Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Holy Matterimany, a Manifestivus for the Rest of Us!

As I said, Petey and I are going to continue running through the 20 "Coon questions" posed a couple of days ago by Anonymous, so long as the questions remain interesting and we can come up with answers so plausible that they convince even ourselves.

Please note that this is live blogging, or "extreme seeking," which is the only way to capture Petey's interest. Nothing has been rehearsed and there are no second takes. Well, maybe a spell check.... and I usually find some awkward passages when I reread things later in the day, so I do edit those.... And sometimes I later add in a few jokes.... But that's not the point. As I said, we want this to be an exercise in improvisational metaphysics, or O-->(k), which is to say cross-coontry intellection, which is not the same as making it up as you go along, Bob, even though it may sometimes look like that.

Which, by the way, applies to the Coonifesto. Thus far it has only received positive reviews, but believe me, I have no illusions about this, because these reviewers have been sympathetic to the coonspiracy theory presented in the book. If you are, say, a primitive New York Timesman who is not sympathetic to my tiptopsiturvical vision, or just a sufficiently malignant and black-hearted agenda-driven critic, you could easily pick it apart from the bottom up, which will no doubt happen: Bob, you said the cosmos is 13.7 billion years old. Scientists now know that it's 15 billion years old, you fool! Homo sapiens didn't emerge 120,000 years ago, it was only 100,000 years ago! Etc.

This is a species of what Bion called "attacks on linking," which is a defense mechanism aimed at dismantling what we might call a "threatening whole" in order to turn it into a bunch of meaningless parts. There are two kinds of intelligence, an "analytic" kind and a "synthesizing" kind, and although two people can have the identical IQ, it is very easy for the intelligent-analytic person, if afflicted with mind parasites, to attack the links of the visionary kind. Just so, it is equally easy for the synthetic type of intelligence to be hijacked by paranoid mind parasites which essentially conflate perception and projection. This type of person has the opposite problem, in that they must scrupulously avoid any new evidence, or "links," that threaten the projected vision.

In our scientific age, we are much more aware of the latter problem than the former, but both are equally catastrophic to the soul. For example, we all know of religious yahoos who are threatened by science because it contradicts a very narrow "vision" of how God operates in the world.

But even more common are the leftists, tenured wackademics, and anti-science secular fundamentalists who have a completely unhinged vision of mankind, and thus must reject basic economics, or the self-evident truth of innate gender differences, or the abundant evidence that some cultures are much better than others, and so on. I won't say "ironically," because it's not: atheists and leftists are no less attached to a "religious vision" than the religious, and use the identical defense mechanisms to ward off any threats to this vision. What did Dr. Sanity say just yesterday? "The political left has created and fully integrated specific ideological tools that facilitate ongoing psychological denial."

In order to be a "good faith Coon" we must always harmonize the synthesizing and analytic modes of intelligence, which is just another way of emphasizing the truism that the proper Raccoon habitat is at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal, which is to say reality. For reality is neither the vision of the whole nor the perception of the parts, but an evolutionary dialectical relationship between them, similar, if not identical, to the body's balancing of metabolism (building up) and catabolism (tearing down). We tend to identify "life" with metabolism, or "building up," but it is equally "tearing down." It reminds me of weight lifting, which causes microscopic damage to muscles, which grow larger in response.

When you see a materialist "innocently" using the analytic function to tear down a non-materialistic vision such as mine, always be on the lookout for the critic's own threatened vision, which is generally -- so far, at least -- the true motivation for the attack. It is very much like those homeless schizophrenics who look so frightening. In reality, few schizophrenics are actually dangerous. Rather, they are terrified, in particular, of people. Thus, they appear frightening in order to scare people away.

We had a transparent example of this yesterday, when a completely ignorant -- and therefore "innocent" -- critic barged into the Cosmos and naively blasted away at my vision. Presumably she thought that she was a threat to me, when the opposite is true. In her case -- just like the religious person with the narrow vision alluded to above -- she has a thin and shallow understanding of psychoanalysis that excludes any spiritual truth whatsoever. All of us, by our very nature, recognize the Absolute, but in her case it is something she calls the Unconscious, a word that both she and I use, but in entirely different ways. The main point is that my vision easily accomodates the very important truths of psychoanalysis, whereas her vision is so narrow that it excludes even the barest hint of spiritual knowledge. Rather, for her, a spiritual person is simply "worshiping" his own unconscious.

I don't want to get sidetracked into cataloging all of the a priori errors manifested in this defective mode of thought. Suffice it to say that if her narrow vision were correct, she would certainly not be excluded from it, so an equally ignorant and sufficiently motivated person could dismantle her position on the grounds that she is worshiping her own unconscious in a religiously irreligious way. It is a completely logically self-refuting position, as is any absolute relativism, which is strictly absurd. How could the relative possibly be absolute? If it were, then it would be absolute, which is to say, not relative.

So when one person is attacking another's vision, a Raccoon should always employ his or her Coon scent to sniff out the hidden agenda. An important historian -- I can't remember his name offhand -- said words to the effect that "every historian has a bee in his bonnet. When you read his work, listen for the buzzing." The buzzing, you see, is his "vision," his "whole." I suppose there are still naive historians who believe that history can be written without a vision, or that the vision results from simple induction of historical "facts," but this is utter nonsense.

Rather, being that history represents a pool of literally infinite facts, only an antecedent historical vision can even tell the historian which facts are historically "important." In other words, to write "history," one must precisely exclude 99.99% of historical facts. But on what basis? On the basis of a vision, usually a metaphysically naive and unarticulated one. Not only that, but secular historians make all kinds of faulty assumptions about the nature of time, about human nature, and about vertical influences, so that much contemporary history is only useful for the facts it might contain as opposed the banal vision within which the facts are woven. Needless to say, the identical facts can support radically different visions, but very few visions include both vertical and horizontal facts.

Oops. Got sidetracked. But then again, perhaps not, for the next questions are, "How do I reconcile my multiplicity with God's inherent unity?," and "Why would ultimate perfection choose to manifest at all, let alone in fallen, shattered souls?"

With regard to the first question, this is just another way of asking how we reconcile verticality and horizontality, analysis and synthesis, spirit and matter, interior and exterior, whole and part. We do so by doing so, both on a micro level (within ourselves) and on a macro level (with the cosmos). To be honest, the former must precede the latter, for, as the Master said, The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. What this means is that, in order to have a comprehensive and vivifying vision of the One, we must ourselves be truly one, for our own shattered unity -- or fallenness -- will obscure our interior vision of the whole.

We must first seek to unify our own little portion of the cosmos -- ourselves -- before we can presume to unify others, which is why leftism is always wrong and against the law. It proposes the imposition of a false top-down unity, which is no unity at all, merely totalitarianism in disguise. For unity -- or internal coherence -- can only be achieved, not imposed, and this is the catastrophic error made by leftists and Islamo-nazis alike. Both wish to impose their narrow, crimped vision on the rest of us. Both are pathological adaptations to modernity, romantic attempts to recover the lost wholeness that occurred with the industrial revolution and the decline of traditional religion. But this backward looking unity will never work, any more than the Christian fundamentalist's will (not to perversely equate the latter with leftism or Islamism, which are infinitely more dangerous).

Rather, unity is ongoing. It is a constant dynamic synthesis of parts into whole and of whole conferring meaning and coherence upon the parts. This is Raccoon religion in its generic sense, and it is a religion that easily fits science under its warm and expansive cap. The converse is never true, for parts can never account for the whole of which they are parts. When we say "God is One," we are equally saying that Oneness is God (a reflection of God, to be precise), which is to say that the immanent One exists in the parts, which thereby perpetually transcend themselves in our own recognition of the transcendent One. This is how you reconcile your multiplicity with God's inherent unity, for multiplcity is simply unity in action, or eternity in time.

And "Why would ultimate perfection choose to manifest at all, let alone in fallen, shattered souls?" Because, among other reasons, it is the nature of the perfect sovereign good to radiate its goodness from the divine center to the cosmic periphery, for which reason offenses must come. For it means that God, by his very nature, "relinquishes" a portion of his own omnipotence by virtue of his infinitude, which of necessity extends into a horizontal herebelow. Which is just another way of saying that man alone is privileged to live at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical -- and which is why the "cure" for our own "shatteredness" is never an impossibility but always at hand, for we are a living mirrorcle of the Absolute, a little whole in Oneness.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Besides Hosting a Cable Show, What Happens When We Die?

We're still considering the 20 Coon questions posed by Anonymous the other day. The next two are related: "Where was my consciousness before my birth?," and "Where will it go after I die?"

I've noticed that Larry King always asks that latter question whenever he has one of those slippery psychic mercenaries on the program. What happens when we die, Sylvia? I don't know, you tell me, Larry. What's it like to have the longest running cable program hosted by a ghoul in suspenders? (I know, I know, another pointless cheap shot that compromises Dear Leader's spiritual authority. Honestly, I find the man genuinely creepy, like a purely vital being.)

I regret to inform you that I do not have good answers to the above questions. To be perfectly accurate, I could give you some lively and imaginative answers, but I would be spookulating, which is something that a Raccoon never does but spiritual hacksters who appear on Larry King always do. Rather, for a Raccoon, his spiritual knowledge is always rooted in spiritual experience, or it is no knowledge at all. When we speak of colonizing consciousness, we speak only of lands upon which we have personally set foot and planted the Raccoon colors, in that order.

