Legless Epistemologies & Separate Logic

What the modern materialist atheist basically says amounts to my legless epistemology, upon which nothing that I actually believe stands, proves that you are wrong. Of course, there are exceptions to this — I’ve met a handful of very consistent materialists. They live in a much colder, harsher world than I do, and I have to admit, that world has its own alien beauty to it. Yet, it is not what I would recommend to anyone.

The bulk of materialists are selectively so. They do not strive to apply it to every aspect of their life — for few people can endure such coldness. Rather, they simply employ it when it is time to face one specific genre of argumentation — that of a religious nature — and they put it away when it shifts to ethical and political questions. This actually goes very far in proving what I remember Rudolf Bernet saying at his lecture at KHU in 2015: there really are multiple forms of logic.

Each one of these forms of logic employs its own epistemology and its own flavor. Just as a Catholic and a Protestant employ different logic in their approach to theological truth, so, too, does a person who is a materialist atheist employ a different logic and a different set of standards to claims when they are looking for the existence of God or thinking about who they would like to be the next American President.  In a very real sense, the very way that they live their lives shows the shortsightedness of the former argument.

They have this legless epistemology of materialism that they point to when they want to refuse something, and then they have this other, far more robust one that they use for their own standards of truth whenever they have the chance. Of course, if they are pressed hard on this, a good atheist will shrug their shoulders and admit that too much of what they think in category B depends on their gut feeling, and in those circumstances there is little more to do than feel kind of bad for them. There’s some internal wrestling to be done. Of course, they can continue with separate logics — that is natural enough — but it is hardly the ideal way to do things.

The only thing funnier than the cautious materialist atheist that engages in tactical nihilism when it comes to theological issues is the hard, progressive liberal whose epistemology amounts to something along the lines of  we can’t really believe in anything beyond mundane scientific facts but here’s my complex ideology about why everyone to the right of me is a racist & wrong. I think these people really live in a world of total inconsistency — but it doesn’t bother them because their inconsistencies are two very separate spheres.

And they rarely have to think about it because it works in separate contexts. It never has to go that far. Every discussion is taken very separately. When you want to argue against a religious person, you can simply argue at length about how there is no proof for anything like that and so we can’t accept it. This is also a convenient line of thought for the left on social issues: unless you can explicitly point to a report showing that 8 year old boys dressing up as drag queens and focusing on their make-up is wrong, I have to just go with my gut here and say that this is wonderful.

Yet, when push comes to shove nobody actually operates in this way.

Human brains were designed to look at things holistically and come to probable conclusions given the things around them. The human mind was not intended to work solely with that which is unquestionably provable — if we did that we would be caught dead, snoozing in our mud hut while the enemy tribe scampered through the bushes, writing off the sounds at dawn as a mere animal rustling about outside because we could not prove to ourselves that we actually need to wake up and prepare for battle.

Given a world that does not have hard, specific, publicly verifiable reasons to believe X, the sane response is not selective nihilism but rather it is hard, long thinking that uses all of the available methods available to come to its conclusions.

Of course, we do not have to all come to the same conclusions. History shows that it is impossible and that it is perhaps far better if we do not come to the same conclusions in every possible instance. Rather, we have to strive for consistency and maturity in everything that we do, and I highly suggest that we employ a very consistent epistemology.

I have to confess that I am not bothered at all by the atheist and his arguments. These are standard things that we have to routinely deal with as Christians — and these are present in every single generation.

The only thing that is actually bothersome is how the bulk of them are naked in their inconsistency and their feet are never held to the fire.

American Hidalgos

From the Wikipedia article on Hidalgos (nobility):

Unlike southern Spain, in the north the number of nobles was high and their differences with the common people were few, having been in itself reformed their society from the beginning for historical and demographic reasons as authentic militias for the support of the Royals. In Asturias, the hidalgos came to be almost 80% of the population, and in the case of Cantabria this figure was even higher, reaching 83% in the sixteenth century and exceeding 90% around 1740.[11][12] In the Señorío de Vizcaya and in Guipuzcoa there was also the so-called universal right of hidalguía, by virtue of which all Vizcaya and all Gipuzkoans were born hidalgos.

