I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night (11.01.10)
In the case of the latter, you're sort of internalizing the Dreamer, and then trying to see what the world looks like through that particular dreamer's eyes, say, Frithjof Schuon or Sri Aurobindo, two of history's greatest and most expansive cosmic dreamers. The cosmic metaphysical dream colors all the particulars of our experience, and in fact, allows one to notice many particulars that would otherwise elude us, and place them in the context of a greater and more encompassing vision. Obviously, you're not going to get much of this in a typical secular education.
Rather, in the case of most books, you're only getting the dream content, and it's up to you to come up with the dream that will synthesize it and give it meaning. When a book is too long, or poorly edited, or becomes weak or boring as it goes along, it's often because the author insufficiently dreamt the material. But most conventional scholars are not proper dreamers anyway, or else they just interpret the material through the controlling dream of the day, say, secular liberalism or materialistic scientism.
In a secular eduction, whatever else you learn, the worst part of it is that you will have internalized the Secular Dream -- which is actually a nightmare, or at least a dream unworthy of Man and that which (or Who) dreams him. As such, you will have committed spiritual cluelesside without even knowing it. Satan works in mysterious ways, but this isn't one of them. The public education system has been doing his heavy lifting for some 40 years now.
Not sure if I'm making myself clear. Take the miracle of Life, which is to say, Life Itself. You can hardly expect some academic worker-beeologist to place life in its proper dream context (not that we don't need worker bees and other hivenauts). Rather, in order to succeed at science, you often must either be a person who is cut off from, or disinterested in, the depths of his dream life, or simply passively accede to the institutional dream of professional biology, which is that life is but a machine, with no sh-boom at all.
But in the real dream world,
Hey nonny ding dong, alang alang alay
Boom ba-doh, ba-doo ba-doodle-ay
Oh, life could be a dream (sh-boom sh-boom)
If I could take you up in paradise up above (sh-boom sh-boom)
If you would tell me I'm the only one that you love
Life could be a dream, sweetheart
(Hello hello again, sh-boom & hopin' we'll meet again)
Or, in the words of Sri Aurobindo,
Mystic Miracle, daughter of Delight,
Life, thou ecstasy,
Let the radius of thy flight
So at the moment, I'm trying to re-dream this book, or place it in the context of my own dream, since I naturally want my dream to encompass as much of reality as possible. Only the Dreamer can do this -- I mean, obviously machines can't do it. For example, supposing you knew every "historical fact" in existence, and then fed them all into a supercomputer. What do you suppose the computer would come up with? Would it be able to synthesize all the facts into a suitable dream? Of course not. Only a dreamer can historicize, even as history discloses the Dreamer Who Dreams It.
Of particular interest to me is the religious dream that has allowed the Anglo-American world to succeed where all other dreams failed, to such an extent that it is by far the most powerful dream the world has ever known. In fact, at present there are three primary dreams in competition for who will Dream history 1) American classical liberalism (i.e., conservatism), 2) European statist secular leftism (including its American variety), and 3) Islamism. The world is not big enough for all of these dreams, and yet, only one of these dreams is big enough for the world.
Mead's book is divided into five main sections, each of which is fascinating in its own right. But of particular interest to me is the third section, Anglo-Saxon Attitudes, which gets into the religious metaphysics -- our metaphysical dream -- which allowed the Anglo-Saxons to come to dominate the world over the past several centuries. Seen in the light of Mead's explanations, the Marxist counter-dream just looks silly -- i.e., that our success is based only upon oppression, or violence, or exploitation, or class warfare. Rather, our success is because our dream is much closer to reality -- or our reality is much closer to the Cosmic Dream and its Author.
For example, Mead gets into a subject I discussed in the Coonifesto, which is that only open systems can evolve, both individually and collectively. In a closed society, adventure is exchanged for security. Everyone knows their place or role and the tyranny of custom and tradition are complete, as in the contemporary Islamic world, or, to a lesser extent, among the ironically named "progressives." Because of their dominance, there is no place less intellectually -- let alone spiritually -- free in America than on a leftist university campus. Likewise, they represent the main organized opposition to that which, more than any other factor, has created so much progress in the world, the free market, compared to which the progressive movement has contributed essentially nil to the betterment of mankind.
As Mead writes, "the journey from East to West is a journey from relatively closed to relatively open society," both historically and geographically. For example, even in contemporary America, the world of the New York Times is the quintessence of a closed, parochial, backward-looking world view, especially as compared to the view here from Raccoon Lookout in Upper Tonga. But further east from New York to Paris, the view gets even more closed and crimped.
Later Mead notes that "History is in large part the record of efforts, more often successful than not, of the advocates of closed society to shut down open societies." For example, what is the contemporary culture war but the effort by leftist elites to strangle debate with political correctness and to enforce their narrow views on the rest of us, through the news media, through Hollywood, through acedemia, by packing the Supreme Court, etc.? Mead writes that "History may be understood as a series of efforts to tame the disruptive intellectual and political forces of an open society and restore the closed society with its stability and reassuringly eternal and absolute qualities."
Now obviously, it isn't just secular leftists who want to shut down progress and create a closed society. In the past, traditional religion has most often been the main adversary of the open society, and therefore progress. A large section of Mead's book is devoted to explaining how we in the Anglo-American world got it just right in terms of religious metaphysics, in such a way that progress not only became possible, but inevitable. But it is always a very tricky balance, and it's not something we should take for granted. Rather, as we shall see, it involves a "trinity," a three part dynamism that Mead calls tradition-revelation-reason. Societies that move too far in one of these directions become dysfunctional, and either cannot endure or cannot evolve.
I'm unfortunately running out of time here, but in a subsequent post, I especially want to get into an idea that I believe will be of particular interest to Raccoons, which is the distinction between what Mead calls static religion and dynamic religion, for this is a key that unlocks many cosmic doors -- perhaps all of them.
VOTE quickly, before the arrival of the Blue Celephalapodians.