Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nocturnal Stinkubations of the Left (12.01.10)

If there were seven days of creation, there must have been seven nights that were equally important -- perhaps we might even speak of the "seven dreams" of God, during which time the previous day's accomplishments were worked over and the next day's activities incubated.

According to Tomberg, "Just as the full reality of human life consists of days and nights -- of the bright day-consciousness and the dark sway of the unconscious (or subconsciousness or superconsciousness) -- so the full reality of humanity's biography, the history of mankind, consists of a day aspect and a night aspect. The day aspect comprises the account of the actuality of that which has become, and the night aspect embraces the activity of becoming."

Another way of saying it is that there is horizontal history and vertical history, both individually and collectively. Each involves a different kind of causation. Horizontal causation may be linear or non-linear, but it operates from past to future. Let us call this the "causality of the day."

But vertical history does not operate on the basis of mechanical causation. Rather, it is guided organically and teleologically by a goal, or what is called finalism. For example, many patients -- especially the more sophisticated ones -- come into psychotherapy imagining that there is some event or experience in their past that is causing their present troubles. If they can just remember and identify what it was and bring it into the light, then the vexatious pattern that is imposing itself upon their psychic life will be drained of its potential to cause problems.

But it doesn't work that way. This is because the thing they're looking for is not in the past but the present. It is not "behind" but "below," influencing things from the bottom up. Furthermore, it does not work in a mechanical way, nor is it like a "pressure cooker" of instinctual energy that needs to be released. Rather, it has a goal and an agenda of which we are unaware. We want one thing but it obviously wants something else -- something very specific, usually a certain kind of relationship, even (or especially) if it brings pain or frustration. The conscious self registers the complaint, so to speak, unaware that the complaint, or symptom, represents the achievement of an unconscious goal. Cutting edge neuropsychoanalytic research suggests that it is not a figure of speech to say that the left brain doesn't know what the right brain is doing (or worse yet, knowing or being).

One of the reasons liberal solutions don't work is that they fail to take into consideration the nocturnal aspect of history. And one of the reasons they fail to do so is that leftism in general consists of a meme-pool of the over- and undereducated -- or maternalistic elites (the dreaded "vaginocracy dentata") and the losers for whom they know what's best. Furthermore, this pathological dance creates a "night time" influence of its own, in that the solutions and programs enacted by the elites inevitably make the problems worse, thus creating a greater need for maternalistic elites (an odd conglomeration of "men with breasts" and women without them, e.g., feminists).

Looked at collectively, this pattern is entirely self-defeating, just like a codependent patient who constantly complains about her husband, unaware that her codependency -- her narcissistic rescue fantasies -- fuel her husband's behavior. But there is a great side benefit to the codependency, as it allows the woman to 1) project a damaged part of herself into her husband, thereby distancing herself from her own psychic pain, 2) feel contempt for, and triumph over, the weak and devalued part, and 3) elevate herself and feel morally superior to others.

Thus, we should not be surprised if we see in leftists the same pattern of projection, condescension, and sanctimony. Can I get a witness? Thank you. Where would the left be without their projected racist fantasies of the po' hepless negro? It is quite striking how blacks can tolerate the utter contempt that liberal politicians and the MSM have for them. They are infantilized, held to lower standards, excused of behavior that would not be tolerated in others, and worse. Only on the left could a low life thug such as Al Sharpton run for president without provoking comment, much less deep soul-searching. It is not ironic. It is inevitable.

But it takes two to tango to a tangle of pathology, and it is always tempting to overpathologize the abuser and underpathologize the abused, when the dysfunctional system needs both parties in order to function as a national rescue party -- to party heartily (or in the end, heartlessly). Masochists are on the lookout for sadists, driven to find their missing half just as much as the sadist seeks the weak masochist.

Regarding the excessive projection of the left, one thing about projection is that, because it warps and distorts reality, certain aspects of reality will be grotesquely exaggerated, while others will be ignored. In other words, true or "forced" projection is not a subtle process. It is ultimately rooted in a prior crude psychological splitting that makes the projection possible. (In other words, a psychic content must be "split off" before it can be forcefully evacuated from one's head into another human "container.")

For example, we all know how loving and compassionate liberals are, especially toward the terrorists who wish to destroy our civilization. The terrorists are given a pass because liberals project "victimhood" into them -- e.g., they are victims of poverty, or of imperialism, or of Jews, or of Big Oil, or of George Bush. And this codependent "idiot compassion" simply creates more terrorists.

On the other hand, no such compassion is felt toward Scooter Libby or Dick Cheney. Just a couple of days ago there was another primitive hatefest at huffingandpissed when Vice President Cheney was taken to the hospital because of a blood clot. The primitive projection is quite palpable, which is nothing new if one has any acquaintance with the base base of the left.

What is so incomprehensible -- incomprehensible in the absence of psychoanalytic knowledge, anyway -- is the hatred directed toward a public servant such as Cheney but the absence of hatred toward the terrorists. When something this illogical is going on, you know that it is governed by night-time unconscious processes of which the person is unaware. How can it be that Cheney is the one deserving of denigration, death, suffering, and hellfire, while admitted terrorists at Gitmo are deserving of the full panoply of civil rights -- even the presumption of innocence despite having admitted their crimes?

