Monday, May 07, 2007

Enthusiasm, Inspiration, and Charisma Banned by the Left! (5.05.10)

One of the many uncoonsolations of secular humanism is that since a human life has no intrinsic -- which is to say, transcendent -- purpose, it is not possible to waste one's life. Nor, if absolute truth does not exist, is it possible to be intrinsically stupid. And, of course, if virtue is reduced to an arbitrary cultural agreement, then one cannot be bad -- much less, evil -- only "different" and probably oppressed, to boot.

If human beings are not free to know truth, then neither freedom nor truth can exist. These two categories are fundamentally intertwined, and any diminution of one leads to a diminution of the other. Therefore, it should be no surprise that a philosophy such as leftism, which does not value liberty, should be permeated with so many lies. And it is not just as if these lies represent bad or faulty information. Rather, these are vital lies which one is compelled to believe. In other words, one is not free to believe otherwise.

A mundane but nevertheless illustrative example is the recent case of high school cheerleaders being compelled to root equally for boys' and girls' teams. As Prager writes, "almost no one directly involved wants this -- not the cheerleaders, not the fans, not the boys' teams, and not even the girls' teams. But it doesn't matter: The law coerces cheerleaders to cheer at girls' games."

And it all begins with a vital lie of the left, that men and women are identical. Since no normal person believes this, it must be mandated by law. Put another way, it is against the law to be normal. Once a vital lie such as this is accepted, freedom must be constrained in a thousand ways -- not just for men, but obviously for woman as well, since a normal girl doesn't have much spontaneous interest in being a cheerleader at a girls' softball game. For that matter, at least back when I was in high school, no, ahem, "normal" boy wanted to be "yell king."

Come to think of it, what an intrinsically undignified designation for a young man. Real men don't yell (except when necessary), any more than they whine or pose as victims. If you would be a king among men, you must possess a genuine center of power. This power may lie in the realm of knowing, or doing, or being, but a man, in order to be one, must conquer something in one of these realms. Furthermore, in order to be a man, you can't just know "anything." Rather, you must know truth. Nor can you do just anything. Rather, you must courageously do what is virtuous in a fallen world.

And you certainly cannot be just anything. Rather, your being must radiate the calm presence of Being, which undoubtedly supersedes the other two powers. For example, one senses that Republican voters do not yet feel that any of the existing presidential candidates fully pass muster in the realm of being, as did, quintessentially, Ronald Reagan. In point of fact, Reagan was a man who took ideas very seriously, and who clearly possessed much more truth than the typical leftist intellectual.

But where he really left his puny detractors in the dust was in the realm of being. Reagan is often referred to as the "great communicator," but he communicated something much deeper than mere ideas, which any pinhead philosopher can do. The Clintons, John Edwards, Obama -- each is sort of "vacuum" of being. One could say that they are existentially weightless -- in particular, Obama -- except that darkness takes on a paradoxical "heft" of its own.

Prager notes what should be a truism, that "Of all the myths that surround Left-Right differences, one of the greatest is that the Left values liberty more than the Right. Regarding a small handful of behaviors -- abortion is the best example -- this is true. But overwhelmingly, the further left one goes on the political spectrum, the greater the advocacy of more state control of people's lives.... It is astonishing that this obvious fact is not universally acknowledged and that the Left has somehow successfully portrayed itself as preoccupied with personal liberty with regard to anything except sexual behavior and abortion."

Again, since the left does not value liberty, their version of "truth" must be coerced, never arrived at freely. As Prager notes, "Most activists on the Left believe that they, not only their values, are morally superior to their adversaries. Therefore, coercing people to adhere to 'progressive' values is morally acceptable, even demanded. It is thus quite understandable that laws would compel high school cheerleaders to cheer at girls' athletic events as much as at boys'. And true to leftist totalitarian models, not only is behavior is coerced, but emotions as well."

Regarding the cheerleaders, for example, leftist activists insist that they should "attend girls' and boys' games 'in the same number, and with equal enthusiasm' as part of its five-year goals.'" Is it not Orwellian to require "equal enthusiasm" of anyone over anything? Ironic, since "enthusiasm" comes from en theos, or to be in-spired by God. Thus, for a leftist, enthusiasm of any kind should be against the law on the grounds that it violates the so-called separation between church and state. So too inspiration and charisma ("divine gift"). The ACLU has fought for more bizarre causes. (And my own field of clinical psychology has many similarly illiberal demands mandating, for example, that I "respect" diversity. Why?)

Because so-called progressives "are often unsuccessful in competing in the marketplace of ideas. Same-sex marriage and affirmative action are two contemporary examples. And when persuasion fails, laws are used. If you can't convince, coerce." And of course, "The more secular the society, the more laws are needed to keep people in check. When more people feel accountable to God and moral religion, fewer laws need to be passed. But as religion fades, something must step into the moral vacuum it leaves, and laws compelling good behavior result."

Natural law is eclipsed by unnatural law, which ends up producing unnatural men -- which is to say, either feminized males or developmentally arrested boys. France apparently elected a man president yesterday, which has the boys rioting. This is to be expected.

Arnold Kling notes that "human planning tends to work poorly when compared to trial and error." For example, "many medical discoveries are serendipitous, while systematic efforts such as those of the National Cancer Institute often yield disappointing results." This is because liberty results in the spontaneous emergence of robust order, as is patently true of the economy.

But something similar -- actually, identical -- happens in our spiritual growth, so long as we use our liberty correctly. Just as a command economy ends up strangling growth, efficiency, and wealth production, a "command religion," so to speak (of which leftism is an example), will stifle spiritual growth. More on this below, because it is a point that can be misunderstood.

Regardless of your stance on the merits of embryo stem cell research, it is simply bad science to start with an end that science may or may not be capable of reaching. We can see the absurdity of this more clearly if applied to other fields. For example, imagine funding a philosophy department with the mission that they must elaborate and defend this or that position, instead of freely exploring wherever truth leads. It sounds absurd, but this attitude already prevails in our illiberal leftist universities, where, for example, "diversity" must be achieved. This represents death to thought because it is death to the freedom without which thought cannot function.

Any time thought is in the service of something other than Truth, then it is no longer thought. I don't think we have a word for what it is, but it certainly should not be associated with the beautiful word "liberalism," because it is essentially servile. The typical leftist wackademic is hardly a proponent of the "liberal arts." Rather, no matter how "intelligent," he is a drone practicing the servile arts. He might as well be flipping burgers, except that at least no child is harmed in the process of burger flipping.

As Schuon writes, a proper human being is one who “knows how to think." Conversely, "whoever does not know how to think, whatever his gifts may be, is not authentically a man; that is, he is not a man in the ideal sense of the term. Too many men display intelligence as long as their thought runs in the grooves of their desires, interests and prejudices; but the moment the truth is contrary to what pleases them, their faculty of thought becomes blurred or vanishes; which is at once inhuman and 'all too human.'”

Furthermore, "man is so made that his intelligence has no effective value unless it be combined with a virtuous character. Besides, no virtuous man is altogether deprived of intelligence; while the intellectual capacity of an intelligent man has no value except through truth. Intelligence and virtue are in conformity with their reason for being only through their supernatural contents or archetypes; in a word, man is not fully human unless he transcends himself, hence, in the first place, unless he masters himself."

Do you see how it all hangs together in a beautifully complete and coherent manner: liberty, intelligence, truth, virtue, self-mastery, transcendence, reason for being? This is the classical liberalism of our wise fathers.

The truth is not at your service. Rather, vice versa. Only by virtue of this constraint -- the yoke which is paradoxically easy -- are you free. Not to mention, intelligent.

But this is not to say that there is no sort of connection between the fulfillment of the "common good" and the philosophy taught in a country! Only the relationship can never be established or regulated from the point of view of the general good: when a thing contains its own end, or is an end in itself, it can never be made to serve as a means to any other end -- just as no one can love someone "in order that." --Josef Pieper

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Atheism: You Can't Get There From Here

Reader Stephen writes, "I notice you have been recycling some old material lately. Perhaps you should consider a brief respite. I would really hate to see you burn out and have to leave writing for an extended period. I say this because your sense of responsibility to your readers is evident, and you might feel as if you would let us down if you took a few weeks off here and there. Writing is a taxing process. I just caution you not to over-tax yourself."

First of all, I hadn't noticed the repetition, except perhaps in the way that a musician is aware of certain scales that structure the musical space. However, if my improvisions sound repetitive, I suppose that can't be improovised, the reason being that I don't plan anything ahead of time and simply write what rolls down into my cabeza that morning. I only have a vague idea of what I've written in the past, and whatever I write is more or less new to me at the moment I'm writing it. Therefore, it may not be what you need to hear, but it is apparently what I need to learn -- or at least give due coonsideration.

Not to make a big deal out of it, but I'm simultaneously writing and discovering, and I'm pretty sure that my posts must be read in the same adventurous spirit. I hate to tell people what to do, since I know you're as busy as I am, but in order to get anything out of these posts, I sense that they must be read slowly and pondered. They cannot be skimmed without missing the reproduction of the essential experience of "where they're coming from," so to speak. I just don't see how they could possibly be read for mere "content," or by trying to quickly get to the "bottom line."

