Saturday, March 16, 2024

What Can We Not Doubt?

To review, we are discussing what it means to say that Christianity is true, which, of course, presupposes that we can know what truth is. 

Conveniently, -- at least for those of us in the trailer Thomist park -- Christianity both implies and relies upon a realist metaphysic in which truth = the conformity, agreement, or correspondence of the intellect to reality: "truth is that which is."

This is how any and all truth is "justified," precisely. Supposing you think the rope is a snake, or Biden isn't one, then your belief is unjustified. Yes, man is prone to illusion, but illusion presupposes an underlying reality.

Indeed, even argument per se presupposes a reality we can know. This much is inarguable. In reality, everyone is a realist and can only pretend to be otherwise.  

But nor is this an atomistic universe, so one truth will cohere with others, both horizontally and vertically. Reality is more like a holofractal organism of internally related parts than a machine with only exterior relations. 

Indeed, this is why it is possible for (merely) biological organisms to exist. Otherwise it is impossible to account for the appearance of internal relations in a purely exterior universe. 

So, Christianity is not restricted to purely "Christian" beliefs, but rather, rests upon epistemological and ontological assumptions capable of justifying "beliefs in general -- for any possible claim which wants to count as true."

To merely say that knowledge of truth is possible is to have said a great deal. Indeed, if the opposite is the case, what is there to say? Could there ever be a "community of the unreal" in which everyone exists in their own private Idaho, with no relationship to the real? In which every man is tenured? 

Yes and no. But I don't want to get into progressive politics just yet. There will be plenty of time for insultainment.

We have a right to true beliefs because prior to this we have a belief in truth, ultimately because truth itself has rights. There can be no right to be wrong, because falsehood is unjustifiable, precisely. We have a relationship of dependency on the truth that is prior to our knowing it. 

If truth is dependent upon us, that's just the metaphysical nonstarter known as rationalism, whereby we are enclosed in our own psychic preconceptions projected outward.

Of course, people tend to be more or less entangled in their own projections which are taken as real, but that's just mental illness or ideology (but I repeat myself). Part of the "maturational process" involves the ability to distinguish these from reality, AKA reality testing. 

Come to think of it, ideology can be regarded as a sublimated form of mental illness. It exists on a spectrum from the relatively mature to the sadistically primitive, but a defense mechanism is nevertheless a defense mechanism, ultimately against reality. 

Voegelin has much to say about such ideological deformations and epistemic pathologies rooted in what he calls closed existence,

in which there are internal impediments to a free flow of truth into consciousness and to the pull of the transcendental.

He also refers to the eclipse, which is a

perverse closure of consciousness against reality; a state that may become habitual and unconscious, but never entirely free from the pressure of reality and the anxiety produced by the attempt to evade it.

This is why ideological activists are always so paranoid and persecuted. We don't need them but they need us, and desperately, as receptacles for their projections. 

If the leftist is not persecuting, he feels persecuted.

In and by the content of his own mind. For example, where would they be without "white privilege" or "Christian nationalism" or "the patriarchy" to project into? They would have to be with themselves, which would by intolerable. Imagine a Joy Reid or Keith Olbermann having to tolerate their own heads!

The world is the projection of God.

You have a point, Petey, but there is a difference between pathological -- AKA "forced" -- projection, and what is called by the wise "diffusion of the Good." Really, it's the difference between love and hate, life and death, boundless creativity and leaden predictability.

Yada yada,

Eventually the practice of justifying beliefs will have to appeal to beliefs which we... and our interlocutors hold true, but for which no reasons are given.

In other words, Gödel, for there will always be at least one truth for which our system cannot account: "beliefs terminate arguments when no reasons need to be offered for them." 

*Ironically*, it would be illogical to maintain that one's first principle can be reduced to logic. Rather, our First Principle simply is. Just don't pick one that cannot justify any entailments from it, for example, a-theism, or relativism, materialism, or subjectivism, each a form of cosmic irrationalism. 

