Binocular Cosmic Vision and the Expansion of Mental Space (6.06.09)
Yes, this sounds like an airy-fairy subject, but as a matter of fact, it comes into play in the nature of my work in forensic psychology. For example, exactly what is a "psychiatric injury?" I am routinely asked to answer this unanswerable question. If you actually think about it in a deep way, it's a bit like assessing the damage to a cloud caused by bumping into another cloud. What caused the cloud's injury? What did the cloud look like before the accident? Was it a fully functioning cloud, a cumulonimbus? Would it have eventually produced rain, or was it merely a worthless cirrus cloud? Were there other causes? Apportion exact percentages to all the causes. Were 51% of the causes related to the injury in question?
It's madness. This, by the way, is why I know that liberals are demagoging (if that's how you spell it) the veterans-with-PTSD issue. As we already know, liberals can only relate to the military if they can convert them to victims. The diagnosis of PTSD is perfect in this regard, as it can magically convert virtually all combat veterans into victims of PTSD, being that war is intrinsically traumatic.
Now, as it so happens, over the past two decades, I've dealt with any number of cases of PTSD. And while the diagnosis is real, it is almost always a transient condition that eventually resolves on its own, especially if the person was healthy to begin with. In my experience, the only exceptions to this have been people who had significant pre-existing psychiatric issues.
To put it bluntly, they were not particularly well put together to begin with. Thus, you sometimes hear the liberal media report stories of "gross injustice," because a vet was denied benefits on the "pretext" of having a pre-existing mental condition, often a personality disorder. But if I were the evaluating doctor, I can well imagine arriving at the identical conclusion: Sorry. This guy was nuts to begin with. PTSD is the least of their problems. It's somewhat like calling someone "homeless," when that is a "final common pathway" to a host of other personal issues.
Anyway. That's a liberal for you. Always speaking naked power to Truth and comforting or patronizing lies to the powerless. Or, you could say that liberalism is a systematic way to convert good impulses into bad ones through a defective ideology -- in particular, compassion into cruelty. It is the mirror image of the free market, which converts supposedly "bad" impulses into mutually beneficial outcomes. For example, when I check my email in the morning, I see that there are dozens of people from all over the world who care deeply about my, er, sexual functioning. Only in a market economy can greed be converted into worldwide concern with another man's privates. It's touching, really.
Yes, you could say I'm just rambling, waiting for some thoughts to attract my thinker. Toots used to call it ad homena homena homena, or
"speaking in raccoon tongues." Superficially it sounds like pointless speech, but it does have a destination toward which we are dimly groping.
Let's look at some notes to myself that I've recently scrawled. Maybe that will help get this thing off the ground: What kind of space is the mind? If it is holographic and multi-dimensional, we need a language that parallels that fact, or it will mislead. What does it imply about the nature of mental space to say that something is deep? Or what does it mean to say "the other side?" Is what we see a projection of mental space? Or is psychic space the internalization of external space?
Let's look at it this way. The only reason we experience mental space at all is because we live at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal. This is what it means to be "bi-cosmic." If we lived only in the former, we would be like the angels, who abide in this static, archetypal, eternal space. If we lived only in the latter, we would be like animals and lower humans, who essentially live on the surface of the senses. But the differing vertices of the vertical and horizontal axes create a new kind of space, similar to the way our two eyes, which have slightly different angles, create binocular vision, or our two ears create the possibility of the three-dimensional stereo image.
Here again, this might sound overly abstract, but it really isn't, as it is the stock-in-trade of the psychoanalyst. As I've mentioned before, we talk about the "unconscious mind" as if it were a sort of reservoir, or fluid ocean, that lies "beneath" the solid and dependable ego. But obviously, that is merely a spacial metaphor borrowed from our experience of the external world. In reality, the situation is much more like one of those blinky toys (is that what they're called?), where if you turn it at a different angle, a different picture appears. The unconscious is analogous to this, in that it is "embedded" in every conscious act; you could say that the unconscious is "in" the ego, and vice versa.
That being the case, the same thing apples to the higher realms. They are always here, but we must "tweak" the picture and look at it from a slightly different angle for it to "jump out." And if you want to do this on a continuous basis, you need to practice it -- which is what a spiritual practice is all about!
For example, I don't think I could ever be an Orthodox Jew, partly because I think you need to be immersed in the culture and exposed to it from an early age by people who experience and convey the joy of it. But the whole point of all the laws and rituals is just this: to try to look at virtually everything "from the divine angle." It is a kind of karma yoga that involves the constant recollection of God in most every activity. Thus, it shouldn't feel burdensome, but liberating; far from being restrictive, it should open one out to a much "deeper" or "higher" space. But if the living spirit is lost and only the letter remains, one can well understand how it could become about as joyful as Michelle Obama.
Frithjof Schuon often spoke of what has been lost with modernity, in particular, a kind of collective "spirit" that we can scarcely imagine today, partly because we are so distracted and even hypnotized by our conveniences. But as hard as life was in the past, there is no evidence whatsoever that people were any less happy than we are today. In fact, there is reason to believe that they were actually more content in spite of it all. I think of how Judaism survived down through the centuries despite being so persecuted. Why not just abandon it? Again, there must have been such a supernatural payoff, that we have difficulty wrapping our minds around it today. The same can be said for the early Christian martyrs.
To paraphrase something Theodore Dalrymple once said, "misery rises to the level of the means available to alleviate it," which is an ironyclad law that liberals will never understand, for to understand it is to instantly liberate oneself from the magical prescriptions of liberalism. Of course the implementation of liberal policy only results in more greed, more bitterness, more envy, more sexual conflict, more of a sense of entitlement. But the prescription is always more of the same, which then creates the need for.... more of the same!
Clearly, despite the "war on poverty," there is more envy and bitterness today than there was in the 1950s, when conditions were immeasurably worse. A "poor" person today lives beyond the dreams of an affluent person in the 1950s, but it doesn't matter so long as one lives in the single vision of flatland liberalism, divorced from the liberating vertical energies that cause one's world to expand without limits.
As Perry describes it, the vertical axis is the only real "exit" from the burden of existence. Have you ever noticed how you feel "lighter" after a religious service? It's because you are lighter. I used to attend services at the Vedanta temple in Hollywood, and wouldn't pay to much attention to the words. Rather, I would just close my eyes and focus on the sensation of vertical liftoff.
The vertical passage is God's way "in" to manifestation, and our way "out." Or, you could say that God's expiration is our inspiration. I actually practice this consciously; when I meditate, I imagine that my inhalation corresponds to God's exhalation, and vice versa. There is a reason why spirit and breath are synonymous in the esoteric literature. When you inhale, take it all the way from the crown of head down to the heels, and when you exhale, pour it from your heart and out the top of your head while repeating the name of your favorite saint or deity.
That's it for today. Off to earn my daily bread in cloud-cuckoo land.
I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really dont know clouds at all --Joni Mitchell