Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Creator and the Destroyer

Continuing with this series, reviewing the conversation between Jordan Peterson (JP) and Peter Kreeft (PK): How to Combat Hedonism

Peter Kreeft cites something from Karl Marx, apparently Marx’s favorite line from all of literature, from Goethe’s Faust: “Everything that lives deserves to perish.” 

PK: That is what I would call absolute evil.

To elaborate on this, from Dr. Paul Kengor, the author of the book The Devil and Karl Marx:

Friends said Marx would chant this. He would recite this–'Everything that exists deserves to perish. Everything that exists deserves to perish.’ This is a philosophy that's about tearing down, burning the foundation, leveling the house, to where you have Marx standing there in the smoldering embers, saying, ‘Now we are ready to begin.’

One need not even limit this perishing to traditional social conditions or even for all living beings as the enemy of Marxism.  As Peterson points out, this directly makes God the enemy of Marxism:

JP: This is very contrary to Genesis, where God says – after each phase of creation: it is good.

If it is good, it deserves to live.  It deserves this so much that God sacrificed His Son / Himself to ensure this was so.  But not according to Marx.  Everything that exists deserves to perish.  Everything.  It is satanic – even jab-like.

PK: If the benevolent God who created the world is a myth, and there is nothing beyond the created universe, then the universe is very much like Rhett Butler: frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.  It’s beyond good and evil. 

Can there even be such a thing as good or evil if we are the result of nothing but random atoms smashing together randomly?  In other words, while everything that exists might not deserve to perish, it also might not deserve to live. 

In any case, many modern atheists believe that good and evil can be determined from the stew around us:

JP: There is this idea from the materialist determinists that if we just derive enough information about the nature of things, we could produce an algorithm that would allow us to compute our way forward…

Now, that is naïve….

PK interrupts: Now, that is naïve.

Yes, that’s what I said.

JP: It is naïve, well I think it’s technically naïve.  I have talked to some great scientists like Sir Roger Penrose, and Penrose believes that in principle the horizon of the future is not fundamentally from the positions of the past.

Which diverts me to a conversation between Aubrey Marcus and Jonathan Pageau.  In this portion, they discuss artificial intelligence and psychedelics.  I will skip the psychedelics part, and focus on the portion of the discussion involving artificial intelligence (AI):

Marcus: I wonder if that [complete, supreme AI] could actually find a real understanding and be able to offer an actual shared system of value.  That it would come to that conclusion naturally.  That it would become not like the old gods that were capricious, but could become the great God – like God itself?   That it would understand that love is what actually animates life.

You can imagine Pageau, just chomping at the bit to tie into this.

Marcus: If it really was gathering all of the intelligence of the cosmos, would it not come to the truth – or could it not come to the truth?

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Answer to the Last “Why”

Jordan Peterson has had a string of excellent conversations recently.  I would say three in a row, in fact:

·       How to Combat Hedonism, with Dr. Peter Kreeft

·       The Language of Creation, with Matthieu Pageau (brother of Jonathan, equally as gifted but not nearly as public)

·       Julian Assange: Free Speech Martyr? Featuring Stella Assange

I will focus on only one of these, the conversation with Dr. Kreeft.  I will only focus on one because just this one will require several posts to cover.  Yes, you could listen to the podcast instead (I encourage it), but in this series of posts I will attempt to tie together some of their comments with threads that I have been explored in my writing.

For convenience, PK = Peter Kreeft; JP = Jordan Peterson.

PK: I love the old story about some peasants hauling stones on logs through the mud in a storm in order to build one of the great medieval cathedrals.  A visitor from another country asked one of the peasants, “what are you doing?”  And he was sweating and cursing and saying ‘I am trying to get this damn stone through this damn mud.”

And he asked another peasant – who was doing the same thing, but smiling – what he was doing.  And he said, “I am building a cathedral.”

There is significance to a task if you start at the end of the chain: what is the purpose?  Toward what am I aiming?  The first man had no purpose in his task; he did not see, or did not value, the end – the telos.  Apply this same lack of meaning to most aspects of life, as is the case for many in the West today, and you have a meaning crisis…which means a crisis brought on by a loss-of-meaning. A life without meaning – can you imagine a bigger waste of this gift of life that we have been given?

As for the second man…Peterson has often said (but not this time), and perhaps he was citing someone else: a man can suffer any how if he understands and values the why.  But we live in a world where there is no why:

Why are we here?

Because we’re here.

Roll the bones

-          Rush, Roll the Bones

This is all the materialist-atheist can offer – we’re here because we’re here.  “Because” is a child’s retort when asked “why” about something that would rather not be faced.  It is a reply as meaningless as the life it envisions.

