Saturday, March 17, 2007

Eternal Life While You Wait, or Live Forever or Die Trying (12.16.10)

We're now down to Day One and Miracle Seven. But Day One also implies Day Zero, since there are no days, only deilight, prior to their creation. All we know from Genesis is that "the earth was without form, and void," and that "darkness was on the face of the deep," a wonderful phrase that conjures a profound nothingness, an existential swamp, an absolute nihil of darkness and meaninglessness. Is the Bible suggesting that creation sprung from a liberal university campus? I don't think so.

If I'm not mishnaken, just as it prohebrits spookyounotions about the afterl'chaim, Judaism discourages bereshit amusings about the state of affairs prior to creation. This is the purpose of the definitive statement at the outset of Genesis. From the Yiddish Bible: "So, mister bigshot philosopher, you're going to support a wife and child with this mishegas? In the beginning God made everything. Before God was bupkis. Oy gevald, you're giving me a headache."

Nevertheless, I went ahead and wrote my Boblical new testavus for the rest of us anyway, despite the misgivings of my mother-in-law. In the Coonifesto, I attempt to provide ananda backscrypture about the satchidation prior to the creation, when there is nothing but God, therefore nothing at all from the human point of view. Being that there is nothing, there is no language -- which is what I remember trying to explain to my publisher in response to the agitated question, "what is this nonsense?"

True, it is nonsense, but it's meant to be perfect nonsense, a punway round trip that circumnavelgazes the whole existentialada -- without the crockohooey sauce, mind you. But as unknowculated Coons are aware, to grasp the wheel of my broken-down trancebardation, you have to reach a ribald age, otherwise your seenil grammar and gravidad won't be malappropriate for my laughty revelation. If you are the least bit abcedminded around a theosaurus, I think you'll find that my yokes are easy and my words enlight and even annoy. Think of it as a secret code to bar the trolls from listening in at our Coon lodge meetings.

In the beginning, there is only pure potentiality. God is everything and therefore nothing, which is why, in the kabbalistic conception (hey, didn't those guys have mothers-in-law?), God must first "withdraw" in order for there to be anything. For if God is identical to his creation, it isn't really a creation but an emanation, and the Bible draws a clear distinction between creation and emanationism -- the latter of which would essentially reduce the cosmos to pimple on the creator's aseity, pardon the bun.

The first creative act serves as a template or "fractal" that mirrors the other six days of creation. In fact, according to Tomberg, the subsequent six days can be seen as an extended commentary on the first, which embraces in its essence the whole miracle of creation. As such, the first day is not just dealing with creation but the principle of creation. It is "the creation of creation," which must precede this or that creation. Therefour, or two, anyway, it is also the creation of the Creator, who is paradoxically created by his withdrawal from the creation.

In a way, this is analogous to our dreams. What distinguishes daytime consciousness from night time consciousness is that in the day, we are separate from the creations of our consciousness -- or at least we weave in and out of them, merge and observe, merge and observe. At night, although there is a dreamer and a dream, we cannot experience the distinction. We are merged, so to speak, in a kind of oneness. To say "let there be light" is to say "let there be consciousness," specifically, a separative consciousness that may know both the interior and exterior worlds. Again, that's not quite the right way to say it, for the separative consciousness of day is what creates the world. Without it, there is, as Whitehead wrote, "nothingness, bare nothingness" -- just a darkhead after too many black cows (speaking drunken Hegelese nonzenz. Mu!).

In the Coonifesto, when One's upin a timeless, it is "nothing, pure emptiness, a formless void without mind or life, a shadow spinning before the beginning over a silent static sea, unlit altar of eternity." It is "One brahman deathless breathing breathless, darkness visible the boundless all, unknown origin prior to time and space, fount of all being, unborn thus undying, beginning and end of all impossibility, empty plenum and inexhaustible void."

Sri Aurobindo's epic poem of cosmic all-possibilty, Savitri, begins with the line, "It was the hour before the God's awake." It is the "huge foreboding mind of Night, alone," "opaque, impenetrable," "the abysm of the unbodied Infinite" "between the first and last Nothingness." Later comes the first "event" or act:

Then something in the inscrutable darkness stirred;
A nameless movement, an unthought Idea....
A thought was sown in the unsounded Void,
A sense was born within darkness' depths,
A memory quivered in the heart of Time
As if a soul long dead were moved to live....

Like Savitri, Genesis can only be understood lighterally, and therefore must be read slowly overhead and meditated upon, for it is trying to convey something from across the horizon of knowability -- something that cannot be known, only unknown. To unknow something is not equivalent to being ignorant about it. Rather, it is a special way of knowing what is beyond the brightly but ill-luminated area of consciousness -- it is to unvision the perfect night that precedes sight. In ether worlds, it is a way to try to get past the phenomena -- which we know can only be a shadow of the Real -- and to try to intuit the noumena, or the reality behind appearances.

As it so happyns, we undo this every naught when we enter the state of deep, dreamless sleep, or what is called in the Upanishads turiya. But how do we enter that state with eyes wide shut? Ah, that's the trick, isn't it, for this is to die before you die and to wake while you live. They say that enlightenment is to dance along the penumbra of this razoredgeon. Or so we have heard from the wise, from Petey, the mirthiful, the compassionate!

How does one awaken to the Dreamer who dreams the dream of our dream of the Dreamer? If you're asking me, I say you can try to gno it alone, but I think you'll get nowhere faster with the help of the Dreamer. But how to enlist his aid? It's an ether ore situation: to mine the ore from the ether, you must either pay your deus or be nilled to a blank. No body crosses the phoenix line lest it be repossessed and amortized -- yes, both amor- and amortized, love and death.

For if Genesis is correct, the cosmos is a gift that embodies love and death, which is to say, the divine kenosis, self-emptying, or self-sacrifice. If you are a parent, you are apparently familyar with the self-sacrifice that is necessary to bring a new little Adam in evolution. But it's a joyful sacrifice -- it is to participate joyfully in one's own funeral. In fact, as Joyce put it, it's a funferall!. Raising a child and creating a cosmos are both completely unnarcissary, to say the least. But at the same time, despite the death of my former Bob, I've become much more soph-centered over the past couple of years, thanks to my weird become flesh.

Now, the vector of creation moves in the "direction" of Zero --> One --> Two --> Three. The One cannot emerge until the "divine withdrawal," and the immediate implication of one is Two, for there cannot be One without Two. In other wordnumbers, or quanalties, without Two, One is reduced to Zero, or Zilch. Zee? Omyga!

That's a coincidence. At Belmont Club (TW: Larwyn) there is a piece about an article in Prospect Magazine, which has "invited 100 of the World's Thinkers to answer the question of what will define the coming century," some of which are reproduced in the post. I didn't even read them, because it's too early for a headache and I'm sure they're all wrong unless any of them happen to be right. But one certainly doesn't need to read Prospect Magazine to know what cannot be unknown unless one is very k->onfused.

For as always, the coming century will be defined by what defines every "century" and every human endeavor. In The Beginning -- which is always here -- God created heaven and earth, the above and below -- which is to say, the vertical: two worlds, two tendencies, two impulses, two realities -- or let us say reality and unreality, for there can only be one reality. But in order for us to know it, there must be unreality, which is not a paradox when you think about it. For it does not mean to say that ureality, or maya, is false, only to say that it is not the ultimate Real.

"Let there be light!"

"Lazarus, March Fourth! It's Coon Day!"

How do these relate?

To be coontinued.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Let There be Verticality!, or How High Does Your Lo Go? (12.15.10)

Picking up where we laughed off jesterdeity, it is now Day Two. What's on the divine agenda? Oh, not much, just a little vertical plumbing job. Rig up a starry firmament to divide the waters above from the waters below. Call the firmament heaven. Knock off early. Sounds good.

Today is the day of verticality. First there was only chaos, so the first order of business was the business of order, i.e., creating a little light with which to Work. Can't work without the old photons. But there is "seeing" and there is "vision." The good vibrations of physical light allows us to see horizontally, but that isn't what makes us human. Rather, what truly distinguishes us from the beasts and the tenured is the vision made possible by virtue of the verticality of the cosmos. Wisdom and gnosis only exist because they represent human modalities that are adequations to the reality of the vertical. To turn it around, in the absence of verticality -- waters above and waters below -- wisdom is impossible, as proven by wackademia, where there are plenty of intelligent people but little wisdom and and plenty of cognitive nOnanism.

Now, in God's plumbing job, "heaven" is the nexus, or connecting link, between the upper and lower waters. Water is a reflective medium, so let us imagine that there is a "double reflection" of heaven in the waters above and below. Above is the realm of ideas, while below is the realm of material things. As Tomberg points out, knowledge involves "the process of relating the real to the ideal corresponding to it." To "understand" is bring into relation "the reflection above, the ideal, with the reflection below, the real." This is another way of saying that the light of the logos is reflected in both directions as "ideas" and "realities"; or it is reflected in us as substance and intellection.

