Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Repent, For the Center is at Hand! (12.13.10)

The self -- at least a healthy self -- does not merely spin around an interior axis. Rather, aided by 'the light of Reason' (understood in its integral, not merely rationalistic sense) and by transcendent ideals, this center of subjectivity can undergo increased order and evolve in the direction of one's highest aspiration, toward the true cosmic center of which we are a distant reflection -- we are the 'center at the periphery,' as Schuon has called it, the true center being the nonlocal, space-pervading spirit of I AM.

I don't mean to get upsidetracked, but lately I've been having dreams that comment on the previous day's post, also known as "narcissism squared." Last night I think I had a dream with specific reference to the statement above. Dick Cheney strolled into my dining room, and I posed a question to him about the difference between serious thinkers and mere intellectuals. It so happened that Newt Gingrich was in the neighborhood going door to door, canvassing for votes. I put it to the vice president that Gingrich -- correct though his ideas might be -- would never be president because he was too intellectual -- that while obviously intelligent, his mind flittered about the axis of ideas, and that ideas were too flimsy a foundation for one's existence.

In the dream, Cheney clearly represented the opposite -- one could feel his ontological presence radiating from the center out -- a substantial "weight" or gravity, as it were (remember when he made the ontologically anorexic Ms. Edwards disappear in their debate?). I don't remember the exact dialogue, but I mentioned to him that it took me a long time to acquire anything like this kind of center myself.

Most intellectuals are more or less "weightless," in part because their ideas are rooted in nothing more solid than their own airy abstractions. Genuine human maturity occurs when our minds become anchored in the Real, which is to say God, however you wish to conceptualize it. In fact, since so many modern intellectuals are uncomfortable with "God," this is one of the reasons I chose to employ the abstract symbol O to stand for the ultimate ground of our being, a ground which may (only) be known subjectively. The bottom line of my dream was that unless one's mind abides in O, one cannot ultimately "think straight" about reality, much less be a true leader of men (who will spontaneously follow such a man).

Irrespective of one's theology, one can scarcely imagine Jesus "thinking" or speaking outside O. This is why pseudo-theologians who claim that Jesus was just another teacher are so wildly off base. In everything Jesus says and does, regardless of the specific content, the even deeper message is the "ontological weight" he radiates from the center out. Indeed, this is the first thing that people notice about him, both followers and detractors. Just as in the physical world, gravity is a function of mass, and the mass of Jesus' extraordinarily compacted center draws people (and trouble) to him like you & meteoroids to the atmasphere.

For example, even as an infant, that nice Jewish family, the Weismans from east Brooklyn, are drawn into his orbit. As for the trouble, Herod too senses the presence of an alternate center of power, and schemes to literally murder it in the crib before it can grow. John the Baptist also immediately recognizes the center -- which stands as a general lesson for all of us. We must all learn how to recognize this center when we are in its presence, at great peril to our spiritual development. Although all human beings are born with this native ability, for any number of developmental reasons we can lose contact with it.

The center can only communicate "center to center," so to the extent that you have lost or failed to develop yours, it will be a case of "God's lights are on but nobody's om." You absolutely must coontivate this center in order to sense the "real presence" (or presence of the Real), otherwise you will remain exiled in the teenage wasteland of mere ideas -- which is really not all that more solid and enduring than the world of fleeting desires or impulses. It goes without naying that the overwhelming majority of ideas do not -- and certainly should not -- survive the birdbrain that hatched them. It would have been better if most ideas had not been conceived at all. They'll eventually be aborted anyway.

So John the Baptist immediately recognizes the center (Matt 4:14). Note as well that even God himself is then drawn to this center, another profound lesson to meditate upon: And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matt 4:17). But before you get all excited, note that the very next sentence once again indicates that hostile cosmic forces are simultaneously drawn to the scene (Matt 4:1). Jesus spends the subsequent forty days in the bewilderness, where he is tempted by the devil -- whom you might say is the periphery, or "dispersal," personified.

Now, what can this possibly mean except that there is a hostile, countervailing force that attempts to draw the center outside of itself -- which indeed is the quintessence of all temptation and of all sin, which involves a vain dispersal of our psychic substance? With no center of gravity or groove of centerity, we have no way to "repel" the worldly forces that perpetually draw us down and out of ourselves. We "fall" when there is nothing there to hold us fast to the center. Conversely, if we abide in the center, temptations fall away of their own accord. Another way of saying this is that our "force" becomes stronger than the world's force.

