Wednesday Ramble: Predestination, etc.

(Man, gotta get back to blogging and writing. Just still not feeling well, and more than a little down about losing my job, And other things. Anyway – )

(Edit: just reread the first few sentences of this post, and – wow, I need to make sure the coffee is fully kicked in before posting. Seriously incoherent. Here’s what I think I was trying to say:)  Woke up this morning musing about Hegel. I was getting angry. People take this guy seriously? His more direct followers – Marxists – cut to the chase and apply his ‘reasoning’ in such a way that its inherent nihilism, which Hegel dresses in the sheep’s clothing of the sweetness and light of Christian eschatology, gets exposed to anyone willing to see it. Just not so exposed that Marxists and all the little people who have absorbed their methods and assumptions while being somewhat unaware of the origins, can’t pretend otherwise. (whew! That’s better, I think.)

Hidden under Hegel’s haystacks of verbiage is essentially an angry narcissism, the soul reacting to the hopelessness evident in, for example, Luther’s Bondage of the Will. Sola – alone – is the rallying cry. Schola – together – is the largely unspoken enemy.  Luther (and Calvin) puts it simply, Hegel buries it under of mountain of words: We are not actors in our own salvation, not even in the tiny yet cosmic Catholic sense that God’s great good gift to us is a sacred freedom, vouchsafed by God’s Will alone, which grants to each of us the mysterious and paradoxical ability to give our ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to That Will. Instead, we suffer alone. We cannot act.

Stripped of its religious trappings, predestination is determinism. The soul does not exist in any manner different from how a rock exists, inert and passive. The soul, as conceived by the Greeks, Christians and a myriad other cultures, does not exist. We, however we chose to conceive of ourselves, don’t matter.

The sanest reaction is to reject the premise. We all, from the most callow Pelagianist to the most hubris-ridden materialist, reject determinism whenever we do anything at all. We can then explain to ourselves how the whole cycle of intellection and choice is an illusion, but we are of course incapable of behaving as if it were true.

Once the religious sheep clothing is yanked off and Hegelianism’s superficial reliance on God/Spirit is bled out, we’re left with a ravening wolf. Even this wolf dresses down, in gutted Christian mysticism, promising us the pie-in-the-sky Worker’s Paradise, codename: Progress, for which all sacrifices (of others) are immediately justified beyond question.

(If you personally are called upon to sacrifice, that’s a sure sign you are not of the Elect, not of the Vanguard, and are probably a useful idiot. The absolute Calvinist-style sign that you are among the Revolutionary Chosen is that you have the power to make others do the sacrificing. See, for reference, HISTORY.)

Thus my fevered mind, stuffed full of Hegel and Marx and with a couple decades to stew on them, concludes. The issues Hegel presents to Reason, even apart from the religious context, even without any sort of Christian faith, should cause all men with any claim of being or desire to be rational and logical to reject his vile nonsense, especially as distilled by Marx, especially as clothed (see a trend here?) in academic robes. Critical Theory, which – you can look it up – is merely Marxism reformatted for dissemination through all available academic channels, must be denounced by any who claim to be rational and have any shred of integrity.

First: the rejection of the Law of Noncontradiction is not, as some imagine, a subtle criticism of the hubris of rigorous logic, a valid criticism in some deep philosophical sense even if nonsensical in all practical senses. No law of noncontradiction = no science and no law, for example. No – it is a rejection of even the possibility of communication between people. Without the Law of Noncontradiction, everything I say and everything you say can both mean and not mean whatever the words themselves might suggest. Any and no understanding of what you or I may mean or not mean is equally invalid, or valid. The Tower of Babel prevails.

Nihilism, again. Sola, again. Every man is an island, surrounded by unbreachable reefs of confusion.

Image result for che hat
An NPC in a Che hat, evidently.

Whenever we say Gender or Science or Class Consciousness is a social construct, we are  simply putting a Che hat on the  meaninglessness of nihilism. This is an intellectual ouroboros; this is turtles all the way down, except the existence of the turtles is simultaneously denied. It all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is – and, by definition (which is of course simultaneously impossible) is means isn’t. Is means nothing.

The price of admission to the academic cool kids club is not pointing out the idiotic nakedness of these non-ideas. The price of secular intellectual salvation is to keep pointing it out, to never bow to it, to challenge it whenever presented. I am reminded of the words Robert Bolt puts in Thomas More’s mouth as he talks to his daughter: Some men aren’t capable of this, but I’d be loathe to think your father one of them.

 

 

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

10 thoughts on “Wednesday Ramble: Predestination, etc.”