It is not reasonable to pretend to enclose man in reason, for truth always transcends it. Which reminds me of a crack by Schuon to the effect that things aren't true because logical but logical because true -- or that no purely logical operation can furnish the premises on which it operates.

Radical doubt is impossible, for there must be at least one thing that is not or cannot be doubted: "rational conversation and argument do not require, but rather preclude, holding all of our beliefs (including our criteria of truth) open to doubt at the same time." 

What is the one Undoubtable Principle? We'll get into it in the next post, but the guy who said the following is my kind of guy:

Anyone who does not love the truth, has not yet known it (Gregory the Great Guy).

Friday, March 15, 2024

The Metaphysics of Jesus

In our opinion, one should not be a Christian for any other reason than its truth. Or at least Christianity should be truer than any alternative -- meaning that it should simultaneously explain more than any other metaphysic on offer, without unexplaining anything important. 

So, this book looked appealing: Trinity and Truth by Bruce Marshall. Like most books, it fell into my hands via holy happenstance:

This book is about the problem of truth: what truth is, and how we can tell whether what we have said is true. Marshall approaches this problem from the standpoint of Christian theology, and especially that of the doctrine of the Trinity. The book offers a full-scale theological account of what truth is and whether Christians have adequate grounds for regarding their beliefs as true. 

It's a bit pedantic, and spends far too much time refuting self-refuting philosophical nonstarters, but makes some solid points along the way. 

As we know, Jesus startles us with a number of startling truth claims, the most startling being that he is the truth. This is a startling claim. But because Christian doctrine is the water in which our civilization swims -- or at least the unpolluted spring from which it sprung -- perhaps we have lost our capacity to be startled by it. In other words, insufficient (!?!). 

Our approach will be much like Leon Kass' The Beginning of Wisdom, which treats the claims of Genesis as any other philosophical text. Thus, we ought to be able to do the same with the New Testament, which, after all, is regarded by Christians as the fulfillment of the Old. 

So when Jesus says he came here in order to straighten us out and "bear witness to the truth," we ought to take this epistemological claim literally and see where it leads. 

After all, every uncorrupted -- or at least intellectually honest -- human wants to know the truth, and in my view, we are entitled to the truth. Otherwise, why go to the trouble of creating an epistemophilic being with no possibility of satisfying this unrestricted desire to know?

Assumes facts not in evidence: that we are created. 

That's not true, because we have spent many posts discussing the Principle of Creation. It's your lucky day, because I won't rehash that material today. Suffice it to say

Either God or chance: all other terms are disguises for one or the other. 

Or, between O and Ø, and Ø just left the building. 

Of course, this leaves open the question of "what O is like," and Jesus claims to tell us what O is like, precisely. He could be wrong, but when he says "I am the truth," it's a literal statement. It's up to us to assess the claim. If we are so inclined.

For example, "Truth is not simply personal; for John truth is a person" (emphasis mine). But

Even this is too weak: truth is not just any person, but this human being in particular: Jesus of Nazareth, and among human beings only he. Knowing what truth is and deciding about truth... finally depends on becoming adequately acquainted with this person.... this human being is divine truth itself.

So, let's get acquainted with this strange person and his startling claims. I don't know about you, but my curiosity has been piqued.

Marshall writes that "Jesus makes the Father known" and that "He is 'the truth' only in virtue of his unique relation to the Father" (emphasis mine). Complicating matters,

Jesus is "the truth," moreover, not only on account of his bond with the one who sent him, but also on account of his bond with another whom he will send: "the Spirit of truth..."

This Spirit, whoever or whatever it is, is also "the truth" Jesus wants to reveal (and who in turn reveals further truth to us). Ultimately, "truth" is "an attribute of the triune God. Indeed, truth is in some deep sense identical with the persons of the Trinity." 

Moreover, all truth, to the extent that it is true, has its origin in this Spirit. We Raccoons not only reject no truth, but happily celebrate and take on board any and all truth, the more the merrier. Come on in! 

