Lost in Self-logos

 

Thus, in the conception of Humanity, the three essential aspects of Positivism, its subjective principle, its objective dogma, and its practical object, are united. Towards Humanity, who is for us the only true Great Being, we, the conscious elements of whom she is composed, shall henceforth direct every aspect of our life, individual or collective. Our thoughts will be devoted to the knowledge of Humanity, our affections to her love, our actions to her service. -Auguste Comte, A General View of Positivism [1848]

 

Mankind learned centuries ago, by the efforts of men like Polish astronomer Copernicus, that we do not exist in a geocentric universe. Now, according to some physicists, mankind is at the center of the cosmos. In order to avoid a Creator scenario, these scientists promote the anthropic theory:  the reason for the perfectly-tuned universe, for its fundamental physical constants, and the reason why things exist as they are on earth is that human existence required it. To support this theory, they posit a multiverse scenario with infinite trials and errors until man could exist.

Amir Aczel, PH. D., in his book Why Science Does Not Disprove God, describes some physicists’ viewpoint:

…if we are here, and the parameters need to be perfectly chosen for us to be here, then surely there must be infinitely many other places where parameters are wrong. We are here because we can only live where the parameters are right for our existence.

Now, I have no issue with the possibility of multiverses. But as Dr. Aczel writes, the proposed multiverse-as-cause theory to replace the creation narrative offers no mechanism to create the multiverses. The theory proposes an infinite number of somehow existing parameters doing something over and over infinitely many times to finally ‘create’ the perfect conditions for a habitable zone. Dr. Aczel goes on to state, “The anthropic theory is the weakest route to the multiverse.” As I see it, the theory has no mechanism for merit other than those who promote a God-less universe. The theory is basically one of effect with no Ultimate Cause. It is a theory of chance which says man is the reason for his existence.

Man-centered philosophical endorsement would come from the likes of Nietzsche. His “God is dead” rejection of Christian values was a push for mankind to move beyond good and evil and to loving necessity. One is therefore to live with uncertainty as a “superman”, above and center of it all. From the mighty-warrior Nimrod to Wagnerian heroes to the present FX-ed generated superheroes versions of Nietzsche’s “superman” have been around since the Garden. The “superman” notion is akin to Darwin’s theory natural selection and the survival of the fittest. In Nietzschean terms, What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

Social scientists place man at the center of the universe. Since Adam and Eve’s forced exit from the Garden of Eden, man, it seems to me, has always struggled to reclaim the Garden. Many seek to create a Garden Utopia through a relentless and self-directed improvement of the species. Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species supplies the process: selection, struggle, favored, preservation. Engels and Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and MaoTse-tung used Darwin’s theory of natural selection as justification for their “class struggle” political and economic theories. Millions have been imprisoned and slaughtered under the banner of “class struggle”. Strands of this ‘societal improvement’ is behind the current humanist thinking which is now being promulgated systematically by the Progressive Element. For Progressives, the social multiverses are the identity-centered tribes they select and deem struggling and require favored status and preservation.

Man, as the principle cause and logos of the universe, creates his own values. Thus, the religion of humanity. Secular humanitarianism is the tie that binds the Progressive Element: atheists, agnostics, deists, social Darwinists and those who buy into sentimental Christianity for the sake of progress. The creation of man-as-logos values produces a querulous society of competing values, hence the culture wars. Amorphous and relativistic values are promoted under the high-sounding and ambiguous rubric of “social justice”. Individualism is turned inward toward self-centered anodyne interest to be protected by “rights”. Progressivism inverts The Second Commandment: “love me as you love yourself”.

Vying for special status, groups call themselves “marginalized” and “victims”. This self-centered push for center stage drives identity politics: self-designated victims ‘struggling’ to ‘survive’ require ‘protection’ (rights). “I’ll make you care about what I care about – me” is the right to impose myself on others and call it “social justice”. Man, as logos, defines the impetus of the “social justice warrior:  resentment disguised as compassion which drives the will to power.

Resentment? Life is not easy to begin with. The arbitrariness of life and the forces beyond our control fuel resentment when contemplated in the context of others. Resentment leads to claiming that one’s gender or sexual proclivity or income status or healthcare as being victimized by others. Such a worldview, one without meaning except for self and necessity and a belief that relationships are defined by power, breeds contempt for those having some perceived advantage. Hence, the demand for societal and economic reparations and at any cost to others. Resentment is fueled by zero-sum thinking: one does not have because someone else has.

