The Invisible Church of the Perpetual Raccoon
It was certainly a not-okay day for me. For whatever reason, I woke up with low blood sugar and had some difficulty getting it up into the normal range all day -- as if there were some kind of "metabolic fire" burning in me. I've certainly felt the fire in recent weeks, but this was too much. I was uncharacteristically under -- or was I in? -- the weather all day. Weird.
But this mutual perception of a "weird day" does bring up the issue of our "collectivity" and just where it resides, for although "interconnectedness" surely exists as a consequence of the principle of Wholeness that flows through every artery of the cosmos, there is no particular "place" where it can be located. You can't point at wholeness from the outside, only experience it from the inside (which is the secret of consciousness, which is a reflection of the Creator's unifying interior wholeness-amdist-diversity). This causes a lot of confusion for philosophers and metaphysicians who try to arrive at wholeness additively instead of beginning with it as an assumption, which one must do.
It seems that a group is a group by virtue of "tuning in," so to speak, to some sort of resonant field of consciousness. The essential point is that a group is not fundamentally externally related, or it's not really a group. Rather, it's just a "crowd" or a "mob." But a true group has an interior relationship, as if each of the members is literally tuned into the same frequency. What is so jarring, for example, in reading one of the crazy websites of the angry left, such as the dailykurse or huffingandpissed, is that they resonate on this horribly plangent and quite primitive frequency in whatever they write about. I am quite sure you all know what I mean, even if you've never thought of it this way before. The surface structure of the topic hardly matters -- they can be talking about economics, or the war, or science, or religion, but whatever it is, the main thing you will detect is the deep structure of this painfully dissonant energy.
Now, in fairness, someone will no doubt say to me, "Bob, that's not a vibration you're feeling. It's just the unpleasant sensation of your own disagreement." Could be, but I don't think so. For example, I work in forensic psychology, so I am accustomed to crafting sound and unassailable medico-legal arguments. Part of this involves taking the report written by the whore who works for the other side and reducing it to dust with facts, logic, and the law. In doing so, there is "passion" involved, but it is nothing like the feeling of wading into the left wing fever swamps.
For one thing, the latter is a hellish world in which facts and rudimentary logic generally do not apply. Rather, the first thing one notices is that this world is held together by "feeling" or "sentiment," not by logical coherence. Underneath the "political left" is a "psychological left," and latter is far more primitive and dangerous, for they literally inhabit a self-contained psychological space similar to the black holes discussed yesterday. No light escapes. These people really do want to see the Vice President murdered, as we witnessed at huffington the other day. They really do idealize a thug such as Hugo Chavez. They really do hate George Bush much more than Saddam Hussein.
A religion is very much a resonant worldspace in the sense described above. For example, this is what the Master means when he says that he is present when any two or more meet in his name. This is quite literally true. The logos is magically made present through the triangulation of two people, somewhat similar to the manner in which a holograph works. My technical description is probably lacking, but I believe the hologram results from the interference pattern of two different beans of light. In any event, that's certainly how it works spiritually.
For example, this is how our Unknown Friend in Meditations on the Tarot can speak to us so intimately from beyond the horizon of death. I realize that is a challenging book for kits, but once you allow yourself to enter its world, it is as if you have entered this incredibly beautiful spiritual cathedral that the two of you are leisurely investigating together. He is your congenial tour guide, showing you this or that, often dwelling on random little points of arcane interest. The point is that it is a world -- and a beautiful one at that. It too resonates at a frequency -- the frequency being love, but also truth and beauty.
This is obviously what the secular person does not -- cannot -- understand about leading a religious life. They accuse us of "escapism," of believing in strange myths to shield us from the harsh realities of existence, in particular, death and loss. However, the opposite is patently true, at least for the invisible brotherhood of Raccoons. For us, religion is an inscape into the most beautiful supraterranean cave art ever co-created by human beings.
I have mentioned before that I happened to marry into a family of secular Jews, some of whom are quite unapologetic "anti-Jews." For example, only a Jew (or maybe Jimmy Carter) could get away with writing Uncle Peter's book on how the Holocaust is just a big PR scam to advance Israel's political interests.
(Don't worry -- I'm not airing dirty laundry in public. I like him and he likes me, even though he charitably regards my views as "not even insane." It is fascinating to talk to him, for it is fair to say that we agree on nothing, from the essential to the trivial. People talk about what it would be like to encounter an alien from another planet with a completely different frame of reference. Ahem. How concrete does one have to be to believe it is necessary to leave earth in order to have a close encounter of the third kind? Most Coons don't have to even leave their own family. The bottom line is that there are not enough Coon families for all Coons, so many of us had to drop into a non-Coon habitat, to put it mildly. In the case of Mrs. G. and myself, we consciously prayed for a little kit to come down into our Coon den. It worked.)
