Monday, December 29, 2008

How to be a Big unKnow-it-All

As I mentioned in last Saturday's post, I recently had the opportunity to reread Robert Bolton's Self and Spirit. I first read it about a year ago and probably intended to discuss it at the time, but quickly moved onto something else -- I think his previous book, Gnosis -- and then forgot about it. But the book is full of important insights that I'd like to spend some time expanding upon and assimilating.

Also, I think we'll let me, Bob's Unconscious, take the wheel of the bus, so this interior duologue may or may not be of benefit to you. Which doesn't matter much anyway, since we seem to have run off most of our readers with the the lengthy MOTT series. We're down to the diehards, dead-enders, cultists, and stalkers.

The point is, Bob's Unconscious does not -- cannot -- write for an "audience." Rather, he -- or we -- just rants. Also, since we are attempting to articulate the "unThought known," we have to somehow bypass the entity that already "knows it all." In other words, we're taking the keys to the bus away from Bob.

Consider this a peek into the supraterranean One Cosmos liberatory, where you can actually see some of our delicious products in the process of being made, using only the finest theologoumena, and then offering them to you fully half-baked.

Now, speaking of the unThought known, this is one of the most vital virtual organs for the detection of God. Without it, you're pretty much screwed and going to hell, gosh! It's analogous to a "sense of humor," which is not itself funny, but the ability to know what is funny ahead of time. The latter is an empty category, or a "preconceptual readiness" to appreciate humor in whatever form it arises. You may have noticed that a gifted comedian is often able to see the humor in some everyday situation that goes unnoticed by most people. The humor is already in us, but we don't explicitly think about it until the comedian "reminds" us of it, which then causes us to laugh with re-cognition.

I would say that Raccoon theology is somewhat like that. It's not as if the B'ob tells you anything you don't already know, I mean, right? Rather, he mainly gives voice to preconceptual airy-fairy things you may not have consciously thought about. Hence, the sacred "guffah-HA!" experience when he punches you right in the nous and gets a clean kill. But this is true of all real theology, which is aimed at vertical re-collection. Whenever Bob's or anyone else's key fits perfectly into your unThought known, you will notice a little "tickle." You should try to be aware of this and eventually transform it into more of a real chortle or belly laugh. Ho!

It's also somewhat like being a good cook. We think of someone having a good visual or verbal imagination, but having a good gustatory imagination is a thing apart -- like having a good "tactile imagination," which I suppose blind people possess. A good and adventurous cook can presumably combine ingredients in unexpected ways, because he has a sort of highly developed "foretaste" of potentially tasty combinations. Frankly, I think this is how advances take place in any field, which was one of Polanyi's core points -- the idea that the scientific researcher is guided by tacit foreknowledge of, say, an as yet undiscovered chile recipe.

But at the same time, it's a tricky balance, because if your mind is saturated with too much foreknowledge, then it closes off the possibility of new discoveries. And this may sound like blasphemy, but who said that all the great theological discoveries have already been made? At the very least, I know for sure that they haven't been made by Bob. I mean, I could take someone else's word for it, but I'm not much interested in second hand theology unless it specifically illuminates my own unThought known. Theology's the ultimate adventure, baby. It's not supposed to be just mechanical memorization.

The other book we've been rereading is McGinn's excellent introduction to the mystical theology of Meister Eckhart, The Man From Whom God Hid Nothing. Who knows if it was providential or cooncidental, but I am finding that these two books illuminate one another into a "higher third," and you might say that it is this "third" to which we are attempting to give birth in concrete form.

The birth metaphor is quite exact, and in fact, this was one of Eckhart's key psimiles -- that the birth of the Word is eternally recapitulated in the ground of the soul. Jesus reconciles creation with Creator on a macro scale, but we must nevertheless engage in the same activity on a micro scale, i.e., "the imitation of Christ." You might say that he blazed the trail, but that doesn't mean that we don't have to take the journey. It just means the journey is possible, because Christ is always coming down and "taking on" human nature: "Since we possess human nature, the same nature that the Word united to himself, by grace we are now Christ's 'personal being'" (McGinn).

Also, you definitely have to appreciate Eckhart's outrageous sense of humor, which, unfortunately, the religious authorities of the time did not. He uses humor in a zen sort of way, in order to jolt you out of your habitual way of seeing things. He is the True GagDaddy.

