Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Than a Few Words From the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler (11.24.11)

I guess we're on to Temperance, which probably sounds like a boring aracanum, but it's not. It is the card of "integrated duality," which is actually rather thrilling, in a Coonish sort of way.

I apologize in advance for the length of this post, and for throwing in a lot of old material below. But much of it is "new to me," for reasons that will become clear. In any event, this works out well for me, because I have a long day ahead, and really should get going.

To exist is to live amidst polarity and tension, the ultimate tension heartache being the distance between image and likeness. It is this that creates the dynamic potential to transcend ourselves and "become what we are." The closing of this gap is the objective measure of your life.

As UF explains, the image represents our essential structure, while likeness represents the functional structure; the former is "timeless," while the latter can only be deployed in time. The image is indestructible and responsible for our freedom, since it is a spark of the Absolute. But the immortality of the likeness is "optional," in that "it is immortal only in proportion to the measure that it conforms to its image." For a variety of reasons, many people choose Death. But to paraphrase the outlaw Josey Wales, "dyin' ain't much of a living, boy," for it is like choosing prison for the image while imagining that the likeness roams free. But you are only free from yoursoph, stupid.

UF then goes into an extended meditation on the metaphysics of angels, which, in the overall scheme of things, are really nothing more than personifications of (↑) and (↓); in other words, they are "vertical emissaries," so to speak. Rabbi Steinsaltz's Thirteen Petalled Rose contains one of the most clear and concise explanations of angelology I've ever found, and it is very much compatible with what UF has to say. In fact, here is something I wrote almost three years ago:

"Steinsaltz notes that the soul [read: image] should not be thought of as a 'point' in space time. Rather, it is 'a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls to beyond the specific body of a particular person.... and because the soul is not a single point in space, it should be viewed not as a single existence having one quality or character, but as many existences, on a variety of spiritual levels...'

In the past, I have used the analogy of a lampshade with many pinprick holes in it. From the outside it will look as if there are many individual lights, but in reality, they are all coming from a single "nonlocal" source.

In another way, it's analogous to these progressive bifocals I just got, which change the focal point depending upon where you point your eyes. Look up, and things that are near become out of focus, but look down, and the distant becomes blurry.

Steinsaltz discusses the distinction between the vertical and horizontal, which for me is the essence of any spiritual metaphysics. Again, in speaking of the vertical, of higher and lower, he is not speaking of an actual physical location. Vertically speaking, "to call a world higher signifies that it is more primary, more basic in terms of being close to a primal source of influence; while a lower world would be a secondary world -- in a sense, a copy."

Thus, viewed horizontally, we may trace the material cosmos back to a primordial event some 13.7 billion years ago. But this is only a horizontal explanation. Traditional metaphysics deals with the vertical causation of the cosmos, which is what confuses some people. From the vertical standpoint, this world is indeed a copy, as are human beings, of a divine prototype. The "logos" might be thought of as the model of all things, the nexus between the divine mind above and the creation here below. Looked at in this manner, the inexplicable beauty of the world is not somehow the outcome of horizontal cause and effect, which would be a ridiculous assertion. Rather beauty is the cause of the cosmos (among other nonlocal causes, such as Love and Truth).

Because of the ubiquitous vertical and horizontal influences, every aspect of human existence is made up of both matter and spirit, of form and essence. While we are fundamentally spiritual, we are unavoidably material, which sets up a host of interesting tensions and conflicts. The fall --or exile, if you like -- is indeed a vertical one, a declension from the divine repose of celestial bliss, down to this world of toil, conflict, uncertainty and ambiguity.

Steinsaltz writes that an angel is simply a "messenger" constituting a point of contact "between our world of action and the higher worlds. The angel is the one who effects transfers of the vital plenty between worlds. An angel's missions go in two directions: it may serve as an emissary of God downward..., and it may also serve as the one who carries things upwards from below, from our world to the higher worlds."

I ran it by Petey, but he was, I don't know, noncommittal. But that's not unusual. It's more like he's disinterested, or at least pretends to be so. The roll of the eyes, the impatient, audible exhalation, the way his little wings flutter, as if he's got something better to do....

