Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Jesus Saves, Moses Invests, Mohammed Plunders

“Thou shalt not steal.” Why not? As always, the left has found a way out of this one by questioning its premise, i.e., the existence of private property. For one way to eliminate theft is to eliminate or at least question the legitimacy of private property, which naturally ends with one big thief called “the government.”

Property, according to Richard Pipes, is “the key to the emergence of political and legal institutions that guarantee liberty.” Look at most anyplace in the world where there is an absence of liberty, and you will find weak property rights.

Liberals--classical liberals, anyway, not the misnamed leftist kind--have always understood that property is much more than property. Rather, it is the cornerstone of freedom, its very enabler and protector. And underneath property is the use of legitimate violence to protect said property. For if ever there were “sacred violence,” it is the violence that ensures the protection of property, for without property, humans cannot become fully human.

For one thing, property is simply a free expression of “what people want,” and to a large extent, what you want is what you are, for better or worse. Therefore, property is an extension of the person. I once read a description of this by the outstanding psychoanalyst and writer, Christopher Bollas, who notes that the self can never be perceived directly, only indirectly, largely through its use of objects:

“Perhaps we need a new point of view in clinical psychoanalysis, close to a form of person anthropology. We would pay acute attention to all the objects selected by a patient and note the use made of each object. The literature, films, and music a person selects would be as valued a part of the fieldwork as the dream.” In so doing, we may “track the footsteps of the true self.”

For me, if I go to someone’s home, there are two things I am most curious about: the books and music it contains. And the medicine cabinet. Likewise, I should think that after I am gone, a psychoanalytic fieldworker would be able to construct a fairly accurate representation of me by merely rifling through my library. A person whose name I cannot recall referred to reading as “the mystery school of individuation.”

Just consider the odd assortment of books in my sidebar. I am quite sure that no one else on the planet has a matching list. There may not be another person in history who has read and assimilated those particular books. I am not saying that to boast, only to emphasize the amazingly unique alchemy of choices we all embody when given the opportunity to exercise those choices. As Petey once said, “freedom is eccentricity lived,” and he has a point. At the very least, freedom is individuality lived, and it is very difficult to live out your individuality without a range of choices before you.

I realize it’s politically incorrect to say this, but in the course of my work I have had the opportunity to evaluate a fair number of people from second and third world cultures, and what always impresses me about them is their essential sameness. Their life stories are all remarkably similar, almost as if they were the same person. And in a way they are, for they were not brought up in a cultural space in which they could develop their own metaphysical dream. Instead, their life is dreamt by others, either vertically by a ruling class or horizontally by the collective. What Bollas calls the person’s “destiny drive” has been almost entirely squelched. They do not live in a space of possibilities, only a sort of invariant and unchanging now.

Pipes notes that “while property in some form is possible without liberty, the contrary is inconceivable.” And this is one thing that frightens us about the illiberal left, for as we have said many times, if you scratch a leftist, he will probably sue you. But underneath the scratch, you will discover a conviction that your property doesn’t really belong to you, but to the collective. It is simply a variation of the bald-faced assertion that “private property is public theft.” itself the absolute inversion of the seventh commandment. For as we have also had occasion to mention before, Karl Marx was the great anti-Moses with the reverse Sinai revelation, and all forms of contemporary leftism may trace their intellectual genealogy to him; whereas the modern conservative intellectual movement is the current expression of an entirely different stream of thought, classical liberalism.

Our most precious property is, of course, our own body. However, it is amazing how late in history this idea emerged. For example, the Islamic beasts we are fighting have no such notion. In their cultures, your body belongs to the religious authorities, and only they can dictate what you can and cannot do with it. For example, a woman’s body is not her own. She has no choices (or only a narrow range of choices established by others) of how to express it, how to adorn it, and whom to share it with. (Memo to trolls--please don’t even bother. The moral issue behind the abortion debate is not whether a woman has a right to do whatever she pleases with her own body, but whether she has that right over another’s body. That’s the whole point.)

