Thursday, October 25, 2007

Irreverence and Other Sacred Cows

Worship. Why worship the Creator?

Webster's tells us that the word comes to us from both Middle English and Middle French, and has to do with worthiness, repute, respect, or reverence paid to a divine being. It is also "an act expressing such reverence." Being that it is about as universal a (pre)conception as there is in the human arsenal, even looked at from a purely anthropological standpoint, there must be something about it that is absolutely intrinsic to being human. Dylan probably nailed it when he sang that you're gonna have to serve somebody, so it might as well be the Absolute.

Atheists imagine they don't worship anything or anyone, but this is pure naivete. If we strip the word "worship" of certain saturated images and ideas, they're just like everyone else. To put it another way, if you don't respect and revere what is absolutely worthy of such, you're just not human. The impulse to worship comes from such a deep unconscious wellspring, that it is naive to imagine that you could somehow bypass it. To the extent that you try, you will simply replace the absolute with the relative, which is idolatry, or rebel against the absolute, which is satanism.

Could it be that worship simply has to do with Darwinian survival, as sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists maintain? I doubt it, because so many forms of worship are so utterly non-adaptive and damaging to the survival prospects of both individuals and groups. Take the Aztec, for example. They worshipped a god who required a constant diet of sacrificial victims. Clearly, they were simply worshipping a psychological projection of their own bloodthirsty mind parasites, as do our contemporary Islamist monsters of depravity. In these cases, the "worship function" -- let's just call it (w), to avoid saturation -- is appropriated by psychopathological elements with their own agenda.

As I mentioned in the Coonifesto, mind parasites operate in a manner that exactly parallels their viral or bacterial cousins in the material world, that is, by taking over the machinery of the host and using it to reproduce themselves. Our minds, just like our bodies, have certain "functions" with which the parasite can interfere.

For example, one of the most important functions of the mind is its epistemophilic instinct. If this instinct is not guided by a love of truth, it can easily be commandeered by other factors and thereby go astray. Indeed, human history is littered with knowledge that wasn't really knowledge because it was serving purposes other than truth.

You might think that this is only a problem that afflicted primitive peoples, but you'd be wrong. To cite one obvious example, the reason why leftist universities have become such "bullshit factories" is that the epistemophilic instinct is given free reign to worship anything but truth, for example, diversity. Being that truth exists on a vector that tends toward unity, the worship of diversity institutionalizes the Lie.

In the metaphysics of Vedanta, there is the idea of the three gunas, which are qualities or modes that permeate all of creation. These are sattwa, or the upward tendency; rajas, the expansive or "passional" tendency"; and tamas, the downward or inertial quality. Each human being is a combination of all three, although one tends to dominate. (The gunas have other implications, but we'll ignore those for now.)

As Schuon, explains, this implies three general modes of living; in the case of sattva it is "conformity to the Principle"; in the case of rajas, it is "the expansive affirmation of possibilities, hence 'horizontal' -- or, if one prefers, 'passional' -- existence; while tamas would imply "non-conformity to the Principle," that is, "the illusory movement in the direction of a 'nothingness' that is inexistent, obviously, but that is possible as a negative and subversive point of reference." It is the movement from the cosmic center to the periphery.

You might say that the sattvic person worships the Absolute, while the rajasic person worships the world -- which will be a good or bad thing depending upon the degree of sattvas or tamas (in other words, it is obviously possible to appropriately love the world). The tamasic person, as Schuon suggests, is at best "floating" or "drifting" away from the Absolute. But add a little rajasic passion to the mix, and you have someone who is actively doing so, which is what the psychospiritual left is all about: a passion for godlessness, or religious fervor in the absence of its appropriate object.

This is why the Democrat party doesn't need religion, since it already is one. You will notice how stiff and awkward they sound when trying to mimic real religion (except for the satanically passionate ones, e.g., Sharpton and Jackson). They just don't get it. But this is not to say that they have no (w), which they obviously do. It is just oriented in the wrong direction. Among other sins, they inappropriately love the world (and many of its most unlovable inhabitants, for that matter).