The psychological splitting of the left is so conspicuous that one cannot fail to notice it. One often hears, for example, that we are involved in a "war for oil" motivated only by greed. But there are three things necessary for life: oxygen, food and water, and energy. The left has no difficulty whatsoever declaring war upon those who supposedly "threaten our air," as this is one of the bases of environmental radicalism.

In reality, the air has never been cleaner since we have been capable of measuring it, but this does not stop the radicals from characterizing President Bush as the moral equivalent of Hitler because of his failure to embrace the Kyoto protocols -- which if enacted would represent a direct war on food by radical groups. In exchange for a marginal and temporary decrease in the global temperature a few decades hence, the environmentalists would allow millions to die as a result of the catastrophic effect on the global economy, including food production.

One often hears leftists repeat the meme that President Bush has not "apologized" for this or that. But when have leftists ever apologized for the destruction wrought by their policies? One reason they fail to do so is that one must be able to see by night in order to become cognizant of the vast damage -- both to visible (not to mention vanished) bodies and invisible souls. As Thomas Sowell has noted, liberal policies are guided by feeling -- in particular, a self-deluding "compassion" -- not by thought. As such, they never take into account what he calls "phase II," or unintended consequences of their policies. This is because their idiot compassion blinds them to the system of destructive incentives a policy puts into place.

For example, any sensible person knows that rent control causes housing shortages, minimum wages cause unemployment, affirmative action diminishes excellence and damages blacks, socialized medicine leads to deadly delays and rationing, lack of competition among schools leads to deterioration in education, welfare makes husbands unnecessary and therefore civilization impossible, economic development is the cure, not cause, of pollution, a weak military provokes our enemies, etc.

As such, leftist policies inevitably backfire, but no one ever apologizes for them. How many families were destroyed and how many young black men killed or incarcerated as a result of of LBJ's oh, Great! Society programs blackfiring? Conservatives, because they generally have lives, don't have time to stage pseudo-events called "demomstrations" in which the unwashed carry around signs bearing the ungrammatical. If they did, they might chant slogans such as:

"Democrats -- a 40 year war on poverty and still no exit strategy!" "Bush spied, terrorists died!" "Help stamp out literacy -- support teachers' unions!" " From each according to his abilities, to each according to his accomplishments." "Keep your socialism out of my paycheck!" "I support journalism, but not its mission." "Give peace a chance. Kill our enemies." "Liberals: always there for you when they need something." "America is the best place in the world to be a woman or minority."

Fortunately, just when leftism was at the peak of its day-time influence in the 1970's and 1980's, a classical liberal counter-movement was incubating by night. It achieved a sort of ascendency in the 1980's, but once again we did not realize that counter-forces were gathering and reconstituting themselves by night, only to re-emerge in the third millennium. They had to change the name to "progressivism" to conceal the fact that it is the same old socialist whine in a new battle.

Yesterday Walt suggested an idea for a topic, that is, what I mean by the cooncept of "satanic," which is "a very saturated word that is both evocative and provocative... and it would be interesting to hear your expanded version."

Yes, I have no hesitation whatsoever in calling the left satanic (as a metaphysics, not necessarily the individuals under its influence). In fact, I am spiritually compelled to do so. But I suppose it would help to explain what I mean by "satanic," because I am quite sure I don't mean it in the way any leftist would hear it -- or be capable of hearing it. The question is, what collective forces does leftism embody? What role does evil play in the collective psychic economy? I hope to get to this question soon, if not sooner, assuming nothing else seizes me during the night.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Parousing God's Liberatory (12.22.10)

I was between the sheets of the forgettery too long last night -- which is to say I was reborn at the wrong time and late to mysoph this morning. Therefore, I have less time, nor timelessness, to remumble something overhead. I'll do my best to hurry up and slow down before I fail to catch a lila big One.

Now, to quote Tomberg again, "Forgetting, sleep, and death are stages basically of the same process." In contrast to them are remembering, awakening, and resurrection. Each of these latter three are reflections of the same process of "the return of what had been submerged in the darkness of the unconscious."

Memory is one of those everynow mysteries that most grunts seem to take for grunted. It is also one of those things that the cold hand of scientism unwittingly disfigures as a result of its ravenous form of "understanding" -- because of the very manner with which it understands. For simply by virtue of reducing the magic of memory to a mechanistic process -- as if it were analogous to pulling up a file in your hard drive -- is to do great violence to something quasi-sacred. With memory, one is ultimately touching on the mystery of time itself, which is the substance of our being. Specifically, we are made of "lived time," which is nothing less than the "extended" interior of the cosmos.

I, for example -- and I'm sure you do to -- have certain memories that live inside me "in eternity." There is even some suggestion -- I've overheard Petey thinking about it -- that these moments stamped with eternity -- or is it the other way around? -- are what we "take with us when we go," so to speak. For when we have touched the eternal, the eternal has also in-formed us most deeply, which is what makes the moment eternal.

Interestingly, we usually don't know at the time it is happening that we are having an experience that partakes of the eternal, but we can call up these moments in hindsight. Often they are quite random. I know that for me, for example, there was a "golden time" between the ages of 9 and 12 that lives like a kind of touchstone of eternity inside of me. Perhaps it is just the natural mysticism of childhood, but to look at it from the outside -- to say, "oh, you're just remembering 1966," is to miss the point. It is impossible for me to describe the magical awesomeness of the feeling of 1966! from the inside. Perhaps a poet could do it. In fact, that's why we tolerate poets, isn't it? -- because the less annoying ones coonjure eternity within time, or reincarnate a hidden selfinus, or "take upon the mystery of things, as if they were God's spies" (Shakespeare).

