Thursday, December 27, 2007

Celestial Abortions and Pre-partum Depression (12.27.10)

Here's a coonundrum for all you flat-cosmos linear types who imagine you can exclude me, the unconscious (which I think I'll start calling the "transconscious" or "supraconscious" in order to avoid conflation with the exclusively lower unconscious studied by psychoanalysis). First, I want you to know that although Bob took the day off yesterday, I didn't, since I never do. Rather, I am no different than your heart, your liver, or your lungs. I'm always here, churning away, wide awake while you dream and doing the vital dreamwork while you're awake.

Now, when you get right down to it, there are only a couple of options to leading a spiritual life, which we have defined as one in which the purpose of your life is to conform yourself to yourSelf, or to your divine archetype -- to paradoxically "become who you already are," so to speak. This requires that you grow in truth, wisdom and virtue, and thus close the "gap" between accident and substance, or contingency and essence. Yes, there is a real "you," but timelessness takes time, walking on water wasn't built in a day, yada yada, blah blah blah. We know this already.

Another way of saying it is that in the spiritual life we are specifically attempting to grow something that transcends time. That something is "you." This is not really controversial. For example, every living thing begins with an immature form "seeking" its mature form. Something -- whether God or Nature -- wills that babies become adults.

But this doesn't just involve changes to the physical form, especially as it pertains to human beings. Rather, everyone knows that real human change takes place on the interior plane, and that it continues well beyond the point that we have reached physical maturity. Two physically mature human specimens can have nothing in common, whereas that is never true of other animals. In fact, among all the animals, only humans can (and should) continue growing indefinitely. A mind that has stopped growing is effectively dead, as it has become a closed system. And the most damaging closure is the vertical kind.

You could say that someone who is not in some form or fashion growing toward a real nonlocal telos is effectively living as an animal. Thus, many people who think they are not spiritual actually are, for example, the artist or writer who seek true beauty in their work, or the scientist who passionately seeks timeless truth. In a more enlightened age, these activities would be understood for what they are, and could not have become detached from the greater spiritual Adventure of Consciousness -- or even become opposed to it, as happens with scientism or with debased "art" that has no spiritual direction at all (except "down" or "away" from the light).

Now, if I, the transconscious mode, did not exist, then there would be no deep continuity in your life, and thus, no actual entity that undergoes change through time. In other words, animals essentially exist only in space, in such a way that they basically mirror the external world that they co-create.

But the human has deep temporal roots that extend all the way back to his own conception -- and some would say prior even to that. The human being lives in time, but time isn't just a linear succession of discrete and disconnected moments, as the existence of memory and transtemporal vision (e.g., "prophecy") prove. Rather, the past and future are entangled in the present, not just consciously, but unconsciously.

For example, most forms of mental illness are a result of some unmetabolized -- which is to say, unsynthesized -- aspect of the past intruding upon the present. A symptom exists as an unconscious "part" that needs to be integrated into the whole. But other symptoms can emanate from the future, so to speak. This was the position of Carl Jung, who observed that much mental illness is actually a result of a spiritual stillbirth, or the pain of failing to realize one's archetype. Such a person can ransack his past, looking for "what went wrong," but he won't find it, because it's in the future, not the past, or "above," not below. Call it a spiritual prepartum depression.

As I mentioned above, there are only a couple of options to leading a spiritual life. One of them is hedonism, which ends up doing violence to the temporal aspect of human existence, as it reduces life to the mindless pursuit of discrete moments of pleasure, as if salvation consists of the accumulation of these disconnected experiences.

But the whole point is that these moments are inherently disconnected and can never surpass themselves, and in fact, usually diminish with time. In other words, the first time you do something is usually the most intense, and if you spend your life trying to achieve that level of intensity, you're just wasting your time. As Bob put it in One Cosmos, many problems are caused by trying to wring more pleasure out of something than there is in it. This can happen with food, vacations, sex, what have you, and is responsible for a lot of compulsive behavior. Anything that gives pleasure can become problematic if used in the wrong spirit.