Needless to say, trolls are only capable of squibbling with the letter, since they concede at the outset that the spirit is inaccessible to them. There's something happening here, but what it is ain't exactly clear to them. In short, they are buffaloed. These tone-deaf clancys don't know why the caged bluebird sings on its way home. I don't claim to be Mr. Soul, but that's my opinion, for what it's worth. Indeed, I am still a child neiling, and a young one at that.

And as I've repeated before, there is definitely a cyclicity to the process. I can tell when a blogging cycle has ended and when one has kicked in, but I have no control over it. That's too deep for me to presume to have any jurisdiction over it. It would be like trying to control the seasons or something. Only Al Gore can do that.

But burnout? No, that's not a problem. In the words of the great ministrel Reverend Hillary, Ah ain't noways t'arred yet, Amos. The only problem is not having enough time to really get into the proper mode of deep receptivity. It takes awhile to penetrate into that space -- I have to kind of work my way into it (or perhaps vice versa). But then Future Leader wakes up, and that pretty much breaks the spiel. I wish I had more timelessness, but that's life.

For example, at this moment, I still have no idea what's ahead -- or below. What shall I write? Let's see. How about a continuation of yesterday's post on the nature of man? Okay. Where shall we start?

Bang.

Did you hear that? That was F.L. kicking his crib, and it's only 4:55. No, he's not awake, but that's a bad sign. Ideally, we'd like him to sleep until 7:00, but lately he's been getting up at 6:00.

See what I mean? Distractions. A race against my son's biological clock. A metaphor for life, which is also a race against the biological clock... which is one reason we know life is not the same as biology.

Hmm. I see that an atheist commenter registered a complaint last night which I do not understand. Nor do I understand why an atheist would have the slightest bit of interest in my blog. I mean, I certainly have no interest in something as intellectually shallow and fatuous as bonehead atheism. The only reason I write about it is to try to help rescue people from its dreary clutches.

Anyway, the commenter wrote that he disagreed with paragraph four from yesterday, in which I said that "in reducing himself to matter, the secularist covertly elevates himself to God, since nothing is higher or lower than anything else -- thus, with a single metaphysical error, the humanist makes a God -- and an ass -- of himself." What I meant to say is that there is nothing lower -- or higher -- than an atheist. Not even -- or especially -- nothing, which is to say, everything.

In response, anonymous wrote that "I just don't see how when somebody doesn't believe in God they 'covertly escalate' their status to God level. God is a not a rank, God is supernatural, and if you don't believe in God that doesn't make you supernatural."

Yes, it does, since belief and rank are both supernatural. The human ability to think is ontologically distinct from matter. To be specific, it is higher. I don't know how it is possible for someone to not know this unless they've received a pretty thorough secular brainwashing.

Therefore, hierarchy exists in the cosmos. Again, a thoroughly banal observation, and I apologize for being repetitive. Hierarchy may only be known because it inheres in light of the Absolute, in the form of degrees of being. In other words, one cannot derive the greater from the lesser.

Specifically, one cannot derive thought -- much less, truth -- from matter. Quality is not just another form of quantity. Nor can semantics be derived from syntax. That is, Truth is not merely the correct arrangement of words. Rather, especially when discussing the deep metaphysics of the cosmos, it is the Truth -- or the Word -- that arranges the words, from the top down. Yes, you could say that I am typing in tongues right now.

Now, if a series of things is hierarchically ordered, it is conditioned from top to bottom and cannot be what the good Hegel called a "bad infinite." Or, if it is horizontally infinite, it cannot be conditioned from top to bottom, and there can be no higher or lower.

It is like the difference between pouring milk into a glass vs. pouring it onto the floor. Because there are archetypal degrees of being -- or evolutionary stations -- when God pours out his creative grace in the form of his involution, the cosmic glass "fills up" -- both personally and impersonally (i.e., whether you are discussing "matter" [which is simply "frozen" or congealed mind] or "mind" [which is an echo of the divine shakti, light, or conscious force]).

Thus, it is not a matter of whether or not you think you believe in God. Rather, to the extent you believe in man -- that man exists and is something clearly distinct from matter and from mere animals -- then you necessarily believe in God. It's just common sense. As Schuon points out, "The very word 'man' implies 'God,'" just as "the very word 'relative' implies 'Absolute.'"

Man is intelligence, the same intelligence that is woven into every corpuscle of this living cosmos. If you want to know what a living and thinking cosmos looks like, you are looking at one. If it were not a living and thinking cosmos, you wouldn't be living here thinking about it. Truth and Life must be nonlocally anterior to their local manifestations, or they would be a strict impossibility, an absurdity -- even a ghastly monstrosity, a cancer on the body of nothingness, as one fellow put it.

And if man is intelligence, he may know truth. Or, to put it another way, if man cannot know truth, then he is not very intelligent, for he "knows" only error, and error is no knowledge at all. If such were the case, man really would be a know-nothing nobody, no better than nothing else.

Now, do not confuse the words I am using with the truth I am conveying. God is inexhaustible, and always transcends any of our formulations of him -- just as DNA could never exhaust Life, nor is there a single mathematical equation that could exhaust mathematical truth -- much less, explain how it is that mathematical truth can be woven into the cosmos, just waiting for our minds to discover it.

Religious truth must be experienced, not just known. Therefore, it requires an irreducible cosmic category called experience or conscious being. There is no atheistic philosophy that can account for being, let allone, conscious being. There can be no conscious being unless there is a Conscious Being. Religion is simply the "scientific" inquiry into (and return to) this Conscious Being.

It's as simple as that.

However, needless to say, approaching this Conscious Being is very different from the study of matter, in which case we may create a bright (but artificial) line between mind and matter, or subject and object. But there is no such bright line in religion, since it involves a subject attempting to understand its own source -- like an eye trying to "see" vision, or a hand trying to grasp grasping. Therefore, in the final analysis, God is both the subject and object of religion. He is what is known, but he is also the knower. To paraphrase Eckhart, "the same eye with which I see God is eye with which God sees me."

As such, a big part of spiritual development simply involves "getting out of the way," something that the postmodern, egocentric narcissist has a great deal of difficulty doing. Why? Because he is proud. And why is he proud? I have no idea. You'll have to tell me, for there is no reason for a meaningless clump of matter to feel proud of itself. Unless -- unless it covertly thinks that it is God. Then atheism makes total sense, for it proves the existence of God.

Look at it this way. As Schuon writes, "To say that man is the measure of all things is meaningless unless one starts from the idea that God is the measure of man, or that the absolute is the measure of the relative, or again, that the universal Intellect is the measure of individual existence; nothing is fully human that is not determined by the Divine, and therefore centered on it. Once man makes of himself a measure, while refusing to be measured in turn, or once he makes definitions while refusing to be defined by what transcends him and gives him all his meaning, all human reference points disappear; cut off from the Divine, the human collapses."

Does this lucid paragraph require any further explanation, or would that simply be repetitive?

Perhaps just a little. After all, there are always new readers, people coming and going, for whom this is not the same old same moldy sayings.

Three things you must know about man on pain of not being one: that man may know truth; that man is free; and that man may transcend himself by dispassionately discerning good and evil. And if we can know the truth or will the good, then we must do so, no?

Another way of saying it is that man is made of truth, will, and virtue; or knowledge, freedom, and beauty. The point is that our knowledge frees us from matter; that our freedom liberates us from animal instinct; and that our beauty frees us from meaninglessness.

There is nothing more beautiful than God, and in fact, nothing so beautiful could possibly be untrue. But only if you experience the truth of this beauty in the depths of your opened -- or possibly broken -- heart. You will know this is happening if you shed tears of joy upon hearing it, which occurs when we touch the divine plane, and are thereby touched -- or when the prodigal subject returns to the loving embrace of its Subject.

That's it for today. He's up.

To say that man is made of intelligence, will and sentiment, means that he is made for the Truth, the Way, and Virtue. In other words: intelligence is made for comprehension of the True; will, for concentration on the Sovereign Good; and sentiment, for conformity to the True and the Good. Instead of "sentiment," we could also say "soul" or “faculty of loving,” for this is a fundamental dimension of man; not a weakness as it is all too often thought, but a participation in the Divine Nature, in conformity with the mystery that “God is Love.” --F. Schuon

Saturday, May 05, 2007

What is Man For? (5.03.10)

Man cannot be properly defined in the absence of knowledge of what a human life is for. Again, man is not simply a bit of discrete matter with easily proscribed spatial boundaries. Rather, a human life is something that can only unfold and express its wholeness -- and therefore its identity -- in time. But our movement in time is not simply arbitrary -- or, at least it should not be. Rather, it is guided by a telos, so that there is something that man -- both individually and collectively ought to become. As such, it is possible to waste our lives and fail to become human.

Of course it is.

Regarding our cosmic evolutionary future, St. Paul wrote that "the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage to decay into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs until now," just as human beings "groan within ourselves" for our spiritual redemption (Rom 8:21-23).

Human beings are not matter and they are not God. If we were matter, we could not evolve, and if we were God, there would be no need to. But in reducing himself to matter, the secularist covertly elevates himself to God, since nothing is higher or lower than anything else -- thus, with a single metaphysical error, the humanist makes a God -- and an ass -- of himself. You will have noticed that this is one of the contradictions at the heart of both scientism and leftism, and which ramifies into countless other errors.