Let us suppose that we have actually chosen to be here in this life and this incarnation. Who is the "we" that chooses? Yes, you could say it is our "soul," but what is that? It is not the same as the mind. In fact, the mind often interferes with the soul's gnocturiyanal omission, for if the soul has chosen to be here, it has done so for reasons of something it wishes to accomplish, or experience, or learn.

What the soul ultimately wishes to learn about is itself, and the terrestrial condition of human embodiment is the only way -- perhaps -- it may do this. Remember, we are just "supposing" for the purposes of fulfilling my sacred bObligation to come up with a post this morning, but let's further suppose that our soul thirsts for a lived experience of itself. It is one thing to "have a self," but it doesn't really mean much -- that is, it is a rather dry and abstract thing, an "empty category" -- unless we are able to discover and articulate the unique "idiom" (as the psychoanalyst Bollas calls it) of our authentic self.

Now, just the fact that we are born with an "unarticulated true self" is a great mythtery to punder. It is another reason why we cat- and dogmagorically reject the satanic ideology of leftism, for all forms of leftism are at war with the self, which may only articulate itself under conditions of liberty. That is, the latent self specifically requires the existence of an "open future," which is the sufficient reason to live in the hope that we will eventually "re-member" ourselves and then truly use the time we are given as a medium for the self's joyful articulation. This is the "art of living": the exteriorization of the soul for the purposes of the interiorization of eternity.

Conversely, to indoctrinate people into identifying with their skin color, or their dopey culture, or their "class" is to reverse the ontological order; ultimately it is to teach that the self is here to serve the collective, rather than vice versa. This is the horror of liberal academia. The original meaning of "educate" is from the Latin educare, meaning to "draw out." For our tenured radicals, it is the opposite -- doctors who indoctrinate, or shove it in, big time. This is why you will have noticed that radicals are always -- always -- such existential "phonies." In fact, the more genuine they are, the more deeply phony. They are weightless, but weightless in such a way that it takes the form of a heavy, spiritually opaque darkness that pulls them and the luckless souls under their influence further into the abyss, 32 feet per second per second, to be exact.

We cannot pretend that this leftist brainwashing and soultarnishing don't do real harm. If I were a bitter man -- which a Coon never is -- I would be furious at what this indoctrination did to me -- specifically, the precious time it stole from my life, time that should have been spent discovering, "drawing out," and articulating my true self and its idiom. My book and blog (and family, including the extended family of Coons) represent the culmination -- or let us say, the temporary fulfillment -- of this idiom, and it is truly a miracle of providence that I climbed off the bleak scaffolding of a spiritually empty academonic world which would have me be what I am not -- which no one is, as a matter of fact. For no one is a Darwinian machine, or a gender, or a race, or a talking monkey. But as always, Light is the best disinfuckedup, if you'll pardon the French, which I'll never do.

Once the true self is discovered, one finds that it is generative, or "fruitful." It is as if it produces waves from a hidden but intelligent ocean that lap upon the distant shore of consciousness. Anything that denies the ocean and prevents our river from finding its shore is a priori satanic, whatever the context, for it is the foreclosure of the self and the end of our reason for being.

In the words of Bollas, "From the beginning of life one's idiom is rather like a vision-in-waiting, a preconception, as Bion would say, of things to come, which takes shape over time. Idiom seeks objects because they materialize form which realizes itself as it shapes these contents of a life. This is a deep pleasure [emphasis mine]. It is a manifestation of the drive to present the particularity of one's being, a form which suggests itself as a visionary movement through the object world."

In another book, Bollas characterizes the articulation of one's idiom as the erotics of being, surely an accurate description. We live in strange times, for never before in human history have more people had the opportunity to enjoy the erotics of their being, and yet, they imagine they are deprived. They are deprived, because they are misusing their time and therefore abusing their self -- and punishing God.

For in the final unalysis, why do you think God set up this witness procreation program for cosmic selves? Petey once told me a story -- I'm not sure if it was one of his "eschcatall tales" -- but he said that he once checked out God's libarary when He was dictating something to Schuon. First of all, the library was huge, as you might imagine. But what most struck Petey was that none of the books had any highlighting. This was apparently because God already knew what was in all the books. There were no "surprises," nothing that provoked an inner journey down an unsuspected byway. Why, it reminds me of an enigmatic boblical passage from the Coonifesto:

One's upin in a timeless without a second to spore and noplace to bang anyway, only himsoph with nowhere to bewrong, hovering over the waters without a kenosis. Vishnu were here, but God only knows only God, and frankly, ishvara monotheotonous -- no one beside Him, no nous, same old shunyada yada yada. Ah, this old ombody's so philled with jehoviality, can't He create anamour? 'Elo, Him, what samadhi you? Stop deidreamoing and gita life, bodhi!

And that is what He did. It turns out that human beings are to God what a library is for a human being. We are God's liberatory of freedom and surprise. For human beings, reading is the "mystery school of individuation." The books we are attracted to and choose both reflect and shape the soul on its journey to itself. They are full of surprises, but the surprise is paradoxically just us terrestrial earth worms finding our teleological time tube in the tunneling passages of an unsuspected lifetome.

