Friday, December 05, 2008

What Happens When We Live? (12.29.11)

Hmm. Judgement. Or as we say in America, Judgment. I'm afraid I cannot really do justice to this card in the space of a post or two. The subject is just too vast, not to mention speculative, at least for me. It's difficult enough to know what happens when we live, let alone when we die, and I don't claim any first hand knowledge of the latter, although I do occasionally see Larry King. Still, if I were to say anything definitive about it, I would just be pretending, and be no better than my competitors.

I remember The Mother speaking of this -- that there are many people who get a bit of genuine occult knowledge, and then proceed to fake the rest, sometimes without even being consciously aware of it. The result is that truth is mingled with falsehood in a haphazard way. To be honest, I also become uneasy when The Mother speaks with great specificity about all sorts of occult matters that can never be verified. I am not necessarily criticizing UF or the Mother, just saying that it's not my style. I try only say things that make sense to my readers and that can be independently verified, and avoid the oogedy-boogedy factor.

Theology is no different than any other field, in which people routinely exceed the limits of their competence and bloviate on all sorts of subjects, thereby becoming buffoons -- Paul Krugman, Richard Dawkins, Deepak Chopra, Bill Maher, movie stars, MSM journalists, etc. It's so easy for intelligence to be hijacked by narcissism in the service of omnipotence.

UF goes into specific detail about the Akashic record, but here again, I would be very interested to know how he came by such knowledge. Even in matters of spirituality, I think that extraordinary claims -- especially if they go against the grain of what is generally agreed upon by Tradition -- should be backed by extraordinary evidence, otherwise I find it a bit off-putting. This is not to say that it's wrong, only that it can make the person appear eccentric or even nuts. Faith in revelation is one thing (especially in its total context of hundreds of years of luminous commentary), but I am uneasy about having faith in one person's take, especially if it deviates markedly from the norm.

For example, a lot of what UF says about the Akashic Record makes sense, but for me personally it is nevertheless (k) and not (n), so it ends up being a kind of funeral parlor game. I've certainly never seen the Akashic Record, and although I've tried to track down a copy from our local library, it's always checked out. While it makes sense to me that all of history must somehow be "preserved" in a manner we cannot comprehend, I am content to leave it an unsaturated mystery. It's like trying to be too specific about what consciousness is. The more specific you get, the more it will elude you, sort of the way the uncertainty principle works, whereby the more you know about the momentum of a particle, the less you know about its position (and vice versa).

Is the Book of Life the "moral memory of the world?" That also makes sense to me, but again, does it really advance our understanding to reduce a mystery to such a concrete image? I am content to know that the purpose of life is to conform to our divine archetype, and that there will be post-mortem coonsequences for how poorly or how well we have done. Perhaps it's just a reflection of how I lead my life, which is to say, spontaneously. I don't know what I am going to do this afternoon, let alone when I die. I have no calendar and I never make plans, although, to paraphrase Woody Allen, after I die I do hope they have change for a twenty.

Is resurrection "the neutralization of the binary life-death?" With my resurrection body, will I be as free of terrestrial links as Michael Jordan driving down the lane? This kind of talk was specifically what I was trying to avoid with the unsaturated symbol system I used in chapter 4 of my book. As a matter of fact, that is precisely why Bion developed a similar system for psychoanalysis, in that there are many different psychoanalytic theorists with very specific ideas about how the mind works, all contradicting each other. It is not that they are necessarily wrong; it is more like the parable of the blind men and the elephant. The elephant tail really does exist, but an elephant does not look like a snake.

Let me see if I can dig out one of my old Bion books, so you can understand exactly what he was driving at.

How about that. I opened to the exact page I was looking for. That's the sort of thing I consider personally "significant," although I certainly don't expect it to be of earth-shattering importance to you. In the following passage, just substitute "religious" for "psychoanalytic":

"Psychoanalytic theories suffer from the defect that, in so far as they are clearly stated and comprehensible, their comprehensibility depends on the fact that the elements of which they are composed become invested with fixed value, as constants...." In other words, we want to convert these constants into unsaturated variables, in order to make certain that we are discovering psychic (or spiritual) reality, not merely imposing our own saturated constants. Bion sheds some additional light and darkness on the subject in his customary clearobscuro manner:

"Because psychoanalytic theories are a compound of observed material and abstraction from it, they have been criticized as unscientific. They are at once too theoretical, that is to say too much a representation of an observation, to be acceptable as an observation and too concrete to have the flexibility that allows an abstraction to be matched by a realization. Consequently a theory, which could be seen to be widely applicable if it were stated abstractly enough, is liable to be condemned because its very concreteness makes it difficult to recognize a realization that it might represent."

