Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Cosmic Redemption Center

"Pride prevents intelligence become rationalism from rising to its source" (Schuon). Rather, in denying its source -- which is both deeper and higher -- it replaces Spirit with matter, thus accomplishing the Inversion of inversions, or Mother of All Demons: "proud reason" denies "its own nature," but this hardly prevents it from thinking -- if you call that thought!

The end result is that "torrents of intelligence are wasted for the sake of conjuring away the essential and brilliantly proving the absurd" (ibid.).

It seems that this is what the Obama administration has been reduced to (minus the brilliance) on every front: cobbling together a world that exists only in speech, while insisting that our eyes and bank accounts deceive us.

I know. Breaking news from 2008!

The dogged attempt to conform to the ideological fantasy world of the left is what got us into this multidimensional mess to begin with. I wouldn't even call these dopes ideologues; emotiologues is more like it. The left doesn't actually have an intelligentsia, only a bitter resentia or sappy sentimentia.

The Good News is preceded by the Bad News -- which is precisely what makes it good. In other words, if you haven't first been apprised of the bad news, then the good news will make no sense. It will have no context.

What is liberalism but a systematic attempt to deny people their right to hear the bad news, and to thereby get their affairs in order and handle their isness?

Regarding the bad news, the mature person will say to the physician: give it to me straight, doc! Don't sugarcoat it.

Okay. The bad news is that you have fallen and you can't get up -- at least not on your own, and not all the way.

The good news? There is help, as nonlocal operators are always standing by, ready to assist you.

Me? I don't believe in "guardian angels." Rather, I just rely on mine for all he's worth.

About this fall: it seems -- as alluded to in paragraph one above -- that it is very much wrapped up in this thing called "pride." Indeed, it has always been known that pride cometh before a clusterfark, and that an arrogant attitude precedes a fall landslide.

Now, to even say "fall" is to imply verticality. In the absence of the vertical there is no place to fall, nor any place to ascend to, except in one's own eyes (customarily projected into others in order to mirror and confirm one's pride). What is the lust for fame but a misguided search for confirmation of one's wrongness (i.e., that wrong is right)? Even I am sometimes subject to this temptation, because how could 26 Raccoons be wrong about me?

The contemporary world -- its dominant mentality -- is a tangle of inversions that proceed from the first. This, in my opinion, is what it means to be born into sin. A man cannot exist without a world, even an inverted one. We all have to conform ourselves in some form or fashion to this corrupt place, unless we are given the gift of total detachment, like a Saint Francis. But few people have that particular calling.

Pride --> Fall. Fall --> Stubborn arrogance. Absence of humility --> Gradual loss of ability to recognize, revere, and bow down before what surpasses oneself. ObamaWorld.

Now, there is something about falling that results in "brokenness," as in fragmentation and loss of wholeness. Who claims to be whole? Show me this man, and I will show you an unredeemed assoul!

Conveniently, I am reading a book by Balthasar called A Theological Anthropology, which has also been published as Man in History, but in the original German as The Whole in the Fragment. One might say "the health in the brokenness," or "the one in the many," or "the God in the man," or "the voice in my head."

In chapter one, Balthasar speaks of encountering God in the upper vertical; since he is "already there," this is something like a memory, even though it is a new experience.

And to "think," (quoting Augustine) is "to take things that the memory already contained, but scattered and unarranged, and, by thinking, bring them together."

In this regard, it seems that love and unity go together like... pride and fragmentation: for by engaging in disciplined verticalisthenics, "we are collected and bound up into unity within oneself, whereas we had been scattered abroad in multiplicity" (Augustine). Just as the Fall brings fragmentation in its wake, the assent reveals wholeness, or begins to heal the fragmentation (health and wholeness being cognates):

"To descend into time means to 'wander away,' to 'fall away,' to... sink into the abyss which the creature would be by himself, without God's creative and grace-bestowing act..." (Balthasar). "Turned away from unchanging truth," man "drifts in folly and wretchedness" (Augustine).

You might say that the ascending person and descending light meet in a spiroidal, "ever-increasing mutual penetration" (Balthasar).