Nor can I say with any degree of confidence where our consciousness was before we were bearthed and begaialed. Of course, some people reportedly do remember previous incarnations, and there is apparently a researcher -- I can't remember his name -- who has published at least one book with compelling evidence of children who remember odd details about past lives, things they couldn't possibly have known, but which have been subsequently verified by investigators as true. And there is an abundant literature -- disputed, of course -- concerning "near death experiences."

While I personally remember no past lives, I do have many very specific traits, capacities, and even knowledge that I cannot account for and which no one else in my clan shares. Perhaps, as in psychology, "living out" is a form of remembrance. And I do know that when my father died over 20 years ago, I thought that if actually saw him die, I would never stop having nightmares. But the opposite was true, for when he died, there was a palpable sense that he was simply no longer there in that body. Or, to put it another way, that body was definitely not him. It was actually comforting. ( I had no particular spiritual beliefs at the time.)

But the pre- and post-death literature has never interested me. Or perhaps it did when I first began to be interested in spiritual matters. Looking back on it, I can see why. Real spiritual knowledge is a realm of ontological subtlety. That is to say, it is very real and very distinct, and yet... what's the word, Jeeves? Diaphanous? Mmmmm, no. That makes me think of the Victoria's Secret catalog. Ethereal? No, not exactly. That conjures up "airy fairy." Reminds me of some of the Colonel's stories about Dame Edith.

State specific, sir? Yes, I like that, Jeeves. "State specific." I find that real spiritual knowledge initially arises from certain subtle states that eventually become solidified and "prolonged" into traits. Thus, someone with no experience is naturally drawn to something that appears more empirically "solid" in order to bolster his faith. You might say that it is a replacement for experience.

But in the end, this kind of knowledge is no more useful than, say, reading stories about people who have undergone psychotherapy and gained insight into this thing called the "unconscious." Their stories might be perfectly true, but what good are they to you if you haven't personally experienced it for yourself? In many ways, this type of "gross" knowledge can be a defense against subtle knowledge. In other words, it can fool us into believing we know something we actually don't. As such, it becomes part of the vast cognitive wasteland of "minus k" (-k) taking up space in your hardhead drive.

(-K) constitutes everything we know "with the head of another," but do not really know ourselves. Importantly, this does not generally apply to empirical or rational type knowledge. For example, it is not (-k) for me to believe that a solution exists to the little plumbing problem I am having, even though I can't figure it out. I know that my neighbor, the plumber, knows the answer, and that's more than enough for me. It would, however, become (-k) if I were to believe that plumbing holds the key to the cosmic enigma.

Similarly, it is perfectly acceptable to believe that a neurologist will have some useful (k) if I suffer from migraine headaches. But it would be pure (-k) to believe that he has anything useful to say about the nature of consciousness itself. This is how we know that atheists such as Sam Harris or Steven Pinker are so "full of it." What they are full of is (-k) about spirituality, precisely. In fact, there is a good chance that my plumber knows more about Spirit than they do. I'll have to ask him. Then again, plumbers charge so much.

Many spiritual seekers are looking for tangible "signs and wonders" to bolster their faith, as opposed to "subtlizing" their own instrument, which is one of the purposes of a spiritual practice. I think that this is what motivates a lot of the "intelligent design" movement -- which I have no real objections to (the responsible ones, anyway), so long as they do not confuse the (k) of intelligent design with what in the Coonifesto I call the (n) of genuine spiritual gnosis. When (k) usurps or replaces (n), it becomes (-k).

This is a constant problem with religious dogma, which is definitely necessary and good, and yet, can become a sort of rigid (k) if it is not regarded in the proper way. As I mentioned the other day, whenever this happens, a "messiah" will be required to shatter the existing containers that have become too saturated to hold any (n). The more subtle the realm, the more we must guard against (k) replacing (n), and thus, never knowing what we do not know. In approaching these subtle realms, we must adopt an apophatic attitude of (o), or achieve what Bion called the "negative capability" of suspending memory, desire and understanding. Only then do we clear a space for the more subtle understanding we are seeking to take root.

Our postmodern world has become so spiritually "gross," so "opaque," so encased in ice, that it is as if people require a kind of hammer to the head for spirit to get through at all. This itself represents a triumph of empiricism and materialism, for it is as if people cannot believe unless they have placed their hand directly into the wound. But blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed. To be precise, blessed be those who have unknown in order to awaken their subtle vision, thereby converting the assurance of things hoped for into the conviction of things unseeable with eyes made by Darwin.

Now, it is certainly possible, using pure intellection alone, to know that a post-death state must necessarily exist. Furthermore, there is no question that this must be a realm of both perfect mercy and of perfect justice. How do we know this, not just with the head of another, but our own?

We know it because the source of our being can only be the sovereign good. I will address this in more detail in some of the subsequent questions, but yesterday we spoke of how the human subject is comprised of 1) love, 2) will, and 3) truth, or virtue, freedom, and knowledge. Now, these things did not -- could not have -- come from "below," through any kind of purely materialistic process -- through so-called "natural selection." It is frankly absurd to think so, and self-refuting at every turn.

Free will, knowledge of good and evil, disinterested love, objective truth -- you will notice that science cannot actually account for any of these things, so it must make them "go away." They must be metaphysically "disappeared," stuffed into an academonic trunk and driven off the pier. Free will? A persistent illusion. Good and evil? Morality is all relative to sophisticated Pomo Man. Love? Ha! Nothing but lust jostling for power. Truth? Don't even go there, girlfriend. The astonishing mystery of subjectivity? An illusory side effect of neural computation.

Wait, is that true?

I said don't go there girlfriend. Mama don't play. How would you like a can o' tenure-denying whoop ass upside the head?

Even so, no matter who you are, you cannot help knowing that your existential mission in the herebelow has something to do with willing what is good and knowing what is true. Go ahead, ask Sam Harris. Do you want to do bad? No? Why not? Do you want your ideas to hurt people? No? Why would you possibly care? Don't you just want to be powerful and to bestow your sexual favors upon as many females as possible, like a demented raccoon on a beagle? Why would you conceivably care whether your ideas are "true," whatever that means?

Now, you no doubt have your own explanation for how and why the following happened, but it did: one way or t' other, God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his noustrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. At least this version of events acknowledges that Darwinian man preceded spiritual man by some 100,000 years, and that these merely genetic and material dustbunnies did not become proper men until their souls were awakened "from above." We know this because the same is true today of every earth-formed Stone Age baby who comes into the world. They too must recapitulate this "awakening" to the above on pain of spending their lives as a mere beast in human form, like La...

At some point, truth, love and beauty "descended" into the earth realm. In my book I have explained how I believe it might have happened, but the important point is that it did and it does, and that materialistic and reductionistic science is in principle unable to account for it. The human being is the "link" between the vertical and horizontal, celestial and terrestrial, heaven and earth, however you wish to conceptualize it.

The good, the true, and the beautiful are ontologically real "presences," while their opposites represent varying degrees of privation. In knowing this, we can also know that biological death must be a privation, not a real presence. It would simply make no sense if it were.

Scientists are well aware of the fact that some things are regarded as true because if they were not, then everything else that we know to be true would be false. But the same holds true of metaphysics. Given certain things that are true, other things must also be true, even if we have no personal knowledge of them. One thing we can know is that our creator is both good and beautiful -- indeed, is the source of beauty and goodness -- and if so, biological death cannot be the end. That would make this a very bad and pointless cosmos, which it most certainly is not.

And when I find out something more specific, you'll be the first to know. Look for a small feather to float before you as you're reading the Coonifesto.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Why Ask Why? We've Got Answers!

Let's play Coonball!

Yesterday, reader "anonymous" -- who certainly gets around -- posed 20 "Coon Questions," apparently hoping to engage Petey's bi-cosmic attention. To make it a bit more fun, I only glanced at them quickly, so Petey couldn't read my mind and cogitate on them ahead of time. We want this to be a purely spontaneous exercise in improvisational metaphysics, otherwise known as "flinging the C.S."

First up, "Why do I exist?"

As an aside -- no doubt the first of many -- where else but Raccoon Central can you go and have your cosmic riddles rattled one by one? Where else in cyberspace can you experience eternal life while you wait, or triple your crappy old karma back? Sam Harris' website? Oh sure, you could try. But unless he says "your questions are both meaningless to me and unknowable by me," whatever he might come up with, he would be lying. Metaphysically, he knows of what he speaks, which is to say nothing, precisely.

Now, "Why do I exist?" First of all, this is not a simple question but a compound one that contains within it no less than three mysteries, specifically, "Why" (or, WTF?!), "I" (or "Who, me?"), and "existence" (or, "Wo, dude!"). We can even pose these in a purely abstract way. In the Coonifesto, I refer to them as (?!), (•), and ( ), respectively. Each is an inevitable aspect of the other.

Why is there a why? One of the things that defines our humanness is the existence of this question, "why?" For billions of years -- 14 billions, give or take -- there was no "why," there was only "is." Although, even then, it is somewhat fraudulent to say that this was the case -- that the cosmos "existed" prior to the "why?" -- for, strictly speaking, it is not possible to say anything about the cosmos at a time when no observers were present within it.

