Thursday, March 05, 2015

A Daze of Future Past

This idea of idiom -- of certain eerily specific aesthetic objects "speaking" to us in an unfamiliarly familiar way -- seems to have spoken to the idiom of the audience. In other words, this line of thought about interior resonance seems to be resonating with your interior(s), so we'll continue the investigation.

Several people spoke of this very blog speaking to their idiom. One -- and you are not aloon -- didn't even understand it at first, and yet, was ineluctably drawn into the One Cosmos web.

This is interesting, because it highlights the element of "vertical recollection." In other words, the exterior object resonates with some interior reality, or form, or archetype, that has been "forgotten," as it were. Yes, paradise has been lost, but perhaps in the same way that our idiom has been forgotten. It is a mythic way of describing a psychic reality.

But that's only an analogy, because chances are you were never consciously aware of it, so it couldn't have been literally forgotten. But it is buried, and the problem is that life can pile more dirt on it and bury it more deeply.

Or better, as Schuon has expressed it, it is as if there is either a thick sheet of ice or that our consciousness has become fragmented and dispersed. "Mistaking the ice that imprisons us for Reality, we do not acknowledge what it excludes and experience no desire for deliverance; we try to compel the ice to be happiness.” Ooh. That's good.

Conversely, postmodernity is like a caricature of dilation. It is ec-static to the point of total dispersion.

Elsewhere Schuon writes of how our subjectivity may become crystalized or dilated, and that each of these may be positive or "privative." What is commonly called "the ego" in spiritual circles is like a privative crystalization (likeways any mind parasite). But there are also privative dilations, like the liberal totolerantarian whose mind is so open his brains fall out.

When we speak of idiom, it seems to me that we are mostly talking about liberating crystalizations, whereas a liberating dilation is essentially slack, or an attitude of openness to the real.

Our soul is a "form" -- the form of the body -- but it is also fractally "structured" in such a way that it is constituted of other forms. Of course, the immaterial is defined as that which cannot be divided, but that doesn't mean it can't have it's own particular configuration. If "the soul is all it knows," then there is infinite room for differences... speaking of unique idioms, this makes perfect nonsense to me, or almost, anyway:

"For that (the rapt one warns) is what papyr is meed of, made of, hides and hints and misses in prints. Till ye finally (though not yet endlike) meet with the acquaintance of Mister Typus, Mistress Tope and all the little typtopies. Fillstup. So you need hardly spell me how every word will be bound over to carry three score and ten toptypsical readings throughout the book of Doublends Jined..." (JJ).

I'm consulting the arkive, trying to draw up some relevant material, and found this subjoycean nonsense:

"Ah, remama when you was older than abraham and young as a babe’s I AM and the world wiz fresh anew, when heaven touched the earth and angels whispered their psycrets through the wind, rivers, mountains and stars? I do. Who could forget our universedidsay?"

But then, "as we adapt to our baffling new conditions and lose our innocence, the world is increasingly demystified and we become subject to the brutal 'reign of quantity' inside the prismhearse of the senses -- or the senses prolonged into material space, i.e., materialism. Much of spiritual growth involves the reversal of this process, or what I call the remystification of the world. For if you're not amazed, you're just wrong.

"As we fall down & out, life at the center is exchanged for life at the periphery; or, we are booted from the spacious interior to the cramped and contracted exterior."

So, "As we dissipate outward, we gain a new 'center of gravity' and lose the old center of levity. Returning to this eurhythmic center of groovity is the goal of life, or the final coonsummation. To put it another way, God is always present. It is man who is absent. Which is why we say on our celestial birthday -- which is every day: Come in, open His presence, and report for karmic duty."

It never fails. I always end up getting distructed and hypnoteased when I dig down into the arkive, because it's like I'm reading it for the first time. However, I'm obviously repeating myself, because this idea of idiom is everywhere down there. If I am -- and you are -- a pattern, then if we examine our past, we should find its soulprints everywhere. For example,

"Now, the fact that we understand objects, i.e., The World, means that the world is made of 'communication.' It is full of messages of all kinds, just waiting to be decoded -- quantum mechanical messages, genetic messages, chemical messages, pheromonal messages, divine messages, signs from the third base coach, etc.

"Thus, prior to what appears to be the most obvious ontological fact of existence, i.e., the distinction between subjects and objects, there is something even more fundamental: communication. 'Comm-unication' is the prior oneness that bifurcates into subjects and objects, and without which objects could not be known and subjects could not know them."