Critically, this occurs in matter, in the body, and in history, not in some timeless, unchanging platonic realm above, a la Plotinus or Buddhism. In order to undo the great cosmic inversion, we must both turn around and look up, so that God, so to speak, may be down and in with us. Emmanuel.

In this way time is no longer the corrosive and entropic enemy of the Gnostics, but rather, the medium of creativity -- including the creative response to God, which indeed "redeems the time."

So yes, that is correct: the Raccoon lodge is not unlike the sacred "redemption center" where we bring our old containers to be recycled and remade into new ones.

Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. --2 Cor 4:16

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

With God All Things Are... Necessary?

A small error slipped past our editor in yesterday's post: I said I was plagiarizing with Schuon's Logic and Transcendence, when I meant From the Divine to the Human. Otherwise, the post is imbued with the usual infallibility, and carries the nihil bobstat and dodgy Imprimatur of Toots. Both books, by the way, are among Schuon's best.

As we've suggested before, it seems that what most troubles people about a process theology is that it seems to limit God's omnipotence and omniscience. Well, maybe. It depends upon how one defines those terms. There are, however, compensations.

For example, if everything is necessary, then nothing is possible. In other words, everything has to happen just as it does, so deal with it.

I was thinking about this over the weekend. What are we to make of the crack that with God all things are possible? If one were a Muslim or Christian predestineer, one would have to say "with God all things are necessary," and that it is our task to simply resign ourselves to these things and to endure them.

But to say that all things are possible with God is to say something with metaphysical implications, for it is to say that "possibility" exists in God.

But this is precisely what classical theologians do not say: rather, God for them is by definition radically complete and lacking in nothing, so how could he contain possibility? As the ArisThomists say, God is pure act, with no potency: "God is changeless because change means passage from potency to act..."

I don't know about that. Maybe it's temperamental: just as apparent limitations on God's omnipotence make a certain kind of person uncomfortable, this notion of utter changelessness gives me the willies.

But it's not just a feeling and a preference; rather, a logical absurdity; there are also the many passages in scripture that describe God as changing -- not in his essence or his primordial nature, of course, but in what Hartshorne would call his "consequent nature."

The picture just entered my thoughtspace of the planets orbiting the sun, held in place by the force of gravity. However, the gravity works both ways: just as the sun "pulls" the earth, the earth pulls the sun, albeit in a comparatively fractional way. Likewise, when you jump up in the air, your body pulls at the earth, just as the earth pulls back.

So, perhaps creation "changes" God in that way: infinitesimally, but still more than zero.

Schuon bats around some of these ideas in a chapter called The Problem of Possibility. Again, if everything is necessary then nothing is possible, so your problem is solved (because problems aren't possible, only necessary).

I suppose this has a certain appeal for a certain type of person. Again, Islam means surrender, i.e., to the radical necessity of Allah's inscrutable whimsy. There's even a certain element of this in Christianity, i.e., "Thy will be done," but it is in the form of a request and a petition, not just a resignation to cosmic inevitability, or a one-sided surrender to Fate.

After all, some things are truly inevitable, which is precisely how we can know that some things are not inevitable, i.e., that they are possible. It is good and healthy to reconcile ourselves to the inevitable, but I don't see how that could be true of the possible, because the latter invites our active participation. In my view, this explains the superiority of the Christian west over the Muslim middle east, because again, recognition of divine possibility -- and our participation in it -- changes everything.

We can still say that God is necessary being, except that this necessary being contains infinite possibility. I would even analogize this to father and mother, the former connoting the unchanging absolute, the latter connoting the divine mercy, and mercy is only possible because of a passionate connection.

In other words, to feel mercy is to be moved, and to be moved is to be changed. But change is precisely what God cannot do if the orthodox view is correct.

Even for God to "know" us requires a change on his part, for what is knowledge but conformity of the subject to the object (or in this case, another subject)? The classical view is that God already knows everything, so there can be no real relationship of knowing us. Rather, it's just God knowing himself, but even then that's an abuse of the term, because knowledge is change.

