Saturday, November 04, 2006

Loafing Around God's Vertical Bakery (updated)

It’s pretty simple, folks: either there’s a truth and therefore a way -- a doctrine and a method -- or there is ultimately only falsehood and confusion -- or relativity, contingency, and arbitrariness. The one follows from the other, for if there is Truth, then we are constrained to know it. Truth is what we must know, just as good is what we must do and beauty what we must love. These three activities distinguish us from the beasts, and constitute the human vocation. You cannot fail to know this unless you are highly educated.

As we were discussing the other day, the cosmogonic (“vertical”) order includes a center and a periphery, which may be visualized as a series of concentric circles with radii emanating out from a central point of zero dimensions. The only difference is that in euclidean geometry, the closer one gets to the center, the less space is occupied by each concentric circle. In the case of the spiritual journey, the opposite is true: the closer one gets to the center, the “wider” and more expansive the space.

This is why Ramana Maharshi never left his mountain cave, Sri Aurobindo never left his room, and St. Theophan the Recluse was a recluse. No one but the most metaphysically naive and unimaginative inhabitant of atheistic flatland would think of these celestial I-ambassadors as living a “restricted” lifestyle. You may know a false prophet by his fruits, but also by his number of appearances on the Larry King show.

In order to get the picture, you must also visualize the above-referenced circle as a cone, with the central point at the top. This is the most adequate image of the vertical, bearing in mind what I just said about the increasingly expansive world in each successive “ring.” A horizontal world -- of which there are many -- is going to be any of those rings mistakenly regarded as the whole of reality. To take just one example that comes readily to mind, there is the “New York Times” ring, a very narrow, parochial, unsophisticated, and naive world where the inhabitants paradoxically regard themselves as the opposite of these things: open-minded, sophisticated, cynical, worldly, and certainly superior.

Interestingly, in his lack of metaphysical sophistication, New York Times Man does not know the mountain, but knows only his own little enclosed citified world. And yet -- here is the inconsistency at the heart of any bad philosophy -- he secretly does believe in the mountain, because he knows that he is standing at the peak. This reflects the primordial “lie of the left,” which proclaims that “my relative is the absolute.” It is what allows them in good (meaning “consistent,” not actually good) conscience to betray the country by revealing state secrets to our enemies while attacking others for supposedly doing so. Like all bad and narcissistic prophets, they do not say, “I did it because it was right.” Rather, they say, “it was right because I did it.”

Now, we all know -- I am speaking to my Homo sapiens readers, so the rest of you Homos without sapiens can just ignore this -- that the exterior world reveals itself in two modes. There is the phenomenal world available to our senses and reason (reason in its restricted, mechanical sense, not in its more expansive “logoistic” sense). And “behind,” “above” or “beneath” that is the noumenal world -- that is, whatever reality actually is, unfiltered by our evolved nervous system. In short, there is a world of causes and effects, essence and existence, principles and their manifestation, brahman and maya, the One and the many, O and (k).

Correspondingly, there is an “outer” and an “inner” man. The outer man knows through reason and empiricism, while the inner man knows through the intellect in its traditional connotation (in other words, we are not talking about debased garden-variety “intellectuals”). Just as something is not true because it is logical but logical because it is true, the Inner Man does not “conclude” with logic but perceives with the intellect, the “heart-mind,” the nous, or “psychic being” (in Aurobindo’s terminology). The knowledge of the intellect (most of it, anyway) may subsequently be explained with logic, but it was not arrived at through logic.

When we speak of truth and method, we are specifically referring to the total, a priori truth of the principial world, not to the relative truth of the manifested world. Here again, all bad and naive philosophies -- meaning almost all philosophies -- turn the cosmos upside down and confuse principles with their manifestation. Scientism, atheism, objectivism, reductionism, existentialism, rationalism, and all forms of leftism habitually and necessarily do this, which ends up generating paradox and hopeless inconsistency.

Just as there is only one cosmos, there is only one Truth. Your mission --should you choose to accept it -- is to align yourself with this Truth. All attempts to do so place us in the realm of method. Method is any practice that helps us deepen our adequation to the Real. Therefore, we needn’t restrict ourselves to explicitly spiritual practices, but to anything that helps to make us deeper and more whole -- diet, exercise, adequate rest, psychotherapy, medication, etc.

