Monthly Archives: February 2018

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.