Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Ten Commandments of... Satan!

One thing that has really surprised me about the spiritual path is that no matter how deeply you get into it, you keep discovering others from the past who have visited the same place, as well as contemporaries who know exactly what you’re talking about when you discuss it--just as if you were both viewing the same garden or landescape. And I’m talking about very minute, subtle things that one can only discover for oneself, not objective or “exterior” dogmas that can be disclosed to anyone. This leads me to conclude that the world of Spirit--which can only be revealed to subjects--is actually a thoroughly objective world.

Take, for example, yesterday’s post on The System of the Antichrist. It’s fair to say that for most people--certainly the secular left--such a topic would generate nothing but howls of derision. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I write the way I do is to undercut the cynical and ironized left by anticipating their every move and going them one further. It helps that I used to be one of them, so I am wearily familiar with the grooves in which their little minds run. At One Cosmos, we are always laughing at our ideological opponents, but never in the angry and destructive ways of the left. For their part, they either do not get the humor or they take it personally.

Reader Jacob C. made exactly this point yesterday, quoting Lewis’ Screwtape Letters: "Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy; it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practise it."

Exactly. I believe it was Jonah Goldberg who pointed out that the left has been been brought so low intellectually that its greatest thinkers are comedians: Bill Mahar, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Al Franken, Janine Garofolo, Larry David, Margaret Cho, Garrison Keillor, and on down. Their biggest website--huffingandpissed--is mostly comprised of vacuous celebrities who are just like the comedians, only funnier (albeit unintentionally so). You could never win a debate with such an individual, because their primary weapon is a sort of mocking tone that undercuts any serious discussion. A mere raised eyebrow or roll of the eyes incites the “woo woos” from the knowing audience, who are trained to know exactly what they are supposed to gleefully mock.

As Hoarhey put it yesterday, “It seems to me that the left tends to enviously block access to those higher planes for anyone trying consciously or unconsciously to reach them. Then once the higher planes are touched upon and the process of assimilation begun, the mocking and ridicule begin.” Yes. Exactly. You might say that this kind of derision is one of the “satanic defense mechanisms,” as it serves to repress and deny the higher vertical, as opposed to the lower vertical, as does a conventional defense mechanism.

And this is the real reason liberals detest a Rush Limbaugh--not just because he runs circles around them, but because he does so with humor and derision. He mocks their sacred cows, which is when you realize that the secular left is every bit as devout as you are, except that they have transferred their allegiance from the things above to the things below. Piss Christ? That’s just free speech. But don’t ever refer to a bitter, man-hating moonbat activist as a feminazi! Don’t ever mention that a “home” is at the end of a long list of virtues and attributes that are generally missing in the person without one! Never make fun of the sacred Person Without Health Insurance, even if he is an addle-brained 21 year-old who chooses to spend his money on other things. And never, ever make fun of that Pied Piper in Diaper, Mahatma Gandhi, as I did the other day, because he was for peace!

The list of liberal icons and sacred cows is endless, for the very reason that it partakes of time and not eternity--of the many and not the One. I don’t know if anyone has really noticed, but the reason I entitled my book One Cosmos Under God is to emphasize the hierarchical nature of the cosmos, and the fact that the cosmos only makes sense because it is conditioned from the top down. Although it is a banality to point out that we live in the relative, there is no such thing as the “absolutely relative” for the very reason that the relative partakes of the Absolute. The Absolute is anterior to the relative, whether conceived of as ground (at the base) or source (at the apex) of creation; it is actually both, resulting from the fact that the Absolute is necessarily both immanent and transcendent. For the same reason, the relative necessarily and inevitably contains degrees of being, with the last degree known as “God.”

Thus, Satan’s first commandment is really just a reversal of the actual first commandment. Instead of “I am your God and you shall have no other gods before me,” the parallel looniverse of the secular left begins with “there is no Absolute and you shall bow down before all of the sacred relativities we have inserted in His place.”

From this commandment follow many implications. In fact, reader Gumshoe touched on a number of them yesterday, quoting the author Eric Raymond. For example, “There is no truth, only competing agendas,” “All Western claims to moral superiority are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism,” and “There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.” All are repressive absolutes disguised as relatives, and in fact, designed to undermine and subvert the Absolute.

Reader Will also touched on this first commandment, noting that an intrinsic part of the secular left's agenda is to reduce Intellect (which is the means by which human beings may know Truth) to mind and mind to brain, making it a wholly material epiphenomenon. However, “Like any physical attribute, if the human intellect is not yoked to and governed by the Higher Intelligence, it runs amok and eventually goes crazy. It's taken some time to get there, but currently, the spiritually bereft intellect is basically in charge of most of the world's influential institutions, which of course means the world is in deep stew. As far as definitions of the Antichrist go, I think this would do OK.”

Precisely. Again, the secular left turns the cosmos upside down and inside out. As a result, instead of being conditioned in a hierarchical manner from the top down, it is conditioned from the bottom up. This results not in true liberation, only in rebellion and pseudo-liberation, for there can be no meaningful freedom outside objective Truth. The left rejects top-town hierarchies as intrinsically repressive, but the opposite is true--only in being conditioned by the higher can we actually elevate and liberate ourselves from contingency and relativity. Are there repressive hierarchies? Of course. But almost all of them come from the left, in the form of various socialist schemes, or from Muslim fanatics, in the form of totalitarian Sharia law. America is an experiment in ordered liberty oriented toward an explicitly spiritual telos, not a satanic workshop to explore and celebrate the numberless dead ends of mere horizontal freedom.

Well, that covers just Satan’s First Commandment. As I will attempt to demonstrate in subsequent posts, each of the commandments of the secular left represents an inversion of the actual commandment, the world turned upside-down and/or inside-out.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The System of the Antichrist, Revealed!

I was thinking about writing a post with the colorful title, "The System of the Antichrist," in response to how intellectually hamstrung we have become in our ability to think about and confront evil. I was inspired to reflect further on this topic by one of Dr. Sanity's posts a couple of days ago, entitled The Surreal Rules of Modern Warfare. In it, the bad Doctor (urbonically speaking) concludes that,

"As long as we play by their specially designed postmodern--and hence, irrational, anti-western, anti-freedom--rules; and accept the underlying premise that all the values of the west are inherently oppressive and evil; then it will impossible for us to win any battle of this war."

In response, I left a little comment mentioning that I too had been thinking about "how it's like an intellectual chess match, in which we have become cornered by the many pathological assumptions that have insinuated themselves into our discourse over the past 30-40 years. If these types of ideas had entered the body politic in the 1930's, we would not be having this conversation. Or at least we'd be having it in German."

So the idea is, let's just suppose--for heuristic purposes only, mind you--that there is a demonic force in the world that seeks to undermine the possibility of the good, almost analogous to Freud's notion of the "death wish" in the individual psyche. How does it operate? What are its main methods? How do we combat it? What is its appeal? How does it hijack minds that are otherwise perfectly intelligent? Has it already colonized too many leftist minds, or is there reason to hope that we can turn things around?

All very provocative questions, but I have to leave for an appointment in Santa Barbara in less than an hour, so you'll have to figure it out for yourselves. On the positive side, whenever I'm in Santa Barbara, I always make it a point to visit the Vedanta temple nestled up in the mountains above Montecito, overlooking the Pacific. If I were ever going to be a monk, that is where I would prefer to be stationed. I'll bring my camera and take a few pictures, so you can get the idea. I'll also go into the temple and put in a few good words for bobbleheads--and even the far more numerous antibobbleheads--everywhere. And, of course, I'll make sure their bookstore carries my book.

In the mean time, to set things up, I will rebroadcast this review of Stephen Hicks excellent Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Both Dr. Sanity and I have found this book to be extremely useful in analyzing the deep structure of the Left. For me, it is a good point of departure for discussing The System of the Antichrist, because you may not be able to prove that God exists, but you sure can easily prove that his opposite exists. Or perhaps we might say, "there is no satan, and Mike Wallace is his stenographer."

*****

Surely you have wondered why the academic left is not just foolish, but completely out of touch with reality? In a mere 201 pages, author Stephen Hicks efficiently accomplishes exactly what is promised in the title of his book, Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Not only is there hardly a wasted sentence in the book, but Hicks writes in an exceptionally clear way about some rather difficult and abstruse thinkers and concepts. For example, I have never before encountered such a lucid discussion of the inane pseudo-profundities of that uber-charlatan, Heidegger. He is a key postmodern figure, one that many of the lesser lights and dimmer bulbs fall back upon, mainly because his writing is so appallingly obscure that no normal person can see through his portentous vacuities. This kind of bluff writing usually signifies that the author either wishes to conceal the banality of his thoughts behind a cloud of jargon and neologisms, or that he is simply talking out of his hat and doesn’t really understand what he is writing about.

I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but the purpose of Hicks’ book is clearly to answer the questions: What has happened to our looniversities? Why do the humanities departments of our elite universities teach such unalloyed leftist nonsense? In short, why is the left so bereft? Hicks makes the critical point that, if we were just dealing with generic nonsense, then we might expect about half of it to result in left wing nonsense, the other half in right wing nonsense. But practices such as deconstruction result in almost 100% left wing nonsense, meaning that, whatever theoretical or methodological cover these academics are taking behind their high-flown rhetoric, it’s all just a smokescreen for the promulgation of leftist ideas.