First we must know the truth -- which is, in a certain sense, the easy part -- but then we must be this truth, which becomes “extended” in the manifested world by aligning our will and sentiment with it. This is one of the dangers of propagating such wisdom to the masses -- the well-known dilemma of casting pearls before swine -- because to merely understand these things with the ego is to misunderstand them. No one can quote scripture like you-know-who.

In other words, we all understand that it is possible to know the truth but to act contrary to it. You might say that this forms the essence of our fallenness: we know the truth but reject it, turn away from it, rationalize, blame, externalize, deny, etc. Why? Ultimately because to submit to a truth is to die a bit, and to submit to total truth is to die completely -- it is to be crucified, is it not? For if truth is what you must know, then the petty desires of the ego don’t enter into the equation. The ego is simply “in the way,” but will nevertheless defend its little thingdumb.

But thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Trancelighted into the terms we are discussing today: “let the truth of the celestial center manifest here at the periphery, and let me align my will with it so that the manifested world will be just a little more in accord with the principial world of the sovereign good.”

And while you’re at it, if you don’t mind, give us each day our daily bread. No, not horizontal bread but the vertical bread that feeds the Self but is indigestible by the ego. Personally, I never go to bed at night without first recalling the many ways in which this vertical bread -- or manna from heaven -- was indeed given to me during the day. It has to be a pretty bad day to have ended up with a handful of gimme -- like that terrible day in October of 1966, when Willie Davis made three errors in one inning of the World Series in what turned out to be Sandy Koufax's last appearance on the mound.

In fact, one of the reasons I bake these little loaves fresh each morning is because it is one way to make sure I get my daily bread. Furthermore, at risk of sounding grandiose, my hope is that these little loaves can serve the same purpose for others. To the extent that that happens, it actually makes the loaf bigger, not smaller.

This is because life at the periphery is a zero-sum game. But as you approach the center, scarcity is replaced by abundance, if only because envy is replaced by gratitude. Thus follows the spontaneous attitude of forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, which is to say, down the mountain and away from the center, where temptation naturally reflects the ontological emptiness of the ego. But deliver us from evil, or save us from the periphery! Because the periphery is maya, whereas the center is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Forever.

It cannot be otherwise, unless it is other than wise.

As I'm fated for the material world
Get frustrated in the material world
Senses never gratified
Only swelling like a tide
That could drown me in the
Material world

From the spiritual sky,
Such sweet memories have I
To the spiritual sky
How I pray
Yes I pray
That I won't get lost
Or go astray
--George Harrison


What an excellent description of unsophisticated New York Times Man:

"A distinct subculture, a belief system if not a religion, exists in the United States. Its members draw their instruction on what to believe and how to live from the New York Times...."

New York Times Man "is a creature of human respect, although he doesn’t show it as much as he craves it. He sees nothing above his caste, and when he casts his myopic eyes downward, is assaulted by the visage of the common man. This explains his paternalism. He is also a creature of his age, being too disconnected from that which is ageless to transcend it. He is trapped in time and place, the servant who fancies himself a king, the simpleton posing as a savant."

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Whole in One!

I’m not sure if I am in a frame of mind to post anything substantive this morning. The gagbaby had his shots on Wednesday, which seemed to trigger a reaction of some kind, which I guess is common. But he woke up screaming in the middle of the night, which startled me out of a deep coma. It took quite a while to get him back down, and even longer to get me back down, so here I am, feeling slightly dead.

And deadness is the right word when you're having a little difficulty pulling it all together. Yesterday Dr. Sanity had a relevant post entitled All Trees and No Forest, about the intrinsic pathologies of leftist postmodern thought. She writes, “There is a long philosophical tradition that has claimed that universality and abstractness have no legitimate basis in our experience of reality. This is usually called the ‘problem of universals’ and it derives from the fact that we humans experience objects in the real world as discrete, concrete and individual. Yet, this is contrasted to our thoughts, which experience and know about objects in more general and abstract, or universal ways.”

