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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vertical Man the Microcosm, Horizontal Man the Microchasm

I'm trying. Save. To remumble. Save. Yesterday's lost post. Save. But it's not. Save. That easy. Save.

For one thing, as always, I was in a sort of half-dream state when I wrote it, so not only do I have to remember the barmy content, but to try to re-enter the "state" from which it arose. But you can never really have the same dream twice, although the left never stops trying (no, that wasn't only gratuitous -- see here for details. This book has entered my list of foundational raccoomendations).

This is a G-rated blog, so I'll try to keep it clean, but let me just add that entering this fertile state sort of involves simultaneously penetrating and being penetrated. But there's a big payoff at the end.

Let me also add that the Boy is still recovering. His sleep has been disrupted, so he could wake up at any moment. That's not exactly conducive to sleeping in and out of my usual trilit hypnopomposity.

I know I started off yesterday with several quotes from The Spiritual Ascent, which always gets me "in the mood." If Mini-me should wake up prematurely and we lose contact, just meditate on these while repeating "there's no place like OM," and you'll get the point of the whole post. The rest is just commentary:

And do you say 'God is invisible'? Speak not so. Who is more manifest than God? For this very purpose has he made all things, that through all things you may see him. --Hermes

This world is verily an outer court of the Eternal... --Theologia Germanica

If you do not know the way, seek where his footprints are. --Rumi

There are many ways to prove the existence of God, but these come down to two broad categories, mysticism and intellection. The former involves union with the object (or Subject), while the latter involves a resonant symbolic understanding which fertilizes and "illuminates" the higher mind (i.e., the nous, buddhi, "psychic being," etc.), drawing us upward and inward to the very source of our understanding, which is none other than Truth itsoph.

You might say that science knows in order to understand, while intellection understands in order to know. But various misosophic pseudo-philosophies also engage in a caricature of the ladder, which, as we shall see, leads to the annoying paradorks of "false understanding," who are more rung than height, or dung than light.

Another way of saying this is that man, although mortal, may know the immortal; although he is relative, he may know the Absolute, because he shares the Absolute. Looked at one way, you could compare it to a venn diagram in which our crazy little bercircles intersect with the sanosphere of the Creator (a sphere "contains" an infinite number of circles, but can never be reduced to their sum). Or, you could say that our deepest center is the center of All, "the still point of the turning stomach," for those of you whom I make ill.

Now, importantly, this is something which the atheist believes no less than the theist. One of the reasons we know that Darwinism cannot be true, is that if it were, it could never account for how natural selection has produced beings capable of understanding the truth of their origins (as always, when I speak of "Darwinsim," I am referring to the simple-minded, reductionistic, all-explaining version; likewise, whenever I criticize science, I am not referring to the limited claims of the scientific method, but to the abject philosophistry of scientism).

Whenever someone uses their transcendent intelligence to dismiss intelligent design, don't even bother with them, because there's a bug in their design. Or, you could say that in their case, their little minds are indeed fully explained by natural selection, and leave it at that. For whatever reason, they simply lack the evolutionary accoutrement to transcend their genetic programming. But it takes all kinds to make a biosphere -- let alone psychosphere -- so we bear them no ill will except for when they try to force their silly two-dimensional religion on the rest of us.

For human beings, Truth is the sufficient reason of intelligence. In other words, our intelligence is ultimately a function of Truth; indeed, it is truth "prolonged" into the horizontal. If you invert this formulation and attempt to arrive at truth through purely Darwinian means, you simply cannot get there. Or, if you do, you have disproved your own Darwinian assumptions.

Likewise, if a physicist can comprehend the origin of the cosmos, the cosmos is "contained" within his comprehension, not vice versa. No equation can contain our conscious understanding, any more than an EEG can reveal the content of your mind, much less whether or not said content is true.

God may be known through the psycho-morphic resonance engendered through the archetypes of revelation. Again, we posit three broad categories of revelation, 1) the cosmos itself, or existence, 2) the human subject, or Man as Such, and 3) what is commonly known as "revelation," or direct divine-to-human murmurandoms. Being that these are always necessarily human, they will be subject to some degree of distortion, even if the distortion only exists on the receiving end. But the more we calibrate and cleanse our own instrument, the more we can see into it and get out of it.