And that is exactly what Hicks concludes. He chronicles the utter failure of socialist ideas in the past three centuries, beginning with pre-Marxist leftists such as the odious paleofrog Rousseau. But the key figure in the descent into modern irrationalism and illiberal leftism was the figure of Immanuel Kant, for it was Kant who divided the world into phenomena (what is accessible to our senses and categories of thought) and noumena (the ultimate reality behind them). By closing off the noumenal reality to reason, Kant thought he had spared religion from the onslaught of scientific skepticism, when he had actually opened the door to all the baleful forms of irrationalism that followed. For in the Kantian system, all we can really know is our own nervous system--reason and science merely toy with the phenomena, leaving the deeper reality unknown and unknowable. The next time some cliche-ridden boob says to you, “perception is reality,” know that they are a metaphysically retarded son or daughter of Kant.

As an aside, one can trace the history of philosophy in a pretty straight line from the ancient Greeks to Kant. But Kant represents the end of that line and its subsequent ramification into the many streams, creeks, drainage ditches and sewer lines that reach us today. Virtually every philosophy since Kant has been either a rational extension of his ideas (Schopenhaur, structuralism, phenomenology), an irrational exploration of his ideas (e.g., reality is absurd, we are impotent to know anything, feeling and instinct trump reason, the irrational yields more valid insights into reality, etc.), or attempts to undo his ideas (e.g., Hegel, who reunited noumena and phenomena in his notion of the Absolute Subject, and Hegel's upside-down disciple, Marx).

Postmodernism involves a smorgasbag of these various reactions to Kant. Ever wonder why leftists are so irrational and unreasonable? According to Hicks, postmodernism is “the first ruthlessly consistent statement of the consequences of rejecting reason.” This is why leftists routinely resort to ad hominem attacks, extreme hostility to dissent, speech codes, and authoritarian political correctness.

Ultimately, according to Hicks, postmodernism is “the academic left’s epistemological strategy for responding to the crisis caused by the failures of socialism in both theory and practice.” Ironically, they have an a priori and unfalsifiable belief in the moral superiority of socialism over capitalism. But since capitalism has repeatedly disproved every one of socialism’s predictions, postmodernism provides the “skeptical epistemology to justify the personal leap of faith necessary to continue believing in socialism.”

Ironically, Kant was trying to save traditional religion from being eroded by scientific skepticism, but his ideas are now used by the secular left to shield the false religion of socialism from rational scrutiny. The choice for leftists is simple: either follow the evidence and reject their utopian ideals, or hold to their beautiful ideals and undermine the notion that logic and evidence matter. Obviously they have chosen the latter course, which is why a casual stroll through the halls of academia, the editorial pages of the New York Times, or the darker corners of the internet reveals that language is no longer being used as a vehicle to understand reality, but a rhetorical club with which to beat opponents. In this context, “Bush bashing” can be seen as a completely impersonal and inevitable phenomenon, for if your only tool is a rhetorical hammer, you will treat everything as an ideological nail.

And this also explains the common observation that the left is devoid of constructive ideas, for without logic and evidence, leftism has been reduced to a knee-jerk critique of Western civilization. It is essentially irrational and nihilistic, because language is not about reality, but simply about more language. Therefore, language cannot build anything but illusions.

Moreover, this explains why the left is so incoherent and contradictory--why, for example, all truth is relative but leftism is absolute, why all values are subjective but homophobia and American exceptionalism are evil, why tolerance is the highest ideal but political correctness is higher still, etc. Leftism is simply an absolutism masquerading as a relativism.

The only problem with Hicks’ book is that he stops short of explaining how to overcome what I call the logopathologies of the left. This is because he appears to be an objectivist or secular libertarian, and seems vaguely hostile to religion. In reality, there is no defense against these destructive ideas within the bounds of common reason--as soon as you descend into mere reason, you have already given the game away, for there is almost nothing the human mind can prove that it cannot equally disprove. In a subsequent post I will explain the only way to combat the left's hijacking of the higher planes.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Suspended Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth

What did Oscar Wilde say? “Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.” That’s how I feel about politics. Too many posts about politics leave me wanting to join a monastery to get away from it all. Sometimes I do wish I could withdraw from the world altogether, but I believe that doing so represents a false spirituality just as much as its opposite: “To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation,” says the Isha Upanishad.

If one is lucky, a moment comes in one’s life when one makes the conscious decision to move closer to God, to know reality to the fullest, and to establish a permanent relationship with what is permanent. In so doing, we become what we are and what we were always meant to be. We become a true individual, but we also become a human being as such, for there is no humanness without divinity, only exalted animality.

There are many ways to prove the existence of God if one is sincere about doing so. One very easy way for me is to notice how different my life is when God withdraws, as inevitably happens with most anyone on a spiritual path: now you see Him, now you don’t. For example, when I write something of a spiritual nature, it is only because I am in the state of which I write. If I am not in that state, then I can only fake it, which I try to avoid. Such writing is generally worthless.

The same holds true for anything I write about politics. Whatever the content may be, it also unavoidably emanates from a particular level of consciousness. I am completely aware of this as I am writing. People who accuse me of a disconnect between my supposedly lofty spiritual principles and my “blue orange” political philosophy (in the loopy terms of “spiral dynamics” theory) don’t seem to realize that I take the world as it is, not as I wish it to be. Nothing could be more vain and narcissistic than assuming that everyone in the world is at the same level of development and responds in the same way to the same rewards and incentives.

This is elementary. Take two tribes and place them side by side. One is a highly spiritually advanced, wise and peaceful “green” community of seekers. Next door is a bloodthirsty tribe of red-purple brigands. If the peace-loving group is not entirely in touch with its own aggressive red side, it will simply be devoured--as was Tibet and as would Israel if it were to lay down its arms.

This is why I consider Gandhi such an unqualified--you will pardon the expression--ass. The notion that violence is a priori bad or immoral is one of the most pernicious ideas imaginable. As I have said before, it is as immature, stupid and dysfunctional as the idea that your immune system is bad because of the violent manner in which it greets invaders. Pacifism is the moral equivalent of AIDs; it is like equating a compromised immune system with robust health.

Not everyone is the same. To become an individual is to know your destiny, and your destiny is not another’s destiny. There exist natural castes--priests, scholars, warriors, artisans, merchants, laborers, etc. Each person has their function in the whole, and none has any more intrinsic dignity than the others. But no one, regardless of caste, should lose sight of the good fortune of being born into the human state. Trials and ordeals will come, and they will be of a different nature, depending upon one’s dharma.

Some of my readers are well aware of the ordeals of the spiritual path, for when you take that path, make no mistake, you are declaring war. And your declaration will not go unnoticed by the other side. You are going to have to drop the gloves at center ice and go toe to toe with the other team’s goon. It is your destiny, just as it is the warrior’s destiny to meet the enemy on the battlefield.

War of the external variety is simply an exteriorized version of this interior warfare. The spiritual path is hardly a cakewalk, as the lives of the great saints and mystics illustrate. For when you take this vertical path, there comes a moment when the divine element makes contact with what is undivine in the soul, and the results are both painful and disruptive. Whatever you habitually carry within yourself that is incompatible with perfection will be burned, dissolved, broken apart, shoved around, and hopefully transformed, but not without putting up a fight.

All traditions recognize this process by various names. Joseph Campbell called it the “hero’s journey,” but it is also known as the “dark night of the soul,” the temptation of the devil, the descent into hell, and yes, even jihad. Only he who has personally witnessed sacrifice and resurrection knows the secret of dying in order to be reborn.

The elements that are aroused by the declaration of spiritual warfare come from different levels and dimensions. There are the personal mind parasites I discuss in my book. There are cultural mind parasites--the collective madness of your particular human group. There are genetic influences that must be transcended, even collective patterns that haunt all of mankind. It is well understood that the great saint or boddhisatva takes on the karma (or sins) of the world and does something for the benefit of all mankind, no different than the great scientist who makes a breakthrough that will cure a disease that threatens everyone.

I am personally so grateful to some of these saints who have waged spiritual warfare for my benefit, that I can hardly find the words to thank them. They devoted their lives to a cause which benefits me in a direct and palpable way, every day of my life. Where would I be without these great souls that went before? They are no different than the great explorers of the physical world who first discovered the unknown country, waged battle with various hostile forces, made a little clearing, mapped the territory, and made it habitable.

Obstacles and trials in life are absolutely necessary, because these will reveal and test your character. I was about to say that everyone is tested, but no longer. A big part of the liberal impulse is to reward weakness rather then to help the weak--to eliminate the very conditions that allow humanness to bloom on the altar of sacrifice and trial. Society degenerates under these lax conditions. Even thinking becomes sloppy and decadent, let alone behavior.

It would be nice if we could make life easy for everyone, but it would be a life unworthy of human beings and our reason for being here. A well lived life is not measured by indulgence and momentary pleasures, but “is paved with acts of renunciation; in order to live in accordance with truth and beauty it is necessary to know how to die. Thus it is that the ‘Remembrance of God’ is a kind of death that day by day interrupts the blind flux of life; without these pauses, the flow of our temporal existence strays and is squandered” (Schuon).

War would not be useful or necessary if every man could bear the battle within rather than without. All human beings should be taught as part of their birthright that their greatest enemy is within and that their greatest struggle in life will always be with themselves. Both the Left and the Islamists, in their own ways, teach the very opposite of this quintessentially humanist doctrine: the enemy is outside, you are a victim, and you are entitled to the fulfillment of your fantasies.

Where are the leaders who teach not self esteem, but self conquest? What great Arab will explain to fellow Arabs that Israel is not the source of any of their problems--not a single one--and what great liberal will deliver the hard news to his fallow trivialers that George Bush is not what is obstructing their spiritual--much less material--fulfillment?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Your Psychodollars at Work and the Tax on Liberal Fantasy

What’s the big story of the day? The foiled terror plot, right? I could write something about it, but I don’t want to repeat what so many others are saying, and saying better than I could say it anyway. What is so striking, as Dr. Sanity puts it, is that the “report is being discussed on the lefty blogs with the usual paranoia and smug self-righteousness of those in complete denial about 9/11 and the current war on terror.”

