Post-Traumatic Blessed Syndrome
"It got me to pondering the seemingly necessary relationship between trauma (T) and Coon vision (C). Not that T on it's own must lead to C, rather C seems to be tied somehow to T: the trauma 'has caused them to be more in touch with reality,' and 'denial has been temporarily disabled.'
"I'm thinking the key is 'figure and ground have been reversed.' Many Coons have spoken about events that spurred their 'development', or in looking back, were some kind of jumping-off point, a change from which it is impossible to reverse direction. A Transformative gnosis, as it were.
"Does the trauma reverse figure and ground, or is the reversal of figure and ground itself a 'cause' for trauma, or.........?
"Too binary, simplistic, and flatly one dimensional to account for the whole existentialada of lumin development, but I can 'feel' that the relationship exists.
"Okay, everybody, help me out here."
There is much truth to ponder here, but let us first, for the benefit of neocoons and non-initiates, not refer to the mysterious gift of "Coon vision," but use a more general term that must precede it, which is to say "spiritual opening," or what I generally refer to in the book as (o). Everything depends on this first step. To the extent that someone is irrelegious, it is merely a frank confession that they are closed to the realm of Spirit which it is the task of religion to engage, explore, explicate, and deepen. If we don't open ourselves to it, then Spirit will remain implicate, which is to say, it will be there in potential but no one will know about it -- no different than all of the beautiful sights that existed before eyes evolved to see them.
But this is misleading in a subtle way, for there is no world that isn't an experienced world. For this reason, the idea of a cosmos that cannot be experienced is strictly inconceivable. On the one hand, it is the surprise of all surprises that human observers, after some 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution, suddenly awakened to a beautiful cosmos. But looked at in another way, it was not only unsurprising but, shall we say, "normative." In other words, this is how a ripe old cosmos is supposed to look -- with self-conscious observers at the leading edge of its interior. It's somewhat analogous to a baby. In one sense, watching him grow and change every day is the most miraculous thing you can possibly imagine. Looked at another way, it is the height of banality. Of course children grow up. Of course the cosmos is conscious. What's the big deal?
To repeat, if the realm of Spirit exists, we will know nothing of it unless we are open to it. This is elementary, just as if you close your eyes, you won't see anything.
Now, one of the -- I don't want to say "design flaws," but let us just say one of the inevitabilities of human existence -- is the tendency to become a closed system, not just spiritually, but psychologically, emotionally, behaviorally, and intellectually. Anyone can see that a major aspect of the "innocence" into which we are born is this radical openness to the environment, to people, and to experiences (although there are some temperamental factors that come into play, as some children are naturally more "cautious"; Future Leader is not one of them).
In fact, a baby is such an open system that there is paradoxically "no such thing as a baby," as the psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott observed, only the mother-infant dyad in a communicative space of fluid boundaries. The mother places her mind into the baby, and vice versa -- in fact, not to get too far afield, but the mother is only capable of this empathic entry into the infant's world because she is unconsciously recalling her own internalized mother-infant dyad. Thus, in the mother-infant situation, there are at least three "others" present, the mother's internal baby, her internal mother, and the relationship between them.
This is another double-edged sword, and accounts for more problems than you might realize, as the children pay for the sins of the grandmother's mind parasites. There is no question that mind parasites are transmitted and processed intergenerationally. It would be an interesting exercise to engage in the sort of genealogy the Mormons do, except with regard to the family mind parasites. For example, how far back can one trace the Kennedy illness? Obviously, it didn't just start with Patrick, or Ted, or Joe. And will Arnold's psychic influence prove to be a terminator for at least one line of the Kennedy mind parasites? Perhaps not, due to a host of other variables. We shall see.
As I noted in the Coonifesto, our openness proves to be a blessing and a curse, for it is the only way that we can discover our interior selfhood and connect deeply with the human community. But depending on certain variables -- especially the quality of parenting -- our psychic and emotional openness results in the importation into the psyche of all sorts of things that do not belong there: mind parasites. The problem with a mind parasite is not just the fact that it "takes over the host" and diminishes free will, but that it specifically becomes a closed system that seeks out and engages in the same pattern over and over and over and over and over and over, like this annoying sentence.
Thus, in a certain way, you could even say that the most problematic mind parasite is the "closedness" itself. Irrespective of the specific nature of this or that parasite, the problem is that it causes the psyche to become more or less closed in certain areas. It is analogous to cancer. All cancers are different, and yet, the underlying problem is the same: a part of the body which has broken off from the "whole" and decided to go its own way. Mind parasites can be just like a cancer, in that they can be "grade I," so to speak, and exist unchanged for years and years. Or, they can "metastasize" and grow, eventually taking over the whole psyche. When I see a Keith Olbermann, for example, I experience someone who has been completely taken over by a malignant entity. And obvously, his mind is "closed" and therefore "dead," despite having an intellect that still functions. But the intellect is easily usurped for the purposes of the mind parasite. As a matter of fact, this is much more likely to happen to an intelligent person than a stupid one.
I remember when I was in my therapy -- I forget the exact mind parasite we were discussing, but my analyst said words to the effect of, "what do you expect? It's as intelligent as you are." Ah ha! Exactly! This explains how, say, someone such as Christopher Hitchens can, on the one hand, have such a formidable intellect, but on the other hand, be palpably demon-possessed when his intellect touches on certain matters.