Theists and atheists agree on at least one, and implicitly two, of the forms of revelation. For example, science begins with the assumption that the cosmos reveals its own truth to human beings. Oddly, most of them do not take the next logical step, and realize that Man as Such is the key to the cosmos, or the Whole Existentialada. But obviously he is, so long as he is capable of understanding and therefore transcending its appearances with Real knowledge.

What is commonly called "revelation" simply fleshes out the implication that man is a both a bridge to, and symbol of, the divine reality. Man alone traverses all of the degrees of creation, at least in potential. In this regard, he is an inverse image of God, in that you might say that God is an empty fullness, while man is a full emptiness. Thus, both are potentially inexhaustible, only our emptiness is dependent upon God to fill it. Or, to put it another way, God and man "kenotically" fulfill one another: God empties his fullness into man, and man fills his emptiness with God.

Into the blisstic mystic, no you or I, nor reason wise, a boundless sea of flaming light, bright blazing fire and ecstatic cinders, Shiva, me tinders, count the stars in your eyes. Fulfilled, filledfull, what a shakti ma system!

You see, mathematical symbols are not exactly like archetypal religious mythsemantical symbols, in that the latter are simultaneously more precise and inexact. As Guenon explains, "It is the function of symbols to be the support for the for conceptions where the possibilities of extension are truly unlimited, while all expression is itself but a symbol; therefore one must always make allowance for that part which is inexpressible, and which in the realm of pure metaphysics is precisely that which most matters."

Do you see the dilemma? We are using symbols to precisely express that which transcends precision, which is why we can express this fulsome truth in such a rich diversity of ways, including my last 973 posts. All emanate from the one truth, except that truth is refracted through various layers and modalities before it comes out in the form of a post. On a good day, it is like a magnifying glass, which gathers the rays of the sun and creates a beam of intense light that can set fire to an insect or troll.



So man is either the hypermeaningful microcosm or a meaningless microchasm; he either contains the cosmos within his understanding, or he is an abyss of ultimate ignorance and a chasm of existential naughtiness -- a nihilistic bridge from nowhere to nothing, because the bridge only goes out but not up.

As a matter of fact, man is indeed a circular bridge from nothing to Nothing, as I attempted to non-verbally explayn in my book, through its circular form. At the end of the deity, we are the nothing-everything that is the source of the whole he & shebang. For as Sri Aurobindo wrote, our ultimate state "is a zero which is All or an indefinable Infinite which appears to the mind a blank, because mind grasps only finite constructions." This is why perceptive readers will have noticed that my posts are always shooting at blanks.

There is a rounding out of the circle in which the beginning and end, the primal Origin of creation and the ultimate Consummation of the creative process, meet and touch in Christ... --Josef Pieper

...[T]here is something even beyond this Word. It is the silent vastness out of which everything, even the Word, arises. It neither exists nor does not exist. --Richard Smoley, author of Inner Christianity & A Blurb for Bob

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Freedom of Will, Knowledge of Truth, Nobility of Soul

Very annoying. I just lost the post, and I don't even know how. No time to regrow it, but it was a doozy. I'll have to try to recreate it tomorrow. FYI, it was called "Vertical Man the Microcosm, Horizontal Man the Microchasm." Did I mention it was a doozy? Now it's like one of them Buddhist sand paintings. Oh well. A reminder of our transcience before the Eternal, as if we need more lessons in evanescence. In the mean time, a random rerun from two Mays ago...


The prerogative of the human state is objectivity, the essential content of which is the Absolute. There is no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence; there is no freedom without objectivity of the will; and there is no nobility without objectivity of the soul. --Frithjof Schuon

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Forget the blather about a “Creator.” Could nonsense such as this ever pass muster in a contemporary leftist university, where the only self-evident truth is that there is no truth, self-evident or otherwise?

This imaginary “Creator” supposedly endowed us with “liberty,” which is to say free will. But every leftist knows that we don’t really have free will. Rather, we are victims of our environment and our genes. For example, poverty causes crime. Unless you happen to be rich. Then greed causes crime. Unless you haven’t committed any crime. Then it’s just a crime to be rich. But don’t be confused -- there’s no objective right or wrong anyway. Which we know to be objectively true.

Multiculturalism is the doctrine that race, not values, determines consciousness. For example, there is “black consciousness.” Perhaps you didn’t know this, but blacks are born leftists. However, occasionally you will see a conservative black person such as Thomas Sowell or Ken Blackwell or Shelby Steele. One is tempted to say that these racial deviants represent birth defects, but they are probably just trying to imitate “white consciousness.” Whites are inherently racist, so in a weird way, these self-hating black conservatives are also white racists.