When we find and live our authentic selves -- and therefore, God -- it is analogous to a highlight in one of God's books: the famous Book of Life. It gives him great delight, for it is the only true novelty there is for him. Sure, he "knows" us before we do, but so do we. That doesn't take away the fun. Rather, it just adds to it. For it is the first day of creation all over again. Which is God's favorite rememberme, because it's the gift that keeps giving -- to oneself and to others.

The essential act of faith is the remembrance of God; “to remember”, in Latin, is recordare, that is re-cordare, which indicates a return to the heart, cor. --Frithjof Schuon

"Petey, are you sure this is the right planet?"

(TW: Todd)


This excellent piece at American Thinker (this too) explains why so-called "progressivism" is always wrong from the cosmic point of view, or "cosmically f***ed up."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fly by Night Theology (12.21.10)

When Jesus is given the news that Lazarus is sick (John 11:3), he responds in that typically confident but paradoxable way of his, to the effect that Lazarus' illness is "not a sickness unto death" but "for the glory of God." Jesus then stays put for a couple of days and forgets all about Lazarus, putting him on the back-burning bush.

After that, Jesus makes another curious comment about how easy it is to walk around by daylight without stumbling, but "if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

Hmmm. Okay.

Note that immediately after this cryptic comment about stumbling at night, Jesus abruptly decides to pick up and visit Lazarus, "who sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." Then there is some confusion among the disciples about the meaning of Jesus' statement. Finally, Jesus says words to the effect of, "Get a clue, people. Don't be so literal. When I said 'asleep' I meant 'dead.'"

Day, night, sleeping, waking, forgetting, darkness, stumbling, light, sickness. What's going on here?

Tomberg gnotes that in the case of the healing of the nobleman's son, Jesus' actual presence was not required. Rather, it was accomplished through the intermediary of the father's faith. But in this instance, the pattern is entirely different. That is, rather than healing Lazarus, he lets him go -- literally. He "forgets" about him for two days, banishing him from consciousness. Lazarus is not only gone but forgotten. Or is he gone because forgotten?

Then another curious statement, this one by Thomas, a fascinating character in his own right, who says, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." The "him" is ambiguous, but Tomberg feels that it is actually in reference to Lazarus, not Jesus; that is, "Let us share the fate of Lazarus, since it is the will of the Master -- that which can only intend the highest good."

Now, is Thomas suggesting that they all commit suicide? No, that makes no sense. Rather, he is talking about committing cluelesscide, i.e., "let us put put ourselves into the inner situation of Lazarus, identify ourselves with his path of destiny, so that we also may die."

Death represents the end of horizontal existence. As such, Lazarus represents pure verticality, detached from the world of sickness, suffering, and toil. In Buddhism, there is a concept that is similar to divine incarnation, that is, the bodhisattva principle. A bodhisattva voluntarily renounces his verticality for horizontality, willingly taking on the suffering of existence until all beings have achieved enlightenment.

Christianity takes this concept to its logical extreme, in that Jesus may be thought of as the ultimate bodhisattva, giving up a bach's seat in the front row of the heavenly choir to take his place with the struggling creatures below. If death is the foreclosing of the horizontal for the vertical, this is the opposite, the renunciation of the vertical for the horizontal. And as Tomberg says, "there is no greater love than that of the sacrifice of eternity for the limitations of existence in the transient moment" -- and which is why in the ainsoferable Godspiel of Bob, we are grateful for this undertaking of mortality, for our daily lessons in evanescence, for this manifestivus for the rest of us.

"Christian yoga," if we may call it such, is a strict balance between verticality and horizontality. One does not renounce the horizontal world. But nor does one cling to it as if it were the ultimate reality. Rather, one must always be in the horizontal but not of the horizontal. Excessive entanglement in the horizontal entails one kind of death; giving it up entirely for the vertical represents another kind of sleep, forgetting, and death: Lazarus' kind.

The immortal Shankara refers to horizontal men -- those who are "dead" to the vertical -- as “suicides” who “clutch at the unreal and destroy themselves. What greater fool can there be than the man who has obtained this rare human birth... and yet fails, through delusion, to realize his own highest good? Know that the deluded man who walks the dreadful path of sense-craving moves nearer to his ruin with every step.”

Similarly, the Upanishads say that “Rare is he who, looking for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self. Fools follow the desires of the flesh and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death.... Worlds there are without suns, covered up with darkness. To these after death go the ignorant, slayers of the Self.”

In other words, pure horizontality entails not just the end of verticality, but the death of the Self, or banishment to a world without sun, "covered in darkness." Let's refer back to Jesus' cryptic words in John 11:10, that "if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." Note that one does not stumble because of an absence of external light, but because there is no interior light: the light is not in him.

I find it very interesting that Thomas is the disciple who supposedly evangelized India. Naturally, this would have been known when the gospels were written. But when Thomas says, "Let us also go, that we may die with Lazarus," he is saying something rather suggestive. Let's dispense with literalism for the moment, and interpret it to mean something like, "let's all die to the world and go entirely vertical, like one of those Upanishadic seers -- like Lazarus -- so that we too may be reborn 'for the glory of God, that the son of God may be glorified through our rebirth' (referring again to John 11:4). Let's be bodhisattvas!"

