Saturday, April 21, 2007

Evolution vs. Revolution: On Spending Timelessness With Yoursoph (and Avoiding Alec Baldwin)

The fourth commandment, “remembering the sabbath,” is another one that secularists strain to comprehend. They assume that it is not universal, and that it has only some idiosyncratic meaning for Jews, Christians, and Ozzy Osbourne fans. But like the other commandments, it has a literal meaning, a moral meaning, a symbolic meaning, and an esoteric meaning.

In his attack on meaning, the irreligious secularist cannot help but to extend the attack to time. Ritual has to do with the sacralization of time; or, more specifically, with not regarding it as mere duration, but as a portal for energies from the eternal to enter the herebelow. Since we live at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal, a literal interpretation of "sabbath consciousness" involves the idea of taking one day a week to leave the field of time and to emphasize verticality, or eternity.

But since the commandment is a universal archetype embodied in a particular religion, we needn't be overly concerned with this or that particular interpretation and application of the idea. More important is that you understand the principle and apply it to your life in some form or fashion, so that you occasionally unplug from the horizontal bewilderness and reconnect with your vertical source and destiny.

Now, what does the nihilist say about all this? What can he say? Since his first three commandments already condemn him to a godless and meaningless existence, what does it matter what you do -- or when you it -- with the time that has been given to you to perfect yourself? The only alternative to meaning is either chaos or enforced order. As such, these two extremes represent the two poles of the Democratic party. One pole is the enraged and infantile base, the primitive dailykos and types: the chaoticians, nihilists, barbarians, and infrahumans, while the other pole is the elites whom they empower in order to control themselves and everyone else -- the Clintons, Edwards, Gores, and Obamas.

(I say "infrahuman" because leftists do not recognize humans as fundamentally distinct from animals, and therefore do not make the effort to actualize this uniquely quasi-divine station. They are anything but humanists, because theirs' is the explicit philosophy of the animalization of the human, and all the consequences that flow from that. You may not think it is fair or illustrative, but Alec Baldwin's abuse of his daughter is a case in point. The leftist foregoes the task of mastering himself in favor of ceding his power to the collective, which he hopes will control him -- in particular, his greed, his envy, and his paranoia and malevolence toward his fellow man. Obviously, Alec Baldwin is "out of control," as are the majority of narcissistic Hollywoodenheads. It is rare that you would ever say of one, "ah, now here is a man who has mastered himself!" No. It is almost always the opposite. The less mastery, the further left; the list is endless.)

For the classical liberal, the very task of this life is to transcend and perfect oneself by first mastering oneself. To say that there is not a trace of this attitude in leftism is an understatement, for it is rooted in the opposite premise: that there is no such thing as self-mastery (only "repression"), so you must be controlled by the state, by a powerful collective. A nation of virtuous people living in the light of their own awakened conscience would not even require laws. Obviously, fallen humans being what they are, such an ideal state is not feasible, because it takes only a few irresponsible jerks to upset the whole balance. It's like the freeways -- you can have thousands of responsible drivers spontaneously interacting in a harmonious manner, but just one accident by some idiot will snarl the traffic and inconvenience everyone else.

Thus, leftism inevitably redounds to a situation in which inferior men rule the superior men, in part because the superior man has no interest in dominating others. This is the real reason why there are so very few conservatives in politics, because politics draws from people who wish to control others, and a conservative has no desire to exercise this kind of power as a replacement for self-mastery. And this is why virtually every professional group has been taken over by leftist activists, whether it is the educational establishment, the state department, the American Bar Association, the MSMistry of Truth, academia, or my idiotic group, the American Psychological Association -- it doesn't matter, for the principle is the same: the authorization of a kind of external power to control others as a substitute for the liberal doctrine of self-mastery.

For example, I and everyone else have to pay a ridiculous amount of money into the inefficient social security system because of the weakness, fecklessness, and irresponsibility of those who refuse to plan for their future. As always, leftist ideas have "good intentions," but the result is the institution of a system of incentives that rewards irresponsibility, denial of the future, and a focus on the present. How can this not contribute to people in general being less responsible with their money, purchasing things they don't need, and going into debt with credit cards?

A big part of the problem is that, once you have despiritualized a people, they will have a gigantic hole in the center of their being, which they will then attempt to fill either with material objects or with "thrills." It also creates the cult of celebrity, for celebrity is sort of insane replacement for being known by God. Or to put it in the reverse, no one who is known by God -- and therefore, ipso facto, knows God -- cares if they are known by a bunch of anonymous strangers. You cannot actually become a somebody through sufficient adulation by a mob of nobodies. But that doesn't stop people from trying.

Consider last Monday's mass murderer. He was a nothing, a nobody, a non-entity who was a non-entity by virtue of the fact that, for whatever reason, he was devoid of self mastery. He is obviously an extreme case. However, one thing I learned during my internship at Camarillo State Mental Hospital is that government employees are more dysfunctional than the patients. But the other thing I learned is that the most disturbed patients can provide a lot of insight into the less disturbed among us. This is because they have the same pathology, so to speak, only in an extremely vivid and exaggerated form.

Yesterday I linked to a provocative but entirely fair piece at American Thinker entitled Who Taught Cho to Hate? I believe it is fair, because some insane individuals will imbibe the ubiquitous message that the United States is a fundamentally corrupt place ruled by wealthy elites, and find justification to open fire on them. Others, such as Alec Baldwin, who are less psychotic but equally morally insane, will spout nonsense about President Bush being a murderer while engaging in the soul murder of their own child. It would be fascinating to know what Baldwin has taught his daughter about "evil conservatives" and "good liberals" such as himself. She's going to grow up either very confused or very clear about what motivates the angry and immature liberal.

Lewis asks, "was Cho taught to hate?":

"Whatever he learned in his classes -- did it enable him to rage at his host country, to hate the students he envied so murderously? Was he subtly encouraged to aggrandize himself by destroying others? Was his pathology enabled by the PC university? Or to ask the question differently -- was Cho ever taught to respect others, to admire the good things about his host country, and to discipline himself to build a positive life?"

The answer "is readily available on the websites of Cho's English Department at Virginia Tech. This is a wonder world of PC weirdness. English studies at VT are a post-modern Disney World in which nihilism, moral and sexual boundary breaking, and fantasies of Marxist revolutionary violence are celebrated." Instead of acting as surrogate parents to help usher these young adults to emotional, moral, and intellectual maturity, these professors literally do the opposite: the VT English Department is not "a place that gives lost and angry adolescents the essential boundaries for civilized behavior. In fact, in this perversely disorienting PoMo world, the very words 'civilized behaviors' are ridiculed -- at least until somebody starts to shoot students, and then it's too late. A young culture-shocked adolescent can expect no firm guidance here."

It is simply an unconscionable scandal that one can spend a fortune on an education at an elite university and never once be presented with any of the key ideas of classical liberalism or of genuine humanism. Instead, you will be taught to rationalize your own failures and to hate America for them. What you do with that hatred is up to you. Some may become activists who make it their goal to master and control others, while some may become academics in order to vampirically "put the bite" on the next generation of young adults and convert them to this sinister ideology. But in any event, you will leave college no more a "finished" human being than you were when you entered -- and probably come away with the idea that there is nothing to "finish" except for the revolution to displace the human being.

Plus, you will have been exposed to many ideas that shouldn't even be thought, much less taught. At Belmont Club there is an article discussing this, entitled Deliver Us From Evil, in which Mr. Club writes that

"As a child I was taught one could 'sin through thought, word and deed'. Somewhere in the intervening years society seems to have forgotten about the 'sins' of thought and word largely because it refused to believe in taboos. There were, the school chaplains used to say, dark doors beyond which it was dangerous for the mind to go. There were thoughts you could not think -- unless you were strong enough to wrestle with what you would find beyond the portal.

"Pedophilia, bestiality, extreme cruelty, monstrous behavior -- these are no longer ideas which we dare not entertain or cast out of our minds should they fleet through our consciousness out of the fear of 'sin'. No. Pedophilia has itself become a cause for enlightened people... Instead we have cast out the idea of sin itself and made the conception of sin as sin our only societal taboo."

There is a civil war in this country between human and anti-human ideologies. You might say that one aims for the transcendent goal of humanness, while the other abolishes the category altogether and therefore makes its achievement impossible.


Did we get sidetracked, or can this be tied together with the fourth commandment of nihilism, which is forget the sabbath, because time has no vertical dimension anyway. And if time does not have a vertical dimension, then there is no developmental time, and therefore no telos for human beings -- nothing to achieve, no measurement of human maturity. We are all Alec Baldwin, who has often expressed interest in running for office. Then others can share in the feeling of what it is like to have such a beast for a father: a man who cannot even master a child. No, not his child -- which is what he imagines -- but his own childishness. The out-of-control child evokes the heavy-handed governmental parent who will coerce and control him as a substitute for self-mastery.


And here is some of what I wrote about the fourth commandment last year. It also applies:

In order to understand this commandment, we must go back to the very beginning of Genesis, where God eternally “creates the heavens and the earth.” In the esoteric view, this refers to the continuous separation of the vertical (heaven, eternity, the Absolute) and horizontal (earth, time, the relative world). So long as we are in the horizontal -- the horizontal alone -- we are indeed “strangers in this world.” In the absence of the vertical, life is a sort of absurd hell, or at best, a meaningless pleasure palace in which we should mindlessly pursue our lusts and desires until crying time. “A raging animal inside of a dying carcass,” as I believe I once heard Alan Watts put it.

But “remembering the sabbath” has to do with vertical recollection, and cultivating the leisure necessary to achieve it. It is literally re-membering, for it involves rejoining our ground of being before things get too out of hand. It is possible to get so lost in the horizontal -- one’s life can become so complex and convoluted -- that it is difficult to find one’s way back to that OMnipresent hole in creation known as the sabbath.

