Sinking Into Nothing Under the Weight of Progressive Principles (5.04.10)
Obviously, the Coon way of life corresponds with the "upward tendency." For a Coon, this is the only possible purpose and even justification for human existence, which is to say, transcendence of oneself in the journey back to our Source. One way I know I'm on the right track is if I am slightly embarrassed about where I was (vertically speaking), say, a year ago -- let alone, 10, or 20, or 30 years ago. I hope I can always say, "what an idiot I was for believing that!"
But if there is no vertical tendency, then there is no possibility of real growth (beyond mere biological development), much less conformity with Cosmic Truth, and thus, no need to ever feel shame or regret. Here we have struck on one of the great appeals of leftism. Imagine, for example, being Jane Fonda, and being so incapacitated by an absence of shame that one believes the same things at 70 that one believed at 30. Put another way, if a conscious person were Jane Fonda, how would one ever stop cringing at one's past behavior? Easy. By disabling shame. By becoming fixated down and back in developmental spacetime.
Likewise, imagine one day waking up from the awful dream of being Sean Penn. For that is what he is -- a particularly disturbing, even hideous, dream he is having (and which he can't help "sharing" with the rest of us). Most of us live in some version of this dream, or hellucination, at one time or another in our lives. But I would guess that all Coons can remember when something in them began to stir from the dream, since which time their life has been an ongoing process of further waking, or "realization."
This is a good word, since it is real-ization -- which is to say two things. First, conformity with Reality, which automatically creates the tension that makes the "upward tendency" possible. And second, the slow conversion of oneself into something real and solid -- indeed, something eternal, or a self fit for eternity.
Looked at in this way, life consists of building a vehicle -- no, that's too mechanical -- of conceiving, gestating, and giving birth to a "celestial self" or astral body fit for vertical travel. Likewise, to fail to do this is not just to waste one's life, which is tragedy enough. Rather, it is to waste eternity, which is worse than a tragedy. It is plain careless.
It is no surprise that one of the central passions of the left is abortion -- it is an unthinking "way of life" for them, which is to say, a way of death. This is simply a horizontal reflection of the "astral abortion" of the leftist's life. Yes, perhaps this sounds harsh, but I am not saying anything that the leftist does not explicitly believe. From where they stand, they would mock and dismiss the Coon point of view as a fantasy at best and probably a pathology, which is fine. I am wasting my life on "spiritual fantasies," or something like that.
As I said yesterday, I have no objection to this characterization. I am not offended. Indeed, this is what horizontal man must think, given his admitted horizontality. How could he think otherwise? Like a man living in two-dimensional flatland, he is a rock-solid realist, insofar as he is innocent of any knowledge of the third dimension. He hears of people who speak of cones, coons, and spheres, but he knows better, for reality is right there before his eyes, and every leftist knows that perception is reality.
But it is strictly incorrect to say that the leftist simply inhabits the horizontal, "passional" world alluded to by Schuon in the first paragraph. No. This world is relatively neutral, but has a naturally upward tendency if left alone, as per the physics of non-linear systems, i.e., chaos and complexity theories. This is why science and the free market lead to such miraculous progress if we simply leave them alone. As Adam Smith noted 230 years ago, the market is an almost magical way to transform man's inevitable passions into something that transcends them, but only if we get out of the way, which the leftist refuses to do, precisely.
This, of course, is why it is such a cosmic hoot to suggest that the left is a great respecter of science, much less, progress. Both the left and right have specific issues with science, issues that are a function of their respective relationships to principial reality. But at NRO the other day, Yuval Levin pointed out that the left "has a much more complicated set of problems with science that are explored far more rarely than those of the right":
"Scientific advance, for instance, is the great engine behind capitalism, and is in that respect responsible for much that the left has disliked about the west since the 18th century. Much of what progressives oppose is precisely progress. Science, extended beyond its appropriate bounds, is also the chief contemporary threat to our continued allegiance to the principle of human equality, which has been at the heart of the liberal worldview. Put simply, science seems to demonstrate we are not equal -- this after all is the problem many on the left had with The Bell Curve. Of course, it only seems that way if you take a very peculiar view of what the principle of equality actually is. We are equal not in our natural capacities -- obviously we are not all equally strong, or smart, or tall, or healthy -- but in our standing as human beings in relation to something higher than ourselves. But the left is no longer well equipped to offer that defense of equality, since it requires all manner of premises they have given up."
In short, human beings are equal only in the vertical sense. Obviously, I might add. But if you have jettisoned the entire realm of verticality, then you are reduced to trying to impose horizontal equality, which is simply another word for tyranny. And this is why the left is also so angry. They are perpetually aggrieved -- and basically incapable of true human happiness -- since they have converted the vertical "transcendence drive" into a horizontal "political drive" -- which only ends up pushing them further and further from the goal, which is to say, human reality (which may only be found in the vertical). This results in a kind of nagging existential pain that eats away at the leftist, an itch he can never scratch. Or it is something like "referred pain," in which a lumbar injury causes sciatica in the leg. Leftists are obviously in pain. They remind us of this constantly. They are the Party of Pain. They just have no idea where the pain is coming from.
Which is why leftism is the philosophy of anti-progress. Since it unapologetically sets itself up as the "revolutionary" (which is to say, compulsively reactionary) philosophy of "non-conformity to the Principle," then it is necessarily "centrifugal" in nature, if only because of the Cosmic Law of Gravity, i.e., the fall. In other words, from the Coon standpoint, you are either with us or with the errorists. Once you become truly committed to that first proudly false step in ontological space, then your cosmic fate is pretty much sealed. You become trapped in a seany new pigpenn from which you cannot escape except by waking up -- which involves the acute pain of realizing not only that you have wasted your own life, but that you have spent it doing great harm to others.
No wonder there are so many tenured leftists who have not taken a new cognitive imprint since 1968! The more time that passes, the more intense the pain of waking. One becomes, as Schuon has said, encased under a thick and impenetrable sheet of ice that builds and builds like a glacier, separating one from one's vertical source. Tenure, publications, awards, and academic prizes are piled on, until one sinks beneath the weight.
Again, unlike the netural but upwardly tending passion of science and the free market, the leftist's passion leads specifically downward. In an editorial today, Tom Sowell describes the problem with his typical lucidity:
"That people on the political left have a certain set of opinions, just as people do in other parts of the ideological spectrum, is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is how often the opinions of those on the left are accompanied by hostility and even hatred.... [F]or many on the left, indignation is not a sometime thing. It is a way of life.
"It is hard to think of a time when Karl Rove or Dick Cheney has even raised his voice but they are hated like the devil incarnate. There doesn't even have to be any identifiable individual to arouse the ire of the left. 'Tax cuts for the rich' is more than a political slogan. It is incitement to anger....
"But how can people work themselves into a lather over the fact that some taxpayers are able to keep more of the money they earned, instead of turning it over to politicians to dispense in ways calculated to get themselves re-elected?...
"Often it is an exercise in futility even to seek to find a principle behind the anger. For example, the left's obsession with the high incomes of corporate executives never seems to extend to equally high -- or higher -- incomes of professional athletes, entertainers, or best-selling authors like Danielle Steel....
"If it is hard to find a principle behind what angers the left, it is not equally hard to find an attitude. Their greatest anger seems to be directed at people and things that thwart or undermine the social vision of the left, the political melodrama starring the left as saviors of the poor, the environment, and other busybody tasks that they have taken on. It seems to be the threat to their egos that they hate. And nothing is more of a threat to their desire to run other people's lives than the free market and its defenders."
Exactly. What can one say except that the chronic anger and hatred of the left is indeed "principled," except, to be exact, it is, as Schuon put it, "in non-conformity to the Principle." Thus the inevitable downward trend of the leftist's passions -- including the "artistic passions" discussed in yesterday's post.
Remember, Coons are not Buddhists. We are hardly dispassionate. But our passion is always upwardly tending toward the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. We passionately love these with all our hearts, minds and souls, always bearing in mind that wisdom is the proper content of knowledge and beauty the appropriate object of love. Naturally, if everyone were this way -- which is an impossibility, if only because Dupree would be overwhelmed by the number of membership applications -- it would be paradise on earth, would it not?
Conversely, what if everyone were like Sean Penn? Or Alec Baldwin? Or Spike Lee? Or Randi Rhodes? Or Markos Moultsas? Or Al Sharpton? Or Hillary Clinton?
Not just "hell on earth," but the cosmic dimension of hell, precisely -- which is to say, the downward tendency personified, or the "many faces of Satan." Speaking metaphorically. Or so they think.
Iron and mud his nature's mingled stuff,
A little limited visionary brain
Cunning and skillful in its narrow vein,
A sentimental egoist, poor and rough....
This screaming orator with his strident tongue,
The prophet of a scanty fixed idea,
Plays now the leader of the human march....
But if its tenebrous empire were allowed,
Its mastery would prepare the dismal hour
When the Inconscient shall regain its right,
And man who emerged as Nature's conscious power,
Shall sink into the deep original night... --Sri Aurobindo