Now, since we are dealing with timeless truth, it is no cooncidence that the Isha Upanishad warns that "To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation.” Rather, “Those who combine action and meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter immortality,” that is, through the sacred union of soul and body, spirit and matter, vertical and horizontal, male and female, mamamaya and papurusha (for those who know their punskrit).

I don't mean to get sidetracked, but I am reminded of a post from over a year ago, about those coal miners in West Virginia who were buried alive. Since I had no readers back then, I think I'll reproduce some of it here, because it seems oddly fitting to our theme.


Facing death, one of the miners left us with these beautiful, haunting words:

Tell all --
I see them on the other side
It wasn't bad
I just went to sleep
I love you

It wasn't bad. I just went to sleep.

Such a simple declaration of unwavering faith, calm courage, and even elegant beauty in the face of the abrupt end of horizontal existence. I've memorized those words. They are worth thousands, even millions of pages of secular fundamentalist drivel. I hope I can remember them in my final moments:

It wasn't bad. I just went to sleep.

Getting back to the subject of our post, it isn't that easy for most of us callous sophisticates to know God. It takes real effort, commitment, and discipline to begin to reliably cure ourselves of the materialitis and reductionosis that pervade contemporary life. It is really a moment-by-moment project of reorienting ourselves and turning things upside down and inside out -- back to the way they're supposed to be. When we do that, we can begin to experience the truth of the Upanishads -- that the universe is like a tree with its roots aloft, its branches down here below.

In our embodied state, we struggle with overcoming our default orientation to the surface, to the 'outside' of things. Both religious and non-religious fundamentalists are still unwavering materialists, living in deadening servitude to matter. Our higher faculties are easily hijacked and enslaved by the lower, and the problem is only worse in a society as abundant as ours, with so many seductive distractions everywhere. The 'I' that is pulled this way and that by these tempting distractions cannot remain the same and know God. Rather, we must close one I and open another, or transpose the melody of our life to a higher key, an octave or two above.

Intellectuals struggle with this, for one does not comprehend religious truth; rather, it comprehends us. The intellect must be 'raised up' to the realm from which religion emanates. Again, this is something the typical secularist utterly fails to understand. You must work to intensify your mental power and then transcend it, like building a very sturdy ship, and then launching it into the Ocean-- two very different things.

For you cannot know religious truth. You cannot even really understand it. Rather, you must undergo it. Secular fundamentalists know all about religion. But you can be sure that they understand nothing of it, for, as Blake wrote, truth cannot be told so as to be understood and not believed.

To understand is to apprehend an intelligible truth, and it is not possible to deeply understand something that isn't true. Thus, 'understanding God' -- or to be perfectly precise, 'being understood' by him, or 'undergoing spiritual truth' -- is the sufficient proof of God's existence. As one undergoes spirituality and this thing called understanding deepens, we move from line to plane and plane to sphere, from seeing to envisioning, from thinking about God to being comprehended by God, to where the interior horizon of the imploding universe flows within itself. The negation of negation!

Achieving this new depth of vision is not a matter of merely piling on additional surfaces and calling it depth, as the intellectual does. It is changing the nature of the knower, so that a new light-infused known may be won from the Wild Godhead. In turn, this divine light further elevates the mind so that we may better see divine things, the uncreated world from which the created world is a reflection dimly perceived through mirror and enigma.

Is it really possible to speak from the Ground, where we are unborn again and can know the youth of eternal spring within our hearts? It depends. As Meister Eckhart said, these things 'are false and absurd according to the imagination of opponents, but true according to true understanding.'

True understanding is the death of the conventional self. But don't worry.

It isn't bad. You just go to sleep.

Then you wake up. And remember. And live.

Lazarus, come forth!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Avoid the Blue Sleeping Pill (12.20.10)

Forgetting, sleeping, and deathing are all somehow related -- or so we have heard from the wise. The first two -- forgetting and sleep -- are reversible. Our thoughts fall like dead leaves into the unconscious, where they are worked over and composted by the night logic of the unconscious, only to releaf our mourning consciousness. In fact, this may be one of the evolutionary purposes of sleep. We know that it plays an important role in both memory and cognition, but no one knows exactly what or how (as far as I know).

But if we reverse-ungineer the mind and imargin what it would be like without sleep and forgetting, we couldn't function in the human sense. We don't stop thinking at night when we are asleep in our dark forgettery. Rather, all sorts of vital, pitch-blacktivity is going on -- sorting, connecting, rejecting, strengthening, categorizing, synthesizing. This is why "sleeping on a problem" is often so beneficial. Oddly, we can't see or know what our mind is doing with the problem, any more than we can see what Rosie O'Donnell's stomach does with an extra large pizza. We are privy only to the visible and risible effect of the pizza.

I know that this is how I conduct my forensic work. When I evaluate a case, I obtain a mass of information from the patient and from the medical file. Often there is so much data that I cannot draw any conclusions right away. I always let it marinate over night, and by morning time, everything is always more clear. All of the pieces come together in a harmonious way that my conscious mind never could have accomplished, at least not so seamlessly and effortlessly. It is then much easier to compose the report, because my thoughts emanate from the "whole," so to speak. It's an entirely different experience on those few occasions that I must attempt to find and impose order while dictating. Then it becomes work, a word from which this Raccoon recoils.

