eternity can feel like a big change, but it has always been here, only more or less ignored. I suppose you could say that ignorance of it is the largest conceivable "intelligence failure," since it is the failure of intelligence as such -- a failure to bear eternal principles in mind.

Eckhart often uses the word "breakthrough" to describe God's relation to the soul, e.g., "just as he breaks through into me, so I break through in turn into him." 

What would be at antipodes to the bad breaking news of the day? I guess it would the good of eternity breaking into the nous, or something. This latter, AKA the intellective soul, is "untouched by time and corporality." It is the primordial Light referenced in John, only reflected in the mirror of the intellect.
There is nothing that the divine Intellect does not know actually, nor the human intellect potentially.

This appears to be the deepest possible interpretation of being made in the image of God -- only it's an inverse image, being that God is overflowing fullness, whereas we are relative emptiness and impoverishment. It is also why 

Our natural "intellectual desire," or unlimited will to know, "is never quieted until we know the first Principle, not from its reflection but directly by its very essence.... the ultimate end of rational creatures is immediate knowledge of the essence of God."

This is what Eckhart calls the birth of the Word in the very ground of the soul: "the eternal birth which God the Father effects unceasingly in eternity is the same birth he effected here in time, in human nature.... What is all-important is that it should happen in me."

Which would be good news indeed -- news from, in, and back to eternity. Conversely, at the other (temporal) end, 

The idea that social or political change can satisfy man's intellectual or spiritual needs is perhaps the "greatest deception" to which man is susceptible. 

The author is quick to add that "This in no sense means that society is to be ignored," rather that

Whatever social good is ever accomplished can only be the result of men and women who, in their intellectual ground, understand that there is something far more important to be actualized than just trying to save this world. 

After all, the world can no more be for its own sake than it can be the cause of itself. Rather, it both flows from and returns to its Principle, apart from which there is "strictly nothing." 

And "strict nothing" means contradiction, nonpossibility, the total absence of actual or possible being.

In a word, absurdity. In other words, manifestation minus its principle is like smoke without fire or a reflection of a reflection of a reflection, with no original image. Which is why "The world of manifestation must be inverted, for it, including ourselves in manifestation, is already 'upside down.'" 

Oaky, break through is over. Back on your heads. 

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Theology for God

In the previous post, we wondered what Christianity says about reality -- both what it explicitly asserts and what it implicitly presumes. 

In pursuit of this question I innocently picked up a book about Meister Eckhart and ended up getting turned turned upside down and inside out. The book is so relentlessly paradoxical that I can't say I recommend it. It did give me something to think about, though. Or unthink about, rather.  

When I say "turned upside down and inside out," what I mean is this: while I was hoping to find some insights into reality, what I had been calling reality turned out to be nothing but appearances, or even the appearance of nothing: Eckhart's perspective 

is constituted as it were from within God in his Godhead and not externally in terms of approach toward God.... the doctrine he expounds must always be considered from that in divinas standpoint.  

In other words, from inside the Godhead out, not from the outside in. Is this even possible? How can we think about God except insofar as being in relation to, or in terms of, us and of creation more generally? What is God without us?

Well, with us out of the way, "the doctrine [Eckhart] expounds will never cease to be contemporary and always accessible to those who, naturally unsatisfied with mere living, desire to know how to live, regardless of time or place." 

It seems that the one knowledge that will always be true leaves us out of the loop. Or at least "It is meant, rather, for those who are dissatisfied with any teaching restricted by the mental horizon of mere human thought," and for those "who are disturbed by the closed systematizations" of various off-the-shelf human theologies. 

Theology for God?

I don't know, but whatever it is, it is "an abiding ground beneath the quicksand of relative values." Absolute absolutism, I guess.

The problem with theology from and for man is that it is external to the object it is supposed to be about; it "is at best only an approximation to unconditioned Godhead." We are always reflections of this principial reality, but is there some way to get inside the looking glass? Absent a heroic dose of LSD?

Speaking of which, I can see why Eckhart made a big comeback in the '60s and was popular among the hippie crowd. But this goes way beyond such new age diversions. Rather, this is really, really irritating. It is not inside you or me or anyone else, but "supraindividual, supranature, beyond distinctions, and situated as it were within the all-inclusive Principle." 

It transcends "all experience, all abstractions or conceptual graspings of the mind and, indeed, all individual manifestation.... it can in no way be enclosed in any experience, mystical or otherwise, or in any system whatsoever."

Well what then? It seems Eckhart is trying to provide a "springboard primarily designed to facilitate an openness to the uncreated grace requisite for a sustained insight into the unmanifested and unrestricted knowledge which God is."

In the book I just called it O → (n), and let the reader fill in the experiential blanks. 

None of this sounds very orthodox to me, and yet, the very next paragraph claims that "this precisely is the significance of the Word considered as God's unique communication to man." 

Moreover, the Gospel of John "ranks as supreme" because "it pre-eminently sets forth in direct manner the very Divine Knowledge with which Eckhart is above all concerned." It "constitutes, in figures of speech and thought, pure knowledge in principle," and "beyond all humanistic dimensions." 

Again, it is not man that enters God, but rather, "God intervenes in time, the infinite shatters the finite whereby the Word becomes known to man.... the unique possibility is granted man to understand all things in principle from the standpoint as it were of the unconditioned Godhead." 

So again, we apparently have things upside down, since this isn't our testimony of God but God's testimony of himself. And "no person can attain it save by his own unlimited will to know effected and sustained by the grace of the Word" -- or something like (↑) and (↓), only on steroids or something.

Not to be continued. I think I'll move on to something a little more accessible.

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