Voidgin Boyths, Iamacculate Coonceptions, and Speaking Obonics (2.01.09)
In order for me to blog something different about the good nous every day, I have had to train myself to listen more carefully to the smallstool voice of Petey, who is actually dropping little flagrant pellets of wisdom all the time. In fact, one of the helpful tidbits he shared with me is that he has always been sharing these helpful tidbits with me, but that I was so "dense" that I treated them like turdbits.
And when I say "dense" I mean dense, as in "dense." One must learn to "tune into" the remarkable subtlety of one's own mind, which truly has a mind of its own, just like the Dreamer who dreams your dreams. The difference, say, between a common materialist and a man of genuine spiritual achievement is merely a few immeasurable microns of psychic subtlety.
I can say this because my mind is -- pretty much by definition -- no more intelligent than it has ever been, and yet, much more subtle than it has ever been, in the sense of being able to see and understand spiritual realities. As a result, I "know" things today that I couldn't possibly have known 10 or 15 years ago. But at the same time -- at risk of smelling blasfumy -- Christ himself couldn't have taught me these things back then. They could have been handed to me on a silver platter, but I would have rejected them with a silvery platitude. The seed would have fallen on my dry rockhead.
When most spiritual types talk about eliminating "the ego," it always strikes me as just so much new age pneumababble. They don't know what they're talking about, because you can no more live without an ego than you can live without a brain. What we call the ego is simply your psychic "center of gravity" at any given moment, and it is actually a good thing to be aware this center (more often than not, a person is mentally ill precisely because they lack such a center, for mind parasites are "attractors" with their own chaotically shifting centers in the fabric of consciousness; furthermore, these individuals often confuse having no homogeneous center with having transcended the ego).
Having said that, our center can be wide or narrow, shallow or deep, dense or subtle, and those are the real issues. In my opinion, all this new age talk of "ego" must result from some kind of misunderstanding or mistranslation of the original Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist texts.
For me, it is much more meaningful to discuss it in terms of the shift in perspective that takes place when our psychic center transitions from the exterior/horizontal to the interior/vertical. This is, broadly speaking, what we would call being "born again from above." Thus, we don't so much eliminate the ego as give it a new life and a new orientation. You can give it a new name if you like, but obviously there is some continuity with the old you. In a certain sense, it is merely the "real you," minus all the cultural, familial, and other accretions.
For that is something else I've have noticed. As my "thinking" has become more complex and subtle, I myself have grown increasingly "simple." The always excellent Lee Harris has spoken of how it took him some 30 years to unlearn the nonsense he learned in the course of his higher education, in order to once again be able to think clearly. I understand exactly what he means.
In a a brief article entitled Good is Bad, Stanley Kurtz "reviews" a bizarre book review of an anthology called Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys. The original book review was written by a Jacobin rascal coincidentally named Russell Jacoby, who criticizes the book on the grounds that it is clear and well-written:
“'Almost without exception,' Jacoby begins, 'each essay is lucid and articulate.... Would it be possible to assemble a countercollection by leftists that would be equally limpid?' 'Unlikely,' Jacoby answers. The leftist professorate, he admits, 'distrusts clear prose as superficial.... On the basis of this volume, conservatives are excellent writers -- and facile thinkers. Perhaps the two go together.'”
There are huge differences between being clear about complex ideas ("Right"), being obscure or confused about simplistic or kooky ones ("Left"), attacking cognitive links in order to dismantle meaning ("psychotic"), superimposing fantasized meaning onto the world ("paranoid"), and using unsaturated language in such a way that you attempt to "reproduce" a spiritual experience in another ("Up," "Coonspeak," or "Obonics"). In fact, the reader who alerted me to this article actually accused Dear Leader, of all people, of falling into the category of the academonic leftist who writes in a needlessly complicated manner about a subject -- presumably spirituality -- that is inherently simple. If so, one can only wonder why he would waste his time trying to unravel my mystagogic Bobscurities?
No. My writing is not the least bit complex. Rather, it is very precise, and makes perfect nonsense so long as you understand Obonics. However, as touched on above, there is a real challange involved in trying to utilize language in such a manner that you "reproduce" not just empirical facts -- which is easy -- but a spiritual experience in another. How do you do that with language? I'm not saying that I always succeed; however, I know for a fact that I sometimes do, for many readers have told me so.
