Thursday, August 17, 2017

Words Mediate Reality; Journalists Mediate the Narrative

Speaking of words and their meanings, journalists are referred to as "media" because they mediate between two realities; or, between reality and the reader or viewer.

Clearly, no one can be everywhere, see everything, and know everyone. I wouldn't even know of the existence of Donald Trump if not for the media. We can only have direct knowledge of a rather restricted range of persons and events.

So we have journalists to mediate between us and those distant persons and events. We employ these trundling mules or asses to carry messages from here to there. It requires no special skill, just rudimentary honesty and embryonic self-awareness.

In information theory there is the signal and the noise. Inevitably some noise gets into the signal (as in the game "telephone"), and journalists once prided themselves on the minimization or elimination of noise, which is related but not identical to the concept of objectivity.

If too much noise gets into the signal, then it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two. Thus, communication requires a stable medium that is resistant to entropy. Money, for example, is supposed to be a stable medium of exchange. If the government prints too much, then the result is inflation, because money loses its exchange value. It can no longer purchase as much stuff.

Yeah, I could have explained all of that better, but I slept late and the coffee hasn't yet turned over my crankshaft. In any event, these thoughts were just now provoked upon reading the following passage by Pieper:

[T]he moment a person sensitive to the use of words deliberately ceases to govern his words with a view to stating the reality of things, he automatically ceases to communicate anything.

In other words, he ceases to be a medium; or, he's still a medium, just not of reality.

There are many reasons why a person would cease mediating reality: there might be passive reasons such as stupidity, ignorance, cultural impoverishment, or tenure. There can be reasons of self-interest, for example, exaggerating or inventing stories in order to advance one's career.

Mental illness can often be a factor, ranging from distorted perception (e.g., paranoia) to, say, narcissism, in which the journalist conflates the importance of what he reports with his own self-importance.

Yeah, that never happens.

Another reason is indoctrination. It might be the most important source of journalistic noise these days, but it is surely blended with ignorance, stupidly, mental illness, narcissism, self-importance, and a self-monitoring groupthink. Add them all together, and we have... the MSM. MSNBC is all of these things, only refreshingly unmasked.

Oh, I forgot another major source of noise. I'm going to have to amend what I just said about indoctrination being the most important.

In fact, this is what really separates me from those other bloggers and commentators, and journalists from reality: without any hesitation whatsoever, I say that the source of this noise is demonic.

Or better, that this noise is evidence of demonic influences, right before our eyes. It's like the wind: we never see it, only its effects. Same with Satan: we never see him, but we surely see his effects. We know him by his fruits, so to speak. Or fruitcakes, in the case of journalists.

Let's take an extreme example, Nazism or Communism. Natural explanations of these phenomena are inevitably banal. You can take a dozen different approaches, from cultural to psychohistorical to economic and more, but they are simply inadequate to explain that level of frenzied and yet systematic sadism. What makes these ideologies so unique is the combination of creativity, which is divine, and violent sadism, which is demonic: creative depravity, or savage creativity.

Something similar is occurring in our civilization. And it's happening very fast, as last year's parody becomes this year's reality. Now they're talking about tearing down Monticello and the Washington Monument. And why not? Principles are principles, and if the principle is that Washington and Jefferson owned slaves and therefore represent unalloyed evil, why on earth would we want to honor them? QED.

But if the left is going to be consistent in applying this principle, several other venerable things will need to go. For example, Thomas Jefferson was the founder of the Democratic party, so this deeply tainted institution needs to be abolished at once. And Jesus has got to go, for he might have been the first to suggest that "all lives matter," thus revealing his racial animus and White Privilege.

Back to Pieper:

For language becomes communication the moment it expresses a link to [mediates] reality, and by the same token it ceases to be communication the moment this link is destroyed.

And it is not as if the mediated-to haven't noticed. What percentage of the public trusts the MSM to mediate reality without coloration? Fifteen percent?

Nevertheless, the incessant pounding of the message gets through; or, not so much the message as the Narrative, for the Narrative is pure noise, something superimposed on the facts before they are even facts.

Indeed, the Narrative is what journalists use in order to see facts at all. Put conversely, something that supports the Narrative is a fact, while something that fails to support it isn't seen at all, and therefore never rises to the level of fact. If you see things outside the Narrative, you're either lying or hallucinating.

Which might be the main reason Trump is so hated by the media, because he challenges the Narrative. Last weekend he did it big time, by equating Antifa and white supremacists.

Of course Trump has it all wrong, in that the far left is far more dangerous to the nation than the KKK, which is totally marginalized and has no political influence whatsoever. Nevertheless, one is not permitted to notice that banal truth, and punishment for doing so is swift and severe. "Even" Republicans aren't on board with it, which highlights the fact that they are no less immersed in the Narrative than Democrats.

