Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Democratic Culture of Conniption and the Devaluation of Fatherhood

Hysterical liberals are always having a conniption fit about something. Why aren't they having one about that most odious of illiberal holidays, Father’s Day? Why haven’t they banned this insensitive celebration of white male patriarchal values yet? Instead of going after Christmas or Columbus Day, it seems to me that they would be better served to make a frontal assault on the source of all the trouble: fathers, those individual embodiments of Male Privilege.

After all, it’s not as if these groups don’t try to hide their contempt for fatherhood. According to an analysis by one of the most influential liberal feel-tanks, N.O.W., "Underneath the facade of Christian religion are the workings of the radical religious right, mobilizing men against the rights of women, lesbians, and gays."

As we have had occasion to note before, contemporary left-liberalism is overwhelmingly a movement of unhinged or unbalanced (i.e., divorced from healthy male energy) female energy in various forms. Bear in mind that I’m not talking about all liberals. There are obviously some sane ones left, such as Joe Lieberman. It is surely no coincidence that he is the one person they are trying to purge from the party--not knaves such as Al Sharpton and William Jefferson, lunatics such as Howard Dean and Ted Kennedy, or unalloyed simpletons such as Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid.

Nevertheless, if you consider the primary constituents of the Democratic Party, you immediately realize that they could not be a functioning party without all of their dysfunction. Let’s just consider the black vote. "Job one" of the Democratic Party and their marketing arm--the brick-and-mortar spin machine known as the MSM--is to foment racial hatred and division. This is because the Democrats would no longer be a viable party in something like 26 states without 90 percent of the black vote. While there is rough parity between the parties, blacks represent only 12 percent of the population, but something like 20-25% of the Democratic base. Therefore, it is necessary to cynically keep them angry, riled up, persecuted, and, most of all, victimized.

If you could snap your fingers and and make one change that would instantly transform black culture, what would it be? More quotas? A new government program? More black faces on TV? More black coaches in the NFL? More sensitivity to Cynthia McKinney's changing hairstyles? No, of course not. Any right-minded person knows that you would wish for more fathers.

Liberalism is full of beautiful ideas that do not work. One of their most beautiful ideas (to them, anyway) is that there is no fundamental difference between the sexes. From this flows many equally loony secondary and tertiary ideas. If there is no fundamental difference between men and women, then naturally, there is nothing special about marriage. Nor can there be anything special about fathers. A woman or two women can be just as effective in raising a child, so long as the child is given maternal love. “Love is all you need” (crooned the brilliant but sadly dysfunctional man who was abandoned by his father and raised by two women).

Maureen Dowd, in the title of her latest ovary glower womifesto of gynecrock, asks the appropriately dingcatty question, "Are Men Necessary?" Duh, I don't know:

“...[T]he correlation between social deviancy and fatherless homes is irrefutably linked.... According to the CDC, DoJ, DHHS and the Bureau of the Census, the 30 percent of children who live apart from their fathers will account for 63 percent of teen suicides, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71 percent of high-school dropouts, 75 percent of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80 percent of rapists, 85 percent of youths in prison, and 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders. In addition, 90 percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. In fact, children born to unwed mothers are 10 times more likely to live in poverty as children with fathers in the home.... '[The causal link between fatherless children and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime,' notes social researcher Barbara Whitehead."

D’oh! Stupid patriarchy. All it does is reduce behavioral disorders, dropout rates, suicide, poverty, substance abuse, addiction, homelessness, rape, violent crime, and the number of blacks behind bars. But on the negative side of the ledger, fatherhood also reduces the incidence of liberalism, so that one bad thing easily cancels out all the good it does. Plus, if there were more fathers, then there would be less poverty, crime and homelessness--all of the things that liberals exist to cure us of.

Therefore, it’s true: fathers really are the central impediment to the leftist takeover of government and culture--fathers and liberals are in direct competition for who can better solve the problems created by liberal solutions.

Thus, Job Two of the Democratic party must be to undermine and devalue the traditional family in any way possible. This has the effect of eliminating the importance of fathers and creating so many wonderful new problems to solve. Of course, the solutions won’t work, but they will allow you to feel better than those evil racist, sexist and homophobic conservatives, and that’s the main point of the exercise.

As I have mentioned before, my own field of psychology is so debased that it has become just another advocate for politically correct and dysfunctional lefitst lies. A politically incorrect psychologist can land in serious trouble if he utters certain elementary truths. I dropped out of the American Psychological Association long ago, and if I were a more enterprising individual, I might even try to start up a non-leftist alternative organization.