Now, if you want to create intellectual tyranny, all you have to do is undermine the possibility of universals, which is exactly what the psycho-spiritual left has been trying to do over the past 40 years or so: “By making universals and generalizations completely subjective, they have successfully invalidated anyone's attempts to understand reality and truth.” For to destroy universals is to destroy the human world, precisely. It is to do away with absolute truth, objective beauty, universal morality, and God (God being the “universal of universals,” or even the possibility of universals).

This is why I insist (to paraphrase Richard Weaver) that all attacks on religion are ultimately an attack on mind itself. This is not to imply that there are not bad forms of religion . Of course there are. That is self-evident. Nor does it imply that there are no useful forms of analytic thought -- of the proper application of reason. However, the human world specifically exists in a dialectical space between whole and part, the One and the many. A “world” -- any world -- is a synthesis of particulars into a coherent whole, which in turn reveals the meaning of the otherwise meaningless particulars.

The ontological category of real wholeness is anterior to any philosophy or ideology of any kind, and explains why any reductionistic or materialistic philosophy is logically self-refuting, whether it is garden variety “bonehead” atheism, natural selection, or Randian objectivism. Take natural selection. It begins with the concept of the organism, which is obviously a “whole.” But why does it begin there? Who said that an organism is a discrete whole, and how did the wholeness get there? Isn’t the existence of wholeness a prior condition of there being organisms to begin with?

In other words, if the universe -- which, by the way, is another concept of wholeness that is completely unwarranted on any reductionistic grounds -- were not a self-prehending whole (in Whitehead’s terminology), there is no way that wholeness could suddenly emerge later in the course of cosmic evolution. As it so happens, the existence of anterior wholeness explains many of the otherwise inexplicable mysteries of existence, including both life and consciousness, the mysteriously unitary and yet multiple “I AM.”

To most sensible people, it goes without saying that there will never be a scientific or reductionistic explanation of consciousness, even if they cannot articulate why they believe this. The reason is that consciousness represents on a micro level the personal experience of the macroscopic subjective wholeness of existence itself. Ever since language began colonizing the brain, it has been an unending task to synthesize these bits of meaning into a coherent self and world. But this coherence is not something we can ever arrive at inductively. Rather, the wholeness is our prior condition, and it is simply a matter of intuiting ever deepening levels of complex wholeness -- both objectively (in the world) and subjectively (within the self).

This ceaseless process of synthesis -- of the metabolism of experience -- is life itself. In other words, mental life is the dynamic synthesis of the interior of the cosmos, sponsored at every step along the way by an anterior wholeness which makes it all possible. My book was nothing more or less than an expression of this wholeness, hence the title “One Cosmos Under God.” Ultimately, it is perfectly accurate to say that the only philosophical alternative to mine is some form of many chaosmoses over matter, which is to say, any sort of empiricism, rationalism, reductionism, scientism, deconstructionism, what have you, that tries to arrive at wholeness through partness. In reality, “you can’t get there from here.”

Now, in order to truly to intuit that ultimate wholeness known as God, you naturally must liberate your mind from much of what is merely local and accidental, which encompasses most of what goes by the name of “culture.” In may respects, culture is a public neuroses, just as neurosis is a private culture. As we mentioned a couple of days ago, reductionism is “satan’s perspective” of reality. He sees only trees, and wants you to believe that only trees exist. That way, you will be assured of never discovering the ultimate Forest that goes by many names, but which is ultimately One. If we can only rid ourselves of this annoying One, then the noetic enterprise that is man’s true vocation will come to nothing -- which it does for all the sterile counter-philosophies alluded to above.

Now, we must be very careful what we allow to enter our psyche, because memes of various kinds carve out a niche there and reproduce themselves, which can often result in tenure. You will have noticed that I was recently having some problems with blogspot that were making my site behave very strangely. It turned out to be a corrupted template, which is an apt metaphor for the problem with fallen man. Except that it is not a metaphor. It is completely literal.

My blog’s template is supposed to be an effect, not a cause, of wholeness. In other words, I have an idea of what I want my blog -- the whole of it -- to look like. But when the template is corrupted with little parts that aren’t supposed to be there, they reproduce and compromise the wholeness of my vision.

