Another Inspiraling Circle 'Round the Radiant Center
Still, it's pretty obvious that Petey will never become a household gnome, except O-->(k)sionally for us Brothers & Sisters Under the Pelt. But that's fine. The Secret Protects Itself, even if my book is such a secret that few will always judge it undercover. Nevertheless, if you want to get the blog a birthday present and yourself an indulgence, you might consider finally ordering the damn book to see if we can get it back into the top 100,000 on amazon. Who knows, you might even get the new corrected (with the invaluable assistance of Ricky Raccoon) edition. (An even better idea, and it's free -- just post a positive review on amazon... don't do it for me, of course, but to assist in our internet reacharound for the lost tribe of Raccoons.)
It's not easy being a windepundent theoconservative gliberal fascistic mystic, except maybe for me. I have a pretty good nous, but the only other one I can sniff of offhound is Roy Masters. I immediately alienate half my potential audience because of my bobnoxious politics, even though there's not really any pollutics littering the book. And ninety percent of the other majority of the potential audience will be put off by the mysticism and supraformal neo-traditionalist approach, leaving only the small remnant of Cosmic Raccoons -- who often don't even know they're Raccoons until they accidentally stumble upon the blog. They know they are something -- something different -- but they just don't know what.
Nor do I. Which is why I suppose I keep blogging, now that the failure of the book is assured. In short, the blog too has now taken on a death of its own, as I use it to discover what I don't think about this and especially that. Interestingly, I don't generally use it to coonvey what I know -- or think I know -- since that would rapidly become boring, just the sleepy trancemission of information from one mind to another. More empty shunyada yada yada. I don't know all that much anywuwei. Rather, I generally use the blog to extend into the unKnown -- to go deep see fleshing in the weird word of O and cast a neural net into the dark waters. You know, provoid a little finite form to the formless infinite void.
As I jewst menschened, if I were a garden-variety new-age mean-green spiraling integralist, soiling books would be as easy as selling magic to a moonbat. I mean, if Deepak Chopra can do it, who couldn't? How many ways can you rewrite the The Sellobscene Profitsy, anyway? That whowel movement prides itself on being the cutting edge of cosmic evolution, but I find it all so aphallingly intellectually flaccid and soph-impotent. What it really does is make advaitanced spirituality loser-fiendly to those on the bleating edge of cosmic narcissism. It gives circumnavelgazing a fad name.
I don't know much, but that I do know. I know it, for example, because none of the psychologists they habitually name-check are on my list of deep thinkers. And if they do cite a more profound thinker, they usually twist the teaching into a form suitable to their narrow grandiosity. None of them are familiar with Bion, Matte Blanco, or modern psychoanalysis in general. The only exception I know of is A. A. Almaas, who has an excellent grasp of the scope of modern psychoanalysis, but whose application of it is rather shallow and new-agey.
While I do believe it is necessary to reframe perennial religious truths in a way that modern people can grasp, I part ways with the integralists in imagining that we are somehow higher or more evolved than our illustrious predecessors. Name any contemporary integralist, and they simply cannot match the depth of spirituality found in representatives of authentic traditions, whether it is a Shankara, an Eckhart or a Maimonides. Each of these men looked directly at truth from a different angle, but I find that the new-agers merely look at the illustrious lookers from a single angle, so to speak. But there is already enough profundity in any given tradition to last a lifetime, in such a way that each seeker will find his reward in accordance with the intensity and sincerity of his aspiration, in concert with the grace which flows through that channel.
I was just reading yesterday about Shankara, the most important philosopher-mystic-theologian-sage in the history of India. What Radhakrishnan wrote of him could apply equally to what is needed today:
"A creative thinker of the first rank, Shankara entered into the philosophic inheritance of his age, and reinterpreted it with special reference to its needs.... The different theistic sects were practicing rites in support of which they could cite some text or other. It was a critical period in the history of the Hindu nation, when there was a general sense of weariness with the wrangling sects. The age needed a religious genius who was unwilling to break with the past and yet open to the good influences of the new creeds, one who could stretch the old moulds without breaking them and synthesize the warring sects on a broad basis of truth, which would have room for all men of all grades of intelligence and culture. Shankara 'set to music' the tune which had been haunting millions of ears, and announced [his philosophy] as offering a common basis for religious unity" (Radhakrishnan, emphasis mine).
If the integralists and "evolutionary" thinkers are too far left, then -- at least for me -- Schuon and the traditionalist school are a bit too far right. Although the traditionalists are far more profound than the integralists, I just don't see how the movement can ever appeal to people on a widespread basis. Therefore, the neo-traditionalist mission of the Transdimensional Order of the Friendly Sons & Daughters of the Cosmic Raccoon. I guess I tried to explain this gnocturnal O-mission in my first post:
Q: We don't need another blog. Why are you inflicting your beastly opinions on us?
A: To those of you who are new to this site, join the club, as I am still in the process of trying to understand the author's intention. For surely, there are already far too many books and blogs, with no way any human being could ever assimilate the information contained therein. Actually, the problem we face is how to relate all of this fragmented and sometimes contradictory knowledge into a coherent picture of our world -- to move from mere knowledge, to understanding, to wisdom.
I am a clinical psychologist with a background in psychoanalysis, and, like Shrinkwrapped, Dr. Sanity, and other Uncle Fromms, will attempt to "put the world on the couch," so to speak. If you can detach yourself somewhat and try to "hover" above it, the news of the day may be regarded as the free associations of a very troubled patient called Homo sapiens. This collective patient, now about 40,000 years old (before that we were genetically Homo sapiens but not particularly human), has many sub-personalities of varying levels of emotional maturity, and one of his problems is that these different aspects of his personality are constantly at war with one another, which tends to drag down the more mature parts.
You could almost go so far as to say that this collective patient suffers from the kind of severe splitting and "acting out" characteristic of Multiple Personality Disorder. One of my axioms is that geographical space reflects developmental time, so that different nations and countries embody different levels of psychological maturity. In this regard, the Islamic world bottoms out the scale at the moment, but there are obviously low levels of development living parasitically within the context of higher levels. We call this the psycho-spiritual "left."
More broadly, what I hope to emphasize is an appreciation of the "vertical" dimension of human history, culture and politics. For example, historians typically view history in a horizontal manner, leading from past, to present, to future. Likewise, we divide our political mindscape in a horizontal fashion, from left to right. However, as in a great novel or film, the "horizontal" plot is merely a device to express the artist's greater intention (the theme), which can only be found in a vertical realm, by standing "above" the plot.
Every patient who comes into therapy is the star of an emotion picture that isn't going quite right. They will spend the first few sessions telling you the plot, but soon the analyst will be aware of a vertical dimension where the true but unKnown "author" of the plot lies. And lies. And lies. This is called the unconscious. However, this is just one realm of the vertical. Spirituality is also located on the vertical plane, both very low (as in jihad or human sacrifice) and high (such as genuine mysticism).
Q: Why "One Cosmos?"
A: The title of the blog is taken from my book, One Cosmos Under God: The Unification of Matter, Life, Mind and Spirit. You might say that the book tries to follow the vertical thread that runs through the entire cosmos, ultimately uniting us with our source. That thread runs through physics, biology, psychology, religion, history, anthropology, art, and much more, and yet, it is somehow all One.
Perhaps the central theme of both book and blog is that the frontiers of knowledge and understanding lay not in the further extension of various fields and subspecialties, but in the borderland between them. Around 40,000 years ago, our patient, Homo sapiens, began splintering into its diverse parts, but underneath all of the bewildering diversity is a vertical unity that this blog will attempt to illuminate in various ways. For the key to growth is understanding ourselves, both individually and collectively. Without it, we remain a child forever.
Q: Who are you, anyway?