Now, not to say that the above formulation is a myth, but is there a way to "demythologize" this language and express it in a more purely metaphysical way? Or at least draw out the metaphysical implications and entailments? What is Jesus actually saying about ultimate reality that is more adequate than all our other ways of speaking of it?

For in the end it indeed comes down to the question of adequation -- that is, to a realist conception of metaphysics whereby truth is the conformity of intellect to being, all other conceivable epistemolgies being number two or lower. 

And Jesus is telling us that this Being is ultimately a relation of three persons -- or, as we like to say, of substance-in-relation (which we borrowed from Norris Clarke but have long since adopted as our own).

Now, this metaphysical conception "must be regarded as epistemologically primary across the board," which is to say, as "the primary criteria of truth." As such, nothing can contradict it; "it must be regarded as the chief test of truth of the rest of what we want to believe."

This means that the very notions of how we decide what is true and of what truth is must be reconfigured in a trinitarian way (emphasis mine).

Is Jesus up to this challenge? Here again, he ought to be able to take on all comers -- not just strawman arguments but the steeliest of steelmen. 

We're just getting started. Maybe a good place to pause.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

A Miracle Cure for the Progressive Disease

After conversing with some "thoroughly modern" people, we see that humanity escaped the "centuries of faith" only to get stuck in those of credulity. --Dávila

Why are we increasingly being ruled by fanatical secular theocrats? 

We should expect that as our society increasingly distances itself from its Christian roots, the Christian sensibility for limited government will wane, and the universal human tendency to unite all authority, spiritual and temporal, in one central office or structure will reassert itself (The Religion of the Day).

We mustn't forget "that it has not been typical for humanity to make a distinction between" the sacred and secular, and that nearly all civilizations "have lodged spiritual, moral, and political authority in the same office" (ibid.). 

We were once the great exception, but now we're back to the rule of giving to Caesar what doesn't belong to him:

Once a Christian vision of the world has been abandoned, it is very difficult to limit the power of temporal governments (ibid.).

Indeed, those of us who recognize such limits and object to caesarodopism are now called "Christian Nationalists," or -- with unsurpassable irony -- "fascists." In such an upside-down world, those of us who want the state to have less authority are called authoritarians.

Must these Gnostics always immanentize the eschaton?  

Given the fact that Progressive religion is this-worldly in its scope, the political arena has increasingly become the staging ground for religious propagation and... a kind of religious warfare (ibid.). 

An endless war of religion. It's the price of Progress.

You will have noticed that one of the characteristics of progressive religion is that it is devoid of wisdom. In the words of our fine Colombian,  

Political wisdom is the art of invigorating society and weakening the State.

Which is why the left specializes in pretending to solve "transitory problems with permanent solutions," and, come to think of it, permanent problems -- i.e., those arising out of human nature -- with political solutions. But there can be no political solution to a spiritual problem.

Thus, for example, corporations are greedy tax cheats. Unlike the Biden crime family.

The only man who should speak of wealth and power is the one who did not extend his hand when they were within reach.

Brandon is not that man, and he has the shell corporations to prove it.

Yes, but he is a devout Catholic! 


The diffusion of a few drops of Christianity into a leftist mind transforms the idiot into a perfect idiot.

And surely Brandon is the most Perfect Idiot ever to be president. 

In the Christianity of the leftist Christian, one of the two elements sooner or later eliminates the other.

Why is he so angry? Is it just the amphetamines, or is something else going on?

The progressive becomes angry at nothing as much as the stubbornness of the one who refuses to sacrifice the certain to the new.

The stubborn white urbanite projecting his stubbornness and anger into us, so it is we who simmer with White Rural Rage™.

But Our Democracy™!

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

Lincoln Riley should be grateful for all the Diversity™.

Get on the Right -- which is to say, left -- Side of History™, peasant!

The democrat defends his convictions by declaring whoever challenges him to be out of date.

 "Where genuinely Christian ideas predominate, neo-Gnostic religion loses influence" (ibid.). Conversely,

Where Christianity disappears, greed, envy, and lust invent a thousand ideologies to justify themselves.

