Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In War, Surrender. In Defeat, Apology. In Peace, Dhimmitude. In Victory... What's That?

In a recent Hillsdale Imprimus, Paul Johnson published a useful little primer on "What Great Statesmen Have to Teach Us." He writes that the foremost lesson is "the ability to see the world clearly, and to draw the right conclusions from what is seen," and then breaks this down into several areas.

Ideas and Beliefs: "The best kind of democratic leader has just a few -- perhaps three or four -- central principles to which he is passionately attached and will not sacrifice under any circumstances." One immediately sees the problem with Obama and the Clintons, for what do they actually believe in aside from socialized medicine, global warming, and appeasing our enemies? Bill Clinton may have been the most unprincipled president in history, and it is impossible to say what his wife actually believes.

And as for Obama, he doesn't seem to have any discernible philosophy except for the usual ad hoc leftism. I say ad hoc because American style leftism operates in a kind of helter skelter way, from the periphery toward the center. It is always concealing first principles that it never articulates, unlike conservatism, whose principles can be stated quite plainly: limited government, local control, low taxes, free markets, strong military, sovereignty, and judges who don't invent laws.

I suppose the problem is, no viable leftist, even if he privately believes it (Dennis Kucinich notwithstanding), can come out and say that his political philosophy revolves around a large and intrusive federal government, burdensome taxes, a state controlled economy, a weak military, appeasement of our enemies, open borders, and elites in black robes dictating constitutional law.

Johnson writes that he is not impressed "by leaders who have definite views on everything. History teaches it is a mistake to have too many convictions, held with equal certitude and tenacity. They crowd each other out. A great leader is someone who can distinguish between the essential and the peripheral -- between what must be done and what is merely desirable." He cites the example of Margaret Thatcher, who, similar to Ronald Reagan, had only three core "musts": "uphold the rule of law at home and abroad; keep government activities to a minimum, and so taxes low; encourage individuals to do as much as they can, as well as they can."

Willpower: The decisive quality of willpower has to do with the ability to make one's principles a reality. Thus, "a politician can have immense intelligence and all the other virtues, but if will is lacking he is nothing." It is fair to say that most politicians have abundant willpower, but I suppose the question is whether this power derives from mere narcissism -- the will to power -- or from a higher source -- the will to serve. I can't even imagine the stamina, drive, and discipline it must take to campaign for president day after day, month after dreary month. Personally, I'd die of boredom, mustering all that fake emotion and making the same stupid speech to the same slack-jawed crowds. It would be like having to be an actor in a bad play for two years, except that the play lasts 16 hours a day.

This is what is so off-putting about the Clintons. Yes, their will to power is impressive, but what's behind it? What actually drives them? Likewise, what actually motivates Obama? He pretends that it has to do with "unity" and "ending divisiveness," but these are bizarre sentiments coming from one of the most far-left politicians in American life. To the extent that he actually believes his own speeches, it only goes to show how out of touch with reality he is.

Obviously, willpower cuts both ways. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Castro all seized and maintained power entirely through the force of their personal will. "Mao's overwhelming will, we now know, led to the deaths of 70 million fellow Chinese. The cost of a misdirected will is almost unimaginably high." Thus, "those three or four simple central beliefs behind the will" had better be "right and morally sound."

Once in power, Bill Clinton proved to have willpower, but it was again a kind of scattered and "flighty" will that was easily derailed and distracted, typical of the American left. As such, he required constant polling of the mood of the country in order to sense where to direct his will. His principles -- to the extent that he had any -- were insufficient to motivate his will. This is reminiscent of the narcissistic but charismatic actor who feeds off the applause of the crowd, which gives him a faux sense of being, but who shrivels to nothing when the curtain is drawn.

As such, Johnson says that mere willpower is insufficient. Rather, it "must be organically linked to resolution, a determination to so see the cause through at all costs." Washington during our eight year war for independence, Lincoln in the struggle to preserve the nation, Churchill during the dark days of World War II -- each displayed patience, doggedness, pertinacity, resolution and even obstinacy. President Bush has shown all of these traits with regard to Iraq, and it remains to be seen whether they will pay off. But to openly flaunt their opposites as if they are virtues, as do the Democrat candidates -- impatience, weakness, and irresolution -- will most certainly yield immediate results, in that they will reward the patience, doggedness, pertinacity, resolution and obstinacy of our enemies.

Next is the ability to communicate. "The value of possessing a few simple ideas which are true and workable is enormously enhanced if the leader can put them across with equal simplicity." Interestingly, unlike Lincoln, whose words conveyed remarkable power, Washington was said to have been a rather unskilled speaker. Nevertheless, his physical bearing was such that he was able to communicate more with his personality, demeanor, and physical presence. This reminds me of something Schuon wrote about souls of great spiritual attainment, who are able to embody and reflect the "unmoved mover" within.

If there is one thing that does impress me about Obama, it is this. At least superficially, he seems to be rather unflappable, and I think people respond to this. He is quite natural and at ease. If he's faking it, he's doing an awfully good job of it. In this regard, he is the polar opposite of a Richard Nixon, who never seemed comfortable in his own skin.

But again, the question is, what is at the center of that unmoved mover? I'm not in any way comparing them to Obama, but Stalin and Mao were also preternaturally unflappable as they sent millions to their death. It's almost as of there is a spiritual peace that flows from the divine center, but a counterfeit version that emanates from a center that is "dead," so to speak. You often see this in great athletes. You wonder how they can maintain their poise under incredibly stressful circumstances, until you hear them interviewed after the game and say to yourself, "ahh, that's how. Just be so stupid that you don't have any thoughts that get in the way."

The final virtue that Johnson discusses is magnanimity, or "greatness of soul." This one is difficult to define, but it is what "makes one warm to its possessor." For example, "we not only respect and like, we love Lincoln because he had it to an unusual degree. It was part of his inner being." I again can't help thinking that Obama radiates a counterfeit version of this virtue. Obviously, his supporters respond to him just as if he is a great soul.

But this would be difficult to maintain in light a quote by Churchill, that he felt embodied the great statesman: "In war, resolution. In defeat, defiance. In victory, magnanimity. In peace, good will." Because for Obama, it would read, "In war, surrender. In defeat, apology. In peace, dhimmitude. In victory... what's that?"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Doing Battle with Hope Fiends, Crockheads, and Moonbatshiners (3.21.09)

Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. --Ezra Klein, blogging under the influence

A black man with a white mother became a savior to us. A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.... This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better.... If you look at Barack Obama's audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed. --Calypso Louis

Continuing with our analysis of the Devil Card, Unknown Friend (UF) writes that the excesses of the left are always "owing to an intoxication of the will and imagination which engenders demons." For example, if Marx and Engels had merely behaved as good Jews or Christians and "simply defended the interests of the industrial workers without having let themselves be carried away by their intoxicated imagination," then they wouldn't have been so very destructive. After all, every normal person wants to help the poor and needy, but helping them at the end of a gun, as the left always want us to do, renders any spiritual benefit inoperative for both parties.

Moreover, the left always couches their supposed empathy for the downtrodden in fantastically broad and sweeping generalizations of historical "and even cosmic significance, such as the statement that God does not exist, that all religion is is only the 'opium of the people,' [and] that all ideology is only a superstructure on the basis of material interests." It is no different today, with the intoxication that fuels and pervades the Obama campaign:

"What we hear from Obama is the eternal mantra of the socialists; America is broken, millions have no health care, families cannot afford necessities, the rich are evil, we are selfish, we are unhappy, unfulfilled, without hope, desperate, poverty stricken, morally desolate, corrupt and racist. This nihilism is the lifeblood of all the democrat candidates, even 'hope you can believe in' performers like Obama. When Michelle Obama claims she is only newly proud of her country, she does not exaggerate. In her world as in Obama's, they believe we are a mess, a land filled with the ignorant and unenlightened, filled with despair" (Fairchok).

Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic. --Pope Benedict XVI

As UF writes, it is always a "matter of excess -- a going beyond the limits of competence and sober and honest knowledge," which the left never doubts, "having been carried away by the intoxicating impulse of radicalism, i.e. by a fever of the will and imagination to change everything utterly at a single stroke."

It used to be said of alcoholism that that you can't drown your sorrows because they learn how to swim. The odd thing about the left is that the purpose of their intoxication is not to drown their sorrows but to deny their blessings. Because if one looks at the plain facts in a sober and detached way, we cannot help seeing that, as Fairchok writes,

"Our economy bustles along, with inevitable ups and downs, but remains strong. Americans live better than ever before. As a nation, we live in the best of times, a place that the rest of humanity covets. We did this by the sweat of our brows and the energy of our people. We have more education, more luxury, more life options, more of everything good and far less of everything bad, less disease, less poverty and less struggle than ever before. We have prosperity, we have employment, we have technology. Hope is what America is all about; hope that has every expectation of success. Consider the millions that are desperate to get here. Even our poor have cars, appliances and entertainments. Our concern for them is not hunger but obesity. Never before in the history of mankind has this contradiction existed."

