Monday, December 08, 2008

Folie à Dieu (12.30.11)

Two cards left in our vertical sprint through Meditations on the Tarot, then maybe I'll pack it in for the rest of the year.

The Fool. This is one of those chapters in which it seems that UF rambles around without ever getting to the heart of the matter. Which is fine, except that I need to say something about the Fool. Or maybe I should have reread the chapter ahead of time. Or maybe I should just start my year end hiatus now. Or maybe I should just let Bob's Unconscious handle this one. Bob doesn't seem very interested.

Blah blah blah yada yada, "the trial of our epoch is that of Faust. It is the trial of the satisfaction of desires." How very true. But what does that have to do with the Fool?

Ah, here we go: 14 pages into the chapter, UF finally says that the Fool "teaches the 'know how' of passing from intellectuality, moved by the desire for knowledge, to the higher knowledge of love." This is "related to the transformation of personal consciousness, where the self (ego) is no longer the author of the act of consciousness but its receiver."

I don't know about you, but this fool can relate to that. Whatever wisdom my little ego can muster on its own is so limited as to be.... well, folly to God, that's for sure.

There are two ways of dealing with the bobstreperous intellect. It can simply be abandoned altogether a la Zen, or "placed in the service of transcendental consciousness," which is of course the Raccoon way, that is, "the active surpassing of the intellect" -- which is also a kind of sacrifice. For it is the "method of sacrificing the intellect to spirituality in such a way that it grows and develops instead of becoming enfeebled and atrophied."

This involves a marriage of opposites, "namely discursive intellectuality and illuminative spirituality," the former being male, the latter female, or Sophia. It is "the union of human wisdom, which is folly in the eyes of God, with divine wisdom, which is folly in the eyes of man."

Surprisingly, this does not produce a hybrid lowbred fool, but rather "a single wisdom which understands both that which is above and that which is below." Again, this is the Raccoon way.

UF then goes into a discussion of scholastic philosophy, which nobly aimed "at an as complete as possible cooperation between spirituality and intellectuality" -- the marriage of the sun and moon discussed a few posts back. It is what we call "pneumacognitive co-upperation." UF says that the mission of Hermeticism is to advance the progress of this union of spirituality and intellectuality, which is none other than the "philosopher's stone," or the legendary "ark of the Raccoon" that is supposedly stored away somewhere in Toots Mondello's basement amidst the sacred bowling trophies.

UF does an admirable job of explaining the centrality of (n) vs. (k) in this endeavor. Again, the whole project only works to the extent that the tradition is alive and one's knowledge is living. It is not like operating on a corpse, for "the tradition lives only when it is deepened"; mere "conservation alone does not suffice at all," as it can all too easily be reduced to a kind of glorified mummification. We are not embalmers.

Reminds me of something Schuon said: "When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth.... the soul becomes impoverished, chilled, rigid and embittered, or it falls into a hedonism unworthy of the human state; moreover, the one does not preclude the other, for blind passions always overlay a heart of ice, in short, a heart that is 'dead'."

One must start with faithful reverence for the "heritage of the past," even while humbly bumbling to deepen and expand it. Since this verticalisthenic takes place at the innersection of the vertical and horizontal, it is always necessary to do the work of assimilating new "horizontal revelations" into Revelation as such, and demonstrating their interior harmony. This is the fruit of "two faiths," of which Jesus is the quintessential archetype, that is, "the perfect union of divine revelation and the most pure humanism." To isolate one at the expense of the other is intrinsic heresy.

In fact, it is only because of this fusion that Jesus was uniquely able to combine a divine birth with a divine death, which is another thing entirely, isn't it? As UF states, prior to this, man "had only the choice between renunciation and affirmation of the world of birth and death," but now we may participate in its actual transformation, you know, one bloody fool at a time.

The paradox of the human condition is that nothing is so contrary to us as the requirement to transcend ourselves, and nothing so fundamentally ourselves as the essence of this requirement, or the fruit of this transcending. --Schuon

41 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

("...maybe I'll pack it in for the rest of the year."