“More than anything--more than taking the Islamic fanatics seriously even when captured in the act of planning major attacks--they are afraid that any success anywhere in the war on terror reflects well on Bush (otherwise known as the "real" enemy of civilization). AND THEY CANNOT ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN, CAN THEY?”

As a matter of fact, yesterday there was a little survey on dailykos, asking their morally insane readers if the plot was “legit” or just “more drama from BushCo to keep us all afraid.” To even run such a poll speaks volumes about the mentality of these kooks--as if having an election to decide whether or not reality is real makes you a reasonable person. In other words, for the left, this is not a dispute between two competing versions of reality, but a dispute between the reluctant acceptance of reality vs. the full-fledged embrace of paranoid fantasy. At present the vote stands at about 50-50, but yesterday it was running three-quarters in favor of the delusional flight from reality.

It has become a cliche to suggest that these psychologically damaged hordes represent the future of the Democratic party. Rather, they represent the present of the Democratic party, and I find this much more frightening than the Islamo-fascists. First, if all human beings were equally psychologically mature and in touch with reality--not just here in America, but in Europe and a few other civilized places--we would be able to defeat the jihadis in about a week. The terrorists only thrive in the interstices created by the psychological denial of their enemies who refuse to believe that they have enemies. They live in the shadows thrown by the mental pathology of large elements of the West. Of course the jihadis are sick, but they are allowed to roam free for the same reason liberals emptied out the state mental hospitals in the 1970’s and created the “homeless” problem.

In many ways, the war on terror is a tax on fantasy--the price we pay for living in denial. After all, the plot that was foiled yesterday is nearly identical to the one that was thwarted in 1995, when Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned to blow up airliners over the Pacific Ocean. Was that plot legit, or just more drama from ClintonCo to keep us all afraid? Clearly it wasn’t the latter, because few people were afraid back then. Our psychological denial was running at over 90%, whereas now it is closer to 50%.

Much of the tension in the world derives not from anything visible in the horizontal world, but purely from the vertical world--the world of psychological and spiritual development. For example, there is no question that the dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis has nothing whatsoever to do with land that has been “colonized” but with the Arab psyche that has been colonized by vicious and genocidal mind parasites. The “disputed territory” is entirely in the Arab mind. If they wanted a state for Palestinians, they could have had it at any time since 1948. They could have it today. That’s not what they want. What they want is to act out their psychopathology (although “want” is misleading, for, in the absence of insight, they are compelled to act it out).

It is no different with the problems of America. Most of them are a result of the gulf between the psychologically mature and immature. Liberalism once was an ideology aimed at assisting the weak, but somewhere over 30 years back it became a doctrine of assisting and promoting weakness. Sounds like a subtle distinction, but it makes all the difference. For example, just as the terror problem could be solved tomorrow if Arabs adopted Israeli values, the problem, say, with black underachievement in America could be solved equally rapidly if blacks adopted Asian American values (which, by the way, the majority of blacks already try to do--it is only a vocal minority of professional victocrats such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who want to maintain the current plantation system, because that way they retain the title of Head Negro bestowed upon them by their white liberal masters).

Is it not obvious that the prison system is a tax on fatherlessness? I don’t have the statistics at hand, but I believe that over two thirds of violent criminals are from fatherless homes. In fact, a quick googling reveals that “Seventy-two percent of teen-age murderers, 70 percent of long-term prison inmates and 60 percent of rapists come from fatherless homes.”

This all reminds me of one of Petey’s brain waves I wrote about a few months back, rebroadcast here for your reading pleasure.

*****

I was driving home from work yesterday, silently lost in my meditations, absorbed in the changeless realm that lies just above the afternoon commute, when Petey startled me from my reveries by blurting out, “psychodollars!”

Petey often operates in this abrupt and slightly cryptic manner, as if I could possibly know what he was talking about. The abruptness comes from having no recollection--or pretending to have no recollection--of what it’s like to cope with a sympathetic nervous system. I’ve told him that it took me forty years to finally be reasonably comfortable about being uncomfortable in my own skin, but he can’t relate.

Anyway, “go on,” I said. “Care to give me a hint?”

“Psychodollars. That’s the tax on fantasy--the price we pay for not having our calendar synchronized with the Arab Muslim world.”

“Go on. I’m listening.”

“You know my idea--geographical space is developmental time. Different cultures and sub-cultures reflect different levels of psychological development and maturity. If you fail to reach that level, then you are punished by your culture, either directly or indirectly. But if you surpass that level and become too mature, you also get whacked.”

“Are you talking about what liberals do to conservative blacks again?”

“No, I’m talking about the Middle East. Imagine a Palestinian who woke up one morning and didn’t have the paranoid delusion that Israel was responsible for all their problems. No, he says, we’ve created our own hideously dysfunctional culture, and only we can change it. He decides to publicize his thoughts, to write an editorial.”

“I know, I know, that would be his last editorial. It’s hard enough to write when you aren’t hanging upside down from a street lamp on the Boulevard of the Martyrs with your testicles missing and a couple of lumps obstructing your breathing. But what does this have to do with psychodollars?”

“I’m getting there. The Arab world is stuck in the wayback machine, mired in the dark ages, right? If every other country were in the same neuro-developmental time, then their oil would be worthless, because there’d be no advanced nation that would have any use for it. But because there are countries like us, from their 'psychological future,’ the petrodollars flow in, from the future to the past--from the cognitive first world to the cognitive third or fourth world.”

“I know about the petrodollars. What about the psychodollars?”

“Normally to get that kind of dough, you have to do something--achieve something, make something, know something, even BE something. But these are people who never had to go through the awkward historical phase of actually familiarizing themselves with the properties of matter or coping with the real world, much less mastering their own minds. So they’re rewarded for their backwardness and barbarity, and they even develop a superiority about it, just like the southern slave holders did in the US. They felt like they were superior to northerners, because they didn’t have to get their hands dirty or work at the ‘servile arts.’ They could just sit around reading Greek philosophy and pretending they were royalty. Slaves did all the work.”

“I'm still not sure where you’re going with this, Petey. It's almost time for Hugh Hewitt, and Lileks is going to be on. I think I'd rather listen to him.”

“Remember the garden of Eden? Some people get offended when I say this, but psychologically, you can interpret it as a fable of infancy. The omnipotent infant believes that he’s responsible for creating mommy and daddy--Adam & Eve. He’s got it all backwards. Adam and Eve created him, but he thinks that he created them. After all, he has a desire to be fed and held, and ‘boom,’ there they are, as if created by magic. Why shouldn’t he believe he created them? He doesn’t know any better. Then, when the parents challenge his omnipotence, he banishes them."

"The Islamists are like the baby. They don’t realize that we’re much older and more mature, and that we created and sustain them with our petrodollars. So they’re trying to banish us. From earth.”

“Hmm. I see what you mean. The war on terror is really just the giant sucking sound produced by the dynamic tension between the top and bottom floors of the psyche, to mix a few metaphors.”

“Exactly! Psychodollars. That’s the money we have to pay as a result of having sent all those petrodollars to a bunch of infantile cultures that think they’re superior to us. It’s the billions of dollars it costs us to defend ourselves from the cultural pathologies of the Arab Middle East, flush with their own malicious psychodollars that they’ve converted from petrodollars. I’ll bet if you added up both sides, there would be something like one psychodollar for every petrodollar. Think of it--what’s the combined cost of homeland security, airline security for every single flight, port security, border security, support for Israel and bribes to any so-called 'moderate' elements in the Middle East, year in, year out, national defense, the war in Iraq, the cost to the economy as a result of 9-11. It’s all psychodollars--the extra money we have to pay for giving so many petrodollars to psychos who want to spread their pathology and pull the future back into the past.”

“Er, so what’s your solution, Petey?”

“That’s the easy part. Do the same thing with them that we do with our own infantile, anti-American citizens with superiority complexes and too much time on their hands. Just rename the whole area The University of the Middle East, make everyone a tenured professor, and let them work out their feelings by writing irrelevant books and attending dopey conferences. Now that’s a smart use of psychodollars. In fact, you could save even more money by combining the university system with the mental hospitals, and calling it a ‘looniversity bin!’"

"Ahh, that last part was a little joke. You can laugh.”

Petey vanished, leaving me to ponder what the actual solution might be.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hearing Voices out of the Ether

Running a bit late this morning. I may try to come up with something fresh in the next hour, but in the meantime, I will just direct your attention to this marvelous post by Dr. Sanity. I mean, I always agree with her, but this little gem is a truly heartbreaking post of staggering genius, beyond my meager ability to praise its exalted level of hyperbolic salesmanship. As you know, I flunked out of business school, so I stand in awe of anyone who exhibits such righteously pimpin' marketing skills.

It may also interest you to know that Pajamas Media has a new addition that they curiously call The Sanity Squad, featuring a round table discussion with Dr. Sanity, ShrinkWrapped, and the surprisingly continental Siggy (presided over by the solomaniacal Neo-neocon).

For me, the most illuminating part of the discussion occurs when this intrepid band of inward explorers tentatively concludes that the table is not actually "round," but somewhat oval at best.

ShrinkWrapped then offers an interesting, if somewhat confrontational, interpretation, suggesting that it really depends upon your angle of view. From where he's sitting, it looks more oblong or perhaps slightly spheroid, but Siggy then accuses him of infantile projection. He says--and he has a point--that the others are dancing around the central issue, that what defines the table is its essential flatness, that is, its planar configuration. The shape is entirely irrelevant, a red herring.

At that point I am inclined to agree with Siggy, if only because his urbane accent of untraceable provenance (a suburb of Transylvania? Someplace near where Cary Grant pretended to be from?) carries a nebulous air of authority. He just “sounds” right.

