Saturday, June 23, 2007

Who Was Frithjof Schuon?

And what does he have against me?

I had intended to write something earlier in the week marking the 100 year anniversary of Frithjof Schuon's birth, which was on June 18, 1907, but somehow forgot. Who was this guy that I quote so often in my posts? After all, I am not a formal disciple of his, nor do I agree with all aspects of his philosophy (although I tremble somewhat when I don't -- he's got a way of looking straight through you with that stern expression of his).

Furthermore, I find the published writings of most of Schuon's well-known followers to be rather tedious and mediocre, and in many ways I feel I do a much better job of communicating the essence of his philosophy to a wider audience, even though I'm afraid that if Schuon were alive, he might even try to get a restraining order to stop me from misusing his ideas. I have no doubt that he wouldn't approve of my approach -- the content, let alone the tone -- but what can one do? There is also no doubt whatsoever that Schuon used the ideas of many thinkers who preceded him in ways they would not approve of. After all, no great Christian theologian ever thought of Christianity as being only an expression of a more transcendent reality, but the most adequate expression of that reality itself. So we're even on that score.

In fact -- this will be one of many sidetracks as I simply reflect out loud -- I concluded quite some time ago, in the course of my graduate work, that one must draw a distinction between "genius" and the medium in which the genius works. Take, for example, psychoanalysis. In graduate school it struck me with great force that there was no commonality between a man of genius, such as Freud, and most of Freud's followers. As they say, the genius ruins the disciples and the disciples ruin the genius. You see this pattern again and again in most fields, in which a school forms around a founder and goes downhill from there. This is not a problem for One Cosmos readers, because the whole point about being a Raccoon is that you can only be a member if you aren't one.

So you can become a psychoanalyst, but there was only one Freud. Likewise, you can become a follower of Schuon, but there was only one Schuon. The question is, how do you become a psychologist -- or a Christian, for that matter -- without being ruined by some genius who preceded you? How to see through their eyes, not just with them?

There have been some psychoanalytic geniuses after Freud, for example, Bion. But there again, I quickly realized that Bion was a genius in a way that transcended psychoanalysis, and that psychoanalysis just happened to be the medium for the expression of his genius. So it's naturally easy to get hung up on the "content" of the genius's ideas, when the more important point is the genius itself. There is a world of difference between a genius reflecting upon the mind, as opposed to some over-educated academic hack publishing his insipid thoughts about the mind.

The same is especially true of theology or philosophy, which is why 99% of it is worthless and/or harmful. It is why a Plato or Saint Augustine will always be relevant, whereas a Chomsky or Hitchens will be little noted nor long remembered, just more junk atop the worthless pile of human verbiage with a short expiration date and no bearing on eternity.

Whatever else he was, Schuon was quite simply a religious genius. I guess I must have first come across his name over 20 years ago, in reading Ken Wilber's early books. I don't remember Wilber relying on him a great deal aside from mentioning a couple of his works in the references -- one or two out of his famously long bibliographies -- and in many respects they constitute radically opposite approaches to religion and spirituality: traditionalism vs. new age. It's hard to say whether the two approaches create different types of people or whether different types of people are drawn to one or the other, but it's probably a combination of the two. In any event, Wilber is widely read in a way that Schuon never could be, as he was not a popularizer and had no desire to be known, much less to present esoteric doctrine in such away that the average college student or politician could not only understand it but find it quite congenial. Plus, Schuon was a direct vehicle of grace -- yes, I realize that's a bold statement -- which is not an insult to Wilber, since few human beings have this capacity to directly illuminate the being of another.

I know that when I first tried to read Schuon -- again, probably over 20 years ago -- he didn't appeal to me at all. This is because I was still an intellectual at the time, and an intellectual, whether he realizes it or not, is actually driven by the vital mind rather than the higher mind. Therefore, it (the vital mind) seeks excitement, novelty, and the esteem of other intellectuals. Obviously, it wants to impress others about how much it thinks it knows -- which is not all that much, especially as it pertains to ultimate issues.

