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

Educational Projects: Introductory Course: Phase 2, Day 5

Phase 2: Day 5

The Sublating Transcendental Realm of Meaning

Detailed Outline

  1. Humans are not intrinsically good
    1. Although we do have an innate drive to the good via the transcendental precepts at the conscious level of being
    2. Human beings have a long history going back hundreds of thousands of years
      1. Slavery
      2. Subordination of women
      3. Alpha males (and females)
      4. Harems: hypergamy, genetic evidence suggest the percentage of females have children is more than double the percentage of males
      5. Low level raiding: recent anthropological studies suggests that approximately 1% of males in a tribe are killed through intertribal conflict
      6. Primary allegiance given to family, then tribe, then clan, etc.
  2. Our default condition: grounded in an animal existence
    1. Muslim countries as a contemporary example, specifically:
      1. Muslim countries
      2. Ruled under sharia
      3. Under a totalitarian ideology rationalized as religion
      4. With Mohammad as its perfect man
        1. War lord
        2. High priest
        3. Supreme judge
      5. Tribal social/political arrangements grounded in intersubjective ties
      6. All powerful alpha male: Allah (Islam means “obedience”) and the Caliph (who must be obeyed no matter what the Caliph does)
      7. Alpha male formation: family (male head has the right to exercise violence), tribal leader, clan leader, etc. In a family, one brother against another; in a tribe, the family unites as one tribe in competition with other tribes, etc.
      8. Honor ethics & an external locus of control
      9. Subordinate and subjection of females, confined to households with reduced legal status
      10. Sharia: not law in a Western tradition, but a matter of Koran and Hadith interpretation whose judgments are given the status of a fatwa
      11. Continual conflict that pits believers (the brotherhood) against all non-believers, with the injunction to use violence if necessary to bring the world under one roof
      12. Demands the submission of the “people of the book” (Christians and Jews) who are to believe that they have been subdue
      13. No repairs to existing churches and synagogues (eventually they’ll fall into disrepair)
      14. Prefer death over life, vs. Israel’s that prefer life over death (Palestinian “activist”)
      15. Supports and encourages slavery as the booty of war (Libya)
  3. How to explain the existence of good in the world?
    1. The Divine Mystery at play in human history
    2. Starting with revelation (Jews, Christians)
    3. And its unpacking in history through encouraging the transcendental precepts
    4. Formation, under conditions of free will when it comes to decisions of terminal value (choice, liberation, wisdom)
  4. Emergent Probability
    1. Positions invite development (intellectual, moral, and religious conversion brought about not through limited human will but the Divine Mystery)
    2. Counter-positions that invite their own reversal (stances taken on an issue of importance in society but grounded in a lack of authenticity, i.e., closed to experience, non-intelligent in understanding, unreasonable in judging, and irresponsible when it comes to deciding what to do)
    3. Both positions and counter-positions play themselves out in history  (dialectics)
    4. Examples: Marxist socialist transfigured into critical theory, resulting in Russian starvation and the Gulag Archipelago, Mao’s cultural revolution in China, and currently the collapse of Venezuela
  5. Manifestations (all focus on charity, individual responsibility, and being)
    1. The institution of Church/Synagogue
      1. Gives witness to the transcendental realm of meaning
      2. Carries resources down through time, protecting it for the common good
      3. Provides concrete tools for the formation of individuals and intentional communities
    2. Devotees
      1. Active “contemplatives”
      2. Active both in the church and the world
      3. Concrete personal witnessing of the Divine Mystery as operative within the individual
      4. Acts an ambassador to those who have no interest in the transcendental realm by giving truth to terminal values grounded in the Divine Mystery rather than human affairs
    3. Infused “contemplatives”
      1. Seeks a personal encounter with the Divine Mystery, or rather the Divine Mystery infused them with the wish, desire, or drive to unite with the Divine Mystery
      2. Lives in a world in which concepts no longer have any meaning when it comes to the reality of the transcendental realm of meaning, with respect to the external persona self or the central core of one’s being (the cloud of unknowing)
      3. The total transformation of the individual as he or she is drawn into the life of the Trinity
  6. Fundamental Institution Changes
    1. A general downgrading of religious institutions to the status of an organization, one of the consequences of the loss of the transcendental realm in human affairs
    2. An emerging crisis: given the increased power modern men have, it is becoming clear that we cannot afford for very much longer to leave the reins of power in the hands of consciously or unconsciously biased minds
    3. A crisis of authority in the face of growing public evidence of the basic incompetence and hypocrisy of a self-proclaimed elite
    4. Western “elites” have lost any sense of their founding myths, erasing history as a subject of human concern and thus leaving the “religious” sphere (transcendental realm) up for grabs
      1. Progressive secular and socialist agendas that provide a sense of self and purpose to a power greater than themselves
      2. Islamic totalitarianism that again provides purpose and direction, this time to young males