In a way, Republicans are even more diabolical than Democrats. It's like a disease. We know the disease is evil. But what if the doctor is also evil, and only pretending to treat you? What I really want to say to these Republican quacks is -- pardon my French: physician fuck thyself.

When one person ceases to speak to another in the artless and spontaneous manner which characterizes genuine conversation, and begins to consciously manipulate his words, expressly ceasing to concern himself with the truth -- when, in other words, his concern is with something other than the truth -- he has, in reality, from that point on ceased to respect the other person as a partner in conversation. He has ceased to respect him as a human person....

[W]hen words lose contact with reality, they become an instrument of power.... (Pieper).

And power without truth might be the essence of the diabolical.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On the Nature of Ultimate Unreality

About what shall we blog today? There is our 30th anniversary, but I don't know what to say about that. Life before 1987 is just a blur or an embarrassment. Since then it's just a blur.

And now I don't remember much before the birth of our son in 2005, which once again reshuffled the existential cards. I guess I'm just not a nostalgic person. I'm certainly not a sentimental one. We are only given today, and that's it. So many ways of escaping the now! Nor do I think of alternative lives. Mine is what it is, the only variable being how much isness one can pack into the day; or rather, derive from it. The former goes more to Doing, the latter to Being.

Which I believe is the point. At least for me and my kind. Obviously we need doers out there. If they weren't doing their thing(s), then I could never be mine. Warriors and Priests. Hands and heads.

The other night the boy and I were watching television when an ad came on featuring a skydiver. We both agreed that this is something we need never do. I added that I've already got the skydiver doing it, which relieves me of the burden. He even took a video. I'll check it out if I ever need to, but the sensation of falling strikes me as totally superfluous. I've fallen before. I get it.

Not that I am in any way anti-sensation. God forbid! Literally, being that the Incarnation doesn't just involve heart and mind, but body as well.

But sometimes the search for novel and intense sensations is rooted in an inability to notice and appreciate the subtle ones that are going on all the time -- like, say, this cup of coffee. Again, we need adventurers, people like Columbus or Magellan or Neil Armstrong. But I am rather easily stimulated. I AM enough. Earth is more than enough. Going to the moon would only unsettle me.

It is often the case that doers are incapable of being. Or, they can only be in the midst of doing. Nevertheless, being is always (vertically) prior to doing, and always available to us right here, right now.

Churchill writes of how in war, "the uncertainty and importance of the present reduce the past and future to comparative insignificance, and clear the mind of minor worries."

No doubt true. But what about spiritual warfare? There is an obvious parallel, in that the latter too can only take place in the present, and Jesus calls it the "greatest commandment" that we should love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength. Of course that's not possible, but what does impossibility have to do with it? That's none of our business.

Abruptly -- or maybe not -- shifting gears, I've begun reading a compendium of The Wisdom of St. Thomas, put together by Josef Pieper. It basically consists of his Bottom Line Takes, stripped of all the scrupulous scholastic argumentation.

All that argumentation is not necessarily necessary to get to God. Certainly it is never sufficient. Rather, to paraphrase Schuon, such arguments are points of reference to satisfy the needs of the intellect, but in the end, there is a direct seeing that cannot be reduced to argument -- just as no eye witness needs to first prove the existence of sight. No, seeing is enough. Direct perception trumps any rationalism. No merely finite statement can contain -- i.e., is adequate to -- the infinite.

However, a finite statement can... how to put it... "transmit" the infinite. So long as the transmission occurs, then argument per se becomes unnecessary. Rules of the intellect can never take the place of depth of intelligence.

Analogously, everyone uses the same rules of music. Yet some compositions are infinitely more deep than others. And not even compositions; sometimes just the raw musical expression.

The best vision in the world can never "see everything." And yet, seeing only what we can see is sufficient to posit a "universe" we will never see, that is, the totality of interacting objects and events. No one needs to see the entire cosmos to know we are in one.

Likewise the intellect: no one needs to know everything in order for everything to be known! In this regard, a few principles go a long way -- all the way up to God, or O, if you prefer a less saturated placeholder for Absoluteness. As Schuon says, "nothing is ever rejected without being replaced by something else." Reject the Absolute at one end, and it will just haunt or beguile you at the other. You gotta serve somebody. Might as well be someOne worthy of service.

The intellect can ascend all the way to God, but in so doing (at least in the moment) extinguishes itself -- just as, say, the idea of a tree is eclipsed in seeing one (even though the idea is necessary in order to see it). Conversely, language descends from God, such that we can communicate the vision, but never in its totality. "Logic is perfectly consistent only when surpassing itself" (Schuon). Go Gödel Go!

