Bloggin' on the Back Roads by the Rivers of My Memory (12.17.10)
In Tomberg's analysis, he begins with the idea that sleep, death, and forgetting are all related to one another: just as sleep is the "younger brother of death," forgetting "is the younger brother of sleep." Forgetting is "a partial sleep of the conscious mind, while sleep is a complete forgetting of consciousness." To remember is to "resurrect" something from unconsciousness, while awakening from sleep is the remembrance of our conscious self. Each day we are miraculously "born again" through the sacred Raccoon ritual of the holy caffeinated water.
But just as life requires metabolism (building up) and catabolism (tearing down), our minds also require various kinds of forgetting in order to function. For example, in order to concentrate or to meditate, one must temporarily forget everything in consciousness except for the doing or non-doing at hand. If everything in your consciousness were simultaneously present -- if you had no forgettery to complement your memory -- you could accomplish little. Which reminds me of the scientist Francis Crick. In an interview, he was asked how he had managed to accomplish so much in his professional life. He responded that he had an advantage over other men because he was a "ninety percenter." That is, he only thought of sex 90% of the time, whereas most men do so 95% percent of the time.
The other day I read an intelligent comment by a poster on another site. I don't even remember the topic, but his point was that medicine is not a science but an art. Specifically, it is an art that utilizes and incorporates science, but nevertheless an art. I immediately related to this characterization, as I think it adequately summarizes the difference between, say, a Ken Wilber and me. I am not suggesting that my posts are works of art, only that the process of writing them is much more analogous to the way art is produced, in that I am essentially calling things up from the wider realm of consciousness as such, somewhat like a spider that spins an external production out of its own substance -- which it then inhabits.
We all do this -- that is, crawl around in the psychic webs we spend our lives spinning -- some of us more consciously than others. But where does the material for the web come from? As ShrinkWrapped has noted on many occasions, the most naive and clueless people are those who believe that their minds are completely rational, and that their psychic webs are spun out of "pure reason." Such individuals -- there's a particularly annoying one who frequently posts on Dr. Sanity -- tend to be rather tedious and shallow, as they are alienated from the larger and most vital part of their being. They tend to be on the obsessive-compulsive end of the spectrum, holding tightly to their little spotlight that is fixed upon a small area of darkness, instead of the vast -- even infinite -- interior cosmos that extends beyond the range of the spotlight, both "up" (into supra-sensory realms) and "down" (into the unconscious).
One can also see how this type of obsessional thinking is analogous to one who "cannot die," for just as there is pathological forgetting (i.e., Alzeimer's), there is pathological remembering (i.e., scientism, rationalism, leftism, etc.). In both cases, a psychic death occurs: the Alzeimer's patient because he cannot remember, the materialist or doctrinaire leftist because he cannot forget. Because as soon as you successfully forget that nonsense, your mind and your being will be "resurrected."
There is an inevtiable reason why conservatives and religious people are so much happier than leftists and irreligious people. They also live considerably longer, probably as a result of the deadly stress hormones produced by trying to live in a manner that is unnatural to -- and unworthy of -- human beings. In other words, just as human beings can only survive and flourish in a certain type of external environment (even if our technology is able to "recreate" that environment in hostile climes), they also only flourish spiritually and psychologically in a certain type of "interior environment" that facilitates vertical recollection of the soul -- "resurrection" again. You can pretend that what I am saying is untrue, but you're just pretending. You'll just create an exterior environment that props up and supports something less than your soul.
Science begins with the known (k) and tries to extend it into the unknown (O), whereas spirituality begins in the infinite unknown (O) and tries to "give voice" to it in a more or less structured way. Dogma and theology would represent more structured representations of O, whereas my bobservations would be less so. With respect to my posts, I do not know where they come from, as I am not logically thinking things through in any linear way as I write them. Rather, I simply abandon myself to the process of drawing things up in the order they arise. I am getting much better at simply typing things as they come down -- often without really knowing why -- and I frequently have to tell myself, "don't worry, just keep typing. You'll eventually find out what it means." This "waiting" for order and meaning is an important element of faith, which truly is the substance of things hoped for, but only if you don't prematurely foreclose your faith with easy answers. It also means that interest in my posts continues to wither away, but that's out of my hands.
In a way, the process is analogous to free association in psychoanalytic therapy. The first and last rule of psychoanalysis is to "disenable" your censor and to say whatever comes to mind, no matter how bizarre or trivial. By listening with "even hovering attention," a good analyst will be able to apprehend a deeper order that is governing the patient's associations -- perhaps even catch a mind parasite in flagrante delicto, which is always a thrill. With my posts, it's as if I am free associating, except "from above" rather than "below." As I continue associating, an order spontaneously emerges, but it is the same teleological order that was covertly guiding the process all along. The psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas (the most talented psychoanalytic writer qua writer I know of) calls it, "Giving up narrative control to become a certain sort of subject within a process guided by the intelligence of the other" -- or the (O)ther, as the case may be.