In the 16th century, the local charters provided the natives of the Basque Country with automatic status as hidalgos, giving them access to military and administrative careers. The reasons for this was that, unlike other regions of Spain, they were considered to have no Moorish or Jewish origins.[13] and because since the RomansVisigoths nor the Arabs were never able to conquer them nor the Cantabrians, they preserved their freedom, sovereignty and pre-Roman culture, beliefs and language longer than the rest of the Iberian peninsula.[14] Unlike other hidalgos who refused manual work as contrary to their honour (as seen in Lazarillo de Tormes), Basque universal gentry extended to the lowliest native worker.

It is easy to look at the American and his inclination toward rugged individualism, combined with the dedication and mystic zeal towards Liberty as being not unlike the Basque peasant who, in his poverty in the 1500s, still regarded himself as a nobleman, literally, in Spanish, a “Son of Someone (Wiktionary).”

In the particular American condition, perhaps we can point to the origins of some of this to the desire for the American pilgrims to obtain religious liberties. The head of the Anglican Church was the monarch of England, and when they were able to break away they were inclined to a sort of congregationalism, and thus the clerical headship passed to the most respected man in the religious body who had the right to preach to the people, and, in a very real sense, possessed to them a greater understanding of the Bible and of Christian life than the King of England.

Couple this also with the concept of stewardship of the land. Throughout Europe, men were peasants and serfs, rarely owning their own land and often very much attached to it, paying to a nobleman or a rentier of some kind. To own one’s own land, and to be part of a congregation that included a man who, like the King of England, wielded a massive authority over the interpretation of the Bible was a very heady thing…

Of course, we would have to say that these people had never quite fully drifted away from reality and thought of themselves as literal 1:1 equivalents of Dukes & Barons, Bishops & Primates, but they would have probably thought of themselves as ennobled in the sense that they had broken away from corrupt and false systems of stewardship & worship. Their nobility was not one that was outdated, bloated, and absurd, in the sense of their European contemporary counterparts, but it was pure, humble, and legitimizing, and while their ennoblement did not entitle them to literal rulership and presiding over others, it entitled them to a great equality with other free men in their communities and perhaps even their slaves, servants, and the Native American tribesmen who were scattered across the land.

This concept survives long after measures for equalizing Americans were put into affect — indeed, you could even see this sentiment in Sen. Huey Long, whose slogan was “Every Man a King,” and who is consistently hailed as one of the greatest egalitarians in American history. While the link seems tenuous as it is just a single word referencing a noble institution… surely, the use of the slogan for a prolonged period was powerful and a direct appeal to the ways that Americans styled themselves on some level.

It would not be ridiculous, in the least, to say that the American Protestant was inclined to think of himself as a Noble, and who, because of his great liberty, felt himself privileged above anyone who was not meaningfully free.

Just as how someone in the Basque country felt that they could all be Hidalgos by virtue of being unconquered and was inclined to think of themselves in a sort of grandiose exceptionalism that extended down to the men who struggled to make ends meet int heir own communites…

And if America is good at anything, its exceptionalism.

 

Trends Don’t Indicate Superior Content

The foreword to J. H. Elliott’s famous book on Spanish history, Imperial Spain, has an absolutely fabulous observation:

“I am naturally delighted that, in spite of this, Imperial Spain is still considered worthy of being reprinted. If written today it would obviously be a very different, although not necessarily a better, book.”

This comes right after Elliott speaks extensively on the current trends in historiography. He pointed out that these largely originated with the rather Marxist Annales school which tended to focus on what was frequently dubbed as mentalités. 

