Saturday, November 25, 2023

It's the Religion, Stupid: Metastatic Leftism and the Devil's Toolbox

Let's learn something. How did it happen? The left's colonization of western civilization?

Roger Kimball captures the tactic well in his book The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America: “The long march through the institutions signified in the words of Marcuse, "working against the established institutions while working in them." By this means -- by insinuation and infiltration rather than by confrontation -- the counter-cultural dreams of radicals like Marcuse have triumphed.” 

So, mostly peaceful. Like cancer.

Before Marcuse there was Gramsci:

“Gramsci in the 1930s acknowledged that Western society was deeply religious, and that the only way to achieve a proletarian revolution would be to break the faith of the masses of Western voters in Christianity and the moral system derived from Christianity. He placed religion and culture at the base of the pyramid. This means that the mode of production [capitalism] is secondary.”

Thus, as politics is downstream from culture, religion is upstream from the rest: Religion --> Culture --> Politics --> Economics, et al. 

According to Gramsci a “regime grounded in Judeo-Christian beliefs and values could not be overthrown until those roots were cut,” and those roots were found in the remnants of the Christian religion. “[T]o capture the West, Marxists must first de-Christianize the West.”

Since Western culture had given birth to capitalism and sustained it, if that culture could be subverted, the system would fall of its own weight.
Was he wrong?

The question is, do I have anything useful to add to this excellent historical analysis? Although it was a random outcome of the google machine, it accords with a book I'm currently reading, called Brutal Minds: The Dark World of Left-Wing Brainwashing in Our Universities

The problem is, I'm not the conspiratorial kind, or rather, there's always a deeper con-spiracy going on, about which the conspirators themselves know nothing. 

Take your average drone toiling in the media-academic industrial complex: you could interrogate him all day long under torture to give up the names "Marcuse" or "Gramsci," but he'd be unable to do so, because he's never heard of them. 

Likewise, this banal utensil wouldn't know he's taking part in some grand conspiracy to overthrow the West. Frankly, he's never thought about it. He's an unreflective idiot. He's just in it for the paycheck and the social status. 

True, they're imbeciles, but why do all the imbeciles believe the same things? Especially delusional and/or evil things, such as transgender ideology, or pro-Hamas propaganda, or climate hysteria, or racialist nonsense? 

None of this conformity results from individuals "thinking through" the topic. The Blob can't take that chance, from the president on down. If the "most powerful man on the planet" is not permitted to have his own opinions, where does this leave some idiot college student or empty headed journalist?

It works much more like cancer, which starts out localized in this or that organ but invades nearby healthy tissue and spreads via the bloodstream or lymphatic system -- and like bankruptcy, it happens very gradually and then all of a sudden. 

I'm wondering: what would Satan do? Yes, of course he'd want to invade education. That would be the Big Prize, because then the metastasis into other institutions such as journalism takes care of itself.

Now normally we have an immune system that recognizes and takes out invading bacteria or unhealthy cells. Therefore, if I'm Satan, even before my Long March Through the Institutions, the first thing I want to do is weaken the immune system that would recognize the cancer and eliminate it before it can grow and spread.

What is -- or was, rather -- our civilizational immune system?

It is not found within the "four corners," as they say, of the Constitution. Rather, the Constitution is designed to protect things that transcend the Constitution, a reminder that Gödel's theorems apply even to political systems -- i.e., that a political system assumes principles for which the system cannot account. 

In this case, the Constitution points to the natural rights (or law) of the Declaration, which in turn points to the transcendent Creator. So, if I'm Satan, Job One is destroying any traces of this link, and rendering it "unthinkable," both in theory and in fact. 

To be continued... 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Athens and Jerusalem vs. Mecca and Manhattan

In place of Manhattan we could have used the less alliterate Ockham (William of, and his anti-realist nominalism), Königsberg (Kant), Prussia (Nietzsche and Marx), Frankfurt (School), Paris (Derrida). Whatever the case, the point is that the intellectual barbarians are inside the gates and institutions of Western civilization, and are doing their utmost to let in the literal kind. 

Vertical barbarism is prior to the horizontal kind, or in other words, ideas have consequences. 

One could say that Athens and Jerusalem represent the left and right brains, respectively, or immanence and transcendence, with Homo sapiens being the monkey in the middle. But again, we're not so much between these two as a dynamic synthesis of them. 

Now, many people have commented on what appears to be a surge of anti-Semitism in the world and on the progressive left in general. 

Actually, these over-educated youngsters are too stupid to be anti-Semitic per se; rather, the Jew-hatred is just an inevitable consequence of their ideological indoctrination: if Israelis are white (even though the majority are Mizrahi or Sephardic) and affluent (instead of intelligent and industrious), then they are colonizers, oppressors, and beneficiaries of illicit privilege. The indoctrination is like a cognitive web that indiscriminately catches Jews, that's all -- even Ethiopian ones, homosexual ones, and pro-Palestinian ones. 

