Sunday Nonsense & Theidiocy
Bob's got a pretty tough hide, but I think this super-smart reader, Xi -- the junior college professor of linguistics and analytic philosophy -- is starting to hurt his feelings a bit. For example, he writes that Dear Leader
"doesn't offer propositions which can even be evaluated. They suffer from excessive vagueness and ambiguity, resulting in them being, quite literally, senseless. The only possible method for assessing their truth or falsity is to simply believe, without support, that Bob is correct since there is no way to understand with any precision [and precision is necessary for understanding] what he is or isn't asserting. This isn't a property of my deficient mind, but of the very language he uses."
Of Petey (SBUH), he has the effrontery to write that he deploys a "kind private or semi-private language with its own rules which you make up as you go along. This is absurd and demonstrably false. Your usage of language is governed by the same necessities and realities as everyone else. Your claim of it being a spiritual exercise is a pretty poor cop out, not to mention its contradicted by the fact that you say that you and your 'coons' already 'know' the things you are writing, which implies that you and they do in fact 'know' them; an issue subject to epistemic investigation, even if you want to pretend it isn't.... Even if others don't see through this phony obfuscation, your intellectual bankruptcy is apparent."
Is this possible? First, let us stipulate that Bob's posts are indeed "made-up," since I have personally witnessed him making them up. But is it really true that all of his 900-some-(or all)-odd posts are just vague, ambiguous, absurd, intellectually bankrupt, and literally senseless, on the grounds that this self-confessed fount of (-n) literally doesn't understand them? Or, to put the blakes on this philosophical gas peddler, is it possible for truth to be told so as to be understood and not believed? Or that our comprehension is inferior to Xi's lack thereof?
Clearly, Xi is disclosing embarrassing details of his banal cognitive autobiography, but nothing about Bob. I'm trying to imagine the world of someone who equates "understanding" with analytic precision, but that's not possible, since the faculty of imagination is a priori imprecise -- or, to be precise, "supra-" or "transprecise," as, for example, in the precise formulations of metaphysics as imaginatively embodied in revelation.
In other worlds, and even this one, the most profound truths must be entered into imaginatively -- they are participatory, as in artistic or musical truth. On this, Xi and I will just have to agree to agree, even if he disagrees that he agrees with me, for he is essentially saying that his philosophical fantasy that the brain is a computer is superior to the commonplace bobservation that it is not.
Anyway, another Sunday exercise in spiritual epissedhimoffogy, just to annoy our lone sophisticated reader. Please note how little sense it makes, which you might say is the whole point of writing in such a way that -- to be precise -- we reverse the usual vector flow of (k)-->O to O-->(n).
Hey, sorry about the length.... maybe I'll make it up to you with no post tomorrow, since I have a long day.
On p. 285 of the Coonifesto there is a footnote which reads, “Perhaps I should emphasize that mind parasites are ultimately ephemeral human creations that operate ‘horizontally’ as long as there are human minds to host them. This is in stark contrast to spiritual entities, which operate vertically (from a higher realm than our own) and preexist the human beings that may open themselves to their influence.”
Now, I realize that even among regular readers, there might be a substantial number who will regard the reference to spiritual entities as “kooky talk,” as Kramer put it. However, as an aside, one thing I have discovered is that, if you are going to truly embrace the vertical, you have to go the whole hog. Initially it is a leap of faith, but in reality, it is not that different from, say, attending a movie. In doing so, we go into a dark place, temporarily suspend memory, desire and understanding, and disenable our “wideawake and cutandry” ego, so as to enter another world and submit to the director's vision.
However, have you ever noticed that a great film, in an odd sort of way, seems more real than real? Even though I done graduated from film school, this is something I have never really thought through or articulated before, but it is as if a great film (or any great work of art, really) is surreal, which literally means “super,” “over,” or “above” real.
Put it this way: art is either real, surreal or sub-real. If you are a Horizontal Man, then it goes without saying that it is merely real or possibly sub-real, since transcendence does not exist. And, as a matter of fact, we have plenty of examples of explicitly horizontal “naturalistic” art that came out of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Interestingly, if you have seen these works, you will notice that in their attempt at realism, they actually fall short of reality, which I think emphasizes a truism I have mentioned in the past: if man does not transcend himself, he falls beneath himself. Most contemporary art has now descended to this level. In draining itself of transcendence, it is mere barbarism by another name.
The human being is faced with two, and only two, metaphysical choices between a wholly secular and ultimately horizontal world view or a vertical and ultimately religious one. In the final analysis, despite all of the apparent variety, this is the only philosophical choice before you. On the one side, atheism, materialism, existentialism, rationalism, what have you. And on the other side, any form of transcendental realism. Now, importantly, if you choose the former, then the latter is excluded a priori. In other words, if there is only the horizontal world, then the vertical does not and cannot exist. However, if you choose the latter, it is obviously no problem fitting horizontality into the picture as a necessary consequence of the very nature of the Absolute. I have no beef whatsoever with science, whereas the scientistic mind of a Xi can only stare at religion with uncomprehending bovine eyes and ask, "where's the beef?"
Back to my original point: this is why, depending on the choice you make, you should have the courage of your convictions and go the whole hog in embracing the One or the other. If you are an atheist, go for it! Certainly don’t waste your time being a lukewarm agnostic, for the truth is this: if God is even possible in your metaphysical scheme, then a moment’s reflection will prove to you that God is necessary. In other words, do not be fooled into thinking that we are dealing with degrees of possibility. Rather, God -- just like moral certainty, or absolute truth, or objective beauty -- is either possible or impossible.