After Jesus successfully repels the temptations of ø by abiding in O, behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matt 4:11). In other words, benign vertical forces are drawn in -- which only happens all the time -- good morning, Petey! After that come the first two disciples, who clearly sense the ontological weight of the center, to such an extent that they immediately drop what they're doing and follow him (Matt 4:20) -- although pulled is probably more like it. And then a multitude is drawn in (Matt 4:23). And so on. Today, the center continues to pull history in its wake.

Eventually Jesus draws everyone and everything in, but that's a story for another post. Suffice it to say that the I AM of the cosmic center is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Rev 22:13), blissfully floating before the fleeting flickering universe, stork naked in brahma daynight, worshiping in oneder in a weecosmic womb with a pew...

Now, my non-Christian readers are no doubt being gradually turned off by much of this, but if so, you need to pay closer attention to the universal principles and lessons that are being conveyed to us through scripture. Indeed, you might even be in a better position to understand certain vital Christian truths than many Christians who have been taken out by what they have taken in. Sadly, so much Christian truth has been warped and twisted by its human resaptacles, that it is easy to dismiss or overlook its profundity. With prominent mirror-idiots spanning from christianist Pat Robertson to christianista Andrew Sullivan, it is not surprising that so few intellectuals take religion seriously. In fact, this is why they become intellectuals in the first place, worshipping at the altar-ego of their own flimsy creations.

And as we were pointing out yesterday, it is hardly as if Jesus represents the only ontological center, even if you happen to believe for reasons of faith that he is the ultimate center, or the trans-cosmic "center made flesh," so to speak. For your being -- yes, yours -- will undergo a decided shift once you are able to recognize this center in anyone or in anything.

If, for example, you can distinguish between, say, Frithjof Schuon and Albert Einstein; or James Madison and Noam Chomsky; or Adam Smith and Paul Krugman; or Abraham Heschel and Michael Lerner; or Sri Aurobindo and Deepak Chopra; these names were chosen off the top of my head, but the list is endless, at least in terms of what one can assimilate in a single lifetome. If you can sense the real presence radiating from the words and deeds -- even the very "being" -- of an earthly representative of the center, you will begin to change.

If you can yield to a spontaneous reverence for, and devotion and submission to, such luminous souls, you may be able to begin ridding yourself of what you are full of -- which is to say, a compacted area of dispersed fragments, a faux unity with no true order, held together from the outside in (or top down) rather than the inside out.

The existence of God does not have to be proven to the man who knows this center, either in himself or in another, any more than the existence of sight needs to be proven to one who sees. For our innate sense of the sacred -- which is a ponderable reflection of this center within us -- is simply adequation to the Real. This ultimate reality radiates from the cosmic center and reaches us in the depths of our center, which is to say, the heart, which represents the higher union of thought and emotion. This is the mystery of God's immanence, "which makes us capable of knowing all that is knowable, and which for that very reason makes us immortal" (Schuon).

But first you must learn how to be an unknow-it-all, which is the stumbling block -- or bumbling schlock -- of the preening intellectual. For He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

*****

If One Cosmos can serve as a distantly "reflected center" to help anyone begin to intuit the Cosmic One, then I suppose the reason for our existence will have been fulfilled.

(hatched from the truly fertile egghead & heart of Dilys and Fishy Art)

29 Comments:

Anonymous manuel freedom said...

I am with God, yet seem to recognize in Al Gore the very center that you speak of; I am very troubled by this.

Someone or something is wrong, but I doubt that my perceptions are off. So what's the real score on Gore?

3/14/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

The score is "zero" and you are possessed by it.

3/14/2007 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Sawdust said...

"Who will spontaneously follow such a man?" Let us not forget the man who was President to Gore's Vice. I have a hard time thinking of another person less grounded to center, with the notable exception of his wife, who also wants to lead this country. He had no trouble at all finding followers who made no end of excuses for his very un-centered behavior. In fact, if not for the Constitutional term limits, he might well be President today.

Manuel, you say you see the center in Al Gore. Would you elaborate, I don't see it at all. I see a man who wants very much to be President, and has chosen the strategy of a "global warming" scare, with himself as the hero to come to our rescue, as his route to the White House. Everything about the man seems false to me, but then my perception could be off. I did vote for Jimma Carter, after all.