As a matter of fact, this is one of the many ways the bi-cosmic Raccoon reconciles so-called "creationism" with science, because one cannot conceive of a cosmos without injecting subjectivity into it, as if it were always there -- which, of course, it was. Think of it: scientists, without giving it a second thought, are easily able to think about a time when scientists not only didn't exist, but couldn't possibly have even have gained tenure. This is similar to how we are able to look at a star that existed long prior to our being here. This is so because the cosmos is so entangled with itself, across barriers of space and time.

But if the materialist wishes to think consistently about the pre-life cosmos, he must not only remove himself from the picture, but remove all perspectives and standpoints. Otherwise he is engaged in a hopelessly naive and parochial anthropomorphism that makes Pat Robertson look sophisticated.

Prior to the emergence of life some 3.85 billion years ago, there was no "place" in the cosmos. There was only "noplace all at once." There was no "center," no point of view, no scale, no before or after, nobodaddy or mamatall.

In the absence of a human center (which, to paraphrase Schuon, represents the Divine center at the periphery), what arbitrary point of view should we adopt? Should we look at things from the scale of a billion light years, where the universe appears rather boring and homegeneous? From the point of view of an atom? A quark? But don't think in visual terms, because vision is a property of eyes, and eyes do not exist. Do not think in terms of hot or cold, hard or soft, solid or gas, loud or quiet, bright or dim, violent or gentle, because these are all properties of nervous systems that do not exist. Although we call it a "big bang," this is nothing more than whistling past the old grooveyard. Whatever it was, it was neither "big" nor "bang." From the perspective of eternity, it was equally a "small whimper." Or "medium sized groan." Or "soft sigh." Or "dropped tool box on my foot. Ouch!" It almost doesn't matter, so long as you know that you don't know.

As the very naughty -- but occasionally good, for heresy is often a disproportionate or isolated truth -- Hegel recognized, "there is no unmediated knowledge of the particular," or of our middling relativities. As Raccoon emeritus Whitehead wrote, "apart from the experiences of subjects, there is nothingness, bare nothingness." Or as Schopenhaur -- who has much to recommend, and is somewhat like a very grumpy and dyspeptic old Vedantin -- observed,

"If I take away the thinking subject, the whole material world must vanish, as this world is nothing but the phenomenal appearance in the sensibility of our own subject, and is a species of the subject's representations."

Just as the cosmos breathed into existence ex halio some 14 billion "years" ago, a bios magically appeared after about 10 billion of those years had passed. Nevertheless, the cosmos still did not exist, meaning the strict totality of all interacting objects and events. Forget about amoebas, bacteria, crustaceans, Cindy Sheehan, and other lower forms of life. My dog -- and she is a very good dog, mind you -- doesn't know anything about a "cosmos." She doesn't ask "why?" Rather, life just happens. While we can say that with the existence of life there is an "is," nevertheless, this is is simply what it is. It cannot rise above itself and ask Petey, "why is?"

Thus, the emergence of "why" is coterminous with human existence, which is to say, the birth of the cosmos, which is to say consciousness of the absolute. Why consciousness of the absolute? Because "why?" can only be meaningfully asked if it implicitly partakes of absolute transcendence and absolute objectivity, and therefore, absolute truth. In short, "cosmos" and "why" emerge simultaneously, because this duality ultimately comes down to the manifestation of the whole within one of its parts. We can only ask "why?" because we already know the answer, the answer being because He expectorated a mirrorcle, now you're the spittin' image." Furthermore, this explains why the cosmos is a tree of life for those whose wood be leaf. After all, all of these beautiful green truthy leaves don't just hang suspended in mid air. They are connected to branches, and branches are connected to the trunk, and the trunk is connected to roots which are firmly planted in the ground above.

Let's glance this wound from another mangle. You cannot ask "why?" unless you know about the existence of answers. And you cannot know about answers unless you know about the existence of truth. And you cannot know about truth unless you know that it is absolute, otherwise it has no right to the name. Thus, to say "human subject" is ultimately to say "knowledge of absolute truth."

It is perfectly reasonable to say that man, or the human subject, was made to know absolute truth, which also happens to be the absolute subject -- the One who sponsors all this inexplicable truth and subjectivity to begin with. In other words, to get back to our original question, "why do I exist?," the much deeper mystery is why do I's exist?, and why do they know so much? A deer, or a lion, or a lizard, is perfectly adapted to its environment. It only knows what it needs to know in order to survive. This is the "knowledge" that Darwinian evolution "programs" into the organism: "knowledge of the environment," mostly what to eat, what to be frightened of, and who to have sex with. Only humans can have sex with the wrong thing, such as Cindy Sheehan. That someone did so is a mystery that Darwin could never explain.

(This is also, by the way, why Eckhart could say "those who blaspheme praise God," for falsehood is a kind of testimony to truth.)

When we look at human subjectivity, we must ask, "to what is it an adaptation?," because it is so perfectly adapted to worlds that transcend the senses and which played no part in our Darwinian evolution. For example, the human subject is perfectly adapted to the world of music, or the world of mathematics, or the world of beauty, and of course, the world of metaphysics. Thus, in order to answer the question, "why," we can "reverse engineer" the human subject, and say that the answer lies in considering the nature of that to which we are adapted. This approach will yield many unswers to your questings.

As Schuon wrote, "The first ascertainment which should impose itself upon man when he reflects on the nature of the Universe is the primacy of that miracle that is intelligence -- or consciousness or subjectivity -- and consequently the incommensurability between these and material objects, be it a question of a grain of sand or of the sun, or of any creature whatever as an object of the senses.... [T]he evolutionary leap from matter to intelligence is from every point of view the most inconceivable thing that could be."

Exactly. It is not difficult to prove the existence of God, or the absolute Subject, for the same reason that eyes prove the existence of light. No one needs to be shown that light exists, for our eyes are perfectly adapted to it. Likewise, no one needs to prove the existence of God to one whose consciousness is adequate or "proportionate" to the Subject. Knowledge of the Absolute is proof of the Absolute. The phenomenon of human subjectivity proves the existence of that to which it is so adequately proportioned, or not even science could exist.

As Schuon has written elsewhere, unlike any mere animal, the human subject is comprised of 1) love, 2) will, and 3) truth, or virtue, freedom, and knowledge. As for "our purpose in the herebelow" (question #2), it can only be to love what is beautiful, to will what is good, and to know what is true. This constitutes an existential mission of which we cannot possibly be unaware, for even the most academonic among us would probably not say that the purpose of existence is to know falsehood, to do bad, or to have sex with Cindy Sheehan.... although you never know about the latter. Dennis Kucinich might.

Another way of saying it is that human beings are free to grow in love and knowledge. With regard to truth, it can only be prolonged and extended into the horizontal by the ceaseless exercise of "why?," so the purpose of why is to prevent the answer from becoming the disease that kills curiosity, and therefore, man and God. It also prevents cognitive "saturation" (the opposite of faith) and helps us to become what we already are and proceed where we are to go. However, being bi-cosmic, the Raccoon simultaneously shrugs his shoulders and simply asks, "Why not?," knowing we are always already there anyway.

That's the Iambivalent reason for existence in a notshall.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Abolition of Man by the Monster Next Door

At some point every morning while enjoying a steaming cup and waiting for my scattered bits to beam down from the dream transporter and coalesce into a recognizable version of me, I will hit the Technorati "blogs who link here" function in order to determine who hasn't linked to something I've written, which basically consists of "the internet," or "mankind at large," give or take. In short, no one pays any attention aside from the small number of you who do, for which I am grateful.

That we all know each other's names probably explains why I have never seen anything resembling the mythical "royalty check." Now, if I were a bitter man -- which I am not -- I might enviously gnash my teeth over the matter of my good friend, whose 20-something musician son landed one of his songs in a commercial, so that his toilsome work life consists of making the long trek to the mail box and back to the couch. But as I said, I am not bitter. Thanks to the Colonel's influence, I have more or less internalized "the code of the Beagleholes," which helps me to keep that last commandment -- you know, the one about coveting your neighbor's beastly mailbox.... or was it male ox? I forget....

But yesterday there was a link to someone who took me to tusk for treating the atheist Sam Harris like some kind of dumbo with nothing but a pachydermented junk in his trunk. Which in itself is interesting. It reminds me of working with patients, who, as often as not, ignore your most elephantine point about their psychic jungle and instead seize upon some tangential tail of a comment as being of earthshattering importance to the blind fellow holding it. You just never know what's going to happen to something once it leaves your piehole. Despite your best efforts at clarity, you have almost no control over how people will respond to what you say -- or what they may turn it into in order to justify a certain emotional reaction that "lies in wait." Sometimes this is referred to as "marriage."

In a way, it's a mirrorcle when communication succeeds at all, especially when one is dealing with highly abstract metaphysical concerns or with that expensive new phone she bought when the existing one was perfectly adequate. Sometimes a point is so subtle or tricky -- and I am well aware of this -- I must simultaneously "build" the receiver while I am sending the message. (Some of you readers out there have hinted that my writing has succeeded at this for you, helping you to uncover the part of yourself to which my writing is addressed.... While this is gratifying, I still can't help wondering if my book will ever earn back the tiny advance from my penurious publisher.... Stop it! The Code, lad, the blasted Code!)

Thank you, Colonel. As I was about to say, this is certainly true of therapy, where much of the groundwork consists of creating the conditions under which therapy may take place. I believe it was the great psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott who said words to the effect that our primary task as therapists is to try to cure the patient of their own attempts at self-cure. In other words, the patient's self-cure is the illness, so to speak, similar to how, say, inflammation is now understood as a more widespread disease process that represents one of the body's own healing mechanisms gone haywire.