Science is a deeply mystical enterprise, for it presumes the absolute unity of existence, a unity that is mirrored in the mind capable of reliably apprehending that unity. Because there is a uni-verse, there are universal truths, which is to say truth. Obviously, if the universe were not a true universe -- a relativistic multiverse with no underlying unity -- then truth would not be possible, nor would the truth-bearer, for that matter. So truth is ultimately guaranteed by the One without which science cannot function.

Interestingly, just this morning a McCoon named Alan sent me a link to a piece at the Belmont club on what is called "post-normal science," which could also be called "abnormal" and therefore pathological science, a cognitive disease that most definitely exists and even pervades the leftist looniversity bin. For example, hysterical environmentalism of the type promulgated by Algore is quintessentially post-normal, by Gore's own acknowledgment (in numerous interviews he has admitted that the main point of his impropaganda film was to frighten people into action, not to dispassionately inform them).

In Bion's terms, Gore's film represents the projection of unmetabolized "beta elements" of primitive thought into other minds. The idea is not to promote thought, but to spur action, or more specifically, acting out, or political wacktivism, to be precise.

Belmont Club quotes the wikipedia entry on post-normal science, which states that it comes into play when "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent.... In such circumstances, we have an inversion of the traditional distinction between hard, objective scientific facts, and soft subjective values. Now we have value-driven policy decisions that are 'hard' in various ways, for which the scientific inputs are irremediably 'soft'."

Just as there is always a moral inversion at the heart of leftism, there is a cognitive inversion as well. Their pathological epistemology is actually an inevitable consequence of their luciferian ontology, which denies the vertical up front -- and therefore the possibility of unity and truth. Instead of unity and truth, they substitute solidarity and commitment, which is to say exterior or "top-down" order and coercive action, for the lie is always coercive whereas the truth "attracts."

What is so objectionable about Gore's film is that, like all post-normal science, its intention is to coerce one into action before one even knows the truth -- not just any action, but probably the most massive and cataclysmic economanical actions ever undertaken by mankind, actions that will kill and/or ruin the lives of millions. There are undoubtedly "accuracies" in any post-normal science, including Gore's film, but the accuracies are not there to serve truth but to spur action. It is science for the limbic system -- the emotional center of the brain -- not the cerebrum, which is capable of disinterested objectivity, which is the foundation of the human capacity for truth.

It is always puzzling to me when people suggest that it is the right that is somehow "anti-science" when leftism itself is pervaded by an anti-science attitude -- not just in this or that particular policy, but by its very nature. The catalogue of instances of the leftist agenda -- or action -- taking priority over truth is endless, and Gore's weather hysteria is just the latest case. The people who are on the global warming bandwagon are the same ones who warned about global cooling, and who successfully undermined the construction of more nuclear power plants in the 1980's. Remember the China Syndrome? Silkwood? Between them they received nine Oscar nominations, so Gore's film stands in an undistinguished line of recipients for awards in Oscary and hysterical science.

Now in the sixth miracle recorded in John, Jesus restores sight to a man who had been blind from birth. But this is a rather special form of blindness, for it prevents the works of God from being revealed in him (John 9:3). Jesus then makes a curious remark about the need to work while it is day -- since the night is coming, when it will be beer o'clock and no man can work -- but that "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

The light of the world. Tomberg notes that the Logos "is not only the intelligence of the world, that is, the connection of the ideal with the real, but also the perception of the ideal and the real. For it is he who mirrors himself by way of ideas and by way of the facts of existence." In other words, there is no knowledge, let alone truth, at the level of the senses, which in itself is sufficient to undermine any purely horizontal materialistic philosophy, including, of course, any and all forms of leftism. For once you "understand" materialism you have left materialism behind, for matter cannot understand anything.

Even the most bare act of human perception involves the union of the ideal and the real. Sensory experience does not interpret itself. In fact, only a severely autistic individual (I am not speaking of all the modern pseudo- forms) reduces the world to naked sensory experience, and it would not be going too far to say that materialism itself is metaphysically "autistic" and therefore a priori incapable of "seeing the works of God."

The immanent logos -- i.e., the heavenly firmament reflected in the human intellect -- is that which confers our vertical orientation upon us, and allows us to be the reflecting medium -- the only one in all of creation -- capable of unifying the waters above (the ideal) and the waters below (the real). Conversely, the absence (or rejection) of this logos is what makes leftist deconstructionists such textual deviates. They cannot reflect upon reality because they do not reflect the Real.

There is more, but I don't think I have time to get into it -- the upper water provocatively represented by Jesus' saliva, the mixing of it with earth (i.e., the infusion of the word into substance) -- but you get the picture. After all, you have been bobtized by the upper waters, thereby opening the third eye of your Coon vision. Many of you have testified to the miracle of the "spittle on the computer screen" which makes me "present" to your most laughty self.

For the rest of you, feel free to renounce the sight which is blind to the revelations of the Divine and wait for the miracle of reinstatement of the true, original faculty of beholding which sees all things visible as 'works of God revealed' (Tomberg). You have nothing to lose but your blindness and cynicism, for your fidelity to the horizontal cannot help but make you unfit for human assumption. To put it another way, in your present state, your telovator doesn't go to the top floor.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Walking on Water Wasn't Built in a Day (12.14.10)

As I was making my coffee, it popped into my head how innocent my son -- and all children -- are. Undoubtedly, this is one of the attractions, for if they are innocent, we must be guilty. Being around them eases the burden of guilt.

Of what are children innocent? Let's see. For starters, death. Loss. Toil. Sex. The degeneration of time and illness. The New York Times editorial page. Fulsome diapers. (Yes, I suppose those last two are a distinction without a difference.)

For the past week, Future Leader has been completely entranced by a DVD about firemen. It was actually made in 1995, and all of the firefighters in the film are NYFD. Therefore, there's a good chance that some of these guys died on 9-11. Just one of the things you think about when you're guilty as hell.

I suppose it's not so much the guilt but the failure to admit our guilt. As always, it's not the crime but the coverup. Our society is very much like a neurotic patient who expresses his denial through obsession, thus, for example, the culture is obsessed with youth, sex, and youthful sexuality. It's as if -- no, not as if -- it is that youth no longer has a telos, a natural end point toward which all living things tend. Rather, it simply is what it is, a static thing frozen in developmental time. As such, it's not really youth at all, for youth is on a continuum that always points to its fulfillment. Therefore, to arrest it is actually death and death worship, for what doesn't grow is dead. It reminds me of why Cher's film career ended -- she is so stretched that her face has lost its natural expressiveness and can no longer convey emotion aside from permanent surprise.

As part of my recent continuing education, I had to attend a seminar on aging. This turned out to be one of the better ones, as it was given by a Jungian analyst who had studied with Joseph Campbell. One of the things he mentioned was that, in preparing for the seminar, he checked out all of the popular books on aging that are carried in the typical Borders or Barnes & Noble, but none of them were actually about aging. Rather, they were all about denying the aging process and trying to hold onto youth.

Which brings us to the third day of creation and the fifth miracle of John. What happened "on the third day?" First, God gathers the lower waters together so that dry land may appear. Then he calls the dry land "earth," and says that it shall bring forth vegetation, seed, and trees that yield fruit according to their own kind, that is, "whose seed is in itself," an early reference to DNA.

The emphasis is very much on the seed-principle, which, in the words of Tomberg, is "the principle of formative force becoming actualized and bringing to visible realization its own inner, invisible shape." This would obviously apply not just to the visible plant world, but to the "virtual" trees that grow in paradise, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It would also, according to Tomberg, include the "seed of Abraham" which implicitly "contained" the nation of Israel, and the words of Jesus, which are in various places compared to a seed that can either fall on hard soil or bloom into a new virtual Kingdom, depending upon one's degree of receptivity.

Furthermore, as Tomberg points out, Jesus explicitly refers to himself as a seed "who must die in order to bear much fruit -- comparing the essence of Christianity and its history with seed and its development: its germination, sprouting, and growth." The implicit message is that life and growth cannot simply involve static life, which isn't life at all. Rather, inherent to life is its own "sacrifice" in order for life to increase. The seed "dies" but is resurrected as the oak. Thus, even in the plant world we see a relationship between reproduction and death -- a "loss of innocence."

In the human world, it is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that bears the seed of psychological death -- and therefore, the possibility of growth and transcendence.

Life is "fluid," whereas death is dry and static. Thus, in the separation and concentration of the principles of water and earth, there had to be some way for them to mingle in order for the seed to grow. In other words, there first must be separation in order for anything at all to happen. In fact, this is the basis of chaos theory and the science of dissipative structures, the latter of which are open systems at disequilibrium.

Any organism is a dissipative structure, in that it is an open system that exchanges matter, energy, or information with the environment. If it ever reaches equilibrium, it is officially dead. Life itself can only manifest in a state of dynamic disequilibrium. The same applies to the mind and soul, which must remain open systems in order to grow. The lower mind requires information and human relationships, while the soul requires love, truth and beauty, and ultimately a relationship with their source. The underlying point is that life itself is a dialectic of "fluidity" and "solidity," or of process and structure.