A: Clinical psychologist Robert Godwin is an extreme seeker and off-road spiritual aspirant who has spent no less than one lifetime in search of the damn key to the world enigma. A high school graduate at just seventeen and a-half, Dr. Godwin attended business school until the vagaries of academic probation and expulsion led him to pursue other missed opportunities. Capitalizing on a natural ability to simultaneously enjoy movies and lower his expectations, Godwin eventually earned a film degree in just four terms (Ford/Carter and parts of Nixon/Reagan). Initially denied admission to graduate school because of "inadequate" academic preparation (their words), Holy Happenstance intervened in the nick of time, and Dr. Godwin went on to obtain two advanced degrees in psychology without allowing it to interfere with his education or with ongoing spiritual research conducted in his suburban liberatoreum. Lengthy periods there of higher bewilderment and intense non-doing resulted in important advances in egobliteration and karmannihilation. At the same time, Dr. Godwin spent many years searching and researching for his book, only to conclude that it did not exist, and that if he wanted to read it, he would have to write it. Having now read it a number of times, he is happy to share that burden with a wider audience of fertile eggheads interested in peering behind the annoying veil that separates them from ultimate reality.
Q: Why the spiritual mumbo-jumbo?
I don't think it's healthy to orient your life around politics 24/7, as does the secular left, for which politics is their substitute religion. Politics must aim at something that isn't politics, otherwise, what's the point? Politics just becomes a cognitive system to articulate your existential unhappiness. Again, this is what leftists do -- everything for them is politicized.
One of the general purposes of this blog is to try to look at politics in a new way -- to place the day-to-day struggle of politics in a much wider historical, evolutionary, and even cosmic context. History is trying to get somewhere, and it is our job to help it get there. However, that "somewhere" does not lay within the horizontal field of politics, but beyond it. Thus, politics must not only be grounded in something that isn't politics, but aim at something that isn't politics either.
This is not an abstract, impractical or esoteric notion. The ultimate purpose of politics should be to preserve the radical spiritual revolution of the American founders, so that humans may evolve inwardly and upwardly -- not toward a manifest destiny but an unmanifest deustiny.
For example, when we say that politics must be grounded in something that isn't politics, we are simply reflecting the philosophy at the heart of the American revolution, that the sacred rights of mankind, as expressed by Alexander Hamilton, are written in human nature "by the hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased by mortal power." In short, human beings possess a "spiritual blueprint" that is antecedent to politics, and which it is the task of politics to protect, preserve and nurture.
But not for its own sake. The founders, who were steeped in Judeo-Christian metaphysics, did not believe in mere license, which comes down to meaningless freedom on the horizontal plane. Rather, they believed that horizontal history had a beginning and was guided by a purpose, and that only through the unfolding of human liberty could that "vertical" purpose be achieved. Our founders were progressive to the core, but unlike our contemporary reactionary and anti-evolutionary leftists, they measured progress in relation to permanent standards that lay outside time -- metaphorically speaking, an eschatological "Kingdom of God," or "city on a hill," drawing us toward it. Without this nonlocal telos, the cosmos can really have no frontiers, only edges. Perhaps this is why the left confuses truth with "edginess."
Liberty -- understood in its spiritual sense -- was the key idea of the founders. This cannot be overemphasized. According to Michael Novak (from whose book some of the above quotes were also taken), liberty was understood as the "axis of the universe," and history as "the drama of human liberty." Thomas Jefferson wrote that "the God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." It was for this reason that Jefferson chose for the design of the seal of the United States Moses leading the children of Israel out of the death-cult of Egypt, out of the horizontal wasteland of spiritual bondage, into the open circle of a higher life. America was quite consciously conceived as an opportunity to "re-launch" mankind after such an initial 100,000 years or so of disappointment, underachievement, and spiritual stagnation.
Although it may sound slightly heretical, without human liberty, the Creator is helpless to act in the horizontal. This does not diminish the Creator but exalts him, for a moment's reflection reveals that an intimation of our spiritual freedom absolutely belies any mere material explanation found within the horizontal confines of history. For ours is an inwardly mobile cosmos, and as the philosopher of science Stanley Jaki writes, our free will brings us "face to face with that realm of metaphysical reality which hangs in midair unless suspended [vertically] from that Ultimate Reality, best called God, the Creator."
Tip O’Neill is evidently responsible for the cliché that “All politics is local.” The greater truth is that all politics is nonlocal, meaning that outward political organization rests on a more fundamental, “inner” ground that interacts with a hierarchy of perennial and timeless values. Arguments about the surface structure of mundane political organization really have to do with whose nonlocal values will prevail, and the local system that will be established in order to achieve those nonlocal values.