I just searched the blog, and found some more interesting material. At least it is for me. You'll have to bear with me, because often it's as if I'm reading these things for the first time. Oh wait. I am reading it for the first time. Petey himself wrote this one a couple of years ago. Of himself, he wrote that:

"I'm here, but I'm not here. How to explain.... I'm always here in the same sense that all 200 or whatever it is crappy TV stations are always streaming into your house. They're what we might call 'implicate.' But you can only tap into one at a time, thereby making the implicate explicate. The multidimensional implicate order is anterior to the explicate order, so that what you folks call 'consensus reality' is more of a mutual agreement to limit the implicate order in a certain way. It's all about managing your existential anxiety, not getting at the Truth. If you want to get at the Truth, you're going to have to tolerate the anxiety of not knowing, not make the anxiety go away with some stupid scientistic-materialistic nonsense.

"You know the old crack -- 'if the doors of perception we cleansed, then everything would appear as it is, infinite.' It is such a monstrous conceit for humans to imagine that their puny minds can encompass the very reality that produced them! Ho!

"Three -- yes, there are higher and lower worlds. I guess this isn't obvious to a leftist, but if any of you saw the 'Live Earth' concert on TV, you know all about people who inhabit a lower world. Their language, their music, their feelings, their world view -- all emanate from a lower world. Ironically, most of them aren't even from the earth plane, but a notch or two below that.

"The point I'm making is that the words high and low 'refer only to the place of any particular world on the ladder of causality. To call a world higher signifies that it is more primary, more basic in terms of being close to a primal source of influence; while a lower world would be a secondary world -- in a sense, a copy. Yet the copy is not just an imitation but rather a whole system, with a more or less independent life of its own, its own variety of experience, characteristics and properties.'

"This is why the flatlanders -- scientists, atheists, materialists -- can become so enclosed in their abcircular illusions. In a way, their worldview is complete (on its own level), and yet, it's radically incomplete (with regard to the whole).

"I remember explaining this to Gödel, who is rather anal (to put it mildly), and sketched it out with ironyclad logic. I say 'irony,' because his ideas have been highjacked by the psycho-spiritual left to suggest that we cannot make absolute statements about reality, when Gödel and I were making the opposite point about the limitations of logic to express things we know damn well to be true. One such point is that things aren't true because they're logical but logical because they're true. Duh!

"If you have stayed with me this far, then you will understand that, just as there are evil beings, there are evil worlds. These are simply the 'space' inhabited by the evil beings. Wisdom is a space, or 'mansion.' So too, creativity, love, beauty, peace. You can sense it when you enter one of those mansions. You can also sense it when you are near one of those haunted mansions where the darklings reside.

"The closest I like to get to one of these mansions is, which makes the Islamic darkness visible to us on a daily basis. Can you not feel and sense the utterly dark abyss of that black hole, where light neither enters nor escapes? If not, you may want to contact an exorcist, for something has hijacked your moral vision. There are many such vertical abysses in the world. Bottomless pits of anti-Truth and anti-Beauty.

"Enough malevolent wishes and wicked deeds, and pretty soon you have created a closed world, cut off from the divine influence. As Steinsaltz describes it, 'the sinner is punished by the closing of the circle, by being brought into contact with the domain of evil he creates.... as long as man chooses evil, he supports and nurtures whole worlds and mansions of evil, all of them drawing upon the same human sickness of the soul.... as the evil flourishes and spreads over the world because of the deeds of men, these destructive angels become increasingly independent existences, making up a whole realm that feeds on and fattens on evil.'

"Four, being that I was once an ordinary embodied and enmentalled man just like you prior to the farming accident, I feel that I am fit to pronounce on this. Human beings live in a world of 'action,' but imagine that that's where all the action is. Not true.

"Allow me to explain. Or better yet, allow Steinsaltz to explain: 'The lower part of the world of action is what is known as as the "world of physical nature" and of more or less mechanical processes -- that is to say, the world where natural law prevails; while above this world of physical nature is another part of the same world which we may call the "world of spiritual action."