It is exactly so with the mind, with what I call mind parasites. To the extent that these parasites have taken root in you, your psychological template has been corrupted, and your ability to intuit wholeness -- both exterior and interior -- will be compromised. Both the world and your life will more or less fail to make sense, and in extreme cases, can become as static as a dog’s bark or the Democratic platform.

The more ill the person or culture is, the more obvious this becomes. The personal will -- another example of inexplicable wholeness -- becomes riven and undermind by various competing factions with agendas all their own. In the case of a sick culture, it will be forced to narrow reality down to the perspective of its parasites, as we see in the Islamic world. This is why they must remain closed societies, which is absolutely no different than the neurotic person whose mind becomes a more or less closed system caught up in the endlessly repeating agenda of its mind parasites. This is the true meaning of the repetition compulsion at the heart of any neurosis. The compulsion to repeat is not a cause, but an effect, of the mind becoming a closed system and therefore being unable to profit from experience.

A culture or subculture is a group fantasy, or imaginary collective vision of the interior of reality. And anything lying outside the group fantasy is a foreign language. Thus, the very real culture war in which we are engaged is between two very different languages. However, some people are bilingual. For example, I am able to speak fluent materialism, secularism, atheism, and leftism, because I used to believe all of those dopey things.

But I also speak fluent spiritualease, and can see that this is a far more comprehensive language for describing reality. In fact, the differences are so striking, that without it, it would be a little bit like trying to explain Hamlet with mathematics. While I suppose you could do it, you would specifically lose sight of the author’s intent, which is located only in an aesthetic wholeness spread throughout the text -- just as God’s wholeness is spread throughout reality in the form of his immanence. As a matter of fact, that beautiful wholeness is actually present in the numiracle of math, as most great mythematicians realize.

I will grant that materialists have a certain understanding of the parts but no wonderstanding of the whole. Nothing is that simple, let alone everything. The problem is, when you try to teach something you do not understand, you just pass along the parts. Thus, our universities crank out spiritually crippled beings aleinated from the real, and call them “educated.”

If the mind did not exist, scientists would have no trouble explaining it. But to be alienated from God is to be trapped in the spiritually ass-fixiating manifest. Conversely, in order to witness the whatness, the theophany of God’s metaphysical radiance, you must realize that the brain is exterior to being, and that inscapes everywhere dot the so-called external world. Wholeness is everywhen and where. Or as Joyce put it, "when a part so ptee does duty for the holos, we soon grow to use of an allforabit."

Without objectivity and transcendence there cannot be man, there is only the human animal; to find man, one must aspire to God. --F. Schuon

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Power of Love and the Love of Power

It sounds like reader Stu has begun to experience a mild influx of holy guacamole into his existentialada. For example, he writes,

“Some higher realms have been readily accessible. Like that inner-space where time stops and the uncreated part of my being opens up into infinite pureness. And the state-of-being where thoughts and events effortlessly reveal their hidden meanings. And the quiet confidence that comes with knowing, feeling and experiencing, without a shred of doubt, that God is.”

So far, so good. However, at the same time, “while accessible, these spaces have also been very confusing, overwhelming and exhausting. The realizations that come from these realms have been difficult to understand and have, frankly, overloaded my mind. So much so that I have been unable to retain much of the imparted wisdom or put it into practice. But what I just realized is that I am trying to pull God down to my level instead of elevating myself to God’s level.“

He fears that this “will result in overload to attempt to experience divine revelation from a rational/emotional perspective. These lower human faculties are valuable and serve important functions. In fact, the divine can be interpreted and channeled through these more base forms of self.... But my self has been highly conditioned to filter my experience through reason and emotion. I experience modes of higher consciousness, but I do not possess the proper faculties to meet these experiences at the level they come from. I don’t even know what form such faculties would take. So I translate the experiences down to a consciousness I am comfortable with.”

