Monday, June 30, 2008

Memos From God to Himself: Cosmic Continuity and Deuscontinuity

At further risk of tawdry-sounding self-promotion, I want to get back to what I was saying the other day about how the chapters of my book are simultaneously discontinuous (indeed, like any other book) and continuous (like no other book of which I am aware, but I'm sure there must be at least one!). The purpose of this, don't you know, was to emphasize the fact that the universe is obviously One, and yet, diverse in ways for which science can never account, for reasons that are principial, not contingent.

And again, this wouldn't pose a such a deep philosophical problem if the discontinuity were simply dispersed "outwardly" in a purely horizontal manner. There would still be the problem of how it is possible for discrete wholes manifesting internal relations (and therefore interiority) to arise, but that is simply none other than "existence," for to exist is to manifest as a relatively autonomous and definable whole, or a part in relation to the Whole. In other words, if you are not a discrete and identifiable whole, then you are simply merged with your surroundings and don't really ex-ist.

But our cosmos has the baffling property of vertical discontinuity, of "ontological leaps" to entirely different modes of being, e.g., Bupkis-->Matter-->Life-->Mind-->Spirit-->Meta-bupkis (there are others, but those are the big ones). In fact, this weekend I happened across a passage by Schuon, who wrote that "When all is said and done there are only three miracles: existence, life, intelligence." And "with intelligence, the curve springing from God closes on itself, like a ring which in reality has never been parted from the Infinite.”

So you see, there is one of those quotes I was mentioning that also justify the circular structure of the book (for when Schuon uses the word "intelligence," he means it in terms of the higher intellect in its "uncreated" mode; as such, he's ultimately talking about the metacosmic journey that begins with creatio ex nihilo and ends in egobliteration and therefore cosmonihilation back to the One. So you could actually say that there are only two miracles: Existence and Redemption; or perhaps just one miracle, Redemption.

So “in reality," writes Schuon, "if God is the ‘omega,’ He is of necessity also the ‘alpha,” on pain of absurdity. The cosmos is a ‘message from God to Himself by Himself.’”

Either that, or we could adopt the scientistic view, which necessarily regards the cosmos as "a message from matter to itself by itself." But of course, this begs the question of how matter can have the capacity to encode any messages at all, for doesn't the capacity to do so transcend the properties of matter? Furthermore, wouldn't "knowing" this be reducible to matter, and therefore, stupidity?

Yes. This pernicious error goes by the name of "the invincible stupidity of the Lizards," or "the eternal religion of the kosbags," and is the "false circle" that unites the shrill extremes of left and right wing. (Again, LGF is not a conservative blog, but a right wing one; and kos is obviously not a liberal blog, but a leftist one, and left and right necessarily meet on the horizontal plane, since both deny transcendence a priori).

Again: the True Unbroken Circle -- which is esoterically symbolized by the ring-tailed Raccoon with "circles 'round the eyes" -- is the Open Spiral that is grounded in the Alpha and Omega that we call -- not coincidentally -- O (for this "O" is open, among other properties).

Now, the material world is made of "impermanence," or ceaseless change, while the intellect is made of timeless Truth, which is its "substance." But this ceaseless material change has a ground of transcendent permanence, otherwise we could not understand the change, any more than one can determine which of two bodies is moving in a two-body system. For example, it would be impossible to say if the sun were revolving around the earth or vice versa unless we could view the situation from a "higher third," transcendent position.

Likewise, we could not know the four-dimensional Adventure of Consciousness (i.e., evolution) if we were not capable of stepping outside of it and viewing it "from above." If you don't believe me, I suggest that you consult your pet monkey on the matter, and see what he has to say (or throw).

One might pose the question as follows: if human beings had never existed, would Darwinism still be "true?" (And please bear in mind that Darwinists are quite insistent on the point that the emergence of human beings was wholly random, to such an extent that if the "film" of evolution could be "replayed," it would never have resulted in humans.)

In other words, the question comes down to this: does truth "evolve?" Or, is it merely a result of evolution? If so, it cannot really be truth, since it is a wholly contingent thing in a wholly contingent cosmos: remember, in the scientistic cosmos, humans are just adam & evesdropping on matter having an intrinsically stupid conversation with itself. Needless to say, the question of transcendent or eternal "truth" doesn't enter the equation.

But it is precisely here where religion enters the picture to save these pompous asses from themselves, for religion is none other than an awareness of the Absolute shining through the relative, or eternity "within" time (for it is actually the converse i.e., time as an intrinsic property of timelessness), and Truth amidst appearances. Again, in the open spiral, appearances are struggling back up to Truth, so to speak, whereas in the closed horizontal cosmos of scientism, appearances are merely revealing other appearances, which is no revelation at all, just a double deception. It is what we call "scientistic insanity," for it is just a very elaborate and circuitous way of going nowhere except closer to tenure.

I don't know about you, but when I talk about Truth, I am talking either about the Absolute, or about something that makes no sense unless it is "in the light of the Absolute," so to speak. Thus, the "relative truths" of science are certainly permitted, so long as it is understood that these truths can never be justified on their own level, but only with the implicit understanding that no rational discourse is possible in the absence of the Intelligible Whole that sponsors all real knowledge and knowing -- which are in turn reflections of the exterior and interior of this Whole, respectively.

Let's take, oh, the Buddha. He was quite certain that he was revealing eternal truth when he declared that attachment to the impermanent was the source of suffering. This is not an "evolved truth," much less a truth that will somehow be transcended or gotten around with further "evolution." Rather, once again, this truth is the saving presence of the Absolute within the relative.

Or when Jesus says, "I am the Way, the Door, the Life," he most assuredly did not mean to add the qualifier, "until something better comes along." No. For he is talking about the Way back to the Absolute, the vertical Door, or passageway that miraculously abides here in the horizontal, and the eternal, nonlocal Life of which biology is a mere local property.

Another way of saying it is that God is the immutable center around which mutable appearances "rotate" like planets around the central sun. When we are aware of the Sun's light, it is not so much a matter of "straining" to see it, but simply removing the obstacles, clouds, or impurities that obscure it. Which is why the Eternal Vocation of the humble Raccoon is simply "cleaning windows." But as I keep trying to remind our trolls, I don't do installations.

To be discontinuously continued....

What's my line?
I'm a working man in my prime
Cleaning windows...
--Van Morrison, Cleaning Windows

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Coonversations With Mysoph

Here it is, your weekly "best of" from two years past. This one was originally called Vertical Maturity vs. Terminal Adultolescence. In skimming it, I see that some RACCOON ERROR may have crept in, so I will take this opportunity to entertain second thoughts about it where necessary; these will appear in brackets.

As always, this weekly verticalisthenic exercise also gives me the opportunity to do some basic editing for the first time, not to mention a proper grammar- and spellcheck, in order to make sure that the puns are properly misspelled and the syntax is fully unigmatic and in the wrong locution.

That reminds me. One of Bill Evans' most famous recordings is called Conversations With Myself. Condescending jazz purist that I am, I've never actually heard it, since it sounded gimmicky to me. On this recording, he first played a piece, and then later overdubbed himself having another musical "conversation" with it, spontaneously weaving in, out, and around it, making for a sort "double creation," which in turn creates a "higher third," or a whole new whole. "Piano for Hegelians," so to speak....

*****

Most psychological studies are worthless, because they either confirm common sense or violate it so thoroughly that no sensible person would believe the study. In fact, once you even reduce the study of psychology to that which can be proven with a study, you are pretty much a lost soul. This is because if one conflates the realm of Truth with that which can be proven with reason alone, you have done a very irrational thing. [So far, so good.]

First, reason can only operate with the materials with which it has been provided, and there is no strictly logical operation that can tell you which materials to select. Secondly, it excludes all forms of Truth that are known directly [or "seen"] through the intellect as such, including religious truths. Therefore, you no longer care about Truth as such but only the small subset that can be proven with logic. Furthermore, you have excluded pure intelligence as such [which clearly transcends reason, reason being one of its tools]. Some people are just much smarter or deeper than others, so what they say carries much more weight. [As our trolls teach us, the matter of intellectual -- not to mention spiritual -- qualification is not something that can be reduced to reason.]

To cite just one example, every sensible person knows that men and women are fundamentally different. In fact, it is difficult not to know this unless you've spent too much time in college. I've heard Dennis Prager ask any number of academics about it, and most of them say words to the effect of, “I’m not saying it’s impossible, but without the data to back it up, we just can’t say.” It would be more accurate for them to say, “we’re not allowed to say” -- or, more precisely -- "we’re not allowed to think,” for “thinking” is not synonymous with “drawing conclusions from premises” or data. Rather, the latter is just one of many operations and faculties available to thinking as such, i.e., to the intellect proper.

The irrational reduction of thinking to reason is at the heart of the leftist project, which is precisely why it is so deeply illogical. Because I can assure you, if you have a particular conclusion in mind (we're speaking of the humanities here), you can almost always find the premises you need to support it. Furthermore, it is very easy to attack and belittle translogical Truth as illogical, for the very reason that it transcends -- but does not exclude -- mere logic.

For example, this week the New York Times logically concluded that it was critical to reveal state secrets and undermine our national security because of the “greater danger” posed by President Bush's “threat to civil liberties.” This test fails their own logic, because four years ago the Times opined that the Bush administration was not doing enough to track terrorists through their financial activities: “If America is going to wage a new kind of war against terrorism, it must act on all fronts, including the financial one.” The difference, of course, is that the new stance is overwhelmingly driven by blind emotional hatred -- by the implicit premise that Bush is evil. Therefore, one is permitted to draw any pernicious conclusion one wishes from that fundamental -- but completely prelogical -- ”truth.”

[A critical point, for there is an essentially infinite difference between prelogical and translogical truth; the left -- not to mention the cretins at LGF -- habitually conflate the two; there is no difference in the crude manner in which the typical kos or LGF vulgarian confidently dismisses metaphysical truth.]