Slavery was still legal in parts of the Arab world as late as the 1960’s, and widespread virtual slavery still exists today. This is the ultimate theft, the theft of a human soul. But that is hardly the only sort of soul-theft that goes on in the Islamic world. Again, the idea that children are autonomous beings with their own inherent rights and dignity is a very late historical development that has yet to appear in most human cultures. Rather, children are “owned” by their parents, which is a great barrier to psychohistorical evolution. As a parent, your job is to create a space for your child’s true self to emerge, not to enforce your version of who you child is and what he should be. Naturally this does not exclude boundaries, discipline and values, but the point of these is to facilitate true freedom, not to suppress it.

Most religions conceive of a mythical Golden Age, an edenic past in which there was no private property. Likewise, they may speculate about a hereafter in which there is no need for private property because there is no lack of anything. But in between, in our embodied state, there is a me and therefore a mine, a you and a yours. And just as the development of individualism is facilitated by property, property benefits from the arrangement as well. That is, most people do not take proper care of things that do not belong to them. As they say, no one ever took it upon himself to wash a rental car. Likewise, “Primitive people are prone mindlessly to exterminate animals and destroy forests, to the extent that they are physically able, without any thought of the future” (Pipes). There is an obvious reason why the most affluent countries with the strongest property rights also have the best environmental records.

Likewise, only when one owns oneself will one feel compelled to improve oneself. Here again, we see the left undermining this fundamental assumption, with disastrous consequences. For the entire basis of leftist victimology is that you are not sovereign over yourself and are not responsible for your destiny. Rather, the doctrine of victimology maintains that your life is directed by others. If you are a woman, you are controlled by men. If you are black, you are controlled by racist whites. If you are gay, you are controlled by “homophobes.” In each case, personal agency is undermined and replaced with a collective that, in the long run, will further erode the liberty it claims to advance. Racial quotas simply displace the ceiling further down the road. For example, a recent study proved that easing the standards for admitting blacks to law school simply results in black lawyers with dead-end careers in which they never make partner.

There are many “social justice” or “liberation theology” Christians who maintain that Jesus was a sort of proto-communist, what with his counsel to give to the poor. But there is a big difference between voluntary renunciation of one’s wealth and government seizure and redistribution of one’s wealth. Just as one must first be a man before becoming a gentleman, one must first have sovereignty over one’s property before giving it away. And as a matter of fact, statistics demonstrate that there is an inverse relationship between high taxes and charitable giving. Those states with the lowest taxes give the most, while those with the highest taxes--”liberal” places such as Massachusetts--give the least. There is a reason why America is the most generous nation the world has ever known, both in terms of blood and treasure. For me, if I were ever to somehow become wealthy, one of the great privileges would be to give it away. It wouldn't be an obligation, but a joy.

And there is a reason why, say, China, has no qualms whatsoever about stealing billions of dollars per year in American intellectual property, for they now want the benefits of private property without the sacred duty to protect it. For a Marxist, private property is public theft, so when they steal American music, DVDs, and computer programs, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them. Clearly, this is a perversion of private property that perhaps even Marx didn't envision: “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine as well.” (Which reminds me--why are these so-called "shame cultures" always so shameless?)

Well, I can see that I’ve run out of time before I could come up with any snappy ending. Let’s just say this: in order to create a properly functioning society and a spiritually balanced person, “thou shalt not steal” (i.e., private property is sacrosanct) must be reconciled with “thou shalt not covet” (property isn't everything). We'll get to that one in a couple days, assuming I can steal the time that I so enviously covet.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Adultery is Adolescentry

Let the truth of Brahman be taught only to those who are devoted to him, and who are pure in heart. --Mundaka Upanishad

“You shall not commit adultery.” Like the other commandments, this one has an outward, exoteric meaning as well as an inner, esoteric one. After all, adultery is related to adulterate, which means to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance. In this case, we are talking specifically about the purity of the soul, and avoiding activities that corrupt it.

This commandment goes directly to the heart of the mysterious bond between body and soul, that which distinguishes us from the beasts. According to Valentin Tomberg, “The power of mutual love unites soul and body. Life, which consists of the union of soul and body, is the marriage of soul and body. For this reason the commandment: ‘You shall not commit adultery’ follows from the commandment: ‘You shall not murder.’ For adultery is essentially a form of killing--of separating soul and body, whose union is the archetype of marriage.”

Jewish tradition regards the bond between Israel and YHVH as a marriage covenant; likewise the covenant between Christ and the church, or the mystical union between the soul and Jesus, or Shiva and Shakti.