“Perhaps the world has been given to us as a forum to develop these higher aspects of self, whatever they may be.... So I’ve discerned the problem. But what next? How do I identify and cultivate these ‘higher faculties?’ Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

There’s a lot here to chew on, so let’s break it all down. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo asks Gandalf the Grey (interestingly, grey is a mixture of black and white) why he doesn’t simply return the ring to the volcano himself. Gandalf responds with words to the effect that if he came into possession of the ring, he knows that he would become intoxicated by its power and and misuse it to control others. In other words, the power of the ring would meet his own impurities and become a force of destruction. Implicitly, this means that there is a form of power that is higher than power, which is relinquishing power. (This in itself is food for thought as it relates to kenosis, both our’s and God’s.)

As a brief aside, this is why, technically speaking, we shouldn’t even be openly discussing some of the things we discuss here, because it has always been understood that esoteric knowledge should only be given to one who has undergone the moral preparation. Because to the extent that you haven’t, the influx of forces -- or so we have heard from the wise -- is going to either 1) fry your circuits, 2) inflate your ego to monstrous proportions, or worse yet, 3) inflate a mind parasite or sub-personality that you have identified with. Don’t believe me. Just look around, both now and throughout history. It happens all the time.

However, as the kabbalists say, it is better that the knowledge be misused than lost entirely, so here we are, the first generation of human beings to discuss these delicate matters in cyberspace.

The power we seek is ours only to the extent that we do not identify it as ours, but receive it with graciousness and humility. The moment we begin “pulling” at it, it becomes contaminated with ego. Another story comes to mind, this one from Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis. Perhaps you are familiar with it. It almost spooks for itsoph:

“I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the back of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life.

“The case opened; the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath, in vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

“That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the external rhythm.

"I sat on a rock to absorb this New Years's thought. Ah, if only that little butterfly could always flutter before me to show me the way."

The caterpillar, the cocoon and the butterfly are such apt symbols of the spiritual journey that it almost seems as if they must have been created by an other-wordly intelligence for heuristic purposes. Because spiritual growth -- just like any other growth -- is an organic process that obeys its own rhythm. And the rhythm will be different for each person. You cannot force it, but you can -- and must -- provide it with the appropriate environment and “food” that it needs to flourish, whether it is meditation, prayer, ritual, lectio divina, etc.

But you must always -- always -- include moral preparation, not just because virtue is its own reward, but also because doing so will help illuminate those parts of yourself that will either resist or misuse the powers that are coming down. And when they do come down, you must never say “it’s about time,” but ask “why me?” It is a good practice to immediately ask oneself how one may help others with it, and to meditate on what you can do to repay a debt that can never be repaid.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the classic gospel song by the great Shirley Caesar, No Charge. A couple of weeks ago, when our dear secular liberal atheist friend was visiting, I bet her that I could give her the gift of tears in three and a half minutes. I put on the song. It starts with the recitation of a story:

“My sister's little boy came in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and he handed her a piece paper he had been writing on. And after wiping her hands on an apron, she took it in her hands and read it,
and this is what it said:

“For mowing the yard, five dollars.
And for making up my own bed this week, one dollar.
For going to the store, fifty cents.
And playing with little brother while you went shopping, twenty five cents.
Taking out the trash, one dollar.
And for getting a good report card, five dollars.
And for raking the yard, two dollars.
Total owed $14.75.

“Well she looked at him standing there and expecting, and a thousand memories flashed through her mind. So she picked up a pen and turned the paper over and this is what she wrote:

“For the nine months I carried you, holding you inside me no charge
For the nights I sat up with you, doctored you and prayed for you no charge
For the time and tears and the costs through the years, there’s no charge
When you add it all up, the full cost of my love is no charge

“For the nights filled with grey,
And the worries ahead,
For the advice and the knowledge,
And the costs of your college, no charge
For the toys, school, and clothes,
And for wiping your nose,
There's no charge son
When you add it all up, the full cost of my love is no charge

“Well you know when I think about that I think about the day that Jesus went out to Calvary and gave his life as a ransom for me. When I think on the words ‘If Any Man be in Christ He's A New Creature," I like to think about the very minute that he shedded his blood, my debt was paid in full.

“And I want you to know today, when you add it all up, the full cost of real love is no charge.”


