Monday, May 19, 2008

Cosmic Divorce and the Quest for Missing Unity (5.23.09)

Other compacts are engraved in tables and pillars, but those with wives are inserted in children. --Pythagoras

Our founders, being that they were deeply rooted in Judeo-Christian principles, had no illusions about the desirability of political "unity." To the contrary, they set up the Constitution in such a way that it would be practically impossible to achieve -- or impose, is more like it -- unity, with the separation of political power into competing branches of government. Naturally, this doesn't preclude synthesis, which is another thing entirely.

As it pertains to contemporary politics, you might say that the left is the pro-"static unity" faction, while the right is the pro-"dynamic synthesis" faction (which in turn is why the left shades off into fascism, while conservatism -- not the GOP, mind you -- is the last bastion of American liberalism). This can be seen quite clearly in the lust for "unity" that we are told drives the Obama campaign. I don't know about Obama's handlers -- who I assume are as cynical and calculating as any political hacks -- but with his followers it is a different matter. Being that "the hypnotized never lie," I suppose we should take them at their word that they are not being disingenuous, and that they actually believe the loony things they say. They actually believe the dream.

I don't have time to look it up, but I remember a few years back, a study came out about the damaging psychological consequences of divorce. As a psychologist, I can assure you that almost all psychological research that emanates from academia is not even wrong. Rather, it is thoroughly politicized with leftist assumptions dressed up as conclusions. As a result, there is no free inquiry; rather, certain conclusions are mandated, while others are forbidden, so the whole exercise is mostly an anti-intellectual farce.

But this study made a subtle point about the lasting consequences of divorce. But even more importantly, it comports with common sense. That is, the child who grows up in a broken home will be deprived of the experience of a harmonious synthesis at its deepest level, which derives from the union of male and female. Obviously, marriage is an organic synthesis -- especially as it transforms through time -- not a mechanical union (although it certainly can be; there is no guarantee that someone from an "intact" home will know the type of higher unity we are discussing). The point is that the psyche of the child of divorce can be "fractured" in ways both subtle and enduring.

As we have discussed before, early psychoanalysis focused exclusively on the "content" of the mind, consistent with its roots in the naive mechanistic positivism of the 19th century. All bad philosophies presuppose what they need to explain, and in this regard, psychoanalysts didn't even think about the psychological container, only the content, i.e., "id," "ego," and "superego."

But beginning in about the 1960s there was much more of an appreciation of the priority of the container over the content, especially for more serious forms of mental illness, e.g., what are called "personality disorders," which are enduring forms of maladaptive thought and behavior. These lifelong conditions are to be distinguished from the "neuroses," which are more easily conceptualized in terms of "bad content," so to speak. But even then, if you scratch the surface of most neurotics, you will find issues of "containment" to which the neurosis is a sort of adaptation.

Am I being too jargony? I'm afraid I'm losing readers at this point. In my book, I talk about "mind parasites." When you think about these, the image of a discrete foreign invader no doubt comes to mind. But the deepest mind parasites -- excluding purely genetic and biochemical things like schizophrenia -- are much more analogous to autoimmune disorders, in that they are not so much the content as the context. Just as an autoimmune disorder attacks the body's own tissue, a person with a "bad container," so to speak, attacks his own mental content (not to confuse things, but he can also project the content into other people and attack it that way, as do, for example, the rabid Bush haters).

One of the odd things about human beings is that we do not come into this world with any kind of adequate container. This is a remarkable point, and one that is fraught with consequences, both good and bad. No other animal needs to be "contained." Rather, they are driven by instinct, which you might say defines the "outer limits" of their consciousness. No animal is terrified of infinity. No animal worries about death, or the end of being.

But man, being that he is in the image of the creator, is born into "infinity," so to speak. I shouldn't even say "so to speak," because I am being quite literal. The purpose of containment is ultimately to "translate" infinity into time, which is none other than to think. Which in turn is why real thinking is a "transformation in O," or O-->(k). But there are many counterfeit forms of thinking, and most of them ultimately have to do with various issues of containment. To put it another way, the perfection of mystical union might be thought of as becoming at one with the "container" of all Being.

Let's take an obvious example. As Lee Harris has written, the jihadi doesn't become a jihadi because there is any realistic hope of creating a unified Islamic caliphate worse than death on earth. Rather, the reason he becomes a jihadi is to share in this intoxicating fantasy. To believe it is to be transformed by it, so the real motivation is strictly personal, just projected onto the world-historical stage.