Or, just say Trinity. But "contrary to what atheists and other assorted morons are always saying, if this were a meaningless universe, no one could ever realize it.

"Now, interestingly -- this is getting a bit aheart of oursophs -- but what distinguishes the Trinity from those cheaply made bargain gods is that it is irreducibly communicative. Thus, this unique metaphysic renders what is otherwise quite problematic -- an intelligible cosmos that never stops communicating with its mumblers in goodsounding -- an inevitability.

"The cosmos 'speaks' because there are subjects; and because there is a Subject, the cosmos speaks. True, you are free to argue that the cosmos doesn't speak intelligibly, but not without sacrificing truth, freedom, and intelligibility. And since the substance of man is one part truth, one part freedom, the materialist commits ontological suicide.

"Which is fine. The immorality -- the unforgivable crime -- occurs when these undead body snatchers engage in the soul murder of others, especially the innocent kits. Which is why we say without exaggeration or hyperbole that the leftist takeover of the educational system is a kind of....

"Let's see, 'genocide' is already taken. Let's call it 'pneumacide,' i.e., the murder of the spirit. This is no joke, as anyone can attest who has recovered from the assault of these delumenationists. I know for a fact that I'm still recovering, and maybe always will be. It's somewhat analogous to nearly dying from some terrible illness, and then having some permanent residuals as a result.

"An image comes to mind. On the original Star Trek, they were beaming down some crew members to a particular planet. But in this case, there was a danger that they might rematerialize within solid rock, and then be unrecoverable. In so many ways, a secular brainwashing is to be beamed down into solid rock is it not? Or maybe ice.

"We must melt the ice, pulverize the rock, and regain our original fluidity. This can only occur in the Great Interiority of the subject, not by chasing phantoms in the object world, which reduces the subject to an effect rather than a cause. Freedom 'enters' in this space between subject and object, because, like truth, it is prior to both.

"But for the same reason, as Balthasar explains, man is the first entity that is freely capable of lying. That is, with the emergence of man, the Lie enters creation. In fact, if you remember your Genesis, the very first recorded statement of man is a lie to God: I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.

"The Bible often makes a critical point by virtue of the order in which something occurs, so surely the first utterance of man is fraught with existential and spiritual significance.

"In this case, you could say that the Bible records the emergence of the first liberal, in that Adam immediately tries to excuse his culpability by depicting himself as the victim: hey, you scared me! It's your fault! But that doesn't fly, so next he blames the woman. In fact, there is also an oral teaching that has been handed down from generation to generation and which still lives today, in which Adam blames his malfeasance on conservative talk radio.

"Now, the Lie is the beginning of man's self-imprisonment under that sheet of ice alluded to above. It reminds me of when children used to get trapped in those old refrigerators that locked from the outside, for once man gets into the Lie, it is very difficult to get out. For inside it is as dark, cold and airless as the hole in a troll's soul.

"Truth, like love, radiates, whereas the lie compacts and restricts. Or, looked at another way, truth is like an infinitely hard jewel, whereas the lie disperses and dissipates. The left conflates all of these categories, resulting in faux beautiful 'radiant lies' such as socialism, or the 'hardened falsehoods' of political correctness. This results in a kind of perverse mirror homage to conservatism, because the left is not about 'progress,' but about conserving their 'permanent lies.' This is also why it is such a parody of religion, since, in denying the sacred, it confers sanctity on the profane.

"Because truth radiates, we have speech, or communication. If we didn't have speech, we would combust from the heat. As HvB says, in the absence of the gift of 'saying truth,' we would be 'burned up by an inward abundance that could not be expressed outwardly. It would be like a light that had to shine in itself without being able to emit any rays.' Most Raccoons are en fuego, and the only way to turn down the heat is to post about it and try to light up some other folks. Yes, we arsons of God.

"But this heat ultimately radiates from that burning bush that is never consumed. This is an irreducible mystery, for the more light we radiate, the more comes in -- like a brush fire that begins to generate its own wind. True, the Spirit blows where it will, but it blows even harder in certain self-generated weather patterns. This has been my experience of immersing myself in the world of HvB, which is like a tornado that lifts my little house over the reignbelow. Call it a Funnel of Love."