What about white liberals, you ask? Since liberals represent all that is good and decent, how have these white people transcended their own inherent racism? And since it is fair for liberals to attack black conservatives for “acting white,” is it fair for conservatives to attack liberal caucasians for “acting black?” Try it some time.

“There is no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence.” “There is no freedom without objectivity of the will.” Freedom is a paradoxical thing, for if it simply means that we are subjectively free to do or believe whatever we want, what good is it? It’s just another, more subtle form of tyranny, the tyranny of unconstrained, ultimately meaningless choice on the horizontal plane.

The classical (not contemporary) liberal draws a sharp distinction between freedom and liberty. Freedom is the mere absence of constraint, the right to do whatever one wishes. It implies no verticality at all. Liberty, on the other hand, is constrained by Truth, both as it applies to knowledge and our will to act.

What good is academic freedom unless it is actually converging upon objective truth? One of the problems in the Arab world is that they have neither freedom nor liberty. They are obliged to believe outrageous lies -- lies about Israel, lies about America, lies about women, lies about Christianity. But it is possible to have the opposite problem, the obligatory belief that truth doesn’t exist, so that one person’s belief is no higher or better than another’s. Moral and intellectual relativism are not just forms of tyranny, they are a manifestation of hell, for hell is any place where one cannot appeal to Truth.

Ironically, the person who believes that truth exists and that he is free to discover it is far more constrained than the person who either doesn’t believe in objective truth or who lives in tyranny. For example, if you read, you will see that in the Arab world you are absolutely free to believe the most vicious and vile lies about Jews. Likewise, on American college campuses, you are free to believe the most brazen lies about American history, or about President Bush, about religion, or about capitalism.

But the person who believes in truth doesn’t have that kind of absurd and meaningless freedom. For he is only free to believe what is true, and what kind of freedom is that? In other words, such a person is not free to believe that 2+2=5, or that men and women are identical, or that children do just as well with two fathers as a father and mother, or that objective truth doesn’t exist, or that natural selection alone explains human consciousness, or that high taxes are a good way to reduce poverty, or that we have no transcendent moral obligations. And yet, the truth supposedly "sets you free.” How does that work?

It seems that objective truth is the key to true freedom, both as it pertains to knowledge and to action. Objectivity is often thought of as empirical knowledge of material reality, but this is a misleadingly narrow definition. Rather, according to Schuon, objectivity must be understood not as “knowledge that is limited to a purely empirical recording of data received from outside, but a perfect adequation of the knowing subject to the known object.”

In other words, objectivity has to do with aligning our understanding with what it is we wish to know, whether it is a rock, a mathematical equation, or God. “An intelligence or a knowledge is ‘objective' when it is capable of grasping the object as it is and not as it may be deformed by the subject.” It is “conformity to the nature of things,” independent of interference by individual tendencies or tastes.

As such, objectivity is even a kind of “ego death” in the face of the reality of the object. But there is a payoff, in that “the subjective compensation of this extinction is the nobility of character,” a vertical nobility that is our true human birthright. Moreover, in our logoistic cosmos, the transcendent Object (Brahman, the Father) is ultimately the immanent Subject (Atman, the Son). Therefore, in the final analysis, objectivity is none other than the ultimate Truth “in which the subject and the object coincide, and in which the essential takes precedence over the accidental -- or in which the Principle takes precedence over its manifestation -- either by extinguishing it, or by reintegrating it.”

Thus, through objectivity, we actually become who we are, undistorted by the accidents and contingencies of existence. "Without objectivity and transcendence there cannot be man, there is only the human animal; to find man, one must aspire to God.”

In short, because we have the capacity for objectivity, we partake of the Absolute, which is absolute liberty. We are not really free to know God. It is only God who is free to know himself through us. Deny this truth, and we live in another absolute -- the false or pseudo-absolute of arbitrary and unlimited horizontal freedom. The purpose of liberty is to enable us to choose what we already are in the depths of our being. This is that famous point whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere: there is only this one center, and you are it. Or, to be precise, you are not other than it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Greatest Liberal Rock Songs

Sub-optimal blogging conditions continue. Basically, the Boy has been sick, and up many times a night. Therefore, a frivolous and perhaps mildly amusing post from over two years ago.