(I don't want to get sidetracked into cataloguing all of these contradictions. Suffice it to say that the secular left is "the essence of contradiction" and can never be expressed in a metaphysically coherent manner, for it is a strict impossibility. Until the leftist awakens to his own internal contradictions, there is no hope for him -- not even -- or, shall we say, especially -- cognitively, for he is a talking contra-diction and thus "anti-word." Or, we might say that leftism represents language deployed against itself for that very purpose. Now that I'm thinking of it, it reminds me of Roundup -- you know, the weed killer. It is quite effective if you want to kill a single weed. But I once tried it on some unwanted ivy, which only kills a few leaves, leaving the complex root system intact. Leftism kills the leaves, but not the roots of the Word.)

(In fact, it is unnecessary for me to list all of the contradictions, because I just remembered that a dear reader, J., gave me a link to them. Hmm. Link no work. I've listed some at the bottom.* I'll get the link later.)

We should not automatically exclude the religious from a similar sort of fallacy, in that they often make the opposite error and deny our materiality. But as Schuon points out, the object of human existence "is to be in the middle: it is to transcend matter while being situated there." While "other creatures also participate in life," only man, from his intermediary level, "synthesizes them: he carries all life within himself and thus becomes the spokesman for all life, the vertical axis where life opens onto the spirit and where it becomes spirit. In all terrestrial creatures the cold inertia of matter becomes heat, but in man alone does heat become light."

Another way of saying it is that, just as life is "matter become divine heat," human existence is "life become divine light," so to speak. The reason this is so is that sparks of the divine light permeate matter, but only man is able to mediate the divisions both within the created world and between the created and uncreated worlds. As Nesteruk writes, coming at it from an Orthodox Christian standpoint, "The restoration of animals and matter to union with God will come about through the salvation of man, for it is only humans who can change the order of things in nature through their own perfection, leading ultimately to union with God, to deification."

Yes, it is a heavy burden to be responsible for the salvation of the cosmos, but there you are. Someone has to do it, but it can only be saved one human at a time, at least until a certain "tipping point" is reached. No one knows the day or the hour of this trippin' point, as it could be in 10,000 years or it could be happening right now (being that it can only happen now, while you wait).

Or, it may never happen, at least not with the current edition of the human being. Just as we may fail individually to become what we are meant to be, we have to entertain the possibility that we may fail collectively. Otherwise why do anything? There is a certain type of religious person who says, "what, me worry? The outcome is certain. It's all in God's hands," etc. This is wrong movement, crasshoper, for it is an absence of faith. Faith means that we have hope in such an outcome. Conversely, to have certainty of it is to eclipse the faith that abides in our uniquely intermediate human station.

Now, the "interior order" of the human being mirrors the interior order of the cosmos itself. Here it must be emphasized -- for it is another common error of secular humanists -- that we are not responsible for our own order. In other words, this order cannot be imposed -- which the left always tries to do in a thousand ways -- but can only be discovered. It is given, meaning that it is a gift, or a grace. The reverse is also true: to receive this grace is to find oneself -- or at least to find oneself on the path back to oneself -- one's nonlocal self.

Can I get an amen?

Good.

Yesterday I linked to an article that is a case in point, The Real Solution to Poverty, and which explains the apparently non-obvious relationship between free-markets and the spiritual evolution that can only be discovered, not imposed -- in other words, the necessary relationship between free market libertarians and spiritual traditionalists. Kling writes that

"The capitalist solution to poverty is unsatisfying to many people, because it is not planned or intended. Policy makers and anti-poverty programs per se are not involved.

"The phenomenon of unplanned results exceeding planned outcomes is quite widespread. As Nassim Taleb points out in his new book The Black Swan, and in this fascinating interview, human planning tends to work poorly when compared to trial and error. He argues, for example, that many medical discoveries are serendipitous, while systematic efforts such as those of the National Cancer Institute often yield disappointing results.

"In Hayekian terms, we say that order emerges, and often this order has little to do with the intentions of planners.... The intentions of the anti-poverty crusaders are good. However, the results of centrally-planned anti-poverty efforts are small, and perhaps negative (certainly very negative in the case of Communism). Decentralized capitalism, in which no one sets out to broadly reduce poverty, is the best anti-poverty program."

In short, there are rules for evolution, one of which is that there are no rules -- at least those that can be imposed from the top down by spiritually endarkened human beings.

Similarly, some 1500 years ago, St. Athanasius of Alxandria noted that "if things in the universe were to exercise the power of ordering themselves, we would see 'not order but disorder, not arrangement but anarchy, not a system, but everything out of system, not proportion but disproportion'.... Athanasius uses the existence of life on earth to conclude, in a similar fashion, that there exists a principle of 'arrangement and combination' in the world that is ultimately granted by God" (Nesteruk).

I have an intimate acquaintance with the wisdom of this innate "principle of order" in the form of my type I diabetes. It is something of a full time job trying to mimic the inconceivable wisdom of a pancreas. In other words, I must consciously endeavor to do what it does completely naturally supernaturally.

Nesteruk writes that the deep rationality of the universe proceeds "from the Word (Logos) of God, who unites all principles of existence (that is, the logoi of things) in himself in a harmony and order that penetrate into creation and are contemplated as the order and rationality of the universe."

In this regard, two things to bear in mind: 1) as above, so below, and 2) man is mirror and image of God. For these are the "keys" to being a normal human, which is to say, a realized human (as in "made real" and "really made," which is not a contradiction, but a paradox).

Nesteruk notes that the affirmation of the incarnate logos, "though being in a body locally at a given point in the vastness of cosmic space, is still co-inherent at every point in space because he is in everything as the Word of God," which in turn "provides an implicit principle of order in the universe that ensures that every place in the universe, as a place of the 'presence' of the Word, is co-inherent with the place where God is bodily incarnate, on earth."

Speaking of Sons and Words, I thank God for allowing mine to sleep in until 7:00 AM this morning, thus permitting this spontaneous raid on the wild godhead which otherwise would not have been.

In other words and melodies, we thank him for our sacred slack, without which nothing could happen.

New Finetunes setlist: Songs of Slack:



(It was hard to think of 45 songs off the top of my head, so I had to stretch a bit and include some titles that have more to do with "bad slack," or aimless bummin' around.)

****

*That there were no charities before welfare,

that there was no art before federal funding,

that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding,

that taxing the use of gasoline or other energy will reduce the use of gasoline or other energy, but taxing work and investment will not reduce work and investment,

that all generalizations are false,

that there are absolutely no absolutes,

that you can be sure that nothing is certain,

that it's really bad, even evil, to make or pronounce moral judgments,

that all cultures are equal, but ours stinks; that no race, class or gender is superior, but middle class white males are clearly inferior, that no books are superior, except, of course, those by third-world authors,

that it's good to support minority, homosexual and women's rights and to simultaneously make common cause with Islamofacists, who would attack all of them,

that identifying individuals by their uniqueness is "racist," but identifying them only as a member of a race is not,

that the independent broadcasters who give us 500+ TV channels can't deliver the quality that PBS does,

that good economies are caused by politicians and not by entrepreneurs,

that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity,

that any person or any country which has a higher standard of living than any other must have achieved it as a matter of luck, not freedom, opportunity, foresight and work -- and must feel guilty about it -- but if they're not, they must be forced to "pay" for their good fortune in a manner which we (who feel guilty for them anyway) will decide is best,

that the correct view of the state is one that sees citizens as children who need nurturing, and bureaucrats and politicians as the only adults who can do the nurturing,

that there is no such thing as a "sovereign citizen." In fact, there is no such thing as "inalienable rights," only permissions from government,

that trial lawyers are selfless heroes and doctors are overpaid,

that recessions and depressions are caused by businessmen, and not by politicians and bureaucrats,

that FDR must be remembered for "ending the great depression," even though he didn't (in fact he made it worse), and for giving half the people "hope," even though he decimated the Constitution and gave the other half despair,

that you can acquire self-esteem without actually doing something to earn it or living up to a code of ethics,

that public schools must be given ever-more money and protection from competition, no matter how poorly they perform,

that intolerance may be horrible, but "zero tolerance" is wonderful,

that it is racist to be color-blind and that good policy is to be color conscious -- in fact to identify people ONLY as a member of a group,

that all cultures are precious, must be preserved at all costs, and must all be treated as equal, not because of their outcomes, but because we say so,

that it's shocking -- and worthy of detailed, damning and deliciously horrifying exposes -- to find that free-market scholars are actually able to fund their work with voluntary donations from wealthy individuals and businesses -- while it's pleasing to find that socialist scholars are able to fund their work "virtuously" with tax money (extracted from their opponents -- and victims -- by government coercion),

that CHANGE is good -- but ONLY so long as it is change TO liberal values FROM other values,

that black people can't succeed without your help, but those who do, or tell others they can, must be vilified as "Uncle Toms,"

that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Islam-fascists,

that even though there are 54,000,000 children under 16 in the U.S., and you can never achieve "zero" accidental deaths from drowning, choking, fires, falls, poisoning, motor vehicles and medical mistakes, you can somehow achieve zero from firearm accidents (perhaps because there are always so many fewer such accidents every year),

that corporations are more dangerous than governments -- even when they haven't been sold a government-protected monopoly and can't make you buy from them, and even though the federal government is hundreds of times the size of the largest corporations and has guns, jails, IRS kangaroo courts, and can and does make you buy from it or deal with it,

that the quantity of wealth in all of existence remains fixed, and always has from time immemorial, so only people in government should decide how it's allocated,

that businessmen are parasites, but politicians and bureaucrats are not,

that people who work in the private sector are evil, but people who work in government are saints,

that private citizens are too stupid to make their own decisions about anything, but people in government are too smart not to give them dictatorial powers over everything,

that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried, is because "the right people" haven't been in charge,

that the only answer to the millions of problems caused by government -- is always ... ("ta-da!") more government (of course!),

and last, but definitely not least -- that good intentions are all that are needed to pave the way to utopia, especially if all your friends have the same good intentions.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Who Controls the Past Defines the Normal, Who Defines the Normal Controls the Present (5.03.09)

George Orwell's pithy insight into the mentality of the left has not been surpassed. In his novel 1984, the motto of the Ministry of Truth is "He who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past." I couldn't help thinking this last night while suffering through the Republican debate, which essentially consisted of the candidates submitting themselves to orthodorks leftwing talking points filtered through that spluttering, loudmouthed hack from the MSMistry of Truth, Chris Matthews, whose main talent is the ability to barge through any truth he accidentally stumbles upon like a drunk goes through a hamburger.