Noooooooo...

:)

Actually, lately I feel like doing the same with my blog; far too much other stuff going on, no time for pictures. Do whatever you need to, Bob - we can always entertain ourselves with the Knowa's Arkive.)

12/08/2008 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

So much of our earthly strife arises from the determination to be "nobody's fool."

Much better, then, to choose our foolishness and thus be free from the outrage and humiliation suffered when someone else chooses it for us.

A self-deprecation that is nonetheless very aware of the dignity of one's calling is a Raccoonish trait, I believe, and it is why trolls ultimately find no traction here. We would have to care what they think, after all.

In other news, Winter calls us to Rest. Cold and stingy as She is, it makes us dig deeper; quietly, under the surface of cold comforts and few words. A time to anchor one's faith deeper so that the soaring may be even higher come Spring.

12/08/2008 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"...maybe I'll pack it in for the rest of the year."

B-but wait: aren't you our Dear Leader?

After all, blogging is the "method of sacrificing the intellect to spirituality in such a way that it grows and develops instead of becoming enfeebled and atrophied."

Somewhere in this Old Farmer's almanac it says that people, like plants, are light-and-temperature-sensitive. Therefore, a certain "zip" is often missing from projects in December and January.

12/08/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"UF says that the mission of Hermeticism is to advance the progress of this union of spirituality and intellectuality, which is none other than the "philosopher's stone," or the legendary "ark of the Raccoon" that is supposedly stored away somewhere in Toots Mondello's basement amidst the sacred bowling trophies."

The legendary ark of the Raccoon!
Legend has it that a Raccoon can bowl a perfect game when the ark is near.

12/08/2008 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That, and a certain "zip" is also demanded externally in the run-up to the holidays, not only because of shopping and familial expectations, but because everybody's trying to cram in all the stuff they need done before the new year. So at the time when you most require rest and meditation and a sort of hibernation in preparation for the coming spring, you are instead running around madly trying to wrap up loose ends.

It's not just the shorter days; it's that everybody's stress levels are skyrocketing.

I really, truly, deeply envy Thoreau's years in Walden.

12/08/2008 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"In other news, Winter calls us to Rest. Cold and stingy as She is, it makes us dig deeper; quietly, under the surface of cold comforts and few words. A time to anchor one's faith deeper so that the soaring may be even higher come Spring."

That has a nice, poetic ring to it, Joan! :^)

12/08/2008 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"So at the time when you most require rest and meditation and a sort of hibernation in preparation for the coming spring, you are instead running around madly trying to wrap up loose ends."

Julie-
I like to let the loose ends wrap up themselves which is the opposite of what my Missus wants to do.
I think she prefers the hubub or somethin' and prefers I prefer the hubub, but I just wanna peaceful slackness during the Chritmas season.
It's more cheery that way.

But I try to see the Missuses point of view too. It just never turns out well, akll that stress.

Hey, let's go bowling! :^)

12/08/2008 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

It is what we call "pneumacognitive co-upperation."

I love that phrase, Bob's Unconciousness (BU?)!

12/08/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ben, I'd love to go bowling. Do you have a Wii? ;)

12/08/2008 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Sweet. You can bowl with Wii? Across the miles? Gotta buy one.

It is so on. I'm gonna bring the Ark of the Raccoon into my home and enjoy all the blessings of perfect 300 games, Ben and Julie.

Bring it!

:o)

12/08/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wii bowling is fun. I'm not 100% positive you can play online, but if it can be done, I'm there. Way more fun than actually doing the crap I'm procrastinating on ;)

In other news, dogs are awesome.

12/08/2008 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Genuine Fool - Walt Whitman, eternal poet laureate of the USA.

False Fool (ie., evil clown, irrationality without Light) - Abbie Hoffman, Michael Moore.