Now that someone has put together the list of The 50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs, someone ought to compile a list of the greatest liberal rock songs. Since I have an hour to kill, I think I'll give it a whirl. This is very much off the cuff, so bear with me.

Perhaps, as R.J. Eskow huffed in a recent post, this is an unnecessary exercise, since all rock music is by definition liberal. It is liberal because, according to him, it “raises blood pressure, stimulates adrenaline, [and] creates sexual stimulation and physical aggression.”

That's a little too much information. Suffice it to say that rock music doesn't provoke sado-masochistic impulses in everyone.

Nevertheless, even if we were to stipulate that all rock music is liberal, some is obviously more liberal than the rest. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of rock music, at least until recently, was surprisingly apolitical -- or at least the politics was implicit and ambiguous, such as in Bob Dylan’s best work (very early on he saw through the left and stopped writing the kind of tedious and didactic songs they enjoy, such as Masters of War). Just last night, I was thinking about how, say, Van Morrison -- one of the handful of truly great "rock" artists -- has never written a song with any overt political message.

It’s true that when there is an explicit political message in rock music, it is virtually always from the left. In fact, this is what makes the songs so unartful, ham-handed, and generally lame. It is what makes them so wince-worthy and time-bound -- except for when they are timelessly stupid, for example, Give Peace a Chance. As we have discussed before, there is a vast difference between art and didacticism, the latter being a form of pornography.

In no particular order, I’m just going to rely upon my memory to call up some of the greatest liberal songs of all time. I'm pretty much limiting myself to the "classic rock" era, so the list will obviously be incomplete. I could include dozens of more recent examples, but the genre has largely drifted into such a self-caricature of recycled and rigidly predictable adolescent developmental arrest, that it would be redundant.

The first song that comes to mind is War, by Edwin Starr. Although it is now over 35 years old, it still expresses the universal leftist contempt for the military and about the need to defend ourselves from evil. In fact, the king of moonbat rockers, Bruce Springsteen, has taken to singing it in concert. Its boneheaded lyric asks the famous question,

What is it good for?

The answer, of course, being absolutely nothing! (say it again, y’all!).

For the left, the problem is never the existence of evil. They scoff at that unsophisticated notion. Rather, it is the existence of people who fight it. For war itself “is an enemy to all mankind.” It “can't give life, it can only take it away!,” as every Jew who survived the Holocaust or every Kurd who escaped Saddam’s torture chambers knows.

They say we must fight to keep our freedom,
But Lord knows there's got to be a better way!

Sure there’s a better way. As the girl who spoke at the New School commencement put it, “We have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet.... We can change the universe by being who we are.... it really is just that simple.” It seems to me that this approach has a long way to go before it can even be considered simple minded, then simplistic, and on to simple.

Even before Neil Young, there were America-bashing Canuckleheads making an extravagant living by attacking the country that makes their frivolous lives possible. American Woman, by the Guess Who, expresses sentiments that are still widely shared by our leftist friends to the north, who, in a recent poll, ranked the United States as the most dangerous country on earth:

American woman, said get away...
Don’t come hangin’ around my door
Don’t wanna see your face no more
I don’t need your war machines
I don’t need your ghetto scenes
Colored lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes
Now woman, get away from me
American woman, mama let me be.

Of course, not all Canadians share the sentiments of their their pinheaded elites. I am told that normal Canadians who live outside the major cities, especially in the western provinces, are much more appreciative of the security and prosperity made possible by the United States. They know that the American “war machine” actually shoulders their share of the world’s defense, so their government can waste money on other things, such as the fascist thought-enforcement commission that has been persecuting Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn.

But leftist elites have always had trouble relating to the middle class. Secretly (and not so secretly) they have contempt for middle and working class people, whom they regard as clueless boobs for not being default leftists. They just can’t figure out why an ordinary American would ever vote Republican, since Democrat elites know what is best for them. The song Pleasant Valley Sunday, written by Carol King, expresses the contempt and condescension that leftist superbians feel toward suburban Americans who are not bitter activists and who simply want to enjoy their lives:

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care

See Mrs. Gray she's proud today because her roses are in bloom
Mr. Green he's so serene, he's got a TV in every room

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land...

Creature comfort goals
They only numb my soul...

Carol King is a wonderful pop-rock songwriter, one of the greatest ever. But give me a break with the "creature comforts." I think she owns a village in Idaho. Then again, I suppose she can afford to be its idiot.