And it is the fever dream of sweeping existential change that animates the left no less than the Islamists. As Lee Harris has written, a fantasy ideology such as Islamism is obviously not a rational response to the world arrived at in a logical, sober manner. Rather, it is a transformative belief, meaning that its primary purpose is to psychologically transform the person who believes the fantasy. And believing the fantasy is an end in itself -- it has no purpose other than to make the fantasy seem like reality -- like it might actually happen. Therefore, the real reason for 9-11 wasn't actually to bring down western civilization. Rather, it was for the Islamists to deepen their fantasy by getting us to play along with it.

Likewise, anyone with a basic familiarity with economics knows that leftist ideas don't just fail, but backfire. They cause all sorts of unintended consequences that the leftist never connects to the original policy -- e.g., how the welfare state eroded the structure of the black family, how racial quotas inevitably harm blacks, how rent control causes housing shortages, or how subsidizing higher education simply drives up the cost. "Progressivism is the wish to eliminate effects without wishing to eliminate their causes..." (Schuon).

Now, UF explains that the virtue of temperence protects us from the intoxicating counter-inspiration of radical fantasies -- including religious fantasies, such as the Inquisition. Remember, there was a time not too long ago when there was no "secular sphere," so that these demonic trends necessarily expressed themselves within the heart of the Church. As such, it is foolish to blame religion for something that is wholly manmade.

UF makes the subtle point that one cannot engender a positive egregore, or collective mind parasite. This is related to the principle that the mind parasite is an effect of "congealed" or "coagulated" psychic energy. As a result, it always "enfolds," whereas the good radiates. The former is an inward, contracting movement, whereas the latter is an expansive, radiant movement. This may sound overly abstract, but we are all familiar with the closed world of the left, whether it is their elite university campuses or the parochial and hidebound pages of the New York Times. If you approach these things with your activated cOOnvision, you can literally experience them as a sort of dense, black hole of inverse radiation.

Now, why did people respond to, say, Ronald Reagan? For the opposite reason -- the intrinsically unlimited radiant positive energy of which he was a mere vehicle. This only became more apparent when placed side by side with Jimmy Carter's withered and constipated presence.

I suppose the novel thing about Obama is that he is selling the same constipation, but with a kind of cheap and meretricious radiation that one must be intoxicated to appreciate. Indeed, as Fairchok writes,

"That is his appeal; he is [ironically] an actor, a performer, a cinematic presence that stirs simple emotions, emotions that have little grounding in truth. His speeches are the inane lyrics to a popular song that endures only because it has a great beat. One must not think to deeply on what Obama says, for it turns to smoke and disappears in the light of day. Ezra Klein is correct, Obama's speeches do not inform, they pander, they propagandize, they harmonize with the mythology of despair and the chimera of entitlement. As his hagiographies proclaim, he represents a new Camelot, but one that does not hold America quite so precious, a Camelot of globalists, moral relativists and communitarians."

Now, how to drive out a demon? Easy. As UF explains, "Light drives out darkness. This simple truth is the practical key to the problem of how to combat demons. A demon perceived, i.e. on whom the light of consciousness is thrown, is already a demon rendered impotent.... A demon rendered impotent is a deflated balloon."

The lords of Falsehood hold, at present, almost complete sway over poor humanity. Not only the lower life-energy, the lower vital being, but also the whole mind of man accepts them. Countless are the ways in which they are worshipped, for they are more subtle in their cunning and seek their ends in variously seductive disguises. The result is that men cling to their falsehood as if it were a treasure, cherishing it more than even the most beautiful things of life. Apprehensive of its safety, they take care to bury it deep down in themselves; but unless they take it out and surrender it to the Divine they will never find true happiness.

Indeed the very act of bringing it out and showing it to the Light would be in itself a momentous conversion and pave the way to the final victory. For the laying bare of each falsehood is in itself a victory -- each acknowledgment of error is the demolition of one of the lords of Darkness.
--The Mother, Conversations on Yoga

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Theology of Obama: The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth (3.28.09)

Yesterday we spoke of how the omnipotent baby creates the parents who gave birth to him. Today we shall discuss how the parents create the demons who rule over them. For it is written (in the Book of Petey): male and female, they created him.

Unknown Friend (UF) writes that a demon "is the result of cooperation of the male principle and the female principle, i.e., the will and the imagination" fueled by "a desire that is perverse or contrary to nature." These interacting principles, then -- will + imagination -- "are the parents of the demon." In turn, the parents (and the principles they embody) "become enslaved by their own creation," specifically, "to a being endowed with desire and imagination, which dominates the forces that engendered it."

As is true of my own book, there is little in Meditations on the Tarot which is explicitly political. However, that only emphasizes the importance of what is there, for one requires very few principles to understand a great deal about politics -- for example, as reader Mushroom put it in a mycelial comment a couple of days ago,

"The Founders said, to the extent possible, let the individual decide. Then let the locality decide, then let the individual states decide. Only in the extreme should the central government become involved.... We are simple people -- not brilliant and elite like the Obamessiah. Hence we ask you to answer a simple question: Suppose someone could stand up today with the power to 'act' and put all of Obama's words into practice. What would that person be called?"

Another way to ask the question would be, "what if the ungoverned fantasies and perverse desires of the group could somehow be embodied in an individual who served as a sort of 'lens' for their collective will?" What would you call such a being? Bear in mind that Führer and Dear Leader are already taken.

In another fungamentally sound comment, Mushroom wrote that "the left may mean well, but they consistently fail to recognize that the law of unintended consequences is more fixed -- if occasionally more subtle -- than the law of gravity. Who was it who said that 'no man's liberty is safe when Congress is in session'? The only way government can effect change is through coercion. Obviously, coercion is in opposition to freedom, but -- as noted in Van's quote from Rousseau -- the obvious is often lost in the feel-good sophistry of the left."

As I said, very simple principles, but with deep and complex ramifications, for, depending upon your fidelity to this or that principle, you won't just create a different form of government, but a different type of human being. In the case of leftist principles, you will put in place a system guaranteed to ensure that Man falls beneath himself, as he will be ruled by his own perverse will and lower imagination in a collectively projected form.

Therefore, if you wish to be left alone to imagine your own life and will it into being (with the assistance of grace, of course), you are an enemy of the leftist hive. As Mushroom explains, "To the left in general, rights are 'gifts' from the government. The Founders wrote the Declaration, the Constitution, and specifically the Bill of Rights, not as instruments granting rights, but as an enshrined recognition of inherent rights. The only conditions under which a government may undertake to violate or usurp those rights are when an individual has, purposely and intentionally, so violated the rights of another (criminally) or of the populace in general, i.e., acts of war, that the offender must be restrained. Even then, the effort to restrain must be isolated to the individual offender and not used as a pretext to usurp the rights of the innocent."

But the left "acquires power by promising to restrain, not criminals or terrorists, but the bogeymen: the fictional rich, the fat cats, the corporations, the racists, the chauvinists, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance. The freedom pushed by the left will ultimately be only the freedom to be one’s worst, to be immoral and unproductive. All the other freedom will have been crushed by a tank with UNITY painted on one side and DIVERSITY painted on the other."

Yes, precisely. The left creates false demons in order to conceal the real one they embody. One either understands this or one doesn't, so I won't belabor the point.

UF discusses these principles as they manifested in 20th century Europe. After all, the first line of the Communist Manifesto is "A specter is haunting Europe -- the specter of communism." Marx didn't say much that was true, but that statement certainly was. "Specter" is an interesting word, for it is etymologically linked to speculum, or mirror, and means "a visible disembodied spirit" or "something that haunts or perturbs the mind." As UF explains, this specter, or mirror of the lower vertical, was

"engendered by the will of the masses, born from despair following the 'industrial revolution' in Europe, nourished by the resentment accumulated amongst the masses through the generations, armed with a dummy intellectuality which is Hegel's dialectic misconstrued -- this specter has grown and continues to make the rounds in Europe, and in other continents... Today already one third of mankind is impelled to bow down before this god and to obey it in everything."

Now, UF makes the subtle point that for the secular leftist, there can be no true gods, only demons "in the sense of creations of the human will and imagination." For example, if you attend an elite university, you will learn that "truth" doesn't really exist, but that those in power -- mostly privileged male people of pallor -- merely construct oppressive texts to legitimize the existing power structure. Underneath it all, it is merely economic interests that determine one's ideological superstructure. In short, human thought is just a thin veneer over a crass power grab.

Which, of course, is true of the left. As always, they are talking about themselves and their strange gods. When the leftist insists that "everyone is racist" (every white person, that is), he is referring to himself. When he rants about "corporate greed," he is disclosing ugly attributes of his own grasping heart. When he laments "the rape of the planet," he is probably someone like Al Gore, who has a carbon footprint the size of my entire readership. I'll worry about climate change when Gore lives in a house the size of the Slackatorium (or Dupree's converted garage) and leaves the earth less polluted than when he found it.

Now, Raccoons of every denominational stripe are intrinsically logoistic beings. We believe in the Cosmic Word that was, is, and will be, and without which nothing makes sense. As UF writes, "there is revelation of divine truth, and the manifestation of the will of human beings." Or, "there is the cult of God, and that of idols made by man." Thus,

"Is it not a diagnosis and prognosis of the whole history of the human race that at the same time that Moses received the revelation of the Word at the summit of the mountain, the people at the foot of the mountain made and worshipped a golden calf?" On the one hand the Word; on the other hand, "ideological superstructures of the human will." In truth, there hasn't been "a single century when the servants of the Word have not had to confront the worshippers of idols," who "have cost humanity more life and suffering than the great epidemics of the Middle Ages."