As a result of this difficulty -- which partly results from the attempt to use language to describe a hyperdimensional manifold that cannot be unambiguously described by language -- Bion proposed "to seek a mode of abstraction that ensures that the theoretical statement retains the minimum of particularization." He compared his approach to a kind of alphabet, whereby "relatively few letters are required for the formation of many thousands of words." He then proceeds to describe the most fundamental symbols, which needn't detain us here, but include container (♀) and contained (♂), PS<-->D (or catabolism and anabolism, analysis and synthesis) and the links of L, H, and K (love, hate and knowledge). Believe it or not, armed only with these few unsaturated symbols, you have everything you need to start your own illegal psychoanalytic practice.

The point is, if you have too concrete a theology, it may very well preclude its realization. Do you understand that? This is why the debates between the conventionally religious and the conventionally atheistic are so fruitless, because both are using overly saturated symbolic expressions. The Raccoon doesn't have that problem, since a religious experience is an occasion of O-->(n), not mere speculative (k) about O. Memorizing a lot of (k) about O just doesn't interest me. I am nobody's idea of a scholar. But I also hope I am nobody's idea of an occult wacko with secret knowledge of your destiny that I will impart to you for a price. Rather, I am a clinical psychologist with secret knowledge of your destiny that I will impart to you for a price.

Having said all that, the very purpose of the closing section of my book, Cosmobliteration, was to discuss the outer limits of theology in a poetic and unsaturated manner calculated to provide the reader with their very own "realization" of what it's about. In order to do that, it really needs to be read aloud in the proper way (as is equally true of the opening section). Perhaps I should make a you-tube video....

26 Comments:

Blogger James said...

I remember The Mother speaking of this -- that there are many people who get a bit of genuine occult knowledge, and then proceed to fake the rest, sometimes without even being consciously aware of it. The result is that truth is mingled with falsehood in a haphazard way.

I've fallen in that trap. You think you know something and you end up covered in your own BS. You start out with a glimpse of something beautiful, and end up with something gross. I suppose that is how cults are formed.

12/05/2008 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Absolutely.

12/05/2008 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And which is why the early Christian councils were so important in hammering these things out.

12/05/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I've heard from Orthodox that the purpose of the Councils was actually to guard the simplicity of the faith. I.e. "no you can't come up with a convoluted theory of how God became man."

Not that it stopped people from doing all kinds of off the wall nonsense, but still, for those who get it, you can see the unbroken line.

12/05/2008 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

But they were also to guard against all the idiosyncratic heresies, many of which involve not so much falsehood as an overemphasis on a single aspect of Truth. Plus, they preserved considerable space for the Mystery.

12/05/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yes. They also seemed to understand the inherent heretic in all of us, i.e. that we all have a view of truth that is just that, a view, and what was given us is the whole thing. If we are free to do exactly whatever, our personal tendencies may at times unconsciously shape some of our knowledge into falsehood (or they may become so in the hands of someone following us.)

This is like Jazz (and I'm taking some lessons right now from a real 'teacher',) wherein we are free to do as we will but not completely. There are scales and styles and songs and chords which we must unthinkingly adhere to. As Polanyi noted, for the thing to be whole the subsidiary (chord, corpus, style) must take on an unconscious quality. This should not fool us into believe it isn't there or isn't real just because it is implicit.

In fact, the implicit is almost more important than the explicit. In the Gospels, for instance, the notion of Jesus being the second person of the Trinity, being God himself, is never explicitly said in so many words, "Christ, who was God..." but rather for those who know what is going on it is implied directly and referenced and alluded to constantly. Again, in the Creed, it is not said that Christ died, but only that he was buried. Nor do we say, I believe in the Trinity, and so forth.