The idea was that we could know more about history by talking about the social, cultural, and mental histories of people rather than political and historic events that may have only had a short term impact. From the Wikipedia, you can also see a fabulous summary on the “precepts” of the Annales school of thought:

“[Annales historians] relegated the sensational to the sidelines and was reluctant to give a simple accounting of events, but strived on the contrary to pose and solve problems and, neglecting surface disturbances, to observe the long and medium-term evolution of economy, society and civilisation.” (Wikipedia)

No doubt, this school of thought has had a very lasting influence on how the West likes to engage history to this day. Indeed, we have now created entire departments focused on telling the histories and trends of specific identities — gender studies, LGBTQ studies, women’s studies, Asian studies, etc. — and every historian is always striving to deconstruct the roles of a place. Indeed, it is not uncommon to hear some historian muse about “late 19th century Turkish mental asylums as intersectional places” or how early 20th century North Africa experienced a process of racialization under French colonization.

You could also view the trend in doing entire historical overviews of a single product as not dissimilar. Histories about tobacco or salt as similar means of telling grandiose social histories through the lens of some history of trade.

Elliott’s position of different eras writing different books (and none of them being necessarily better) is very astute.

No matter what decision we make, there are shortcomings to it. Just as such, the perspectives that we choose to take on history merely reveal our own biases and shortcomings in different ways while perhaps doing a much better job than previous generations at telling an overlooked part of the story.

These aspects play to certain strengths and weaknesses…

Is it really better? Some people would have you believe so but perhaps the more holistic the attitude, the better.

We all have our own biases and our own favorites, but can we really say that the people who have focused on economic history have made a poor choice? Of course not. All knowledge and all fields of study, that slowly fills in the details of things that were not properly categorized & sorted and thereby left out of our perceptions of history, do a service in telling the story of history.

Ultimately, what is dangerous about current trends is that they are, by nature, highly politicized. Elliott himself even implying that the Annales school was too Marxissant. After all, those who tell history as if it is the evolution of man are literally describing the world through dialectical materialism.

While those who work on these topics help us cover more and show some interesting diversions for us… we must never believe that their method is categorically superior.

A Salute Returned

The big talking point of the day, for both conservatives that are skeptical of the peace process and the Left, is the returned salute from Pres. Trump. Some people are already hard at work spinning it to make it appear as if Pres. Trump initiated the salute and, indeed, when the only image accompanying it is Pres. Trump looking at an N. K. officer while rendering the salute, the deception is complete.

Newly released video footage from North Korean state media shows President Donald Trump returning a salute to a North Korean military general during this week’s summit in Singapore, an extraordinary display of respect from a US president to a top officer of a hostile regime. (CNN)

Note that the released footage from North Korean state media itself shows that President Trump was returning the salute. This is actually a rather important detail because, undoubtedly, one of the ideas cooked up is that the real damage of the salute is that it can be manipulated into something that it is not, e.g., Pres. Trump rendering a salute first and showing a sort of submission as opposed to receiving a submissive gesture from a North Korean officer and simply answering it.

Remember that all North Korean males and a significant amount of N. Korean females all have to serve in the military and would be totally familiar with decorum. It would be impossible for civilians to confuse the meaning of this.

CNN fortunately continued to clarify a few other things:

n the military, returning a salute from a military officer of a friendly foreign nation is common practice for US military officers and considered a display of military professionalism. There is no rule that a US president is obliged to return a salute, which is considered a sign of mutual respect.

This caveat of “friendly” is rather interesting to me as I had been taught that rendering a salute to officers, friend or foe, was customary at any kind of meeting. However, it now appears that Army regulations say that it is necessary to officers of friendly nations, but the same regulation notes that saluting is mandatory on ceremonial occasions (Army Study Guide). Presumably, this sort of meeting would qualify as a very officious and ceremonial affair, and this is a distinction quite different from simply coming across a N. Korean officer on the street (lol) and rendering him a salute without any other context.

It should be also noted that there are occasions where one is expected to explicitly salute enemy soldiers:

Prisoners of war, with the exception of officers, must salute and show to all officers of the Detaining Power the external marks of respect provided for by the regulations applying in their own forces.

Officer prisoners of war are bound to salute only officers of a higher rank of the Detaining Power; they must, however, salute the camp commander regardless of his rank. (Article 39, Geneva Conventions, hosted at UMN.)