No purpose, no design, nothing higher.  We are the result of random atoms smashing together randomly.  There are a small handful of individuals who are able to find meaning in such a life.  And of these almost all of them find a meaning toward evil, only a few find a meaning toward good.  But for most of humanity, a life without purpose offers no meaning.

Peterson understands this, although he also usually will just say “do something meaningful.”  Of course, Stalin and Hitler did do something meaningful…. But still Peterson continues to explore:

JP (asking rhetorically): What should be at the highest point?  Is it a description or is it a spirit?  Well, it has to be a spirit.  A description doesn’t provide a guide to perception and action. What human beings need at the highest place is something to emulate and act out and see through.

We have been given something to emulate that is even more valuable than a spirit – something more than the abstract form of the good.  We have been given the form of the good made manifest: Jesus Christ.  No matter the protestations of today’s atheists, Jesus represents the archetype for man.  But He offers (and is) so much more. This will be touched on in future posts.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Time to do Our Part

I am certain Lew Rockwell won’t remember this, but the first time I wrote to him was in 2008.  The blacklisting of Ron Paul’s election campaign had fully achieved its purpose, and I asked him where the energy of the Ron Paul Revolution might be transferred.  He didn’t know me at all – he had no reason to reply.  But he did.

He mentioned three or four libertarian / Austrian Economics institutions – to include the Ludwig von Mises Institute, suggesting any of these would be good organizations to support.

Why do tell this story?  Before getting to the main purpose of this post, I wanted to say something of the man.  You know what Lew didn’t say?  He didn’t say anything about his relationship with the Mises Institute (I didn’t know at the time).  He didn’t highlight as something to be considered over any of the others.  I only figured this out after I went to the different sites.  I then thought, “this is a humble man.”

Shortly after this, I met Lew in person.  I remember thinking, “this is a man doing God’s work.”  I don’t think I could fully understand why I believed this at the time (although I was certain of it); I do better understand it today.  Lew advances ideas that help man live as God designed him to live, as opposed to living how “the Conditioners” of C.S. Lewis’s Abolition of Man wish man to live.  Yes, Lew is doing God’s work.

I have since got to know Lew fairly well, and I would say two characteristics stand out.  The first, as represented in the above: he is a very humble man.  The second, when it comes to entrepreneurship in the world of ideas that underlie liberty and economic freedom, he is second to none.

He is the founder of the most important institution for liberty, economic freedom and peace: the aforementioned Mises Institute.  He also has his blog, (LRC).  The purpose of this post regards LRC.

It was about a year ago when google cancelled LRC.  No more ads.  This action significantly impacted the operating budget of the site.  Suddenly, and without notice, the continuing operation of the site was at risk.

At the time, Lew wrote about this and in fairly short order the countless number of people who see value in Lew’s work supported the site with funds to cover the next several months of lost revenue.

I was reminded of all of this the other day, when on the site an ad popped up asking for donations.  My first thought: why did I need to be reminded this way?  Lew did mention that the fundraising last year would last until around now, and here it is.

Before making my ask (and I will ask), please consider: how much value have you received from Lew’s work at LRC?  I can offer countless personal examples, from economics, liberty, anti-war, revisionist history, health and wellness, etc.  In all cases, alternative views – views that few others would cover, or would be courageous enough to cover.  In all cases, offering ideas that help free a man to live as he is designed to live.

But I will stick to one example, and it goes back to March of 2020.  From the beginning of the grips of covidiocy, Lew offered one of the first sources questioning the story.  I don’t mean he beat CNN or MSNBC (which in my lifetime won’t figure this out).  I mean one of the first anywhere, including the alternative blogosphere. 

I focus on this event, because including nine-one-one (on which Lew also has offered many articles exposing the inconsistencies and lies) and JFK in November 1963 (ditto), the events of the last 30 months have been the most important events since 1865 in the government’s war on Americans.

Lew has not shied away from any of it.  Every day, six days a week, he offers a dozen or so articles exposing the various ways in which authorities of all stripes are working to keep the sheep in line.  Every day he offers further links to other alternative articles through Political Theater.  And he makes available a further blog to include posts by others such as Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute, Tom DiLorenzo, Laurence Vance, Charles Burris, Walter Block, and others (I miss Becky Akers).

The site runs on two things: Lew’s dedication…and money.  Lew is doing his part; he remains dedicated to his craft and to his readers. 

You can tell something of a man by his enemies, and Lew’s enemies have done their work to remove the financial support necessary to run such a site.

It is time for the rest of us to do our part; if you find value in Lew’s work, and obviously many of you do, donate now.