Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And God Said, "Let There be Atheists!"

The entire Universe is condensed in the body, and the entire body in the heart. Thus the heart is the nucleus of the whole Universe. --Sri Ramana Maharshi

As we were saying yesterday, the cosmos is within the soul, not vice versa. This is another way of saying that the soul is the final cause of the cosmos, or that the cosmos is structured vertically from the top down. "In the formula 'I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last,' alpha is the symbol of the divine man, or Divinity, before his fall into matter; and omega is the symbol of the perfected man" who has regained spiritual consciousness. Thus, as Boehme wrote, "The seventh day of creation is the origin and beginning of the first."

When we say that the world is created, we -- at least Jake and I, and probably Will -- mean that it is a vertical emanation of the sovereign Good, which is what it means to to say that the sun and stars are allegheirically moved by love, or that evil is a deprivation of the Good, or that beauty is an echo of the creation, etc. Nothing quintessentially human can be understood "from the bottom up," for there is no unity there, only diversity, and man is fundamentally a little unity-in-diversity capable of mirroring the great diversity-in-Unity. Or, man is woven of diversity and unity at that intersection of the Cross we were discussing yesterday, as he gathers all of existence into the heart -- which is ultimately His heart. This is both a collection and re-collection, or a joyful reunion of Father and Son. Which is also why this Cross is a Throne.

To quote Eckhart, "When I saw into myself I saw God in me and everything God ever made in earth and heaven.... The narrowest of the powers of my soul is more than heaven wide. To say nothing of the intellect wherein there is measureless space..." Again, the scientific atheist believes this no less than the theist, i.e., that his mind is a mirror of reality. If he didn't believe in this mirrorcle, then why would he even bother to listen to his own babbling and take it seriously? Obviously he believes that he may know reality. It is just that, for whatever reason, he severely delimits the nature of reality, including the subject who is central to knowing it. Only man gets to name the animals, even if he is a Darwinian who will never know how he does it. Every plane of manifestation is a plane of Intellect, and knowing total truth requires participation of man's total being, including, body, mind and spirit -- or will, sentiment, and intellect.

The "beyond-comprehension" is the foundation of truth, before the one Truth bifurcates into a knower and known. This is inverted by scientific atheists, who also root truth in ignorance, except that it is a total ignorance from below instead of a blinding light from above. The gap between matter and Truth is infinite if one tries to get there from the bottom up. But if we look at existence from the right side up, then the truth -- and divine life and conscious light -- embedded in matter are not only comprehensible, but necessary and inevitable. Indeed, Truth is true because it is inevitable, or it would not be truth but relativity. Conscious Truth must be, or there could be no manifested cosmos.

This conscious truth is a paradoxical (but not really) combination of total freedom and absolute necessity: "In the Godhead itself, the most perfect freedom and the most absolute necessity are joined together in a Marriage, to which the whole Heavens and Earth, with unutterable joy [ananda-bliss], sing eternal Marriage Songs." (Which is why we say that the matterimanyall gift of existence was totally unnarcissary on God's part.)

Here comes the bride, all dressed in white! She is pure sophia-wisdom, waiting to be impregnated by the word-light of eternal truth. Or, you could say that existence is the marriage-play of Absolute (1) and Infinite (0), or Purusha and Prakriti-maya, or form and substance, or wave and particle, or sun and moon, or cats & chicks, or Adam & Evolution.

Let us further confound the unworthy, and throw them off the trail! Brahma, when purusha comes to shiva with an unmentionable demiurge (the unspoken Word), how Lo can He go? How about all the way inside-out and upside down, a vidy long descent indeed to the farthest reaches of sorrow and ignorance?

So never ask why people are sad and stupid, for such a realm "must needs be" in a cosmos made of intelligence and joy, just as bitter and envious liberals must exist in the most affluent nation in the history of the world. The Divine Ray does not arbitrarily stop, but, like the man said, descends all the way down. As Will has mentioned a number of times, thank God we have the coagulation of matter to keep most of us from plunging all the way to the bottom! Indeed, this is what keeps most, but not all, atheists out of real trouble, i.e., the Eternal Church of Dumb and Blind Matter.

It is true, O ringtailed ones! I don't want to get sidetracked, but one of the reasons borderline or psychotic people burn cigarets into the arms, or slash themselves, or bang their heads, or become Celtic fans, is to try to prevent themselves from slipping down into the Formless Infinite Void, which is Dread Itself, by focussing on the finite pain of the material body, as it is preferable to the Infinite pain of the Void. Problem is -- as I mentioned in the book -- this is an inverse mirror of the Infinite Void above, and it is the Human Duty to conquer this lower void in the name of the upper. This is why, don't you know, Jesus descends into hell after the Crucifixion. In other words, his descent into man did not merely cease at our material situation, but went all the way to the bottom, to the infinite hell of total divine abandonment. Which is why he even saves atheists!

There is obviously a lesson there. As Mouravieff writes, most men cannot generally "turn things around" until they have reached a condition of "spiritual bankruptcy," sort of like the Lakers last Sunday (don't be like them and wait too long, for there are only "seven games" of creation, with sudden death).

Metanoia -- which is to say, re-pentance -- literally means to "turn around," and this is what it refers to. The more of the "minus space" of the psyche you can domesticate and colonize, the more of the upper vertical you can stably inhabit. The deeper the plunge, the higher the ascent. This is expressed in some form or fashion in every venerable tradition, from the Upanishads to Spiderman.

Now, Where Was I? I have No Idea. I'm just here Swimming in the Void, waiting for a Current to Take me Up.

Oh, There's One. Ooh! It Tickles!

Now, the moment of metanoia is an ontological discontinuity, a caesura, a rubicon, a leap of faith. However, it only looks like a discontinuity from the "dark side" of things. Once you make the leap, then you see that the continuity was there all along -- that there are secure "lines of communication" between God and man that were always there operating in silence. It is only for us to grab one and hold on tight. Let Perry explain:

"This moment -- absolutely unique in character -- is when there occurs, through the action of the 'Celestial Ray' operating on a plane of reflection, the vibration which corresponds to the cosmogonic Fiat Lux ["let there be light"], and which illuminates through its irradiation the whole chaos of possibilities. Starting from this moment, order replaces chaos, light replaces darkness, act replaces potentiality, and reality replaces virtuality." You become someOne!

Where have I heard this before? Oh yes, Tomberg: "The fiat lux of the first day of creation and the fiat lux of the awakening of faith in the soul are of the same essence. In both cases it is a question of the creative act of 'Let there be Light!'"

So.... What have we learned today? I'll just leave off with a cryptic but wise crack by Petey, and let you figure it out:

A little metaphysical diddling between a cabbala opposites, and Mamamaya! baby makes Trinity, so all the world's an allusion (that's the key to His fiat, if you know how to derive). Viveka la revelation!

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Great Inscape!

There is a power in sight which is superior to the eyes set in the head and more far-reaching than the heavens and earth.... It stands to reason, if you consider it, that the space occupied by any soul is vastly greater than heaven and earth and God's entire creation. --Meister Eckhart

Life is hard enough. Imagine how difficult it would be if we couldn't fly around at will within the expanding cooniverse of mental space!

Then again, for most people, this imaginative space is either rather cramped and constricted, or else it is a kind of hostile environment that feels quite the opposite of "liberating." As a result, an unfair number of people choose to escape this inscape by living down on the surface of the senses, just like an animal. The point is, this space can be filled with hostile entities that produce persecutory thoughts, or it can be a cold and wet blanket of depression that forms the backdrop of one's life. No wonder people try to escape it through drugs, external distractions, compulsions, "political activism," etc. Who could blame the liberal for not wanting to live inside his own head, and imagining a fantasy utopia in the future? But any utopia will be instantly converted to a dystopia, so long as liberals live there.

So our mental space is fraught with ambiguity, or at least it must be conquered and made habitable, no different, I suppose, than the external world. After all, the world is indifferent if not hostile to our presence within it until we have transformed it into something fit for humans. This cannot be said of any other animal. Only human beings must create the environment in which man becomes possible -- both the exterior and, more importantly, interior environment.

One of the purposes of religion is to convey liberating knowledge. Unlike profane knowledge, which merely adds to the pile of facts and theories in one's head -- and which are indeed analogous to material "objects" -- religious knowledge should have the effect of transforming the subject, which is another way of saying the actual "space" in which we live.

Profane space is always a kind of wall, ceiling, or limit; sacred knowledge is always a mirror, a window, or a door that leads out to the limitless; in short, it is a way in, up, and out. (I should add that psychoanalytic knowledge is a kind of in-between knowledge, in that it should expand one's profane space, without necessarily entering the limitless sacred space; but there is no fundamental reason why the space of the psychoanalyst should be separate from the space of the mystic, which is why I was so attracted to Bion. Ultimately, O is O, which is to say, One in cOOnvision, which is to further say, healthy "20/∞ double vision.")

Let us stipulate that Eden refers to a time in which human beings lived within the eternal space of God-consciousness. One needn't necessarily believe that this ever existed in the horizontal/historical sense in order to understand the deeper lesson, that something happened in our "ontological history" to separate us from our source. Any remotely perceptive individual realizes that we are "exiled" in an unfamiliar world, but the question is, why? Obviously, no other animal feels "alienated," unless he has had sufficient contact with humans or Democrats. But humans have always intuitively realized that we live in a kind of halfway-house that is simultaneously familiar and strange, the former an echo of our horizontal evolution, the latter a dim recollection of our vertical involution. This intersection is indeed our cross to bear.

At the intersection of the horizontal and vertical energies -- at the center of the cross -- is the human heart, which is precisely the human transdimensional "organ" that opens out to eternity. Unlike other organs, it only achieves its full functioning by being wounded and pierced. Remember the Tin Man? Now I know I have a heart, because it's breaking.