Yet… There are people who are acting as if it is highly inappropriate to return the salute of a foreign Officer during discussions pertaining to peace negotiations?

Indeed, imagine having a meeting to arrange a treaty and then decidedly not rendering respect or entertaining mutual honor & decorum.

Of course, I will concede this to the Left who are complaining about this: if Pres. Obama had done the same (while doing what Pres. Trump was doing now), it would have been held over his head for the whole of his Presidency and to this very day. That is utterly undeniable. However, I am not sure why the low standards of your political opponents would justify low standards for oneself.

We should also consider that we are experiencing something already a bit unexpected: Pres. Trump is viewed as a potential warmonger, and is from a party that is stereotyped as warmongers, yet he is pursuing peace, and, while doing so, rendering all sorts of honors and treating everyone with dignity and respect.

The reason for the outrage is not actually a real objection to the things being done but comes from deep seated hatred for the President as a person and potentially conservatism in general.

And, perhaps an even more interesting talking point, and one that has a wide variety of applications, the willingness to accept that Pres. Trump is doing this for conservatives is also coming from a sort of base love for their ‘own guy,’ so to speak.

Ultimately, Pres. Trump did the right thing for the circumstances. Whether or not the negotiations will bear real fruit and CVID will actually occur is a completely different story, and people’s skepticism towards this is entirely justified. However, to be angry about participating in the basic rendering of respect between persons in a formal setting would be no different than demanding that nobody ever shakes hands at negotiations between parties with bad blood.

Haley Walkout, Quiet Deception, & Evolving Thoughts on Israel

Let me preface this by saying I had no idea that I would find this one, small opening to an article so interesting, and also that you will have to forgive me for a rambling delivery. But I really did find this to be a particularly interesting topic because it delves into a lot of small areas that interest me. The Israel/Palestine topic is so rich by itself, and is so utterly complex it is hard to ever adequately deal with it, and when we add in the media’s attempts to gaslight us into a strange position it gets to be even more fun.

I really only stumbled upon this by accident. In one of the Chess forums that I frequent, a leftist was throwing a fit over this story and, voila, here we are.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, forcefully defended Israel in the violence at Gaza, potentially widening a rift between the U.S. and allies.

The U.N.’s Middle East envoy said there was no justifying the killings of more than 50 Palestinians by Israeli fire at the Gaza border, and several Security Council members called for an independent investigation, but the council had no unified message Tuesday as the U.S. said Israel had acted with “restraint.” Haley placed all blame for the conflict with Hamas, after more than 50 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire at the Gaza border, following the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem that was celebrated Monday. Haley laid blame for Monday’s violence on the Hamas extremists who rule Gaza and insisted it had nothing to do with the opening the embassy, a move that infuriated Palestinians.

CBS

It is kind of like the media wants to make it a foregone conclusion that it is the US & Israel alone on these issues, and that all of our other “allies” are thinking of turning their backs on us. But I do not know how accurate of a portrayal this is. I think the US has always vocally supported the Israel party line, more or less, while places like Europe openly oppose it in their words but do nothing with their actions, which is this happy medium that they have entertained for a very long time. In reality, I think nothing dramatic is happening here.

I think that the real interests of the media are quite clear on issues like this:

By emphasizing that this could cause conflict with our allies,  the more that it seems like a disturbance, and the more that it seems like people are meaningfully at odds with each other, the more that they can vilify the Trump administration.

This also provides us with a potentially funny situation where we have the Left and the “Resistance” to Pres. Trump, who are known for all manner of disruption tactics in their efforts to resist the ebil Nazis, arguing that it is beyond the pale to walk out of a discussion like this. Of course, you can almost hear them sputtering but, but, but it’s different because this is the United Nations.

Like shoes don’t get occasionally pounded on tables and what not. Like the people who paraded through the streets with hats meant to mimic female anatomy & have actively campaigned for shifting all standards of decency away from conservative values are truly disheartened by anything less than Victorian quietism when there is a disagreement.