But who controls the present also controls what is defined as "normal." Therefore, since leftists have taken over various institutions in the last 30-40 years -- the media, academia, Hollywood, etc. -- they have been engaged in the unyielding project of redefining normalcy -- of defining deviancy downward -- so that the abnormal appears normal and the normal abnormal. Their radical skepticism throws out all standards and categories as arbitrary and subjective, motivated simply by the desire to dominate, control, and oppress.

Therefore, to believe things as banal as "the man should be the head of the household" or "marriage consists of a man and a woman" is to expose oneself to ridicule by people who do not know what normal is -- nor do they want to know. (To be perfectly accurate, they unconsciously know, as all humans must, but they are in a state of rebellion against this knowledge, a rebellion which must be constantly renewed in order to stay one step ahead of the judgment of their conscience -- which they generally project into conservatives and then feel "persecuted" by them.)

Almost every "liberation" group of the left insists that their particular aberration be considered normal, whether it is homosexual activists, radical feminists, the "transgendered," etc. Teaching that there is a normal human condition is considered by these people to be the quintessence of tyranny and oppression. Being that the left does indeed "control the present," so to speak, all textbooks must be rewritten in order to make the abnormal appear normal, and to attack and undermine our intuitive understanding of what is normal. This is one of the big reasons why people homeschool their children, because they don't want them to internalize such abnormality at a young age, since it can be very difficult to undo this programming later in life.

Again, as I mentioned yesterday, I passively accepted a lot of this leftist brainwashing when I was younger, and it has been on ongoing adventure in liberation to cast it off bit by bit and regain my normalcy. Which, of course, would be considered very, very abnormal by anyone on the left, such as the Women's Aberration Movement.

Yesterday, someone made a valid point that my "temporocentrism," so to speak, causes me to overemphasize the importance of the 1960s. There is undoubtedly some truth in this, as it is difficult to avoid being a creature of one's time. In fact, a big part of being a "finished" human being is to transcend your time by becoming a mode of the universal -- which is another way of saying "normal." For, as I shall elaborate below, a normal man is a vertical man -- or what Schuon called pontifical man. The only alternative is to be a horizontal man, which is to say, not a man at all. Doing so is to cash in your manhood in favor of being a beast in human form.

If there is a vertical dimension proper to man, then it means ipso facto that we live in a hierarchical cosmos that is conditioned from top to bottom. This is why it is simply a truism that all attacks on religion are in the end an attack on mind itself -- and therefore on man. Hierarchy is the one thing that absolutely cannot be tolerated by the totolerantarian left. Religion must be attacked and scorned, for it teaches that there are values that are intrinsic to humans, and that some ways of living, being, and thinking are better then others. Ultimately, the divine conscience -- that which distinguishes between right and wrong, good and evil -- must be disabled. For example, children are taught "values clarification" instead of straightforward rules of right and wrong. They are literally indoctrinated into an anti-religion that sets itself in opposition to the true and universal one.

But for the nihilistic leftist flatlander -- and this cannot be emphasized enough -- the only abnormal person is the person who insists that some things are intrinsically abnormal. I believe it is a fact that of all professional groups, psychologists are the most liberal, which is to say, horizontalized. There is no human behavior so bizarre that one cannot attend a continuing education seminar on its virtues. (I had been saving an illustrative flier for an occasion such as this, but I think I must have recycled it.)

This explain the ubiquitous "inverted hypocrisy" of the psychological left. Although this type of boundary-less person superficially appears to be the most “liberated," they are desperately in need of an "external center" to rebel against. Like a child, they are most in need of that which they most vociferously and compulsively protest against. Since they are chaotic souls with no center, they gain a spurious sense of internal coherence by rubbing up against, or breaking through, a boundary. Thus, the transgression eventually takes on a wearily compulsive quality. They rapidly become caricatures of themselves, a pattern constantly seen in our trolls.

As Richard Weaver wrote 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 obliteration of vertical 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), and why their movement has literally "gone nowhere" -- for its own assumptions mandate that there is nowhere else for it to go but into further nothingness, something demonstrated on a daily basis by its more undisguised voices, such as a dailykos or huffingandpissed.

*****

I'm having a very trying morning. You-know-who woke up before I even finished my coffee, and I have to get ready for work shortly. Therefore, some reworked past material, which you may or may not have already read, but which touches on the question of normalcy:

*****

Only man -- and the cosmos coursing through him -- is a becoming of what he is through time, a journey from what “we are not yet to what we already are,” from the potential of the mirror to the fulfillment of the image. We have a simple word for man -- or used to, anyway, before leftists decided that it was oppressively sexist -- but we must never forget that man is not man in the way that matter is matter, for only man has the task and vocation of becoming what he is.

Perhaps this is the greatest divide between secular materialists and religious idealists, for the latter regard man’s life as an irreducible ought grounded in transcendence, instead of a mere is rooted in dead matter. Man is the only thing that ought, which immediately takes him out of the realm of both is and of mere things. For to do as you ought is to both transcend and to find yourself. It is also to be a normal human being.

But what ought we do or be or know or become?

Spirituality is the science of discovering and becoming what we already are. And what we are is an arrow shot from the stream of time into the heart of eternity. Or is it the reverse?

It is both. For “man is true to himself only when he is stretching forth -- in hope -- toward a fulfillment that cannot be reached in his bodily existence” (Pieper).

*****

In the words of Schuon, the devil is "the humanized personification -- humanized on contact with man -- of the subversive aspect of the centrifugal existential power; not the personification of this power in so far as its mission is positively to manifest Divine Possibility." In other words, the Absolute, insofar as it deploys itself in time and space (which it does "inevitably"), radiates from a cosmic center to the periphery, somewhat like a series of concentric circles with God at the center. God's energies are like radii emanating from the center outward, while the different concentric circles are the various levels of being, or the cosmic hierarchy.

Therefore, although everything is ultimately God, not everything is equally God. The idea that everything is equally God leads to pantheism, which is an indiscriminate flatland philosophy no more sophisticated than the bonehead atheism of a Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris. It is logically equivalent to saying everything is not God. Or one might simply say "everything," and therefore "nothing" -- it doesn't matter, or mind, for that matter. In any event, nothing is that simple, let alone everything, let further alone the Divine Nothing-Everything at the center of it all.

Now ultimately, everything "is God" in some sense, but God is not the sum total of everything. Things necessarily vary in their proximity to God. Furthermore, there is movement toward God. We call this "evolution," but we should probably come up with a different term -- perhaps Adam & Evolution -- so as to not confuse it with mere natural selection, which reduces the transcosmic fact of evolution toward theosis to a random and mechanical process -- a monstrous philosophy which "cannot be."

And like the cosmic center of which it is a mirror, the individual center has a natural tendency to radiate outward and lose itself in the playful phenomena of its own creation. However, in its properly balanced way, this radiation leads to further centration, not dissipation. For example, when we love what is beautiful, we identify the soul's "within" by locating it in the without, which has effect of strengthening our central being. Conversely, if we love that which is ugly or "know" what is false, this has the effect of diminishing our center -- which, at the same time, necessarily pulls us further from God, the cosmic center.

The periphery must be -- i.e., there must be things that are more or less distant from God -- but this does not mean that they need be evil. Nevertheless, as Schuon implies, the divine radiation results in "cosmic interstices," so to speak, where evil and falsehood enter the picture. This is where the soul cancers arise and take root. It is one of the inevitable even though unsanctioned possibilities of the Divine radiation, somewhat like an existential blood clot. Truth flows. The lie is a static lump in your head.

The cosmos is permeated with arteries that carry "oxidized" energies away from God and veins through which creation returns to its source. Only human beings may partake of this circulatory system in a conscious way, and become co-partners in the divine plan. It's an offer we can and do refuse, although people in their left mind commonly do. On the one hand, creation is already "perfect," being that it is a metaphysically necessary and unnarcissary objectification of God. Nevertheless, by virtue of not being God, it cannot be perfect, but can only "become" perfect through man's conscious participation.