This is something I realized in the spring of 1985, long before I understood the religious consequences. I've written before of how my discovery of the obscure psychoanalyst W.R. Bion Blew My Mind. Through him I understood that a good psychological theory must express an unsaturated general truth that can also be "realized" in the particular individual.

The same challenge is involved in realizing the eternal in time, the infinite in space, or God in flesh. Experience must be expressed in dogma, but can never be reduced to it, for the symbol can be no substitute for that which it symbolizes. Fortunately we don't have to choose between the two, for God has conveniently provided a cosmic bridge woo hoo.

Such proofs of God as furnished by Aquinas can never be disproved, but this is still not the same as the experience of that to which they point (and from which they descend). "[A] proof is of assistance only to the man who wishes to understand and who, because of this wish, has in some measure understood already."

The man who wishes not to understand can easily deny the proof, for rationalization has no trouble defying reason. The arguments are "of no practical use to one who, deep in his heart, does not want to change his opinion and whose philosophy merely expresses this desire" (Schuon).

As such, atheism is rooted in desire and in will, not in reality. More to the point, the function of faith is to remain an open system on the vertical plane. The only possible ground for knowledge of God's non-existence is God himself.

Here is Pieper's first nugget of Thomas: The least insight that one can obtain into sublime things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge of lower things.

Boom. I don't need all the detailed intellectual scaffolding to support that belief. Rather, I see (by) its Light directly.

Here is one on the ultimate pattern of our cosmic adventure. Again, I see the same thing Aquinas sees with my own three eyes, so no one needs to prove it to me:

The complete perfection of the universe demands that there should be created natures which return to God, not only according to the likeness of their being, but also through their actions.

That explains how it is that we're all swimming in this spiraling vortex lured by God, AKA the Great Attractor.

Another nugget that summa-rises the Way of the Raccoon:

Intellect is the first author and mover of the universe.... Hence the last end of the universe must necessarily be the good of the intellect. Hence truth must be the last end of the whole universe.

Nevertheless, there exist human beings who are Of, By, and For the Lie. Put it this way: it is always possible to reject O, as per Genesis 3. But the denied reality merely returns as Ø, which is a theme of so much of the Old Testament, i.e., the reversion to worshipping false gods, which is to say, conforming oneself to an ultimate reality that is ultimately unreal. The left-hand path will always be with us.

Monday, August 14, 2017

I Unreservedly Condemn All Violence Toward Language

So, President Trump is being criticized by both opportunistic Democrats and craven Republicans (but I repeat myself) for condemning political violence. Here is a vivid example of what was said in the previous post about the abuse of language. In this case, the President is being criticized for failure to abuse language in the customary way.

The customary way involves seeing all political violence as emanating from "the right," which represents an inversion of the reality. Violence is intrinsic to leftism, being that leftism is inconceivable in the absence of force (of the state over the individual).

And if we recognize that fascism is a movement of the left, then we see that Saturday's violence was a small-scale version of communism vs. Nazism. These are revolutionary movements that have nothing whatsoever to do with classical liberal conservatism. Obviously, neither one is grounded in first principles of liberty, natural rights, and limited government. In reality, conservatism is situated neither to the right nor left of these twin barbarisms, but vertically above.

(To be clear, I don't know whether the victims were actually Antifa activists, only that the counter-demonstration was organized by Antifa cretins spoiling for a fight.)

As we know, because the communists defeated the Nazis in WW2, they successfully defined themselves as being anti-fascist, and the left has been dining on this lie ever since. Communism was (and still is) the original Antifa movement.

But because of the language-abusing Narrative of the left, condemning Antifa violence is equated with being ProFa or even Na! For reasons that are impervious to reason, a Nazi sympathizer mowing down Antifa protesters is different from an Antifa activist attempting to assassinate Representative Steve Scalise.

Diabolically clever. It is to be expected that the robotic simpletons of the left will propagate and honor the Lie, but just nauseating when Republicans do.

Let's get down to basics: man's original crime against Being is rooted in language abuse. The "vector of reality," so to speak, flows in the direction of God --> Being --> Truth --> Language.

Likewise, the way back to God flows in the opposite direction, beginning in Truth (or true speech) -- the same Truth that sets one free. Which is a little misleading, being that freedom is required in order to seek truth. Therefore, we might equally say that freedom sets one upon (the path of) Truth, AKA the cosmic adventure. Our God is a God of Freedom and of Truth, which are two sides of the same primordial reality.

There is indeed a sacred covenant between language and Being, which is a reflection of the bond (of love!) between God and Word. Again, whatever else Genesis 3 is about, it is about severing this link, which necessarily redounds to a kind of expulsion from reality.

Obviously, the Incarnation represents the restoration of this bond in the most heightened way imaginable. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Suffice it to say that the Crucifixion of the Word is still taking place. And always will be, at least on this plane. It very much defines what goes on down here, doesn't it? Which is why the cosmic adventure is a continuous struggle toward Truth. It wouldn't be a struggle if there weren't counter-forces at play.

