Spiritual Fascism and the Nonviolent Darwinist Resistance to Transcendence (6.13.09)
Nah, just pulling your leg. That was Adolf Hitler explaining his values -- which he derived from immanent nature, not the transcendent Absolute -- in Mein Kampf. Am I invoking Godwin's law this early in the morning? No, not at all. As someone once said, fascism in all its forms is the violent resistance to transcendence. Therefore, Ray, or Charles at LGF, or the goons at dailykos, or any other flatland guardians are not Nazis, since they engage in non-violent resistance to transcendence, as do the ACLU, or People for the American Way, or any other anti-religious activist and/or bigot or plain old ignoramus.
Nor should we let religion off the hook, for when it goes off the rails and descends into madness, it seems that it is often a result of a violent resistance to immanence. When this happens -- when people insist on the absolute truth of a transcendent ideal to the total exclusion of immanent reality -- it can often result in violence. In fact, this is what we see in the Islamists: a violent rejection of the modern world in favor of their transcendent ideal of a new Caliphate.
On the one hand, the left-fascist "takes heaven by storm"; he does this not in order to enter it (via contemplation, meditation, prayer, intellection, etc.), but to destroy it by imposing his one substance/one level ontology "from below." On the other hand, the religious fanatic (one hesitates to say "right fascist," since it is a contradiction in terms that invites the absurd charge that a true conservative liberal could ever be fascist) takes earth by storm, not in order to understand it (a la the scientific method) but to impose his own single-level ontology "from above."
Obviously, the freedom-loving Raccoon has no desire to live in either form of spiritual tyranny, i.e., the twin terrors of absolute immanence or absolute transcendence. We firmly reject reductionistic Darwinism to the extent that it interferes with the absolute prerogative of our interior evolution, AKA, the Adventure of Consciousness, or What It Is All About. The Raccoon knows that the only cure for the senses is the soul, and that the only cure for the soul is the senses, within the vertical trinitarian space that recoonciles them.
Now, religion in general and Christianity in particular disclose a metaphysic that carefully balances transcendence and immanence, at least if properly understood on the esoteric plane.....
Excuse me for just a moment. I just remembered a dream. I was at Tower Records -- which no longer exists, and was even "crumbling" in the dream -- and there was none other than Gerard Vanderleun behind the counter. He directed my attention to the book section, letting me know that all of the books were on sale for only $3.00 each. I went through all of the titles; I remember that one of them was a coffee table book about Orson Welles, containing great photographic examples of the composition of his camera shots. In the distance, I saw an unhealthy looking Tony Snow, also working in the store; he was cheerful despite his sad situation.
I ended up purchasing two books, one of which was a new, three-volume edition of the Bible, put out by Alice Coltrane's Vedantic Center (she was the widow of saint John Coltrane and a unique jazz musician in her own right [are there any other jazz harpists?] who later became known as Swami Turiyasangitananda. When I hear Alice Coltrane "jam" on the harp, I am not the only person who conjures aural images of hipster angels in Jazz Heaven.)
We'll get back up to the dream later. Anyway, when we say that "the word became flesh," what we are ultimately saying is that transcendent reality, or the ultimate principle, is present in what we call the material realm (which is actually a realm of pure dynamic or energic activity). In fact, this Ultimate Principle is the "stasis" amidst the otherwise "total activity" that would be incomprehensible in the absence of the Principle which both "penetrates" and "contains" it. It is why the world is intelligible to man's intelligence.
Thus, when the Darwinist protests that "you don't have to be religious to be moral," he is mouthing a pure absurdity, for he is presupposing eternal principles that cannot be explained on any Darwinian basis -- again, because Darwinism only accounts for change of outward form, not the permanence of what not only transcends form but in-forms it to begin with, i.e., transcendent interiority.
Our materialist trolls would have us believe that merely "having morals" is somehow synonymous with knowing the Good and acting in conformity with it. All people have morals. The question is, are they Good? And for the last time, it is a strict impossibility that one could ever arrive at the Good through natural selection alone. Frankly, it is an absurd argument that no remotely sophisticated person could take seriously.
It is absurd because we know that virtue is consciousness of a reality, not some simply defined behavior. Yes, we have moral codes, but the code -- even (or especially!) the Ten Commandments -- represents a "descent" from the Principle. This is why it is possible for the true saint to transcend them back to their divine Source -- back atop Mount Sinai, so to speak. But there is a world of difference between transcending this plane from above vs. obliterating it from below. Our generation very much confuses license below with freedom and transcendence from above (bonehead comedians who lauded George Carlin's "fearlessness" come to mind, but nihilism is not transcendence).
You might say that the saint is no longer "constrained" by the plane of morality because he now contains it. He is his own decalogue, or word made flesh. He has become Virtue Itself, and radiates it from every pore -- just as the sage radiates intelligence from every limb. Again, remember the man who wished to meet the great rabbi, not to learn Torah from him but to watch him tie his boot laces, to see the divine intellect in action.
When asked whom they would like as a guest at their "ultimate dinner party," many people naturally say "Jesus." But we already have a good idea what he would say. I would actually like to see him move. I would like to see how he carried himself, his gestures, his eyes, his posture, for you must know that they were enshrouded in the utmost nobility, dignity, majesty, authority, radiance, and benevolence and/or severity. He moved and spoke out of the Great Silence.
Far, far beyond (and above) the words, those with eyes to see must have recognized the eternal stillness of the "unmoved mover" animating his every gesture from the inside out (which is another way of saying "from the top down" or from static whole to dynamic part). Every movement must have revealed the Transcendence that lends Immanence its metaphysical transparency to the uncreated intellect. Obviously we see the same principle at play in a great work of art, but this would be that very principle "made flesh," not just canvas or stone
Now, back to my dream, a dream of transcendence that has shaped this post from the inside out. Vanderleun is a fine example of a man who struggles with his own immanence -- as do we all -- but whose writing constantly reveals a preternatural gift of transcendence, perhaps even "in spite of himself," so to speak, an ability to ascend from the penthouse outhouse to the outhouse penthouse.
Likewise, John Coltrane was a man who was as "low" into immanence as it is possible to be, trapped in the ravages of a heroin addiction which he transcended in 1957. Of this, he wrote that "During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music." Later, he wrote that his aesthetic-spiritual goal was to inspire people "to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life." I cannot say that I don't try to do the same with words.
In the dream I am "in the tower" where they "keep the records," but the tower is crumbling and "going out of business." In such a situation, precious things are almost being given away for free. No one recognizes their true value. Eternal wisdom can be had for a mere $3.00. Heck, Petey gives it way, since no one wants to buy it.
About that dialectical triple "Vedanta Bible" of Alice Coltrane's. If you want to live on the other side of the looking glass not so darkly, I believe you must, in a sense, restore the immanence of Vedanta to the transcendence of the Semitic religions. But you certainly needn't do this by blending the two. It's already all there, just waiting to be realized, for the transcendent became the immanent so that the immanent might become transcendent. But be sure and realize this before the tower crumbles and goes out of business, for the naught is coming, the cold and dark winter snow in which nothing grows and no man can evolve.
Obama as anti-word made flesh, or the embodiment and unification of wimps, weirdos, and wackademics. Nonviolent resistance to transcendence, indeed.