For the sabbath ultimately represents a shorthand way of discussing those little springs that dot the landscape of being, through which vertical energies bubble forth from the ground. Every night, before going to sleep, I make it a point to remember how and where I drank from one of these springs during the day. No matter how difficult my day, I can almost always remember some point at which I was “given my daily bread,” so to speak -- some point at which the vertical energies shone through and nourished me. Come to think of it, it often happens while making one of these little morning raids on the wild godhead. It’s a big reason I write them. I wake up looking for one of those little springs bubbling up around my computer. As always, the challenge is to make sure I bring a big enough crock.

In any event, it is specifically because the sabbath is “built in” to the cosmos that vertical energies can enter and leave the “kingdom of man.” In other words, we aren’t trapped here below deck in the dark hull of the horizontal, merely sailing toward our doom. It is the reason why prayer, meditation, contemplation, lectio divina, and Petey's tin cup all work. These are all activities that make the vertical presence present, because they allow us to step outside the relentless stream of time and stand on the shore for a bit, "watching the river flow.” Through these inactivities, we may turn toward what is “behind” or “above” the external world and its nihilocracy of urgent nonsense.

Now critically, the purpose of the sabbath isn’t just to gear us up for the horizontal, a brief reprieve from the toil and drudgery of existence. Rather, the reverse is true. Although there is a rhythm and a dialectic between the sabbath and the mundane, in my view, the entire purpose of creation is the sabbath, not understood literally, but esoterically as our ever-present link to the whole. Keeping the sabbath holy is etymologically linked to the idea of “wholeness” and healing. I don’t intend to bash the left again... no, that's not true.... I do.... but one thing you will notice about “progressives” is that they are relentless. The idea of the sabbath is foreign to them, because it has been replaced by the idea of trying to force perfection in the horizontal, something which can never happen. For one thing, it is already happening. But only now. And now. And now.

In other words, you must occasionally step back from creation -- as did God -- and realize that it is already good. It is only for us to realize it. But this realization is more of a challenge than you might appreciate. Like the injunction against envy -- which is actually a reward and not an “order" -- the ability to truly experience “sabbath consciousness” is also a reward. It is something that most people have some difficulty achieving. Therefore, they displace their own inability to experience the simple joy of being, and project it into the future, when the revolution creates Sugar Candy Mountain on earth, when the minimum wage is increased, when everyone has free healthcare, and when all men have been castrated.

In short, progressives habitually turn an existential defect into a virtue, since politics is their religion, 24/7/365. To “remember” the sabbath would mean forgetting about the revolution, and that would be a political sin. They cannot separate church and state because the state is their church.

When we are caught up in the stream of time, the unity of reality is broken up into hopes, dreams, regrets, wishes, plans, resentments, etc. You cannot get away from these things so long as you are in time, because they are a function of time. The only way out is up and in, where we are called upon to live as if we are already in paradise. In truth, the sabbath is not a recollection but a “memoir of the future.” Here, the world does not need to be worked on or improved, merely enjoyed as it is. In a strange way, we would live in paradise if people were only capable of realizing that we already do.

After all, this present moment of your life is the end result of thousands and thousands of little plans, goals, choices, and decisions you have made over the course of your life. Are you able to step back for a moment and realize that this is it, that this moment is the result of your plans coming to fruition? Or are you in reality simply addicted to “planning” as a way to escape the moment? We live in a time undreamt of by kings and princes, but how many of us are able to simply enjoy it?

In the final unalysis, the sabbath must be internalized, so that one has access to it at all times, like a portable monastery, a zone of silence, a realm of inner peace between you and the world. For as much as you may think that you are in the world, the opposite is generally true. The world is in you -- it sinks its teeth into you and will not let go, which is why we have to consciously practice letting it go and “dying” to the world.

For the sabbath is also a rehearsal for the Big Sabbath, when it is dark and no man can work anyway. As Petey quipped in One Cosmos, “The paradox at the heart of the sabbath is that you must live your life as if you already abide in the eternal, because you do, but aspire to get there as if your life depended on it, because it does. The former is more difficult than the latter, because your worries, anxieties, plans, and conventional aspirations trick you into thinking there is another way out. And if you believe that, you are doing the adversary’s heavy lifting for him, and giving him his black sabbath rest.” Which is why Democrats are the adversarial party.


Just. Wow. At dailykos, the beatification of the monster named Cho. In the morally insane world of the left, perpetrators are victims (HT: LGF).

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Third Commandment of Nihilism: You Shall Have a Vanity Plate in Your Head

When they aren't plain wrong, leftist arguments are just so silly or disingenuous. During the debate regarding the appropriateness of a statue of the Ten Commandments outside a courtroom, I remember them ridiculing the idea that an intelligent or sophisticated person could take them seriously anyway. True, there might be some commonsense folk wisdom embedded in a few of them, but they are obviously not the instantiation of a transcendent moral order worthy of our reverence. Please.

You will notice that leftists are often exactly what they accuse their adversaries of being -- in this case, either hyper-concrete and literal, or prone to a pseudo-form of reason applied to an extremely narrow area, thus rendering reason irrational. That there is a bas relief pi'ture of Moses bearing the Ten Commandments inside the Supreme Court building is of no consequence to them -- as if someone illegally snuck it in there without anyone noticing that it's not exactly kosher. Or worse yet, that it is.

I remember a comedian, for example, mocking the commandment, "you shall not take the name of the lord in vain." What's that supposed to mean? And why would the creator of the universe possibly care about how we employ language or what we say about him? Parochial yahoos. Anthropocentrists. These so-called "ten commandments" aren't universal. Rather, they're just a bunch of arbitrary rules made up by some primitive tribe 3,000 years ago. We're liberated. We don't believe that nonsense.

Of course, such blinkered thinking represents the quintessence of vanity, parochialism, and narcissism, for it articulates what the spiritually untutored human -- which is to say, signifyin' monkey -- thinks about the cosmos. We may dismiss such common McDullards in light of their own assumptions about language, which is that it is an arbitrary and ultimately meaningless protest shouted into the cosmic void. Secular leftists are half-right, in that their philosophy is indeed a vacuous shout from void to Void.

But the point of depicting the Ten Commandments in the most exalted court in the land is to emphasize that human law is indeed arbitrary unless it is rooted in transcendent and absolute principles. Don't kid yourself. The "rule of law" is vastly superior to the "rule of man," unless it is only the rule of law -- for if it is, we are simply back to the rule of man. In other words, if law is not grounded in something transcending it -- something which law is intended to embody and reflect -- then there is no reason to respect it aside from avoiding earthly punishment.

I remember when I first realized this fact with the... with the force of God. This was probably about seven years ago. I was doing something I shouldn't be doing, specifically, taking something that did not belong to me. Don't get me wrong -- it was in the "everybody does it" category -- but that was the problem, at least for someone presuming to be on a spiritual path. It was such an inconsequential thing, and yet, I suddenly felt like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, which is to say, existentally naked before the full brunt of my divine conscience.

Only later, in the course of reading Schuon, did I fully "put two and two together" and realize the centrality of virtue to the spiritual path. If you are going to make any spiritual progress, there are certain things you simply cannot do, even if they are legal or if everyone else does them, the reason being that the good and true converge as you approach the One. In this regard, this is why I can speak so confidently -- if you want to say bobnoxiously, that's fine -- about the bogosity of certain spiritual teachers. One can only assume that they are operating outside the light of the divine conscience, for virtue is the mark of the sage. In fact, awareness of the conscience is one of the things that makes the saint so humble.

Now, the third commandment is here to remind us that, just as law must be grounded in something transcending it, so too is language anchored in a reality that surpasses it. In fact, this is why we are able to make meaningful statements at all. The problem, as a commenter yesterday put it, is not that life is meaningless, but rather, that it means so much: "The tragedy is that to care is to risk the unbearable pain of loss. To say all is absurd is a defense against the pain of loss, as in saying 'it can't hurt me because it never mattered in the first place.' Nihilists play games in the dark because they are very frightened to begin with." The only thing I would add is that they play language games, which is why they are so fundamentally unserious -- again, by dint of their own frivolous assumptions.

Here is a perfect example. Even if you are "pro-choice," everyone except a true sociopath knows that abortion is morally wrong. It is a moral reality that you simply cannot not know unless you have no conscience or unless you have disabled your conscience with word games in order to make wrong seem right. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards all presume to be religious, so just ask them: does abortion please God? And if not, why not? And if it does please God, please tell us a little more about this God of yours and his relationship to human beings.

Again, irrespective of whether or not you are pro-choice, only a very disingenuous person, or someone who does not take language seriously, could read the Constitution and find there a universal right to kill your fetus. It has been said that if leftists interpreted the second amendment the way they do the rest of the constitution, you would be mandated to carry a weapon at taxpayers' expense.

What would it be like for time to stop and to spend eternity standing naked before your unveiled conscience? JWM proposed that this is what happens in the eternal moment between when the depraved Palestinian ghettoblaster pushes the button and the rat-poison-laced screws reach the Jewish baby's head. A metaphor, or course, but eternity does exist, as does the eternal conscience. As such, in one way or another, you will live with what you have done forever, so choose wisely. If the Creator is just -- and there is no reason to believe he wouldn't be -- then these shameless Islamic monsters from their "shame cultures" will be immersed in the very shame they cannot tolerate until the conclusion of this cosmic cycle. If they think Saudi Arabia is bad, just wait until they find out about the eternal shame cosmos.