Most recently, the APA “has filed amicus briefs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit opposing Nebraska's state marriage amendment because it denies same-sex parents equal status under law to heterosexual married parents," making it a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Ah, the APA and the legal bullies of the left, joining forces to bring out the wrecking ball to overturn the order of the cosmos.

To quote Dennis Prager, "It takes a particularly noble Democrat to promote marriage and family. The strengthening of these institutions is not in the Democrat Party's self-interest. The more people marry, and especially the more they have children after they marry, the more likely they are to hold conservative values and vote Republican. That is why it is inaccurate to speak of a 'gender gap' in Americans' voting. The gap is between married and unmarried women. Single women, especially single women with children, tend to vote Democrat, while married women, especially married women with children, tend to vote Republican."

But as the left always says, "the personal is the political." Naturally, if you have--through no fault of your own--been scarred and disillusioned by your own lack of a harmonious family and a loving, noble father, you will look for a substitute “community” elsewhere, like Kosfest in Las Vegas or naked bike rides in San Francisco. (Trust me, you don't want a link to that last one. Father knows best.)


I love this typically garbled take from dailykos because it shows how clueless liberals are on issues of sexuality. If you acknowledge any moral standards at all, or if you actually recognize that sexuality is a potentially destructive force if not channeled in pro-social ways, you are a sexual fascist who simply wants to repress others. It is kooky enough that liberals think what they think, kookier still that they think this is how conservatives think:

"Evil. Suspect. Immoral. Dirty and shameful. Something no one should be proud to admit either having or enjoying. But mostly the ultimate temptation to succumb to selfish hedonism and to betray ideals."

"... Who but a right-wing fundie would think that love consummated between two consenting adults, whatever their gender, whatever the position, is a sin?"

"I've long thought that the individuals on the right who assume sexual freedom will give rise to all sorts of inarguably exploitive sexual situations--pedophilia, rape, manipulation of the trusting sexual partner and abandonment--are telling us a lot more about their own dark side than about the reality of most of our sexual relationships. And I often give a silent prayer of thanks that they are tamping themselves down, even as I resent their efforts to impose their strictures on the rest of us..."

But of course, it's the other way around. Adolescents like her require sexual boundaries in order to rebel against them and therefore escape guilt and feel superior. Her tyrannical and judgmental superego is placed into conservatives for safekeeping. I can't say that I blame her. It's pretty out of control with the accusations: "Evil! Immoral! Dirty! Shameful!"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Boundless Compassion of the Politically Incorrect

Look, I know I’m not the world’s greatest psychologist. But I’m still a psychologist, and I’m still a compassionate guy. You can’t fake that. You can’t jump through all of the hoops required to become a psychologist without demonstrating your boundless sensitivity at every step along the way. Without that sensitivity I could never be such a bleeding-mind conservative.

I’m still mulling over this epic piece on political correctness by a blogger named Fjordman (HT: our charlemagne man at LGF). It’s very long and I haven’t even finished it yet, but he comes to many of the same conclusions I have about this noxious phenomenon. His essential thesis is that the West may have defeated economic Marxism with the fall of the Soviet Union, but that this simply obscured the extent to which cultural Marxism had extended its tentacles into the very spirit of the West.

Fjordman agrees with me that political correctness is no joke. Rather, it is a genuine collective mind parasite in a quite literal way. Just as our bodies can become infected by viruses that hijack the host in order to reproduce themselves, history demonstrates time and again that pathological ideas can sweep through groups and do the same thing. It wouldn’t be so worrisome if PC simply destroyed the mind of the infected person, but the virus spreads and can take over whole institutions, like academia, or most every professional group. It is a cliché in conservative circles that every human enterprise that is not explicitly conservative will eventually become liberal. PC is one of the reasons why. It is why Republicans veer to the left just as soon as they are given power. Most Republicans are not explicitly conservative, like a Ronald Reagan, so it is as if they have no immunity from the PC virus.

My field of psychology is a case in point. It has almost been ruined by political correctness. It is not just unethical but literally illegal for a psychologist to maintain certain elementary truths. If you utter them aloud, you could easily be investigated by the Board of Psychology and have your license yanked. You could never be licensed to begin with if you were to affirm a belief in these truths during the course of your licensing exam.

Fjordman writes that,

“Political Correctness kills. It has already killed thousands of Western civilians, and if left unchecked it may soon kill entire nations or, in the case of Europe, entire continents.... Islam is only a secondary infection, one that we could otherwise have had the strength to withstand. Cultural Marxism has weakened the West and made us ripe for a takeover. It is cultural AIDS, eating away at our immune system until it is too weak to resist Islamic infiltration attempts. It must be destroyed, before it destroys us all.”

