Alternate Realities: Two Movies on One Screen

Some of the people Marc Maron interviews are interesting to listen to, but fairly regularly they will suddenly go off on some political tangent. He is a self-described neurotic who suffers from anxiety and dread as, seemingly, his main emotional states and tends to catastrophize. He has said that he truly expected Jews (like him) to be rounded up into camps by Trump. Never mind that Trump has Jews in his family and was very friendly to Israel during his presidency. The fact that no such thing happened he seems to regard as some kind of fluke.

Being Woke he regards as simply being “nice,” and considerate to the feelings of others. Somehow, extreme anti-white racism is not part of the picture for him. Jan. 6th participants getting years in jail for misdemeanors and trespassing, while Summer of Love rioters being instantly released. Recently, he asked a guest, “What is virtue signaling?” ???!!!!

I have mentioned this phenomenon before, but I am as astonished each time it happens, and it is the phenomenon of Woke leftists and the like convinced that they are on the back foot, back up against the wall, about to be swamped by “fascists” who is anybody who disagrees with them. Every person who deviates from the current party line, which changes all the time, is a threat to democracy and the return of Hitler. Maron and his guest, some actor called Bradley Whitford, ended the podcast unironically or apologetically referring to all us normies as fascists. Whitford quoted Margaret Atwood, that little darling, as saying that it’s fun to be a Nazi. Continue reading

The acts of the Church

Some Catholic-Jewish meeting was in the news years ago. It was the usual grovelfest: Catholics apologizing and cursing themselves for their unprovoked and unmitigated antisemitism, followed by Jews pronouncing this “not good enough” and demanding more aggressive repudiations of past generations and current doctrine. The Jews were particularly incensed by the Catholic claim that while individual Catholics, including clergy and popes, are sinners (indeed, abominably wicked), the Church herself is holy and sinless. Of course, both sides took the absolute sinlessness of the Jews, both individual and collective, for granted. The whole thing was depressingly predictable, but it raised an interesting question: can the Church sin?

The question has several aspects. First, we must distinguish acts attributable to individual Catholics from corporate acts of the Church. Among the latter, one might ask whether all or some can properly be called acts of Jesus Christ, since the Church is His body. Second, one must distinguish the question of whether a corporation such as the Church can behave unjustly from the question of whether it can sin, since the latter usually relates to the state of someone’s immortal soul. Furthermore, the case may be special for the Church, since while other corporations are persons only by legal fiction, the Church is a genuine spiritual reality that transcends her members.

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Beware the Groveling Life

“‘Southrons bow down,’ the Northmen say,
And tribute to us bring,
Fear ye the might we now display
And know us for your King
. . . . .
And ye may live that groveling life
The Northern poor now wear;
A long continued, struggling strife
’Twixt hope and wild despair.”

H.W.R. Jackson, Confederate Monitor (1862)*

Groveling is lying prone, face-down and prostrate.  The word is made of an Old Norse world grufe, face down, and the  stem ling that that we see in a word like sidling.  So just as sidling means to move to the side, groveling means to assume the prone, farce-down, or prostrate position. Continue reading

Sacred Places, a Video

I have been teaching a course in Cultural Geography each fall semester since Methuselah was sucking on his teething ring. This semester I am converting it into what is call a “flipped” course in which the material formerly delivered in a lecture is delivered in a video, and class meetings are given to discussion. We began with videos on the concept of culture and are now applying that concept to the geographical concept of landscape. We just finished three videos / discussions on culture in ordinary landscapes and are now beginning a series of three videos / discussions on extraordinary, symbolic landscapes. I’ve just finished the first of these on sacred places, and have linked it here for those who are interested. Remember that this was made for an undergraduate class in cultural geography, but it is not a travelogue of temples, churches and shrines. I try to explain the semiotics and sacramental theology of sacred places. This is not a video of me giving a lecture, so you need feel no apprehension about that, and it’s only about half an hour long.