You can hear the audible irritation in Dr. Sanity's voice, as she emphasizes the importance of the table having legs. After all, if the table isn't elevated, what good is it? Is a deconstructed table still a table, or just some narcissistic, postmodern fantasy? “We might as well gather on the floor. It's flat too, right? Even Boo can figure this out. Why can’t you?”

We then hear ShrinkWrapped--always a voice of calm reason--bringing an entirely new dimension to the discussion. Who cares about the table? Isn't the important point that we have chairs to sit on? Not just any chairs, but comfy ones?

Siggy objects immediately with a tone of slight condescension. “Comfy? I think not. These mass-produced monstrosities have nothing on the overstuffed, old-world chairs of my youth. My ancestors knew how to make a chair. These aren’t chairs. These are merely places for the uncultured boobeoisie to park their a**.”

That gets Dr. Sanity’s back up again. Always sensitive to the manner in which European elites look down their noses at America, she points out that the slightly rigid construction of these chairs is a builder of character. In her family, comfy chairs were considered a decadent luxury. Grandma Sanity felt lucky to have nothing more than an old oak rocker in which to rest her bunions. She claims that the uncomfortable chairs of her youth actually made her stronger and helped prepare her for the demands medical school, where the chairs were equally--if not more--uncomfortable.

We then hear quiet tears in the background. It is ShrinkWrapped having a “breakthrough.” Choking back the sobs, he confesses that he never wanted to be a psychiatrist at all. Rather, he had intended to become dress designer, but the chairs in the old Fashion and Textile Design Department were more than he could take. They were simply awful--rigid and punishing things that some sadistic avant garde art student had produced in metal shop.

That pretty much ends that part of the discussion. I think I hear a group hug in the background, before they then move on to less weighty subjects, such as the conflict in the Middle East and the psychological basis of the culture of victimhood.

Anyway, it’s an education to hear how shrinks behave “behind closed doors.” In a surprisng way, they're just like anybody else, except perhaps more so. Or less so. I forget which. Just listen and decide. I can only lead you to the Sanity Squad. You will have to make the final leap yourself.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

On the Fraudographic Monopulation of Hiz'story

I never really know what to write or say in advance, some days more so than others. Sometimes I just begin with a fragment of a thoughtlet, somewhat like a little melody that I try to turn into a song. Other times it will be a couple of seemingly unrelated fragments that are juxtaposed, and my mission--should I choose to accept it--is to build a little bridge between them. This would be more analogous to being given a couple of random chords and trying to build a song out of them.

So long as we are alive, our lives are always going to consist of fragments, loose ends, unfinished business, unincorporated areas. Although we try to achieve unity, we never really do, or at least not for long, any more than we can achieve physical unity by having one big meal and getting up from the table for the last time. Just like our bodies, our minds and our spirits run along cycles. There is a rhythmicity and cyclicity to existence--you might even call it a metabolism--that is always converting experience into being. Or, to be perfectly accurate, some experiences are metabolized and incorporated (or in-spirited), while other experiences, for whatever reason, are not metabolized.

This may seem arcane to you, but it is at the very root of both psychopathology and of psychotherapy (and ultimately, history as well). Every therapy patient comes in with a range of things that are somehow part of them, and yet, not metabolized and harmoniously incorporated into their psychic substance. Different therapeutic traditions call them by various names--fixations, internalized objects, repetition compulsions, projections, vertical splits, etc.--but it’s always the same story underneath. The person is not unified. They are not whole. They exist in parts that are chronically at war with one another--somewhat like the world. Each part is relatively autonomous and has a will and an agenda all its own. The part will pursue its own interests, even if it means undermining the personality at large. It can sometime hijack and dominate the entire personality, which happens more often than you might think.

It is now well understood that problems with early attachment lead directly to struggles to metabolize experience later in life. It’s easy to see why. We don’t actually come into the world with the ability to metabolize our own experience, much less construct a coherent and unified autobiography. Rather, experience just happens in a bewilderingly unpredictable way, and a big part of parenting is to serve as the infant’s “auxiliary cortex,” a regulatory agent that the child will slowly import or “download” into his own neurology. Almost every form of psychopathology involves some failure of auto-regulation, whether of mood, of anger, of impulses, of self esteem, of basic security, of attachment, of trust, of bodily integrity, of self image, of identity (which goes deeper than self image), etc.

So although we cannot achieve any kind of static unity, we can manage a kind of dynamic unity through constant metabolism of experience. In my view, a genuine spiritual practice always revolves around deepening the experience of unity. Unity is one of the names of God, and religion is all about achieving ordered unity within the soul. God is the organizing telos toward which the human spirit is being drawn, and religion is full of lessons on how to enhance our own unity by orienting it toward that higher Unity.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

The camera is a kind of eye. Just like the human eye, it lets in a bit of light in order to produce an image. Yesterday I tried to touch on the deeper meaning of the Reuters fraudography scandal, but is there a deeperer meaning as well?

To extend the photography metapohor, I will quote someone--probably Petey--who once said, “The time allotted to us is analogous to the shutter of a camera; it opens with our birth, allowing in the small amount of light we must work with before it closes and the universe vanishes. With that light we must enter our ‘dark room’ and develop our conception of existence--what we are, why we are here, and what is our relationship to the whole. There are pneumagraphs laying around that others have left behind--scripture, books, images and institutions. Some of them were successful in capturing the Light, others only darkness visible.”

George Orwell is responsible for the prophetic remark that “Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

The left conducts a three-front ontological war against the Real. One front takes place in academia, where leftist hack-, flak-, attack-, and quackademics deconstruct history and assemble a version more to their liking.

Another front takes place over the future, in undermining the Being of Unity toward which humanity is drawn. This Being must be destroyed so that it can be replaced by a wholly unholy earthbound, leftist version of it. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about, while for others the concept may be new, even somewhat bizarre. The great political philosopher Eric Voegelin referred to it as immamentizing the eschaton. It is what the left always does, because leftism is the anti-eschatological philosophy par excellence.

This is one of the primary reasons why secular progressives are so ironically named. They can never really be progressive, since their materialistic metaphysic denies meaningful progress at the outset. Scratch a leftist, and he will probably whine and sue you for a violation of his civil rights. But underneath the scratch, you will always discern a nostalgic, backward-looking metaphysic--the painful recollection of the Lost Entitlement of Infancy, the desire for a romantic merger with the Great Mother--only projected into the future.

This leaves the third front, the present. Nothing is more meaninglessly present than the mainstream media. You might say that they are the opposite of a good parent. Again, the good parent helps the child to interpret and metabolize experience, which otherwise comes at them in a bewilderingly complex and random way. But the MSM in its visual aspect simply throws decontextualized images at you, and if there is any narrative at all, it is a narrative that is imposed by the limitations of the medium itself. And what are those limitations? A reduction of the mind to the senses, or the realm of the intelligible to the realm of the concrete. It an assent to the ravages of immediacy, to paraphrase Richard Weaver. Ultimately the MSM is an attack on the intellect itself, and therefore, an attack on God (as the intellect capable of objectively knowing the degrees of being represents a “static revelation” of God).

So now the MSM has been busted yet again for perpetrating fraud on the present, for distorting the now for patently ideological ends--for why on earth would they try to manipulate us with even unmanipulated Hiz'moloch propaganda? It's still manipulation designed to serve the interests of the enemy.

This institutionalized fraud extends into the past, because it is the first draft of rewritten history--and into the future, because the emotional immediacy of these images serves to demolish the hierarchy of being and cause many people to be as confused about this war as Larry King. Last night I heard a snippet of his program. He was commenting on a debate that had just taken place between Alan Dershowitz, representing Israel, and James Zogby, as always, representing the terrorists. After it was over, the ever-clueless Larry wondered out loud--and one can assume he speaks for millions--”how do you figure it out when both sides are right?”

Bing-bing-bing-bing-bing! That’s exactly the point. To a leftist, that is the right answer. Why? Because it means that the the intelligibility of the present has been successfully destroyed. The rest is easy.

Time for human beings is not the mere abstract duration of physics, but the very substance of our being, the “form of inner sense." The soul is a mysterious point of potential freedom in space, while the human species is engaged in a sprint toward the realization of this freedom in historical time. History is really only one great cosmic event: the attempt to become conscious and return to God, opposed at every step by deterministic forces on the horizontal plane and by lower, anti-Divine ones on the vertical. Only humans can serve as a bridge between the higher and lower planes that are manifest in the outward flow of history. Indeed, this is our purpose: to nurture and grow the seed of eternity within the womb of time. --Me

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Language Problem, Dude: THIS is what HAPPENS when you F*** with REALITY!

What is the deeper meaning of the controversy surrounding the manipulated Reuters loadocraps? After all, everyone knows Reuters has a leftist agenda and that it has been manipulating the news for years. It’s not so much that they manipulated the photos, but that the photos were intended to be manipulative to begin with.

In other words, the initial--and far more consequential--manipulation takes place when a Reuters idiotor decides to use this or that photo to encapsulate and illustrate his view of reality. If his initial view of reality is true, then the manipulated photo can only be more true, not less true, because it is doing a better job of conveying a truth that transcends material images: the truth that Israel is a genocidal aggressor that wantonly targets innocent civilians. To coin a phrase, the photos may be fake, but they are accurate--only more so.

That is certainly how the left sees it, which is why the controversy is of no consequence to them. For example, Right Wing Nuthouse surveyed the top 30 or so left wing blogs, and found that only four had anything to say about it, three of whom minimize or make fun of the controversy.

The comments to an editorial by Jeff Jarvis (HT/LGF) in the Guardian are instructive. I didn’t read them all, but here’s the gist:

“It's a gift to the swivel-eyed mouth-breathers who read LGF. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd almost think...oh never mind.”