Resentment disguised as compassion? Man, as logos, wants to be seen as a self-justified humanitarian. Virtue signaling accomplishes that while being resentful at the same time. It is no-cost faux-altruism intended to make one appear empathetic and compassionate without appearing resentful except for those who question their virtue signaling. This is underneath the self-righteous clamor for the right of universal healthcare, of potable water, of inclusion, diversity, equity and the host of arbitrary self-placating categories.

Resentment disguised as compassion which drives the will to power? In an age that is increasingly nihilistic, power has become the transcendent meaning to life. And once you believe that relationships are defined by power you exercise the will to power to subjugate others to the relationships you desire. The exercise of the will to power implements mental-conditioning of its subjects, hence the revision of language and of history, to fit the narrative. The power to create one’s own truth is what is desired.

The best way to sum this mash of words is with the clarity of two Scripture readings from today. The first relates the man-as-logos worldview. The second reading describes those who are Logos centered.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son was the gospel reading for today: Luke 15: 11-32. The would-be Prodigal Son demands his rights (inheritance) from his father. The son considers his father dead to him. The father transfers assets over to his son. His son turns his shares into cash as he sells the property his father had accumulated over time through the father’s effort. The universe of one departs with his values and his will to power. He’s off to a distant land, far from the logos he knows. He leaves behind his father and the remaining older son to pick up his portion of work.

A lifestyle of nihilistic (sever famine) and sensate pleasure (self-directed compassion) has him eating slop in a pig sty. He’s sees that he is just another animal. His humanism ran out of money. He returns to his senses and heads home. His father sees his son a long way off and runs to meet him. The prodigal repents and the father rejoices in his return from the distant land of self. There is a celebration for the son who was lost but is found … alive. They are reconciled. But the brother has a growing resentment disguised as compassion for his father (“I’ve been slaving for you all these years!”) which drives his will to power to up his rights. He feels his rights, his pride of place, is diminished by his brother’s return and the father showering him with a wealth of unintended consequences.

The second reading is from the Epistles: 2 Corinthians 5: 16- 17. Paul writes about a Logos worldview that sees humanity from a kingdom perspective. He writes what the Prodigal experiences when he returns to the Logos and what the other brother claims as his right to experience.

From this moment on, therefore, we don’t regard anybody from a merely human point of view. Even if we once regarded the Messiah that way, we don’t do so any longer. Thus, if any man is in the Messiah, there is a new creation! Old things have gone, and look – everything has become new!

 