I was thinking about the Athens/Jerusalem cliche on my walk yesterday, which is usually taken to mean the synthesis of "faith and reason" at the foundation of western civilization, but if yesterday's post was on the right track, then it's more significant than that, going to an ineluctably closed mental horizon vs. one that is open to transcendental memos and vertical murmurandoms. Yes, the content of the latter is important, but the phenomenon itself is equally important, especially on an individual basis.

For example, anyone can be given the content of revelation, but unless we are open to what it points to and from, it will likely just fall on rocky soil. After all, I myself learned the rudiments of Christianity as a child, more than enough to reject it on grounds of being frankly religulous. My being was not open to what was on offer, which was first and foremost a "relationship."  

A relationship to what? Yes, to the vast and unseen worlds comprising the realm of the metabob. I would, of course, eventually find out about the infrabob, but the one implies the other because there can be no down without an up, nor is mere "natural" Bobness self-explanatory. No one can be their own efficient or final cause. 

Thus, the openness must be prior to the content. Analogously, unless you're good at hallucinating, you have to have an internet connection before the content can arrive on your screen. Likewise, you need some sort of interior connection to Celestial Central in order to be in the proper disposition to receive the in-formation.

Which, of course, is what prayer, contemplation, and meditation are all about; likewise the sacraments, each being a conduit of grace. And again, it is our choice as to whether the conduit is allowed to flow or is short-circuited. 

I just said "our choice," but they say the seeking is already a function of the finding, which I suppose means that it's already a grace to seek it. In fact, "prevenient grace" is available to one and all, in contrast to the sanctifying grace available after conversion.

Back to the question above: a relationship to what? In a way, you could say "just that: a relationship." In other words, to relate is to be in between, so it's more relevant to ask "in between what?" 

Really, it's rather like life, which is always a dance between order and chaos. You'll know when the dance is over because you'll be dead. Life Itself is an open structure that imports matter, information, and energy while dissipating entropy.

Which makes me think that "mind" is like Life Itself in a higher key: it too is an open system, but open to what? What does it import and metabolize? 

Well, let's see. Truth, obviously. But prior to this must be the love we import as infants, which is thoroughly entangled with the development of our neurology. I heard a talk by Rob Henderson yesterday in which he cited the dismal outcomes of children caught up in the foster system. Something like half of them end up in the judicial system. Moreover, their outcomes are exponentially worse than children who suffer mere material poverty.  

My point is that the child is an open system that is certainly entitled to certain things such as love, stability, a mother and father, etc., in order to attain its telos. You might say that denied a healthy relationship with parents, they develop an unhealthy one with the surrogate parent we call the Law.

I'm out of time, but how did we get here? What does this have to do with the title of the post?

I'm thinking. And what I'm thinking is, don't ask me, ask them -- for example, ask the quintessentially progressive BLM, whose stated goal was to "disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure."

And from whom did they get that nonsense? From a couple of dead white males, Marx and Engels:

“The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.... The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.”

“The modern family contains in germ not only slavery (servitus), but also serfdom, since from the beginning it is related to agricultural services,” Engels wrote in  The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the Statequoting Marx. “It contains in miniature all the contradictions which later extend throughout society and its state.” 

I see that we never really got to the Mecca connection, but we will.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Our Escape is God's Inscape, Part One

So, man lives in the gap between appearances and reality. Unless one is a relativist, subjectivist, idealist, etc., in which case one pretends to live in appearances only. 

But we know there is a reality, if only because we can never know it exhaustively, rather, only asymptotically. To say that reality is intelligible being is not the end of the story, rather, only the beginning, since there's no end to its intelligibility. 

Yes, the soul knows all things -- potentially -- and our understanding extends to infinity. The world is a tapestry woven of mystery and intelligibility, meaning that we never stop weaving the rug that ties the cosmos together. At least I can't stop.

It reminds me of what they say about the Church: we have no way of knowing whether we are in the End Times or the just the beginning of the story. 

Two thousand years seems like a long time relative to a single lifetime, but what is it relative to the sun dying out in a few billion years? Like one of those mayflies who live but a day and know nothing of the seasons and all that. In any event, Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 

Hmm. That last remark implies something beyond the Gap where we live -- again, the ever-changing one between reality and appearances. 

As we mentioned yesterday, because this gap is always evolving, it can look as if we're plunged into a world of pure becoming, nor can you blame a fellow for latching on to something like process philosophy, at least until he thinks through the implications, in which case there's no excuse.