Tomberg writes that "when the to-and-fro of forgetting and remembering is disturbed, i.e. when one cannot forget, or is unable to call something back into memory, then it is a matter of an abnormal state." He likens the former situation (the "fixed idea") to Ahasuerus, the mythical "wandering Jew" who must eternally walk the earth and cannot die, the latter ("partial amnesia") to Orpheus, who cannot bring Eurydice back from Hades. Likewise, insomnia is the state of being unable to forget and ultimately fall into the embrace of death, while amnesia is analogous to narcolepsy, i.e., being unable to stay awake.

Now, it is human beings who draw these sharp distinctions between asleep vs. awake and conscious vs. unconscious. In reality, they are on a single continuum and are a function of each other. For example, there is actually no bright line -- or any line at all -- between the conscious and unconscious mind. Rather, the whole idea of the "unconscious" is really just a heuristic device, a way to "think about thinking," which is otherwise invisible and inaccessible.

If we take our model too seriously -- i.e., if we begin to confuse the abstraction with the reality -- then we end up in the situation of Al Gore, who is hysterical over some speculative weather models that are stuck in his head. It would be like me obsessing over an "id" that has lodged itself in the human unconscious. I must write a book and make a film, warning human beings about this violent and impulsive id, for this idconvenient truth is the source of so much human misery!

But there is no actual separation between id and ego and conscious and unconscious. In fact, we can never see or know the unconscious directly, only insofar as our conscious thoughts, feelings, and acts are imbued with unconsciousness. In other words, it is more accurate to think of our thoughts as analagous to a... whatever you call those things -- you know, the little pictures which, when turned slightly, produce a different picture. This is essentially what a therapist does: "Al, let's look at your concern about these meteorological models from another angle. Who does this stormy and unpredictable weather remind you of?"

There is a reason why I can only do these posts first thing in the morning. They could never be produced in the wideawake and cutandry consciousness of the day. It is said that "dawn is the friend of the muses," the reason being that we are still close to the night time forgettery of death, where ideas go to die and be resurrected in a new form. At least I hypnot. How about you?

Tomberg notes that we all routinely have the experience of going to sleep in one state of mind, only to awaken in another. A change has taken place, a process of consciousness "whose results and fruits one finds upon awakening." For example, one may go to sleep in a state of depression, or doubt, or uncertainty, but awaken with lightness, or conviction, or certainty. Not only has the night womb "given birth," but something has been "extinguished" -- or at least transformed -- in the process.

What can any of this tell us about death? People routinely say that we cannot know anything of the post-mortem state, since no one has come back to tell us about it. First of all, that's not quite true. Secondly, as indicated by my example about the unconscious, we routinely employ analogies and models in order to deepen our understanding of realms and dimensions that are strictly beyond our ken, thy wilber done, for example.

In fact, we analogize in this way so often that we don't even know we are doing it. There are a number of fundamental "limit cases" that our human consciousness cannot understand at all -- human consciousness being one of them. No one has any idea what consciousness actually is; rather, there are only models and theories which are a product of consciousness.

Likewise, no physicist knows what Energy is, no biologist knows what Life itself is, and no historian knows what History is. History is only known by the telling of it, but the telling is not the thing in itself. It's just a magical abstracadabran. Nevertheless, we must insist that history exists, unless we have swallowed the blue state pill of deconstruction and relativism. Raccoons pound red pills like candy. Some people even say that Toots and Herman invented the red pill in Toots' tool shed, but that's another story. If it were true, Petey says I can't talk about it anyway.

Now, all religions agree that human beings possess something like an immortal soul. Before we dismiss such assertions out of hand as primitive mythology or wishful thinking, let's first stop to coonsider how much preternatural wisdom is embedded in scripture and revelation. I'm now coming up on, what, some 600 posts, probably 75% of which deal with timeless wisdom that was somehow -- we know not how -- possessed and encoded by peoples that were quite primitive by our standards. "How did they know so much?" is a question I often ask mybobself. "How does scripture know so much more about us than we can know about it?" is another. Therefore, if scripture provides a model of death, or a fruitful way to think "beyond the horizon of life," who am I to reject it outright? Let's hear it.

Alternatively, what can the modern philosophies of materialism, or positivism, or empiricism, or scientism, or existentialism, tell us about the subject? Precisely nothing, for they admit this up front. Each of these closed-minded pseudo-philosophies dresses up assumptions as conclusions, thus becoming a graveyard of dead answers rather than a garden of fruitful questions. They are analogous to a behaviorist who spuriously eliminates the unconscious by affirming that only behavior is real, or a feminist who makes her own uncomfortable sexuality go away by insisting that there is only culturally conditioned "gender," or a leftist who magically eliminates human evil by chanting "war is not the answer" while desecrating a Raccoon tail. Blue pill poppers one and all.