“What difference does some news spin make to the reality of people dying in lebanon? People die in lebanon because israel is on a stupid, self defeating, senseless rampage and we do nothing about it.”

“Is it worse to doctor photos or to drop bombs on a city?”

“Whatever the role of Hezbollah in media management, there is no doubt that innocent civilians are being killed in large numbers. That's what is important, not what anybody does with Photoshop.”

“A picture with more smoke in it DOESN'T ALTER THE FACT THAT CLOSE TO A THOUSAND LEBANESE, MOSTLY CIVILIANS, HAVE BEEN SLAUGHTERED IN RELENTLESS BOMBING RAIDS NUMBERING IN THE THOUSANDS, EACH STRIKE 1 TO 4 TONS, THE BOMB TONNAGE DROPPED ON LEBANON TOTALING OVER 10,000 BY NOW.”

“How very strange, that the pro zionists hang on by their fingernails to one or two images... well maybe not if we are to consider the disproportionate killing spree that israel and its supporters cheer on.”

“It's shocking how these Zionists are trying to belittle the death of those children by mocking the pictures--it doesn't deter from the fact that the children are dead! These guys share the same moral compass as fundamentalists.”

*****

In short, reality doesn’t matter. There’s a greater truth involved, which you might say has been the motto of every leftist since Karl Marx. As I have noted before, “the moral and intellectual pathology of the left revolves around its misuse of language. It is not so much that leftist thought consists of lies, as that it is based on a primordial Lie that causes it to enter a parallel looniverse where, even if they say something that is technically true, they aren’t saying it because it is true, a distinction which makes all the difference. The primordial lie is the nullification of the covenant between language and reality, so that language is used for its effect rather than as a tool to convey truth. For the left, good language is effective language, whether it means ridiculously exaggerating the danger of heterosexual AIDS in order to increase funding, brazenly lying about George Bush supposedly lying about WMD, or blaming hurricane Katrina on Bush's environmental policies.”

So here we see a fine example of open endorsement of the nullification of the covenant, not just between language and reality, but between image and thing. It is a descent into a hellish, solipsistic realm of pure subjectivity, where one can make no rational appeal to an independently existing thing called “reality.” Do you see the danger? In reality, truth is a function of the adequation between some aspect of reality and our mode of knowing it. But in the leftist world, there is great enthusiasm for the philosophy of “perception is reality, and who are you to judge my perceptions or to say that yours are any higher or better than mine?” Doctoring the photos is just using an exclamation point or ALL CAPITALS TO GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS!

But visual images are highly deceptive to begin with. This is why television is the ideal medium to propagate liberalism, since it is so rooted in emotion rather than thought. Reading or listening involve entering a detached, abstract world of knowledge and meaning, whereas television is an immediate, concrete world of pictures and images. So often, television reports a story as news, simply because they happen to have some dramatic pictures to show you. On the other hand, important events with no pictures are not even recognized, much less reported.

Language is an abstraction from experience, while pictures are a concrete representation of it. Pictures do not show concepts, but things. As Neil Postman, author of The Disappearance of Childhood puts it, unlike sentences, pictures are irrefutable. A picture “does not put forward a proposition, it implies no negation of itself, there are no rules of evidence or logic to which it must conform.” Yet, these images provide a “primitive but irresistible alternative to the linear and sequential logic,” rendering “the rigors of a literate education irrelevant.” Watching television requires no skills and develops none. There is no one so disabled that he is disabled from staring at the TV or looking at an impropergandish Reuters photo.

The really pernicious thing about images is that they convey the illusion that they are simply depicting reality, when they are actually deifying our most primitive way of knowing the world. That is, there is no knowledge at the level of the senses. Television replaces truth with facts, but as Richard Weaver pointed out in his Ideas Have Consequences, it is a characteristic of the barbarian to believe that it is possible to grasp the world “barehanded,” without the symbolic imagination to mediate what the senses are telling us.

The dramatic images coming out of Lebanon tell us absolutely nothing about the real source of the conflict between Hizb’Allah and Hizb’Yaweh. In this regard, it is precisely the gratuitous images of dead child porn that dehumanize and diminish their subjects, and strip them of any other trait, good or bad. They are simply victims of Israeli aggression. They are tools.

By portraying the Lebanese as impersonal, victimized automatons, the Islamo-nazis may engage their genocidal fantasies in good conscience. Since television images are atemporal, we do not see that the pictures are depicting something that is simply the inevitable consequence of a pernicious idea that is not visible on screen--specifically, the ineradicable belief that Israel has no right to exist and that it is a worthy target of genocide.

(Warning--vulgar profounity ahead. I do not want to alter the artist's intent.)

If I were in control of TV news, in between every one of those pictures of dead Lebanese, I would play the scene in the Big Lebowski, where John Goodman mutters “Fucking language problem, Dude,” pops open the trunk, pulls out a tire iron, and proceeds to destroy a new Corvette:

"YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS, LARRY? (Crash!) YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS?! (Crash!) THIS is is what HAPPENS when you FUCK a STRANGER in the ASS! (Crash!) HERE’S what HAPPENS, Larry! (Crash!)”

Sorry for the profanity, dudes, but isn’t that the message we would all like to convey to Hizb’Allah, the army of Moloch? True, it would be a manipulated image, but hey, as a leftist might express it, WHAT’S WORSE, HURTING CARS OR TRYING TO EXTERMINATE A WHOLE PEOPLE?!

CRASH!

As for the righteous pummeling Reuters is receiving? THIS is what HAPPENS when you HIRE an Islamist STRINGER to propagate LIES!

CRASH!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Israel Has No Right to Exist (8.02.10)

Last question from Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: “Why have the Jews survived? Do they really need us, or do we really need them?”

These questions are at the core of the cataclysm that is occurring in the world’s consciousness today. As I have said before, this war is not just ideological, or about power, territory, resources, or any other tangible entity. Rather, this is a war that is taking place on a deeply spiritual level within the collective consciousness of the world. You needn’t believe me when I say this. Rather, just apply it to the situation as you would any mundane academic theory and assess it’s explanatory power. In my view, the models and story lines we are given my the MSM and by the usual leftist academics are ridiculously inadequate to explain what is going on.

Israel is surrounded by enemies, both literally, in the form of her bloodthirsty Arab neighbors, but ideologically as well. Many on the left are openly questioning Israel’s right to exist, deeming it an “historical mistake” (Richard Cohen) or the source of all Muslim grievances--as if Muslims wouldn’t simply be at each others’ throats if Israel were obliterated, or as if Israel has anything to do with Muslim violence in the Philippines, Darfur, Malaysia, Canada, India, Singapore, et al.

At bottom, the conflict between Israel and her enemies is easily explainable, and yet, this simple explanation exceeds the boundaries of human reason properly so-called, since it is infra-rational in its nature and infrahuman in its consequences. In other words, the explanation is not “beyond reason” but prior to it. Quite simply, it is because the enemies of Israel are absolutely steeped in lies. They believe things about Israel that are not only untrue, but cannot possibly be true, to such an extent that the word “lie” is hardly sufficient to describe the phenomenon.

In this case we are not simply referring to “erroneous information,” or to something that is susceptible to being corrected. Rather, we are dealing with an ontological and spiritual lie that is at the foundation of the very personality--and, by extension, culture. You might even say that we are dealing with “the father of lies,” in the sense that it is a primordial lie that then perpetually generates its own lies. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how many lies you dispute on the surface, because a new one will rise to take its place. One can well understand why the Passover Haggadah--the special prayer book for the Passover Seder meal--says that "In every generation there are those who rise against us to annihilate us... " Those are always different people but representatives of the same spiritual force.

Grotesquely anti-Semitic scholarship is routinely produced by the academic left--for example deconstructed historical narratives that blame Israeli actions for the irrational hatred directed it. But this worthless scholarship does not actually prove anything to anyone, any more than ideologues such as Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn proved that the United States was responsible for the Cold War. Rather, the only purpose of this propaganda is to serve up chicken soup for the anti-Semitic assoul. Anyone in their right mind knows that a Juan Cole is not a scholar, but that he simply fills a marketplace need for anti-Semitic “product.” In that regard he is more analogous to a pornographer, satisfying the market for anti-Jewish lust.

Let’s take the example of Mel Gibson. I don’t care about him as a person, and I have no interest in his particular case. Rather, I want to dispassionately focus more on the content of those things he uttered in his drunken rant. Where did they come from? How could such ideas even exist? But they do exist, and they have existed from the foundation of the world. It is not about the Jews, but about what the Jews represent and symbolize. Because of what they symbolize, they attract and literally generate their opposite, like a myth to defame.

“F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Again, not only untrue, but impossible. On the other hand, because of the thought-blocking effects of political correctness, it seems as if people are incapable of making the banal observation that Islam is quite literally responsible for almost all of the wars in the world. As Samuel Huntington observed a few years back in his Clash of Civilizations--and this was eight years ago, before the horrors that have been unleashed since 9-11--Muslims were participants in twenty-six of fifty ethnopolitical conflicts, and two-thirds to three-quarters of intercivilizational wars: "They also have had a high propensity to resort to violence in international crises, employing it to resolve 76 crises out of a total of 142" between 1928 and 1979. Huntington concluded with the colorful statement that "Islam's borders are bloody, and so are its innards.” But try saying that in a typical leftist university, and your career will be as dead as Mel Gibson’s.

Again, Israel is hated because its enemies are not just liars, but so immersed in the Lie that they might as well be demon-possessed. Consider the charter of the PLO, which reads that Zionism is a "constant source of threat" to the entire world, "racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist and colonial in its aims, and fascist in its methods." It is "strategically placed" to combat Arab liberation and progress. During a typically psychotic televised sermon, a Palestinian cleric taught that among the evil deeds of the Jews was the Holocaust itself, which was "planned by the Jews' leaders, and was part of their policy" (courtesy of the indispensable www.memri.org).

Similarly, the demonic charter of Hamas informs us that wealthy Zionists have taken over "control of the world media... they stood behind World War I.... They also stood behind World War II.... They inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security Council... in order to rule the world by their intermediary" and "liquidate Islam." I am sure that most Americans don’t even have a clue about how desperately sick in the soul these people are--including their morally twisted allies and supporters, such as CAIR.

One wonders if the average anti-Semite even knows that there are fewer than 15 million Jews in the entire world, which represents just .227% of the population. Look at Afghanistan. It’s probably safe to assume that they are just as anti-Semitic as any other Muslim country, and yet, there is exactly one Jew living there. His name is Sy Goldberg, and he is very lonely and frightened. And yet, he has complete control of Afghan banking and media, and nobody can get a decent pastrami on rye without going through him.

In a column a few months back, Dennis Prager cited perhaps the most tragic statistic that haunts the human race. Throughout history, so many Jews have been murdered for being Jews, that “While the world's population is about 30 times larger than 2,000 years ago, the Jewish population has barely doubled. Had Jews been left alone to procreate at the same rate as others, there would be about 180 million Jews in the world today.”

“So what,” you might say. “People are people. It’s a tragedy when anyone dies.” Yes, but not all tragedies are equal in their cost to mankind. No one but their immediate families would mourn if all of the Iranian mullahs, Saudi princes, and CAIR spokesholes dropped dead tomorrow. But in a recent post, I cited the evidence of Charles Murray, whose book Human Accomplishment demonstrates how, in nearly every important human endeavor--biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, medicine, visual arts, literature, music and philosophy--Jews are staggeringly over-represented given their small numbers. In mathematics the actual-to-expected ratio is 12:1. In philosophy it is 14:1. In physics 9:1. In medicine and biology, 8:1. Remember, these ratios are not just measuring the raw numbers of doctors, scientists and artists, but the number of truly great and significant ones.

So, what has the world lost due to its Jew hatred? Who knows? A vaccine for the AIDs that is killing tens of thousands of Africans? A key insight into the mathematical structure of the universe? A new source of energy? A cure for cancer?

Satan--or whoever is responsible for the primordial rebellion against the light--couldn’t be more pleased. Few things further his interests more than anti-Semitism.

Israel doesn't have the right to exist. Rather, it has the obligation to exist--not for her sake, but for ours. And yes, for the sake of the genocidal fanatics who wish to destroy it, for the sun shines even on the wicked. I mean, even Juan Cole and Pat Buchanan like polio vaccine, right?

*****

Nine out of ten jejune, tendentious and crackpot psychobloggers agree:

"Failing to support Israel is not a sign of mental illness; it is a sign of ethical, moral, intellectual, legal, religious, and characterological bankruptcy, however; but thats just my opinion."

*****

Related: Islam's Useless Idiots:

"Islam enjoys a large and influential ally among the non-Muslims: A new generation of “Useful Idiots".... This new generation of Useful Idiots also lives in liberal democracies, but serves the cause of Islamofascism—another virulent form of totalitarian ideology.

"Useful Idiots are naïve, foolish, ignorant of facts, unrealistically idealistic, dreamers, willfully in denial or deceptive. They hail from the ranks of the chronically unhappy, the anarchists, the aspiring revolutionaries, the neurotics who are at war with life, the disaffected alienated from government, corporations, and just about any and all institutions of society....

"Arguably, the most dangerous variant of the Useful Idiot is the “Politically Correct.” He is the master practitioner of euphemism, hedging, doubletalk, and outright deception.

"The Useful Idiot derives satisfaction from being anti-establishment. He finds perverse gratification in aiding the forces that aim to dismantle an existing order, whatever it may be: an order he neither approves of nor he feels he belongs to."

Read it all.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Hauntological Foundations of the Psyche

I don’t know that I feel like blogging anything today. I’m still stinging from yesterday’s unfair wound to my vanity by the supposedly Vanity Fair Guy. I guess I’ll just wrap up the interview with Sigmund, Carl and Alfred. They have a few more questions.

First up, “Are there patients that haunt you? Have any influenced you?”

A: First of all, I resent the question. That’s no mere “patient” haunting me, that’s my mother. And yes, as a matter of fact, mother was a big influence on me. Like me, she was a dated but full-bodied crackpot with a rustic, tendentious nose and a jejune, slightly fruity finish. She would go well with a soft, friendly muenster--not as soft as the Vanity Fair Guy's abs, mind you, nor perhaps as pungent on an August day in Manhattan.

Patients that haunt me.... No, not really. Maybe that one who never paid his bill.... Although I can say this: in order to really treat a patient on a deep level, you must allow yourself to be temporarily “haunted” by them--I hate to say “literally,” but I do mean literally.

You see, when someone comes in for treatment, they are obviously in pain. But they are unable to bear all of their pain. Rather, they have various defense mechanisms in place that shield them from it. However, the defense mechanisms are not entirely effective. The pain “leaks out” and can be picked up by those around them. As a psychologist, you are trained to pick up on the pain which the patient is unable to bear. Oddly enough, you will often be aware of the pain before the patient is. This is known as "counter-transference." Through it, you are able to give words to otherwise unglishable feelings that are beyond the patient's horizon of articulation.

I do not wish to engage in mystagogy--at least not at the moment. Perhaps tomorrow. But this capacity for detecting pain in another is not something one learns in graduate school. Rather, it is something possessed by most humans in varying degrees. For example, one of the things that makes a severely autistic person autistic is a compromised ability to “read” other minds.

This is actually referred to in the literature as our “mind reading” module, although it is not the sort of mind reading one sees on the Larry King show. Then again, who knows? I have no philosophical objection to the idea that consciousness is a field into which we tap. For example, imagine a lampshade with hundreds of pinprick holes. From the outside it will look as if there are many individual sources of light, when in reality, there is only the one bulb--the one source of light.

Come to think of it, I don’t think there’s any question that our minds are connected in ways that we do not understand. This is the whole basis of synchronicity, which allegedly reveals the nonlocal interconnectedness of the cosmos through meaningful coincidence.

Here again, I have no philosophical bobjection to this concept. For example, whatever else the cosmos is, it is ultimately One. Therefore, even though it appears from our vantage point that the cosmos has an “exterior” (matter) and “interior” (subjectivity), somehow these categories must resolve into a higher unity. I have always imagined it as a klein bottle (well, not always--starting in 1973, when I tried one of those herbal jazz cigarettes), which is a geometrical object that has only one surface, but still has an inside and an outside.

I have experienced many strange synchronicities in my life, but one of the weirdest occurred when I was sitting up in bed, thinking about this and that, while my wife was falling asleep. My mind was dwelling on nothing in particular, and I was thinking to myself about how a certain acquaintance sometimes called me “Bob,” other times “Robert.” Mrs. G.--who was sound asleep--then says, “Do you mind if I call you Bob?” Wo! (Feel free to share your synchronicity stories in this thread.)

I’m sure you married folks are aware of the nonlocal connectedness of you and your spouse. I can always tell if Mrs. G. is in a... is in... is in anything less than her typically cheerful and sunny mood even before she is. In other words, I can sense a disturbance in the force even before anybody is talking about some conversation with the flying plates.

So yes, in order to really get to know someone, we must allow ourselves to become haunted by them. Not only that, but in life in general we must decide what we are going to allow to haunt us. For I can assure you, a person is partly defined by what haunts them. Kos, Cindy Sheehan, and the Vanity Fair Comic Book Guy are haunted by some things, while you and I and other normal people are haunted by other things entirely. You, I assume, are not haunted by the prospect of a fascist-Christian theocracy in the United States. But in order to understand such a person, you must dwell in their emotional pain--which is real, if misconscrewed--and trace it back to its actual source. It is a transformation of some other pain that is haunting their house and making them belief the unbelievable--even fervently so.

But the fervor is a measure of the desperation, and ultimately ineffectiveness, of the defense mechanism. When dealing with emotions, there is both form and substance, and the outward form is often a second-hand smokescreen that conceals the actual source of the pain.

Let’s take The Comic Book Guy, for example. I haven’t read much by him, but it is as if everything he writes is in the same musical key--even the same note played over and over. What is this note? Contempt, pomposity, superiority, devaluation, envy. It would be a mistake to analyze his writing for its content---of which there is little--instead of the much more vivid unconscious message that always comes through. Through my studies with Milt Jung, the great chiropractor and second cousin of Melanie Klein, I learned that contempt--especially if it is dominant in the personality--is always a defense mechanism. It is always in the service of primordial envy, a topic I have discussed in the past. If someone is particularly insecure, they can unconsciously manage this insecurity, ward off depression, and elevate themselves through the constant operation of contempt. It is not voluntary, but compulsive.

There is certainly a place for righteous indignation and contempt--for example, toward an Arafat, toward Nasrallah, toward CAIR or the New York Times editorial board... no, wait, the Times is beneath contempt. But the habitually contemptuous person is almost always contemptible--in his own unconscious assessment. The object for whom he expresses contempt is simply a sacrificial victim that allows him to live another day under very difficult circumstances. You wouldn’t want to be that person, their petty little daily contemptuous triumphs notwithstanding. It can't be easy living in that body.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

We Are Not Worthy!

Honestly, it's a bit embarrassing for me as the honors continue to pile up. First, to be called the Most Obnoxious Man In AmeriKKKa by dailykos.

Then to be colorfully described by a wacky new age website as a "blue-orange rationalist with a vertical orientation" who is "endlessly frustrating in his limited thinking and belief that he, and only he, is right." What rational person, aside from a New York Mets fan, would walk around in bright orange and blue? Plus, I'm not always right. For example, I never would have predicted that infrarational crystal gazers would have any interest in a blog that caused them such endless frustration.

But now (along with Dr. Sanity and ShrinkWrapped) to be acclaimed as a "tendentious," "jejune," and "dated crackpot" by the mansierre-wearing (or is it a "bro" "pec deck," or "Victor's Secret?") King of Combovers, that Cindy Sheehan with a thesaurus, the ad homanally fixated James Wolcott!

Getting called out by the pompous Vanity Fair Guy is eerily similar to getting called out by the sarcastic Comic Book Guy. As he might say, "Oh dear, it appears the witty barbs emanating from your general direction have nearly broken my skin. I may have to purchase some Bactine if this continues much longer."

Next time Wolcott wants to honor me, I just wish he'd link directly to my site. You know, let the folks decide for themselves how we stack up against the awesome intellectual depths of Vanity Fair.

By the way, Petey is all fired up about this. He wants to try for the next level of notoriety--a footnote in a book by Noam Chomsky!

Mama Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow up to be Babies (or Liberals)

Continuing with our interview, the nosy Sigmund, Carl and Alfred next want to know, “What are your politics, and why?,” and “Why have so many of us lost the will to fight and defend what we value or defend our beliefs? Is there a kind self hatred at work?”

I have answered that first question in so many ways, that I think I’ll refrain from doing so again. My political views are summarized in a couple of posts from last March, Political Seance, Parts One and Two. The rest is commentary, as they say.

As for the second question, I think I’ll try to address it from an angle I haven’t tried before, one that was provoked by Dr. Sanity’s eloquent and moving post yesterday, entitled My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys. If this turns out to be a short post, it’s because I’m thinking this through for the first time, and my thinking may or my not arrive at its appointed destination. In other words, it may go nowhere.

Dr. Sanity writes that “I grew up with cowboys. Not in real life, of course, but on the TV screen. My earliest heroes were those rough, tough shoot-em-up guys whose goal was justice and who seemed oblivious to their own tragic fate as they pursued that justice with single-minded efficiency.”

I can’t summarize, so I’ll just quote her at length: “The cowboy hero of my youth was a simple man who minded his own business and valued his freedom. It would take a lot to stir him up, but once aroused, he was unstoppable. His talk might be drawling or lazy, but not his principles; and the violence which was always there under the surface of his placidity could be called on to defend and protect that which he valued. Then he would ride out into the sunset; his job done, his duty fulfilled.

“He never turned away from what had to be done; and he never cared much for nuance or appeasement. He always understood and accepted the consequences of his actions, not caring if he was liked or loved; but doing what he thought was right, no matter what the cost.

“Today the American cowboy lives on in spirit in many aspects of our society. But if anything, there is even more contempt and anger heaped on him by our modern, cynical, and metrosexual society; who long ago stopped valuing the heroic and sees no need for cowboys in the new age.

“Today, any hint of unsophisticated cowboy heroics or clear talk of right and wrong, good and evil are met with scorn by the spoiled elites of the world, who perceive the modern cowboy as an unwanted anachronism and a genuine liability--his mere existence a frightening threat to the fantasy world of love and peace they have created in their minds.

“Still, it is lucky for us that our modern cowboys in the law and military continue to do what all real cowboys were born to do.

“Zane Gray and many other western authors understood that the only thing standing between civilization and the outlaws who preyed on the innocent were those few cowboys who held to the code of the west. Civilization might hate and despise them for the violence of their methods--but civilization most certainly could not survive without their moral clarity and protection.”

As it so happens, back when I was in film school, we studied various genres, one of which was the western, a form that is as uniquely American as jazz or baseball. I still have some of my old notes, outlining the classic structure of the western film:

1. The hero enters a social group.
2. The hero is unknown to the society.
3. The hero is revealed to have an exceptional ability.
4. The society recognizes differences between themselves and the hero.
5. The society does not completely accept the hero.
6. The villains threaten and eventually do harm to the society.
7. The villains are stronger than the society; the society is weak and ineffectual, unable to defend itself or punish the villains.
8. The hero initially avoids involvement in the conflict.
9. There is a past history, or some kind of symmetry or respect between the hero and villain(s).
10. The villains do something particularly evil or personal to draw the hero in.
11. A representative of the Democratic Party, I mean society, asks the hero to give up his revenge.
12. The hero fights the villains.
13. The hero defeats the villains.
14. The society is safe.
15. The hero gives up his special status, the society accepts the hero, and the hero enters society.

I remember as a kid, seeing the film True Grit, the one for which John Wayne received an Oscar. On the surface, it is only a mediocre film, but I saw it again on TV a few years back, and I remember being extremely impressed with what I realized was an entirely allegorical plot that touches in some way on most of the elements described above. I’ll just hit a few highlights.

The film begins with 14-year-old Mattie Ross looking for someone to hunt down the man who killed her father and bring him to justice. Initially the straight-laced and annoyingly sanctimonious Mattie wants to work within the system, and repeatedly makes reference to her fancy lawyer, who you might say is analogous to the entirely ineffectual UN, or to “international law.” Mattie could have had her pick of lawmen, but in the end chooses the aging Cogburn for the job, because she believes he possesses “true grit.”

Interestingly, Cogburn is depicted as someone who is entirely on the fringes of society--actually, beyond the fringe. Like Presidents Bush or Reagan, he would never be accepted by the elite and effete standard-bearers of society. While not a criminal, he is also not a member of society. In fact, he is a fat, one-eyed drunk who lives with a cat and a “chinaman,” playing cards all day. The obvious message is that society, in order to protect itself, may have to rely upon slightly unsavory people who are not properly members of it--violent and “uncivilized” men who care much more about freedom, honor and justice than mere law and order.

Cogburn’s exceptional ability is revealed during a drunken rant, when he pulls his gun and blows away a hungry rat in the far corner of the room. Mattie hires him to catch the killer, Tom Chaney, but only in order to bring him back alive so that he can be properly tried. As a typical liberal, she wants this to be a police action, not a war. For his part, Cogburn has no interest whatsoever in the legal system or in bringing Chaney back alive. He is his own justice system--in fact, he represents justice as such, and will be just as happy to blow Chaney away and be done with it.

An interesting father-daughter dynamic develops between Mattie, who represents law, and Cogburn, who represents primordial, pre-civilized justice. At first, there is even a pronounced gender confusion in the tomboy Mattie, who has a brittle sort of compensatory pseudo-masculinity symbolized be a ridiculously oversized and impractical gun that is "all for show," like the French army.

The transformational moment occurs in the plot when Mattie is captured by Chaney. I forget how, but she somehow falls into a snake pit, which obviously represents the underworld, or hell. In short, she suddenly finds herself in a dangerous and deadly place that is completely outside the illusory safety of society. Rooster--and only Rooster--can save her, by descending into hell and snatching her out. Sort of like a psychoanalyst, only with guns.

Here again, the allegory is clear. Only a complete man, someone who has “one foot in hell”--who knows the territory--is capable of going into hell and battling the demons. Only ShrinkWrapped can save us!

After Rooster pulls Mattie out, he has to make a mad dash back to civilization in order to get her medical assistance. Symbolically she has died, and Rooster’s regenerative act will be to bring her back to society, where she will be healed and “reborn.” In so doing, he replaces her worldly father and becomes the true father of her higher self--a self that is no longer naive, but integrates abstract law with the dirty reality of worldly justice.

For his part, Rooster is reborn as a father instead of the drunken bachelor who lives on the outskirts of society. The conclusion of the film takes place in the family burial ground, where Mattie has set aside a plot for Rooster, right next to her’s. The brutal and uncivilized Rooster is not only integrated into society, but has a place in eternity as well. How fitting.

So, where does this leave us? What was the question? Oh yes, “Why have so many of us lost the will to fight and defend what we value or defend our beliefs? Is there a kind self-hatred at work?”

Yes, there is surely "white guilt" and self-hatred on the part of the Left, which is not even as mature as Mattie in the beginning of the film. At least she wants justice. If she were a leftist, the film would end with her realizing that Chaney had killed her father because he was poor and her father was wealthy. She would realize her own guilt, and campaign to prevent Chaney from being hanged.

At least Mattie, like some Democrats, wanted to bring the killer to justice. But as the film unfolds, her naiveté is replaced by hard-won insight into the human condition, specifically, into the implacable nature of human evil. In the end, she can only be saved by the man who lives outside the pleasant and comfortable illusions of society, who has one foot in both camps, who is basically good but who has no self-deception about the heart of darkness within man.

Rooster has no pretensions about human beings. Before you can have a civilization, before you can have a justice system, before you can have peace, you must have the will and the capacity for raw, barbaric violence. Because if you won’t do it, someone else will have to do it for you--or to you. You can be a spiritually decadent pacifist, but only because there is a freedom-loving, civilized barbarian with a mailed fist watching your wimpy liberal Euro ass. Behind every thousand or so feckless liberal castrati is a man with true grit. And we want terrorists and their enablers to scratch their heads and never stop asking, "why does this gritty bastard hate us so?"

We'll close things out with a little tune. Glen? Glen Campbell? You wanna come on up? Good deal! Boy howdy folks, Glen Campbell live on the One Cosmos Frontierland Bandstand in Branson Missouri!