"Now, what these two realms have in common is the action of Man, since 'the human creature is so situated between them that he partakes of both. As part of the physical system of the universe, man is subordinate to the physical, chemical, and biological laws of nature; while from the standpoint of his consciousness, even while this consciousness is totally occupied with matters of a lower order, man belongs to the spiritual world, the world of ideas.... Every aspect of human existence is therefore made up of both matter and spirit.'

"Five, it is my nature to be a 'messenger, to constitute a permanent contact between [your] world of action and the higher worlds. The angel is the one who effects transfers of the vital plenty between worlds.'

"Six, 'An angel's missions go in two directions: it may serve as an emissary of God downward, to other angels and to creatures below the world of formation; and it may also serve as the one who carries things upwards from below, from our world to the higher worlds.' You might call us the transpersonal postal service for prayers and the like.

"Just to make it clear, it was not I who prompted Bob to steal the Holiday Inn flag back in 1980. There are 'subversive angels' that are actually created by the thoughts and actions of men. I believe Bob calls them 'mind parasites.' They are contingent objectifications from various vital-emotional domains. Up here we sometimes call them the 'tempters.' Either that, or the 'mesmerers.' The Holiday Inn incident was a fine example of a tempter tantrum fueled by what we call 'liquid courage.'

"Seven, it would be wrong to conclude on the basis of what I have just said that the difference between you and me is that you have a body and I don't. Rather, 'the soul of man is most complex and includes a whole world of different existential elements of all kinds, while the angel is a being of a single essence and therefore in a sense one-dimensional.' This is why you and I play such different roles in the cosmic economy. You actually have the tougher job, which is to say, because of your 'many-sidedness' and your 'capacity to to contain contradictions,' this makes it possible for you to 'rise to great heights,' but also to fuck up big time, neither of which is true for me. Rather, the angel is 'eternally the same; it is static, an unchanging existence,' 'fixed within rigid limits.''

"You might say that I am already 'whole' in space, whereas it is your vocation to become whole in time. Not easy, I realize.

"Eight, another way of saying it is that I do not evolve, but you can and must. In ether worlds, there is no evolution here in the vertical, only in the horizontal. In the absence of the horizontal, it's frankly a little boring here -- or as I put it in OCUG,

Only himsoph with nowhere to bewrong, hovering over the waters without a kenosis. Vishnu were here, but just His lux, God only knows only God, and frankly, ishwara monotheotenous -- no one beside him, no nous, same old shunyada yada yada.


Ray Ingles said...

As I read about this unfortunate case, I wondered what y'all would think should be done...

Anonymous said...

Bob wrote:

"Steinsaltz notes that the soul [read: image] should not be thought of as a 'point' in space time. Rather, it is 'a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls to beyond the specific body of a particular person...."

This passage seems to hint at multiple lives per soul, as in the classic view of reincarnation.

Christians favor the "one life, better do it right" viewpoint, where for others the "you get another chance; play your best game but don't get frightened of failure as of yet" viewpoint of choice.

Which viewpoint one takes makes a difference. A Christian will approach the game with a high level of intensity, because its her one shot to get it right. Failure means hell.

A reincarnationist of whaterver stripe will be more relaxed, with the attitude, "If I screw up, I'll have to pay for it, but I can recover and move on up."

Can Petey shed some light on what might be the actual case? Petey himself was human but then became a disembodied non-evolutionary being. Are there various destinations for various souls, or is there but one plan?

If that question could be clarified it would help me greatly.

Anonymous said...

Ray, in the unfortunate case you mention, religious dogma has become a problem rather than a blessing.

This case is not a spiritual problem any longer. Or rather, spirit is not the problem here.

Religion "spoils" when dogma hardens and is no longer plastic. These orthodox parents are no longer acting under Raccoon law but some inflexible abomination derived from religious writings. Raccoon do not follow scripture blindly, they read it for its beauty and truth content as indicators of a higher order, not for marching orders.

Unfortunately taking scripture literally like this happens frequently and gives religion a justifiably bad name.