One very efficient, if indiscriminate, way to make the conscience disappear -- and with it, shame -- is by severing language from its transcendent source, so that nothing can be known and all is ultimately arbitrary, including moral rules of conduct. But as brother Elvis teaches us in one of today's FineTune selections, you may run on for a long time, but not forever:

My God spoke and he spoke so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of angel's feet
He put one hand upon my head
Great God almighty, tell you what he said

Go tell that long-tongued liar,
Go tell that midnight rider,
Tell the gambler and the rambler and the back-biter
Tell 'em God almighty gonna cut 'em down

Run on for a long time,
Run on for a long time,
Let me tell you God almighty gonna cut you down

You may throw your rock and hide your hand
Working in the dark 'gainst your fellow man
Sure as God made the day and the night
What you do in the dark will be brought to the light
You may run and hide, slip and slide
Trying to take the mote from your neighbour's eyes
As sure as God made the rich and po'
You gonna reap just what you sow

Some people go to church just to sit in the fire
Trying to make a date with the neighbour's wife
Brother let me tell you as sure as you born
You better leave that woman alone
Because one of these days, mark my word
You think that brother is gone to work
You'll sneak up, knock on that door
That's all brother, you'll knock no more

Amen, brother, you ain't gonna knock on heaven's door with a smokin' semantic crater in the middle of your syntax.

Where was I? Yes, the third commandment of nihilism: Since God does not exist, all language is ultimately vain, and metaphysics is not possible. Let's review some of what I wrote about the matter last summer. For those of you who have read it before, you are dismissed. Have a nice weekend. Remember -- no ramblin', gamblin', and back-bitin'.


Authentic religions are frameworks for spirituality in the same way that music theory is a framework for music. You can try to play music without it -- you can be “musical” -- but except for rare exceptions, you won’t be able to play much of interest. It will be a pretty vain endeavor. This is why, for example, regardless of what objection you may have to the Catholic church, they have produced many more profound spiritual geniuses than the “new age” ever will. Frankly, there’s just no comparison in terms of depth, power and spiritual radiance.

While radical secularists grant that it might be bad under certain circumstances to murder or steal, they especially dismiss injunctions against making graven images (discussed in yesterday’s post) or taking the name of the lord in vain. No one is going to tell a leftist what he can and cannot mock, since leftism represents a convoluted intellectual sanction for knee-jerk adolescent rebellion. If they could not blaspheme, what would be left of them? This is why I was so surprised at their decision to grind Imus -- who is one of their own -- through the left-wing hate machine. Now they'll have to shut down the entire rap and hip-hop industry, and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson can no longer wear the liberal King of Negroes crown.

It is a vain dream that leftists would ever take language seriously or be intellectually consistent.

You will also notice that no one is more literal-minded or “fundamentalist” than the leftist who rejects religion. That is, they reject only a caricature of religion that they themselves have concrockted. Or perhaps, as often happens, they had a bad experience with a dysfunctional version of religion as a child, and are in perpetual revolt against it. While perfectly understandable -- in fact, to a certain extent, I was a victim of this myself -- there is no reason why it should pose a lifelong obstacle to opening oneself to the boundless depths of genuine religion.

The third commandment is “You shall not take the name of the lord in vain.” There are even many Christians who believe that this means nothing more than refraining from cursing. If so, what’s the point? If that were all it amounted to, then liberals might even be correct in mocking something so seemingly trivial in the overall scheme of things.

First of all, this commandment has something important to say about metaphysical vanity, specifically, vain and fruitless talk about God, of which there is an overabundance. Much religious talk is entirely vain, in that it serves no purpose -- it is mere “pneuma-babble” emanating from the ego, not the spirit.

The omninameable One has revealed several of his names to mankind, perhaps the most important one being I AM. In fact, there are certain forms of yoga that consist of nothing more than meditating on the mystery of this I AM to which we all have magical access. To do so is to engage in the deepest form of vertical recollection, for this I AM is not located in the field of time. Rather, it eternally radiates through the vertical now to which humans have unique access. To dwell in the primordial I AM -- or so ham in Sanskrit -- is to reconnect with the eternal ground of being. It is anything but vain.

As I was at pains to point out in One Cosmos, the truths embodied in genuinely revealed religions must be experienced, not merely thought. This is really not much different than, say, psychology. You can read all about the criteria for a depression or panic attack in the DSM, but unless you have actually experienced a panic attack, the words don’t really convey the experience. If anything, they might even convince you that you understand it because you have the words for it, but the words are merely pointers or place markers for a reality that most certainly exists.

Especially with regard to religion and psychology, words must be analogous to bank notes that one may “cash in” for their actual experiential value. Otherwise you are simply dealing with religious counterfeiters and with spiritual “funny money” that has no value at all. It is entirely vain. When you read Meister Eckhart or Frithjof Schuon, you should know that their words are backed by the full faith and credit of the First Bank of Divine Reality. When you read Deepak Chopra or Tony Robbins, you know that their words are backed by the full faith and credit of their rampant narcissism. But Petey's law means that bad spiritual money tends to drive out good, which accounts for their vast personal fortunes.

Perhaps the worst way of taking the name of the Lord in vain -- and the most spiritually catastrophic for the person who does so -- is to use the name of God as a pretext to commit great evil, as do the Islamists. I’m trying to think of a worse sin, but I can’t at the moment. What the Islamists are doing is beyond evil, for they are committing evil in the name of God, thus undermining the very possibility of the Good.

Contrary to popular understanding, these monsters of depravity are worthy of both divine wrath and our own unyielding holy anger. True, under most circumstances it is appropriate to “hate the sin and not the sinner.” However, it is entirely legitimate to despise the sinner to the extent that he has not only completely given himself over to sin, but fully identifies with it in an implacable way. In other words, if the sinner has chosen to be sin, then it is appropriate to despise him. Woe unto spiritually depraved groups such as CAIR or the ACLU that align themselves with these embodiments of evil.

The Islamo-nazis are not just committing evil, they are willfully identified with evil -- more, they are absolutely committed to violent overthrow of the very possibility of the good. It is our sacred duty to despise these monsters in the proportion to which we love the Good. In no way does this mirror the illegitimate, passionate, and sadistic hatred of the Islamists themselves, for holy anger is dispassionate and does not surpass the boundaries of what has provoked it. Americans do not chop off heads for fun; they do only what is necessary to stop the evil. But to the left, our liberation of Iraq is morally indistinguishable from Saddam's occupation of it.

There is one additional aspect of the third commandment that I had wanted to get into, but I can see that I won’t really have timelessness enough to expand upon it. That is the possibility of metaphysical knowledge which is both objectively true and operative, or fruitful, in the psyche. Virtually all postmodern thought is in agreement that metaphysical knowledge is not possible -- that it is “vain.” Here again we see an exact reversal of the reality, for the religious view is that human beings most definitely have access, through the uncreated intellect, to objective truth. There are eternal truths that man may not only know, but without which man would not be man.


Oh, there are so many, I don’t know where to begin. How about this one: “semantics cannot be reduced to syntax.” Because it can’t, language is not just a vain epiphenomenon produced by a modified primate brain, including the mathematical language that governs the physical universe, the language of DNA, the language of music, or the language of Shakespeare. Ultimately, it means that meaning is indeed meaningful and not merely a vain existential pursuit. The cosmos is not just a tale told by a tenured idiot, full of envy and activism but signifying short hours and a nice paycheck. Rather, it is a vehicle and transmitter of Ultimate Meaning.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Graven and Craven Images of the Nihilist

(forgive typos. better yet, inform me of them)

One wonders what possible interest an avowed existentialist (FF) -- which is to say, nihilist -- would have in visiting our site. Indeed, not just visiting, but taking the time to comment and to try to convince Raccoons of the worthiness of his little philosophy. Why would one do such a thing in a meaningless universe? Is he trying to help us? Educate us? Disillusion us? In a universe in which truth does not exist, why try to convince others of the truth? Does he not realize that we already understand existentialism from bottom to bottom and find it to be inadequate to the very task of philosophy and therefore unworthy of the name?

No offense to rappers, but existentialism is to philosophy as rap is to music. Just as rap emphasizes rhythm at the expense of the two other key ingredients of music, i.e., melody and harmony, existentialism emphasizes an extremely narrow band of egoic consciousness and elevates it to the totality. FF sets out the premise of his philosophy:

"Existentialism is not for the faint of heart. You have to feel yourself as alone in a large, uncaring universe in which there is no God, and other people can't be really be depended on."

One could equally say that existentialism is for the faint of heart, the egocentric among us who are too proud to surrender to the higher consciousness that gave birth to them. And to say that one must "feel" oneself alone in an uncaring universe is to emphasize that this pseudo-philosopy is grounded first in a deicidedly schizoid "feeling" of cosmic abandonment, which is a psychological issue susceptible to treatment, not a properly philosophical issue belonging to the arena of the intellect properly so called.

Moreover, it sounds as if one part of the self must bully another part into submitting to this bitter philosophy. Why live in such a divided state, one part bossing around the other part in order to believe something it doesn't believe and cannot swallow, much less digest?

In fact, how is it that this cosmos has produced a detached and dispassionate center of consciousness which is able to will itself to believe or disbelieve this or that? There is no materialistic philosophy which can, with materialistic assumptions, account for such an entity. Of this we may be certain.

The first ascertainment which should impose itself upon man when he reflects on the nature of the Universe is the primacy of that miracle that is intelligence -- or consciousness or subjectivity -- and consequently the incommensurability between these and material objects, be it a question of a grain of sand or of the sun, or of any creature whatever as an object of the senses. --F. Schuon

I do agree with FF that 1) truth exists, and 2) truth is what we must believe. But a true existentialist must affirm the opposite, that 1) no one can know the truth, and 2) it doesn't matter anyway. FF even says so:

"Everything you've ever done will come to nothing, as time erases all things in due course. And even if something was 'accomplished' it all comes to nothing because the entire thing is an absurd and empty gesture done for no end. There is nobody and nothing watching the performance of your life."

Here truly is the "voice of the nihil." As you can see, just as this detached voice emphasizes the ego at the expense of all other levels and dimensions of consciousness, it absurdly posits time in the absence of eternity, freedom in the absence of any ground and therefore goal for it, falsehood in the absence of truth, absurdity in the absence of meaning, and subjectivity in the absence of a Subject. It is completely incoherent and makes no sense at all. You could summarize it by saying that it uses the vertical to annihilate the vertical, like a tree that grows more leaves in order to prove that the roots and soil -- not to mention the Sun -- do not exist. Once again, he even says so:

"All pleasures and pains eventually lead to one thing, the annhiliation and nothingness of death."

In short, Death is God -- even though death can only exist as a local side effect of a nonlocally living cosmos.

I don't know how one could know that Death is God unless one is omniscient -- or perhaps just emotionally dead and omnipotently projecting this unnatural state into the cosmos. And if they are omniscient, then this is a category that most certainly transcends existentialism. I myself have no difficulty believing that human beings are "omniscient," albeit in a limited way that reflects the axiom, "as above, so below." In other words, seeing as how human beings are made in the image of the Creator, it follows that we have a divine spark at the center of our being which is able to know truth and to know it absolutely. You will notice that I do not have to "force" myself to believe this. Rather, it is obvious.

It is also personally bobvious because people far wiser than Bob have told him so, and the B'ob places far more trust in them than in somenone who tells him up front that he "feels" truth doesn't exist and that I must believe that he is being truthful about this. I suppose he's being truthful about his feelings, but that hardly means his feelings are true.

For one thing, truth is generative. It flowers, it grows, and it nourishes the soul. It is literally like a tree, the Tree of Life. In this regard, revelation is like an O-perating system for the soul. Once installed, you will find that it is effective on various planes, including the plane of epistemology, i.e., what we may know and understand about existence, both individual and cosmic. In short, it allows finite beings to think properly about the eternal, the infinite, and the absolute, which otherwise remain impenetrable mysteries. I could never blog on a daily basis using the operating system of existentialism, for I would only be able to say nothing over and over, like my critics.

But existentialism is not "organic." It as not made for man. Rather, it is a wholly unholy manmode philosophy -- obviously -- that cannot account for the one who invented it and has decided to believe in it, because such a one ipso facto transcends his philosophy. Thus, existentialism is ultimately a self-limiting cognitive and spiritual dead end that truly does produce nothing, for it is the philosophy of nothingness. It is the very substance of nothing. So yes, if you are an existentialist, I agree with you: you are a nothing, a nihil, a worm, and an absurdity. But you have only yourself to blame and nosoph to bloom.

Naturally, such a one has a need to evangelize. But this is not out of a generous spirit of truth sharing -- for how could it be? -- but out of a bad spirit which you might say represents the cold hand of death reaching out to comfort you. Have you ever seen René Spitz's famous experiments using monkeys to study maternal attachment? He removed the babies from their mothers and placed them in a cage with two mother substitutes. One was a wire monkey holding a milk bottle, the other was a cloth monkey with no nourishment. The baby would feed from the wire monkey but otherwise ignore it. Most notably, when frightened, it would jump into the arms of the cloth monkey for comfort and security.

As I have mentioned before, both psychoanalysis and Christianity take seriously the idea that we are embodied beings, and that our mental life takes place in a human body. A philosophy such as existentialism is a non-starter for me, because it again begins with this abstract, detached ego hovering in subjective space with no theory to account for how it got there. But if you take the trouble to truly deconstruct your mind in the generative sense of that term, you will discover that your self is not made of "food" but that it is made of love -- or, conversely, that you have internalized various mind parasites in the space where the love should have been.

Of course, I know nothing about FF's developmental history, but existentialism is the philosophy of the wire mother, so that may or may not provide him with some food for thought from Petey's ample bosom as to how and why he believes what he does. There is nothing human about it; it is like trying to use Marx to understand Shakespeare. And like something made of wire, existentialism is a cold, dry, and lifeless thing, whereas truth is warm, loving, flowing -- ah, manna from above!

Thank you our MotherFather who art in heaven!

Why thank you?

Because it is simply the spontaneous expression of gratitude for something so precious. Gratitude is one of the unmistakable seals of truth. Something like this:


Not the god of the philosophers and scholars.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace....

Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except God....
Greatness of the Human Soul.
"Righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee."
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy....

Let me not be separated from Him eternally.
"This is eternal life.”

Renunciation, total and sweet....
Eternally in joy for a day's training on earth.

Yes, even Donovan knew that love is hot and truth is molten. This is what Truth feels like to a pascally pundit but not to a wascally wobot. If you have never shed real tears upon hearing truth, you probably haven't heard it. Such tears occur when one has touched the divine plane.

What does existentialism feel like to a lover of truth? -- for there is no transcendent truth that is not lovable. It feels entirely contrived and artificial, like an ideology made of cardboard and baling wire. It is certainly not for human consumption. But being that we are what we eat, it will gradually convert your soul into its image. It leads to such nonsense as this:

"The existentialist summons forth his free will, and fortified with nothing beyond that, decides to feel 'meaning' in whatever he or she decides. It could be a pair of Argyle socks or a committment to a book club. It doesn't matter what it is, it only matters that the person has made the choice."

Brrrrr! The human mind was no more made to believe such an absurdity, than the human body was made to live at the north pole. I mean, it is possible, but don't make a virtue out of it.

"This is as high as one gets. There is a dignity in facing against the absurd emptiness that is this cosmos and spitting in its face. Defiance is the hightest virtue available. Like Nietchze, we bite off the head of the snake."

Respectfully disagree. This is as low as one gets, and there is no dignity whatsoever in it, except for the delusional and compensatory kind. It is, however, the outcome of a diet consisting of unctuous, hypnotic, and seductive snakes and their oil -- not to mention wire monkeys and their loveless milk. What I am saying is not complicated. It's just simple gastrophysics.

"The way of the existentialist takes a huge amount of discipline and self-mastery. For him, the easy path of religion is not good enough. He takes the hard road."

The way of existentialsim is the quintessence of a lack of self-mastery and an admission of defeat. It is by definition the lazy man's path, for it ends precisely where religion begins. It is like -- exactly like -- saying, "the path of quantum calculus is not good enough. I will take the hard road of basic arithmetic to understand all of reality." FF abuses religion beyond all recognition, and then rejects it because it is so ugly. I don't blame him for the latter, only the former, for it is a monumental sin of the intellect to treat Sophia in such a shabby manner.

"Even if he is wrong, and God exists, he has still shown the manly virtues of fortitude and forbearance; few other paths offer such a baptism in naked fear."

Correction. If he is right, there are no virtues, manly or otherwise, because Man does not exist.

As I said, I do have a certain respect for the intellectual honesty of an existentialist who truly has the courage of his absence of convictions, such as Nietszche. Reading him is still a bracing experience, for he is the most poetic voice of the nihil. He is the anti-Christ, and for that he deserves a certain kind of respect -- as does the poisonous snake to whom we give a wide berth. Nietszche knew that in the absence of the divine there is only the will to power:

When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality. For the latter is absolutely not self-evident: one must make this point clear again and again, in spite of English shallowpates. Christianity is a system, a consistently thought out and complete view of things. If one breaks out of it a fundamental idea, the belief in God, one thereby breaks the whole thing to pieces: one has nothing of any consequence left in one's hands.... Christian morality is a command: its origin is transcendental;... it possesses truth only if God is truth -- it stands or falls with the belief in God.

As does existentialism, which could only have occurred in a thoroughly Christianized world. For existentialism is simply a reactionary parasite on a magnificent organic structure that existentialism could never have built, for existentialism builds nothing, precisely. As like is drawn to like, who could love nothing, except a nothing with no love?


I had intended to get into the second commandment of nihilism, but got carried away. However, my post definitely addresses that commandment, which is that you must acquiesce to manmade graven images, just as FF tells us -- i.e., that we must feel ourselves to exist in an absurd and loveless universe in which nothing and no one can be trusted. Here is a review of some of what I wrote last summer about the matter:

The reason why it is necessary to acknowledge the Absolute prior to the relative is that, in the absence of the Absolute, all transcendent values are bleached out and ultimately wiped away. Values can only exist in a hierarchy (i.e., some things are more precious and valuable than others), and any hierarchy is conditioned from top to bottom. There can be no higher or lower in an infinite horizontal wasteland. Rather, in such a case, the world is simply a brute fact, with nothing to spiritualize it. Matter is elevated to the “ultimate,” so that the world shrinks down to our most primitive way of knowing it. In fact, it is precisely because there are degrees within the relative that we may prove the Absolute, in that these degrees of relativity reflect the Absolute either more or less adequately.

Although secularists like to think that their's represents a sophisticated view of the world, in reality, no philosophy could be more provincial and monkey-bound. As Richard Weaver has noted, it substitutes facts for truth and logic for wisdom, elevating the world of the senses above the antecedent reality that can only be known by the intellect. Man becomes the center of authority, which makes him no authority at all, for no fact speaks for itself and no experience can tell us what we are experiencing.

The secular materialist attempts through endless induction to assemble the cosmos from the bottom up, but you can never get there from here. No one has ever seen this thing called “cosmos,” and no one ever will. Rather, it is accepted on faith, as it is an inevitable shadow of its unitary creator. In other words, we all intuit that there is a strict totality of interacting objects and events because we were built to do so (unlike any other animal). To say “cosmos” is to say and even praise “God,” for God is the cosmos, even though the cosmos is not God. It is a "reflection" of God, and therefore cannot help but to be One.

In reality, beauty is another inevitable “residue” of its source, an exteriorization of the Universal Mind. To the extent that ugliness exists -- and it surely does -- it does not represent a fundamental reality but a deprivation of such. It is a measure of distance from the divine archetype, the full brunt of which reality could not bear. Thus we have degrees of beauty just as we have degrees of goodness and truth. And no one could plausibly argue that this beauty is perceived by the senses, but only by the uncreated intellect that mirrors it.

Two things that the uncorrupted mind cannot not know: that the world is intelligible and man is free. Take away either, and the world is simply an absurdity, a monstrosity, a mistake. For to say that we may know is equally to say that we are free, otherwise it is not knowledge at all. Knowledge proves freedom, freedom proves knowledge, and both prove the Creator, for the hierarchy of being disclosed by the free intellect leads back to its nonlocal source above.

Behind the idolatrous secular impulse is a persistent, vulgar materialism that collapses the hierarchy of being and reduces the Absolute to some tangibly manifest idea or object that can be “contained” by the lower mind. But these are truly “mind games” for the childlike secularist, for no fragmented detail at the periphery of existence can explain the mysterious whole, much less the infinite interior center that represents its beating heart.

“The universe is a tree eternally existing, its root aloft, its branches spread below.” So says the Katha Upanishad. We know this tree, for it is the same tree that appears in Genesis. It is a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf. For the grazing herdhearted woodenheads who wouldn't, they are the sap. Or perhaps a wire monkey.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Ten Commandments of Nihilism: Left, Bereft, and F'ed

Yesterday I made reference to the Ten Commandments of Nihilism, one of which is Thou shalt not judge. A commenter asked if I would post all ten commandments, which I will proceed to do.

You may remember that last summer I did a series of posts on the esoteric -- but very practical -- understanding of the biblical ten commandments, which not only form the basis of ethical behavior, but also encapsulate the essence of human wisdom and provide a concrete and universally applicable yoga, or "technology," so to speak, for a spiritual practice.

The first thing you must understand is that, just as the atheist is an implicit theist, the nihilist doesn't really believe nothing, but elevates nothing to the highest wisdom. In so doing, they overturn the order of the cosmos and horizontalize the vertical, paving the way for us to be left, bereft, and f'ed, just like they are (or will be, once they are officially conquered by Islam) in western Europe.

Since nothing is sacred to a nihilist -- literally -- one would think they would be pretty tough, pretty insensitive to insults. But somehow, the opposite is true. The list of lefitst sacred cowpies (Imus recently stepped in one) and iconmen (a couple of whom got him fired) is endless. Why is that?

Let us start with the axiom that the Absolute is necessarily both immanent and transcendent, meaning that it is both "in" the world and "beyond" it. The relative world -- i.e., maya -- may be thought of as the peripheral "radiance" from the nonlocally central sun of the Absolute.

As such, the relative necessarily and inevitably contains degrees of being, with the first and last degree known as “God.” But around these parts we just call it O, so as to avoid pretending that we understand it just because we have a word for it.

It is only possible for us to know the Good, the True, and the Beautiful because we can recognize and distinguish them in the light of the Absolute. For example, in the absence of the Absolute, there cannot actually be any truth, since truth is ipso facto true, and therefore absolute in its own way. In other words, the "relative absoluteness" of any truth is a reflection of O in the herebelow.

Now, the other day, a reader suggested that I become more "mystical," and "let Petey take over" in my writing. I don't think anyone would really like that, because those last two mystagogic paragraphs are an example of "how Petey talks." He's a bit pompous and inscrutible, and one can never know for certain whether he is "pulling my piñata," as he calls it. Sometimes he enjoys "testing" me, and will toss out some pearl of bogus Chopraesque windbaggery just to keep me on my toes.

The long and short of it is that he doesn't want me to just take dictation and pass it along, unlike his obsessive-compulsive friend, Gabriel, who insisted on absolute fidelity to his words. No; Petey wants me first of all to understand, and only then pass along my understanding to others.

But "understanding" is not something you can pass along from mind to mind, like an object (or even like a mental object, such as a mathematical equation or rule of reason). Rather, understanding -- as opposed to knowledge -- is something that must be facilitated in another, which is much more tricky. Anyone can "teach." Much more difficult to facilitate "understanding" of a suprasensible reality. But that is the only option, for if one attempts to "know" this reality in the usual way, one will only generate "minus k."

Anyway, let's break down some of Petey's lofty pneumababble and trancelight it into plain english. The ten commandments of nihilism are simply a reversal of the actual ten commandments, so that they represent the quintessence of cosmic stupidity and a detailed lesson on how not to live -- or how to shovel with both hands and how to comprehensively waste your life.

Thus, the first commandment of nihilsim is the converse of the actual first commandment. Instead of “I am your God and you shall have no other gods before me,” the parallel looniverse of the secular left begins with the commandment that “there is no Absolute and you shall bow down before all of the sacred relativities we have inserted in its place.”

From this first commandment follow all of implications and ramifications of nihilism. You might say that the subsequent nine commandments are "fractals" of the first, in that each of them represents the first in miniature -- or shall we say, the first commandment applied to this or that more limited realm -- just as the real first commandment is the basis of the other nine.

Also, it should be kept in mind that the first five commandments apply to the vertical (i.e., man-to-god relations), the second five to the horizontal (i.e., human-to-human relations). But in the case of the ten commandments of nihilism, there is reversal, so that the vertical commandments become horizontalized, while the horizontal ones become verticalized.

Sorry. That was Petey talking again. Allow me to explain.

The first commandment of nihilism is that God, the Absolute, does not exist, and that you shall have no gods before this. Therefore, the commandment affirms that the vertical does not exist, and that there is only the horizontal, or relative. Thus, the horizontalization of the vertical, which instantaneously creates an absurd universe. Whereas God created the universe ex nihilo -- i.e., something from nothing -- the devout nihilist creates nothing out of something. And that takes some doing -- some real mental gymgnosticism.

The reason why we bobject to leftism is that it represents the political program of nihilism -- i.e, the horizontal implications of the vertical commandments of nihilism. However, since the nihilist's cosmos is literally upside-down, this means that that the nihilist's political program becomes absolute -- which is to say totalitarian (often concealed in the form of politically correct totolerantarianism, which involves denial of your right to push back against the bullies).

Paradox? No, not at all. Man was made to know and to worship the Absolute. If you eliminate the Absolute, then you will simply insert something else in its place -- a false absolute -- which is what all statist, socialist, and collectivist schemes do. When Hillary Clinton promises that she is going to steal your money because she knows better how to spend it than you do, first of all, believe her.

But secondly, realize that she is "the voice of the nihil," for the human being represents the "absolute within the relative," a state of affairs from which all of our sacred rights and obligations emanate. This is why there is nothing so precious as a human being, whose freedom and dignity are absolute, and whose "relative sovereignty" must be respected.

In this regard, America's founding avatars were the diamatriarchical opposite of Hillary. In contrast to her, their philosophy represents the political program of true vertical understanding. This is why they could say with perfect clarity that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. This is just another way of saying that the Absolute exists a priori, and that our absolute rights only exist in light of this fact. Take away the Absolute, and no rights can intrinsically exist. And if they don't, then reach for your wallet, because your money absolutely belongs to Hillary. So says Petey, the wise, the compassionate, the mirthiful!

The founders did not enumerate all of the rights that follow from the affirmation of the Absolute, but among them are, of course, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Here again, each of these is absolute. Make no mistake, either a human life is infinitely precious or it is worthless. You can pretend that there is some middle ground, but you are simply pretending and you know it, you rascal.

If human beings are really nothing more than Darwinian machines that resulted from a random shuffling of material genes, then obviously, there can be no absolute rights, only human agreements. By definition, our rights cannot be rooted in anything transcendent or timelessly true. Is this not obvious? Again, the only thing I ask of leftists is that they have the courage of their absence of convictions and admit that their first commandment pulls certain inevitable ramifications in its wake, including the absence of any meaning aside from what we make up -- which is no meaning at all.

Liberty too can only be derived from the real first commandment. This is why the first commandment of nihilism always leads to one or another form of slavery. The slavery may be physical or it may be psychological, and you may well forge the fetters of your own enslavement, but make no mistake, you will be a slave -- a slave to the passions, to ideology, to maya, to the relative, to anything other than God. This is why surrender to God is the way of liberty, while surrender to anything less is the way of slavery. Therefore, St. Paul is simply passing along a metaphysical truism when he says Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

I don't know how anything could be more obvious, for not only is God the guarantor of liberty, but our spiritual liberty -- one purpose of which is to distinguish between good and evil -- is ipso facto the sufficient proof of God. Freedom, which is to say, free will, exists. But not for a nihilst, or a scientific materialist, or rank-and-foul Islamists, for that matter. In each case, they deny God (or the true God), and therefore diminish liberty.

Starting with the latter, I don't want to get into a full explanation, but suffice it to say that the Islamists deny horizontal causation and insist that God intervenes on a moment by moment basis to cause everything, so that free will doesn't really exist. To be fair, some deluded Christian fundamentalists also believe this, but they are mostly harmless.

A nihilist thinks he is free -- after all, he has replaced God with himself, and is therefore the most exalted thing in the universe. However, there is a big difference between being "lost" and being "free." If I drop you off in the middle of the Sahara desert and leave you there with no means of communication or transportation, you are certainly "free" -- even unto death, which will occur within a matter of days.

But one is actually only free in any meaningful sense of the word if the freedom has a direction, a meaning, an end, and a telos. Your freedom is only valuable because it is the existential prerequisite to arrive at a meaningful destination. Again, is this not obvious? My son, who is two years old, is very spontaneous and "free." But what if this freedom did not exist in a stream of psychological development with a meaningful endpont? Then we would not call him "free." Rather, we would call him "retarded."

Which is what we call secular leftists -- not mentally retarded, but spiritually so, by their own acknowledgment. Indeed, they are proud of their infirmity. They write books about it, teach classes in it, publish newspapers to propagate it, found political programs upon it. They obviously want us to be like them -- which is to say, slaves.

And a scientific materialist cannot be free, since freedom cannot be derived from matter. Or, if it can, then matter is not what we thought it was. Rather, it is more like a "divine substance," which, of course, it is. For example, this is why it may serve as a receptacle for so much divine beauty.

Well, I'm writing under duress this morning. Slept a little later, his majesty woke up a little earlier, and the in-laws are en route canal. Just kidding. Anyway, to be continued. Don't forget to enjoy the coony tunes in the sidebar. Some good stuff in there. Stay With Me, by Lorraine Ellison, never fails to send a chill up my spine. Or as brother Sam Phillips said, this is where the soul of man never dies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Get Ready for the Future: It is Martyr

Crime in most previous ages had been a localized phenomenon and had apparent and comprehensible causes in the human passions of greed, lust, envy, jealousy, and the like; never has there been anything more than a faint prefiguration of the crime that has become typical of our own century, crime for which the only name is one the avant-garde today is fond of using in another Nihilist context: ‘absurd.’

That was the future orthodox monk, Father Seraphim Rose, writing in the early 1960s. He saw what was coming -- the same Future foreseen by the poet Leonard Cohen:

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

How do we measure what happened yesterday? What have we done with our scale? I don't pretend to know exactly what motivated the mass murderer, but I think it is safe to say that he felt victimized by someone or something, and therefore entitled to lash out -- as indeed all victims feel entitled to do. I can only say that there will only be more absurd lashing out if we continue our inexorable slide into nihilism, the only alternative to theism.

This is not a "false dualism" unless one views the situation in a perfectly myopic temporo-centric manner, just because we're not "all the way there" yet; one has only to extrapolate from the trends of the past 40 years. In other words, leftist assumptions inevitably lead to nihilsim, and they know it. It's just a matter of time before we live in the time of the martyrs -- not the old martyrs who were true victims, but the misappropriation of that existential category for the purposes of instinctual expression -- i.e., sex, violence, or general envious acquisitiveness under cover of a "progressive agenda" -- for no one is more greedy and acquisitive than the leftist who believes he is intrinsically entitled to the fruits of another's labor. But his victimhood is a convenient way to conceal his soul-destroying envy from himself -- and even to convert what is a soul-illness to a political virtue.

I've seen the nations rise and fall
I've heard their stories, heard them all
but love's the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It's over, it ain't going any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder

It's very easy to discuss evil in the abstract, much more difficult when it is concrete and in your face. As usual, opinions will diverge along the fault and nobody's-fault lines of liberal and leftist, true liberals emphasizing the importance of character and values, leftists arguing that it is just a matter of taking away the guns. The latter is fanciful, while the former, as always, is the only way for mankind to collectively survive, either with or without guns.

It is true that guns don't kill people, but what if they proliferate in a society that has, in the course of a couple generations, elevated the category of victimhood to an exalted status (which simply gives bullies a free pass to be so), indoctrinated people from the earliest age that their feelings are particularly important, and denigrated any religious barrier that stands in the way of the expression of the most base impulse? You shall not judge is one of the Ten Commandments of Nihilism.

Then you have a problem. Again, I don't know much about what happened yesterday, but I'm guessing that the MSM will be quick to determine how the perpetrator was a victim, because they believe that where there is evil, there is a victim -- and therefore, no evil at all. It certainly sounds like this man regarded himself as a victim whose feelings of victimization were sufficiently important to justify homicide. But everyone is a victim if you only search hard enough. Therefore, our sociopathy should be understandable. We're only lashing out at the cosmic injustice of it all.

Make no mistake: if you teach people to think in this disgusting way, you will engender more sociopathy, because people will regard society as the immoral oppressor that has victimized them. Victimhood is the gateway to morally sanctioned violence, always. This is why it is so evil to teach the leftist psychology of victimhood. It is not just soul-corrupting to the individual who buys into it, but toxic to the society, which cannot function if the individuals who compose it regard themselves as victims of it.

The language of the left is always framed in terms of victimhood. Analyze their discourse and there is always a victim buried in it. Always. I mentioned a recent email correspondence with a liberal who greatly admired my book. I told him up front that if he were aware of my politics, he would despise me which he soon enough did. All I had to do was spell out my beliefs, and the conversation literally ended with fuck you, which is where any conversation with a true believing leftist must end -- either there or with bullets and chains. In the polarized leftist world, there are only victims and victimizers, falling straight along party lines. Thus, all of the leftist victimizers are entitled to their bullying because they are victims. I hardly have the power of Al Sharpton, whose only power is the power of victimhood conferred upon him by his supposed white victimizers.

Victimhood is one of the important paving stones on the pathway down to leftist nihilsim. Hitler was a victim. Arafat was a victim. The Columbine shooters were victims. Islamic terrorists are victims. Once you have embraced the language of victimology as legitimate -- instead of the language of absolute values and standards -- then you have no defense against the victims you have empowered. All they have to do is play the victim card, and you can have no response. Only in this way can monsters such as an Arafat receive the highest honor European leftists can confer, instead of being taken out back and shot through the head.

Once you replace the language of absolute values with the psychology of victimhood, then you will have created a society in which its citizens are not mature enough to possess weapons. The weapons will have to be confiscated by the sort of heavy-handed state our founders never envisioned, since they presumed a virtuous citizenry steeped in Judeo-Christian principles. I just have to laugh -- to keep from crying -- when someone says (and it doesn't have to be a moonbat -- increasingly, it is simply what "sophisticated people" believe) that ours is not and was not intended to be a "Christian nation." Of course it was. Our founders were not that stupid. These superior men were the opposite of leftists; they were true liberals, and it is a presumption of classical liberals that one can never use the word freedom without responsibility, or right without obligation, or entitlement without debt.

The reason why the odious civil rights charlatans have done so much untold damage to blacks is because they speak only the language of rights, entitlements, and victimhood. They are not liberals and therefore do not liberate. If for the past two generations they had inculcated their so-called "people" (whatever that means, but the MSM has designated the sociopathic Sharptons and Jacksons "leaders" of a people, so I'm just playing by their rules) with the the psychology of success, they would have rendered themselves obsolete by now. As it stands, their philosophy does not appeal to blacks, unless you are a racist who believes that blacks are incapable of arriving at truth. Rather, their philosophy appeals only to bitter losers, to the con-men who profit from creating more losers, and from guilt-ridden white leftist bigots who can feel good about themselves by giving the losers a pass on meeting standards they quite naturally impose on designated non-victims.

This is how you have a situation in which a Don Imus can have his career destroyed for simply imitating the language of blacks, language that white liberals otherwise celebrate as "art." You could say that most of that music is consumed by whites, which is true. Someone said -- I forget who at the moment -- that white adolescents are probably drawn to this music because they are not provided with virtuous male role models -- indeed, are not even taught from the earliest age that there is something called "manhood" which they must achieve at risk of being a failed human being -- because it speaks to their masculine sexual insecurities.

The grotesque sexual stereotyping of rap and hip-hop culture is the language of boys who are in thrall to what they denigrate. An overly aggressive or verbally abusive man is a feminized man -- which is not to say a "woman," but a man who has never left his mother behind and entered the world of moral manhood. In other words, male energy in the absence of the spiritual telos of manhood tends toward the monstrous. Whatever else yesterday's killer was, he wasn't a man. One wonders if he had one in his life -- not a biological father, which we all have -- for the time being -- but a man. Perhaps we shall see.

As Mark Steyn wrote,

"Apparently, when two hip-hoppers are up on stage doing their 'Who was that ho I saw you with last night?' / 'That was no ho, that was my bitch' shtick, they're just keepin' it real. When a white guy does it, he's just keepin' it real unlikely he'll find gainful employment again. Unless, of course, the networks are now proposing to apply the Imus standard to all performers, in which case the Grammy Awards will last 10 minutes (Best Liner Notes on a Polka Album and Best Tony Bennett Celebrity Duets CD of the Last Two Months).

"I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where a white guy can be fired for racist remarks without his employers having to prostrate themselves before clapped out professional grievance mongers and shakedown artists. But dream on. Two men who slandered the Duke lacrosse players not just as racists but as rapists (by the way, has the Rev. Jackson come through on his promise to pay for the 'victim' to go to college?) are the go-to guys when it comes to judging rhetorical excess in respect of varsity sports teams. Surely even a network president isn't such a craven squish he can go through a meeting like that with a straight face?"

I am often puzzled by this thing called "disagreement." How is it possible that all human beings don't agree with Mark Styen? What is debatable about what he said? To be unable to understand something so elementaty despite normal intelligence, there must be something wrong with the state of one's soul. It's not just that the person "does not understand." Rather, the problem is that the mind willfully "disunderstands" with all of the native intelligence at its disposal. Is this not the formula for the New York Times idiotorial page, which churns out so much intelligent stupidity, day after day?

Steyn continues:

"And saddest of all were the Rutgers basketball gals themselves. Almost a century and a half after the abolition of slavery, 40 years after the civil rights era, a group of young black women who've achieved great success went on TV and teared up because of a cheap crack by an over-the-hill shock jock. As a female correspondent to the Powerline Web site commented:

'Here are these tough women on top of the world and they are so fragile that a remark knocks them down. Hey, why wouldn't they have said 'F--- you? Who the heck is this fool Imus? We are queens of national basketball and there is no stopping us now. We can be and do anything we choose to be or do. . . . We don't need Al Sharpton to protect us. . . . ' But no, they look devastated and say they are damaged irreparably.'

"Only in America: a team of champions who think they're victims, an old white fool who talks like a gangsta rapper and multi-millionaires grown rich on race-baiting who promote themselves as guardians of civility. Good thing there are no real problems to worry about."

Exactly. In a way, these women are much more pathetic than "hos," whatever that word exactly connotes. I assume it must designate promiscuous or sexually conniving women, who do exist. But do we have a word of equal power to designate people who have been taught -- for you must be taught -- that no matter your level of achievement, you are still entitled to be a whining, aggrieved victim?

It reminded me of the baseball game of the week last Sunday evening. It was "Jackie Robinson Day," the 60-year anniversary of Robinson's breaking the color barrier in major league baseball. Once again, what was a noble triumph by an incredibly courageous man has been hijacked by guilty white liberals as an exercise in polarizing self-flagellation. Robinson's accomplishment has now been lost, as he has become a model for contemporary self-inflicted victimhood.

One of the reasons Branch Rickey specifically chose Robinson for his important mission was because of his strength of character. Rickey was looking for the very opposite of a victim, 180 degrees removed from the wimpy Rutgers girls, who, one is afraid to say, must have no earthly idea of what Robinson had to endure, and how much strength of character it took to maintain his composure in the teeth of a world of real racists, not moronic deejays who jokingly imitate the language of black rappers.

If that were all Robinson had to face, then a man of Robinson's caliber would have been unnecessary and we certainly wouldn't need to celebrate him. Any average person could have done it. That's the irony. If you really understand Robinson's accomplishment, you have to realize how far we've come in 60 years. To fail to appreciate it, you have to remain in a state of total historical ignorance and imagine that Robinson was analogous to the sociopathic Sharpton exerting his power to end the career of a moronic deejay. For one thing, Robinson didn't have that kind of power. Furthermore, if Robinson had spoken and comported himself in the manner of a lowlife such as Sharpton, the "experiment" would have failed, as it would have simply confirmed the prejudices of the bigots.

The constant commentary by the race-obsessed Joe Morgan was particularly grotesque. At one point he was going on about how there aren't enough black managers. If it is possible for there to be not enough black managers, then it follows that it is possible for there to be too many. I believe that approximately 12.8% of the American population is black. Since there are 30 major league baseball teams, that means that we should have... hold on, let me get my calculator... 3.84 black managers. Is my math correct? Anyway, there are presently two black managers, so we're off by more than one black! But there have been times that there have been too many black managers -- again, not in my opinion, as I don't really care, but if we apply the Morgan rules. Why didn't he complain about that? I don't know. I guess because he's a jackass. But he sure could play baseball. As could his teammate Pete Rose, who is guilty of far less. Between them, they're a regular martyrer's row.

I am out of time, so I have no way to elegantly wrap up this dispassionate rant. Cue Leonard:

Give me Christ
or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don't like children anyhow
I've seen the future, baby:
it is murder


The proper attitude toward the monsters in our midst.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Diamond Sutra with a Keg Halfway to OM

The hour is late, and I have nothing else to write about, so I might as well expand upon my brief response to the earthbound troll who left his crawling card under cover of dorkiness last night. Reader Pissquatomy wrote,

"I would say the Dalai Llama (sic) is higher up on the spiritual pecking order than Bob. I mean, c'mon -- Bob's very handy with words, does Yoga passably well, but still -- is he directly plugged into The Big OM like the Dalai? Unquestionably, no.

"There are certain others that are 'up there.' Byron Katie comes to mind, as does Eckart Tolle. Bob is a man on the ascent, but he is not yet playing in the majors.

"Bob will have to give Petey a larger speaking role if Bob is to make his bones as a mystic. The whole liguisto-philosophico-politco thing that Bob's into will never a mystic's reputation make."

My initial response was,

"It's called humor -- that was a joke about the Dalai Lama. He is obviously a sweet man.

"Having said that, it would have been a much more serious joke if this country had been founded by Tibetan Buddhists instead of Judeo-Christians. There are spiritual principles that work in one's head -- 'the big OM,' if that's what you call it -- and those that actually change the world for the better. If you want to speak of a spiritual pecking order, then give me James Madison over the Dalai Lama any day. One revolutionized (and helped save, but only repeatedly) the world, while the other can't even help Richard Gere think coherently. (I know, I know, you should have heard him before. Good point.)

"The other DL is harmless so long as people don't put his principles into practice on a widespread scale. There is nothing noble, moral, or praiseworthy about pacifism, for it simply rolls out the red carpet for the wicked to annihilate the decent."


Now, to flesh out my response: first of all, I do not dismiss all of what the troll says out of hand. True, some of it is silly -- even bearing the unmistakable marks of idiocy -- but other aspects are worthy of a serious response. In this regard, I do recognize a glaring weakness in myself, which is that I do tend to forget that I used to believe virtually all of the stupid ideas that I now dismiss. In short, I have no hesitation in acknowledging that I was once an idiot with a lot of idiotic political and spiritual notions, but how best to help the current idiots is the question.

In this regard, intelligence is no defense whatsoever, so never assume -- as many trolls seem to do -- that my arguments are ever based on some version of "I'm smarter or more clever than you," much less that I am supposedly "handy with words." Our leftist looniversity bins are protected habitats for the "intelligent stupid" among us. If anything, intelligence and verbal facility will cause one to stray down a literally infinite number of false paths, since they easily engender pride and arrogance.

I say "infinite," because, paradoxically, the false path is many-branched while the true path is One -- even though the One path is infinitely diverse in its particulars. History demonstrates with great force that intelligence is no barrier to stupidity, and that more often than not it is simply the glossy surface of a bad or evil idea. This is why it is so stupid to suggest that President Bush is "stupid." First of all, he obviously isn't, but the only relevant issue is whether he is correct. How stupid to think otherwise.

What I am saying is that I am no more intelligent today than I was fifteen or twenty years ago, but that only now can I say that I know how to think properly. And although I am now generally able to think properly, it is still an evolving process. For example, in the last week I have had the unenviable task of rereading my book in search of typos and small errors. It is a jarring experience, because parts of the book no longer reflect who I have become in the interim, and if you think I'm hard on trolls, you should hear how I treat my past intelligent but stupidself. I don't even want to get into it.

A number of trolls have criticized what they perceive as a lack of compassion on my part, or maybe even whole. I am not going to try to justify myself, but will only say that some people are allegedly helped by what I write, others not. If I try to tailor the message to those who are not helped, then I will no longer be helpful to those who are helped, so it is a catch 22. Put it this way: I am only writing for those whom I am able to help (including, hopefully, myself), and no one can help everyone. I am not nearly that grandiose, and just grateful that a few people are helped, even "changed." That's all I need and much more than I ever expected.

This is even -- or I should say, especially -- true of psychotherapy. There are many different psychological theories, but ultimately what is most important -- assuming a certain level of competence -- is the relationship with the therapist, the chemistry, the rapport. And I would add that you want your therapist to be higher than you on the "pecking order," however you conceptualize it.

For what is the alternative? Trying to be helped by someone who is unable to even help himself, who has never mastered his own mind, who has not evolved to a developmentally higher level, who doesn't know how to live properly or have rewarding relationships, who hasn't reconciled life's many inherent polarities and conflicts, who blames the external world for his failures, in the manner of a leftist victocrat? You don't just want someone who knows more than you do, but someone who is more than you are. At least I did.

But in our flatland world of postmodern nihilism, it is arrogant and probably racist to say that one person or culture is higher or more evolved than another. I have never given a moment's thought to those who may or may not be "below" me on someone's cosmic scale, because I am too busy looking up to those who are above me. Truly, the flatlanders are the arrogant ones, for if there is no God, they are ipso facto gods, and samskary ones at that. In fact, I would be greatly distressed to learn that I represented the highest point in the universe. Thankfully, this is incoonceivable to me, and I am grateful every day that there are fixed stars in whose light I am able to navigate my life.

Now, as I said, I was once an idiot, so I feel well qualified to critique idiots who believe the idiotic things I once did. But I've thought about this, and there is no way to do it in the gentle and maternal way that these wimps demand. In fact, this feminized orientation to Truth is a symptom of the problem. In my case, the people who helped me most were fierce and uncompromising advocates of the Truth. They did not water down their message for my benefit, but simply put it out there for people to pick up or reject as they wish. There are people I now revere whom I once detested, in exactly the manner that people detest me.

(And trust me, they do -- I had a particularly vivid instance of it in an email correspondence this weekend, most illustrative of how the leftist mind works -- more later. Suffice it so say that we dispassionately regard them as ignorant and therefore misguided, while they passionately regard us as a priori evil and therefore everything which naturally follows from that, ultimately the dehumanization which is a prelude to violence, verbal or otherwise.)

At the same time, I am grateful that my nonlocal higher-ups, had they known about it, would have dismissed my girlish emotionality with the wave of a hand and said, "come back when you can handle the truth. And don't hurry." No compromise. And certainly no anger or resentment, much less a need for disciples or followers. St. Paul was an demanding jerk, which I say with the greatest admiration.

Here is how Sri Aurobindo handled it: "I do not readily accept disciples, as this path of Yoga is a difficult one and can be followed only if there is a special call." In another letter he balked at the notion of trying to create some kind of mass movement, because "for serious work it is a poison.... a movement in the case of a work like mine means the founding of a school or a sect or some other damned nonsense. It means that hundreds or thousands of useless people join in and corrupt the work or reduce it to a pompous farce from which the Truth that was coming down recedes into secrecy and silence."

Useless people?! That hurt my self esteem! Nobody's useless, except conservatives! We're all perfect, just as we are!

And Schuon probably made more bobnoxious statements than even Jesus or Petey: “Contemporary man, in spite of his being marked by certain experiences due to the senescence of humanity, is spiritually soft and ineffective and intellectually ready to commit every possible betrayal, which will seem to him as summits of intelligence.... In a general way, the man of the ‘last days’ is a blunted creature, and the best proof of this is that the only ‘dynamism’ of which he is still capable is that which tends downwards, and which is no more than a passivity taking advantage of cosmic gravity; it is the agitation of a man who lets himself be carried away by a torrent and who imagines that he is creating this torrent himself by his agitation.”

What a mean thing to say! I'm telling my lama!

Needless to say, you do not want a teacher who needs students, any more than you want a therapist who needs patients. One of the worst vibes you can send to a child is that you need them in the way they need you. The child needs to orient himself around someone who is not like him. Whatever his limitations, my father was at least a rock -- and the spiritual, which is to say, vertical, head of the house, which is far, far preferable to so many modern fathers who try to be on the same level as their children. The one doesn't exclude the other, but in a way it does, because a man can never truly unknow what he knows, assuming he knows anything useful.

"Bob is a man on the ascent, but he is not yet playing in the majors." Although I understand what the writer means by this, it is nevertheless a meaningless statement to me. My only concern is that I am actually playing baseball and not, say, soccer. I hope and pray that there are people who play better than I do, just as I assume there are people who play worse. Again, I don't give much thought to the latter, because there is a league for everyone -- little league, pony league, colt league, American Legion -- and you will rise from league to league in the natural course of events.

I personally made it up to colt league, but met my match the first time I batted against an American Legion pitcher. First of all, he looked very serious, therefore a bit intimidating. The pitch sailed at my head, but as I sat sprawled in the dirt a skipped hearbeat later, I learned from the umpire that the pitch had been a strike. In other words, the pitch started at the blessed Gagdad dome, but then darted over the plate -- from midnight to six, inside corner. This was the first time I learned that a curveball can be thrown with such demonic spin that you can actually hear it -- sort of like a mosquito buzzing around your ear. At least I thought I heard it. Maybe it was just the blood rising to my head.

That was the end of the line for me. However, I bided my time, nourishing a secret hope that I would one day return to the field, exact my vengeance, and triumph over these bullies. I didn't play any baseball, but I did stay in shape, waiting for the day I turned 40, in order to join one of those "over 40" leagues. You know, bunch of out of shape old geezers. Yes, the Gagdad frame is slender, but trust me, like Barney Fife, it is all muscle, my friends. Or at least gristle. Long story short, it was even worse. Why? Because these guys were just like me, waiting for the day that they could be the big fish, albeit in a smaller pond, and exercise the old libido dominandi.

So, what is my point? Have I gotten sidetracked again?

I suppose it is this: if you don't like my pitching, find another league. It is a natural reaction to think that the pitcher must be angry to knock you off the plate, but it's just business. There are no hard feelings involved at all. And in fact, he's doing you a favor, for evolution is a function of adversity. You won't get better if he comes down to your level.

And if you prefer the big fat slow-pitch softballs of the Dalai Lama, go for it. I have nothing against softball. Coons play it all the time, except in our case, we keep a keg at second base in order to at least make it a challenge.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Puff the Magic Wizard of Pot, and Other Children's Stories

Those were some outstanding comments yesterday. It just goes to show you what the collective soul power of the coonosphere can accomplish when it puts on its furry transthinking cap. I'm still digesting the comments, but I think I came to a point of clarity that I was already converging upon. In other words, by distorting your comments ever so slightly or sometimes markedly, I can truly say that they told me exactly what I wanted to hear anyway.

Assistant Village Idiot -- father of four fine young men, I might add, each of whom, from what I understand, receives nothing but praise from their parole officer -- expressed it very clearly, writing that "I think if you simply teach the stories of the Bible at first, without trying to relate them to explicit doctrines, they will sink down into the bones of Future Leader. We read Genesis to our boys when they were quite young, trying to give only such explanation as was necessary. We let the stories themselves teach. It is much the same way with the parables and the events of the life of Jesus. They are stories, and in a true Bettelheim effect, teach at multiple levels simultaneously.

"We began many books as read-alouds every night well before the ages they were 'supposed' to be read. We did Tolkien over a six-month period every 4 years starting at age 5, and Narnia in 3 months every 3 years. Let the stories teach."

Let the stories teach. Of course! Let them sink down into the bones. Duh!

A dream from last night, hot off the press: It was in the form of a rather shockingly tasteless public service announcement with a humorous punch line. It looked like it had something to do with rape, as it depicted women being dragged off against their will, with close-ups of terrified faces, as in a trailer for an over-the-top 1950s horror flick. Then the voiceover at the end says something to the effect of, "Take a loved one to the church of so-and-so. It's not as bad as they think." I guess you had to be there, but I did laugh myself awake, which is better than crying oneself to sleep.

Because that is the essence of the problem. I was thinking of the study that came out a few months back, indicating that a mother's religious commitment has no effect on a boy's religiosity. Rather, if they see their father getting up off the couch and dragging himself to church, that makes all the difference. It is apparently one of the reasons why Europe's eventual extinction is being preceded by a brief layover in radical secularville. Their menfolk lost all interest in religion, with the exception of soccer. If that ever happens here in America -- that is, if the silly sport of soccer ever replaces baseball or proper football -- it will be curtains for us as well.

However, I was mildly complaining to myself, "This isn't exactly fair. After all, I wake up each and every morning at 5:00 and enthusiastically worship at the altar of the Vertical Church of the Perpetual Raccoon, or at least I try to." For what it's worth, I really do attempt with all my faculties -- heart, mind and soul -- to have a genuine encounter with O, trancelight it into some peremptorer's new colloquialisms, and spread the godspiel around for the innernauts, with very little in the way of personal gain or profit -- although I shouldn't even hint at such a thing, since the process is so intensely spiritually rewarding for me, and the more I do it, the more I get out of it.

Isn't that enough?!!!

I had to attend Sunday school as a kit, but I couldn't stand it. My dad rarely went -- maybe on Easter -- but even if he had gone on a regular basis, I don't think it would have made any difference, at least if he had only done so robotically, absent a true sense of O-bligation. However, if he had been passionately interested in religion -- now that might have meant something, especially if he had shared that interest with me and my three brothers. But his attitude toward religion was pretty simple, and can be summed up as follows: 1) Only kooks and reprobates don't know that some sort of God exists. 2) You know the difference between right and wrong. 3) Do the former.

In short, not much context. However, in my case, God is the context of everything I think and do, at least when I'm not being forced to do or think about something else. For example, my book is simply the end result of trying to make everything harmonize with a spiritual outlook. I would stare at this scientific fact over there, consider it in light of this metaphysical idea over here, and then will them with my cOOn vision to reveal to me how they related to one another.

So, just as my education is continuous except when I am being forced to attend my dopey mandated continuing education courses, it is quite possible that I would have to disrupt my own church service to attend one. Is this a rationalization?


If there were a good, spiritually resonant church right down the street, I'd go there all the time to pray and meditate. Yesterday Gecko mentioned the beautiful Vedanta Center in the mountains above Santa Barbara, which is thoroughly ecumenical and welcomes all religions. It would be a personal dream to live next door to that place, but in order to purchase a house there, it would require several million dollars that I don't have at the moment. As a matter of fact, I read somewhere that the jazz great Charles Lloyd did just that -- moved near the temple in order to focus on the spiritual life. Frankly, you can't not focus on the spiritual life when you're in an environment like that.

(You might remember the photos from my little trip there last August to visit my book. They had me buried next to a prominent display of one of my cut-throat competitors, the Dalai Lama. It almost appeared as if he were looking down his nose and smirking at my book, in that little condescending way of his. See what I mean?

Hmm. We'll see about that. Figuring the Dalai Lama is a pacifist -- what's he going to do, get Richard Gere to lecture me? -- I fearlessly took matters into my own hands and corrected the karmic situation:

Afterwards I decided to go over his head and obtain a blurb directly from the Buddha, who said -- and I quote -- "One Cosmos bring good luck, just like rubbing my belly."


Regarding providing a context for spiritual understanding, Will expressed it perfectly: "My suggestion is simply to track his developing interests/talents and then feed them while stressing their innate spiritual value. For example, if it's sports, stress the self-discipline, sacrifice, team play, etc. If it's music or science or nature... well, you know what to do. If he later develops an interest in institutional religion, give him a smorgasbord of info as to what's out there. But start with the simple stuff. Whatever he's interested in, there's an attendant natural wonder and sense of awe -- I would say work with that, work to increase it, mature it."

Exactly. No matter what it is, there is a way to spiritualize it if you only look at it in a weird enough way. I'm sure I'll naturally do this in the course of everything from sports, to movies, to homework, to reading to him at night -- which I can't wait to do, as I'm sure I'll get more out of it than he does, as per Van's observations, similar to something Jerry Seinfeld mentioned about doing comedy. Although it is a kind of awesome power to stand on a stage and make people convulse with laughter, he said the feeling didn't match the simple joy of making his children laugh.

And as AVI said, there is no reason to analyze or over-intellectualize. For some reason, I had been hung up on this, as if it would be necessary for me to get all didactic and metaphysical on the boy. Now I can see that the perfect situation would be to find a Sunday School taught by a gifted story teller who knows how to engage the imagination of a child. His theology wouldn't really matter at all, so long as he keeps it to himself.

It reminds me of the things that used to fire my imagination as a child, say, The Wizard of Oz. That film operates on such a deep and unsaturated mythological level that I can still watch it any time it's on TV and not be bored.

But what if some pinhead -- say, me -- were to say, "Son, you see, it's all an allegory of the Great Depression. The black and white world of Kansas is a symbol for America at the time, and the 'Wicked Witch of the West' is the evil capitalist, Elvira Gulch, who 'owns half the county' and rules over the 'little people.' The whirling cyclone is the great socialist revolution that will lift everyone into the false utopia of a worker's paradise, run by leftist charlatans such as the Wizard. The Tinman is the helpless and dehumanized industrial worker who will link arms with the farmer, represented by the Scarecrow, to overturn the capitalist order. But Dorothy proves that a heavy-handed state is not required, as she possesses all the resources she needs to succeed in life. She is the American Spirit, reborn and awakened from the bad dream of socialism, now able to appreciate the simple beauty of America, in spite of the hardships."

"But dad, the book was published in 1900."

"Er, yes. Right.... Have I ever told you the real story behind Puff the Magic Dragon?"


He's showing an early interest in being a cardinal (the fence keeps him from destroying my awesome collection of Harlequin romance novels you see in the background):