Soul and body form a harmonious union, and the separation of the two in any sphere of activity is the equivalent of murder, since the higher life is not possible without their union. When we talk about the death culture, we are really talking about the soulless culture, because so much of our culture has become empty and soulless.

In adhering to the soul in all we do, we remain “faithful” to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. On the contrary, if we transfer our loyalty to that which corrupts us, we will soon discover that it clings to us as much as we adhere it it. The death culture begets death.

As we have mentioned before, depth is a dimension of soul, so that achieving depth is a pathway toward recognition of the soul’s existence. In the absence of soul, the world has no depth--everything is of equal importance, or else simply has the importance our feelings attach to it.

This is why the postmodern strategy of deconstruction is not just bad philosophy. Rather it is murder, specifically, soul murder. And this is why, to paraphrase Richard Weaver, all attacks on religion inevitably result in attacks on the mind itself. Deconstruction is “intellectual crack,” as someone once put it.

In fact, any kind of radical skepticism represents nothing more than an esoterism of stupidity: the lower mind’s ability to doubt anything is elevated to the central truth of our existence. It is the worst kind of soul betrayal, because it operates under cover of a counterfeit pursuit of truth.

Perhaps it should be emphasized that this commandment does not imply some sort of dry, austere, or anti-pleasure approach to life. Quite the opposite. In fact, in Jewish tradition, it is said that the first thing God will ask upon your death is why you didn't partake of all the permitted pleasures He so generously bestowed for your enjoyment.

The point is that existence is embodied, but not only embodied. There are two false paths; one is the descending path into hedonism, distraction, and other various soulless activities. But the other false path is the ascending one: going up the sacred mountain with the soul, but leaving the body behind.

This is a persistent message of both Judaism and Christianity. Both, in different ways, stress the embodied nature of existence, and the problem of how to sanctify our lives by remembering the soul in everything we do.

But clearly, if one stands back and looks at the historical situation from the widest possible vantage point, we can see a problem. Because the Judeo-Christian tradition regards the world as real and worthy of our attention, it can lead to an exteriorizing tendency that ends up severing soul and body.

On the other hand, if we look at the philosophies of the east, they have tended to regard the world as illusory, or as maya, unworthy of being taken seriously. Historically they have made the opposite mistake of becoming too interior: “Brahman alone is real.” Thus, Buddhism and Hinduism have a bit of an interiority complex.

I do believe that the evolutionary task of our age is to bring these two extremes back together--to fully reconcile soul and body and achieve the Life Divine in a monkey body. In truth, it is merely a matter of emphasis, for there is no question that this is at the heart of the uncorrupted Christian message.

Likewise, although Sri Aurobindo is responsible for correcting Vedanta’s overemphasis on otherworldly concerns, he too was simply going back to the original message of the Upanishads: “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. Rather, “Those who combine action and meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter immortality,” that is, through the sacred union of soul and body, spirit and matter, male and female, mamamaya and papurusha (for those who know their punskrit).

I once had a psychotic patient who took one look at my name--Godwin--and blurted out, “Godwin--is that like a combination of God and Darwin?” I thought about it for a moment and knew that he was right, for while he might have been crazy, he wasn't stupid. Because the whole point of my philosophy is to marry Adam and Evolution in such a way that they live happily ever after, both aspiring to the same nonlocal goal 'til death do us part. Like the song says, "We've only just begun..."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Murder, Especially Souls (8.23.08)

Worlds there are without suns, covered up with darkness. To these after death go the ignorant, slayers of the Self. --Isha Upanishad

The sixth commandment is often erroneously translated as “thou shalt not kill” instead of “thou shalt not murder.” Killing has no inherent moral consequence one way or the other (i.e., it depends on the context), whereas murder specifically refers to the deliberate taking of innocent human life.

In the West, I know of no one outside the left who argues otherwise. For example, one routinely hears leftists argue that there is no difference between deaths that occur as a deliberate policy of Islamo-nazis vs. those that occur as a result if Israel defending itself from Islamo-nazis. One also routinely hears George Bush described by the left as a terrorist--indeed, “the world’s biggest terrorist”-- which again simply highlights the broken moral compass that afflicts so much of the left.

