Saturday, March 29, 2008

Knocking Down Walls With Spirit Jazz

Why are we blogging on a Saturday? In fact, why are we blogging at all, when Bob said he was going to cut back? As to the first question, Bob just woke up refreshed and alert at 6:30, and here we are with nothing else to do. It's the only time during the day that the house is silent and peaceful, so why waste the silence and peace?

As to the second -- it's a little more complicated - but when that layer of rock forms between O and (n), we've decided that, instead of throwing up our hands, Bob's going to use me to bash his head against the rock with all the more force. Rather than backing off, we're going to ramp up the gymgnostics and verticalisthenics. Perhaps just as in weightlifting, the resistance is what creates the strength.

I am reminded of Sri Aurobindo, who often wrote of his struggles to "break on through" despite obstacles -- obstacles which seemed to throw up more resistance the more he progressed. Satprem (author of the best book on Aurobindo, The Adventure of Consciousness) writes that "if one draws down too strong a light, all the darkness below groans, violated." This aspect of the the mind "can be quite formidable, like an army of ants against an elephant." As Aurobindo's collaborator (known as "the Mother") put it, "the question in this race towards transformation is to know which of the two will arrive first, the person who wants to transform the body in the image of divine Truth, or the body's old habit of disintegrating." It's Evolution vs. Entropy, in a fight to the finish. Satprem elaborates:

"The more one descends the scale of consciousness, the thicker the falsehood and the more things die, of course, because falsehood is in essence rot.... Old age and illness are among its most evident falsehoods -- how could what is true become old, ugly, worn out, or ill? Truth is radiant, it is beautiful, luminous, and eternal. That is obvious. Truth is invincible. Death and old age can only touch us through our lack of Truth." This dark counter-force cannot be undone except by way of "a pressure from above, which responds to a call from below and breaks the seal, as the sun breaks the skin of the seed."

Sri Aurobindo spoke of the work of "dredging, dredging, dredging the mire of the subconscious." Satprem: "There is still too much jungle down below. The world is still full of jungles" over which "our mental colonization is a very thin crust." "In short, one has to face everything -- and everything resists.... [W]e cannot solve a problem, on any plane, without confronting all the opposites of our Goal.... And one easily understands how no transformation is possible as long as the forces [i.e., mind parasites] are simply muzzled, and remain prowling around in dark corners awaiting their hour. Since nothing can be subtracted from the universe, they must be converted." Thus, as Aurobindo wrote to a disciple,

"There is a sort of locked struggle in which neither side can make an appreciable advance (somewhat like the trench warfare of Europe), the spiritual force insisting against the resistance of the physical world, that resistance disputing every inch and making more or less effective counter-attacks." This touches on the folly of leftism, "the colossal vanity of those who pretend to cure the world by external means and new institutions; no sooner is evil healed in one place than it revives instantly elsewhere, in some other place, in some other form. Evil is not outside, it is within and below, and as long as that particular Disease has not been cured, the world cannot be cured" (Satprem). The whole world resists: "It is not we who wage war, it is everything that wars against us!" (Aurobindo).

It is not difficult to trancelight any of this into Christian terms. Paul: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God and the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. Or as Jesus himself said, No one after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. No, we plunge ahead, bashing our hearts against the headstone. (I'm sure that Nomo can find many more good examples.)

Hmm, that was only meant to be a brief prelude, but I'm afraid it may have turned into a quaalude that put you all to sleep. We're still flipping through these mysterious journals that Bob has laying around, trying to decipher their childish scrawl and see if we can't mind a few gnuggets from them. Here's one I like. It says something to the effect that Schuon is like stately and dignified classical music, whereas new-age/integral pop is more like banal and trivial pap music. Then it says -- or I think it says -- "Coony Tunes = Modern Jazz."

I think I understand what he's driving at here. In the case of classical music, it's almost like revelation, in the sense that there is a fixed canon of immortal works that few people believe will ever be surpassed, e.g., Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, et al. Pop music is the opposite, in that it is almost entirely ephemeral and without lasting value.

You could also say that classical music represents "old Europe," or even the old world in general, whereas pop music embodies the most crass and superficial elements of consumer driven fashion. But what about jazz? First of all, jazz is intrinsically American. But what is it? Above all, it is the art of spontaneous composition, but not in an undisciplined or arbitrary way. Rather, it involves instantaneous creativity utilizing a fixed chordal structure; or, to put it another way, inspired horizontal improvisation that is "spun out" through the vertical chordal changes.