As Bolton writes in Keys of Gnosis, the idea that happiness results from an accumulation of pleasures is pure illusion, since "each of its successive moments is in effect a separate world for experience." The bare moment "neither receives anything from, nor imparts anything to, any other moment, not even the next ones adjacent to it." Excluded from my transtemporal influence, the pursuit of moment-to-moment pleasure "does not allow the least possibility that any of them could be combined to make a total in this world..."

Now, this is why, ipso facto, there is so little wisdom on the secular left, unless it is just accidental or parasitic on some other non-leftist source. Only religion teaches one the secret of converting momentary pleasures into something enduring (this is one of the particular virtues of Judaism, which is so "this worldly" in a specifically other-worldly manner; a mishnah teaches that the first question God will ask upon your demise is why you didn't partake in all of his permitted pleasures).

One can possess perfectly normal intelligence, even superior intelligence, as they say, for example, of Bill Clinton, and yet be devoid of spiritual wisdom, since it can only exist on a transcendent plane above the linear succession of temporal moments. No one has to convince me that his 1,000 page autofellatiography is an overflowing wellspring of spiritual vacuity, devoid of wisdom.

Likeunwise, Hugh Hefner isn't reduced to sleeping with three empty-headed 20 year-olds because he lacks wisdom, but he is such a pathetically desolate soul because that is what he has spent his life doing. The one-dimensional physical beauty he compulsively seeks is a kind of perverse mirror of the five-dimensional spiritual beauty he lacks. (One reason he is a big supporter of "women's causes" is in order to reap their baleful effects.) He does provide a sort of compass for the soul, however, since at this point you could probably ask him almost any question about life and get the wrong answer. As such, his soul's journey in this life has been catastrophic. He built -- or grew -- nothing. His soul will leave the world in worse shape than it came in. He is a celestial abortion. He has unhad the time of his life by breaking it to bits.

Bolton goes on to say that "the greatest amount of pleasure of whatever kind can never exceed the greatest single instance of it, and likewise with pain." This is why, to quote Plotinus, to try to make multiplicity, "whether in time or in action, essential to happiness," is to try to put happiness together "by combining non-existents" (quoted in Bolton). What does exist is the present, only it is not actually a "bare moment" on a linear scale. Rather, it has vertical extension, and this is where pleasure can actually be deepened in a meaningful sense, and this is what true spirituality endeavors to do. It is a way for the pleasures of your life to actually accumulate and add up to One instead of none.

35 Comments:

Blogger walt said...

Yesterday Bob recommended Jonah Goldberg's new book, Liberal Fascism.

Here is a 39 minute interview with Jonah, either for immediate listening, or for down-load. If you have dial-up (and some of us do), click the "lo-fi" version.

12/27/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Off-topic, but I just saw this article linked at Protein Wisdom. Someone actually wrote a paper saying that the relatively low incidence of rape by IDF soldiers against Palestinian women is due not to the fact that Israelis tend to think rape is wrong, but rather because of xenophobia and a fear of increasing the Palestinian population.

My head hurts.

12/27/2007 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Fascinating. I was writing on an essay tentatively called "Happiness is like a tree", highlighting the difference between pleasures (which are limited) and happiness (which is not, but must be grown or built over time). Then the Hour of OC rolled over and I went to look.

12/27/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

"Such a person can ransack his past, looking for "what went wrong," but he won't find it, because it's in the future, not the past, or "above," not below."

Ah! I see here the power of repentance, an acknowledgment of and turning away from past error toward salvation which exists only in the now and works itself out through the future.

Light Gathering
traveling in the
country of the nonchalant
a lover of tao

12/27/2007 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Such a person can ransack his past, looking for "what went wrong," but he won't find it, because it's in the future, not the past, or "above," not below. Call it a spiritual prepartum depression.