Now, one of the ways Bion revolutionized psychoanalysis was by focussing on the link between two objects, as opposed to the impersonal discharge of an instinct. To greatly oversimplify, Freud would say that love merely rides piggypack on the sex instinct, whereas Bion would say that sex is a link between objects characterized by love, hate, or knowledge, or (L), (H), or (K). For example, for a person with a perversion, the sex instinct has become an (H) or (-L) link between the two objects (who, by the way, are actually subjects, properly speaking; the word "object" is a holdover from the old instinctual model).

You will note that Genesis is very astute in this regard, for it says that Adam knew Eve, which is to emphasize how different humans are from animals when it comes to the sexual instinct. Obviously, animal sex has no (K) link; nor any (L) or (H) link, for that matter. On the other hand, human sex without a (K) or (L) link is not properly human. It is something less, closer to animal sex (but actually lower, since animals are not violating their own nature by engaging in animal sex). Only man can sink beneath himself, and therefore, other animals. The fact that he can be lower than an animal is what separates him from them.

I'm starting to run out of time, but what I would like to suggest is that (w) is a critical link between God and man, or, of you prefer, O and (¶), as I put it in the book. In other words, it is not merely a mode of subservience, but of knowledge and love, and therefore union. To put it another way, to spontaneously worship the Creator is to already confess knowledge of him.

Well, I'd better get to work. To be continued.....

The whole order of relations among the various worlds may be conceived in images of intimate engagement, a kind of sexual contact between one world and another, between one level of being and another. --Adin Steinsaltz, The Thirteen Petalled Rose


julie said...

I think the trouble a lot of secular people have with the idea of worship is that they think theists believe that God requires it. The idea of an infinite Creator who is so insecure He demands to be constantly praised (lest we feel His wrath) is obviously rather silly, and of course nobody in their right mind wants to spend eternity with that kind of capricious nutball (which is one more reason Islamists can't rightly be called sane).

" is not merely a mode of subservience, but of knowledge and love, and therefore union. To put it another way, to spontaneously worship the Creator is to already confess knowledge of him."

I don't know if it is even possible to be truly open to (O) and not worship. When you experience beauty, when your heart soars with joy, when you play music and feel like so much more than your tiny self, all of these combined with the gnowledge that Someone created the universe and made it beautiful cannot but instill a sense of wonder, of gratitude, and yes of worship.

When someone gives a child the best present they've ever gotten, they will generally erupt in a spontaneous exuberance of gratitude. Not because they've been told to, or because it's polite, but because they simply cannot contain the gratitude and joy they feel. When we realize that we've been given the Gift of gifts, can we do otherwise? Worship is not compulsory. It's just what you do when you gno.

Ricky Raccoon said...

RE yesterday’s up-side-down-side when reading Schuon and today’s (w) sign post, I’m going to go out on a sturdy limb here and say that there is no down-side to reading his work. Once you’ve got your feet planted firmly in the air, that is.

Coonified said...

(who are actually subjects, properly speaking; the word "object" is a holdover from the old instinctual model).

Kohut called them selfobjects. Maybe it should be Selfobject instead, since the transcendent is the ultimate subject with whom must commune with in to grow, just as a therapist is sometimes necessary for internal suppressions to come to light. But the subject is always present within, no need for an external selfobject (guru) if the communtion with O is established.

"Adam knew Eve"

I always thought it funny that every time Adam knew Eve they concieved a child. I've had a negative attitude about it for a while, mainly because it's just more proof to the literalist that they (ancestors) were more under the influence of the beast than we are. But your right, at least there's (k), and the union that it implies is radically beyond mere biological exchange.

NoMo said...

"I don't know if it is even possible to be truly open to (O) and not worship." (Julie)

It's not...WORSHIP!

Petey said...

Any time you (K) something through (L), you coonceive. It's a very fertile way to think.

Robin Starfish said...

Heaven's Gate
open the big door
sing from this weathered hymnal
all the words are tall

Ricky Raccoon said...

Roundabout now I’m thinking:

In and around the lake
Mountains come out of the sky
and they stand there


NoMo said...

Ricky - Yes, indeed.

(I love doing that)

Ricky Raccoon said...

Just picked up a greatest hits yesterday…after a too long absence.
As I’ve said before, some people refuse to take Yes for an answer.
Can that guy play the bass or what?