In so many ways, leftism shares this same dynamic, in that it always promises things that by definition it can never deliver. We know this ahead of time. But that's not the point. The point is to believe and to be transformed by the belief. This is why the left is such an odd grab-bag of losers, perverts, crackpots, ideologues, dimwits, and evil geniuses. (This book looks like a promising exploration of these themes; just ordered it.)

Let's take a recent example. Last week a single judge on the California Supreme Court (being that it was a 4-3 decision) decided not only to redefine the accepted meaning of marriage, but to impose this idiosyncratic definition on 35 million others. This is something that even Californians do not want, but it doesn't matter. Unity has been imposed from on high by a single fascist judge. And as is true of all forms of fascist unity, it actually undermines the possibility of real synthesis, being that it attacks the very institution that makes it possible at the deepest level, i.e., the union of male and female.

This kind of leftist judicial pathology presupposes a materialistic paradigm. Atheists talk a good game, but if you could be magically transformed into an actual materialist, you would die of the unremitting horror. To actually be consigned to materialism would instantly drain the world of its spiritual content and context, leaving a sort of barren landscape with no intrinsic meaning whatsoever. It sounds paradoxical, but it would be a kind infinite finitude from which there would be no vertical escape. It would be a kind of living spiritual death which you can scarcely imagine, unless you have attended a major university, for it is the death of the human imagination, and with it, our "spiritualizing" faculty.

Now, Obama is the product of a deadbeat father and a hippy flake of a mother. Is such a person automatically consigned to a leftist hell in search of the Lost Unity? No, of course not. That would be a gross over-simplification. To cite just one example, God's grace is real, and can help deliver one from a fractured state.

D'oh!

What did Obama do? He went and joined a pathological church that repeated the trauma of his childhood, so two wrongs made a Wright! Paranoid, delusional, spiritually fractured, riven by projection, and driven by the chimera of "black unity." Of course he wants Unity, for he wants to clean up after the mess his parents made.

The sacred marriage, consummated in the heart, adumbrates the deepest of all mysteries. For this means both our death and beatific resurrection. The word to "marry" (become one) also means "to die," just as in Greek [it] is to be perfected, to be married, or to die. When "each is both," no relation persists: and if it were not for this beatitude, there would be neither life nor gladness anywhere. --Ananda Coomaraswamy

In alchemy, the true hero, "son of the cosmos" and "savior of the macrocosm" is he who is capable of offering a virgin soul into the embrace of transcendency. --M. Aiane, in The Spiritual Ascent

Marriage between man and woman is not an end in itself but a divinely ordained arrangement for the purposes of receiving the grace that will transform both parties. A dysfunctional marriage is one in which no spiritual transformation takes place -- it is spiritually "stillborn," so to speak, or "infertile" no matter how many children it produces -- like a Kennedy marriage.

This is why, strictly speaking, there can be no "secular" marriage. Or put it this way: to the extent that your marriage is only a secular affair, I do not see how or why it could transcend the state of essentially being -- as Glen Campbell sang -- "shackled by forgotten words and bonds and the ink stains that have dried upon some line." Anything short of spiritual union involves using the other person in one way or another. It merely creates the conditions for narcissism rather than its transcendence, which is surely one reason why there are so many divorces. Marriage can never do for you what it was never intended to do, which is to make you "happy" or "fulfilled" in the material sense, at least not for long. No mere earthling can do that.
--Petey

35 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

"...the child who grows up in a broken home will be deprived of the experience of a harmonious synthesis at its deepest level, which derives from the union of male and female. Obviously, marriage is an organic synthesis -- especially as it transforms through time -- not a mechanical union (although it certainly can be; there is no guarantee that someone from an "intact" home will know the type of higher unity we are discussing). The point is that the psyche of the child of divorce can be "fractured" in ways both subtle and enduring."

Ah ha! This answers for me the question of whether it's better for a couple to stay together for the sake of the children. My opinion has always been "probably not," unless the couple can maintain some reasonably strong degree of harmony and unity. As a child, I was actually deeply relieved when my parents divorced (though my siblings were not), because they were so deeply unhappy together. I knew there was no way they would reconcile - though still legally married, they were obviously divorced in their hearts long before the process came to its bitter fruition. If they had tried to stay together, it would have been like a zombie version of marriage, heartless and soulless.