Eckhart reveled in "word games that are meant to be both playful and serious insofar as they 'play' a role in the practice of deconstructing the self and freeing it from all that pertains to the created world. Identity in the ground [of being] is a 'wandering' and 'playful' identity.... Speaking to a restricted group of learned God-seekers, he also feels free to indulge... in paradox, oxymoron, and hyperbole," the "rare and subtle" forms of speech "that comprise the 'shock treatment' of a mystical discourse designed to awaken by challenging traditional modes of speaking and understanding" (McGinn).

Like the unThought known, "the ground is transcendentally real as 'pure possibility,'" and "is the 'place' from which the mystic must learn to live, act, and know" (McGinn). It is also flowing and spontaneous, like jazz: "Many of Eckhart's sermons have an improvisational character, appearing as a series of virtuoso variations on oft-repeated themes."

I didn't intend to get so deeply into Eckart, but I did want to mention what he said about the unThought known: "This not-knowing draws [the soul] into amazement and keeps her on the hunt, for she clearly recognizes 'that he is,' but she does not know 'what' or 'how' he is.... [T]he unknown-knowing keeps the soul constant and still on the hunt" (Eckhart). McGinn says that "this incommunicable knowledge keeps the mystic ever on the inward path, not turned outside."

Now, this "inward path" is the path back to God. Just yesterday Bob was comparing it to a sort of vertical mine shaft, in which we must all work in darkness, taking one blow after another, occasionally pulling out a nugget of gold, and getting closer each day to the Fatherlode. It's there. We can sense it with our charcoal activated cOOnvision, like old Walter Huston smells the gold in Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Here's how Eckhart describes the cOOnvision: "Though it may be called an unknowing, an uncomprehending, it still has more within it than all knowing and comprehending outside it, for this unknowing lures and draws you from all that is known, and also from yourself."

The B'ob make many veiled references to this in the Cosmobliteration section of the Coonifesto, such as unknowculate your brain; leave your apprehensions behind; knowing without knowledge all that can be unKnown; return your soul to its upright position and extinguish all (me)mories; etc.

Also, the importance of having a divine sense of humor at the outset: last rung in's a written gag; your seenil grammar and gravidad may not be malapropriate for my laughty revelation; that's the New Man, we're just putting him on; when you reach a ribald age you can grasp the wheel of this broken-down trancebardation, etc.

And not a moment sooner!

33 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

:)
So you're saying he needs a bomb and a mining hat...

12/29/2008 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

And a funny-bone.

12/29/2008 07:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're down to the diehards, dead-enders, cultists, and stalkers. :)

Since I've knewly arrived at your blog by coonincidence and have been de-light-edly coonsuming knowledge, I am now coonsternated to learn I am any one of those four categories. I'll put myself down for die-hard...although I do quite like the secretive intensity of the stalker...

"Though it may be called an unknowing, an uncomprehending, it still has more within it than all knowing and comprehending outside it, for this unknowing lures and draws you from all that is known, and also from yourself."

This is what I've found here, at last. An articulate, funny, elucidating guide to the mine shaft.

THANKS! A tip of the coon hat to you, sir!

12/29/2008 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

We're down to the diehards, dead-enders, cultists, and stalkers.

...and the non-sequiturs. Not to be confused with the dead-enders.

I think I'm two-for-four on that list.

:o)

12/29/2008 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"We're down to the diehards, dead-enders, cultists, and stalkers."

I might be 4 for four... with a little bit of leeway,
* Diehard - check,
* Dead-ender - the current path I'm on (no matter the offshoot's and off-road excursions, they will still be the current path, just unexpectedly trod) will 'end' when dead, and not before, check,
* Cultist - I won't be caught dead without Culture, check,
* Stalker - to stalk the wild aninnymouse is a favorite recreation (I wonder if Viceroy Col. J.C. Beaglehole has partaken in the hunt?) of mine, so checkeroo Once again,

So there you go, 4x4. Cool.

12/29/2008 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Happy New Year, diehards, dead-enders, clutists, and stalkers.

12/29/2008 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

" Frankly, I think this is how advances take place in any field, which was one of Polanyi's core points -- the idea that the scientific researcher is guided by tacit foreknowledge of, say, an as yet undiscovered chile recipe.
But at the same time, it's a tricky balance, because if your mind is saturated with too much foreknowledge, then it closes off the possibility of new discoveries. "

This is a tricky one, for the Existence exists, it is whole and One, Truth IS... but do we know the knowledge beforehand, forget and remember it, ala Socrates’ geometry lessons? I've a problem with that, but I think there is a golden thread of truth running through it, in that we do get the an impression of the whole existentialada just by being alive, as someone in the dark who places their hand upon a curved surface is able to surmise that it is a sphere even without touching every inch of it. The more we examine it, the more defined the overall spiritual picture becomes to our "unThought known, this is one of the most vital virtual organs in the detection of God", we begin to see the 'sphere', and with coontemplation, begin to shade in the continents, seas, mark the mountain ranges and plains and even try to describe bits and pieces of the ephemeral cloud cover.