Religion, on the other hand, is not about intellectual fireworks but about humbly conforming your being to Reality (although there are obviously certain explosive consequences for the intellectually gifted man -- an Augustine, or Theophan the Recluse, or Aurobindo). But few young men are really interested in being "humble," and in many ways, they're not supposed to be.

I generally go along with the traditional idea that for most men -- at least those without a special calling -- the first half of life should be spent pursuing worldly ends -- establishing an identity, a career and a family -- while the second half should be a gradual shedding of our outer identity as we reverse our gaze from the great without to the great within. It's not really a radical dichotomy, but simply a matter of emphasis (although here again, there are exceptions; there are pure men of action who are here for a spiritual mission -- Churchill comes to mind -- just as there are pure spiritual types -- Schuon being one of them -- who prove their manhood in spiritual battle. This latter type of battle is no picnic -- it is not like avoiding the draft by becoming a light-in-the-loafers army chaplain, for it is spiritual warfare, or hand to hand combat without hands.

But generally, a man who has not first become a battle-tested Man is not going to be a good candidate to spiritually transcend his manhood. Which is one of the reasons why many wimpier types are drawn to "sprituality," as it seems to give them an excuse to skip the manhood stage. I think you will find that this is why new age spirituality is so "feminized," as it is a refuge for unmanly men -- even a way for them to feel "superior" to manly men.

So anyway, Schuon was born in one of those contested parts of Europe on June 18, 1907. He spent the better part of his childhood in Basel, so he seems to have been a combination of German, French and Swiss. I would just call him "European." He described Basel as a sort of fairy-tale city which made a deep and lasting impression upon his character. Perhaps it even accounts -- at least partly -- for his utter rejection of modernity. I've never been to Europe, but I have been to Disneyland on a number of occasions, so I certainly understand what it would be like to inhabit a sort of real-life fairy tale come to life. Schuon felt that the medieval world was "normative" for human beings, and that even the Renaissance represented the beginning of a dark descent into postmodernity. It reminds me of how for the Orthodox, Catholics are Protestants.

Interestingly, my own father was European -- he was born in England -- but had no European or British identity at all. It was very much as if he were an American who had only accidentally been born in England. He even successfully eliminated his accent. I was thinking about this just the other day. The "British invasion" of the mid-1960s formed a central part of my own childhood, and one would think that I would have felt a special sort of connection to it because of my father's lineage. Although it was a completely unexpected and unanticipated phenomenon -- by that point, the flow of cultural influence was entirely a one-way street, U.S. to Europe -- my father took only a passing, bemused interest. I guess he thought it was a little funny that Americans would express interest in some old British music hall number like "I'm Henry the 8th I Am."

The idea that my father was actually from The Land of the Beatles was rather mind-blowing, but he almost never spoke of it. He absolutely loved America, and certainly didn't romanticize his cultural roots. Whenever the subject of the Royals would come up, he would mutter the word "parasites," but I never really understood why. But he knew that if he had remained in England, he would have likely been a bricklayer or performed some other kind of backbreaking labor for the rest of his life, so he wanted out just as soon as possible. Which occurred after he was discharged from the British Army in 1948.

I'm heading down another unanticipated byway, so I'll probably have to finish up this post tomorrow, but another interesting point comes to mind. Both Schuon and my father idealized America, but in rather opposite ways. My father spoke of American cowboy movies -- Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Will Rogers -- as having made a huge impression on him as a child. Perhaps you may have noticed that whenever a Brit shows up in a cowboy movie, it's always as a thematic and slightly silly or effete contrast to the manly American character -- they're either butlers, or bankers, or card players, or clueless aristocrats. Now that I think about it -- and I'm actually realizing this for the first time -- my father was really into cowboy culture. He read Western novels, liked country music, and hung out with a guy that made handmade saddles as a hobby. Plus he took us hunting, fishing, and camping all the time, back when it really was a wilderness adventure -- an encounter with the elements, relatively unmediated by civilization.