Yes, our friend was indeed "misty with the old unshed," as Bertie Wooster once put it, even though, interestingly, she found that last bit of the song off-putting. There was a time that I too would have found it off-putting, but it’s the whole point of the song, for it does address that nagging existential question: where does all this inexplicable love come from, anyway? Now, you don’t necessarily have to accept sister Shirley’s answer, but at least she has one -- one that is certainly more plausible than such pseudo-explanations as “evolutionary psychology” or “sociobiology” -- i.e., a trick of the genes.

In fact, in my book, I pointed out that you needn’t regard scripture as merely literally true when you imaginatively enter its world. If you are just a little too Greek to get past certain apparent follies, don’t worry about that. Don’t let it stop you from letting it engage your spirit, any more than you stop yourself from enjoying a great book or movie because it isn’t real.

As it so happens, some things are just too beautiful not to be true, but don’t concern yourself with that now. Just enjoy the beauty, and soon you will find yourself wondering how the world can be so arranged that butterflies are symbols and symbols are coccoons for caterpultering one's coconsciousness into a buddhafly.

We’ve only scratched the surface here, so this will probably be a multi-parter. We don't want to open this chrusallus presence too quickly. Time takes time. Let alone, eternity.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Divine Center and the Human Margin

The other day, a friendly commenter mentioned that I am not a Christian, which is not entirely fair. Nor is it unfair, however. It all depends on your point of view. Not to say that "it's all relative.” However, it is to say that revelation, while it emanates from the divine center, is not to be confused with the divine center, as many modern evangelicals are in the habit of doing. The Bible cannot be "the" Word of God, but rather “words of God” addressed to a human subject who is necessarily relative and contingent.

In other words, while language reflects the substance of the speaker, it is nevertheless separate from him. Furthermore, our own understanding is not going to conform perfectly with the Divine Mind, any more than our understanding of a great work of art will conform perfectly with the mind that created it. While we must take the revealed message very seriously, it is still critical to bear in mind that religion is not about religion, but about that which transcends religion. The most sublime religious ritual is nevertheless at the “human margin” compared to the uncontainable radiance it is designed to capture and transmit.

I hesitate even to venture down this path, because it invites a certain type of misunderstanding, and opens the doorway to human pride and willfulness. Everything I am about to say is actually intended to help the person move away from the human margin -- which is more or less relative -- and toward the Divine center, which is subjectively objective. So while it may at times seem as if I am “eclectic” or “ecumenical,” that is neither my desire nor my intent. Rather, I am always trying to get at the core or center of the divine message, not to somehow synthesize various religious points of view that only exist at the human margin.

Thus, there are two errors that must be avoided. The first is adhering to a dogma that, while technically “true,” is nevertheless a human variation on this or that central point of the divine message. In other words, there is “pure dogma,” which is a good thing. You might say that it comes directly from God. However, the undeniable existence of various factions and denominations proves that dogma radiates, as it were, from the center to the periphery, to the point that we end up with groups that have entirely divergent points of view, but still calling themselves “Christian.” For example, I believe I am much more Christian than the National Council of Churches, which exists almost entirely at the all-too-human marxgin.

I hope this is not too esoteric and that I am being clear. Perhaps an analogy would be helpful. On the political/secular plane, the American Constitution is the equivalent of divine revelation, the “word of God.” Having said that, the Constitution nevertheless leaves open much room for interpretation “at the margins.” Thus we have denominations -- Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Progressives, Conservatives, etc. -- all claiming to be the One True Church.

But interpretation can only go so far before it becomes completely detached from the center, and exists only at the human margin. In so doing, the Word of God becomes nothing more than the legalistic word of man, but stills tries to gain prestige by claiming to be the Word of God. Roe vs. Wade is a perfect example of something wholly manmade that exists only at the human margin, but nevertheless claims to be “from the center.” It is a new peripheral dogma that is absolutely indefensible from the standpoint of the constitutional center.

And this is the problem with “progressives” in general, whether political or religious. You might think that Christian fundamentalists are “conservative,” but you would be very wrong. Rather, this is a thoroughly modern movement that has detached itself from oral tradition, inspired commentary, and the testimony of various superhuman saints and sages, to produce a largely manmade, exteriorized version of Christianity. It is no different than political progressives who twist a part of the Constitution in order to create a new political religion that finds justification for their own desires. Roe vs. Wade is just one example, but one could cite dozens more, most notably, the belief that the Constitution somehow sanctions racial discrimination or is hostile to religion. These leftist ideas are human inventions that have nothing to do with the message of the founders.