I read about a case in the news a week or so ago where a man in New York refused to grant his wife a divorce. While I admire his determination to keep the family intact, I can't imagine the situation is actually beneficial for his kids. His wife is blatantly having an affair, and is extremely bitter and hostile about being stuck in the marriage. What lessons are their kids learning about marriage in this process? Very little that's positive, I fear.

5/19/2008 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Regarding unity, Jesus said “I am” and “I and the Father are one”, but he never said “I am the Father”.

Right, “the hypnotized never lie”…at least not consciously.

I’m not sure it is believing the dream as much as it is suspending disbelief. You have to suspend disbelief somewhat in order to enjoy science fiction or fantasy.

5/19/2008 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

A suggestion:

It would be good to have a little side panel on the blog which acts as a quick-reference card for the terminology in the book.

Quick definitions for O, k, and the meaning of compound symbols like O->k. This would assist new readers who have not yet read the book, and also serve as a handy reminder for those of us who have, but whose brains are stuffed with a thousand other symbols due to our work.

5/19/2008 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie--

Yes, fake unity can be even more confusing than a genuine split.

Smoov--

I agree, but Petey want me to include a little mystagoguery in order to lure people into purchasing the book, so they can be properly "initiated" into Coondom.

5/19/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nomo--

That is indeed a key point. Real unity preserves identity.

5/19/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Which is not, of course, to exclude the trans-unity of "beyond being."

5/19/2008 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Alfred S. Regnery's new book also looks promising as an historical background companion to Flynn's:

Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism

5/19/2008 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

David Hazony writes that Israel is A Nation That Affirms Life. He references Spengler's informal study which shows Israel as a global outlier in the degrees to which she cherishes life (fertility) and abhors death (dearth of suicide).

Hazony contrasts this:

When Hamas parliamentarian Fathi Hammad praised the Palestinian ethos of suicide bombing and using civilians as human shields, he said to Israelis, “We desire death like you desire life.” Now we have numbers to back that up

5/19/2008 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, it's the old cosmic inversion. Imagine the depravity of Jimmy Carter placing a wreath on the grave of Yasser Arafat! It almost broke my non-vomiting streak of 946 days.

5/19/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

"What did Obama do? He went and joined a pathological church that repeated the trauma of his childhood, so two wrongs made a Wright! Paranoid, delusional, spiritually fractured, riven by projection, and driven by the chimera of "black unity." Of course he wants Unity, for he wants to clean up after the mess his parents made."

And so the emotionally unfinished Leftist projects into the outside world the turmoil felt inside and proceeds to go about changing the outside in order to feel better on the inside.
We're gonna change America! We're gonna change the World!
HOW ABOUT ATTEMPTING SOMETHING YOU HAVE A SMALL MEASURE OF CONTROL OVER AND LIKELIHOOD OF ACOMPLISHING AND CHANGE YOURSELF!
Why can't these assholes just leave us alone?


Bush must have put some heat on that rock he pitched into the sty cause that pig is still squealin'

5/19/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Memo to the left: before forcing the rest of us to change, why not engage in the hard work of changing the world one a-hole at a time. Starting with yourself.

5/19/2008 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that speaking for this here particular a-hole a lot of my personal as well as political confusion has come from a viral mix of relative material abundance contrasted against a relative emotional/spiritual poverty and turmoil growing up.

I think I may have mixed up cause and effect. Hence years of leftism.

I can see a bit more clearly now but it's still a rough path to travel. But hopefully I can begin to slowly make things right (or better at least). I know it's my responsibility and no one else's (ain't that a tough pill to swallow--put it's the only pill that seems able to lead to a cure).

5/19/2008 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Smoov, thanks for the link. From the Spengler article,

"The military, economic and cultural failures of Islamic societies are intolerable in Muslim eyes; Jewish success is an abomination, for in the view of Muslims it is the due of the faithful, to be coveted and seized from the usurpers at the first opportunity. It is not to much of a stretch to assert that Israel's love of live, its happiness in faith, is precisely the characteristic that makes a regional peace impossible to achieve. The usurpation of the happiness that Muslims believe is due to them is sufficient cause to kill one's self in order to take happiness away from the Jewish enemy."

And another lightbulb flashes - the Muslim world may view happiness with the same lens of envy that leftists view capital: they believe that it is finite and limited, so that if one place has an overabundance of it then other places suffer a corresponding lack. So rather than learn how to create their own happiness or wealth, they feel a drive to either take it from or ruin it for those who have it.