As Bob tried to explain in the book, there is a reason why humans are so attracted to music, the reason being that there is something about music that reveals the very structure of the cosmos in both its "exterior" and "interior" aspects.

For example, a scientist might look at creation as an elaborate solo over the "chords of creation," that is, the twenty mathematical parameters that govern the character and development of the universe. These parameters do not rigidly determine events, any more than the chords of I Got Rhythm determine the musician's solo. Rather, the solo is infinitely free to vary within the constraints of the chords. In fact, in the absence of the chordal constraints, there can be no coherent solo.

A Raccoon looks at revelation in the same way, bearing in mind that there are three more or less co-equal branches of revelation, 1) the cosmos, 2) scripture, and 3) the uncreated intellect that represents the subjective "extension" of the Divine into the human realm. So Raccoons basically play live spirit-jazz out of these three songbooks in order to produce our loose canon of non-standards. Call it spiritual improve-isation.

good-Day!

36 Comments:

Blogger Gecko said...

Thanks Bob, and a good day to you and yours too!

3/29/2008 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"I'm afraid it may have turned into a quaalude that put you all to sleep."

La opuesta, Roberto!

There's an old joke that says we're all in a race with Death, but no matter how fast we go, the result is always a tie....

Your version is a bit more provocative:
"As Aurobindo's collaborator (known as "the Mother") put it, "the question in this race towards transformation is to know which of the two will arrive first, the person who wants to transform the body in the image of divine Truth, or the body's old habit of disintegrating." It's Evolution vs. Entropy, in a fight to the finish. Satprem elaborates:
"The more one descends the scale of consciousness, the thicker the falsehood and the more things die..."

This not only reminds us of the urgency of our task (the race), but also the direction of the potential solution to our quest. Unlike the joke I mentioned, your quote takes us from the conventional and directs us to the true.

Thanks!

3/29/2008 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger formfollowsfunction said...

I am puzzeled by my own Knotes.Here is what i wrote . My pursuit is a statement "that just because we can use CNLS dosen't mean we should." What is CNLS? Any help would be appreicated. Thankyou formfollowsfunction

3/29/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Dusty said...

"I am reminded of Sri Aurobindo, who often wrote of his struggles to "break on through" despite obstacles -- obstacles which seemed to throw up more resistance the more he progressed."

I don't know that I can compare my difficulties to Aurobindo, or anyone else for that matter, but I've noticed that kinks in being (specifically deep muscle and vital) get more difficult as I approach the initial point of separation, the primary pinch-off into nullity of being. To make an analogy, it's like one of those pieces of metal with a little circular curvature to it that can snap in and out of place, turning itself inside out and outside in. The more we approach the 'snapping point' the more resistance is thrown at us; but the breaking point is also a conversion point, where the will (momentum in the metal analogy) that was previously hostile is added to the will conscious evolutionary movement, and thereafter we're pushed...until the next barrier.

3/29/2008 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Interesting analogy, Dusty. Some of those types of snaps have a disconcerting habit of reverting in sudden fashion to their original form; I'm also reminded of those little plastic/ rubber half-spheres sold as toys - you turn them inside out and set them on a surface. Gradually, they struggle to revert to their original state (with the resistance increasing until they reach the snap point), but when it is reached there is a sudden release of energy, so great that they are propelled straight up into the air for several feet. The fun is, you can't quite tell when it's going to happen.

3/29/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Has anyone seen the Geert Wilder's film, FITNA? Oh my God, it has got to be the most truthful and concise presentation of Islam and our World that I have ever seen. Of course the UN gen sec of bs, Ban Ki-moon, thinks it should be condemned and hateful! Figures...It takes such courage and chutzpah for Wilder's to stand up to these savages and put his own life on the line, God bless him truly. There is a copy of it available to view on Moonbattery.com which is also a fabulous site in itself.

BTW, Have a good weekend despite the general state of the world! :)

3/29/2008 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous dusty said...

"I'm also reminded of those little plastic/ rubber half-spheres sold as toys "

Exactly Julie.

"Gradually, they struggle to revert to their original state (with the resistance increasing until they reach the snap point), but when it is reached there is a sudden release of energy, so great that they are propelled straight up into the air for several feet. The fun is, you can't quite tell when it's going to happen."