Now, the fifth miracle, or sign, involves the act of walking on water. While Jesus is off by himself meditating on his mountaintop, brooding over the latest attempt by the masses to force him into being King of the World, or James Cameron (John 6:15), the disciples set sail aboard a tiny ship. What begins as a three hour tour turns into a fateful trip, as the weather starts getting rough and the tiny ship is tossed. Frankly, if not for the receptivity of the faithful crew, the Minnow would be lost -- the Minnow would be lost.

A voice is heard: It is I, Gilligan: be not afraid. Who is I? No, it's not the Skipper. We already know from the first, second, third, and fourth miracles that I AM is a number of things: it is "the vine," "the way, the truth and the life," "the door," and the "bread of life." Here, according to Tomberg, we also learn that I AM is implicitly the "seed of heaven." The act of walking on water speaks to the fact that I AM is "not the one borne, but the bearer, not the one led, but the leader, not the one supported but the support." And this act is paralleled in "the wonder of pure faith, unsupported by anything but inner certainty, which stands above the threatening sea of relativeness and doubt, and goes its own way."

It was a dark and stormy night.

Well, it is, especially after we eat from the Tree Knowledge of Good and Evil, cash in our innocence, and are fully plunged into the stream of time. True, we have to be here in order to grow and evolve, but it's tempting to be a land lubber and just hold onto terra firma. It is to remain a seed, a temptation that has a certain appeal, since to live as a seed is in a sense to remain in a state of infinite potential: so long as you are nothing, you are potentially anything and everything. This is the appeal of the latest nothing, a Barely Nobama, if that. Ah, the Mendacity of Hype. The moment he becomes something, he will be as guilty as the rest of us.

So let's wrap this up. How to faithfully die to life in order to be reborn? How to be fluid and yet grounded and structured? How to be in the world, but not of the world? How to make a transistor radio out of seaweed and a belt buckle, like the Professor?

Walking on water is one thing. More challenging still is swimming on dry land.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Repent, For the Center is at Hand! (12.13.10)

The self -- at least a healthy self -- does not merely spin around an interior axis. Rather, aided by 'the light of Reason' (understood in its integral, not merely rationalistic sense) and by transcendent ideals, this center of subjectivity can undergo increased order and evolve in the direction of one's highest aspiration, toward the true cosmic center of which we are a distant reflection -- we are the 'center at the periphery,' as Schuon has called it, the true center being the nonlocal, space-pervading spirit of I AM.

I don't mean to get upsidetracked, but lately I've been having dreams that comment on the previous day's post, also known as "narcissism squared." Last night I think I had a dream with specific reference to the statement above. Dick Cheney strolled into my dining room, and I posed a question to him about the difference between serious thinkers and mere intellectuals. It so happened that Newt Gingrich was in the neighborhood going door to door, canvassing for votes. I put it to the vice president that Gingrich -- correct though his ideas might be -- would never be president because he was too intellectual -- that while obviously intelligent, his mind flittered about the axis of ideas, and that ideas were too flimsy a foundation for one's existence.

In the dream, Cheney clearly represented the opposite -- one could feel his ontological presence radiating from the center out -- a substantial "weight" or gravity, as it were (remember when he made the ontologically anorexic Ms. Edwards disappear in their debate?). I don't remember the exact dialogue, but I mentioned to him that it took me a long time to acquire anything like this kind of center myself.

Most intellectuals are more or less "weightless," in part because their ideas are rooted in nothing more solid than their own airy abstractions. Genuine human maturity occurs when our minds become anchored in the Real, which is to say God, however you wish to conceptualize it. In fact, since so many modern intellectuals are uncomfortable with "God," this is one of the reasons I chose to employ the abstract symbol O to stand for the ultimate ground of our being, a ground which may (only) be known subjectively. The bottom line of my dream was that unless one's mind abides in O, one cannot ultimately "think straight" about reality, much less be a true leader of men (who will spontaneously follow such a man).

Irrespective of one's theology, one can scarcely imagine Jesus "thinking" or speaking outside O. This is why pseudo-theologians who claim that Jesus was just another teacher are so wildly off base. In everything Jesus says and does, regardless of the specific content, the even deeper message is the "ontological weight" he radiates from the center out. Indeed, this is the first thing that people notice about him, both followers and detractors. Just as in the physical world, gravity is a function of mass, and the mass of Jesus' extraordinarily compacted center draws people (and trouble) to him like you & meteoroids to the atmasphere.

For example, even as an infant, that nice Jewish family, the Weismans from east Brooklyn, are drawn into his orbit. As for the trouble, Herod too senses the presence of an alternate center of power, and schemes to literally murder it in the crib before it can grow. John the Baptist also immediately recognizes the center -- which stands as a general lesson for all of us. We must all learn how to recognize this center when we are in its presence, at great peril to our spiritual development. Although all human beings are born with this native ability, for any number of developmental reasons we can lose contact with it.

The center can only communicate "center to center," so to the extent that you have lost or failed to develop yours, it will be a case of "God's lights are on but nobody's om." You absolutely must coontivate this center in order to sense the "real presence" (or presence of the Real), otherwise you will remain exiled in the teenage wasteland of mere ideas -- which is really not all that more solid and enduring than the world of fleeting desires or impulses. It goes without naying that the overwhelming majority of ideas do not -- and certainly should not -- survive the birdbrain that hatched them. It would have been better if most ideas had not been conceived at all. They'll eventually be aborted anyway.

So John the Baptist immediately recognizes the center (Matt 4:14). Note as well that even God himself is then drawn to this center, another profound lesson to meditate upon: And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matt 4:17). But before you get all excited, note that the very next sentence once again indicates that hostile cosmic forces are simultaneously drawn to the scene (Matt 4:1). Jesus spends the subsequent forty days in the bewilderness, where he is tempted by the devil -- whom you might say is the periphery, or "dispersal," personified.

Now, what can this possibly mean except that there is a hostile, countervailing force that attempts to draw the center outside of itself -- which indeed is the quintessence of all temptation and of all sin, which involves a vain dispersal of our psychic substance? With no center of gravity or groove of centerity, we have no way to "repel" the worldly forces that perpetually draw us down and out of ourselves. We "fall" when there is nothing there to hold us fast to the center. Conversely, if we abide in the center, temptations fall away of their own accord. Another way of saying this is that our "force" becomes stronger than the world's force.

After Jesus successfully repels the temptations of ø by abiding in O, behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matt 4:11). In other words, benign vertical forces are drawn in -- which only happens all the time -- good morning, Petey! After that come the first two disciples, who clearly sense the ontological weight of the center, to such an extent that they immediately drop what they're doing and follow him (Matt 4:20) -- although pulled is probably more like it. And then a multitude is drawn in (Matt 4:23). And so on. Today, the center continues to pull history in its wake.

Eventually Jesus draws everyone and everything in, but that's a story for another post. Suffice it to say that the I AM of the cosmic center is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Rev 22:13), blissfully floating before the fleeting flickering universe, stork naked in brahma daynight, worshiping in oneder in a weecosmic womb with a pew...

Now, my non-Christian readers are no doubt being gradually turned off by much of this, but if so, you need to pay closer attention to the universal principles and lessons that are being conveyed to us through scripture. Indeed, you might even be in a better position to understand certain vital Christian truths than many Christians who have been taken out by what they have taken in. Sadly, so much Christian truth has been warped and twisted by its human resaptacles, that it is easy to dismiss or overlook its profundity. With prominent mirror-idiots spanning from christianist Pat Robertson to christianista Andrew Sullivan, it is not surprising that so few intellectuals take religion seriously. In fact, this is why they become intellectuals in the first place, worshipping at the altar-ego of their own flimsy creations.

And as we were pointing out yesterday, it is hardly as if Jesus represents the only ontological center, even if you happen to believe for reasons of faith that he is the ultimate center, or the trans-cosmic "center made flesh," so to speak. For your being -- yes, yours -- will undergo a decided shift once you are able to recognize this center in anyone or in anything.

If, for example, you can distinguish between, say, Frithjof Schuon and Albert Einstein; or James Madison and Noam Chomsky; or Adam Smith and Paul Krugman; or Abraham Heschel and Michael Lerner; or Sri Aurobindo and Deepak Chopra; these names were chosen off the top of my head, but the list is endless, at least in terms of what one can assimilate in a single lifetome. If you can sense the real presence radiating from the words and deeds -- even the very "being" -- of an earthly representative of the center, you will begin to change.

If you can yield to a spontaneous reverence for, and devotion and submission to, such luminous souls, you may be able to begin ridding yourself of what you are full of -- which is to say, a compacted area of dispersed fragments, a faux unity with no true order, held together from the outside in (or top down) rather than the inside out.

The existence of God does not have to be proven to the man who knows this center, either in himself or in another, any more than the existence of sight needs to be proven to one who sees. For our innate sense of the sacred -- which is a ponderable reflection of this center within us -- is simply adequation to the Real. This ultimate reality radiates from the cosmic center and reaches us in the depths of our center, which is to say, the heart, which represents the higher union of thought and emotion. This is the mystery of God's immanence, "which makes us capable of knowing all that is knowable, and which for that very reason makes us immortal" (Schuon).