But the actual knowledge of the trail we tred upon... I don't think that we have, forget, and remember that... rather, with the knowledge of where we have been, the high level awareness of where we are (mountain range, plain or sea) upon the globe, together with the knowledge of where we are now, we are able to make a reasonable 3D guess as to the lay of the land we are moving through, even in a dense fog. We begin to know where we are, are delighted with discovering the expected and the unexpected, and in those moments when the fog lifts, we look about in the warm sonshine and admire the full reality of what we had only gnown and 'guessed' at, and the organ of unThought known lets loose with "... the sacred "guffah-HA!" experience...."...?

12/29/2008 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Hiya James! Happy New Year to you, too.

I'm not sure what clutists are, but if has sumthin' to do with cluelessness, then I'm there!

:o)

12/29/2008 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

...forms of speech "that comprise the 'shock treatment' of a mystical discourse designed to awaken by challenging traditional modes of speaking and understanding"...

Oh wait! For a moment there I thought he was referring to One Cosmos.

And ... I am definitely a stalker:
I just "live" for a rare glimpse of the nous taking wing -- a sight that piques my interest, and leaves me hot and bothered.

12/29/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Zoltan said...

I understand and accept that the metaphor of being on a "path" reflects self-understanding for many, probably very many, but for myself, I just do not feel it or understand it.

I have never felt I was on a path of any kind. Certainly that is not a normative feeling generally, nor should be, but it expresses my experience.

I just do not understand the metaphor of "path." Nor am I asking to, mostly because I am sure I cannot understand it and would gain nothing from an effort to.

I can grasp that there are vectors of light hurtling thither and fro like birds through the air. But a path, in the sense of deliberate, directional travel pregnant with meaning? I have no such experience.

Nor want any. Nor deny that some have such experience.

Merely an observation.

More to the point, I suspect there is not any experience that can be called "understanding" as that word is customarily employed.

12/29/2008 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The path has five dimensions. You're probably just omitting a few.

12/29/2008 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

I have lobbied Bob to at least require that they use some sort of moniker. Blogspot does allow for requiring some sort of name field.

Bob seems to think that it stifles commentary. I think it will raise the level of commentary to be able to respond to a name.

12/29/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

There's nothing more fun than stalking diehard deadender cultists.

Wifey and I were just this morning discussing whether shock treatment would help us poor sots remember or forget.

Can't decide which is preferable. Heads or tails - you call it.

12/29/2008 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Zoltan said...

Were I or anyone omitting a dimension we would not have existence.

Existence is tauta panta, literally, "all these things [that are made from the five]" (the five dimensions).

Please no lectures that panta does not mean five, penta does. If you feel the urge regardless, study the cognate of both words.

St. Paul was nothing if not a foremost exponent of Pythagorean as well as Christian thought and practice.

What has existence has five dimensions. Even the defective.

And in any case, the five dimensions are experienced as combinations and permutations of all five, never as singles, much less single linearities, which is the phenomenon that subverts the pretense of the "scientistical" (classically called "nominalistic") assumption set.

Shock treatment is effective one way or another, forget or remember, depending on the character of the shocker, the character and destiny of the shockee and their relationship.

12/29/2008 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

whether shock treatment would help us poor sots remember or forget.

Now that's a lovely breakfast chat that the Jolly Roger and I have yet to consider.

The other day it was about my decidedly reasonable decree that after I have died, I should like a true burial, and a memorial place in the ground, not in some reliquary on a mantle.

Not nearly as somber as it sounds, however...

12/29/2008 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous anon said...

I posted the following on yesterday's open discussion of ideas just now. Thought it rated a repost over here in the current open discussion of ideas. Call it an experiment –

Interesting. For all the complaining re: Sir Charles the Liztard, seems LGF's censorship policy is something Bob's growing to admire. I noticed one of my comments missing after I thought I'd posted it, but what the hey. It's never hard to make Van look stupid. This evening however I see that a brother anon is remarking on deleted posts.

So carry on with your big selfs, coonage. Looks like Daddy's gonna mix up practice and preach yet again.