Now, back to the perverse will and imagination of Male and Female. I direct your attention to this piece at American Thinker, entitled Barack and Michelle Keeping the Faith. The two belong to the Trinity United Church of Christ, which is rooted in the doctrine of "black liberation theology," which, properly speaking, neither liberates nor is theology. Rather, it represents the instantiation of leftist ideology in religious form -- or the perverse attempt to make Christian Truth conform to Marxist "truth." This twisted gospel

"revolves around a single dimension of the Christian faith and necessarily interprets the very nature of 'oppression' as solely material and of this world. In effect, black liberation theology reduces the entire Gospel down to a Marxist people's struggle and hijacks the Christ for political purpose." As one of the movement's founders wrote, "What else can the resurrection mean except that God's victory in Christ is the poor person's victory over poverty?"

Yes as taught by the R e v e r e n d James Cone, "To be sanctified is to be liberated -- that is, politically engaged in the struggle of freedom. When sanctification is defined as a commitment to the historical struggle for political liberation, then it is possible to connect it with socialism and Marxism, the reconstruction of society on the basis of freedom and justice for all" (emphases Shiver's).

In another piece today at American Thinker, Lee Cary observes that "while Barack is the softer, social justice side of black liberation theology [i.e., imagination], Michelle is the harder anti-white-supremacy side [i.e., will]."

Thus, consistent with the lifetime of shame Michelle Obama has felt toward her country, "America can lay no claim whatsoever to any sort of goodness, and will perhaps never be able to do so until we are all residing in one, big, happy Marxist America with the presently 'oppressed' on top and the evil 'oppressors' on the bottom" (Shiver).

Or, to put it another way, the freaks shall inherit the earth.

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed. --Bride of Messiah

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fueling Obamania With the Milk of Infantile Omnipotence

Yesterday we were visited by a super-sophisticated Obama supporter who insists that unless we "work in politics, the media or academia I can assure you I spend far more time and effort being informed than you do." I guess I won't detail the stated reasons for his childish enthusiasm here, but you can read yesterday's thread if you're interested. If he's older than 21, he is indeed a sad case of pneumacognitive arrest.

Speaking of which, I never finished my discussion of how Obamania relates to the Devil Card, did I? Yesterday's callow Obama supporter reflects the truths of that card so perfectly, that this would be the appropriate time to do so.

As we were saying, the essence of the teaching behind the devil card is how (in the words of our Unknown Friend) "beings can forfeit their freedom and become slaves of a monstrous entity which makes them degenerate by rendering them similar to it." Thus, the card ultimately has to do with "the generation of demons and of the power that they have over those who generate them," i.e., how we can and do become enslaved by our own projected mind parasites, both individually and collectively.

Unknown Friend (UF) comes very close to Raccoon terminology when he writes that the world of evil operates "in the manner of bacilli, microbes and viruses of infectious diseases in the domain of biology." While there exist "evils" which function to strengthen us (i.e., "trials"), mind parasites form closed systems that become ends in themselves.

UF cites the example of monstrous "gods" that have been created by various communities down through the ages. He notes that these communities are "infatuated with the thrill of fear," but one could add anger and hatred; in fact, the fear is a result of the infantile projection of anger. The Islamists, for example, hate what they fear because they fear what they hate, in a vicious cycle. Jews and infidels are merely "placeholders" for a wholly intrapsychic process. Likewise, Bush Derangement Syndrome is nothing more than the left's hatred of its own projected fear and fear of its projected hatred.

In this regard, Bion had many subtle things to say about the development of human thought. In fact, it is fair to say that he felt that the entire human catastrophe could be summarized by the perennial problem of "thoughts and what to do with them." Yes, the logical thing is to think them, but that is not what usually happens. The problem is, there are many people for whom "contact with reality presents most difficulty when that reality is their own mental state." For such people, thinking will not be experienced as a liberation, but rather, a restriction.

Most of the cultural craziness in the world has to do with the need to form collective adaptations to problematic thoughts. For example, if I am persecuted by my sexual thoughts, I might come up with the idea of forcing women to live in bags (which is very much like covering the world in leather instead of inventing shoes). If I am persecuted by racist thoughts, I might come up with the idea of racial quotas. If I am preoccupied with the empty space that religion would properly fill, I might become a "climate change" fanatic. If I am preoccupied with my greed, I might "tax the rich." If I am persecuted by thought in general, I might come up with the entire structure of political correctness, in order to prevent the emergence of unwanted meanings. And so on.

Yesterday's Obama supporter depicted this perfectly, in his preference for the language of faux-infinity in order to preserve infantile omnipotence. Reasonable people -- i.e., the "grown ups" -- ask why Obama isn't specific, and this is why. To be specific would be to awaken from the infantile dream -- or to move from the "zero" dimension of infantile omnipotence to the three or four dimensions of the reality principle. The Obamaniacs are especially limited in a way that my generation wasn't, in that at least we had drugs to help fuel the illusion. Apparently, most of the Obamaniacs are producing their euphoria "on the natch," which, in a way, is quite an achievement. After all, the '60s basically started when the drugs kicked in and ended when they wore off.

Again, the brilliance of scripture is how it is a holographic language that can reveal all sorts of perennial truths merely by "rotating" it this way or that. In this regard, Obamania is foreshadowed in Genesis by turning the story upside down and seeing Adam and Eve as the parents of the infantile God.

"In the Beginning" is the infant, which is surely true for all of us. We are born into the limitless space of infantile omnipotence, and only gradually -- and reluctantly -- awaken to the world of limitation and frustration -- i.e., the world of the parents who actually created and rule over us. Under the best of circumstances, this is a shock to the system, and it it is perhaps not surprising that many adult babies pluck a "mask from the ancient gallery" and banish Mother and Father from the garden in order to preserve their godlike omnipotence.

For such a person, their developmental arrest is essentially rooted in the discovery of no-thing at the end of their desire. Say the baby is hungry, or frightened, or angry. The parent who adequately responds to this helps usher him into the real world, converting these into thoughts instead of mere persecutory, ghostly presences. Conversely, excessive frustration contributes to the development of a real absent presence, a kind of "negative space" we are calling the realm of the no-thing. What to do about the no-thing? Usually it is evacuated, and then becomes a sort of persecutory psychic environment, "an object that is immediately hostile and filled with murderous envy towards the quality or function of existence wherever it is to be found." In this way, "the space of the ordinary man" can become suffused "with the objects of mental space."

Oh, it happens. But only all the time.

For the human being, thoughts are not only a problem, but the problem. You might say that tolerating the thought of "no breast" forms the basis of all subsequent thinking. You could also say that the thought of no-breast is specifically the thought that the left cannot tolerate. Therefore, they engage in the project of creating a collective, bountiful, limitless teat known as the State. This benign, omnipotent maternal State is always imbued with fantasy, since the intrusion of reality would spoil the illusion.

As Dennis Prager was saying yesterday, the truly odd thing about leftism is that we already know ahead of time that it won't work, based upon the abundant evidence of other socialist countries. But does that deter left wing fantasists? Not in the least. Obama's campaign is all about kicking adults who notice this out of Eden. Meanwhile, the way back in or out is deterred by adultolescent babies wielding flaming swords or pens. Only by remaining a closed system can the (false) infinite be maintained. The true infinite is located out and up, i.e., in the open spiral of the vertical.

Back to UF. He writes that the demons of the unconscious "become forces independent of the subjective consciousness which engendered them. They are, in other words, magical creations, for magic is the objectification of that which takes its origin in subjective consciousness." They have a semi-autonomous existence, and are analogous to parasitic entities "nourished by the psychic life of [their] parent." Therefore, to keep the parasite "alive," it requires a constant influx of psychic energy. Again, this is what Obamania is all about, as it is fueled by the projected psychic substance of its Obamaniacal co-creators.

Well, I still haven't gotten very far here. To be continued.....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama Mama vs. Big Daddy 'Cain

It should come as no surprise that Democrat voters prefer a feminine man to a masculine woman, although both are infinitely preferable to a manly man. It is odd that one of our two major parties has no room for one of the three modes of humanness, manliness (as opposed to mannishness), but it's true. It looks like the coming campaign, underneath it all, will be a contest between male and female energy (as well as child vs. adult).

One of the reasons conservatives have misgivings about McCain is that he does too much business with those crazy Mutha's -- e.g., McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Feingold, the Gang of 14 -- whereas Obama has almost no dealings with Father. His voting record in the senate has a 100% pure liberal rating, meaning that he can hardly honestly present himself as the candidate of political family reunification.

This reminds me of the song I'll Always Love My Mama, by the unheralded soul-greats, The Intruders. Sample lyric:

I'll always love my mama
She's my favourite girl
I'll always love my mama
She brought me in this world

A mother's love is so special
It's something that you can't describe
It's the kind of love that stays with you
Until the day you die


Yes, but what about Pop?

We ain't talking 'bout pop
Now pop he was alright
He wasn't a bad thing
Pop was hanging out, you know
I think pop was drinking more wine
Than we used to (laughing)
I know my papa is
Yeah
My papa would hang right along with you, boy
Yeah, stay out all night
Come home, clothes all wrinkled up
And lip floss all over him
Yeah (laughing)


Now, language itself has a male and female aspect. On the one hand, words say what they mean and mean what they say. On the other hand, part of the magic of language derives from never fully saying what it means, in order to leave a space for unconscious engagement. Because it draws from unconscious (and supraconscious) sources, words have an infinite plasticity which can be used or abused, depending upon the case.