Pieper writes of the "consummate mendacity" that "must inevitably result in the atrophy of communication between human beings."

Here again, to attack or deny the vertical link between man and God is to abolish the horizontal link between man and man. Do you not see why? Truth is ultimately grounded in love; or at least inextricably intertwined with it. We might say that Truth is the Love of the Intellect, just as Love is the Truth of the Heart.

Instead, as prophesied by Aldous Huxley, we are plunged into "a vast mass communications industry" that is concerned "neither with the true or false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant" (in Pieper). This is the Unreal News alluded to in the title of the previous post. It is anti-Christic right down to the ground. Man builds and inhabits his own verbal prison while holding the keys in his hand. Madness!

If I am to make the right decision (regardless of what the decision may involve), I must be guided by the truth of things themselves, by the facts, by what is really the case. In other words, the realization of the good presupposes knowledge of reality.... An act is good if it conforms to the nature of things.

The nature of things. It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that for the left there is no such nature. This is indeed what separates liberal conservatism from the tyranny of the contemporary left. It ultimately comes down to whether essence precedes existence or vice versa. For the left it is the latter, which is why, for example, a man can be a woman or homosexuals can marry. For the left man defines reality. For us, reality defines man.

That was Marx's great original insight -- which has given unsight to purblind leftists ever since. Movements of the left always involve liberation. But can man be liberated from his own nature, and supposing he can, is it not misleading to equate this with freedom? Yes, I am free not to be myself. But if I manage to escape from myself, isn't that the last word in being lost and alienated?

Speech which emancipates itself from the norm of (real) things, at the same time necessarily becomes speech without a partner.

The Cosmic Divorce.

What is meant by the 'emancipation from the norm of (real) things?' What is meant, essentially, is indifference toward the truth. After all, truth implies a link to reality.

Which is why, beneath it all, leftism must devolve to violent nihilism. For the problem isn't just that Language and Truth are divorced, leaving us cosmic orphans. Rather, Language is remarried to Power, such that we come under the authority of a violent stepfather.

Once the word, as it is employed by the communications media, has, as a matter of principle, been rendered neutral to the norm of truth, it is, by its very nature, a ready-made tool just waiting to be picked up by 'the powers that be' and 'employed' for violent or despotic ends.... [T]he greater the inroads this 'neutralized' word makes on our lives, the more the word itself creates an atmosphere of epidemic susceptibility to the disease of despotism....

What all "forms of propaganda have in common is the degeneration of language into an instrument of force." This highlights the implicit "link between the degeneration of political authority and the sophistical corruption of the word," such that "the abuse of language by the communications media could actually be diagnosed as a symptom of the despotism to come, while the virus is still in its latent stages."

Latent in 1964, when that was written, but a florid infection today.

First the word loses its dignity; then man. Which is why "the fate of society and the fate of the word are inseparable. A relationship founded upon violence... corresponds to the most pernicious destruction of the link to things as they are: the public loss of the ability to know reality."

So yes, Nazi sympathizers and Antifa thugs are both violent. But first to the Word. Gravity takes care of the rest.

(All quoted material in Pieper.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

On the Urgent Need of Safe Spaces: for Truth

Great essay -- actually, a formal address -- in Pieper's Problems of Modern Faith, called The Abuse of Language and the Abuse of Power. The content is quite similar, if not identical, to his little book of the same name. Looks like either the talk was turned into a book, or vice versa.

Whatever the case may be, do not be deceived by the brevity, for in the words of the Aphorist, Prolixity is not an excess of words but a dearth of ideas. It actually made me see stars. As in the Aphorist's maxim that The collision with an intelligent book makes us see a thousand stars.

That's close to the truth, being that I highlighted nearly every sentence. Usually, when I highlight something, it's not in order to "remember" it in the usual way. Rather, it's because a star flashed into view. Actually, I've developed an informal system of notation with about five levels, depending upon the density of stars. The last level is dog-earing the page. That happens when I've collided with a supercluster.

The whole thing is both timely and timeless, which I suppose amounts to the same thing. Or at least what is timeless is always timely, even if what is timely is rarely timeless. At any rate, let's take out our telos-scopes and see if we can unpack some of the stars.

First of all, even the title is provocative: how is it even possible to abuse language? Language isn't alive. Or is it? And what can it possibly have to do with power, much less the abuse of it?

Pieper doesn't put it this way, but I believe language is indeed alive. It is a medium of life, much in the way of circulating blood. Quite simply, in the absence of language, there would be no way for mind and spirit to circulate. Obvious, no? Haven't you ever felt more alive after reading or hearing something? (Or more dead, depending.)