One day, little girl,
The sadness will leave your face,
As soon as you've won the fight
To get justice done.
Someday little girl,
You'll wonder what life's about,
But other's have known,
Few battles are won alone.
So, you'll look around to find
Someone who's kind,
Someone who is fearless like you.
The pain of it
Will ease a bit
When you find a man with true grit

One day you will rise,
And you won't believe your eyes,
You'll wake up and see,
A world that is fine and free.
Though summer seems far away,
You'll find the sun one day

Friday, August 04, 2006

Reincarnation: Haven't I Begged this Question Somewhere Before? (updated)

Continuing with the interview, here is another question from Sigmund, Carl and Alfred. Hmm... Why do I get the feeling that I have begged this question before? Perhaps I can do a better job of equivocation this time around:

Q: Do you believe in reincarnation? Do we really get another chance to “get it right?” Why?

A: Why? Because let’s face it, Krishna was either liar, lord or lunatic. Krishna said it, I believe it, and that settles it.

Actually, it is interesting that the Eastern, “right hemisphere” of the world regards reincarnation as a banal matter of faith, while it is a stumbling block for the Western, left hemisphere of the worldbrain. Is there a corpus colossum that can join the two hermetispheres and make sense of the concept?

As always, words are problematic and potentially misleading in discussing spiritual matters. In short, words are words, not the reality to which they point or the experience which they memorialize. To back up a bit, there is a fundamental difference between Western and Eastern approaches to philosophy, in that the former generally begins and ends with knowledge by discernment, while the latter rests upon knowledge by identification.

For example, the touchstone of Hindu philosophy is the Upanishads, which were written by ancient rishis, or seers. As such, the Upanishads do not contain ideas that are argued but visions that were seen and experienced. Not only is the truth “seen,” but the seer comes to embody the truth so perceived. In other words, this is transformative truth--in knowing it, you are not the same. Naturally words must be used to convey the experience, but they mustn’t be confused with the thing in itself. This is a very different from Western philosophy, which mostly consists of ideas--however wooly or trite--that can be passed like an object from mind to mind.

The horizontal aspect of language is mostly reducible to a purely Darwinian explanation. But there is a very mysterious vertical aspect to language that cannot be so reduced, unless one wishes to be absurd. Most modern people don't mind being absurd, so long as they can imagine that they understand. Better to be absurd than to deal with the anxiety of not knowing.

It has been remarked that poets are metaphysicians in the raw, mediators between the essence of being and the miracle of knowing. In its sacred or mythological aspect, language is the nexus between the nighttime and daytime realms. It imparts a kind of knowing, but one must not confuse this knowing with profane knowing of the linear and unambiguous variety. Just like everyday language, it reveals and discloses an "object." But it is not a three-dimensional object. Rather, it is a hyperdimensional subject-object.

Or you may think of mundane language as dealing with horizontal recollection, while the type of language I am talking about involves vertical recollection, or anamnesis.

It is said that “that which is Night to all beings, that is Day to the Seer.” The typical soul is blinded by the bright and shiny objects of the waking world, while the seer is able to detect hidden connections in the night womb where events incubate before undergoing the formality of becoming in the external world.

There is a general stream of Life into which the particular stream of your life enters upon birth--your life is a little eddy in the stream of Life, so to speak, and is constituted by that larger Life. Once here, we see through a glass darkly: “on earth the broken arcs, in heaven the perfect round.” We ride atop the mortality-go-round, but the stream below is full of information that links us to the whole. There is a storehouse of collective memory to which we have access, and which can definitely give us the feeling that we have been here before, in particular, because spiritual growth always involves recollection--not horizontal recollection but vertical recollection. We are remembering something that is already inside us, in our deepest, most inward being.

I maintain that reincarnation is a way of talking about the two very different kinds of heredity that clearly operate in us: a horizontal heredity that is encoded in our genes, and a vertical heredity that seems to shape us from "above" rather than "behind." In my view, when we talk about reincarnation, we are simply acknowledging the reality of vertical heredity. It is a way of talking about something real yet mysterious--about that part of ourselves that not only has distinct inclinations and attitudes--even perhaps an earthly mission--but is also able to tap into a sort of knowledge base of which it has had no personal experience.

Are we really the product of two heredities? I don't know about you, but genes or no genes, I have no idea how I dropped into my particular family. I am amazingly incompatible with virtually all of my family members save for one--not necessarily to the point of open conflict (though there is that with one particularly polarized member who despises me), but mostly indifference and mutual incomprehension. I was born with very specific, not to say unusual, inclinations that I can find in none of my relatives, either living or dead. But I certainly see them in non-blood relations with whom I share vertical DNA.

*****

So, we apparently have a terrestrial heredity that extends back through higher primates, lower mammals, fish, plants, single cells, and across the dark abyss to insentient matter.

On the other hand, we have a vertical heredity that extends through various degrees of being--various powers, principalities, rulers, and thrones--all the way up until we reach Brahman, the Absolute, the One, The Father in Heaven, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs and Uncreated Slack.

Our "frontal self" comes into the world the usual way, while another part of us is imaginately conceived, or "word made flesh." Unlike the horizontal word of DNA and natural selection, this is the vertical word of "supernatural" election. (I put supernatural in quotes, for nature herself is supernatural, as anyone who appreciates the transcendental beauty of the mythematical equations governing the big bang can tell you.)

There was a time, not too long ago, when human beings were not aware of their vertical descent from above, any more than animals are. Again, if you think of our humanness as situated at the innersection of the horizontal and vertical, it took some time for Homo sapiens to realize their place in the vertical.

One cannot even know of the horizontal until consciousness has lifted above it. Otherwise we are simply immersed in our perceptions and engulfed by the senses. But as consciousness ascends, one begins to realize that the vertical is also a world in its own right.

After all, Homo sapiens was genetically complete by as long ago as 200,000 (or as recently as 100,000) years. And yet, either way, we don't see much evidence in the archeological record of "vertical liftoff" until about 35-40,000 years ago, with the sudden appearance of beautifully realized cave paintings, body decoration, musical instruments, statuary, widespread burial of the dead, etc.

Clearly, vertical liftoff had begun, into a nonsensuous dimension of transcendental Love, Truth and Beauty that was anterior to our arrival there. For what would motivate an erstwhile ape not just to paint, but to do so with such refined delicacy of line, shade, and contour? Why bother?

But vertical progress for humans is frequently stalled--both collectively and individually. Human beings have reached many historical impasses, or crossroads (frankly, we are in a somewhat nasty one right now). In reality, these are not horizontal impasses. Rather, they are vertical impasses. Overcoming these world-historical obstacles is not a matter of additional horizontal evolution. That process is basically over, although recent research seems to demonstrate that some additional evolution has been going on at the margins.

But even if certain brains have been getting a little bigger or smarter, it is not our hardizontalware, but our vertical software--or aloftware--that counts. You can have a gifted IQ but still languish below on the vertical launch pad, a point that is obvious if you consider the sorry state of contemporary academia. Plenty of big-brained primates there, all messed up with no place to grow (up, that is).

As such, past historical impasses have been broken through in one of two ways: either a vertical ascent by some great hero from this side of manifestation, or a descent of the divine energy into time or into a particular person (technically known as a "avatar," this happens much more often than you might realize).

The vehicle of both ascent and descent is said to be a "resurrection body," the perfected self, unencumbered by the accidents and distortions of horizontality. It is actually already there calling you--wherever there is--just waiting for you to catch up.

Have you ever been acquainted with your resurrection body? I'll bet you have. Again, this is one of the main purposes of religious language--to provide a means for talking about an otherwise immaterial and nonsensuous dimension. Light, transparent, bright, freely coursing energy... these are all gladjectives that apply.

In the gospels, it says that Jesus gave a few disciples the privilege of seeing his vertical body of light. What must that have been like? First, of course, the disciples had to "ascend" vertically, "high upon a mountain." There, within the orbit of their highest aspiration, Jesus' face "shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light." Then Jesus held a summit conference with two other luminous bodies, Moses and his shadowy double, Elijah. Wo! What was that all about?

Our physical body is on loan from nature, whom we must repay at the end of our days. "Thou owest nature a death." But looked at vertically, the body is descended from the spirit, not vice versa. Death, or disincarnation, involves separation of the vertical from the horizontal. Reincarnation is simply a way to talk about their mysterious union down here in 4D.

Let me conclude by saying that this is one of those topics which I am happy to throw open to debate. My responses are meant to provoke thought, not to be the last word.

*****

UPDATE

That was sort of a lame post. When SGA asked about reincarnation, I should have just said “Hell, I don’t know,” and left it at that. Believe it or not, I hate to speculate. For one thing, it makes religious metaphysics look subjective and conjectural, like theories of global warming. My whole point is that religions not only reveal objective truths, but a core of truths that cannot not be.

True, there is a penumbra around any religion (or any science, for that matter), a dark area encircling the light, into which we can project anything we choose. This is where occultists and mere theologians rush into the breach and spookulate about what they do not know. Properly speaking, this is not theology but theodoxy, or “opinions about God” rather than “knowledge of God.” Such vain chatter is nothing more than an agitation in the cosmic void--as Whitehead called it, “the fallacy of vacuous actuality.” Religion is then reduced to philosophy, little more than idle deidreaming, the codification and fetishization of the lower mind’s ability to doubt anything.

Interestingly, the one thing that I wasn’t speculating about probably seemed the most speculative, and that was my crack about the “astral body,” or “body of light.” All traditions speak in their own way of some such similar experience--again, don’t get hung up on the words--and I think I have some idea of what these traditions are talking about. Many people who undertake a spiritual practice--apparently some more than others--are subject to all sorts of sometimes bewildering (and not always pleasant) physical sensations and experiences. This is something I haven’t specifically posted on in the past, in part because I am still in the thick of it and haven’t figured it out myself. It would be nice if it were a stable phenomenon, but it is anything but, so there is no stable conclusion I can draw at the moment--religious or otherwise.