The same broken moral compass is present in animal rights activists who equate the killing of animals with the murder of humans. One also hears leftists perversely invoke “thou shalt not kill” in order to try to prevent murderers from being put to death. But again, the commandment specifically forbids the taking of innocent human life, and no one is less innocent than a murderer. The “golden rule” maintains that we should treat others as we would have them treat us, and it is just so with capital punishment.

As Schuon writes, it is absurd to want to abolish the death penalty "on the grounds that one would not like to be in the condemned man’s place; to be in the place of the condemned man is at the same time to be the murderer; if the condemned man can earn our sympathy it is precisely by being able to recognize his crime and by desiring to pay for it with his life, thereby removing all antagonism between him and us.” In short, a murderer who is truly reformed and understands the infinite gravity of his crime will wish to be put to death. Only then is there even a basis for discussion.

But there are many ways to murder a man without killing the body, and these also fall under the rubric of this commandment. One can even draw out the implications of the commandment, in that, if we are to refrain from the taking of innocent life, we are necessarily enjoined to promote, preserve and protect innocent life in all of its manifestations.

At bottom, what the commandment is emphasizing is that life is sacred--it is of infinite value; therefore, do everything you can to honor and protect it. Clearly, not all cultures do so. Some, as in so much of the Muslim world, worship death, not life. And this inversion is reflected throughout these sick cultures, in that they are “fruitless.” That is, they produce nothing but misery, both to themselves and to others. They produce nothing for the body, i.e., no medicines, no new ways to produce food; they produce nothing for the mind, i.e., no science, no translations of books, no freedom of inquiry; and they produce nothing for the spirit, i.e., only the spiritual shackles of their medieval death cult.

Most soul murders are undoubtedly committed by those who are already so spiritually damaged as to be functionally dead. These undead souls such as a Nasrallah, an Arafat, or an Amahdinejad, speak to us from “the other side,” from the shadow world that is created when the soul has been so damaged that it essentially exits the body, leaving only a human animal in its place. But other demonic energies rush in to fill the void, so that the individual becomes a sort of “antihuman.” At their core, they are filled with unbearable envy toward the living, and the only way they can assuage this envy is to kill and kill plentifully. Life is a reminder of their own walking death, hence, “death to Israel,” that primordial symbol of life: l’chaim.

The undead also cannot help converting their children to their way of non-being. In ways both subtle and profound, they will interact with their children in a pathological manner, causing the children to internalize the same virus that afflicts their parents. Regardless, the virus always goes by the name of “love,” which simply further confuses the child. In the end, they will not be able to distinguish the difference between love and hate or truth and lies, any more than they can distinguish between life and death.

That depraved Muslim couple that was going to use their baby as a bomb surely love their child, except that the love flows out of death, not life. Likewise, the proud Palestinian parents who raise their children to be mass murderers undoubtedly love their children, as do the Muslim parents who murder their daughters for holding hands with a Christian boy. Death loves, just as the person who doesn't believe in truth seeks to accumulate “knowledge.” Our universities are filled with lie-roasted academia nuts who know much. They too worship death--the death of the intellect and its innate spiritual wisdom.

Oddly, just as life spreads and propagates, so too does death. In other words, death has a sort of life all its own--just as disease isn’t the opposite of health, but a pathological form of living. The undead soul attempts to overcome and “transcend” his soul death by killing, by substitute sacrifices. Human sacrifice is a way to “steal” the life essence of the victim in order to give the undead a spurious sense of life. This is why the hizb'moloch ecstatically scream "allahu ackbar" (the god of death is great!) as they chop off another head.

In this regard, the Izlambies are no different than Jeffrey Dahmer, who would attempt to have an orgasm at the exact moment his victim was dying, the idea being that the victim's life force would somehow pass into him. Islamists believe that by exterminating Israel, the life essence of Israel will pass into and revive their undead souls and cultures, but this is simply the most perverse of unconscious fantasies. If tiny Israel had never existed, the same massive death cult would have simply metastasized into the geographical area now called Israel. Life departed from Gaza, but Death merely rushed in to occupy the void created.