NoMo said...

Pondering worship, idols, Dylan’s “You gotta serve somebody”, somehow brought me to this interesting and excellent article about the Apostle Paul’s visit to Athens and his use of the Greeks’ own philosophy and even poetry to bring home his message to the Greek philosophers. Enjoy.

NoMo said...

RR – Early Yes was always one of my favs in the art-rock genre (Genesis, Renaissance, ELP, etc.). Can’t say that I ever understood their lyrics as much as felt them. And the musicianship...

River Cocytus said...

Huh. Same here, Nomo. But reading them now I understand them. And it makes me glad when I like the sound of something good.

whammo said...

The trouble with worship is that if there are times that you are actively worshipping it implies that there are times when you are not.

And that's a problem because the spiritual life should have no interuptions in service, so to speak.

This is why consciously going out of your way to worship is a sign that something is out of balance. After you craft an aware Godly life you negate the need to "ramp up" to worship.

A God person should always be working her program quietly and steadily. Unless there is a slippage of faith, it is a questionable use of time to do rituals.

God is unlikely to take much pride or stock in rituals or worship directed It's way. It more likes the quiet heroism of everyday life.

Give It what It appreciates.

River Cocytus said...

On the contrary, ritual is one of the few ways that the Sons of Earth, pagans at heart, can come to know, remember or worship the One.

When we stand before God someone will ask Him: Why did you permit that men have all kind of ritual and tradition? And he will say, because you were yet to be perfected.

Magnus Itland said...

Rituals, eh whammo? I guess you wandered in after Van's famous parable of rituals as scaffolding. Rituals are simply means of making people aware of that which does not require rituals. Once you outgrow them, their contents still remain. Worship as a relationship is not something that ends. It is the natural state of a contingent or relative being. I know from my own sad experience that lack of worship of God means just that much more worship of something else. You can also see this around you. A lot of what goes on in society is worship of this and that.

Stuart said...

Hey Whammo,

If every moment was devoted to worship, among other things, there would be no separation between sacred and profane.

I have yet to meet a soul that has entirely rid itself of the profane, samskara, mind parasites, etc.

Therefore, pretending that your entire life is an act of worship inappropriately elevates the profane to the scared.

You mistake the ideal or the archetype of d'vekut (constant worship, literally, "clinging to God") with its actualization here below. Which needless to say, is necessarily less than its full realization.

CrypticLife said...

You're right, julie, a lot of secularists have a problem with that. And, there are some religions that do hold that it's a requirement to worship.

Gagdad, sure atheists will reject the word "worship" if it's not made clear that you mean "respect and revere". Atheists don't usually claim to respect nothing. When you say "worship", though, do you really mean unconditionally and unquestioningly? Are you saying a lack of questioning is necessary lest one become a satanist or idolatrist (which, by the way, I know how you object to relativism, but not sure how you get to idolatry from relativism)?

"You might think that this is only a problem that afflicted primitive peoples, but you'd be wrong. To cite one obvious example, the reason why leftist universities"

You're sure that shows the problem can affect non-primitive peoples? ;)

Robin Starfish said...

Whammo, speaking from experience, I'd be watching for that cudgel that will be coming along to knock you off your high horse one good day. Replace your It-God with a personal God who does the deep work of examining your heart and you won't mind the constant unveiling of failure followed by being lifted up to grace again and again. There's real reason to worship then, by ritual and spontaneously. Worship is a gift, not a misguided duty.

walt said...

Bob, I read the post this morning; then, when I saw there was some debate about the ideas, I re-read it this afternoon. As I understand it, the issues could be narrowed to just two sentences in the post:

"...if you don't respect and revere what is absolutely worthy of such, you're just not human."

" will simply replace the absolute with the relative, which is idolatry."

I benefit from having learned the Gagdaddian dialect (well, some of it -- it keeps changing!) and so when you say "human", say, or use "relative", there are your definitions archived in my brain. I mean, you started with Webster today, but I can appreciate someone not relating to "Conformity to the Principle," even if I do.

And silly me: I take those two sentences very personally...which kind of lights them up!