Wait. Aren't we MAGA types the Nazis? 

That's not how I remember it: World War II was

an internecine gnostic religious war between German Nazis and Russian communists. Each of these ideologies was attempting to replace a waning Christianity with a new, all-encompassing vision for the society that promised the perfection of the temporal world (ibid.). 

True, the Marxists prevailed, but why pick between them? The modern left combines statism, Jew hatred, identity politics, class envy, and the rule of lawlessness into one perennially attractive and monstrous package. 

Pessimistic? Funny you ask:

With good humor and pessimism it is possible to be neither wrong nor bored.

Even so, I am not without optimism, even if Progressive Man is a hopeless dumpster fire:

Intelligent optimism is never faith in progress, but hope for a miracle.

It's happened before, or we wouldn't be here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

In This House We Believe Mind Parasites are Real

This is interesting: progressive religion isn't just a personal mind virus but a collective one that can only burrow into an existing culture that it could never have produced: it

is inherently parasitic like a virus, or to put it more neutrally, it is derivative rather than original. The Gnostic turn of mind will inhabit an already existing religious faith or philosophical system and re-order the structure of its host body even while assuming the host's mythic power (The Religion of the Day). 

And here we are? 

You are correct, sir. But we could also say that Christianity is "viral," for example, in the way it wormed its way into the existing Roman Empire and spread throughout its body. And indeed, Richard Dawkins has called religion as such -- AKA the "God delusion" -- a virus of the mind, so what's the difference?  

Dawkins analyzes the propagation of religious ideas and behaviors as a memetic virus, analogous to how biological and computer viruses spread.

Dawkins also describes religious beliefs as "mind-parasites," and as "gangs [that] will come to constitute a package, which may be sufficiently stable to deserve a collective name such as Roman Catholicism..."

How to tell when one is infected? Well, the "faith sufferer" will, for example, hold convictions

that something is true, or right, or virtuous: a conviction that doesn't seem to owe anything to evidence, but which, nevertheless, the believer feels as totally compelling and convincing.

This is not my experience, rather, the opposite, for all the evidence -- evidence for truth as such -- points to a nonlocal source of Truth. Science, of course, assumes the intelligibility of the world to intelligence, without being able to account for what is otherwise a great mystery with no principle to account for it.


There is a conviction that "mystery" per se is a good thing; the belief that it is not a virtue to solve mysteries but to enjoy them and revel in their insolubility.

Again, not in my experience, for we do not equate mystery with the unknown, rather, with the infinitely knowable. Mystery is an easily verifiable existential and ontological fact. Unless, of course, you are omniscient, like Dawkins.

If the believer is one of the rare exceptions who follows a different religion from his parents [like Bob], the explanation may be cultural transmission from a charismatic individual.

Is that what it is? Granted, I have been influenced by certain individuals, but I would not say it is because of their charisma. Rather, because their explanations seem truer (i.e., conformed to reality) and account for more data than the alternatives. 

A while back we began a series of posts on "philosophical nonstarters," of which atheism must be chief. I reject atheism on purely intellectual, logical, philosophical, metaphysical, experiential, and even scientific grounds.

What if we flip the script and say that atheism is a dangerous mind parasite? 

Historically, practical atheism has been the shrouded beginning and final result toward which all Progressive religious schemes tend.

As such, it is both the first principle and last end -- the alpha and omega -- of the left. It is one of the primary divisions between conservative liberals and illiberal leftists. 

Dawkins and I agree on the existence of mind parasites, since these are the stock in trade of the coonical pslackologist. I am intimately familiar with their destructive influence, but how does one distinguish these from live-enhancing memes that lead to human flourishing? 

For example, the wiki article cited above references a meta-review of 100 studies showing that religion has "a positive effect on human well-being by 79%."

Which for our purposes is neither here nor there, because a person living in untruth is setting himself up for unpleasant feelings down the line. 