Schuon, on the other hand, idealized native American culture, and even moved to the midwest in the 1970's so that he could live close to "real" Indians. I would suggest that cowboys and Indians represent two archetypally different and somewhat incompatible ways of being "primitive." In reality, we are hopelessly modern, and can never go back to being real cowboys and Indians. People who still call themselves Indians today -- or I suppose you have to say "native Americans" -- are in my opinion a pretty pathetic lot. Unlike Schuon, I see nothing to admire about their culture. Or at least whatever good there was has to be placed in the context of an awful lot of barbarism. For me, the more I learn about native American culture, the less there is to admire.

But since Schuon grew up in Disneyland, perhaps his Disneyland was the culture of the "Red Indian," as he always referred to them (he actually became enchanted with them as a boy). And for my father, who, if he had stayed there, would have ended up being the guy who sweeps up the cigaret butts in Disneyland, America itself was Disneyland. He would have had no interest whatsoever in native American culture, since he grew up under pretty primitive conditions in rural England -- no indoor plumbing, no central heat, no electricity, and just an outhouse in back for a family of nine -- and had no desire to repeat, let alone romanticize, the experience.

In fact, my father was an odd combination of intense ambition and a kind of serene satisfaction with his lot. Yes, he did everything possible to escape the bonds of old Europe and move to a place where his spirit wouldn't be stifled and he would be able to rise to the level of his own ambitions and abilities. But once he reached a certain level, that was it. I don't think he ever got over the fact that he actually owned a house with an indoor toilet. When in 1964 we moved into a house that had two bathrooms -- coincidentally, the house in which I still live -- that was pretty much over the top, even perhaps a bit decadent. Not only did he not take basic amenities for granted, but I think he was in awe of them. From my point of view he was a man who really enjoyed simple pleasures, but from his point of view it must have felt like indulgence.

I don't know if it's temperamental or learned, but I'm pretty much the same way. I had a certain level of ambition, but I long ago achieved it and now effectively have *none*, at least for any worldly or material thing. And even then, my ambition was always an inner directed one, in that my external ambition was only for the purpose of establishing a life in which I could indulge my internal ambitions. I was thinking about this the other day in the context of Will's interview of Mrs. G. If you have a daughter, normally you would do well to counsel them against getting involved with a man who wants no responsibilty, since such a man is likely to be an irresponsible man. Rare is the man who wants no responsibilities because he genuinely needs to focus all his attention on invisible responsibilities, on a calling and a destiny that is not of this world.

Schuon was such a man, which is why the first half of his life was so painful. He had to pursue his work under impossibly precarious financial circumstances until at least the mid-1950s -- when he himself was in his fifties -- at which point he gained a degree of financial independence, not from book sales, but from disciples, for publicly he was a writer of universalist religious metaphysics, while privately he was the head of an esoteric Sufi order. His first major work, The Transcendent Unity of Religions, was not published until 1948, 1953 in English. That was the true beginning of his written work, to which we will turn tomorrow. I guess.

39 Comments:

Anonymous thugee revival said...

On the subject of the spiritually-driven man in the world--

One responsibility of the Yogin, according to the Unpanishads, is to "uphold the world." In other words, the Yogin must see to to it that children are educated, food is grown, neighborhoods are policed, and all is in acceptable order in society before he may retire to do purely spiritual work.

This means taking on gainful employment that is useful to the culture (ie, provides a needed good or service). The Yogin should not take on a career that is of questionable value (purveyor of unhealthy foods, luxury or frivolity items).

Or, conversely, he may uphold the world for some years and then, having adequately met this responsibility, retire to purely spiritual work.

Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule.

Now, the Native Americans are in trouble precisely because they do not uphold their own world properly. They sometimes do not order their affairs efficiently or well. This is because they pine for the before-times.

The one thing Native Americans bring to the world is their infamous past. That they used to love the earth so much is the contribution they have made.

6/23/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't think Indians loved the earth. Which is why they despoiled it wherever they were, and then just moved on -- which you were able to do in America, since it was so vast and had such a relatively tiny population. They certainly weren't "environmentalists" as you cannot appreciate the enviornment until you are psychologically separate from it. Which is why the environment is most respected in economically developed western democracies.