So I am always highly skeptical of psychological studies. I’m thinking of one in particular that wanted to prove that there is no difference between children raised by a mother and father vs. children raised by homosexual parents. In fact, said the study, there might even be a slight advantage to the latter, because the children of homosexual parents were more sexually adventurous. Hmm, “adventurous”.... That’s an interesting term for a scientific study. What does it mean? What it means for a person with common sense is that the children were more promiscuous and more confused about their sexual identities. Nuts & sluts, if you like.

Likewise, there have been studies proving that daycare is good for children, that molestation can be a positive experience, that mother love is toxic, that all homosexuality is genetic, that conservatives are mentally ill, that psychoanalysis is ineffective, that crime is caused by poverty or low self esteem, all agenda-driven nonsense.

Here is a study found on Pajamas Media, Immaturity Levels Rising. I would place it in the neutral category, for it contains some superficial truth that obscures much deeper truths that necessarily go unaddressed because they transcend anything that an academic psychological study can cope with.

The article notes that “new research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever.” This is a profoundly misleading statement, for the authors obviously have no idea how emotionally immature people were in the historical past, for example, in the Middle Ages, when most people were extremely immature and childlike, almost like children in adult bodies. Furthermore, most indigenous peoples and citizens of third world countries are extraordinarily immature, but those are generally not permissible thoughts in wackademia.

[Perhaps I need to re-emphasize that we are talking about the average mentality, e.g., not the few who were permitted to realize their potential. It seems that in all times and places, some people have been able to reach the "upper limit" of humanness; likewise, the frustrating thing about our day and age is that so few people even reach "basic humanness," especially if they have had too much of a secular brainwashing.]

To cite a contemporary example, the clash between Israel and her Arab neighbors is not a war over land but a war of psychoclasses, one side being markedly more mature than the other in every measurable way. In many respects, it is no mere hyperbole to say that our enemies in the war against Islamo-fascism are similar to Middle Age personalities: childlike, impulsive, illogical, illiterate, unworldly, and obviously prone to utter confusion between intensity of feeling and clarity of thought.

[I should point out that my opinion here was not produced from thin air, but has a lot of scholarly opinion to back it up. But again, this shouldn't be taken to suggest that we are superior to our forebears, for in no way do I believe, for example, that the typical academic philosopher is superior to, say, Aquinas, or the typical poet is superior to Dante! That would be absurd. It is just that certain conditions prevailed which prevented most people from achieving their potential, e.g., very short lifespan, ridiculously high infant mortality, widespread disease and famine, illiteracy, backbreaking labor, malnutrition, etc.]

The article goes on to say that “it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth. As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry.”

Now this is interesting, because it contains another implicit assumption that can either be illogical or translogical, but which can never be proven with reason. Specifically, what is the proper end of human development? What does it mean to be a fully developed human being? Is this something that can ever be proven by a study? Clearly, it is not synonymous with “average,” for the average person is probably an idiot, and the purpose of life cannot possibly be to become an idiot, the writers of dailykos and huffingtonpost to the contrary notwithstanding. [Academic studies also beg the question of whether it is possible to stably evolve beyond the ego, in the manner of the saint, sage, or mystic.]

The lead author of the study, an evolutionary psychologist, thinks he knows what is going on. He says that “humans have an inherent attraction to physical youth, since it can be a sign of fertility, health and vitality. In the mid-20th century, however, another force kicked in, due to increasing need for individuals to change jobs, learn new skills, move to new places and make new friends.”

Specifically, a “childlike flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge” is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world.... Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are ‘unfinished.’”

But here lies a deep confusion, for being “unfinished” is also a mark of psychological maturity. You see, there are two varieties of “unfinishedness,” one horizontal, the other vertical.

The author of the study obviously [and necessarily, since this is an academic study] doesn’t know anything about the vertical, so he naturally conflates it with the horizontal. He goes on to say that “formal education requires a childlike stance of receptivity to new learning, and cognitive flexibility." Yes, that much is true. Growth of any kind, in any sphere, requires that the entity in question be an open system that exchanges energy or information with the environment. [But that is not the same as an empty center, i.e., one with no translogical, vertical center.]

But he then makes the claim that "When formal education continues into the early twenties, it probably, to an extent, counteracts the attainment of psychological maturity, which would otherwise occur at about this age.” True enough, in the absence of the vertical, human beings will simply be adrift in the horizontal. It is a merely a mental-emotional realm, and therefore cynical, adolescent, and rebellious. As a matter of fact, it is pretty much the terminal state of most of academia (at least in the humanities), which is why it produces so much absurcular foolishness and so little wisdom.

The author then makes a particularly outlandish claim, that “past physical environments were more stable and allowed for a state of psychological maturity. In hunter-gatherer societies, that maturity was probably achieved during a person’s late teens or early twenties.... By contrast, many modern adults fail to attain this maturity, and such failure is common and indeed characteristic of highly educated and, on the whole, effective and socially valuable people." Again, primitive people in hunter-gatherer societies were hardly “mature” just because they stopped growing. They were simply stunted and developmentally arrested because they prematurely became closed systems.

[In other words, the author is confusing primitive "maturity" with "nothing left to know" and "nowhere left to grow"; and he is confusing the absence of an intellectual center in modern man with "flexibility" or "open-mindedness," when in reality, the world of secular academia is generally highly parochial and closed-minded, in particular, to the translogical truth that makes man Man.]

But the following conclusion by the professor is surely accurate: "People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact.... The faults of youth are retained along with the virtues.... These include short attention span, sensation and novelty-seeking, short cycles of arbitrary fashion and a sense of cultural shallowness.”

Exactly. Why is this? Because in the absence of a definition of true human maturity, a telos, an OMega point, an O megapoint, an O, Me! gapoint, a proper end toward which our humanness is oriented, we truly are perpetual adolescents [or, alternatively, a kind of sclerotic and hardened pseudo-adult] adrift in the horizontal. As I emphasized in the Coonifesto, we have both a genetic blueprint and a vertical blueprint, as it were. There is a transcendent or archetypal (not in Jung’s confused sense) realm of universal human nature toward which we are drawn by maintaining ourselves as open systems in the vertical dimension. This is a realm of grace, aspiration, and primordial truth, and it contains the only end truly worthy of a human life. To be in conformity with this transcendent clueprint -- without losing our individuality -- is what it means to be a mature human qua human.

[Needless to say, this is a reality that Darwinism not only cannot disclose, but can only obscure.]

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Biology of Truth and the Physics of Intelligence (6.27.10)

Ho! Fooled you again, boy!

For there can be no "biology of truth," any more than there can be a "physics of intelligence" -- that is, unless you inhabit an inverted cosmos or are psycho-spiritually inside-out. In short, if you are existentially lost -- and, like our late-night anti-Thomist commenter yesterday, couldn't find the Creator's aseity with both hands and a road map.

For our God is not a "God of the horizontal gaps" but a God of the eternal silence that gives birth to each vertical moment. Coonversely, the almighty randomness of Darwinism is merely a god of the saps, a dopiate for the scientistic masses to preserve their slumber and prevent them from being disturbed by the Real. Zzzzzzzzzz... Wake me when I'm tenured.

Coonversely, we are happy to discuss the truth of biology and the intelligence of physics, which we did at some length in the Coonifesto. As such, we will not review that material here, being that it is so far behind us in the seerview mirror that we no longer remember most of it. For the self-evident presence of "intelligent design" by no means proves the existence of God, much less the Judeo-Christian God. Rather, it merely proves the existence of intelligence, which is to say, Truth (being that the former is a function, or descent, of the latter -- no Truth, no intellect, no service).

Careful readers of the book may notice the precise turning point when the B'ob made this realization, and then promptly "moved on" (or, more precisely, up and in). Let's see if we can find it.

Can't find it. But the point is, the recognosis of cosmic intelligence merely permits one to de-invert reality, so that one is once again living in a right-side up cosmos. (See page 256: Return your soul to its upright position and extinguish all (me)mories, we're in for a promised landing.)

Yes, that is where the real funwork begins -- your summa vocation -- because now we're back at the humble bottom (instead of the fake promethian top of a grandiose scientism), and must carry out the hard work of spiritual evolution, or realizing what you know. In short, we move from the materialistic penthouse to the spiritual repenthouse, where we pent and repent again as necessary in order to keep our metanoia fresh and clean. Even so, we would rather be a stooge in heaven than a prince in hell.

"Faith" is the gap between what we know and what we shall realize, so long as we cultivate virtue and simplicity, and breath within the space of a silent aspiration. But the more one realizes, the more justification for faith one possesses, until it becomes the norm to simply live in the perpetual uncertainty of an open and unsaturated faith, symbolized in the book by (o) and (---).

In so doing, one lives close to the cosmic spring where the vertical waters flow down into creation on a moment to moment basis. Or, to adopt the mystical formulation favored by Coons, we loiter on the threshold of the transdimensional doorway, looking for handouts from Petey, who usually comes through if he's not too terribly busy.

Biology is about "the adventure of life," whereas a Raccoon is more interested in the "adventure of consciousness" which is the very point of the former.

For us, Life proves that there really is such a thing as a free launch pad, so we don't spend a lot of time worrying about how this wonderful means of ascent appeared in a dead and meaningless cosmos. The point is, it's here, and we're going to take advantage of it. As Howlin' Wolf growled, we're going to have our fun, in spite of the dour and scowling Darwinists who think they hold the prison keys. But keys to heaven are everywhere.

You see, the blinkered Darwinist thinks that life only points down and back to the dead matter out of which it was magically given birth. But for the Raccoon, life is a symbol (symbol meaning "thrown across") that again points "up" and "in." We do not see life as a circular series of lateral mutations, but an open spiral that ultimately rejoins whole and part, absolute and relative, time and eternity, center and periphery, man and God.