As we shall eventually see, this goes back to a triune structure of reality in which God eternally speaks the Word. And if you only look close enough, everything is composed of intelligible words. It is why we can understand the world, for it is not made of atoms or quarks or waves or particles, but of language. We are immersed in wordstuff, which is why existence is so endlessly fascinating. Or boring, depending upon the soul's level of literacy.

Pieper adverts to the misuse of language as "an eternal temptation which, throughout the course of history, man has been, and always will be, called upon to resist."

Interesting. Could our primordial calamity be related to language abuse? Something inside me says "yes." And what is the Crucifixion but -- literally -- the last word in abuse of the Word? It is the attempt to snuff it out entirely. For what is Truth, anyway?

That's a cynical question. No, it's worse than that, for it betrays the seduction of sophistry, the same sophistry that has been with us from the time of Plato right down to this morning's New York Times. What is academia but a Temple of Sophistry?

Which only emphasizes the power of its lure, a lure that can be traced back to Genesis 3. Jumping ahead a bit, here is how Pieper describes the original vision and purpose of the university. Try not to laugh. Or cry. Or be triggered:

[T]he concept 'academic' has... retained a common or identical feature over the course of time, a feature which, moreover, is easy to define. [Bear in mind this was written in 1964, when academia was far less woke than today.]

This feature is the fact that a 'zone of truth' is deliberately set aside in the midst of society, a hedged-in space to house the autonomous engagement with reality [!], in which people can inquire into, discuss, and assert the truth of things without let or hindrance; a domain expressly shielded from any conceivable attempts to use it as a means to achieve certain ends [!], and in which all concerns irrelevant to its true purpose, whether collective or personal, whether of political, economic or ideological import, must keep silent [!].

In short, the university is indeed supposed to be a safe space: for truth! Because if truth isn't safe, then none of us are.

How does truth decay begin? It must have to do with the detachment of language from reality. Note that this is not a bug of postmodernism, but a feature. For again, language is no longer about real things, but about language.

Thus, not only is postmodernism sealed in tautology and sophistry, but it is a statement about the permanent and ineradicable stupidity of man. In this context, exposure to the university can only arm and aggravate the stupidity, not ameliorate or cure it.

What is truth? "A person must not have progressed very far in his education if he has not discovered good reasons to justify the worst behavior. The evil which has been done in the world since Adam's time has been justified by means of good reasons."

Okay then. What is evil?

Evil on a wholesale level begins in corruption of the word; or better, corruption of the function of the word. Which is whatnow?

Two things, distinguishable but inseparable: knowledge and communication (of reality):

Its first achievement is the fact that reality becomes manifest through the word. One speaks in order to make known something real in the act of calling it by name in order, of course, to make it known to someone else.

This latter reminds me of something I learned in my psychoanalytic training which actually turns out to be true: that all language has a from --> to structure, even interior dialogue.

This goes back to Bion's idea that communication begins with the mother-infant dyad, which is the most primordial level of interpersonal exchange. It eventually evolves into proper speech, but any number of things can go wrong along the way, such that the person becomes more or less capable of communicating his interior world in the form of speech.

People who cannot do this end up splitting, repressing, or projecting it (for it still exists, only in an unglishable and therefore externalized form). These primitive unwords become flesh. In a bad way. (For unspeakable truths can also become flesh in a good way, as in love; or, love is the way they are communicated.)

In other words, they become leftists, wordlessly communing with fellow leftists who are likewise incapable of articulating WTF is wrong with themselves.

Take, I don't know, Lena Dunham, who is persecuted by imaginary airline attendants who express reservations about the left's obsession with normalizing aberrant and confused sexual identity. If you ask her WTF is wrong with her, she will not be able to point to something inside, but rather, express alarm at something she has projected into you, you alt-right fascist! In short, you are her unspeakably badword made flesh. No wonder she's alarmed, for there are no safe spaces inside her head.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Face the HalluciNation: Real News, Fake News, & Unreal News

The moment ideology comes before reality, one is living in an unreal world. But this statement constitutes a pleonasm -- word of the day, pleonasm -- being that ideology is by definition prior to reality.

Look at Google, where equivalence of the sexes absolutely trumps science. Truth and reality are no defenses. Guilt arises from failure to conform to the ideology, when the very purpose of the mind is to conform to reality.

Guilt is situated between the Is and the Ought. When we do something we oughtn't do, then the result -- for the properly ordered person -- is guilt. One thing we ought not do is live a lie. But at Google the lie is necessary -- at least if one wishes to continue working there.

What is reality, anyway? While one cannot answer the question without reference to the mind, it is critical that reality be situated anterior to the mind that cognizes it, or else we have descended into the subjectivity of modernism and post-modernism.