I also have many 'opening to the right page' experiences as well, but I have always assumed that God grants small mercies to his servants, whatever that means, and for me it is usually with music books that I have such 'luck'.

12/05/2008 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

how many times to
be tore down a la rimbaud
cosmobliterate!

12/05/2008 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

When I was still young and while I was pretty heavy on the emptiness meditation, I would sometimes randomly know things I could not possibly have learned, but that could be verified afterwards. This was a bit fascinating, but barely marginally useful. I have found it more useful to later in my life discover that there are things I cannot know even if I have learned them. (Because I lack some crucial element to metabolize that truth.) Now that is a revelation that could be useful.

12/05/2008 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Now, that is my idea of a good bit of Raccoon theology: many are the things one may know without having learned them, but many more are the things one cannot know despite (or because of!) having learned them.

12/05/2008 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Elephant said...

"Perhaps I should make a you-tube video...."

That provoked a good chuckle. Better yet, Petey.


:)

12/05/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Petey is the rock on which I shall build my video.

12/05/2008 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

You should absolutely make a video. Just don't forget to wear the coonskin cap.

I love that bit of Raccoon theology - thanks Magnus & Petey!. I'm pretty sure that the only reason I manage to get through the day on a regular basis is the stuff I don't know I know. It drives other people crazy - they think I actually have the answers, so they ask me, but I haven't a clue. I've decided all the important stuff is actually stored on somOne else's hard drive, tossed into my brain pan only for the moments I actually need it.

Probably safer that way.

12/05/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

River said:

This is like Jazz (and I'm taking some lessons right now from a real 'teacher',) wherein we are free to do as we will but not completely. There are scales and styles and songs and chords which we must unthinkingly adhere to. As Polanyi noted, for the thing to be whole the subsidiary (chord, corpus, style) must take on an unconscious quality. This should not fool us into believe it isn't there or isn't real just because it is implicit.

the destruction of the unconscious Judeo-Christian guardrails by the one trick pony Left leaves us focusing on parts and the whole slowly dissolves.it appears that even Divine Archetypes wither under concerted attack.
Wheregoes implicit America, goes America.
There is always You-Tube and a comeback.

12/05/2008 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since we are speaking about "opening to the right page,"
I might mention that I happened to flip on this channel while taking a much-needed break from reading. The head-and-hair-splitting subject I was studying? Reformation era theology.

How many blind alleys we humans follow when we seek to nail down the mysterious with the precision of a corporate lawyer!
Hyper-rationalization not only may lead to convoluted idiocy, as River suggests, but to the idiosyncratic reductionism of which Bob speaks.

We must think, must argue, and must speak. But our reasonings and our words can never comprehend the Whole of anything.

In any event, a timely (coincidental?) subject on this blog today! Thanks!

12/05/2008 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

So the doctrine of Trinity is simple?

12/05/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

God is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are all the one God. Each has a will, can speak, can love, etc., and these are demonstrations of personhood. They are in absolute perfect harmony consisting of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal, and copowerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God.

What could be simpler?

8)

Thankfully, we can know, appreciate, and love someone without fully comprehending them (or I certainly wouldn't keep coming back here!).

Petey...rock...too funny.

12/05/2008 03:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sew,the new suit is at the cleaners.

12/05/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Dougman said...

"God is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

Now put the Daughter in the mix and watch all hell break loose.

12/05/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Actually, UF does. He says there is a sort of "shadow trinity" consisting of Mother-Daughter-Holy Soul, and which, with the other Trinity, represents the unity of creator and creation, or something. Made a lot of sense at the time I read it.

12/05/2008 03:29:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

An example of oversaturation?
Coming up is the Catholic Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Recently read a short Orthodox commentary on why they do not agree with the Roman Church on this. It is a doctrine only recently (in Catholic years) adopted by the Church.
First, this is outside of Tradition, which is a pretty serious objection.
Second, it is unnecessary; there is no reason to postulate that Mary was conceived without sin.
Third, and maybe the biggie, it lessens the significance of the Birth of her Son.
The Vatican has backed itself into a corner since it has declared the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception via papal infallibility. To back off from the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception would jeopardize papal infallibility, although both will have to go (or at least sit down and shut up) if there is to be a reunion with the Eastern cousins, which would be a grand and glorious thing.
Too bad the Vatican didn't leave that alone. They think about things too much.