In ether worlds, it is a vertical lifeline thrown down into dead matter in order to divinize and redeem it. And human beings are the "axis" or "pivot" to the whole enterprise. Deep down we all recognize this, albeit often in a garbled and perverted manner, for example, the environmental hysterics or the pompous and deluded LGFers who know they are superior to biology, but have no idea how.

Life! If Darwinism is all there is, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. I have no respect for a reductionistic Darwinist who is not a nihilist and a sociopath, for he is merely a weakling and coward who lacks basic intellectual honesty and the courage of his convictions. He has his feet planted in the soil of Judeo-Christian values, even while he has his head planted in his ass.

Give me the brave Nietzsche any day, in whose writing one may at least sense the giddy abandonment of living in spiritual free fall, and feeling the breath of satan along one's keel! I know that bracing feeling, the feeling of being a Superman who can fly! Of course, in that world one can only fly downward, but still, it's fun while it lasts! For me, it lasted about eight months, while for others it can apparently last a lifetime.

Looking at my behind, I can see that I touched the outer limit of that dark world as long ago as October of 1973, by which time I had already reached the end of the lyin'. However, it took another twenty years or so to fully grasp that, and to put my head deeply into my assimilation. For as a cheeky patient of mine once put it, "karma has a way of coming back around and biting you in the butt." As I said, one must begin back at the bottom, so it takes a while to even recover one's humanness and to "break even" in this life. After that, you're playing with "house money," and things get easier. Now I've got a big pile of chips to play with, and I can't see myself running out in this laughtime. Ho!

My recognition that life is not a Darwinian low way but a spiritual highway is memorialized on page 87, where it is written,

"But then something altogether surprising happened. From our vantage point outside time, we now see that the boundary of life did not end with its own little precarious little dance along the precipice of non-being. Rather, we see that life was bound by two infinite frontiers, one side down and back into dark death and obscure material dissolution, the other side up and beyond, into more subtle regions of Mind and Spirit. Crossing that radiant upper threshold we are witness to...

Turning the page.... turning another page....

Boo!!!

It is a little spooky when you think about it, isn't it? Do you want to know why I put that "boo" in there? I was thinking of a comedy routine by Richard Pryor, who was talking about "the very first mother f*cker who looked around and said What the F*CK is going on?!!!"

In other words, it is meant to immortalize that very first cosmic experience of (?!), because obviously there had to be a first time, just as there had to be the first time that the material world wrapped around itself and bound up time and space within a centralizing metabolism we call "life." The sacred What the F*CK is going on?!!! is re-enacted by Raccoons from all over the world every March Forth, as soon as we "open our eyes" in the "morning," innocently view creation like a newborn Adam in paradise, and, like our ancestral furbear, blurt the words in wide-eyed astoneagement:

What the F*CK is going on?!!!

For surely, the Raccoon knows that this is not a rhetorical question, much less a "vulgar" one. Indeed, the past 1,004 posts have been the ongoing attempt to answer that eternal question which I ask mysoph each morning.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Darwinians and Other Creationists

I have this eery feeling that I'm not going to have enough time to evolve a post this morning. Then again, if earth evolved life in only 150 million years, then surely I can come up with something. Remember what I mentioned in the Coonifesto -- earth was way too hot to allow life until just 4 billion years ago (or whenever it was), and the earliest appearance of life is 3.85 billion years ago. That is way, way too quickly for pure chance to have resulted in Life.

And remember, when we say "earth evolved life," we are obviously using "evolved" in a non-Darwinian sense, since Darwinism only applies to the already living. So Darwinism has nothing to say about the evolution of Life per se (just as it has nothing useful to say about the further evolution of consciousness toward the higher planes).

Come to think of it, is it possible to speak of the creation in the absence of creation and therefore a Creator? What I mean is that Darwinism is always sneaking in higher order concepts that its ideology won't permit, such as purpose, creativity, truth, etc. In reality, Darwinism enshrines its own form of creationism, except that it is magical as opposed to spiritual. We're all creationists. At issue is how it is possible for true creativity to occur in a dead and meaningless cosmos.

Perhaps we should first define creation. Let's see... for me, creation involves bringing something entirely novel into existence, something that certainly couldn't have occurred randomly, but only through the creative act. Therefore, all true creativity is analogous to the original creatio ex nihilo. If the Beatles hadn't created I Am the Walrus in 1967, then no one would have. Ever.

Similarly, if I don't write my posts when I do, they'll never be written, for you can never pass through the same stream of consciousness twice. Admittedly, I practice a form of extreme seeking and off-road spiritual adventure in which I suspend memory, desire, and understanding, in order to spontaneously cook up a fully half-baked post from scratch each morning, but even so, that's just pushing the creative process to the inner limits. Plus I'm too lazy to prepare.

My models in this regard are Bion and a particular teacher I had in graduate school, Dr. Panajian (through whom I first encountered Bion; I suppose I should also mention Aurobindo, who spontaneously wrote about ten books at the same time in this manner -- he called it "overmental writing"). I bring this up because I literally cannot imagine who I might have become if I hadn't met Dr. Panajian, and through him, discovered the works of Bion.

Assuming that today "I am who I am," then I might have easily not become who I am, or else become who I am not. In any event, this was one of those existential crossroads, that when you look back at your life, looks preposterously "arranged" -- perhaps as if my future self were drawing toward itself what it needed in order to be, or to transition from potential to actuality. (As the rabbis say, God spends most of his time arranging meetings and marriages.)

Before you dismiss this out of hand, we know that human development is teleological, in that it is "guided" by an end point, i.e., mature adulthood. This obviously takes place on the biological plane. By virtue of what principle can it not take place on the psychological or spiritual planes? In fact, there is no principle that forbids it, which is one of the reasons why the Raccoon stresses the importance of synchronicity -- which is not mere "coincidence." Rather, Jung's point was that it was meaningful coincidence, in particular, a coincidence that illuminates some deeper understanding, or places one on an entirely new path, or opens one up to the world of the transcendent, etc.

For example, I read something about how at the Tim Russert funeral, they played the song Over the Rainbow, and then, at the conclusion of the service, a real rainbow appeared over Washington DC. For me, that's a fascinating coincidence. But for another, it might have been a synchronicity that shattered their egoic defenses and opened them up to the transcendent plane. The latter is what counts, not the coincidence itself. In other words, if you try to inductively arrive at a spiritual worldview based merely upon cataloguing all of the weird coincidences that have occurred in your life, you'll never get there. Rather, the synchronicities must reach way down and in. They're usually connected to a deeper psycho-spiritual organizing principle.

I know for a fact that many people feel the same way about this blog, as if they were "guided" or "drawn" here. I don't know, but I do find it interesting that as soon as I abandoned myself to this process and let 'er rip (as opposed to being a more conventional blog in its first few months of existence) I drew a sort of core audience that hasn't really grown or changed much. I find that odd. And the oddness cuts both ways, because I really couldn't do this in the absence of the ideal little audience that somehow found me.

Anyway, back to Dr. Panajian, whom I believe I mentioned in at least one previous post. He was so completely different from any other teacher I had ever encountered, in that he used no notes whatsoever, but would spontaneously spin his lectures out of his own psychic substance -- in the way a spider produces a web from its own body -- for two or three hours at a time. He would slowly pace back and forth, looking as if he were focused on a reality we couldn't see. It was as if he were taking a leisurely stroll in psychic space, and just describing the landscape. He would pause to look at that small creek over there, or turn this rock over down here, in order to see what was underneath. Look! Mind parasites!

Now, I suppose anyone can "run off at the mouth." But this was obviously different, in that is was so deep and true, not to mention "hypnotic." What I mean is that there was also a certain "rhythm" to it, and I have subsequently discovered that this rhythm is one of the essential features that spontaneously occurs when one is operating in the mode of O-->(k). This is because it is not just "order out of chaos." Rather, there is a deep ordering principle at play, which reveals itself as a sort of rhythmicity.

For example, when I abandon myself to these posts, they nevertheless seem to spontaneously reveal a beginning, middle and end. I never cease to be surprised at how often the post meanders to its logical end, and I say to myself, "Oh. It's done." It doesn't happen every time, I think in part because I never know for sure how much time I have. But if left alone in an unstructured space of time, the posts do finish themselves. This also occurs in the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Once the patient adapts to the 50 minute time frame, their unconscious often spontaneously produces a narrative that has a beginning, middle and end, and "closes itself up" by the conclusion of the hour.

Bion simply took this to a logical extreme, both in lecturing and in conducting therapy. He said that the job of the psychoanalyst was to "abandon memory, desire, and understanding" during the session, so that genuine meaning could spontaneously emerge in the session. He is the one who coined "O," in that he applied this symbol to the "ultimate unknowable reality" between analyst and patient. As they sat there together with the patient free associating -- that is, saying whatever comes to mind -- certain meanings and patterns would spontaneously form, like clouds in a clear blue sky. The job of the analyst is to notice these formations when they are "ripe" and robust enough to warrant it. This is quite the opposite of a therapist having his own predetermined structure, or (k), that he merely superimposes on O. For Bion, truth is perpetually discovered in the now.

Naturally it takes a great deal of skill, intelligence, training, and intuition to do what Bion did. After all, if most people "suspend memory, desire, and understanding," they will produce only amorphous mush -- for example, Obama when he is not guided by a teleprompter. Oddly enough, I see something quite different at work in President Bush. While liberals love to make fun of his communication style, I always see someone struggling to convert O into words. I can feel it, but he simply lacks the verbal facility to do what a Dr. Panajian could do. In fact, I don't see how any politician could do it, because it would be far too dangerous. This is why, when you see them interviewed, they are all like robots, with their pat answers. Bush is not like this, and yet, he is criticized for it. (One of the annoying things about Bill Clinton is that he is always "faking" O-->(k), when he couldn't be more transparently insincere.)