Here is how Schuon describes the innards of the Godhead, which I find quite compatible with a modified process theology:

"God is both absolute Necessity and infinite Possibility; in the first respect, He transcends everything that is merely possible, whereas, in the second respect, He is, not a given possibility," but rather, "Possibility as such." In other words, in an orthoparadoxical sense, God's necessity includes possibility (which is nearly synonymous with freedom).

After all, if God chooses to create this world instead of that one, that is the actualization of a possibility. Would it be of absolutely no consequence to God if he had created the other world? Then why bother? It flattens everything and turns God into the ultimate nihilist.

Another way Schuon handles this question is to essentially posit "two sides," so to speak, of God. I have always analogized this to our own consciousness, which is always necessarily two-sided as well, i.e., conscious vs. un- and supra-conscious.

In God, this would take the form of Being and of Beyond-Being. Beyond-Being would in turn correspond to God's unchanging essence, whereas Being would correspond to our Creator-God, the personal God, the God to whom we can truly relate and who can truly relate to us (like the sun and planet alluded to above).

Schuon: "We would say consequently that Being is Possibility purely and simply; possibility necessary in itself, but contingent in its increasingly relative contents..."

Again, possibility as such is necessary, but not this or that possibility, hence the reason for prayer. For if there is no possibility of change in God -- if he is complete necessity -- then prayer can only be an exercise in futility.

Or consider the Trinity itself: is it just an unchanging circle, like God chasing his own tail? Or is it an eternally deepening spiral of love?

In conclusion, I would suggest that possibility is the phase space of divine infinitude.

****

Also, the classical God would be a bit like Obama, with no need to attend his intelligence briefings because of his omniscience.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Liberalism and the Duty to be Cosmically Stupid

Interesting case of what we might call applied nominalism:

"By listing and sometimes inventing names for small Islamist splinter groups," Obama can pretend to have "rolled back" terrorism by what amounts to a linguistic strategy, i.e., by "rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees.” This is like defeating organized crime by suggesting that each criminal is a unique person.

For it is written: Rather than an ideological strategy, the Left is a lexicographical tactic. --Aphorisms of Don Colacho

Nominalism is the metaphysical view that denies the existence of universals, which soon enough leads to a denial of the ability to think. But a nominalist is never consistent. In Obama's case, for example, he can support his crude generalization that America is a racist country by pointing to Ferguson. Note that he doesn't do with Ferguson what he does with global jihad: reduce it to a unique case.

Nor does Obama revert to nominalism vis-a-vis any of the victim groups that make up the core of his electoral coalition: women, homosexuals, illegals, public employee unions, etc. We can crudely generalize all day long about them, so long as it is in the form of pandering and not meaningful judgments.

"There is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries... Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole -- a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way."

But the line in that piece that caught my eye is that Obama doesn’t know what’s important because he doesn’t know what’s true. Truth is always important -- even seemingly trivial truths, since they support and lead up to the Big Truths. Thus, the real problem is that Obama elevates falsehood to importance -- or builds a Tower of Babel on a foundation of gelatin.

For example, it is important that police are engaging in genocide against black men, or that women earn seventy cents on the dollar, or that homosexuality and heterosexuality are identical, or that the planet is warming. None of these things are true, so it is the duty of intelligence to reject them.

Therefore, if you are a liberal, it is your solemn duty to be systematically stupid.

That's all I wanted to say about that. Just a little warm-up act. What I really want to talk about is the divine and cosmic orders, or the deep structure, you might say, of the vertical and horizontal worlds. Alert and patient readers will recall that about a year ago I thought I had discovered a way to reconcile tradition with the process theology of Charles Harsthorne. We're about to find out if that was true or just an unimportant boast.

It all begins with chapter four of Schuon's Logic and Transcendence, awkwardly titled "The Interplay of the Hypostases." A hypostasis, if you don't know, is "something that stands under and supports." It is the "foundation," or "underlying or essential part of anything as distinguished from attributes" -- the "substance, essence, or essential principle."

