Saturday, December 02, 2023

The Pervertical Axis of Metanoia and Paranoia

I started a post that I intended to finish tomorrow, but one thing led to another, and this introduction is long enough to qualify as a post. Even though it's only an introduction to a post.

If our lives are spent tunneling through reality, is there light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, but first we need to turn around and look at it. You know, metanoia, which literally means to turn around and look up, idiot. 

This is in contrast to the para-noia which defines the left (and ideologues more generally). Noia is related to nous, i.e., the intellect, while para- relates to "defense" and "protection against," so paranoia is a defense against both reality and the mind capable of knowing it.  

To the extent that you are paranoid, then you are in a reality tunnel with no light at the end of it. Which is just another way of saying that you're chained inside Plato's cave, imagining that the dancing shadows are the light. 

Likewise, metanoia involves turning away from the shadows and toward the light streaming in from the mouth of the cave.

Now, paranoia is a psychological defense mechanism rooted in denial and projection, such that one's inside -- in particular, the Bad Stuff -- is projected outside and experienced as persecutory. 

Not only is paranoia much more common than one might realize, it is ubiquitous, only normalized via mass indoctrination. Indeed, worthless disciplines such as Critical Race Theory, or Women's Studies, or transgender ideology, are just paranoia with a Ph.D. You could say that they're just mind parasite laundering

A voice in my head says that transgender ideology is the sum of all intellectual heresies, and it's not wrong. For example, regarding the fondling fathers of transgenderism, Christopher Rufo writes that 

If men can become women, and women men, they believed, the natural structure of Creation could be toppled (Hillsdale Imprimis, Sept. 2023).

So, from metanoia to paranoia; one such professor characterized its work as "a secular sermon" 

that unabashedly advocates embracing a disruptive and refigurative genderqueer or transgender power as a spiritual resource for social and environmental transformation.

Oh, it's spiritual alright: except instead of turning toward the light, it wants us all to be riveted to the projected shadows, AKA darkness visible, AKA paranoia.

I remember writing a post that focused on the trans in transgender, which of course shares that prefix with transcendent. For there is no question that the so-called transgender person is seeking transcendence -- from their problems -- as if pretending to switch sexes somehow allows one to transcend the human condition.

To all you women out there who think that being a man solves anything: nah. Let's just stipulate that testosterone (and estrogen) create as many problems as they solve. 

Come to think of it, to paraphrase something Harvey Mansfield said in his book Manliness, masculinity is required in order to deal with the many problems caused by masculinity. 

So, yes, there is a "toxic masculinity" (or femininity) which is only transcended by "healthy masculinity" (or femininity). Or, just say that masculinity -- like any other human trait -- is situated on a vertical axis. Or pervertical axis, if you prefer.

Rufo points out that "the transgender movement is inherently political," and that it's just the same old Marxism transposed to the key of gender:

This is the great project of the transgender movement: to abolish the distinction of man and woman, to transcend the limitations established by God and nature, and to connect the personal struggle of trans individuals to the political struggle to transform society in a radical way.

To transform it from below, or rather, to force the shadows to be the light. 

Or, to quote Václav Havel regarding communist ideology, "It is a world of appearances trying to pass for reality."

Friday, December 01, 2023

A Bridge to Everyone

We've been improvising on the theme of reality tunnels, which is to say, those neurocognitive psylos we conflate with "reality." 

If you think about it for a moment, you'll agree that, if human beings are confined to reality tunnels, then this requires no explanation, since we are in the same position as any other animal. Only if we somehow transcend instinct, neurology, and subjectivity, and actually come to know reality, is an explanation required. And it had better be a good one.

Note also that transcendence too will require an explanation, a principle, a ground. Certainly it makes no sense to affirm the tautology that human beings have an instinctive capacity to transcend instinct. 

And yet, we do, for it is in our nature (which doesn't imply that it is merely genetic). You could say that humans may be defined as the anti-Gödelian being, since we always and everywhere have this *inexplicable* capacity to transcend ourselves; put conversely, we can never be enclosed in any immanent system or ideology. Supposing you try, you've transcended the system.