 

~~~

I recommend reading The Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis for insight into humanism.

Tenured Radicals, Circa 1990

“Imagine” Juxtaposed

Previous posts attempted to expose the Epicurean influence on modernity: the exclusion of God from the garden of good and evil and replaced with Darwinian materialism under the influence of man-made reasoning: “cogito ergo sum”.

The posts also revealed the inclusion of ‘reasoned’ or ‘rational’ people into the high-horse club of scientism. This exclusive club is governed by those who have the power, perhaps the raison d’état, to control the inputs and outputs of desired ‘truth’. “What is truth?” Pilate asked (when he thought he had the force of the whole Roman empire to define it.)

As I wryly mentioned in my previous posts the above either/or, God/science dichotomy came, at first, philosophically, from what I call Epicurus’ “High-Horse” Mal-ware. This mal-ware has since been downloaded over the centuries into each century’s modern man’s psyche. The devastating effect of the Mal-ware was to disable the AND gate of your truth tables. It was not to be used in queries.

Now, like the historically recorded scene of two thieves each hanging on cross with Jesus hanging between them, I offer a similar juxtaposition of two end results, two disparate “Imagines”.

One “Imagine” is Epicurean, God dismissed, materialistic, nihilistic and personified in the likes of former atheist Christopher Hitchens, materialist Barack Obama and fatalist Beatle John Lennon:

 The other “Imagine” is God-inclusive. Here, God is the nucleus, the epicenter of being and meaning. Here, God and science coexist as Lion and lamb, creation being the sublime work of His hands, His signature found in the molded clay.

God’s Kingdom, now begun on earth, has become a dwelling place for all who see His light and follow it. True reality is made known to His followers by the Holy Spirit. The earthly spectrum of sodium street lights, of tungsten lights, of neon lights, of mercury lights, of halogen lights, of xenon lights, lights all of which enable us to see our way on earth are sourced from the Prism of Eternal Light.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis

At His appearance we will then know Him as He knows us. That Eternal Light you see is Love, not short-lived Epicurean fireworks and party favors. 

 

Footnote: The above song by MercyMe was played during my son’s funeral service, about fourteen years ago. Justin was eighteen when the Lord took him home in a freak car accident. The police reported that it was a clear, sunny and dry day in Texas as Justin drove down a frontage road and lost control of the car. No other cars were involved. No drugs or alcohol were involved according to the Police report.

 Justin had recently graduated from high school. The afternoon of his death he was driving back from his girlfriend’s house. We don’t know why this happened. We just know that we will see him again and this is not final. The Joy that only God’s True Love can give replaced the deepest loss I have ever experienced.  Physics caused the physical death. But, Justin lives on.

 Sure there is pain, loss and evil in the world. But God is greater than any of these, if you let Him be God in your life.

Hearts of Darkness

At night, when all the world’s asleep,
the questions run so deep
for such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please
tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am.

 

The Logical Song by Supertramp

 

 the evil one at computer

This post hopes to give insight into another malignant outgrowth of evil ~ a sub-culture collective of hive minded individuals wreaking havoc today, even now as you read your computer screen.

 The collective connects daily, almost constantly. When doing so each member hides behind a pseudonym ‘mask.’ And, from their text exchanges it appears that the collective meets to recharge each their own narcissistic-self-image and sense of power. Beyond this the colony gathers in groupthink to plot attacks on unsuspecting victims and for the “lulz.”

 VPNs or Virtual Private Networks hide an IP address. The VPN provides a false internet identity and a remote physical location. This ‘obscuring’ allows “tunneling” to another computer secretly. VPNs are used by “black hat” hackers and “white hat” hackers (good guys who root out the “black hat” hackers). Businesses will also use VPNs for employees to use their work computers at home.

It is within the ‘protection’ of purposely opaque cyber secrecy that each member of the collective learns from each other as to how to deceive, how to DDoS (.a Distributed Denial of Service website attack), how to “social engineer” their way into people’s privacy and other online vigilantism.

 The members will go on to use their ‘hands-on’ knowledge to infiltrate private property and to disperse it under a pretense of a self-satisfactory justice. Reputations of their victims are destroyed (called “life ruins”) along the way.

 This collective doesn’t gather in a material space. Instead each cyber participant from their usually darkened domicile meets in the backwaters of chat rooms, bulletin boards and cyber channels, otherwise known as the noosphere. The collective can be called several names, depending on who is writing about the group: “hacktivists”, the “Antisec movement”, “AnonOps”, “LulzSec”, “Anonymous”.

 The background for this post comes primarily from a recently published book. I have quoted extensive passages so as to provide a third party description of this malignancy.

 We Are Anonymous: Inside the World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency authored by Parmy Olson, a Forbes magazine writer, reveals the dark side of the cyber world of pranksters, identity thieves and the mostly 15-30 year-old guys who do nothing but spend their days and nights in front of an computer screen causing others harm. They will act individually or as a quickly assembled hive of hacktivists.

 One individual prankster named in the book is a guy named William.

 As related, William would hack into a person’s Facebook account after ‘socially manipulating’ his victim to handover passwords. He would then go on to embarrass, terrorize and deface his victim with the information found on the victim’s social media site. And, if William didn’t find enough of what he needed to terrorize his victim he would then “social engineer” (manipulate them using lies and flattery) the person and use their personal info found on the Facebook page. William spoke to Parmy about the process:

From page 377:

William: “We split up boyfriends and girlfriends and appalled many people’s mothers,“ (my note: After having gained his victim’s confidence William would extort pornographic photos from his victim. He would then show them to the victim’s parents) William remembered. “That’s one of the bits I enjoy more. Sending a picture of someone’s c__k to their mum. The idea of it happening to me is so unimaginably embarrassing it makes me laugh.”

Parmy talking about William, pages 377, 378: What he loved doing even more, from the time he’d begun pedo-baiting, at fifteen, was getting another man online highly aroused and then suddenly dousing the moment with the threat of exposure to family and friends or police… Hacking into people’s Facebook accounts wasn’t exactly life-altering, but he got a buzz from knowing that at least for a moment, his victims felt the lives crumbling around them.

William: “…That’s all I want from 4chan. I want something that’s going to leave me not depressed and give me something to focus on. And it’s fun to make someone feel that awful from a distance. I could never do that face to face.”

 William spent the next few nights keeping hold of Selena’s credential’s, meeting his new Facebook group of /b/ pranksters, and terrorizing people on Serena’s social network, including posting comments on the photos of her female friends and calling them fat…

 This was how William liked to cause a stir. Not by entertaining an audience of thousands on Twitter, like Topiary did, but by embarrassing others to entertain himself. Still, there were things that William and Topiary had in common, not least that both had found Anonymous through 4chan. (my note: Topiary is the online name for Jake Davis).