Again, the implicit message of the sixth commandment is that we must promote Life in everything we do, not just limiting ourselves to innocent human life, but to the Good, the True and the Beautiful, for these are the principal manifestations of the uncorrupted, living soul. As I wrote in One Cosmos, “There is a culture of Life and a culture of death, and the cultural necropolis can only maintain itself by an increasingly brazen assault on Truth (as well as beauty and decency). It is therefore also a cult of hypnotic enslavement, for only the Truth can liberate us from this zone of illusion. In your day-to-day life, you must refrain from activities that advance the infrahuman tide of ugliness, barbarism, and falsehood in our endarkened world.”

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Honoring the Authorized Deputies of Your Celestial Parent (8.23.08)

Never fail to respect the sages. See the divine in your mother, father, and teacher... --Taittiriya Upanishad

The fifth of the first five “vertical” commandments is “honor your father and your mother.” This is an important point, because the verticality of this commandment means that it is clearly not just referring to our earthly parents. At the very least, the commandment implies a link between the earthly and celestial dimensions, filtered through the family. The trinitarian family of father-mother-child is an intrinsic reflection of God's design, another instance of the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm (“as above, so below”). Also, being the last of the vertical commandments, it is somehow an important link to the next five "horizontal" commandments that allow the wider human community to function properly.

Naturally, a large part of the leftist project is to undermine this commandment and to de-sacralize the family, so that it essentially becomes "just anything." Thus, the vertical family that is ultimately oriented in a hierarchical manner toward the divine is reduced to a wholly horizontal unit in which the members are only oriented toward each other. A family is “any two or more people who love each other.” Not “honor your mother and father,” but “honor your father and father,” or worse yet, honor just earthly love. But earthly love alone cannot sustain a family, which is one of the reasons for the increased incidence of divorce. If you go into a marriage thinking that another person is going to make you happy and fulfill all of your needs, you are bound to be sorely disillusioned.

Some may think that the onus of this commandment lies with children to honor their parents. But I believe this is a misunderstanding of the total context of the commandments. For the burden is actually on the parents--especially the father--to be an earthly reflection of the celestial father. Indeed, this is a father’s only claim to legitimate authority--the extent to which he is a dignified and noble man through whom divine authority radiates “downward.”

Parents do not own children--this was one of the radical innovations of Judaism, in contrast to other ancient peoples who practiced infanticide and other forms of systematic abuse.

In raising a child, you are deputized by the divine to help usher your child from his earthly caretaker--i.e., you--to his celestial benefactor. Even if you are not particularly religious, this is still the aim of your parenting, but it will merely go by another name--for example, instilling good values. Few people outside the Muslim world actually consciously want to raise their children as antisocial, homicidal beasts. And even these Moloch-worshipping parents are under the delusion that they are on a divine mission to raise their children in this perverse way.

Arab parents are now naming their children “Hizb’allah” and “Nasrallah,” a genocidal group and a genocidal fanatic, respectively. These children will surely grow up to honor their father--the father of lies. These parents are spiritually unfit to bring children into the world, because they inflict the worst possible psychic injury to the child: failing to provide them with a parent worthy of honor. Like most any abused child, the child will still do his part--he will honor his parents--which will have the practical effect of making him lower than the beasts, unless the child somehow sees through his warped parents and locates his father “who art in heaven.”

In short, to the extent that our parents are worthy of of honor, it is because the archetypes of our otherworldly Mother and Father are revealed to us through them. Not only do many parents fail at this fundamental task, but they even usurp God’s rightful power, becoming bad gods and “lording it over” their children (as undoubtedly happened to them).

More generally, the pure love we receive “vertically” from our parents is like a seed that is planted deep within our psyche. Children can have no idea how much they were loved until they have children of their own. This is as it should be, because the task for the child is to spread this divine-parental love horizontally, out into the world. If children loved parents as much as parents love their children, it would be very difficult to break out of that closed circle and evolve psycho-culturally.

And just because we have left our earthly parents, it hardly means that we have no further need of parenting. Again, there is something primordially true in the trinitarian arrangement of father-mother-child. In order to continue to grow spiritually as adults, we must in some way "become as children" and establish an ongoing rapport with the divine masculine and feminine. As such, the commandment also implies that we should honor worldly representatives of the divine, for example, the avatars, saints, and spiritual masters who, just like our own parents, have made incredible sacrifices for our benefit, and who extend truly priceless wisdom, guidance, and even salvation. Thanks to them, the vertical hole in creation is always accessible.