I not sure if the fun is in the suspense of life, the struggling tug-of-war between opposing forces, or the humanity to which it strives. I like to put the fun in the end rather than the process leading up to the end; or maybe I haven't yet learned what life's about. I see no fun in constant struggle. There's nothing fun about a perilous adventure until we've made it out alive.

Unless you were just talking about toys. :)

3/29/2008 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous dusty said...

Geert Wilders interview

3/29/2008 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous dusty said...

Is this guy being interviewed by a robot?

3/29/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I suppose if you look at yourself as the half-sphere, the fun is in the release of overcoming the struggle, which propels you up into the vertical. But yeah, mostly I was just talking about the fun of waiting for the toy to spring up ;)

Which also reminds me of one of the old tower drop rides, where you slowly get winched up the tower, and even more slowly (so it seems) dangled over a precipitous drop, to be released into freefall after a few agonizing seconds. The fun (if you like that kind of thing) is all in the anticipation; the drop goes so fast it's over before you know it.

3/29/2008 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A Raccoon looks at revelation in the same way, bearing in mind that there are three more or less co-equal branches of revelation, 1) the cosmos, 2) scripture, and 3) the uncreated intellect that represents the subjective "extension" of the Divine into the human realm."

Father = Cosmos= Maker of all things, seen and unseen
Son = Scripture = Word
Spirit = Intellect = Spirit of Truth


PCA
Intellect

3/29/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that should be PCA...the intellect was a typo.

3/29/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting. My site meter reveals that if you google FLOGGING BOOBS, the first thing that comes up is One Cosmos. I realize we criticize the left a lot, but number one in the whole internet?

3/29/2008 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that if you google self-flagellating boobs, you should get DailyKos as the first listing. Feeling lucky?

3/29/2008 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

"In fact, in the absence of the chordal constraints, there can be no coherent solo."

I'm not much into "free form" jazz either. I tried. I even went to an Anthony Braxton concert. I just don't like it and don't understand the people that do. When Coltrane did his "sheets of sound", it was in a chordal context, but like you said, without it, there is no coherence that I can comprehend.

3/29/2008 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Voltron said...

Dusty,

"...I see no fun in constant struggle. There's nothing fun about a perilous adventure until we've made it out alive."

Agreed, but it's not about "fun".

The struggle, the pain, (and our reaction to it) is what defines us and makes us who and what we are.

I don't think man was meant to sit on a cloud and play a lyre all day.
That's part of what scares me about the concept of "heaven".

How will we define ourselves when there are no more mountains to climb, no new worlds to conquer?

Kinda funny, I hang out here looking for some kind of spark of enlightenment and yet I'm wary of the direction it may lead...LOL



Regarding FITNA, I put a copy up on my site as well. I'll do my part to keep it going as long as there's a link to be found or blogger shuts me down.

3/29/2008 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Voltron said...

Anon,

All I got was a page about some woman named Sabrina...

(A site regarding Ron Paul was third though...)

3/29/2008 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Voltron said...

I guess I equate the loss of struggle or pain as a loss of 'self' or awareness...

3/29/2008 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Gotta love when the Beez U pendulum comes swinging back to wreck a few more barriers to O. A smashing post!

3/29/2008 04:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voltron: I wrote that tongue-in-cheek without checking. Ron Paul is a pleasant surprise.

anon

3/29/2008 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous dusty said...

"I guess I equate the loss of struggle or pain as a loss of 'self' or awareness..."

Well, I don't necessarily define my 'self' as in any way related to the effects of the devil that I see in my life and the world. There's a difference between the resistance that a tree needs in order to grow strong and firmly rooted in the ground, and titanic fatalistic resistances that do nothing for a tree as tree, or a person as a person, to extend the analogy. That's the kind of struggles that I'm talking about, and I don't define the self of humanity by them. Barriers that do nothing for a soul (root by analogy) really have no place, or should have no place in the life of a soul (trees that grow in rock don't grow as big). What's important is that the person be awake, and I often find that most of these hurdles in peoples lives really act as insurmountable inhibitors of emergence; and I don't guess that people falling in love and identifying with troubles helps either. It's identification with suffering that's at the 'heart' of the problem, at least in part.

Really, I'll take my cloud (wings) as soon as I can get it, and play on manifestation in the thereafter.