“The Leftist-Islamic alliance will have profound consequences. Either they will defeat the West, or they will both go down in the fall. We never really won the Cold War as decisively as we should have done. Marxism was allowed to endure, and mount another attack on us by stealth and proxy.

“... At present, PC prospers by disguising itself. Through defiance, and through education on our own part (which should be part of every act of defiance), we can strip away its camouflage and reveal the Marxism beneath the window-dressing of ‘sensitivity,’ ‘tolerance’ and ‘multiculturalism.’”

Precisely. You see, the world has been turned upside down. It actually takes a compassionate person to realize that “Multiculturalism is not about tolerance or diversity,” and that “it is an anti-Western hate ideology designed to dismantle Western civilization.” Nothing sensitive or compassionate about that.

There is also nothing compassionate about violently attacking the foundation of thought. All religious traditions agree--or should agree anyway--that there is no doctrine higher than Truth. Truth is the highest virtue, so a systematic assault on Truth itself must be regarded not just as a nuisance, but as satanic. This is what satan does. You don’t have to believe in wind to see the effects of the wind. Nor do you have to believe in satan to see his vast influence in the world, which starts with undermining Truth, the logos.

Fjordaman includes an excellent quote by Theodore Dalrymple, who notes that the purpose of communist propaganda “was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to cooperate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

This post has veered in a direction I hadn’t intended, but I awakened this morning pondering the spiritual reality that allows PC to flourish. The one area where I would deviate from Fjordman is in tying PC too closely to the specific ideology of Marxism. For there is a much deeper structure present, atop which Marxism is merely as wave is to ocean. I believe that PC is the faux form of thinking that goes hand in hand with this deeply spiritual condition. Remember, it is an error to think that spirituality connotes “good.” Rather, since spirituality exists on the vertical axis, there is good spirituality and bad spirituality. As we descend down the vertical we encounter various degrees of bad spirituality---new age fantasists, paganism, wicca, obligatory atheism, nazism, all spiritually pathological conditions. As I have said before, Marx was simply the anti-Moses with a reverse Sinai revelation, one of many such left-hand revelations.

Let’s move from the abstract to the concrete and bring it down to the personal level. Being that I am a compassionate soul, I hestitate to even use the names of the people I’m going to discuss, but I found these two posts this morning on dailykos. They both serve as outstanding “confessions” of the bereft spiritual state I am discussing.

One is entitled “My Dilemma.” The writing is sometimes incoherent, but I believe you can get the essential point. The writer is struggling with the gulf between reality and the revolutionary, utopian image in her head that tells her how reality ought to look:

“It is funny, my psychology. I'm a revolutionary in my mind that makes less than acceptable compromises with my life.... And that train of thought is a lie too.”

“What really is the price of revolution? Can we do it while maintaining the illusions? What is revolution? Would any of the majority of this site, with kids, jobs, homes, retirements, survive that?”

“And here is my ultimate question. Can we ever achieve a radically egalitarian society? It is the only thing that drives my thought. It is the only thing that drives my music. It is the only thing that drives me to still live.”

“I hope that in whatever we do, we express the life we wish we lived, and come to peace with our regrets. Because between those two, is the not only the life we should have lived, but the life of homo sapiens.”

Like I said, pretty incoherent, but this is the spiritual state of the purely horizontal person who is deeply depressed and disappointed that heaven does not exist on earth. Therefore, perpetual revolution is the only alternative, until there are no possessions and we achieve a radically egalitarian society. She says it herself: this is the only thing that drives her thought and gives her a reason to live. Living in this painful gap between ugly reality and beautiful fantasy is all there is for poor homo sapiens.

This is the “reality based community,” so immersed in a utopian fantasy that life would be unworthy of living in the absence of the fantasy.

A second writer confesses that he “thought I was losing my mind after the last election. Bush won, Kerry lost--though all the exit polls argued the other way. That week, I lost my religion at a meditation retreat.”

Here again, religion is confused with purely horizontal fantasies about how the world is supposed to be. Yes, it is religion, but it is an entirely infantile religion. The writer continues, describing his deep disorientation. Note the astonishing degree of psychological projection:

“I've felt nuts for awhile.... Orwell-speak was now the norm.... Every day the news was full of stories about an administration gone wild with hate, revenge, and a lust for power and greed. We had gone to war for no reason and nobody made much of a fuss. Anyone who railed against them was labeled a ‘crazy liberal.’ An entire industry of hate speech grew up around us...."