This point -- like all points -- is infinite. It is simultaneously the center, the origin, the summit, the deep interior, and the presence of Presence, or Being, for short. It is where, as Perry describes, "the synthesis of all cosmic time and space" occurs, in an "Eternal Present centered in a superluminous fullness of beatitude whereof the Comprehensor is the transcendent Intellect or solar Deity dwelling microcosmically in the 'Eye of the Heart.'"

This is "a point without extension or a moment without duration," and is "centric and axial to all existences, where complementaries and opposites are contained in principial equilibrium..." If profane existence is where the Divine Space is deployed in time, this point is where "time is changed into space": or, to be precise, we feel this sacred space "roiling over" into time, like the waters from a central spring.

That's the microcosm, but it obviously simultaneously opens out to the macrocosm, so that we may know reality in its essence. Or, we might say that microcosm and macrocosm simultaneously co-arise; in this sense, it is absolutely correct that what we call "reality" is a form of our sensibility, so long as we stipulate that this is not an argument for relativism but for Absolutism. It is "the direct reflection of principial eternity, which excludes all succession"; it is both the "sense of eternity" and the "abode of immortality" (Perry). You know, Put down the apple and back away slowly, and nobody dies! (the Coonifesto).

Again, the ultimate purpose of religion is to bring us in closer proximity to this point and therefore this infinite space (and bear in mind that this reality simply "is"; as such, it is not "attained" but merely "realized." But on this side of it, we must speak the paradoxical language of separation (or sin) and purification and attainment at risk of being even more misunderstood; to paraphrase Schuon, before realizing one's essential unity with God, we must first realize the extent of our separation from him.

This, by the way, is another of my objections to new age dharma hustlers like Tolle; if he goes on Oprah and tells her motley group of fans that they are actually God, I say "no way." In a way, this is worse than atheists who preach the opposite, and ultimately just as fruitless. At least the atheist starts with the honest truth: I don't have a clue where God is, because I've completely severed myself from him.

In religious iconography, the Center is depicted as the Sun (macrocosmically) and the Heart (microcosmically). But these two are actually One, or at least not two. This is where interior and exterior (or subject and object) are ultimately unified: "The universe is only 'vision' or 'knowledge,' in whatever mode this is realized, and its whole reality is God: the worlds are woven of visions, and the content of these visions indefinitely repeated is always the Divine, which is thus primal Knowledge and the ultimate Reality -- Knowledge and Reality being two complementary aspects of the same Divine Cause" (Schuon, in Perry).

So, as Aristotle said, truly, "the soul is all it knows." And since she can know the All, she is potentially All, or infinite space. Again, this is "realized" in mystical union, whereas it is simply assumed (but never realized) in secular science. For example, when the secular scientist imagines "the cosmos" or "the big bang," he is dwelling within a profane and "de-spiritualized" shadow of the true Infinite Space which contains the cosmos. To put it another way, the soul of the scientist (or anyone else) is not in the cosmos; rather, the reverse: the cosmos is within the soul of the scientist -- over there, under the couch!

Like God, we always contain our reality, even if it means shrinking reality down to the narrow dimensions of the ego. In other words, even the ego is superior to the cramped little cosmos it creates and projects outward. We always "see double," which is to say, inwardly (first) and outwardly (second).

Well, I'm short on time and long on day, so I think I'll just sign off here. I'm not close to being finished with this topic. To be continued.

Our whole business therefore in this life is to restore health to the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen. --St. Augustine

And then our Lord opened my spiritual eye and shewed me my soul in midst of my heart. I saw the Soul so large as it were an endless world, and as it were a blissful kingdom. --Julian of Norwich

In these outlines, my son, I have drawn a likeness of God for you, so far as that is possible; and if you gaze upon this likeness with the eyes of your heart, then, my son, believe me, you will find the upward path; or rather, the sight itself will guide you on your way. --Hermes

(All quoted material taken from The Spiritual Ascent)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Why Can't a Democrat be More Like a Man? (5.30.09)

One of the most interesting works of anthropology I’ve ever read is The Human Animal, by Weston LaBarre. LaBarre was both an anthropologist and a psychoanalyst, and this book deals with exactly what I attempted to outline in Chapter Three of my book, that is, how primates and proto-humans eventually evolved into proper (some of us, anyway) human beings. Being that it was published in 1954, many of the details in his book have undoubtedly been superseded by more recent research. And yet, he captured the big picture in a way that few people even attempt to do these days.

I don’t know of anyone else who cites LaBarre as an influence, but if nothing else, he’s a very entertaining writer, full of pithy and astringent comments, asides, and insults. Interestingly, he was a militant atheist, but that doesn’t necessarily bother me. So long as someone has a piece of the truth, their overarching philosophy is of no consequence to me, no matter how shallow or ignorant. I have no difficulty accepting whatever parts of Darwinism comport with perennial truth. I only reject those parts of Darwinism that are not true and cannot possibly be true.

Chapter 6 of The Human Animal deals with sexual differences and the evolutionary circumstances that supposedly allowed humanness to emerge. In an evolutionary tradeoff, human brains grew so rapidly that women had to give birth earlier and earlier, to the point that the brain's incomplete neurology could only be wired together in the extra-uterine environment. The resulting infantile helplessness (and maternal preoccupation) meant that the family unit switched from the mother-infant diad to the mother-father-infant triad. These symbiotic relationships further modified all of their members, as they adapted to -- and became intersubjective members of -- each other, thereby creating the "interior unity" of the family (which mirrors the dynamic interior unity of the Creator).

LaBarre notes that “a society’s attitudes toward women and toward maternity will deeply influence its psychological health and all other institutional attitudes.” He wrote in 1954 -- well before the degradations to womanhood brought about by the feminist movement -- that “It is a tragedy of our male-centered culture that women do not fully enough know how important they are as women.” Sadly, today so many women only know how important they are as men. This is a tragedy of monumental proportions, in part because it also results in men not understanding their own role in terms of being men.

One of the keys to understanding male-female differences lies in examining the different ways in which we are permitted to love. As a child we must love in one way, but in order to become an adult we must love in others. The process is significantly more complicated for males, because our first love object is the mother with whom we are merged. Male identity must first be wrested and won from this primordial union, otherwise there will be no manhood, only maleness. In other words, our love must transition from male-female, to male-male, then back to male-female. Many things can go wrong along the way, as you might well imagine.

On the other hand, female identity is coterminous with their union with the Great Mother, both literally and archetypally. They only have to transition from the female-female love to female-male. As a result, their identity is much more secure, because they never have to renounce the primitive identification with the Great Mother, at least totally. Still, things can and do go wrong, for any number of reasons we don't have time to discuss here.

All primitive men know that women can magically produce children out of their bodies. This is another reason that women are generally more “grounded” and secure in their identity than men are. It would also explain the essential restlessness (and sometimes rootlessness) of men, along with the psychological adaptiveness of male homophobia. (A couple of days ago we were discussing the hobo archetype; there is a reason why they are almost always male, whereas the female usually has a much stronger nesting instinct.)

Femaleness as a category is secure: its undeniable signs are menstruation and maternity. But manhood -- as opposed to mere biological maleness -- has no such obvious visible markers. Rather, it is something that must be constructed and achieved. The adaptive mechanism that allows males to become men is culture.

What connects mother to infant is very concrete: the breast and all it symbolizes and implies ("breast" is a psychoanalytic term of art that is more analogous to "cosmic source of all goodness," if viewed from the infant's omnipotent perspective.) Likewise, what originally connected male to female was the evolutionary change that made females sexually available year-round.

But what connects man to man? “What connects father and son, male and male, is the mystery of logos and logos alone...” It is through this shared pattern that “father can identify with son and permit his infancy, within which son can identify with father and become a man, and within which a male can perceive and forgive the equal manhood of his fellow man.” (In rereading that passage it has a couple of very powerful ideas: permit the infant to live [both literally and symbolically, and both internal and external], and forgive the manhood of fellow men; few cultures have fully succeeded in doing this, certainly not Islamic culture.)

At the foundation of the State, writes LaBarre, “is our struggle to find both paternal power [an aspect of the vertical] and brotherly justice [the vertical prolonged into the horizontal] in the governing of men.” This is why something very psychologically noxious happens when government becomes mother. A similar thing happens when God becomes mother or mother becomes God. It interferes with the primordial basis of culture qua culture, which is to convert boys to men. If that fails to happen -- as with the left -- then civilization either cannot form or will not be able to sustain and defend itself, since there will be no men or manhood, only Democrats, or women and children.

This would explain the (until recently) universal practice of various male initiation rituals, in which boys are sometimes brutally wrenched away from their mothers in order to facilitate male “rebirth” and full membership in the fellowship of men. Again, femaleness is given by biology, but maleness must be proven, not just to oneself, but to the group. If appropriate models are not given for this drive, we will simply have pathological versions of it, such as the urban youth gang, which is all about proving one’s manhood, only to other female-centered boys.

In fact, this is why so much contemporary rap and hip hop is so perversely male. In a matriarchal culture so lacking in male role models, these clueless boys are constantly trying to prove that they are what they imagine a man -- and themselves -- to be. This is why they are such pathetic, brooding, aggressive, and hyper-sexualized caricatures of manhood. (And ultimately this results from female sexuality reverting back to the mother-infant diad, with no role for men.)

Other males -- we call them liberals -- often take women as their role models, with predictable results. They regard auto-castration as the quintessence of civilization and sophistication. They aren't really assertive in a male way, but a catty or bitchy way, like the New York Times or their quintessential shemale, Obama.

Again, male sexual development is inherently more complex and hazardous, for men must first love and identify with the female, only to make a clean break of it and then return to the same object as an adult. Many things can go wrong with this process at each step along the way, as the road is filled with conflict and ambivalence. It explains why men often have the harder time growing up. Still, that's no excuse to elect one president.