And of course, if you believe that God favors those who please Him with wealth or happiness (and punishes those who displease with poverty and misery), how much more painful must the lack of these things feel?

5/19/2008 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

"To cite just one example, God's grace is real, and can help deliver one from a fractured state."

What is the example?

5/19/2008 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

"To actually be consigned to materialism would instantly drain the world of its spiritual content and context, leaving a sort of barren landscape with no intrinsic meaning whatsoever."

Precisely what Disney filmmakers did to Prince Caspian, with a shameful lack of awareness or understanding of the source of Narnian Deep Magic. A travesty.

5/19/2008 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob writes of the Left as

"an odd grab-bag of losers, perverts, crackpots, ideologues, dimwits, and evil geniuses."

However, this way of describing human beings is erroneous. It does not do the job, or even close.

Bob statement is a mistake of consciousness, the illusion that others can be understood in relation to certain selected qualites.

I might add that animals cannot be undestood either, as simple as they are.

The complete "suchness" of a person can only be approached by careful meditation in close proximity, and about 200-240 hours of intellectual observation and interviews.

5/19/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Gandalin:

An example of how I am not engaging in a reduction of politics to psychological determinism, as there is (almost) always a way out of the fractured state. Nevertheless, there is a direct correlation between divorce and leftism, so it is in the interests of the left to do anything they can to undermine and weaken the institution.

5/19/2008 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Robin, I hadn't planned to see Prince Caspian (I wasn't very impressed with The L,W &W), but watching the previews this weekend (went to see Iron Man again) all I could think was "wha?? I don't remember the book being like that!"

5/19/2008 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Anon said-
"The complete "suchness" of a person can only be approached by careful meditation in close proximity, and about 200-240 hours of intellectual observation and interviews."

However, the complete SUCKINESS of a person can be determined much faster because a person is either for Liberty or they are against it.

Leftists are against Liberty, ergo, they completely suck!
Dosn't even matter what their complete "suchness" is if they are agin Liberty.

5/19/2008 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

As an ex-Trotskyist from a broken home, I have to second your analysis of leftism in general. Indeed, I often wonder now whether my ex-comrades seriously think that all of their flyering, agitating, and endless hours of meetings governed by the principals of democratic centralism will really get them anywhere, or has it always been a ritual of their own bizarre religion. It is a belief, and it is one that they have completely given themselves over to. And it is really quite tragic.

5/19/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Dougman said...

No other animal needs to be "contained."

BAM

There it is.

No. Other. Animal. needs To BE contained.

Thank GOD we are!

5/19/2008 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ben said "However, the complete SUCKINESS of a person can be determined much faster because a person is either for Liberty or they are against it.

Leftists are against Liberty, ergo, they completely suck!
Dosn't even matter what their complete "suchness" is if they are agin Liberty."

I was going to make a reply to that, but that says it all, and with pitch perfect style!

5/19/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Am I being too jargony?"

Not at all, Bob.
I find this post...every post really, to be fascinating, and chock full of Good stuff to gno and unknow!

Where else can I find coherent, rational, reasonable, spiritual, psychological, political, cultural, economical, history, self evident Truth's, nobility, decency, honesty, honor, the Good, True and Beautiful, nous, gnosis,
humorous, funny, principles, contemplation, meditation, dreamkin', O--k, transcendence, and hey, I could go on all night!?

Thanks, Bob! Thanks for keepin it Real! Thanks for teachin', preachin' and makin' me smile n' laugh!
Thanks for givin' me, all of us, some spiritual nourishment to look foreward to!
Thanks for bein' dispassionately passionate!
Thanks for Petey's words O wisdom!
Thanks for Cousin Dupree's snarks that spark!

You have made more of a difference, and helped me more than I can say.

Thanks, my friend! You the Man! :^)

5/20/2008 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for that link, Smoov!
Thank G-d for Israel and the Jews!
Hi Lisa! :^)

5/20/2008 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Welcome, Arturo Vasquez!
I concur, it is tragic, however, sometimes it takes a tragedy to realize there is so much more Good, True and Beautiful than what we see, or wanna see, with our physical eyes.

It took a tragedy to wake me up from my hedonistic slumber and to gno that God is infinitely more than a Guy I pray to when I want stuff or when I'm in trouble. :^)

5/20/2008 01:37:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

"The complete "suchness" of a person can only be approached by careful meditation in close proximity, and about 200-240 hours of intellectual observation and interviews."

