Apologies for being so long in posting. A few things have happened…none too life-threateningly a deal, but all contributing to my truancy here at the blog. The first was that my immediate and part of my extended family went to the beach at the end of August (as I finished up my last post) whereupon, on the second day, I promptly got sun poisoning…which, if you’ve never had it, I would highly recommend you stay away. That? Er…was not pleasant. It was my feet, a common culprit as I understand. They swelled to the size of bread loaves, caused me nausea and headaches, and I couldn’t wear shoes for ten days.
To a lesser degree I burned the shit out of my neck and chest as well, and currently everything continues to peel with great frequency and in copious amounts. On some mornings I wake up wondering if I had not in fact been skinned and flayed alive in my sleep by some protagonist. It is…quite disgusting, I can assure you.
Now, this was not, as some Calvinists might claim, an act of a sovereign God, nor can this be attributed to my “sin nature”; nor, for the objectivist determinists in our midst, a perfunctory outcome of the inexorable “laws of nature/physics” (the law of thermodynamics most readily coming to mind…ha, ha, ha [wryly]). Not that I wouldn’t love to attribute this act of supreme stupidity to an all-pervasive force like God or cosmic laws, or “objective reality” (whatever the fuck that means; honestly, I’ve rarely run across a more perfunctory and obtuse phrase). But alas, that would in fact be in frank denial of efficacious reality, which is simply this:
I was a fucking idiot.
I didn’t wear sunscreen, like I knew I should. I didn’t sit in the shade, like I knew I should. I assumed that the fine and robust breeze from the ocean was not only keeping me cool but protecting me from the destructive effects of an observable and demonstrable giant ball of fire in the sky, of which I should have known better.
That, and nothing else, is the cause of my sun poisoning. And the moral of the story is: Argo will not ever let that shit happen again. Ever. Cuz it suuuuuuuucked. And somewhere–and I understand how controversial this statement is to our Reformed compatriots and our objectivist determinists who read from the virtual ether out there–but somewhere I feel like God is nodding his head in approval and thinking, ‘That’s why I gave you a brain, eegit. Cause and effect may only be a concept, but concepts are intended to promote life as a natural outcome of self-awareness combined with observation. And in this case “pale white man in sun too long means pale white man no longer so pale…pale white man become puffy red man who prays for death”‘.
Lesson learned, my friends. Lesson learned.
After we returned from the beach trip (which for me was a staying-in-the-shade-of-his-room-while-everyone-else-went-out-and-had-fun-without-him trip, my wife promptly left town on business for a week, which left me caring for and peeling all over my two daughters. A task that I don’t mind but is infinitely easier with another adult around…especially when that adult can wear shoes and, you know, walk normally.
Then my wife returned home whereupon I promptly came down with a dreadful cold because the weather here in Pennsylvania dropped something like thirty-five degrees literally overnight. When I realized that we hadn’t actually been hit by a meteor and were not all going to die for the same reasons that killed the dinosaurs, I realized that I was going to get sick because that shit always happens when the weather changes so drastically.
And in the midst of all of that I was casting pearls before a swine known as “Tom” over on John Immel’s blog, SpiritualTyranny.com, in the hopes that someone, somewhere was reading and could see the points I was making and find some comfort in them, because “Tom” sure as hell wasn’t ever going to; and maybe it’s because he lacks the intellectual capacity but probably because he’s sort of a colossal asshole. And this really stressed me out because I finally realized what a massive waste of time the whole exercise had been. On a blog where I don’t moderate I cannot possibly see who, if anyone, is reading, and therefore, since no one else was commenting (for obvious reasons…all who tried were summarily and violently assaulted with the worst kind of verbal horror from that idiot), I understood that for all I knew I was simply trying to turn a brick into a bird…yes, therefore, I did what I should have done something like one million years ago and quit the whole stupid square dance, cold turkey.
As you can see, I’m pretty pissed about it. At myself and just generally, you know? The moral of the story is that at a certain point people aren’t going to get your message. Those people do exist, and they can be anyone at all. And that’s fine. It happens. I can’t do calculus. I just can’t. And some people can’t do this. They just can’t. And when you throw on top of that an attitude that isn’t fit for the worst kind of viper, I mean…you gotta cut your losses. There are still people out there who think the world is flat, is what I’m saying. There are Ph.D.’s out there running the most venerable of scientific institutions who claim that the universe is however many billions of years old while at the same time declaring that time was created after the Big Bang.
Try figuring out that mind-fuck.