Note as well the cognitive projection, for projection doesn’t only involve emotions. Rather, the entire disturbed mechanism of thought can be projected into others, making them appear “crazy”:

“I've been on the other side of the looking glass so long now I didn't think there was a place to go. After 30 years in D.C., it hurt to watch my hometown change. The place always sucks when Republicans are in charge. They're just plain nasty and they can't argue logically for shit (!).... On the Metro, you would hear idiots supporting Bush. It was hard. I worked on letting go of the anger, but it was killing me.... it was breaking my heart."

But then he had an epiphany, a spiritual rebirth. He went into hock to attend “YearlyKos” in Vegas. This is where the compassionate part of me nearly weeps, because it really is heartbreaking:

“I got a chance to move to the Pacific Northwest and things got better, even though I hated my job.... [But] I was one of the millions of Americans who charged my credit card up last month--but mine was for YearlyKos. I'll be paying it off for a long time, but it was worth it to get back my faith.... [It] awoke something that died in me a few years ago.”

“All I could think after the last election was how the labels we use for religious beliefs separate us from each other. That seemed to me the opposite of religion's purpose. Raised Catholic, I ran from churches as soon and as fast as I could. Buddhism worked for me for a long time, but eventually that seemed just another label too.... I'd never felt the love of community you were supposed to feel in a parish or a sangha, but I felt it this weekend at YearlyKos.”

But the inevitable disillusion is coming. It’s just a matter of time.

“Once the shock wears off this week, I'll get down to work. I'm already writing down ideas and working on the first steps I think I can do for Oregon. I no longer feel crazy or alone. I feel like justice could be within reach and things might not necessarily have to go down the tubes. Maybe there was magic in last night's full moon.”

That last sentence is true. It is moon-magic. That’s why we call them lunatics and moonbats. It's sad, but one cannot allow compassion for the sadness to obscure the fact that they want to put us out of their existential misery, even if we don't survive the procedure. No thanks. Just heal yourself first. Only then will you even be in a position to diagnose, much less heal, the rest of the world.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Edginess and Leading Edges in the Adventure of Consciousness

Edgy people are a self-congratulatory bunch, but it has never been so easy to be “edgy.” Bad art, bad literature, bad music, bad comedy, bad TV, bad political websites--it’s all edgy, and that's about all it is. The trick, of course, is knowing what the edge is leading into. Since reality is more or less spherical, it has many edges. However, only one of them is the leading edge. Being at that edge is the only edginess that actually matters.

By definition, the leading edge has always been with us. We can recognize it in hindsight. However, very few people who are alive at any given time have any idea where that edge is. For example, only a tiny handful of people knew in 33AD that the edge of the cosmos was located on top of an obscure hill named Golgotha. That’s probably not the best example, because a Christian would argue that that was also the center and axis of the cosmos. However, even a secular historian would have to agree that it was the leading edge of mundane history as well, of mankind pushing itself beyond itself to a new understanding of the relationship between man and God and man and man. Likewise, the American Revolution was--and is--at the leading edge of history.

The drama of human liberty is meaningless unless it is oriented toward a nonlocal telos. This, as I have said many times, is one of the fundamental divides in the culture war between “left” and “right.” I hesitate to use these words anymore, because not a single one of my critics has ever understood what I mean by them. In failing to understand what I am talking about, I believe they confirm my thesis, because they are literally “in the dark” metaphysically. If you disagree with me, just assume that you fall under the heading of “left” in the larger sense that I am using the term. Your purely horizontal view may, of course, be the correct one. But it won’t be because you’ve understood me.

Leftists are aware of this fact--they know that there is something to this religion business---so they have lately been ramping up the effort to ape the lingo of religion and speak about “values” and the like. But their religious talk is about as convincing as Christian rock music--almost an exact mirror image. The pathetic genre of Christian rock is completely parasitic on the forms and idioms of real rock music. There is no originality whatsoever--it is completely hollow and derivative.

Which is unfortunate, because real rock music that is any good is ultimately derived from real spirituality. It is derived from certain collective forms of music that no one invented, but which spontaneously sprung from the earth, just as the authentic revelations spontaneously sprung from the heavens. Folk, country, blues, gospel--in their original form, these were all spontaneous vertical expressions of the human soul, with no commercial motivations whatsoever.

This is what makes a Johnny Cash or Howlin’ Wolf so much more compelling than any contemporary country or blues singer. They sprouted straight out of the earth. It is also what made the early Elvis or Beatles or Stones so great. They were still very close to those pure musical revelations of the earth, whereas later musicians simply ape the styles forged by purely commercial and derivative artists. It’s like a series of xerox copies that become increasingly faint with each copy. Don't get me wrong--it is still possible to make great music, but only to the extent that one is in harmony with the earthly or celestial spheres (for example Arvo Part in the latter case). If your art doesn't aim at, or derive from, something beyond this world, you are sure to hit your target.