This is similar to H.G. Wells argument (which is easily refuted) that each thing is completely unique, that is, there are no categories.

This is actually not a statement of fact or wisdom, but a psychological tactic about equivalent to:

"B***H, you don't know me!"

The key to true mysticism is to not make mysterious that which is clear. That's called... being a lying sack.

If you mean the essence of a person is unknowable, then you're approaching the truth. But much can be known about a person instantly.

And indeed, the nous knows things quite quickly: Without the need for (insert arbitrary number of hours) hours of 'intellectual' study.

You got left behind - or two left feet - no dance in that dunce.

5/20/2008 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"This is why, strictly speaking, there can be no "secular" marriage. Or put it this way: to the extent that your marriage is only a secular affair, I do not see how or why it could transcend the state of essentially being -- as Glen Campbell sang -- "shackled by forgotten words and bonds and the ink stains that have dried upon some line." Anything short of spiritual union involves using the other person in one way or another. It merely creates the conditions for narcissism rather than its transcendence, which is surely one reason why there are so many divorces. Marriage can never do for you what it was never intended to do, which is to make you "happy" or "fulfilled" in the material sense, at least not for long. No mere earthling can do that. --Petey
"

Petey, do you do marriage counselor counseling? That would have been useful for the dolt we had to listen to before getting married, he prattled on and on saying pretty much the exact opposite, and I remember thinking "I don' think that word means what you think it means".

Can't say we were too surprised when we heard he'd been divorced after getting busted in a motel room with an under age prostitute. He was a popular preacher too... self shackled by remembered words with forgotten meanings, I suppose. I think many are sold on marriage as if it is going to be something which will make you 'happy' or 'fulfilled', then when they get to the end of the honeymoon without finding the prize inside, they blame the other for it being gone, or maybe suspect that they took it - end the marriage and go off looking for another crackerjack box.

5/20/2008 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"...shackled by remembered words with forgotten meanings." (Van)

That's definitely a keeper.

5/20/2008 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Today's news of the shockingly obvious: Women aren't that interested in science and engineering (Via Insty)

From the article: "Now two new studies by economists and social scientists have reached a perhaps startling conclusion: An important part of the explanation for the gender gap, they are finding, are the preferences of women themselves."

This is only startling to the imbeciles who've been trying, despite all evidence to the contrary, to make everyone believe that men and women are exactly the same except for the plumbing. When there's a whole subset of this culture so heavily divorced from reality (and more importantly, so heavily invested in making sure everyone else is, too), it should perhaps be no surprise that record numbers of real divorces are taking place.

5/20/2008 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - a couple of paragraphs down, they struggle valiantly to reassert the PC paradigm:

"The researchers are not suggesting that sexism and cultural pressures on women don't play a role, and they don't yet know why women choose the way they do. One forthcoming paper in the Harvard Business Review, for instance, found that women often leave technical jobs because of rampant sexism in the workplace."

5/20/2008 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I can't help myself - here's one more:

"In the language of the social sciences, Rosenbloom found that the women were "self-selecting" out of IT careers. The concept of self-selection has long interested social scientists as an explanation for how groups sort themselves over time. Since human beings are heterogeneous, self-selection predicts that when offered a menu of options and freedom of choice, people will make diverse choices and sort themselves out in nonrandom ways. In other words, even given the same opportunities, not everybody will do the same thing - and there are measurable reasons that they will act differently from one another.

The concept of self-selection sets off alarms for many feminists. It seems to suggest that women themselves are responsible for the gender gap." (emphasis mine)

Nothing like getting bitchslapped by reality...

5/20/2008 07:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Humpty Dumpty!

We all know that all the kings horses and all the kings men could never ever put Humpty back together again.

So too with the quest for "missing unity". Everything you do will always reinforce your presumed separation.

5/20/2008 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous terrence said...

Here is a quote from Maggie's Farm: 'A party planner I interviewed one time told me that the success rate of marriages varies inversely to the cost of the wedding.'

5/20/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Terrence - There may be something to that. My wedding cost next to nothing - I think there were 8 people there. My wife and I met on Valentine's Day 1976 and were married 3 weeks later - and still going strong today. OK, we were a little nuts, but committed (or should have been!).

5/21/2008 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Me too. Just a rabbi and a Chinese restaurant (not necessarily in that order).

5/21/2008 03:13:00 PM  

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