Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Soul of Obama and His Spiritual Housing Crisis (4.08.10)

Man is made in such a way that he is never fully actualized within the limits of his possibilities except with the help of constraints, otherwise he would be perfect; where there is no brake there is exaggeration and unconsciousness. --F. Schuon

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.


Blogger mushroom said...

Ah, it is good to be back. I’ve spent the last couple of days treeing last week’s coons. I completely agree with the parallel between Wright and BJ Clinton. These men are vampires that derive their false life from the adulation of gullible. The Bible calls them “false shepherds” leading the sheep astray for their own personal aggrandizement. Neither can endure the absence of attention or the thought that they are not “relevant”.

The theme of structure and freedom is a good one also. I recall a story – study or anecdote – about children on a playground and a fence. Some well-meaning and no doubt leftist authority passing by a schoolyard one day saw kids pressed against the playground fence. Thinking the fence was a hindrance to freedom, the authority had the fence removed. When the authority next passed by the playground, the kids were all congregated in the middle, unwilling to venture near the borders absent the visible barrier. It is one of the natural paradoxes of life from which God expects us to derive insight.

4/29/2008 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Ha! I'm glad the inherent instability of group politics is coming out now before we get any further down the wide road of destruction. Europe is already too far down that road. Group politics is an excellent way to win votes in the short-term, but when everyone is doing it, madness. A country spends all of it's treasure giving perks to convenient, politically created, groups rather then investing in things that benefit the country as a whole. I would like our government, especially our federal government, to invest in infrastructure, science, and keeping out the barbarians. Rome finally forgot that and look what happened.

Group politics points towards tribalism. The whole point of civilization is to move away from the poverty of tribalism. Having lived in the middle east I can tell you that tribalism is no fun. You think our politics are bad. Tribalism is a big part of why it is so hard to do business in the middle east.

Wright pwned Obama. Did you expect anything else? There is money to be made in dividing people and setting them against each other, or creating victim groups. The problem is other more important issues don't get addressed. Then Rome falls.

Group politics equals divide and conquer, anyone who tells you different is lying to you. But then you all didn't have to get a masters in political science to figure all that out.

4/29/2008 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

God restrains himself in creating us, as if to say, "Freedom is a kind of sacrifice."

4/29/2008 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Of possible interest to Raccoons:
(Amazon has it too)

Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II
(published 2/15/08)

From pub's site:
There’s another reason why these articles matter. Chesterton was present at the birth of the modern age. Many issues we debate today had their coming out party in London during the first two decades of the twentieth century.

It’s a recently completed collection of 111 articles that Chesterton wrote for the Illustrated London News between 1905 and 1922. In those articles, written some two decades before the Second World War, Chesterton explained in practical terms how the next war could be avoided. He was a true pacifist, seeking genuine peace without sacrificing human dignity and freedom.

Finally, while Hitler was still an unknown soldier, he blasted as foul and absurd then fashionable racist ideas that Nazism would later exploit. It is no exaggeration to call him Hitler’s first foe.


Don't miss the other titles they've published, plus 'Inkling University' on the sidebar, which goes to:

1. Introduction: Birth Control, Eugenics and Margaret Sanger

Each web page in this BC (for Birth Control) series provides the historical background for a downloadable set of original source documents for one topic in the early history of birth control and its close ties to eugenics. These documents come from the book The Pivot of Civilization in Historical Perspective.

4/29/2008 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Since Obama wants the Presidency so badly, and since this issue won't go away and is like a millstone around his neck dragging him down, I'm looking for a facade of detachment from Wright without truly detaching. A sort of "wink wink" parting of the ways which will be initiated by a "disappointed" Wright. Look for the Wright bombast to hit a crescendo followed a mild repudiation from Obama. Look for the words "Uncle Tom" or something equivalent to emanate from the mouth of the black bigot when he is denounced. . Think pro wrestling.
Obama will lose some support initially but that support will drift back into his camp for the general election. Obama can play the poor fooled victim who stood up to a bully to gain votes back from the majority. And the kool-aiders will lap it up
Conspiratorial? Yes. But this issue needs to go away for him before it sinks his candidacy, that is, unless he is looking to a better play for a later election.

4/29/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"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. "

People that aren't used to looking for essentials, principles, look for the appearances that grab their attention. If you aren't looking for truth and wisdom, then you're looking for excitement and like-mindedness. The person seeking principles will learn a truth, and follow it, shedding any habits that conflict with it, to it's deeper implications and discover deeper truths in the process, reaching towards an ever deepening center and reach new vertical depths gaining that centered, rock solid aura. The person seeking satisfaction through like mindedness will increasingly seek more and more flashy excitements 'you've been oppressed'->'gov't started aids'->'911 was an inside job' - one wild habit and preference will be tacked onto another, stretching them further, wider and ever more thinly and their demeanor will gain the wild energy of the rootlessly frantic.

