Knocking Down Walls With Spirit Jazz
As to the second -- it's a little more complicated - but when that layer of rock forms between O and (n), we've decided that, instead of throwing up our hands, Bob's going to use me to bash his head against the rock with all the more force. Rather than backing off, we're going to ramp up the gymgnostics and verticalisthenics. Perhaps just as in weightlifting, the resistance is what creates the strength.
I am reminded of Sri Aurobindo, who often wrote of his struggles to "break on through" despite obstacles -- obstacles which seemed to throw up more resistance the more he progressed. Satprem (author of the best book on Aurobindo, The Adventure of Consciousness) writes that "if one draws down too strong a light, all the darkness below groans, violated." This aspect of the the mind "can be quite formidable, like an army of ants against an elephant." As Aurobindo's collaborator (known as "the Mother") put it, "the question in this race towards transformation is to know which of the two will arrive first, the person who wants to transform the body in the image of divine Truth, or the body's old habit of disintegrating." It's Evolution vs. Entropy, in a fight to the finish. Satprem elaborates:
"The more one descends the scale of consciousness, the thicker the falsehood and the more things die, of course, because falsehood is in essence rot.... Old age and illness are among its most evident falsehoods -- how could what is true become old, ugly, worn out, or ill? Truth is radiant, it is beautiful, luminous, and eternal. That is obvious. Truth is invincible. Death and old age can only touch us through our lack of Truth." This dark counter-force cannot be undone except by way of "a pressure from above, which responds to a call from below and breaks the seal, as the sun breaks the skin of the seed."
Sri Aurobindo spoke of the work of "dredging, dredging, dredging the mire of the subconscious." Satprem: "There is still too much jungle down below. The world is still full of jungles" over which "our mental colonization is a very thin crust." "In short, one has to face everything -- and everything resists.... [W]e cannot solve a problem, on any plane, without confronting all the opposites of our Goal.... And one easily understands how no transformation is possible as long as the forces [i.e., mind parasites] are simply muzzled, and remain prowling around in dark corners awaiting their hour. Since nothing can be subtracted from the universe, they must be converted." Thus, as Aurobindo wrote to a disciple,
"There is a sort of locked struggle in which neither side can make an appreciable advance (somewhat like the trench warfare of Europe), the spiritual force insisting against the resistance of the physical world, that resistance disputing every inch and making more or less effective counter-attacks." This touches on the folly of leftism, "the colossal vanity of those who pretend to cure the world by external means and new institutions; no sooner is evil healed in one place than it revives instantly elsewhere, in some other place, in some other form. Evil is not outside, it is within and below, and as long as that particular Disease has not been cured, the world cannot be cured" (Satprem). The whole world resists: "It is not we who wage war, it is everything that wars against us!" (Aurobindo).
It is not difficult to trancelight any of this into Christian terms. Paul: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God and the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. Or as Jesus himself said, No one after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. No, we plunge ahead, bashing our hearts against the headstone. (I'm sure that Nomo can find many more good examples.)
Hmm, that was only meant to be a brief prelude, but I'm afraid it may have turned into a quaalude that put you all to sleep. We're still flipping through these mysterious journals that Bob has laying around, trying to decipher their childish scrawl and see if we can't mind a few gnuggets from them. Here's one I like. It says something to the effect that Schuon is like stately and dignified classical music, whereas new-age/integral pop is more like banal and trivial pap music. Then it says -- or I think it says -- "Coony Tunes = Modern Jazz."
I think I understand what he's driving at here. In the case of classical music, it's almost like revelation, in the sense that there is a fixed canon of immortal works that few people believe will ever be surpassed, e.g., Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, et al. Pop music is the opposite, in that it is almost entirely ephemeral and without lasting value.
You could also say that classical music represents "old Europe," or even the old world in general, whereas pop music embodies the most crass and superficial elements of consumer driven fashion. But what about jazz? First of all, jazz is intrinsically American. But what is it? Above all, it is the art of spontaneous composition, but not in an undisciplined or arbitrary way. Rather, it involves instantaneous creativity utilizing a fixed chordal structure; or, to put it another way, inspired horizontal improvisation that is "spun out" through the vertical chordal changes.
As Bob tried to explain in the book, there is a reason why humans are so attracted to music, the reason being that there is something about music that reveals the very structure of the cosmos in both its "exterior" and "interior" aspects.
For example, a scientist might look at creation as an elaborate solo over the "chords of creation," that is, the twenty mathematical parameters that govern the character and development of the universe. These parameters do not rigidly determine events, any more than the chords of I Got Rhythm determine the musician's solo. Rather, the solo is infinitely free to vary within the constraints of the chords. In fact, in the absence of the chordal constraints, there can be no coherent solo.
A Raccoon looks at revelation in the same way, bearing in mind that there are three more or less co-equal branches of revelation, 1) the cosmos, 2) scripture, and 3) the uncreated intellect that represents the subjective "extension" of the Divine into the human realm. So Raccoons basically play live spirit-jazz out of these three songbooks in order to produce our loose canon of non-standards. Call it spiritual improve-isation.