Someone once said that men marry women hoping they'll never change, while women marry men hoping to change them. Someone wants to change us, big time. But a big part of manhood is preserving and defending the precious things that were created and handed down to us by our forefathers.

We are about to elect a feminized man whose official policy is to surrender to our enemies, so we have moved well beyond the theoretical to the actual. In the triangulated war between liberals, Islamists, and the left, only one side can win. Our side will lose if we run out of real men because we simply do not create enough of them. We will lose if we allow the new cutural ideal of the feminized adultolescent male to become the ideal. We will lose if we forget that an upright and noble man with the capacity for righteous violence is at the very foundation of civilization.

Liberals sneer at such men, which is to say, men. I found a typical example by a college professor at dailykos, called A Pacifist’s Agony. S/h/it writes that “I've always hated the term ‘war crime,’ since it's an insidious tautology. It implies that some wars are not crimes, and some of the atrocities committed during war are excusable by virtue of their context. I believe that if there can be any single concept by which a civilization ought to be defined it's this: there is no context that can justify the intentional killing of a sentient being who does not wish it. Period” (somehow, I'm sure there is a loophole for abortion).

The professor's job is not to educate students but to make them “politically aware,” which in practice means to arrest their developmental journey toward adulthood. It is a form of spiritual and intellectual body-snatching; for the boys, it means a fantasized acquisition of manhood, for the girls, contempt for it. Before being indoctrinated, students are “not particularly politically aware,” but by semester’s end, if all goes well, they will be “different people. They now understand the direct relationship between their own deliberately inculcated ignorance and the crimes that are committed in their name.” They will have inverted reality, so that they imagine themselves to be Morally Superior to the primitive and murderous men who protect and defend them.

This is why the left must constantly attack and undermine America, for that is what allows the sense of moral superiority to flourish. But the attack brings with it the unconscious fear of father's retaliation, hence the hysterical fears of murderous retribution for "speaking truth" to Father -- fear of spying, of theocratic takeovers, of Al Gore's world melting. When leftists say that George Bush is the world's greatest terrorist, they mean it, although it goes without saying that they have no insight into the unconscious basis of this hysterical projection of their own fear converted to anger and persecution.

Oddly enough, the professor agrees with me that our civilization is threatened: “Chomsky's right. It's over for America. Not just this war, but the American idea. And right now, the peace I'm enjoying in my living room, every selfish mile I drive to and from my home, the electricity that's powering my computer, and the privilege of education that allows me to articulate these thoughts is bought with the blood and dust of all the Hadithas that have made a moment like this and a person like me possible. And it's more than I can bear.”

It’s a fascinating thing about truth. One of the things that makes a fellow believe in a deity, really. As every psychoanalytically informed psychologist knows, there is the patient, there is the truth, and there is the truth they would like to deny, which is why they are in your office. Truth has a life of its own, and has a way of insisting its way into the patient’s discourse, try as they might to prevent it from doing so.

The truth is true, and doesn’t actually require anyone to think it. But this is not so of the lie. The lie is entirely parasitic on a thinker. Furthermore, the lie knows the truth, otherwise it could not lie about it. Pacifism is just such a lie, for it contains the truth to which it is a reaction:

Right now, the peace I'm enjoying in my living room, every selfish mile I drive to and from my home, the electricity that's powering my computer, and the privilege of education that allows me to articulate these thoughts is bought with the blood and dust of men who are far better than I, men who stand ready to do violence against the forces of evil that have made a moment like this and a person like me possible. And it's more than I can bear.

Yes, that would require growing up and facing the Truth.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Three, Two, One, Blessed Off! (5.20.10)

First God and then the world. If you know one you know all. If you put fifty zeros after a one, you have a large sum; but erase the one and nothing remains. It is the one that makes the many. First the one, then many. First God, then His creatures and the world. --Sri Ramakrishna

Or, erase the one in order to get to the zero.

We've said it before, but it's worth repeating, that zero gives birth to the One, the One to two, the two to three, and the three to everything else. This doesn't happen "in time" but prior to it, or "within" the eternal Godhead. It is simply in the very nature of things, which I believe is the mysterious reality which trinitarian theology is trying to convey, i.e., that God is one and three, but also neither, i.e., zero.

Or, you could say that apophatic theologians emphasize the Zero, which is nirguna brahman (God with no attributes), while cataphatic theologians emphasize the One, which is saguna brahman (God with attributes). The former emphasize union through gnosis, the latter union through bhakti. Still, both transmit the gift of knowledge; the gnostic ultimately knows Nothing (or unKnows everything), while the bhakti loves the One to whom he cleaves, and is thereby separated from nothing, which is the highest knowledge!

Listen to the wise words of Swami Ramdas, O little ringtailed one: "There are two ways: one is to expand your ego to infinity, and the other is to reduce it to nothing, the former by knowledge, and the latter by devotion. The Jnani [i.e., gnostic] says: 'I am God -- the Universal Truth.' The devotee says : 'I am nothing, O God, You are everything.' In both cases, the ego-sense disappears." Yes, you may well ask: what is the truth which, in possessing it, renders its possessor a lie? What is the truth that annihilates what was never really alive to begin with?

Or, as one Very Old Boy put it, it is like the cup, which is only useful because of its empty space that "protects" the family jewels. And like the athletic cup, we ourselves benefit from existence, but make use of non-existence. Existence is useless, like trying to live inside of a wall or eat soup from a flat spoon. Variety is the space of life. Live in that space and you'll never be bored, for God is generous, entertaining, a kick in the head, fun for the whole family!

The Zero is simply the dark side of the One; or the One is the bright side of the Zero. And they are forever bethrothed and betruthed, like cosmic man and wife, or Absolute (1, male) and Infinite (0, female). Oops! A dirty world!

The One is the vertical axis of existence, the zero its infinite and even mercurial potential, as it expands out into time and space, from timeless potential to endless plenitude. To ask why a woman can't be more like a man is to ask why the play of existence, or form, can't be more like the serious business of supraformal non-existence -- the latter of which is an even bigger joke. "Things are made from nothing; hence their true source is nothing" (Eckhart). Guffah-HA! "God's naught fills everywhere and his aught is nowhere" (Eckart). That's everything in a naughtshall!

God's essential threeness emphasizes a number of things, such as -- oh, and by the way, don't necessarily believe any of this, much less take it as orthodox theology, since I'm just riff-raffing off the top of my head and trying my best to unknow what I'm talking about and drive away more readers, for it is casual syntax Friday!

Anyway, threeness emphasizes God's going out of himself into the adventure of existence in order to return to himself, which he cannot not do. And the adventure of existence is in reality an adventure in trinitarian consciousness. God's without is our within, so our inward adventure is a journey outside ourselves and back to God. Likewise, God's within is our without, which is why we see traces of beauty and intelligence everywhere we look, like the face of the beloved. Oh, my nocturnal mischief making friends, "the universe is the outward visible expression of the 'Truth,' and the 'Truth' is the inner unseen reality of the universe." Do you not see it?

To put it another way, existence is an adventure of consciousness, in which consciousness becomes what it is not in order to rediscover what it is, which was just the modification of consciousness all along! It is the true Big Bang, and it will never cease banging, because that's what it does, baby. This is the one truth, which is no truth at all. You might say that the deconstructionists recognize this truth "from below," while the Raccoon recognizes it "from above," thereby going from modification to transformation. Thus, the mighty Raccoon may, to the foolish, look for all the world like the deconstructionists he deconstructs. But this is merely to confound the ignorant, for Petey is wise, compassionate, silly! He is always pulling your leg -- upward! Ho!

O, there is only the One Truth which requires no proof, is there not? If not, then you may stop speaking now, and forever! Shut the hell up, Mr. Olbermann! For errors and lies are many, while Truth is One. Or, to turn it around, in the absence of One, there could be no truth at all. None whatsoever. Hear the wise words of Sri Chandrasekharabharatiswamigal of the long and unpronouncable name!

"When [one] has recovered from the disease and regained normal health, nobody asks, 'What is the health you are now having?' The reason is, though diseases may be many and various, health is ever one and the same." Health is not new, it is merely the restoration of the proper state of things. It is the body -- or mind, or soul -- situated in its proper end. The body finds its rest in one station, the soul in another. But if enlightenment or reluxation is a state of total relaxation, then these are the same station. So take good care of your monkey, and your monkey will take care of you, dear friends! So says Scatter, the curious, the easily bored, the malodorous!

In going out of himself, God has left some mighty big footsteps. His revelations are the paths he has left to reascend to their source, are they not? How to get from the outhouse to the penthouse, from the cesspool to the open sea, from the frying pan into the purifying flames? Choose your vehicle: trial by fire, or rebirth by water.

William Law: "I feel within me a consuming fire of heavenly love which has burned up in my soul everything that was contrary to itself and transformed me inwardly into its own nature." Burn, baby, burn, for this agni is ecstasy!

Or, drown yourself in the flood, and flow into the bottomless sea of the naked Godhead. This is the vast O-ocean into which all rivers lose their form and find their end. Yes, you'll lose a drop or two, but you'll gain the whole sea. And if you don't like it there, you can always evaporate, become a cloud, and spend some more time hovering halfway between heaven and earth, or the sun and the soil.

Goodnaugt now!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sanātana Dharma Bums & Heavenly Hobos

Yes. That's what we are. Sanātana Dharma Bums, eternal hobos wandering the earth or huddled around a fire in the slackheap of the present.

Things I learned in a hobo jungle
Were things they never taught me in a classroom
--Merle Haggard

The hobo used to be be an American archetype. There was a time, before the age of political correctness, when they weren't necessarily patronized as "homeless." Rather, one of the great privileges of America was that one was free to be homeless, to wander, to stay in motion, to not put down roots, to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead. The homesteader and drifter form the warp and weft of the American fabric, like container and contained, male and female, infinite and absolute.

