Evolution vs. Revolution: On Spending Timelessness With Yoursoph (and Avoiding Alec Baldwin)
In his attack on meaning, the irreligious secularist cannot help but to extend the attack to time. Ritual has to do with the sacralization of time; or, more specifically, with not regarding it as mere duration, but as a portal for energies from the eternal to enter the herebelow. Since we live at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal, a literal interpretation of "sabbath consciousness" involves the idea of taking one day a week to leave the field of time and to emphasize verticality, or eternity.
But since the commandment is a universal archetype embodied in a particular religion, we needn't be overly concerned with this or that particular interpretation and application of the idea. More important is that you understand the principle and apply it to your life in some form or fashion, so that you occasionally unplug from the horizontal bewilderness and reconnect with your vertical source and destiny.
Now, what does the nihilist say about all this? What can he say? Since his first three commandments already condemn him to a godless and meaningless existence, what does it matter what you do -- or when you it -- with the time that has been given to you to perfect yourself? The only alternative to meaning is either chaos or enforced order. As such, these two extremes represent the two poles of the Democratic party. One pole is the enraged and infantile base, the primitive dailykos and moveonon.org types: the chaoticians, nihilists, barbarians, and infrahumans, while the other pole is the elites whom they empower in order to control themselves and everyone else -- the Clintons, Edwards, Gores, and Obamas.
(I say "infrahuman" because leftists do not recognize humans as fundamentally distinct from animals, and therefore do not make the effort to actualize this uniquely quasi-divine station. They are anything but humanists, because theirs' is the explicit philosophy of the animalization of the human, and all the consequences that flow from that. You may not think it is fair or illustrative, but Alec Baldwin's abuse of his daughter is a case in point. The leftist foregoes the task of mastering himself in favor of ceding his power to the collective, which he hopes will control him -- in particular, his greed, his envy, and his paranoia and malevolence toward his fellow man. Obviously, Alec Baldwin is "out of control," as are the majority of narcissistic Hollywoodenheads. It is rare that you would ever say of one, "ah, now here is a man who has mastered himself!" No. It is almost always the opposite. The less mastery, the further left; the list is endless.)
For the classical liberal, the very task of this life is to transcend and perfect oneself by first mastering oneself. To say that there is not a trace of this attitude in leftism is an understatement, for it is rooted in the opposite premise: that there is no such thing as self-mastery (only "repression"), so you must be controlled by the state, by a powerful collective. A nation of virtuous people living in the light of their own awakened conscience would not even require laws. Obviously, fallen humans being what they are, such an ideal state is not feasible, because it takes only a few irresponsible jerks to upset the whole balance. It's like the freeways -- you can have thousands of responsible drivers spontaneously interacting in a harmonious manner, but just one accident by some idiot will snarl the traffic and inconvenience everyone else.
Thus, leftism inevitably redounds to a situation in which inferior men rule the superior men, in part because the superior man has no interest in dominating others. This is the real reason why there are so very few conservatives in politics, because politics draws from people who wish to control others, and a conservative has no desire to exercise this kind of power as a replacement for self-mastery. And this is why virtually every professional group has been taken over by leftist activists, whether it is the educational establishment, the state department, the American Bar Association, the MSMistry of Truth, academia, or my idiotic group, the American Psychological Association -- it doesn't matter, for the principle is the same: the authorization of a kind of external power to control others as a substitute for the liberal doctrine of self-mastery.
For example, I and everyone else have to pay a ridiculous amount of money into the inefficient social security system because of the weakness, fecklessness, and irresponsibility of those who refuse to plan for their future. As always, leftist ideas have "good intentions," but the result is the institution of a system of incentives that rewards irresponsibility, denial of the future, and a focus on the present. How can this not contribute to people in general being less responsible with their money, purchasing things they don't need, and going into debt with credit cards?
A big part of the problem is that, once you have despiritualized a people, they will have a gigantic hole in the center of their being, which they will then attempt to fill either with material objects or with "thrills." It also creates the cult of celebrity, for celebrity is sort of insane replacement for being known by God. Or to put it in the reverse, no one who is known by God -- and therefore, ipso facto, knows God -- cares if they are known by a bunch of anonymous strangers. You cannot actually become a somebody through sufficient adulation by a mob of nobodies. But that doesn't stop people from trying.
Consider last Monday's mass murderer. He was a nothing, a nobody, a non-entity who was a non-entity by virtue of the fact that, for whatever reason, he was devoid of self mastery. He is obviously an extreme case. However, one thing I learned during my internship at Camarillo State Mental Hospital is that government employees are more dysfunctional than the patients. But the other thing I learned is that the most disturbed patients can provide a lot of insight into the less disturbed among us. This is because they have the same pathology, so to speak, only in an extremely vivid and exaggerated form.
