Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Big Bang and Other Modern Mythadventures

I'm reading this wonderful book, The Spiritual Ascent (previously published as A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom: An Encyclopedia of Humankind's Spiritual Truth), which is an 1,100 page compendium of all the world's spiritual wisdom, divided into three main categories that mirror the three stages of soul's ascent to God, purification, illumination and union.

In turn, each of these three parts is divided into two main subsections, and each subsection has between three and nine subcategories. Plus, like my book, it is bracketed by a Prelude and Afterworld that deal with "events" that take place "before the beginning" and "after the end," within the womb of God. But since they are outside time, they are actually the timeless "ground" of every now, which I will attempt to explain in this post.

This is obviously not a book to be eaten straight through and digested in one siddhi. Nevertheless, that's what I'm doing, as it is a worthy test of the spiritual athleticism of the Mighty Raccoon, who can by nature stomach a great deal of truth without bursting at the seams. It will undoubtedly inspire many posts as I make may way through its riches.

Speaking of which, the book is structured like a holographic jewel, in which light from each facet illuminates the other parts. In this regard, timeless spiritual knowledge is truly fractal and organic, in that each part contains the "whole." To cite one obvious example, purification, illumination and union are not actually serial or linear, but aspects of one another. Obviously there is no union in the absence of purification, but at the same time, purification and illumination imply knowledge of, and union with, their transcendent object.

Likewise, here below in the herebelow we can separate truth and love, something which even God "cannot" do. And why can't he do it? Because, strictly speaking, it is impossible. Thus, to the extent that humans do it, they are living in illusion. In short, don't blame God for the left, even though they are inevitable. To ask why there is a left is to ask why there is existence, which is to say, something separate from God.

I can't believe I didn't come across this book in the course of writing my own, but then again, perhaps that was a good thing, because I would have ended up relying upon it too much instead of traveling hither and yon to locate all the material I used to support my metaphysical views. Plus, it is critical to point out that I first "discovered" Truth, only to slowly but forcefully realize that I had done no such thing, if "discovery" implies that I was somehow the first to find it and plant the Raccoon colors on its fertile soil. It makes the "discovery" all the more powerful when you realize that you've independently discovered something objective and accessible to the uncreated intellect.

For example, I've mentioned before that when I originally wrote the book, there were no footnotes in the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections that open and close and reopen the book, the reason being that I thought they were self-evident. Like Finnegans Wake, they were intended to be as vivid and clear as a dream. By its nature, the dream is a densely packed clearobscurity of gnocturnal logic that "contains" an infinitude of meanings that may be explicated in a linear fashion with daytime logic. But no matter how much the daytime logic is additively summed, it can never "equal" the holographic dream density of which it is a function.

In fact, a number of Perry's references deal with this inexhaustible aspect of O. First, he quotes Schuon, who writes that from the metaphysical perspective, creation or manifestion are "rigorously implied" in the principle of the Absolute, which is necessarily Infinite. This principle has been enunciated by Tradition in any number of ways, often in a symbolic or mythological form aimed at the "average ethnic mentality," so to speak. Perry explains:

"From the cosmological perspective, creation is a progressive exteriorization of that which is principially interior, an alternation between the essential pole (purusha, yang) and the substantial pole (prakriti, yin) of a single Supreme Principle (Self, Atma)," which itself is the "Motionless Mover" of Aristotle. In short, the first "cosmic act" is the bifurcation of the Principle into "Essence" and "Substance," without which there can be no manifestation. Thus, this original duality -- or complementarity -- underlies all the others, such as subject-object, part-whole, wave-particle, individual-group, material-immaterial, etc.

Now, I probably didn't make it clear enough in my book that I was not suggesting that existence "began" with the Big Bang. Rather, in my mind, I thought I was making it obscurely clear that I was creating a modern fable, in which I use the contemporary language of Big Bang cosmology to convey timeless truths about the eternal cosmogenesis to which scientists unconsciously conform their minds. In other words, you cannot derive metaphysics from the empirical study of the cosmos. Rather, we must frame Big Bang cosmology in the form of timeless principles that have always been known about the manifestation of reality, or the local manifestation from the nonlocal Principle.

Anyway, not too many people read my book before it was published, least of all my editor. But one friend who read the Cosmogenesis section recommended that I insert some footnotes in order to give the drowning reader a little laughjoket to cling to. As I said in the Apologia and Joycetification, every word of it makes perfect nonsense, and couldn't have really been coonveyed in a more unigmatic manner. But knowing that many if not all readers would find this joyful prologue to be an unspeakable overchore, the footnotes were placed in the mouth of the book to give some direction and guidance with which to chew in the dark. Indeed, the footnotes are mere night lights intended to help you make a little pisstop in the dark, not floodlights to illuminate the whole spiritual pathroom.

