Driving With Your Headlights Off and Reading the Evening World
So, the essence of Coon vision involves "seeing things," specifically, "seeing in the dark." For once we saw through a glass, darkly, and some day face to face. But in between comes Coon vision, with which we may gain a slightly clearer view of our brief phase in the mirror.
One of the reasons I am so intrigued by Finnegans Wake is that it attempts to illuminate the night not with light, but to adapt the eyes to seeing in the dark. In other words, if we merely shine light into the darkness, it is no longer darkness. We aren't studying darkness but day.
It is hopefully not banalogous to compare it to the experiments of quantum physics, in which the observer causes the "collapse of the wave function," i.e., the wave to become particle. Prior to its observation, the particle is nowhere and everywhere, but by setting up experimental conditions to observe it, it is brought out into the light, so to speak. It becomes a particle by viewing it as such. But then we have eliminated the wave. The principle of complementarity means that we can either see the wave or the particle, but not both at the same time.
If day vision is the particle, then night vision is the wave. To extend the analogy -- analogy being one of the important modes by which we may see in the dark -- day is to part as vision is to whole; also, light is to horizontal as night (which emphatically is not lightlessness) is to the vertical. Day vision always illuminates a part, whereas the parts tend to blend together at night, which lends itself to the contemplation of wholeness and verticality -- of the primordial interconnectedness of things.
For example, I seriously doubt that I could write these posts if I weren't sitting here by the light of darkness with my eyes agoggled and my ears hanging wide open. For the eye is the organ of the day, while the ear is the organ of night. To see with the ear we must disenable the eye, which greedily takes in everything at once, while the ear must be passive and patient, as events reveal their wholeness in time. But just as ears can see time, eyes can hear space, specifically, the sacred space where God dwells.
Is this not the purpose of meditation and prayer, to turn off the light in order to see by darkness? "When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret." "Secret" is a fascinating word with many implicit meanings buried within: hidden, mystery, remote from human frequentation or notice, secluded, esoteric, revealed only to the initiated, constructed so as to elude observation or detection, a key to a desired end.
In the words of the Katha Upanishad, "The Self-Existent made the senses turn outward. Accordingly, man looks toward what is without, and sees not what is within. Rare is he who, longing for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self.... He who sees the manifold universe, and not the one reality, goes evermore from death to death."
In fact, let us continue with this luminous ego-dielogue with the King of Death: "That which is awake in us even while we sleep, shaping in dream the objects of our desire -- that indeed is pure, that is Brahman, and that verily is called the Immortal. All the worlds have their being in that, and none can transcend it. That is the Self."
Such esoteric passages can easily be Cross-referenced and trancelighted into Christian terms. "The Self-Existent made the senses turn outward," means that that that which is without mirrors that which is within, because both partake of the divine logos. Consciousness is the "inturned logos," just as the world is logos exteriorized. Rare is he who wakes to the Dreamer who eternally dreams the dream, the unborn night womb out of which all is born:
"She knows not, for her whole Being throbs with a passionate yearning to be known. If she is sometimes termed unconscious, it is only in the sense that she is not the bright [March] forthshining awareness of the Father, the Light of lights, who is her opposite pole.... Devoid of form, empty of forms, she holds within her darkly living heart the potentiality of all forms.
"To get any image of it, one should turn to psychological processes and imagine it as like the matrix of dark dreamless sleep in which potentially exist, and out of which emerge, the bright images of a dream" (Sri Krishna Prem).
Religious rituals endeavor to engage the night in terms of the night. To sightlessly cite one nonobvious example, the ritual of communion is rendered meaningless if unilluminated by the light of day. Rather, it specifically attempts to potentiate the night on its own terms, to facilitate the unknowing of an object that cannot be known in any other way. A rationalist who prizes only rational knowledge is naturally precluded from the logic of the night, and in many cases, will insist that only daytime knowledge exists.
This is the realm of scientism; these are the people discussed yesterday, the boneheaded atheist crowd who negatively hallucinate the nonthings that are actually hidden there in plain sight. They do this because they are usually on the compulsive, which is to say, anal, side of the developmental spectrum, and hold onto their daytime knowledge in the manner of what Winnicott calls the "transitional object." In other words, knowledge to such an individual serves the purpose of a teddy or a binky.
Which is odd, because these are the people who suggest that religious belief is for the feint-hearted in need of an existential security blanket, when the opposite is true. Yes, religion can function as a security blanket or transitional object, but that is true of anything: food, high-heel shoes, music, books, exercise, whatever. The tendency to create and hold onto transitional objects is a human one, hardly limited to the religious. In fact, the second commandment could just as well read you shall not make for yourself a transitional object out of God, because doing so converts reality, or what is, into what we want or need it to be.
It is a banality to point out that scientists do this no less than religious people, which is why the history of science is, on the one hand, a quest for truth, but on the other hand, a history of desperate clinging to outmoded ideas. Humans being human, we are designed to love truth. The word "belief" is etymologically linked to "beloved," and there is no question that the garden-variety secular intellectual is prone to falling in love with his ideas. But unless these ideas are objectively and perennially true, then it is ultimately an exercise in narcissism, or self-love. Only truth is worthy of love, and love is a link between us and another object. The modern invention of "self-love" is actually a contradiction in terms, for love by its very nature radiates and is attracted to the true and the beautiful.
Real knowledge of truth requires surrender, humility, and conformity to it. In other words, we conform ourselves to truth by surrendering to its beauty, not by puffing ourselves up with vanity and imagining that we have invented it. Al Gore's increasingly shrill and desperate weather hysteria is a fine example of what happens when one falls in love with one's ideas instead of humbly submitting to truth. When I say Gore is crazy, I mean this literally, for in his testimony before congress last week, he continued to maintain that there is a 100% scientific consensus in support of his views.
Now, either Gore is evil, because he is a despicable liar, or he is nuts, because he is negatively hallucinating, that is, not seeing the thousands of scientists who do not share his weather fantasies. I believe he is the latter, although naturally, much evil follows from the process of negative hallucination. It is analogous to leprosy, which is not a direct cause of amputation. Rather, it causes nerve damage which leads to injuries that eventually require amputation. Thus, if you are negatively hallucinating, you will continuously receive sharp blows from reality but not know where they are coming from. "Learning" is one option; another is to lash out at reality in the manner of the Goreacle.
Well, it's starting to get light outside, so the indivisible darkness is receding into invisibility. Or as Joyce wrote, "We foregot at wiking when the bleakfrost chilled our ravery." Don't worry, we'll be black tomorrow. Leave a light off for me!