It is a fact that the gradual approach of these ontological levels of the spirit's form of existence is synonymous with an interior 'clearing,' irradiation, and illumination of being. The spiritual substance is light in itself.... Certain accounts of this fact suggest that the levels between matter and spirit are also levels of being's intelligibility. --Theo-Logic: The Truth of the World

Hey, sorry I got hypnotized by my own past. I promise to push this subject into the land of the new tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Idiom, Resonance, and Destiny

It seems that the poetic mode of knowledge is very much tied in with the slack required to exercise it. Through it "we gain our first touch... of our final purpose, which is to experience happiness, a resting from activity, a return to where we began, to a state of repose: leisure" (Taylor).

Thus -- and this is impoïetant -- "the poetic precedes the scientific" as "the passive precedes the active."

I was reminded of this the other day in the account of the 12 year old Jesus hanging out with the teachers in the temple, "both listening to them and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46, emphasis mine). So, we would do well to remember that listening and inquiring are prior to teaching or evangelizing or bloviating. We should make ourselves as receptive as Socrates, who knows only one thing. However, unlike Descartes, who uses his One Big Think as a foundation to build upon, Socrates uses his only as a vast and fruitful space of unKnowing.

This is a resonant space; or in other words, truth seems to have a "frequency" or vibrational quality that stirs our inner tuning fork. Aristotle (in Taylor) compares it "to musical modes and rhythms," such that "some philosophers say that the soul is a tuning, others, that it possesses tuning."

Now, tuning is not the tune, but we cannot play the tune unless the instrument is tuned. Therefore, playing music or thinking truth requires the proper tuning. How do we tune the soul? In other words, what would be the mind-brain-relations analogy to tuning an instrument? Remember, proper tuning only "prepares" us to play something. It is not the playing itself.

Obviously -- whether or not the educrats would express it this way -- the purpose of a public education is to help tune the soul so that it resonates with truth.

How's that working out?

What does the barbarized and liberalized (but I repeat myself) soul resonate with, anyway? I don't really want to know.

We've discussed this subject in the past, in particular, with regard to some of Christopher Bollas's ideas of the destiny drive, psychic idiom, and the unthought known. These terms are all related, in that we become ourselves (via the destiny drive) by finding the objects and relationships (idiom) that somehow precede us (i.e., are known but unthought, the unthought known).

So: "Human idiom is the peculiarity of person(ality) that finds its own being through the particular selection and use of the object [which also refers to people, ideas, and relationships]. In this restricted sense, to be and to appropriate are one."

Although I did not know it at the time (this book I'm looking at, Forces of Destiny, was published in 1989), this comes very close to a trinitarian way of looking at things. Think about it: we cannot "find our being" within ourselves per se, only in relationship, whether with people, ideas, scripture, works of art, God, etc. When we hit on one that bangs the interior gong, this means that the object is resonating with our idiom.

In this regard, "idiom" may be thought of as our unique soulprint. Now, everyone is unique, but how do we know this, and how do we make it a reality? Consider, for example, the Islamic or Academist worlds, where everyone must think the same thoughts, regardless of personal idiom. Another name for this is hell.

Of course, the same thing can happen in families, and usually does to one degree or another. For example, I was born into a family that did not share my idiom, to put it mildly, so it took quite awhile to discover the objects that bang my gong.

In one sense I was "lucky," but if Bollas is correct, there was also a Destiny Drive at work, and in hindsight I can see how I was able to manifest it by passively surrendering to its higher wisdom (or stupidity, depending on how you look at it). In other words, I never "planned" my life in a top-down way, but rather, allowed it to play out in a spontaneous and organic manner.

Not that I am a model human or anything. But at least I'm myself, so I got that going for me.

I'm sure I must have quoted this resonant passage before, but in the introduction, Bollas talks about the birth of his son: "What struck me was how he was who he is from scratch. He seemed to be in possession of his own personality, his very own unique configuration in being (what I term idiom) that has never really changed in itself."

Megadittos.

Q: "But what is this idiom? How does one provide evidence for it?"

A: I would say, start by inquiring within. What moves your soul? To what are you spontaneously attracted? What lights you up inside? This vital work "is a form of play in which the subject selects and uses objects in order to materialize elements latent to his personality, akin to a kind of personality speech, in which the lexical elements are not word signifiers but factors of personality."

Example.