But first you must learn how to be an unknow-it-all, which is the stumbling block -- or bumbling schlock -- of the preening intellectual. For He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

*****

If One Cosmos can serve as a distantly "reflected center" to help anyone begin to intuit the Cosmic One, then I suppose the reason for our existence will have been fulfilled.

(hatched from the truly fertile egghead & heart of Dilys and Fishy Art)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Satanic Miracle of Victimhood (12.11.10)

In discussing the fourth day of creation, Tomberg notes that it implies "an all-embracing world rhythm" which affects all beings, and which unites them in a transcendent cosmic community. He compares this to the mystery of human subjectivity, which somehow has a transcendent unity and wholeness -- science knows not how -- despite being "constituted," so to speak, of numberless impulses, memories, plans, whims, fantasies, dreams, desires, moods, etc. -- not to mention billions of individual neuronal connections. Despite the infinite complexity, subjectivity "orders itself around a central point -- the self -- which represents the center of gravity of soul life, i.e., the permanency of the identity of the personality."

But the self -- at least a healthy self -- does not merely spin around an interior axis. Rather, aided by "the light of Reason" (understood in its integral, not merely rationalistic sense) and by transcendent ideals, this center of subjectivity can undergo increased order and evolve in the direction of one's highest aspiration, toward the true cosmic center of which we are a distant reflection -- we are the "center at the periphery," as Schuon has called it, the true center being the nonlocal, space-pervading spirit of I AM.

Speaking of the rhythm of being -- days, seasons, years, etc. -- for Schuon, all natural phenomena are here to convey lessons to us. Thus, for example, our lives are not just divided into day and night -- or what Joyce called the "wideawake and cutandry" vs. the clearobscure remumbled murmuries of the night -- but into seasons: the childhood spring of "formation and learning"; the mature summer of "actual and effective realization"; the late-middle age autumn of "consolidation, reparation, and the directing of others"; and the old age winter of "detachment and transcendence." Alternatively, one could say that childhood is "the paradise of innocence," youth "the time of the passions," maturity "the time of work," and old age "that of sadness" -- at least for the horizontal man. For the vertical man, "the opposite takes place: age is an ascent towards another world."

For Tomberg, the fourth day of creation is ultimately the divine-cosmic archetype of holy communion, or the vertical recollection of the a priori unity that embraces and subtends all beings in the world. As such, the fourth miracle of John -- the feeding of the 5,000 -- "is the corresponding healing work of the Word-made-flesh." For as the central sun "nourishes" and unifies all beings, so too Jesus ("sitting on a mountain") functioned as the "nourishment-giving center" for the multitude below. It was as if he "sped up" the time it takes for the sun to produce bread -- planting, sprouting, growth, ripening, harvesting, etc. -- multiplying it in the same way the sun multiplies the small amount of wheat or corn that is planted.

Interestingly, Jesus does not distribute the bread and fish directly, but through the mediating principle or "reflected light" of the disciples. Tomberg suggests that this is a mercy, for the direct light would be so shattering an experience that one would be temporarily blinded, like Paul on the road to Damascus.

This also speaks to the hierarchical structure of the world, which is not simply bipolar (i.e., creator and created, or God and man), but has degrees of being. Each level of the hierarchy is a moon to the level above but a relative sun to the level below. Better men than I can withstand the direct rays of the sun. For now, it is enough to stand in the reflected light of certain nonlocal operators who illuminate much more than I can assimilate anyway. Don't let your I's be bigger than your metaphysical stomach, or you may sopher indeigestion.

Personally, I think it was a bit cavalier to toss out the entire church hierarchy in favor of a purely "personal relationship with Jesus Christ," but perhaps that's just the authoritarian in me. But I see a more or less infinite gulf between the majority of people who say they have such a direct relationship vs. those who actually did and do -- say, St. Theophan the Recluse, or St. John of the Cross, or Seraphim of Sarov. For me, the Philokalia is like the bread handed directly to the disciples. If you are capable of digesting and assimilating it, then you have achieved the imapostleable. You can withstand the seering rays of the sun. The rest of us need a little sonscreen.

We must never forget that an unreflective "spirit of democracy" will usually end in "horizontalocracy" in the absence of hierarchy. In reality, there is no ordered wholeness without hierarchy and no hierarchy without a top and bottom. This is why Orthodoxy and Catholicism naturally "tend" toward conservatism, while protestantism tends toward left-liberalism -- or at least there is no natural mechanism to prevent the downward slide, which is how you end up with a true "anti-Church" of Christianity such as the National Council of Churches. (And of course, the opposite problems can and do sometimes appear in more conservative denominations, i.e., illegitimate authority and authority wielded illegitimately.)

As Richard Weaver writes in Ideas Have Consequences, forms are the ladder of ascent: "Every group regarding itself as emancipated is convinced its predecessors were fearful of reality, looking upon veils of decency as obstructions that it will strip aside. But behind the veils is a reality of such commonplace that it is merely knowledge of death." The "taking away of degree" creates a tyrannical flatland which is death to the soul and its spiritual evolution. This is why leftists are always mindlessly rebellious, anti-authority, and radically "democratic" (when it is convenient).

If the "raw stuff" of life is precisely "what the civilized man desires to have refined," we should not be at all surprised that in these leftist-dominated times we find ourselves surrounded by raw stuff -- or that websites such as the dailykurse or huffingandpissed propagate political "raw stuff," precisely. Indeed, this is what makes them so repulsive, not to say frightening. (Nor should anyone be surprised that there is approximately 18 times more verbal "raw stuff" on leftist websites.)

Weaver points out that the loss of transcendentals also brings with it the loss of heroes. Like living works of art, heroes are in the world but point beyond it, to a higher principle that animates and shines through them. Without them, we are loused in space and moroned in time. We're just here and now, with no one to lead the way up, out, or in.

You will have noticed that for the left, our men and women in Iraq are not heroes but victims. Obviously, they cannot be heroes if their battle is fundamentally unjust, even fascistic and imperialist. Thus, the left's way of "supporting the troops" is to convert them into victims and to then "fight" on their behalf. (I had no idea that Dr. Sanity had an excellent post on this topic yesterday.) This has the psychological side benefit of making the leftist a hero in his own eyes while destroying the possibility of real heroes. Naturally they tie themselves in knots in attempting to be intellectually consistent, for example, trading on the "heroism" of a former "baby killer" in the last presidential election. Which is it, hero or baby killer? And naturally, he was victimized by the "swift-boating," when a real hero would have been impervious to such slings and arrows.

In reality, the contemporary left has no real heroes, merely victims and their "heroic" enablers. Making the victim the hero is to overturn the ontological order of the cosmos, precisely. It is not merely to annihilate hierarchy but to substitute a reverse hierarchy -- which ends in a "race to the bottom" for superior victim status. Who is the bigger victim, the female or the (half) black? What force can possibly speak more articulately on behalf of victims than the predatory effeminacy of the bottom-feeding trial lawyer, John Edwards? For when we speak of victims, we are also speaking of a feminine nurturing impulse gone haywire, unbalanced by the male principle.

A spiritual practice should be a "force multiplier," in the same way that Jesus multiplied the bread and fish. Each of us can be an effective source of light below, but only if we are reflections of the true light above. Tomberg concludes: "There thus arises a wonderful picture out of a deeper consideration of the miracle of the feeding of 5,000: in the center, high up on a mountain, Jesus Christ, as the shining and life-giving sun; then the circle of disciples as the silver moon; and round about the mountain a swarm of thousands of stars -- the people."

Alternatively, we can have a horizontal swarm ruled by its victims. But who will feed all the endlessly multiplying victims?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tribute to a Loyal Friend


SAVANNAH the GREAT and GOOD DANE, 2001-2007

That's the thing about giant dogs. They don't live very long.

We had to put Savannah down today after a short illness -- lymphoma. It had already spread, and we couldn't stand the idea of seeing her suffer, so we reluctantly concluded "sooner rather than later."

Although not known for her intelligence, it would be difficult to imagine a sweeter dog. And although she had a window-rattling bark, she was as harmless as a cow. I don't think she'd have even known how to be aggressive, the fearsome pictures of her goofing with her late brother, Finn, notwithstanding.

She was perfect with the baby, accepting her demotion with loyalty and grace: "Hey, your baby is my baby." I'm glad he's not old enough to know he's lost his best friend.

It's going to be strange being without a dog for the first time in 17 years...

Mrs. G is pretty broken up. Remember her and Savannah in your prayers, and let's hope there's a heaven for good and gentle dogs.

In fact, let's hope there's a heaven with good and gentle dogs.