Creativity is not usually a result of logic, but of the unconscious mind's spontaneous ability to form all kinds of unpredictable connections, just as in a dream. It is a merger of Male and Female in their most abstract essences. Especially in Jungian psychology, the unconscious has always been conceptualized as feminine, the conscious as masculine. Neither alone has unfettered access to truth, but psychological health and happiness depend upon a harmonious dialectic between them -- a marriage of opposites, as it were.

Likewise, we all know that in a highly charged emotional situation, it is possible to argue falsely by recourse to common-sense logic. Just as emotion can be used to distort logical truth, logic can be used to distort emotional (not to mention spiritual) truth. You see this all the time in male-female relations, in which, say, a woman will make an emotionally charged comment, to which the man responds with mere logic, and they're off to the races. The astute man will discern the deeper content of the emotional communication -- the emotional truth that the woman is trying to convey, usually about their relationship -- and not respond to it in a literal manner. It's like two very different forms of communication, and each must learn the other's language.

Freud famously asked, "what does woman want?" I suppose we could ask, "what do Obama's followers really want?"

With the Obama phenomena, we are obviously witnessing "the power of language," but not at all in its semantic or denotative -- let us say, male -- aspect. Obama does not use language to draw sharp distinctions or to foster thought (which amounts to the same thing), but in order to arrest thought at a more primitive -- I would say, maternal, or "pre-oedipal" -- level. If you actually stop to analyze the (explicit) meaning of his words, you interfere with their real (implicit) meaning, which is to prevent the emergence of explicit meaning. The point is to be shielded from unwanted meaning under a warm maternal blanket of undifferentiated change.

Now normally, change is associated with anxiety and apprehension, so how does Obama encircle that square and remove its sharp corners? By promising that this change will not be in the direction of growth, maturity, or independence, but in the opposite direction: a regression toward the maternal realm of entitlement vs. merit, rights vs. expectations, pleasure principle vs. reality principle, Mother vs. Father, Yes vs. No.

Words are analogous to the collapse of the wave function in quantum physics, in that they reduce the infinite potential of consciousness to particularized meaning. If you are something, you can no longer be anything and everything. So the mantra "Yes we can" is an exercise in pure infantile omnipotence.

In this regard, the campaign is a closed circle of unconscious-to-unconscious communication, a mother-infant dyad from which father is excluded. The campaign is not about anything but itself. Yes we can. But how? No, you can't ask that. The whole point is to remain in the realm of the oceanic can, not to come ashore to the dry land of do. So we could also say that the campaign will come down to a lot of cant about Can vs. Can-do.

Because behind all the can, someone still has to actually do. Government doesn't actually produce anything. Free healthcare is not free. Someone else just pays for it. Cue the Intruders again:

Sometimes I feel so bad
When I think of all the things I used to do
How mama used to clean somebody else's house
Just to buy me a new pair of shoes

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Imagining Reality

We've dabbled a bit in Schuon's understanding of the symbolism of color. What about his arch-nemesis, Sri Aurobindo? What does he say? (Schuon held Sri Aurobindo in the lowest regard, as he wasn't a strict "traditionalist," to such an extent that he could not even bring himself to utter his name when smacking him around. He would just use generic descriptors such as "certain intrinsically heretical deviant modernist pseudo-yogis with deplorable evolutionist pretensions," or suchlike.)

First of all, any real yogi (or Christian saint or mystic, for that matter) will caution you that spiritual experiences, realizations, visions, and powers ("siddhis") are ultimately of no importance, and can often be a distraction. This is partly because at the early stages of practice, there is still a mixture of the lower and the upper vertical (the mental and psychic planes), so to speak. Thus, one should not attach too much significance to specific details "until the consciousness develops more. The opening of the consciousness to the Divine Light and Truth and Presence is always the one important thing in the yoga."

The important point is to to realize that one is not limited by one's "outward surface or waking consciousness," but to develop the latent capacity "for entering into experiences of the inner consciousness of which most people are unaware but which opens by the practice of yoga. By this opening one becomes aware of subtle planes of experience and worlds of existence other than the material." Again, imagination is like the membrane between the higher and lower worlds, just as in science it is the membrane between appearances and reality, so to speak.

For example, modern physics requires a great leap of imagination to see "beyond" or through the deceptive appearances of solid matter. For the physicist, matter is nothing whatsoever like the way it presents itself to our evolved senses. It is, in the words of Teilhard de Chardin, a "floating condensation on a swarm of the indefinable." (BTW, Teilhard was Schuon's other evolutionist arch-nemesis, a veritable Catholic Sri Aurobindo, unless Aurobindo is the Hindu Teilhard.)

But does this mean that scientific theories are just human inventions, mere fancy with no anchor in reality? No, not at all. Rather, as described by Polanyi, scientific theories -- no less than authentic spiritual visions -- are analogous to "probes" with which we reach beyond the senses and into the unknown. They are both an irreducible blend of objectivity and subjectivity, without which thinking cannot take place -- neither scientific thinking nor spiritual intellection. One cannot reason in a void, whether one is reasoning about so-called "matter" or about Spirit. In both cases, the subject is merely attempting to penetrate and evolve beyond its own representation.

These, er, epistemological problems are all discussed in the opening chapter of my book. For example, "The laws that undergird the universe are invisible to our evolves senses; rather, they can only be 'seen' with the mind's eye, the eye of reason (and even more improbably, the eye of aesthetic beauty -- many mathematicians will reject a formula out of hand if it lacks 'beauty'). Strangely enough, science begins with the one world we experience with our senses (for where else could it begin?), but quickly saws off that familiar limb by excluding 'everything that can be imagined or conceived, except in abstract mathematical terms,' consequently relegating everything outside mathematical description -- the very world it started with -- to an 'ontological limbo' (W. Smith)."

Yesterday, our new troll, Xi, wisely rejected my magnanimous offer to grace us with a guest-post in which he outlines his meager philosophy, conceding that he did not actually have a philosophy, not even a meager one: "I don't have a 'philosophy' or metaphysical system. All such a system results in is self-referential blathering and confirmation bias" (sic).

No philosophy? Gee, ya' think? At any rate, Xi directly contradicts his disavowal of philosophy when, in the very next sentence -- which, by the way, glows with rudimentary intelligence -- he refers to the mind's curious -- curious to an intellectually curious person, anyway -- ability "to deceive itself and see patterns where none exist [and] to think that such nonsense actually pertains to anything real."

Thus, at the very least, Xi believes that the Real exists and that it is possible for the mind -- whatever that is -- to know it (for knowing falsehood presumes an ability to know truth). But what is the mind and what is the Real, and what is their relationship? Xi, that is your next assignment. You are very close to discovering Shankara's doctrine of maya, only 1200 years late.

Now, as Aurobindo explains in a letter to a disciple, spiritual visions and experiences can serve as keys "to contact with the other worlds or with the inner worlds and all that is there and these are regions of immense riches which far surpass the physical plane.... One enters into a larger freer self and a larger more plastic world.... These things have not the effect of a mere imagination (as a poet's or artist's, although that can be strong enough) but if fully followed out bring constant growth of the being and the consciousness...."

This very much reminds me of when I first began studying psychoanalysis, as I had some difficulty getting beyond the concrete meaning of some of the words used to describe primitive unconscious phenomena. For example, let's take this sentence by Melanie Klein from her classic paper Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms. I think you will agree that it sounds bizarre:

"I have often expressed my view that object-relations exist from the beginning of life, the first object being the mother's breast which to the child becomes split into a good (gratifying) and bad (frustrating) breast; this splitting results in a severance of love and hate.... From the beginning the destructive impulse is turned against the object and is first expressed in phantasied oral-sadistic attacks on the mother's breast, which soon develop into onslaughts on her body by all sadistic means. The persecutory fears arising from the infant's oral-sadistic impulses to rob the mother's body of its good contents... are of great importance for the development of paranoia and schizophrenia."

Yes, it sounded a bit wacky until I had my first psychotic patient during my internship at Camarillo State Mental Hospital, and Klein's theories not only fit like the proverbial glove, but were like a life raft that kept me from sinking beneath the ocean of this patient's paranoia and delusional attacks on me, Mr. Bad Breast. That is, at times I was the bountiful good breast, but in an instant could turn into the vicious and withholding bad breast, about which she would have dreams and vivid hallucinations of biting and tearing apart, and then being swallowed up in return. In one dream, we had a baby together, at which point she bit off the baby's head and then my head.

Anyway, back to Aurobindo before I run out of time, which I am about to. In another letter, he summarized our present discussion by writing that "Subjective visions can be as real as objective sight -- the only difference is that one is of real things in material space, while others are of real things belonging to other planes down to the subtle physical; even symbolic visions are real in so far as they are symbols of realities.... Visions are unreal only when these are merely imaginative mental formulations, not representing anything that is or was true or is going to be true."