In order to facilitate the healing process, the therapist must enter the closed system of the patient's psyche and, as ShrinkWrapped wrote the other day, "become a new and important object to the patient" so that he can begin to understand himself in the intimate context of a two-person system. In short, the task for the patient is to transition from "oneness" to "twoness." As the cryptic O-racle at Delphi might have put it, "Man is the beast who becomes One by becoming Two." (Or three, in that grace operates in the same way. As I have mentioned before, I didn't make much spiritual progress until I gave up my own efforts and instead surrendered to the nonlocal influence of anOther. I'm sure most of you gno the schtick.)

Now, where the hell was I ?

Yes, the link. This person -- who does not appear to be anti-Bob -- took some exception to my characterization of Harris as "intellectually banal," a "metaphysical yahoo," and "an adolescent drone" who "cannot raise his intellect to religion," but who, "in the American way, has turned his infirmity into a virtue and is no doubt making a small fortune in the process.”

Well now, look. One thing critics never take into consideration is that I do try to entertain, somtimes with colorful insults directed at our idiotilliogical opponents. I think that in order to have a successful blog, you have to be a bit entertaining -- you know, mach schau, Beatle!, as Herr Koschmider put it. But if I'm right about this, how come my readership is so small, while that punk Joey just walks to the damn mailbox once a month, just like Sam Harris?

That's not the point. That is not how a Beaglehole measures success. In any event, I meant what I said about Harris, who, let us be clear, wishes to destroy everything a Coon regards as sacred and holy. For he and Dennett and all of the other militant atheists are embarked upon a passionate mission aimed not just at the abolition of God, but the abolition of man, which would ineluctably follow from the former. Of this I am absolutely certain.

However -- and this is a big however -- Harris would no doubt be a perfectly decent fellow to have as your next door neighbor. It is not the neighborly Harris to whom my characterization applies. Rather, it specifically applies to the deicidal and therefore genocidal monster who speaks through him.

For make no mistake, we are talking here about soul murder -- not just the murder of this or that soul, but the soul of mankind, ipso facto, mankind. Nothing -- nothing -- could be less human than the monstrosity of secular humanism, for it robs man of his humanness in the name of fulfilling it. Should these intellectual quacktivists succeed in their pondsy scam, or should we fail to duck, it would be the creation of hell on earth, a truly daffy dystopia unfit for Donalds everywhere. We can't just let this roll off our ruffled feathers in back, as God is our wetness.

I am sure that to some, this sounds polemical, perhaps even like hysterical rejoycing. I don't know what to say except that this blog is not for you. There's really no middle ground here in middle earth. Either you will know exactly what I'm talking about, or you will have no earthly idea what I'm talking about. In short, you are either with us or with the metaphysical errorists (who will also grease the skids for the terrorists).

Yesterday Lisa asked what I meant by the term "bi-cosmic." It refers to the ontological orientation of the Raccoon, who lives crucified at the crossroads of verticality and horizontality. This is our home. It is our environment. It always amazes a Raccoon that the leftist environmental extremist concerns himself with the external environment of this or that snail or worm.

But what about the environment of man, which is not an exterior environment -- after all, any one will do, from Miami to Anchorage -- but an interior one, a home fit for the soul? Man can only thrive -- can only become man -- if given the proper human environment. They want to give animals a human environment and humans an animal one. How could it not be so, once you have destroyed our sensitive vertical ecology?

Yesterday I spoke of how biology only takes us to the threshold of humanness, after which it is up to us to colonize as much consciousness as we can in this life -- you know, building a sturdy astral body or luxury corps and all that. But if the secular fundamentalists succeed in their unsane jihad, it would mean a disavowal of all the great spiritual omsteaders and fleshlights who have blazed a path into that wonderful verdant territory, and a life condemned to living at the shoreline, right back where we startled after first opening our third eyes.

Thus, I make no apologies for calling Harris a beast in human form, even though I would probably let him babysit Future Leader. For that, too, is a part of being bi-cosmic. Coons live with the unsettling realization that our own predators might very well be our good neighbors next door.

How does this differ from, say, crazy leftists who think that George Bush or Dick Cheney or Condoleezza Rice are evil? For one thing, they would never let them babysit their children, for to do so would be to recognize their essential humanity, which is to say, divinity.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Nobody Expects the Coonish Linguisition! (1.17.09)

Again we come back to the Word, or the mystery of language. How to use language to achieve God as opposed to eclipsing God? For one can literally talk of God all naught and deity without actually doing so, whether one is religious or very much so. This is why so much religious talk is precisely meaningless, because it attempts to dip into the ocean of Spirit with containers that are allwetty fool of themselves. Pneumababble!

Almost as mysterious as language's ability to smuggle truth across skin boundaries is its capacity to institutionalize nonsense. One would think that "experts" in language would be immune to this problem, but expertise in any area often comes down to an agreed upon system of high-flown prejudices. It's more of an ideological hackupational gatekeeping system than a mode of truth. This can especially be seen in hindsight. Naturally, materialistic flatlanders enjoy ridiculing certain religious beliefs, but the dogmalogue of bizarre beliefs promulgated by scientific orthodoxy is no less ridiculous.

After all, science changes. It is one human activity in which you know ahead of time that you are wrong. Science deals in hypotheses and tentative conclusions, all built upon a convenient set of assumptions that are methodologically necessary but easily proven to be metaphysically incoherent. By definition these conclusions are bound to change. This is its virtue. In order to even think about reality, science must deal in models of reality, and it is always tempting to reify the abstract model and confuse it with the underlying reality. Real reality will always elude the grasp of science. But this hardly means that it eludes the grasp of man.

By contrast with science, religion deals with the timeless and eternally true. The problem is, how does one employ language in such a way that it does not relativize the absolute and reduce it to a "figure of speech?"

As Schuon wrote, "God likes to shatter and to renew forms or the husks of things; for He wants our hearts and is not content with our actions alone." You might say that God perpetually shatters speech, despite our best efforts to put it back together. Or as Joyce -- someone who knew an itsy bitsy about the allforabit -- put it, "And even if Humpty shell fall frumpty times as awkword again, there'll be iggs for the brekkers come to mournhim, sunny side up with care."

In an essay entitled The Gift of Language, the esteemed Theodore Dalrymple easily dismantles one of the orthodoxies of linguistics, the idea that language can be reduced to genetics. Here is a fine example of how an intelligent outsider with common sense can see straight through the absurdity of this or that reigning dogma or catechism. The absurdity can be seen directly by the intellect, because the intellect is made of truth and for this reason can know a priori nonsense when it sees it.

Dalrymple's experience of performing psychiatric evaluations of certain less articulate souls exactly parallels mine. He writes that,

"With a very limited vocabulary, it is impossible to make, or at least to express, important distinctions and to examine any question with conceptual care. My patients often had no words to describe what they were feeling, except in the crudest possible way, with expostulations, exclamations, and physical displays of emotion. Often, by guesswork and my experience of other patients, I could put things into words for them, words that they grasped at eagerly. Everything was on the tip of their tongue, rarely or never reaching the stage of expression out loud. They struggled even to describe in a consecutive and logical fashion what had happened to them, at least without a great deal of prompting. Complex narrative and most abstractions were closed to them."

I am well familiar with the type of person he is describing. Now, both of us -- the patient and myself -- inhabit the identical reality, do we not? No, we don't. This is another area where multiculturalism crashes against the rocks of reality. As I have said before, mental illness is a private culture, whereas culture is more or less a public mental illness (I oppose culture, which is particular, to civilization, which is universal but can take various forms). Human beings are not the same, because although biology takes each of us to the shore of humanness, it is only language that allows us to stand firmly on dry ground, continue the journey upward and inward, and literally "colonize" more of consciousness.

Consider the patient described above. Like all human beings, he is "conscious" and he possesses "speech." But how much consciousness has he actually conquered with speech? I would suggest that, just like a primitive people, he inhabits a tiny island that he confuses with the whole of reality -- at least until he encounters the wider world. Then he will either remain stupid -- with the assistance of liberals who tell him that his little world is as good as any other -- or he will try to get off the island.

Or sometimes the plantation. This is the vast difference between, say, a Thomas Sowell and a Jesse Jackson. Jackson is a bitter slave living on a tiny plantation, whereas Sowell has long since emancipated himself and hightailed it for the north (the vertical, as it were). Yes, both are "men," but this designation often conceals as much as it reveals. As Aristotle said, "the soul is all that it knows," which is another way of saying that a man is all the consciousness he has colonized.

When it comes to human beings, there are island men, continental men, worldly men, cosmic men, and fully bi-cosmic men, or Raccoons. Naturally, the island man has no way of knowing when he is dealing with one of the others, but the cosmic or bi-cosmic man knows in an instant the boundaries of the person with whom he is dealing.

The old coonerism that "words are not merely words" contradicts all linguistic orthodogmacy (a "coonerism" is something a Raccoon is born knowing -- it is part of his non-genetic "soul inheritance"). Our spacy-age linguistic elites maintain that "every child, save the severely brain-damaged and those with very rare genetic defects, learns his or her native language with perfect facility, adequate to his needs. He does so because the faculty of language is part of human nature, inscribed in man’s physical being, as it were, and almost independent of environment."