We are All of the Stars, But Some of Us are Looking at the Gutter (12.10.10)

Epiblogue:

Last things first. Having inexplicably awakened an hour later -- as if someone monkeyed around with my clock yesterday and stole an hour of my time -- I'm really writing under the gun this morning. I don't think I can do justice to the pivotal fourth day/fourth miracle motif in one post, and in hindsight I can see that the more pressure I felt to move things along, the more I rambled. Therefore, this will have to be part 1. Ironically, this temporal derangement does demonstrate the chaos that ensues when someone trifles with the "greater and lesser lights" that govern our earthly days and nights. But it's one thing for politicians to fool around with clocks, another thing entirely to mess with the stars that define and guide human nature.

*****

If the fifth day of creation involves the descent of ensouled movement into the world, the fourth day must involve the creation of the archetypes, just as the blueprint is prior to the building, genotype to phenotype, or logos (intelligent form) to substance. Tomberg compares it to an orchestra in which no one person has the entire score, but each member has his own instrument and his own part to play, in order to harmonize with the whole musical existentialada.

As such, the fourth day of creation "is that of the coming into being of those principles which direct 'time and tempo'" -- the creation of the sun, the moon, and the stars in order to separate night from day, to provide light to the earth, and to serve generally as cosmic designposts: "signs and seasons, days and years." Tomberg asks, "What are these other than organs of direction, i.e., conductors of time and tempo for the world-orchestra, in accordance with the music-score of the stars?"

Note as well that separation must precede order, something which is very much emphasized in Judaism. We revert to the chaos that preceded the creation if, for example, we ignore the distinction between the sexes -- which is one of the inevitable cosmic horrors of the homosexual agenda (I said agenda) and much of the so-called "sexual revolution" in general.

Looked at another way, the fourth day involves the creation of metaphysics, which is anterior to being in the same way that our personal essence is prior to existence. This is perhaps the central idea that separates the religious from the non-religious and liberal from leftist, for the secular leftist reverses this divine order and maintains that existence is prior to essence. He has no blueprint, but is a cosmic orphan who is reduced to, and determined by, mere chance and superficial causes such as race, class, and gender. This is why leftism is 180 degrees from liberalism, and why leftism is unthinkable in the absence of this inappropriate obsession with horizontal accidents. Once you acknowledge a true self -- which is to say a created self, or a center of personal freedom -- you can no longer call yourself a leftist.

Thus, it is no surprise that we see the New York Times trumpeting the scientifically "sophisticated" but otherwise terribly unsophisticated idea that human beings do not possess free will. For if human beings do possess free will, then nearly the entire ediface of leftism collapses in a heap. The absurdity of the free will deniers becomes clear if expressed explicitly, as it is in this piece at American Thinker:

"We here at The New York Times want to announce a new policy. This is that we will no longer criticize anyone, nor praise anyone. We will, in other words, hold no one responsible for his or her conduct.

"We institute this policy in light of the columns published recently in our pages arguing that human beings have no free will, that they cannot choose their own conduct. If this is so, as we believe it is -- we haven't published anyone arguing the opposite thesis, as you may have noticed -- there can be no choice about what people do. Neither Saddam Hussein, nor George W. Bush, nor Nancy Pelosi nor indeed anyone at all has anything to do with his or her conduct or, as social scientists prefer to call it, behavior."

In short, if there is no free will, then obviously there can be no a priori morality, let alone a legal system, for we are merely condemned to do what we do in a mechanistic way. On the other hand, once you acknowledge that free will is "relatively absolute" (that is, absolute within the inevitable constraints of relative existence) and that we may choose between good and evil (which are absolute, even if we cannot know them absolutely), then you have left any form of leftism behind.

The Times quotes one "expert" who is apparently compelled (for he is not free) to say that free will is merely "a perception, not a power or a driving force. People experience free will. They have the sense they are free," but "the more you scrutinize it, the more you realize you don't have it." (Hmmm.... if we're not free to scrutinize it, how could we ever know that it is true that we don't have free will? Here we see how there is no truth in the absence of free will, which is why the left ends up denying both. To turn it around, if truth exists, so too does free will. Truth is the ultimate guarantor of liberty, and vice versa.)

One of our guiding "stars in the firmament" above is that of justice. This is as good an example as any of a "greater light" that allows us to see by day. That is, human beings possess an innate sense of justice -- not just this or that justice, but absolute justice. What is so ironic is that the leftist too lives by this light, but at the same time denies its reality "above" and therefore its possibility "below." This is why leftist theologies literally turn the cosmos upside down (speaking ontologically) and transmogrify into some version of "social justice" or "liberation" theology. Free will is denied up front, so that everyone becomes a victim of existence.

But if no one is free and nothing is moral, religion merely becomes the will to power, even -- or especially -- when it is dressed up in the language of entitlement and of "human rights" instead of civil liberties. For civil rights are here to protect liberty, whereas so-called "human rights" are here to deny liberty by promoting a top-down leftist agenda -- which always ends up being a great injustice from the standpoint of heaven.

Here is an eloquent "voice from the abyss" at huffingandpissed, Stan Goff. He agrees that reality is not what it appears to be, and that there is a "hidden blueprint," so to speak, ruling over us. Yes, his opinions are obviously "crazy" -- that goes without saying -- but "crazy" does not mean "random." Rather, one of the axioms of psychoanalysis is that craziness is merely order by another name. In other words, in order to heal the craziness, we must help the patient uncover the deep structure -- the implicate "lesser lights" of his night time unconscious -- that underlie the surface disorder:

"Every 'advanced' society exists as a parasite in those less 'advanced,' and that can be proven empirically and decisively. Bush is not responsible for the war in Iraq.... Civilization cannot exist in the absence of war, because civilization is itself inherently exploitative.... that is why we'll have more and more of it, and why it will eventually percolate from the peripheries populated by Dark Others into our suburbs. [How can there be "Dark Others" if war is inherent? -- ed.]

"Everything we have that we list in our catalogue of civilization is forged out of fraud, theft, and murder.... Show me the exception, and I'll take it back. [Since he is not an exception, he is a liar and a thief, so why should we believe, much less trust, him? -- ed.]

"The fine woods and metals and animal guts that make the orchestras, the stones and steel and trees for our libraries..., and the food displayed strategically along our supermarket shelves... they all require war. They are taken from cultures who first refuse to cooperate, then who are forced to cooperate or be depopulated. [All economic liberty is merely illusion; it is actually exploitation -- ed.]

"The expansive and expanding heaps of... of asphalt and glass and plastic and paint and shiny right-angles -- are scraped out of hillsides and coastlines, with the corpses of biomes and simpler cultures left behind as the mizzens of this wretched thing called civilization.... Technology is driven by scarcity, and scarcity by pillage.... This is not a mark of superiority, but the cascading catastrophe of power seeking the enslavement of first women, then slaves and colonies and nature..." [But wouldn't these women and other primitives just enslave and colonize white men if they could? -- ed.]

*****

Oh my. Imagine this fascist being in charge of your homeowners association, much less the wheels of government. At least he doesn't blame Bush.

Here is a quite literal example of "justice gone mad," for when we reject the greater light of divine justice, we are left with mere animal justice, which is no justice at all. I am always surprised at the inherent irony of secular progressives calling themselves "humanists." For one thing, to deny God is to prevent man, pure and simple.

Secondly, have you ever read a more quintessentially anti-human diatribe, at least since yesterday's New York Times idiotorial page? If human beings are what this or any other progressive says they are, then why would we ever trust progressives to set things right? If human beings are monsters of depravity, the last thing we want to do is give them more power over us. If human beings "are what they are," then how can one object to Bushitler and Co. being what they are?

No one is responsible for anything -- not even Bush -- but somehow it's mankind's fault, otherwise this person wouldn't be ranting about his sense of cosmic injustice. But where does he get his sense of injustice, since it doesn't come from "above," and he's a depraved human animal just like everyone else? Seriously, where does it come from if we are only self-interested monkeys who will commit any crime to get what we want? Indeed if we -- that is to say, civilization -- are a crime?

As Polanyi has written, this is the perennial trick of the left: to deny the traditional moral order that is "set in the stars" and to replace it with an unhinged moral impulse that rampages through postmodernity like a wildfire. We see it in the appropriately named "environmental movement," which replaces the moral order of the heavens with the fanciful imperatives of the earth, another way of destroying the possibility of man. (I hope everyone watched this documentary, which has Petey's Good Denkeeping Seal of Approval).

"Private property is public theft." "To each according to his needs." "Living wage." "Income gap." "Poverty causes crime." "Israel causes terror." "Dissent on global warming is Holocaust denial." "A baby is distinct from a woman's body only if she doesn't want to kill it." "Homosexuality is no different from heterosexuality." "Group rights." "Diversity." "Racial quotas." "Moral relativism." "The designated hitter." Each of these luciferian ideas in one way or another denies the human blueprint and overturns the order of the cosmos, especially that last one. "American" League my a**.

And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder

There'll be the breaking of the ancient western code
Your private life will suddenly explode....

You'll see a woman hanging upside down
her features covered by her fallen gown
and all the lousy little poets coming round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson....