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Cosmos in Living Color (2.01.11)

Not much time this morning, so this is a speed post which I will later belaborate. I was struck yesterday by an interesting comment left by an allnewtous reader, who wrote that

"the three primary colors of light (not pigment) are red, green and blue. Looking at the wavelengths of these colors, red is the longest (lowest frequency), blue is the shortest (highest frequency) and green is intermediate between the two. Now, as you follow the red wavelength to its extreme it approaches a flat line, that is, the horizontal, and as you follow the blue wavelength to its extreme, it approaches a vertical line. The point of intersection (middle ground) is that of the cross (El Christo). Also note that the red and blue spectrum venture beyond the limits of our visual detection, whereas that which lies in between (the green primary color) represents the visual spectrum.

"It is no accident that the primary colors are trinitarian. Following the principle of metaphysical correspondence (as above, so below), the red (horizontal) corresponds to the Spirit (think immanence and timeline, as in 'he has spoken through the prophets') and the blue (vertical) as the Father who is beyond (think transcendent, depths of the ocean, blue skies, deep space, the Father is greater than I). Both of these persons of the Trinity are 'unseen', whereas the Green (think intersection, cross, middle) is the visible person of the trinity, El Christo."

What are the messages we may derive from this correspondence? That "1) God is present with us, even in the horizontal, 2) The metaphysical has its expression in the physical, 3) To use Bob symbolism: Spirit (bidirectional horizontal arrow) and Father (bidirectional vertical arrow) = intersection = where Christ is to be found, and 4) The arithmetical expression of number three above is 1+1+1= 1."

This reminds me of a riff -- if that's not too jazzy a word -- by Schuon in Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts, in which he goes off in a very precise way about the spiritual meaning of the various colors. Most of it struck me as deeply true, and yet, it also left me wondering, 1) how did this guy come up with this stuff, and 2) what kind of cosmos is it, whereby these things can be even remotely true, since the official scientific view is that color is absolutely meaningless? Remember, in the Newtonian view, color is simply an optical illusion produced by energy vibrations.

But what if the existence of color holds certain keys to our understanding of the whole existentialada? Put it this way -- would it really make no difference if we lived in a world in which there were no color, just black and white?

Schuon writes that colors are part of the formal order, and yet, are independent qualities that exist separately from tangible form. As applied to the Spirit, he writes that "affective and combative spiritual positions are 'red'; contemplation and quietude are 'blue'; joy is 'yellow'; pure truth, 'white'; the inexpressible, 'black.'"

In themseleves -- i.e., archetypally -- he says that "red has something of intensity, of violence, blue of depth and goodness. Our gaze is able to move, to lose itself in blue, but not in red, which rises before us like a wall of fire. Yellow partakes at once of intensity and depth, but in a 'light' mode; it has a certain 'transcendence' compared to the two 'heavy' colors; it is like an emergence toward whiteness. When mixed with blue it gives to the contemplativity of this color [green] a quality of 'hope,' of saving joy, a liberation from the enveloping quietude of contemplation."

How does this stack up with anonymous' formulation, that green is the intermediate principle where the height of the transcendent is to be found in the depths of the immanent, thus engendering hope?

Schuon goes on to say that "Red excites, awakens, 'exteriorizes'; blue gathers and 'interiorizes'; yellow rejoices and 'delivers.' Red is aggressive and moves outward; the radiance of blue is deep, welcoming, and leads inward; the radiance of yellow is 'liberating' and spreads in all directions. The combination of inward withdrawal (blue) with joy (yellow) is hope (green); hope is opposed to passion (red) because unlike passion it does not live in the present, but in the future; it is opposed to passion in its two aspects of introspection and joy."

And green is indeed an odd color. It is obviously the color of elemental life, i.e., the mystery of photosynthesis, which converts the pure light of the celestial center into green leaves. Schuon says that green possesses an ambiguity because "it combines two colors that are opposed in two different respects," thus giving it "a character of 'surprise' and 'strangeness.'" No one expects green to appear in a dead cosmos! One could go so far as to say that the sudden emergence of a green planet is about the oddest thing one could imagine after 9.85 billion years of a lifeless cosmos following the big bang. Green is always saying Boo!, but in a good way.

As Schuon explains, green "has two dimensions -- whence its mystery -- whereas its opposite color, red, is simple, indivisible, instantaneous. Green is hope, promise, happy expectation, good news; it has an aspect of gaiety, and mischievousness; it possesses neither the violent action of red nor the inscrutable -- and inwardly unlimited -- contemplativity of blue; nor is it the open, simple, and radiant joy of yellow."

Christ's own passion (red) is resolved in hope (evergreen). I suppose this is why satan is always depicted as red. Red "is the present moment. Green, its opposite, is duration with its two dimensions, past and future, the future being represented by yellow and the past by blue. Seen spatially blue is space and yellow the flashing center, a center that reveals itself and liberates, displaying a new dimension of infinity. It is the sky transpierced by the sun." So I suppose Christ would be green crowned in yellow within an infinite blue background -- or perhaps with yellow light proceeding from the red heart. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Nonsense & Theidiocy

Ascent you a son, amen for a child's job! 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. The experdition is nonsensuous (a punway round-trip), so prepare for nonsense and theidiocy. --The Coonifesto

Bob's got a pretty tough hide, but I think this super-smart reader, Xi -- the junior college professor of linguistics and analytic philosophy -- is starting to hurt his feelings a bit. For example, he writes that Dear Leader

"doesn't offer propositions which can even be evaluated. They suffer from excessive vagueness and ambiguity, resulting in them being, quite literally, senseless. The only possible method for assessing their truth or falsity is to simply believe, without support, that Bob is correct since there is no way to understand with any precision [and precision is necessary for understanding] what he is or isn't asserting. This isn't a property of my deficient mind, but of the very language he uses."

Of Petey (SBUH), he has the effrontery to write that he deploys a "kind private or semi-private language with its own rules which you make up as you go along. This is absurd and demonstrably false. Your usage of language is governed by the same necessities and realities as everyone else. Your claim of it being a spiritual exercise is a pretty poor cop out, not to mention its contradicted by the fact that you say that you and your 'coons' already 'know' the things you are writing, which implies that you and they do in fact 'know' them; an issue subject to epistemic investigation, even if you want to pretend it isn't.... Even if others don't see through this phony obfuscation, your intellectual bankruptcy is apparent."

Is this possible? First, let us stipulate that Bob's posts are indeed "made-up," since I have personally witnessed him making them up. But is it really true that all of his 900-some-(or all)-odd posts are just vague, ambiguous, absurd, intellectually bankrupt, and literally senseless, on the grounds that this self-confessed fount of (-n) literally doesn't understand them? Or, to put the blakes on this philosophical gas peddler, is it possible for truth to be told so as to be understood and not believed? Or that our comprehension is inferior to Xi's lack thereof?

Clearly, Xi is disclosing embarrassing details of his banal cognitive autobiography, but nothing about Bob. I'm trying to imagine the world of someone who equates "understanding" with analytic precision, but that's not possible, since the faculty of imagination is a priori imprecise -- or, to be precise, "supra-" or "transprecise," as, for example, in the precise formulations of metaphysics as imaginatively embodied in revelation.

In other worlds, and even this one, the most profound truths must be entered into imaginatively -- they are participatory, as in artistic or musical truth. On this, Xi and I will just have to agree to agree, even if he disagrees that he agrees with me, for he is essentially saying that his philosophical fantasy that the brain is a computer is superior to the commonplace bobservation that it is not.

Anyway, another Sunday exercise in spiritual epissedhimoffogy, just to annoy our lone sophisticated reader. Please note how little sense it makes, which you might say is the whole point of writing in such a way that -- to be precise -- we reverse the usual vector flow of (k)-->O to O-->(n).

Hey, sorry about the length.... maybe I'll make it up to you with no post tomorrow, since I have a long day.

*****

On p. 285 of the Coonifesto there is a footnote which reads, “Perhaps I should emphasize that mind parasites are ultimately ephemeral human creations that operate ‘horizontally’ as long as there are human minds to host them. This is in stark contrast to spiritual entities, which operate vertically (from a higher realm than our own) and preexist the human beings that may open themselves to their influence.”

Now, I realize that even among regular readers, there might be a substantial number who will regard the reference to spiritual entities as “kooky talk,” as Kramer put it. However, as an aside, one thing I have discovered is that, if you are going to truly embrace the vertical, you have to go the whole hog. Initially it is a leap of faith, but in reality, it is not that different from, say, attending a movie. In doing so, we go into a dark place, temporarily suspend memory, desire and understanding, and disenable our “wideawake and cutandry” ego, so as to enter another world and submit to the director's vision.

However, have you ever noticed that a great film, in an odd sort of way, seems more real than real? Even though I done graduated from film school, this is something I have never really thought through or articulated before, but it is as if a great film (or any great work of art, really) is surreal, which literally means “super,” “over,” or “above” real.

Put it this way: art is either real, surreal or sub-real. If you are a Horizontal Man, then it goes without saying that it is merely real or possibly sub-real, since transcendence does not exist. And, as a matter of fact, we have plenty of examples of explicitly horizontal “naturalistic” art that came out of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Interestingly, if you have seen these works, you will notice that in their attempt at realism, they actually fall short of reality, which I think emphasizes a truism I have mentioned in the past: if man does not transcend himself, he falls beneath himself. Most contemporary art has now descended to this level. In draining itself of transcendence, it is mere barbarism by another name.