Which is not to say a system can never be imposed upon man. This is where power comes in, but we'll deal with the left later, as some additional groundwork is needed.

This notion of the anti-Gödelian creature reminds me of what Schuon says -- something to the effect that man is "condemned to transcendence," so to speak. We just have to accept this truth, no matter how pleasant.

The spiritual man is one who transcends himself and loves to transcend himself; the worldly man remains horizontal and detests the vertical dimension (Schuon). 

Ah. Now it seems that transcendence implies -- or demands, rather -- the presence of a "vertical dimension" in the cosmos, and who am I to argue, since I could only do so from a vertical perspective? 

Indeed, who am I to argue, period? 

That's true. I am an animal. Not to belabor the point, but an anti-Gödelian animal. Unlike us, those purely immanent animals "cannot know what is beyond the senses" and "cannot choose against their instincts." Nor can they transcend themselves, and the most intelligent among them has no idea what Gödel is even talking about. 

Conversely, man

is essentially capable of knowing the True, whether it be absolute or relative; he is capable of willing the Good, whether it be essential or secondary, and of loving the Beautiful, whether it be interior or exterior. In other words: the human being is substantially capable of knowing, willing and loving the Sovereign Good (ibid.).

My dog is a good dog, but she knows nothing about the concept of goodness. 

The animal cannot leave his state, whereas man can; strictly speaking, only he who is fully man can leave the closed system of the individuality, through participation in the one and universal Selfhood (ibid.).

About those reality tunnels we've been discussing. Schuon writes that

man is the bridge between form and essence, or between “flesh” and “spirit” (ibid.).

Bridge, tunnel, what's the difference, as long as we get to the other side.

Except we can't get to the other side without some divine assistance. In other words, our best bridge will be a "bridge to nowhere" unless it first proceeds from there to here. Finitude cannot reach infinitude. 

Which is what I meant yesterday with the idea that the Incarnation is God's reality tunnel to man, which thereby becomes our reality tunnel back to him.

To be continued...

Thursday, November 30, 2023

God's Reality Tunnel To and From Himself

Continuing with the theme of God's own reality tunnel, Andrew Klavan writes of Jesus that

his story is the story of the meaning of life. Picture him as a bridge between the physical world and its immaterial meaning. His life is life, but it is also the truth about life and it is also the way between the two (The Truth and Beauty).

Bridge and way to the meaning of life. Sounds like a reality tunnel to me. 

Supposing it's true, of course. If it isn't, then it's no better or worse than any other unreality tunnel.

Well, what is the immaterial meaning that Christ reveals? 

Starting at the top, this would have to be the triunity of God, something we couldn't know absent God revealing it to us. Presumably he could have done so in other ways, but the Incarnation is the reality tunnel he saw fit to deploy.

But once revealed, it not only makes sense, but becomes a kind of master key: 

The Trinity is a fractal; it is the pattern of all creation that is repeated in every aspect of creation. Everywhere, in everything, there is always the object, the term, and the meaning (ibid).

True. A reminder that

Metaphor supposes a universe in which each object mysteriously contains the others. 

Klavan continues: "Metaphor is even built into the basic structure of creation." For example, "DNA is a code," and "A code is a kind of language." Creation itself

is a fractal: it is metaphors all the way down. The three-part Logos creates man, man creates metaphors for reality, reality is a metaphor for the Logos.

Everything points every which way, beyond itself, to its immaterial meaning. And as we've discussed on many occasions, in just what kind of cosmos is this possible?  

Our interaction with the world is fractal work: creation within creation, metaphor within metaphor, trinity within trinity proceeding out of and representing the Trinity that is the source and life of it all (ibid.). 

We've often pondered the fact that the first thing said of God is that he creates. Well,  

When we understand our inner experience as a little Genesis, the ongoing creation of creation, we begin to understand that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

Again, a fractal of the Fractal. 