Obviously, the process is very similar to jazz, which also requires an intense amount of preparation which must then be "forgotten" in order to spontaneously create something truly novel in the moment. For that is another thing about creativity: it can only occur now.

This is why I emphasize the concept of higher non-doodling, or what the Subgenius calls "floating on the luck plane." I have discovered that only by this kind of slack-driven life can one be guided by the nonlocal attractors that are everywhere. In my opinion, it is these nonlocal attractors that are responsible for the meaningful coincidences in our lives.

Please. This is not a Newtonian universe. Rather, it is made of conscious energy, so there is no reason why there cannot be higher fields of conscious energy that guide evolution in a teleological way. In fact, no one could convince me that they do not exist, which is really the point Plato was trying to make 2500 years ago. Clearly there are nonlocal forms that guide the evolution of the human subject.

In a sense, I could say that my entire spiritual life has involved deeply immersing myself into the phase space of this or that saint or sage, which literally drew me into the same space once I made the conscious effort to "meet them halfway." And I must emphasize that this was an utterly different form of learning than mere memorization, for it was a kind of top-down learning, in which the particulars are spontaneously produced by some sort of convergence with a deeper principle. I have seen this take place over and over in my life, in which I suddenly have access to new forms of knowledge that cannot be explained by anything I have learned only in the exterior sense.

In fact, one of the reasons I was such a poor student through so much of my education, is that I was presented only with "exterior knowledge" that was of no interest to me. I just couldn't see its point. But perhaps even worse is when religion is presented in this exterior manner, which automatically trivializes it. And one could certainly say the same of psychology. Again, what made Dr. Panajian unique in my experience was his teaching -- or "trancemission" -- of the subject from the inside out.

Which is what I always try to do with the blogging. I'm sure none of you have failed to notice how our trolls inevitably come at the subject from the outside in. But you cannot get here from there, any more than you can get from matter to life, life to mind, or mind to spirit. Creatio ex nihilo only works the other way around. Otherwise you end up with nihilo ex creatio. Or let us just say that you are either a creationist or a nihilist.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Absolute Science of the Center and the Darwinist Religion of the Periphery

Science deals with the periphery of the world, while religion deals with the center. Being that both the periphery and center necessarily exist and co-arise, science and religion are obviously both necessary to each other -- at least if one wishes to have an account of reality that is both consistent and complete, AKA, if one wishes to live in the Real world. However, one would think that it would be self-evident that the center could never be derived from the periphery, any more than the Absolute could be derived from the relative, the whole from the part, the inside from the outside, eternity from time, or intelligence from matter.

And all of these categories are reflections of each other: center, interior, whole, intelligence, eternity, absolute. They can be combined in various ways to disclose other categories; for example, interior wholeness is none other than psycho-spiritual health. Eternal intelligence is Truth. The Absolute center is God, or at the very least, where God is known, i.e., the non-difference of atman and brahman. The absolute whole would be the cosmos (albeit in its relative sense), while the interior whole would be the microcosmos, Man (again, in a relative sense, being that only the Absolute is truly absolute).

In turn, God is the center of centrality and the interior of interiority, while man is the interior of exteriority and the subjective center of the material periphery. This probably sounds abstract, but it is meant to be as concrete as can be, in such a way that even the bonehead Darwinist must acknowledge its a priori truth.

For example, Darwinism is a theory that addresses constant change of outward form, but the theory unifies exterior phenomena on a noumenal interior plane known only to man. This subjective horizon where we live, love, and know truth, beauty and virtue is beyond the reach of Darwinsim -- at least in any deep or consistent manner. Shakespeare will always have more to tell us about love than Darwinism, just as Joyce will always have more to tell us about language.

In other words, like all science, Darwinism attempts to unify multiplicity on a "deeper" or more interior plane, even while it can never account for such things as interiority, depth, and unity -- let alone interior depth or absolute unity. This is why whatever truth Darwinism is able to disclose fits easily into the paradigm of perennial religion (one could not say a particular religion, for that is a matter of faith, not intellection per se), whereas Darwinism could never account for those religious truths that "cannot not be," since they abide on on eternal, interior and archetypal plane that obviously transcends Darwinism. Darwinism cannot address this plane without maiming and ultimately destroying Man: again, reductionistic Darwinism is a form of nonviolent resistance to transcendence, or intellectual fascism.

I don't want to gloss over an important caveat in the above paragraph. When I say that the existence of God can be easily proven through intellection and metaphysics, I do not mean this or that God, but God per se. It is like proving the existence of love or Beethoven. One can easily do that, but it is hardly the same as falling in love or deeply understanding Beethoven's music.

In fact, even hearing Beethoven is (apparently) a rather trivial thing compared to truly comprehending him. I'm not saying that I do, but I know that others do, for example, J.W.N. Sullivan in his little classic, Beethoven: His Spiritual Development. This book had a profound influence on me at the time I read it some 25 years ago, as I was easily able to transpose its perennial insights to the keys of psychology and spirituality. After all, anyone can practice a religion, whether it is Christianity, Darwinism, Atheism, or Materialism, but that doesn't mean they understand their religion in any deep way. For an atheist to reject religion means only that he has failed to understand it, precisely. A confession of atheism is simply an honest confession of ignorance of any realities that transcend the human ego, nothing more, nothing less. And why argue with a man who not only clings to ignorance, but is proud of the fact?

When we talk about metaphysics, we are talking about very basic truths that are adequations to divine/human realities that cannot not be, such as "Absolute," "being," "truth," etc. But just as one cannot generate a cosmos using only the equations of math, one cannot "generate a religion" using only the abstract symbols of metaphysics. As I was at pains to point out in chapter four of The Coonifesto, metaphysics is a way to "know" these truths, whereas religion is a means to realize them. This is where faith comes in, for one must leap into a revelation, just as one must eventually "fall in love." In both cases, we are putting flesh and bones on the skeleton.

Of course, some people forget about the skeleton altogether; actually, it seems an unfortunate fact that few non-Raccoons even know of its existence, which is quite sad and disturbing. Among other problems, it causes people to confuse the truth of their religion with the eternal truths it is there to disclose and deepen.

In short, many people essentially reduce (n) to a kind of religious (k), which immediately places religion on the same empirical plane as science. This then causes silly disputes between, say, young earth creationists and Darwinists. But the Darwinists are obviously correct on the plane addressed by Darwinism. Darwinism only becomes incorrect when it attempts to apply itself to domains that far transcend it. When this happens, again, it necessarily misunderstands and ultimately destroys what it would attempt to explain.

Likewise, when religion inappropriately impinges upon the prerogatives of science, silliness or mayhem result. Look at it this way; Darwinism looks silly when it attempts a reductionistic explanation of a quintessentially human reality, say, love, or truth, or beauty. But the religionist would essentially be engaging in the opposite fallacy if he were to insist, for example, that the earth is attracted to the sun because it is in love with it. When Dante spoke of "the love that moves the sun and other stars," he was obviously talking about something much deeper than mere empirical reality. Otherwise Dante would be an ass instead of the singular spiritual genius that he was.

Being that humans are "in the image of the creator" we possess powers that are potentially godlike and divine. But if we attempt to utilize these powers divorced from their sacred and the holy source, then again, mayhem results. To say that truth is divine is not to "mix church and state," much less to try to impose religion on science. Rather, it is a simple fact, regardless of whether or not the person realizes it. Science deals with a world of quantities, while religion deals with the higher world of archetypal qualities, such as truth. To reduce truth to a quantity is again to do untold damage to man, for it is to reduce the subject to an object and to confuse method with ontology.

The axis around which the mind turns is freedom, an intrinsically spiritual freedom that can never be explained on any materialistic basis. In a sense, the intellect is freedom, the freedom to know truth, to love beauty, and to be conscious of virtue. In this regard, I was very much influenced by the philosopher of biology, Hans Jonas, whose The Phenomenon of Life was very helpful to me back when I was lost and coonfused in the bewilderness of my "higher" education. His essay at the start of the book was like an insoluble but fruitful koan that kept me occupied for years, and wasn't really resolved until I encountered the works of Robert Rosen (both authors are difficult, so I can't say I would recommend them to a general audience).

Let me go back to that essay and see if it even still resonates....

"The organic even in its lowest forms prefigures mind, and the mind even on its highest reaches remains part of the organic. The latter half of [this] contention, but not the former, is in tune with modern belief; the former, but not the latter, was in tune with ancient belief; that both are valid and inseparable is the hypothesis of a philosophy which tries for a stand beyond the quarrels of the ancients and the moderns" [or one could say to stand beyond the quarrels of science and religion, which is the Raccoon position].

"Both scales culminate in the thinking of man and there come under the question: which is for the sake of which? Contemplation for action, or action for contemplation? With this challenge to choice, biology turns into ethics."

"If mind is prefigured in the organic from the beginning, then freedom is. And indeed our contention is that even metabolism, the basic level of all organic existence, exhibits it: that it is itself the first form of freedom.... it is in the dark stirrings of primeval organic substance that a principle of freedom shines forth for the first time within the vast necessity of the physical universe -- a principle foreign to suns, planets, and atoms.... the first appearance of this principle in its bare, elementary object-form signifies the break-through of being to the indefinite range of possibilities which hence stretches to the farthest reaches of subjective life, and as a whole stands under the sign of 'freedom'.... even the transition from inanimate to animate substance, the first feat of matter's organizing itself for life, was actuated by a tendency in the depth of being toward the very modes of freedom to which this transition opened the gate" [this is very similar to Aurobindo's conception of involution followed by evolution].

Interesting. If metabolism is the "process" of freedom, then the metabolism of Truth would be the way to God. And to practice a religion is again the effort to metabolize truth in order to deepen one's relationship to the Absolute. It is along this vector that the real cosmic evolution is taking place, which is to say, in and up.

The cosmos is whole and intelligible, and man is deeply free, because God is One.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Spiritual Fascism and the Nonviolent Darwinist Resistance to Transcendence (6.13.09)

As Charles Darwin wrote, "While nature, making procreation free, yet submitting survival to a hard trial, chooses from an excess number of individuals the best as worthy of living, thus preserving them alone and in them conserving the species, man limits procreation, but is hysterically concerned that once a being is born it should be preserved at any price."

Nah, just pulling your leg. That was Adolf Hitler explaining his values -- which he derived from immanent nature, not the transcendent Absolute -- in Mein Kampf. Am I invoking Godwin's law this early in the morning? No, not at all. As someone once said, fascism in all its forms is the violent resistance to transcendence. Therefore, Ray, or Charles at LGF, or the goons at dailykos, or any other flatland guardians are not Nazis, since they engage in non-violent resistance to transcendence, as do the ACLU, or People for the American Way, or any other anti-religious activist and/or bigot or plain old ignoramus.

Nor should we let religion off the hook, for when it goes off the rails and descends into madness, it seems that it is often a result of a violent resistance to immanence. When this happens -- when people insist on the absolute truth of a transcendent ideal to the total exclusion of immanent reality -- it can often result in violence. In fact, this is what we see in the Islamists: a violent rejection of the modern world in favor of their transcendent ideal of a new Caliphate.

On the one hand, the left-fascist "takes heaven by storm"; he does this not in order to enter it (via contemplation, meditation, prayer, intellection, etc.), but to destroy it by imposing his one substance/one level ontology "from below." On the other hand, the religious fanatic (one hesitates to say "right fascist," since it is a contradiction in terms that invites the absurd charge that a true conservative liberal could ever be fascist) takes earth by storm, not in order to understand it (a la the scientific method) but to impose his own single-level ontology "from above."

Obviously, the freedom-loving Raccoon has no desire to live in either form of spiritual tyranny, i.e., the twin terrors of absolute immanence or absolute transcendence. We firmly reject reductionistic Darwinism to the extent that it interferes with the absolute prerogative of our interior evolution, AKA, the Adventure of Consciousness, or What It Is All About. The Raccoon knows that the only cure for the senses is the soul, and that the only cure for the soul is the senses, within the vertical trinitarian space that recoonciles them.

Now, religion in general and Christianity in particular disclose a metaphysic that carefully balances transcendence and immanence, at least if properly understood on the esoteric plane.....

Excuse me for just a moment. I just remembered a dream. I was at Tower Records -- which no longer exists, and was even "crumbling" in the dream -- and there was none other than Gerard Vanderleun behind the counter. He directed my attention to the book section, letting me know that all of the books were on sale for only $3.00 each. I went through all of the titles; I remember that one of them was a coffee table book about Orson Welles, containing great photographic examples of the composition of his camera shots. In the distance, I saw an unhealthy looking Tony Snow, also working in the store; he was cheerful despite his sad situation.

I ended up purchasing two books, one of which was a new, three-volume edition of the Bible, put out by Alice Coltrane's Vedantic Center (she was the widow of saint John Coltrane and a unique jazz musician in her own right [are there any other jazz harpists?] who later became known as Swami Turiyasangitananda. When I hear Alice Coltrane "jam" on the harp, I am not the only person who conjures aural images of hipster angels in Jazz Heaven.)

We'll get back up to the dream later. Anyway, when we say that "the word became flesh," what we are ultimately saying is that transcendent reality, or the ultimate principle, is present in what we call the material realm (which is actually a realm of pure dynamic or energic activity). In fact, this Ultimate Principle is the "stasis" amidst the otherwise "total activity" that would be incomprehensible in the absence of the Principle which both "penetrates" and "contains" it. It is why the world is intelligible to man's intelligence.

Thus, when the Darwinist protests that "you don't have to be religious to be moral," he is mouthing a pure absurdity, for he is presupposing eternal principles that cannot be explained on any Darwinian basis -- again, because Darwinism only accounts for change of outward form, not the permanence of what not only transcends form but in-forms it to begin with, i.e., transcendent interiority.

Our materialist trolls would have us believe that merely "having morals" is somehow synonymous with knowing the Good and acting in conformity with it. All people have morals. The question is, are they Good? And for the last time, it is a strict impossibility that one could ever arrive at the Good through natural selection alone. Frankly, it is an absurd argument that no remotely sophisticated person could take seriously.

It is absurd because we know that virtue is consciousness of a reality, not some simply defined behavior. Yes, we have moral codes, but the code -- even (or especially!) the Ten Commandments -- represents a "descent" from the Principle. This is why it is possible for the true saint to transcend them back to their divine Source -- back atop Mount Sinai, so to speak. But there is a world of difference between transcending this plane from above vs. obliterating it from below. Our generation very much confuses license below with freedom and transcendence from above (bonehead comedians who lauded George Carlin's "fearlessness" come to mind, but nihilism is not transcendence).

You might say that the saint is no longer "constrained" by the plane of morality because he now contains it. He is his own decalogue, or word made flesh. He has become Virtue Itself, and radiates it from every pore -- just as the sage radiates intelligence from every limb. Again, remember the man who wished to meet the great rabbi, not to learn Torah from him but to watch him tie his boot laces, to see the divine intellect in action.

When asked whom they would like as a guest at their "ultimate dinner party," many people naturally say "Jesus." But we already have a good idea what he would say. I would actually like to see him move. I would like to see how he carried himself, his gestures, his eyes, his posture, for you must know that they were enshrouded in the utmost nobility, dignity, majesty, authority, radiance, and benevolence and/or severity. He moved and spoke out of the Great Silence.

Far, far beyond (and above) the words, those with eyes to see must have recognized the eternal stillness of the "unmoved mover" animating his every gesture from the inside out (which is another way of saying "from the top down" or from static whole to dynamic part). Every movement must have revealed the Transcendence that lends Immanence its metaphysical transparency to the uncreated intellect. Obviously we see the same principle at play in a great work of art, but this would be that very principle "made flesh," not just canvas or stone

Now, back to my dream, a dream of transcendence that has shaped this post from the inside out. Vanderleun is a fine example of a man who struggles with his own immanence -- as do we all -- but whose writing constantly reveals a preternatural gift of transcendence, perhaps even "in spite of himself," so to speak, an ability to ascend from the penthouse outhouse to the outhouse penthouse.

Likewise, John Coltrane was a man who was as "low" into immanence as it is possible to be, trapped in the ravages of a heroin addiction which he transcended in 1957. Of this, he wrote that "During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music." Later, he wrote that his aesthetic-spiritual goal was to inspire people "to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life." I cannot say that I don't try to do the same with words.

In the dream I am "in the tower" where they "keep the records," but the tower is crumbling and "going out of business." In such a situation, precious things are almost being given away for free. No one recognizes their true value. Eternal wisdom can be had for a mere $3.00. Heck, Petey gives it way, since no one wants to buy it.

About that dialectical triple "Vedanta Bible" of Alice Coltrane's. If you want to live on the other side of the looking glass not so darkly, I believe you must, in a sense, restore the immanence of Vedanta to the transcendence of the Semitic religions. But you certainly needn't do this by blending the two. It's already all there, just waiting to be realized, for the transcendent became the immanent so that the immanent might become transcendent. But be sure and realize this before the tower crumbles and goes out of business, for the naught is coming, the cold and dark winter snow in which nothing grows and no man can evolve.

*****
Obama as anti-word made flesh, or the embodiment and unification of wimps, weirdos, and wackademics. Nonviolent resistance to transcendence, indeed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Darwinism and Spiritual Genocide

The soul's perfection consists in liberation from the life which is in part, and admission to the life which is whole. --Meister Eckhart

I suppose we'll get back to the Darwinist bashing in due time, but for the moment I want to return to our spiritual ascent to the top of the real Mount Improbable; or, to be perfectly accurate, Mount Impossible in the absence of grace, or the "vertical energies" that lift us by our own buddhastraps. We'll come back down and deal with the Darwinist stragglers later, as would any soph-respecting bodhisattva.

Then again, perhaps we will touch on Darwinist Man in this post, because he is always present as a kind of shadow or inverted version of the Real. People always ask me.... No, wait a minute.... no one's ever asked me. But one could ask, "why do you waste your time talking about these people? They're stuck. You can't change them."

I suppose for the same reason that a doctor cannot help talking about disease. It's just intrinsic to the work of a suburban shaman, freelance holy man, and coonical pslackologist. You cannot discuss wellness in the absence of the disease, and reductionistic Darwinism is definitely one of the central pneumapathologies of our time, partly because it permits and encourages so many others. It is not just "counter-cultural" but counter-civilizational. It is the penultimate spiritual corrosive, in that we should have the courtesy of reserving some space for the Evil One himself.

I don't think the corrosive Richard Dawkins would disagree about his own spiritual corrosiveness. After all, his explicit mission is to destroy human spirituality, which is to say, Man. Call it gene-ocide.

In fact, you could say that Darwinism is the quintessential pneumapathology, not just because it denies Spirit a priori, thereby eliminating what it needs to explain, but because it obliterates any understanding of the nature and purpose of human life, which is to say, of human normality. For if one is a reductionistic Darwinist, what, aside from homosexuality, abortion, and being a Cubs fan, constitutes "abnormal" behavior?

To put it another way, Darwinist tautology can normalize virtually anything. The Cubs fan says, "we'll win next year!," conveniently forgetting that natural selection does not plan for a future that will never arrive. But once you understand that truth -- not to mention, virtue and beauty -- are real and that man is free, you are no longer a Darwinist. Man is only free -- and intelligent -- to the extent that he is free to choose truth. If he is only free to choose error or stupidity... well, you figure it out. To quote my friend Baba Rum Raisin,

"Having causes is not synonymous with being determined. For example, adulthood is the final (i.e., telological) cause of child development, but it obviously doesn't determine it. Indeed, one may ignore it all together and remain a child or liberal for life.