As Robin alluded to, when you get to the place where your life is a Gift, then respect/reverence/(w) or ritual completes the cycle.

Gagdad Bob said...

Nice Van.

NoMo said...

In the palace of the Lord. Nice Van.

Coonified said...

CL said:

"Gagdad, sure atheists will reject the word "worship" if it's not made clear that you mean "respect and revere".

Respect and reverence are attitudes that flow forth from a relationship, which as I said above, and is implied, that where ever there is separation between the worshiper and the worshiped, between the small little subject and the absolute therapist, Father, Parent, Cosmic adult, the Absolute subject, or whatever other name we use for it, there is necessarily "the profane, samskaras, mind parasites, etc," which is what we want to get out of...eventually.

The divine is the ultimate selfobject, which is really no object at all, and the ontological fountain from which all persons' personhood derives; and it is precisely by drinking from the fountain that we live forever, which is just another way of saying worship Me (Him. Not coonified :)
So, I believe that when one actually experiences the change,
when a man makes the decision "to realize a permanent relationship with his creator" and "to become what he should have been" (schuon), worship in essence is how that's continually brought about. And, when the changes occur, when spirit proves itself by becoming you (even in doubt), only then is it truely holy, otherwise there is not proof of its holiness. Our past looks like hell to me...wonderful spirit!

On another line...

A comment from Cryptic:

(which, by the way, I know how you object to relativism, but not sure how you get to idolatry from relativism)?

Are you sure how he objects to relativism? If you did understand you wouldn't have even brought it up.
Relativism is not denied, but the limits thereof. Absolutizing the relative implies a collapse in hierarchy; of taking the ascending series of substance, the qualities situated in hierarchy (maybe you should study the distinctions of quality and quantity), and throwing it all away. If hierarchy is true, which is painfully obvious, and one makes this mistake, the horrible error is the denial of what's below, and what's above--and the false completion of oneself. In other words: Hell.

About idolatry.

The notion of selfobject is still useful. Since the self is the aim, any oject that's clinged to as a substitute for that, is an idol. This is why I emphasized Selfobject with a capital S, so as to point out the anterior, undelying nature of the subject, and the relativity of objects. There is the exception of the occasional god-man, but that's rare isn't it.

NoMo said...

"They were giving you religion
Breaking bread and drinking wine
And you laid out on the green hills
Just like when you were a child
I saw you from a foreign window
You were trying to find your way back home
You were carrying your defects
Sleeping on a pallet on the floor
In the palace of the lord

Nice Van.

NoMo said...

coonified - Who, exactly, "makes the decision"? Think about it.

tsebring said...

Ricky, Nomo...nice to know there's other progheads here at OC. If you liked Yes, Genesis, ELP, Renaissance in their glory days, try the Flower Kings, Spock's Beard, Magenta, Kenso, and Glass Hammer for some of the newer prog fare.

Bob, great post...another possible reason why the postmodernist is repelled from worship of the Almighty is precisely because He is the Almighty, and true worship requires surrender and humility, something the pathologically narcissistic postmodernist who is full of himself (and full of s***) is incapable of. Yesterday Bob mentioned the passage where Jesus says "Why do you call me good? There is none good but the Father". I would add to that the passage "Without my Father I can do nothing". Now if that isn't humility, I don't know what is.

God's call to us is not that of a muzzein howling from his perch on a minaret, demanding that we drop everything and face whatever direction Mecca lies, but the still small voice of a humble servant that says, "Come all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". Yet we know from the last chapters of Revelation that He is no pacifist. In the end days evil will not be negotiated with, not embraced in the name of Diversity, or invited to speak at a university,but DEFEATED. He is the ultimate warrior..yet at same time He is the ultimate model of humility. He is indeed a mystery.

Coonified said...

Nomo asked

who "makes the decision"?

The little self wants out and the big self helps, i guess. It's a quote from one of bobs past blogs. (WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2007)
But if you want to be nondual about I guess Aurobindo's comment "he who chooses is chosen" works.

It can get more complicateed than that, like the christian arguements over grace, i think it's synergia, pelanianism, and simi-pelanianism. I think think these are arguements over how salvation occurs, but I havn't thrown much energey into it. I have thought about it though.