There is also a specifically Christian connotation, of course, in the nature of the Trinity. I believe the Spirit of the Trinity will come back to haunt us later in the post, especially with regard to its "substance," the reason being that this substance must actually be a process and a relation -- or relation-in-process -- so it's a little misleading to call it a substance at all, since the latter implies a kind of stasis.

So right away we see that the first part of this post was not wholly irrelevant, because we are right back to the question of universals -- indeed, the ultimate universals whereby we may understand the nature of reality. Conversely, without these universals we are lost in the universe. Literally, since "universe" is the ultimate universal short of God (and I would say because of God).

In other words, we all implicitly assume the existence of a universe, even though no one has ever seen it, nor will anyone ever be able to logically prove its existence. In order for there to be a universe, there must be a single underlying order to the whole of existence, something that binds all of reality into a comm-unity. Unless you are a nominalist, in which case we are tossed into a world that is ultimately absurd.

Schuon's writing is usually characterized by simplicity and clarity, but this is one of his more challenging essays. He even says as much at the end of the chapter, that "We are here at the limit of what can be expressed," so "it is no one's fault if within every enunciation of this kind there remain unanswerable questions, at least with respect to a given need for logical explanation on the plane of dialectics." What he hopes to provide are "points of reference that permit us to open ourselves to the ineffable to the extent possible" -- or to deploy words right to the edge of the vast What Cannot Be Said (unless by God himself).

Even so, one can still say a lot more than most people suspect but simply file away under the heading of "mystery." Nevertheless, at the end of the deity, we have to concede that "ultimate comprehension" orthoparadoxically "coincides with the inexpressible" -- or that we know (in our hearts) much more than we can say. Conversely, it is often the case that the less one knows the more one can say, therefore Obama.

Schuon begins with the Absolute, but Absoluteness has certain immediate corollaries, most importantly, infinitude. Borrowing a geometrical analogy, if the Absolute is the point, then the Infinite is the circle surrounding it -- or better, an infinite series of rays emanating out from the center.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but later in the essay he compares the point to Father, the Circle to Son, and the radii to Holy Spirit. You could say that this represents the ultimate cartography of spirit, and that it repeats itself across dimension and scale.

You could also say that the point is the One, while the radii redound to the Many. You could also say that the latter are the precipitate of God's radiant goodness, which we experience herebelow in the form of universal-transcendentals such as beauty, truth, and virtue, to the whole host of possible perfections. Or, to quote Schuon, it "gives rise to an operative Infinitude and to a manifested Good," or to "a hypostatic hierarchy 'in a descending direction,'" which, "in the final analysis, is creative" (emphasis mine).

The only potential stumbling block for the Christian is that this geometrical-dynamic might imply that this is some kind of impersonal emanation as opposed to the free activity of a creator-person. Not to worry. Freedom and creativity and love are smack dab in the middle of this thing, not accidental but essential to its inexhaustible dynamism.

About those things that cannot be understood, or that exist outside man's comprehension: one of the biggies is evil, in that we can understand in theory why it has to be here -- i.e., that we are not God and this is not paradise -- but when confronted with the individual act of evil -- say, decapitating a coworker -- we come up against a wall of incomprehension. Why? Perhaps because evil operates outside God, and therefore within a realm of cosmic absurdity. You could say that "there is nothing to understand," which is what makes it evil, precisely. Which is why it is more effective to fight evil with a hammer and mop than with tenure.

However, you will have noticed that one of the foundational insanities of liberalism is that evil does have some simple explanation: that it is somehow our fault. The left said this during the Cold War, just as they say it of the war on global jihad. They say it of domestic criminals (so long as they are members of a certified victim group), just as they say it of most any evil that can befall a person through his own irresponsibility or bad values. Liberalism is a Rush to Non-Judgment, as in it's not your fault! But one of the things nominalism eventually eliminated was our freedom (and therefore responsibility), because freedom is either transcendental or nonexistent.

So, that's about it for today. To be continued...

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Window on the World, a Mirror of Reality, a Ladder to God

Apropos of yesterday's post on the mental slavery of feminism, it seems that folks these days are in need of liberation from liberation -- from faux liberation, or from various forms of slavery masquerading as liberation.