What is also interesting about this sort of incident is that it highlights that there is a lot of change happening in the West re: Israel.

We have seen, more and more, the loyalties to Israel begin to dissipate in favor of the fresh & new “post-colonial” narratives that you see popping up here and there. These ideas gaining popularity pose a great problem for the Left, in my opinion, because they only serve to hammer home the impracticality of Leftist thought. Are we really prepared to burn our bridges with one of the only functional states in the Middle East just to further some line about democracy, autonomy, self-determination, etc., for absolutely everyone, and to talk about “Zionist oppression?”

What is also really fascinating about all of the talk about Israel is that, no matter how you cut the cake, no matter who you side with, it can come back to pro-Nationalist narratives. Israel sticks out like a sore thumb to the globalists: two different peoples that are finding it rather difficult to live one another and both want to have full autonomy. No matter who you side with, it is not too difficult to talk about the validity of each people having a right to self-determination, which, in the era of globalization, sounds increasingly like a radical position. Radical only because the post-WWII narrative about muh rights above every other consideration now makes the basis of some “collective” having rights distasteful to the Libertarian right and unpalatable to the Left for a different collection of reasons.

It has really been a long time since I have sat and thought about Israel… I have grown, over the years, to be increasingly “centrist” and disinclined towards radical positions on the topic. This has marked a stark shift from my youth when I was a kneejerk supporter of everything Israel and had little sympathies on the sides. I simply want to emphasize that both the American right & left tend to make major mistakes on this topic — there is no reason for us to be unquestioningly loyal to Israel, and there is no reason for us to support settlements that are unfair to Palestinians because it theoretically advances some obscure geopolitical cause that we have.

After all, hasn’t the last decade and some change convinced us of the disaster of our interventions in the Middle East? Haven’t we simply come to some point where we can at last put down the mantle of “democratization” there? Why should we work on furthering some super intense posturing of the state of Israel against all others in the Middle East, when, in the long-term, the real goal should be stability, and there is no stability that can come from promoting fundamental imbalances?

The right has to drastically moderate its stance on Israel because no matter how irrational anti-Israel advocates can be we have to be rational actors. Two irrational people flinging dung at each other do not make a right.

Palestinians have inalienable human rights, just like Israelis, and Palestinians have a right to national autonomy and a future. We should do everything that we can to treat them with dignity and come to agreements that see them prosper. As Israel is already a well established state with a high standard of living, more has to be done to see to the needs of Palestinians, and any process which does not prioritize justice for these people will simply lead to more severe and prolonged conflict.

There is also something slightly sick with the obsession that the American conservatives can get with Israel — I’d really like to sit down and discuss this with my people in real life. There gets to be an unhealthy obsession and a borderline psychosis when it comes to defending the state of Israel, as if it can do no wrong and as if the whole of the world is in conspiracy against them. I can only explain it by thinking that the trauma of the Holocaust has pushed people toward heightened sensitivity, and also that the events of the various conflicts prior to my birth were also instrumental in bolstering it a bit higher. I do not think that they are entirely irrational in their position but they have certainly done nothing to moderate their beliefs on the topic over the years.

I honestly think that my position is hopelessly boring, moderate, and uncreative. But I am sure people will find fault in it — this is Israel/Palestine, after all, a topic just as sensitive as abortion and, even though an actual middle ground exists, people like to pretend that there can be no such middle ground and that to seek it out is folly in itself.

