Kenneth Clark’s Tour of Western Civilization

I became aware of Kenneth Clark through a YouTube video by Bishop Robert Barron entitled Bishop Barron on Heroic Materialism. This is the first of thirteen episodes. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Do Neo Conservatives Understand Christmas?

The Neo Conservatives have used fundamentalist Christians to increase their popularity. This was necessary because without American Christians they would have had no political base in the United States. In my opinion, it is a problem that the neocons are not Christians. It is a bigger problem that they are Gnostics.

Today Gnosticism justifies itself through Quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is called science, but it had metaphysical pretensions from the beginning. That’s why Albert Einstein rejected it. He believed in a God that does not play dice with the universe.

From an article on transnational

Now let’s look at the history of the development of quantum mechanics, which was thoroughly saturated with discussions of consciousness and the mind. First, celebrated mathematical genius and quantum theory pioneer John von Neumann stated in 1955 that ‘N. Bohr, Naturwiss. 17 (1929)…was the first to point out that the dual description…necessitated by the formalism of the quantum mechanical description of nature is fully justified by the physical nature of things [and] that it may be connected with the principle of psychophysical parallelism.’

The ‘psycho-physical parallelism’ is a purely metaphysical doctrine saying that a physical process in the body is accompanied by a subjective psychological experience in the mind without any causal connection between them. Does this sound ‘New Age-y’ to you? It does to me. Yet Von Neumann not only reports Bohr’s use of this term but explicitly invokes it in his account of ‘measurement’ in quantum theory. [To quote von Neumann]

“…we must always divide the world into two parts, the one being the observed system, the other the observer. In the former, we can follow up all the physical processes…arbitrarily precisely. In the latter this is meaningless…that this boundary can be pushed arbitrarily deeply into the interior of the body of the observer is the content of the principle of the psycho-physical parallelism.”

Von Neumann goes on to refer to the ‘ego’ of the observer as that which experiences a single outcome of the measurement, even though the physical system is described only by a set of outcomes. Connecting the two is the mysterious ‘collapse’, for which Von Neumann gives a formal representation but which he explicitly says lies outside any physically describable system. [1]

Another problem with quantum physics is the lack of consensus as to what kind of social and economic reality is compatible with the quantum universe. Despite of this lack of consensus quantum mechanics has had real consequences in the world. This would probably explain the Bush administration’s lack of a plan for Iraq, even though they were clearly determined from the beginning to destroy it. Condoleezza

Rice stated as much in a 2006 press conference. When asked how she intended to restore peace to Iraq, she said:

“I think it would be a mistake. What we’re seeing here, in a sense is the growing—the birth pangs of a new Middle East and whatever we do we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East not going back to the old one.”[2]

According to Eric Voegelin, the Gnostic system is its own logic. That’s why it can’t allow logical questions. System building is not philosophy. It is based on the desire to dominate being. True philosophy on the other hand is based on the love of being.

In answer to a similar question to that asked of Rice, George Bush an aide to George W. Bush demonstrated that he is a system builder:

“That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

You might wondering what can be done? After all, quantum mechanics describes the way the universe works, doesn’t it? No, not really. A different physics has always been a possibility. The only real question would be how far back we need to go. In the meantime it is relevant to recall the view of man proposed by William Shakespeare compared to that proposed by Job. This implies two different views of God. The Gnostics gave us the idea of the Superman–just one episode in their struggle to remake mankind. Today they claim to be improving the process of evolution with artificial intelligence. Considering the effects they have had in the world so far, it shouldn’t be surprising that they represent a direct challenge to the Christian religion. Contrary to their pretensions to godliness, Christianity tells us that God became human. And rather than demonstrate his fearsome power He experienced the harsh realities of mortal existence.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed…And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1, 3-7)

[1] Where did the ‘Wrong’ idea of quantum theory implying consciousness come from? Quantum physicists Oct 2, 2015

[2] Thierry Meyssan The Neo Conservatives and the Policies of Constructive Chaos, 27 July 2006