In other words, what Gagdad just said in today’s post. And Schuon:"Man is made in such a way that he is never fully actualized within the limits of his possibilities except with the help of constraints, otherwise he would be perfect; where there is no brake there is exaggeration and unconsciousness. --F. Schuon"

4/29/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

BTW, "The Soul of Obama and His Spiritual Housing Crisis", is dead on, an entire editorial or editorial cartoon, condensed into a caption.

4/29/2008 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

"If we give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is not a maliced to person, then we are left with the option that he is simply a man with no identity in search of one."

thinking out loud here some....

this "resonates" with the idea of "writing your own script",and
all the "follow your bliss" destruction that goes along with it.

I happened to come across the name "Joan Didion" the other day...(comments on her life/writing/person welcomed...
I gather she was a bit of a 60's Sartresque radical writing cynically about the decadence of Hollywood, all the while soaking in its charms)

I'm not familiar with her work but,the title of one of her books has been rattling around in my head for a week:

"We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live"...

Bob's thread today caused it to resurface...and i think there's
a fruitful mining expedition to be done with the idea as a topic.

a big part of the Culture War/Caliphate/World Is Flat/Gaia Wants Revenge is a battle of "Narratives" as the multi-culti,PoMo,anthropology types would have it.

in fact,one wonders if the
nihilist appetite for conflict
and destruction doesn't delight gleefully in the "battle of the Narratives".

4/29/2008 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

I think everybody's got something to hide except for me and Scatter.

4/29/2008 03:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Scatter said...

I have nothing to hide. You must be thinking of Yoko.

4/29/2008 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

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.

I’ve been thinking about this. Jesus called it “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” – the one unforgivable sin. A Wright or a Jim Jones or any given elmer-gantry-wannabe out there profanes the sacred, denying by their actions the very essence of the vertical. I am reminded again of Jesus pronouncing the woes on the Pharisees – “you travel over land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are.”

To quote Billy Joe Shaver, “Jesus Christ, now there was a Man.”

4/29/2008 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous dloye said...

Not strictly to the point but the parting shot reminded me as with a sharp poke of the story "Fly Paper" published in Posthumous Papers by a Living Author by Robert Musil. I'll done the quick online search and it's available through New Criterion if you have a subscription, and I found another visually bland copy someone had translated from the German here. Fly Paper

If anyone can explain the connection, I'd be glad to hear it because it eludes me. It seems to relate to the story of the lie as the black hole. Pretend religious figures are so vile, and so mockable. "Put your hand on the radio and send in your $$$" The bits, wisps of thoughts don't mess right, but something is stuck... as on flypaper? Take a minute and read the essay from an Austria as Nazis were coming to power in Germany.

4/29/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous dloye said...

ahem.. above Mess = MESH. Sorry about that coons.

4/29/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is so much truth and beauty in the black church, e.g., gospel music.

Speaking thereof, Her Majesty, the Queen of Gospel. There's gold in them thar you tube hills!


Late Convert

Elija Rock

4/29/2008 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of which (if I could spell the title correctly, that is), here is a spirited rendition of Moses Hogan's setting of that song.

Elijah Rock

4/29/2008 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Mushroom, a great couple of quotes there. There is another reason religious people who make religion look foolish or evil are the worst of the worst: they give otherwise good and intelligent folks the Jesus-willies. How often have smart people been driven away from Truth, Beauty and Goodness by those who set a negative example - the strict Creationists, the crazy polygamists, those who commit murder in God's name, the Kool-aid drinkers, the folks who put forth their specific brand of religion and condemn to hell all others, though they worship different facets of the same Truth. The countless varieties of religious grotesquerie that drive away people with partially-activated Coonvision from the Truth, those are what it truly means to blaspheme. How many people have, through bitter experience, been utterly repulsed by the idea of God because of the foolishness of Man?

I hate to even think of it.

4/29/2008 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

>>. . . one wild habit and preference will be tacked onto another, stretching them further, wider and ever more thinly and their demeanor will gain the wild energy of the rootlessly frantic.<<

Van that put me in mind of a well-known classical reference to the "multipying issues" phenomenon; poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint.

4/29/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Within 5 sentencees.

Bob, please keep doing it.

BTW, Hope Sandeval (Mazzy Star) is invited to my place this summer.

4/29/2008 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Leitmotif: Ride of the Hillkyries

4/29/2008 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

At the risk of inciting another troll riot, you have not discussed Hendrix.

He didn't connect for you? Purple Haze etc is pure art, for better or worse. He wasn't hiding anything.

4/30/2008 04:03:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hendrix was buried Orthodox, I think. Or, that's what the Church has told me.

4/30/2008 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Smoov said "He didn't connect for you? Purple Haze etc is pure art, for better or worse."

Purple Haze - I didn't care for it, until we began playing it. My partner in the band, Ray, was the lead guitarist, and he'd get into character... the head band, manner, speaking style... and we'd 'bring it on' always guaranteed to create those 'we're all one with the music' moments within the band, and always brought the house down too. Same for 'All along the Watchtower'. Within that context, I'm a Believer in Hendrix.

4/30/2008 07:29:00 AM  

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