(Obligatory memo to the clueless--please don’t accuse me of being a nostalgic old fogey who is out of touch with contemporary trends. I had no contact with most of the music I enjoy until I was an adult. As a child I can assure you I didn’t listen to Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Buck Owens, Mavis Staples, or Bobby Blue Bland. Only a musical primitive doesn’t know that Duke Ellington or Thelonious Monk--not to mention Bach or Beethoven or Shakespeare or Joyce--are still from the future, not the past. We are still trying to “catch up” with the musical edges they explored. Time is obviously not necessarily progressive, even though progress takes place in time. Regress takes place in time as well, which progressives prove every day.)

Being that the left is as spiritually hollow as Christian rock is musically empty, they have invented a purely horizontal theology. I found a fine example of this on huffingandpissed by a Christian pastor, Jim Rigby, entitled, Christians Who Want Democracy Must Stop Bowing to a Dictator Christ. This is essentially warmed over Marxism--the purest of horizontal revelations--recast in the language of Christianity. I will grant that it is very edgy theology. So edgy, in fact, that it drives right over the edge of the cliff:

“Many Christians seek a white male king. He may be called ‘Pope’, he may be called ‘the decider President,’ he may be called ‘televangelist,’ but the title only masks what he is, a benevolent (or not so benevolent) dictator.”

For the downwardly mobile left, the bottom edge is the leading edge. Jesus must have "street cred." He must keep it real and he must have attitude: “The real Jesus was born illegitimately.... The real Jesus was an anarchist.” Thus, a complete inversion: Christ was not the son of God, the logos, the third person of the trinity, but a bastard and a leftist social revolutionary--perhaps almost as lofty as Che or Chomsky or Arafat.

Yes, “If you want to know why Americans are so frightened and why we are attacking anything that would challenge our dominance over others, read the Bible.” Ah, if only Pastor Rigby had written, “If you want to know why Muslims are so frightened and why they are attacking anything that would challenge their dominance over others, read the Koran.” In fact, I would love to hear him say that in a Muslim country. Then perhaps he would understand that it is specifically Christian tolerance that allows such a twisted soul to blaspheme in the name of what he blasphemes.

For those with eyes to see, America--despite its flaws--is so obviously at the leading edge of history that it is difficult to conceive of where history would be without her. Not so for Rigby’s inverse Christian theology: “So called ‘Christian America’ is still a nation built on the work of slaves. We do not see them because they toil invisibly in other countries. Today’s church doles out bits of charity from booty stolen from God’s powerless people the world over.”

Yes, the World Sees U.S. in Iraq a Bigger Danger than Iran. Well of course it does. “The world” and its mullahs are at one edge, while America and her allies are at the other. Only one side is at the leading edge. Only one of us, as Van der Leun has noted before, has the groove. And they hate us for that. I can't say that I blame them. It's painful not to have it and to have no idea where to get it, whether you're a musically bereft Christian rocker, a left wing Christian off your rocker, or a demwitted cutandrun-from-Iraqer.



Speaking of the mullahterror & dusty old leftist complex: no fun allowed!

"The point of this post is not that Bush intentionally taunted (sic) a blind man, but that his insistence on clowning with the press is undignified and highly inappropriate...

"Bush's clownish banter with reporters--which is on constant display during press conferences--stands in such stark contrast to his administration's destructive policies and to the gravity of the bloodbath in Iraq that it is deeply unsettling to watch. This may be impolitic, but wouldn't refraining from frat-style horseplay be appropriate for this man? Or at the least, can't reporters suppress their raucous laughter every time he blurts out another jibe... the way they did when Colbert put them in their place?"

Right. NO COMEDY ALLOWED, unless it's the angry, unfunny kind that puts someone in their place. You know, like Arab anti-Semitic humor.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stand by for Nous

Do you remember the original purpose of this blog? Because I don’t. Something to do with turning the cosmos upside down and looking at the news of the day through the lens of eternity. News, of course, happens in time. But since time is a function of eternity, it seems sensible to have one blog that tries to provide a Word’s-I-view of the eternal logos as it is deployed in time. Am I the person to do that? No, but at least there’s no competition. I don’t mind being a small fisher of men in the largest pond, so long as I’m the only fisher.

Temporal news is almost always bad news. That’s not a coincidence, because time itself is pretty much bad news. I mean, some good things obviously happen in time, but they are always followed by bad things. And then good things. And bad things again. So even good news is bad news in a way, because you know in the back of your mind it won’t last. That was the Buddha’s key observation, and who could argue with him? Copithorne, I guess.