Notes To Myself - according to my Daily Zeitgeist Alert, this winter period is considerably more challenging than the usual. Let's see, what does it say . . . ah yes, tons of obfuscating illusion resulting in feelings of lack of identity, direction, purpose. Corollary results - anger, confusion, bleakness. (unless you're totally unconscious, in which case you might enjoy the party atmosphere as life seems to go on unraveling)

Remedy - take the hit. Fight it? Don't be ridiculous, that'll make it even worse. Let us remind ourselves it truly is but illusion, albeit one that is quite convincing in its "realism." Reminding ourselves that it is illusion won't stop it in its tracks, but just might help to create a little white room into which we can crawl until the storm is over. Also worth remembering - even if we seem immobilized, without creativity, and night-bound, some transformation is always going on, whether we are conscious of it or not. Meanwhile, let us not allow the grossness of it all to affect our behavior for the worse.

To sum it up in a word: Erk.

12/08/2008 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thank you, Will - both spot-on and very reassuring.

Erk - time to get back to work...

12/08/2008 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The frantic activity which Julie refers to is the bane of the spiritual life; the sense that one has to hurry is a real downer.

The slack of which the Bob speaks is an essential of a life properly lived.

As the Mother once quipped, all of the frantic activity of people is like whipping a cup of water with a fork; it does essentially nothing. Stop whipping and it just returns to being a cup of water.

ON THE OTHER HAND--too much slack is a morale destroying thing. To have no work is an implacable foe that leads one either into unwise sexual adventures or into a bottle.

Like all things in life, there must be a happy medium.

The take home message is: Keeping just a few important items on the list of things to do is probably the right way to go about it.

If one is already busy, don't take on new responsibilities, relationships, or projects. Keep it simple, but work earnestly on just one or two major things, and one's mind will stay balanced and happy.

Don't shoot for too much unstructured time; you think you'll like it, but it generally turns out to be time not well spent.

Allright daddy will shut up now.

12/08/2008 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Coincidence?

12/08/2008 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I forgot the key quote:

"Okay, it's like reg'lar bowling, okay? But it's on a volcano. And the ball is rolling down so fast it's on fire! And then the ball learns to fly! And then the ball gets really big and then it gets really little and then it rolls into a tree trunk and a raccoon throws it way up in the air! And the raccoon's brother rides the ball in the air because he can steer it because he is a smart raccoon. Shoot the ball out of a cannon! And that is how I would make bowling more awesome."

12/08/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Will, you forgot Bill Ayers, who couldn't beclown himself more if he tried.

***

Julie, Downhill Bowling. You had me until the whole "smart raccoon" line.

:o)

12/08/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Joan - know what you mean re: Ayers. It's just that I think of evil clowns as being luciferic in nature, ie., manifesting a bit of the primeval fire on their antics. Charles Manson would be a really prime example.

Ayers, however, is to my mind a perfect example of the ahrimanic, a dull-as-dishwater, paper-shuffling, genocide-scheming gray materialist. One thing is certain: both species are deadly.

12/08/2008 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Why do I suddenly feel compelled to stumble around the house in my Dudewear?

12/08/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I was thinking that earlier as my ball was hurtling downhill, striking and whiffing...

"Ahh, you know. Strikes and gutters, ups and downs."

12/08/2008 02:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will:

I see what you're saying about life as illusion, and about its grossness.. I agree with the general assessment of Erk.

I try to console myself that life is a training video, a simulation designed to educate.

For every piece of grossness that comes flopping or body slamming into the path, the salient question is: what is to be learned here?

Your mate cheats, and you catch her. What is to be learned?

You get a huge pimple; it hurts, and the big event is tommorrow. What is to be learned?

You make two delicious waffles; they fall on the filthy floor on the way to the TV chair. There's nothing else in the houe. What is to be learned?

Beautiful Brenda has at last opened her knees, and Willy takes a vacation. What is to be learned?

And on an on.

It keeps it interesting. Plus, its nothing personal. The bad has to come at you, or you are not actually doing anything constructive.

yah, but then sometimes you just don't want to play anymore. Yecch. But, what is to be learned from that?