3/14/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Suffice it to say that the I AM of the cosmic center is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Rev 22:13), blissfully floating before the fleeting flickering universe, stork naked in brahma daynight, worshiping in oneder in a weecosmic womb with a pew..."

Interesting - your words solidify something I've been playing with ever since I visited Motel Zero yesterday and absorded the "broken" pew in Robin's photoglyph. We seem to build parks and worship spaces with pews meant for pausing, resting, looking outward and inward. I can't recall ever seeing pews set at right angles or opposing one another as that would just encourage human to human conversation. I love the View from Petey's Pew today.

wv - mizeh = miz e h???

3/14/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous ms. e said...

ooops! anon above is ms. e, just in case you didn't pick up on the clue in the last line.

3/14/2007 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Al Gore puts the "gore" in egregores or should I say egogores!!!!

"For man is not bound by the convention concluded between heaven and hell; he can go beyond the limits of natural law and engender arbitrarily(italicized) malicious forces whose nature and action are beyond(italicized) the framework of the law....One has to guard against accusing the beings of the hierarchies of evil to their detriment of having played the role of Molochs, these being only creatures of the perverse collective of human will and imagination. These are egregores..."
Anonymous - Med On The Tarot

3/14/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous ms. e said...

"It goes without naying that the overwhelming majority of ideas do not -- and certainly should not -- survive the birdbrain that hatched them. It would have been better if most ideas had not been conceived at all."

. . . . " there's a kind of simple way to know whether something you just heard is something that should not have been said. It is: Did it make you wince? When the Wince-o-meter is triggered, it's an excellent indication that what you just heard is unfortunate and ought not to be repeated."

3/14/2007 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

lisa: As Paul would put it, 'Imaginations'.

They are as deadly (and maybe more so) than the servants of the enemy. Lest anyone think they're safe in laying up their house with protective charms or removing all such 'occultive' objects altogether.

The material man can become violent and empty, the reasoning man self-idolatrous, cold and wicked, but the intellectual man gone bad is as bad or worse than any daimon.

Egogore... what a great word for it.

3/14/2007 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Strangely, Camille Paglia is "transversing" today's orbit...It's a drawl!. Peggy Noonan's on a similar wavelength. Bob bangs a gong and look what happens. :-)

3/14/2007 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

River- Yeah,smart men with their heads up their asses can be very dangerous and annoying....

3/14/2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

'What's the score on Gore?'
'Northeaster's ego chow.'

'What's the REAL score on Gore?'
'Slow Northeaster ego reach.'
or...
'Astrologer chants, "Here, woe!"'
or...
'Ow, Green Orchestrates Halo..."

3/14/2007 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Let's fix that Paglia link - It's a drawl!. Apologies...

3/14/2007 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

PS - Administrator = I.T. Dorm Artisan.

3/14/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

I'm glad manuel speaks up. I am having a similar conversation with a truly good person (who admires Carter and Gore as "true Southern gentlemen") about Liberation Theology, something that without fail eventually plays into the hands of bloody marxist sweeps of the countryside, is hostile and deforming to the integrity of our understanding of the Vertical, and gums up the welfare of its needy objects (it purports to be, a way of caring for our brothers and sisters. Not).

"Feelers" and "thinkers" have this ongoing conversation, even in the recent SXSW keynote ["stories are about empathy, the interactive digital about agency"]. Both sides of the binary have serious blind spots, that kick in at different points.

How to say this? My take on people who are touched by any combination of Gore, Carter, Clinton, or the romantic image of e.g. Che, is not as dumb or foolish. Their empathetic and hopeful hearts just don't major in looking hard at the implications and outcomes of things, at the likely end from the honeyed beginning, stripping proposals down to the skeleton. To those people, we who "see through" some of those things, who parse their illogic, seem whimsically hard-hearted, hysterically negative, control freaking, and harshly dismissive for no good reason.

People like me, on the other hand, frequently for the good of all have to give way to Someone Else ["please! now! go home and shut up and don't be analytical in public any more for awhile!"] to execute good programs kindly and with the moral stamina required.

I would maintain that manuel is mistaken on the outcome of supporting anything Al Gore manufactures in the way of ideas or plans. But he is not "wrong" on his obvious ideals and receptivity. There is discernment, and discernment. If sane, effective, and cost-efficient opportunities were to be identified to aid energy-use and land-use transformation (and that's a huge "if"), manuel and others I have this discussion with would likely be excellent apologists, patient explainers, and administrators. And they are vital advisors at the decision level as to why a "good idea" needs to be concerned for people, not just the diagram. 