I guess I grew up a loner,
I don't remember ever havin' any folks around.


I don't remember much from my film school education, but I do know that this is an archetype that appears in American cinema, often in westerns, in which the drifter, or outsider, who is "above good and evil," is needed to save the established order. Or, you might say that the establishment is threatened by the uncivilized from below, but rescued by the "post-civilized" from above. John Wayne often played this kind of character. Today he would be arrested by liberal thought police and placed in sensitivity training. Note that George Bush's evocation of this male archetype was completely unacceptable to a thoroughly castrated and feminized left.

I never travel in a hurry,
'Cause I got nobody waitin' for me anywhere.


In Old Europe, the person without place was always considered dangerous, a threat to the established order, but America was founded by wanderers, half of whom put down roots, the other half of whom kept on wandering, first westward, into the frontier, and then, when the physical frontier closed in the late 19th century, inward and upward. (In fact, now that I think about it, my father, who emigrated here from England in 1948, was pretty much of a hobo, working and traveling from town to town until arriving on the west coast and marrying my mother in 1954. In so doing, he was living his childhood vision of America, and having an adventure he never could have had in the Old World.)

Home is anywhere I'm livin',
If it's sleepin' on some vacant bench in City Square,
Or if I'm workin' on some road gang,
Or just livin' off the fat of our great land.


But drifters do not only wander upward. Again, exactly analogous to the dangerous outsiders of the old west, some ventured downward, which was essentially what the whole counter-culture movement was about, beginning in the 1950s and '60s -- Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, and all the rest.

But in order to break out of the established order, something must first be broken, so it's not surprising that a lot of would-be celestial drifters were initially attracted to false teachers before getting on the right pathless path. Fortunately, God protects the sincere individual who has purity of intent from being fundamentally damaged by these corrupted teachings and teachers.

Culturally and politically speaking, the "downward movement" of the counter-culture became the new establishment of the subsequent generation, now casting conservatives in the role of outsiders and rebels. As Flynn writes in A Conservative History of the American Left, when all of the dust from the 1960s settled, the insurrectionists became the guardians of a new dreary establishment and life-denying conformity, expertly marketing it from childhood on up, from MTV to Rolling Stone, from CNN to the New York Times, from preschool to postgrad, in movies, music, literature, and every other medium.

This is what is so ironic about the Obama campaign, since it has nothing whatsoever to do with real change (as opposed to agitation) or revolution (as opposed to rebellion), certainly not from "above." Rather, it is simply the embodiment of the "acquired truths" and "stale pieties" (Flynn) of the past, now enforced by the mechanism of political correctness and the heavy-handed propaganda arm of the MSM. It is utterly conformist to the core, which is what makes it so simultaneously flimsy and frightening.

I heard Obama's much-praised speech on Tuesday, and -- please, I'm not invoking Godwin's law -- the first thing I thought of was Hitler, not Martin Luther King. When masses of people get swept up in this kind of irrational and hysterical vacuity, it should give pause to any sufficiently sober and detached person. This is not good. Until now, the left was a contemptuous vanguard that had to lead the reluctant masses by the nose. But now, it seems that the boobs are leading the vanguard, which is precisely what knocked Hillary for a loop. "How can these ungrateful little people be thinking for themselves? Even the negroes! How dare they!"

(Obama "sees the necessity of reeling in those of faith, and making them part of the class struggle, while avoiding the harsher approach of demanding that the people give up their faith as a consequence of their commitment to revolutionary change. Americans have proven much more stubborn in the religious realm than the Europeans, who fell hook, line and sinker for Marx, Lenin and Stalin. America might seem more amenable to the kind of Third Way socialism that Hitler brought to Germany, while cunningly using Christian jargon to wile his way into Aryan minds and hearts.")

We're getting sidetracked, aren't we? What can I say? I'm a heavenly hobo and one of Hermes' hermits.

Where I've been or where I'm goin'
Didn't take alot of knowin'


One of my favorite chapters in Meditations on the Tarot is Letter IX, The Hermit. In fact, that's him, on the cover of the book, with a walking staff in his left hand and a lantern in his right. Although I'm not sure, something or someone tells me that this will segue nicely with the material under discussion.

"For it is the venerable and mysterious Hermit who was master of the most intimate and most cherished dreams of my youth, as moreover he is the master of dreams for all youth in every country, who are enamoured by the call to seek the narrow gate and the hard way to the Divine." For surely, we are on a journey, except that it is an inward journey. This is not our home!

No, we are on the move, staff in one hand, fleshlight in the other. The Hermit "possesses the gift of letting light shine in the darkness -- this is his 'lamp'; he has the faculty of separating himself from the collective moods, prejudices and desires of race, nation, class and family -- the faculty of reducing to silence the cacophony of collectivism vociferating around him, in order to listen to and understand the hierarchical harmony of the spheres..."

Thus, he could never be part of the Obama hysteria, for he represents the very opposite of this luciferian movement, which doesn't walk upright unaided, and certainly carries no light! Rather, they all stand in the dark with mutual assistance, otherwise known as a mob. To put it another way, gravity is not a "movement." Rather, it is merely stasis in action. I don't want to be there when it hits bottom, or when the bottom dwellers hit us.

The Hermit moves, but always with both feet firmly planted on the ground, one step at a time, assimilating what he has learned and weaving it into his own substance before moving on: "he possesses a sense of realism which is so developed that he stands in the domain of reality not on two feet, but rather on three, i.e., he advances only after having touched the ground through immediate experience and at first-hand contact without intermediaries -- this is his "staff.'"

With this staff -- which is also the staff of the Sanātana Dharma, or what is always true for all time -- "he creates light, he creates silence and he creates certainty," which is none other than Coon Central, or the supramental clarity of "harmony with the totality of revealed truths and of that which is the object of immediate experience."

As such, this Hermit is "a wise and good father who is a reflection of the Father in heaven." Is it any wonder that Obama -- who knew only a deadbeat father and wooly-headed counter-cultural mother -- was attracted to a sick and twisted father (Rev. Wright) and now wishes to be that mother-father to the rest of us?

But what if you are a Son of the Real who doesn't need Big Government to be your mommy and daddy and shape you into its beastly image?

Then get out of the way, bum! You're blocking the Unity!

... and Unity's just another word for no freedom left to lose...

Keep thyself as a stranger and pilgrim upon the earth, who hath nothing to do with the affairs of this world. --The Imitation of Christ

Rise above time and space
Pass by the world, and be to yourself your own world
. --Shabistari

To be the heavenly Father's Son, one has to be a stranger to the world... --Meister Eckhart

But I keep thumbin' through the phone books,
And lookin' for my daddy's name in every town.
--Merle Haggard, I Take A Lot of Pride In What I AM

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wait a Minute, What Kind of Christian Are You, Anyway?

That's a question I (or someone pretending to be me) often ask myself. I don't know the answer. Neither does he. The Vedantic kind? The Jewish kind? The Hermetic kind? The Sufi kind? The insufirable kind? The Subgenius kind?

I suppose part of the purpose of this blog is to discover what kind. Among other qualifiers, it would also have to be the jazz kind, in that I suppose I immerse myself in the nonlocal archetypes of Christianity in the same way a jazz musician employs the chordal structure of a composition in order to say what he wants and needs to say. Furthermore, he doesn't know what he is going to say until he says it. To paraphrase Bill Evans, with jazz, you get five minutes of honest music in five goshdarn minutes, whereas in the case of classical, you might get, say, five hours (or five months!) of music in five minutes, or however long it took for the composer to write it.

So this is definitely jazz theology, in that it is totally -- and intentionally -- on the fly and off the cuff. I say "purposely," because the Tollster is right about one thing, which is that God can only be found in the now. It's just that some nows are deeper than others, and that's the whole point of the hole exercise. In order to do this at all, I really need to "cut loose" so as to prevent my mind from getting in the way of the temporal hole, which is why you will have noticed that the posts often have a slightly disjointed quality, to put it kindly. As the Beatles sang, I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in / and stops my mind from wandering / where it will go / And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong I'm right / where I belong I'm right / where I belong.

Again, let's go back to the analogy of music. Take Bill Evans and take your friendly neighborhood Norstorm pianist, please. Both are playing "in the now," but only one of them is capable of plumbing the musical now to its vertical depths. In fact, you might say that the superficial person "horizontalizes" the now, when one must find a way to verticalize it and drill down into it. For that is where life is really happening. It's where all of the non-action is.

This is one of the things that prevents me from coontemplating when the next failed book might appear out of nowhere, because a book represents, say, 52 weeks of writing in 7 days, or whatever the ratio might be. I find spontaneous improvisation to be so compelling, that I'm not sure if I could ever revert back to composition. Keith Jarrett has the same problem when he switches back and forth between playing classical and performing his lengthy and totally improvised solo concerts. I read somewhere that he requires six months of preparation to make the transition to what is a totally different mindset. In my case, I think it would be painful to have to go back and reread, edit and polish what I have written, which you sort of have to do if you aren't Jack Kerouac or Larry King.

Perhaps there is a lesson in the fact that Jesus did the same thing. Quite conspicuously, he didn't sit down, spend a few years thinking about reality, and write a book that streaked up the Jerusalem Times bestseller list. Interestingly, for a religion that is supposedly based on "The Book," Jesus is a poor example, for the Gospels provide no evidence that he ever touched one, with the possible exception of peeking at the Torah when the Pharisees were out getting a sandwich at Cantor's deli. In a way, Jesus just "riffed" on certain themes in the Torah, so in that sense I would agree with Pastor Wright that he was probably not just black, but specifically Afro-American.