"Man as such is composed of intelligence, will, and sentiment [paraphrasing Baba's friend Schuon]. To suggest that man has no free will is to say that he has no intelligence, as intelligence quintessentially involves discerning options and then applying the will toward achieving the ends determined by the intellect. Obviously there can be no freedom without the intellect and no intellect without truth, which is precisely why knowledge of the Truth sets one free.

"What Baba has just revealed to you is Absolute Truth, and therefore the foundation of real liberty (and liberation). Reject it if you like, but know that you only reject it to the extent that you are a slave and ardently wish (with the passions, not intellect) to remain one."

Thank you, Baba. Now, some people are so narrow-minded that they think this is a matter of Darwinism vs. Creationism, when it is really a matter of two competing visions of evolution, one of which is complete and consistent (that would be mine), the other of which is of necessity neither. Nor can Darwinism ever be consistent and complete, for reasons that are intrinsic to its erroneous metaphysical assumptions. If the Darwinist cannot see this... well, you figure it out.

When I or Baba or Petey speak of evolution, we don't really care all that much about a bacterium or virus that can learn a new trick. After all, isn't that why we need to get a flu shot every year? But if you transfer that reality to the human plane, you might gain a better understanding of why religion and spirituality must constantly "learn new tricks" in order to deal with their perennial Adversary, the Great Deceiver. Was that clear? No?

There is this thing called health which humans would like to preserve. But unfortunately, there are other beings with interests of their own -- such as the flu virus -- that are at odds with human interests.

Likewise, there is a thing called "spiritual health" (we'll define it later), and it so happens that there is a sort of "competition" with other beings -- let's call them principalities and powers -- on that plane as well. For example, in my book I talk about mind parasites, which operate precisely in the manner of a biological virus or parasite to advance their own interests at the expense of the host -- i.e., us. And I didn't go into all of the details, but these mind parasites are present on different planes of reality, from the material (i.e., genetic or dietary), to the emotional, to the psychological, to the cognitive, to the psychic realms.

For example, reductionistic Darwinism would be an example of a cognitive mind parasite -- being that it thwarts knowledge of truth -- but it could very well be rooted in genetic or developmental reasons located "below" or spiritual causes located "above" (or let us say, on the vertical plane).

Back to human normality. As Perry writes, "tradition is characterized by a normal constant; the saint or sage is none other than the culminating point, essence, pole or logical perfection of this norm" [emphasis mine]. To cite one obvious example, when Jesus says, "I am alpha and omega," he is trying to telos all about the point of human development.

Now obviously, in the Darwinist paradigm there can be no teleology, no transcendent normality, no culminating point of development, no essence, and no perfection. I would think this would be an uncontroversial statement, something with which we can all agree, even shrill and spiritually purblind lizards.

Guenon writes that flat-earth Western men indoctrinated into one-substance/one plane materialism simultaneously see the human individual as much more and much less than he actually is. On the one hand, they reduce him to his "corporeal modality, which includes but a small fraction of its possibilities."

But at the same time, it absurdly elevates the human ego to the last word on human evolution, as if that is where human evolution ends! In reality that is precisely where it begins. Again, to borrow a pithy formulation from Schuon, the Darwinist simultaneously makes man less than human and all too human at the same time. Either way, there is no exit from this dreadful state "from above."

In fact, this also reminds me of a pithy comment by Guenon, who said something to the effect that the 19th century closed Western man to the "above," while the 20th century opened him up to the "below." Is it possible for an observation to be both brilliant and a banality at the same time? Yes, to the extent that man needs to be re-minded of the obvious again and again.

So, here we sit in the 21st century, in a culture that is almost completely closed to the above, but continues to plunge with gusto into the below, being that it represents a kind of "Dionysian" spirituality that we really saw emerge on a widespread basis in the 1960s. This spirituality is radically subjective, passionate, narcissistic, and ego-driven, and thoroughly confuses the psychic with the spiritual plane proper. In other words, it is a leap into the murky swamp of the lower vertical in the guise of "freedom" or some other perversion of an eternal value. For again: there is no freedom in the absence of Truth, except the freedom to be essentially bad and stupid, but only "accidentally" good or intelligent.

Man in his wholeness is much more than a "replicating machine." As Schuon (in Perry) writes, "intellectuality becomes spirituality when the entire man and not only his intelligence lives in the truth" [emphasis mine]." Perry then cites D.T. Suzuki, who writes that from the perspective of Zen, the integrally intelligent man "thinks like the showers coming down from the sky; he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean, he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens; he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze. Indeed, he is the showers, the ocean, the stars, the foliage."

This description by Suzuki is precisely what I meant by the abstract symbol O-->(n). Again, as I explained in the book, this symbol can be thought of as an abstraction from the sort of statement made by Suzuki. Or, alternatively, it can be thought of as the archetypal preconception, or "empty category," that awaits personal experience in order to fill it with personal meaning. Either way, it must be experienced, or not known at all. One reviewer, who otherwise very much liked my book, thought that these symbols were a bit cold and abstract. Yes, that is the point. The word "love" is cold and abstract until you fall in love.

In the traditional view, man is the one being in all of creation who contains all levels of reality within him; he is the microcosm, an abridged edition of reality. For example, when we say that man was present at the moment of the creation of the universe, we mean this literally, as evidenced by our ability to place ourselves there with our mathematical abstractions. No other being can do this. So when the sophisticated Darwinist criticizes the "young earth creationist" for saying that man and creation arose at the same time, that is hardly valid. After all, the Darwinist is saying, "you're wrong, because I was there!" But if he was there "in spirit," then he cannot be a Darwinist.

As reader Wm. Shakespeare mentioned in a comment just yesterday,

And oftentimes, to win us our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray us
In deepest consequence.


Or, in the words of Schuon, "the apparent 'reality' of the sensible order and the passions which belong to it -- becomes 'negative' in the Truth, while what appears negative from the standpoint of sensible experience -- the transcendent and thus invisible Reality, with all the spiritual consequences which it entails for man -- becomes 'positive' in proportion as Knowledge transforms the mental and 'abstract' concept into spiritual and 'concrete' Life."

One man's O-->(n) is another man's Ø. What a waste of a lifetime.

If, after being born a human being, one gives no heed to the Holy Doctrine, one resembleth a man who returneth empty-handed from a land rich in precious gems; and this is a grievous failure. --Gampopa

Never, my son, can a soul that has so far uplifted itself as to grasp the truly good and real slip back to the evil and unreal. --Hermes

*****
Brilliant essay by Roger Kimball. I haven't even had time to finish it, because I have to leave for work, but file reductionistic Darwinism under the heading of a "critical philosophy" -- or "criticism-ism"-- that destroys what it would attempt to explain, i.e., the phenomenon of Man.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Collective Overnight Free-form Improvisational Cosmic Mystery Theatre

Gagdad Bob said...
Damn, Walt, I was just reading Paracelsus this morning. Get out of my attractor!

Scotty said...
I cannae break away from his attractor beam, Cap'n!

cap'n said...
Scotty... try... to... go forward... INTO the attractor beam!

spock said...
That is highly illogical, Captain.

captain said...
I know, Spock, I... know... but that's... what makes... us... human!

bones said...
Damn it, Jim, can't you do something! I'm a doctor not a Walt Disney ride!

red shirt ray said...
Captain! Spock is right! This is highly illogical! We'll all die sir!

captain said...
As you were, mister! You are relieved!

captain said...
What... in the... hell... are you talking about, Bones?

scotty said...
Cap,n, it's the dilithium crystals! They cannae last much longer!

scotty said...
And I punctuated Cap'n wrong!

cap'n said...
Scotty, screw... the dilithium crystals!

sulu said...
I'll screw 'em, Captain!

checkov said...
Botany Bay? Botany Bay? Oh no!

captain said...
Bones? Checkov... he's having... flashbacks.

bones said...
This ought to fix him, Jim!

sulu said...
I'll fix him!

uhuru said...
Captain! I'm getting a transmission... but I can't decipher it!

captain said...
Spock, can you...?

spock said...
Fascinating. It doesn't show up on my monitor...

captain said...
Magnify... the viewer... to maximum!

bones said...
What in tarnation?

spock said...
Fascinating.

captain said...
What... is it... Spock?

spock said...
It appears, however unlikely that may be, to be a garden gnome of some sort. It still doesn't register on any of our scanners.

red shirt ray said...
Huh? I don't see anything. Hey, did you guys read that evolution book I was...

captain said...
Security! Escort mister Ray to sick bay. Bones... do what you can.

sulu said...
I'll escort him, Captain!

captain said...
Spock, Uhura... the gnome... he is saying something... what?

spock said...
I checked the highest frequency, and I took the filters off... I...

captain said...
Spock! Spock! Snap out of it! What... did... he... say? Spock?

Bones! Spock, he's... smiling.

spock said...
Captain... he calls himself... Petey. He did a gnome mind meld, Jim... ha ha ha!

scotty said...
Try saying gnome mind meld ten times really fast!

bones said...
Spock is fine, Jim. Must be his human side laughing.

captain said...
Spock! Spock! What... did he... say?

spock said...
Ha ha! He said... Ho! he said "pardon our Bob, hallowed be his gnome!" Ha ha ha!

captain said...
Wait a minnute! Wait! A minute... that book I was reading, you know the one, Bones... you gave it to me.

bones said...
Yeah, but it was meant as a joke, Jim...

captain said...
One Cosmos... One Cosmos Under... God! That's the one, Bones!
In... the book... there was a hand drawn likeness of this Petey!