Vox Populi is not Vox Dei

“Saul’s second sin was to spare Agag, the king of the Amalekites, together
with the best of his livestock, instead of killing them all, as God had
commanded. His excuse was: “because I listened to the voice of the people” (I
Kings 15.20). In other words, he abdicated his God-given authority and
became, spiritually speaking, a democrat, listening to the people rather than to
God.” Vladimir Moss, An Essay in Universal History, Vol I. P. 64
Many people postulate that democracy can function just as classic Kingship does. The fact of the matter, though, is that it fundamentally does not. The things that people desire to do are not necessarily reflections at all of what God wills — especially in a day and age where religiosity and Christianity are eschewed by the masses and perhaps even more especially when God is written out of the system of government itself.
Moss also goes on to make another very important point — a point which is made repeatedly in his Essay on Universal History — that the nature of the monarchy within Israel, and as how it should be in other societies, is one where God is central to the ruler and is part & parcel with the nature of how the government should function:
“To modern readers Saul’s sin might seem small. However, it must be
understood in the context of the previous history of Israel, in which neither
Moses nor any of the judges (except, perhaps, Samson), had disobeyed the
Lord. That is why Samuel said to Saul: “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to
hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and
stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry” (I Kings 15.22-23). For even a king can
rebel, even a king is in obedience – to the King of kings. Only the absolutist
despot feels that there is nobody above him, that there is no law that he, too,
must obey. His power is absolute; whereas the power of the autocrat is
limited, if not by man and the laws of men, at any rate by the law of God,
whose independent guardian and teacher is the priesthood of the Church.” Ibid, 65
Not even the King is above God. If he is a true autocrat, he has to serve God in everything that he does. He cannot be someone who does his own will. You could say that the will of the King, and the nature of the King, are not at all the vox dei that people are looking for, either. Rather, the voice of God itself, to Moss and within Western understanding, is the Bible.  We should look nowhere for the manifestation of God’s will in an abstract, ideal sense other than the sacred writings.
The point would then stand… If even the voice of the King, or the will of the King, does not necessarily function at all as a measure of the will of God… How could the will of millions of people be thought of as fulfilling that function?
Moreover, the idea that the will of the people on secular affairs and totally uninfluenced by Christian thought would somehow manifest a will of God also seems to be out there. Of course, God can use a crooked stick to do whatever he pleases, and we cannot simply say that God never does interfere in secular, democratic or even despotic states. But the notion that these systems fulfills some kind of role in the actualization of God’s will through a just process is not Biblical and is thoroughly ahistorical, and there is no reason to believe that it possesses the mechanics to do so.

Creativity as an Intelligence

When we think about intelligence, it is clear that there are different kinds of intelligence. I am very much open to the idea that some of these fields of intelligence overlap or tend to correlate with one another. For instance, someone who tends to have really poor scores in many other fields is likely to also have a very poor score in the field of memory or geospatial reasoning. Someone who has outstanding scores in several fields probably is more likely to also be more creative than someone who has very low scores in other fields. I do not want to make this sound like I am pumping up snowflake reasoning that everyone, even the dimmest among us, can necessarily have some outstanding hidden talent that distinguishes them from others.

However, it is important to note that there is the potential for people to be outstanding in certain area or areas while lackluster in others. The “idiot-savant” type does exist. And, perhaps, it would also be true that some “sets” of intelligence correlate better than others, and correlate far less than others.

For the purposes of this blog post, let’s divide intelligence into just a few fields – this isn’t meant to be overly thorough or exhaustive, heed you, so be charitable. There is an entry on Wikipedia for the “Theory of multiple intelligences” and perhaps those categories are pretty good, so I will borrow from them but try to condense them.

Geospatial reasoning: Intelligence that involves the analysis and navigation of the physical world.

Psychosocial reasoning: Intelligence that involves navigation of human relations and one’s own psychology.

Logical: Intelligence that involves abstract reasoning, categorization, etc.

Computative: The raw ability to manipulate numbers, quantities, etc.

Verbal: The navigation of language and words as well as the narrative and poetic.

Memory: The recall of things.

Musical: Intelligence regarding sound.

Visual: Intelligence regarding visual composition.

Wisdom: [Soft] The ability to tackle ethical or existential questions while adequately appealing to social or theological principles that is pleasing to one’s own psyche and to the group.

Strategic & Tactical [soft]: The ability to analyze and come to solutions based on logical, computative, geospatial scenarios, and perhaps even the cunning reasoning employed within a debate.

Creativity [soft]: The ability to produce, synthesize, or analyze some kind of intelligence in a way that is novel, unique, dynamic, or otherwise impressive.

