Welcome to the Pons Asinorum

There is no easy fix

Entering Lonergan's Novum Organon

Facing the Reality of a Lack of Moral Courage

Joyous Insurgency & the Long Game?

A Strategy for People Celebrating Life

Dialectics: Critical Points (Sept 6, 2017 Mtg)

1. Different Forms of Conflict: Not all conflicts are dialectical. Some differences will be solved by additional data; some are merely a matter of different perspectives; some are due to the complexities of reality. But dialectical conflicts have their roots in the authenticity of the subject, i.e., in their respective degrees of intellectual, moral, and religious conversion. (p. 235)

2. Conversion (freedom): There are three basic shifts: horizontal, where additional developments stay within the current horizon; vertical, in which higher perspectives subsume prior horizons, and radical shifts that begin a new sequence of development based on the repudiation of previous positions. (p. 237)

3. Prior Deficiencies: Research, interpretation, and history are all deficient in two distinct ways: evaluation (good/evil) and gross differences due to histories created by converted or non-converted. (p. 246)

4. Operations/Materials: The two operators/precepts involve developing positions and reversing counter-positions; material have to be assembled, completed, compared, reduced, classified, and selected. (pp. 249-50)

5. Pivot Point: Providing evidence concerning personal transcendence connected with the development of positions and reversal of counter-positions, thereby setting the stage for foundation choices. (pp. 253-4)

6. Fully Differentiated Consciousness: A fully differentiated consciousness is at home in four fundamental realms of meaning, i.e., common sense, theory, interiority, and transcendence. This state of being is relatively rare, leading to counter-positions that fail to meet the full scope of the historical situations. Western cultures tend to work with common sense and theory, while Eastern or non-Western cultures typically focus on common sense and transcendence. (pp. 257-8)

7. Heightened Consciousness/Self-Appropriation: Objectivity is of two types: sensate and world mediated by meaning. The first is attested by the survival of the animal; the second is a function of the authenticity of the subject, where virtually unconditioned judgments are a matter of combing experimental with normative objectivity to determine if the criteria are met. (p. 263)

8. Breakdowns: Conversions do take place, but so too are failures by individuals and communities where what has been slowly built up can collapse. (pp. 243-4; 52-55)

Clarification by Contrast (Dialectic):

Creating a Set of Benedictine Memes following the Gramscian Template
August 30, 2017

There is no truth, only competing agendas.
Truth exists; it is to be found in the universal and transcendent perspective of the Divine Mystery.

All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.

All human claims to moral superiority are unfounded; they only mirror the human desire to be in control, to become an omnipotent and transcendent human being.

There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
There is an “objective” method for judging one culture to be better than another (virtually unconditioned judgments affirmed at the individual level by the transcendental method and at the collective level by the functional specialties). Not only that anyone who claims that this is not so has appropriated the “satanic” generative principle in a transcendent dialectic between life-affirming and life-denying positions, but the criteria is not “superior” but one of a high probability of surviving. Hence Chinese, Jewish, Roman/Greek Western, etc. long standing cultures are “superior” in the sense that they can meet and overcome any number of challenged over long periods of time while the vast majority of cultures have simply gone extinct.

The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
The prosperity of the West is grounded in an adherence to rationality and self-criticism, all grounded in respect of the individual, ongoing intellectual, moral, and religious conversion, and an internal locus of control—all of which ultimately lead not to a reallocation of wealth but to the creation of new wealth. Rather than be criticized, Westerners wealth creation system should be praised as a significant achievement in the history of human affairs.

Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
Crime has its roots in poor choices made by the individuals who commit the crime, in effect rejecting life-affirming principles in the favor of short-term satisfactions that are ultimately life-denying in their consequences. Crime has two components: guilt, where the individual goes against the norms of their society, and sin, where the individual acts against their own authenticity by failing to meet or actively rebelling against the transcendental injunctions. In both case, submitting to an inferior position, i.e., the positions established by the unconverted to rationalize and justify their own grab for power and wealth, represents a step backwards in the development of human civilizations.

Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
Crime is the result of a deliberate choice to break the common norms grounded in the transcendental canons. In effect, the poor stay poor because of the bad choices they make in choosing personal satisfactions over long term value. While playing the victim and blaming others for their failures may be very satisfying, for such a position demands little of them and lots from others, the end result is a form of self-adopted slavery as they cannot learn from experience. This applies to criminals as well, whose conduct upsets the good of order and destroys what is of itself of value—the bonds of trust and reliability that enable a civilization to function as a reliable source of a steady stream of particular goods. Hence neither poor or criminals (or both) are virtuous; nor are they ultimately oppressed, and as such have no claims to entitlement or the unrestricted use of violence to support their demands.

For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
Violence and war are not only justified but become necessary when the alternative is to submit to a clearly dysfunctional state of order that will ultimately lead to the extinction of that dominating authority and all that are caught up in its mechanisms. It is a moral imperative to take the side of life-affirm rather than life-denying side in any dialectic between good and evil, for not to do so is to condone the “satanic” generative principle in human affairs.

When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.
When confronted by those who use terror to advance their cause, the only proper response is to apply the use of force to curtail their efforts, otherwise it means sacrificing the very good of order in society that allows for a rich and prosperous people to flourish. This admits not to the oppression and exploitation of those lacking the social, political, and economic tools to promote their own wellbeing, but to the mechanism by which wealth is created. Destroy that mechanism and life is reduced to a short and brutal life over scrambling for as much wealth as one can acquire.

Educational Projects: Dialectic Exercises: Benedictine Memes?