Fear, lack of faith, and spiritual incapacity disconnect people from God, however they still cling to religious philosophy in a stubborn effort to hang on to some security, and viola an abomination occurs.

will said...

Anonymous, all that is true, but the question remains: who should get the final say-so regarding the boy's fate, the hospital/courts/State or the parents?

julie said...

Oh, for Petey's sake - is this all we can muster today?

Anony number one (and really, haven't we answered this question from you enough times already? Is any of the depth ever going to sink in?): The whole point is that we don't know for certain. Therefore we should act as though this is our one and only shot. In point of fact, this is our only shot at this life, and what we do here matters both here and hereafter. There is no getting around that fact.

Back to the post, I really enjoyed Temperance.

"The guardian Angel is the friend of the bride at the spiritual marriage of the soul and God."

maineman said...


At bottom, this sounds mostly like an insurance issue.

Unless, of course, one is a fundamentalist secular humanist who can't tolerate it when religion has been used to rationalize the acting out of typical emotional conflicts. Why is this different from a mother who doesn't change her dead son's room for 20 years?

Now, if the taxpayers or third party payor is funding it, that's a problem. But it's not really "unfortunate" that Ted Williams froze his head, is it? It's just a waste of money.

Ray Ingles said...

Will - Does the question of "Who's paying the hospital bill?" affect the decision? It's not clear from the news report.

I'm not putting an economic measure on a family's pain, but taking resources from another without their consent is problematic. (At least, when Obama does it.)

If no one was paying the hospital, would their medical judgement have some bearing?

maineman said...

So, here is my question. Does Petey have free will?

maineman said...

Exactly, Ray. My guess is that this is really about Medicaid or Medicare, i.e. it's an outgrowth of entitlements.

Ray Ingles said...

Ah, maineman, that's what this secular humanist said.

"As much as I'm alarmed by the tendency even in medicine to give undue deference to religious beliefs rooted in an understanding of the world hundreds or thousands of years old... in this case I'm not quite so militant. Motl Brody is dead after a long illness. His parents, through some misguided religious view, think that they have to fight to have all measures continue to be used, even though they understand that Motl is not going to recover. A delusion? Arguably yes. Still, I can't force myself to be outraged that religion has led to this; parents in such a state take very little to cling to what they love. I leave that to others. Right now, all I can manage is sadness for them and their child.

Anonymous said...

This is anony one
Well, Julie, I disagree with you.

How much time do I have? Is a question that crops up daily as one goes about one's business.

If you don't think you have much time, you'll rush, and you'll be anxious.

Is you think you have a lot of time, then you can slow down and take time to do things right.

In terms of spiritual work, if you don't think you have much time, you'll rush to cram in too much, or you'll feel anxious.

So the question of whether one has one life, or many, is important to how I behave today.

Evolution only happens here on Earth,and if we only get our brief span of years to do it, how can we reliably get 'er done?

Petey would know, and I await his answer on this. But to dismiss the question as "we already settled this one" is wrong. You settled it for yourself, not for me.

bob f. said...

Ah, the issue of reincarnation rears its heads again. Both the Roman Church and the Orthodox are strictly against reincarnation. For a Christian to disagree with those two branches, as UF does even though he had joined the Roman Catholic Church, may create a conflict which I, newly returned to the fold (although I'm not sure just what fold), am not completely comfortable with.
"If you want to get at the Truth, you're going to have to tolerate the anxiety of not knowing..." so sayeth Petey.
The anxiety of not knowing...well, that covers a lot of ground...

Petey said...

I think we can resolve the dilemma by agreeing that "life goes on." Just not on earth. Most of the earth-reincarnation stuff is just a jumbled and vulgarized understanding of allegorical teachings about afterlife circumstances, about which there is a rich tradition in Orthodoxy. In short, theosis takes longer than one earthly go-round.

bob f. said...

We are approaching the same number of deaths from abortion in the U.S. as civilians killed during WWII, about 47 million. Consider also the millions of children who have died from various diseases over the centuries. Orthodox Christianity, by completely rejecting reincarnation or anything resembling reincarnation, seems to make the whole grand plan subject to microbes and Planned Parenthood.
There is an anxiety in considering this in addition to the anxiety of not knowing.