Or let us say that perfection is only a possibility because it is woven into the very warp and woof of creation. If it weren't, we wouldn't even have the word. Nor would we have the words for truth and beauty if they weren't coursing through the arteries of existence as divine possibilities. Truth is either "invented" or it is "discovered." If invented, then it is not true. If discovered, then it is of God -- or at least underwritten by God, the Absolute.

Today we find ourselves in a struggle of truly cosmic proportions between forces representing the human personification of the centrifugal existential power -- which is a very real, even if derivative and parasitic, power -- and those representing the center (or evolutionary return to the center).

In short, the cosmic-political battle in which we are engaged is ultimately between forces who deny hierarchy and those who affirm it; and those who drunkenly ride the centrifugal waves to the periphery, vs. those who soberly partake of the centripetal return. Importantly, those who deny hierarchy do so -- either consciously or unconsciously -- with the intention of replacing the natural hierarchy with their own illegitimate one. This is where all the false absolutes of the left enter the picture and set up shop (remember those cosmic interstices alluded to above). Left alone they become cancers, which means that, as they grow in strength and intensity, they actually begin to take on a gravitational attraction of their own.

You might even say that they become an alternative cosmic center that sets itself against the real one. It arrests progress -- the cosmic return -- by pulling both the innocent and guilty into its dark principality. It's methods are moral relativism, multiculturalism, and "critical theory," or deconstruction; its defender and guarantor is the coercion of political correctness rather than the "lure" of Truth; and its goal is the reversal of the cosmic order, the instantiation of the Fall, the obliteration of the vertical, and the exaltation (and therefore bestialization) of man, thus sealing his spiritual fate and ending the possibility of divine co-creation and theosis, or God-realization. Progressivism is the end of man's progress qua man.

It is appropriate that these cosmic tyrants are called "Democrats," for democracy is a system of information flow that can lead to the higher or to the lower. In fact, it will inevitably lead to the lower if we do not acknowledge at the outset that there is a higher toward which democracy must orient itself. In other words, in the absence of hierarchy, demo-cracy will become exactly what the word implies, which is to say, tyranny of the horizontalized masses, or demo-crazies.

The crazies of the left are half correct in their paranoid fear of a "theocratic takeover," in that we are ultimately faced with the choice between democracy and theocracy. The American founders, in their infinite wisdom, chose theocracy, in the sense that the only legitimate purpose of democracy could be to preserve and protect the spiritual freedom of the theocentric individual. In short, they created a theocracy that would be mediated not from the top down -- which is never a real theocracy, but monarchy -- through thousands and now millions of godlings, or "divine centers." But a democracy mediated by mere animal-men will sooner or later lead to the Reign of the Beast.

In the specific sense we are using the word, theocracy is "the only guarantee of a realistic liberty" (Schuon). Otherwise, the centrifugal riptide in which secular man stands soon leads to the pernicious idea that "truth amounts to the belief of the majority," and therefore, that the majority for all intents and purposes creates the truth, which is one of the explicit assumptions of the left -- i.e., "perception is reality." Under such bersercumstances, authority cannot appeal to truth, but "lives at the mercy of the electors," which in the end degrades them by patronizing them. Schuon adds that this doesn't mean democracy is impossible, but that "it is primarily a question of... an inwardly aristocratic and theocratic democracy" as envisioned by the Founders. In short, an exterior democracy of interior aristocats & chicks.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Human Normalcy and the Top 45 Conservative Songs of All Time

(forgive typos -- I'll have to edit later... and why not scroll to the bottom first and enjoy the tunes while reading?)

It is interesting to me how many of you instantly understood my brief aside about the dark spirit of the 1960's and its damaging effect on the soul, both individually and collectively. I wasn't even sure that anyone would appreciate my point, but many of you obviously did. This issue is so deep, that I'm not sure I can formulate my thoughts about it yet. We are still so immersed in much of the abnormality of that time, that it is sometimes difficult to see it.

It is like the proverbial fish that has no way of knowing that it lives and moves in a watery medium, and that there are other beings who move in a gaseous one. I am aware of the fact that it caused very real damage to me, if only in the form of a lot of precious time that I can never get back. Time is all we have, and if we do not use it wisely, we have wasted our lives and ultimately squandered eternity. I feel as if I am still catching up with things that should have been foundational to my being.

The spirit of the 1960's basically obliterated the human foundation and called it "liberation." But it is a false and destructive liberation that is not rooted in rock solid reality -- which is to say, our transcendent source. It is like living without gravity (both literally and figuratively). Without it, there is nothing to push off of, no way to vault yourself upward. You can try to spring yourself this way or that, but you're just fooling yourself. Ultimately, you are just drifting in an existential vacuum. What is most striking about so many people today is that they are simply "adrift." Without their hostility to those of us who are not adrift, they would have nothing whatsoever to push off of and "know where they stand." Our trolls are an obvious case in point. They are reactionary to the core (or absence thereof).

It's one thing to not realize that you live in the water. But what if you've spent your entire life swimming around in polluted water? In such a case, you would sense that something is wrong, but you would have no way to know what it is. I think this is a pretty apt analogy as applied to our existential situation. So much modern philosophy is a reaction to the abnormal conditions of the murky, unhealthy water in which modern man swims. Therefore, it is a prescription based upon an inaccurate diagnosis.

All forms of leftism fall into this category, for not only do they give the incorrect diagnosis and treatment, but the treatment always aggravates the underlying condition it is trying to cure. In the end, it will only result in more polluted water and more soul-sickness. At this time in our history, I truly don't know how much murkier the water can get and still be consistent with human survival. Or, we may survive physically, but the human being will not survive, because there will simply be no cultural conditions in which the human soul may nourish and articulate itself. Here again, you will either understand exactly what I am talking about, or you will have no idea what I am talking about. It all depends upon your ability to perceive the water we are swimming in.

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God. (Rev 22:1)

In fact, the only way we can perceive the abnormality is to reconnect with what is normal, but doing so requires a considerable amount of.... I don't know if "courage" is the right word, but you must be extremely secure in your beliefs, and you must be willing to stand out from the group and risk rejection and ridicule. As I have mentioned before, human "groupishness" long preceded the emergence of true human individuality, and 99% of human evolution took place in an archaic environment in which the group took precedence over the individual. Therefore, human beings have many built-in evolutionary tendencies that we must actively counter in order to be spiritually "normal," one of which is the desire to "fit in" and sacrifice our individuality to the group (and leftsim begins and ends with our primitive groupishness).

Another way of saying it is that we have many traits that are biologically or genetically "normal," but humanly abnormal. Much of religion, in its more conventional, exoteric sense (which I am not in any way belittling) involves teaching us what is normal for our created self, or soul. A perfect example is the Ten Commandments, as we were discussing a couple of weeks ago. None of the commandments are "normal" in the Darwinian sense. Rather, if we were to assemble a list of Darwinian commandments, it would be very short -- perhaps as few as two: 1) survive, by any means necessary, and 2) reproduce, by any means necessary. That's pretty much it, is it not? At best, you could extend it a bit to possibly include some superficially altruistic behaviors, but they would ultimately have to link back to the survival of one's genetic line.

That in itself is a critical idea: that there are cultural arrangements and attitudes that are normative for human beings. The source of these is not found "below," but "above." It is not genetic, but archetypal. We have a human past which is genetic, below, and behind, and a human future that is archetypal, above, and ahead. Spirituality allows us to be drawn into the attractor of our true self, which is located in the "future," but is in reality outside space and time-- to requote Schuon, The purpose of freedom is to enable us to choose what we are in the depths of our heart.

A couple of days ago I was idly channel surfing and caught a bit of Christopher Hitchens on the Daily Show, promoting his new book, God is Not Great. As much as I respect his unwavering support of our war against Islamic fascism, he strikes me as having a pretty malevolent soul. Or perhaps it's just me. Or, to be completely fair, one of us is not just wrong, but probably nuts. It is for others to decide who.

Please bear in mind that when I say this, I say it in a very dispassionate and matter-of-fact way. Please do not picture in your head some religious nut screaming from the pulpit. But there is such a sinister darkness to devoting the gift of one's considerable intelligence to mock, ridicule, and undermine intelligence itself, that one cannot help pointing out the obvious.

I also couldn't help thinking about what it might be like to debate him on the issue, even though it is something I would never consider doing (nor would I ever be asked), the reason being that metaphysical stupidity -- even a kind of broad intellectual buffoonery -- has all the advantages in such a situation. After all, that is why you can discuss such "ideas" with lightweights such as Jon Stewart or Larry King or Chris Matthews and be completely at home. Hitchens has no religious ideas that cannot be understood by an 8th grade mind, but almost nothing of what we discuss here could be so understood. In short, I will admit up front that I am not a trained debater and that I would lose any such debate -- unless it were in the form of writing, in which I could not lose, but then, he would have no way to realize this, so there would be no point.

In any event, there is no way to have a serious discussion about a serious subject with a spiritually frivolous person who necessarily has only frivolous ideas about the subject. What kind of person would react to the death of a great soul such as John Paul II by dismissing him as "an elderly and querulous celibate who came too late and who stayed too long"? What a thing to think, let alone, say.