Of course, a major theme of contemporary liberalism is gender identity confusion. For this reason, I have chosen I’m a Boy, by the Who, which expresses the anger and confusion of a child whose mother is obviously a doctrinaire feminist who believes that sexual differences are simply cultural constructs:

I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But my ma won't admit it
I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But if I say I am, I get it!

Remember The Eve of Destruction, by Barry McGuire? Liberals like to make fun of fringe religious groups that predict the end of the world, and rightfully so. But hysterical mainstream liberals have been predicting the end of the world since I was a little kid, whether it's alar in apples, or acid rain, or nuclear power plants, or over-population, or running out of natural resources, or DDT. In the 1980s it was global cooling. Liberal scientists were unanimous that the world was catastrophically cooling as a result of manmade influences. Now they unanimously agree (except for the thousands who don’t) that the world is catastrophically warming.

For the hysterical left, it’s always the Eve of Destruction:

Al Gore’s mind, it is implodin’
Penguins dyin’, cities floatin’
If he says that cars are bad, it seems to me he's lyin’
He don’t believe in oil, but what's private yet he's flyin'?

What is it with the left’s perennial fascination with authoritarian regimes, whether Castro, or Arafat, or the Sandinistas? In Washington Bullets, the Clash sang,

For the very first time ever,
When they had a revolution in Nicaragua,
There was no interference from America
Human rights in America

Yup, for the first time, human rights in America. For the left, it’s a topsy-turvy world. Because of their hatred of America, it causes them to ally themselves with anyone who opposes America. For example, leftist heavyweight intellectual Noam Chomsky, who was also a champion of the totalitarian Sandinistas, argues that the genocidal policies of Hamas are “more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel."

It’s like the criminals are the good guys and the police are the bad guys. That’s what Eric Burdon sang in San Franciscan Nights:

Cop's face is filled with hate
Heavens above,
He's on a street called "Love"
When will they ever learn?

Cops. Selfish bastards. They’re nothing at all like the beautiful people of the left. As Joanie Mitchell put it in Woodstock,

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Yes, that would be the same reality-based garden where we have nothing to fear from a single person on this planet. Even if he wants to blow up the garden.

I’ll admit it, when I was in high school and had a devastating crush on Suzie Campbell, who sat next to me in biology class, I didn’t really get Love the One You’re With. Sure, it sounds good on paper, but unless you’re a rock star with groupies at your feet or a President with interns under your desk, how do you get the opposite person of the complementary gender to cooperate?

If you're down and confused

Yes, that would be me.

Concentration slips away

Check. It's like he can read my mind.

There's a girl, right next to you
And she's just waiting for something to do

Really? With me?

Turn your heartache right into joy
She's a girl, and you're a boy
So get it together, make it nice
You ain't gonna need, any more advice

Wait! Don’t go away! I think I do need some more advice!

If you can't be with the one you love,
Love the one you're with
Love the one you're with
Love the one you’re with

Stop taunting me!

Stephen Stills' partner, Graham Nash, is another moonbat who doesn’t see evil as the problem. Rather, it’s the military. Any military. In Military Madness, he sang,

In an upstairs room in Blackpool
By the side of a northern sea
The army had my father
And my mother was having me
Military Madness was killing my country

Not nazi madness, totalitarian madness, anti-Semitic madness, Islamo-fascist madness. Just “military madness.” And as we already know from Edwin Starr, war itself is evil. It can’t give life, it can only take it away. Presumably, Nash's father was insane for fighting the nazis:

And after the wars are over
And the body count is finally filed
I hope that The Man discovers
What’s driving the people wild
Military madness is killing your country

Similarly, Donovan, in The Universal Soldier (written by Buffy Saint Marie), blamed the individual GI:

He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Such a terminally adolescent view of the world. Speaking of which, check out the adolescent self-righteousness of this one by the Association, Enter the Young, which could be Obama's theme song:

Enter the young, yeah
Yeah, they've learned how to think
Enter the young, yeah
More than you think they think
Not only learned to think, but to care
Not only learned to think, but to dare
Enter the young

Yeah, here they come
some with questions, some decisions
Here they come
And some with facts and some with visions
Of a place to multiply without the use of divisions
To win a prize that no one's ever won!