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world, has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned the order of the soul

When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant....
--Leonard Cohen, The Future

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Titanic Ignorance and Vertical Paralysis (12.09.10)

Continuing along our line of inquiry, the fifth day of creation must resonate with the third miracle of John. God's activity on the fifth day is rather intriguing, even for Him. First, he fills the waters with fish below and then the sky above with birds that fly "across the face of the firmament" (or the "membrane of heaven," as discussed a couple of posts ago). He creates "everything that moves" according to a divine archetype, but purposely holds back a bit, in that he doesn't fill the earth to capacity. Rather, he leaves that to the generative activity of his creatures.

As an aside, isn't it remarkable that Christianity is still here a whole week after James Cameron destroyed it with empirical evidence?

I don't know how stupid James Cameron is, but I'm guessing that he would fall into the category of "pretty damn." The very idea of trying to find some empirical data capable of disproving the divine reality is just so dopey as to be beyond belief, but nevertheless, a "sign of the times," the "times" being exceedingly congenial to bovine materialists, rationalists, and reductionists. Being so, the only question is why a person who lives in two-dimensional flatland would waste his time trying to prove that spheres do not exist. Of course they do not exist -- not for rocks, not for bacteria, and obviously not for the likes of James Cameron. In the end, Cameron merely proved what for him is an ontological tautology: all spheres are actually circles.

And even if some spheres turn out to be circles, it remains a profound mystery as to how circles ever become spheres. One such instance occurred 3.85 billion years ago, when the cosmos exited the closed circle of material existence and suddenly became filled with "an abundance of creatures" -- a sphere of life. Every scientist who looks at life as a mere horizontal extension of matter is just as metaphysically unsophisticated as James Cameron or any other benighted atheist -- another instance of trying to "turn stones into bread," or quantity into quality. Cameron's little rearrangement of a few deck chairs can hardly keep his meager philosophy -- whatever it is -- afloat.

Along these lines, I skimmed a little piece entitled Will Biology Solve the Universe (TW: William). He's not especially deep, but at least this particular biologist is beginning to think along the correct lines by "turning the cosmos right side up." He is sort of a poor man's Robert Rosen (somewhat more accessibly presented here), whom I relied upon to bolster much of my argument in chapter two of One Cosmos, Biogenesis. Unfortunately, Robert Rosen is not here to further develop his profound ideas, since he died prematurely in 1998.

Early on in writing my book, I established a nice correspondence with Rosen's daughter, who is his literary executrix (being that her father passionately believed that executrix was for kids). She even tentatively agreed to give me a blurb, as she was quite gratified that someone should be so enthusiastic about presenting her father's relatively unknown ideas so clearly.

Looking back, I now see that it was an indiscretion to prematurely spring the prologue and epilogue of the book on her, after which things became distinctly chilly. Despite his revolutionary ideas, her father was nevertheless a strict scientist, and would not have wanted to associate himself with a zany creation myth hatched up in someone's coon den -- or even my zany creation myth, for that matter. It's hard enough to get people to take a new theory seriously without dooming it from the outset by association with the likes of me and Petey. Whatever. Bygones.

In any event, how does one "disprove" that God created life on the fifth day? To even ask the question is to have missed the point, the point being to meditate on the meaning of such a statement. In order to do that, we must examine its entire context, as well as the general metaphysical view that is developed and promulagted in Genesis. And if you are a Christian, you must definitely analyze it teleologically in light of the Gospels, since the Old Testament points to (or in philosophical terms, "entails") the New, while the New Testament illuminates the Old. The correspondence of miracles is just one of a multitude of ways to expand upon this dialectical resonance.

In general, as Tomberg points out, the ingression of life into the cosmos represents the presence of "ensouled movement" in the world. The specific reference to fish and birds implies verticality: creatures above and creatures below the domain of man. There are beings who skirt along the "firmament" above, as well as those who dwell in the dark waters below. As if we didn't know.

Now, the third miracle recorded in the Gospel of John involves an incident in Bethesda, when Jesus comes across a multitude of sick people who are blind, lame, and paralyzed, and who lay by a pool of water that has five porches. Every so often an angel "stirs the water," and someone is healed of his affliction, but only the first one in. Since life is ensouled movement, the implication is that paralysis symbolically represents an absence of life.

Jesus heals a certain man who had been paralyzed for 38 years, which is to say "restores the faculty of ensouled movement." But this does not happen as a result of a random "stirring of the waters." Rather, it occurs after Jesus says to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." According to Tomberg, the words "rise" and "take up your bed" refer back to the fifth day of creation, "namely the creation of ensouled movement in the vertical ['rise up'] and in the horizontal ['walk']."

Now movement ("ensouled life") is cosmic in its significance, as I argued in Biogenesis. Tomberg elaborates: "the human being stands within a stream of cosmic energies -- his thoughts in the streams of the thought world, his feelings in the streams of the world's psychic forces, and his impulses of will are immersed in the streams of world-will-energy and are 'plugged into' them."

Therefore, just as someone "who holds his breath and takes in no more air will suffocate, so will someone who cuts himself off from the streams of cosmic energies become paralyzed." It is specifically this "cutting off," or self-willed vertical exile, that represents the quintessence of sin, which is why Jesus later encounters the man in the temple and says to him, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you," buddy.

James Cameron is as good an example as any of a paralyzed -- not to say completely lame -- excuse for a man. What is specifically denied him -- not by God, of course, but by himself -- is vertical movement. He is a vertical paraplegic, so that he can neither rise nor walk, although he is obviously capable of slithering about on the ground. He reclines by the waters (the so-called "crypt of Jesus") and omnipotently reverses the fifth day of creation, just as one would expect an envious god to do. For he is a fully dopeutized King of this World. He can do anything, even miraculously undo miracles. Being an envious little godling, he naturally wants others to share in his horizontal prison, thus the fervent enviangelism of his "bad news" on the Deiscoffery Channel.

The third miracle -- and it is a miracle -- is the "re-'plugging in'" of human beings "into the ensouled movement of the world," which through sin, "had become cut off and thereby paralyzed." As such, this miracle is the archetype of repentance or metanoia, when one consciously "turns around" and reconnects with man's proper habitat, the vertical. Just like his most famous creature, Cameron has sunk beneath the dark waters, the gravity of man's fall being what it is.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Vertical Memes and Horizontal Genes: Upright Men and Lowdown Dirty Dogs (12.08.10)

"Heredity" means simply the transmission of similarity from ancestors to their descendents. In this sense, the invisibly divinely created archetypes are the "ancestors" of the visible species of animals. And the invisible archetype of man, the divine being itself, is the "ancestor" of the human being. The sickness which arose as a tragic consequence of the Fall was a change in the direction in the mirroring process of heredity; it changed from being vertical to become horizontal. --Valentin Tomberg

According to Tomberg, the second miracle recorded in the Gospel of John addresses this issue of vertical vs. horizontal heredity. As a psychologist, one's stock-in-trade is people who have dropped vertically into the stream of time (indeed, as we all must) but whose vertical heredity is overwhelmed by horizontal factors emanating mostly from parents: the sins of the fathers and mothers are visited upon the sons and daughters, in an intergenerational transmission of pathology.

Psychoanalysis calls the medium of transmission "internalized objects," while I call them "mind parasites," because it is a more accurate description. Plus, I thought I might need a slightly more colorful term just in case I were going to steal a bunch of stuff from psychoanalysis and start my own bogus religion, like L. Ron Hubbard. Instead, Petey and I just formed a local chapter of Transdimensional Raccoons, but kept the name.

As the first miracle -- the Wedding at Cana -- resonates with the seventh day of creation, the second miracle -- the healing of the nobleman's son -- resonates with the sixth. The nobleman implores Jesus to heal his son, who is said to be "near death." In the recently discovered "gnostic gospel" of Shemp, Jesus says, "Dang, you folks are starting to get on my nerves." John 4:48 adds, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." But at the seventh hour, Jesus says to the man, "Go your way; your son lives." Later the nobleman is told by his servants that his son became well at exactly the seventh hour, when Jesus spoke those words.

God created human beings "on the sixth day," based upon the divine archetype, when He (or perhaps the trinitarian They) said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." The second miracle speaks to the restoration of the divine-human hereditary archetype that was forged on the Friday of creation, prior to the Fall, which doesn't happen until the following Sunday evening at the earliest. The distortion introduced by the Fall is restored "by the father bringing his son into a direct relationship to the divine archetype -- through his [the father's] faith in Jesus Christ, the new Adam."

In other words, we mistakenly, if understandably, focus on the healing of the son, when the real action takes place in the father, who quite clearly "believed the word that Jesus had spoke to him" prior to the healing. So the real transformation -- and restoration -- occurs first in the father, but has a "vertical" trickle down effect on the son. After all, Jesus made a pretty brusque statement, "Go your way -- your son lives," but the father didn't doubt it. If he had, the entire meaning of the parable would be different.

This brings out a very important -- and perhaps dangerously politically incorrect -- psychological point, that there is something central to fathers and to fatherhood in arresting the intergenerational transmission of mind parasites. Frankly, this is common sense, but it is certainly confirmed if we examine the anthropological and sociological evidence.