~~~~

 One day William and Jake meet for lunch. Parmy records their conversation.  Jake is wearing an ankle bracelet. He had been arrested and brought to London for his hacking crimes. He is out on bail.

 The telling conversation of the two previously Anonymous hackers now meeting face to face began slowly, but eventually “the two started talking about Anonymous and how it had changed them.”

~~~

From the book (page 381):

“It’s made me a more extreme version of myself,” William said. “I used to sleep badly. Now I sleep terribly. I used to be sarcastic; now I can be an a__hole.” He didn’t just “like “tormenting people; he loved it. He didn’t just “like” porn; he looked at it every day. “None of this bothers me, he added. “I don’t care about anything.” William had said in the past that he had no moral code; everything was case by case, his decisions based on gut reaction. Earnest Hemingway had said it best: “What is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

 Jake was nodding. “I have to agree with all of that, “he said. It desensitized me.”Acting out with crowds of people on the Internet had created a detachment from reality and a sense of obliviousness to certain consequences. Anonymous did bad things, but its members were not bad people, per se.” (emphasis mine)

~~~

 Parmy records the conversation of the two amoral hacktivists, from pages 381, 382:

There was a common misconception about the lack of morals on /b/ and in Anonymous. “It doesn’t mean you do bad things,” said William. “It just means there’s no rules. We don’t revert to being bastards at every opportunity.”

“It’s also nice to just be nice,” Jake added.

Many of the /b/’s most hard core users, like William, didn’t care about jobs, family, or life’s typical milestone events. Both Jake and William relished the idea of living a life that had no impact on real people.”…

“To have as little impact on anywhere as possible is a really appealing thought, which is like never being born, “said Jake. No legitimate home, no name on a piece of government paper, no fingerprints. To be nameless, with no identity, not bogged down by any system but to “lightly live everywhere” was something they both craved in life.”

Did that craving come from what they’d experienced with Anonymous: vandalizing things often with little consequence?”…

(page 384) Did either of them ever feel like he had been manipulated by Anonymous?

“Not at all,” said William.

 Jake looked down for a moment, then answered. “Not manipulated, but influenced, he said. “When you’re in a mob mentality with lots of others. You have a ‘mob extreme’ version of yourself too, this one, unified mind-set where you don’t care that anything exists and you want to wreck something.” William was nodding now.”

 “I’ve said no but the mob things rings true, “he said. The issue of mental health meant a lot to him personally, but sometimes he’d see a thread on /b/ where the original poster has said, “I’m really depressed and want to kill myself.” If the thread’s participants leaned toward telling him to commit suicide, William would join in, posting a picture of a can of cyanide and reminding the OP to do it properly. “Which is something I don’t even believe. I don’t want people to die, but”~ he shrugged ~ “it’s something to write and something to do.” (Emphasis mine)

 Of course, both William and Jake had done their fair share of (social) manipulating too….”

~~~

 Talking about the younger “goombie” users and newfags on 4chan, William goes on to tell Jake his thoughts (page 384):

 “They want to think the world is against them so there’s something to justify their angst,” he said That’s why it was almost easy to get people to join the revolution I Anonymous. “you can just make stuff up [about government or corporate corruption] and they buy it.” To write a rousing post on /b/, for instance, you just needed to write in a way that appeal to the Anon crowd, using linguistic devices like alliteration, repetition, sound bytes, and dramatic words like injustice, oppression, and downtrodden to describe corporations and governments, and justice, freedom and uprising when referring to Anonymous.”… (emphasis mine)

~~~

From page 385:  …Jake was nodding again. If you knew how to communicate with the Anons, sometimes you could direct them. “It’s just so easy, “he said.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I purposefully quoted whole passages so that you could get insight into the depths of the nihilism, decadence, despair and boredom of this horrific self-destructive-neighbor-destructive behavior. You should read the book to get the full effect. The book has a useful Glossary of terms coined by the collective.