Perhaps the Doors, in their epically bad The End, touched on the reasons for this pervasive developmental arrest:

Father, yes son, I want to kill you.
Mother... I want to... f*** you!!!!!!

I think I can sum up liberalism with just a few more anthems. First, as John Lennon observed, All You Need is Love. Just don’t ask for details of how this would work in practice. For if you read dailykos or huffingtonpost or listen to Air America, you immediately realize that the Who were correct: I Can’t Explain. Why? Because, as Morris Albert crooned, liberalism is based upon Feelings, nothing more than feelings...

Still, what does it hurt to live in a parallel reality-based world? The number one liberal anthem, as always, is Imagine:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing John's brownstone

I don’t know... I imagine other things...

Imagine no Islamists
It isn’t hard to do
No damn bin Laden
And no al Sadr too
Imagine all the Muslims
Living in our century....


The readers speak:

"One Tin Soldier," from the movie Billy Jack
"Sky Pilot," by Eric Burdon
"Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag," by Country Joe and the Fish (Also, let's not forget the brilliant "Fish Cheer" at Woodstock)
"The Flower Children," by Marcia Strassman
"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," by Scott McKenzie
"At Seventeen," by Janis Ian
"When the Music's Over" and "Five to One," by the Doors
"Street Fighting Man," by the Strolling Bones
"Get Together," by the Youngbloods
"God Save the Queen (The Fascist Regime)," by the Sex Pistols
Rage Against the Machine, Their Entire Angry Corpus
"Little Boxes," written by Malvina Reynolds
"American Skin--41 Shots," Bruce Springsteen (try getting past his security & count the shots)
"Woman Is The N-Word Of The World," by John Lennon (who had some major issues with abusing women)

There were some obvious ones I purposely left off the list, such as:
"Give Peace a Chance," by John Lennon (who was, not coincidentally, giving heroin a chance when he wrote it)
"Almost Cut My Hair," by crackhead felon David Crosby (with CSNY)
"Long Time Gone," by felonious crackhead David Crosby (with CSN)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day & The Remembrance of Things Surpassed (5.25.09)

Memorial Day -- like any holy-day -- is not a remembrance of things past, but of things present; it is a remembrance of things surpassed -- or of the fixed stars that transcend and illuminate our lives below. Specifically, it is an occasion for vertical recollection of a divine archetype that is present now -- can only be present now -- but requires the substance of ritual in order to vividly apprehend and "renew" it. On a holy-day, time "collapses," so we are closer to the archetype and to the celestial realm where it abides; for example, on any given Christmas, one is "closer" to the birth of Christ than someone was on a July day in 500AD.

We remember our heroes because they illuminate the eternal realm of the heroic, a realm that we must treasure and venerate if we are to survive as a culture. Not only is the hero a transcendent archetype, but he is only heroic because he has sacrificed something in defense of another archetype -- truth, liberty, beauty, the good, etc. In the absence of this true formulation, neither the hero nor his sacrifice make any sense at all. This is why to "deconstruct," say, George Washington, is not just an attack on the father of our country, but on fatherhood, heroism, strength, courage, and the realm of transcendent (i.e., the Real) in general.

Last year Will left a lengthy comment that touches on many of the things I wanted to write about this morning:

"So I was thinking, in what way is Memorial Day larger than it is -- as all spiritual ceremonies truly are? Well, as has been pointed out here, it's obvious that Memorial Day is a day for celebrating, honoring, remembering what heroism really means -- courageous self-sacrifice in the name higher ideals, principles, which are, to be sure, *spiritual* ideals and principles. So in one sense, our fallen military heroes are symbolic of this ideal. They are the most vivid, the most tangible representation of this ideal that we have before us. There are others, of course, who likewise are vivid, in-the-flesh symbols of this spiritual ideal: police, firefighters, the occasional citizen who rises to the heroic occasion and is so publicly honored. There is no hero, however, quite as vivid, quite so symbolic of self-sacrificing virtue than the military hero.

"The great wonder of it, of course, is that our fallen heroes are not paintings, statues, images -- they were and are human. They are us. And still they are symbols, ideals in the flesh -- destiny selected them to serve this role. That role is to remind us that we all are potential self-sacrificing heroes, that we all are of divine essence. Somehow, on some level, we must realize this, otherwise we wouldn't have a day for honoring our fallen heroes.