The human being is faced with two, and only two, metaphysical choices between a wholly secular and ultimately horizontal world view or a vertical and ultimately religious one. In the final analysis, despite all of the apparent variety, this is the only philosophical choice before you. On the one side, atheism, materialism, existentialism, rationalism, what have you. And on the other side, any form of transcendental realism. Now, importantly, if you choose the former, then the latter is excluded a priori. In other words, if there is only the horizontal world, then the vertical does not and cannot exist. However, if you choose the latter, it is obviously no problem fitting horizontality into the picture as a necessary consequence of the very nature of the Absolute. I have no beef whatsoever with science, whereas the scientistic mind of a Xi can only stare at religion with uncomprehending bovine eyes and ask, "where's the beef?"

Back to my original point: this is why, depending on the choice you make, you should have the courage of your convictions and go the whole hog in embracing the One or the other. If you are an atheist, go for it! Certainly don’t waste your time being a lukewarm agnostic, for the truth is this: if God is even possible in your metaphysical scheme, then a moment’s reflection will prove to you that God is necessary. In other words, do not be fooled into thinking that we are dealing with degrees of possibility. Rather, God -- just like moral certainty, or absolute truth, or objective beauty -- is either possible or impossible.

Now, whatever your particular religion, it will always draw a distinction between the frontal ego, which largely operates horizontally, and the psychic being (which is Sri Aurobindo’s term for the nous, buddhi, or higher intellect), which operates vertically. The former is by definition "fractured" and alienated from its ground, while the latter is a reflection of the Absolute in the relative, and therefore a diversified unity.

Let us stipulate at the outset that, to the extent that the vertical is real, then it is going to be reflected in us and in everything else. Thus follows God's favorite cliché, “as above, so below.” Looking at the world in this way, everything below is going to have its analogue in the above, and vice versa. Therefore, we start with the Absolute. The Absolute reflects itself in our local world as existence, or being, the most general category we can imagine, since everything partakes of it. We would also say that eternity manifests as time, which is its moving image.

Even more generally, time is not just mere duration, but the transforming mode of being. It has cycles and archetypal qualities, which is why we can even speak of “growth” or “evolution.” In this scheme, evolution is a necessary consequence of the Absolute manifesting in time. Ironically, progressive evolution (as opposed to mere change) is something that cannot be explained (because it is inherently vertical) by any purely horizontal metaphysics, which is why so-called “creationists” -- I mean the literal kind -- are even more materialistic than materialists. It is always a mistake to try to reduce metaphysical truth -- those truths which must be true because of the nature of things -- to your narrow creed. Rather, your task is to understand how these timeless truths are reflected in your creed. God did not give you an intellect only to ignore its most lofty capabilities. Please.

To affirm that man is the mirror and image of the Absolute is to remind ourselves that man is the being who can escape his own limits and participate in the eternal, which we only do all the time. But since we are mirrorcles of the Absolute, while it projects itself from eternity into time, our task is to ascend from time to eternity. In fact, when all is unsaid with non-doing, this is the soul task of the spiritual life. This ascension involves reversing figure and ground, so to speak, both spatially and temporally. In other words, we must turn the world upside-down and inside-out.

This is why it is not just a matter of knowing where to look for God, but how to look. You could go to the top of Mount Sinai, or into the the most secret vestibule of the Vatican, or to the mouth of the Ganges, or into L. Ron Hubbard's huge medicine cabinet, but if you don’t know how to look, you’re just going to see a mountain, a building, a river, or a lot of prescriptions for vicodin. On the other hand, if you know how to ascend the mountain, enter a dark cloud of unknowing, crucify your lower mind, and drink from the sacred river, you might just hit the slackpot.

It is not so much a matter of knowing as perceiving. We begin by transforming our vision and developing a spiritual way of “seeing.” As a matter of fact, this is something we routinely do. For example, when you read the words on a page, you actually make the letters “invisible” by looking through and beyond them to the words they spell. Likewise, the words become equally invisible, because you look through them to the meaning they are pointing at. You could undertake a chemical analysis of the ink with which the words are printed, but that would take you no closer to their meaning. Rather, it would take you far in the opposite direction, completely destroying their meaning. Do you get what I'm saying? Good. You just proved the point. Xi, you missed again.

Since God is transcendent, there is no way to see him by simply looking in a conventional way at material or empirical reality. That’s going to take you far away in the wrong direction, that is, unless you somehow look through and beyond the world in a manner analogous to the way we see through words and letters to their higher meaning. This is again why religious fundamentalists are neither religious nor fundamentalist. Rather, they are materialists, in that they act as if the literal words and events of the Bible are more real than that to which they point.

Also -- equally ironically -- there is no philosophy more abstract than atheism, for it superimposes its sterile and dogmatic abstractions over the mystery of being. No one has more fixed opinions about the unknown than proud Horizontal Man, who is half-correct in believing that some things are “too good to be true.” But he neglects the fact that there are necessarily things that are not good enough to be True, atheism among them. And as we all know, some things are just far too beautiful to be untrue.

Imagine if you were a trained meteorologist. Instead of seeing a cloud as an unambiguous white patch against a blue backdrop, you might begin to see the visible cloud as a mere “ripple” against the background of a much more encompassing meteorological process that is largely invisible to the senses. Similarly, before the days of MRI’s and high speed CT scans, an experienced cardiologist could place a stethoscope against your chest, and simply by listening to the sounds, visualize the nature of the problem.

Imagination, in its positive, active sense, is the membrane that makes contact with the higher world. It is dangerous to try to merely understand religious truths, because it reduces them to the known (k) and undermines their function of bypassing the ego and vaulting us out of our conventional way of knowing. Religious truths cannot be comprehended through dogma or through irreligious skepticism, but only through an imaginative engagement with their world. (To be clear: dogma is critical in that it preserves or memorializes these worlds, but it is still our task to imaginatively engage them.)

In short, you must, through your imagination, raise yourself up to religion, not lower religion down to your ego, or you will merely be worshipping your ego.

As I tried to convey in my book, there is only one story. It is the story of an evolving cosmos awakening to itself and becoming conscious. Who could argue with that? It happened. And it is happyning. First there was matter. Then one fine day, life. Then just a short while back, self-consciousness. And most recently, the recognition of, and identification with, Spirit. Matterlifemindspirit. You can insert an arbitrary line dividing one from the other, but at least recognize that you are the one who is creating the abstract dualism. The underlying Oneness of existence knows no such intrinsic demarcations, neither in space nor in time.

Which is to say that matterlifemindspirit is simply the mirror image of Spiritmindlifematter. As above, so below.

We look at a tree reflected in a lake. In its inverse image, we see that its roots are aloft, its branches and leaves down here below. Looking “up,” we see the trunk rising before us, into the roots that cannot be seen. They are invisible. But this is where nourishment enters the tree and moves down the trunk, where life is carried to the periphery.

May we know the tree by its most excellent fruit!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Osama bin Laden Pleased that Obama Bin' Leadin' (3.14.09)

I'm not sure if that title has anything to do with this post. It just popped into my head this morning, and now I'm inflicting it on you. Nevertheless, it's obviously true. As someone recently said -- I forget who, at the moment -- when Pakistan falls and al Qaeda gets its eager hands on the nuclear arsenal, whom do you want in the White House? Let's not kid ourselves. We all know who Satan would prefer to be tremulously wedged in the Big Chair, blinking nervously at the Joint Chiefs.

The XVth card of the tarot, The Devil, introduces us "to the secrets of the electrical fire and the intoxication of counter-inspiration."

But before proceeding further, let us take to heart the warning of our Unknown Friend (heretofore UF), who cautions us that "One can grasp profoundly, i.e. intuitively, only that which one loves. Love is the vital element of profound knowledge, intuitive knowledge." If you have ever wondered why true evil -- nazi evil, Islamist evil -- is so impenetrable, it is because the normal person obviously cannot love evil: "Evil is therefore unknowable in its essence. One can understand it only at a distance, as an observer of its phenomenology."

I suppose another way of saying it is that (in linguistic terms) "evil" is a signifier with no signified, being that true evil represents a genuine absence -- an absence or deprivation of the Good. As such, the essence of evil is that it has no essence.

In turn, this is why evil is truly a "bottomless pit." It is not actually infinite, since only the Absolute can be infinite. It does, however, tend toward its own kind of "false" or "bad" infinite (in the Hegelian sense), which is why man can only rise so high but can fall and fall without ever hitting bottom. I suppose the physics of black holes might provide a handy way to think about this negative infinity. This would be easier -- and less spiritually dangerous -- than trying to imagine, say, the bottomless darkness of the Berkeley City Council. Some things are so beyond the horizon of the human imagination, that they are best left alone.

UF goes on to say that in comparison to the luminous worlds of the celestial hierarchy, the world of evil is more "like a luxuriant jungle, where you can certainly, if necessary, distinguish hundreds and thousands of particular plants, but where you can never attain to a clear view of the totality." Do you know what he means? I do. It's like a collection with no ordering principle, just a blob or agglomeration -- which is the opposite of the Life principle, i.e., that which organizes, unifies, and synthesizes. Dynamic wholeness is the essence of Life, which means that evil and death must be related to dispersal and fragmentation. Thus, "the world of evil is a chaotic world -- at least, such as it presents itself to the observer."