You can argue with them for hours, and I have, but after a while you just have to let it go. Paradox is in our DNA. It is who we are as a civilization. It is the nature and inevitable product of the concession of our minds to four millennia of Platonist assumptions. And there are simply going to be people who are too far gone to ever think otherwise. It is perhaps because they are not able to; but in an equal measure, if not more so, it is because they have been psychologically programmed their whole lives to not want to. And it is only when these certain people have reached a place in their lives where their psychology and their situation form that perfect storm of utter frustration with and rejection of life combined with the indefatigable will to live…yes, it is only when these two existential states go to war deep in the soul that a complete rejection of ALL philosophical contradictions, be them scientific or religious, in favor of the only TRUTH which can possibly be true–a reasonable TRUTH–can begin to form. And only after that is it not a complete waste of time to argue with them. You can make points that they cannot refute; you can show them that in order to believe what they say they do they must accept that the restrictive tent of contradiction is where they must live, content with smoke-signal philosophy…that is, the burning of rational truth in favor of their peculiar message. But even after they concede this, or ignore it all together, they are simply incapable, I submit, of a redemption to reason. They have hardened their hearts and there is no cure for that from without. It is a choice they alone make and they alone can undo.
On a salient note, ignoring the contradictions is what both Tom and John Immel, I am sad to say, did. Tom because he would rather hurl feces like an angry monkey than concede his blatant insufficiency (and I cannot be more specific because I’m not sure if its intellectual or a function of his awful personality, or both…but whatever; he’s insufficient, is the point); and John because he didn’t have the time to put the requisite “intellectual capital” into the debate. Whatever the fuck that means.
I mean, either you are able to provide a rational and consistent counter-perspective or you are not. But to post a drive-by comment whereupon you accuse me of promoting a primacy of consciousness model (which…I deny the assumptions behind that label anyway) and then confess that you actually haven’t thought your criticism through is…well, at best uncharacteristic of John.
I think I offended him when I rightly claimed in a comment on his blog–in which the general point was to criticized his concession of the causal power of the laws of physics–that if indeed the laws of physics were actual and therefore causal they would be inexorably determinative, and therefore one could never be rationally held culpable for one’s “choices” as choice would naturally be impossible. If the laws of physics extend all the way to the most elementary of particles, and the brain of man which is the mind of man is comprised of those same particles, then it is impossible to separate thoughts from laws. And if you cannot separate thoughts from laws then you cannot argue for the ability of man to make choices, nor to observe “objective reality”, for the simple reason that if the laws of physics are inexorable and all pervasive to the point where the laws cannot be observed as distinct from the matter they “govern”, then one cannot make a distinction between man, his mind or his actions, and the inexorable and all-compelling laws of physics which cannot by definition be resisted, nor even observed, by anything or anyone. And this is because, in the presence of all-pervasive and all-compelling laws of physics, you cannot rationally claim the existence of anything or anyone outside of those laws. Everything and everyone is by logical extension of the very concept itself merely an extension of the absolute laws of physics, which are infinite and infinitely determinative, having no beginning nor end, because what is infinite and all-determining cannot possibly possess a beginning or an end.
This is both perfunctory logic and categorical reason, which can only ever help. But if one has decided that, for whatever reason, playing at truth is better than actually arriving at it because it offends one’s most deeply prized philosophy (for John I submit that this is utterly Objectivism); and that rationally consistent truth is thus something that is not particularly welcome…well, even those whose intellect you lionize become something rather pitiful. And I know that sounds harsh but…
I provided a premise and spent weeks upon weeks and stores upon stores of energy, and thousands upon thousands of words arguing with an idiot who took every opportunity to savage me and some of my dearest blog friends–people for which Tom would not be fit to scrub toilets–to defend and explain my ideas, and no one could refute them, and that’s a fact; and Tom even admitted as much; and John never did but he summarily went AWOL, so…. At any rate, what I got from John was merely a regurgitation of a previous accusation that I was a Platonist in Objectivist clothing (I despise both, and am neither,and have always rejected the fundamental premises of Objectivism) and a declaration that I was all wrong but he didn’t have the time nor the “intellectual capital” to explain why.
And that, besides being nonsense, is not to me how you discuss purely philosophical differences with friends. So I was forced to deduce that there is something more. Not that it particularly matters. The operative point I want to make concerning this episode is that the fault is mine. I assumed we were friends…but I had no real reason to believe this. I am merely a “commenter on [his] blog” (his very words), nothing more. And I accept that completely. Again, the fault is mine for assuming anything else. In retrospect, after spending time with John in person and having many, many conversations with him, I suppose I should have understood this from the beginning.
Which, again, is fine. I am sad, not because of this realization, but because I fell for the illusion. And again–and again–the fault is utterly mine. People are free to decide who amounts to what specific value to them in their specific context. It is a philosophical axiom I swear by and one that I will never, ever deny.
Anyway…because of all of that, you have seen me at moments few and far between here on this blog. But now that I am on the mend in all and every way, I look forward to getting back down to business. The next article, coming soon, will be a continuation of our look at collectivism disguised as “doctrinally sound” Christian orthodoxy. Don’t miss it!