Remember "sexual liberation"? How about freedom through drugs? How did homosexual liberation work out -- at least before the state covered their asses by spending a disproportionate amount of our money on developing a treatment?

There is no "freedom from" without a "freedom to"; the former is the province of politics -- i.e., negative liberty -- while the latter is the province of ethics. Without the freedom to do what is right, one has only the liberty to do what is wrong. In other words, human behavior is intrinsically teleological -- or, the very existence of the virtues reveals the shadow of the cosmic telos herebelow.

"The noble man," writes Schuon, "is one who masters himself and loves to master himself," while "the base man is one who does not master himself and shrinks in horror from mastering himself." Thus, modern liberalism is like a factory for producing ignoble men and base women. To ask such human beastlings to be dignified is like asking Al Sharpton to vacate the sewer.

Furthermore, "The noble man feels the need to admire, to venerate, to worship; the vile man on the contrary tends to belittle, even to mock, which is the way the devil sees things" (ibid). The cheap, mocking humor of a Bill Maher or Jon Stewart is of this nature. They don't even want to understand what they mock, because it would diminish their unearned superiority. Intellectual narcissism only survives in a sharply constricted world, or in a sea of their own stupidity.

Even a hundred years ago, Chesterton had enough insight into the modern world to see that real "liberality" (i.e., of spirit) has "nothing to do with liberalism; in fact, it cannot even now coexist with liberalism."

Nor, for that matter, can someone interested in human beings in their integral totality coexist with what are called "humanists," who take one aspect of man and absurdly expand it to the whole. Synedochebags.

Speaking of cosmic orthodoxy, one of the primordial distinctions we must make is between man and God. To say "man" is to evoke God, as relative to absolute. Man the relative potentially spans the vertical axis "where life opens onto the spirit and where it becomes spirit." It is very much like those paintings of the head-chakra opening out to eternity, or of luminous halos that signify the same.

For, just as the five senses are windows on the world, the intellect is like a two-way mirror that reflects both matter and spirit, or world and God (and world because God). The intelligence actually liberates us in six directions, up and down, in and out, forward and back (or divine and human, interior and exterior, past and future). Moreover, each of these conditions the others, so as one expands, so too do the others. Isn't it obvious that the wider the intellect, the more one perceives of the world?

Likewise the truism that the unexamined life is not worth living; one might say that the unexamined life can't be lived, at least humanly speaking, for such an examination is required in order to colonize the interior world. Otherwise we become subject to it, i.e., to mechanical patterns and mind parasites of various kinds.

About man's vertical bi-directionality, the irony is that a Christian, according to Chesterton, is "a man who believes that deity or sanctity has attached to matter or entered the world of the senses." The world reveals itself to the intellect for the very reason that both are revelations.

But the unaided intellect could only go so far up until a man became "a miraculous medium between heaven and earth."

This is indeed why the cosmic ladder goes all the way to the top, because it first went all the way to the bottom. Or just say humility and plenitude, kenosis and theosis.

Gosh! No time today, and less time Monday...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why are Feminists Such Pussies?

We are batting around this idea of a Cosmic Orthodoxy. If there were a Cosmic Orthodoxy -- a correct way to think and to act -- life sure would be less complicated, wouldn't it? We could just get on with it, instead of having to take time out of our day to battle the follies of liberalism and other cosmic heresies -- although I suppose it must be conceded that the heretics among us do unwittingly serve one purpose, in that they provide us with dense objects against which to burnish our sacred pliers with the blowtorch of love.

I suppose the rock bottom principle underlying the possibility of a Cosmic Orthodoxy would be one, i.e., one human nature and one truth which discloses itself in both material and immaterial reality.

In our quantitative age we seem to have no trouble agreeing that this is the case on the lower planes -- e.g., physics and chemistry -- because few people argue for a multicultural approach to these disciplines (although, to be sure, there are a few in every cloud).

Then again, these same people would disagree that these planes are "lower," since they reject verticality a priori. Thus, to the extent that reality exists, they would insist that it is physical, or electrochemical, or genetic, or what have you -- anything, so long as it isn't human, let alone divine (however, as we shall see, those latter two categories always manage to slip in through the backdoor).