6/23/2007 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“So it's naturally easy to get hung up on the "content" of the genius's ideas, when the more important point is the genius itself.”

The whole time I was reading this and then up till this point…I had to see if this was on you tube. Of course it was:

William Shatner

Back to the post..

6/23/2007 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Wonderful post Bob. Have been thinking of my Dad a lot today too. Especially out there on the big rectangle area of the lawn. Looking forward to more Schuon. Just finished “From the Divine to the Human”…but will be dipping into it often.
Highly recommended to all Raccoons.
Can you make another perfect recommendation for an introduction to Bion?

6/23/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Joan's comment yesterday about "shamanistic or soul-f3tish" items being coincidental with local havoc (and we're worried about cooties on moon rocks!) reminded me of something I noticed in Deuteronomy (funny how much those old guys knew):

Make sure you set fire to their carved gods. Don't get greedy for the veneer of silver and gold on them and take it for yourselves—you'll get trapped by it for sure....And don't dare bring one of these abominations home or you'll end up just like it, burned up as a holy destruction....Be careful that you don't get curious about them....Don't get fascinated with their gods, thinking, "I wonder what it was like for them, worshiping their gods. I'd like to try that myself."(7:25,12:30)

Cultural anthropology (+ artifacts) and "comparative religions studies" sprang from the explorations of missionary travel, and lesserly from the exploits of Empire. Only as those things faded in the academy (Barbara Pym's novels and diaries reflect the post-WW2 phenomenon) did the Participant-Observer > [Margaret Mead, Lies and Agendas (my title)] >  Relativist arise.

Schoen's overview of the essence of religion (vide his "rules" of the Virgin's Garden) is light-years above this, in fact he distinguishes pure practice from the habits of uninquiring recital-by-habit "believers." Yet he is very susceptible to adoption by the SufiPiscopalBuddhistWiccan "all roads lead" anti-canticle.

Or maybe not. Distinguish for us.

"rxheokaw": The cackle of the large, well-fed jungle-carrion bird perched gripping a high bare branch just above the earnest Berkeley anthropologist.

6/23/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...


But generally, a man who has not first become a battle-tested Man is not going to be a good candidate to spiritually transcend his manhood. Which is one of the reasons why many wimpier types are drawn to "sprituality," as it seems to give them an excuse to skip the manhood stage. I think you will find that this is why new age spirituality is so "feminized," as it is a refuge for unmanly men -- even a way for them to feel "superior" to manly men.


It's waaayy past time somebody said it just like that,and unapologetically. Dang, you're gonna get some blowback from that!

Well, that and the American Indian observation.

Yippee Kiy-yay...

6/23/2007 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Wooden Indian

6/23/2007 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Dylis,

In a part of my job, I meet quite often with folks I would describe as either curious agnostics, or spiritual adventurers. Both are kinda dangerous unto themselves if not others.

I do like to point out that the idea of taking a living creature and mummifying it as part of a burial ritual could carry certain ...energies? That a soul-f3tish may have been brought across the ocean to here, but did anyone ever say, "Um, before you leave with our animistic idol, could we get the soul back from it?" That, maybe you shouldn't invite strangers into your home or into your spirit?

Not sure I believe in any sort of residual spiritual significance in inanimate objects, but I do feel strongly about warning others about being too fascinated by them or the culture they represent.

Again, in the creative processes-- be they writing, art, or film or whatever--the spirit that went into them seems to come out when they are experienced.

6/23/2007 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

re Bion -- I can't really say that I'd recommend anything, since he more or less wrote for an audience of sub-subspecialists.

6/23/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Hi everyone, just a quick note that I'm feet-down for at least a while.

Have not yet gotten to read the last 20-some missed days, so have no idea what's been happening here at OC.

Missed you.

Must go out now to lay-in necessities, like a couple of lbs of my favorite coffee before they close for the weekend.

6/23/2007 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

ximeze!!!

Welcome home!

6/23/2007 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

I've been hopping about a lot recently too. Do raccoons hop?