Yup, I'm looking in the past. No wonder I'm depressed. Never even occurred to me to look the other way.

One of them is hedonism, which ends up doing violence to the temporal aspect of human existence, as it reduces life to the mindless pursuit of discrete moments of pleasure, as if salvation consists of the accumulation of these disconnected experiences.


Yup, I fell for that one too. Although its more of a compulsion in my case. Hedonism makes me feel alive. Everything else just seems empty. That last bit is the lie you tell yourself because you gno that those disconnected experiences are all you are going to get.

many problems are caused by trying to wring more pleasure out of something than there is in it

True. But you still do it because you are desperate and pleasure is all you have.

I still find it hard to believe. I've asked God to help me understand myself better. I've asked specific questions. And I find the specific answers here. The whole thing is eerie, and wonderful. Bob, you are tuned into a fruitful frequency. The music is as surprising as it is good.

Thanks

12/27/2007 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Great post.

"This is why, to quote Plotinus, to try to make multiplicity, "whether in time or in action, essential to happiness," is to try to put happiness together "by combining non-existents" (quoted in Bolton). What does exist is the present, only it is not actually a "bare moment" on a linear scale. Rather, it has vertical extension, and this is where pleasure can actually be deepened in a meaningful sense, and this is what true spirituality endeavors to do. It is a way for the pleasures of your life to actually accumulate and add up to One instead of none."

Must be good to be Gagdad... his nearest writing rival can beat him in his sleep... and it is him in his sleep.

12/27/2007 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

julie quoted..."... saying that the relatively low incidence of rape by IDF soldiers against Palestinian women is due not to the fact that Israelis tend to think rape is wrong, but rather because of xenophobia and a fear of increasing the Palestinian population."

By Xenophobia, perhaps they mean that they prefer Woman they don't need to put a bag over?

12/27/2007 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

Sure, Hef has bagged a lot of women, but nothing compared to the Muslim world.

12/27/2007 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Van:
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has 'a gentle hint' as to why

http://www.nicedoggie.net/2007/?p=1482

WARNING: if you don't know this site, ISS Alert

12/27/2007 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Magnus:
Do we get to read your essay?

Please?

12/27/2007 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous coonified said...

"Now, when you get right down to it, there are only a couple of options to leading a spiritual life,"

"As I mentioned above, there are only a couple of options to leading a spiritual life. One of them is hedonism"

Which is to say there's only one way. The pursuit of spiritual pleasure is not hedonistic, unless you interpret hedonism in it's origional meaning, which is meaningful spiritual pleasure.

James said:

(about hedonism)

"True. But you still do it because you are desperate and pleasure is all you have."

The vacuity is something: a space to be filled by a higher force that actually satisfies the deprivation. The point is to first of all, establish a tangible relationship with a higher force, and then live as much as possible in ones own deprivation, a sort of reveling in self emptying. The hardest part of the whole process is the beginning (the first year or two), but once one gets through that, it gets easier.

"Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that
their use depends...Therefore, what has a (positive) existence serves for
profitable adaptation, and what has not that for (actual) usefulness." --Tao Te Ching

12/27/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

What does exist is the present, only it is not actually a "bare moment" on a linear scale. Rather, it has vertical extension, and this is where pleasure can actually be deepened in a meaningful sense, and this is what true spirituality endeavors to do. It is a way for the pleasures of your life to actually accumulate and add up to One instead of none.

My kind of math: The Really Big Number (applied).

Off-topic:

Andrew Bostom, "The Legacy of Jihad" and the forthcoming "The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism", has started a blog.

Andy McCarthy on the murder of Benazir Bhutto at NRO.

12/27/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

I can hear it now. The U.S. government was secretly behind Bhutto's death in order to rally world support for the war on terror. Hey, I spent the last couple days with my brother the "truther" - what do you expect?

12/27/2007 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous vinomori said...