Well, I have a long day ahead. Plus, I'm startling to wake, so the naught time is reseeding from my fingertips. As Joyce said, "bleakfrost chills the ravery." Better stop for now, but leave you with some vertical red pill raving by Van Morrison:

Rave on John Donne, rave on thy Holy fool
Down through the weeks of ages
In the moss borne dark dank pools

Rave on, down through the industrial revolution
Empiricism, atomic and nuclear age
Rave on down through time and space down through the corridors
Rave on words on printed page

Rave on, you left us infinity
And well pressed pages torn to fade
Drive on with wild abandon
Uptempo, frenzied heels

Rave on, Walt Whitman, nose down in wet grass
Rave on fill the senses
On nature's bright green shady path

Rave on Omar Khayyam, Rave on Kahlil Gibran
Oh, what sweet wine we drinketh
The celebration will be held
We will partake the wine and break the Holy bread

Rave on let a man come out of Ireland
Rave on on Mr. Yeats,
Rave on down through the Holy Rosey Cross
Rave on down through theosophy, and the Golden Dawn
Rave on through the writing of "A Vision"
Rave on, Rave on, Rave on, Rave on, Rave on, Rave on


These boots were made for bloggin':

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bloggin' on the Back Roads by the Rivers of My Memory (12.17.10)

"Just as the first day of creation in essence contains and encompasses the entire account of the creation, so does the seventh miracle of St. John's Gospel contain and encompass the other six miracles."

In Tomberg's analysis, he begins with the idea that sleep, death, and forgetting are all related to one another: just as sleep is the "younger brother of death," forgetting "is the younger brother of sleep." Forgetting is "a partial sleep of the conscious mind, while sleep is a complete forgetting of consciousness." To remember is to "resurrect" something from unconsciousness, while awakening from sleep is the remembrance of our conscious self. Each day we are miraculously "born again" through the sacred Raccoon ritual of the holy caffeinated water.

But just as life requires metabolism (building up) and catabolism (tearing down), our minds also require various kinds of forgetting in order to function. For example, in order to concentrate or to meditate, one must temporarily forget everything in consciousness except for the doing or non-doing at hand. If everything in your consciousness were simultaneously present -- if you had no forgettery to complement your memory -- you could accomplish little. Which reminds me of the scientist Francis Crick. In an interview, he was asked how he had managed to accomplish so much in his professional life. He responded that he had an advantage over other men because he was a "ninety percenter." That is, he only thought of sex 90% of the time, whereas most men do so 95% percent of the time.

The other day I read an intelligent comment by a poster on another site. I don't even remember the topic, but his point was that medicine is not a science but an art. Specifically, it is an art that utilizes and incorporates science, but nevertheless an art. I immediately related to this characterization, as I think it adequately summarizes the difference between, say, a Ken Wilber and me. I am not suggesting that my posts are works of art, only that the process of writing them is much more analogous to the way art is produced, in that I am essentially calling things up from the wider realm of consciousness as such, somewhat like a spider that spins an external production out of its own substance -- which it then inhabits.

We all do this -- that is, crawl around in the psychic webs we spend our lives spinning -- some of us more consciously than others. But where does the material for the web come from? As ShrinkWrapped has noted on many occasions, the most naive and clueless people are those who believe that their minds are completely rational, and that their psychic webs are spun out of "pure reason." Such individuals -- there's a particularly annoying one who frequently posts on Dr. Sanity -- tend to be rather tedious and shallow, as they are alienated from the larger and most vital part of their being. They tend to be on the obsessive-compulsive end of the spectrum, holding tightly to their little spotlight that is fixed upon a small area of darkness, instead of the vast -- even infinite -- interior cosmos that extends beyond the range of the spotlight, both "up" (into supra-sensory realms) and "down" (into the unconscious).

One can also see how this type of obsessional thinking is analogous to one who "cannot die," for just as there is pathological forgetting (i.e., Alzeimer's), there is pathological remembering (i.e., scientism, rationalism, leftism, etc.). In both cases, a psychic death occurs: the Alzeimer's patient because he cannot remember, the materialist or doctrinaire leftist because he cannot forget. Because as soon as you successfully forget that nonsense, your mind and your being will be "resurrected."

There is an inevtiable reason why conservatives and religious people are so much happier than leftists and irreligious people. They also live considerably longer, probably as a result of the deadly stress hormones produced by trying to live in a manner that is unnatural to -- and unworthy of -- human beings. In other words, just as human beings can only survive and flourish in a certain type of external environment (even if our technology is able to "recreate" that environment in hostile climes), they also only flourish spiritually and psychologically in a certain type of "interior environment" that facilitates vertical recollection of the soul -- "resurrection" again. You can pretend that what I am saying is untrue, but you're just pretending. You'll just create an exterior environment that props up and supports something less than your soul.

Science begins with the known (k) and tries to extend it into the unknown (O), whereas spirituality begins in the infinite unknown (O) and tries to "give voice" to it in a more or less structured way. Dogma and theology would represent more structured representations of O, whereas my bobservations would be less so. With respect to my posts, I do not know where they come from, as I am not logically thinking things through in any linear way as I write them. Rather, I simply abandon myself to the process of drawing things up in the order they arise. I am getting much better at simply typing things as they come down -- often without really knowing why -- and I frequently have to tell myself, "don't worry, just keep typing. You'll eventually find out what it means." This "waiting" for order and meaning is an important element of faith, which truly is the substance of things hoped for, but only if you don't prematurely foreclose your faith with easy answers. It also means that interest in my posts continues to wither away, but that's out of my hands.