 

The categories marked “soft” indicate that these fields of intelligence cannot necessarily be regarded as a hard or measurable intelligence. Perhaps they can also be thought of as something that can even be acquired.

What is also true of them, especially of creativity, is that they may very much defy the normal perceptions of intelligence. Anyone can look at a man who is able to quickly assess the problem with a complex machine and deliver a solution while others familiar with it are dumbfounded as skilled. Anyone can be impressed by the perfect recall of  difficult material without prior planning and view it as  a feat. The fellow who can still recall the correct meaning of 100 words of a different language he was only exposed to the day before. The ability to process and compute difficult information immediately is one of the most impressive displays of them all, and we all clearly understand how such a thing occurs.

There isn’t a mystery in any of these – it involves simply someone having a brain that functions better than the normal person when it comes to that category. And it is even true that it is easy to understand a person who simply hears tones or sees color in a way that is more distinctive, sharp, and superior to the way others see it.

However, the other skills have a certain mystery. For instance, a man with an advanced engineering degree may lose a chess game to a child simply because he does not have the profound strategic insight of a kid who has simply traveled down a few chess games before in his life. A Professor of Philosophy might appear quite foolish on a topic next to a wizened, illiterate old man who, through life experience and a deep connection to the society around him, is able to give a sort of proverbial knowledge with broad appeal.

Perhaps the most mysterious of all is how a man or woman can simply construct a song or a paint a picture of something that is not really based on anything but is a totally original synthesis. Of course, there may be a loose amount of inspiration from other things, but ultimately inspiration can lead to results far different than the originally inspiring thing.

This kind of intelligence is perhaps the most interesting because it literally defies what we would think about the physical workings of the brain.

How is it that someone who has less developed reasoning skills than others is still able to creatively or tactically engage the material in a way that is superior to others?

Perhaps this will be researched extensively and we will have some kind of answer for it. But it is worthwhile to note that the mystery itself is rather delicious.

Chaos On United & The Postmodern Man

The bloodied United passenger and the absolutely massive support he has received is the perfect symbol of the demise of Western man: he no longer operates in a way that is rational and fluent in modernity. He has watched the last decade of news where violent confrontations forced by the absurd choices of perceived “victims” can be excused and the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the Police or other authorities that are merely enforcing the laws of modern man governed by completely rational systems of laws, contracts and behaviors. It is a perfect Luciferian inversion of Order-Into-Chaos: a system of regulations, the social customs demanding actors be rational, understanding and cooperative and aware of the necessary consequences of failure to comply are all thrown out the window because the zeitgeist has changed so quickly that policies cannot keep up. We become hostages to the irrational actors around us.
The United passenger is free to act absurdly & expect our sympathies, he is free to be unaware of the ‘fine print,’ he says to hell with his Terms & Conditions. He expects a perfect product — not one that is in any way flawed. He demands a Utopian marketplace. He and his supporters don’t want to live in the old world of rationality & modernity, where we seek to understand the mechanisms that allow us to consume at competitive prices and they have entered a post-rationalism and a post-modernism (and many of them have resided here for decades). All that matters is the feeling to consume, the individual man and his passion to consume, and the failure of the company to thoroughly indulge him & bend to his demand. In the postmodern, postrational state all that matters is the series of pictures & sounds that we see — if it looks & sounds like a victim in the 25 second YouTube(tm) or Facebook(tm) video, it must be a victim, and to ask us to be reasonable about the circumstances is too much….
Forget that the failure of United to fly out 4 staff to another destination could result in an entire plane (or two) being canceled and then hundreds more inconvenienced… the post-rationalist will not follow the logical demands of the sequence presented to him, but he will seek to escape the scenario and jump to another one, one that is not possible of even being anticipated…
… “Why isn’t the product perfect & flawless to begin with? Because the product wasn’t perfect, that man had to scream like a wild animal while being removed by legitimate security forces..!”
It has basically come to a point where we can no longer even relate to one another on the grounds of an objective, rational language. The bland legalese & contractualism that defined the 20th century is breaking down. The customer, certainly, is King, but he has to agree to the conditions of the purchase. If he chooses to throw a bizarre temper tantrum we will fall back on still more regulations concerning how a person ought to be handled.
This scenario becomes the Enlightenment’s complete nightmare: rational, clearly defined regulations & legal terms developed by a successful private enterprise and executed within the precise scope of the law are regarded as a nightmarish burden upon infantile postmodern man.
This points out something quite scary about postmodern man as well: he is unwilling to speak the ‘universal language’ of the contract, of the legalese & the meeting in the neutral space. Yet, he is supported by the masses who are fickle and foolish.
It coincides perfectly with the death of political dialogue that we see on University campuses. It is as if people no longer wish to speak to one another but are satisfied completely with emoting & signaling based on their observations and if anyone were to question their conclusions they can’t even.

