Gnosticism and Socialism and the Discontent of Philosophy

Part of an ongoing conversation.

  said: "I wish there were an Academy of English! French and German and Spanish have one, why not English?"

I answered: To safeguard our liberty, no doubt. The Academy of English would be an entirely leftwing-political-correctness organ, if it existed, and words such as "blind" or "Negro" or "Sodomy" would be decreed ungrammatical. The word "he" would be redefined to mean only male antecedents, and the word "they" would be declared the singular pronoun.

  said "Don’t forget history. It should probably be theirstory."

 said: "
Yep, that was one that didn’t make it past the self-appointed censors in my time at Earlham College. ‘Herstory’ was a common term, at least in promoting various Women’s Studies events. ‘Manual’ was also on the outs.

I commented: "Because feminists object to hands? Manual comes from the same root as manipulate, manu(s) means hand."

  comments: "Well, and ‘history’ comes from ἱστορία … but if they’re going to invent their own folk etymology for ‘history’ I see no reason why they wouldn’t for other words like ‘manual’ either. :/

This lead me to this idea, which I have expressed erenow: 

One recurring leitmotif I see again and again in Left-leaning and "progressive" writing and thinking is this idea that facts are optional, nay, that facts are an oppressive attempt by a father-figure (sometimes literally called "the Man") to impose unpleasant barriers and unwelcome bounds to the endless pursuit of the Pleasure Principle.

In Freudian terms, the Left represents only a pure ‘Id’ impulse, what Plato called the Appetitive Soul; at least one wing of the Right represents what Freud (incorrectly to the point of slander, in my opinion) called the ‘Ego’, but which Plato called the ‘Thymos’, the passionate or honor-craving soul; whereas the Church, the enemy of the World, represents what Freud (incorrectly to the point of slander, in my opinion) called the Superego, what Christians call the Conscience.  (Frued’s slander here was that the conscience was not an organ of perception of moral reality, but merely an aggregation of social conventions imprinted into an unselfaware yet governing habit of shame.) 

A short way of saying that is to say that the Left approaches one too many a political issue in the same mood and spirit as a teenager whose collection of Playboy porn has been discovered in his sock drawer by an angry father. The main issue is outrage that his short-term and unlawful pleasure has been hindered.

All the arguments used to render words meaningless, to pretend the past does not exist and the future depends on intentions rather than on actions, to seize the moral highground, to change the subject and attack the father, are arguments repeated ad nausiam by the Left in countless fora on countless topics.

These are the arguments of the guilt-ridden attempting to tear down authority merely as a rheotical stunt, in order to escape the accusation of the conscience. The Left certainly do not hate authorities friendly to their cause. This includes authority in both senses of the word, a literal authoritarian, such as Stalin, Che, Mao, or Castro, or in the sense of an authoritative opinion that will close debate, as, for example, the UN panel on Global Warming. 

(I emphasize the unlawfulness of the pleasure, only because I often note that Progressive argue vehemently in favor of extramarital sex and sexual perversion in the name of the joy of sex; but they never argue in favor of the joys of marital sex. It is comical to see a thin and sterile spinsters of the Left lecturing a Catholic mother of many children about the joys of unrepressed sex. The comedy turns sinister once you realize the spinsters use the word ‘sex’ to mean everything but sex. They mean the selfish part, the short-term ecstasy surrounding but not culminating in the act of sexual reproduction. The actual fruits and final cause of the sexual reproduction, the babies, those they want killed in the womb, or killed for the sake of the Earth-spirit, Gaeae.)

One reason why  (among others) persuaded me that Leftists are Gnostics is the incoherence of their metaphysics, as reflected in this attempt to render words meaningless and this attempt to undermine paternal authority.

Both Gnostics and Progressives seem to think language, facts, reality, rules in any form, are merely oppressive or (cunning yet imperious) impositions by The Man (The Demiurge) upon society (Cosmos, the world-system). They want to destroy and escape the bounds of society, to reach the utopia of perfect wealth and love and happiness beyond the boundaries of society, like a Gnostic attempting to escape and ascend from the archons of each imprisoning celestial sphere of the Ptolemaic cosmos to achieve the Pleorma beyond the sphere of the fixed stars.  

Like Gnostics, the Progressives are esoteric rather than exoteric: contact with reality depends on their feelings, their intuition, something that cannot be communicated with words.