"The other day Bob alluded to the some of the symbolic threads in the Wizard of Oz. I have long seen WoO as a tale of a journey into the Realm of Divine Archetypes wherein we (through Dorothy) see ourselves, and others, in our real, divine essence. In her eyes, her Kansas friends and acquaintances became Scarecrow, Lion, Tin Man -- became, in effect, their true selves, all on a heroic quest to reclaim their spiritual birthright. In Kansas, they were just dusty average Joes. In the Higher Realm, they were their real selves, knights, heroes.

"Most of us are Kansans. We do not have a symbolic public role to play. And yet there are countless souls who commit unseen (by the public) acts of tremendous self-sacrifice and heroism, whose deeds will never be acknowledged -- in some cases, not by a single other -- in this world. Our military heroes remind us that such heroism is possible. The secular attempt to 'deconstruct' military heroism is no less than an attempt to sever us from our Oz, our spiritual reality. We need daily remind ourselves that we are on the yellow brick road of our personal heroic quest. And we need to remind ourselves that, though our personal acts of heroism may never be acclaimed in this life, we will, in the fullness of time, be acknowledged as the heroes we imagine ourselves to be."


As a prelude.... I guess it's not a prelude anymore.... But anyway, I am also reminded of a couple of particularly resonant lines in a piece by Vanderleun, Small Flags: "These days we resent, it seems, having [cemeteries] fill at all, clinging to our tiny lives with a passion that passes all understanding; clinging to our large liberty with the belief that all payments on such a loan will be interest-free and deferred for at least 100 years."

Elsewhere he writes, "It is not, of course, that the size of the sacrifice has been reduced. That remains the largest gift one free man may give to the country that sustained him. It is instead the regard of the country for whom the sacrifices were made that has gotten smaller, eroded by the self-love that the secular celebrate above all other values" (emphasis mine).


Vanderleun touches on several themes that could be expanded into entire posts: the desperate clinging to our tiny lives; the earthly passion that passes all understanding since it denies transcendence; the notion that liberty is free; that death in defense of a spiritual ideal is the greatest gift one man can give another; and that self-love is the polar opposite of true love and sacrifice, and that which causes the country to contract vertically even as it might expand in every other way.

Sacred, sacrament, and sacrifice are all etymologically linked; all are derived from sacer, or to the holy and mysterious. This itself is interesting, for holy, of course, implies wholeness, and wholeness is indeed a portal to mystery, just as "partness" is a perpetual riddle that necessarily shades off into the the absurd. For example, a psychotic person lives in a bizarre world of forcibly disconnected objects and experiences that he cannot synthesize into unity, or wholeness. Often he will superimpose a false unity in the form of paranoid delusions. Paranoia is "a false wholeness," but it is never far from the nameless dread that sponsors it.

A couple of days ago I noted the truism that leftist thought -- even more than being ruled by emotion -- is primarily iconic. Or one might say that the left simply has very passionate feelings about its icons, which they confuse with "thoughts."

You can see this same phenomenon in our recent deust-up with the atheist folks, who are also (ironically, but not really) ruled by overpowering feelings about their own sacred icons. Point out where they are wrong, and they hysterically accuse you of calling them animals and depriving them of the humanity which they deprive themselves. Rational they are not. Or, at the very least, the more sober among them prove the adage that there is a form of madness that consists of losing everything with the exception of one's reason, or that there are incredibly intelligent ways to be stupid -- reductionistic and logically self-refuting Darwinism being one of them. Materialism is a gateway ideology to things far lower.

A disturbing number of our fellow citizens not only believe that Islamic terrorists are not engaged in a global war against Western civilization (or "civilization," for short), but that the United States government itself engineered 9-11, or that the war on terror is really being waged to enrich George Bush and his friends. Obviously there can be no heroes in such a world, only scoundrels and dupes. If this were true, then Keith Olbermann would be correct that our men in uniform are really just "hired assassins."

Vanderleun alludes to this, where he writes of how increasing numbers of American asses with Rosie-colored glasses prefer "to take refuge in the unbalanced belief that 9/11 was actually something planned and executed by the American government. Why many of my fellow Americans prefer this 'explanation' is something that I once felt was beyond comprehension. Now I see it is just another comfortable position taken up by those for whom the habits of automatic treason have become just another fashionable denigration of the country that has made their liberty to believe the worst of it not only possible but popular."

Yes, the left is insane, but exactly kind of insanity is this? How have they become so detached from reality?