Probably not fair to quote wikipedia, since it may or may not be accurate, but it says that Hitchens "no longer considers himself a Trotskyist or even a socialist; yet he maintains that his political views have not changed significantly. He points out that, throughout his career, he has been both an atheist and an antitheist" -- in other words, he is not just indifferent to God, but aggressively antagonistic. Being that he comes across as a generally angry and antagonistic man (which might just be an act for TV, for all I know), it would be fruitless to debate him on substance unless one first identified the unconscious source of his reactionary hostility toward God. It is probably safe to say that the same emotional, irrational factors in his soul that attracted him to Marxism account for the religious hostility, because such impulses are way "below" the level of the conscious intellect. Rather, intellect simply serves its unconscious master. IQ is completely irrelevant to the uses to which intelligence will be put. That will be determined by one's conscious values or by unconscious factors, not by one's intelligence.

As I have mentioned before, although I was on the left when I was younger, it was only because it was the cultural water everyone swam in back then, before there were any other sources of information -- talk radio, the internet, etc. I literally did not know a conservative, let alone a conservative intellectual. True, my father had a conservative inclination -- as indeed all basically normal people do -- but he was not an intellectual, and could not have really articulated his beliefs in any systematic way. Plus, he probably voted Democrat half the time, which it was possible for a "conservatively inclined" person to do back then. This is no longer conceivable. There are undoubtedly some normal older people who are basically Democrat out of habit, but to be a dailykos/huffpo type person, you have to be rather frighteningly abnormal.

It's also hard to know whether the drinking is just part of Hitchens' TV schtick, like Dean Martin. The wiki article says he "admits to drinking heavily; in 2003 he wrote that his daily intake of alcohol was enough 'to kill or stun the average mule.' He noted that many great writers 'did some of their finest work when blotto, smashed, polluted, shitfaced, squiffy, whiffled, and three sheets to the wind.'" That's true, but the same thing cannot be said of any great theologian, as it is simply a psychological truism that "spirits" are a substitute for Spirit (I use the word "theologian" in its orthodox sense, not as someone who just writes or thinks about God, but who knows God; there can really be no valid theology without mysticism and vice versa). So take what you will from a heavy drinker trying to write something true about God.

Hmm. I didn't mean to get sidetracked into a discussion of the state of Christopher Hitchens' soul. Rather, the point I was about to develop is that, unless there is normalcy, there can be no deviancy. Unless there is health, there can be no pathology.

And pathology itself is an interesting idea, since it introduces an undeniable element of teleology into the human condition. What does it mean to be normal? If we seriously examine this question, I believe we will discover that the essence of leftism is an assault on the very assumptions underlying this question. Not only cannot it not be answered, but one is not allowed to ask the question. But I think I'll ask it anyway in tomorrow's post.

Speaking of conservatism and normalcy, I assembled a new Finetunes list, The 45 Greatest Conservative Songs. It's not actually definitive. Rather, they were just picked off the top of my head, and I am sure there are better ones I haven't thought of. In fact, feel free to come up with your own.

The songs emphasize a number of themes, such as unapologetic love or appreciation of America and its traditional values (including one by a well known God-and-America-hater); tributes to freedom, low taxes, maturity, and independence from obtrusive government and illegitimate authority in general; a pro-Israel song by the famous ex-leftist, Bob Dylan; an ode to the type of manly and normal Democrat who basically no longer exists except for maybe one Joe; tributes to the virtues of hard work with no complaining; a bum who is proud of the fact (and who would never pose as a "homeless" victim); a few songs about the cruelties of communism and socialism by David Bowie, Scott Walker, Creedence, and others; an anti-drug song by a guitar god from Austin, Texas; a lighthearted look at capital punishment by an American icon; a couple of attacks on the welfare state; an anti-Islam number; a song about military life by the King; and some noteworthy contributions by blacks who refuse to be victims of white liberals.



(The set list is here. I believe you can fast-forward to the next song there by hitting "play" again.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Lying Through the Troll Booth on the Way to the Satanic Age

Don't worry, I'm not going to dwell on it, but the following brief exercise in troll-slappin' carries with it an important lesson -- as indeed, a proper troll slappin' must always do in order to be considered righteous. Even Hoarhey never pulls his 33 oz. cluebat from the shelf unless it is for the troll's own good -- a cluebat mitzvah, as it were.

Yes, Hoarhey always "leaves a mark" -- or shall we say, a crack -- but this crack is the fissure of men which eventually lets in the light. It is the hole in the head that would allow for a whole new head, if only the prideful troll would humble himself before the fiery Club of Truth and "take what he has coming" -- which consists of a screaming loon-drive right up the middle of his disordered soul. But the odd thing about a troll is that he actually prefers the blows of the devil's riding crop, mainly because he has become insensitive to their sting.

Yes, while he was resting his eyes -- no, he assures me that he was not asleep -- another midnight namanasty, MHL, slipped through Dupree's troll-booth and expressed his metaphysical disappointment at our "polarizing" ways:

"Well Bob it's been a trip."

That's good, because -- I've never mentioned this before, but it's true -- I do actually try to maintain a certain trippy psychedelicized tone around here. In fact, far from being a Sixties-basher, or sextaphobic, I feel that I am one of the few blogs that truly maintains the spirit of '67, only in a healthy and sustainable way. Perhaps someday I'll devote an entire post to fleshing out what I mean, since it is possible that 95% of you have no idea what I'm talking about. Indeed, it is possible that you had to be 11 years old in 1967 to get it.

In other words, you had to internalize a certain... gay cultural vibe, but have been too young and innocent to be sucked into the spiritually dark and destructive political side of it all. As Will has mentioned, there was definitely a light, a spiritual force, that was at work back then, but it was quickly overwhelmed by darkness.

Many people who are a few years older than I am are still stuck in the darkness of that time -- various aging hippies, political nostalgiacs, professional radicals, and backward-looking progressives. We would say that they were more to be pitied than censured if they didn't have some real political sway. A Dennis Kucinich, for example, embodies the "frivolous darkness" of the time, what with his maliciously goofy call for a governmental "Department of Peace." Unfortunately, he was 21 in 1967, which makes all the difference. He is trapped in darkness, like many of his sub-generation of booby-blamers -- Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Al Gore, et al.

Anyway,

"Having enjoyed your interview on WIE magazine's site I was keenly interested to read your recent work."

Good! How did it go?

"I have been doing so for about two weeks now."

Hmm. That's not enough time to cure what fails you, but go on.

"On the positive, your thoughts have served to remind me not to sacrifice my own integrity in alliance with any political polarity. A good reminder in polarized times."

I see. Sorchasm -- that is, the sorry chasm that exists between my ideas and your understanding of them. You shouldn't leave just yet, for what is a bad man but a good man's teacher? We have so much more to learn from you!

"In general, your comments have been a great disappointment. Evidently you are experiencing and expressing some great energetic flow but you should question it's source. Your realization, as evident in your language, lacks depth. In particular in this final and really quite bizzare exploration of 'evil hating' and your childish game logic interchange (sic) with 'Drama Queen'. But then, this is your path and role for now. I however have heard enough and will bid your site farewell. Best to you."

Namasté to you too, my love-and-peacive-aggressive friend! And the horse you rode in on!

I might have let this troll slither off in sssilence had it not been for this excellent slapshot from the clueline by Skully, who said to MHL,

"I see. So integrity means being a fence-sitting moderate to you. In other words, you don't take a stand on anything controversial. How courageous of you. How lukewarm. Truth is always polarizing to those who are blind to it, or to those who don't have the moxy to bear the standard."

Yes, precisely. This is the lesson for yet another angry sub-integralist masqmarauding as a gentle integralist. In reality, he has integrated nothing -- meaning the substance of nothing -- because of his drawing back from the sword of truth, which cuts the world right down the middle. He has chosen his side -- or shall we say, it has chosen him, so he doesn't even realize the polarized state of his soul.

Folks, I pray that I am polarizing, because if I am, it means that I am aligned with Truth. On the other hand, the Lie is seductive. It is enveloping, intoxic-ating, "embracing" -- to internalize the Lie is, in the words of the one-time Eastern Orthodox George Costanza, to be ensconced in velvet.

And it is very difficult to "cut" such an individual with the sword of truth, because it is like cutting into gelatin: the cut "seals up" as soon as the sword has entered. The mind of such an individual is as loose as ashes in the wind (TW: Ian Tyson).

Can we all at least agree that spiritual Truth exists? And that religion represents the science of Spirit? "Science" comes from the Latin scindere, to cut, as in scission or schism. Thus, for example, He will repay my enemies for their evil. Cut them off in Your truth (Psalm: 54:5). Only after the "discrimination" of truth has occurred, can there be any higher integration.

It seems that no matter how hard I try, I cannot convince a certain type of spiritual moonbat that Truth exists and that it cuts human beings -- both individually and collectively -- right down the middle. Truth has none of the qualities leftists revere: it is not inclusive. It discriminates, big time. It is intolerant of falsehood. It cannot be watered down in order make people feel good about themselves. It is not diplomatic and it is not a respecter of feelings.

This is too perfect (TW: Mysteress Joan). The band Rage Against the Machine recently reunited for a very principled Bourgeois Lifestyle Maintenance Tour. On stage, their singer "railed [doesn't he mean "raged?"] against the war [machine?] in Iraq and likened Bush administration officials to Nazi war criminals":

"This current administration is no exception. They should be tried and hung and shot," he said.