Now, to even perceive the simplest object is to participate in transcendent oneness, otherwise perception would consist in perceiving only an atemporal formless blob with no outlines or divisions -- not even the self-evident distinction between the senses and the intellect.

True, our unaided senses would essentially reveal the murky contours of a blob, but the mind never actually stops there. Even infants learn almost right away that they live in a sea of objects, not just a sea. In other words, they are liberated into and then out of the senses -- and thus ushered into the world of transcendence -- as a birthright (unless something goes catastrophically wrong, as in severe autism or early tenure).

But for a human being, "unaided senses" is very much like the fanciful notion of an "unrelated person." In truth -- and this would be another element of cosmic orthodoxy -- humans are irreducibly intersubjective, meaning that they are members of one another from the ground up. For me, this is a reflection of Trinity (the ultimate metacosmic principle) in man, the microcosmos.

But this intersubjectivity also applies to the nonhuman world. In other words, we are thoroughly entangled with the world, which is precisely why we can truly know it. If this weren't the case, then we would indeed be trapped in Kant's phenomenal world, i.e., in the forms of our sensibility.

Chesterton provides a vivid analogy, writing that it would be as if all knowledge were nothing more than pictures we paint on the inside of our windows, and then mistake for the landscape outside the house.

Yes, Kantianism really is that stupid -- and infertile, since it is impossible for the intellect to mate with reality. Rather, it can only mate with its own images, which is to say, engage in cognitive onanism and call it truth.

This is very much like devoting one's sexual energy to pornography and calling it love. But self-love is an oxymoron. Love is other-directed, beginning in God. Thus, it is important to be lovable, so as to be worthy of the love received. Self-love bypasses this trinitarian circuit. The narcissist's soulmate is himself. Nice to know Obama has found his.

One of our cosmic principles is, of course, that the ultimate reality is not substance but person; or, one might say that the ultimate substance is a dynamic threeness, not any kind of isolated monad. The moment you think about this, it is soph-evident.

To cite one obvious and all-pervading example, there is the knower; there is the known; and there is knowledge. Like the Trinity, these are distinct but not radically divided from one another, or we couldn't really know anything. Rather, we would again be confirmed old bachelors consoling ourselves with mental masturbation, like Kant.

Thus, as Chesterton said -- but I will shout for emphasis -- "SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS WAS ONE OF THE GREAT LIBERATORS OF THE HUMAN INTELLECT"! How? Well, for starters, he liberates us into reality. I was reminded of this yesterday in viewing this short video on feminism. Think of the cosmic irony: the most self-styled "liberated" women in history are voluntarily enslaved to a masturbatory ideology!

Now, the Raccoon believes that if you are going to submit to an ideology, then make it a fun one, not a grim, resentful, joyless, and embittered one, right?

If Kant is right and perception is reality -- or the only reality we can know -- then at least perceive something pleasant, dammit! Besides, as alluded to above, your prime directive is to be lovable, not to imagine that you will finally love yourself if only men stop controlling your pathetic life. There is a reason feminists are unloveable and therefore filled with so much anger and resentment.

They are also weak-willed pussies. I mean, why the reliance on patriarchal government to somehow rid the world of patriarchy? Putting a woman in the White House will be every bit as effective in promoting female happiness as Obama has been in making blacks so deliriously happy. It will only highlight the fact that the state can't cure your misery.

source: Happy and not embittered Acres

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cosmic Heresies and their Alternative

In the Aristotle/Thomist tradition, the function of the intellect is to essentially identify form in substance -- to "pull" universals out of particulars, or knowledge from the senses; it is what allows us to see any dawg and immediately know he is a member of the category "Clinton."

It seems to me that Chesterton is trying to do something similar in his book on Thomas Aquinas, only on a much higher level: that is, pull the essence of Thomas himself from his sprawling corpus, which most of us would have neither the time nor brains to assimilate. Etienne Gilson remarked that he had spent his life studying and writing about St. Thomas, and now a journalist comes along and "writes a better book about him than I have!"