Okay, the other night I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for the hundredth time. While doing so I had a kind of flashback to when I saw it the first ten times in 1975, when I would have been 19 or so. Importantly, I was a complete idiot at the time, with no understanding of art & stuff (or of anything else, really). However, the film resonated deeply with me, but in a seemingly unusual way.

That is -- and this is in hindsight, because I wasn't consciously aware of it at the time -- it was as if the film were comforting to me. In a weird way, it was as if I were "at home" (in a psychic sense). Hence the compulsion to repeat the experience, for reasons known but unthought by me.

I won't get into that for which I was searching. Probably just the person writing this. In any event, the point is that something about it spoke to my idiom, an idiom that I was years away from actualizing. Has anyone else had this experience with an object, work of art, idea, religion, person, etc.? I'll bet you anything Rick has. What about the rest of you?

(And I see that this post has come fullcircle, in that we are inquiring into that first touch of our final purpose, which is to experience happiness, a resting from activity, a return to where we began, to a state of repose...)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Barry & Bibi, Cain & Abel, Shem & Shuan

Not much time this morning if I'm going to lend an ear to the anti-Obama. Remember the old line, "peace will only come when Palestinians love their children as much as they hate Israel?" Well, Iran will be denuked when Obama loves America more than he hates Israel. Which will be never.

Let's continue with poetic knowledge -- which is also noetic and poietic, as in poïesis -- which is the handy Greek word from which poetry is derived, and means "to make":

"This word, the root of our modern 'poetry', was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world. Neither technical production nor creation in the romantic sense, poïetic work reconciles thought with matter and time, and person with the world."

Like I said, handy word. After all, if God is the divine logotect, then theopoiesis is surely one of his tools. I first ran across the term when I was writing my dissertation on psychoanalysis and chaos theory, the latter describing open systems that are autopoietic, or "self-creating."

Actually, such systems -- including human beings -- are more self-sustaining than self-creating, but then again, the sustaining can be accomplished in creative and uncreative, predictable and unpredictable ways, and I would say that to the extent that we cooperate with God, then the poiesis will be creative. That is, it will feature novelty, surprise, beauty, and renewal.

And when I say "renewal," I mean that it will be characterized by life. No, not necessarily biological life, but rather, the greater Life from which biology is derived, or of which it is a material echo. Life, among other things, involves continuous self-renewal. When the renewal ceases, that lets you know you are dead. But obviously, death can long precede the cessation of biological renewal. The whole point of a religious practice is to renew ourselves in order to prevent the death-in-life. L'chaim!

It must work in a way analogous to biology. I don't have time to look it up, but they say that it takes something like seven years for every molecule in our body to be replaced. Now, how long does it take to -- as Paul puts it in Colossians -- put off the old man and put on the new? This is actually a question that divides orthodox from Protestant, the latter insisting that it is a case of "once saved always saved." For too many reasons to list -- scriptural, experiential, metaphysical, etc. -- I cannot agree with that.

Hmm. Well, first of all, this post is heading off into completely unanticipated areas, but that's theo-pneumapoiesis for you. The whole point of verticalisthenics is to maintain a vertically open system by aligning ourselves with God. Then we just get out of the way and see what happens: let go and let Bob. Not Bob alone, of course, but a kind of Godbob hybrid.

What?

Excuse me, but I thought that was the whole point. Grandiose my ass. I'm not taking credit, I'm giving it. Unless I am completely in error, in which case I do take all the credit. All truth -- even the possibility thereof -- comes from God. Error is what human beings toss into the mix.

Anyway, in the wiki article on autopoiesis, there is an excerpt from the book in which the word first appeared in 1973, called Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living:

"It was in these circumstances... in which he analyzed Don Quixote's dilemma of whether to follow the path of arms (praxis, action) or the path of letters (poiesis, creation, production), I understood for the first time the power of the word 'poiesis' and invented the word that we needed: autopoiesis. This was a word without a history, a word that could directly mean what takes place in the dynamics of the autonomy proper to living systems."

But this question of action vs. creation is not really dichotomous. That is to say, there are obviously creative actions, just as there is uncreative production. What occurs to me is that this is one of the fundamental complementarities laid out in Finnegans Wake, the sibling rivalry between Shem the penman and Shaun the postman, the intellectual man of letters, and the worldly man of action.

I think that today we can see this rivalry playing out: Obama, the dickless "man of letters" (I didn't say they were good letters) and the man of action. Who is the more creative? Who is more open to and engaged with reality, both horizontal and vertical?