I've been spending hundreds of pages trying to say what Bob can say in one blog post. The accumulation of linear segments of pleasure, the tapeworm life of a Clinton or Hefner, is folly simply because time does not accumulate. It is or is not. Happiness is a glow. Pleasure a burst of faux flame. But Bob says it better than that.

12/27/2007 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Way off topic...or is it? McCain-Lieberman in 2008? Hmmmm.

12/27/2007 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

James -

A suggestion re your statement:
"That last bit is the lie you tell yourself..."

As I recall, you once said you have read Bob's book. If so, re-read the parts about mind parasites, so the idea is fresh.

It has been my experience that mind parasites do lie, and are the lie you are "telling yourself." A big reason we believe them is that they speak in the "first person," as "I". Another reason is that they speak in our own voice, so of course we take them as ourselves. That is their trick. They also come with a "promise," in the form of a picture of pleasure, or a little story we tell ourselves.

All lies:
1- It's not you.
2- It sounds like you in your head, but it's not your voice.
3- The promise is a lie.

Punch line to an old joke goes, "...And the doctor says, 'So, don't do that!'..."

Even older punch line says, "The Truth will set you free."

You'll note that in the book it says all of us have mind parasites.

12/27/2007 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Walt - Indeed.

There is another term for mind parasites - courtesy of Paul - and their "life" and "death" in the context of a spiritual life.

12/27/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

"Another reason is that they (mind parasites) speak in our own voice, so of course we take them as ourselves. That is their trick."

Still, they are really are ourselves, are they not?

Or, in the immortal words of another Walt: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

12/27/2007 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

This would be a good laugh for the day, except that the guy is actually serious (although that may even make it funnier).

12/27/2007 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Maineman asked, "Still, they are really are ourselves, are they not?"

Speaking for myself, I would reply that they are a part of me, of my personality. According to Bob's use of the word 'essence', I don't believe they are a part of that.

I take it very simply: they are a graft, an "extra," an add-on -- and a poor master. Especially if that part of me incessantly lies.

Besides, I notice those parts live in darkness. When I separate from them even a little, and watch them, pretty soon they don't "run me." I prefer it that way.

That's been my experience, anyway.

12/27/2007 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Nomo, I wonder what that guy will do when neither of his dire predictions come to pass? But if they did, look how charitable and forgiving he is:

"The important thing is that we, on the higher ground both actually and figuratively, need to remember that, when they begin their historic migration from their doomed regions, we not give them the keys to the city."

Ah, "tolerance" in action.

12/27/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

ximeze,
I've put the two-part essay (for lack of a better word) on my Blogger blog.

More specifically:
Pleasure rations &
Happiness is like a tree.

It is written for a somewhat different audience, of course.

12/27/2007 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

I wonder where he thinks the food and the lattes that magically appear on his supermarket shelves will come from if not from the troglodytes.
How can people have such ingratitude, stupidity and detachment from reality? Oh, forgot, Ive been reading about it for the last several days.

12/27/2007 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie quoted "...when they begin their historic migration from their doomed regions, we not give them the keys to the city."

Heh. As stupid an notion as he has, even stupider is the idea that if it came to pass, that he and his metrosexual buddies would stand a chance of witholding the keys of the city from the Nascar set.

"Fall and Fall of the pantywaists"
Act 1, Scene 1:
Woody Allen:"You shall not pass!"
Toby Keith: "Heh...", (Wham!), "How do you like me now?!."
-The End-

12/27/2007 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Van,
They'd get to experience Darwin in action firsthand.

12/27/2007 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

I had the same instant response, Van. Does he think we will set off on the Long March to the Blue States, uh, without our guns?

12/27/2007 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

I actually am a troglodyte, however.

And proud: proud of it!

12/27/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Walt,
You seem to forget that these "shining cities on their higher ground both actually and figuratively" are for the most part gun free zones so the troglodytes marching in with their guns would have to leave them outside the city limits as they prepare for serfdom at the hands of their superiors. ;*)

12/27/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

They'd get to experience Darwin in action firsthand.