This idea of a simple essence -- or essential simplicity -- appeals to me, for reasons alluded to in yesterday's post: I have this sense that things can't be as complicated as scholars make them out to be, and that deep down there must be a simple explanation for It All -- or at least a simple approach to it, and that so many arguments between scholars are at the margins of reality, not at the center. (And I mean scholars within tradition; those outside tradition are each arguing from their own manmade centers, so there is no hope for them.)

Yesterday I read that Charles Hartshorne once planned on writing a book to be called The Universal Orthodoxy. I'm kind of glad he never got around to it, because I am definitely going to steal that title if I ever write another book. Frankly, I've been looking everywhere for that title, so I am relieved to have finally found it. Cosmic Orthodoxy would work just as well.

Now, in order to write it, I will have to do for me what Chesterton did for Aquinas: extract the essence without making me look like a simpleton. But the idea of a Universal Orthodoxy would follow from the principle that there is a Universal Man, or that man exists.

Remember, a nominalist doesn't believe in the existence of universals, so there is no category of man, only individual human beings. Thus, once you take a single step down that path, there is no possibility of universality, of a metacosmic key to unlock the damn world enigma. And in rejecting Thomas, the world stepped right on to that path.

With one exception: mathematics. Mathematics is clearly universal, although there are no doubt feminists and professors of black studies who would insist that math is gendered or that the white man's numbers are privileged. But we give those people Ph.D.s to humor them and make them go away, not because we take them seriously. Everyone else knows that math is math, and that there's not a damn thing we can do about it (notwithstanding liberals who abuse math and statistics to prove anything; the fact that they bother to misuse math is a kind of backhanded respect for its authority).

Math is all well and good, but no one has ever -- or will ever -- be able to use it to create a cosmos. In other words, let's say that physicists eventually find a way to resolve the four fundamental forces into one simple equation. Remember, the equation is abstracted from reality. You cannot reverse imagineer the thing, and magically produce reality from the equation.

It seems to me that this is something those atheistic devotees of science always forget: that science is about reality, not reality itself. Reality Itself always transcends science, obviously. It is an Inexhaustible Mystery, which we mean quite literally.

For what is a mystery? Rizzi speaks for us in defining it as "an area of reality so intelligible that we can never understand it all." So to say "reality is a mystery" is not some kind of evasion or mystagoguery, but an objective principle, indeed, one of the First Unavoidable Principles of Cosmic Orthodoxy.

In this sense, reality -- or being -- is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be enjoyed. True, there can be annoying mysteries, like, for example, "Why do we tolerate the IRS?," but that's not a true mystery, because there is a rational explanation, no matter how irrational.

But real mystery flows from the inexhaustible intelligibility of being. Notice that the essence of scientism is to imagine it possible to contain this mystery in science, which usually comes down to math -- the notion that quality can be reduced to quantity, semantics to syntax, subject to object. Thus, these dweebs must feel that reality is some kind of annoying mystery, like the IRS.

For, you see, nominalism -- which is a cosmic heresy -- is nevertheless, like all heresies, a partial truth. This is most relevant in the study of human beings. The fact that we can say "human being" means that man may be reduced to a universal category.

However, the fact that each soul is unique means that every man escapes -- transcends -- category. Or in other words, that each man is an inexhaustible mystery, analogous in this way to the God who birthed him and to the Being that nourishes him.

Which is also why leftism is a cosmic heresy -- well, there are actually a number of reasons why, but in this case because its first principle is to sacrifice the individual for the group, and thus hack away at man's very reason for being; for if man isn't a significant other, he is an absurd and insignificant unit of the state.

Not much time this morning... to be continued...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Manichee in the White House

People correctly intuit that truth must be simple, which is why they so often seem to organize themselves around a simple -- but incorrect -- truth.

But "incorrect truth" is an oxymoron, so it is equivalent to ordering oneself to error, i.e., failing to discriminate between appearance and reality. And if you don't do that, you can't even get to first base, let alone back home, which is only the whole point of the game of life.