You might say that with the incarnation, the eternal Christic order went from being "implicate" to being "explicate," to employ the terms used by the quantum physicist David Bohm. The order was there as potential, but the human intermediary is required for it to "live," so to speak -- just as Mary was required in order for God's word to assume biological life. Obviously, it wasn't as if Christ did not exist prior to his incarnation, much less afterwards. But it was implicate existence -- "wave" rather than "particle," so to speak. The wave became particle for some 33 years, in so doing, roiling the waves of deep history. As I have mentioned before, those temporal waves continue to lap upon our distant shore, something which sounds strange but which is "obviously" true even to the most metaphysically blind and dense individual. Leftists would like to eliminate that particular wave from history, but the effort is as idle as trying to clamp down on the ocean to stop tsunamis. Good luck. The rest of us will just enjoy the metaphysical surfing.
Your very self is a chaotic attractor that abides in the future, drawing you toward it, but only if you abandon your own alternate plans for your existence. Bollas describes the self as an "inner sense of destiny" which "seeks lived experience to realise its own particular aesthetic intelligence." "We sense this drive to present and represent our self as if it were an intelligent life force" which reveals itself through the way we uniquely make use of the objects (and subjects) of life. For example, cut a page of Lileks' bleat, and it bleeds his blood. No one else could possibly use those particular objects and words in that particular way. His unique idiom is the exteriorization and realization of his equally unique self.
Now more than ever, because of the vast overabundance of infrahuman trivia and propaganda that surrounds us, it is necessary to live a life of systematic forgetting in order to remember -- and therefore resurrect -- "the one thing needful." Schuon was very, very adamant on this point, which can sound austere but is actually the doorway to liberation. In a letter to an initiate, he wrote, "The chief difficulty of the spiritual life is to maintain a simple, qualitative, heavenly position in a complex, quantitative, earthly setting." Only in so doing will we have the musical uppertuneity to hear the song celestial and discern between the Real and the illusory, which is the whole point of the spiritual life (that and a little thing called salvation). It is very difficult to remember the Real when one's very life is plunged into the unreal, with no space to breath in the ambiance of the Absolute and the Eternal.
This distinction between the Real and the illusory will determine how we use the only certainty given to humans aside from death, judgment, and eternity, which is the present moment, which ultimately determines the others. For the one moment given to us is the "liberating center" of the cosmos, into which eternity flows and death is therefore transcended. Alternatively, if we are tied with all our being to the relentless machine of time, it simply drags us along in its wake until we are ground down or torn apart. Lucky ones will simply smash into the wall of death without ever knowing what hit them -- which is to say, their life.
"What was that?"
"That was your life, mate."
"Oh, that was quick, do I get another?"
"Sorry mate, that's your lot." --Interior dialogue of Basil Fawlty
Schuon sets out some simple guidelines for avoiding frittering away the moment, and therefore, your lot.
"One must not waste one's time with worldly, unnecessary and often trivial distractions."
"One must not regularly read a newspaper from one end to the other, above all in the morning."
"One must not habitually watch television."
"One must not read novels, profane, unhealthy, trivial literature" (although it is obviously permissible to inform oneself, to read books worthy of interest in historical, cultural, aesthetic, etc., subjects, but with measure and without losing oneself therein; and to enjoy art or music that is noble and which elevates).
"One must control one's curiosity."
"In short, one must live 'in a little garden of the Holy Virgin,' without unhealthy curiosity and without ever losing sight of the essential content and goal of life. That is 'holy poverty' or 'holy childlikeness'; it is also, so to speak, 'holy monotony'.... dominated by the proximity of the sacred, and on the margin from the uproar of this lower world.... This seems obvious, but most believers take no account of it."
Such a life is hardly monotonous in the way that word is typically understood, much less boring, but it is disciplined. I especially like the advice about "controlling curiosity," which is surely a vital component, for either you will control it or it will control you and drag you around by the eyes and ears. There are so many psychic avenues that one should not even take the first step down, but as soon as you say that, people think you're trying to diminish their freedom. Plus, the last thing people want is to have their conscience awakened, which is why Job One of the left is the annihilation of the personal conscience and its replacement with a collective one. This allows, for example, Hollywoodenheads to lead depraved lives while feeling morally superior to the rest of us because they voted for Al Gore's propaganda movie. This dynamic is the entire secret of leftist moral preening, and answers the perennial question, "how can such perverted people be so sanctimonious?"
Now, where were we? Yes, Lazarus. The miracle of drawing life from death. Don't worry, we're getting there, ye of little faith. One of the hazards of free association is that interesting little trails and byways will pop up along the journey. "Look! A squirrel!"
There's no hurry -- "to travel well is better than to arrive" anyway. And after all, free associations are free: you get what you pray for.