Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Remystification of the World: Amen for a Child's Job

I dreamt last night that I was mountain climbing, something I’ve never done in the 4D world. It looked like someplace in Germany or Switzerland. It was a rather sheer face with lots of vegetation and a green valley down below. I reached out to pluck one of the wild berries that was growing from the mountain side, as it looked like it must be the purest food one could imagine. But my guide cautioned me that it had been discovered that it was actually full of all kinds of subtle toxins. However, there was a pill one could take that neutralizes the poisons.

There are so many thresholds to the doorway of the divine -- to the intelligent and benign forces that surpass the ego -- and one of them is by way of the dream. Because once you begin taking your dreams seriously, you realize that you “inhabit” a parallel world that is every bit as real as the material world. It is real because you -- your ego -- in no way create this world. Rather, you are are just as much an “object” in it as you are in the material world.

In my dreams I have seen beautiful architecture and paintings that have somehow been produced in me but not by me. I have seen the most awesome landscapes that one would think only God could have created. In fact, perhaps the highly creative person is simply someone who is able to dream by day -- to trancelight a small fraction of the infinite creativity of the night and bring it out into daylight. It seems to me that all great art has something of the dream -- and therefore, magic -- in it.
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What is so striking about dreams is not just that you can interpret them and that they contain a wealth of wisdom and knowledge. That is a given. The larger question is, as my colleague James Grotstein out it in the title of a book, Who is the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream? Because whoever he is, he knows us much better than we know ourselves. He knows virtually everything about us, and wishes to communicate it to us through plot, imagery, character, and symbolism. Why? What are these mysterious messages from our Self to our self?

First of all, dreams are not structured in the way science understands the material world to be structured (scientists are actually only half right about that, but I don’t have time to get into it right now). Rather, dream consciousness is explicitly holographic, meaning that, like a great work of art, it is dense with possible interpretations, all of them more or less true. In the case of this dream of mine, I believe it was a commentary of our recent little sidetrack into the bloodless and devitalized world of atheism, for such a world represents the exact opposite of the dream, so dense with layer upon layer of inexhaustible meaning.

A person will literally go crazy if he is prevented from dreaming. Along those lines, it is a truism that there is a form of madness that involves losing everything but one’s capacity to reason. This I believe summarizes the dry and denatured madness of atheism.

Here again, please do not get me wrong: I do not intend to insult or belittle rank and file atheists who are simply indifferent to matters of spirit, Rather, I specifically address myself to the rank and foul, to those who make it their life’s work to demystify the unfathomable mysteries of existence, life and consciousness, and then to try to impose that morbid ideology on the rest of us.

For to drain the world of its irreducibly mysterious and dreamlike qualities is to create a nightmare. Even as a child, without knowing it consciously, I realized that this was the world of atheistic communism. More than anything I could have learned from the adults around me, it was this dark intuition of an unambiguous world devoid of dreaming -- in a child’s mind, perhaps the polar opposite of Disneyland, which to me was literally paradise on earth. Which world is more real, the objective world of philosophical materialism, or the “fantasy” world of depth, meaning and wonderment? Is sustained wonderment not a vital human faculty? Are we not more in touch with the world when we are full of wonder than we are when we are filled with the answer?

Philosophy is no different than music, in that one can tell in an instant when a musician or a piece of music comes from a merely technical or “mechanical” place as opposed to a spiritual source. This is what gives music its depth and richness, and allows repeated listening despite having heard a piece hundreds of times. It is not about the complexity, for if that were true, there would be no way to explain the magic of certain “primitive” blues musicians such as Muddy Waters or Howlin’ Wolf. I think it is fair to say that the person who is alienated from spirit cannot help seeing the world as geometry, when it is actually frozen music of the most exquisite kind.

One of the reasons I love the music of Van Morrison is that he is always at least trying to encounter the source of music. In reading his biography, I wasn't surprised to learn that a number of years back he actually organized a conference on the power of music to convey spiritual experiences and to bring about higher states of consciousness. He rarely does interviews, but when asked what effect he would like his music to have, he responded "Ideally, to induce states of meditation and ecstasy as well as to make people think." Based on my own experience, he clearly possesses an ability to tap into and convey these spiritual states through his music. As he has said, "If you say that we all have a basic purpose for for being here, then that's why I'm here. I've tried running away from it. I've tried ignoring it. I've tried suppressing it. I've tried everything there is to get away from this because at times its seems it's a hell of a big responsibility."

I can well understand the latter concern, because, unlike most artists who simply play their "greatest hits,” I have personally seen how Morrison enters a sort of altered state in concert, bringing the audience along with him. In this regard, his music has some connections with jazz, since it is improvisational, but it is improvisational in a different way -- almost as if he's being led by a spirit into some other dimension and "singing in tongues." But that's not something you can turn on like a light switch. It's is a grace, which is not self-generated but comes from elsewhere. And when it's not there, the music becomes "merely human," so to speak. Nice craftsmanship, but missing the element that vaults you into another dimension.

Many of Morrison's songs are about the "natural mysticism" of childhood. Apparently as a child he had many unprovoked mystical experiences in which the veil that separates our world from the deeper mystery surrounding it was rent away--often when listening to music. I can totally relate to this, as I had similar experiences as a child. But as we age and increasingly ingest the “food of the world,” something happens to that childlike (but hardly childish) sense of wonder, unless we are very careful to nurture and preserve it. Is there a pill we can take that can undo or neutralize the pneuma-toxins of the world?

One fatuous charge that is frequently levelled against theists is that we are frightened of life and therefore drawn to “fairy tales” of the hereafter. I can only speak for myself and affirm that I personally don’t give much thought to what happens upon our physical demise. Rather, for me, religion is a much more intense way of being in the world, not just spiritually, but intellectually, philosophically, aesthetically, interpersonally, creatively, and in every other way.

My son, who is 18 months old, is so full of life that it is as if his little body can’t contain the ecstasy involved. Yesterday he stood up on his little chair and began dancing, trembling, laughing, stomping his feet and shouting with joy. He would become rigid one moment--sort of like one of those body builder poses--only for the energy to course through him like lightning exploding a statue. It was absolutely contagious, because he could look at us through his eyes and transmit the energy. Soon we were all laughing, and our laughter simply amplified his energy. It only happens every day. I’m sure there is a scientific explanation for this transmission of shakti. Which explains precisely nothing.

The child of whatever age remains close to the paradise not yet fully lost. “and it is for that reason that childhood constitutes a necessary aspect of the integral man: the man who is fully mature always keeps, in equilibrium with wisdom, the qualities of simplicity and freshness, of gratitude and trust, that he possessed in the springtime of his life” (F. Schuon).

In Song of Being a Child (a poem by Peter Handke), Morrison recites,

When the child was a child,
[It] wanted the stream to be a river and the river a torrent
And this puddle, the sea
When the child was a child, it didn’t know
It was a child
Everything for it was filled with life and life was one
Saw the horizon without trying to reach it
Couldn’t rush itself
And think on command
Was often terribly bored
And couldn’t wait...

When the child was a child berries fell
Only like berries into its hand...
Atop each mountain it craved
Yet a higher mountain... And still does
Reach for the cherries in the treetop
As elated as it still is today

Morrison improvises here:

And on and on and on and on
And onward with a sense of wonder
Upon the highest hill
When the child was a child
Up on the highest hill
Shhhhhhh, shhhhhhh
Are you there?

Yes, I think I was. In my dream last night.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Flat Cosmos Society and their Junk Metaphysics

I think you may have just compromised your hippocratic oath - you have done harm. You have fostered malignant stereotypes on a group of people as wide & diversified as any Western nation. WAAAAAAAA!

At last we reach what has always been the gist of the leftist atheist’s apologia, that he is a victim of mean believers. The appeal to victimhood is ironic, since, as I have mentioned before, it represents such a twisted inversion of a Christianized psychology: since Christ is victimized, all victims must be sacred, even if their victimhood is self-inflicted. Thus, atheists are sacred martyrs to their God, who is conspicuously present in his absence. But if truth and morality are relative, to what else can atheists appeal except to the Christian sympathy for victims?

(Yet again the disclaimer: my opinions regarding the militant atheist commenters on this site have nothing to do with indifferent or “negative” atheists who simply have no interest in spiritual growth. Rather, I address myself to the angry and juvenile activists who are actually anti-theists, such as the ACLU and radical secular fundamentalists in general.)

Now, all of the castes also exist within each caste, and I make no apologies for being a “warrior priest,” as it were, even if atheists end up with hurt feelings because they’re not used to someone above Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell’s pay grade pushing back. I am gravely concerned about the culture war in which we are engaged, for I have no doubt whatsoever that the future of the world will hinge on its outcome. And at the moment, the activist intellectual laborers of the left (i.e., brains with hammers) are waging jihad against the Judeo-Christian metaphysical foundation of our culture, a foundation that has produced the most decent and prosperous nation that has ever existed.

It is no coincidence that the United States is also the most religious country in the world. Some might object that the Islamic world is more religious, but in reality, that’s the problem. They aren’t religious at all, because any true vertical religiosity is rooted in liberty oriented toward a spiritual telos. God cannot be imposed, only freely discovered. Thus, both Islam and leftism--our two spiritual competitors--are excluded, since the one expounds mindless tyranny, the other a meaningless horizontal freedom that ends in tyranny as well. In short, both atheism, and Islamism are “junk metaphysics.” God is specifically a God of liberty--the God upon which the authority of America’s founding document rests. As a conservative (i.e., classical liberal), the Declaration of Independence is one of those little things I would most like to conserve. That and the constitution.

As I mentioned, one of our atheist visitors has been reduced to playing the victim card, which is always the last refuge of the left, for it is their holiest of holies. It is designed not to advance thought but to stop it in its tracks. You will also note that he makes an appeal to that related icon of contemporary left-liberalism, diversity, meaning that he has hit the leftist trifecta: 1) relative truth is absolute, 2) I am a victim, and 3) diversity is sacrosanct. This is an exact reversal of the American creed, which is liberty, e pluribus unum, and In God We Trust.

I think you may have just compromised your hippocratic oath - you have done harm. You have fostered malignant stereotypes on a group of people as wide & diversified as any Western nation.

We come in all shapes & sizes. Black, white, Asian, Arab, Jew. We run the entire spectrum from conservative to moderate to left to right. We come from varied backgrounds.