We certainly agree with Dawkins that there is such a thing as bad religion, since that is precisely the subject under discussion, i.e., progressive religion. However, unlike Dawkins, we maintain that man cannot not be religious, even -- indeed, especially -- if that man is a progressive atheist. 

If your neighborhood is like mine, you've seen the signs of the times:

 In my house it's more like this:

We also agree that science is real, but if only science is real, how to account for rights of any kind? 

Being a Christian Nationalist, I believe they are anchored in the plain meaning of the Declaration of Independence -- that they are endowed to us by the Creator. It is the leftist who believes in them "without evidence," principle, or ground. For example, if "black lives matter," it can only be because all lives do, but why? Where did they get that crazy notion?

Obviously they got it from Christianity, but it is like a cut flower that can only wilt when detached from its roots. In this regard it is a bit like a virus, which is a fragment of genetic information looking for a host. The real host is the body from which it has been excised. Call it the Body of Christ, but that is getting ahead of the post.

Back to our book. It echoes what we just said, in that progressive religion "arises out of the soil of Christian belief." For who but a confused and poorly catechized Christian would say "kindness is everything"? Christianity has never been a suicide pact. Pacifism is just one of the shadows or viruses of Christianity. 

In this context, atheism is just one more Christian heresy. It assumes a strictly rational universe that can be understood by the human mind, except they get off the truth train at a provincial bus stop instead of taking it all the way to the top. 


You guessed it, Petey. Nothing could be more illogical than pretending to enclose being in one of the mind's rationalistic models. To the atheist we say: be reasonable! A little perspective, please. But of course, it is "a futile task to look for logical consistency in a Gnostic worldview."

In such an unstable alloy, there will be remaining bits from the host vision that do not square well with new Gnostic ideas.

As to the parasitic nature of progressive religion,

Much of the potency of a given Gnostic belief system comes from what it has borrowed from an existing and internally more coherent way of seeing things. It is doubtful that something called a "pure Gnosticism" could exist for very long on its own.

This being for the same reason that a virus cannot live long without finding a host. Technically a virus isn't even "alive" per se. Which is perhaps why, when I look at the left, I see dead people.

There has never been a successful civilization founded on a Gnostic form of religion, and it is unlikely that there could be, given that many elements of Gnostic belief militate against any stable civilizational development. 

Again, the virus of progressivism can only hijack a living system. I well remember my own infection, which leads to questions of "treatment," "cure," and "inoculation," which I suppose we'll consider in the next post. Bottom line for today: even Marxism was and is

dependent for much of its attractive power on the Judeo-Christian faith that preceded it, and has proved a destructive and incoherent failure wherever it has been put into practice.

It evolved -- or devolved, rather --

in the context of Christianity, and current Gnostic movements are dependent to a great degree on the Christian vision of reality.... [their] existence is unthinkable without the Jewish and Christian religion that preceded it.

In this house we believe in parasitology and epidemiology.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Catechism of the One True Faith of the Left

We've suggested in the past that leftism in all its ghastly forms represents a crystallization -- the institutionalization -- of man's fall. It is the foolish attempt to make right everything that is wrong with man. Let us count the aphorisms, and elaborate them with material from The Religion of the Day:

The radical error -- the deification of man -- does not have its origin in history. Fallen man is the permanent possibility of committing the error.

"Neo-Gnostic belief is essentially, not accidentally, an expression of human pride." Thus, "Progressive believers have assumed that they are themselves unfallen and morally superior to their opponents."  

Socialism is the philosophy of the guilt of others.

"It tends to produce an unfortunate but inevitable attitude of moral superiority": original sin for thee, original innocence for me. Or the "innocent envy" of the believers in White Privilege, Heteronormativity, Christian Nationalism, et al. 

The left is made up of individuals who are dissatisfied with what they have and are satisfied with who they are.

"Progressive religion harbors a profound hatred for the world as it currently exists." It "gains much of its attraction by appealing to the sense of alienation that we all experience." Which is why it holds no appeal to the contented. 

The left is a lexicographical tactic more than an ideological strategy.