12/27/2007 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Kind of makes you wonder how long it would take the first one to whine out "thou shalt not kill...!"



(probably about as long as it'll take the ninnymouses to chime in here that we're all knuckledraggers)

12/27/2007 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hugh Heffner a compass because he'll give THE wrong answer? I don't think he knows THE wrong answer, Its just A wrong answer and there are 359 wrong answers on a compass.

12/27/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Anonymous coonified said...

Mainman:

"Still, they are really are ourselves, are they not?"

"Or, in the immortal words of another Walt: "We have met the enemy, and he is us.""

Demons! One of my favorite topics!

If would could say that the finite parts ourselves never happened to begin with, then we could look at them as sort of static outside ourselves--our True Selves--,the archetypal substance and Being as such.

If you've ever seen a hostile force, you would instantly notice how mechanical and predictable they are, as if pushed around by larger forces outside themselves; the squirming and changing voices, the compulsive and uncontrollable behavior portrayed and popularized in the movies, are only extreme exagerations of typical everyday behavior present humans. In fact, most humans are not really humane at all, but actually possessed by finite/hostile intrinsically pathological (I'll argue for that) substance that is for the most part 100 percent lacking in consciousness. We could argue degrees, but ultimatly they're just not, just as I'm hardly conscious compared to the upper stratosphere of the supraconscious.

So I treat them as being outside myself, as in not identifying, and exorcise--as in exorcism--daily. They're just out to suffacate and keep people from Breathing.

12/27/2007 07:12:00 PM  
Anonymous rabid racoon said...

"Hugh Heffner a compass because he'll give THE wrong answer? I don't think he knows THE wrong answer, Its just A wrong answer and there are 359 wrong answers on a compass"

It's a figure of speech dork! It is to say that we'll be pointed in the right direction by figuring out where not to go, and Hugh plays the part of the oricle via negativia. Get it?

12/27/2007 07:21:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Walt and Cooni,

I guess all I was really trying to capture is that, as helpful as it might be to conceptualize such demons, grafts, mind parasites by objectifying them, the reality is more complex -- or is it simple -- and maybe ephemeral.

These really aren't invading organisms so much as us working against ourselves. And they/it evaporate(s) in the face of awareness -- not even gradually and over time but the instant that the appropriate awareness occurs. No real heavy lifting involved, just shining a light into the darkness, potentiating our higher selves -- ah, allowing them to be potentiated by not resisting, maybe?

12/28/2007 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Maineman,
I'm probably venturing out of my pay grade and into Bob's here, but I'm going to venture a negative on each point.

1)"These really aren't invading organisms..."
Although you certainly can mess your head up on your own, they do travel through the air... as ideas via words, images and imitated actions, classrooms... etc.

2)"And they/it evaporate(s) in the face of awareness -- not even gradually and over time but the instant that the appropriate awareness occurs...." Sadly, I think no, they don't. That was Socrates's assumption, that all you had to do was expose someone to the Truth, and they'd no longer do wrong. Somehow I can't picture Hugh Hefner popping up this blog today, seeing that Hedonism is folly and counter to Happiness and exclaiming "Oh! So That's been the problem!", chucking the bathrobe, putting on some clothes, kicking the girls (at least those three hideous examples) out and putting up a 'For Sale' sign in front of the mansion.

3)"No real heavy lifting involved, just shining a light into the darkness, potentiating our higher selves -- ah, allowing them to be potentiated by not resisting, maybe?" Depending on how deeply you've integrated those thoughts and habits into other thoughts, habits and preferences you have, into habitual ways of thinking, responding, seeking, etc... they may be extremely difficult to root out. Not excluding the possibility of a 'Road to Damascus' moment here, but I wouldn't bank on experiencing one.

12/28/2007 08:36:00 AM  

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