The Word is Sufficient to Your Whys (12.09.11)
UF mentions the guru or fakir who can do what we cannot do, for example, lay on a bed of nails or walk on hot coals. I am reminded of this fellow, who can actually make his brain waves stop when he meditates, for what it's worth. Which apparently isn't much, since he can't even recognize the elementary fact that Tony Robbins is a grotesque con artist who takes advantage of lost, stupid and vulnerable people. As such, one must ask: if this is enlightenment, then truly, what is it good for?
UF writes that the Cross is "mortifying and vivifying at the same time," for it represents the law of evolutionary growth, which is none other than "perpetual dying and becoming." This will lead not to "impasses of specialization, but rather 'throughways' of purification -- which lead to illumination and end in union." The Raccoon chooses the transmutation of perpetual death and rebirth over the folly of mechanical tower-building. The growth that results is a side effect of a life properly lived, not something you attempt to "impose" on your life from the outside with "techniques" or "secret knowledge" or "expensive platitudes" -- not even from Tony Robbins:
The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how (Mark 5:26, cited in MOTT).
Anyone who teaches "techniques" for knowing God is lying to you. For how does one teach real sincerity, real aspiration, real surrender? These are all a result of interior transformations. As UF puts it, the "lotus centers" awaken naturally "in the light, warmth and life of the true, and beautiful and the good, without any special technical method being applied."
Similarly, there is no place for "ready made answers to all questions," in that a genuine spiritual question is a crisis and the answer is "a state of consciousness resulting from the crisis." That is a point worth emphasizing: spiritual growth is consciousness of a reality; it is a new "container," not merely a different content in the same old container. But the new container will transform -- either suddenly or gradually -- all of the old content.
Have you noticed how all of the false (yes, a question can be false), stupid, or petty questions instantly evaporate amidst a genuine existential crisis? This is why we know that the "global warming crisis" is anything but. A real crisis has a liberating quality, in that it liberates us from all of the petty concerns that usually rule our lives.
It makes me wonder if this isn't one of the reasons why there was so much more wisdom in the past, and why our universities have become such bullshit factories. I suppose that if you are a lifetime tenured ward of the state, it "liberates" you to spend all of your time fantasizing about the evils of George Bush, or manufacturing crises about "torture" or civil rights for terrorists. It's almost as if the absence of real crises causes the tenured to invent them. One could say the same of Hollywood.
This was one of the purposes of the symbol system outlined in chapter four of my book -- to avoid the impasse that results from religion becoming a mechanical system. The point is not to replace religion, but merely to help prevent it from becoming saturated with a fixed and mechanical meaning. This is something that human beings habitually do, that is, attempt to contain reality within their own little manmade container, when that is strictly impossible. The moment God becomes contained and saturated, then you're no longer dealing with God, but with your own container, or graven image.
This is why the very last thing John says is a caution to the reader that if one were to attempt to chronicle the whole story of Jesus, "even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25). Is this not a severe rebuke to the fundamentalist bibliolaters? In other words, the number of potential books exceeds the carrying capacity of the world container itself.
It all comes down to the error of seeing the world atomistically instead of holistically. This also leads to the ideas of "surgery" and "divorce," or, in psychoanalytic parlance, splitting and projective identification (i.e., fantasied evacuation of the contents of one's own mind).
As UF writes, "it is the marriage of opposites' and not their divorce" which constitutes the proper approach. Importantly, this is not a "compromise," but a true union. UF notes that "the 'lower self' is the cross of the 'true Self' and the 'true Self' is the cross of the 'lower self.'" This reminds me of Wilde's comment that the only cure for the senses is the soul, and that the only cure for the soul is the senses. Each might well say of the other: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.
It would be easy to, like the atheist, simply project and dissipate the true Self. Likewise, it would be easy to, like the fundamentalist, split off and repress the lower self. But we want to transform and divinize the lower self in a harmonious union of matter and spirit. In the absence of this fluid and dynamic union, the mind hardens and desiccates into a tower that can never keep pace with mother evolution. Hence the thunderbolt from father, which, by the way, Joyce describes on page 1 of Finnegans Wake as sounding like
It is the same with the marriage of science and religion. I have no trouble marrying the two in such a way that each benefits from the union and produces particularly beautiful children. Just yesterday I read about one of Chesterton's novels, in which a priest is disguised as a common thief, and is eventually discovered. When the priest asks how he sniffed him out, Father Brown answers with words to the effect of, "Easy. You attacked reason. It's bad theology."
But one could say the same of the modern atheists. We know they are thieves because they attack sound theology, which is bad logic. Although in their case it's grand larceny, because they steal from the western tradition in order to destroy it. Yes, "the mechanical sciences have divided the clothing of the Word and they dispute amongst themselves for priority in the application of the universal principle," or attempt to absolutize their little corner of His tunic, still fresh with warm blood.
In contrast, we do not "in any way take part in dividing the clothing of the crucified Word, not in drawing lots for its tunic." Rather, we strive "to see the crucified Word clothed in appearance by the mechanical world." Which is why the Word is sufficient to all our whys.