3/29/2008 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

I gave it up to jazz tonight.

What a day! A Godwin/Goodwin duet!

3/29/2008 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"So Raccoons basically play live spirit-jazz out of these three songbooks in order to produce our loose canon of non-standards."

And it takes balls to use these canon's.

3/30/2008 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The whole world resists: "It is not we who wage war, it is everything that wars against us!" (Aurobindo)."

And there are only two choices we can make in answer:
Fight...or die.

3/30/2008 02:54:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"[W]e cannot solve a problem, on any plane, without confronting all the opposites of our Goal.... And one easily understands how no transformation is possible as long as the forces [i.e., mind parasites] are simply muzzled, and remain prowling around in dark corners awaiting their hour. Since nothing can be subtracted from the universe, they must be converted."

Problems...on a plane!

3/30/2008 02:59:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for the review, Lisa! Next time I'm at the library I'm gonna try to see that video.
Gecko also said it was a must see.

3/30/2008 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Dusty said:
"I not sure if the fun is in the suspense of life, the struggling tug-of-war between opposing forces, or the humanity to which it strives."

Well, I think you can find the fun just about anywhere although it can also really suck.

It largely depends on what our way of looking at it is, 'cause even the sucky painful moments can be fun, in a sense.

The humor is there regardless of the situation, and I don't say that flippantly.
Laughing at death can be very liberating.
Laughing at pain is a bit tougher, but it can be done. :^)

3/30/2008 03:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Voltron said:
"I don't think man was meant to sit on a cloud and play a lyre all day.
That's part of what scares me about the concept of "heaven"."

That's not a realistic concept of Heaven.
Jesus said that Heaven is better than we can imagine...ergo I know I won't be playing a lyre on a cloud all day. :^)

3/30/2008 03:31:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Voltron said...
I guess I equate the loss of struggle or pain as a loss of 'self' or awareness..."

It will only last for an eternity.
Maybe not pain as we know it, per se, but the struggles, the learning, and the challenges is eternal.

Since God is infinite and eternal how could it not be?

3/30/2008 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

In water, resistance increases with the cube of speed. At a leisurely swim, it isn't bad at all, but if you hit the water from a great high, it is nearly like a solid. Likewise soil has its own resistance, which at our speed is very high, but roots at their deliberate speed easily find their way through the ground.

When someone wakes up and starts moving with purpose, there is also a resistance from the "world", and it too increases rapidly with the speed. I am not sure this is a design flaw or the work of a conscious enemy: It might be a security device to keep the crazies from trashing about too wildly. But it must be very frustrating for one who sees his goal clearly and tries to get there in the limited time given him.

3/30/2008 06:18:00 AM  
Anonymous dusty said...

That's good magnus. I haven't thought of it that way. It gives me a little more comfort in the difficulties that I'm having with the more physically dense stuff, in my hope that it (my suppression) will eventually be reformed by the formative forces. It's taking years and years in my case, but with time, things do seem to find their way through the densest of circumstances.

3/30/2008 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Voltron said...

Ben and Magnus,

Good Points!

As long as I feel the "resistance" I know I'm moving forward.
And I do hope the "challenges" continue. Without them I'd lose my 'self focus'.



When I was young I went through a period where I had out of the body type experiences regularly, and as a result I read all I could about the subject.

A story I read of one man's NDE, (near death experience) he claimed to have been simply an "energy field" that encompassed all of creation, in which he could feel the ebb and flow of energy through and around him with colorful visual sensations, and the complete absence of time as well.

He described it as very beautiful and pleasant and a place he didn't want to leave, but it scared the hell out of me.

I don't wanna be no "all encompassing energy field"!!!

Luckily my own experiences were nothing like that, but of course I wasn't near death either.

3/30/2008 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Voltron said...

Dusty,

I'm sorry if my statement seemed a little cold or unsympathetic. I don't know what difficulties you're having and I do hope you find your way through them.

3/30/2008 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Voltron said...

(speaking only about myself here)

Perhaps it's an ego thing?

The animal (earthly) part fears the loss of itself when the spirit leaves it?

3/30/2008 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Voltron said...

Well that was WAY too much introspection...

How about those Cubs?

3/30/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't like free jazz? I guess a lot of people don't. It's usually not very good. But then there's Sonny Rollins....

3/30/2008 07:25:00 PM  

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