Islam is famous, for example for simplifying religion to the point of gross distortion. True, "there is no God but God," but such a formulation goes way too far in excluding the non-God, i.e., the good old Many, and if we reduce the Many to the One, then there is pretty much no point to existence -- at least our existence. God may have some weird point, but it is utterly unknowable to us, not even by analogy.

Chesterton wants us to retain three simple but extremely fruitful principles from Aquinas, and let the philosophers argue over the details.

For what is a philosopher, anyway? Among other things, he is someone who is not only "trained to put up with philosophers," but "patient with clever people when they indulge in folly." But a Raccoon does not suffer academia gladly, so he doesn't look back, and lets the dead bury the tenured.

These Three Things are 1) the goodness of creation, 2) moderate realism, AKA the vindication of common sense, and 3) "the primacy of the doctrine of being." To appreciate these Three is... well, it is to be sane. It is also to be human. And ultimately it is to turn the world right-side-up -- that is, if you have inherited the inverted world of the left and are in need of reorientation.

And most of us can't help assimilating some of this inverted world, because it is the world we are expected to live in. Or in other words, it's Barack's world, we just pay taxes in it (and we are merely using Obama as a symbol for the much wider and deeper pneumapathology he represents).

Dennis Prager touched on this during his program yesterday. He mentioned the absurdity of a nut like Paul Krugman accusing conservatives of "living in a bubble." If only! It is quite literally impossible for a conservative to get through the day without being drenched in liberalism. Obviously it is everywhere, in the news media, in the educational establishment, in entertainment. You would have to live like the Amish to somehow avoid it.

However, a New York liberal such as Paul Krugman can easily lead an intellectually friction-free existence, encountering no serious opposition. One suspects that this is at the heart of his and Obama's incessant deployment of the Straw Man. It is the closest thing to disagreement in their perfectly insulated bubbles.

With respect to the goodness of creation, Thomas was especially eager to shoot down Manichaeism, which continues, like a virus, to mutate into ghastly new forms.

At its root, Manichaeism is always dualistic and, one might say, excessively Platonic. It denies the intrinsic goodness of creation, and therefore of embodiment and humanness. If its doctrine is dualism, then its method is "ascent," i.e., fleeing up and outta here, a la Plotinus, over the wall of flesh and into the pure land of transcendental idea.

One sees an example of modern day Manichaeism in the climate fantasists who regard man as a cancer on the planet, or in the neo-Marxian class warriors who conflate wealth and darkness (except when they don't), or in black Muslims who think a big-headed scientist named Yacub created whites to be a "race of devils." But enough about Eric Holder.

"The exact problem" with these idiots is the identification of "purity with sterility, in contrast to Thomas Aquinas who always identified purity with fruitfulness" (from the introduction). What he means is that the Manichee withdraws into kind of transcendental world of perfect ideas -- which is precisely what ideologues such as Obama do.

As the old joke about economists goes, "sure it works in reality, but will it work in theory?" One could say the same of the climate fanatics: "sure, the planet isn't warming. But that's only in the real world. The question is, does it agree with our models?" Or, one could say it of metaphysical Darwinists: "true, there is an infinite gap between animal and man. But how does that square with these bones we dug up?"

Now, Manichaeism shouldn't even be thought of as any ideology per se, because beneath that it is simply a universal temptation, or one might say intrinsic cosmic heresy. It is an error just waiting to happen, every time and to everyone. We are always free to go down -- or up, rather -- that path, but it will guarantee that we end up infertile eggheads.

The modern scam, for example, is predicated on people such as Descartes, who famously divided mind from matter, or Kant, who went one step further and divided mind from reality. How can this not guarantee infertility or monstrous pneumacognitive birth defects somewhere down the line?

Monstrous? Yes, of course. Look at Hitler, dividing Jew from Aryan, or Stalin, dividing bourgeois from proletariat, or Obama, who has managed to create more division than any president in our history because of his fundamentally divisive ideology. Before all else he is a Manichee, as evidenced, for example, by his membership in that heretical gnostic Christian sect, e.g.,

"It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere… That’s the world! On which hope sits!"

Such is the audacious hope of the political Manichee. Has this hope bore fruit? If so, what kind? You first. Looks rotten to me.