But Perry's book is more of a floodlight, albeit a dark one. It reminds me of the title of Grotstein's book on Bion, A Beam of Intense Darkness. You have to put this dark beam in your own I in order to remove the bright moat that "surrounds" heaven, so to speak, obscuring its brilliance.

If that's not obscure enough, here are some examples from the book:

Chuang-tse: At the beginning of the beginning, even nothing did not exist. Then came the period of the Nameless. When ONE came into existence, there was ONE, but it was formless. When things received that by which they came into existence, it was called their virtue.... By cultivating this nature, we are carried back to virtue; and if this is perfected, we become as all things were in the beginning. We become unconditioned.

Now, not only does this pithy passage summarize the entire Cosmogenesis section of my book, but that section is a fractal of the entire book -- which in turn "demonstrates" the principle of the "fruit" of manifestation perpetually arising and flowing out of this tiny seed of eternity. As Perry says in a footnote, "In the Beginning" is not meant to be just "once" but once and for all -- not "once upon a time," but, as I put it in the book, One's upin a timeless. Get it?

Again, it is quite easy to put these timeless principles in a Christian context, which should go without saying. For example, William Law:

Now these heavenly properties which were brought into this created compaction lie in a continual desire to return to their first state of glory; and this is the groaning of the whole creation to be delivered from the vanity of which the Apostle speaks.

Or Eckhart:

God dwells in the nothing-at-all that was prior to nothing, in the hidden Godhead of pure gnosis whereof no man durst speak.

Or William Law again:

The goodness of God breaking forth into a desire to communicate good was the cause and the beginning of creation.

Eckhart, in his usual playful manner:

God has made the world... in order that God might be born in the soul and the soul be born into God.... God cannot know himself without me.

Thomas Traherne:

It is no blasphemy to say that God cannot make a God: the greatest thing that He can make is His Image: a most perfect creature, to enjoy the most perfect treasures, in the most perfect manner.

Or to put it in Petey's plain unglish -- I could cite numerous examples from the book, but here's just one:

A divine desire to reveil and find Itself, unnarcissary yet inevitable, conceived in d'light immaculate and now swelling in the night-filled womb of unmanifest being, the radiant urizon of an insindiary Dawn approaches. When purusha comes to shiva with an unmentionable demiurge (the unspoken Word), how Lo can He go? How about all the way inside-out and upside down, a vidy long descent indeed to the farthest reaches of sorrow and ignorance.... Congratulations on the equation of your cosmic birth! Oh my stars, He expectorated a mirrorcle, now you're the spittin' image!

As I said, the remarkable thing to me is that this may look "made up," but it's clearly not. Rather, it's pure playgiarism of innumerable previous gnosis-alls, dressed up in the punnishantics of happily unhinged coonglish.

19 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Brilliant essay at American Thinker, Doublethink and the Liberal Mind.

4/05/2008 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Heh: I gather from this post that you kind of like the book you're reading!
How can I tell!?

You wrote,
"...timeless spiritual knowledge is truly fractal and organic, in that each part contains the "whole." ... Obviously there is no union in the absence of purification, but at the same time, purification and illumination imply knowledge of, and union with, their transcendent object."

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but while we can "know about" this holographic quality of Reality with the ego-mind (self), we can only say we understand it through the nous (Self) -- and only then can hope to "contain" it. I believe that accords with you.

I think it is time for the third trip through your book!

Inspiring post, Bob!

4/05/2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Listen to a whole Van Morrison concert on the BBC. (Starts with a traffic report.)

4/05/2008 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Well, Amazon has sold at least 3 copies of Spiritual Ascent this morning!

4/05/2008 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

re: doublethink: "Murder is Compassion"   or "diversity is unity."

First, trust "progressives" to create an artificial and damaging dilemma, and then eventually to offer some once-over-lightly fraud who needs to seize power so as to "solve" "your/our" difficulty.

Second, no doubt it has been stated elsewhere that doublethink and doubletalk are consciously or unconsciously in service of at least three tactics:

Determine the loyal footsoldiers by forcing false or nonsensical declarations from their mouths without objection.

Humiliate as many others as possible by requiring them, more or less in public, to subscribe to patent lies; the humiliation saps their self-confidence for opposition.

Strip the gears for the vocabulary and logic of truth vs. lies. Opponents are not refuted, but silenced.

A civil countervailing rhetoric is of the first importance.

4/05/2008 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dilys,
Your comments remind me so much of the talk of late 2002 and early 2003! Progressives abound.

4/05/2008 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reflecting on Bob's post, it becomes clear that one point of life must be to experience sorrow and suffering; it only makes sense. Negative experiences are probably not easy to come by unless one is in some sort of partial or separated consciousness, as humans are.

Since Vasudeva cannot sincerely suffer, It breaks off pieces of Itself to come here and have the experience.