Vertically speaking, order is "up," while chaos is down. No surprise there. In Genesis, God's first act is simply to separate. Without separation there is only the formless void of primordial chaos. If you don't understand the holiness and the sacredness of Separation, then you don't understand anything. Yes, this separation, or duality, can be transcended, but only from above, never from below. Better to live in Holy duality than to obliterate divinely ordained distinctions out of a self-deluded belief in bogus transcendence, which is what the "new age" is all about.

As is leftism, which might just as well be called "down syndrome," being that it is rooted in the anti-divine principle of blending. For the left, In the Beginning was Order. Now, let us gleefully tear it down and blend darkness with light, the upper waters with the lower waters! Examples are too numerous to mention, but one would have to include the obliteration of sexual differences, the trivialization of generational differences, and the effacement of the distinction between knowledge and wisdom; not to mention the conflation of transcendence and immanence, the con-fusion of moral relativism, and the abysmal fall into multiculturalism. All of these trends are evil to the core, despite the paradoxical absence of a core. Again, evil is essentially without essence. It is perpetually going from nowhere to nothing, while enjoying the... what's the word, Jeeves? Yes, the frisson of the fall.

Now, just as the right kind of obedience is freedom -- for example, fidelity to Truth -- the wrong kind of freedom is slavery. According to UF, one of the subtexts of the Devil card is that of slavery, in that it depicts a man and woman bound by the neck to a much larger androgynous entity.

Interestingly, just as the union of male and female can create the miracle of a baby to raise (and who shall in turn raise them in mysterious ways), it seems that a false kind of blending of their essences can engender another kind of being that shall lower them, so to speak. As UF explains, the card has to do with "the generation of demons and of the power that they have over those who generate them. It is the Arcanum of creation of artificial beings and of the slavery into which the creator can fall -- becoming a slave of his own creation."

Let's pause here for a moment. In this regard, I can remember the precise moment when I crossed over that line from leftist back to liberal (i.e., conservative); or, to put it another way, when it was no longer possible to be on the left. I simply asked myself, "who is responsible for my existential unhappiness?" I won't go into all of the details, as that would take us down a lengthy detour. But the point is, I realized that I was a slave of my own creation -- for example, an evil creation I called "Ronald Reagan." Of course, my creation had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual Ronald Reagan. Rather -- and this is critical -- not only was it my creation, but it was me. Just as in a dream, I was persecuted by my own elaborate production -- like the spider who lives in a web spun from its own substance.

I was reminded of this again last night in reading the liner notes to the new edition of Donald Fagen's excellent Nightfly Trilogy (nothing I'm about to say detracts from the music). As much as I appreciate Steely Dan (Becker & Fagen), like most people of their generation, their jaded cynicism does not extend to their own default moonbattery, which sits there like a kind of unexamined Holy Writ. Which it is. It is the genesis myth of the Baby Boom generation -- the idea that the evil is Out There in the Nixonian uncool ones who are oppressing us.

I know exactly what Fagen means when he reflects that "to a weekend hippie in the '60s," political paranoia "seemed kind of exciting." Indeed, for me, this was the appeal of a Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn -- that they provided a kind of secret gnostic knowledge, an alternative conspiracy theory that explained everything -- why the world is so off-kilter and out of joint, and more to the point, why I was so unfulfilled. Ronald Reagan hates me!

It's one thing to think this way in the '60s. But it is rather pathetic to still think it in one's 60s, as Fagen apparently does. He's still haunted by his self-generated demons -- i.e., mind parasites -- which have now appropriated the host, as suggested in the liner notes of the dark and dystopian world of Morph the Cat, released in 2006 (especially when compared to the idealism and optimism of Nightfly). As he writes,

"Paranoia just wasn't fun anymore in the age of al Qaeda." But not because of al Qaeda! Rather, he speaks disparagingly of Republicans taking over his city (New York) at the 2002 convention, and ends his notes with the following warning: "If you see some folks who believe that spirits and ghosts and hell actually exist and they're really sure about it and they're comin' your way -- RUN!"

I agree entirely. Better yet, just wake up from the dream, because you can't actually run away from your own ghosts, much less the Dreamer.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Devil, Dylan, and the Dead (3.08.09)

I really was never any more than what I was -- a folk musician who gazed into the gray mist with tear-blinded eyes and made up songs that floated in a luminous haze. Now it had blown up in my face and was hanging over me. I wasn't a preacher performing miracles. It would have driven anybody mad. --Bob Dylan

Let's meditate for awhile on the political implications of the Devil card with our Unknown Friend.

First of all, the being known as Satan is a source of inspiration (to in-spire is to receive spirit). Only it is counter-inspiration, which is still a kind of inspiration. In fact, very much so. To avoid premature saturation, let's just call it (-i). Most of us, assuming we weren't permanently damaged by college, can recognize (i) when we see it, but many people confuse (i) with (-i), with catastrophic results. For example, America's founders were animated by (i). Che Guevara -- and those who idealize him -- was animated by (-i).

In contemporary America, you could almost say that there's no such thing as "the left." Rather, what we have is a mass movement animated by (-i). If you are within the movement, then it is doubtful that you can see it, but viewed from without, it is completely obvious. The campaign of John Edwards, for example, was an exercise in pure (-i). How then did it differ from Obama's campaign? I would say that the Edwards campaign was equally driven by (+H), whereas Obama's campaign is imbued with a meretricious (-L). True, there is always deep (H) under the (-L), but the obamaniacs are able to split off and deny the (H) by bathing in the (-L).

Along these lines, reader Mike M. left an astute comment yesterday:

"This swooning Obama-worship of what would seem an empty suit is bizarre and curious. Note how it follows the irrational demonization of the current POTUS now seen as a figure of such mythic evil that he, George Bush, is held to have deliberately murdered thousands of innocent Americans on 9/11 as a pretext for immoral imperialist war. This is a view which is resolutely held by graduates of our most prestigious universities! That such an event would have no historical precedent and that such a purported crime would exceed the ruthless cynical evil of the purported NAZI burning of the Reichstag cannot be without meaning....

"Given the powerful projection, scapegoating and displacement poured into the demonization of George W. Bush could it be that this Obamessiah personna is a necessary counter to the fabricated evil Bush-Hitler figure, and the powerful divisive hysteria and paranoia which has accompanied the demonization of George Bush -- sort of virtual particle and anti-particles emerging from a spiritual vacuum?"

Yes. That is exactly what I am trying to say. Genuine (L) is convergent upon wholeness, truth, beauty, light, harmony, and peace. It is not reactive, but active. On the other hand, the Obama-love (-L) is almost wholly reactive, as it exists side by side with the (H) from which it is derived. This is one of the first and most useful things I learned in my psychoanalytic education. That is, some patients will develop a transference toward the therapist in which they express a lot of anger and hatred. No problem. One expects that. They are not nearly as troublesome as the ones who develop an idealized transference, because when that happens, you had better fasten your seatbelt. You're in for a bumpy ride.

The reason for this is that idealization (understood in its psychoanalytic sense) is a defense mechanism which is simply the other side of denigration and contempt. In other words, both idealization and contempt are simply ways for the person to manage their own psychic economy. You might say that one person places the bad object outside of himself in order to distance himself from it, while another person places the good object outside of himself to protect it from his own toxic anger and hatred. Often, on an unconscious level, the patient idealizes you to prevent themselves from tearing you apart -- i.e., to protect you from their own hostility. Haven't you ever been around this kind of person, whose attraction to you was kind of spooky? (I remember a Seinfeld episode that dealt with that issue.)

Importantly, this is not to confuse the defense mechanism of idealization with its normal variety. It's somewhat difficult to precisely define the difference, but you can definitely sense when it's the pathological kind. As a therapist, you can intuit the shadow underneath, which gives you an apprehensive feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. You find yourself with a foreboding sense of, "boy, this guy loves me now, but am I gonna get hammered as soon as I do something to disappoint him." I guess it's similar to the creepy signals that an abusive man gives out to a potential victim. When a woman gets involved with an abusive man, it's usually because she ignored the spooky idealization at the beginning of the relationship. And the reason she ignored it was probably because she wasn't loved by a virtuous and spiritually integrated father, so she can't recognize proper male love.

This is why I mentioned yesterday that a normal person would definitely be unnerved by the kind of hysterical adulation (-L) being directed at Obama. You cannot help wondering about the state of his soul, and whether it is a pathological mirror-image of what is being projected into him -- like an unconscious lock that corresponds perfectly with the projected key. Such a man, like Clinton, seeks his center in the periphery of the idealizing crowd, so to speak. It couldn't be more different from a man with an immutable axis and incorruptible center to which people are "magnetized," such as Ronald Reagan.

(George Will: "In his preternatural neediness, Clinton, an overflowing caldron of narcissism and solipsism, is still smarting from Obama's banal observation, four weeks ago, that Ronald Reagan was a more transformative president than Clinton.")

If mother love is like the circle that is both infinite and enveloping (and potentially suffocating), father love is like the absolute point. The circle must come first, followed by the point, which forms the center (and which will in turn extend "vertically" to the celestial Father, of whom our earthly father is just an authorized deputy). A man without a father (or father energy, which can come from other sources) is generally a man without a center. In addition to seeking his center in the adulation of others, it is also possible to fabricate it in a kind of centerless, manic energy -- again, Clinton comes to mind. He is bubbling over with scattered hysterical thought devoid of any coherence or consistency. He is most focussed when he is focused on the adulation of the crowd, which provides him with a faux center and a temporary integration. But it's an addiction, which is why he can't leave politics alone.