Back when I was more of a garden-variety intellectual, I was full of all kinds of "ruling ideas" and dogmas -- all of the things people think are true because other important people think they're true, so you end up thinking thoughts that were actually manufactured elsewhere, in someone else's mind. But as Satprem, a sadhak of Sri Aurobindo's yoga, wrote, "Clearly, if we want to discover a new country within us, we must first leave the old one behind -- everything depends on our determination in taking this first step."
This first step is also the last step and every step in between, for, in the words of Aurobindo, "fitness and unfitness are only a way of speaking; man is unfit and a misfit (so far as spiritual things are concerned) -- in his outward nature. But within there is a soul and above there is a Grace. This is all you know or need to know.
A soul behind and a grace above. What could be more simple? But simple hardly means simplistic, much less easy, for recognizing and living within this simple truth is the ongoing task of the spiritual life. To "transcend" or "eliminate" the ego really comes down to identifying with the wider reality to which the exteriorizing ego attaches itself.
As I mentioned, I have seen this occur in my own being, as I have gradually given up "thinking" for something that feels quite different. Perhaps Will touched on it yesterday, in his most excellent and luminous comment about the two types of creativity and their analogy to the Divine creativity. It is well worth reading in its entirety, but I wanted to focus on the second type of creativity, which
"does not involve the sense of 'creative build-up and release'. In fact, it's almost a 'give it or take it' creativity -- it's the kind of creativity characterized by the term 'not-doing'. The effortless effort, not there one second, there the next second, no explosion. Henry Miller's early 'Tropic' works, I think, are a good example of the compulsive, build-up and explode type of creativity. His later writings, such as Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch -- in which Miller turned to attention fully to spiritual matters -- are a good example of the quiet, serene, effortless effort type of creativity...
"Early Beethoven -- compulsive build-up/explosion creativity. Beethoven's late string quartets -- definitely effortless effort, very Zen. One thing that makes them so beautiful is the feeling that Beethoven could just as easily *not* have composed them. Shakespeare, too -- though the plays are replete with fury and emotion, there is something eerily detached about them that suggests that they were 'breathed into existence', not exploded into being.
"Eckhart once said in a sermon... something to the effect that when God created the cosmos, He actually didn't *do* anything. Enigmatic, yes, but I think it suggests that the Godhead's creativity was and is, at root, the 'effortless effort'. On the plane of being, this creativity is the most transcendent.
"There are those who will tell you that 'not-being' informs 'being' at every moment, which is what makes existence so beautiful.
"Anyway, I think the transcendent, less ego-individualistic, 'effortless effort' artist will eventually become the ideal. That, in turn, will reflect on our perspective of the Creator's divine nature."
Yes, yes, and yes. In short, "yes." I believe this second type of creativity is analogous to the "virgin birth," of the immaculate conceptions that occur as a result of our soul's feminine receptivity to vertical influences: A soul behind and a grace above, is all you know or need to know. As Molly Bloom -- the archetypal feminine -- says in her interior dialogue at the conclusion of Ulysses, as she relinquishes the ego and falls into sleep -- the brother of death: and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
Now now, keep it clean. Seed, soil, conception, birth. As above, so below. It might as well be Saint Teresa. Same story in a different context. In any event, if you wish to give your consciousness a wider berth, you must learn to say yes to the Divine Influx.
I wanted to get to the next two questions, "Does anybody else actually exist or am I just a waking dreamer, dreaming the world and all of its inhabitants into existence in order to actualize my fractured consciousness?," and "For that matter, do I even exist or am I just a scripted player in a wider dream?" But unfortunately, Future Leader is sick again, this time summoning the earl from both ends. As a result, the wheels have effectively come off the usually peaceful Dawn which is normally so friendly to the amusing muses. Petey can only be seen in this obscure nightlight, and now he's gone for the day. Thus, we will have to get into the question of waking dreams and dreaming lives tomorrow. In the meantime, do try to be lucid as you sleepwalk through your daydream.