Primitive people had a more direct understanding of the structure of time, which is one of the reasons they offered sacrifices when things were going well. They thought that by doing this--by giving up a little bit now--they could prevent the gods from forcefully taking it away later. It was a way to try to provide some air shocks for the cycles of time, to smooth out its rough edges. It worked, but only in the way liberal programs work. Which is to say it reduced anxiety and made everyone feel good.

As a matter of fact, according to Helmut Schoeck, this instinct is so deeply implanted in the human psyche that it prevented economic development for millennia. People were actually deeply anxious if times were too good, if there was too much abundance, so they would destroy surpluses in order to try to appease the envy of the gods. Now human beings have a more refined way of destroying surpluses, called “credit cards.” Paradoxically, it can be somewhat disorienting to be completely “in the black,” so to speak. For some reason it can make you feel more precarious and vulnerable, so people quickly go into debt to feel more secure. At least then your little surplus can’t be taken away.

I look at the DSM as a catalogue of psychological fossils. What we call a mental illness is simply an adaptation to the impossible conditions of being human, of being self-aware primates with a surprise expiration date. I believe that the further back in history you go, the more likely you are to find whole populations whose average mentality would meet the criteria for one of the mental disorders found in the DSM.

I honestly don’t know how historians and anthropologists interpret the crazy behaviors and beliefs of the past without recourse to knowledge of human development and psychopathology. Instead of calling it what it is, they bend over backward--and sometimes foreward, as in the case of Islam--to normalize any behavior they encounter, no matter how irrational or frankly crazy. Even as a kid I could never understand this, and now it’s only worse.

In California, for example, there’s a law that says that any textbook must depict any group in a positive light. Therefore, if, like me, you want to know why the Aztec ate people or Palestinians murder Jews, you can’t find out. You can’t even ask. Or if you do ask, you can only get an answer that puts a positive spin on it, like “the Aztec ate people because they thought they were occupied,” or “the Palestinians murder Israelis because they believe the sun will go dark without Jewish blood.”

Page 2

So time is the bad news for humans. On the other hand, religions are here to tell us the “good news.” This news is not really news, because it is not of time. Rather, it is of eternity, even though it takes time to hear it. And what is the good news? The good news is that, contrary to what our physical senses tell us, the cosmos is not a meaningless prismhouse, a nonstop colliderescape, a closed system. Rather, it has an exit and an entrance, a vertical passageway out of the transient world of decaying form, perpendicular to the inexorable march of time that is gradually making every day a more or less bad hair day for me.

Really? Yes, or so we have heard from the wise. To be “saved” specifically means to be saved from time and from what it is eventually going to do to you and to everything and to everybody else, even Cher. It’s obviously a delicate balance, because without time we could have no existence at all. But because of time--that baldheaded cheater--existence is irretrievably F.U.B.A.R.

Human beings are saved in the degree to which they conform themselves with their theomorphic, atemporal blueprint. Imagine a cross, if you will, with horizontal and vertical axes. The horizontal axis represents time, the vertical axis eternity. The miraculous now--the mysterious peep-whole through which the cosmos peers out upon itself--is actually the central point of the cross, where eternity pierces time and we are unborn again. It is where, like it or not, we are crucified, straight through the heart.

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JWM made a pertinent observation yesterday, writing that,

“The whole question of the soul brings up a peculiar thought. I'm thinking of feral children. There have been a few cases of children raised by animals, or otherwise separated from human contact during their developmental years. They never learn to speak, or think. They are human insofar as they have human DNA, but they never become fully sentient beings. They remain at a subhuman level mentally and emotionally. Feral children never learn to speak.”

Exactly. I actually discuss these feral children in my book. While they are genetically no different than you or I--i.e., their hardware is fully human--they have no access to the vertical, and as such, are not really human at all. The human genome only accounts for our horizontality. In the absence of the vertical, we would all be Dennis Rodman or Paris Hilton. In the absence of the vertical, a human being is not an animal but a monster.

This is one reason why artificial intelligence will never succeed, because it will never, ever, encompass vertical intelligence. Rather, it will simply be a mirror of the type of intelligence possessed by the nerds who believe in it. Just warped and hypertrophied MENSA-type intelligence--MENSA machines without the social graces.

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JWM goes on to note that,

“In the beginning was the word... It's as though an infant has only the potential to become fully human; if the potential is squandered, something less than human is the result.

"I wonder if it isn't the same with the soul. I've been reading the gospels, and I notice the oft used metaphor of plants bearing fruit. I am beginning to wonder if the soul itself isn't that fruit. That a soul isn't automatically implanted into a body at birth, but only the potential to grow a soul, just like there is only a potential to acquire speech and a fully developed human mind. Perhaps some of the deadly, or internally dead people who are identified as sociopaths, are soulless in a very literal sense of the word. Like the feral child.”

Yes. The soul is indeed a seed, a seed that is subject to growth, depending upon the conditions it encounters. Some of these conditions are karmic and out of our hands, while other conditions are malleable because of the inexplicable gift of free will. The soul is in the image of God, but only in the way that an acorn is in the image of the oak. The image is potential, not fulfillment. The purpose of life is for the image to become the likeness. It is paradoxically for us to become what we already are.

“Walking on water wasn’t built in a day,” as some beat up old poet put it. In short, timelessness takes time. And that’s the good news/bad news of existence. Do you want the good news first or the bad news?

The bad news? The bad news is that we’re stuck here together in time, drifting away alone alost along the riverrun to an unknown but ultimately calamitous destination.

The good news? The good news is hidden in the title track to the film Easy Rider, written by Roger McGuinn with a little assistance from Bob Dylan:

The river flows
It flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes
That’s where I want to be
Flow, river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

good Day!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ask Not For Whom the Troll Smells, It Smells For Thee

The internet is so rich, it’s impossible to keep up. I’m still trying to assimilate the celestial teachings of my former critic and current teacher, Copithorne, when the maestro comes out of hiding and produces this mighty slapshot from the clueline.

But now I’m confused, because while I respect Van der Leun, and while I suppose he has a certain way with righteous anger, it’s still anger, and therefore impure. For example, he makes me a tad uncomfortable when he writes that “we need to acknowledge and celebrate the grand contradiction of the American character. This is that, as individuals we are a kind, generous, and always well-meaning, if not perfect, people. But piss us off as a group severely enough and we will reduce your cities to even smaller chunks of rubble than they are naturally.”

Is that nice? Is that the type of more "sensitive war" promised by John Kerry? I don’t know if he’s just trying to be “funny” or hyperbolic or one of those other literary thingys, but it sounds to me like 1) he’s condoning anger, 2) that there are situations in which it would ever be appropriate to act on this anger, and 3) that it might even be sort of... pleasurable to do so.

Yes, there is something chillingly unfunny about Mr. Van der Leun and his... his chillingly unfunny anger, even if his writing is superfically very deep and full of substance. Copithorne poses the question thus: “I can certainly understand that people with a particular theological perspective can appear to enjoy violence. But how do people like Zarqawi and Gagdad Bob come to that appreciation?”

How indeed? As I said, I’m still in the process of absorbing Copithorne’s teachings, so I don’t think it’s entirely fair to lump me in with Zarqawi anymore. Not so Van der Leun, whose soul--I don’t mean to be judgmental here, but whose soul also seems to be contaminated with just a wee bit of Zarqawian anger. Not just anger, but with some degree of “fear” as well. I've been there. I can smell it.

I’m now embarrassed to admit it, but before Copithorne helped me realize the radiant purity and perfection of the human soul yesterday, I was as confused and perhaps even as impure as Van der Leun. Maybe not that impure, but still, I wish I could somehow reach out to him across the internet divide, look directly into his forbidding but stylish shades, and comfort him with the honeyed words of Copithorne:

The other people and groups whose “evil” upsets you seem pretty powerless to me. Not worth the concern you give them. But if there are quotes or actions by these people that trouble you I'd be happy to talk about them with you.

But what are the chances? It’s sad, really. “So sad,” writes the boundlessly compassionate Copthorne, that “there are still people who feel that they and others are impure and evil.” Let us never forget the essence of the Copithorne Sutras: “The soul is radiantly pure. I know it is. It is always pure and whole and always available.” The witness and testimony of the Master, the Avatar, the Merciful, the Compassionate!

Yes, but when we descend into the Gagdad-Zarqawi delusions of the impure mind, we only illustrate “how the consolation of having enemies is a primary motivation for people.” Today I can honestly say with Copithorne: I have no enemies. I have nothing to fear from any human being on this planet.

Saddest of all, Van der Leun seems to believe in the concept of “death,” which is apparently his motivation in trying to “avoid” or “prevent” his--a double delusion! For example, he writes that “The facts on the ground, as we saw in peace-promoting Canada this month, is that this war is only interested in peace through death.”

But how can you prevent something that’s only an illusion anyway? For according to Copithorne (Sura 6:19), “The soul is continuously brilliant just as the sun is always shining. The soul cannot be hurt or damaged or killed.” Terrorists “killing" us, us “killing” terrorists. What nonsense! It is all illusion. Rise, awaken from the illusion, and the so-called “killing” will end, even though it never existed to begin with.

As I already learned from Deepak Chopra, we cannot “win” anything so long as we are in the world of maya, or illusion. For what have we won but another illusion? Until the awesomely flatulent cosmic winds conspired to deliver the celestial teaching of Copithorne into my soiled and unworthy hands yesterday, I might have agreed with Van der Leun that “The goal of the Terrorist War must shift from the oft-trumpeted plan of ‘implanting democracy and bringing freedom’ to one of unconditional victory over Islamic Totalitarianism.”

Now I know otherwise. I was blind but now I see. From this day forward, this blog will be dedicated to spreading the Gooeyspiel of Copithorne.

(By the way, does anyone out there have use for an obnoxious disembodied being who’s looking for a new gig? He just stormed out.)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Will the Real Reality Please Stand Up?

Antibob reader Copithorne saw nothing unusual in the left’s reaction to Zarqawi’s death. In fact, he took me to task for “writing thousands of words” about a “private reaction” that doesn't exist "outside [my] own head." In other words, just like you and I, the left had a normal human reaction and celebrated the demise of this monster of depravity. Case closed.

Could Copithorne possibly be correct? This is one of the reasons I generally do not respond to critics. Even when the critic seems to be an otherwise intelligent and articulate individual, the problem is, we are usually dealing with two very different realities. The best I can do is delineate our differences as sharply as possible and say “here is an example of someone who literally lives in a different reality than I do.” I won’t even speculate as to the reasons why.

As for Copithorne, he believes he does have the answer for why our realities are so irreconcilable. That is, I am not actually conversant with reality. Rather, what I call "the left" is simply “a projection” of my own “disowned super-ego.” In Freud’s system, the superego is a construct that describes the internalization of parental values. How this figures into my perception of the left, Copithorne does not say, but I invite him to do so. I suppose it means that when I talk about the left I’m really talking about my father. Anything is possible, but I confess to not seeing the family resemblance at all.

Perhaps he was talking about Melanie Klein’s developmentally earlier conception of the pre-oedipal superego, in which case I might conceivably be projecting the “bad breast” into the left. But if I project anything into the left, it is the infantile mouth in search of a bounteous governmental breast, so that doesn't really work either.

Copithorne also disagrees with my shallow new-age, “Thomas Moore” theological blathering. He offers a sharp and unambiguous corrective, assuring me that In every theological tradition, the soul is understood as unconditioned. It does not get sick.

This is an interesting view, and I must again confess to never having encountered it, despite the fact that I have never read Thomas Moore. I don’t quite know what to make of it, because if it is true, it runs counter to all of my understanding and experience. In my view, only God is by definition unconditioned. As a Christian Vedantist, I believe that in our deepest ground we are Atman, and that Atman and Brahman are “not two.”

But the Atman is not the personal soul, which is of course conditioned. Otherwise, all souls are identical, all souls are God, and there is no reality separate from God, which strikes me as a profound misunderstanding--an intrinsic heresy. Yes, on some level we are not-two with God, but it does our soul no good whatsover to say that we are God until we realize the extent to which we are not God.

In my reality--which is different from Copithorne’s reality--the entire purpose of any religious practice is to purify and elevate the soul. In other words, we are not perfect as we are. Far from it. This, in fact, is one of the divides between left and right. The left generally believes that man is basically good and that society is therefore perfectible.

Evolutionary traditionalists such as myself believe that human beings are neutral at best, but probably inclined to evil in their spiritually untutored, "horizontal" state. Our souls are anything but “unconditionally perfect” and not subject to purification, purgation, illumination, and growth. Orthodox Vedanta specifically holds that the soul incarnates in order to undergo evolution and growth. Orthodox Christianity maintains that the ultimate purpose of our existence is to undergo theosis, or the divinization of the soul. God became human so that humans might become God; likewise, Brahman becomes maya so that maya might become Brahman.

I honestly don’t know where the contrary theological idea comes from. I always assumed that it was one of those wacky new-age deviations with which I constantly do battle, but Copithorne comes along and informs me that I am actually a member of the new age Thomas Moore school of theology.

Confusing. Again, all I can do is clarify our differences as sharply as possible and concede that we do indeed live in two different realities. However, I must insist that only one of these realities is the real one. Even I am not that much of a new age liberal.


Don't miss this insensitive and celebratory video. Woo hoo!

Oh the Zarqman
Has no teeth, dear
'Cause we blew them
Clean outta' sight
And no virgins
Has old Musab now
And his walkin'
Just don't look right