My question is this: does the APA approve of mass diagnoses? How do you, as a psychiatrist, justify a collective diagnosis?


“Diagnosis of what?,” one might ask, since all is truly relative for a leftist atheist. I might add that I am not a psychiatrist, so I am not bound by the Hippocratic Oath, nor am I a member of my own APA because it has been taken over by agenda-driven leftist activists. As for “mass diagnoses,” I do indeed do this, but not in my role of psychologist but as a clinical anthropologist and theo-pathologist. And I certainly have no quarrel with conservative, classical liberal, or libertarian atheists who fight for my spiritual values, any more than I have problems with Muslims who share my values.

Ultimately this is not about labels but about spiritual value systems that are entirely opposed and incompatible. If you want to see the future of America should the left be successful in undermining our Judeo-Christian heritage, you need look no further than old Europe, which “progresses” further every day toward its own oblivion--and into the jaws of its Islamist executioners, who will perform the coup de grace.

Science tells us about the world of quantities, but spirituality is here to tell us about the specifically human world. Needless to say, when it comes to comprehending revelation, atheists tend to be the most literal-minded of individuals. Reduced to mere horizontality, religion makes no sense at all, any more than science can account for verticality, i.e., our free will, our love of truth, and our ability to know objective beauty. Just as biology can explain everything about life except for what it is, science can explain everything except for the radical incommensurability between the consciousness of the scientist and everything else in the cosmos.

The atheist is blocked on his journey to divinity. As such, it is a sort of attachment disorder, a failure to leave the orbit of one reality for another, a metaphysical “failure to launch.” But the spiritual reality from which they are excluded is anterior to the material world, not just chronologically but ontologically. In other words, there is a vertical cosmogonic order, and it is precisely this order that all forms of leftism resent and rebel against.

The lower world is a “mirror” of the higher, except it is somewhat like a tree reflected in a lake. Standing across the lake and looking at the water, we will see an inverse image of the tree, which is what we see here below, and which explains most of the mysteries and anomalies that a strictly scientistic and reductionistic world view will inevitably generate. For, like the tree reflected in the water, atheistic reductionism sees the lowest for the highest and the highest as nonexistent, a metaphysical absurdity squared. Leaves and branches are not roots, but in order to see this, you can’t be a sap.

There are quintessential miracles of which all miracles are a reflection: the miracles of existence, life, and human intelligence. Human creativity--assuming it is grounded in truth--is a mirrorcle that follows the “fiat lux” of the first day, which, in the cosmogonic order, is every day. No, every moment--if you choose to participate (some restrictions apply; offer void in Manhattan, San Francisco, and Hollywood). To be “born again” vertically “from above” is none other than consciousness caterpultering out its cocoognitve limitations and learning to buddhafly, no more or less mysterious than a dead universe coming to life or an ape not just quoting Shakespeare, but being Shakespeare.

This expansive view of reality is in contrast to the closed circle of atheism, which is, after all--now please, don’t get me wrong here--the “devil’s perspective” of reality. Let us stipulate that we are speaking, er, metaphorically. The devil’s perspective is to turn the cosmogonic order inside out and upside down, so that what is distant appears close, and what is close, distant. As a result, it drowns in “particulars” and is lost in endless induction.

This induction will never end in wholeness, for the wholeness is prior to the particulars: it is the Creator’s perspective, the One who sees the whole of reality in an instant. This view synthesizes a mass of of particulars in order to perceive both their depth and their meaning, which amount to the same thing. Meaning, depth, consciousness, life, love, beauty, truth, humor, the sacred... To quote brother John Hiatt, “Don't come from you and me, come from up above.” Furthermore,

Ugly ducklings don't turn into swans
And glide off down the lake
Whether your sunglasses are off or on
You only see the world you make.

Yes, that’s the point. The atheist is proud of the fact that he only believes what he sees. But in so doing, he only sees what he believes.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Garbage In, Godless Out

What a hard days night. First the vaporized post -- which was a real corker, by the way -- and then Dupree came home raving drunk from a costume ball at 3:00 AM.

All I hear is pounding inside the garage. I go in, and he’s torn a hole in the wall with a sledge hammer, looking for the “murphy bed.” Needless to say, we don’t have a murphy bed in the garage -- or anyplace else, for that matter -- but Dupree is confused and agitated, because he thinks he’s back in the last place he stayed in Baton Rouge, in our great auntie Cile's basement. So now I’ve got an extra window in the garage, and meanwhile, I have to attend another all-day seminar today while atheists flock here liked rodents to an offal dump. Now, I hardly blame rodents for being attracted to offal dumps, but the problem is, they don’t know the difference between that and a banquet table, and in so doing, turn the latter into the former.

Just what is the militant atheist's claim? It is not quite accurate, is it, to say that he knows something we don’t, for he specifically claims to not know what we do know; and furtherless, that his metaphysical ignorance represents a superior form of knowledge. That ignorance is not knowledge -- let alone truth -- let further alone Ultimate Truth -- eludes them entirely, even if one can be sympathetic to their view that authentic ignorance is preferable to what they necessarily regard as false knowledge (which, were that true, is no knowledge at all).

The atheist believes that reason obliges one to deny God, but this represents a most limited and facile understanding of reason, since reason can only work with sources that are not supplied by reason in its narrowly construed understanding.

There are two distinct forms of ignorance, an active variety and a passive one. As it so happens, tolerating one’s not-knowing is an indispensable step on the way to genuine knowledge of any kind. However, it cannot be a permanent phase, for the simple reason that generative “not-knowing” in any discipline is guided by a telos that will eventually fill out this unsaturated container with content.

Put it this way: an a-theist is no different than an “a” anything -- for he is a self-confessed ontological adolescent, in the sense that human beings (analogous to, but also very different from, other living things) point toward their own completion, whereas the atheist forms his identification around what he is not: a theist. As any parent of a two year-old can tell you, it is very easy to no! what you are not.

Now, knowledge is a grace, which is to say mercy. It certainly does not have to be, and yet it is. That there exists a primate capable of knowing absolute truth absolutely is proof enough for me -- albeit, a preluminary truth -- that any materialistic philosophy is hopelessly self-refuting. Again, the hiatus between the most lofty animal and the lowliest bacon-loving atheist is nevertheless absolute, which is why we may say -- insist, even -- that his every blasphemy only praises God. He is his own doorway that leads straight out of a crude and reductionist Darwinism, for while human beings may easily comprehend the truth in natural selection, natural selection can never comprehend the truth that is in man--that is man.

Naturally, there was a time that I did not know. Like our militant atheists, I was ignorant of my ignorance, and instead knew that I knew. For me, the key out of the closed world of my own nervous system was to encounter a being who did know, and to tolerate the considerable gap between his knowledge and my ignorance. This gap is known as “faith” in its dynamic and generative aspect, and is the critical component in acquiring metaphysical knowledge that is rooted in being, not just the “head.”

It must be jarring to a pork-loving atheistic renaissance man to be the proud possessor of a triple digit IQ and therefore absolute knowledge and truth, only to stumble upon a community of souls who reject his facile pseudo-philosophy as the commonest stupidity. What? How can this be! My MENSA friends assured me that my superior intelligence was the guarantor of absolute truth!

In reality, there are by definition as many ways to prove the existence of God as there are human beings. One could say the same thing about the unconscious, which no other human being can discover for you. Therapy can naturally help, but only to assist you in making the discovery yourself.

But the atheist is an egomaniacal control freak who refuses to see that we do not control the unconscious. Rather, he is just like the obsessive-compulsive patient who attempts to colonize the unconscious mind with a grid of mere conscious knowledge. It can accurately be described as egoic imperialism, and it works both ways, above and below. For the ego can “comprehend” neither the unconscious “below” nor the Spirit “above” (this is a simplification, for many aspects of the “unconscious” are highly conscious and “above,” for example, the dreamer who dreams the dream). Instead, the idea is for the ego to be conquered by the divine. To the extent that we do not participate in this profoundly mysterious process, we are all the poorer for it. Or, let us say, the proud ego becomes wealthy while the spirit goes begging for crumbs of bacon.

In order to grow spiritually, we must become supple and receptive, and yield to powers that are largely unpredictable and beyond our control. This is something the hypertrophied ego of the atheist cannot do for whatever developmental reason, if only because the humility is intolerable and readily slides into shame. Thus, they cannot know what it means to abandon oneself to something infinitely higher and greater. In maintaining the postmodern superstition that they are the sole authors of their own lives, they miss out on the adventure of a lifetime. As one can see, the spiritual impoverishment radiates (as if darkness could radiate) from their very manner of expression. They exalt in their own misplaced egoic exaltation, which amounts to the most unsophisticated form of idol worship.

As I predicted several posts back, the atheists cannot stay away from this site for the simple reason that the atheist necessarily projects his religious “shadow” (to employ Jung’s terminology) into the theist, where he may engage it through proxy. You might say that they see in us a pneumagraphic negative of themselves--a shadow of their own inner fire. Naturally the image is distorted through repression and projection, which is why none of us recognize to the crude and childish religious image being projected onto us.

The crudeness and childishness most certainly exist, but in the projector, not projectee. This is elementary. It is also alimentary, rooted in the most primitive oral and anal psychodynamics. This is a topic for another post, but those who have been following this debate and have ears to hear will most certainly know what I am talking about. You are what you feed.

Sadly, as Jung understood, one of the reasons why “shadow work” is so critical to psychological development is that the alchemical gold is found in the shadow. Is this not obvious? The atheists project a part of themselves into us, but in so doing, reject their most vital and precious aspect -- something of great beauty and value, now rendered ugly and worthless. Pity, really.

Now, there is a proper form of projection that is required (not always, but generally) for spiritual development. That is, we all must find the mentor -- living or “dead,” it does not matter -- who represents the projection and the attractor of what we are to become. He or she is your unrealized self, projected onto someone who has realized it. There are many forms of realization, and I imagine that this blog specifically appeals to people who share similar “spiritual histories.”

For example, I did not know my Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement before he staggered in from the cold into our warm little inn a number of months ago. And yet, what is so remarkable is the close correlation of our beliefs, not just the broad strokes, but many fine and subtle details. This, even though we arrived at our respective deustinotions through largely divergent paths.