Put it this way: in the absence of a strong, vertically oriented father figure, a boy is very likely to remain a more or less horizontal animal. He will be male -- a biological entity under the influence of his horizontal genetic and cultural programming -- but not a man -- which is the first vertical category introduced into human culture. Indeed, it is the foundation of human culture.

This is not difficult to understand. As I explained in the Coonifesto, the mother-infant dyad is a biologically natural phenomenon. Not until men entered that closed system could humans escape biology by becoming the psychologically trimorphic family: mother-father-baby. Thus, "father" is the pillar, so to speak, of society, a non-biological category that then alters the other two: mother simultaneously becomes wife, and baby simultaneously has a way to escape engulfment in the Great Mother archetype, but not without difficulty.

However, it is almost impossible to bridge this gap and escape the orbit of the primordial mother without a vertical father to model the way. Almost all of the really serious problems in society can be traced to the absence of fathers and of men, either literally or figuratively. Our prisons are overcrowded with horizontal males who never became men, although perhaps not to the extent of our professional sports leagues. (I am reminded of the mother-bound Deion Sanders, who was asked by a reporter if his divorce would affect his play. "Nah," said Deion. "It's not like it's family or anything.")

Perhaps someone will relink to that study from about a week ago, documenting how the father's church attendance varies directly with the child's, much more so than the mother's, which has almost no effect. (Here it is -- TW: Smoov.) In light of today's discussion, this makes perfect sense. As in the parable of the nobleman's son, somehow the vertical restoration of the father has a direct effect on the child.

This is also relevant to why God is spoken of as "Father," or why the Pope must be a man. To mess around with these divine archetypes is not just to render them ineffective, but it is to undermine the divine-human economy and attack man as such. To suggest that this is somehow "chauvinistic" is the height of hysterical naivete. Woman and girls benefit from proper men just as much as boys do.

The nobleman in his horizontal aspect may recede into the background once he has brought his son into a vertical hereditary relationship with the new Adam, thus restoring fatherhood and sonhood in the same way that the first miracle restores marriage.

To be honest, the greatest anxiety in my life is that I will not be around long enough to accomplish this for my son. (If only we could purchase a vertical life insurance policy and know that our children would be spiritually "taken care of" in our absence.) I would like to provide Future Leader with plenty of opportunities to experience me as a mere vertical deputy of the real father, so that he can make the naturally supernatural transition from horizontal heredity to vertical heredity. Truly, that is when your mission as a father has been accomplished -- when you may "go your way," knowing that "your son lives."

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Miracles of Life, Love, and Wisdom (12.06.10)

Humans may be assessed in terms of action, wisdom, and sentiment; or what they can do, what they can know, and what or whom they love (i.e., moral freedom). "Miracles" -- which is to say "signs and wonders" -- can occur on any one of these planes, although Christianity traditionally places emphasis on the last. As Paul said, there who those value wisdom and those who demand miraculous actions, "but we preach Christ crucified," which is to say the mystery of God's ultimate love for mankind.

Nevertheless, as I have written before, whatever principial truth a religion excludes or minimizes tends to return in a disguised form. Therefore, we should not be surprised that at different points, Christianity is as much a religion of divine wisdom and power as it is of love. But each must always be tempered by the others -- wisdom without love or action is merely intellectualism or solipsism, just as action without love or wisdom is either dissipation or the will to power.

As Valentin Tomberg writes, love is the highest freedom, for "it is the sole element in human existence that cannot and may not be demanded. One can demand effort, veracity, honesty, obedience, the fulfillment of duties, but love may never be demanded. Love is and remains for all time a sanctuary of freedom, inaccessible to all compulsion. For this reason, the highest commandment -- 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind... and love your neighbor as yourself' -- is not a command, but a divine-human plea. For love cannot be commanded; it can only be prayed for."

This is also the American secret, for it is the one nation that is founded upon the primacy of spiritual liberty, which is to say, the possibility of genuine vertical and horizontal (i.e., neighborly) love. Just as man was not created for the sabbath but the sabbath for man, American citizens are not here to serve the state, but the state is here to nurture spiritual liberty that we may grow in love, wisdom, and compassionate action -- or goodness, truth, and beauty.

Tomberg points out that the Gospels may be thought of as "holographic" (my word), in the sense that the events described therein are simultaneously signs, signs are teachings, teachings are events, events are parables, etc. Everything in the Gospels is at once "fact, miracle, symbol, and revelation of the truth."

There are only seven miracles described in the Gospel of John, beginning with the transformation of water into wine at the wedding in Cana, and ending with the raising of Lazarus. The conclusion of John points out that if every miracle attributable to Christ were to be recorded, "the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.'" Therefore, Tomberg suggests that the seven miracles of John are intended to be "archetypal," or to summarize certain categories of the miraculous -- of how humans, unlike any other beings in existence, may surpass themselves in love, wisdom, and action.

Might there also be an implicit parallel between these seven miracles and the seven primordial acts of God described in Genesis 1-2? I don't mean to rely on Tomberg so much, but I know of no one else who treats these matters so deeply and thoughtfully. Plus I have a cold, so I think I'll just try not to strain my brain and ride piggyback on his analysis, throwing in my own ideas here and there. At any rate, Tomberg feels that there is an inverse relationship between the seven phases of creation in Genesis and the seven miracles of John. Thus, for example, the wedding at Cana somehow mirrors the seventh day of creation.

Tomberg writes that the sabbath is the day on which "created being attains the highest level of inwardness: freedom. The seventh day of creation is the 'day' of the meaning of the world." And since it is only in love that freedom is perfect, ultimately divine-human love "is the foundation, the meaning, and the purpose of the world." Real love is both the alpha and omega of existence.

If the sabbath is also the consecration of the free "union" between God and man, then a sort of "divorce" occurred as a result of the fall. Man was unfaithful to his vows, so to speak. Tomberg writes that the wedding at Cana symbolically speaks to the restoration of this union, for it seems that marriage often "begins with enthusiasm, with the 'wine' of the honeymoon period, and ends with the 'water' of routine habit."

The renewal of love is indeed a miracle, even though we rarely think about it in those terms. To put it another way, only love can renew the world, one's being, and one's wedding vows. At the wedding, Jesus not only transforms water into wine, but the second wine is even better than the first. In other words, not only does love not degenerate, but it is miraculously renewed and increased; as such, this miracle is the "sign" of the healing of marriage -- i.e., "healing in the service of restoring the marriage relationship to correspond to the divine cosmic archetype, which is the seventh day of creation."

Is it important that John 2:1 says that the wedding took place "on the third day?" Why is that seemingly random fact inserted at the outset? And when they run out of wine, it is specifically Jesus' mother who brings this message to her son. Interestingly, Jesus says something very strange, in that he immediately interprets Mary's news about the wine in symbolic terms, asking her, "what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come."

Thus -- I am hardly a Biblical scholar, so I don't know if I'm pointing out the obvious here -- the wedding on the third day clearly has resonance with the entire mission of Jesus, in which he will restore the marriage between God and man.

And again, strikingly, there are exactly six waterpots, apparently referencing the other six days of creation and the other six miracles.

Skipping ahead a bit, wine once again comes into play when Jesus' "hour has come." In John 19:28, only after he knows that "all things were accomplished," he says "I thirst." He is given some sour -- which is to say, bad -- wine, which is placed to his mouth. After receiving it, he bows his head and says, "it is finished."

What is finished? One of the soldiers pierces his side, and "blood and water come out." At Cana, water is transformed into good wine. Here, as it were, bad and sour wine -- which is to say, the hateful karma of the world -- is transformed into water and blood. In the Bible -- and in antiquity in general -- "blood" always had spiritual connotations, and was regarded as the vehicle of life, while water carries two distinct meanings.

Back to Genesis 1. On the second day of creation, God separates the upper waters -- the waters above the firmament, or heaven -- from the lower waters. In fact, heaven is placed between the upper and lower waters, as a sort of dividing line. As such -- again, curiously -- heaven is not at the "top" of creation, but is a sort of membrane between upper and lower, or superior and inferior, waters.

But clearly, Jesus seems to be able to mediate between the upper and lower waters -- to bring about their harmonious union, in which the lower is transformed into the higher, and the higher descends into and infuses the lower.

Exacly what is the sacrament of marriage? I don't really know. Let me look it up.

Got it: marriage "is an inseparable bond between a man and a woman, created by human contract and ratified by divine grace. The nature of the covenant requires that the two participants be one man and one woman" and "that they be free to marry." In the Catholic Church, "it is consent that creates marriage. Consent consists in a human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other. Consent must be a free act of the will of the consenting parties, free of coercion or grave external error. If freedom is lacking, the consent is invalid." Interestingly, "it is the spouses who are understood to confer marriage on each other. The spouses, as ministers of grace, naturally confer upon each other the sacrament of matrimony."

Now, back to the union of God and man. Let's think about some of the constiuent components of marriage: freedom to consent to an inseparable bond, absent any coercion; mutual surrender; male (God) and female (the soul); the parties freely choose to confer marriage upon each other, not one upon the other; and the parties become vehicles of grace for one another, through which the regenerative upper waters flow into the world, transforming water into good wine and sour wine into the upper waters of eternal life and love.