Why fractal? I don't know about Klavan, but for me it's the most adequate metaphor I can think of for oneness-in-manyness, and vice versa. If I recall correctly, Ted has a good image of the metacosmic situation.

I recalled correctly:

But I suppose what I really want to suggest is that the Second Person of the Trinity is God's own reality tunnel to and from himself via the Third Person. Indeed, the conclusion seems unavoidable. Here's another image I think we've used before, but just google "fractal trinity Tao" for more:

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

God's Own Reality Tunnel

Reality is one, but reality tunnels are... I was going to say infinite, but most people don't even bother to build an interesting one, rather, just pick up an ideology in college, or piece together a worldview from mediated memes floating around in the ether, and stick with it until the end.   

I know people who built their tunnels in the 1950s, '60s, or '70s, and haven't updated them since. Nor is it just a problem with progressives. There are plenty of conservatives who can't move on from Reagan, and are still living in the 1980s. 

I wonder: can a person be defined as a reality tunnel back to God? If so, we have to imagine a vertical tunnel, more like an elevator shaft than a gopher hole. And supposing we do inhabit a reality tunnel, how could it ever go all the way to the top of the cosmos, like a Tunnel of Babel? 

Let's look at the big picture: if Kant and his descendants are correct, then we are literally confined to an (un)reality tunnel composed of various categories and preconceptions. But Like anybody could even know that. For isn't Kant pronouncing a judgment from outside the Kantian tunnel? It's really just one more version of There is no truth, and that's the truth!, or I'm sorry, but I never apologize!

But this post wants to approach this problem from a different angle, that is, from the perspective of God's own reality tunnel. Now, God doesn't have problems. Or at least he didn't have any until You -- AKA Here Comes Everybody -- came along. Now he's got eight billion of them. 

But really, it's the same old problem, isn't it? You know, Adam. And Eve. And the Serpent, and all that. As Joyce put it, if you're abcedminded to this claybook, its the same meandertalltale told of all. 

Stop f'ing around and just come out with it!

Okay, I will: the Incarnation -- his claybook -- is God's own reality tunnel back to us meandertales.

Of course the tale still meanders (from our end), but from God's end it's One & done: it is accomplished.  

Christ is actually both the portal to and from us, which makes sense, his divine nature being the "to," his human nature the "from."

In other words, the Incarnation is from God, whereas our sanctification and theosis are back to God, the former a necessary condition for the latter (and our free cooperation with grace being the sufficient condition).

My, look at the time. It got late early. To be continued. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

How to Be Stupid Forever

Our friends are fallen and know they are fallen, while our adversaries are fallen but unaware (or in denial) of the fact. 

As for the apes, I bring them good and bad news: they're not fallen, but they can never know it. It's what makes them apes -- or rather, what prevents them from being human, no matter how much evolution they undergo. 

It's just a way of saying that no amount of material shuffling results in immateriality, duh. To believe otherwise is to believe in magic.

Don't get me wrong -- natural selection is a fact. But so too is human nature, and the former in principle cannot account for latter.

What principle would that be?

Well, man either has or does not have an immutable nature. Now, a mutable nature is no nature at all, for it violates the principle of identity; being would be reduced to becoming, spelling the end of the intelligible order. 

If there is only becoming, without any substance that undergoes the becoming, then this results not only in "the destruction of all truth" but in "the suppression of all thought and of every opinion, which would thus come to deny itself at the very moment it affirmed itself" (Garrigou-Lagrange).

Man's nature -- what sets him apart from lower animals -- is reflected in his rationality, which means that human intelligence is "not immersed in matter," but rather, is "essentially relative to intelligible being and not merely to sensible phenomena." 

That's a big deal, since the gap between the senses -- which are ordered to changing phenomena -- and the intellect -- ordered to intelligible being -- is literally infinite. Thus, to reduce man to the "sensible" or "empirical" animal would represent the death of the very intellect that defines man qua man.

But guess what?

Providence permits all these errors only so that the light of truth may be made even more radiant (ibid.).