The expert linguisitors further proclaim that language "is an inherent biological characteristic of mankind rather than a merely cultural artifact. Moreover, language itself is always rule-governed; and the rules that govern it are universally the same, when stripped of certain minor incidentals and contingencies that superficially appear important but in reality are not."

It is this kind of thinking that inevitably leads to the idea that ebonics is as good as the language of Shakespeare. Why not? Who are we to judge? It's just hardware. Like opinions and a**holes, everybody's got one. It's standard issue.

Again, consider how educated one must be to adhere to such nonsense. Only someone very stupid or very educated could possibly believe such a thing. And yet, they do believe it:

"It follows that no language or dialect is superior to any other and that modes of verbal communication cannot be ranked according to complexity, expressiveness, or any other virtue. Thus, attempts to foist alleged grammatical 'correctness' on native speakers of an 'incorrect' dialect are nothing but the unacknowledged and oppressive exercise of social control -- the means by which the elites deprive whole social classes and peoples of self-esteem and keep them in permanent subordination. If they are convinced that they can’t speak their own language properly, how can they possibly feel other than unworthy, humiliated, and disenfranchised? Hence the refusal to teach formal grammar is both in accord with a correct understanding of the nature of language and is politically generous, inasmuch as it confers equal status on all forms of speech and therefore upon all speakers."

Here is a fine example of how leftists, as always, believe they are the magnanimous "liberators" when they are actually the oppressors of mankind. They have the bizarre notion they are somehow "anti-imperialist" or "anti-colonialist," when they are specifically colonizing these poor souls with their parasitic postmodern ideology. By forcing people to live on their little cultural and linguistic islands, they aren't "liberating" anyone. Rather, they are enslaving them. Intellectually and spiritually, a Cornell West or a Harry Belafonte is an abject slave. Likewise, the purpose of an organization such as CAIR is to enslave Muslims, just as the purpose of the NAACP is to enslave blacks, largely through the use of an oppressive and narrow language that sharply limits, defines, and contains reality.

Look at them, a prisoner of the gutter,
Condemned by every syllable they utter.
By law they should be taken out and shot,
For the cold-blooded murder of the minds they rot. --My Unfair Gray Lady

In his essay, Dalrymple proceeds to pick apart one of the world's leading linguists -- and certainly the bestsmelling one -- the ironically named Steven "Stinker" Pinker. Again, he is able to do this because the intellect can know truth directly. It does not require a study or the consensus of expert linguists to do this. I do not believe Dalrymple is a religious man -- after all, he is European. Nevertheless, he is obviously a "Raccoon without portfolio," for he sees directly into the truth of complex subjects in such a way that he is able to bypass the "experts."

Science vs. religion. I ask you: what is more nutty, the statement, "In the Beginning was the Word," or “Language is qualitatively the same in every individual," or "men are as naturally equal in their ability to express themselves as in their ability to stand on two legs," or “once you begin to look at language as a biological adaptation to communicate information, it is no longer as tempting to see language as an insidious shaper of thought.” What is the kookier notion, the idea that man is made of truth because the primordial word is naturally capable of becoming flesh, or the statement that “When it comes to linguistic form, Plato walks with the Macedonian swineherd, Confucius with the head-hunting savage of Assam”?

Experts say that the idea of one form of language being superior to another is "a pernicious illusion.... Trifling differences between the dialect of the mainstream and the dialect of other groups... are dignified as badges of ‘proper grammar.’” To believe otherwise makes you a contemptible linguistic imperialist, no doubt a racist to boot. In fact, standard English is simply "one of those languages that 'is a dialect with an army and a navy.'” In other words -- in keeping with the abiding leftist faith that all relations may ultimately be reduced to blind power -- the grammatically correct schoolmarms to whom Pinker objects "are in fact but the linguistic arm of a colonial power -- the middle class -- oppressing what would otherwise be a much freer and happier populace."

Oh, expert texpert stinking Pinkers, don't you think the joker winks at you? Ho ho ho, he, he he, ha, ha, ha? See how we grin like Coons in a den, see how we smile!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jesus Presley and the Language of Achievement (1.05.10)

As I have mentioned before -- not merely for exhibitionistic autobobographical reasons, but to illuminate a principle -- I did not move through the educational ranks in the usual way. I could not have been less interested in school until I was maybe 23 years of age, when I returned to college after having initially dropped out in my junior year and spending two years on a blue collar job, a job I happily held for the subsequent decade, 12 years in all.

So I came to the academic world as an outsider in every way. As a result, I never came to learn the ways and customs of this world -- its dogmas, unwritten rules, its conventional wisdom, its many preconceptions. I also came to it without ambition or agenda, only sincerity and curiosity. But a person with no ambition and no agenda is always a threat to the establishment. Bear in mind that when I say this, I am not trying to elevate myself to some sort of romantic "outlaw" figure; rather, I am speaking purely generically of certain rules that apply to any established culture.

The psychoanalyst W.R. Bion spoke of it in terms of what he called the "establishment" and the "messiah." The establishment -- by virtue of being one -- eventually becomes sclerotic, predictable, and rule-bound, and loses contact with the original impulse that brought it onto being. This happens in politics, in business, certainly with the Post Office, and even in intimate relationships. A marriage can become stale and predictable, with the two partners taking on utterly predictable roles that then seem to dictate and "contain" them. It is as if they are no longer free, but living within psychic grooves that guide every thought and action. Reality -- O -- is slowly eclipsed, often because we cannot tolerate the intimacy and openness of contact with O. Love dies on the vine.

Now that I'm on the topic, Bion also wrote about how the child functions as the messiah to the couple. The couple wishes for a messiah to save it, and places this hope into the child. Thus, the poorest people in the most abject circumstances always greet the arrival of a new child with a kind of infinite hope. The infant is a sort of psycho-spiritual poultrice that draws us out of ourselves and puts us in touch with the infinite. As I expressed it in my book, they give us "a touch of infanity." They are a means of escape from ourselves, back to ourselves -- who we were before we put on the mask and became a frictional character.

This is interesting, for it shows the dialectical nature of our humanness, which always revolves around the pole of knowledge and infinite mystery -- or O and (k). The reason I place the parentheses around (k) is to evoke this idea of containment and of tentativeness. Whatever little bit of (k) we possess, in the end, it is like two little parentheses in eternity. Or, imagine standing in the ocean and cupping your hands together, measuring the water between them. As we win a bit more (k) from the formless infinite void, the distance between our hands increases. But as compared to the ocean, our (k) is but a drop. And it is always tentative, on pain of being dysfunctional. In other words, the moment knowledge becomes saturated, it no longer performs the function of gaining more knowledge. It cannot be used as a stepping stone to vault one further into O. Rather, it is simply "dead" from the psychic point of view, like a dusty old book taking up space in your liberariam.

In formulating his model of the mind, Bion's entire task was to forge, as he called it, a "language of achievement." In short, he wanted to create a way to "think about thinking" that would spur creative advance into O, rather than merely being some sort of dry academic theory that one could memorize once and for all. This is why I say that Bion was not only one of the greatest psychoanalysts who ever lived, but one of the world's greatest philosophers, even though few people outside a certain subspecialty of psychoanalysis even know his name. Perhaps others have touched on the problems he addressed, but I just haven't heard of them.

Because Bion's is a "language of achievement" -- he is literally attemting to simultaneously formulate and demonstrate his ideas -- different people come away from his writings with quite different conceptions. In other words, Bion does not so much "teach" as "provoke." In my case, I felt that I had understood him perfectly, and yet, when I began reading the secondary literature, I soon realized that others did not necessarily share my understanding, or what Bion called "vertex." The vertex is the point at which an axis meets a surface, in this case, the point at which our (k) intersects O. Thus, in the end, you cannot be a Bionian. Rather, you can only become yourself through his writing. And if this or that aspect of my writing accomplices anycrime like the same thing for this or that Raccoon, then it will have achieved its uplaw purpose.

I am reminded of something that Dr. Grotstein once wrote. He mentioned that he had gone to hear Bion lecture for the first time. Now, from his side of things, Bion never spoke from prepared notes. Rather, he spoke "from O," as it were, meaning that each lecture was an adventure, a sort of fishing expedition in the formless infinite ocean. Let's just see what we can pull out! Grotstein said that he came away from the lecture not really understanding much of what Bion had said, even being a bit perplexed and annoyed. However, before he went to sleep, he furiously jotted down ideas for about five papers he was to eventually write. That is the language of achievement. It does not so much place content into your mind as little "depth charges" that generatively blast away at the existing framework.

Now, perhaps it will not surprise you to know that at this very moment, I am attempting to "write from O," as I always do. I have almost no idea what I have written so far, nor do I have much of an idea of what I am about to say. I'm just "following the music," as a jazzman might say. Does that sound strange? Most of you don't read very carefully, but for those of you who do, we are holding heads together in this very moment, unknowing where any of this is going to lead -- indeed, if it is going to lead anywhere. In the language of King Crimson, it may simply end in a "train wreck," which is the price one must pay for trying to collectively improvise within O. For if there is to be achievment, there must be the possibiliy of failure.