And yet, here we are, all of us, shaking hands atop the mountain, while at the same time regarding with sacred awe the even more towering peak that stands before us.

Naturally we cannot help seeing the valley dwellers below, who seem content to live with their noses to the ground, occasionally pausing to look up and remark about the cloud cover that obscures the mountain top. We have no quarrel with the contented valley dwellers. However, more than a few remind us of a bucket of crabs who instinctively pull down any of their brethren who try to climb out. To call such a crabbed existence “philosophy” is to celebrate the state of being a raging animal inside a dying carcass, as one metaphysical wag put it. I can’t say I really blame them for being drawn to this site. There is no envy like spiritual envy.

This I know: beauty enters as the ego falters. The cosmos is a circle that opens in man and closes in the Divine Being, however you understand it. We are the two-way mirror through which the sacred projects itself, and which stimulates the spontaneous response of adoration, devotion, and yes, submission. But if you align yourself with these forces of your own destiny, you will discover that the sub-mission of the ego is a super-mission of the Self, as -- surprise of surprises -- you pull the sword of life from the stone of death. For we do not merely dream to live, but we live to dream, and we build by day the dream body we shall wear when the sun has set and no man can work.

O mighty atheist, knower of all, you are already whole! Why dost thou need this asswholier-than-thou-physician?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Movin' On Up in the Inwardly Mobile Cosmos

I cannot believe I did this. I just finished a lengthy post, but when I went to copy it, I accidentally hit "paste." Then I hit "paste" again, and now its gone. Tried to undo it, but I did another bad thing in between, so it was too late. Nor did I even hit save while I was working on it, because I was in such a trance that I just didn't notice. WAAAAAA!

Like a Buddhist sand painting, my post has bitten the dust-to-dust in the wind that bloweth where it will. I am really heartbroken. Must recover. Stupid halloween spirits.

I must say, it was an outstanding post, but now we'll never see it. Furthermore, now I have to get ready to leave for another stupid all-day seminar. So I'm just dipping into the bloggereliquarium and grabbing an old post nearly at random. I notice that it only had three comments, so only a few people apparently ignored it the first time.

******

Reader Dilys made an excellent point a couple of days ago, noting that, "My working hypothesis is that repeated close encounters with age-ripened liturgies access far-reaching psycho-spiritual genius that drain the subconscious swamp." In other words, by immersing ourselves in certain time-tested vertical modalities, something very real and measurable happens to us. One thing grows. Another thing shrinks, or at least begins to lose its grip on us.

What is spiritual growth? What is it that grows? What does it “feed” on, since a living thing can only maintain itself in an open system that exchanges energy or information with the environment? And what is the medium into which it is expanding? In other words, as a biological object grows, it obviously complexifies and expands into physical space. Where do we expand spiritually?

Again we must refer back to the concepts of vertical and horizontal. Just as there is a horizontal evolution in the form of increased complexity through time, there is vertical evolution in the form of increased depth or “degrees of being.” But in both cases, growth only takes place through metabolism. It is a process. Only open systems that are in disequilibrium are susceptible to evolution.

For example, as a biological system, you maintain yourself by constant energetic exchanges with the environment in the form of food and oxygen. Being at equilibrium with the environment is also known as being dead. Ordered complexity can only be maintained in a state of dynamic disequilibrium.

It is the same way in the vertical--in the spiritual realm. In order for us to grow vertically, we must first realize that we are in need of nourishment. Then we must identify and eat the proper food. And finally, we must chew, swallow, metabolize, and digest. Not just once, but every day. In so doing, something within us begins to grow and develop, like a seed in the womb of being. Spiritually, this is why the athiest is necessarily dead, for atheism is none other than vertical anorexia.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” What does this mean? Outwardly or horizontally it means one thing. But inwardly and vertically it means something else altogether. I should emphasize that this is not a novel idea that I developed on my own. For example, Greek mythology recognized the existence of “ambrosia,” a celestial substance capable of imparting immortality. In the Vedas, it is called “amrita” or “soma.” It is an actual substance, although not in the material sense. It is fluid and energetic, and it is easy to see how it could be symbolized by wine, and by a mystical quest for the cup, chalice, or “holy grail” that might hold the wine.

This is also the symbolism of the Last Supper, of Jesus distributing the bread and wine--his body and blood--to his disciples to eat. What could this curious practice be but theophagy, or the subtle “ingestion” of God?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” “The meek shall inherit the earth.” “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” What could these mean? In my opinion, they are again referring to the vertical, not the horizontal. There is an exterior man and an interior man. The interior man is the astral fetus lying between our evolved nervous system and the transcendent Other. Spiritual work is oriented on the vertical plane, not the horizontal. To the extent that this fetus or “divine child” is not nourished, it will be spiritually stillborn--a celestial abortion. A tragic waste of a life.

Without a mirror to reflect it, reality disappears, does it not? What would the cosmos be without nervous systems to reflect it back to itself? Hot, cold, large, small, here, there, light, dark--these are all qualities of nervous systems. Take away the conscious observer and the universe has no explicit qualities at all.

It is the same way with the vertical world. Here again, to say that we are “the image of God” is to say that we are mirrors of the vertical. Without the human mirror, the divine disappears. Clean your mirror and it reappears “out of nowhere”: “I was blind, but now I see.” Or, as it says in the little psychotic (or pneumotic) genesis myth at the beginning of my book, "He expectorated a mirrorcle, now you're the spittin' image."

I have no quibble whatsoever with science. It is one of the glories of mankind. But it only maps the horizontal, not the vertical. Spirituality, on the other hand, maps the vertical, the interior of the cosmos. In its horizontal aspect, things just happen in the world. But in the vertical world they are made or created. And all true creation is a miracle from the standpoint of the horizontal.

You might say that the minimum requirement for existence is worlds and beings, and that the fabric of existence is the warp and weft of vertical and horizontal, as eternity pours into time and time pierces eternity in the now.

In order to have a comprehensive view of the world, one must appreciate the vertical and the horizontal, the interior and the exterior. In fact, reality is a cross ( + ) where the vertical and horizontal energies converge. Each moment--the eternal now--is a sort of “whirlpool” that is created out of these dialectically related streams. Your body is actually the “rosy cross” that blooms around the area of the heart--if given the proper vertamins and heartilizer.

Ours is an inwardly mobile cosmos. Would you like to move on up in it? Then crucify your ego on that invisible cross where the vertical meets the horizontal in the now. Recognize your inner emptiness. Give yourself your daily bread. And don’t forget to chew.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Yelling Fire in the Theater of Dreams

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

No, I shouldn’t say that. That’s a bit histrionic. I’m not Andrew Sullivan.

But it was awful. The irony is that the all-day seminar I attended yesterday was entitled Spirituality and Mental Health: New Horizons, New Directions. I’ll be honest. Within about 30 minutes into it, I began sympathizing with the atheists--not the obnoxious and/or crazy ones who enjoy my blog, but the indifferent and or mildly contemptuous (but not mean-spirited) ones. It was so tedious that, as I predicted, it brought back immediate flashbacks of my school days, which were like having to sit in an airport for 16 years (I’m including undergraduate work).

So, anything interesting happen in my absence?

Well, nothing that couldn't have been predicted. I’m not going to respond to all the tomtrollery, because that would simply invite another round of angry atheistic fanaticism, but there are a couple mischaracterizations of my position that I should address.

First, it is a willful misunderstanding--apparently motivated by a desire to take offense--to suggest that I in any way believe that atheists are “infrahuman.” I specifically stated that there are different kinds of atheists, and that I do not regard “negative” atheism in the same way I do “positive” atheism--the certitude that God does not exist. Furthermore, I will reiterate that atheism is by definition an infrahuman philosophy (meaning that it ignores what it presumes to explain qua humans), not that its adherents are de facto infrahuman. Some are, some aren’t, but one can obviously say the same thing about many theists.

In a way, it is similar to my views on homosexuality. As soon as you say that homosexuality is sometimes an illness, the activists want to call you homophobic and stop jumping down your throat. But modern psychoanalysis does not so much view sexuality in a binary hetero- vs. homosexual manner, but in a vertical, developmental manner. In other words, I am strictly concerned with the maturity of the sex drive, not its object. While I believe there are a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that make the achievement of this maturity more of a challenge for the homosexual, that is a separate issue. And I always--always--draw a sharp distinction between the individual homosexual and what I regard as the destructive aims of homosexual activists.

Some recent commenters have demonstrated that to touch certain varieties of atheism is to touch pitch. However, as I mentioned last week, my baby’s godparents are both liberal and generally atheistic. But they are also, needless to say, among the finest people I know. For one thing, they are very open minded and very slow to take offense, even around the most explosive issues. I am not offended by their rejection of God, nor are they offended by my acceptance. And if we weren’t separated by distance, I believe I could eventually pound my point of view into them, but that is only because they are already rational and open-minded people, which is ninety percent of the battle. Should I croak, my only request would be that they expose the boy to my writings once he is emotionally and intellectually mature enough to comprehend religion. “What was my daddy like?” “Er, hard to explain. Here. Read this. The comments too. Discern the light, then go toward it.” That’s it.

Not to re-belabor the point, but the existence of God can be proved with metaphysical certitude. However, the atheists are correct in asserting that this alone does not prove that God is good, that Brahma or Jehovah is the “real” God, or that God cares about us. Furthermore, while the jnani can prove the existence of God with pure metaphysics, this is cold comfort to the bhakta or raja yogi, who take the next step of loving or knowing (and therefore being loved or known by) God. One can actually prove that God--the necessary being--is necessarily good, but I don’t want to go there, for we’ll both just get dirty, but the pig will enjoy it.

This is another way of saying that you can easily prove the existence of God to yourself--as billions have--but not to others who are not inclined to believe the evidence and who are not gifted with the intellect of the jnani. (By the way, another willful mischaracterization of my view. This is not to say that atheists are not “intellectual”--which they generally are--or that I am not impressed by the triple-digit IQ of the semitic lover of pork products. I use the word intellect in its traditional sense as that which may comprehend higher knowledge with metaphysical certitude, i.e., the nous, buddhi, or psychic being [in Aurobindo’s terminology]).

