The Soul of Obama and His Spiritual Housing Crisis (4.08.10)
One of the intrinsic problems of leftism is that it confuses an absence of constraints with freedom, when the only real freedom is precisely a result of thinking, feeling, willing and even "being" within what I believe are God-given constraints. For example, just as it isn't possible to "think mathematically" in the absence of mathematical equations, or to play music in the absence of harmony, melody, and rhythm, it is not possible to "think spiritually" in the absence of authentic and timeless religious forms. These are the boundary conditions that vault one's thought into a higher vertical space which is anterior to us, even while we "co-create" it -- again, somewhat analogous to musical improvisation. Real thought is the essence of prayer, linking man with what is timeless and eternal.
To put it another way, the purpose of religious forms -- one of them, anyway -- is to allow us to think spiritually, and to do so in a productive way. One of the reasons why the "new age" is so empty and ultimately unfruitful is that it tries to make up its own spiritual language, which amounts to thinking without constraints or playing music with no harmonic or melodic structure. Certain self-styled "independent gurus" fall into this category, and this is the primary reason why their work dies with them, since it does not arise out of any eternal tradition. They end up trying to invent their own tradition, which is analogous to the musician trying to invent music itself.
I remember Bob Dylan saying something similar with regard to his artistic development. He said something to the effect that he didn't understand how young musicians can think they'll produce anything of enduring value by simply imitating contemporary sounds, instead of immersing themselves in an authentic tradition.
In Dylan's case, one of the keys to his greatness was that he surrendered and submitted himself to the American folk tradition, as if it were a religion. Which, in a way it was and is. That is, just as authentic religious revelations descend from "above" and are invented by "no one" and "everyone," a genuine folk tradition arises from "below," in the collective experience of mankind. This is what gives it its resonant mythological power, a power that no one person could have "invented."
Only once he had immersed himself in the folk tradition could Dylan then "legitimately" branch of into "freer" directions; but even so, I believe he would be the first to acknowledge that he is still working with timeless materials within a traditional framework. He is not truly an "innovator" in the way we usually think of that word. To the contrary, he is a strict traditionalist, out of which comes both his power and authority. One other important point is that this approach ensures that music is not merely made for egoic or narcissistic reasons, but out of love -- love and respect for the tradition that is higher and greater than oneself. So much music is vile because it does violence the traditions out of which it arose.
If one truly immerses oneself in a tradition and is guided by love, an alchemical transformation occurs within the soul. In this process, the lower self "dissolves," so to speak, allowing one to graft onto or merge with the tradition in a seamless way. The reason why this can occur is that a legitimate tradition embodies what is permanent within the self (in both its celestial and terrestrial aspects), so it is not really a discovery but a deep recollection of one's true being.
This, by the way, is one of the things that is so troubling about Obama. It is not so much that he is the spiritual disciple of an ignorant and vile madman, but that he has surrendered himself to a tradition that is not a legitimate one at all, but one that is wholly -- or largely -- manmade. Any spiritually attuned person can listen to Jeremiah Wright and know this in an instant. That he is not radiating divine qualities is patently obvious. He has no dignity, no nobility, no sobriety; rather, he is "wild," intoxicated, uncontained, and decentered. At best, he mimics certain qualities such as divine wrath and judgment, as well as a genuine fake charisma that emanates from his fascinatingly unbound mind parasites, as opposed to any celestial "gift." All demagogues have this toxic gift that resonates in the susceptible. One thinks of Bill Clinton.
A person of genuine spiritual attainment will radiate from the calm center, and be an image of the "motionless mover." Think, for example, of the recent visit of the Pope, and contrast his dignified bearing -- simultaneously humble and majestic -- with the circus freakery of a Jeremiah Wright. He is all periphery and no center; he has no spiritual center and therefore no intellectual center, hence, the wild conspiracy theories, which are both "systematic" and incoherent, just like any clinical paranoid who is invincible in his certainty of the impossible. He has quite literally substituted paranoia for metanoia, in that he orients himself around projected illusions instead of "turning around" and calmly orienting himself toward and around the peace and tranquility of the One.
As a commenter mentioned yesterday, this is not religion but Marxism, Marxism being the archetypal inversion of religion precisely. As I have mentioned on many occasions, this is my principal objection to the psychospiritual left, as it inverts the cosmic order, so that everything is quite literally backward and upside down. Mixed with religion, it becomes a particularly potent and destructive force, even demonic in the strict sense of the term.
Now, why is this important? Because a religion is where one's soul finds its rest. It is where one feels spiritually "at home." As such, if one finds one's home in a false religion, one is ipso facto a false self. To put it another way, if one finds one's truth in lies, then one is living a lie -- or worse yet, one is a Lie.
But why would someone "fall in love" with religious lies and liars? Good question. It could just be because it is convenient to do so, or congenial with what one already wishes to believe. Thus, a person who has already committed himself to neo-Marxism finds his soul's rest in the tawdry "liberation theology" of a Jeremiah Wright, which is not theology and certainly not liberating.
Is this what has happened with Obama? Unfortunately, we just don't know, and that's the problem. Is Obama just cynical and calculating? Spiritually blind and tone deaf? Not too bright underneath his smooth veneer? In any case, his attraction to this buffoon Wright speaks to some sort of flaw which is quite deep, and which reveals a fundamentally dis-ordered soul. Spiritually speaking, people lied, Obama died.
We all have flaws. But hopefully we do not glorify them and give them a divine imprimatur. It's like a sex addict joining a polygamous church, or Jeffrey Dahmer converting to the Aztec religion.
If Obama felt he needed to join a black church in order to gain some sort of "street credibility," it certainly wouldn't have been difficult to find a mainstream one. I happen to believe that the black church at its best represents an authentic sub-tradition, as it is the spontaneous merging of the gospel with an oppressed people with their own unique heritage. There is so much truth and beauty in the black church, e.g., gospel music. Why get involved with this perverse and parasitic version of it?
If we give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is not a malicious person, then we are left with the option that he is simply a man with no identity in search of one. Such a centerless man will grope around for his center at the periphery, and feel at home there, just as secular leftist losers feel at home with fellow outcasts (i.e., people who do not know their caste) and sociopaths, blindly wandering from sensation to sensation in a kind of false eternity.
Interestingly, you will notice that Obama appears to be everything Wright is not -- calm, centered, dignified, even aristocratic. These are all fine qualities so long as they are both genuine and spiritually grounded.
But again, one wonders how genuine they can be if Obama is so deeply attracted to someone who embodies their opposite. Imagine the contradiction. It's analogous to a sober scientist being a secret devotee of palm reading, or a classical conductor enjoying Britney Spears in his spare time, or a Raccoon who spends $1,000 for a weekend seminar with Deepak Chopra or Tony Robbins.
More generally, I detest religious people who make religion look foolish or evil. There are few greater sins. Maybe none, for it is the one sin that negates all the others.