Aha.

12/08/2008 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

For Christmas vacation reading may I suggest "Christ the Eternal Tao" by Damascene, who is an Orthodox monk and the biographer and former student of Fr Seraphim Rose. It is an amazing work and may be worth coonsideration.

12/08/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Too late. I must have read it shortly after it was published, and have mentioned it in posts from time to time.

12/08/2008 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ok. Sheesh. Slackers. Looks like it's up to me to post the obligatory 'Fool on the Hill' link.

You'd think raccoons hibernated or something.

12/08/2008 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Again, the whole project only works to the extent that the tradition is alive and one's knowledge is living. It is not like operating on a corpse, for "the tradition lives only when it is deepened"; mere "conservation alone does not suffice at all," as it can all too easily be reduced to a kind of glorified mummification. We are not embalmers."

And attempting to disect such knowledge, and treat the pieces as if they were complete and standalone units produces a corpse of what should have been a living understanding, mummifying yourtrollself... the foul fool.

12/08/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

A deep winter's night, cheeks burning with the cold breeze, snow on the gorund, stars impossibly bright, trees stark against the deep sky, windows glowing warm and chimney's trailing smoke up into the night...

I love winter, always have.

Whose woods these are I think I know....

12/08/2008 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie, speaking of cool pup's, have you seen this one?

There's a reason why they are able to be Man's best friend.

12/08/2008 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“I don't know about you, but this fool can relate to that. Whatever wisdom my little ego can muster on its own is so limited as to be.... well, folly to God, that's for sure.”

Bob,
I swear, I wrote this just this morning in my notebook:
“It must be grace, because I ain’t that smart.”

12/08/2008 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“it is only because of this fusion that Jesus was uniquely able to combine a divine birth with a divine death, which is another thing entirely, isn't it?”

Yes. And I can distinctly remember dying when I was told I was going to be a father. I can’t think of a better thing to happen to a person.
As you’ve said, “It’s not about what happened once, but about what always happens.”

12/08/2008 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I was riffing on Genesis yesterday…I don’t know why but I love it when He says “nostrils”. I just do. I may not really know why. I don’t really have a thing for nostrils or anything like that. It has to do with the breathing of life of course…and I was writing too about a horse, who, if you haven’t noticed can really make use those things. To make a long face...I mean story short, I thought I would look up them in the wikipedia. Go ahead. This may be the one time you will like what you see.

12/08/2008 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

It’s interesting that we have two opposite entries via the nostrils for “breathing in” that form a unified passage…and then separate again into opposite lungs. Which I think reflects what you discuss today about the marriage of opposites as the Raccoon way; intellect and spirituality is breathed in separately, unified and supplies each half of Man (male, female). We don’t have, say, two left nostrils or two left lungs, but a left one and a right one.

12/08/2008 08:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Ever try Breathe Right nasal strips? They really work. I never thought anything would stop LaFayette's snoring.

12/08/2008 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

You coulda maybe stuffed a couple marshmallows in there, Dupree...

12/08/2008 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Cousin Dupree sleeps with Lafayette?

12/09/2008 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

No. But I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night…

12/09/2008 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger Fido said...

I was beta tester for the Breath Left strips in the 70s. I tell you, the thing wouldn’t stick.

12/09/2008 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Marshmallows…
Is that like beer?

12/09/2008 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger Fido said...

Did someone say wooden stick!?
pant pant pant..

12/09/2008 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Fezziwig said...

Joan,
Any storm in a port, as the going says…preferably a fine port, if you can get it.
Or is it hurricanes?
Blasted! It’s true, what happens on Bourbon Street…

12/09/2008 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Ricky, Fido, and Fezziwig (but I repeat myself) just don't have enough to do to keep themselves busy!

:o)

12/09/2008 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Fezziwig said...

(Intercom)

Thanks, Joan. They’re all in here now demanding minimum wage.

12/09/2008 06:25:00 AM  

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