On to yesterday’s conference. As a way of dealing with the tedium, I took copious notes throughout, which should be good for several posts. Let me start with the good, because there were a few interesting points. You may have known that 96% of Americans believe in God. But perhaps you did not know that 87% are aware of a need for personal spiritual growth, and that 49% have experienced God’s presence in the past 24 hours.

Did you also know that 82% of psychologists say that religion is beneficial to mental health, and that they are right? There is a very high correlation between religion and mental health, just as there is a high correlation between mental illness--especially substance abuse--and an absence of involvement in religion or spiritual practice. (It is a truism that substance abuse is an illness from which one may usually only be saved by a spiritual experience.) It has been empirically proven again and again that the presence of religion is a “protective” factor and that its absence is a risk factor for mental illness (which demolishes the outmoded Freudian view that religion is somehow an escape into fantasy, since if that were true, we would see more general pathological processes in believers). For that matter, it has also been empirically proven that the absence of religion has serious health consequences, in that religious people live longer and healthier lives in general.

There was also some interesting information on what is called in the literature Quantum Change. As someone with a psychoanalytic background, I can tell you that this kind of sudden, dramatic, and permanent change--which happens all the time--is something that traditional psychological models can in no way account for. I would guess that most of my readers, like me, have been vouchsafed at least one of these “peak experiences” (which are also peek experiences, in that they involve a lifting of the veil and a peek into the larger reality from which we had been previously alienated). These experiences--documented ad nauseam in books such as Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism or William James Varieties of Religious Experience--are always accompanied by a powerful, instantaneous, and unchallengeable recognition of their truth.

Interestingly, individuals who have had these mystical experience are not proselytizers. Often they tell no one, or just a few people, about them. For one thing, as I warned at the outset of our recent little unsolicited debate, doing so is absolutely fruitless. As Petey always says, it is pointless to butt heads with a butthead. I re-re-repeat: I have no desire whatsoever to convince the person who is at peace with either his God or godlessness. My blog is generally for two types, 1) people who are already religious but want to get more out of it, and 2) skeptical but open-minded people who would like to gain a point of entry into a form of religiosity that they can intellectually respect and wrap their minds around.

One of the most famous “quantum conversions” was that of Pascal, which vividly demonstrates the difference between the jnani “God of the philosophers” and the God that shatters all of our little cognitive containers like a cheap birthday suit, whatever that means. Perhaps I was thinking of the fact that Pascal transcribed the event while it was happening in real time, and for the rest of his life kept it sewn into the breast of his coat. It was one of many inspirations for the ecstatic conclusion of my book. Some excerpts:

In the year of grace 1654
Monday, 23 November, Feast of St. Clement,
Pope and Martyr,
From about half past ten in the evening
Until half past midnight,

FIRE!

Not the god of the philosophers and scholars.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace....

Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except God....
Greatness of the Human Soul.
"Righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee."
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy....

Let me not be separated from Him eternally.
"This is eternal life.”

Renunciation, total and sweet....
Eternally in joy for a day's training on earth
.

The atheist says, “I feel no heat, nor do I see light. Show me this fire!”

How, exactly?

Cosmonight, cosmonaught. Unfearing allahpeering darkness within darkness, benighting the way brightly. Wu, full frontal nullity!

All-embracing secret center of depth, the meaning of Within, the realization of Being, O first and last truth of Self, knowing without knowledge all that can be unKnown: existence to the end of the beginning....

A drop embraced by the sea held within the drop. Unborn body of the bodiless one, dark rays shining from a midnight sun, your phase before you were bearthed & begaialed, empty tomb of a deathlaz child.

The body, an ephemeral harmelody of adams forged from within stars, our life, a fugitive dream within the deathless, sleeping what’s his G-d name.

A Divine child, a godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin’ yes.

Shut my mouth! Enough bull, it’s eneffable. Stop prehending. The blankety-blank hole affear is over: not a thought but the absence of thought, luminous presence, all-negating Void Supreme, immobile, self-rapt, timeless, solitary, the El Supremo at the top of the stairs, a Starman waiting in the sky, tip-toppermost of the poppermost Man on a Flaming Pie.


Same flames. Same fire. Less talent.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mind of Goo, Mind of Ice, Mind of Light

First, a little Cosmic housekeeping.

For some reason, I am embarrassed by the appearance of the, ahem, bold new look of the blog, even though I have nothing to do with it. Blogspot started acting crazy last Saturday, and the situation has only deteriorated since then. Surely it cannot be a coincidence that we have simultaneously endured this infestation of atheistic knaves and sophists and learned that a beloved founding One Cosmonaut, JWM, has apparently survived an, er, cardiac event of some kind, the details of which we are eager to know, so that we may call upon our various nonlocal operators for the appropriate transpersonal intervention. Until then, vague prayers are sent in your general vicinity.

I am ready to abandon blogspot for a new home just as soon as possible, and I am open to any and all suggestions, since my practical knowledge of computers approaches the atheist’s knowledge of Spirit. I am just like Google, or like Democrats, in that if I try to fix the problem, it will only get worse.

And if blogging is light in the next four days--which it may or may not be, depending on the Gagdad constitution--it is because of this horror: I so detest my mandatory continuing education that I wait until the last minute to complete it before my license to heal souls expires, which would then cause all of my readers to revert to their heathen ways. In short, I have to attend all-day seminars today, Saturday, and Sunday, which, if you hated school as much as I did, causes a wave of flashbacks, existential nausea, and memories of the endless wait for PE.

I don’t know whether it is creepier to be in a room full of psychologists or at an atheist convention. Probably the latter, because their minds are so coarse and their souls (which, after all, do not exist) so vacant. Psychologists’ minds tend to be more “gooey” (which, let it be said, is what makes ShrinkWrapped, Dr. Sanity, and other members of my Shrink Tank so unique), whereas the atheist mind is more prickly, defensive, and ultimately void of spiritual content. In the long run, both would drive me crazy, but in small doses I suppose I can better tolerate being enveloped in goo than being deprived of spiritual light and oxygen. Curious that atheists enjoy visiting Petey and Cousin Dupree and His Assholier-Than-Thou here in cosmic cloud-cuckoo land. Are they masochatheists?

Anyway, it is a test. I’ll just do what I did in high school, which is to say, sit in the back, bring a good book, and try to befriend the one or two like-minded souls who might be attending. Didn’t you do that in school? Scan the room, looking into their eyes, trying to identify a living being?

I don’t know how much more time to spend on this atheist business. As you know, like the Bush administration, I don’t plan things in advance, but just react to the chaos I have created on the ground. As I emphasized at the outset, it is a pure waste of time to debate an atheist, for the same reason that it is a waste of time to debate any person of faith--which is not to put down people of faith. It all depends upon what you have faith in. As I have had occasion to mention before, there is infinitely more wisdom in the simple soul who believes that the universe was created in six days than the bovine atheist who worships at the altar of pure chance, that almighty god of the saps.

Hmm, interesting. A reader just commented “I probably had something to do with the recent visits of Ka and the Bacon Eating Atheist Jew. I encouraged them to come over and take a gander at Christian writing that also accepts evolutionary theory. Even though I consider myself to be an Atheist I was impressed by the eloquence I found here and the fun with words. Atheist writing can be a little prosaic at times and I feel it often throws the baby out with bath water, mocking any appreciation for the mystical or the divine even when it is purely metaphorical.”

Atheist writing can be a little prosaic at times . Now that’s putting it mildly, isn’t it? As our barbarian visitors have demonstrated, atheistic writing is necessarily coarse and ultimately infrahuman, for the simple reason that it is a perfectly imperfect adequation to the coarse and infrahuman--to the lowest level of existence only. Here again, I say this not as an insult but as a simple description, because for an atheist, the most perfect description of reality would presumably be mathematical--which is to say, a language drained of all the explicitly spiritual categories and accompanying modes to which the human intellect has unique access, such as transcendental beauty, mystical union, and a sense of the sacred. (I am leaving aside the truism that all great mathematicians actually realize the transcendental beauty of the equations it is their privilege to know.)

"The soul is all that it knows," said Aristotle. What the atheist does not know--cannot know, by their own admission--is that language must be deployed in a very special way if it is going to be adequate to the realm of spirit. This “ inner science” is something of which I am never unaware, and I take great pains--or pleasures, actually--in trying to make my language comport with the spiritual realities we discuss here. Whether I accomplish this is of course for others to decide--or deicide, as the case may be--but I am absolutely aware of the struggle to do so. It is as real as the struggle of an artist to capture the essence of the spirit of the subject they are painting, or the struggle of a John Coltrane to breathe the love supreme through metal and reed. That he attempted to do so makes him human. That he succeeded makes him a mirrorcle of something beyond human. But again and always, only if you have ears to hear.

Now, I am a mighty, mighty man--my eighteen month-old can tell you that--but am I mighty enough to restore hearing to those with perfectly intact ears but who hear not? Ahh, no. I am not that mighty. With a lot of nonlocal assistance I may be able to croak a tune, but I cannot teach the tone deaf how to hear music, any more than I could teach my dog to appreciate poetry. While I could direct you to those who taught me to appreciate music, you must first be genuinely curious about this thing called music, and as I already said, the atheist is not so inclined, for as always, “the answer is the disease that kills curiosity.” The empirical brain-mind the atheist uses to understand reality is not the same as the heart-mind with which the soul intuits the Real. Such a misguided approach is condemned to metaphysical sterility.

Bacon Eating Atheist Jew has demanded that I prove the existence of God to him. This is something I, of all people, cannot do, if only because the injunction against casting pearls before swine loving swine is absolute. To be honest, he shouldn’t even be here, because such a proudly barbarous mind only sullies the truth that is trying to manifest. There are certain basic qualifications such a one lacks, and although he would no doubt regard it as a condescending insult, no one else has apparently been good enough to inform him that there is no reliable spiritual knowledge without the cultivation of certain virtues--deep humility, absolute sincerity, and a spirit of devotion being the bare minimum.

One does not eagerly grasp at spiritual knowledge, certainly not with the cold, dead hand of an atheist. That is an absurdity. If you wish to escape from your prison--which you manyfistly have no desire to do--you must first appreciate the thick layer of ice that has formed between you and your source. Or so we have heard from the wise.

I agree. What I just said is perfect nonsense. Now move along. Nothing to see hear. Or touch.