But if our immediate experience has only access to the shifting sands of the Gap, then what? It's not much consolation to be told, Sure, there's a reality. It's just that you can never know it! 

Granted, we can never know it in a purely logical or rational way, for reasons articulated by Gödel: whatever we come up with on our end will be either complete or consistent, but never both.

But God -- supposing there is one -- would not be limited by the Theorems. He could tell us what's what and who's who, and in way that would still be true even after the sun and earth pass into darkness.

As you know, I have a beef with... No, that's not the best way to put it. I was going to say "religious language," but it's really a problem with language as such. Now, I love the sound of my own voice as much as the next guy, but language is for communicating across the gap between minds, and in order to do this there must be an unsaturated space for it to accumulate meaning.

No, not for low-level communication like a shopping list, nor for things like math and engineering, where ambiguity is the enemy. Rather, for the whole world mapped by art and religion, which transcends the material world. 

Two ideas: first, one of our rock-bottom theses is that 

In each moment, each person is capable of possessing the truths that matter.

To which I would add that we are, gosh darn it, entitled to these truths, which implies that God is -- in a manner of speaking -- obligated to convey them to us in some form or fashion. And when I say "obligated," I'm thinking analogously of, say, the Constitution, which implies certain powers without which it cannot accomplish its main aims.

Likewise, man could never accomplish his purpose -- indeed, can have no purpose -- without a little assistance from outside the system and beyond the Gap. 

This much is obvious, or at least has been since Gödel; perhaps there was some wiggle room prior to him, but now there is no excuse: your world, no matter how impressively vast and complex, is ultimately an incoherent and meaningless tautology outside a vertical intervention we call "revelation" but I just call (↓) to keep it unsaturated.

I am happy to stipulate that life is utterly meaningless, and that there is no possibility of meaning, absent what we are calling ().  

Oh yes, the second idea, before we run out of time: it is that man is a dynamic open system on every level, both horizontally and vertically. This is self-evident as it pertains to biology, but equally so as it pertains to levels above, from psychology to religion.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Life is a Dream, But That's Not All It Is

Life is but a dream, but what if it weren't? There'd be no glorious nonsense, for example, Day dong a da ding-dong / A-lang-da-lang-da-lang / Ah, woah, woah, bip / Ah bi-ba-do-da-dip, woah:

The question is, is it true? Of course it's true, unlike the watered-down version by the Crew Cuts:

Art is an adequation, and in this case the Crew Cut's pale imitation is just inadequate. And this we can know objectively.  

But art and knowledge cannot be a pure adequation full stop, because otherwise our minds would be like cameras or Xerox machines cranking out identical copies of reality.

At the same time, finitude can never be adequate to infinitude, which is why we will never run out of art, and why science will forever approach but never reach its object. Besides, Gödel: every logical system includes statements that cannot be justified by the system.

So, there's a gap, and we live and move and have our being in this gap. It's where (and why) the freedom is, and how it is that we can become detached from reality, unlike other animals, for whom this gap is enclosed in instinct. Man alone has the space to know truth and falsehood, to do good or evil, and to create beauty or ugliness.

There's also the matter of right brain / left brain, which assures a kind of unending synthesis resulting from our neuropsychological stereoscopy.

If our first premise is that Being is intelligible, our second must be that it is endlessly and infinitely so -- that it is generative. Some people conclude from this that there is only becoming, but they are asses

A philosophy of pure becoming quickly leads to the reductio absurdum of absolute relativism and nihilism, and to a complete phenomenalism that makes the intelligible being of sensible things disappear; and once you've jettisoned intelligible being, there's no getting it back. Sure, night follows day, but you can never know if this is correlation or causation, because causation is reduced to a mere succession of phenomena:

Finally, the thinking subject, my very substance, disappears. The only thing left standing are phenomena that are accessible either to the external senses or to the internal senses (Garrigou-Lagrange).

Thus, imagination survives, but that is all that survives. Man is enclosed in his own dreams, and cannot advance a step outside them, nor ascend a step above. 

Which is quite different from the functional imagination that abides in the gap referenced above, for there is no longer any distinction between imagination -- the could be -- with being, AKA the is: "the verb to be, the soul of our judgments... disappears, since judgment is now nothing more than an empirical association." 

Interestingly, although such absolute relativism is the warped ontology of progressive wokesters and social justice warriors, it also renders justice itself impossible, for

The murderer could say to his judges, "I was not really the cause of this murder. It is a fact which followed upon my own actions, just as the day follows the night without being caused by it."

Which they come close to saying, except never consistently, thus our two-tier judicial system which mandates strict realism for enemies of the regime, but a squishy and forgiving relativism for its friends; a dream for pro-genocide rioters, a nightmare for J6 protesters.

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