Just yesterday I was reading about John Coltrane -- who, interestingly, has a church -- an "African Orthodox" Christian church -- named for him. (I don't know anything about it, but the description has a certain Coonish appeal: "Our primary mission at the St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church is to bring souls to Christ; to know sound as the preexisting wisdom of God, and to understand the divine nature of our patron saint in terms of his ascension as a high soul into one-ness with God through sound. In our praises we too seek such a relationship with God. We have come to understand John Coltrane in terms of his sound and as sound in meditative union with God."

Sounds sound to my ears.

It's kind of interesting, so I'll continue: "The ascension of St. John Coltrane into one-ness with God is what we refer to as the Risen Trane.... [W]e are not dealing with St. John the man but St. John the sound and St. John the Evangelist and Sound Baptist [Boptist? --ed.], who attained union with God through sound.... [T]he Risen Trane is the post 1957 John Coltrane. He who emerged from drug addiction onto a path of spiritual awakening and who gave testimony of the power and empowerment of grace of God in his life and in his Psalm on A Love Supreme, and in his music thereafter. ('At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD.') We, too, having been touched by this anointed sound and being called and chosen by the Holy Ghost, endeavor to carry the holy ambition and mantle of sound baptism of St. John Coltrane.

"We are fully aware of the universality of John Coltrane's music and his philosophy, and that his spirit and legacy does reach and touch the lives of people of many different faiths, creeds, and religions. We, however, in this time and place, are grateful for the opportunity to lift up the Name of Jesus Christ through Saint John Coltrane's music, knowing from personal experience and testimony, and from a great cloud of witnesses, that the Spirit of the Lord is in this Sound Praise as it is delivered from heaven through John."

That might sound kooky, but I have to be honest. I too have been "touched by this anointed sound," which was one of the many pointers in my life that brought me back to the vertical. In my book, I make reference to the need for the spiritual aspirant to locate one of those vertical springs that dot the landscape, but surely there are vertical soundscapes that can do the trick as well. Those of you who have a doggerel-eared copy of the Coonfesto will have noticed at least a couple references to the Risen Trane in the Cosmobliteration section, for example,

Spiraling outside in, past the viaduct of dreams, the seventh trumpet dissolving in shee-its! of sound. One Living Being, Life of All, A Love Supreme, take the coltrain to the old grooveyard, return to forever and begin a new corea. The key to your soul, ignited in wonder! (p. 260).

(Some decoding, just this once. At that particular timelessness, I was very much into the music of Chick Corea; "viaduct of dreams" is playgiarized from Van Morrison's Astral Weeks; the "seventh trumpet" is a reference to Revelations, while "sheets of sound" was a jazz critic's famous description of what Coltrane's music sounded like: "his multinote improvisations were so thick and complex they were almost flowing out of the horn by themselves... and the amount of energy he was using could have powered a spaceship.")

So I can well imagine starting up a Church of John Coltrane (or even Bo Diddley, for that matter; perhaps the Rhythmic Church of the Misbegotten Sons of the Eternal Diddley Daddy).

Now, back to the question at hand, "just what kind of Christian are you, Bob?" Yesterday I read a statement supposedly made by Sri Aurobindo, who said that "the demands of truth and the spiritual needs of mankind in this age call for a restoration of the Vedic truths, truths which represent a unique penetration into the nature of existence and which point to an advanced knowledge of the laws of the universe bordering on modern theories of particle physics, quantum mechanics and cosmology.” (I can't confirm that Aurobindo actually said this, as it was somehow sent to me as part of an email forum of which I am not a member or contributor.)

Now, the idea that the One Truth is embodied for all time in the Vedas is referred to as the Sanātana Dharma. As far as we know, the Vedas were the first Revelation -- I mean fully loaded with all the options -- given to man. (I'm not necessarily saying I believe this, I'm just relating what the believers believe.)

As I have said before, but it is worth repeating, religion is not about religion, but about what transcends religion (and everything else). As soon as religion is merely about religion, then boom, you've created a graven and no longer groovin' image. Those who believe in the Sanātana Dharma maintain that all revelations, to the extent that they are authentic revelations, are really a reflection of the One Revelation, like the white light passing through a prism and revealing a diversity of colors. Thus, to ask why there are different religions is a little -- or a lot -- like asking why there are different languages, the reason being because.... Well, just because.

I know what you're thinking -- if English was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for the rest of us. But that's beside the point. The point is, the same day I received that unsolicited email about Sri Aurobindo and the Sanātana Dharma, I was reading about the same thing in my god-eared copy of The Spiritual Ascent.

Will you get on with it?!

I'm trying, I'm trying.

But don't you think this solo has gone on too long already? Sometimes I can't tell if I'm just warming up or already finished. I guess it's the latter. I think we'll stick a fork in this load and discuss the Sanātana Dharma tomorrow, as it might just help to answer the question of what kind of Christians we are. Or will be tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

On the Eternal Love Affair Between Truth and Intelligence

God is intelligence occupied with knowing itself. --Meister Eckhart

Obviously I didn't intend to discuss Eckhart Tolle, but now that the subject has come up, we might as well plumb its shallow depths and exhaust it before moving on to the next Oprah Book Club recommendation, at which time I will be happy to revert to my prior ignorance of him and his teaching. I suppose you could argue that he is an important phonymanon, in the sense that he sells millions of humbuggers, so it might be interesting to analyze why people are gobbling them down, devoid of nutrition though they may be. In any event, it's "Chinese theology," in the sense that you're hungry again an hour later.

Why do people prefer McDonalds and Burger King? It's not really a mystery. Apparently, human beings evolved to be attracted to sugar, fat, and salt. So it's not incumbent upon us to explain why people like to eat pizza, donuts, and ice cream. Rather, we need to explain those who are able to transcend their genetic programming through an act of will.

Is this elitist? I don't think so. It simply is what it is. Bear in mind that 50% of human beings are of below average intelligence, and that those who are of above average intelligence are most likely to be the ones who have been systematically miseducated in our left wing indoctrination mills and proud of it. D'oh! But they need religion too...

So I'm guessing that Tolle's audience consists mainly of these two varieties of ignorance. (There are also malevolent people on both ends of the spectrum who, as a result of any number of developmental exigencies, end up with a very troubled relationship to truth, which can range from ambivalence, to resentment, to narcissistic superiority, to outright hostility; all of these types in one way or another engage in "attacks on linking," which don't really damage the truth so much as their capacity to ever know it. The radical atheists come to mind.)

Now, just as man, being man, has an epistemophilic instinct, he also has what might be called, for lack of a better term, a "pneumaphilic" (spirit-seeking) instinct. You could say that the former has to do with "head knowledge" while the latter has to do with "cardiac knowledge," or more precisely, the transcendent unity of head and heart in a higher synthesis that reveals our true deiform nature, as it is consubstantial with God, or of a similar essence: "soul is in body, intellect is in soul, and God is in intellect" (Hermes).

Let us stipulate that Truth is one, but that it necessarily refracts through our prismhouse in the herebelow to reveal a spectrum of disciplines and sub-disciplines, both high and low (and even lower). Thus, for example, we have physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, etc., each creating its own little knowledge-temple full of specialized disciples.

However, despite the outward diversity, scientists assume an a priori inward unity in the fabric of existence. But instead of looking "up," where the unity actually abides, they look "down," thereby undermining the very unified entity that mirrors the oneness of creation, i.e., the scientist's all-embracing consciousness. Man may know the Absolute because he is a mirror of the Absolute. Trying to find the Absolute in the relative is a fool's errand. But that's fine. Let the dead bury the tenured.

If there is knowledge, there is truth; or, to put it another way, if knowledge does not know truth, huh!, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, say it again ya'll!

To possess "false knowledge" is analogous to saying "ugly beauty" or "love hate." Truth is the prior reality; in the Raccoon faith, it is not exactly the mind that knows truth. Rather, the mind descends from truth, which is precisely why it can and does mirror the truth, but also why it eventually shade off into the middling relativities of error. As Eckhart put it, "the Father is begetting his Son unceasingly." The Son is not begetting the Father, just as the Word cannot be the cause of Truth. The One participates in the many, or in each of the parts we are able to apprehend; we are able to apprehend them precisely because they share a "relative unity" that the human mind is able to perceive and know.

God, the Absolute, speaks only one word, except that he does so perpetually, or eternally: "God never spake a word but one and that he holds so dear that he will never say another. If God stopped saying his Word, but for an instant even, heaven and earth would disappear" (Meister Eckhart).

Thus, to turn it around, "All creatures that have flowed out from God must become united into one Man." Who is this Man? You could say he is Christ, or the nonlocal Body of Christ, so long as you recognize, along with Augustine, that the Christian religion has always existed -- that before Abraham was, I AM -- except that it only came to be called Christianity after the appearance of Jesus. Knowing this, you can immediately prevent a lot of inter- and intra-denominational mischief, for all truth, to the extent that it is true, ultimately comes from the One (otherwise truth could not be, for it would be purely relative, which is no truth at all).

There is no need to prove the existence of this Absolute Truth, for "it is itself its own proof for those who are able to perceive it" (Henry Madathanas). It cannot not be, on pain of there being no being and no truth. Therefore, whether you like it or not, "Whoever knows him in his proximate aspect, immanent, knows him also in his ultimate aspect, transcendent; the Person seated in our heart, eating and drinking, is also the Person in the Sun. This Sun of men, and Light of lights, is the Universal Self of all things.... He does not [ultimately] come from anywhere nor does he become anyone, but only lends himself to all possible modalities of existence..." (Perry).

And repetey after him: the rend is now redeemable on your mirromortal garment. Just cash in your chimps and say Eloha, that's a good bye for the Love that removes the sin and other scars (speaking allegheirically).

A Raccoon does not claim to "possess" absolute truth, as our critics seem to say. Rather, we are lovers of wisdom and seekers after truth. But even then, not really, for it is the truth that attracts us, not vice versa. So we are not "philosophers," unless it is first understood that God is a promiscuous philanderer, or lover of men, which is why there is philosophy, "theosophy" (the real kind, not the name brand) and even science. His Love is our love, his Light is our light, his Being is our being, his Truth is our truth, and his Revelation is our revelation. We simply realize the contact between the two, and allow grace to take care of the rest in the electrically charged and polarized space in between.