But I know. You cannot stay away, for darkness is envious of the light. How frustrating that the light shines in the dark, but the dorks don’t comprehend it, any more than pi can ever comprehend the circle, so simple and yet so perfect. For when time tries to comprehend eternity, it succeeds only in generating the bad infinite. In the end, it is infinite stupidity. Nevertheless, it is infinite, so that must be some small consolution.

Well, that’s it. Off to the land of infinite goo.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Atheism and Other Religions (10.04.08)

That was interesting. I hadn’t intended to generate such panic in the atheist community. In fact, I had no idea they followed my work so closely.

I am not surprised that militant atheists have become just another angry victim group, because that is what they have always been, starting with Grandma O'Harebrain. Please bear in mind that I am specifically referring to the easily offended activist kind of atheist who wishes to rewrite history and efface the Judeo-Christian heritage of this country, not to the person who is really and truly just indifferent to God. I have no quarrel with the latter kind of atheist, nor should they with me. While our respective philosophies are no doubt bizarre to one another, I am fully cognizant of the fact that it takes all kinds to make a world, and that a good atheist will contribute much more to the world than a bad theist. It’s a non-issue to me that there are good and decent atheists.

Nor do I have any problem whatsoever with agnostics. While I regard militant, or “positive” atheism as the commonest form of philosophical stupidity (i.e., the affirmation that God definitely does not exist, as opposed to mere disbelief in God), I would never say that of agnosticism. For one thing, simple common sense and intellectual honesty compel agnosticism, and I would never denigrate common sense, being so uncommon and all.

There are several ways to end up being what I call an obligatory atheist. Like every other human capacity--from math to music to hitting a baseball--the ability to intuit the divine runs along a continuum. Frankly, there are a few people for whom the realm of the sacred really does seem to be a closed book, but I actually focus a lot of my writing on trying to give these good folks a hand up, a way to "get" religion. On the other hand, a larger percentage of atheists have been traumatized or repulsed by a dysfunctional version of religion as a child. They are the ones who can get more angry, obnoxious and militant.

Another segment of the atheist population consists of the “not smart enough” who are nevertheless extremely proud of their intellect. This in itself is a contradiction, for they have great faith in the intellect’s ability to know reality, and yet, place an arbitrary limit on what the intellect may know. The placement of this limit is not a result of logic or reason. It is actually more of a religious inclination, for it is an absolute statement about what the human mind may or may not know. And once you are in the realm of the absolute, you are reflecting one of the attributes of the divine mind.

I do not know the first thing about wine. And yet, I know that I do not know, and I also know full well that there are enologists who do know what I don’t. In fact, I am one hundred percent certain both of my ignorance and their expertise in this area. But since I am ignorant, how do I know this? Among other reasons, I know it because it would be absurd to deny the testimony of thousands of enologists who have trained themselves to make subtle discriminations in the realm of wine. If I were to object and tell them that they are fooling themselves and that there is no empirical proof that one wine is any better than another, they would properly regard me as a gustatory moron with a boorish and cretinous palate.

While numbers aren’t everything, needless to say, the numbers are on my side, in that billions of human beings have personally experienced the Divine, whereas atheism is an absurdity that makes no sense to all but a few eccentrics and misfits. More importantly, there are any number spiritual geniuses who have left maps of the domain of spirit that are every bit as subtle and detailed as the maps of science. I have been guided by these maps, so I know the territory they describe is ontologically real.

One atheist yesterday took me to task for “trashing” atheism because I hadn’t personally experienced it, but that is false. There was a time that I was an atheist, but I eventually found its philosophical foundation to be utterly lacking. When I wrote yesterday that positive atheism was naively self-contradictory at every turn, I meant that literally, not as an insult. Most bad metaphysics can be dismissed with a single insurmountable sentence or two, and atheism is no exception. To declare that it is absolutely true that only relative truth exists is nonsensical. And to declare that absolute truth exists is to make a statement so pregnant with metaphysical implications that one could write a whole book on the subject, which I done went and did.

One commenter proclaimed yesterday that “I am an Atheist because the universe makes perfect sense to me without putting God in the equation. You say God is easily provable. That is horse manure. There is absolutely no evidence God exists. God is nothing but a manmade idea in order to give one hope for meaning and even everlasting life.”

He dismisses all religion as an “invisible myth that you cling on to. In fact, I now have as much justification that there is an invisible man living under my bed, as there is a God. In other words, I have no reason to believe in either, as no evidence exists that either God or the invisible man under my bed exists.”

How does one respond to such invincible ignorance? “There is no evidence that God exists.” Of course there is evidence. It's just that he is either unfamiliar with the evidence or has chosen to reject or ignore it, which he is naturally free to do. As for the statement that religious belief is an “invisible myth,” the reverse is true: it is only possible to cling to the invisible myth of atheism in a hermetically sealed environment of fellow fervent believers who are similarly innocent of any direct encounter with transcendent reality. They are free to insist that “all wines are identical,” just as I am free to dismiss them as possessing barbarous palates.

Yesterday I pointed out the truism that “Human beings are much more difficult to account for than God--in fact, impossible for materialistic science to explain. Of this I am certain.” An atheist responded, “Then I respectfully advise you read more books on science, & a few less on iambic pentameter.”

For the record, I have read thousands of books on the former and none on the latter, but somehow I must have missed the scientific breakthrough that has explained human consciousness. In fact, in the course of obtaining a Ph.D. in the field, it somehow eluded me that materialistic science has fully accounted for all of the miraculous properties of human consciousness. I’m sure I must have been absent that day. He specifically recommends Julian Jaynes’ Origins of Consciousness In the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, which I read when it was published 25 years ago. What his speculations have to do with the topic at hand is anyone’s guess.

Again, atheism is pure postmodern mythology. As this atheist just demonstrated, it has nothing to do with an honest assessment of the evidence, but, like so much bad metaphysics, is simply an assumption dressed up as a conclusion. On the other hand, my theistic belief is based, among other things, on personal experience that I would no more doubt than I would doubt the fact that my eyes see or that I love my child.

One of the reasons I wrote my book is to give sophisticated and ironized readers "permission” to take religion seriously. As a result of mindless repetition, secularists have made significant inroads to the undermining of rational religious belief, which will have catastrophic consequences for the future evolution of mankind, which we can already see with regard to spiritually exhausted old Europe. For a person who is alienated from his own soul and intellect properly so-called is like a disabled person with missing limbs, except that he doesn’t know it. Better yet, he is like a leper, in the sense that lepers suffer from nerve damage that causes them to be unaware when they are injuring themselves. To the extent that one is unaware of one’s soul, one will engage in more or less spiritually self-injurious behavior. (No different, really, than the neurotic patient who suffers because he is ignorant of his unconscious motivations.)

The effectiveness of one’s “thinking about God”--that is, thinking metaphysically--always depends upon two factors, neither of which falls strictly within the realm of rationalism. First, there is the depth, breadth and profundity of the intelligence involved. Obviously there are plenty of smart people walking around. College campuses are full of smart people. But they are hardly profound, deep, or wise thinkers. For example, there are presumably thousands of musicologists with Ph.D.’s, but who would pretend that their words are remotely as deep or profound as one of Beethoven’s late string quartets? There are many books on iambic pentameter, but only one Shakespeare.

The second thing that limits the mere rationalist is an arbitrary restriction on what is taken as evidence. The rationalist limits himself to empirical phenomena (or something reducible to it). But this limitation is not something that can be justified by reason. Rather, it is a pre-logical, a priori assumption.

The religious metaphysician is not hindered in this manner. He does not arbitrarily stop at the external senses, but considers other sources of information, most notably, divine revelation, the testimony of the saints and sages, and one’s own personal experience. The rationalist merely defines these realms out of existence, and as a result, is unable to reason about God at all. Or we can say that his reasoning will be limited to mundane facts of common experience, not to that which transcends them. They will simply project onto God their own limited understanding, like a two-dimensional circle pronouncing on the nonexistence of spheres. Of course spheres do not exist for such a square. They can prove it with ironclad logic.

This is what happens when reason detaches itself from the intellect, which is the realm of pure, unencumbered intelligence. Properly understood, reason is a tool of the intellect, not vice versa. Something is not true because it is logical, but logical because it is true. The rationalist confuses truth with method.

One of the monumental lies of our age is that the intelligence is inherently limited, so that the realm of ultimate issues must be left to faith alone. Who said that intelligence is limited? If so, how do we know that that statement is not equally relative and limited? Who said that human beings are intelligent enough to pronounce on the limitations of intelligence? Either intelligence is in principle unlimited, or else it is arbitrary, relative, and illusory, incapable of saying anything with certitude. But the shallow contemporary thinker wants it both ways: the omnipotent ability to know where to place an absolute line between what is knowable and what is not.

But reason is not autonomous, and cannot reason without data being supplied from elsewhere. As Schuon writes, “Just as it is impossible to reason about a country of which one has no knowledge, so also it is impossible to reason about suprasensory realities without drawing upon the data which pertain to them, and which are supplied, on the one hand, by Revelation and traditional symbolism, and, on the other, by intellective contemplation, when the latter is within reach of the intelligence. The chief reproach to be leveled against modern philosophy and science is that they venture directly or indirectly on to planes which are beyond their compass, and that they operate without regard to indispensable data...”

Bottom line: I would not presume to get into an argument with Van Gogh about what he saw with his eyes. I’d rather just enjoy the depth of his vision. But if you don’t believe in depth of artistic or spiritual vision, then a Van Gogh is no better than a Thomas Kinkade purchased on QVC, and atheism is just as profound as the Upanishads.

*****

For what it is worth, the wisdom of one of the world's leading atheists (HT Jewish Atheist):

Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place. --Richard Dawkins

He has a point, because inculcating a child to believe lies and fantasies is without a doubt abusive. This is what I mean when I say that intellectually consistent militant atheism amounts to strict foolishness.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Going Nous-to-Nous with Atheism

A self-acknowledged “leftie atheist” paid us a visit yesterday, leaving a comment that speaks for itself. If there is any pseudo-philosophy worthy of a priori dismissal, it is atheism, for it is naively self-contradictory at every turn. There is more wisdom (as opposed to mere factual or empirical knowledge) in a single randomly plucked page of Aurobindo, or Eckhart, or Schuon than in the entire body of works of every atheist who ever lived. I hope that doesn't sound polemical or defensive, for I mean it literally, and I say it in the most relaxed and offhand manner. But it does sometimes need to be said.