But how...can this be?!

bones said...
Down the foggy ruins of time... far past the frozen leaves...

captain said...
Mister.... Tambourine.... Man!

spock said...
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow?

bones said...
Jim, Petey is saying something else!

captain said...
To dance... beneath... the diamond sky... with one hand waving free!

bones said...
With... all memory and fate... driven deep beneath the waves....

spock said...
He said... one indulgence to you, sulu, for your cosmic reacharound to the lost tribe of Raccoons. Ho!

red shirt ray said...
Did you know that Raccoons evolved?
I'm serious!

petey said...
Raccoons did not evolve. Evolution Raccooned. Big difference.

red shirt ray said...
Gorn!!!

petey said...
Woe to the gaseous brood of Darwinist vapors!

big lizard said...
Connnnnnnnnnnn! Shill! Discovery Institute!

captain said...
Bones! Could you give Charles a Mydol? He sounds like Al Gore down on spaceship earth -- you know, the frozen planet that stopped evolving after it went atheist in 2037!

petey said...
Know that my antics are a door to the wise and a wall to the ignorant, for I am the Sound of Surprise!

Ho!

petey said...
I am come for the hole in your head or a whole new head!

Ho!

petey said...
For we have come to wage battle with the Nobel savages!

petey said...
For I say unto you: the Darwinist is the sound of one bland yapping!

petey said...
O, my little masked pandits, know that I speak to you with vague certainty and crystal clear ambiguity!

Ho!

petey said...
The HE IS is eternally reflected in the clear and peaceful waters of the I AM.

Or is it the other way around?

petey said...
Only with two eyes may you see the third of which they are a property!

uss ben usn (ret) said...
The third Aye...

petey said...
For in these latter days, your heart shall be a rosy cross, a kali flower!

petey said...
For bonehead Darwinism is a trojan hearse to sneak the culture of Death into our public schools!

petey said...
In our two front battle, our superstitious foreign enemies are lost in the circle, while our substitious domestic ones are lost in the line. We must show them the innerstices of the open spiral!

petey said...
Knowledge minus wisdom = materialism.

petey said...
Darwinism explains the Darwinist, for their minds are simply an adaptation to the transient fashions of the day. A Raccoon is adapted to the Eternal Verities. A word to the unwise: "Survival of the Fittest" applies to eternity no less than time!

petey said...
To the small mind of the Darwinist, tiny things appear large. But their entire ideology fits into my capacious hip pocket, with room left over for my Walmart coupons!

Ho!

scatter said...
If Truth is higher than a banana, then Darwinism has been falsified.

uss ben usn (ret) said...
Even Scatter gets it!

petey said...
Scatter does indeed get it, for science is a world of horizontal quantities, while religion discloses a world of vertical qualities. Being that scientism would reduce the vertical to the horizontal, it cannot help but end in a culture of death if followed to its logical extreme. To reduce wisdom to knowledge is to cease to be human.

petey said...
I have spoken. Good-DAY!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

And the Weird Light Shines in the Dorks, but the Dorks Don't Comprehend it

What is reality, anyway? Our paradigmatic science, physics, reduces the world to a few beautiful equations, but the equations don't tell us how to generate a world with them. In fact, they provide no factual content whatsoever for the world we actually encounter. So which world is the "real" world? The inconceivable quantum world undescribed by physics, the ponderable world we encounter with our senses, or the eternal world known only to the illuminated intellect?

Science is obviously a wonderful tool, but when it is elevated to a metaphysic it is remarkably empty of content and meaning, especially as it pertains to the meaning of our human journey, the Adventure of Consciousness. One of the implications of Gödel's theorems is that any logical or mathematical system will generate questions that are not answerable within the system. Ironically -- or perhaps "cluelessly" is a better word -- many postmodernists use Gödel to try to prove that all knowledge is therefore relative, but this was not Gödel's point at all.

Rather, Gödel -- and Petey has discussed this with him in great detail -- thought he had proved that Plato was essentially correct -- that there are things that are patently true but which cannot be proven with logic. There is a realm of ideas and archetypes that can only be known directly with the intellect properly so-called -- i.e., the nous, buddhi, or psychic being (Aurobindo's term).

This, of course, is the entire basis of religious knowledge. Our souls prove the existence of the Divine for the simple reason that they are so adequately proportioned to the Divine nature. We were built, so to speak, to know God. If we weren't so built, then we could not know or even conceive of him (except in an illusory sense), any more than a dog can conceive of music or Ray can escape his genetic programming. Nothing can account for the beauty and wonder of the soul except something even more beautiful and wondrous.

Science adequately describes the horizontal cosmos, which is to say, inadequately. In order to acquire an integral understanding of reality, the linear/temporal/horizontal view must be supplemented by the vertical, which is where revelation, myth, and metaphysics take over. Only these modes can take us beyond the horizon of knowability that afflicts your and myopic little ego. Myth and revelation bypass the ego by making an appeal to our lower and higher intuition, respectively, while metaphysics speaks directly to the timeless intellect which may know absolute truth absolutely, since it is in the image of the divine. These are built-in ways for us to see beyond the temporal illusions of our womentary maninfestation.

We might visualize reality as a circle containing a cross (better yet, a sort of spider web, with lines emanating from the center, along with concentric circles signifying the different worlds, or planes of intelligibility). Science describes the horizontal vector, but there is a second “ray of creation” that extends from the top down and then back up again. The downward descending energy is called the “ray of involution,” while the upward ascending one is called the “ray of evolution.” Of course, this is not the same as Darwinian evolution, which only describes change -- but not absolute progress, or progress toward the Absolute -- in the horizontal.

On the strict Darwinian view there is, of course, no such thing as progress, which is as it should be. While technically a “true” theory if we limit ourselves to the horizontal, it is obviously a false and limited understanding if we don’t supplement it with the vertical view of spiritual evolution. Strictly speaking, I can assure you there are no strict “Darwinians,” for even the belief in strict Darwinism takes one out of the strictly horizontal stream of Darwinism, into the realm of transcendent ideas. In short, the theory of pure Darwinism finds itself in the embarassing position of having to express itself in a medium it cannot account for, and make its appeals to a judge that cannot exist. D'oh!

Paradoxically, in order for us to exist and possess our own free will, God cannot "ex-ist" in the way atheists would apparently like him to. But it is not really a paradox, for a moment’s reflection will inform your intellect that if God doesn’t get out of the way, there can be no creation separate from him, no free beings. In other words, at the "top" of the vertical ray is the Absoloute. Even that is a bit misleading, for the top of the ray has a “face” we can see from our relative position, as well as an "interior" or "dark side" we cannot see (dark because the light would be too blinding).

The riddle of the human being is he is the only animal that is both what he is and what he is yet to be, not accidentally, but essentially. Only a human being can fail to become what and who he is, something proven to me every day in my work as a psychologist (and my becoming a freelance theologian has only heightened this awareness). We do not exist in the way that a star, a rock or an animal exists. An animal is what it is. Its nature and essence are fixed. But a human who is not perpetually becoming human is not a proper human at all. In other words, only human beings exist as both being and becoming. Unlike other animals, we have within us an essence that is both present and yet unrealized, and which it is the purpose of life to actualize and fulfill: to bring it from eternity into time and then back to eternity.

A seed does not have any choice in deciding what kind of tree it will become. A lizard doesn't wonder if perhaps it isn't living up to the ideals of real lizardiness, or whether there are better lizards out there. Only humans can fail to become what they are. Only human beings can actually become monsters, for a vile human being is far lower than a noble animal. No animal but the human being can be unfit for life and unworthy of the cosmos that belched him from the void.

The purpose of religion is to become human. Biology will only take you so far, which is not very far at all. A merely biological human being would also be a monster, a misfit, something grotesque. In our bones we know this. In Genesis, the first thing Adam and Eve realize upon attaining self-consciousness is their nakedness, of which they are ashamed. They know instantaneously -- one of those things we cannot not know -- that they are not like the other animals and that there is something shameful in behaving like one. Man has dignity and nobility, or he is not man, merely a hairless ape or an MSNBC anchor.

In so many ways the contemporary left presents a teaching that is completely at odds with our divine blueprint. “You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals / So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel,” as the Bloodhound Gang put it. How did this monstrous inversion occur? It has nothing at all to do with classical liberalism, which was always rooted in the traditional virtues, those perennial truths of our humanness.

Contemporary liberalism has an entirely different intellectual genealogy than classical liberalism. A tipping point was reached in the 1960’s that caused the full cultural breach with traditional wisdom, and we have been reaping its disastrous consequences ever since. The battle in America between left and liberal continues, and its outcome will determine the future of the world, much more so than the war on Islamo-nazism. It is in this context that I object to LGF's alliance with the beasts and monsters.

For leftism, in all its forms, is a revolt. Specifically, it is a revolt against our divine-human nature alluded to above. With the cosmic inversion of 1960’s came the pervasive message that one could be an authentic human only by being subhuman, by rejecting all of society’s "hypocritical" mores and values. In fact, the word "hypocrisy" was redefined as a way to eliminate the realm of metaphysically real values by attacking those who are unable to live up to them (as if anyone but a saint could!). Famous leftists such as Herbert Marcuse and N.O. Brown taught that Western civilization was false, oppressive and inauthentic. Therefore -- in a complete inversion of the cosmic order -- the purpose of life was to become “unrepressed” and to overturn tradition, since the latter was simply an "illegitimate means of control and domination."

This is why the left cannot help aligning itself with movements -- no matter how vile or evil -- that further this goal of overturning Western values. It is why Michael Moore calls terrorists “freedom fighters,” why Cynthia Sheehan calls President Bush a terrorist, why Kos says “screw ‘em” to American “mercenaries” who are beheaded by Iraqi terrorists, why they sympathize with the Palestinians but demonize Israel, why they love Castro, Che, Sandinistas, Hugo Chavez, and now Obama.