Zap!

For the Divine Nature of Christ is a magnet that draws into itself all spirits and hearts that bear its likeness. --Tauler

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Wisdom of Over-Educated Fools and Holy Hucksters

Intellect is the satellite of the Deity. --Archytas

The whole stupidity -- or at least superficiality -- of the new age movement in general and of the Eckhart Tolles of the world in particular can be summed up in one word: realizationism. Schuon coined this term to describe a "pernicious error" which nevertheless "seems to be axiomatic with the false gurus of the East and West"; specifically, the claim that "only 'realization' counts and that 'theory' is nothing, as if man were not a thinking being and as if he could undertake anything whatsoever without knowing where he was going. False masters speak readily of 'developing latent energies'; now one can go to hell with all the developments and all the energies one pleases; it is in any case better to die with a good theory than with a false 'realization.' What the pseudo-spiritualists lose sight of only too easily is that... 'there is no right superior to that of the truth.'”

Precisely. A Raccoon would much prefer to live and struggle in the light of Truth than in the realized darkness of a false illumination, the latter of which is comparatively easy to achieve, if we can believe the claims that fill up new age magazines with their glossy ads. Let's pick a few at random. Here: spend a weekend with Deepak Chopra and experience PEACE OF MIND and EMOTIONAL WELLBEING. Yes, but how is that possible if Deepak CREEPS ME OUT and MAKES MY FLESH CRAWL, I mean BIG TIME?! THAT DOESN'T SOUND very PEACEFUL or RELAXING to ME!

Here's an "integral playground" where you can "experience greater liberation through an integral embrace in the arms of Diane Musho Hamilton's Big Heart!" (New agers love that word, "embrace.") Better yet, join Genpo Roshi for "a special way to discover, experience and appreciate your own unique life!" Yes, his enormous BM, or "Big Mind is straightforward and it will open your heart and mind in ways you've never felt before! Zen + Transformation + Spa = Big Mind Miami!" (Also = Even Bigger Credit Card Bill!)

Next page: "This is bigger than you could possibly imagine! Thousands will unite in creating a 'Group Energy Field' for healing the planet! 4 Days of healing energy for $70!" (I know what you're thinking. No, it's not the Democratic convention.)

Oh boy. The Cosmic Narcissism is just nauseating: "The universe has responded to your request.... a path to live everyday by the Law of Attraction and have true wealth through inspiring others! Life Balance! Personal Freedom! Abundance! Financial Independence!" Yes, the universe wants you to be rich! All you have to do is learn how to cooperate with it! Of course, it helps if you have no conscience and know how to use your sociopathy to attract dupes with empty heads and full wallets!

I don't doubt for one moment that all of these magical thinkers are big Obama supporters who would ridicule the Bennie Hinns, Joel Osteens, and Pastor Hagees of the world. As always, extremes meet. Just as intelligence and truth converge at the zero point atop the ontological pyramid, stupidity converges in the darkness below the horizon.

It goes on and on and on. I don't know about you, but I find this stuff rather fascinating in a perverse sort of way. Like the cultural left of which it is a part, it almost cannot be parodied. But as they say, counterfeit money can only only be created if the real thing exists somewhere. Thus, all of this spiritual funny money must have its analogue in real bankable truths.

Brother Deepak again: allow him to -- with a straight face, mind you -- reveal his Happiness Prescription! Yes, let this "renowned global farce," I mean "force," assist you in bending over to receive his "powerful empowerment tool" (sic), so that you too may live in effortless spontaneity! (Available at amazon.com or wherever DVDS are sold; some limitations apply, for example, possessing rudimentary intelligence or sanity.)

I didn't know this, but Deepak got his start by being the number one pupil of Maharshi Mehesh Yogi, a man who was the fifth Beatle for a few weeks in 1968. Deepak then broke with him in order to start his own financial, I mean spiritual, empire. Of the Maharishi, Frithjof Schuon (who didn't normally name names, but this was in a subsequently published letter) wrote,

"The errors of the Mahesh Yogi movement are patently obvious. In reality the goal of meditation is not to have access to 'limitless energy, heightened efficiency of thought and action, and release from tensions and anxiety [leading] to peace of mind and happiness!' None of these advantages has any spiritual value, for it is not happiness that matters: it is the motive and nature of happiness. The [Yogi] says nothing of this, the sole important question, and this is what condemns him."

Again, precisely. I would much prefer to be unhappy and live in truth than to be "happy" and anxiety-free while living in delusion (if such a thing were not actually an absurdity and impossibility).

Schuon nailed it 40 years ago, referring to "the complete lack of intelligence and barakah [i.e., grace], the propagandistic triviality, the modernist pseudo-yoga style, the quasi-religious pretension." Of the Maharishi, he writes that "I suppose [he] is not a very intelligent man but is endowed with some psychic power; he may also be ambitious. None of this is malicious a priori, but it becomes so, and in this sense the [Maharishi] himself is a victim. False masters are dangerous because they are a mixture of good and evil, and they seduce with the good."

Indeed, I may well have readers who obtained some benefit from TM, but if so, it wasn't because the Maharishi was better than you, but because you are better than him. That is why you ultimately left, for you wanted to commune with someone or someThing you could never surpass, not in wisdom, not in morality, and certainly not in grace.

One more passage by Schuon is worth citing: "It goes without saying that I prefer the most narrow-minded of Catholics -- if he is pious -- to these pseudo-Hinduists, arrogant and permanently damaged as they are. They scorn the religious point of view, which they do not understand in the least and which alone could save them. One sometimes hates what one needs the most."

"And what can one say about the infinite naivete of believing that a method of meditation suffices 1) to change man and 2) to change humanity, hence politics as well?"

Amen.

Spiritual experiences come and go, but only the Truth abides. I have certainly had my share of them over the years; who knows, it is even possible that I had more of them back when I was so wrong about things, which should serve as a testimony to their dubious -- or at least ambiguous -- value. Surely they are a pointer, but not an end in themselves. Not only that, but the spiritual realm exists on a vertical axis that extends above and below, so it is a commonplace for people to confuse the latter with the former.

In reading A Conservative History of the American Left, it can be easily shown that this pneumapatholgical attitude reached a kind of tipping point in the 1960s; I was surely affected by it, even though I was mostly in grade school, because it simply became part of the cultural background. But not only was this attitude also clearly present in the 1950s, but one can trace the seeds of it back to the 19th century, and probably to the dawn of mankind. This error persists because it is not only an error, but a partial truth, as is true of most heresies.

The truth it conceals can be summed up in Bion's formulation of the container and contained. If we think of spiritual experience as the contained, and truth as the container, we can see how truth often becomes reified into dogma (in the pejorative sense of the word). When this happens, humans will attempt to "bust out" of these narrow confines, being that the spirit is infinite and can only be "contained" by infinite truth.

As always, the fault is not with divine revelation, but with what humans and human institutions do to it, i.e., contain it within the mind. When this happens, the spirit is throttled by the letter, so to speak, and longs for freedom. To say that this freedom can be obtained within tradition is a truism, but for a variety of reasons, people don't appreciate this.

In my opinion, much of the fault lies with the problem of education. Even at the dawn of World War II, most American still lived in rural areas, and college education was a comparative rarity. But in the mean time, our university system has been taken over by radicals, so that to be "educated" at one of these indoctrination mills (unless it is in business or the sciences) means to internalize a lot of shallow leftist slogans, a la the simultaneously under- and over-educated Obama (this is why the Democrat party is composed of the over- and undereducated, which, functionally speaking, amounts to the same thing, except that the undereducated cause far less harm, since their ignorance tends to be passive, while that of the elites is active). To attend a university generally means to learn how to forget how to think -- in all ways, but especially morally.

Well, I'm plum out of time. See you tomorrow. But remind me to continue with the point I was about to make, which is that modern man has developed a kind of wholly disproportional and unwarranted pride in his lower intelligence, so that in order to reach him with the spiritual truth, one must speak to his intelligence in ways that were probably unnecessary in the past, since he wasn't so skeptical, cynical, and sophisticated, and could still intuit perennial truth directly with his uncorrupted intellect. In short, it is very difficult for overeducated fools to receive truth, for "they have their heads where we place our feet" (Isaac of Acre).

And, that you may be able to appreciate more clearly how barren and indeed how pernicious such studies are, you must know that not only do they not enlighten the mind to know the truth, but they actually blind it, so it cannot recognize the very truth... --Hugh of Saint-Victor

For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins... To be allied to wisdom is immortality. --Wisdom I.4, VIII.17

I would rather die of pure love than let God escape from me in dark wisdom. --Mechthild of Magdeburg

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tolle Troll Smackdown

A troll wishes to pick a fight with me.

Good.

He writes,

"I'm looking to troll this blogsite, but I'm having trouble determining where the 'hot buttons' are, so to speak. Where are the weak points? Gray areas? Anyone want to assist the 'enemy' in the name of sparking a fun riot?

"Let me put this one forth: How about that Eckart Tolle? If you go by his doctrines, the highly opinionated Bobster is barking up some very wrong trees.

"Namely, Bob seems to have a highly defended ego structure, and has negative things to say about a lot of folks. Is this in itself a comment on Bob's own state on unenlightenment?

"Eckart and Bob can't both be right. So who's the monk, and who's the monkey?"

Eckhart Tolle? What a fount of wisdom! I just looked at one of his books on amazon. In it, he compares the Roman Catholic church to nazism, stating that the Inquisition "ranks together with the Holocaust as one of the darkest chapters in human history."