Rather, reality comes first, even though -- as alluded to in the previous post -- reality is the sum total of our means of accessing and comprehending it. Put conversely, if we have no access to it then it isn't real for us; and to exist is to participate in intelligibility.

Put it this way: reality is, in the words of Pieper, "the one great object of cognition." And we are its subject. Thus, there is a complementarity between reality and man, which is why science can exist at all.

This is another way of saying that "The worth of man lies in his consciousness of the Absolute" (Schuon), the Absolute constituting total reality, both vertical and horizontal, celestial and terrestrial, heavens above and earth below:

Our intelligence is made for the Absolute, or else it is nothing. The Absolute alone confers on our intelligence the power to accomplish to the full what it can accomplish and to be wholly what it is (Schuon).

Please take that literally: the intelligence is either (potentially) everything or it is nothing. This in turn goes to our worth and our dignity. In rendering intelligence worthless, Google robs its employees of dignity.

By the way, never wonder why the left is so lacking in dignity. It follows from the first error. "Safe spaces," trigger warnings, naked rallies, howling mobs, craven college administrators, hysterical students, BLM, transgender madness, fake news, the whole catastrophe. It's all related.

Is Trump as dignified as I would like him to be? No. But in these times, it is sufficient that he provokes the left to new depths of auto-debasement, thus revealing what they are.

To be precise, there is "what they are," and "what they really are," and Trump miraculously exposes the the latter. This is not the face the left wishes to present to the world, but they obviously cannot help themselves. They really are what they really are. Which is true of everyone, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.

Once man loses God then dignity is out the door. One way of emphasizing man's dignity is to remind ourselves that we are made "in the image of God." Big responsibility! This image is inconsistent with a squishy and manbunned Pajama Boy in need of feminism over guilt for his White Privilege. Whattsa matta with you! Act like a man! Besides, women exist for men (and vice versa), not for feminism. It's why we have them.

There is religion and there is magic. If you are not properly religious, then it is likely you will default to implicit or explicit magic. Which is what? Recall above (and from the previous post) that religion involves openness to and conformity with Total Reality. Conversely, magic is the attempt "to make superhuman powers serve human ends" and thus "the antithesis of of a religious act" (Pieper).

Man's ability to know truth at all is a superhuman act, right? If you don't understand this, then think again. It is what we call a Necessary Metaphysical Truth. In this context, ideology is a magical formula -- for example, a formula for rendering men and women equivalent. Being that it has rejected truth at the foundation, it can only operate via power. You can't simultaneously appeal to truth and claim truth is just a narrative conceaing the will to power.

This is what we call the Triumph of the Will. But such a triumph can only be understood ironically. A man can have his privates amputated and pretend he's a woman, but has he really triumphed over reality?

More mundanely, you can increase the minimum wage but can you really make a man more valuable by paying him more than his labor is worth? Or, let's pretend Trump is more dangerous than Kim. Just as everyone in the 1930s knew Churchill was more dangerous than Hitler, and everyone in the 1980s knew Reagan was more dangerous than the USSR.

Reality exists. And we can participate in it, or choose not to. These are the extremes of freedom.

This whole line of thought was provoked by a typically crazy editorial in the NY Times called The Policies of White Resentment. It made me realize that we need a third category for news: there is real news and fake news, but the Times (and most of the left) has descended into frankly unreal news.

"Fake" implies some conscious control, but this has more in common with hallucination. Instead of the Triumph of the Will of ideology, this is more like the Triumph of Mind Parasites. It is a systematic falsification of reality.

Consider the first sentence: White resentment put Donald Trump in the White House. No evidence is needed, because this is a statement of a priori ideology, not an appeal to reality.

Trump "continues to transform that seething, irrational fear about an increasingly diverse America into policies that feed his supporters’ worst racial anxieties." That means you and me. Never mind that we have no "seething, irrational fears" about anything. True, we object to what is called "diversity," which is to say that we object to the left's lack thereof, and its totalitarian attempt to impose its monolithic uniformity upon the rest of us, a la Google.

"The guiding principle in Mr. Trump’s government is to turn the politics of white resentment into the policies of white rage..."

Right. That must be why the left is so enraged and resentful.

"That so many of these policies are based on perception and lies rather than reality is nothing new." That is rich. What a fine example of Power appealing to Truth. It's what Satan does.

"White resentment has long thrived on the fantasy of being under siege and having to fight back," as with "the mass lynchings and destruction of thriving, politically active black communities..." That part is true as far as at goes, but Democrats are no longer lynching anyone, at least physically. Rather, they have more subtle means of racial indoctrination and control.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Loss of God is Just Plain Careless

Lately my reading has gotten so far ahead of my blogging that I'm writing about things from weeks or months ago instead of doing so in Real Time, which is the usual procedure. So I'm going to fast forward to what I'm reading at the moment, an out-of-print book of essays and talks by the esteemed Josef Pieper, called Problems of Modern Faith.