There is nothing which is more necessary and more precious in the experience of human childhood than parental love.... nothing more precious, because the parental love experienced in childhood is moral capital for the whole of life.... It is so precious, this experience, that it renders us capable of elevating ourselves to more sublime things--even divine things. It is thanks to the experience of parental love that our soul is capable of raising itself to the love of God. -- Anonymous

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Devil's Third Commandment: All Metaphysics and God-Talk Shall Be in Vain (8.10.08)

One of the purposes of this blog is to encourage serious people to take religion seriously. I was once a person who didn’t take religion seriously, although even in my atheagnostic days, I probably wouldn’t have objected to being called “spiritual,” since it’s such a bland and neutral description that essentially means anything you want it to. I have observed that a lot of liberals feel this way. They will describe themselves as spiritual, but draw the line at religious, as if it is an insult.

But this type of unstructured spirituality usually amounts to either solipsism or narcissism, because it is wholly subjective and makes no demands at all on the person. Furthermore, it usually alienates the person from potent channels of grace that is the true catalyst for change.

In fact, authentic religions are frameworks for spirituality, in the same way that music theory is a framework for music. You can try to play music without it--you can be “musical”--but except for rare exceptions, you won’t be able to play much of interest. It will be a pretty vain endeavor. This is why, for example, regardless of what objection you may have to the Catholic church, they have produced more profound spiritual geniuses than the “new age” ever will. Frankly, there’s just no comparison in terms of depth, power and spiritual radiance.

I'm not taking a position for or against, but when you hear debates about whether or not the Ten Commandments should be displayed in schools or courthouses, you will often notice that liberals assume their typical superior tone of mockery and derision toward them--as if some arbitrary laws thought up thousands of years ago by primitive people have any contemporary, much less universal, applicability. While they will grant that it might be bad under certain circumstances to murder or steal, they especially dismiss injunctions against making graven images (discussed in yesterday’s post) or taking the name of the lord in vain. No one is going to tell a leftist what he can and cannot mock, since knee-jerk adolescent rebellion is at the core of leftism. If they can’t blaspheme, what’s left for them?

You will also notice that no one is more literal-minded or “fundamentalist” than the leftist who rejects religion. That is, they reject only a caricature of religion that they have concocted themselves. Or perhaps, as often happens, they had a bad experience with a dysfunctional version of religion as a child, and are in perpetual revolt against it. While perfectly understandable--in fact, to a certain extent, I was a victim of this myself--there is no reason why it should pose a lifelong obstacle to opening oneself to the boundless depths of genuine religion.

For the past couple of days we have been discussing how leftism (and remember, when I use that term, I’m generalizing about the deep structure of an entire philosophical attitude or temperament, not this or that particular leftist) represents an upside-down version of Judeo-Christian teachings, and how it manages to invert each of the commandments. In other words, they are not just against the Ten Commandments, but (whether wittingly or unwittingly) enshrine their opposite.

The third commandment is “You shall not take the name of the lord in vain.” There are even many Christians who believe that this means nothing more than refraining from cursing. If so, what’s the point? If that were all it amounted to, then liberals might even be correct in mocking something so seemingly trivial in the overall scheme of things.

First of all, this commandment has something important to say about metaphysical vanity, specifically, vain and fruitless talk about God, of which there is an overabundance. Much religious talk is entirely vain, in that it serves no purpose--it is mere “pneuma-babble” emanating from the ego, not the spirit.

The omninameable One has revealed several of his names to mankind, perhaps the most important one being I AM. In fact, there are certain forms of yoga that consist of nothing more than meditating on the mystery of this I AM to which we all have magical access. To do so is to engage in the deepest form of vertical recollection, for this I AM is not located in the field of time. Rather, it eternally radiates through the vertical now to which humans have unique access. To dwell in the primordial I AM--or so ham in Sanskrit--is to reconnect with the eternal ground of being. It is anything but vain.

As I was at pains to point out in One Cosmos, the truths embodied in genuinely revealed religions must be experienced, not merely thought. This is really not much different than, say, psychology. You can read all about the criteria for a depression or panic attack in the DSM, but unless you have actually experienced a panic attack, the words don’t really convey the experience. If anything, they might even convince you that you understand it because you have the words for it, but the words are merely pointers or place markers.