Right. The Holocaust resulted in the systematic genocide of six million in a few years, while the entire Inquisition resulted in about 6,000 deaths in 500 years.

What a fool. (Don't worry -- he has no ego, so he cannot be offended by my criticism, no matter how sharp. Realize that my criticism of him is actually a reflection of my own unenlightened state.)

He then goes on to suggest that the Inquisition was motivated by an attack on the "sacred feminine," and that while Islam does this as well, it is in a "less violent way" than in Christianity.

What an ass. I am reminded of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a book that started the whole "sacred feminine/gaia worship" business. As a result, DDT was banned, causing as many as 50 million deaths due to malaria. Would Tolle then say that radical environmentalism is "one of the darkest chapters in human history?" Doubtful. He wouldn't want to alienate his target audience.

He then suggests that the feminine was "respected and revered" in ancient civilizations such as the Egyptian and Celtic, but that the "male ego" then evolved in order to "take control" of the planet.

Whatever else this man is, he is a considerable boob. No wonder his book is an "Oprah's Book Club" selection, on par with her vacuous "Presidential Club" selection, Obama. Suffice it to say, he has no knowledge of the barbarity of the ancient world, and is merely projecting his gauzy, cotton-candy new-age fantasy land into it. Then again, perhaps when the ancients were murdering all those female infants, they did it in a humane manner.

He next goes on to praise Switzerland for having less of a collective "pain body" because it "separated itself from the surrounding madness." In other words, the people who were neutral toward nazi evil are more evolved than the ones who fought and died to end it. (Let's leave to one side the fact that one might be hesitant to fight evildoers if one is their banker; this can hardly be called "neutrality.") Tolle would no doubt say the same thing about people who want to kill terrorists. If they could just rid themselves of their "pain bodies," they'd leave the terrorists alone.

What can I say? If this man is "enlightened," then enlightenment is not just useless, but harmful. Also, by his own reasoning, he has a "highly defended ego structure," just like everyone else (being that he names enemies, e.g., masculine men and people who fight evil), except that he is an ignoramus with a broken moral compass.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't read the whole book. I'm sure he's a "nice" man. In browsing the pages of his book, there is definitely some truth in it, but it is about as deep as a Hallmark greeting card, aimed at a mediocre level of intellect, and so interspersed with banality and error as to be functionally useless. It is fast food for the soul, if there could actually be such a thing without contradicting itself ("soul" and "depth" being nearly synonymous). It also shows that there are some very hungry and emaciated souls out there, willing to eat anything.

I will admit that he is an awesome businessman, however. In that area, I bow to his superiority. He's up there in the stratosphere with Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, and Bennie Hinn.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cowboys, Puritans, Scary Clowns, Pants-Down Republicans, and the Cosmic Center

On Saturdays, I am reposting things from two years previous, so I'm dipping into June 2006. In looking through that month, it was hard to pick just one, so I may post another tomorrow. As I was re-editing this one, I ended up inserting quite a bit of new material, so no one is excused from reading it.

*****

From the ridiculous to the sublime. Which, when you think about it, is something I try not only to balance, but to harmonize. For how do we harmonize the sacred and the profane, the celestial and the terrestrial, the senses and the soul, the vertical and the horizontal?

Especially now that I am a father, I think about this problem more and more, because the outcome will determine what sort of world my son inherits. I believe it strikes at the heart of our current historical crisis, whether it is the clash between Islam and the West or the equally monumental clash between classical liberals (i.e., "conservatives") and leftists. It is a crisis which human beings will have to resolve before they can make any further collective progress. The outward struggle between Islam and the West (or liberal and left) is just a symptom of the historical stalemate we are in.

A large part of the problem involves the dichotomy between our individualism, which (conservative) liberal Americans cherish, and traditionalism, which embodies so much timeless wisdom about what it means to be a human qua human. Both Islam and the left value the collective over the individual, and impose coercive "solutions" that fundamentally erode our individuality. However, one important caveat is in order; there is also a large segment of the left that is "pro-individual," but it is a decidedly infrahuman individuality that essentially reduces man to his animal impulses.

You could say that there is a fundamental dichotomy in the left between the controlling, sanctimonious, and self-righteous moral scolds, or "puritans" (e.g., Al Gore, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky), and the pseudo-libertarian champions of personal expression (e.g., Hollywood). In fact, in A Conservative History of the American Left, Flynn attributes this to the age-old distinction in the American soul between "cowboys" and "puritans."

Thus, for example, in the 1960s there was a very uneasy alliance between the flaked-out hippie left (i.e., sex, drugs, and rock & roll, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey) and the stern and/or violent ideological left (e.g., the SDS, Bill Ayers, Tom Hayden, Black Panthers, etc.). Or, you could say that there is a goofy left and a scary left. In the interim, it seems that the goofy left has all but vanished, so that there are no "lighthearted" ones left. I'm guessing that this is a large part of the appeal of Obama, who appears to be such a "cool guy" on the surface. But look at the scary church of which he is a member!

Over the past 40 years, the left has only been able to come up with humorless, puritanical, "white and up-tight" candidates, e.g., Carter, Dukakis, Gore (Clinton, for all his faults, was no ideologue). And their clowns are all the scary kind, e.g., Sean Penn, Keith Olbermann, Dailykos, etc. So it's no wonder they are flocking to someone who seems to be able to put a happy face on such a dreary ideology. Obama looks less stern and controlling than Hillary, but in reality he is to the left of her.

For what it's worth, I was never really a member of the stern and scary left. Well, maybe briefly. But it's really an issue of character or temperament, and in the end, I really couldn't be anything other than what I am, which is a conservative hippie, or guerilla mystic, or political inactivist. (I remember about 30 years ago, P.J. O'Rourke wrote a seminal essay on this in National Lampoon, proposing a new movement of Pants-Down Republicans. I should look that up...)

I'm a psychologist. I carry a badge. I diagnose individuals. But it is said that a prophet diagnoses mankind. Thus, if you look at the DSM, there are, I don’t know, a couple of hundred different diagnoses. But if you look at the Bible, or the Upanishads, or the Tao Te Ching, there is only one diagnosis, which is that human beings live in falsehood, alienated from the Real. They habitually confuse what is ephemeral and valueless with what is transcendent and of eternal value. With his consciousness either compacted and "frozen" or exteriorized and dissipated, the spiritually untutored man is hypnotized by appearances and wanders from sensation to sensation until falling into the abyss at the end of his daze, wishes to ashes, lust to dust.

Religion, properly understood, is the corrective for certain inevitable metaphysical delusions to which humans are heir. These blunders are inevitable precisely because of our evolved nervous system. Although we are “of” eternity we are “in” time, otherwise we could not be. As a result, we look upon the world through the distorted lens of our own limited subjectivity. With the emergence of science some 350 years ago, we have managed to eliminate much of this subjectivity and stop confusing the external world with our prepersonal wishes and dreams about it (but obviously not completely, e.g. "climate science" and reductionistic Darwinism).

The more primitive the culture, the more it lives not in the world but in its subreal dream of the world. Obviously this is the problem we face in the Islamists. They live in a dream, which wouldn’t concern us in the least if we weren’t being asked to play such a vital role in it.

But just because western science tries to eliminate subjectivity, this doesn’t mean that it is objective. Nor can it ever be objective, for in order to do its work it must reduce reality to its lowest level, which is to say matter and quantity.

This is as it should be. In order to function at all, science must deal with a highly abstract and artificial world stripped of its essential qualities. For example, the redness of the apple is not in the apple. It is merely the illusion produced by photons vibrating at a certain frequency. Once you go down that route, then all qualities are reduced to quantities and we necessarily inhabit a bleached out, meaningless cosmos deprived of its most astonishing qualities, qualities which ironically make the scientist possible.

For it is not merely the redness of the apple that is at stake. Rather, it is every quality that is metaphysically real but not quantifiable. Religion deals with this higher level of immutable principles and truths. As I cracked in the Coonifesto, science is the religion of the ultimate object, while religion is the science of the ultimate Subject. Somehow we must harmonize these two “religions,” or face a life violently detached from the most vital parts of ourselves. Or, you could say that we suffer from the serious cardiovascular disease that severs head from heart.

As Perry writes, "Traditional learning is basically qualitative and synthetic, concerned with essences, principles, and realities behind phenomena; its fruits are integration, composition, and unity. Profane academic learning -- whether in the arts or sciences -- is quantitative and analytical by tendency, concerned with appearances, forces, and material properties; its nature is to criticize and decompose; it works by fragmentation." As Schuon points out, "not only does the inferior [man] lack the mentality of the superior, but [he] cannot even conceive of it exactly," due to the smallness, opacity, and fragmentation of the troll soul.

I certainly wouldn't want to live in a traditional society innocent of scientific knowledge. But I also don't want to live in -- or abandon my son to -- a sterile scientismic society estranged from its rich metaphysical foundation. In fact, science must be embedded in a much wider, deeper, and more integral Truth for it to avoid poisoning itself at its own roots. Alfred North Whitehead (c.f., Science and the Modern World) was one of the first philosophers to recognize this problem of forgetting the religious roots of science.

To be a proper human being means to have a cosmic center. Put it this way: "There is in man something which must become conscious of itself; which must become itself, which must be purified and liberated from all that is foreign to itself; which must awaken and expand, and become all because it is all..." (Schuon).

Although this is an objectively true statement, it is not something that could ever be measured or verified by science. Frankly, from a scientific standpoint it is a meaningless statement. Science cannot deal with the problem of consciousness, let alone the problem of how consciousness may find its “center.” But the essence of spiritual work involves locating, “dilating,” and living out of this radiant interior center, instead of living a dispersed, fragmented, endarkened, and exteriorized existence.