A Generation of Jokers

I made some grave mistakes in my 20s — mistakes that were probably deeply rooted in my the attitude I had from a young age. I also suspect a massive amount of people within my generation, the generation before mine and the generation after mine are in the same boat.
Our parents didn’t want to force anything on us too much; our schools weren’t very serious about the work that we did until high school, and even then the message was this will matter in University. I was never taught to be serious in my relationships with girls, in fact I was told that I shouldn’t be too serious and it is very unlikely that I’ll end up staying with any girl I like as a teen.
This was also the style of Jesus I knew as a Protestant American: He forgives everything and we’re bound to make mistakes. I can learn from all of my mistakes. Nearly everything else about this is irrelevant — whenever you’re asked, say you’re a Christian, say a few prayers for your sick Aunt and occasionally be “thankful” about food on the table — mission accomplished.
Our generation is so uncomfortable with the grave that it is intermingled with the venial and pathetic.  Our weddings are even kitschy. Our clothing and musical tastes tend towards the ironic. Everything seems like a satire — caring itself is as a satire.
Without becoming too personal… I feel that I had not come to the conclusions which I needed to be at until much older, and this is not because there has been some tremendous ideological drift between myself and myself 10 years ago. But it is because I did not treat the topics with the gravity that I should have, and never did I even think it would have been necessary.
Dare I say, this is how elites want their subjects to function: farcical tax farms without a broad and deep appreciation for the political, theological or philosophical.
Be the opposite of your generation — be grave.

Transcendental World View & Secularism

Every government is based off of a transcendental world view, thus there is no such thing as a truly secular government because there will be a philosophical position that underwrites it which has profound ramifications.
 
Of course, if we mean to say that there should be a ‘separation of church & state’ and we are living in a small city-state of likeminded people with almost a libertarian and minimalistic government, it might seem foolish to say that this sort of secularism is self-defeating. In some cases I can see how it really is merely the suspension of officious religious institutions with the government.
 
But when we talk about 21st century Americas & Europe, it should be clear that this doesn’t fit the description of any of these nations. We see that there is a very set dogma that comes with it. This dogma does not grow completely out of “secularism,” but it grows out of the transcendental world view…
 
This is one reason that I have respected Libertarians: they actually are pursuing secularism. Of course, their transcendental world view does begin replacing religion and in some minimal way it is not ‘secular’ but this is a far cry from the way that Western liberalism seeks to uniformly build the “values” of the society from the top down.
What is the position of myself? That secularism is unnecessary. The existence of a state Church that very specifically honors and pays homage to its ancestral church is not just acceptable but is preferable. It comes, of course, with its own problems: the Church can become corrupted to some degree by the state, and the state to some degree by the corruption of the Church. Moreover, there is always the potential of the Church taking on more power than it can rightfully handle and disgracing itself.
It would make sense to have the minimal relationship between Church & state to not be an outright theocracy but rather to do things such as entrusting significant amounts of education and other cultural institutions to the Church. It would make sense also to require religious tests for certain offices.
But even in this there has to be a certain minimalism. The government shouldn’t actively work to agitate or overly interfere. It is the phenomena of being so rigid that when a strong wind comes you snap in two, or if you try to grasp water in your hands it slips right through. The positive influence must be comfortable and not overbearing.