Bion called this open and expectant attitude "faith." Once again, as with "messiah" and "establishment," he is not using the word in any conventional "saturated" way, but in the most abstract way possible. Faith is simply a prerequisite for any generative encounter with O. Can you see why? If we come to O with too many preconceptions, we will merely be taking a plunge into the known, not the unknown. We specifically want to win a bit of (k) from O, not (k) from (k). When we do the latter, we are more or less in the conventional world that extends from cavemen to tenuremen. Obviously, there is nothing fundamentally retarded with that world. Far from it. It only becomes bad when it eclipses O, as in the case of scientism, or materialism, or atheism, or Marxism, which all superimpose an abstract, dead model onto the living O.

And please, I am not suggesting that only ideologies I reject can eclipse O. Far from it. Religion, which is all about the language of achievement, can obviously become as dead, saturated, and "contained" as anything else, mere "churchianity." For example, it is no insult to Judaism to say that Jesus arrived at a time when it had -- apparently -- become overly saturated, sclerotic, and rule-bound, in the same way that Buddha reanimated Hinduism from the outside. In fact, to set aside any possible charges of anti-Semitism, let us just say that the dialectic between Jesus and the "scribes and Pharisees" is there to teach us a more general lesson about the relationship between establishment and messiah.

A Jew can appreciate the underlying lesson no less than a Christian, for it is obviously possible to reduce the infinite Torah to some unmannamade dogma and puny show, when the whole point of Torah is to have a generative and living encounter between the word of God and the mind of man. Torah is a language of achievment par excellence. Oy vey, just consider the many possible interpretations of Genesis, each no less correct than the others so long as it has been genuinely realized and not merely "learned." The other day I was at the park, when I saw what looked like a rabbi and his teenage son sitting together at a picnic table, poring over a Bible together. I intentionally sidled over to try to adam & eavesdrop on the coonversation, for I imagined them wrestling with the text, father encountering the finite infinity of Torah again for the first time through the eyes of his son -- the messiah!

Now, it is equally clear to me that Jesus nearly always spoke the language of achievement. Think about it for a moment. So sophisticated was he that he fully understood the paradox that if he had spoken unambiguously of O, he would be misunderstood. Therefore, he spoke mainly in paradoxables that serve the purpose of vaulting the mind out of its habitual grooves. Thus he was also a messiah in the Bionian sense of saving ourselves from ourselves and providing us with a living language to talk and think about O. Yes, his words are "folly to the Greeks" -- which they must be if they are to bypass our hyper-rational interior Greek patrol.

And this is why sects and schisms are ineveateapple, because the infinite simply cannot be contained by any single container. Naturally, some containers do a better job than others in containing the "fullness of Truth." Nevertheless, it is somewhat analogous to trying to capture the "fullness of music." Whenever this happens -- whenever music becomes overly stale and predictable -- you can always be sure that a "musical rebel" will arrive on the scene to save us.

And this, my friends, is why Elvis may not be God, but he is certainly a messiah.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Political Wind and the Bags Who Break it

Eww. That was yucky. After several days of posting only about spiritual matters, I had to go and touch pitch by discussing politics yesterday. Now I can't get it off.

I am reminded of something Frithjof Schuon once wrote: "I have an unpleasant feeling of limitation when I write about historical and political matters, of which I cannot think without bitterness. It is as if I had stepped down from my luminous world into a sphere of things which ought not to fill my being." To be precise, I would never, under any circumstances, describe myself as bitter. It is not that we are bitter. However, all Raccoons -- it is part of our genetic entaoment -- can "taste" the bitterness at the core of leftism. In fact, some coonologists believe that coon taste evolved prior to coon scent, and that both developmentally preceded coon vision.

This is why I always recoil from the person who describes himself as a "political junkie." Whether the person is left or right, their head is likely full of junk. The difference is that for a leftist, politics is their religion. This we know. Even if they claim to be religious, you can be sure that their religion flows from their politics and that they would never adopt a religious stance that contradicted their leftist faith. Examples are legion. For example, irrespective of how one feels about the constitutionality of Roe vs. Wade, no spiritually serious person could ever believe that abortion is something that pleases God. At best it is a necessary evil.

Now, the Raccoon is not a political animal. Like our exalted Raccoon furbears who founded America, he would enjoy nothing more than to be freed from the necessity of thinking about politics. If he could, he would spend all day laying back in his camouflage barcalounger listening to Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra broadcasting the sound of joy from some other heliocentric world while reading poetry or theology and thinking to himself, "Mmmmm, medicine for a nightmare. 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky!"

As we all know, before I discovered my Raccoon nature, I myself was a garden variety liberal. Although I didn't understand it at the time, I was also, ipso facto, a leftist. However, I was never a fully infected activist or anything like that, so my soul was basically intact. Rather, I simply drifted along in the intoxicating political tide of my generational cohort, the booby blamers. These narcissistic boobs continue to blame everyone but themselves for their problems.

These two designations -- Raccoon and leftist -- categorically exclude one another. Naturally, we get the occasional commenter veritably bursting with a rudimentary acquaintance with psychology, who says "aha! You were once a radical liberal! You are now a radical conservative! Underneath, you are simply the same person projecting into a different group, you know, like that evil David Horowitz!"

This type of comment should not be disregarded a priori. After all, it makes perfect sense to a dimwit, and dimwits are entitled to their opinions. Nevertheless, I did paws to scratch my coonskin cap over this mutterer. How is it different? How do I know that I'm not just projecting into leftists what I once projected into conservatives?

Well, for starters, there is the simple matter of knowing more now than I did then. To put it bluntly, when I was a liberal, I was an idiot. You have to imagine the days before the internet or talk radio, when there was literally no other widely available source of conservative opinion outside National Review, which I don't believe has ever had more than 100,000 subscribers. For a magazine with an ideology that supposedly caters to the "wealthy," one wonders why it has never turned a profit. Why do huge corporations not flock to advertise there instead of bonehead liberal magazines such as Time and Newseek? (That was a rhetorical question.)

So, number one, I was ignorant, even abjectly so. However, being that I did not know what I did not know, I assumed that it was safe for me to exercise my intelligence within the constraints of liberalism -- which ultimately is a good way to get nowhere fast, somewhat like a gifted Soviet economist who could only think about economics within the constraints of Marxism. No matter how brilliant, he will still be stupid.

We have an "integral" visitor who repeatedly chants the mantra of "separate lines of development," as if, say, someone can be highly spiritually evolved while being emotionally or politically stunted. That may be fine for postmodern integralists, but it is not the venerable Raccoon way, which insists upon the unity of the person -- indeed, equates both spiritual depth and height with unity or wholeness.

Coherence, depth, and meaning are all a function of increasing dynamic wholeness, so that, in the end (which is always here, both as ground and as telos drawing us toward it), we are no longer a scattered, fragmented multiplicity in futile pursuit of an ever-receding unity, but a Unity that com-prehends and therefore transcends the multiplicity of the cosmos. This represents our transdimensional bar mitzvah, as we make the transition from being a son or daughter of the the Cosmic Raccoon to actually being one. Only then are we entitled to "open the first clam" (speaking, of course, metaphorically).

Now, as stated, leftist and Raccoon are entities that precisely exclude one another. They cannot be integrated, any more than one can integrate Judaism with a ham sandwich. While Raccoons are technically omnivorous, certain things are nevertheless treif -- for example envy. It would never occur to us to exalt envy, much less build our political ambitions around it, much much less try to "integrate" it into our Raccoon nature.

But of course, leftism is little more than the breeding of victims for the cultivation of envy. Last night I did catch a few moments of the liberal rebuttal to the State of the Union, but to be honest, when are liberals not rebutting reality? It is what they do.

In his response, Jimmy Webb suggested that "Someone left the economic cake out in the rain, all the sweet green money flowing up. When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared."

Wo, wo, wo, time out, bucko. What are you hiding under that wig? "Fairly shared?" What's that supposed to mean? This is news to me. I am invested in the stock market. True, some of my mutual fund picks have been less than sterling, but it never occurred to me that it's someone else's fault -- that I'm not getting my fair share! Wahhhhhhhh!

But let's say I am intrigued. I like what I am hearing from this man Webb. My envy has been piqued. And exactly how are liberal politicians going to ensure that I do get my fair share -- whatever "fair" means? Why, they'll take away some of that wealth and create economic conditions in which less wealth is created for all! Of course, it will have no effect on my economic well-being, except to reduce it. However, if it also reduces my envy of those who are wealthier than I am, then I guess it's worth it.

Here is a type of "thinking" that would never occur to a Raccoon. It would never "cross our mind." Or, if it did, it would cross right through without ever nesting there: "When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day [this is a lie he just made up, by the way]. Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world."

My fellow Coons, do you smell what I smell? Let's pause for a moment to sniff this insane and disgusting approach to economics to try to understand just how spiritually rotten it is. We are not to live our lives from "within," to simply enjoy our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the real world. No. Rather, we are to calculate the percentage of national wealth that we possess, and live our lives in the darkness of this meaningless and abstract imaginary world.

You see? You only thought you were content. But you were fooling yourself! You're not content at all. Liberals are here to remind you of this. Be honest. Envy is eating away at you. Something must be done to satisfy this envy. Someone must pay. Someone must be punished. I want some of Nancy Pelosi's millions! Her wealth must be fairly shared with me! I want my wife to have hundreds of thousands of dollars of plastic surgery so she too can look like a blinking corpse!

Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, here is another thing that disgusts us about the liberal media, the idea that we care that she is a "woman." Only a liberal could think that one's reproductive equipment is more important than one's ideas. Likewise, it disgusts Raccoons -- it literally makes us want to vomit -- to repeatedly hear about Obama's skin color, for we are so far beyond race that it doesn't even occur to us that he's half white. Rather, we only notice that he is halfwit. That is the only thing that matters to us.

Since liberals, with their perfect myopia, have no ideas but instead obsess over things like race, class, and gender, there is much talk that this is the year of potential "firsts." First black president, first female president, etc. But to a Raccoon, they might as well be saying "first chick president," "first n***** president," "first dago president" (Giuliani), "first baby killer president" (McCain), "first cult president" (Romney), for it is no less disgusting to our ears.

Besides, I thought negroes already had a president, Al Sharpton. Isn't he the "black leader?" That's what I heard from the liberal media. "Al Sharpton, Black Leader."

Imagine the bottomless contempt you must have for blacks to presume to appoint them a leader, much less a lowlife like Al Sharpton. Consider for a moment the racial condescension in imagining that, unlike any other Americans, blacks require a "leader" selected by the white liberals who know what's best for them. Sick, sick, sick.

By the way, ladies, who's your chick leader, anyway, Hillary or Pelosi? And where do you get your chick news, from Katie Couric or from the View? And if Tom Sowell is my leader, does that make me black?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Left Behind Series (or, Why is the Left so Intellectually and Spiritually Behind?)

Why is it that the the smartest people are often the most unintelligent? Why is academia full of presumably bright people with such foolish or shallow ideas? And why do so many of them think the same way? Why are they so predictable? (And please, I am speaking of generalities here; I am well aware of the exceptions.)

Academia seems to be a culture, like the MSM, that is simply so permeated with the leftist worldview -- and all of its many hidden assumptions -- that it is utterly blind to those assumptions. And because academics mostly associate with their own psychoclass, they come to regard their worldview as normative instead of an aberration -- even an illness of the soul. Thus, they may not be so much arrogant as clueless. And the more elite the university, the more predictable they are. For example, professors at so-called "elite" universities are much more likely to be irreligious than those from junior colleges and state universities. It's like a Darwinian process of natural selction, in which the dark academic environment selects only the metaphysically blind, who are somehow able to "see" there, like those fish at the bottom of the sea.

I've mentioned before that I have a relative by marriage who is a renowned historian. I remember once having a conversation with him in which I brought up the obvious innate differences between male and female nature. Not only did he disagree with me, but he insisted that I show him the data that I relied upon to arrive at this conclusion. There seems to be a sort of mental disability that can afflict the overly-educated person, so that he can no longer understand certain things that have always been known -- and in a way, cannot not be known. Something interferes with the "naturally supernatural" process of direct "internal" knowing, and must be replaced from the outside with "data" or an empirical study. I suppose it's analogous to someone who only ate processed food. Eventually they would lose their taste for natural foods. Compared to a fried academic Snickers bar, an intuitive apple just won't do.

I think it is entirely fair to say that the vast majority of academic "product" is merely junk food for the mind (as always, we are speaking of the humanities, or subhumanities, to be exact). No, I don't have a study to prove that, but how would one go about doing so, anyway? Let's just say that for me, most academic books and papers are so tedious, or tendentious, or narrow, or poorly written, or frankly perverse, that a normal person would want nothing to do with them.

For example, most of the psychology journals I see are so dopey as to be laughable. And I mean that literally. (Let me say at the outset that there are a number of excellent psychoanalytic journals, but psychoanalysis is not exactly an academic discipline but a clinical one; it only becomes stupid in the hands of academics.) I don't subscribe to any of the big journals in my field. In fact, I'm not even a member of my professional association, the American Psychological Association, because it's just a front for a totolerantarian gang of leftist activists. But I do see some of the journals laying around the office, and I do occasionally flip through them for a laugh. To say that they are shallow does not even begin to address the problem. Virtually every issue has some big study about multiculturalism and the need for what is called cultural competence.

I just picked up one of these journals the other day, and read an article that was one of a multi-part series on cultural competence. This one had to do with cultural competence toward Muslim patients... wait, I mean clients... no, consumers of mental health services. (This shifting name for the object of clinical attention is another obnoxious artifact of the PC virus -- as if we can make a sick person well by calling him a "consumer" instead of a "patient.") Among other things, I learned that, in dealing with Muslims -- especially Shia Muslims -- one must be sensitive to their core value of martyrdom.

Now this is fascinating, because the idea is presented absolutely without irony or self-awareness. Yes, the PC impulse is a totalitarian one, but it doesn't feel that way to the person infected with it. Rather, I am sure they simply feel earnest. They are merely following their "do-gooder" impulse to provide me with the information I need to assist Muslim consumers of mental health services to be better martyrs. The idea that a cultural belief or practice can be a priori sick is unknown -- even unthinkable -- to them. This particular writer has been so thoroughly brainwashed by political correctness, multiculturalism, and moral relativism, that she has no idea how far gone she is -- or how very much in need she is for a kind of ideological psychotherapy that is unavailable to her -- unless she were lucky enough to stumble upon a Dr. Sanity, or ShrinkWrapped, or Theodore Dalrymple. I'm sure there are others, but the fact that we know their names tells you how rare and exceptional they are.

Speaking of insular, take a look at a comment made by that atheistic tool, Sam Harris. I bring it up because it demonstrates how beautifully the idiotarianism of atheism merges with the idiotarianism of leftism (yes, I realize that there are some atheistic conservatives, but they are obviously in the minority). With reference to the Islamic threat, Harris said that Europe has been "very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization."

And why are those who recognize the threat fascists? Because they are not politically correct liberals. There is no connecting of the dots, no mental ability to see the causal nexus between the inherent foolishness of leftism and their blindness to the threat of radical Islam. Harris' mind "cannot go there," very much like the perennially clueless New York Times, which often publishes variations on the theme of "Crime Down Despite Increase in Prison Population."

I am very fortunate, because I entered my masters program (1982) before these toxic and dysfuntiuonal ideas had permeated academia. Moreover, I completed my PhD at a private training institute with a strong psychoanalytic orientation, so I am one of those apparently rare individuals who has a PhD in the humanities without ever having had to seriously contend with the obnoxious PC brainwashing.

A magazine such as Psychology Today represents stupidity squared, because it mostly boils down the nonsense of academia for a semi-literate audience, in the same way that Time or Newsweek purvey idiotarian liberal conventional wisdom to the 8th grade mass-mentality.

In fact, Psychology Today recently published an article entitled The Ideological Animal that enters the realm of the "beyond stupid." I mean this literally, for a stupid person is merely stupid, but it takes real intelligence to push past the limits of stupidity into something beyond it. I know this may sound "rash" or polemic to some, but the effect of bad ideas during the 20th century alone was utterly catastrophic. Both Marxism and fascism were not just ideas, but entire systems of thought carefully worked out by intellectuals.

We are surrounded by bad ideas and their toxic consequences. A free marketplace will tend to eliminate bad ideas -- or at least it has a chance to -- whereas in academia or government, since they are free from market discipline, bad ideas can become entrenched and almost impossible to eliminate, as in the educational establishment, or the state department, or our tax system, or social security. In each case, any person with common sense can see the problem, and yet, there is nothing we can do about it. A bad idea, like a mind parasite, becomes like a living entity with its own momentum and its own desire to go on being.

Let's spend a moment looking at this Psychology Today article, which tries to explain the underlying psychological reasons for why someone would be conservative. Right away there's a tipoff, because it's literally inconceivable that hordes of leftist academics would set themselves the task of trying to understand the problem of leftism. What is its dark, seductive appeal? How do people fall into its clutches? Why is it mainly a disease of the emotionally immature and the under- and overeducated? Why is it so rampant in academia? Is it worse if the particular academic has had no real-world experience with any environment outside academia? Can a simple course in basic economics serve as a sort of innoculation? Is leftism a substitute religion? Is it widely associated with narcissistic personality disorder, since studies (as if those with Coon Vision require one) show that this is true of Hollywoodenhead celebreties and nitwitterati, who are said to be "narcissistic, vain, and lacking in real-life skills”?

Look at the assumptions with which the author begins: "We tend to believe our political views have evolved by a process of rational thought, as we consider arguments, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions. But the truth is more complicated." Yes, it may be more complicated, but this does not mean that the problems and issues are not susceptible to rational analysis. That is, just because some people -- or many people, it doesn't matter -- come to conservatism for emotional reasons, it hardly means that they are wrong.

Let's just take one example, the commonsense understanding that men and women are different in some fundamental ways. The person hasn't thought this through in any rational or explicit way. Rather, it's just "obvious" to him.

On the other hand, the over-educated liberal knows better. He knows that gender is just a social construct. Give a boy dolls to play with, and he'll grow up feminine. Give a girl guns, and she'll grow up macho.

Let's pause on this one for just a second, for this is a deeply evil, abusive, even monstrous notion. My 21-month old son is such a boy. I mean, I hate to say it, but he's more manly than I am. And he came out this way. The idea that my wife and I have somehow culturally "programmed" him to make him this way is just so nutty as to be beyond stupid. And the idea of doing anything to mitigate or weaken (as opposed to channel) this delightful male energy strikes me as a horror. His best friend is a little girl next door who is two months older, so I've watched her grow up from the outset. In her case, her feminine energy couldn't be more obvious, and is equally delightful. And when they interact, one sees all of the seeds of the beautiful complementarity between male and female, even at this young age. My son shows off for her with daring and dangerous stunts, tries to make her laugh, and does a little "mating dance" while she coyly bats her big eyes at him.