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Our Captain’s Name is Ahab: An Endorsement of Anton’s Latest

“He’s a grand, ungodly, god-like man, Captain Ahab . . . . Ahab’s been in colleges, as well as ‘mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders than the waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier, stranger foes than whales . . . . He’s Ahab, boy; and Ahab of old, thou knowest, was a crowned king.” 

Herman Melville, Moby Dick, or, the Whale (1851)

“And . . . Ahab the son of Omri [began] to reign over Israel . . . And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.  And it came to pass . . . that he took to wife Jezebel . . . and went and served Baal, and worshipped him . . . and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”

1 Kings 16: 29-33

I recommend reading the text of a recent address by the always-readable political scientist Michael Anton, since it speaks to the questions of authority and obedience that have lately stirred the placid waters of the Orthosphere.  It also speaks to the deeper question of what Bruce Charlton has taught some of us to call Sorathic evil, the spirit of destruction that is so unbridled and absolute that it includes self-destruction.  We are seamen on a doomed ship and our captain is none other than Ahab.

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In defense of conservative authoritarianism

Some commenters are saying that the conservative veneration of authority is mere nostalgia, an outdated model of society, or even anti-Christian. I strenuously disagree-authority is a core category of the social world, and its moral quality cannot be understood without it. However, it must be properly understood. In particular, it must be clear in what sort of social analysis one is engaged when one speaks of authority.

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Authority and the “Judgment of this World”

“Now is the judgement of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”

John 12: 31

“The one essential condition of human existence is that man should always be able to bow down before something infinitely great.” 

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons  (1872)

None of those who disagreed with Scoot’s recent post are what St. Paul calls “children of disobedience.”  They are sinners, no doubt, to a man; but St. Paul’s “children of disobedience” do not merely sin.  They sin without guilt because men have blinded them to sin with “vain words.”  The children of disobedience therefore call “fornication” love, “covetousness” ambition.”  “Filthiness” and “foolish talk” they approve as  unpretentious.  When they sit down to sup and swill with a “whoremonger” or “unclean person,” the “children of disobedience” congratulate themselves for their liberal toleration (Ephesians 5: 1-7).

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“The Matter With Things” and rewrite of Determinists Strike Back Part 3

I asked the editor of Voegelinview to attain a copy of The Matter With Things by Iain McGilchrist to review many months ago. The publishers provided the two very heavy, nicely bound, dust jacketed volumes with illustrations that cost over 40 pounds to ship from England. It is a 1700 page work and has taken me at least four months reading and taking notes for between two and three hours a day to complete. That is the main reason for my recent silence at the Orthosphere lately.

I have done a major rewrite of Determinists Strike Back Part 3.

Determinists Strike Back, Part 3

Robot Philosopher serves as a textbook example of the kind of thinking that McGilchrist is criticizing. It was quite strange at times to go from The Matter With Things to reading and responding to RP’s trolling over the summer.

Thanks to Max Leyf to alerting me to this major follow up to McGilchrist’s important The Mastery and His Emissary. It is important enough, in my mind, that both my Introduction to Ethics and Introduction to Philosophy students have to read my summary of it.

I expect to start producing articles/book reviews based on The Matter With Things at some point.

Stray Thoughts With Some Salacity

“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

President Joe Biden, “City of Brotherly Love Address” (September 1, 2022)

“‘I’ve stopped going to sex parties,’ he said, given that public health authorities identified such gatherings of men as major monkeypox risk factors. ‘I also stopped having sex with people who live off their OnlyFans. I additionally stopped cruising at the gym, I did not continue to go to Fire Island, and I stopped attending orgies.'”

Rojas quoted in Benjamin Ryan, “How Monkeypox Spoiled Gay Men’s Plans for an Invincible Summer,” NBC News (September 2, 2022)

If an American has a natural right to kill and discard an unwanted fetus, no forces—not even MAGA forces—can take that natural right away.  They can prevent its exercise, but a natural right remains.  The same can be said of the rights to “privacy,” “contraception,” and marrying whomever one pleases, if these are, indeed, natural rights.  But if they are mere inventions of law . . .

The Lord giveth and taketh away—and likewise the Legislature.

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