Always and everywhere an attack on language, AKA the word. For example, it is offensive to call homicidal monsters "illegals." Indeed,

The man guilty of the crime is not the envious murderer but the victim who has aroused his envy.

Man prefers to apologize by offering another person's guilt, rather then his own innocence, as an excuse.

"'Not my fault!'" is the universal Progressive religious mantra." 

"Unlike Christians, they hold that what needs to radically change is emphatically not me."  

"Social justice" is the term we use for claiming anything to which we do not have a right.

No social justice, no civil peace for the restavus. 

To believe in the redemption of man by man is more than an error; it is an idiocy.

"The salvation offered by Progressive religion promises not only escape from evil, but the transformation of our current humanity." 

The cause of the modern sickness is the conviction that man can cure himself.

"A modern neo-Gnostic belief system is a scheme of self-initiated salvation."

Transforming the world: the occupation of a prisoner resigned to his sentence.

"Progressive religion acknowledges the human tragedy of profound alienation from the world, and even from our own being." But

Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems.

Neo-Gnosticism "promises to radically overcome the evil of the world and the alienation and lack of fulfillment experienced by humans." It "accomplishes its salvation through the application of some form of specialized technical knowledge (gnosis) gained by human effort."

Today the individual rebels against inalterable human nature in order to refrain from amending his own correctable nature.

The neo-Gnostic "locates the source of the world's evil not in the individual human heart, but in fundamentally corrupted and therefore oppressive structures of human existence."  

In order to enslave the people the politician needs to convince them that all their problems are "social."

The neo-Gnostic accomplishes its salvation "through escape from or destruction of prevailing structures of oppression." 

"The life and soul of Progressive religious practice involves stoking anger for the fight against those who are inhibiting" the birth of the New Age. "If such enemies are not obviously forthcoming, Progressive believers need to invent them, lest their mythic picture of the world should dissolve.:

When Hitler doesn't exist, the left invents him. Every time. 

In this century, compassion is an ideological weapon.

"It is not so much love for those who suffer, but anger rooted in pride at the fact of suffering" that motivates them. 

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

 "The names of the two antagonistic groups change, but the underlying structure is similar." 

Social salvation is near when each one admits that he can only save himself. Society is saved when its presumed saviors despair.

Hierarchies are heavenly. In Hell all are equal.

Or have equity, rather. Equity is the flattening of vertical ascent.

The cult of Humanity is celebrated with human sacrifices.

Most conspicuously the sacrament of abortion. "Something must die if the guilty human race is to be purified. This instinct is as old as humanity and can be found in every culture." 

Human nature always takes the progressive by surprise.

This follows from the effort "to bring about a new type of human and to inaugurate an entirely new age of freedom that has overcome the past age of oppression." 

Progressive religion is "founded on a radical departure from reality.... the more completely a given revolution succeeds, the more complete will be its resulting failure." "Due to the impossibility of making good on those promises, the hoped-for paradise never arrives."

Give it four more years.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Progressivism: The One True Faith

Today's random selection is a book called The Religion of the Day, but I wonder: is it just the same old Gnostic counter-religion in a new guise? For it is written:

For man to fall repeatedly into the same trap, just paint it a different color.

And what colors has Marxism, each a garish one not found in nature: "though it is flying under new colors, the spiritual roots and the deep structure of the Gnostic religious attitude remain." And 

Whoever does not believe in myths believes in fables.

Yes, the mythology is settled, but

The modern aberration consists in believing that the only thing that is real is what the vulgar soul can perceive.

The awokened? Like Sleepy Joe?

Not even the kicks of history wake wake up the liberal.

Nor even after the amphetamines kick in. In reality, 

The waters of the West are stagnant, but the spring is unpolluted. 

Only here at the fountainhead

Thirst runs out before the water does.