In other words, absurdity is parasitic on intelligible being, not vice versa. We might say that God is the transcendental condition for the absurdity of the world. But only because God is certain, indeed, one of the few certitudes available to us, and certainly the Ultimate Certitude -- the One from which other certitudes follow. Put conversely, absent God, nothing is certain, not even that. 

I guess that makes me agnostic, but only about the world. Does it exist, and in what sense does it exist?

I almost forgot. Yesterday's post left off with a question:

The question is, is it possible to not be in a reality tunnel? Is there a reality outside the tunnel(s), and can we know it?

Yes. That is, if the ontology outlined above is correct -- that man has an immutable nature, and that this nature makes him the rational animal, which means that his intelligence is ordered to intelligible being. 

If this is not the case, then yes, we are indeed confined to our illusory reality tunnels, but not even that, for these would constitute "unreality" tunnels, nor could we ever know we were in one -- any more than my dog can (immaterially) reflect on her (immaterial) canine nature. 

Anyway, give a man an idea, and he can think for a day. But give him an ideological reality tunnel, and he can be stupid forever.

Monday, November 27, 2023

How To Tell Your Friends From the Apes

The title of the post is from a lecture once given by Robert Anton Wilson, which I first heard on the radio in the middle of the night some 38 years ago while working the graveyard shift in a supermarket. I don't recall anything about it except for the title, but credit where it's due.

Back then I was a big fan, but we all have to start our spiritual journey somewhere. Wilson was an 

author, futurist, psychologist, and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognized within Discordianism as an Episkopos, pope and saint, Wilson helped publicize Discordianism through his writings and interviews.  
In 1999 he described his work as an "attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth." Wilson's goal was "to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything."

In addition to writing several science-fiction novels, Wilson also wrote non-fiction books on extrasensory perception, mental telepathy, metaphysics, paranormal experiences, conspiracy theory, sex, drugs and what Wilson called "quantum psychology." 


Wilson also joined the Church of the SubGenius, who referred to him as Pope Bob. He contributed to their literature, including the book Three-Fisted Tales of "Bob", and shared a stage with their founder, Rev. Ivan Stang... 

Thus, some influences remain, what with the faith in Slack and the skepticism toward manmade maps and models. Also, my doctoral dissertation was on a kind of "quantum psychology," and his apophatic mysticism is right up our alley.

More generally, one of my few goals in life was to adopt the playful attitude of people like Wilson, Alan Watts, and Terence McKenna, only in a serious way: to be seriously humorous or humorously serious. You can see it in that quote right above the comment box: A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes, or the one toward the bottom of the sidebar, The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything. 

If you asked me to write something completely serious, I'd have to say no. I made a promise, and I must remain true to the call.   

Now, the title notwithstanding, this post originally had nothing to do with Wilson's talk. But let me skim the essay and see if anything else comes up. 

This is actually an important point:

the human mind behaves as if divided into two parts, the Thinker and the Prover. The Thinker can think virtually anything; it can think it is mortal (materialist view) or immortal (theological view) or both mortal and immortal (reincarnation model.) It can think its way into creation of a Christian universe, a Marxist universe, a Nazi universe, a nudist universe, a vegetarian Lesbian universe, etc. ad infinitum.  
The Prover is a much simpler mechanism and operates on the simple rule: What the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves. If the Thinker decides to become an anti-semite, the Prover will prove that Jews are evil; if the Thinker becomes a Marxist, the Prover will prove that Capitalists are evil; if the Thinker becomes a Woman's Liberationist, the Prover will prove that men are evil, etc. Conversely, if the Thinker thinks all people are basically decent really, the Prover will prove that, and if the Thinker decides that holy water from Lourdes will cure its lumbago, the Prover will often prove even that, to the astonishment of medical doctors. 

You could say that every belief system is a kind of conspiracy theory, and if that's all there is to it, the conclusion is ineluctable:

the Irish Catholic, the Iranian Moslem Fundamentalist, the Chinese Maoist, the Samoan tiki-worshipper, the Cambridge University agnostic etc. are all living in distinctly different universes, each of which has been manufactured out of thoughts and opinions.