If you do not find this center within, then you have wasted the opportunity of a lifetime. That is another statement that is meaningless from a scientific standpoint. But make no mistake: if you do not find this center within, you will blindly search for it without. You will look outside yourself for your center, and if you succeed, then you will have failed, for you will have missed the point of life. You will think you stand upright like a proper vertical man, when you really crawl the earth on your belly, you rebellious snakes, you brood of rebtiles!

With no center, you will also have no organismic continuity, for the center is precisely that which metabolizes experience and synthesizes time and eternity, where the vertical bisects the horizontal (or rather, vice versa). Without a center, we merely wander vainly from experience to experience with nothing to make nonsense of it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Learning to Float & Drown in the Ocean of Being (5.17.10)

I'm wondering: who is in for the bigger surprise, the jocular man who eventually discovers that life is a deadly serious matter, or the serious man who finds out too late that life is a big joke?

The problem with materialists is that they don't leave nothing to the imagination.

You need rudimentary intelligence to understand a simple truth and average intelligence to deny it, but superior intelligence to replace it with an elaborate falsehood.

Anyway. Enough stand-up cosmedy.

I'm still making my way up The Spiritual Ascent, and savoring the experience -- in particular, the joy of discovering so many closet Raccoons from throughout history -- men and women who knew the secret doctrine and were members of the Vertical Church of Perpetual Slack, back when it could be dangerous to openly discuss such matters. No wonder they had to speak in code, similar to black jazz musicians who developed their own argot to keep their secrets safe from the Man.

Once I finish the book, I'm going to go back and blog on many of the individual topics, in order to better assimilate and digest the material. Yesterday I was reading the section Spiritual Drowning, and was taken aback at how directly it spoke to some of the topics we've been discussing recently.

In this regard, it reminds me very much of psychoanalytic therapy, in which you might have a dream about the material that came out in therapy that day, then discuss the dream in the next session, which then provokes another dream that night, and so on, in a never-ending spiral of psychiatrist bills.

As it pertains to spirituality, one of the ways you can confirm its truth is that -- as all senior Coons know -- the menbrain between the so-called "inner" and "outer" worlds begins to weaken, so that your life begins to reveal a dense network of synchronistic connections, both in time and space. It is as if you turn over the rug of your life, and can see the warp and weft underneath the outward pattern. Only then can you truly understand how this transdimensional area rug secretly "pulls your room together," dude.

I can't tell you how many times I blog about a subject, only to see the subject thrown back in my face later that day, often in a geometrically transformed manner within the Riemann space of consciousness. It's almost as if I "anticipated" the future, or as if the future cast its shadow back into the past. Of course, it does both and neither, as the hyperdense connectedness of bi-logical consciousness cannot be reduced to any crude linear conception.

Long-time readers of this blog know full well that they were drawn here by their own future self. I mean the ones who benefit from it, not the trolls; they are also drawn to their future, but in their case, they reject the message -- or bizarrely try shoot the transdimensional messenger. But (obviously) the bullets pass right through Petey. You might say that the troll's future beckons -- which is why they cannot stay away. It reminds me of a co-dependent woman who marries her abuser, because she cannot tolerate being far from her own persecutory mind parasites. You know the old saying: "Keep your friends close, and your mind parasites closer." Never ask for whom the trolls yell, for it is always theirSelves.

The deeper you penetrate into consciousness, the closer you come to the organizing singularity, as well as the archetypal "stars" that also lure the self inward and upward. If you live your life on the surface of consciousness, then you won't notice the Nonlocal Network, or else you'll simply dismiss evidence of it because of your absecular brainwashing.

The existence of the Network has always been acknowledged by Raccoons down through the ages, but you have to know how to decode the language. Let's go back to the section I was reading yesterday on Spiritual Drowning, with an introductory passage by Perry:

"If the spiritual work has hitherto shown itself predominantly as an effort to transcend the 'lower waters' and attain an equilibrium on the 'surface of the waters,' it now becomes through inverse analogy a journey or 'immersion' into the 'higher waters' of formless possibilities -- supraindividual states which no longer concern the human condition as such (hence the idea of 'drowning' or 'extinction'), but to which the human being has access, at least potentially, through the centrality that is the primordial birthright of his state, and which by definition are fully realized in the plenitude of the Universal Man."

In other words, this represents a sort of fulcrum in our spiritual development, in that we must first learn to "float" on the lower waters of consciousness before plunging into the upper waters.

What does it mean to "learn to float?" To a large extent, this is the domain of psychotherapy, of becoming familiar with your own deep sea monsters -- i.e., mind parasites -- that dwell in the depths of your being, and constantly threaten to pull you down and even swallow you up. Clearly, in some form or fashion, you must become a Master of your own Domain, or, like our trolls, risk becoming a chronic masticator who grinds away with the lower mind, which can never be truly fertile. We all know that this habit leads to spiritual blindness, or what we call nOnanistic myOpia.

Conversely, many people -- the new age crowd comes to mind -- try to plunge into the upper waters before mastering the lower, so they merely end up "polluting" the pure waters with their psychic impurities. One wonders if this is why they all seem to believe in the climate change hysteria. Probably so. This would represent a fine example of a psychic transformation being externalized without any insight whatsoever. This is one of the considerable dangers of go-it-alone spirituality. I'm sure the same people have transformed a shallow, gaffe-prone cipher who is capable only of mouthing recycled leftist slogans he learned in college, into a person of stature in their own minds. (Note that Al Gore and the Clintons are also fans of "integral spirituality," which should be sufficient to indict it.) Talk about going off the shallow end.

Which is an important point. We talk about people "going off the deep end," and with good reason. In fact, never trust a spiritual teacher who has not, at some point in his life, genuinely gone off the deep end, for only he will truly know about the lower waters and how to dog-paddle -- and God-paddle -- in them. Read any serious spiritual autobiography, and you will read of the depth of the struggle to master these lower waters. Not only that, but you will obtain objective information about the currents, the undertows, the doldrums, the winds, the fixed stars, etc., for your own night sea journey.

Only once you've learned to float your boat will it be worthy of sailing into the upper waters, as you graduate from the "lesser mysteries" to the "greater mysteries." What makes it so difficult is that you must simultaneously build this ark while learning to swim. But once it is seaworthy, then you will have a kind of calm center that can withstand the storms that lie ahead. The nature of this vessel will determine whether you can avoid drowning, walk on water, part the sea, swim upstream, survive underwater for lengthy periods, make it to the other shore, etc.

Now, I found this particular passage fascinating: "The voyage may be accomplished, either by going upstream to the source of the waters, or by crossing these to the other bank, or else by finally descending the current to the sea" (Guenon). In short, there are three possible deustinations: the Source of the waters; the infinite Ocean into which all waters eventually drain; or the bank on the other side. In turn, these would correspond to the ways of gnosis ("knowledge of the source"), of non-dual mysticism (diving into the ocean of being), and of bhakti, or loving devotion to God.

As Perry explains, "going upstream" is identified with the "World Axis," or the "celestial river" that "descends to earth." Alert readers will have gnoticed that Petey makes reference to this in the Cosmobliteration section of One Cosmos:

Floating upstream alongside the ancient celestial trail, out from under the toilsome tablets of time.... Off to sea the River Man, starry-eyed and laughing, cloud-hidden, who-, what-, why- & whereabouts unknown, bathed in the white radiance of ecstasy central. In the garden misty wet with rain, eight miles high, far from the twisted reach of yestermorrow. Insinuate! Now put down the apple and back away slowly, and nobody dies! Here, prior to thought, by the headwaters of the eternal, the fountain of innocence... .

Petey also makes reference to the way of the nondual Ocean, or what he calls "being drowned in the Lao Tsunami":

Returning to the Oneself, borne again to the mysterious mamamatrix of our birthdeath, our winding binding river of light empties to the sea. Cured of plurality, highdegger zen die velt, Ancient of Dasein: same as it ever was... same as it ever was... same as it ever was.

And then there is the way of gnosis, or solid metaphysics:

Reverse worldward descent and cross the bridge of darkness to the father shore; on your left is the dazzling abode of immortality, on your right is the shimmering gate of infinity. Return your soul to its upright position and extinguish all (me)mories, we're in for a promised landing. Touching down in shantitown, reset your chronescapes and preprayer for arrisall.

Petey realized when he trancelighted these passages that very few readers would ever obtain any benefit from them. But what can I say? They help me, so you'll just have to be borne with me. When Petey was helping me write them -- in an analogy I used yesterday -- I was shooting at blanks, only with extreme intensity, as if I were trying to penetrate this watery realm, and in turn, be penetrated by it. What is so surprising to me is that so much of it conforms to what these previous sailors have said and written. Here are just a few brief examples:

The wise man can through earnestness, virtue, and purity, maketh himself an island which no flood can submerge. --Udana

I [the Buddha] can walk on water as if it were solid earth. --Samutta-nikaya

I [the Buddha] crossed the flood only when I did not support myself or make any effort. --ibid.

If drifting in the vast ocean a man is about to be swallowed up by the Nagas, fishes, or evil beings, let his thought dwell on the power of the [Bodhisattva], and the waves will not drown him. --Kwannon Sutra

The name Moses means, taken from the water, and so we shall be taken out of instability, rescued from the storm of the world-flow. --Meister Eckhart

But while it is the case that if thou lettest not go of thine own self altogether to drown in the bottomless sea of the Godhead, verily one cannot know this divine death. --Meister Eckhart

God is the Lake of Nectar, the Ocean of Immortality. He is called the "Immortal" in the Vedas. Sinking into It, one does not die, but transcends death. --Sri Ramakrishna

I shall throw myself into the uncreate sea of the naked Godhead. --Angelus Silesus

The desirous soul no longer thirsts for God but into God, the pull of its desire draws it into the Infinite Sea. --Richard of Saint-Victor

...To flow in God and sink down in Him -- like a vessel full of water which when emptied nothing remains in it, so will I wholly empty and sink myself quite into God. --Johannes Kelpius