At the heart of leftism is revolt, both aggressive and sexual. Unfortunately, with regard to the latter, they have clearly seized the advantage, and it is difficult to see how we could, as a society, ever return to sexual sanity. Ever since the 1960’s the left has succeeded in redefining sexual virtue as unrestrained sexual expression, which we see in the battle to preserve the definition of marriage. Again, it is a complete reversal. As Shelby Steele writes in White Guilt,

“The idea that a lack of sexual inhibition signified a deeper and more compassionate humanity became one of the more fabled ideals of the counterculture. Here casting aside one’s sexual inhibitions was a way of opening up to one’s deeper humanity and, thus, separating oneself from the dark human impulses to racism, sexism, and militarism that plagued the repressed, bourgeois world of one’s parents. At the center of the sixties consciousness was always this confluence of the personal and political where freedom from bourgeois repression was always somehow an aspect of social responsibility.”

The establishment does not require the rebel but the rebel requires the establishment, in the same way that the adolescent requires his parents to act out his rebellion. Therefore, leftism isn't just reactionary, but it is a dance of projective identification in which the leftist projects the most human parts of himself outside and then rebels against them. This is what allows him to live without conscious guilt (unconscious guilt is another matter), for the guilt is converted into the imaginary “right wing fascism,” the "psychic twin" that persecutes him.

For guilt was another thing that was thrown overboard in the 1960’s. Nothing is more “inauthentic” than feeling guilt for doing what comes naturally. But the absence of guilt is the measure of how far we have strayed from our divine blueprint. It is like our sense of physical pain, without which we would quickly damage our bodies beyond repair.

The same thing can happen with the soul, which cannot live without the guidance of a celestial ideal. Humans can either become less -- or all too -- human on their own or more human with a little nonlocal assistance. For it is folly to think that we can pick ourselves up by our own buddhastraps or fly inward and upward with our own Darwings.

****

Prayer of the Raccoon who is sophering with the Jesus willies:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Darwinists and Other Cosmic Egomaniacs (6.14.09)

How do we know with absolute certainty that reductionistic Darwinism cannot account for Man? Because we may know with absolute certainty.

And we may know with absolute certainty because the realm of the empirical ego -- which can more or less be explained on Darwinian grounds -- shades off to the transcendent interiority of the Self or Atman, of which it turns out that the ego is actually a sort of "emanation" or satellite.

In other words, the gap between ego and Self is another one of them ontological discontinuities that is infinite if viewed "from the bottom up." But if regarded "from the top down," then we see that the ego is a necessary feature of the cosmo-psychic economy. Just like maya herself, it "must be" if there is to be existence. In fact, you might say that the ego is a mirror of maya, or of the relative plane, just as the Self is the mirror of the Absolute.

In order to comprehend this more holistic cosmic economy, we must again abandon the mental fiction of logical atomism that forms the ego's point of view. In other words, if you are a materialist, it is simply because you are operating out of the material ego, so there is no surprise there. It's analogous to someone putting on red sunglasses and insisting that everything looks red. Of course it looks red. Of course our troll is an atheist. That is not a mystery but a banality, a logical necessity, just as someone with an insufficiently developed ego lives in a magical or malevolent world as a result of being swamped by the unconscious.

Now, our pardigmatic science, physics, proposes a model of reality which is literally impossible to picture in one's mind. Nor will we ever be able to picture it, for it is a not a human reality in the strict sense of the term. Not to get sidetracked, but I do need to emphasize that one of the reasons I am religious is because religion preserves the most intense forms of humanism, which is to say, of human knowledge about the human state, and its privileges and responsibilities.

To cite just one obvious example, the other day, one of the mutual readers of LGF and One Cosmos was also commenting on the increasing lurch into anti-intellectualism of the former, noting that his rabbi -- an eminent scholar -- had spent his entire life studying the Torah, and yet, had not even scratched its surface. I am sure that even someone as exalted as, say, Adin Stinsaltz, would echo the same sentiment.

But it takes no learning -- let alone, wisdom -- for a jackbooted mob of metaphysical yahoos to, as the reader put it, "pontificate with grand self-assuredness that they know fully what is meant in all the intricacies and layers of Torah and the rest of us believers are a bunch of deluded dummies. There's nothing to be said to such people." Indeed, like gleeful, deicidal three year-olds, they can tear down in the space of five minutes what it took 2500 years of spiritual genius to build.

But from whence comes the certainty on matters that far transcend their childlike, earthbound intellects? It comes from the transcendent absolute, only dissipated and "frozen" within the confines of the -- you guessed it -- quasi-animal ego.

For when someone asks if you "believe in Darwinism," let's be honest. They aren't asking if you believe in whatever the theory has been demonstrated to prove -- like a bacterium that learns a new trick. After all, Kos readers learn new tricks all the time. Rather, they are asking if you believe that it provides an all-encompassing explanation for human existence, and ultimately whether or not you are a theist. And to the extent that God exists, then Darwinism quite obviously cannot embody any kind of "total explanation." Not even close.

Again, even on logical grounds this is strictly forbidden, a la Gödel. Some people try to get around Gödel by artifically restricting the implications of his theorems, but they are not to be taken seriously. For no matter how much we learn about the human genome, our understanding will be either consistent or complete, but not both.

Along these lines, Rebecca Goldstein -- author of the excellent Incompleteness -- notes that "Gödel was a mathematical realist, a Platonist. He believed that what makes mathematics true is that it's descriptive -- not of empirical reality, of course, but of an abstract reality. Mathematical intuition is something analogous to a kind of sense perception. In his essay 'What Is Cantor's Continuum Hypothesis?', Gödel wrote that we're not seeing things that just happen to be true, we're seeing things that must be true. The world of abstract entities is a necessary world -- that's why we can deduce our descriptions of it through pure reason."

Again: things are not true because they are logical, but logical because they are true; our ability to use logic and math to describe the world is because they derive from something higher and eternal (more on which below).

Another passage from this interview is worth citing at length: Gödel's ambition was "to produce a mathematical result that would have meta-mathematical implications, or at least suggestions, about the nature of mathematics itself. It's as if a painter produces a picture that has something to say about the nature of beauty, perhaps even something to say about why beauty moves us. Mathematics forcefully raises meta-questions, since it is a priori, immune from empirical revision, necessary. How can we have knowledge of this sort? What's it about? The truths we learn about the spatio-temporal realm are all ultimately empirical; and they're contingent. They're not immune to empirical revision.... Mathematicians are cheap; they are thus cost-effective for universities -- which is another way of saying that mathematics is a priori.

"But this aprioricity and necessity present problems. What can necessary, a priori truths be about? Maybe they're about nothing at all, other than the formal systems we construct, mere consequences of manipulating symbols according to rules, as in chess. Platonism rejects this answer. It claims that mathematics is descriptive of abstract entities, of numbers and sets, that exist separately from our attempt to understand them through our mathematical systems. Platonism has always had a great appeal for mathematicians, because it grounds their sense that they're discovering rather than inventing truths."

Now, there is a way "beyond" the limitations of Gödel, but it obviously cannot reside in any form of empiricism, rationalism, materialism, reductionism, or Darwinism. In other words, we cannot escape Gödel "from below." But we can most certainly escape him "from above." Indeed, the very existence of certain mathematical truths proves that this is possible: again, the certainty of math cannot be derived from itself but from the certainty of the Platonic realm of which it is a "descent," so to speak. This is something which the neo-Platonists -- one thinks in particular of the immortal Plotinus -- emphasized.

Again, to repeat our thesis: How do we know with absolute certainty that reductionistic Darwinism cannot account for man? Because we may know with absolute certainty.

Now, one might say that the whole basis of the spiritual life involves "ascending" to the level of those Platonic truths that "cannot not be." This is again what religion is "all about." Some people understand this -- in fact, the vast majority of people -- whereas others -- we call them materialists, reductionists, Darwinists, The Tenured, Lizards, etc. -- are, for whatever tangled developmental or genetic reason, incapable of seeing it. On this they insist, a la our recent Wog. For them, blindness is just another variety of vision.

Goldstein makes an excellent point above, with the analogy of the painter who attempts "to produce a picture that has something to say about the nature of beauty," or "perhaps even something to say about why beauty moves us." This, don't you know, is precisely what I endeavor to do with words. And I know that I sometimes succeed at this, because every once in awhile we get a reader, such as Ray, who cannot see the painting. I know it's fun for you guys to knock him around, but the problem is, he doesn't know he's being knocked around, so where's the bloody pleasure in that?

This is why even Dupree doesn't participate (it's also because his step-brother, LaFayette, is visiting, but that's another story). I encourage you to chuckle at our trolls, not argue. Or at least make your points with lighthearted humor and wit (or haiku). This is the eternal Raccoon way. I don't want to say that this is a dispensation from the Thrice-Cleared Operating Thetan and Infallible One, but it's getting close.

The point is, Dupree only enjoys the clean kill, the arrow straight through the heart. I know that to some he appears mean-spirited or perhaps even "sadistic," but I can assure you that this is not the case (perhaps I should say that he is not only sadistic). Because what he wishes to kill is precisely that which is already half-dead, which is to say, the empirical ego. He wants you to rise on the stepping stones of your dead selves, to paraphrase someone. He wants to give you the wound that cannot be healed on its own level, so that you can reach up for the real medicine. He wants you to to taste the Supra-ontological essence with your own tongue. Mmm, yummy!

Here's a dense lila One Cosmos birthdei hologram addressed to your private particle. See if you can open its presence:

Ananda chance to sat down at the last resort and enjoy a little moksha (or maybe some bhakti) at somarise. Sorry, menyou have only one taste. Whoops, where'd ego?

There is only one thing that is truly proportioned to man's intellect, and that is the transcendent Absolute of which we are mirrors, links, and even deputies. Any philosophy short of this will inevitably produce a human body with no head. And folks, if you don't see a lot of headless people walking around our society, you might want to start by looking to see if your own head is properly attached and up in the clouds.

The only freedom that is proportioned to our nature is that which opens the gates towards the eternal Freedom we bear in the depths of our being, and not to that which betrays man's weakness -- especially collective man's -- to the powers of dissolution and spiritual suicide. --F. Schuon