(Although I'm enjoying it, it's probably not worth the price for a used copy, especially if you haven't read other works of his such as The Four Cardinal Virtues, Guide to St. Thomas, the Anthology, etc.)

The reason I want to blog about it NOW is that it's provoking a lot of sparks that may not be recoverable when I return to it. You know how it is: Light from the past isn't the same as Light in the here and now. Sun and stars.

In fact, the book has triggered a lot of aphorisms that I've written to myself in the margins. I've no doubt mentioned a similar sentiment in the past, but it goes like this: Scientism is the religion of the part, while religion is the science of the whole.

I mean that quite literally. Scientism is science expanded to an ideology -- and idolatry -- via a false absolute, while the point of religion is to provide a way to understand and adapt ourselves to ultimate reality.

As we all know, profane science tends to conflate reality with its (properly) narrow method of studying it. This necessarily ends in the quantification of reality, and therefore the negation of qualities.

But qualities are the most important -- and certainly most interesting -- part of reality. In the absence of qualities we would not only be bored to death, but actually dead, being that life itself can't be reduced to numbers.

More gravely, to eliminate qualities is to inter man in a tomb of his own categories. Only man can distinguish good from bad, true from false, appearances from reality, beauty from ugliness, etc. This is why we are here. In other words, what is unique about human beings explains the purpose of human beings. Man's sufficient reason is conformity to reality, both horizontal and vertical.

Another note from mysoph says that Reality is the totality of our means of accessing and comprehending it.

This may sound Kantian, as if I am limiting reality to our categories, but that is not what I mean. Rather, it is a way of saying that reality is much wider, higher, and deeper than what can be accessed by the scientific method only. The beauty of nature, for example, provides real information about reality. More generally, qualities are windows into the Real.

Or put it this way: a decent map of the cosmos will take into account vertical perception. Science involves horizontal perception only. If elevated to a metaphysic it distorts the world beyond re-cognition; it banishes the very categories through which we may perceive and understand reality.

Schuon says something to the effect that the totality of the cosmos demands the unicity of man: the Everything of the World is mirrored in the All of Us. There are expansive visions of reality worthy of man, and pathetically narrow ones that hardly do justice to insects or even liberals.

Here is a pertinent pensée by Pascal: If you are not concerned to know the truth, then you have access to enough truth to to enable you to live in peace. BUT if you long with all your heart to know it, then what you have got is not enough.

Now, a Raccoon is in the latter category: what we have is never enough, even though -- orthoparadoxically -- it is more than enough.

What I mean is that God is the primordial More than Enough, ceaselessly flowing out of himself a la the Trinity. So long as we are oriented to and rooted in this reality... well, it's like Revelation says: the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

As Pieper puts it, we are interested in reality as a whole and in the totality of the world. By any means necessary. We are careful "to ensure that not one single element of reality is concealed, overlooked, forgotten or suppressed -- which could easily happen if the activity of the mind were to be restricted to what can be verified by the methods of exact science."

Atheistic science allows so much reality to evade detection that you might be tempted to believe it is a conspiracy against man. But just as there is a scientific method, there is a psychospiritual or pneumatic method, AKA verticalisthenic. This "critical posture" "implies the determination not to allow any element of the totality of truth to escape us."

Two attitudes are required, an "openness toward the reality of things" (o) and a kind of silence "at a level much more profound than so-called scientific objectivity" (---). This goes to Jesus' allusion to the "singleness of the eye which enables one's whole body to be filled with light."

Here again, the perception of an integrated cosmos is dependent upon a prior integration of the self. A psychotic or neurotic (or ideologically deranged) person perceives a fragmented cosmos because his own mind is fragmented. (Recall Schuon's comment about the relationship between totality and unicity.)

There are "an infinite number of ways in which we can close ourselves off from the world." In the book I used the pneumaticon (o) to symbolize the proper stance. This implies the existence of a counter-stance we might call (ø). Is there such a thing? Only since Genesis 3!

Often it consists of nothing more than "simple inattentiveness." Which implies that the loss of God often comes down to plain carelessness.

It is only too easy... to rest content with what we already know. But he who wishes to behold, and to continue to behold, the totality of things, lives in a perpetual expectation of new light. The truth is the whole, but we never see the whole of anything!

Nevertheless, we never stop trying, for we are open at the top.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Liberation (from reality) Theology

It's Friday, so time for... another rambling freeform post, I guess. Possibly very offensive material ahead, but it is what it is. I won't stop until I've offended and alienated every last reader!

Lest anyone think I'm bagging on Protestantism, first of all, I'm only bagging on Luther, who strikes me as a gold-plated madman. But let's give some equal time to Pope Francis, who, with all due respect, is some combination of crazy, stupid, ignorant, indifferent, and/or demonic.