Yesterday I linked to a provocative but entirely fair piece at American Thinker entitled Who Taught Cho to Hate? I believe it is fair, because some insane individuals will imbibe the ubiquitous message that the United States is a fundamentally corrupt place ruled by wealthy elites, and find justification to open fire on them. Others, such as Alec Baldwin, who are less psychotic but equally morally insane, will spout nonsense about President Bush being a murderer while engaging in the soul murder of their own child. It would be fascinating to know what Baldwin has taught his daughter about "evil conservatives" and "good liberals" such as himself. She's going to grow up either very confused or very clear about what motivates the angry and immature liberal.
Lewis asks, "was Cho taught to hate?":
"Whatever he learned in his classes -- did it enable him to rage at his host country, to hate the students he envied so murderously? Was he subtly encouraged to aggrandize himself by destroying others? Was his pathology enabled by the PC university? Or to ask the question differently -- was Cho ever taught to respect others, to admire the good things about his host country, and to discipline himself to build a positive life?"
The answer "is readily available on the websites of Cho's English Department at Virginia Tech. This is a wonder world of PC weirdness. English studies at VT are a post-modern Disney World in which nihilism, moral and sexual boundary breaking, and fantasies of Marxist revolutionary violence are celebrated." Instead of acting as surrogate parents to help usher these young adults to emotional, moral, and intellectual maturity, these professors literally do the opposite: the VT English Department is not "a place that gives lost and angry adolescents the essential boundaries for civilized behavior. In fact, in this perversely disorienting PoMo world, the very words 'civilized behaviors' are ridiculed -- at least until somebody starts to shoot students, and then it's too late. A young culture-shocked adolescent can expect no firm guidance here."
It is simply an unconscionable scandal that one can spend a fortune on an education at an elite university and never once be presented with any of the key ideas of classical liberalism or of genuine humanism. Instead, you will be taught to rationalize your own failures and to hate America for them. What you do with that hatred is up to you. Some may become activists who make it their goal to master and control others, while some may become academics in order to vampirically "put the bite" on the next generation of young adults and convert them to this sinister ideology. But in any event, you will leave college no more a "finished" human being than you were when you entered -- and probably come away with the idea that there is nothing to "finish" except for the revolution to displace the human being.
Plus, you will have been exposed to many ideas that shouldn't even be thought, much less taught. At Belmont Club there is an article discussing this, entitled Deliver Us From Evil, in which Mr. Club writes that
"As a child I was taught one could 'sin through thought, word and deed'. Somewhere in the intervening years society seems to have forgotten about the 'sins' of thought and word largely because it refused to believe in taboos. There were, the school chaplains used to say, dark doors beyond which it was dangerous for the mind to go. There were thoughts you could not think -- unless you were strong enough to wrestle with what you would find beyond the portal.
"Pedophilia, bestiality, extreme cruelty, monstrous behavior -- these are no longer ideas which we dare not entertain or cast out of our minds should they fleet through our consciousness out of the fear of 'sin'. No. Pedophilia has itself become a cause for enlightened people... Instead we have cast out the idea of sin itself and made the conception of sin as sin our only societal taboo."
There is a civil war in this country between human and anti-human ideologies. You might say that one aims for the transcendent goal of humanness, while the other abolishes the category altogether and therefore makes its achievement impossible.
Did we get sidetracked, or can this be tied together with the fourth commandment of nihilism, which is forget the sabbath, because time has no vertical dimension anyway. And if time does not have a vertical dimension, then there is no developmental time, and therefore no telos for human beings -- nothing to achieve, no measurement of human maturity. We are all Alec Baldwin, who has often expressed interest in running for office. Then others can share in the feeling of what it is like to have such a beast for a father: a man who cannot even master a child. No, not his child -- which is what he imagines -- but his own childishness. The out-of-control child evokes the heavy-handed governmental parent who will coerce and control him as a substitute for self-mastery.
And here is some of what I wrote about the fourth commandment last year. It also applies:
In order to understand this commandment, we must go back to the very beginning of Genesis, where God eternally “creates the heavens and the earth.” In the esoteric view, this refers to the continuous separation of the vertical (heaven, eternity, the Absolute) and horizontal (earth, time, the relative world). So long as we are in the horizontal -- the horizontal alone -- we are indeed “strangers in this world.” In the absence of the vertical, life is a sort of absurd hell, or at best, a meaningless pleasure palace in which we should mindlessly pursue our lusts and desires until crying time. “A raging animal inside of a dying carcass,” as I believe I once heard Alan Watts put it.
But “remembering the sabbath” has to do with vertical recollection, and cultivating the leisure necessary to achieve it. It is literally re-membering, for it involves rejoining our ground of being before things get too out of hand. It is possible to get so lost in the horizontal -- one’s life can become so complex and convoluted -- that it is difficult to find one’s way back to that OMnipresent hole in creation known as the sabbath.
For the sabbath ultimately represents a shorthand way of discussing those little springs that dot the landscape of being, through which vertical energies bubble forth from the ground. Every night, before going to sleep, I make it a point to remember how and where I drank from one of these springs during the day. No matter how difficult my day, I can almost always remember some point at which I was “given my daily bread,” so to speak -- some point at which the vertical energies shone through and nourished me. Come to think of it, it often happens while making one of these little morning raids on the wild godhead. It’s a big reason I write them. I wake up looking for one of those little springs bubbling up around my computer. As always, the challenge is to make sure I bring a big enough crock.
In any event, it is specifically because the sabbath is “built in” to the cosmos that vertical energies can enter and leave the “kingdom of man.” In other words, we aren’t trapped here below deck in the dark hull of the horizontal, merely sailing toward our doom. It is the reason why prayer, meditation, contemplation, lectio divina, and Petey's tin cup all work. These are all activities that make the vertical presence present, because they allow us to step outside the relentless stream of time and stand on the shore for a bit, "watching the river flow.” Through these inactivities, we may turn toward what is “behind” or “above” the external world and its nihilocracy of urgent nonsense.
Now critically, the purpose of the sabbath isn’t just to gear us up for the horizontal, a brief reprieve from the toil and drudgery of existence. Rather, the reverse is true. Although there is a rhythm and a dialectic between the sabbath and the mundane, in my view, the entire purpose of creation is the sabbath, not understood literally, but esoterically as our ever-present link to the whole. Keeping the sabbath holy is etymologically linked to the idea of “wholeness” and healing. I don’t intend to bash the left again... no, that's not true.... I do.... but one thing you will notice about “progressives” is that they are relentless. The idea of the sabbath is foreign to them, because it has been replaced by the idea of trying to force perfection in the horizontal, something which can never happen. For one thing, it is already happening. But only now. And now. And now.
In other words, you must occasionally step back from creation -- as did God -- and realize that it is already good. It is only for us to realize it. But this realization is more of a challenge than you might appreciate. Like the injunction against envy -- which is actually a reward and not an “order" -- the ability to truly experience “sabbath consciousness” is also a reward. It is something that most people have some difficulty achieving. Therefore, they displace their own inability to experience the simple joy of being, and project it into the future, when the revolution creates Sugar Candy Mountain on earth, when the minimum wage is increased, when everyone has free healthcare, and when all men have been castrated.
In short, progressives habitually turn an existential defect into a virtue, since politics is their religion, 24/7/365. To “remember” the sabbath would mean forgetting about the revolution, and that would be a political sin. They cannot separate church and state because the state is their church.
When we are caught up in the stream of time, the unity of reality is broken up into hopes, dreams, regrets, wishes, plans, resentments, etc. You cannot get away from these things so long as you are in time, because they are a function of time. The only way out is up and in, where we are called upon to live as if we are already in paradise. In truth, the sabbath is not a recollection but a “memoir of the future.” Here, the world does not need to be worked on or improved, merely enjoyed as it is. In a strange way, we would live in paradise if people were only capable of realizing that we already do.
After all, this present moment of your life is the end result of thousands and thousands of little plans, goals, choices, and decisions you have made over the course of your life. Are you able to step back for a moment and realize that this is it, that this moment is the result of your plans coming to fruition? Or are you in reality simply addicted to “planning” as a way to escape the moment? We live in a time undreamt of by kings and princes, but how many of us are able to simply enjoy it?
In the final unalysis, the sabbath must be internalized, so that one has access to it at all times, like a portable monastery, a zone of silence, a realm of inner peace between you and the world. For as much as you may think that you are in the world, the opposite is generally true. The world is in you -- it sinks its teeth into you and will not let go, which is why we have to consciously practice letting it go and “dying” to the world.
For the sabbath is also a rehearsal for the Big Sabbath, when it is dark and no man can work anyway. As Petey quipped in One Cosmos, “The paradox at the heart of the sabbath is that you must live your life as if you already abide in the eternal, because you do, but aspire to get there as if your life depended on it, because it does. The former is more difficult than the latter, because your worries, anxieties, plans, and conventional aspirations trick you into thinking there is another way out. And if you believe that, you are doing the adversary’s heavy lifting for him, and giving him his black sabbath rest.” Which is why Democrats are the adversarial party.
Just. Wow. At dailykos, the beatification of the monster named Cho. In the morally insane world of the left, perpetrators are victims (HT: LGF).