I hope I have been helpful and not rude. I have been thinking about this for decades, where each competency should weigh in in the policy timeline. It takes, I conclude, a hard-bitten thinker to resist the relief of putting our hope in the kind of charismatic rascal that the media back-lights, in which the real person becomes pretty much indecipherable, and on account of which self-reliance is critical. The most empathetic people are the most wounded by disagreement at the idea and policy level, for they value agreement and comity. In some environments, a blessed strength. But not an Absolute Good. Different smoke detectors for house and coal mine.

I enjoy that he asked, and wonder if my comment is of any use.

3/14/2007 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Sal said...

"To those people, we who "see through" some of those things, who parse their illogic, seem whimsically hard-hearted, hysterically negative, control freaking, and harshly dismissive for no good reason."

We could argue that wishing doesn't make it so and that we're dismissive from the good reason of experience.

If we could express that without coming across as hardened cynics, we might get a listen. (THough I find that the listener sometimes automatically supplies the cynicism themselves to whatever you say.)

The great conundrum of Who do you help and How do you help them is pretty much unsolvable to everyone's satisfaction. You just have to pick your spot on the bell curve of Prudence and Mercy as your (hopefully enlightened and centered) conscience dictates.

3/14/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an example fo one of those small "centers at the periphery" that you talk about.

This guy just radiates wisdom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekf7DBi6Gh4

3/14/2007 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Dilys,
I think you're right about most people, most Americans certainly, wanting the best for everyone. Unfortunately, thanks to ignorance, stupidity, and the people who know how to manipulate the stupid and ignorant (and I'm not excluding intelligent people from either category - intelligent people can sometimes be spectacularly stupid and ignorant, usually with a healthy dose of hubris thrown in. FWIW, I don't exclude myself from any of these categories, much of the time), many policies which appear to be a good idea are terrible, and often those which seem to do the most good in fact result in the most harm. Recent examples (most have been linked here in the past couple of weeks) include tire reefs, the DDT ban and warning pregnant women not to eat too much fish. All of these have been not just unwise, but spectacular failures, resulting in lives lost or irreperably damaged and ecosystems destroyed.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Whenever people get worked up about something they don't fully understand, en masse they are likely to do exactly the wrong things to try and fix the problem. Enter Algore and his ilk, playing to peoples' worst fears, lying about how bad things are or will be, and preaching about changes we must make (or we're all dooooomed!), while at the same time being the absolute worst offender in these particular "crimes" of humanity.

The truth is, everyone wants a cleaner planet, with fresh air and a healthy ecosystem. The differences lie in how we propose to make things better. It's all well and good to say you want what's best for everyone, but the truth is that what's best for everyone is, more often than not, letting them make their own choices, or in the case of nature just staying out of it and letting it do what it does best.

3/14/2007 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Where else but One Cosmos can you get the gospel of John and the gospel of Wanda, the undisputed female Elvis, in the same place?

3/14/2007 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Note as well that even God himself is then drawn to this center, another profound lesson to meditate upon: And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matt 4:17). "

Now there's something worth thinking upon. Yes indeed.

I was driving home from work today, and a 'Theologian' of the warm coals and brimstone school was attempting to 'reveal the good news' to the hosts audience. And I noticed that my neck was out of joint within just a few moments of listening to him. I felt like I was me 2+ years ago, logic whip ready to lash the chicken flesh from his bones. This supposed 'holy roller' (sorry folks, but it fit) had me feeling squashed into the horizontal plain like a bug under his boot in nothing flat.

It was disconcerting, the overwhelming sensation of hostility and revulsion I felt as he mouthed the words and names that you feel sure he'd been assured that the latest pew poll's garaunteed a spike in attention and admiration upon reciting. What I think felt the most offensive, was his purporting to be leading people to the Vertical, but he made the salt flats seemed mountainous in comparison.

I had to stop myself and turn off the radio, roll down the windows and let him blow away... 'he's only a movie, he's only a movie' I had to remind myself, just a two dimensional representation of the real thing, and as the real thing blew about me, it was over with. It still bugged me how quickly I was drawn down, but the sensation itself was gone.