 For me the book was a difficult read because I know how good and wholesome life can be outside of yourself, outside of groupthink.

 This type of collective evil has gripped so many young lives. And, suicide is one of the Evil One’s ‘escapes.’ from the dreariness of life in the dark. 

If your son (let’s talk specifics) spends all his time in his room with the curtains shut, door locked and his computer on then it is time for an intervention. Moral relativism from the “noosphere” is what is feeding his soul. The Evil One or one of his emissaries is close at hand, looking over his shoulder, suggesting things that are inordinate, evil.

 Regarding “social justice” as just cause to take the law into your own hands…

 Anthony Daniels an English writer and retired prison doctor and psychiatrist once said:  “Moral relativism can easily be a trick of an egotistical mind to silence the voice of conscience.”

 ~~~~~~ 

The Age of Enlightenment pushed reason onto the scene. But reason and its subset, – controlled data from human sensory experience – without revelation – an outside source of Enlightenment with its subset of moral absolutes – turns life in on itself where it finds the deep dark well of nihilism. When that occurs one finds that there is no rational meaning to life beyond one’s fleeting existential thoughts and feelings or the “lulz,” we give it. And, in a way, “lulz” is a variant of Münchausen syndrome: Anons develop grandiose facetious exploits for the sake of a vast amounts of immediate attention satisfaction, an emo-sensory spike.

 “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

The Gospel according to John: 8:12

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Note: I did not write about the Anons use of DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service~basically, slamming a website with spam so that it cannot be accessed) and LOIC (low orbit ion cannon~basically, another DDOS ‘weapon’). These exploits, corporate and government hacking and their destruction of public safety and personal privacy are not something I would ever promote. These and other nefarious cyber attacks are documented in Parmy’s enlightening book.

 As mentioned in the book, this collective of people did these things mostly for the Lulz for ‘kicks’. Here’s Parmy’s definition: “An alteration of LOL (laugh out loud), this term is thought to have first appeared on an Internet Relay Chat network in 2003 in reaction to something funny. It now refers to the enjoyment felt after pursuing a prank or online disruption that leads to someone else’s embarrassment.”

 I hope to keep you informed and updated about hacking activity, ‘safe’ computing.  Keep checking this post for updates as I become aware of them.

8/6/2014:  Russian hackers: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/technology/russian-gang-said-to-amass-more-than-a-billion-stolen-internet-credentials.html?_r=1

8/9/2014:  I’ll offer.  You read and decide.  I have used TrendMicro’s web security free scanning download – this scan has be used by many>> Cryptolocker GOZeuS

 8/9/2014: Danger, Will Robinson and the rest of you earthlings!! Be vary, vary wary of anyone who comments on your Facebook page and/or blog and is flattering. They may appear as someone you know. If so, verify the comment in a separate email to the  person that you do know. (Blame me if the person gets upset.)  Danger, too, when someone comments on things that do no relate at all to what is on your Facebook page or to what’s on your blog. These ‘guys’ want to connect with you in order to download malware “bots” onto your computer and worse….Hit “DELETE” immediately!!!

8/9/2014: I recently received an email from ~ Subject: “Attorney “so & so” has a legal matter to discuss with you. Respond Immediately or the judge may issue a default judgment in our favor.” Don’t buy it!! A real attorney will send you a certified letter notifying you of any legal matter concerning you. Do not open the email!!!  Hit “DELETE” immediately!!!

8/11/2014 : Social Networking Safely Awareness Newsletter:

Saving Leonardo and Modern Man From Himself

dual mindHave you read Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals & Meaning by Nancy Pearcey, B & H Publishing Group, Copyright 2010?  

It has been a while, 2010 actually, since I read this Christian-perspective-of-culture concordance. A certain blog post triggered a memory redux of Saving Leonardo.

The Christian author Nancy Pearcey writes about the dualism behind modern man’s worldview.  Her book informs us as to how secularism emerged to be a prominent worldview. She also tells us how she sees that worldview affecting us, destroying our culture.  Her desire in writing this book is to make every Christian knowledgeable and aware, prepared to take on the current secular worldview:

“A worldview approach enables Christians to move beyond merely denouncing social ills such as abortion, which can sound harsh, angry and judgmental.  And, it equips them to demonstrate positively that biblical wisdom leads to a just and humane society.  Protests and placards are not enough.  To be strategically effective in protecting human dignity, we need to get behind the slogans and uncover the secular worldviews that shape people’s thinking.”