For example, you may have noticed that when this or that beloved cultural figure dies or is in the public consciousness for one reason or another -- Bob Hope, Mother Teresa, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill -- Hitchens will write a vicious, tasteless, and mean-spirited "dys-eulogy" for the departed, enviously ripping them to shreds. Intelligence in the service of a mind parasite, pure and simple. Bill Clinton is another example. We hear that he is supposed to be of above-average intelligence, and yet, the intelligence was clearly highjacked by a narcissistic desire to be loved -- thus, the art of governance by polling, or "show me which way the mob is running, and I will be their leader." Taken to its extreme, this will result in a Parasite who "gives voice" to the collective parasites -- in other words, a demagogue who "mines the stupidity of his constituency," as Walt put it.
So, spiritual growth is ultimately no different from emotional or intellectual growth, in that the first requisite is an open system. Shifting gears a bit, it is pretty obvious when someone has become a closed system emotionally or intellectually. In the former case, their ability to love will be limited, while in the latter case their ability to know truth will be compromised. Put another way, access to the realms of the beautiful and the true will be more or less compromised.
Now, I have heard it speculated that human "religious ability" is analogous to our linguistic ability. There is a time in our childhood when we are totally open to language, and absorb it like a proverbial sponge. My son is going through this right now, learning and inventing new words and word combinations every day. For example, he's a somewhat picky eater, but we discovered through sheer luck that he likes frozen applesauce, for which he invented the word "app-ice." But the point is that there is apparently a "critical time" in development when our "linguistic module" opens up and learns language with the greatest of ease -- not just one's native language, but also foreign ones, if you expose them to one. The language module eventually closes, which is why it is much more difficult for an adult to learn a foreign language, or musical notation, for that matter.
But when it comes right down to it, everything is language, which is to say, information, including religion -- for what is religion but "information" about God? -- either through revelation, which is the divine intellect objectivized, or the divine intellect, which is revelation subjectivized.
Once again we can see all kinds of mindfields before us, because what happens if a child is "religiously traumatized" during this sensitive period of "imprinting," or, conversely, if he is immersed in no religious language at all, into ontological nothingness? In the case of the former, at least a couple of outcomes can be expected. On the one hand, the person may identify with the trauma and become one of those well-known religious robots that the MSM always trots out as a typical example of a religious person. Or, the person may react to the trauma by rejecting religion altogether. They will still be tied to God, but in an obverse fashion, in that they will "worship" the divine by rebelling against it. Nietzsche is somewhat of an archetype for this kind of fevered worship of the rejected God.
The greatest sin of the homosexual priests is not just what they did to those (mostly) young men, but that they may have caused the victims to turn away from God, to become spiritually closed systems. This is a sin that probably cannot be forgiven, but God knows best.
Now, the person who is traumatized by having no religion is obviously in a different boat, or moat, to be exact. For one thing, he won't even know he has been traumatized, and may well confuse his existential situation with being "liberated." I think you will find that this transparently childlike developmental fixation is a common pattern that is easily recognized, for the ego rushes in to fill the void where God would normally be. Ego thus partakes of the omnipotence and omniscience of God, and voila, the childishly proud and grandiose atheist "prophet" -- the Sam Harrises and Daniel Dennetts of the world. But instead of divine attributes -- i.e., majesty, beauty, certitude -- these people's minds will harbor reverse images of these, or what we might call the apes of God -- arrogance, grandiosity, and a bovine self-assuredness that makes a mockery of the absolute certainty of the awakened intellect -- or, shall we say, instead of "certainty of the absolute," they have "certainty of nothingness," or what a Coon would call "total ignorance."
In his outstanding book, The Pentagon's New Map, Thomas Barnett applies these ideas to our problems with the Islamic world. Like me, he doesn't necessarily see the problem as Islam per se, but the deeper problem that the Muslim Middle East is a closed system, or what he calls a dysfunctional "unintegrated gap" amidst the world's deeply interconnected "functioning core."
As such, if we were to take a "martian's eye view" of the human world (not the earth), the Muslim Middle East is exactly analogous to a mind parasite lodged in the world's consciousness. And, like any other mind parasite, it is closed, it has its own agenda, it is out of touch with reality, and it acts out its pathology with others, whom it inducts into its psychodrama. To say that Israel is not the problem is to put it mildly, for Israel is simply a blank screen for the toxic projections of Islamic parasites. It would not be going too far to say that the Muslim world --speaking collectively -- has never actually experienced Israel, any more than a person with Bush Derangement Syndrome has ever seen or heard President Bush.
Barnett describes the trauma of 9-11 as a "system perturbation," in that -- at least for those of us in touch with reality -- it served the purpose of vaulting us out of our dream-like closed system of the Clinton years. This is not to blame Clinton, for almost all of us inhabited this complacent fantasy world prior to 9-11. The problem, of course, is that millions of "9-10 Americans" -- the backward-looking progressives among us -- dealt with the trauma by denying it and projecting the residue into President Bush in an amazingly crude and indiscriminate way.
I say "indiscriminate," because once this parasite was in place, it took on a life of its own and partook of the primitive, cartoon-like omnipotence of the projector, so that the unimaginably evil Bush became responsible for all evil in the world -- global warming, hurricanes, the ubiquitous and pre-existing America-hatred of the international left, stolen elections, spying on us, a "Christian fascist takeover" of government, Christopher Reeve's paralysis, Michael Fox's Parkinson's, Rosie's Borderline Personality Disorder, etc. In short, the trauma did not "open" these people, but made them pathologically closed.
Likewise, what we are attempting to affect in Iraq is nothing less than a reciprocal system perturbation that will vault the Middle East out of the well-worn grooves of its centuries-long closed system. So yes, our liberation of Iraq was an instance of "overturning the chess board," not for the purpose of merely ending the game, but for the purpose of allowing it to begin.
This is getting pretty longwinded, isn't it? I apologize. If I had more time, these posts would be shorter. Tomorrow we'll try to apply some of these ideas to the relationship between trauma and spiritual opening. Because sometimes you have to crack an egghead if you want to see an om alight.