It only adds to the irony that this particular atheist congratulates himself on being a sophisticated “renaissance man,” which connotes everything an obligatory atheist can never be--which is to say, someone with “broad intellectual interests,” in possession of “more than superficial knowledge of many different disciplines,” and who is “accomplished in areas of both the arts and the sciences.” For true knowledge of any kind--let alone knowledge that is deep and broad--leads directly to the threshold of the Divine, something all wise men realize because men were made to realize it.

However, notice that I said “threshold,” for our natural reason can only lead to an honest confession of agnosticism unless one makes the conscious decision to take the next step over the threshold. If that weren’t the case, we would not be free to discover God--rather, we would be “theology machines,” which we are not, precisely.

Many in the west have been so poisoned by secularism that it is difficult for them to any longer perceive God. For that is a key point. The existence of God may be easily proved, but only to a generous intellect that is inclined to accept the evidence. To the intellect that so not so inclined, no evidence will ever suffice. But make no mistake--it is absurd for a wholly contingent being (which is how an atheist must regard himself) to make any absolute metaphysical claims about anything whatsoever.

To the extent that human beings may conceive of absolute truth it is because we participate in absolute truth. One such absolute truth is the metaphysical certainty that “God is the being that cannot not be.” Human beings, on the other hand, are much more difficult to account for--in fact, impossible for materialistic science to explain. Of this I am certain.

Perhaps an analogy will be useful. From the earliest age, I have always been passionate about music, and have regarded it as a primary need, no different than food, or knowledge, or beer, or baseball. However, there came a time that I reached “the end of the line,” so to speak, with the sort of popular music offered by our mass culture. So I decided to explore modern jazz, which is infinitely more complex (I won’t say “deep,” because aesthetic depth is an extraordinarily mysterious phenomenon that in itself leads to the threshold of God) than rock music--harmonically, rhythmically, melodically, and technically.

At first, much of it was impenetrable to my rock-trained ears, and it is fair to say that a lot of it sounded like “noise.” And yet, something compelled me to continue immersing myself in its world, until I was eventually able to “perceive” its depth and beauty. And once I was able to perceive this incredibly rich and complex world, contemporary popular music became even more offensive--even painful, for there is such a thing as aesthetic pain (more proof of higher senses). But if I were to approach the typical slack-jawed pop music fan and asked them how they are able to tolerate subjecting themselves to so much pain, they would have no idea what in the world I was talking about.

It is just so with atheism. One might well ask an obligatory atheist, “how can you tolerate a world view that is so painfully narrow and stupid?” Not only would they have no idea what I was talking about, but they would probably be offended at the blasphemy, for one of the curiosities about the atheist is that he is quite passionate about something that his philosophy denies at the outset, which is totalistic and certain metaphysical truth.

The atheist is literally metaphysically blind, for the gap between an animal and a being capable of knowing any truth--let alone total truth--is as great as the gap between nothing and the most inconsequential existing thing. The hiatus between even the smartest animal and the most benighted atheist is absolute. I have that much awe for the miracle of human consciousness. The mystery and majesty of man’s subjectivity is the sufficient reason for an immediate intuition of a source far greater, but only for a relatively uncorrupted intellect.

The intellect corrupted by secularism will nevertheless come up with its own substitute wisdom, such as this little neo-Marxist bon mot by our post-civilized visitor: “Reinvention is key to the progress of the individual.” Er, wrong. The key to the progress of the individual is not “reinvention,” if for no other reason than we are not invented to begin with--at least not by ourselves. Rather, the key to progress--both psychologically and spiritually--is self-discovery.

And where was that self before it was discovered? What is the ontological status of the “I” that exists in potential but awaits deployment in time? It is none other than the spark of divinity known as your soul. As one progresses spiritually, one becomes aware of the soul in the same manner that I became aware of the depth and beauty of modern jazz. It is not something you can ever discover empirically, for it is not a thing you can look at, but that through which you look. For as Meister Eckhart observed, “the eye with which we see God is the same eye with which God sees us.” Suffice it to say that this perfectly accurate statement makes no sense to the atheist, because he lacks (or is alienated from) the perceptual apparatus to understand it--that is, the intellect properly so-called.

Coincidentally, yesterday Dr. Sanity emailed me an editorial by Dinesh D’ Souza entitled God Knows Why Faith is Thriving. He writes,

“A group of leading atheists is puzzled by the continued existence and vitality of religion.

“As biologist Richard Dawkins puts it in his new book ‘The God Delusion,’ faith is a form of irrationality, what he terms a ‘virus of the mind.’ Philosopher Daniel Dennett compares belief in God to belief in the Easter Bunny. Sam Harris, author of ‘The End of Faith’... professes amazement that hundreds of millions of people worldwide profess religious beliefs when there is no rational evidence for any of those beliefs.”

It is a banality to point out that there are many ideas that are so stupid that only a highly educated person could ever believe them. Even on strictly Darwinian grounds, we can easily understand how religion is more adaptive than secularism: “Which of the two is more likely to survive, prosper and multiply? The religious tribe is made up of people who have an animating sense of purpose. The secular tribe is made up of people who are not sure why they exist at all. The religious tribe is composed of individuals who view their every thought and action as consequential. The secular tribe is made up of matter that cannot explain why it is able to think at all.”

D’Souza’s concludes that “it is not religion but atheism that requires a Darwinian explanation. It seems perplexing why nature would breed a group of people who see no purpose to life or the universe, indeed whose only moral drive seems to be sneering at their fellow human beings who do have a sense of purpose. Here is where the biological expertise of Dawkins and his friends could prove illuminating. Maybe they can turn their Darwinian lens on themselves and help us understand how atheism, like the human tailbone and the panda's thumb, somehow survived as an evolutionary leftover of our primitive past.”

For that is the key: atheism is a post-civilized primitivism, pure and simple. The comparatively narrow realm of evolution explained by natural selection is embedded in the much grander vision of an evolutionary cosmos that deepens and reveals its own truth to itself through the mysterious vehicle of human consciousness. Even if materialistic scientists imgaine that they have “explained” consciousness, they will never, ever explain how this consciousness may know absolute truth. For as J.B.S. Haldane observed, "If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motion of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms."

Lowly Darwinian man, severed from his transcendent source, can no more draw on his own resources to bear witness to total truth "than a mayfly can expatiate on the alternation of the seasons” (Schuon). For in the grand scheme of things, we are indeed a “creature that is born at midnight and whose life will last but a day.” And yet, we have been warmed by the heat and seen the light of the morning sun. And that is more than enough proof that the sun exists.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Men Without Chests and Women Without Breasts

This morning, after greeting me “in the usual way,” Petey observed that, “the really hideous thing about the left is that it is composed of men without chests and women without breasts.”

But also as usual, he left it to me to elaborate and to try to explain what it has to do with yesterday’s post on the nature of human destiny.

Well, let’s see. Even--or especially--if you are a moonbat who hates the classical liberalism embodied in the conservative movement, you will no doubt agree that it espouses scary masculine virtues such as competition, maintaining the rule of law, standards over compassion (i.e., not changing the rules for members of designated liberal victim groups), delayed gratification, and respect for the ways of the father--that is, conserving what has been handed down by previous generations of fathers, and not just assuming in our adolescent hubris that we know better than they.

Contemporary left-liberalism, on the other hand, has come to represent the realm of maternal nurturance--compassion over standards (i.e., racial quotas), idealization of the impulses (just as a mother is delighted in the instinctual play of her child), mercy over judgment (reduced prison sentences, criminal rights, etc.), cradle-to-grave welfare, a belief that we can seduce our enemies in a feminine way and not have to defeat them with manly violence, and the notion that meaning, truth and values are all arbitrary and subject to change (which is true of the fluid world of emotions in general).

Now, I am not one of those modern space age a go-go people who imagine that gender is irrelevant to our destiny. But nor do I think that our destiny can be reduced to gender. Rather, our destiny is influenced by several archetypal factors that go into our “blueprint” and inform who we are: sex (for each sex emphasizes different divine qualities), age (i.e., season of life), intellect (not its content, but its height, depth and breadth), temperament (e.g., Jung’s useful system), caste (e.g., priest, warrior, menial/intellectual laborer, merchant, etc.), and even zodiacal type (in the archetypal sense, not the debased “predictive” variety found in newspapers and most books on the topic).

Now the feminist movement of the 1960’s and 70’s had very little to do with comprehending, much less honoring, divine femininity, but generally degraded and devalued it. In the long run, it represented nothing more or less than the flight from a temporary or at best “pseudo problem” in exchange for a real and abiding one. It largely became a vehicle for the expression of female envy, giving existentially angry and maladjusted women license to imitate the men they envied. After all, few women are less feminine than the typical NOW activist.

Nor are they masculine, however. A woman cannot actually become a man, but can only become a monstrous blending of male and female. They become “women without breasts,” except perhaps for plastic ones. (If you ever want to hear the archetypal voice of a woman without breasts, try listening for a few moments to Randi Rhodes on Air America. If you have ears to hear, you will know in an instant what Petey is talking about. Woe to her luckless child and, one assumes, luckily ex husband. Only a man with no chest at all could have survived in such a shrill atmosphere.)

(Importantly, this is not to even remotely suggest that a woman cannot develop her masculine side or a man his feminine side. What we are talking about is a complete nullification of sexual polarity, a kind of magical, self-imposed blindness, so that these critical differences are effaced.)

Because they have disassociated their own devalued femininity, these women without breasts will try to locate them elsewhere. In the deepest layers of the unconscious explored by psychoanalysis, the breast is associated with the source of life and of being itself. How could it not be? The infantile mind does not separate breast, milk, love, life, being, or mother into separate existential categories. Rather, these categories will only gradually emerge from the harmoniously mixed-up intersubjective diad of mother-baby. But not always. The primordial edenic memories of the perfect breast-paradise remain.

For some, these dreams of a non-friction life with unlimited abundance are transferred onto an inanimate object called the government, which becomes the great existential teat for all of us. It will heal us when we are sick, rescue us from hurricanes, take care of us when we’re old, educate us, and generally shield us from the vicissitudes of fate.