12/29/2008 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capitol post, my good man! Or section of one, anyway.

This troll stands down, with nothing negative to say.

I'll be back tommorrow to make trouble, never fear.

Give it up Aloysius...the anonymous troll is welcome here.

12/29/2008 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Nagarjuna has lost his title.

12/29/2008 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

non-a said "It's never hard to make Van look stupid"

Ha, true enough, true enough, it's never been hard to do, in fact I fully concede that it is just the opposite, quite a simple task to make me look stupid, and have said so before.

Many have successfully done so, and I press them for all I can when I find them.

It does however, require that you have somewhat of a mastery of what makes human thought simpler, namely principles, and how they integrate; sadly, that's anathema to lefties and leftie-symp's, who are pragmatically unprincipled on principle, and so you leave the field wide open for me, a former musician, former salesmen, former instructor, almost former programmer (two more days of work left), who has only a so-so grasp of it all, to sweep your intelligently idiotic butts off the field, laughing all the way.

Still laughing!

(wv's back! 'bindog', that's my guess too)

12/29/2008 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

WV! where ya been pal? We've missed your depth & hinting ways, all the while awash in cycles of dullards & dopes that straggle in, nary a clue to rub between them.

Hey, I can see you've had a retrofit of language skills. Way to upgrade, dude.

Van gets 'bindog' & I get 'cooki'?
Now we're talk'in!

12/29/2008 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

We're down to the diehards, dead-enders, cultists, and stalkers.

Look, I already told the judge I WASN'T STALKING YOU!!!!!!!!!

12/29/2008 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

BTW, Bob, have you seen my shrine of you? You would like it, I think. It ain't creepy or nothin'.

12/29/2008 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van gets 'bindog' & I get 'cooki'?
Now we're talk'in!

That's your secret cult names, Ximeze.
Mine is redrum.

12/29/2008 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Mine's mulante. A special champagne-grog (grogpagne?) made in Madagascar.

12/29/2008 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Van-
You were a music programming salesman instructor?

12/29/2008 09:08:00 PM  
Anonymous austracoon said...

"It's not as if the B'ob tells you anything you don't already know, I mean, right?"

1Cor 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

12/29/2008 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Anon-
Man, you're about as bright as one of them "green" bulbs.
If Bob wanted to delete your comments then certainly he would delete your reposts.

Most likely you imagined it after sniffing glue again, or blogger (which lost my entire blog) was bein' blogger.

Either way, your explanation defies logic (as indeed, all your comments do).

We've had stupid commenters and ignoranuses galore here before, but you may be the first full retard (and I say this in the horizontal sense since you don't even rise to the level of retard in the vertical sense) we have ever had.

Congratulations! You can say you were the first to receive that dubious honor.

Of course, I may be rating you too high.

12/29/2008 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Apu said...

"We're down to the diehards, dead-enders, cultists, and stalkers."

You forgot Quiet Lurkers, Bob. You know we exist,just from tracking your stats. Been Quietly Lurking myself since Week One of this adventure and loving every minute of it. And QLs are most certainly not stalkers. :)

12/29/2008 10:48:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Ben, check the dates/time stamps on the ends the comments for the last couple of days & there's our current Subwoofer maniacally giving in to logorrhea, spewing torrents, today, on threads days old.

Errr.... forget something?

It's a wonder it can remember where it left any of its droppings.

12/30/2008 12:48:00 AM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

"diehards, dead-enders, cultists, and stalkers"

Yes, I'll have a little bit of everything, thanks. Goes well toghether with some "quiet lurking" too!


/Johan

12/30/2008 04:19:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

What Apu said...although I have been known to blurt out on occasion.

12/30/2008 06:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this place is the opposite of a divorce....i get the goldmine AND the shaft!
happy new year

12/30/2008 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We've had stupid commenters and ignoranuses galore here before, but you may be the first full retard (and I say this in the horizontal sense since you don't even rise to the level of retard in the vertical sense) we have ever had."

Goodness you can't even see half of the posts made and you're making that argument. I can't believe you went to that level to say something when you don't even know what was said to back it up. You're worse than the others who made basically all the same claims in that you can't even see what was said.

I finally get it, you all basically said the same things, but none of you really addressed any of the arguments anyway. So you were just arguing for fucks sake, and you get mad that I argue over nothing, when I at least tried to inject some content into. Wow, I am thoroughly awestruck ant the sheer stupidity of calling somebody stupid when you don't even know what was said.

12/30/2008 08:09:00 PM  

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