I can say that because I'm not a formal member of the Church. Rather, I only love the Church -- especially the Nonlocal Church Triumphant, what with all those visible saints and hidden cluminaries who continue to enrich my life immeasurably, but also the true Church Militant consisting of local Christians "who struggle as soldiers of Christ against sin, the devil, and 'the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.'"

I can't help it. It's what I really think, especially after reading The Political Pope. Seriously: has there ever been a pope this loved by Christ's enemies and persecutors?

I can't vouch for the scholarship of the author, but he provides evidence that "liberation theology" was invented by the KGB, who even came up with the misleading name. It was an explicit attempt to infiltrate and influence the Church, to convert people to communism "through the judicious manipulation of religion," "the secret task of which was to incite Latin America's poor to rebel against the 'institutionalized violence of poverty' generated by the United States."

I still remember Pope John Paul confronting that Marxist priest on the tarmac in Nicaragua in 1983 and ripping him a new one: YOU MUST STRAIGHTEN OUT YOUR POSITION WITH THE CHURCH! Truly, the sainted Pope could hammer Francis with the identical words. Marxism or Christianity. It's one or the other, Padre.

For the record, I myself was probably at peak leftitude in 1983, so I very much sympathized with the chastened priest. I can't say I regarded John Paul the way I do Francis, because I wouldn't have thought of the former as demonic, just a reactionary malefactor steeped in magical thinking getting in the way of Progress.

Pope Benedict too "repeatedly warned the faithful to reject 'liberation theology,' a Marxist-inspired ideology disguised as concern for the poor..." But Francis is doing his best to rehabilitate this heresy, praising its "high concept of humanity," reinstating defrocked priests and condemned theologians, and appointing these purveyors of anti-Christian doctrine to important advisory positions.

Likewise, in reference to free market capitalism he tellingly deploys the left-wing smear of "trickle-down economics," and proclaims that "inequality is the root of all evil." He seems better suited to Occupy Wall Street than the Vatican.

Oh yeah, I remember. God punishes Adam and Eve because they trigger Him with loose talk about a natural right to private property. The snake puts it in Eve's ear that socialism is both false and unjust, and God responds by kicking them out of their Venezuelan paradise.

Beyond ironically, the actual origin of evil may be traced to "Satan's refusal to accept inequality." Satan rebels out of envy, as "he couldn't tolerate his lesser status." The mere existence of God is a wound to his narcissistic sense of entitlement.

There is nothing in the Commandments in praise of equality. Indeed, the first and fourth commandments mandate cosmic hierarchy and inequality (in reference to our local and nonlocal parents), while the ninth and tenth instruct the faithful to STRAIGHTEN OUT YOUR POSITION WITH ENVY! As in, STOP IT!

But as Churchill well knew, socialism is the ideology of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of ENVY. Gospel, mind you: ultimately the anti-gospel of the anti-Christ. And prior to its badness is its ignorance, in that "Being precedes Truth" and "Truth precedes the Good" (Pieper):

Truth, then, is the prerequisite of justice. Whoever rejects truth, whether natural or supernatural, is really 'wicked' and beyond conversion.... 'All laws and rules of conduct may ultimately be reduced to a single one: to truth.'

For the virtue of prudence resides in this: that the objective cognition of reality shall determine action; that the truth of real things shall become determinative.... This in turn necessitates that the egocentric 'interests' of man be silenced in order that he may perceive the truth of real things, and so that reality itself may guide him to the proper means for realizing his goal.

Oh, and covetousness "means more than the disorderly love of money and property." Rather, it includes "immoderate straining for all the possessions which man thinks are needed to assure his own importance and status," an "overriding concern for confirmation and security."

It reminds me of something Schuon says about how each assimilation of a truth results in a little death for the ego. Truth "is dependent upon the constant readiness to ignore the self," on "the limberness of real humility and objectivity" (Pieper).

The point is, moral action must be rooted in truth, i.e., an objective perception of reality. Now, socialism is very much a subjective perception of reality, which is to say, no reality at all. Look at Venezuela: it is what happens when passionately moral actions (giving those idiots the benefit of the doubt) are rooted in desire instead of truth. The roads built by the Good Intentions Paving Company travel in one direction only.

And if this book on Francis is correct, then he is one of them -- a member in good standing of the Socialist Church Militant. Fellow member Cornel West calls him "a gift from heaven." Talk about damning with fulsome praise.

Of course, I would love to be wrong. But it is difficult to conceive of a cosmos in which praise from the likes of Cornel West isn't a grave indictment.

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

Envy differs from the other vices by the ease with which it disguises itself as a virtue.

The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues.

There is no noble substitute for gratitude.

The error lies not in dreaming that secret gardens exist, but in dreaming they have doors. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms