Obama and the Lure of the False Vertical: Worshiping a Groovin' Image
Now, among the ten commandments there is one in particular that leftists always poke fun at, and that is the injunction against worshiping graven images. Why would the Author of Creation care about that? And what relevance could it possibly have for contemporary people?
The purpose of this commandment is to check the human tendency to worship the relative, the ubiquitous tendency to "bow down and serve" manmade gods, whether secular or religious. Idolatry occurs whenever one holds a value higher than God, or let us say the Absolute, or One.
Thus it is actually possible to turn one’s religion -- or irreligion -- into a false god, and to value it above all else. Certainly in the Muslim Middle East, it would appear that the worship of God has been completely eclipsed by the worship of Islam. But it is also soph-evident that the secular left displaces the need for religion and salvation to the plane of politics -- i.e., they horizontalize the vertical, and imagine that, with enough coercion, manipulation, and thought control, they can recreate paradise on earth.
The archetype of "messiah" does not belong to the horizontal plane -- or the realm of manifestation -- but to the vertical world, i.e., the principial order. Schuon uses the analogy of the colorless essence of white light, which breaks into manifestation in terms of a particular color. Naturally, the archetypal ideas of the celestial realm must be clothed in human thought; to put it another way, we must use forms to inwardly "recollect" what is actually beyond the local form. Schuon expresses the idea of what might be called the "cosmic Christ" as follows:
"The Redemption is an eternal act which cannot be situated either in time or space, and the sacrifice of Christ is a particular manifestation or realization of it on the human plane; men were able to benefit from the Redemption as well before the coming of Jesus Christ as after it, and outside the visible Church as well as within it.
"If Christ had been the only manifestation of the Word, supposing such uniqueness of manifestation be possible, the effect of His birth would have been the instantaneous reduction of the universe to ashes."
The point is, the plane of manifestation could not possibly "contain" the archeytpe of the Messiah in its fulness. It would rip reality to shreds.
Elsewhere Schuon wrote that "Christ is the Heart of the macrocosm, as the Intellect is the Christ of the microcosm." As such, "He is then the Intellect in us as well as the Intellect in the Universe and a fortiori in God; in this sense, it can be said that there is no truth nor wisdom that does not come from Christ, and this is evidently independent of all consideration of time and place. Just as ‘the Light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not,' so too the Intellect shines in the darkness of passions and illusions."
Now, where does the latest messiah, Obama, fit into this scheme? Clearly -- often in a shockingly naive and undisguised manner -- Obama draws upon (or, to be precise, his enthusiasts draw upon) the universal hunger for messianic redemption, for a cosmic-historical figure who will shatter the existing corrupt order and make us "whole" again, which is to say, at one with God.
Now the fact that even secularized flatlanders sense the need for a messianic redemption speaks to unconscious awareness of our fallen situation. But naturally, the leftist understands the Fall in an unorthodox -- to say the least -- way. In fact, it would be an interesting exercise to "reverse engineer" their outward passion for the Obamessiah, to try to discern their unconscious understanding of what he is here to accomplish, or "undo." In short, exactly what is Obama's divine mission?
I think Julie is on the right track with a comment from yesterday. Obama
"embodies (at least outwardly) everything that leftists wish they were themselves: he's black, but also white; he's American, but also a 'citizen of the world'; he pushes for everything the leftiest of lefties desires, but somehow he also has social skills and charisma, so he makes it all look cool and appealing (as opposed to a Cindy Sheehan, or Code Pinkos, or Hillary, or any of the nutjobs who tend to flock to protests). He doesn't screech, whine or nag (he leaves that to the wife, I guess); instead, he cajoles and (anti)inspires. He absolves them of the sin of being white. He's like a great big mirror, showing them exactly what they want to see; they see their dream selves in him. Which would be all well and good, if what they fervently desired were not the most deadly, self-destructive governmental policies man has ever conceived -- socialism, multi-culturalism, pacifism, etc."
Therefore, our first guess is that Obama is indeed a messiah, only a messiah of the lower vertical, the projection of faux wholeness -- i.e., the healing of spiritual brokenness -- only in a circular, narcissistic, and ultimately "infertile" way. It is the creation and projection of a just and healing god to compensate for the absence of God. In essence, he is a groovin' image for the spiritually grooveless secular masses.
Reminds me this line by Samuel Johnson, quoted today in Peggy Noonan's tribute to Buckley: "How small of all that human hearts endure / That part which laws or kings can cause or cure."
Obama's finest speeches.... elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. --Ezra Klein