In other words, absolute relativism, skepticism, subjectivism, etc. 

The sum total of imprinting, conditioning and learning... make up the software, or filter, through which we “see” existence.... This grid, which edits the experience to conform to the Thinker’s expectations, can be called our reality-tunnel.

The question is, is it possible to not be in a reality tunnel? Is there a reality outside the tunnel(s), and can we know it?

I suppose this is precisely where and how we can tell our friends from the apes (in my opinion, not Wilson's). For according to Garrigou-Lagrange, the immutability of human nature clearly opposes relativism and provides a stable "meta-ground" that is the basis for escaping this or that reality tunnel, so to speak. 

But we're out of time, so, to be continued...

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Open Cosmos

What is in the Devil's Toolbox? I would say his favorite tools must be those that are self-sustaining and allow him to take the rest of the day -- or century -- off. 

I'm thinking in particular of envy and ingratitude, because they cannot by definition be satisfied, and even feed on themselves: the envious and ungrateful only become more envious and ungrateful.

Conversely, greed, for example, can at least be temporarily satisfied, as can gluttony. But envy never rests -- which is why the left chose shrewdly in building a political philosophy around it. It is the engine that makes the left go, and why it is the most dynamic religion of our times.

People like to say that greed is the engine that makes capitalism go. This may or may not be true, but all the greed in the world won't result in wealth unless you first provide a product or service that someone wants. Thus, greed must be mediated by the desires of an Other. I'm as greedy as the next guy, but thus far I have nothing to show for it. 

Or, maybe I'm not as greedy as the next guy. If I were, I'd write things other people want to read. How hard could that be? Instead, I write what I want to read, because no one else has written it. So, I'm not greedy, just totally self-centered.

But I prefer to call it autotelic.

Come to think of it, if it weren't for the Almighty, this self-centeredness autotelism of mine wouldn't be healthy, would it? I say this because a closed system is inherently pathological. I won't bore you with details, but my doctoral dissertation (later published in an actual scholarly journal) was on just this subject. 

Suffice it to say, enclosed in my own Bobness, what would I be? Like Bob, only worse. Instead, we try always to come up with something the Almighty & Me Works Out Betwixt Us. Which is just another way of characterizing a vertically open system.

Which in turn goes to the subject of yesterpost, and to the difference between natural law and positive law. While we call it "natural," this is only because its roots must be "supernatural" or transcendent. Rather, it is only positive law that is located solely within immanence and therefore has only the force man gives it. 

I suppose an even deeper point is that there is no natural without the supernatural; in fact, I would say that this is one of those primordial complementarities without which we could neither be nor think. In short, nature is always already supernatural, or it would be utterly unknowable (knowledge being transcendent).

Let it be noted that, just as there is a “relatively absolute” -- the logical absurdity of this formulation does not preclude its ontologically plausible meaning -- so too is there a “naturally supernatural,” and this is precisely the permanent divine intervention, in virtue of immanence, in cosmic causality (Schuon). 

Noted. This again goes to our unique cosmic situation of being vertically open systems, open to transcendent truths that cannot not be, including on the moral and aesthetic planes. 

The reason why progressive thinkers deny nature -- AKA essences -- is not just in order to deny God, but in order to render the impossible possible, e.g., transgenderism, homosexual marriage, abortion rights, etc. One can favor any of these, but what can never be said is that they are in the nature of things. 

It is the very immutability of human nature that undergirds the possibility of change, progress, and evolution:

for only man by his very nature tends toward truth and justice (and, consequently, to God), thus meaning that this nature is certainly something loftier than the variable complex of given, changing phenomena (Garrigou-Lagrange). 


were we to do away with human nature, properly so-called, nothing would remain of natural ethics.... similarly nothing would remain of the natural law or of its immutability, and we would find that we could not avoid falling into a legalistic positivism which wishes to [legitimize] grave injustices and the worst forms of violence through the omnipotence of the State against right reason (italics in original).

So, One Cosmos, from God above to politics below.

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