That giant suckling sound you hear off in the distance is the sound of Democrats on the morning of November 8th. However, Petey informs me that there are still several alternative futures implicated in the present moment, so our fate is by no means sealed. He says “watch Rove work. I regard him as a quasi-mage who can read the Signs of the Times and respond accordingly.”

I hope this is not too esoteric, but the brave new world offered to us by the left represents a reversion from our uniquely human trimorphism of mother-father-baby, to the primordial biological diad of mouth-nipple through which mammals first enter the world. These nipple-dragging leftists keep us fixated on the most primitive object of our desires, which ultimately prevents the critical evolution from static twoness to dynamic threeness.

I know, I know, but look again at what happened to the black family as a result of all the liberal meddling. Government replaced the category of fatherhood, which eventually resulted in 70% of black children being born without benefit of marriage. And for these boys without fathers to emulate and show them how to be men, another aspect of government fulfills that role: prison. For prison is none other than a belated (and now greatly exaggerated) can of whoop-ass from the missing father. The percentage of fatherless murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals is just staggering.

Or look at socialist Europe, which is populated by Men Without Chests and Women Without Breasts. No wonder they can’t reproduce.

It was C.S. Lewis who coined the phrase "men without chests." In an article entitled Wimps and Barbarians, Terrence Moore notes that while "barbarians suffer from a misdirected manliness, wimps suffer from a want of manly spirit altogether. They lack what the ancient Greeks called thumos, the part of the soul that contains the assertive passions: pugnacity, enterprise, ambition, anger. Thumos compels a man to defend proximate goods: himself, his honor, his lady, his country; as well as universal goods: truth, beauty, goodness, justice. Without thumotic men to combat the cruel, the malevolent, and the unjust, goodness and honor hardly have a chance in our precarious world."

Naturally, "Wimps make worthless watchdogs. But their failure as watchdogs or guardians has nothing to do with size or physique.... Many of today's young men seem to have no fight in them at all. Not for them to rescue damsels in distress from the barbarians. Furthermore, wimps vote. As Aristotle pointed out, to the cowardly, bravery will seem more like rashness and foolhardiness than what it really is. Hence political and social issues that require bravery for their solution elicit only hand-wringing and half-measures from the wimps. Wimps are always looking for the easy way out."

Moore ties the phenomenon of wimps and barbarians directly to the culture of divorce and the absence of male role models in boys' lives. "Half of American boys growing up do not live with their natural fathers. The sons of single mothers lack strong men to usher them into the world of responsible, adult manhood. Divorce, whether in reality or in the acrimonious rhetoric of the mother [probably without breasts--ed.], impresses upon the boy an image of the father, and therefore of all men, as being irresponsible, deceitful, immature, and often hateful or abusive towards women. For sons, the divided loyalties occasioned by divorce actually create profound doubts about their own masculinity. As the boy approaches manhood, he is plagued by subconscious questions which have no immediate resolution: 'Will I be like Dad?' 'Do I want to be like Dad?' 'What is a man supposed to do?'”

The answers for the leftist Man Without a Chest are no, no, and “act like a woman.”

Oh really? You think that bombastic Bob and polemical Pete are engaging in hyperbole?

Here’s a recent idiotorial from the Chronically San Franciscan by Professor Robert Jensen, Men Being Men is a Bad deal: Guys Should Evolve Beyond Masculinity:

“Maybe this masculinity thing is a bad deal, not just for women, but for us. We need to get rid of the whole idea of masculinity. It's time to abandon the claim that there are certain psychological or social traits that inherently come with being biologically male. If we can get past that, we have a chance to create a better world for men and women.”

Amazingly, in Jenson’s bizarro world, our worst social problems are not caused by an absence of real men, but by their very presence: “masculinity is dangerous for women. It leads men to seek to control ‘their’ women and define their own pleasure in that control, which leads to epidemic levels of rape and battery.”

Flatland leftist that he is, Jensen conflates the horizontal category of mere biological maleness with the vertical psycho-spiritual achievement of true manhood. And naturally, “if we are going to jettison masculinity, we have to scrap femininity along with it." We “have to stop assuming” that masculinity and femininity even matter anymore.

So there you have it. A man with no chest has climbed out of the sissypool of the left to speak out on behalf of his sisters without breasts. Let’s hand over the country to these lowbrid humans on November 7th!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Doors, Windows, Walls, and Bridges

“Oh Petey, the merciful the compassionate, throw us a freaking bone down here in 4D and reveal to us, the unworthy, who is the Beast With Two Tracks?”

Before getting into the answer--if Petey actually has one--please indulge me for a moment. Some of you original cosmonauts may recall that on perhaps three occasions over the past year, I’ve given thought to packing in the blog, only to continue my daily upword and inweird raids on the wild godhead.

There are probably a number of reasons why I haven’t stopped, but perhaps the most important one is that I cannot stop. This is not to confess that I am some kind of tortured soul, like Dr. Sanity or ShrinkWrapped, who are sadly addicted to blogging. For them, it is a day-day-day struggle with Internet Abuse--and let's be honest--probably outright Internet Dependence.

In my case, when I first started the blog, I naturally put pressure on myself to come up with something interesting to write about every day. But that soon grew wearisome, as I would be thinking about it all day. There is no way I could have continued working that way while still abiding in primordial Slack.

At some point along the line, I began the habit of waking up each morning no later than 5:00 AM, checking in with a few of my favorite blogs, waiting for my brain to come on line, and then writing whatever came to mind, with no prior thought or preparation.

In the past, I had never been a morning person. Quite the opposite. As soon as I felt like my brain was starting to fire on all neuro-cylinders, it was time for bed.

But now--here’s the interesting part--if I don’t drag myself out of the rack at 5:00, my post starts writing itself. Various unbidden phrases, sentences, and paragraphs start flowing into my head, and if I don’t catch them right away, they just disappear into the ether, never to be heard from again--lonely little thoughts without a thinker, blowing about the cosmos in search of a home. Reminds me of a line from a typically immortal performance by someone who routinely achieved aesthetic perfection and therefore proved the existence of God time and again:

Wind that speaks to the leaves
Telling stories that no one believes...

The thoughts pass through my head, out the window and into my back yard, where they brush against the leaves, perhaps goosing a bird brain and coming out as a surprised CHIRP CHIRP before they scuttle down the street and over the subjective horizon.

Sky, so vast is the sky,
With far away clouds just wandering by,
Where do they go?
Oh I don’t know, don’t know...

I was up too late last night chatting away with my son's fairly liberal godmother (a scandalously tantalizing subject for a future post), but my third eye nevertheless opened at 5:00, when I heard the term “destiny drive.” Then “object of destiny.” Then “successfully amounting to nothing.” Then “your timeless true self is extended in the temporal world in the form of your destiny.” Then “time is what you require to make the journey from God to God.” Then “the soul is all that it knows, but in order for it to know what it knows, it must first unknow what it thinks it knows.” And so on.

So here I am, trying to pull it all together in the form of a post.

Let’s start with the idea that human beings, in that they are in the image of the Creator, represent the unsurpassable summit of nature. To cite a mundane example, take the most beautiful woman in the world. In fact, there is no such thing, because there are too many of them, and perfection cannot surpass itself. A beauty that could endlessly surpass itself would be absurd, and would drain beauty of its transcendent meaning.

We only recognize beauty because we know it absolutely, and are able to judge relative approximations of it in light of that absolute standard. Thus--you will forgive the crass example--there are countless “tens” in the world, but there are no “elevens.” Nor will there ever be any elevens, despite the genetic experiments being conducted as part of the Victoria’s Secret Genome Project. I can assure you that those bizarre attempts to create an even more perfect beauty will only result in hideously malformed monsters. No surgery done by the hand of man will ever make Paris Hilton prettier, but her life will continue to make her uglier and uglier.

I am reminded of another song, this one by the Shocking Blue:

Goddess on a mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of Beauty and love
And Venus was her name

Her weapon were her crystal eyes
Making every man mad
Black as the dark night she was
Got what no-one else had
Waaaaaaaaa!
She’s got it! Yeah baby, she’s got it.

In fact, for reasons that are metaphysically obvious but artistically forgiveable, Father Roy cannot possibly be correct in affirming,

Pretty woman
I don't believe you, you're not the truth.
No one could look as good as you.
Mercy!

For beauty is truth, as we know with regard to art. A great work of art is perfect, and no work of perfection can exceed any other. There is a limit, a summit, an absolute, which is one of the reasons we know that God exists. Likewise, there is a limit to truth. Truth is true, and cannot surpass itself. It can only move away from itself, which is proved every day by the leftist deconstructionists in our midst. Waaaaaaa!

Now the cosmos, in its own way, is perfect--especially before you humans arrived and began messing things up. As Terence McKenna once remarked between holycinations, “this was a nice neighborhood until the monkeys got out of control.” Paradoxically, the beast that is supposedly the summit of nature is also the most imperfect sumbitch in all of creation, for there is nothing quite so imperfect as fallen man. What gives?

Our unknown friend says that “The ‘good news’ of religion is that the world is not a closed circle, that it is not an eternal prison, that it has an exit and an entrance.... ‘Perdition’ is to be caught up in the eternal circulation of the world of the closed circle... [whereas] ‘salvation’ is life in the world of the open circle, or spiral, where there is both exit and entrance.” Mercy!

What sets man apart from everything else in creation is that he is the very doorway up and out of the cosmos, into the Divine Mind. But at the same time, he is a doorway down and out of himself, and is the only beast that can actually be lower than the beasts if he fails to transcend himself. Thus, humans are the Beast with Two Tracks, and we all must choose which fork in the cosmic road we will take. But only every moment of our existence. For each moment of time represents that existential fork where our will is free to move closer to our destiny and become what we already are, or remain as we are and therefore never become who we are really meant to be.

In ether worlds, only human beings may approach perfection by transforming themselves from the potential of the image to the actuality of the likeness. We are the only thing in existence that can do that, i.e., become what we are and achieve a destiny that both is and is not yet. Our life is nothing less than a pilgrimage toward our own destiny, but we are only free to embark on that pilgrimage in an open society oriented toward its own nonlocal telos. In short, most human beings for most of history have been prevented from even taking the first step of this journey because of the sick societies they were born into.

Perhaps even more tragic are those who are lucky enough to have been granted the boon of a human life in the contemporary west, only to revolt against their freedom by plunging themselves into the trivolous and frivial, worse yet, the sickular and the laughtist.