Now, whatever your particular religion, it will always draw a distinction between the frontal ego, which largely operates horizontally, and the psychic being (which is Sri Aurobindo’s term for the nous, buddhi, or higher intellect), which operates vertically. The former is by definition "fractured" and alienated from its ground, while the latter is a reflection of the Absolute in the relative, and therefore a diversified unity.
Let us stipulate at the outset that, to the extent that the vertical is real, then it is going to be reflected in us and in everything else. Thus follows God's favorite cliché, “as above, so below.” Looking at the world in this way, everything below is going to have its analogue in the above, and vice versa. Therefore, we start with the Absolute. The Absolute reflects itself in our local world as existence, or being, the most general category we can imagine, since everything partakes of it. We would also say that eternity manifests as time, which is its moving image.
Even more generally, time is not just mere duration, but the transforming mode of being. It has cycles and archetypal qualities, which is why we can even speak of “growth” or “evolution.” In this scheme, evolution is a necessary consequence of the Absolute manifesting in time. Ironically, progressive evolution (as opposed to mere change) is something that cannot be explained (because it is inherently vertical) by any purely horizontal metaphysics, which is why so-called “creationists” -- I mean the literal kind -- are even more materialistic than materialists. It is always a mistake to try to reduce metaphysical truth -- those truths which must be true because of the nature of things -- to your narrow creed. Rather, your task is to understand how these timeless truths are reflected in your creed. God did not give you an intellect only to ignore its most lofty capabilities. Please.
To affirm that man is the mirror and image of the Absolute is to remind ourselves that man is the being who can escape his own limits and participate in the eternal, which we only do all the time. But since we are mirrorcles of the Absolute, while it projects itself from eternity into time, our task is to ascend from time to eternity. In fact, when all is unsaid with non-doing, this is the soul task of the spiritual life. This ascension involves reversing figure and ground, so to speak, both spatially and temporally. In other words, we must turn the world upside-down and inside-out.
This is why it is not just a matter of knowing where to look for God, but how to look. You could go to the top of Mount Sinai, or into the the most secret vestibule of the Vatican, or to the mouth of the Ganges, or into L. Ron Hubbard's huge medicine cabinet, but if you don’t know how to look, you’re just going to see a mountain, a building, a river, or a lot of prescriptions for vicodin. On the other hand, if you know how to ascend the mountain, enter a dark cloud of unknowing, crucify your lower mind, and drink from the sacred river, you might just hit the slackpot.
It is not so much a matter of knowing as perceiving. We begin by transforming our vision and developing a spiritual way of “seeing.” As a matter of fact, this is something we routinely do. For example, when you read the words on a page, you actually make the letters “invisible” by looking through and beyond them to the words they spell. Likewise, the words become equally invisible, because you look through them to the meaning they are pointing at. You could undertake a chemical analysis of the ink with which the words are printed, but that would take you no closer to their meaning. Rather, it would take you far in the opposite direction, completely destroying their meaning. Do you get what I'm saying? Good. You just proved the point. Xi, you missed again.
Since God is transcendent, there is no way to see him by simply looking in a conventional way at material or empirical reality. That’s going to take you far away in the wrong direction, that is, unless you somehow look through and beyond the world in a manner analogous to the way we see through words and letters to their higher meaning. This is again why religious fundamentalists are neither religious nor fundamentalist. Rather, they are materialists, in that they act as if the literal words and events of the Bible are more real than that to which they point.
Also -- equally ironically -- there is no philosophy more abstract than atheism, for it superimposes its sterile and dogmatic abstractions over the mystery of being. No one has more fixed opinions about the unknown than proud Horizontal Man, who is half-correct in believing that some things are “too good to be true.” But he neglects the fact that there are necessarily things that are not good enough to be True, atheism among them. And as we all know, some things are just far too beautiful to be untrue.
Imagine if you were a trained meteorologist. Instead of seeing a cloud as an unambiguous white patch against a blue backdrop, you might begin to see the visible cloud as a mere “ripple” against the background of a much more encompassing meteorological process that is largely invisible to the senses. Similarly, before the days of MRI’s and high speed CT scans, an experienced cardiologist could place a stethoscope against your chest, and simply by listening to the sounds, visualize the nature of the problem.
Imagination, in its positive, active sense, is the membrane that makes contact with the higher world. It is dangerous to try to merely understand religious truths, because it reduces them to the known (k) and undermines their function of bypassing the ego and vaulting us out of our conventional way of knowing. Religious truths cannot be comprehended through dogma or through irreligious skepticism, but only through an imaginative engagement with their world. (To be clear: dogma is critical in that it preserves or memorializes these worlds, but it is still our task to imaginatively engage them.)
In short, you must, through your imagination, raise yourself up to religion, not lower religion down to your ego, or you will merely be worshipping your ego.
As I tried to convey in my book, there is only one story. It is the story of an evolving cosmos awakening to itself and becoming conscious. Who could argue with that? It happened. And it is happyning. First there was matter. Then one fine day, life. Then just a short while back, self-consciousness. And most recently, the recognition of, and identification with, Spirit. Matterlifemindspirit. You can insert an arbitrary line dividing one from the other, but at least recognize that you are the one who is creating the abstract dualism. The underlying Oneness of existence knows no such intrinsic demarcations, neither in space nor in time.
Which is to say that matterlifemindspirit is simply the mirror image of Spiritmindlifematter. As above, so below.
We look at a tree reflected in a lake. In its inverse image, we see that its roots are aloft, its branches and leaves down here below. Looking “up,” we see the trunk rising before us, into the roots that cannot be seen. They are invisible. But this is where nourishment enters the tree and moves down the trunk, where life is carried to the periphery.
May we know the tree by its most excellent fruit!