So I'm a fascist and I'm primitive. What can I say?

This is going to be a long day for me, so I suppose that I will have to de-deconstruct that Psychology Today article tomorrow. I also wanted to get into a couple of particularly dense comments left by the troll "reliapundit," for his inarticulate cluelessness inadvertantly inspired some thoughts about on the relationship between Spirit and language.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dreams of Reason and the Reason of Dreams

Been having these intense dreams lately. Two nights ago I woke up at around 2:00AM after the most intensely blissful dream of my life. Small catch though. I couldn't remember what it was about. All very vague. However, the overwhelming feeling -- even a whole-body feeling, if you know what I mean -- was, Don't worry. Everything is going to be okay. Like the inverse image of fear or anxiety. I don't mean on a personal or short term basis, but in the cosmic and eschatological sense. As if in the end, it all works out somehow.

While I was struggling to remember the details of the dream, I fell back asleep, only to have the same dream, which is very unusual. But once again, I couldn't remember what it was about. I was just left with the "residue" of eschatological bliss. Which is not chopped liver. Still. Be nice to know the details.

Something similar happened several years ago. I've told the story of how, after I finished writing the Coonifesto, I went through a bit of a mini-crisis, wondering if I had done a bad thing -- if I had offended against heaven, so to speak. Because I had no desire whatsoever to publish a book that would lead people away from essential Truth or sow confusion. In that case, I had a dream in which a certain spiritual figure well known to me reassured me with words to the effect of, Don't worry. You have the protection. Protection? What protection?! Come back! Details! But it did ease my mind.

In psychoanalytic therapy, one will often have a dream about what came out in the previous session. Something in the unconscious is provoked during the session and then "worked over" by the night logic of the dream, which you then bring into the next session, and so on.

This happened to me last night, in which I had a dream that was clearly a comment on yesterday's post. I was given my own radio talk show, but it was in another city, so I had to move. I drove somewhere south to an apartment I was to rent. I looked up and there was a huge billboard with my face on it. However, it wasn't a friendly billboard. Rather, it was "anti-Bob." It was put up by a certain relative of mine who quite passionately detests me, very much in the manner of the trolls with their wild accusations. The two of us do not speak, at his insistence, even though my feelings toward him are essentially neutral. In any event, under my picture on the billboard it said "GASBAG BOB." Then, under that (referring to the radio show), "Talk is Cheap. You Get What You Pay For."

So now I have trolls in my dreams.

Regarding my teleological dream of eschatological harmony, I do sometimes wonder how even the best afterlife imaginable could compensate for, say, the horror of being prematurely separated from my son. If it weren't for him, I think I could say, "okay, I've lived long enough." By the time a man reaches 40, he's pretty much seen it all... unless he's a bit of a loser. But I had a nice, slack-filled childhood. Then I got to taste beer. When I grew up and had to get a real job, I was at least able to purchase a very cool sound system. I got to fall in love and marry the prettiest girl in graduate school. I got to see Kirk Gibson hit that home run off Eckersley in the '88 World Series. What else is there?

What there is is my son's life, for which I am now responsible. Schuon makes reference to one of Andersen's fairy tales, in which a mortal is granted a glimpse of heaven: "only for a moment does the heavenly rapture last, and already several millennia have passed by on earth. In union with God there is no longer time nor change. It is the highest freedom; only our earthly heaviness could possibly see in it immobility or something else comparable with general earthly conditions." This would imply that upon the moment of one's death, one is more or less instantaneously reunited with loved ones and with everything else, so fleeting is terrestrial life from that perspective. I guess I'll buy that. My dream implies it. Still, I want those details. A Raccoon does not speculate.

Back to the question of scripture. Yesterday a reader (HT: Bryan) sent me a link to a website that discusses a new book by a certain highly regarded Orthodox theologian, Fr. John Behr, entitled The Mystery of Christ: Life in Death (the book looks quite good, by the way; it's in my pipeline). The reader mentioned that he thought Behr's approach to scripture had certain similarities to mine.

Now this is most gratifying, especially coming from an Orthodox standpoint, which I regard as the most kosher. I love when this happens -- and it happens often -- that is, arriving at the same Truth through an entirely different route. For it proves the objective reality of the Thing we are both dreaming, but from slightly different angles. Plus it shows that Christian truth embodies Objective Truth, and vice versa, even if the human vertex -- our angle of intersection -- inevitably both distorts it and cannot possibly contain it. It shows to me that our souls are indeed proportioned to the divine reality, and that we can ascertain universal metaphysical truths -- or the realm of that which cannot not be -- through the veils of religion, which simultaneously veil and reveal (or reveil, as Petey likes to say).

As I mentioned yesterday, the non-religious person cuts himself off from essential Truth by falling back upon the lesser modes of empiricism and rationalism. In so doing, he tethers himself to the herebelow and I-solates himself from both God and himself. He no longer stands in the source of his being (O), but outside it. He then attempts to understand his existential situation "from the outside," as it were, which is a fool's errand if ever there were one. To a priori reduce subjectivity to objectivity and then try to comprehend the miracle of subjectivity? It makes no sense. To close the door of subjectivity is to bar the very door to heaven -- the hole in creation that gives the human being access to the Infinite and the Absolute. To borrow a metaphor from Schuon, it is as if the atheist "crystalizes" man's fall and lives under a thick sheet of ice.

Is it possible not just to think about God, but to think in God? Absolutely. For this is one of the mysterious properties of scripture, which provides the divine archetypes with which to "think about" eternity -- or to think outside the specific limitations of our human circumstance. This is what it means to believe in order to understand. The operative word is understand. And this is why I say that scripture is one of the four epistemological modes available to humans. And although it is "objective" in one sense, it must be "lit up" from the inside through intellection, which necessarily has some degree of subjectivity.

So while our subjectivity is the miraculous channel though which God flows, it is also where "error" creeps in. Because error exists -- indeed, cannot not exist by virtue of the very nature and conditions of existence -- materialists throw out the entire axis of revelation-intellection as "unscientific." That it is. But most of what we know is unscientific, strictly speaking. There is no scientific explanation for why you prefer a particular tie, let alone how Gibson hit that home run with two permanently crippled knees. We are thoroughly plunged into a mystery, but some of us try to convince ourselves otherwise by gripping tightly to the scientific method. Madness!

Metaphysical truth is convergent. Imagine a mountain with many trails leading to the top. At the base, the trails will be at their widest distance from one another. But as one ascends the mountain, the various trails will begin to converge. Now, the other day, a truly benighted troll chided us for suggesting that this blog is intended for "spiritually advanced individuals with a thorough grounding in esotericism and traditional metaphysics," as if this were an egoic boast as opposed to a mere description of the terrain we share -- "the ecology of Raccoons," as it were. Our little transdimensional niche in evolutionary hyperspace.

Again, there are no regular readers who need to be reminded that none of us are masters, but all of us are servants who just happen to love and be attracted to the same thing. Our love draws us closer to that object, but in so doing, closer to one another. Thus, we all have our different angles on the Absolute. The miracle -- and it is a miracle -- is that our visions are so similar despite vastly different routes in arriving here. This is why we can always tell when a new Raccoon has arrived on the scene. It is as plain as day. No one is policing anybody. The Raccoon will be someone right over there, on that trail across the way. Welcome to the den! On the other hand, the troll, or sub-Raccoon, annoys us with his weather reports from base camp, where he sees nothing but a cloud cover concealing the mountain.

Subjectivity is another word for experience. Thus, for humans, God will be an experience of God. As such, as pointed out by our Unknown Friend, "all superficial, incomplete, and false experience is bound to give rise to superficial, incomplete and false conclusions... in a direction parallel with the experience from which they are the outcome." Therefore, it must be concluded that our intellection "on the one hand is in no way infallible but on the other hand is qualified to lead to the discovery of essential truths. Its effectiveness and value depend on the fullness and exactitude of the experience upon which it is based."

Now, the development of spontaneous "Coon vision" is only possible as a result of the acquisition of "long experience" and the accumulation of "the teachings which it requires." However, the long years of work actually end in the ability to play in the mischevious Raccoon manner we know so well, for as the Master put it, "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a baby raccoon shall not enter it." Or as Schuon expressed it, the integral state of the fully mature Raccoon "keeps, in equilibrium with his wisdom, the qualities of simplicity and freshness, of gratitude and trust, that he possessed in the springtime of his life." Holy innocence, as it were.

This state represents the attainment of "harmony and equilibrium between the spontaneity of the unconscious and the deliberate action of the conscious" (Meditations). It is none other than O-->(k), or subjective intellection within the constraints of objective revelation. It is somewhat analogous to "theological mind jazz," in which you spend half your life learning what to know, and then half your life unknowing what you have learned, so as to spontaneously compose the Song Supreme.

Or, as Joni Mitchell sang, "something's lost, but something's gained, in living every day." Death and rebirth at the razoredgeon of day to day existence. In living the dream of this perpetual death and rebirth, we also know that everything is going to be okay.

Wanting to believe only what they see, scientists condemn themselves to seeing only what they believe; logic for them is their desire not to see what they do not want to believe. --F. Schuon