In a way, the process is analogous to free association in psychoanalytic therapy. The first and last rule of psychoanalysis is to "disenable" your censor and to say whatever comes to mind, no matter how bizarre or trivial. By listening with "even hovering attention," a good analyst will be able to apprehend a deeper order that is governing the patient's associations -- perhaps even catch a mind parasite in flagrante delicto, which is always a thrill. With my posts, it's as if I am free associating, except "from above" rather than "below." As I continue associating, an order spontaneously emerges, but it is the same teleological order that was covertly guiding the process all along. The psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas (the most talented psychoanalytic writer qua writer I know of) calls it, "Giving up narrative control to become a certain sort of subject within a process guided by the intelligence of the other" -- or the (O)ther, as the case may be.

You might say that with the incarnation, the eternal Christic order went from being "implicate" to being "explicate," to employ the terms used by the quantum physicist David Bohm. The order was there as potential, but the human intermediary is required for it to "live," so to speak -- just as Mary was required in order for God's word to assume biological life. Obviously, it wasn't as if Christ did not exist prior to his incarnation, much less afterwards. But it was implicate existence -- "wave" rather than "particle," so to speak. The wave became particle for some 33 years, in so doing, roiling the waves of deep history. As I have mentioned before, those temporal waves continue to lap upon our distant shore, something which sounds strange but which is "obviously" true even to the most metaphysically blind and dense individual. Leftists would like to eliminate that particular wave from history, but the effort is as idle as trying to clamp down on the ocean to stop tsunamis. Good luck. The rest of us will just enjoy the metaphysical surfing.

Your very self is a chaotic attractor that abides in the future, drawing you toward it, but only if you abandon your own alternate plans for your existence. Bollas describes the self as an "inner sense of destiny" which "seeks lived experience to realise its own particular aesthetic intelligence." "We sense this drive to present and represent our self as if it were an intelligent life force" which reveals itself through the way we uniquely make use of the objects (and subjects) of life. For example, cut a page of Lileks' bleat, and it bleeds his blood. No one else could possibly use those particular objects and words in that particular way. His unique idiom is the exteriorization and realization of his equally unique self.

Now more than ever, because of the vast overabundance of infrahuman trivia and propaganda that surrounds us, it is necessary to live a life of systematic forgetting in order to remember -- and therefore resurrect -- "the one thing needful." Schuon was very, very adamant on this point, which can sound austere but is actually the doorway to liberation. In a letter to an initiate, he wrote, "The chief difficulty of the spiritual life is to maintain a simple, qualitative, heavenly position in a complex, quantitative, earthly setting." Only in so doing will we have the musical uppertuneity to hear the song celestial and discern between the Real and the illusory, which is the whole point of the spiritual life (that and a little thing called salvation). It is very difficult to remember the Real when one's very life is plunged into the unreal, with no space to breath in the ambiance of the Absolute and the Eternal.

This distinction between the Real and the illusory will determine how we use the only certainty given to humans aside from death, judgment, and eternity, which is the present moment, which ultimately determines the others. For the one moment given to us is the "liberating center" of the cosmos, into which eternity flows and death is therefore transcended. Alternatively, if we are tied with all our being to the relentless machine of time, it simply drags us along in its wake until we are ground down or torn apart. Lucky ones will simply smash into the wall of death without ever knowing what hit them -- which is to say, their life.


"What was that?"

"That was your life, mate."

"Oh, that was quick, do I get another?"

"Sorry mate, that's your lot."
--Interior dialogue of Basil Fawlty

Schuon sets out some simple guidelines for avoiding frittering away the moment, and therefore, your lot.

"One must not waste one's time with worldly, unnecessary and often trivial distractions."

"One must not regularly read a newspaper from one end to the other, above all in the morning."

"One must not habitually watch television."

"One must not read novels, profane, unhealthy, trivial literature" (although it is obviously permissible to inform oneself, to read books worthy of interest in historical, cultural, aesthetic, etc., subjects, but with measure and without losing oneself therein; and to enjoy art or music that is noble and which elevates).

"One must control one's curiosity."

"In short, one must live 'in a little garden of the Holy Virgin,' without unhealthy curiosity and without ever losing sight of the essential content and goal of life. That is 'holy poverty' or 'holy childlikeness'; it is also, so to speak, 'holy monotony'.... dominated by the proximity of the sacred, and on the margin from the uproar of this lower world.... This seems obvious, but most believers take no account of it."

Such a life is hardly monotonous in the way that word is typically understood, much less boring, but it is disciplined. I especially like the advice about "controlling curiosity," which is surely a vital component, for either you will control it or it will control you and drag you around by the eyes and ears. There are so many psychic avenues that one should not even take the first step down, but as soon as you say that, people think you're trying to diminish their freedom. Plus, the last thing people want is to have their conscience awakened, which is why Job One of the left is the annihilation of the personal conscience and its replacement with a collective one. This allows, for example, Hollywoodenheads to lead depraved lives while feeling morally superior to the rest of us because they voted for Al Gore's propaganda movie. This dynamic is the entire secret of leftist moral preening, and answers the perennial question, "how can such perverted people be so sanctimonious?"

Now, where were we? Yes, Lazarus. The miracle of drawing life from death. Don't worry, we're getting there, ye of little faith. One of the hazards of free association is that interesting little trails and byways will pop up along the journey. "Look! A squirrel!"

There's no hurry -- "to travel well is better than to arrive" anyway. And after all, free associations are free: you get what you pray for.