There is a fascinating chapter in Dylan's autobiography, in which he discusses at length the horror of being idealized in the manner he was back in the 1960s. Again, our society has become so narcissistic, that not only is such a bizarre situation seen as normative, but it is something that people actively seek (i.e., the cult of celebrity). People want to be famous and adulated, but obviously for all the wrong reasons. There few good reasons to be famous. Which is why, as Dennis Prager says, most famous people are utterly insignificant, while most significant people aren't famous. I am also reminded of something Schuon said, that the spiritually normal man does things because they please God, not for the horizontal affirmation of others. He made a related comment about the purpose of secular humanism, which is "to make oneself as useful as possible to a humanity as useless as possible."

I can't help wondering if Obama's absence of a father is a critical element here. If a boy is not initiated by the love of a virtuous man, then he will remain left behind in the murky, oceanic, intoxicating, boundary-less realm of mother love, which is as different from father-love as night is to day or sun is to moon. Please bear in mind that I am in no way denigrating mother love. Indeed, in watching Mrs. G. interact with Future Leader over the past three years, I am more in awe of it than ever. However, I am equally aware (as is Mrs. G) that if this love weren't tempered by father love, we could have a real monster on our hands. I mean really.

Awhile back Hoarhey made an insightful comment to the effect that the country wasn't prepared to cope with another fatherless president working out his issues on the national stage. In fact, it is probably no coincidence that the country chose a feminized, mother-bound man as president after the conclusion of the Cold War, since father had done his job and was therefore felt to be no longer necessary. But now, in a time of hot war, are we naive enough -- or in such denial -- to think that we can cow our enemies with sufficient mother love? (c.f. here and here.)

Yes. We. Can.

Yes. We. Can.

Yes. We. Can.

Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, the Islamists love me.

Hey, I never really got around to discussing the Devil card. Oh well, some other time.

A few years earlier Ronnie Gilbert, one of The Weavers, had introduced me at one of the Newport Folk Festivals saying, "And here he is... take him, you know him, he's yours." I had failed to sense the ominous forebodings in that introduction.... What a crazy thing to say! Screw that. As far as I knew, I didn't belong to anybody then or now.

.... [T]he press kept promoting me as the mouthpiece, spokesman, or even conscience of a generation. That was funny. All I'd ever done was sing new songs that were dead straight and expressed powerful new realities. I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of.
--Bob Dylan

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Abomination of an Obama Nation (3.07.09)

Will brought up a very important point in a comment yesterday. It was in response to my questions, "What great world-historical events are invisible to the jaded elites of the present? What great vertical energies are entering the world today, undetected by a spiritually oblivious mainstream media?" Will's reflections on this are worth reproducing in full:

"There is a danger here, I think, given that this might be the age when 'Spirit pours out on all flesh,' i.e., the vertical energies actually do become, in a way, more visible, more tangible, even to the oblivious MSM.

"The danger is this: the influx of vertical energies for the most part cannot find suitable spiritual anchoring, do not result in a growth of spiritual insight and wisdom, but rather the vertical energies might be suborned by the horizontal in an entirely unwholesome way.

"An example: hypothetically speaking, let's say... oh, let's say, some political candidate who's running for... oh, let's say, for president of the United States... Let's say this candidate uses the influx of vertical energy in such a way that it does not invest him (or her, let's be fair) with any particular wisdom -- in fact, this candidate mouths and apparently believes in the same old amorphous lefty platitudes. Only... this candidate seems invested with a peculiar type of charisma that has citizens from coast to coast virtually swooning in some orgasmystic ecstasy... no one's higher intellect is sharpened, only their *feelings* are set on fire by this candidate in some peculiar way...

"Well, as was said re: the days when the Spirit pours out on all flesh, one must be very careful not to fall for false messiahs and whatnot... meanwhile, there are those who indeed are spiritually anchoring the vertical energy influx and are doing so invisibly and with a certain amount of travail, as is necessary at this time."

***

First of all, let's get this out of the way at the outset. Are we calling Obama the antichrist?

Yes, or course.

No, wait -- let's not engage in ad obominem. Let's just say an embodiment of the antichristic principle. Let's discuss this in terms of abstract cosmic principles, without getting personal. No need to demonize someone just because he's an instrument of satan. He's just the vehicle, not the driver.

Now, what do we mean by "antichrist?" I would say that, as Christ is Word-made-flesh, the antichristic would analogously represent the "lower principle" made flesh -- the instantiation, as it were, of the Fall.

So first of all, to go along with my analysis, you must believe that man is in some sense a fallen being with a built-in -- or at least inevitable -- flaw. You don't have to be a fanatic about it. You only have to know that "something ain't right" with the earthlings, however you wish to conceptualize it. Being aware of this principle is our greatest inoculation against utopian leftist schemes to perfect mankind, which always result in unanticipated cosmic belowback.

Secondly, you would have to believe that it is possible for the forces responsible for the Fall to be personified -- or, let us say, both focused and dispersed like a beam of darkness through the concavity or convexations of man's heart. As Christ is a blinding light, antichrist would be darkness visible. Thus, to those who live in spiritual darkness, it would appear as a false light -- as, say, a single match is brighter than the sun in an enclosed room, cut off from the sun.

The Serpent, to paraphrase our Unknown Friend in Meditations on the Tarot, symbolizes advanced intelligence ("the most cunning of the beasts") turned wholly toward the horizontal. Thus, it is a perversion of man's intellect, as it represents a self-sufficient naturalism and total (small r) realism that betrays the vertical source of human intelligence. As such, we would expect one aspect of the antichrist to be high intelligence combined with extraordinary vapidity, at least to those with spiritual discernment.

But this cannot merely be the philosophical vapidity of the doctrinaire atheist or scientistic materialist, or it could never gain traction in the human heart, which always hungers for spirit, even if it is the false kind. Rather, it would have to come cloaked in some sort of seductive or hypnotic faux verticality. It would indeed have to be charismatic and charming, bearing in mind the root meaning of former, which is "divine gift," and of the latter, which is "incantation" or "magic spell."

A spiritually normal person would be alarmed and even creeped out if he possessed this kind of influence over others. At the very least, it would be an occasion for the deepest humility, combined with concern over the state of the souls of those under his influence. For one thing, the spiritually normal person knows that this charis is only on loan to him, and that he is not free to use it as he will. He is responsible for those who come under his spiritual influence, and this is a heavy responsibility. It is not to be taken lightly.

Rather, one is only free to use this power if it is aligned with its vertical source. There is something coming through the charismatic, not from him, and as soon as one realizes this, it is an occasion, yes, for gratitude, but also fear and trembling. It is analogous to the power to send men to die for their country, only on the vertical plane. It is the ability to inspire selfless martyrs, but for what purpose? Our satanic enemies are clearly selfless idealists under the influence of charismatic leaders. So what.

Our Unknown Friend asks the questions, "Can one produce artificially intellectual, moral or spiritual inspiration? Can the lungs produce the air which they need for respiration?" No: "the very process of breathing teaches the laws of obedience, poverty, and chastity, i.e. it is a lesson (by analogy) of grace. Conscious breathing in of the reality of grace is Christian Hatha-yoga. Christian Hatha-yoga is the vertical breathing of prayer and benediction -- or, in other words, one opens oneself to grace and receives it."

Unknown Friend goes on to say that the antichrist represents "the ideal of biological and historical evolution without grace." This is a key idea, for what is a progressive? A progressive is someone who believes fervently in progress while fanatically denying its possibility, since progress can only be measured in light of permanent truths and transcendent ideals.

The antichrist "is the ultimate product of this evolution without grace and is not an entity created by God," since divine creation is always a vertical act or descent. Yes, all things ultimately "come from God," in the same sense that all light comes from the sun, but think of all the infernal uses to which man may put the light!

Now, the phenobamenon -- being "derivative" and not from the source -- is ultimately a creator of those who created him. Unknown friend writes that, just as there are spiritual beings who reveal themselves "from above," there are what he calls egregores, which are "engendered artificially from below." Thus, "as powerful as they may be," they "have only an ephemeral existence," the duration of which "depends entirely on galvanising nourishment on the part of their creators."

As such, the really frightening thing about these kinds of amorphous demagogues is that they are given life and nourished by the rabble to whom they nourish and give life, in a spiritually barren cycle. The result is either spiritual asphyxiation or starvation, or probably both. And starved and suffocating men are capable of anything.

Ultimately, the antichrist is the shadow of the totality of mankind, as Jesus was the immanent shadow, so to speak, of the transcendent Divine Principle. The antichrist represents all that man is and can be in the absence of divine grace. It is he who transported Jesus to the highest earthly mountain "and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" and said to him All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.

The secular extremist or fanatical progressive worships his own creation, and in so doing, gives birth to the antiword. Materially, it results in a leftist Tower of Babel (i.e, the all-powerful state), whereas spiritually it results in a gelatinous tower of leftist babble (i.e., the vacuous but seductive demagogue who will lead the people in the direction of their most base impulses and desires).

To be continued....