Especially with regard to religion and psychology, words must be analogous to bank notes that one may “cash in” for their actual experiential value. Otherwise you are simply dealing with religious counterfeiters and with spiritual “funny money” that has no value at all. It is entirely vain. When you read Meister Eckhart or Saint John of the Cross, you know that their words are backed by the full faith and credit of the First Bank of Divine Reality. When you read Deepak Chopra or Tony Robbins, you know that their words are backed by the full faith and credit of their rampant narcissism. But Gresham's law means that bad spiritual money tends to drive out good, which accounts for their vast personal fortunes.

Perhaps the worst way of taking the name of the Lord in vain--and the most spiritually catastrophic for the person who does so--is to use the name of God as a pretext to commit great evil, as do the Islamists. I’m trying to think of a worse sin, but I can’t at the moment. What the Islamists are doing is beyond evil, for they are committing evil in the name of God, thus undermining the very possibility of the good.

Contrary to popular understanding, these monsters of depravity are worthy both of divine wrath and our own unyielding holy anger, even hatred. True, under most circumstances it is appropriate to “hate the sin and not the sinner.” However, it is entirely legitimate to despise the sinner to the extent that he has not only completely given himself over to sin, but fully identifies with it in an implacable way.

In other words, the Islamo-nazis are not just committing evil, they are willfully identified with evil--more, they are absolutely committed to violent overthrow of the very possibility of the good. It is our sacred duty to hate these monsters in the proportion to which we love the Good. In no way does this mirror the illegitimate, passionate, and sadistic hatred of the Islamists themselves, for holy anger is dispassionate and does not surpass the boundaries of its cause. Americans do not chop off heads for fun; they only do what is necessary to stop the evil.

It is not only a spiritual error to think otherwise, but the failure of a basic societal defense mechanism. We did not win World War II by not hating Hitler, who was also entirely worthy of our divine anger. Again, like an Arafat, Nasrallah, or Ahmadinejad, he was not a mere sinner but the embodiment of sin. Woe unto spiritually depraved groups such as CAIR that align themselves with these embodiments of evil. As Jesus might say if he were here, "somebody needs to grab a whip and go seriously money-changer on those creeps." It's the Christian thing to do.

If you don't despise the vile people who rejoice and dance in the street upon hearing this, then there's probably something wrong with your soul. Or how about people who would use their baby as a liquid bomb? Oh well, all cultures are equally beautiful, I suppose.

There is one additional aspect of the third commandment that I had wanted to get into, but I can see that I won’t really have timelessness enough to expand upon it. That is the possibility of metaphysical knowledge which is both objectively true and operative, or fruitful, in the psyche. Virtually all postmodern thought is in agreement that metaphysical knowledge is not possible--that it is “vain.” Here again we see an exact reversal of the reality, for the religious view is that human beings most definitely have access, through the uncreated intellect, to objective truth. There are eternal truths that man may not only know, but without which man would not be man.

Example?

Oh, there are so many, I don’t know where to begin. How about this one: “semantics cannot be reduced to syntax.” Because it can’t, language is not just a vain epiphenomenon produced by a modified primate brain, including the mathematical language that governs the physical universe, the language of DNA, the language of music, or the language of Shakespeare. Ultimately, it means that meaning is indeed meaningful and not merely a vain irksomstenchial pursuit. The cosmos is not just a tale told by a tenured idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying short hours and a nice paycheck. Rather, it is a valhallicle of Ultimate Meaning.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Devil's Decalogue: Shackle Number Two

In the past, we have had occasion to note that the first five commandments govern man’s relationship to God, i.e., the vertical, while the second five govern man-to-man relations. However, these second five do not so much represent the horizontal as they do the vertical emanating downward and then radiating outward into all of creation, but especially toward other human beings. Thus, if, and only if, the commandments were actually followed by everyone, it would be on earth as it is in heaven.

Yesterday we discussed the secular leftist project of undermining the first commandment and replacing it with its counter-commandment (“there is no God, and we are his angry clowns”). This has the practical effect of turning the cosmos upside down and absolutizing the relative, thus shackling us in the Egypt of ontological flatland. Sounds like a good deal, but in the end, you're going to be e-gypped. Big time.

