A Courageous Discussion of Race in the Cosmos
Sounds quaint, but I was raised to believe that categorizing people by race is a pernicious act, and in my day-to-day dealings with people, I have always judged them on the basis of their competency and their politeness. And maybe their smell. Public figures are different, in that we don't really care how they smell, but must assess them on the basis of their ideas and their impact on the macro arena, not just their outward behavior in the realm of the micro. Thus, it should go without saying that there are many people I routinely consign to hell on this blog, but with whom I could be quite friendly if they were my neighbor. I get along with everyone. No one has ever seen my irascible side, except in print.
Now, Raccoons are, as we know, bicosmic; which is not just a "fancy" way, but the proper way, of saying that we are in the world but not of the world. As the new age gag goes, we are not material beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a material experience. Which is true of everyone -- well, almost everyone, a few soulless asuras of the material realm notwithstanding. The difference is, a Raccoon doesn't just know this formula, but lives it from the inside out.
Like all people, we have (at least) two subjectivities, one "horizontal," the other "vertical" (the horizontal self can have numerous subjectivities, i.e., mind parasites). We can look at this from many angles, even the purely neurological, if you want to be reductionistic about it.
That is to say, we have a left brain and a right brain, each with a very different way of processing information and a very different sense of self. I don't want to oversimplify, but you could even say that the left cerebral hemisphere is the realm of the ego, while the right hemisphere is the realm of the Self. Any comprehensive definition of humanness -- or any real sense of what it's like to be human -- would have to include both. Like so many apparent dualities, it is actually a complementarity; in fact, more than a complementarity, a synthesis. The higher functioning person will, in my opinion, have the more comprehensive synthesis of "left and right," neurologically speaking.
Back when I was in graduate school, I had to undergo psychoanalytic therapy as a requirement of the program. As such, it was part therapeutic, part pedagogic. In one of the first sessions, as I lay there on the couch idly shooting the breeze with myself, verbalizing whatever bobbled up into my head, my analyst interrupted my reveries and asked something to the effect of, "Do you know what you're doing?"
"Do you know what you're trying to do, what this is all about?"
"Blaming my mother for all my problems?"
"No, you're trying to disable your left brain so as to allow the right brain to speak. That's where the unconscious is. We're interrogating the right brain, taking its deposition, getting its view of things."
Later, when I read about the neurobiology of emotional development in Allan Schore's magisterial Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self, I learned that this left-right distinction wasn't only "in a manner of speaking," or just a new scientific mythunderstanding. Rather, if you will turn to page 112 of your Coonifesto, you will see where it is written,
"Strange as it may sound, immature babies interact with mothers in such a way as to use them as an 'auxiliary cortex' for the purpose of downloading programs from her brain into his.... Of note, this 'downloading' mostly occurs in the nonverbal right brain, which develops earlier than the syntactically organized left brain, and is dominant during the first two or three years of life. Furthermore, recent research indicates that early experience lays down many deep connections between the right brain and the emotional limbic system, so that it is fairly clear that the 'unconscious' is located in the right cerebral hemisphere.
"The right brain is where early traumas take root, where disowned parts of the self reside undetected by language and linear logic, where the parents' unconscious conflicts are imported, where the deepest psychosomatic representation of oneself endures, where dysregulated systems are locked in, and where 'mind parasites' and other ghostly psychotoxins hide out."
So you see, I was right all along. It was my mother's fault.
Now, what does any of this have to do with race?
I don't know yet. Let me think.
One of my self-imposed life challenges -- I know, you should have such problems -- is to try to recooncile science and religion, and then religion and psychoanalysis. It's not easy, but I never stop trying. For example, Schuon, whom I revere in so many ways, detested psychoanalysis and certainly thought of modern science as a gross aberration insofar as its pernicious effect on man's understanding of his place and role in the cosmic drama. In that regard, I guess I can relate to Obama, because I could no more abandon Schuon than I could my white psychoanalyst.
Let's forget about left and right brains for the moment, and coonceptualize our bicosmic nature from a different angle. Schuon writes that "it is impossible to escape our subjectivity, precisely because we exist; the most deified man is an individual, parallel to what we may call his divine state" (emphasis mine). He continues: "The fact is that man has two subjectivities: the ego and the intellect; the ego follows the divine attraction within the limits of its nature -- it can do nothing else -- whereas the intellect, also in accordance with its nature, opens itself to the Principle and realizes it; both ways combine while remaining independent of each other" (emphasis yours).
Very interesting. Two ways of knowing the world, each independent of the other. However, one of the purposes of the spiritual life -- being that the efficient and final cause of the spiritual life is unity in diversity and diversity in unity -- is to bring the two modes together in a harmonious union. Or, as Schuon puts it, "to the extent that we understand metaphysics -- to this very extent we shall spontaneously be capable of seeing the principle in the Manifestation, Atma in Maya.... [For] he who knows transcendence will know immanence."
Yes, he will be a bloody Raccoon, for he will be bicosmic. He will see eternity in a grain of sand, which is another way of saying that he sees the Subject in every object, even while seeing that the Subject contains the object within its own substance. That's what we call 20-20 cOOnvision.
Now, back to Obama, who is psychically "unraveling" in public. Obama is quite clearly a man with no center. Or to be precise, he has (at least) two "horizontal" centers, which by definition means no center at all. He is not just callow and immature, which is self-evident, but he is searching for his missing center while using us as props. Again I will defer to Schuon:
"To be normal is to be homogeneous, and to be homogeneous is to have a center. A normal man is one whose tendencies are, if not altogether univocal, at least concordant; that is, sufficiently concordant to serve as a vehicle for that decisive center which we may call the sense of the Absolute.... The tendency towards the Absolute, for which we are made, is difficult to realize in a heteroclite soul; a soul lacking a center, precisely, and by that fact contrary to its reason for being. Such a soul is a priori a 'house divided against itself,' thus destined to fall eschatologically speaking."
And politically speaking as well. For the problem is not that Obama is "biracial." Again, that is of no consequence. Rather, the man has two horizontal centers, and his left brain doesn't know what his wright brain is doodooing.
Mankind upon earth is one foremost self-expression of the universal Being in His cosmic self-unfolding; he expresses, under the conditions of the terrestrial world he inhabits, the mental power of the universal existence....
But within this general nature and general destiny of mankind each individual human being has to follow the common aim on the lines of his own nature and to arrive at his possible perfection by a growth from within.... [T]he group self has no right to regard the individual as if he were only a cell of its body, a stone in its edifice, a passive instrument of its collective life and growth. --Sri Aurobindo