ZenGolfer said...

Interesting discussion on reincarnation - from my earliest memories/thoughts about this as a young child (probably since I was 6-7), I've always envisioned the cosmos as a circle, which contains all of the energy, and we're just made up of part of that energy and sit on the edge of the circle (looking in so to speak), and returning to the energy of the circle when we die...

Where you are positioned around the circle determines your perspective, and ultimately your beliefs, etc... Reincarnation, is little more than old energy being reused to create new objects...

Now, in my current spiritual quest, I've discovered this site, and am finally getting a chance to better explore those earlier concepts (somehow Life got in the way before... ;-) with a renewed passion and who-knows how many more mind-parasites to deal with...

I'm excited since I just got my copy of MOTT and am now able to explore more deeply the ideas of the recent threads in the blog, and am also re-reading Bob's book, with the advantage of having spent months pondering the ideas and concepts brought up in the blog, etc...

I just wanted to thank everyone (in advance) for allowing me to listen in, and that I may be able to contribute in my own way to the discussions more often now that I have the time and inclination to do so...


julie said...

"How much time do I have? Is a question that crops up daily as one goes about one's business.

If you don't think you have much time, you'll rush, and you'll be anxious.

Is you think you have a lot of time, then you can slow down and take time to do things right."

a) What Petey said

b) As the Man said:

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."

Part of the whole point of time unfolding is that we don't know what's going to happen next. That's where the surprise factor comes in. So the trick is to rush slowly, amble quickly, and live by the Girl Scout Law.

What you seem to forget is that life isn't a contest, except maybe between you and your parasites. It's never too late to choose the right path and act accordingly, but if you wait too long you'll have nothing to show for your time here except a long string of regrets and a void that you tried to fill with empty pleasures when you should have left it O-pen.

What you seem to want to be told is that it's okay for you to live a life of horizontal hedonistic pleasure, because you'll have a chance to live the life of a saint some other time around, sooner or later, and eventually (maybe in another lifetime or a hundred or a thousand) you'll make your way back to God, and everything will be groovy.

Since the raccoon opinion on this seems to matter to you (or else why bother asking here, over and over again in various ways) here's mine: it's not okay. It's not okay to cheat on your wife. It's not okay to manipulate people for your personal "spiritual" gain. It's not okay to allow your little head to do all of your spiritual thinking and planning; its goal should be subordinate to your spiritual journey, not superordinate.

Life and death is an absurcular mystery with a surprise ending. Maybe we reincarnate, maybe we don't. Maybe we do sometimes. If the answer were given, we would only be as good as we needed to be to squeak past the gate. When the answer is uncertain, we're much more likely to strive harder to do and be better people. And when we succeed, Surpise! We're happier, too.

Van said...

Anonynony said "...How much time do I have? Is a question that crops up daily as one goes about one's business. If you d..."

Welcome to the human race, we don't know about any cards except what's in our own hand. Best advice, from those who believe in reincarnation, as well as those who don't: play the cards you have as best you can.

You're not going to cheat the house. You think Vegas is tough? The casino's eye in the sky ain't got nothing on OC.

Stop trying to be a spiritual card counter.

NoMo said...

REDIRECT (Ray's flatland's gettin' me down)

Psalm 150 -

Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

Man, I can't wait to meet King David in the one next life that I'm sure of...where the MUSIC's playing...loud! Woo-hoo!

jwm said...

It's always a lot of fun to speculate about the afterlife- heaven, reincarnation, hell, just a drop of water in an endless sea, lights out...
Truth is, we can't know.
The whole reincarnation, cause and effect karma idea used to appeal to me, but the longer I think on it, the less sense it makes. It seems to say- you behaved in thus and such a way in a past life, and that behavior had some effect on the life you live now.
Maybe I stole some stuff in a past life. So in this life somebody's going to steal stuff from me. So if my car gets ripped off I probably deserved it. And the criminal, then, was really just an agent of karma... See where this goes? Maybe the guy who has cerebral palsy in this life was a real asshole in another existence. Doesn't that give us all a "Get out of compassion free" card? I just can't believe it works that way. I don't see how anything like a "lesson" can be learned with no continuity between cause and effect. Steal a car, go to jail. Be a jerk, lose your friends. That's cause and effect.