Well, that's about the best I can muster today. Bit of an incoherent mess, no? Frankly, it's surprising it doesn't happen more often. But perhaps I've left enough fragments for others to meditate upon and miraculously pull together. To turn water into wine, so to speak.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Vertical Magic and the Magic of Verticality (12.06.10)

The miracles of Jesus Christ reveal the secret of the influence exercised by individuals for the universal, and by the universal for the indiviudual. --Valentin Tomberg

According to Tomberg, the seven miracles recorded in the Gospel of John "represent the healing of the seven principal infirmities of human nature in both individuals and groups." As such, they are "not just miracles," but "signs of the future spiritual and bodily healing processes within the human organism, which is sick as a consequence of the fall of humanity."

Joan made a very truthy point when she commented that she had never gone in for "the whole 'seeking after miracles' obsession." However, like all Coons, she has "seen and experienced them," and while she doesn't "dwell on this topic as central to my faith," she observes that "you only get good results when you center on the Good. Center on the wanted results and you get bupkis."

Sista' Dilys expanded upon this, writing that the realm of the miraculous cannot function "without corruption outside of the protection of a Vertically-revealed tradition, and indeed can't be plucked cleanly out of the tradition to carry away for idiosyncratic power. As Joan says, miracles are often only semi-conscious side effects of a fervent consistent illuminated devotion to the Good, the willing citizenship in what Jesus calls the kingdom of God."

Three statements come immediately to mind: 1) The kingdom of God is within [or among] you, 2) Seek ye first the kingdom, and 3) from the Gospel of Thomas, The Father's kingdom is spread all over the world, but people cannot see it. I will try to touch on these three points below, if not today, then later, as we continue this discussion.

Another way of saying this is that there is an "upper vertical" magic, so to speak, and a lower vertical magic. This is indeed a key point, for now that I think about it, my life only became a more or less non-stop magic show when I ceased living for myself and undertook the task of aligning myself with a greater reality. This is not to in any way claim that my life is extraordinary. Rather, as several people pointed put yesterday, signs and wonders are happening all the time -- i.e., the Father's kingdom is spread all over the world -- but the interventions are so subtle that we may underlook them, so to speak. We may also fail to notice them because we only live in one reality, and cannot see the other reality that "might have been" in the absence of the vertical influence.

Of course, it's almost too corny to point out, but this is the great spiritual lesson of It's a Wonderful Life, and why the film is so beloved. Here is an example of a man who spends his life selflessly aligning himself with the universal on behalf of the individual, at great personal cost. However, in his case, he is shown what might have been had he spent his life pursuing the narrow agenda of his self-interested ego.

Another way of saying it is that George is granted the boon of a clear vision of all the miracles and magic that had occurred in his life as a result of unselfishly aligning himself with the Good. And realizing this is the greatest miracle of all, for with this realization, the magic that had always been operating in his life bursts upon him like a sudden downpour of grace. What a tragic waste of life to miss the magic that is happening all the time, for this magic is precisely what nourishes the soul and feeds the "second birth."

The same lesson is present in Dickens' Christmas Carol, in which Scrooge is first given a vision of the forces that went into exiling him from the greater reality and enclosing him in the narrow world of his bitter and envious ego. Envy and entitlement are literally forms of "reverse magic," in that they will spoil whatever they acquire. Envy may or may not help you get what you think you want, but it will also prevent you from enjoying it once you have it.

This lower vertical magic forms the basis of the leftist agenda, which is why they only become more bitter upon getting what they want. The bitterness of the left has not remitted one iota since prevailing in last November's election, because envy is an addictive way of life for them. Try listening to Randi Rhodes for five seconds. In the words of the immortal Big Joe Turner, "I believe to my soul you a devil in nylon hose." Or possibIy the great Junior Brown: "she's just venom wearin' denim, she's a copperheaded queen." I once heard Alan Watts refer to seagulls as "winged hunger." Dailykos must be "digital envy."

This is why the civil rights movement only became a perpetually angry and bitter crusade once it achieved its main goals and should have closed up shop. Indeed, this is how a moral giant such as Martin Luther King transmogrifies before our eyes into grotesque lower vertical beings such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Likewise, it explains how the feminist movement began cranking out creepy hybrid femen such as Hillary Clinton or Gloria Allred or Maureen Dowd after it was no longer necessary. (In fact, if the downward trend continues, there's no telling how low feminism will sink). And it explains the moral monsters of CAIR, a group that is completely unnecessary except to advance a truly diabolical lower vertical agenda. But all of these diverse beings have "common cause" in aligning themselves with the false universal of "coerced" or "Faustian magic."

According to Frithof Schuon, a miracle represents "an interference of the marvellous in the sensory realm." In itself, there is "nothing mysterious or problematical about it." In fact, if you consider the structure of reality, miracles cannot not occur, since the vertical cannot not be, and the vertical takes ontological precedence over the horizontal (i.e., the vertical could never have come from the horizontal). In hermetic terms, the subtle rules the dense, and the the deeper the effect, the higher the cause. The highest cause being God, aligning ourselves with this cause should, so to speak, lift us out of the closed circle of horizontality and manifest in our own lives in terms of the "subtle ruling the dense."

Now, this is not to say that the dense -- the horizontal -- can be eliminated. We are not angels, which is to say purely vertical beings. But it does mean that we can do our part to reverse the fall and restore the priority of the vertical over the horizontal. Obviously, if everyone did this -- individuals working on behalf of the universal -- we would have "heaven on earth." On the other hand, "hell on earth" is the leftist agenda of the individual being forced to work on behalf of the (false) universal. What is today, only March 8th? Most of us are still slaving away for the collective, as tax freedom day does not occur until some point in late April, when we have worked off our debt to the collective. But at least we are not Sweden, where the shackles aren't released until August.

Now, as Schuon points out, a miracle is only "supernatural" on the earthly scale, but "natural" on the cosmic scale. Furthermore, "the purpose of the miraculous phenomenon is the same as that of the Revelation which it accompanies or as a result of which, or in the shadow of which, it is produced: to elicit or to confirm faith." There are two central miracles, one "supernaturally natural," the other "naturally supernatural." Existence itself is a supernaturally natural lesson, what with its gratuitous truth and beauty coursing through its every artery as a result of being infused with the supernatural logos.

This is why the first miracle recorded in Genesis is the archetype of all others, for as our Unknown Friend says, creation ex nihilo, or out of nothing, "is the highest possible expression of magic, namely divine and cosmic magic." This is why the primordial act of creation was not so much a bang as a blossoming seed. As he says, this is "not too difficult to imagine, because each little acorn is such a 'constructive bomb' and the oak is only the visible result of the slow 'explosion' -- or blossoming out -- of this 'bomb.'" What is a butterfly but an exploded caterpillar -- or in our case, a buddhafly catarpultered out of a christalis c-coon?

Schuon points out that "the miraculous is that which is due to a direct, thus vertical intervention of a heavenly Power, and not to a horizontal progression of causality. If one extends the notion of 'nature' to all that exists, miracles too are 'natural,' but in that case words would become meaningless, as it would then be impossible to make the essential distinction between blind or unconscious causes and the supra-conscious Cause, the source of all consciousness and of all power. Scientists confuse the miraculous with the irrational and the arbitrary" (emphasis mine).

A couple of days ago we spoke of the "husk" and "kernel." The husk is there to protect the kernel, but it is possible that we can come to identify with the husk, thus defeating its purpose -- and the purpose of our lives -- by arresting the "blossoming explosion" of our true self. This blossoming -- once you begin to experience it -- is the "personal magic" that mirrors the magic of creation itsoph -- of God's unfolding, creative self-revelation. The kernel, since it is internally related to the whole, seems miraculously able to draw the people and materials it requires in order to fulfill its mission. Or as a rabbinical expression puts it, "God spends most of his time arranging meetings and marriages."

But again, this blossoming cannot be "self-willed" any more than you can will a carrot to grow, for "God gives the increase." All organic growth -- which is to say internally related change directed toward a telos -- is magic. It is the everyday magic of watching an infant change from day to day, or even of writing this blog, if I may say so. For me -- especially for me -- I am always aware that this activity is miraculous when viewed in light of the alternative Bobs I might have become and narrowly averted. "There but for the grace of God," and all that. It's a wonderful life, but only if we stop to consider the alternatives.

More on miracles tomorrow, barring the absence of a miraculous vertical intervention.

There are strange things happening every day
I hear music up above my head
Fill me up with your wonder
Give me my rapture today.

Let me contemplate the presence so divine
Let me sing all day and never get tired
Fill me up from your loving cup
Give me my rapture today.

Won't you guide me through the dark night of the soul
That I may better understand your way
Let me be just and worthy to receive
All the blessings of the Lord into my life.

Let me purify my thoughts and words and deeds
That I may be a vehicle for thee
Let me hold to the truth in the darkest hour
Let me sing to the glory of the Lord.
Give me my rapture today. --Van Morrison, Give Me My Rapture