True, we are living in a post-Christian age but hardly a post-religious one, for ours is

a highly religious age. Secular gospels and dogmatic faiths promising salvation are all around us. So what is the belief system, the religious vision, that is displacing Christianity as the assumed narrative by which our post-Christian, modern societies live? And what is the religion that we ourselves need to be converted out of, if we are to be fully converted to the Christian faith?

A reviewer says the book

concerns the Gnostic religion of our time -- a progressivism that seeks perfection via politics or environmental or social reform. The question is how to live as a Christian in a post-Christian world that mirrors the pagan world in which Christianity was born.
 Another writes of 

the subtle principles and promises of the secular culture which make their way into our own minds without our recognizing it. 

So, right up our alley, so much so that I don't know that it says anything we haven't been saying for the last 18 years: that the post-Christian world is always and everywhere a crude anti-Christian caricature of the world from which it was hatched. The Religion of the Day is a reactionary anti-religion against the deity. It features

a new set of first principles, a new constellation of dogmas, and a new story. We call this process the developing of a new "imaginative vision."

Although we prefer to distinguish imagination from fantasy, for 

The imagination is not the place where reality is falsified, but where it is fulfilled.

Fantasy actually closes off the avenues opened by imagination -- like a delusion or hallucination, it escapes reality only to be confined to unreality. The deluded are not free, much less from their delusions.

It comes down to a matter of truth and its numberless alternatives:

by approaching the many ideologies of the day from the perspective of first principles and fundamental convictions, we can identify consistent underlying threads -- dogmas -- that unite them.


To be a Christian in any age is to believe the Gospel instead of some alternative.

In addition to the advantage of being true, this truth should help prevent us from catching the diseases of the day -- diseases that have leaked from the dark laboratories of academia and entered the collective bloodstream. The Church 

has always had to fight the battle against the intellectual diseases of the day... in order to develop the cure and make it available to the wider culture. 

Certainly I have had to unknowculate myself against the progressivism I caught back in the 1980s. I began redpilliing in the '90s, and only began breadpilling two years ago.

This book doesn't mention Voegelin, but he would agree that "Gnostic religion is the classic case of Christianity gone awry." It is

"the primal heresy within the Christian worldview to which all subsequent heresies return." The arrival of some form of Gnostic religion seems to be the inevitable accompaniment to Christianity wherever it succeeds in gaining significant cultural influence..


Correct, my discarnate friend: call it the realmyth of Genesis and the falsefact of scientism:

There are two kinds of men: those who believe in original sin and idiots.

 Our idiotic friends pride themselves on being

rational, scientific, and non-religious, even while expressing evident religious behavior, such as their commitment to doctrines and dogmas that are hardly self-evident, their holding to those dogmas with a tenacity incommensurate with their provability, their propensity to seek out fellow-believers who can cooperate in their sacred project and with whom they can share communion, and their quick vilification of heretics to the faith.

Sounds like blue pill-popping wokester cancel culture to me, symptoms of which include the eradication of irony and elimination of self-awareness: as there are antibiotics, so too are there are soul-killing anti-pneumatics, rendering their consumers

unable to exercise the kind of thoughtful investigation of dogma necessary for any intelligently held religious faith, and... unable to distinguish the kind of knowledge gained by religious assumptions from other kinds of knowledge. 

This religious self-reflection is impossible for the very reason that they 

demand that "religious" considerations be left out of all the questions of the day, not realizing that they are promoting and often coercing the practice of their own religion under the false guise of being religiously neutral.

And here we are: there is no such thing as religion, and progressives have the One True Faith.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Metaphysical Humor and Stand-Up Cosmology

In the book discussed yesterday -- Deep Exegesis -- there is a chapter called The Text is a Joke, which comes close to an explication of what we call the guffah-HA! experience. 

In short, insight into any subject matter has a form analogous to getting the joke. Bearing in mind that there are stupid jokes and humorless people. Every paranoid patient I ever saw was conspicuously lacking in humor, except maybe the bitter and snarky kind.

Conspiracy theories are like elaborate but stupid jokes. Come to think of it, their devotees are also generally humorless, the latter because they lack self-awareness and take themselves so seriously. 