For the purposes of practical behaviour then, the upshot is that suffering is of extreme importance and should be paid attention to in the life. This would be the "work" of life, so to speak.

But how does Vasudeva record and enjoy the suffering? Via the Akashic records? I theorize that each life is recorded (pobably before it is actually lived, I am guessing), so the Enjoyer keeps it constantly in mind. So why have it played out in time? It is for increased enjoyment, or perhaps time is necessary for suffering and sorrow to occur.

I theorize that for each person living, Vasudeva is enjoying a replay of the life and is savoring the sorrow and separative grief, from the safe vantage point of being free of it. Time is a function of Vasudeva's immediate delight and enjoyment of the life.

After "death" the life is stored in the record, where it has been for eternity, and a new life selected for play. The individual soul then is the mechanism for playing the data and is re-used, and if fact becomes a specialist in playing a certain "line" of lives.

New lives cannot be created, as all are already lived, or so I am guessing.

This speculative line yields a newfound respect for adversity in the life, if not indeed a welcoming of adversity. However, we must not go out of our way to create suffering or it would become insincere and lose value.

Paradoxically, the more advanced spiritually one becomes, the less one suffers, and so then one has less efficacy at the task.

Ah well, I ramble.

4/05/2008 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Walt, one of those is mine :) You just have to be quicker on the draw!

4/05/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Ha! I was quick enough!

4/05/2008 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

:D I wonder who the other one was, then?

4/05/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Voltron said...

"After "death" the life is stored in the record, where it has been for eternity, and a new life selected for play. The individual soul then is the mechanism for playing the data and is re-used, and if fact becomes a specialist in playing a certain "line" of lives.

New lives cannot be created, as all are already lived, or so I am guessing."



Interesting. AND if time were not a constraining force, ONE or even just a few could be "playing" many lives simultaneously. E pluribus unum...

4/05/2008 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anon - AND, if I concentrate really really hard, I can make monkeys fly out of my butt.

OK, perhaps that was uncalled for, but I read the entire thing, wasting precious time and suffering in the process. Paradoxically.

4/05/2008 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Now, I probably didn't make it clear enough in my book that I was not suggesting that existence "began" with the Big Bang. Rather, in my mind, I thought I was making it obscurely clear that I was creating a modern fable, in which I use the contemporary language of Big Bang cosmology to convey timeless truths about the eternal cosmogenesis to which scientists unconsciously conform their minds. In other words, you cannot derive metaphysics from the empirical study of the cosmos."

It was clear to me. Of course, that could be because I read your blog, but I'm pretty sure I still would've took it that way regardless, but I wouldn't have understood as much as I do now, and am still exploring, without reading your blog.

But you only had so much room to explain it.
Personally, I think the obscurely clear provides more clarity than the plainly clear, because it prompts our own individual and unique cOOnvisiOn while staying true to the Truth.

4/06/2008 02:39:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Nomo-
I cooncur, that was a bizarro comment.
Flying monkeys out of your butt is more entertaining, IMO. :^)

4/06/2008 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

"I first "discovered" Truth, only to slowly but forcefully realize that I had done no such thing"

The same thing, if on a lesser scale, has happened to me over the last three years or so. Things that I was the first to see or at least to formulate, I suddenly found by others, who had thought them more clearly and in a wider context, well before I reinvented the fifth wheel.

It would have been irritating if it weren't so awesome.

4/06/2008 04:15:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Speaking of doublethink, here's a quote from Roger Baldwin, founder of the ACLU:

I am for socialism, disarmament and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek the social ownership of property...

There, in a nutshell, is the hypocritical essence of left wing thinking. In one sentence he'll abolish the state as an instrument of compulsion, and in the very next sentence, advocate using the state's power of compulsion to confiscate all property for 'social ownership'.

JWM

4/06/2008 08:54:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Rambling anon:
That's a lot of very mystical speculation that devolves into a deterministic view of life, the world, and God. It would be as if all lives are recorded like so many movies in God's cosmic netflix library. An omnipotent God can (and did) create a being capable of surprising even Him. That being would be us, and that capacity to surprise God is called free will.

JWM

4/06/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

JWM - Omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I would have to replace "surprise" with "please". And pleasing Him gives Him joy.

4/06/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Likewise, here below in the herebelow we can separate truth and love, something which even God "cannot" do. And why can't he do it? Because, strictly speaking, it is impossible. Thus, to the extent that humans do it, they are living in illusion. "

True enough. Easily visible in statements like "I don't think there is any such thing as consciousness" (Descartes walks into a bar, bartender asks 'want a beer?', Descartes says 'I think not' and disappears), "Your mistake is that you think there is free will, and there is no such thing" (in a deterministic universe, how is such a thing as 'error' possible?), "Property Rights?! Not valid... everything belongs to the State!" (sigh)

4/07/2008 06:06:00 AM  

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