Now, if I were a less congenial fellow, I could easily turn a conversation with Uncle Peter into an ireworks show, but what would be the point? He lives in one world, I live in another. Can't we all just get along? For him, the question never arises as to whether he lives in "a" world, only "the" world. People talk about how religious fundamentalists live in their own world, but I cannot think of anyone with so naively parochial, crimped, and predictable a world as academia and the liberal media -- or primitive New York Timesman. You give me the topic and I'll tell you what they think. But my world -- if I may say so -- is fundamentally a world of surprise and of inexhaustible novelty. I never know what metaphysical goodies are awaiting me in the morning, including this post, for example. Nor do I have any idea where it's leading. Rather, I'm just following this little creek that was here in the morning when I got up.
In my world, it is impossible to be cynical. Yes, I am cynical about their world below -- how could one not be? -- but the eternal regeneration of my world is the best possible ungnowculation against cyncism. Again, some might say that it is a "naive" world, but that is not quite right, for we are as wise as serpents around here. Rather it is an innocent world, and the fact that this world coexists with the other world is something of a miracle -- that one can recapture one's primordial innocence and live as man was intended in this fallen world.
I had never attended any Jewish services until I got married. Naturally, just because my in-laws are secular, it doesn't mean that they don't try to resurrect the dead ghost of their Jewish past on sacred occasions. So I've attended these functions -- weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals, etc. While my relatives experience them as a social rituals, I remember on my very first visit to the synagogue, I realized that I was in contact with the sacred. In fact, I'm omitting my marriage, which was undoubtedly my first participation in a Jewish ritual. If the event had been presided over by a Christian holy man, then my relatives would have undoubtedly regarded his words as slightly sinister blah blah; if it had been a Vedantin priest, it would have been just goofy blah blah; but the fact that it was a rabbi made it just plain innocuous blah blah, the same old same old testament.
But not for me. First of all, the language was all new to me, so it was not saturated. Furthermore, I found the words of the rabbi so spiritually resonant and psychologically inspiring, that I knew I was in the presence of the sacred and the holy, and that my marriage was being blessed by this divine light. A resonant "world" was successfully invoked and tapped into, at least for me and for Mrs. G. For the rest, it was essentially a sentimental occasion, "sentimentality" being one of the most common replacements for religion among secular people. (Incidentally, I do not see now people who "write their own vows" could match the sacred potency of the words written by "no one" for "everyone.")
(By the way, until this very day, I had thought it was "Rabbi Kuhn." Only now do I realize it was "Rabbi Coon.")
Now, Rocky Raccoon asked a good question yesterday. He "was wondering today about the Arc of Salvation. Both Phase I and II were followed by a ‘book.' Do you think we have a new ‘book’ on the way for the 3rd Phase?"
No, I don't think so, although I suppose it would be a good hobby for me to try. But what will happen is that people will return to the original texts but understand them with "eyes made new" -- i.e., with Phase III Coon vision. They will "arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time."
And then perhaps each person will write their own book based upon their encounter with the Real -- sort of like how we can all respect giants like Beethoven but still "sing our own song." You know -- speaking of innocence -- something like this:
Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song
Folks, I hope this admission doesn't reduce my esteem in your ears, but -- I'll say it -- I am a big Carpenters fan. At the time (the early 70's) no one was regarded as less hip, but in hindsight, we can see that no one was more courageously "counter culture." I certainly dismissed them. But their musical sophistication speaks for itself -- probably no one aside from Brian Wilson wrote more complex vocal harmonies than Richard Carpenter, not to mention the extraordinarily subtle instrumental arrangements and production standards that rival Steely Dan -- and the unique voice of Karen Carpenter aches with a sad innocence and depth of longing that went unappreciated at the time (at least artistically). She is the greatest female pop vocalist of her generation (her phrasing and technique are so much more subtle than Babs). If you can put away your preconceptions, their masterpiece, A Song For You, is an amazing headphone experience (sounds richer on good vinyl -- the transcendent Goodbye to Love is awesome on Dupree's turntable). Any musican who is studying arrranging could profit from the experience. Here's the AMG review.
And no, I'm not gay.
(For you beginners and young kits, this is probably the best introduction. It has versions of songs that were actually remixed by Richard Carpenter for the digital age, so they sound closer to contemporary production values and more full on a CD player.)
From On Top of the World, Lookin' Down on Creation to the Kit who Fell to Earth:
(Which reminds me, Sal: photo of sweater coming soon.)