The first commandment is actually a fractal that contains all of the others, so once you eliminate it, a host of disastrous implications follows in its wake: the reign of quantity, the tyranny of the horizontal, the subversion of truth, the devaluation of beauty, and the loss of the quintessential categories of the holy and the sacred through which celestial energies radiate into our world. In short, hell on earth.

The reason why it is necessary to acknowledge the Absolute prior to the relative is that, in the absence of the Absolute, all transcendent values are bleached out and ultimately wiped away. Values can only exist in a hierarchy (i.e., some things are more precious and valuable than others), and any hierarchy is conditioned from top to bottom. There can be no higher or lower in an infinite horizontal wasteland. Rather, in such a case, the world is simply a brute fact, with nothing to spiritualize it. Matter is elevated to the “ultimate,” so that the world shrinks down to our most primitive way of knowing it. In fact, it is precisely because there are degrees within the relative that we may prove the Absolute, in that these degrees of relativity reflect the Absolute either more or less adequately.

Although secularists like to think that their's represents a sophisticated view of the world, in reality, no philosophy could be more provincial and monkey-bound. As Richard Weaver has noted, it substitutes facts for truth and logic for wisdom, elevating the world of the senses above the antecedent reality that can only be known by the intellect. Man becomes the center of authority, which makes him no authority at all, for no fact speaks for itself and no experience can tell us what we are experiencing.

The secular materialist attempts through endless induction to assemble the cosmos from the bottom up, but you can never get there from here. No one has ever seen this thing called “cosmos,” and no one ever will. Rather, it is accepted on faith, as it is an inevitable shadow of its unitary creator. In other words, we all intuit that there is a strict totality of interacting objects and events because we were built to do so (unlike any other animal). To say “cosmos” is to say “God,” for God is the cosmos, even though the cosmos is not God. It is a "reflection" of God, and therefore cannot help but to be One.

Haven’t you ever wondered why the cosmos is so beautiful? Why should it be? Why in the world should there be a category called “the beautiful?” Where is that beauty? Is it actually in the cosmos? Or is it only in us? If so, how did it get there, and what is its purpose?

In reality, beauty is another inevitable “residue” of its source, an exteriorization of the Universal Mind. To the extent that ugliness exists--and it surely does--it does not represent a fundamental reality but a deprivation of such. It is a measure of distance from the divine archetype, the full brunt of which reality could not bear. Thus we have degrees of beauty just as we have degrees of goodness and truth. And no one could plausibly argue that this beauty is perceived by the senses, but only by the uncreated intellect that mirrors it.

Two things that the uncorrupted mind cannot not know: that the world is intelligible and man is free. Take away either, and the world is simply an absurdity, a monstrosity, a mistake. For to say that we may know is equally to say that we are free, otherwise it is not knowledge at all. Knowledge proves freedom, freedom proves knowledge, and both prove the Creator, for the hierarchy of being disclosed by the free intellect leads back to its nonlocal source above.

Therefore, the second commandment follows logically from the first: you shall not turn the cosmos upside down and inside out, and worship created things. There are, of course, many parallel injunctions in the Upanishads: “He alone is the reality. Wherefore, renouncing vain appearances, rejoice in him.” Because of our uncreated intellect, humans, and only humans, are able to discern between the Real and the apparent, maya and Brahman, the Absolute and the relative, the transient and the eternal.

Behind the idolatrous secular impulse is a persistent, vulgar materialism that collapses the hierarchy of being and reduces the Absolute to some tangibly manifest idea or object that can be “contained” by the lower mind. But these are truly “mind games” for the childlike secularist, for no fragmented detail at the periphery of existence can explain the mysterious whole, much less the infinite interior center that represents its beating heart.

Life, for example, is not a function of DNA. Rather, the reverse is true. Likewise, consciousness is not a product of brains, but vice versa. For at the tip-toppermost of the poppermost, reality is sat-chit-ananda, or being-consciousness-bliss. Or so we have heard from the wise, from Petey, the merciful, the compassionate, the tendentious, the obnoxious!

“The universe is a tree eternally existing, its root aloft, its branches spread below.” So says the Katha Upanishad. We know that tree, for it is the same tree that appears in Genesis. It is a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf. For the grazing herdhearted woodenheads who wouldn't, they are the sap.

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!