Then after dinner tonight, within a few moments of reading here in the One Cosmos, it was all was all left behind, now that I had real meat to chew upon as I could feel myself soaring inwardly outwards.

The Center is at Hand indeed. Thanks Bob, for the Real Thing.

P.S. Dilys & Fishy Art - Excellent Picture!

3/14/2007 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

How about Big Joe Turner. As it so happens, my first date with Mrs G. was at a little club in Santa Monica where he was playing in 1984, backed by a great local band. He trundled out in a walker and sat down the whole time, but sounded exactly the same. He died not too long after.

3/14/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

just when you think the
situation is in hand
someone sets you free

3/14/2007 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

http://www.youtube.com
/watch?v=emNoXQGFsq0

A bit of fun.

3/14/2007 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Oops. Here's what I meant to do...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgm9H3hmH1o

3/14/2007 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous machiavelli said...

Dilys: I'm glad you commented on my inexplicable liking of Al Gore; your comments were indeed helpful.

Upon reflection, its Gore's obvious intent to help that I key in on, and his lack of ego motives. (He does not want the presidency).

I hate to say this, but Gore seems more convincing than Godwin on global warming. Call Gore hysterical, but then produce your countervailing evidence.

Mr. Godwin strikes me as the more hysterical of the pair, in the sense that he seems reactive and intent on contradicting Gore for reasons that have nothing to do with the subject at hand, which is, after all, not a matter of religion or politics but hard science.

Crunch the numbers, talk to the experts, and then decide. Look at the dirty air yourself over our big cities, multiply it by thousands of such cities, and then see what your intuition says.

Gore is sincere and thoughtful--he has done his homework.

Godwin is also sincere and thoughtful, but he has not done his homework. He is reactively negative about global warming and about Gore only to advance his own religio-political agenda. That's what I see, and I see pretty good.

Godwin should recant, say he's unsure about global warming, concede that Gore has some chance of being right, and go on promoting his agenda without having to resort to straw-man tactics.

3/14/2007 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger phil g said...

machiavelli,
Not to side track this wonderful coonversation with some silly horizontal environmental fantasies, but really you need to broaden your reading a bit. If you're paying attention there is a serious backlash abrewing against the whole man made global warming/global climate change quackery. Seems the ministers of climate change fantasies are overplaying their hands. Truth is starting to seep in from all over. Keep your eyes and your mind open for truth...it's out their.

Gore wants nothing more in this world than to have the title of President...all you have to do is listen very carefully to what he is not saying. Gore also actually has a lot invested in this global warming scam...he has an investment company that trades in the very carbon offsets that he's purchased to offset his extravigent energy compsumption and his investment company is placing financial bets on various climate related investments that should pay-off should this climate change hystaria continue.

Yes, it is very much in Gore's interest to continue to perpetuate the fantasy of man made climate changes.

Lucky for us, there are still many honest scientists out there that are committed to truth over political and wealth motiviations and they are starting to sing like canary's.

3/15/2007 03:43:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

machiavelli:

Respectfully, your opacity is so multifaceted that we wouldn't know where to begin. Just assume you've been torn a new one. In a manner of speaking. Don't worry -- it's how the light gets in.

3/15/2007 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

machiavelli said... "Gore is sincere and thoughtful--he has done his homework. ....Godwin should recant, say he's unsure about global warming, concede that Gore has some chance of being right,"

Do YOUR homework. If someone after taking even a single weeks worth of looking into the facts, the lack of facts, and the equivocations made to sidestep both, by the global warming crowd, then I have no patience or respect for them, they're an idiot if thay still give it any credence. Even the New York Times recently called Gore a liar.

As for the rest of your comment... lets just concede that you are an idiot and leave it at that.

3/15/2007 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a maroon!!!

Everyone should check out this BBC program called The Global Warming Conspiracy at Google.

http://video.google.com/
videoplay?docid=-4520665474899458831

Mach- you are clearly out of your league here and it would do you a world of good to get out a bit more and experience life through learning not just regurgitating tired propoganda. Basically, get a life and stop bothering the adults! Not that I am insulting kids, they are probably smarter too!

3/15/2007 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Micky said...

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET
ISAIAH
CHAPTER 46

9 a Remember the b former things of old: for c I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is d none like me,
10 a Declaring the b end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My c counsel shall stand, and I will do all my d pleasure:

YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God [John 3: 3].

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staffs were very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You
Micky

4/17/2007 04:00:00 AM  

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