Have you ever seen an MSNBC host? What makes them so punchable is the combination of smug superiority, conspiratorial insight, and mocking pseudo-humor toward those of us that the conspiracy supposedly "explains" -- for example, that you and I are racists who want to dismantle Our Democracy™ and long for an authoritarian strongman. Now that's funny.

Bold Statement:

Every text is a joke, and a good interpreter is one with a good sense of humor, one with a broad knowledge and the wit to know what bits of knowledge are relevant. All interpretation is a matter of getting it. All texts mean the way jokes mean.

Like how? Well, first of all, the reader has to bring something to the text analogous to what we have to bring to the joke in order to get it. Any form of sophisticated humor will go over the head of a child or MSNBC host because they are lacking vital information. The more you know, the deeper the joke.

If the reader "comes to the text with his mind a tabula rasa, the text will be as empty as his head." 

Everyone brings information to the text that is not in the text, and seeks to illuminate the text with light from outside.

For example, even a literalist brings his literalism. His literalism is his hermeneutical technique. But in my experience, the more literal the person, the less the capacity for getting the joke. 

If you -- the reader -- get my metaphysical humor, you may also have some insight into Bob's struggle with the world -- the world of people who get neither it nor Bob. Every post is packed with lightheaded japery, is it not? 

But why? Must be because of all the cosmic connections everywhere, which some people see and most don't. Looking back on it, this tendency of mine really began to develop in grad school. Why is that? Because I began to internalize more information that I could bring to this or that text.

For example, I remember learning all the mutually exclusive theories and schools of psychology, from behaviorism to neurobiology to psychoanalysis, which I found funny. 

Now, this absence of agreement is either a misfortune -- a cautionary tale -- or a joke. If someone, for instance, is shallow enough to become a behaviorist -- a psychologist who denies the existence of the psyche -- they certainly won't get the joke of so many "experts" who can't even agree on so much as a first principle of psychology. 

Very much like philosophy, and why there are so many jokes about philosophers. A philosopher may be defined as someone who disagrees with other philosophers. Have you heard the one about the solipsist who thought it was such an attractive philosophy, he couldn't understand why more people don't believe it? 

Which is much like the determinist frustrated by his inability to convince people to accept determinism, or the atheist whose intellectual powers are so godlike he can confidently pronounce on the nonexistence of God.

Certainly this is why Marxism is such a bad joke. But instead of laughing at themselves, they elaborated a theory of "false consciousness" to account for people who do get the joke. 

In order to get the joke of Marxism you have to be outside Marxism. Wokeness and identity politics are the latest ways to pull them back in. Which is why the Woke are simultaneously so tediously humorless and precisely why they are so deserving of mockery.

Likewise, when science becomes scientism, it becomes a joke: "theorizing always involves not only an amassing of data but telling a story that gives the data coherence." Like a good joke, in a way.

There is an imaginative leap from the data in Newton's gravitational theory, quantum physics, chaos theory, and Darwinian evolution. Theorizing is a joke.... It is a matter of gathering all the data, and suddenly, joyously, getting it.

Or not. For

If texts function like jokes, then texts require certain kinds of interpreters. What kind of interpreters? Funny ones? That would not be a bad start.

But what "can one do with someone who has no sense of humor?"

Analysis and teaching might improve things marginally, but that person's main problem is not a technical but a spiritual one: somebody without a sense of humor suffers from a contracted soul, and the only real solution is conversion.

The chapter somewhat abruptly ends with the following:

For both the interpreter and the reader of interpretations, the commentator and reader of commentaries, the experience of a good interpretation is very much like the experience of a good joke. An exegete pores over a text, and finally, and often suddenly, a dozen pieces fall into place; the experience is one of sudden release...

Indeed, "The exegete might actually laugh." In which case he has had a guffah-HA! experience.

They say that Trump's supporters take him seriously but not literally, while his enemies take him literally but not seriously. Which is precisely why we laugh with Trump at those seriously literal-minded scolds and ideological puritans.

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