In FW, Joyce often makes fun of himself (the archetypal man of letters) for being so ineffectual and impotent. The writer envies his courageous brother, just as his hands-on brother would like to fancy himself a weighty thinker (either that or devalue the whole world of thought).

Let us consult the Key, and see if there is anything else worth considering, or whether this whole post is just a dry inkwell.

Ha! Page 21: "Shaun, now called Juan (Don Juan)," is "about to depart on a great mission."

P. 27: "The double note of love and war is to become the pervasive theme of FW.... continually outcropping in the struggles between Shem and Shaun" under various guises. "Love and war are the constant life expressions of that polarized energy which propels the universal round."

Does Shem teach us anything about Obama more generally? "The answer is not far to seek: of the two sons, Shem [the penman] is the mother's pet and Shaun the father's."

Here is Campbell's translation of Joyce. You decide: "There are a few who still maintain that Shem was of respectable stock; but every honest man today knows that his past will not bear description." Joyce: "Putting truth and untruth together a shot may be made at what this hybrid actually was like to look at."

However, Bibi is about to walk up to the plate and wake Barry to the plot, so finny for now...

Monday, March 02, 2015

God's Not Only Merely True, But Really Most Sincerely True

A few more words about Poetic Knowledge and the Recovery of Education. Bottom line: the former is possible while the latter is not. You might say that the education establishment is ineducable.

Worse, poetic knowledge is not just possible but necessary in order for a man to become one, while the education industry -- or industrialized education -- renders this impossible (unless you're very lucky).

But for the most part, if you're going to activate your poetic knowledge, or plot your gnoetry implosion, you're pretty much on your own, because the government has no interest in nurturing individuals, only mindless statebots.

But hasn't education always really been for the few? How many of the many do you meet who are actually educable? The majority are trainable, while a smaller portion are tamable. That's funny, because for the past fifty years or so we've been laboring under the delusion that everyone should attend college.

However, this doesn't make the tamable educated. Rather, it is more likely to merely tame or train the educable, or pacify the wild intellect and consign it to the secular ghetto. It's how we end up with all these credentialed yahoos who fill academia and run the government. They don't shed light, they extinguish it.

So, poetic knowledge is a retail thingummy, never wholesale. In fact, not even retail, more door-to-door, or maybe some guy selling it out of his trunk. Most people who have it don't even bother trying to sell it, because the demand is so low.

So, if you're not homeschooled, then you're probably not schooled at all. The most we can hope for in a public education is that it doesn't kill the natural desire to homeschool oneself, i.e., snuff out the naturally supernatural love of learning.

The philo-sophical life revolves around being in love with, and seeking after, Wisdom, forever. But not only do these blighted infrahumans not desire wisdom, they don't even desire the desire. In other words, they are not even aware of this death in their perichoretic family! This is not even poverty, let alone mourning, because they are so full of themselves, and IT besides. No Cross for you!

Not only has the vast majority of my education taken place in the post-postgraduate slackatoreum inside my cloud-hidden bobservatory, but I have had to simultaneously disabuse mysoph of so much of the abusive sophistry assumilated during my quote unquote education. Just yesterday I was talking to a newfriend about how shocking it is that we have a president who really believes the shit I believed in college. Perhaps you don't realize how frightening this is.

This weekend I was reading in a book by F.J. Sheed of the distinction between knowledge and understanding. Specifically, he talks about how understanding can obscure knowledge. I would put it the other way around, but it's the same difference: a premature understanding of the the world -- or of human beings, or of oneself, or of God, or of history -- serves to prevent new learning.

Again, take the example of our idiot president, whose Deep Understanding of the ways of the world was set in concrete by his mid-twenties. Since then the rest has been commentary -- and deception, since he at least knows enough that he cannot reveal his gnostic understanding to the masses.

In the book, I talked about how words can deceive, especially if they are saturated with premature and unevolving meaning. Sheen writes that if one wants to take theology seriously, "the intellect must go to work, pierce through the words to the meaning, and enrich the words with the meaning -- that they may be real words" (emphasis mine).

How do we make mere words real words? Via poetic knowledge. Through this the intellect is able to make "the reality its own, then the whole man takes over -- will, emotions, imagination" (Sheed). This is how we give birth to the word: a -- or the -- word is a womb for the growth of meaning. And when the word grows in this way, "It means making the truths our own, a living part of our being" (ibid.).

Yes, "it is in the taking possession of truth by the whole man that the whole man lives." Only through this does the otherwise one- or two-dimensional word become three- or four-dimensional (i.e., vital and/or mystical). This is real intimacy with truth, i.e., knowing knaked knowledge, knucklehead.

For "Knowledge serves love, each new truth learnt is a new reason for loving God. Love craves knowledge, craves to know: it would be strange to love God and not want to know more and more about him." And "every truth revealed by God plunges deeper than [the] finite mind can follow it," but follow we must. Or are privileged to follow!

Blessed are the poor in spirit. The corollary of this is cursed are the asssouls who are wealthy in their own eyes. Or in other words, "There are three stages in spiritual growing:

"We begin from a condition of destitution, / pass from that into a second stage of true ownership, / and from that into a third, which seems to be a return / to the first, but no longer destitute" (ibid.).

To put it another way, "We begin with silence," then "progress from that into speech," and finally transition "into silence again, not a silence we lapse into but a silence we rise into..."

So with that I'll bow to the holy STFU.

[I]nfinite love has exploded into our universe; theology is an effort to diagram the explosion. --Sheed

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Institutionalization of Man's Depravity

Although Truth inheres in man -- in our spiritual substance -- it seems that this substance is susceptible to corruption. That would be the whole fall thingy. As a consequence, "there is a veil separating [man] from the inner light while nonetheless allowing a glimmer to filter through" (Schuon).

Or, maybe there's just this annoying veil between God and man, time and eternity, necessity and contingency, and we have invented myths and stories to explain why it's there: There extand by now one thousand and one stories, all told, of the same (JJ).

But in adam event, it's there alright -- more in some than others, granted -- and that's the main point. We forget it at our peril. And the left specializes in forgetting it.

You might say that denying the fall is the left's gnasty reason for beasting, or its first principle. Without this accursed principle it would never occur to anybully that the state can compel goodness instead of just preventing worse badness. Besides, who will compel the statist dogooders to do good?

Isn't this exactly what it is that makes Obama such an insufferable assoul? It is the very principle behind the diverse manifestations of his blinding assholiness. It is why Giuliani was wrong to call him unpatriotic, because he isn't even unpatriotic.

Being that he is a dick in "so many ways," it is tempting to point to this or that particular flacet, but Obama's asshattery is hierarchical in nature, which is why he is rotten from the tip of his ass to the top of his hat; in the distaunt tweet of the Iowahawk we have heard that the unicorn always rots from the horn.

But in turn, there is nothing new about Obama. He's just the same old slime mold, just a fadograph of a yestern scene (JJ). He's befouled this nest before and will be black this way again, who knows, maybe in two years if Nurse Ratched succeeds him.

Remangle the old testimony about pride before a slide and a haughtynaughty befalling a fool? This implied that pride and hubris sowed the slide of the humptydump that bumped our rump from its stump and into the sump. Thump!

Well smell, Schuon agrees that "pride is able to accommodate all the virtues so long as it can poison them, thus emptying them of their substance."

That's one of those cracks that maybe sounds abstracked or smackulative, but think of how the left can ape any virtue or good in the service of its opposite: democracy for tyranny, freedom for slavery, self-expression for self-indulgence, equality for discrimination, constitution for lawlessness, charity for robbery, justice for unfairness, nuance for having it both ways, etc.

Now, "under normal psychological and social conditions," writes Schuon....

Normal? Right there we've offended the left, for whom "normality" can only appear in scare quotes, and is always wielded in the service of abnormality anyway.

Nevertheless, under noumenal psychestances, "to have virtue is practically speaking to have faith, not necessarily a particular faith, but certainly faith as such."

This reminds us of what Kant said about his bewonderment at the starry heavens above and the moral law within, or in other words, about the miracles of existence and virtue, or truth and goodness.

For which we are not responsible. Therefore, the antinormal absurcumsdunces of the left profess "to have certain moral qualities, but at bottom it is to prove to oneself that one has no need of religion and that man is good by nature." Which means that the left denies man's fall while institutionalizing its depravitational force.

Which is ironic in a self-appointed community organizer, in that the very basis of community, or of the possibility of collective life, is grounded in adherence to virtues that precede and surpass us -- in the permanent things, not the progressive things that oppose and undermine them.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Dream of Gagdad, Gagdad Dreams of Madonna

The ? in the margin tells me that this must be a place where I depart from Schuon. Either that, or it signifies an idea which requires further interrogation.

Hmm. Last night I was interrogating Madonna. In my dreams! No, really, in my dreams. I blame Drudge's headline that she had FALLEN HARD during a recent performance. In the dream she stuck out a leg and tried to trip me as I walked past her in the course of my cross examination. I jokingly raised the back of my hand toward her, and she smiled.

I remember about twenty years ago, reading something about a book that collected people's dreams of Madonna. Turns out I wasn't dreaming: I Dream of Madonna: Women's Dreams of the Goddess of Pop. Rather, a nightmare: "Lustily [?] conceived like a Dada art object... the dreams of fifty women reveal their nocturnal encounters -- by turns moving, bizarre, and erotic -- with the Material Girl and are accompanied by original collages that help illustrate the dreams."

Good news for me: the authors argue that Madonna has invaded our collective psyche "as a symbol of fearlessness, sexuality free of shame, and self-realization." So I got that going for me.

However, I'm not sure that shamelessness and self-realization covary. Indeed, if I were a psychologist, I might venture to say that exhibitionism is a primitive defense mechanism against shame.

I don't know if I have sufficient fearlessness to check out the reviews; or, if I can handle the vicarious shame. But I will summon my inner Madonna and forge ahead anyway!

Proving that a man with a Ph.D. in anything other than a hard science is 1) easy to obtain, and 2) hard on the rest of us, Dr. Trivino says the book "captures the inner perspective of so many devotees to this pop icon," leaving "no taboo unturned and yet expos[ing] an innocence of a different time.... The dreams and devotionals in this book will make you want to pull out your Madonna tunes and celebrate the angst of a time when anything was possible."

Celebrate the angst of a time when anything was possible. Except angstlessness, I guess.

Another so-called man writes that "in a world where traditional spiritual & mythic images have lost much of their power for so many people, new ones arise to fulfill the same function. And why not a figure like Madonna, who embodies sexuality, creativity, individuality, and the spiritual through her songs & ever-changing public persona?"

Really? Why not? Why not build a religion out of Madonna? It's like he's never even heard of Obama.

Here's a thought. Given how easy it is to end up in someone's dream, I'll bet you anything that more than one of you has had a dream in which I appeared. Next time it happens, leave an anonymous comment describing it. Eventually we'll have sufficient material to produce a book called I Dream of Gagdad: Raccoon Dreams of the Titan of the Internet.

Okay, back to the ? at hand. Schuon actually draws a distinction between the Absolute and God, suggesting that the former "has no interlocutor." Rather, he is eternally all by his (l)onesome.

First of all,

Second, I think I've caught Schuon in a rare contradiction, for he writes that "God is Divinity that personalizes itself in view of man," thus becoming "a partner or interlocutor" with us.

Excuse me, but "personalizes itself?" Isn't that a soph-tautology? For what is a self if not a person? In the Christian view, the OneGod is person, or, more to the point, three persons, for there can be no person -- or self -- without the other. Self-and-other are built into God, or rather, vice versa (same difference). There is no prior non-personal something that needs to somehow personalize itself.

Having said that, is it possible that there is something of the non-personal in God? Or better, how do we account for the millions of souls who not only claim that ultimate reality is impersonal, but have had the experience?

I would suggest that what they have actually experienced is anOther side of their own selves; note that this is a side, not the ground, for the ground is divine personhood.

However, I am of the belief that there must be a "dark side," so to speak, of this personhood, otherwise eternity would be a very tedious place.

In other words, surprise, creativity, novelty, etc., all emanate from this dark side, or rather, from the complementary and fruitful play of the divine persons. If "other" is built into God, then it is also built into us. As such, it is incorrect to suggest that creativity is an outcome of our engagement with some unconscious cauldron of primordial urges and instincts.

Rather, creativity results from our own trinitarian nature. It is very much as if there is another person or two down there. To cite one particularly obvious example, our Dreamer is not the same as our conscious self, and yet, it clearly behaves like a very creative, perceptive, and even weird person. It wasn't me who inserted Madonna in my dream, but there she was.

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

God is Proof that Man is Intelligent

I don't like to read more than one chapter a day with Schuon. Not that he's difficult per se, just that it's too rich. Dense. Pregnant. Full of implications. You have to allow the time and space, or silence (---) and openness (o), for the spontaneous occurrence of vertical resonance, AKA (≈).

Meanwhile, I started reading Poetic Knowledge, so I can't help drawing it into today's game. In fact, the title of the first chapter of The Face of the Absolute, The Decisive Intuition, goes exactly to what Taylor means by poetic knowledge (and to what I generally mean by [n] as opposed to [k]).

The decisive intuition must ultimately be intuition of God, and this intuition is always of a poetic nature (although it is possible to later work out the logical proof, just as, say, Einstein first had the vision of relativity before working out the math).

Poetic knowledge does not refer to poetry as such. Rather, it is a mode of cognition, "a spontaneous act of the external and internal senses with the intellect, integrated and whole, rather than an act associated with the powers of analytic reasoning" (Taylor). It is pre-analytical, but I would emphasize that it is equally post-analytical, in precisely the way we've been discussing in recent posts.

That is, even if we only regard the neurology as a metaphor, it is very much a kind of inspiraling journey from right brain to left and then back to right, the latter of which being able to integrate the fruit of left brain analysis into a higher and deeper synthesis. This doesn't make the truth of the Decisive Intuition any more true, but it does make it more robust and more intellectually satisfying -- if you have an intellect in need of deep satisfaction, which most people don't, whether religious or secular.

Briefly violating our one chapter at a time rule, in chapter two Schuon mentions how conventional religiosity (or exoterism) "has to take into account the weaknesses of men, and thus also, be it said without euphemism, their stupidity."

But as we alluded to in yesterday's post, the same principle applies no less to the secular world. A conventional university education has to take into account the stupidity of men, especially now that all men are absurdly thought to be fit for college.

As a consequence of this very real limitation, the teaching "must itself take on something" of the intellectual shortcomings alluded to above, "or at least it must allow them some room, on pain of not being able to survive in human surroundings."

So interestingly, truth must be mixed with falsehood -- in a manner of speaking -- in order to reach the average man, again, whether we are talking about religious or secular thought. This is not necessarily a bad thing, unless you want millions of people who are incapable of thought thinking for themselves. That's how we end up with an Obama.

Poetic knowledge is perhaps better thought of as a verb than noun. As a matter of fact, it is the very activity required in order to be a Glass Bead gamer, as it encompasses "religion, art, literature, music, architecture, manners, economics, leisure, and politics" (and more). These things don't just integrate themselves! Hence the sufficient reason of the Mystic Circle of Cosmic Raccoons, who do not shirk the liborious play of total integration.

Schuon writes of how certain religious imagery, "contradictory though it may be at first sight, nonetheless conveys information that in the final analysis is coherent and even dazzlingly evident for those who are capable of having a presentiment of them or of grasping them" (emphasis mine).

For example, "the story of Adam and Eve may clash with a certain need for logic, but we bear it deeply within ourselves..." It inheres in the very nature of intelligence; or better, it is a symbolic expression of a prior truth that "is to be found in the deepest layer of our consciousness or of our being."

If you need "proof" of this statement, the proof is in the fact that we are still talking about it 3,000 (or however many) years later! Furthermore, man -- so long as he remains one -- will always be talking about it, or else about the same truths in another form. Such truths are simply part of our standard equipment.

But the truth can become obscured. Here we can't just blame stupidity, but rather, a kind of willful stupidity that is wrapped up in pride. As Schuon says, this is not a fault of the intelligence per se -- for how could it be? -- but "from a fault of character, of pride above all." It is hard to imagine a proselytizing atheist whose mind hasn't been poisoned by pride, or who embodies the virtue of humility before the Mystery.

Why? Because the Mystery communicates itself, otherwise we wouldn't even have the name.

From humility follows other virtues, and these virtues, you might say, are both cause and consequence of poetic knowledge and decisive intuitions. "In this sense, virtue is a proof of God, as is intelligence" (ibid.).

Or in other words, if you're trying to prove the existence of God with your intelligence, you're going about it backwards; rather, much easier to prove that intelligence is only intelligent because God exists.

After all, it is "intelligence which is capable of conceiving the Absolute," and "virtue which permits man to surpass himself." An "unvirtuous intelligence" is an abomination, as Obama proves every day, and as the Clintons would like to verify for another eight years. Be it said without euphemism.

[W]ithout this poetic sensibility toward things, life deteriorates into brutality and chaos; what is also revealed is the upward movement of the senses and emotions with the intellect that sees the invisible meaning of things. --Taylor