Forging our Feathers out of Language (12.15.11)
The next major theme discussed by UF is poetry. As he puts it, "One cannot pass by poetry if one attaches value to tradition. The whole Bible breathes poetry -- epic, lyric and dramatic..." Poetry is one of the best examples of a quintessentially human mode which defies the reductionistic schemes of the scientistic cretins. To try to capture poetry with materialism is to kill it -- like mounting a butterfly on your wall. The reason is that poetry is to language as life is to matter or mind is to life. A "scientistic poet" is a contradiction in terms.
Far from being some sort of superfluous or stupid human trick, poetry is essential for understanding the world. Only our modern materialistic prejudice makes us believe otherwise, for poetry "gives wings to imagination, and without winged imagination... no progress is possible." But this cannot be the undisciplined imagination that seeks only egoic (at best!) self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement -- you know, all those lousy little poets tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson -- but "an imagination that loves truth" and is in conformity with the hyperdimensional Real.
This is why poetry "is not simply a matter of taste, but rather one of fertility (or sterility) of the spirit. Without a poetic vein there can be no access to the life of the Hermetic [i.e., esoteric] tradition." This, by the way, is how you can tell that a Deepak Chopra (among countless others) is not a Man of Spirit, since his prose is so ugly and clumsy (not to mention, completely saturated), incapable of carrying, let alone transmitting, the "truth" he imagines he has found. It reminds me of a review I once read of Chuck Berry's autobiography. The reviewer said that Berry's prose reminded him of the sound of a tool box crashing against the garage floor.
But real poetry defies the law of gravity, and represents "the union of the upper waters and the lower waters on the second day of creation." The poet operates at "the point at which the separated waters meet" and converge, which facilitates a "flow" between them. Surrealism meets at the other end -- where the lower waters of the unconscious meet with the ego to produce mostly nightmares.
Being that nothing human should be alien to us, surrealism (which is really subrealism) has its place, but real overmental poetry uses language to bring down something of what cannot be expressed in words. You can tell when this is occurring, because such poetry has a real power, light, and force. It is written with a combination of "warm human blood" and the "luminous blood of heaven." Real poets cast a bright bloodlight over the mindscape to reveal things that would otherwise go unrecognosed.
It it interesting to me that two of my favorite teachers, Frithjof Schuon and Sri Aurobindo, relied solely on poetry in their later years. In fact, Aurobindo considered himself primarily to be a poet. As he wrote, "the poet's eyes perpetually go behind the thing visible to the thing essential, so that the symbol and significance are always in a state of interfusion." In other words, poetry directly transmits something of which it is attempting to describe with words. To get lost in the words can obscure that to which they are pointing, which infuses their very "substance." One has to let oneself go and allow the words to lift one up to the realm from which they are a descent.
The loftiest form of this would be the mantra, which is a sort of combination of prayer and poetry. It represents "a highest intensity of rhythmic movement, a highest intensity of interwoven verbal form and thought-substance, of style, and a highest intensity of the soul's vision of truth" (Aurobindo). Each of the three must be present: rhythm, thought substance given verbal form, and the soul's vision of truth. The Psalms of David are an example of (Judeo) Christian mantra.
Why rhythm? Because this gives us "something as near to wordless music as word-music can get" (Aurobindo), which in turn allows the poem to transmit something of the Life, Feeling, and Intelligence that transcends us. It helps us to exchange the jagged rhythms of the herebelow for the more stately and regular rhythms of eternity, which are analogous to the procession of the seasons or alternation of night and day.
Poetry again transforms language from the closed circle to the open spiral. Note that deconstruction does this as well, but in that case, it is a death spiral that goes straight down into the infrahuman mud of the tenured. It is a result of the natural desire of the soul to break free of language, but in the absence of recognition of the Divine hierarchy. Therefore, it is like the exchange of one hell for a worse one. At least the materialistic hell of our scientistic jester is boring, predictable, and "safe" (for the ego).
In fact, UF feels that the task of the future is to give science poetic wings, in the manner attempted by Teilhard de Chardin. This is surely what Bob attempted in his own lila playbook. To appreciate the book, you have to oppreciate what he was endeavoring to do, which is simply to allow science to once again soar with the human spirit, up where it belongs, instead of being a kind of ball and chain that binds us to the lowest realm of reality, down where it bewrong. Which is ironic, since the ball and chain were created by man's spirit.
Truly, we can forge our fetters out of language, which results in the flightless turkey of materialism. Or, we may forge our feathers word by Word to achieve vertical liftoff.
Clearly, the song of existence changed chords with the appearance of Life, but our scientistic soloists largely continue to drone on in the key of matter. However, it is no longer adequate to be just a materialistic banjo-picker sitting barefoot on a little bridge of dogma; rather, one must have at least a nodding acquaintance with a few other instruments in order to play the cosmic suite....
The celestial score lends itself to diverse interpretations, but surely one of them cannot be "music does not exist." For at the end of the day, we are each a unique and unrepeatable melody that can, if we only pay close enough attention to the polyphonic score that surrounds and abides within us, harmonize existence in our own beautiful way, and thereby hear the vespered strains of the "song supreme." --One Cosmos Under God: The Unification of Matter, Life, Mind, and Spirit