The other great spiritual danger is that of the “new agers,” who would take what I am saying and turn it on its head, so as to give themselves permission to borrow freely from this or that religious tradition in order to create their own cafeteria-style spirituality. If it ever looks as if this is what I am doing, just disregard that thought. I am not. Although at various times I may speak the language or Christianity, Judaism, Vedanta, or Taoism, this is generally for two purposes. One reason is that it can often deepen understanding of one’s own framework to see it in terms of another tradition. Another reason is that there are certain things that are implicit in one religion but explicit in another. Furthermore, there are certain inevitable “gaps” or interstices that can only be filled out by adopting a more totalistic view of reality.

Here again, perhaps an analogy will be useful. Sigmund Freud made one Great Big Discovery, called ”the unconscious.” For our purposes, think of the unconscious as “God” and Freud as “his prophet.” Freud laid down the dogma, spread the gospel, chose the disciples, formed the early church, named his Pope, and defined heresy.

But the unconscious, like God, cannot actually be contained by any dogma. You might say that it mocks our attempts to do so. Like God, it seems to almost take pleasure in shattering our brittle containers that try to channel the roaring torrent of divinity into the little pridepool of the human ego.

Therefore, no sooner had Freud laid down the dogma for all time, than he had a bunch of heretics splintering off and forming their own churches, each in its turn embodying the One True Faith: Jung, Adler, Reich, and later Klein, Kohut, and others, including complete heretics such as N.O. Brown, Erich Fromm and Fritz Perls.

Now, as I have mentioned before, my biggest psychological influence was a bona fide genius of a fellow named W.R. Bion, who was sent to this earth to clean up this psychoanalytic Tower of Babel. In this regard, he performed a similar function as did Jesus to ancient Judaism or Buddha to ancient Hinduism. In both of the latter cases, these traditions had become so reified and legalistic that they were in danger of losing contact with the divine message it was their purpose to propagate. (For our Jewish friends, please don’t misunderstand the point; clearly, Judaism also responded “within itself” to this impasse, and became a very different, far more interiorized approach, after the destruction of the second temple.)

Bion even used the word “messiah” as a term of art to describe the individual who shatters the manmade container of the “establishment” in order to accomplish two things, 1) re-establishent of the possiblity of a direct encounter with psychic reality (which he called "O"), and 2) evolution within that reality (I adopted the symbol O for my book, only as applied explicitly to God instead of the unconscious).

To greatly oversimplify, genuine psychological insight must proceed from O-->k (or knowledge), not from k-->O (which will simply superimpose a grid of more or less superficial knowledge on O). The same goes for spiritual knowledge, which must be realized knowledge if it is to be efficacious. In fact, to realize it is to render it effective. To not realize it is to render religious language sterile. It is then not “the Word,” but merely words: pneumababble, or just plain blah blah.

Again, I hope I haven’t lost anyone, but O is God. While it has various names -- God being one of them -- it is actually omninameable, which is another of God’s names. O can be thought of as the divine center that radiates out to the periphery of various concentric circles of manifestation. Or it can be imagined as an eternal spring at the peak of a sacred mountain that eternally pours forth its glory into various temporal rivers and streams that cascade down the mountain. Eventually they reach all the way down to the valley below, where the inhabitants have no idea that the water comes from the same source, or even that there is a real experiential source in the here and now, "anterior" to the stream.

Having said that, I do not necessarily recommend my understanding to others, because it has its pitfalls and dangers. As I explain in the book, the trick is to abide in O, while at the same time recognizing that the closer one approaches the center, the more one’s own understanding is replaced by a certain objectivity that is embodied in dogma and tradition. As such, my approach is simultaneously fluid and rigid, if you know what I mean. This is a dialectic that must be maintained, for veering too far in either direction eclipses O and prevents its unfolding evolution through the luxury corps of the lumin being.

All clear?

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.
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?