Lest you think that this was a "polarizing" message, guitarist Tom Morello wore a hat with the word "UNITY" on it. After all, a lynching is UNITY minus one.

One "sweat-drenched" history teacher in attendance, Mr. Ramon, enthused that "They changed my life. They made me a liberal!"

Cool! Just what we need, history taught by more people whose political ideology forbids them to enter it.

And just how are you liberals going to shoot the administration with no guns? Oh well, worry about that later....

Later in the evening, that luminous intellect, Flea, bellowed from the stage, "Everything is beautiful! Love and peace is in all our hearts!"

It's true. This is what peace and love look like when they are "wrongly ordered," which is to say, not tempered by truth. The dark side of 1967, don't you know.

Darn, very little time this morning. I'll just conclude with some lines from a poem Sri Aurobindo wrote in 1940, but which equally apply today:

"We march to make of earth a hell and call it heaven....
We mock at God, we have silenced the mutter of priests at his altar....
We have made the mind a cypher, we have strangled Thought with a cord....
A cross of the beast and demoniac with the godhead of power and will,
We are born in humanity's sunset, to the Night is our pilgrimage....
We march, lit by Truth's death-pyre, to the world's satanic age."


Namasté!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

On Vertical Feelings: Love the Truth, Not the Truther

The first odor of business this morning is to thank my new research assistant, Susannah, who did something that has never occurred to the B'ob-denying trolls. Which is to say, she eliminated their reason for being by simply inserting the words "hate evil" in a biblical search engine, and sniffing out the following inerromatic results:

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers. (Psalm 5:5)

I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked. (Psalm 26:2-5)

O you who love the Lord, hate evil! (Psalm 10:1)

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)

Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. (Amos 5:15)

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (John 7:7)

As I said some 500-600 composts ago and have repeatmossed on a number of fertile O-->kasions, it would hardly be fitting to worship a God or to venerate a teacher who is less virtuous and moral than oneself. And someone who does not despise evil is not a moral person. Or, at the very least, there is something very wrong with their moral compass.

This is because our feelings provide us with a constant stream of critical information about the world. As a matter of fact, without these feelings -- which can be a subtle or gross form of cognition -- you would be morally paralyzed. It is one of the reasons why "artificial intelligence" is inconceivable except perhaps to an emotionally damaged ("schizoid") or particularly narrow and dense kind of nerd. Without our higher feelings, we could not possibly have access to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Like Mr. Spock, a computer could spend eternity just trying to figure out which tie to wear.

In the case of beauty, the centrality of feelings is obvious, but it is actually equally obvious with regard to the other two transcendentals. For example, one of the reasons why atheists are atheists is that they suffer from a grave disability with regard to their ability to feel Divine truth -- or "truth," for short. No one whose feeling for truth is in tact could believe that mechanical reason alone, ungrounded in principial truth, could disclose an adequate image of the world. To think otherwise is metaphysical naivete of the most rustic sort.

The logical flaw firm of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens may or may not be "intelligent," but they are obviously very stupid when their intelligence attempts to reason about that which transcends reason. Therefore, their arguments are actually rooted in some rather crude feelings they have about God, which is not fundamentally different from other fundamentalists who have crude feelings about God -- the very fundamentalists they mock.

Again, at risk of sounding like a psychologist, there is nothing wrong with your feelings. Rather, it all depends upon two factors, one of them horizontal, the other vertical. The horizontal factor is the use to which the feelings are put, while the vertical factor has to do with the "subtilization" of the emotion. For example, as I mentioned the other day, wrongly ordered love is probably responsible for as much evil in the world as any hatred. The Islambies undoubtedly love the being they call Allah, but clearly, what the world needs now is less of this kind of bestial, misbegoatten love.

And as for the vertical aspect of emotion, one thing trolls are (apparently) incapable of understanding is that all Coons -- even humble neo-Coons such as Susannah -- are able to immediately identify where the troll is "coming from," so to speak, on the vertical scale of emotion. For a Coon, there is really nothing mysterious about this, as it is simply a higher form of the normal empathy through which one mind is able to "touch" another.

Even before we consider the literal meaning of your vacuous and/or malicious banalities and platitudes, the gift of "Coon scent" allows us to determine in an instant the rung of Jacob's ladder upon which you stand, so to speak. Which is why you aren't susceptible to Reason, including this post, so I'll just "move on" now.

Smell ya' later! Last rung in's a written gag!

Wait, Van just left a fragrant comment that emphasizes the aroma I am trying to give off. A particularly fetid troll named "Drama Queen" left a sulfurious meadow muffin last night, to the effect that my endorsement of hating evil meant that I was encouraging violence toward leftists. My Coon scent tells me in an instant that it is useless to respond to someone whose soul has reached this stage of rancidity, but Van always enjoys the sport. He holds his gnose and stenches out the following dramatic exchange:

Drama Queen: There are bad people out there!

Q: What was bad about what Gagdad said?

DQ: He said there were bad people out there!

Q: Isn't that true?

DQ: Yes.

Q: So there are bad people out there, which is fine, but saying anything about the bad people is bad, because that will cause bad people to do bad things -- so you shouldn't say or do anything to identify bad people because that will cause the bad people to do bad things?

DQ: Yes!

Q: Didn't you just say GB was doing bad things?

DQ: Yes!

Q: Doesn't that mean you just did the worst bad thing possible, saying that someone was bad and doing bad things?

*****

Clearly, by his own criteria, Drama Queen endorses violence toward Coons. Can you smell how such a malOderous person is literally morally deranged? Failing to despise evil does not make you a moral person, but, like the evil of pacifism, simply excuses you from making moral distinctions -- instead of just making errors, you become a veritable olfactory of error.

*****

Now, back to the question of liberty and its relationship to truth. To say that it is "self-evident" that the Creator endowed us with liberty is a case in point with respect to vertical emotion. Let it be emphasized: this is only self-evident to someone who can feel its higher truth. It is patently not self-evident to, say, secular leftists or Islamists (not to morally equate the two). For example, if I am a leftist, it might be evident to my lower, "empirical" self that there is no creator and that liberty is something that is simply granted or taken away by the state. Or, if I am a Muslim, it might be self-evident that Christians and Jews are inferior, and that the being called Allah wishes for me to tyrannize them.

In short, "self-evident" is not self-evident. Again, it all depends upon where the particular self is situated on the vertical scale. For example, Jesus always speaks with a kind of assuredness that lets us know that what he says is self-evident to him. But from where we stand, we must often struggle to elevate ourselves to the point that his words become evident to us. This is why the deepening of wisdom represents our vertical freedom -- and why spiritual realization is ipso facto spiritual liberation.

Here are several statements that embody various self-evident truths, courtesy of Thomas Sowell:

--Liberals hold us individually [vertically] responsible for nothing but collectively [horizontally] responsible for everything.

--Our education system, our media, and our intelligentsia have all been unrelentingly undermining the [vertical] values, the traditions, and the unity of this country for generations and, at the same time, portraying as "understandable" all kinds of [horizontal] deviance, from prostitution to drugs to riots.

--Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among [horizontal] intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not [the vertical] God.

--"Global warming" seems to be joining "diversity," "gun control," "open space" and a growing list of other subjects where rational discussion has become impossible -- and where you are considered a bad person even for wanting to discuss it rationally.

--Is your employer poorer by the amount of money he pays you? Probably not, or you would never have been hired. Why then should we assume that a corporation or its customers are poorer by the amount paid to its chief executive officer?

--A review of one of the many environmentalist books says that even if you can't do all you would like toward "living green," you can at least "congratulate yourself on taking small steps to improve the planet." That is what environmentalism -- and much else on the political left's agenda -- is really all about, self congratulation.

These statements may appear to be a random assembly, but they are unified by the deeper structure of an attack on verticality, and with it, truth and liberty. Because here is the true purpose of our spiritual, which is to say, vertical, liberty:

The purpose of freedom is to enable us to choose what we are in the depths of our heart. We are intrinsically free to the extent that we have a center which frees us: a center which, far from confining us, dilates us by offering us an inward space without limits and without shadows; and this Center is in the last analysis the only one
there is.
--F. Schuon

Truth --> Liberty --> Verticality --> Interiority --> Heart --> Center --> Depth --> Light --> The One.

Make scents, or is your nous too congested?

*****

Oh yes, one more thing -- new Finetunes set list in the sidebar: songs about, for, or inspired by God (including some ironic choices). Needless to say, such music would not be possible -- neither produced nor appreciated -- in the absence of a feeling for the Divine. And we're talking about Brian Wilson or Mavis Staples here, let alone, Bach, who is pretty much above my playgrade.... (By the way, some of the songs are superficially about "earthly love" but are actually about "celestial love," such as "I Could Never Repay Your Love," by the Spinners.)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left to Tax (4.26.09)

First of all, I have no idea what that title means. And yet, it still made me chuckle, suggesting that there can be punchlines in the absence of a joke... In fact, we have heard from Petey, the Wise, the Compassionate, the Merthiful, CFCBUH, that enlightenment is somewhat like this: you finally "get" the joke that never existed to begin with. That's the joke. Get it? It's a guffah-ha! experience.