Just to avoid another pointless argument, let me rush to say I do not mean the above to refer to all branches of the Democrat Party. I specifically mean the intellectual (or anti-intellectual) vanguard of the movement, the academics and their fellow travelers: and at that I am only speaking of the streams of Progressive thought and commentary the flow from Marxism, Social Marxism (which is called Political Correctness) and other factions within the general mainstream of Leftist thought that are based on insolent defiance of reality, as feminists who pretend that the man-woman relationship is a power struggle and nothing more, people who invent words like "heterosexist" and their ilk.

An afterword on an unrelated topic:

made a comment when I was bellyaching about the war on adverbs launched by grammarians and writing teachers who cannot tell the difference between a rule of grammar and a school of style. Because I did not use an adverb to describe my tone of voice, which was saturnine and dispassionate (he said sardonically), felt free to jump in with a scathing and sarcastic bit of drollery: "Yet another "war" is being waged on you and everything you hold dear."

 drew his snickersnee and leapt into the fray in my defense, saying "Yes, Mr. Wright would have made an impressive Objectivist – always ready for battle, and I mean that as a compliment."

Good greif! If a day comes when a writer cannot bellyache about editors and antigrammarians and their stupid schools of style without being chided for choler, then that will be a wolf-day, a sword-day, a Fimbulwinter, and the Twilight of the Gods will be nigh. The wolf has broken his fetter and the sun and moon are swallowed by the hounds of chaos!

I doff my hat (showing my bald spot) and accept the compliment from the good Wizard, Robert J, in the spirit in which it is offered. Thank you, sir. I do not think I match Mrs. Rand in her passion or venom, nor would I care to, but I seem to be more abrasive than other reason-loving Catholic Science Fiction writers  I know, all of whom seem to be souls of politeness, courtliness, charity and discretion compared to me.

It is not that I try to be abrasive; it is merely that I have contempt for the tender feelings of people who overhear me, whom I regard as weak-minded, and prone to crying fits like schoolgirls during that time of month. I just assume that anyone willing to cross lances with me in the lists of philosophical debate is armed with buckler and corset, and will not complain if my lance strikes home; no more than would I if theirs did. But, unfortunately, I discover that not all men regard the world as a battlefield, not all men cherish honor, and some people simply want to express their vapory opinions without being exposed to the stormwinds of logic and rhetoric. Not everyone is armored; indeed, it is a particular oddity of the modern day that to be not merely naked, but thin-skinned, so that the slightest hint of an irritant breaks the skin and raising a wail, is regarded as a virtue rather than a vice. It is as if these people WANT to be weak and weak-minded.

Perhaps they think themselves Christ, from whose wounds a healing blood flows, or, at least, the moral sanctity of martyrdom. (I remember overhearing a rich black woman yelling rabidly at a poor Jewish woman about the "White Privilege" which made the Jewess’s life allegedly so easy.) Perhaps they want to bleed, to be offended. Since these creatures play tricks like inventing new words with new meanings, and then pretending the old words are insults, so that a normal man speaking normally inevitably must offer what is now pretended to be an insult, I cannot believe that the Indifference of the Stoics, the Great-souled Magnanimity of Aristotle, or the unmoved Nirvana of the Buddhists is their goal, not to mention the Patience of the Saints.

So mine is the mortal sin of sloth, indifference to holy things, not the mortal sin of ire, contumely, that makes me a fit candidate for Objectivism. How that works out to be a compliment rather than a condemnation, we are sending in a squad of Aquinas-trained Jesuits in hazmat suits to check.

Meek Christ sternly commands meekness in His followers, of whom I happen to be His laziest and worst. One would think the persons who are, or who pretend to be, offended by my callous malignity would (merely out of their own self-interest) adopt the strategy of reminding me to obey the orders I am vowed to obey, rather than mocking that religion which holds the only hope the world has of making creatures such as I am into human beings.

So [info]jackaroonie  even if he only meant to act the jackanape cutting a caper, touches on a crucial point. I am at war with the world, and, indeed, with the whole world-system no less than a Gnostic vaunts himself to be, and anything, even something as harmless as a rule of grammar or a school of style, that is based on a wrong metaphysic, knowingly or not is part of that world I reject.

A philosopher who is comfortable or conformed to the world, particularly such a world as that in which we now find ourselves, where the intellectual landscape is littered with such rubbish of deconstructed incoherence, self-indulgence, insolent sin and uncertain wisdom, in short, a world of mental chaos, is no philosopher at all. Philosophers are creatures of reason and order, and the modern world, in order to flee the sanctuaries of the Church, has fled from the foundations of reason and order, and hence has fled from the groves and porches of Philosophy as well.

The dominant philosophy of this age is anti-intellectualism. The kind of writing teacher who cannot distinguish between a rule of grammar and a school of style — in other words, a teacher who cannot teach —  is a child of anti-intellectualism.