Well, I’m starting to run out of gas. Having stayed up too late last night, my river can’t quite find the sea this morning. I’m feeling a tad walled in by the cosmos. Tomorrow I will further elaborate on the nature of our Destiny Drive, and how it relates to cleaning your windows, opening the door, and crossing the bridge. Assuming my unknown thoughts are there to think me in the morning.

*pronounced “Jin-gee”

Don't you know, Dindi,*
I'd be running and searching for you
Like a river that can't find the sea,
That would be me
without you, my Dindi

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Living in the Light of the Absolute, or Time and How it Gets That Way (9.27.08)

In any attempt to bridge the domains of experience belonging to the spiritual and physical sides of our nature, time occupies the key position. --A. N. Whitehead

I forget. Have we discussed the nature of time yet, except in passing? It seems that we’ve been skirting around the topic for the last dozen or so posts, and you may have noticed that my Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement has made several cogent comments about it. Perhaps it is time to evade the issue head on.

Let us begin with a bobservation from a while back, when I wrote that:

“To beat this conundrum, you must understand the distinction between time and eternity. Eternity is not time everlasting, but timelessness. Time and eternity are actually aspects of one another--they are dialectically related. In one sense, time may be thought of as the serial deployment of something that lies outside time. Thus, eternity is not located in the past or future, because no matter how far you go, you are still dealing with chronological time. Rather, the only possible place it could be is now--not in a temporal now, but an eternal now. As it so happens, the mysterious now, so inexplicable in terms of any model physics has ever come up with, is the intersection of time and eternity, and human beings are the self-aware locus where this occurs--where the vertical meets the horizontal.

“So much trouble is caused by our reliance upon language, which, in its superficial sense, is geared to the problems of matter, not consciousness, much less the ground of consciousness. We often mistake a deficiency of language for a key to truth. In order to discuss these deeper ontological questions, language must be deployed in a special, nonlinear, non-dualistic and poetic way. I attempted to achieve this in my book, whether successfully or unsuccessfully I cannot say (at least for others--it works for me). The ground of existence may be ineffable, but not completely uneffin' believably so.”

Clearly, time is at the heart of the mystery of existence. In fact, time is indistinguishable from existence, which is one of the things that makes it so difficult to describe. And yet, to a certain extent, you must be outside or “above” time in order to perceive it, which in itself provides a key to the mystery. After all, animals are just as much entangled in time as we are, except that they don’t know it. Why? Because an animal is incapable of lifting itself above its own subjectivity, while humans are specifically capable of objectivity. We can “see” time “passing” so to speak, just as we can sit here on this bank of sand with Bob Dylan and watch the river flow. Except that we are also floating on the river we observe, and the river doesn’t run in a straight liner but in circles within circles.

As above, so below. Just as the cosmos contains circles within circles--the rotating earth circling around a star inside a galaxy that is also a revolving and rotating spheroid--our lives consist of circular days within weeks within years within a full trip around the block called a natural lifetime. Esoterists believe that our lives consist of fractal time cycles of varying length, each a reflection of the other; thus, a lifetime can also be thought of as a day, with the morning of childhood, the day of youth, the evening of maturity, the twilight of old age, and the night-womb of death. Or our lives can be thought of as a year: spring, summer, autumn and winter.

But the ancients believed only in the closed circle of eternal return, not the line of growth, which is to say the open spiral. Here again, what distinguishes man is not that we are immersed in the cycles of time, but that we may utilize time to experience endless cycles of growth, or what I call inward mobility. Doing so is the whole point of your existence, assuming you belong to the contemplative or sacerdotal caste to whom I address my blog (most of my detractors are simply innocent members of other castes, i.e., menial or intellectual laborers, shopkeepers, craftsmen, administrators, servants, etc.).

Now, if you are like me--an interior cosmonaut or adventurer of consciousness--you most certainly do not measure your life against some worldly standard, but in the light of the Absolute.

Let me back up a bit. A couple of weeks ago I made a rash statement to the effect that I had abandoned the monastic “ascending” approach that had guided my spiritual practice for some ten years, in favor of a “descending” bobhisattvic approach. That’s true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t really go very far in describing the sort of person I'm not. In fact, my Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement immediately corrected me--I forget what he said exactly--but it was something to the effect that we must always be grateful to the spiritual hermit who gives his life entirely to God and blazes a trail from time to eternity for the rest of us.

For I actually try, insofar as it is possible, to spend as much timelessness in eternity as I can, given the constraints of worldly existence. I was recently discussing this with a friend in a different context. I was trying to explain to him, without success, that there is no such thing as “quality time” with a child, only quantity time in which you will have randomly magical moments of quality timelessness, which is to say, eternity. It is my belief that the concept of quality time was simply invented by guilty parents to convince themselves that they do not have to put in the quantity of time it takes to nurture a deep and profound relationship with your child. It is really a statement about how people still deprive children of their innate dignity and stature. After all, assuming you love your spouse, you don’t just give them an hour of “quality time” here and there and hope for the best.

Well, it’s the same with the Divine, don’t you know. This, of course, is the limitation of churchianity, in which you spend 60-90 minutes per week of quality time with God, or even meditation, in which you spend 20 or 30 minutes a day with him. Doesn’t really work, in my opinion. You and God need some quantity time to really get to know one another.

Now, this is somewhat easy for me to say, because I long ago made a crucial decision that worldly success meant nothing to me if it would deprive me of the time and space I would require to embark on a feckless Adventure of Consciousness. Thus, as long ago as high school, I thought to myself, “I have no idea what I want to do in terms of a career, but whatever it is, it cannot be a normal nine to five full time job working for someone else. The Subgenius must have Slack." Believe it or not, I have kept to this vow. With a few exceptions, I have avoided full time work my entire life.

Or at least paid work. In fact, I am always working, except that those without eyes--say, my in-laws--can’t necessarily see it. For Bob is never doing so much as when it looks as if he is doing nothing. As I have had occasion to mention several times in the past, certain members of other castes might look at my life and conclude that old Head-in-Clouds has a pretty boring existence.

But nothing could be further from the truth. From where I sit, I am embarked on the adventure of a lifetime, except that it is an interior adventure whose progress is measured in light of the absolute, not by some relative external standard. A good day at the office is a day in which I have made progress towards that nonlocal goal, and shared the joy with others. A bad day is one in which I have been pulled away from the center and origin because of some worldly obligation or other exigency. But outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, I am always doing something: tilling the soil, planting seeds, fertilizing, pulling weeds, topping the leaves, smoking them, etc.

Now, broadly speaking, there are four kinds of men: pneumatic man, intellectual man, emotional or vital man, and the man of action. And there is an appropriate practice for each--or raja, jnana, bhakti, and karma yogas, which any full-service religion will offer. Each type of yoga, in its own way, tries to provide an appropriate means for experiencing eternity within time. To live “within” religion is to find a way to be, or think, or feel, or act within eternity.

Now, no one has been more shocked than I have about what happens when you begin “thinking” within religion, because to a certain extent, this blog is nothing more or less than that. Like so many people in the modern west, I started off in a place that pretty much equated religion and ignorance. But as it so happens, knowledge of religion is knowledge that is both fruitful and efficacious, not to say transformational. It is nothing at all like “book learning,” or mere mental knowledge. If we grasp religion only with the mind, it is not really "interior" knowledge to which we may validly lay claim.

With the type of thinking I am describing, one is vaulted, so to speak, into a different space, the space from which the primordial mystery perpetually arises. What I have discovered, to my everlasting surprise, is that once in this space, one finds that it actually has its own very real characteristics and attributes. I know this because every day I receive confirmation from fellow explorers who see and experience the same thing. It's as if we are all setting voyage into an unknown sea but all returning with vaguely similar--sometimes strikingly so--descriptions of the flora and fauna on the other side. I can only reemphasize that this is most mysterious indeed.

Look at it this way. Europe only made its way westward to the New World in 1492. The westward exploration continued until the late nineteenth century, when the external frontier was closed. Thus the exploration began delving "within" matter and time with Einstein's revolution, outward into space, and back to the origins of the material universe with big bang cosmology. The detailed exploration of the unconscious only got underway with the publication of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams in 1900. 21st century spirituality will provide the opportunity for more people to embark on the interior journey, thus situating their lives within the grand evolutionary epic in which we are the central players. If that doesn't happen, then earth will be in for a very bumpy ride.

To summarise: time is not actually possible without eternity, but evolution is not possible without time. Therefore, there is a need to be saved from our apparent separation from the eternal, as we engage in our evolutionary sprint from monkey mind to divine mind. This salvolution perennially occurs in the eternal ground in which we participate at our deepest level. We may be sons of God "through adoption," and thereby be saved from the ravages of time, here and now. We may make the eternal present in us. But it must be "realized” in order to be effective.

The fully realized person has reversed the fall, or turned figure and ground (or time and eternity, absolute and relative) inside out and upside down. He has reversed the vector flow that misleadingly draws consciousness down and out to the terminal more and moraine of the senses. In short, he has realized that the cosmos is tree with its roots aloft, its branches down here below. And it is a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf. So don’t be an existential sap. Stop time before it stops you!

What is intelligibly diverse must be unified and whole, and only what is whole and unified can be intelligibly diverse. At the same time, only what is diversified can be intelligibly one.... The reality of time, therefore, establishes concurrently the reality of a whole which is nontemporal.... Time without eternity is strictly inconceivable. --Errol Harris

Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which mangles me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges. --Jorge Luis Borges

The mysterious now is the universal ordering principle which embodies the "processual flow" of eternity into serial structure. It is in this sense that human observers give rise to the cosmos that spawned them, and are the irreducible unit of there being a cosmos at all. --Petey

I have escaped and the small self is dead;
I am immortal, alone, ineffable;
I have gone out from the universe I made,
And have grown nameless and immeasurable.

I have become what before Time I was.
My heart is a centre of infinity
A momentless immensity pure and bare,
I stretch to an eternal everywhere.
--Sri Aurobindo

Returning to the Oneself, borne again
To the mysterious mamamatrix of our birthdeath,
Our winding binding river of light
Reaches its deustinocean.
--L. Bob Gagdad

*****

If you want to enjoy the springtime of Eternal Slack, you can't be ruled by the colander.