I have managed to read OC each day, but usually on my phone or in a taxiing plane or during the 20 minutes of free time per day in the hotel or... gotta go.

6/23/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

And, here at the Hermitage, we are prepping soil and sowing seeds for the winter garden - cole crops now, and root crops in about 10 days, around the 4th of July. Very interesting to watch the mind fluctuate between snap peas...and Schuon; then kohlrabi (!)...and Schuon. On and on. Very different parts of the same assemblage.

6/23/2007 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Beloved Mysteress, thanks for thy welcome home. This humble servant is grateful, Oh Great One!

Smoov: all hail the techno-toys. Just gotta love getting to live as a First-Worlder.

Errr.....do all those planes have 'proper lavs'?....not even one with just a hole in the floorboards instead.....yet?

Walt: isn't it very cool how 'deep thinking' & working a garden go so well together, how similar & complementary they are, as 'forms'.

Gosh, it's good to be back.

6/23/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Ximeze -

Yes, welcome back!

Growing food as an intentional task reminds me of the old Irish joke: One man says to another, "If you're a gentleman, and I'm a gentleman, who then shall milk the cows?"

Kosho Uchiyama was a Zen Roshi; he passed away around the turn of the century. He said that, "Any real or absolute truth must consist of living out our lives in accord with...inescapable realities." When
we grow food, we try to accord with
this.

So yes, be it something Bob or Schuon has written, if it is pondered and properly incorporated into a physical task, it does become complementary.

Ahh, would that it came easy!

6/23/2007 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read a lot of your posts and to me it feels like there is truth in them. I do wonder though about one issue, you make it clear environmnetal concerns are quite overated and you seem to champion the success of the current industrial model. I have to agree with you on most of it, I for one am not concerned about global warming, and I recognize that we are living in a material paradise so many have never had it so goo din this regard, but I really do wonder what will happen when the fuel of our economic and industrial engine runs low? Have you heard of peak oil? Does this seem like an issue to you? Do you think the values of the native living traditions might become relavant when the easy ride is over?

6/23/2007 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

It is interesting about his upbringing. Funny thing is, seems like certain archetypes long for certain times. Which just sort of throws everything off, but it sounds right.

There will be another time like the time he thought was natural - it won't look the same but it will be the same in spirit.

I also agree with Bob's reply to TR re: the Red Indian. Some of the earliest manmade fires in California were caused by the tribes there. Some tribes were wiped out by fires. It is apparent that some even used fire to make the land better for hunting (they burned out the underbrush.) Sometimes it would get out of control.

I guess same human nature, different container. That's how I see it, anyway.

6/23/2007 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Anon, in The Skeptical Environmentalist, the author points out that projections for resource usage are often claimed based on current finds, with no allowance for 1. highly certain future discoveries 2. possible future discoveries.

Also, there's space. Its a lot of materials floating around waiting to be used for something.

6/23/2007 08:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Hi Ximeze!
Isn't it funny how every time I mention Ximeze and Beaky...Voila!
I mean, I'm not sayin' it's because I mentioned them, but you gotta wonder...
Mebbe, jes' mebbe, there's a little more to Skully than meets the eye...or I.
Hell, I dunno.
In any sense, I'm glad to see Ximeze back!
How's Beaky doin', Ximeze?
I hope yer done globetrottin' for awhile.

6/23/2007 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

River-
Not to mention the vast quantities of shale and coal.
We're talkin', easily, 150-200 years or more of petrol.

Those projections also never account for complexity theory, and good ol' human ingenuity.
Two factors that are really impossible to measure.

6/23/2007 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The question is, how do you become a psychologist -- or a Christian, for that matter -- without being ruined by some genius who preceded you? How to see through their eyes, not just with them?"

And still retain your identity.
That's why it's so important to realize how unique we all really are, while maintaining a humble heart.

Part of spiritual evolution: transcendence, is personalizing through surrender to God.

I used to think that fully surrendering myself to God would be the end of my own identity or conscienceness.
Nothing could be further from the Truth.
It's only by surrendering to the Spirit of the most High that we discover our True inner-selves!
It's certainly a process, but after an earnest and honest plea of help, in that instant I realized that I'm still me. I didn't lose anything except garbage, and that process continues...while I also instanyly realized that I Am unique!

Yeah, I gno it sounds crazy, but it's twue, it's twue!

6/23/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Rez Roach said...

So, this Pikuni is no good? Because he doesn't scratch at his Mother and break her skin looking for shiny metal? Because he doesn't care for making lines in the dirt and teaching plants to grow in rows?

Because he prefers to hunt rather than herd?

I find the Mother very fine as she is. The Red man loves the earth. Whites see in her only a way to satisfy their greed for easy living.
There once was a proper and decent way chosen by the Pikuni; alas, I am one of the last to do things the old way.

To say the Red Indian didn't care for the land, or despoiled it is a lie, just like others told by the whites. Don't believe that pack of nonsense.

---Fools Crow, Blackfoot Indian
1923

6/23/2007 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Fools Crow indeed.
Sounds like the name of some bad rum I drank once.

6/23/2007 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Or mebbe it was rot-gut whiskey.
Hard to say fer sure.

6/23/2007 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Bob, you write about how you recognized Schuon as a vehicle of grace, but you don't agree with everything he said, and he sure wouldn't have agreed with everything of what you say.

It mildly amuses me that this sums up how I relate to you. I see some things quite differently, but that never held me back from riding your spiritual coat tails. I am not in a position to only buy lamp oil from people I agree with in all things.

6/24/2007 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

RE Peak Oil,

Short article here from someone who knows what he’s talking about, Michael Economides, Professor Chemical Engineering, University of Houston.

Defanging the Energy Scaremongers

You will have to download the PDF which is to the right of the magazine cover. The article is on page 2.
Short read – 2 pages – and covers most of the major misinformation.
Gotta love the ending...who really saved the whales.

6/24/2007 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

rez roach: I keep telling you, same creature, different color. How many adolescents would give you the same B.S. as our dear old Fools Crow? Just because his nouns and verbs are a little different doesn't make his message different.

His message? I'm good even though you say I'm not. Because of this, necessarily (narcissarly?) all of my people - even those who are very unlike me other than sharing a common ancestry - are too! I will now display my own ignorance as moral 'clarity' and insult the hard work, blood, sweat and toil of millions.

6/24/2007 05:26:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Magnus,
RE agreeing, I agree.
I’ve only read the one Schuon book, Divine to Human, and although I think I’ve been able to “keep up” with much of what he wrote there – there are parts that I just file under “don’t understand yet”. So for me, it’s not so much that I disagree, but that I recognize I may not understand it the way he intended. Yet.
Similar to Meditation on the Tarot but there are things there that I would file closer to “don’t agree”. But not much.
Bob’s writing, however, which I’ve read an awful lot more of than MOTT and Schuon, well, I can’t recall a thing I’ve disagreed with – I’m talking about the important stuff . There must have been some things that made me go, “whaaaa?” But it comes down to this for me:
When I see a guy hit the bullseye 99% of the time, there is no way he’s not starring right at it 100% of the time. I apply this to MOTT and Schuon too. I’ll take the 99% and work on the rest. Or the 1% error is just error. The 1% has little affect on the value of the 99%.

6/24/2007 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Ricky,
it need not even be 99%. Although in your case it may well be, sharing so much cultural background. I am sure there are people with a cultural background that could agree more with Schuon too... if they understood him in the first place, which it seems few people do.

More to the point, there is a human tendency, when they meet a vehicle of grace, to ascribe to them infallibility. But this is very rarely true. The flip side of this is the tendency, when one finds an obvious and factual error, to write off the whole person and all his works. Often this error follows the first. It is a bit like the condition of emotionally immature people whose feelings swing from love to hate.

I would not take Bob's word over my own in economics, an area in which I have expertise and he not. I WOULD take his word on faith in psychoanalysis, in which he is an expert and I not. But these things are largely tangential at best to his effect of centering, uplifting and inducing seriousness. He could probably have been a blacksmith and still had much of the same effect.

6/24/2007 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"How to see through their eyes, not just with them?"

Isn't that also the problem of education in general? Kids who 'learn' the lessons and material, can repeat it back, but don't understand it? And as you say, it's certainly not limited to kids, but all ages and areas of study. I don't know that anyone has figured out how to kick knowledge up to that next level, to Understanding, even though I think we've all had that sensation of that change happening, when some chance word or occurance causes everything to seemingly click into place.

In fact one of the things I enjoy about the OC, is that it happens here all the time; the sensation of the sudden frontal lobe swirl, as you can practically feel some thought which you thought you knew, go from being a compartmentalized 'known', to its borders melting, suddenly integrating into what had seemed distant ideas just moments before.

It's not just wide ranging thoughts & discussions that bring it about, there are many people who possess a broad knowledge but with little understanding. Why...?

6/24/2007 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze! Good to hear from you, I was starting to get worried again, I've 'called' you a couple times & got no reply... Beaky doing well?

6/24/2007 07:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE:Peak Oil
Ricky Raccoon,
Thanks for the article it is a good read. The author is very right how important and useful oil in many forms. It is truly an incredible resource I hope we protect an conserve it. However continued steady growth in consumption rates of this finite resource means somethings gotta give. I hope he is right that we many years of easy oil left.

I personally think all the information on this issue hasn't been aired out. Has anybody heard conservative represntative Roscoe Bartlett speak on this subject? Here is a link http://www.bartlett.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=67739
He too has good credentials as a former professor research scientist, farmer and full blooded conservative american. Who knows he might even be a raccoon?

6/24/2007 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You guys are giving me an idea for tomorrow's post!

Back to today's....

6/24/2007 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Ben, on becoming your true self:

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it."

God knows our real name, our true identity, written on the "white stone."

I had a "progressive" friend who was literally freaking out over peak oil, trying to figure out how to become self-sustaining and all that jazz.

I don't capitulate to left-wing scaremongering anymore. Ever since the "population bomb" (Ehrlich) has been shown to be a dud, I don't worry about humanity's future. It truly is in the hands of God. We, being fallible, simply don't know everything there is to know about oil formation or oil deposits. Our knowledge on the horizontal axis is incomplete, so incomplete we don't even know *how* incomplete. That's why control-freak attempts to manipulate the environment, driven by fear and panic, are so ridiculous and always run into unforeseen circumstances.

I too believe that necessity (and the promise of profit) will yet drive humanity to new discoveries.

Also, I take to heart the words of Jesus:

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

6/24/2007 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though perhaps brilliant, Schuon was also the leader of a destructive mind-control cult. It never ceases to amaze me that most people who encounter his works ignore this basic fact which invalidates his spiritual message. The problem actually stems from the authoritarian structure of his group, which in turn proceeds from Schuon's authoritarian mode of thought, ie, "Traditionalism" or "Perennialism," inherited from another authoritarian thinker, René Guénon (who, not having "disciples," was not in a position to be abusive).

I wish a more courageous soul than I have been so far would post information on Schuon's cult in order to balance the hyperbolic stature he has acquired online with a more human (all too human) dimension.

6/25/2007 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

What do you have against authoritarian mind-control cults? If you don't want to be a Raccoon, we'll give you back your lousy $1.50. But just remember, the confidentiality agreement is still in force.

6/25/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Don said...

hi, just wondering (for Bob) - I see you are interested both in Schuon and Aurobindo - didn't Schuon despise Aurobindo's "evolutionism"? How do you reconcile them?

7/13/2010 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger Don said...

oh, forgot - if you or anyone else reading this page wants to, please write me at donsalmon7@gmail.com - I'm working on a video project deconstructing scientific materalism, and this schuon/aurobindo issue is tangentially related. thanks!

7/13/2010 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Don:

You are correct regarding Schuon's feelings about Aurobindo. As to how I reconcile them, that's a looooong story, about which I have written many posts. There are parts of Schuon I accept, and there are parts I do not accept. Likewise with Aurobindo. I just do my best to reconcile the truth in each.

7/13/2010 06:38:00 AM  

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