12/05/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

> First, this is outside of Tradition

The Orthodox Christian tradition refers to the Blessed Mother as "achrantos" ("spotless"), "panamomos" ("totally without stain"), and "panagia" ("all-holy"), among many other similar titles. So I have no idea what tradition you could be referring to.

> Second, it is unnecessary; there is no reason to postulate that Mary was conceived without sin.

It's called "logic" (see above). You know, it's that thing that the Papists use too much.

> Third, and maybe the biggie, it lessens the significance of the Birth of her Son.

So, the Ark of the Covenant, personally chosen by YHVH Himself, somehow lessens the significance of the Covenant it contains? I'll bet YHVH would have ordered Moses to have you stoned for saying that (He could be pretty cranky back in the old days, y'know).

> To back off from the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception would jeopardize papal infallibility, although both will have to go (or at least sit down and shut up) if there is to be a reunion with the Eastern cousins

> Is that the best excuse the schismatics can come up with these days for persisting in their schism? Lame.

12/05/2008 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>The point is, if you have too concrete a theology, it may very well preclude its realization<<

As a capsule illustration of this: St. Teresa found that only when she eliminated the image of Christ from her meditations did she scale the transcendental tower. The obstacle was of course the image itself, just as all images - including the exalted image of one's theology - can become obstacles.

Re: the occult and the arcane - I think at a certain level of consciousness much of this stuff does "make sense" and can even seem a fairly simple extrapolation of basic gnosis. In this sense, reading about/meditating on the akashic book and other such stuff can help to bolster the basics - but one doesn't have to know this stuff. It's the basics that matter. Otherwise the occult stuff just becomes an image-obstacle.

12/05/2008 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Found it, (pats self on the back), in the Letter XIX, The Sun.
The two triangles of the Holy Soul and Holy Trinity making up the Seal of Solomon.

Pity me.
With my Son and two Daughters, I'm over-ruled on every point.

(Doug, that's silly to get hung up on the literal)

Nope, that's playful.
When you can type in your own thoughts without me doin' for you, you'll just have to put up with it.

12/06/2008 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Judgement-
That things Leftists say nobody has a right to do before they do it while denying they do it.

12/06/2008 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"The point is, if you have too concrete a theology, it may very well preclude its realization. Do you understand that? This is why the debates between the conventionally religious and the conventionally atheistic are so fruitless, because both are using overly saturated symbolic expressions."

Definitely. Those who give their full allegiance to the Objective, or to the Subjective, choosing one side of the coin or the other, miss the value of the coin itself. As with an anatomist looking at a statue of ... say the Pieta, and seeing a muscle improperly carved, and missing the Art which it only incidentally helped to convey... or from the other side, seeing the incidentally unnatural muscle and declaring man's unworthiness of who the sculpture is a sculpture of, since we don't have, and are unable to attain that feature in ourselves... both in their distraction with incidentals fail to see the whOle, and do not allow the art to live and exert its full power and influence within them.

12/06/2008 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Brazentide said...

As a capsule illustration of this: St. Teresa found that only when she eliminated the image of Christ from her meditations did she scale the transcendental tower. The obstacle was of course the image itself, just as all images - including the exalted image of one's theology - can become obstacles.

St. John of the Cross wrote at length on this. It is captured nicely in this excerpt from his poem:
"I came into the unknowing"

This knowledge by unknowing
is such a soaring force
that scholars argue long
but never leave the ground.
Their knowledge always fails the source:
to understand unknowing,
rising beyond all science.


I suppose "knowing by unknowing" is another way of saying "reflect, don't project"

On a similar note, it seems that the more intelligent a man is, the greater his temptation to take a bit of gnowledge build his own tower on it. Each successive floor exponentially increases the amount of his own BS bricks™ in the structure. Like Babel, he attempts to reach the heavens via his own strength, and in the same way, he ends up making less and less sense to those around him (most often right before the unwieldy thing collapses on him)

Now if you will excuse me, I have some of my own bricks to sort through.

12/09/2008 11:52:00 AM  

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