Speaking of which, there were some very funny and illuminating comments on yesterday's post, not all of them unintentional. One of them was from Mr. Bardo, who expressed the sentiment that my post reflected proof of my "projectile nature" in suggesting that he was in any way angry at me:

"No. The strongest emotion I've felt towards you is annoyance, the kind of irritation one feels when conversing with a fundamentalist, where you know that no true dialogue is possible. Usually you lack a dynamic, open quality of thought, as if the world is exactly how YOU think it is.... So yeah, you annoy me, but you don't anger me. Is that adequate clarification?"

First of all, this suggests that Jonny has a co-dependent relationship with me, and that he is addicted to being my "enabler" -- otherwise, he would simply leave me and find a healthier relationship with a blogger who is not an abusive and genocidal madman.

But leaving that asnide, if what he says is true, then the situation is even worse than I had thought, because Jonny characterized me as a hateful, acid-spewing, demonic, and genocidal egomaniac, and yet, now says he feels no hostility toward me. First of all, let us stipulate that either I am or am not as he describes me. If I am, then it would be appropriate for any normal person to feel anger toward me. Indeed, they would be abnormal if they did not.

But if I am not as he so describes, then he is clearly engaged in projection, because otherwise there is no way to account for all that acid-spewing, genocidal hatred that exists in the space between us. After all, it came from somewhere -- specifically, either from his mind or from mine.

In Bion's terminology, there is clearly an "h link" between Jonny and I, but he denies it, which is something that passive-aggressive leftists and new ageists do, but only habitually. This is rooted in the commonplace observation that anger is converted to paranoia in the unconscious mind. For a child, when they get very angry at the parent, they unconsciously imagine that the parent will retaliate. The parent becomes monstrously frightening in the exact degree to which the child is angry.

Thus, for example, the more angry the deranged left gets at President Bush, the more their fears of him become detached from reality. They imagine that he is spying on them, or that he is constantly questioning their patriotism, or that he invaded Iraq in order to somehow enrich his wealthy friends, or that he is stealing elections, or "raping the planet," or that he is a "Christian fascist" who is going to take over the country, etc., etc.

Similarly, Jonny's grotesque distortion of me can only be the result of an unconscious process of which he is unaware. This is why the repetitious advice of the troll who calls himself Interlocutor is not just silly and misguided but dangerous:

"My basic beef with Bob is his allowance and accomodation of hate into the spiritual life, against the advice of all teachers. He will not desist from this view.... Recant, Bob. State for all of your raccoons: 'Hate is a wrong movement; it has no place in the spiritual life.'"

Here is another person who projects his anger into me, and then insists that I "recant," which, trancelighted, means that he wishes for me to magically "cleanse" him of his hatred. I can do this, but he will have to come to my office and pay me for the service. It's called psychotherapy. Together we will work through his transference reaction to me, until such a time as he can "own" his hostility. Once he does so, he will not be less healthy and spiritually balanced, but more healthy and integrated. It is foolish to think that spiritual development involves denial of basic human emotions.

Rather, as always, it depends upon the use to which the emotion is put (there is also a vertical "subtilization" of emotions that occurs with spiritual growth, but that is the topic of another post). It is good to feel anger toward what is bad or evil. In fact, without such feelings, you would be completely paralyzed in this world, unable to make the simplest decision in life.

For as Bion said, if you cannot suffer pain, you cannot suffer pleasure. In other words, denial is not a subtle defense mechanism, as if you could surgically remove one small part of yourself that you don't like. It is more like a "dumb bomb" that causes a lot of collateral damage, taking out a range of feelings that inform you about the moral dimension of the world. This is why all Coons will have noticed that these peace-and-love new age types always come across as so two-dimensional, phony and sanctimonious, whereas, say, Jesus comes across as a fully three-dimensional person with his unapologetic righteous anger and other emotions fully in tact, to say the least.

Brother, if you are an evil-doer, who, for whatever reason, opposes the Good -- or even if you are just a garden-variety fink -- a Coon will smite you where you stand with a flaming sword that is sharp and true. And, if you are a basically decent person who retains an uncorrupted soul, you will some day say thank you, sir, may I have another?!

Now, the peripathetic vagrabond Sir Te, who must camp out at our blog until he finds employment and gets a blog of his own, says that he has spent a virtual lunchtime studying philosophy, and yet, never stumbled across the idea that a classical liberal believes that knowledge of truth constitutes the mind's freedom. Perhaps it is because this superb wisdom is not to be found in the pages of the Hitchhiker's Guide to My Cousin's Converted Garage, or in the Tao te Schmendrick (we kid -- I am sure you are a harmless nebbish).

Perhaps no rabbi or classical liberal ever expressed it thus, but it is simply the B'ob extrapolating what they said in order to demonstrate the common assumption underlying classical liberalism. Yes, that's probably it.

Because the question is, "what is freedom for?" I happen to know what it is for, and I am a classical liberal. Therefore, past classical liberals must agree with me in essence, even if they never explicitly expressed it in the same way. For the eternal Coon Wisdom is One, although the sages call it by many names.

You will notice right off the moonbat that I do not waste a moment -- well, just this one -- debating whether or not free will exists (or where it came from, for that matter) for it self-evidently does. Even -- or, shall we say, especially -- someone who argues that free will does not exist must, in order to be consistent, believe that he is not free to believe what he believes, but is compelled to do so. Therefore we can ignore him, and not even waste the energy it would take to smite him with our rod of iron.

It is no coincidence that the same people who have undermined the concept of free will have carried on a brazen assault on the quintessentially human capacity to know truth (you can call them whatever you want -- I call them "leftists"). For although truth is defined as that which we are compelled to believe, if we do not arrive at it freely, then it cannot be truth.

For this reason, truth cannot be reduced to mere reason, for reason can only operate in a mechanistic way on the materials it is given. And this is precisely why there is such a riot of diverse opinions among the so-called "wise" of our day and age, for they are like children playing with one of the means of truth but unacquainted with -- indeed, even hostile to -- its transcendent Source.

I am currently reading a very good book entitled Light From the East: Theology, Science, and the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, and it is amazing to me how early this truth was known by Christian men -- but only because they were Christian men who knew the secret equation, A + J = R, or Athens + Jerusalem = Reality. (By the way, I cannot yet unreservedly raccoomend the book, but only because I just started it.)

There are some Christians who deplore the early fathers' mixing of scripture and Greek thought, but this is a very narrow-minded and ultimately dysfunctional view. First of all, it places an unnatural antagonism between religion and science or philosophy, when there can be no such antagonism.

Rather, properly understood, theology easily accommodates -- and will always accommodate -- any partial truth disclosed by science. Since science is simply the exploration and mapping of God's creation, this is something that should go without saying, but unfortunately, it doesn't. But the founders of Christianity were well aware of the fact. They had a great appreciation of science and pagan philosophy ("Athens"), while at the same time recognizing their limitations and the superiority of revelation, or God's Word. They were hardly "anti-intellectuals," but "hyper-" -- or shall we say "trans-" -- intellectuals. These were men of uncommon genius (thank God). At risk of tarring them with a featherweight term, they were the true integralists.

To cite just one example, Nesteruk writes that Clement of Alexandria "is considered the founder of Christian theology as understood in its modern setting as knowledge about God." His fundamental innovation was "the transfer of the language and methods of philosophy to the realm of faith." Among other things, he recognized truth "as something that embraces all, that includes all particular kinds of truth. Truth is one, and it is God's truth."

Truth is something which is "hidden" within philosophy, but philosophy alone can never disclose the full truth of which it is a mere vehicle. There is often a sad longing for truth in Greek philosophy -- even an intimation of its full revelation -- but it simply lacked the means to fully disclose it. That had to await the full embodiment of truth, in such a way that the divine and human worlds recovered their primordial oneness.

As Clement put it, Greek and Hellenic philosophy tore off "a fragment of truth from the theology of the ever-living Word," but a person who brings the fragments together and makes them one "will without peril, be assurred, contemplate the perfect Word, the truth."

Clement articulated plain Coon wisdom when he wrote, (as expressed by Nesteruk) that "the faith that is true knowledge of revelation becomes a more scientific faith when supported by philosophy, and in this way becomes gnosis." One persistent troll has criticized my approach, as if I should be engaged in some explicit political action. But before there can be any righteous and sustainable political action, it must be founded upon truth.

Furthermore, the contemporary Christian must not only be able to confidently and lucidly respond to what passes for the fashionable worldly wisdom of the day, but to confront the enemies of Christianity with superior arguments, something which is eminently possible. What is the alternative, being a clown like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, so people will go on thinking that such bozos are somehow representative of the intellectual depths of Christianity?

Clement pointed out something that would not be logically proven until Godel's theorems in the 20th century, that it requires an act of faith in order to employ first principles of any kind, whether "scientific" or religious. For example, if your first principle is that only empirical knowledge is possible, your first principle cannot be proven empirically. Rather, you take it on faith. Nor can natural selection prove that natural selection is responsible for the human mind, any more than DNA can prove that it holds the secret of life.

Clement concludes that "knowledge is a state of mind that results from demonstration; but faith is a grace which from what is indemonstrable conducts to what is universal and simple, something that is neither with matter, nor matter, nor under matter."

Frankly, it is one cosmos under god, but you knew that already. In any event, you will have to forgive me, not just for having written this unnecessary book, but because I'm just getting warmed up, and now His Majesty is stirring.... and then I have to get ready for my non-dei gig. To be continued, cosmic weather permitting....