For starters there is this curious quote at the front of the book and the only reference to book’s title reference, Leonard da Vinci, that I could find aside from a section titled “Da Vinici versus Degas” (regrettably, there is no index at the back of the book):

Leonardo da Vinci

Hence the anguish and the innermost tragedy of this universal man, divided between his irreconcilable worlds.

(Giovanni Gentile, Leonardo’s Thought)

I’m not sure why Pearcey chose Giovanni Gentile’s quote to provide the “Forward” for her book about modern man’s dualistic thinking.  Giovanni Gentile was known at one time as the official philosopher of Fascism in Italy.  His theories contained rejection of individualism, acceptance of collectivism, with the state as the ultimate location of authority and loyalty to which the individual found in the conception of individuality no meaning outside the state (which in turn justified totalitarianism). Wow! In essence Giovanni Gentile didn’t believe a person could have a thought of his own apart from the state. 

In any case, as a student of art, music, literature and science as well as some philosophy and a good bit of theology and being something of a Leonardo da Vinci/Sherlock Holmes type that I am, this book, found on a table in a local book store, caught my eye.

Nancy Pearcey studied under Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland. She begins her book by referring to a simile Schaeffer used to describe modern manShe writes:

“Using the metaphor of a building, he (Schaeffer) warned that truth had been split into two stories.  The lower story consists of scientific facts, which are held to be empirically testable and universally valid. The upper story includes things like morality, theology, and aesthetics, which are now regarded as subjective and culturally relative. Essentially the upper story became a convenient dumping ground for anything that the empiricist world view did not recognize as real.  Schaeffer used a simple graphic, which we can adapt like this:

The two-story concept of truth

Values

Private, subjective, relative

Facts

Public, objective, universal

This dichotomy has grown so pervasive that most people do not even recognize they hold it.  It has become part of the cultural air we breathe. Consider two prominent examples:

Martin Luther King Jr. ~ “Science deal mainly with facts; religion deals with mainly values.”

Albert Einstein ~ “Science yields facts but not “value judgments”; religion expresses values but cannot “speak of facts.””

As you are well aware by the verbal sparks flying everywhere around us, the dichotomy within our own honed thinking as it engages with others with their hardened dichotomy is like steel striking a flint rock. Truly, the fact/value split has inflicted great damage to our culture.  It clearly affects the worlds of politics, education, religion and societal norms such as marriage.  Saving Leonardo is a good place to begin your research into how we as a culture came to be this way.

Saving Leonardo gives the reader an overview of the history behind modern man’s fact/value split (shown above as the “lower story” and the “upper story.”).  The book presents the two basic worldviews that are prevalent today: Continental and Analytic. These two streams are manifested throughout today’s culture via art, music, literature, movies, politics, education, law, sexual mores, societal institutions and pop culture.

Pearcey uses the following descriptive dichotomies to describe our evolved mindsets:

Facts/Values
Box of Things/ box of the mind
Machine/ghost (Descartes)
Nature/Freedom (Kant)
Formalism/expressionism
Mind (autonomous self)/body (biochemical machine) or in toto, the Liberal view of the human being
Imaginative truth (art)/rational truth (deterministic world of science)

In discussing the Continental worldview Pearcey notes that there are the schools of idealism, Marxism, phenomenology, existentialism, postmodernism and deconstructionism.

The Analytic worldview stream, she says, holds empiricism, rationalism, materialism, naturalism, logical positivism and linguistic analysis.

In comparing the two worldviews John Stuart Mill is quoted: “the antagonism already separating the two traditions: The lower story, with its materialism, “is accused of making men beasts” while the upper story, with its irrationalism, is accused of making men lunatics.”

Pearcey notes that culture has reflected the dueling mindsets since their inception during the age of Enlightenment. Artists, composers, writers, dramatists and producers have portrayed the philosophies of their day through their art. Saving Leonardo gives prominent examples of those creative forces that have either mirrored the prevailing thought or who have worked to oppose it.

In brief, you will encounter Hemingway, London, Huxley, Hegel, Duchamp, Picasso, Kandinsky, Darwin, Nihilism, Abstract expressionism, Christian realism, John Cage and a host of others – philosophers, painters, composers and writers who influenced culture from where they stood in the house: the upper story or the lower story.

As an example of the constant interplay between dueling mindsets, the split in thinking, as shown below, shows how those of the Romantic period tried to view their ‘art’ as separate and above the newly arrived scientific fact proposed by Darwinism:

The Romantics’ two-story of truth

Imaginative truth

Creative World (Art)

Rational truth

Deterministic world (Science)

Within a Christian worldview there is no need whatsoever to divide man’s thinking into separate spheres such as spiritual fact versus science or materialism.  A Christian man or woman who is whole is a romantic-rationalist.  One very good example of such a person would be the Christian apologist and fantasy writer C.S. Lewis. Lewis, as revealed by his writing and talks, had integrated the upper and lower stories.

 Pearcey, in the section C.S. Lewis: We Can’t All Be Right, quotes Lewis:

“The Christian and the Materialist hold different views about the universe.  They can’t be both right.  The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe.”

(Little wonder that homosexuality is given credence in our culture.)

Saving Leonardo is good starting point for further research.  It will certainly pique your interest when the dots start to connect to form our deformed culture right before your eyes.

End thoughts:  Unlike Pearcey I do not have an issue with modern music or with modern art.  I find them both to be revealing and stimulating each in their own way. 

Jazz is not mentioned in this book, as best I can recall.  This is a shame. I hear jazz as a very human and creative outlet within our world. I find it rather strange that the author never mentions the spontaneity, sonority and musical improvisation of jazz. I love Bach and Shostakovich and Henryk Górecki. But I also listen to Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk and Wynton Marsalis.

I also listen to the Blues:  Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, et al. My tastes in music, art and literature run eclectic.

I certainly don’t agree with the author that art has to have unifying narrative to be of value.  One of the earliest painters I connected with was Jackson Pollack.  I remember seeing a painting of his in a Life magazine article and then later at the Art Institute in Chicago. This was a time back in my junior high school days. 

Jackson’s drip paintings reminded me of a brain’s neural network being charged with emotion. Perhaps, his paintings are a one-nanosecond glimpse of a much larger narrative. In any case, art is something you can take or leave as you see fit based on your own life narrative.

There will be places in the book where you will take issue with her opinions, just I did (see below).  This is good.  Find out why you agree or disagree with her. I urge you to become knowledgeable about the current world view encircling you by reading this book. Form your own Christian-romantic-rationalist worldview to withstand secularism’s pressures.

Nancy Peacey pushes for there to be narrative and a teleological basis to paintings, music and literature.  Again, I disagree about the need for narratives.

There will be times of narrative and Newtonian Classical Physics and Bach and Norman Rockwell and Shakespeare and Charlotte Brontë where cause and effect and resolution are clearly known.  There will also be times of seeming disarray and unknowns and lack of resolution as in Quantum Physics and the music of György Ligeti, John Cage and Schoenberg and the paintings of Picasso and Jackson Pollock and the poems of Jack Kerouac.  We need both. As creators, though, we are all teleologically dependent whether we like it or not.  Intelligent design is baked into the pottery.

Jackson Pollock No 28

Jackson Pollock – No.28, 1950. Enamel on canvas

 In the final words of the book Pearcey encourages parents to not push their kids into being conservative (keeping things as they are).  Rather, she encourages parents to push for “revolutionary” children.

Like the “Forward” quote source I find this curious. From my reading of Saving Leonardo, there seems to be no direct context given for defining her word “revolutionary”.  Perhaps she means being an ‘out-side-the-box’ artist, composer or writer.  Apparently she hasn’t read Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood.

 *******

Point of contention with the book:

The book is divided into two main parts: The Threat of Global Secularism and Two Paths to Secularism. As a side note I became particularly interested in Chapter Three of the book’s Part One. The title of Chapter Three: Sex, Lies and Secularism.

In this section of Chapter Three “Hooking up, Feeling Down” Pearcey begins “Let’s move to the most contentious sexual issues of our day such as homosexuality, transgenderism and the hook-up culture.” She then goes on to say that having an understanding of the two-story dualism of modern thinking will help the Christian in providing a holistic biblical alternative.

Because of her shotgun approach of scoping transgenderism in the same sights as homosexuality, Pearcey does, I believe, relegate transgenderism to be on par morally with acting out homosexually and one-night stand sexuality. I would state emphatically here that transgenderism by definition is not about acting out sexually. Transgenderism is not equal to homosexuality whether as a sexual issue or a gender issue. It IS about gender identity/gender dysphoria and seeking to become a whole person ~ a romantic rationalist.  Or, to describe it using her term, it’s being “revolutionary.”

Further information about transgenderism:

 The Transgender Moment

A ‘Naturalized’ Woman

The Church and Gender

Other ‘related’ dichotomies: Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” Pirsig’s distinction between the “classical” and the “romantic” view is conceptually analogous to Thomas Sowell’s distinction between the constrained and unconstrained visions in “A Conflict of Visions”

Pretense, Part 2: The World Has Become a Jerry Springer Show

The following short article was written six years ago.  Read it and take a look around today. What do you see?

Theodore Dalrymple
Law Isn’t Enough

City Journal, Autumn 2005

Recently in London a correspondent of a left-liberal Dutch newspaper interviewed me, a decent, civilized sort—one of us, in short. I am sure that he brought up his children to say please and thank you, probably in several languages.

He asked me why I had chosen recently to move from England to France. I said that I thought France was a decade or two behind Britain in cultural decline. It had maintained certain standards a little better than Britain—though, I added, I could see that it was heading in the same direction.

He asked me what evidence I had for my claim. Well, I replied, crime in France was approaching British levels; in some places, it was even worse, at least for serious crimes of violence.

Another straw in the wind was the rising number of tattooed and pierced young people on view, as well as tattoo and piercing parlors. Ten years ago, you hardly ever saw a tattooed person in France: now they are everywhere. The small and ancient town, solidly bourgeois, near where I live has such a parlor, purveying savage kitsch to young fools. Le Monde published a little while back a profile of the acclaimed French writer Ann Scott, whose work makes Baudelaire’s seem a bit like that of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Scott has a large and prominent tattoo of a swallow on her neck. Critics claim that her latest book, describing heroin addiction and lesbian love, has a terrible beauty, as well as near-emetic properties.

The correspondent asked me: what was wrong with tattooing, if that was how people wanted to adorn themselves?

I asked him whether he would have himself tattooed—whether he would be happy if his teenaged children had themselves tattooed—and if not, why not? After all, if he would not like it, he must have some inner objection to tattooing.

True, he said, but tattooing was not illegal. And since even I, who deprecated it, did not think that it should be illegal, there was nothing further to say about it. If tattooing was legal, it was thus of no social, moral, or cultural significance.

I tried to point out some of the cultural meanings of the vogue for tattooing. First, it was aesthetically worse than worthless. Tattoos were always kitsch, implying not only the absence of taste but the presence of dishonest emotion.

Second, the vogue represented a desperate (and rather sad) attempt on a mass scale to achieve individuality and character by means of mere adornment, which implied both intellectual vacuity and unhealthy self-absorption.

And third, it represented mass downward cultural and social aspiration, since everyone understood that tattooing had a traditional association with low social class and, above all, with aggression and criminality. It was, in effect, a visible symbol of the greatest, though totally ersatz, virtue of our time: an inclusive unwillingness to make judgments of morality or value.

But the correspondent’s premise that the legality of an act was the sole criterion by which one could or should judge it chilled me. It is a sinister premise. It makes the legislature the complete arbiter of manners and morals, and thus accords to the state quasi-totalitarian powers without the state’s ever having claimed them. The state alone decides what we have or lack permission to do: we have to make no moral decisions for ourselves, for what we have legal permission to do is also, by definition, morally acceptable.

Even worse than the correspondent’s implicitly totalitarian assumption was his lack of awareness of how societies cohere, and how social existence becomes tolerable, let alone pleasant. After all, the law does not prohibit rudeness, boorishness, and an infinity of unpleasant habits. But it is clear that if, for example, the prevalence of boorishness increases, life in society becomes more filled with friction and danger.

What I found so odd about the correspondent were his perfect manners and refined tastes. But so little confidence did he have in the value of the things that he valued that he seemed indifferent to the mechanism of their disappearance or destruction. This is the way a civilization ends: not with a bang but a whimper.

 (Emphasis mine)

 From this article:

 http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_4_diarist.html

 THEODORE DALRYMPLE: Anthony (A.M.) Daniels (born 11 October 1949), who generally uses the pen name Theodore Dalrymple, is a British writer and retired prison doctor and psychiatrist