  1. A ramble on top of your ramble:

    When I first saw the “NPC” political meme, I thought it was kind of juvenile and I ignored it. But then it just started to seem strangely apt in a way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It just seemed to work better than it had a right to. Most recently, a plebiscite in my ancestral homeland of West Virginia amended the state constitution to clarify that nothing in that constitution should be construed to provide a right to an abortion or to taxpayer funding of abortion. Not that anything could ever have reasonably been so construed, but that didn’t stop the state supreme court from inventing a right to taxpayer funded abortion. The people have refused to accept that, Montani Semper Liberi! Out of all the states in the U.S.A.–

    OK, sorry got carried away there, anyway, the response from so many people on the left was “I can’t believe this is happening in 2018!” “Don’t they realize it’s 2018”? My first thought was, “have you guys not noticed that abortion is getting less popular, and in particular is less popular with young people? Where do you get these weird ideas about Sides of History?” My second thought, quite unbidden, was, “NPCs”.

    Your post puts it all in place. The meme works because the left is Hegelian and Hegel makes us all NPCs.

    1. The funny part: I was just googling for commie clothing, found this Che hat, and went: wow, that manikin sure looks like that NPC meme (that I had ask my 14 year old son to explain to me a couple weeks back). But I can’t unsee it now.

      And the shoe fits.

  2. This is excellent, I wish you were a newspaper or magazine columnist. Say, did you ever think of submitting essays, long or short, to commentary magazines like First Things or whatever?

    Regarding “Bondage of the Will”, I happen to be in a discussion with someone who says he is basing his position partly on that book. I of course haven’t read it, because who has time for that crap? (j/k) But, just to give me a shorthand version of where he’s coming from, can you give me Luther’s thesis in a nutshell? Is it basically just predestination, we have no say in whether or not we’re saved, and in that regard no free will?

    1. Bondage of the Will is the sequel, as it were, to Christian Liberty, and the one thing Luther, on his deathbed, said he still proud of. It is as polemical, irrational and childish (or, as his fans say, passionate and forceful) as any of his other stuff.

      The major premise is that we can do absolutely nothing toward our own salvation, that it is entirely the work of God, and that will, far from being free to chose or reject Jesus, is in complete bondage to sin, completely enslaved, until God, of His own Mercy, choses to save us. Inescapably, this also means God damns us by not saving us.

      Erasmus, who was very sympathetic to Luther’s outrage over the failings of the Church and abuse of authority by church officials, tried, gently at first, to get Luther to see that this position made nonsense out of virtually all of scripture, in that it contains repeated calls to repent, reform, do good works, lay down our lives, etc., all of which are manifestly meaningless under Luther’s position. Luther just quotes Paul back at him, and calls him names. and repeats himself.

      In a nutshell.

      1. When I was considering converting and looking to marry my (then-Protestant) beloved, I tried to read Luther so I could defend the Catholic Faith with her and her family. I just couldn’t do it (and it turned out to not be necessary.) Give me Aristotle. Give me Aquinas. Give me Feser. But never try and give me Luther, and Hegel sounds much the same. I don’t think I’ve read any Hegel; I don’t think I would have any more luck deriving meaning out of it, and I am glad people like you can distill to its essence for everyone else.

      2. The a reason Luther is described as ‘fiery’ and ‘passionate’ and such words, and not ‘reasonable’ or ‘logical’. The word I use is ‘dishonest’. His most famous and least inflammatory work is probably ‘Christian Liberty’ wherein he keeps saying how he doesn’t want trouble, would be happy to go back home and just mind his own business, if only the church would recognize the truth of a few *obvious* assertions of his – assertions that, if they were granted, would remove all authority from the Church and repudiate 1500 years of Church teaching. Then, when the Church refuses to commit suicide, Luther can whine about how unreasonable they are.

        Not a Luther fan.

        Hegel is a much different experience. While I have come to the conclusion that reading him as a Lutheran is very helpful in making any sense out of his word salads, Luther himself would likely have rained anathemas on him. Mainly, it is challanging to imagine Hegel could have written any more densely and obscurely. It’s as if he wants people to be impressed by his brilliance without, you know, conveying any clear ideas. His critics called ‘hogwash’ on him from Day 1.

        Further, just as John Dewey championed pragmatism by embracing the rule: the ends justify the means – something Pearce went to greats lengths insisting that’s not what he meant (hint: it’s what he meant), Marx’s take on Hegel sheds the veneer of God and rationality Hegel goes to some pains to create and simply embraces irrationality and power under the guise of History(tm) Progressing(tm) via the evolving consciousness of the masses – whatever the hell that might mean.

    1. as my son explained it to me: an NPC is a Non-Player Character in computer games, someone who is there to move the story along. When you encounter them, they will act and respond the same way, and always say the same preprogrammed things, according to their role in the game.

      Basically, the reason this meme really hit home is that lefties are, in fact, prone to spouting not only the same positions, often in the same words, but that they also tend to change their opinions en masse, and then pull a ‘we have always been at war with Eastasia’ when this is pointed out.

      ‘m not really interested in this sort of thing, but just couldn’t help noticing that the dummy used to model the Che hat has the exact expression on its face as the standard NPC meme, which was just too funny.

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