I've come to look at the seed to harvest model as making a little more more sense. We start from scratch- each of us a new creation. Just like a tree grows to bear fruit, so a human life, properly cultivated produces a soul. Death as the wages of sin, would suggest that after a point, a human life may become so corrupted as to be incapable of producing anything capable of eternal life. Like a pulled up weed- when it dies it just dies.

But, as I said, we can't know.


jwm said...

BTW, Van:
Did you look at the Moldbug essay I linked over at your place? I'm interested in hearing your take on the guy.


julie said...

"Maybe I stole some stuff in a past life. So in this life somebody's going to steal stuff from me. So if my car gets ripped off I probably deserved it. And the criminal, then, was really just an agent of karma..."

JWM, that's a good way to look at it. Because by that rationale, the guy who rips you off in this life is simultaneously creating bad karma for himself while being a hapless agent of karma. Which strikes me as neither merciful nor just, though of course if karma is the way the Cosmos works then there would probably be a vast multitude of circumstances beyond my comprehension which could render it both merciful and just. But it sticks in the craw.

Anyway, I'm with you. All I can hope is that the seeds I reap in this life will come to fruition in this life or shortly thereafter, and that I don't throw down too many ugly weeds in the process.

julie said...

Re. the Unqualified reservations link, I read that one yesterday.

Interesting and unsettling.

gumshoe said...

"So the question of whether one has one life, or many, is important to how I behave today."

to me,
that comment gives the impression
of being a product of the denigrated "disposable/consumerist society"...or perhaps as the flip side of "smorgasbord religion".

not to be harsh,but it also seems like wanting one's esteem not to be challenged or the spiritual path to be difficult in any way.
or for one to have to face the prospect of judgement.
(clearly judgement exists in _both_ the one life and multiple-lives viewpoints).

as for anxiousness and anxiety,
i seem to recall(hearsay) a buddhist story that "a human incarnation is not easily obtained",and that one is wise to make the most of it.

in addition there are the buddhist "parable of the leaves",
and the "parable of the arrow",

in which the buddha is quoted as saying roughly:

"work out your salvation with diligence...questions of what happens after you die will be answered for you soon enough".

Ray Ingles said...

Julie - Y'know, cases like that poor kid dying of brain tumor stick in my craw. Of course, allegedly there are "a vast multitude of circumstances beyond my comprehension which... render it both merciful and just." Oh, well.

Van said...

JWM, yes I saw, am seeing, the essay, and thanks so much for sucking out what few spare moments I might have otherwise had in a busy day.


I was able to make it through about half of it earlier, and am hoping to finish the rest now that the kids are off to bed.

Thanks for the pointer to it, I'll comment at my place after I finish.

jwm said...

Just so it doesn't look a private conversation- Here is the essay I recommended to Van. The link is from Vanderleun's American Digest; the blog is Unqualified Reservations, and the author, Mencius Moldbug, could well be the all time greatest crank of all time. And I mean that in a good way.


gumshoe said...

i read the UR link and in looking up "hipparchy" i came across this gem:

"if an ass goes traveling, it will not come home a horse".

Anonymous said...

"It's not okay to allow your little head to do all of your spiritual thinking and planning;"

Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo!

julie said...

I know, bummer, right?

And now, for something completely different.

sehoy said...

Seriously creepy video. How appropriate that it's done by prisoners in prison.

julie said...

Weird, I know. What I found interesting about it, though, is that apparently this prison has a whole program where the inmates do these song and dance routines - Thriller, but also "The Hustle," Gregorian Chant, "Sister Act"... Apparently, the result has been that the usual problems - the fighting, gangs, etc. - have been reduced; I've no idea by how much. I'd hope that all the time they spend learning dance routines is time they don't spend learning better ways to do whatever it was that got them locked up in the first place.

I'd be curious to see what the recidivism rate is in that place.