It has to do with the specific reality from which they have become detached. As another fine example of the shallowness and naivete of atheist thought, one of them writes that

"Millions and millions of people died in Russia and China under communist governments -- and those governments were both secular and atheistic, right? So weren't all of those people killed in the name of atheism and secularism? No. Atheism itself isn't a principle, cause, philosophy, or belief system which people fight, die, or kill for. Being killed by an atheist is no more being killed in the name of atheism than being killed by a tall person is being killed in the name of tallness."

This looks like a banal statement -- which it unavoidably is -- and yet, it is quite sinister in its implications, and illuminates all of Vanderleun's points mentioned above. First, atheism is petty and unworthy of man, being that it is immensely beneath the scope of his intellect. No one would give his life to defend it, since it is the substance of meaninglessness, precisely. Why sacrifice one's life for the principle that there are no transcendent principles worth dying for?

The least of atheism's baleful effects is that it automatically makes the hero a fool because there is nothing worth defending. The more catastrophic effect is that it leaves the field open to evil-doers who are openly hostile to the transcendent principles that animate our uniquely decent and beautiful civilization. This is why you see an Old Europe that is supine before the barbarians in its midst who wish to destroy it. Socialism has nothing to do with "generosity" or selflessness; rather, it is the quintessence of selfishness, and diminishes a man down to the conviction that his animal needs should be provided for by someone else. The only thing that can rouse his passion is a threat to his entitlements. If only the Islamists were to threaten their 12 weeks of paid vacation, they be taken seriously by socialist EUnuchs.

This is also why, as Venderleun writes, the habits of automatic treason have become just another fashionable denigration of the country that has made their liberty to believe the worst of it not only possible but popular. This is the complete and utter cynicism that results from destroying the reality of the vertical and clinging to one's puny life with a passion that preempts and vanquishes any deep understanding of it.

For just as wholeness, the One, is associated with the peace that passes understanding, the exile from this real human world into the bizarre and fragmented world of the secular left brings not so much the passion that passes understanding, but the passion that cannot comprehend itself because it has no vector or direction beyond its own flat and cramped existence. In fact, nothing can be understood in the absence of that which it is converging upon, which reveals its meaning. To systematically deny the vertical is to obliterate the possibility of meaning and truth, which is obvious; however, it is also to destroy the hero and that transcendent reality for which he is willing to sacrifice his life.

Of the sacred, Schuon writes that it is in the first place "attached to the transcendent order, secondly, possesses the character of absolute certainty and, thirdly, eludes the comprehension and control of the ordinary human mind. Imagine a tree whose leaves, having no kind of direct knowledge about the root, hold a discussion about whether or not a root exists and what its form is if it does: if a voice then came from the root telling them that the root does exist and what its form is, that message would be sacred."

Again, the message is sacred and holy because it is transcendent and relates to knowledge of the whole.

Therefore, the sacred also represents "the presence of the center in the periphery, of the immutable in the moving; dignity is essentially an expression of it, for in dignity too the center manifests outwardly; the heart is revealed in gestures. The sacred introduces a quality of the absolute into relativities and confers on perishable things a texture of eternity." (Never again wonder at the profound lack of diginity of the left, for it is intrinsic and inevitable.)

Another way of saying it is that the sacred relates to the world as "the interference of the uncreate in the created, of the eternal in time, of the infinite in space, of the supraformal in forms; it is the mysterious introduction into one realm of existence of a presence which in reality contains and transcends that realm and could cause it to burst asunder in a sort of divine explosion. The sacred is the incommensurable, the transcendent, hidden within a fragile form belonging to this world; it has its own precise rules, its terrible aspects and its merciful qualities; moreover any violation of the sacred, even in art, has incalculable repercussions. Intrinsically the sacred is inviolable, and so much so that any attempted violation recoils on the head of the violator."

Which brings us back to Will's riff on the Wizard of Oz. On the one hand, the United States, more than any other nation, is flat and dusty old unassuming Kansas. But at the same time, it is Oz, the vertical and shining Emerald City on a hill. We must never forget either fact, one of them Real, the other merely real. Nor can we forget the very real Kansans who gave their lives to bring us closer to that Reality. In order to honor them, we must never do anything to change this into a country that would be unworthy of their sacrifice -- indeed, one they would scarcely recognize. That's the deal in a vertical democracy in which its fallen heroes, of all people, should have a say. We must be their voice.

I guess this would be my favorite version: