Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Transcendent Position and its Three Brains

Let's flesh out this idea that my right brain agrees with the non-evolutionism of Schuon, while my left brain agrees with the cosmic evolutionary view of Aurbobindo/Teilhard. Is there a way to combine the two into a "higher third?" And, if so, might this not be the whole freaking point? For if thine brain be single, thy whole mind shall be full of light.

In the past, I have posted many times on the theories of Ignacio Matte Blanco, who was a major influence on my thinking. Along with Bion, he is probably the most far-reaching psychoanalytic thinker, in such a way that he far transcends psychoanalysis. Among other things, he drew out the implications of the unconscious mind, allowing one to fruitfully think about a number of pesky metaphysical problems in new ways.

I just looked him up on wikipedia and was surprised to see that there is actually a short entry:

"Ignacio Matte Blanco was a Chilean psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who developed a rule-based structure for the unconscious which allows us to make sense of the non-logical aspects of thought. Matte Blanco suggested that our thinking combines conventional logic with a different, symmetrical logic in varying degrees, and he named this combination 'bi-logic.' He studied Freud's five characteristics of the unconscious and deduced that if the unconscious has consistent characteristics it must have rules, or there would be chaos.

"However the nature of the characteristics indicate that the rules differ from conventional logic. In The Unconscious as Infinite Sets, Matte Blanco proposes that the structure of the unconscious can be summarised by the principle of Generalisation and the principle of Symmetry. Under the principle of Generalisation the unconscious perceives individual objects as members of classes or sets which are in turn grouped into more general classes. This is compatible with conventional logic. The discontinuity is introduced by the principle of Symmetry, under which relationships are treated as symmetrical, or reversible. For example an asymmetrical relationship, X is greater than Y, becomes reversible so that Y is simultaneously greater than X.

"The principle of Symmetry is clearly outside of conventional logic, consequently Matte Blanco suggests that this alternative logic be called symmetrical logic."

It is difficult for me to discuss this subject without getting pedantic, which I would like to avoid. Rather, I would prefer to operate in my customary mode of free-wheeling vulgarization. I also hate to repeat myself. Nevertheless let me quickly search the blog for "Matte Blanco," and see if there is anything useful for our present purposes...

Yes. Here is some material that will set the stage; there's so much of it, that this post may end up being something of a review, otherwise it will just get too long.

Matte Blanco begins with Freud's model of the unconscious, which is characterized by 1) eternity (or timelessness), 2) spacelessness, 3) symbolism, 4) non-contradiction, and 5) non-distinction between imagination and reality.

However, Matte Blanco, who was also a mathematician, realized that these characteristics were necessary consequences of the kind of logic employed by the unconscious mind, which is to say, symmetrical logic. You might say that this is the logic of the timeless world of eternity, whereas Aristotelian ("asymmetrical") logic only applies to the more limited temporal world, which is a subset of the former. (Which, now that I think about it, is consistent with Robert Rosen's idea that biology is more general than physics, but that is a subject for a different post.)

For example, in the asymmetrical world, it is not possible for two objects to occupy the same space. But in the unconscious mind? No problemo . There, your husband can be your mother, a government can be a bountiful breast, President Bush can be Hitler, or, as Queeg demonstrates on a daily basis, a good Christian or Jew can be an Islamic terrorist.

Likewise, in the unconscious mind, "time travel" is as easy as falling off a log, or Queeg's blog falling off. One of the most vivid clinical cases I've seen of this involved a man who had been shot in the abdomen in an attempted robbery about a decade before. He thought he had forgotten all about it, until one day at work a couple of coworkers decided to play a practical joke on him. One of them aimed a metal tube at him, as if he were holding a rifle. The other coworker slapped together a couple of two-by-fours, creating a loud cracking noise that happened to sound just like gunfire.

The patient reacted just as if he had been shot. He looked down and literally saw blood flowing from his abdomen. He became agitated, and an ambulance had to be called. He was actually taken to the ER, and only after being given a strong anxiolytic did "the past" recede from the present, like an unconscious wave pulling back from the shore of the conscious mind. But for 30 to 45 minutes, the past and present were completely interpenetrating, pulling him down into an infinite terror.

This is simply a vivid example of what happens to us all on a moment-to-moment basis. The past and present are constantly -- and necessarily -- conflated on a deep unconscious level, which accounts for so much of the richness of being. But it also accounts for virtually all psychopathology, which you might say consists not of unpleasant memories that we recall, but unpleasant memories which recall us. [I might add that mind parasites always partake of symmetrical logic, which is why they are impossible to eliminate with mere reason; they "hide out" in the right brain, something that has actually been empirically confirmed, c.f. the works of Allan Schore.]

I'm sure you've all felt the bottomless and unending nameless dread at some point in your life. When I was younger I used to feel it from time to time in the middle of the night. I'd wake up and feel as if all my familiar psychological landmarks had vanished, so to speak. Instead, I was wrapped -- or "unwrapped," actually -- in the eternal silence of the infinite spaces, as Pascal called it -- "the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and which know nothing of me."

Naturally, it felt like an "external" space, but it was in internal space merely projected outward. In reality, there is no outer space, only inner space projected. A lot of people who are obsessed with extra-terrestrial life are merely inside-out psychoanalysts, treating fantasized objects as if they come from the outside rather than the inside.

In hindsight, it is also obvious to me now how my very first heartbreak at 17 reasonated in an infinite way with the loss of Eden that Robin was discussing the other day. I wasn't just alone, but infintely so. Furthermore, I always would be. Thank God for Joseph Coors, who was there when I needed him.

Usually, the deeper the emotion, the more it partakes of symmetrical logic (what would love be if it weren't "forever and ever, amen"?). For example, Matte Blanco noticed that a large part of the pain of psychosis is that emotions are raised to a kind of infinite fever pitch. Imagine my little night-terror occurring 24/7, with no way to stop it. Each moment is a calamitous novelty, completely beyond your control. Even if you've had a single panic attack, you can get a sense of this "bad infinite," which is boundless and unending. This is why some psychiatric patients slash themselves or put cigarette burns into their skin -- anything to end the nameless dread and bring them back into contact with the boundaries of time and space. Finite physical pain is far preferable to infinite emotional pain. (BTW, I also notice this with my son, whom I love so much "I can't stand it"; perhaps I should try burning some cigarets on my arm.)

The logic of the symmetrical unconscious helps explains the angry left. To anyone who is not participating in their group fantasy, one can see how absurdly overblown their fears are, whether it is global warming hysteria, "civil rights," or Queeg's fear of Christians and Jews. But it all makes sense in the deep unconscious. Because of its symmetrical nature, that which you deeply hate is deeply frightening. The more you hate or fear it, the more powerful it becomes, until it is equated with the all-powerful and all-evil. (Might this not be the deeper meaning of "turn the other cheek"?)

The conscious mind, because of its asymmetry, is able to discern sharp differences, whereas the unconscious mind ignores -- or transcends -- distinctions and sees deep similarities. Obviously this has an important function that is vital to psychological health and happiness. But both processes can go haywire. For example, Queeg notices that Islamists and Christians or Jews all believe in some form of Creation, therefore on an unconscious level they are identical. Only the "sameness" is seen, not the vast and irreconcilable differences. Or, it is possible to enforce conscious distinctions in an illogical way, for example, between the nature of our fascist enemies in WWII and our fascist enemies today. There the left sees distinctions where it should see the similarities.

It is easy to see how asymmetrical logic can go awry, as demonstrated on a daily basis by our scientistic mascot. In one sense, yes, science is "true." But from the standpoint of total reality, it obviously cannot possibly be true. Rather, it is merely a left-brain abstraction from the totality of being, the latter of which may only be known by the right brain, since it has access to a mode of thinking that is much deeper than mere language. You might say that science, if wrenched from the mystery of being, automatically becomes a perversion. Just so, scripture reduced to a left-brain narrative can also become a perversion.

In the past, I've posted on the book The Symmetry of God by Rodney Bomford, which applies Matte Blanco's ideas to God and religion. I can't say that I recommend this book without reservation, first because it is kind of expensive for a relatively short book, and second, because the author is a bit too liberal for my tastes. That is, he comes very close to reducing scripture only to a sort of allegorical or mythological language that is understood by the right brain, a la Jung.

That is definitely not what I am saying. Rather, I am saying that scripture reveals deeper realities that can only be decoded and understood by symmetrical logic. Bomford might say that things like scripture and poetry exist because we happen to have a right brain. I am saying the opposite: that we have a right brain because man is a microcosmos who mirrors the totality, and in order to accomplish that, we must possess both modes functioning "to the hilt" in a harmoniously interacting manner. As we shall see later, my whole point is that there is a "transcendent position" that arises from the dialectic between left and right brains, or more to the point, a higher synthesis of symmetrical and assymetrical logic.

With that caveat in mind, I found that Bomford had some incredibly useful things to say about symmetrical logic and its relation to God, and about how we may meaningfully communicate about something that vastly exceeds the limits of language. The book attempts to resolve the issue of literalism vs. reductionism. That is to say, it is for someone who "neither clings rigidly to the literal truth of every word of the Bible, nor on the other hand reduces the faith by rejecting most of what the past has believed to be central." This interdisciplinary spirit allows one to be a believer and still engage with the same world as those outside the faith. In fact, without this engagement, one will inevitably create a sort of intellectual ghetto for oneself. But there is no reason whatsoever that one cannot build sturdy and robust bridges between religion and any other discipline, which was obviously the whole point of my own book. There should be no intrinsic barrier between religion and the most up-to-date science.

As mankind has evolved, we have become increasingly aware of the internal world of consciousness itself. Religion has followed this trend, which is why the further back in history you travel, the more religion tends to be dominated by an externalizing tendency (of course, there have always been individual exceptions). Today, if you ask the average person where God is encountered, they will likely respond "within myself." In other words, they do not believe that they are literally going to visit God in the church or temple -- although our consciousness of God is surely "focussed," so to speak, in certain proscribed areas and rituals. But when we attend a service, engage in a ritual, meditate, pray, or purchase an indulgence from Petey, we are obviously attempting to heighten our consciousness of God, are we not?

But what do we know about consciousness? What is it? Or, to put it another way, what can consciousness know of itself?

Bomford begins with what amounts to a truism, that our conscious self -- or ego -- is situated in a much larger area of consciousness as such, much of which goes by the name "unconscious." This is a misleading term, since the unconscious is not unconscious, just not fully available to the ego; obviously, the totality of consciousness cannot be circumscribed by the little ego.

Traditionally, psychoanlaysts have imagined a sort of horizontal line, with the ego above and the unconscious below. But I believe a more accurate mental image would be an island surrounded by water on all sides, or like a point within a sphere (which is itself multidimensional). I would also argue that consciousness is not linear but holographically structured, so that the unconscious is not spatially above or below, but within consciousness (somewhat analogous to God, who is both immanent and transcendent, the deepest within and the furthest beyond of any "thing" that partakes of Being).

Furthermore, we must abandon the idea that the unconscious is merely an uncivilized repository of repressed mind parasites and other troubling forces and entities. That is surely part of the picture, but only part. For example, Grotstein writes of the unconscious as a sort of alter-ego, or “stranger within” that shadows our existence in a most intimate, creative, and mysterious way. Far from being “primitive and impersonal” (although it obviously includes primitive, lower vertical elements as well), it is “subjective and ultra-personal,” a “mystical, preternatural, numinous second self” characterized by “a loftiness, sophistication, versatility, profundity, virtuosity, and brilliance that utterly dwarf the conscious aspects of the ego.” (In other words, it is more like an analogue of O; if I could reproduce the symbol, it would be a small o within O, or "uh oh.")

The production of a dream, for example, "is a unique and mysterious event, an undertaking that requires an ability to think and to create that is beyond the capacity of conscious human beings.... [D]reams are, at the very least, complex cinematographic productions requiring consummate artistry, technology, and aesthetic decision making.... [D]reams are dramatic plays that are written, cast, plotted, directed, and produced and require the help of scenic designers and location scouts, along with other experts.... I am really proposing the existence of a profound preturnatural presence whose other name is the Ineffable Subject of Being, which itself is a part of a larger holographic entity, the Supraordinate Subject of Being and Agency."

Now, this is what I meant when I referred to Kepler's songs appealing to my right brain, as they might more accurately be described as "Kepler's Dreams" -- which can be said of any "prophet." In my view, a real prophet is simply someone who has truly mastered the "transcendent position," and can speak the rich and resonant language of the higher third.

Oy, this post is getting entirely too long, isn't it? A little bit more:

Religion provides an extremely sophisticated language through which we may speak of the Absolute, the eternal, the immutable. Remember, eternity is not time everlasting, but timelessness. As I explained in my book, time is a function of eternity. In fact, the two are dialectically related, and one is not possible without the other. However, our surface ego, or frontal personality, gives us the illusion that only time exists.

Yet, we always have intuitions of the eternal ground from which the events of time perpetually arise and return. Religion is a way of acknowledging and talking about this, of giving form and substance to this more primary ground of timelessness. It is where we came from before birth and where we are headed after death, only it is present in every now. In fact, now is the only place eternity is or has ever been.

Recall that when God reveals his name to Moses, he says that it is, "I AM THAT I AM." Not I was, or I will be, but I AM. When you think about it, there is something very mysterious about this "I" and this "AM." As a matter of fact, there is no science or philosophy that can even begin to account for them or explain what they actually are. They are ultimate categories of thought that mere conventional logic can never penetrate. As it so happens, this "I" and "AM" are the slots in the cosmos where eternity comes pouring into time consciously.

Similarly, what did Jesus say? "Before Abraham was, I AM." Also, the Upanishads speak of this in many ways: "aham asmi" (I AM), or "so ham asmi" ("I am he"). The Tao Te Ching too: "Since before time and space were, the Tao is. It is beyond is and is not. How do I know this is true? I look inside myself and see."

Or, in Petey's thirdspeak: Cut me down to sighs. Too old, older than Abraham, too young, young as a babe's I AM. Brahmasmi the Truth. The whole Truth. Nothing but the Truth. So ham, me God.

Again I apologize for all this dreary review, but we do have a number of new regulars, so it might be worthwhile to get them up to speed on some of the Raccoon basics.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Evolutionary Creationism (7.24.11)


Alright, let's resolve this thing once and for all. 200,000 years is long enough for anyone to have to live in darkness about his origins. How do we reconcile God and Darwin, Adam and evolution, kings and chimps, Elvis and Scatter?

The most daunting aspect of this problem is the possibility of provoking the righteous wrath of Kepler Sings, who, if I get this wrong, might do to me what the Rrrrreverend Jackson wishes to do to Obama. I accept virtually everything he says, by the way. He is a fine spokesman for my right cerebral hemisphere. The difficulty lies in reconciling it with everything else I accept.

Let me preface this by saying that I am more or less willing to adopt what science determines to be "true" -- within sharp philosophical limits, of course -- for the same reason that I am willing to accept the advice of my doctor that if I don't take insulin I will die.

I mean... put it this way. As it so happens, my mother was a Christian Scientist, and I attended Christian Science Sunday school until the age of 10 or so. In fact, you could say that my mother was a devout Christian Scientist, with the exception of the Christian Science part. That is, when we left the plane of theological abstraction for the world of concrete reality, we took medicine and went to the doctor, just like anyone else -- in fact, more so; my mother was a bit of a hypochondriac by proxy. Frankly, there was no attempt whatsoever to reconcile what I heard in Sunday school with what went on the rest of the week, especially if I had a fever of 98.7, in which case it was off to the Doctor.

Which I suppose played a role in sowing the seeds of religious doubt in my mind, being that I became a vocal atheist by the age of complete ensoulment, or by the time I turned nine. So in my case, my Christian indoctrination completely backfired, as it was one of the primary causes of my rejection of it. Obviously, I am not alone in this regard. The absence of elementary consistency was abundantly evident even to a nine year-old, and a healthy mind seeks unity above all else. It is what the mind does and what it is for. It can also analyze into parts, but always for the purpose of synthesizing things into a higher and more complex unity.

The other day, I heard a brilliant analysis of Obama by Rush Limbaugh. He was pointing out that the reason he is reduced to such a stuttering prick (to quote Tommy DeVito) when off the teleprompter, is that he is a deeply divided person, either consciously or unconsciously (and undoubtedly both, in my opinion). He is the polar opposite of, say, Ronald Reagan, who always knew what he thought and could answer any question, for it was simply a matter of returning to first principles and applying them to the problem. Very scientific, if you will.

But one of the intrinsic problems in being a liberal is that you can never reveal your first principles, because if you explicitly articulate them, people will be repelled at what a contemptuous and supercilious asshat you are. Therefore, you must always couch them in terms of "compassion," or "helping the little guy," or "healing the planet," or "unity," or some other such blather. So in that regard, Obama is dealing with a more general problem that is intrinsic to liberalism, which is How to Fool the Idiots. One must be very cautious, because even the idiots are only so stupid. Thus Obama's constant verbal ticks: "uh, uh, uh, let me, uh, say this, uh, uh, I've been completely, uh, consistent about this, blah blah blah."

Being that liberalism is the political embodiment of multiplicity (or of an oppressive "bad unity" to try to heal it), it should not be surprising that its adherents are so intrinsically inconsistent. It's not so much that they are dishonest, but that the whole ideology is dishonest -- it is a lie from the ground up. Which is also why, the worse your character (or the less your intelligence), the better you will fare as a liberal politician, because you will be able to lie with great ease and even fool yourself.

Anyway, in Rush's analysis, he was pointing out that Obama is running several campaigns simultaneously, and that it is obviously a struggle for him to keep them all straight in his head, thus the great difficulty in being consistent and giving straight answers. Because of this, he is always one gaffe away from a major meltdown. For example, he's running one campaign for blacks, but an entirely different one for whites. (I won't even review the whole list, because it would take too much time, and I've already made my point; here is a list of the various irreconcilable positions which Obama must hopelessly try keep straight in his mind.)

My only point is that in the ultimate sense, science is the reduction of objective multiplicity to subjective unity. But the only reason this is possible is because the human intellect mirrors the unity of creation. Our mind operates the way it does because we live in a cosmos, which is to say, an ordered totality. And the cosmos is an ordered totality because it exhibits "nonlocal" internal relations. Because of this, every part of the cosmos embodies and participates in the whole, just as every gene contains the blueprint for the whole body. Again, the cosmos is thoroughly entangled with itself, which is why we may know anything and also why we may know anything. It is how and why Man may be the microcosmos that he is.

Now, metaphysics is all about first principles. As with the example of Reagan above, my intention is to have a completely consistent metaphysic, so that, in order to answer any question, I need only "return to first principles" to answer it. In this sense, Darwinism is a lie, because it cannot furnish any consistent first principles. In fact, whenever a committed Darwinist tries, they end up making self-refuting statements right out of the box, just like a liberal politician.

But so too, in my opinion, do literal "creationists." Of course you are free to insist upon young earth creationism, but you must know that it is going to contradict so much evidence that you will essentially have to split your mind in two. You will live in a scientific world with all of its blessings, and yet, a part of you will have to reject it, or at least not be able to fully integrate it into your belief system.

I made reference to this the other day when I only half-jokingly mentioned that my right brain agrees with Schuon about evolution, while my left brain agrees with Aurobindo (or Teilhard, if you like). One of Bion's adages (which he borrowed from someone else) is that the answer is the disease that kills curiosity. In the case of my book, I've posted in the past about how it was essentially the fruit of years spent in the state of "higher bewilderness," essentially trying to resolve the dilemma of Adam and evolution. In a sense, it would be easy to just come down on one side or the other, and make the coontradiction go away.

But for me to do this, I would feel as if I were back to the life of a Christian Scientist hypochondriac. For better or worse, the way my mind is built, it seeks unity or wholeness, which is a very different thing from "unicity." In other words, to simply accept an ideology -- whether scientific or religious -- and superimpose it on the world would be an example of unicity. Such a worldview will be "consistent" but it will not be complete, as it will necessarily have to omit a lot of details and anomalies.

Or, I could accept both science and religion, and not worry about the lack of reconciliation. Such a world view will be more complete, but it will lack consistency.

The Raccoon, dash it all, wishes to have a maximum of completeness and consistency -- at least as much as Gödel will allow. Which is a lot, once you accept the implications of his theorems, one of which is that truth is prior to our fragmentary logical "proofs" of it.

The point is, there must be a deeper way to harmonize revelation and science. But the only way to arrive at this is to dwell in the bewilderness and actually ratchet up the tension, as opposed to prematurely resolving it. The same thing applies to psychotherapy, at least as Bion envisioned it.

For example, a therapist might know what is going on with a patient after the very first session. But it won't do the patient any good to simply provide him the answer, which would essentially foreclose the evolution of O by superimposing mere (k) upon it. Rather, what you want to happen is for O to evolve into genuine (k) in the patient; it is the difference between (k)-->Ø and O-->(k). In order to accomplish the latter, one must exercise Yeats, I mean Keats, "negative capablity," which is to dwell in "uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."

If one does this long enough, one will eventually "snap." Now, being that a Raccoon is an extreme seeker and off-road spiritual aspirant, you might say that he wants the ultimate spiritual adventure. Therefore, he will feed his head with inconsistencies and contradictions until it basically explodes. But in a good way.

I think.

Well, I guess I've barely cleared my throat on this one, and now we're out of time. I assume we'll continue tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Infinite Stupidity of the Liztardian Mind

Those that deny the creator are the most miserable of all things. --Kepler Sings

[H]umanistic culture, insofar as it functions as an ideology and therefore as a religion, consists essentially in being unaware of three things: firstly, of what God is, because it does not grant primacy to Him; secondly, of what man is, because it puts him in the place of God; thirdly, of what the meaning of life is, because this culture limits itself to playing with evanescent things and to plunging into them with criminal unconscious. In a word, there is nothing more inhuman than humanism, by the fact that it, so to speak, decapitates man: wishing to make of him an animal which is perfect, it succeeds in turning him into a perfect animal; not all at once... but in the long run, since it inevitably ends by “re-barbarizing” society, while “dehumanizing” it ipso facto in depth. --F. Schuon

Man is not only capable of knowing the Absolute, but he was made to know it. As such, not only may he ascend to the eternal, the sublime, the godly, but he may sink beneath himself into a kind of infinite stupidity that in turn opens the floodgates to evil. For if man does not know what is ultimately true, he cannot act in accordance with virtue, at least in any essential, ontologically grounded way. Thus, infinite stupidity goes hand in hand with infinite evil.

For example, the reason we stand in awe of our military heroes is that they risk nothing less than an infinite sacrifice, for to give one's life for the Good is not susceptible to any human calculus. Likewise, to take an innocent life is an evil that can never be reconciled, at least on the human plane. A murderer with even a shred of human decency would ask to be put to death, because he has destroyed something infinite and infinitely precious.

Although it may be "in a manner of speaking" in order to emphasize the point, Jesus says that the one sin that will not be forgiven is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Why should this be so? I believe because in essence it undermines the very possibility of grace, redemption, and salvation, and attributes to man -- or to "matter" -- what can only come from the Creator. It is to turn the cosmos upside down, always and forever, rendering Man spiritually lost for all time.

In other words, to sin against the Holy Spirit is essentially to murder God, and how can that be forgiven? For this is to murder the Sovereign Good, the very source of truth, beauty, virtue, perfection, wisdom, harmony, holiness, light, radiance, the sacred. Furthermore in annihilating God, one commits the genocide of Man as such. And none of this can be accomplished unless it is under a cloak of pride, hubris, and cosmic narcissism.

At First Things there is an essay by Joseph Bottum (TW: Michael Egnor) that speaks to the infinite stupidity of the Liztardian mind and its gleeful vandalism against the human station. The essay is about the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, whose most famous Vicious and Unhinged Rant Against Queeg was The Revolt of the Masses, which I read long ago. In it he discusses a new psychohistorical phenomenon, the "mass man," who "is not just an ordinary man, and he is not associated with any particular class. He is, rather, a product of European historical development, a kind of human being born for the first time in the nineteenth century."

Thus, we appreciate the immediate irony that the Liztardian queegling is most assuredly a product of "evolution," except that it is a downward evolution -- or devolution -- away from what man was intended to be, in the direction of matter, of infinite stupidity, of "anti-wisdom," or (-n).

Indeed, without the vector provided by the Absolute, Darwinism can only produce the lateral mutation of this or that, but nothing of eternal value. There can be no standard of excellence, nothing timelessly true or beautiful. Obviously nothing can be higher than anything else, which is precisely why postmodernity is necessarily the cult of mediocrity in which every Queeg is "entitled to his opinion," no matter how banal and childlike.

To assault the Holy Spirit is to decimate the hierarchy that allows the mind to discern the infinite gulf between a Meister Eckhart and Masterless Liztard. So one might say that Queeg's puny misosphy is entirely self-serving, as it a priori places him on the same plane as those who infinitely surpass him, like a child who has no conception of adulthood (except perhaps as something from which to reflexively rebel). To paraphrase Schuon, the Raccoon is "one who transcends himself and loves to transcend himself," while the worldly Liztard "remains horizontal and detests the vertical dimension." Ho!

Again, this attitude is both an effect and cause of Cosmic Narcissism. As Bottum explains, "The mass man lives without any discipline"; he "possesses no quality of excellence," and "demands more and more, as if it were his natural right, without realizing that what he wants was the privilege of a tiny group only a century ago. He does not understand that technological wonders are the product of an intricate cultural process for which he should be grateful. 'What before would have been considered one of fortune’s gifts, inspiring humble gratitude toward destiny, was converted into a right, not to be grateful for, but to be insisted on...'"

In short, Ortega understood "that the nineteenth century created the kind of human being who would become the dominant social force in the twentieth century." He was concerned -- and rightfully so -- that this whole process would end in "the total disappearance of man as man and his silent return to the animal scale." Those with eyes to see are already witness to this re-barbarization of Man. The infinite stupidity of the Koslings and Queeglings is but a symptom.

Both of these deviant cults of ignorance "lack of even a rudimentary understanding of culture," which is to say, "the set of ideas, motives, and religious truths that gave birth to civilization." The cult member is "oblivious to the fact" that modern science is solidly rooted in Judeo-Christian metaphysics. Once in place, science can obviously continue. However, once severed from the roots that gave birth to it, it can be no different than when behavior is severed from consciousness of virtue. Being that man is "suspended," as it were, between God and matter, he does not remain stationary. If he does not ascend toward the nonlocal attractor, then he tends to fall in the other direction, toward dispersion, fragmentation, and absence of any true center.

Along these lines, Schuon writes that "We do not deny that evolution exists within certain limits, as is indeed evident enough, but we do deny that it is a universal principle, and hence a law which affects and determines all things, including the immutable; evolution and degeneration can moreover go hand in hand, each then occurring on a different plane. However that may be, what has to be categorically rejected is the idea that truth evolves, or that revealed doctrines are the product of an evolution" (emphasis mine).

In a way, that sums up the argument against the cult of Queeglings. Evolution cannot be a "universal principle," for nothing absolute can ever be derived from pure relativity. Clearly, change cannot affect the changeless, and if there is no vertical realm of absolute truth, then we would have no way to discern the difference between evolution and devolution, progress and degeneration. And truth surely cannot be a product of evolution. Rather, it is realized through evolution. Again, to the extent that human beings may know truth, then they have ipso facto either transcended it or realized its end -- which amounts to the same thing.

In this sense, the Raccoon obviously believes in real evolution, not the anemic, watered down version of the Liztards. As always, we go the whole hog, and say that Man is the pinnacle of evolution, which cannot be surpassed, being that he is capable of knowing the infinite, the absolute and the eternal, and none of these things can be exceeded. Rather, we can only fall short of them, like the devolutionary cult of clueless Liztards. Man's plight and his saving grace is that he is not fixed but an evolutionary possibility. A spiritually unevolving man who is "frozen" and encased in matter is a deviant monster.

There is a great deal of talk these days about “humanism,” talk which forgets that once man abandons his prerogatives to matter, to machines, to quantitative knowledge, he ceases to be truly “human".... Humanism is the reign of horizontality, either naïve or perfidious; and since it is also -- and by that very fact -- the negation of the Absolute, it is a door open to a multitude of sham absolutes, which in addition are often negative, subversive, and destructive.... What is human is what is natural to man, and what is most essentially or most specifically natural to man is what relates to the Absolute and which consequently requires the transcending of what is earthly in man. --F. Schuon

Monday, July 28, 2008

What is the Liztard, that the Cosmos is Mindful of Him?

I guess we can't quite move on from the LGF business, with so many people in the blogosphere talking and writing about its ontonoetic free fall into clinical inanity. For example, Joan says that she was disappeared by the brittle Queeg for making a single comment:

"I did not argue for or against ID, but merely posited that IF I were an Islamo-fascist, then I would certainly appreciate all the excitement and hand-wringing about the Christians, as it would make my plans much easier.

"I pointed out that millions of young minds had been taught the Bible story in their youth and still went on, unassailed, to learn sound scientific principle.

"I ended with a lament that the real damage done to young minds was in forcing them to read JD Salinger."

Who could argue with that? By undermining faith and denigrating Jews and Christians, Charles is doing some of the heavy lifting for the Islamists, who know that Darwinists are only programmed to protect their own genetic asses, but do not fight for transcendent principles, since those principles can only be an illusion. Or, if they are not an illusion, then it is incumbent upon Queeg to explain how that can be so. But again, he mostly engages in ad hominem and argument from the authority of comedians.

Queeg keeps insisting that one can be religious and believe in evolution, and that is surely true. However, I am quite certain that he lacks the cognitive firepower to explain how that would work in theory and in practice. I say this because he accuses anyone who actually tries to do so of being a SHILL and a FRAUD who is perpetrating a HOAX on the CHILDREN! And then, when he bans them for trying to sap and impurify the precious bodily fluids of Liztards, they become UNHINGED and turn on him with VICIOUS ATTACKS, like this one! It is as if his critics have stolen ALL THE ADJECTIVES, so that Queeg is reduced to recycling the same ones OVER and OVER in EVERY POST about the subject!!!

Another vicious commenter, Yank in the EU, mentioned Queeg's modest foray into metaphysics, which goes as follows:

"Belief in God does not preclude belief in evolution.
Belief in evolution does not preclude belief in God.
Do not trust those who insist otherwise."

Yank writes that "This is a remarkable kind of statement. Following both faith and metaphysical understanding, I envision a domain of final causes that underlies and guides, impercercptibly and in a way our finite minds cannot adequately grasp, efficient causes in nature / evolution. Indeed, one might call this natural teleology or 'intelligent design' in a classical sense."

Precisely. Let's stop right there for a moment. I hate to have to impart such elementary truths, but for the benefit of Liztards from Rio Linda, if God exists, then God by definition transcends biology and everything else. In fact, God is transcendence as such, the sufficient reason for the self-evident presence of a vertical realm of transcendent being, consciousness, and bliss in this cosmos. Or, if you prefer, intelligent power, truth, and life.

A moment's reflection will confirm to you that the Absolute, being transcendent, is necessarily immanent. In other words, transcendence cannot possibly be derived from immanence, any more than Truth can be derived from matter, or "bread from stones." But the Absolute Principle, or Sovereign Good, unnarcissarily "spills over" into creation, which is precisely why, among other convenient features of our living cosmos, everything makes so much freaking sense to us. Everywhere we look, order, order, order, truth, truth, truth, beauty, beauty, beauty. How do you think it got there, moron? By random genetic drift? Sexual selection? Get a clue!

Yank continues his vicious attack: "But if, say, another person, who is intellectually sincere, reasons from perhaps theology, philosophy or even an empirical scientific point of view that there might be a conflict between some versions of the theory of evolution and the idea that that God created the universe, are we to view that person with fundamental distrust? That would be quite tyrannical, morally wrong and diametrically opposed to serious intellectual discourse with one's opponents, as if they can't be trusted merely on the basis that they arrive at different intellectual conclusions on this problem.

"Now, consider all the support this kind of obviously disturbing statement recieves at LGF. LGF has become in ways quite Stalinist and totalitarian in its dogmatic secularism, i.e. deciding which types of Christians / intellectual views are acceptable in their eyes and those worthy of personal distrust or scorn."

Again, precisely. There is nothing liberal -- and therefore conservative -- about Queeg's heavy-handed foreclosure of certain lines of investigation. To say on the one hand that God and evolution are compatible, but to then foreclose any attempt to unify them is -- well, I don't want to get technical here, but there are forms of psychosis that are "negative," so to speak, rather than "positive," so they don't stand out in the same florid way.

I don't want to get too sidetracked here, but this is commonly encountered in clinical practice. In fact, I'll no doubt see a case of it at work today. That is, there are people who see or hear or imagine "what isn't there." They are the "positive hallucinators," and they obviously represent a small minority.

But Bion recognized that there are equally people who "unhallucinate" what is there. In my writing, I call this a "dimensional defense mechanism," because the way it most commonly works is to render the meaningful meaningless by unconsciously attacking the links that connect them. This is very different from repression or from denial, the latter of which is much more crude and obvious. In contrast, the dimensional defense is reconizable by a kind of intellectual "flatness" that we recognize in our scientistic mascot, Ray, or in Queeg and the rest of the anti-intellectual neo-Liztard rabble of little Queeglings.

For these people, inability to see the evidence is confused with an absence of evidence. But that isn't where it ends, because it must be combined with a kind of omnipotent grandiosity that we always detect in these people, a grandiosity that is entirely uncalled for if reductionistic Darwinism provides an accurate account of Man -- which, after all, should provoke the very opposite sentiment, a kind of abject humility. Our pet chimp Scatter comes to mind. In spite of it all, he knows his place. It never occurs to him that he is special enough understand the origins of the cosmos, life, man, and everything else. He is a proper Darwinist, who stays within the bounds of his irreducible incompetence.

We all see that the left continues to go through a massive collective negative hallucination with regard to what is going on in Iraq. They do the same thing with regard to the burgeoning evidence against manmade global warming, or the intrinsic problems with socialized medicine, or the deleterious impact of judicial leniency in fostering crime, etc. The list is endless.

But this is where Queeg is cheek-to-jowl with the kos kids, or huffpo, or the ACLU. In fact, we should play a little game called, "Who said it, Kos or Queeg?" You will see that it's quite difficult to tell, because both employ the identical kind of rhetoric that lets you know that you're not dealing with a rational person, but with a negative hallucinator. You know this because, if you are sensitive to it, you can sense what is being projected into you -- that is to say, the heat but not any light. You can sense that you are being inducted into someone else's psychodrama, which a normal person wishes to resist. But instead of lashing out in kind, you need to reflect on what is being projected, otherwise you just fuel the negative hallucination. You will notice, for example, how a Dennis Prager routinely picks apart the negative hallucinators of the left by never engaging them on the same emotional plane, but by staying within his higher space.

So while Yank is correct that Queeg is "Stalinist" and "totalitarian," I don't think I'd put it in such terms, which are bound to be willfully misunderstood in such a way that they will simply add fuel to the hallucination.

Yank makes the critical point that there might be a conflict between some versions of the theory of evolution and the idea that God created the universe. As I have mentioned before, when someone else began writing my book about a dozen years ago -- being that I was not yet me at the time -- I attempted to, in effect, "reason upward" from the evidence of science to arrive at God. Frankly, this isn't difficult to do, so I will not rehearse all that evidence here.

But in the end, it doesn't really accomplish much, because it only makes God possible -- or even necessary -- but it doesn't tell you anything about what sort of God you are dealing with, except perhaps one who is devilishly good at math. Nor does it allow one to experience God.

No. For that, you have to get into the back of the line and start all over, through one of the traditional channels. So at best, the self-evident existence of "intelligent design" gives one "permission to believe," but that is all. (And when I say "self-evident," I mean that one is simply drawing out all of the vast metaphysical implications that follow from the fact that man is indeed intelligent and may therefore know truth; to understand this is to understand that the non-living and the unintelligent cannot be ultimate.)

Once I began a serious spiritual practice in 1995 (although in hindsight, I now see that the practice began many years before that, and that I was guided all along by an unthought Self that was dragging me toward it), I began to "harvest" in such a way that what was once a lot of theoretical knowledge (k) began blossoming into (n). Once that happens, you stop asking if "intelligent design" proves the existence of God.

Rather, in your properly oriented, right-side-up cosmos, you now begin to ask "given that God exists, what must the universe be like?" While I suppose other universes could exist, they couldn't be a lot different from this one in terms of the fundamental metaphysical principles that govern it, at least if it is to include self-conscious and intelligent subjects capable of knowing truth, love, and beauty, not to mention the Absolute.

And this is where a Frithjof Schuon comes in, for I believe that he most adequately articulates the nature of those timeless principles, at least in the most intelligent and luminous way (for one needs both, the intelligence and barakah, or light and grace) that is suitable for the true gnostic. These identical principles are -- of necessity -- embedded in Christianity or Judaism, but for certain types -- the Raccoon type, actually -- we want to go past the shell and get to the kernel. But not for a moment do we denigrate the bhakta or karma yogin; it's just that it takes all kinds to make up a world, and I don't think God intended for religion to exclude the intellectually gifted.

An example of one of the surprising findings of modern science that "must be" is that the cosmos is thoroughly entangled with itself across both space and time. If this weren't the case, then neither knowledge nor intelligence could exist, not to mention the intersbjectivity that makes human consciousness possible. It is only because we are "members of one another" that we can be human at all. But only a very special type of cosmos allows for intersubjectivity, as explained in my book.

Given the temporal and spatial entanglement of the cosmos, when we look "out" at the red shift that proves the big bang, we are also looking back, in, and forward. Because when rays of light from this event -- simultaneously distant and close -- touch our retina and enter the brain, we are in effect witnessing the birth of the cosmos. But since the cosmos is nonlocal, one could equally say that the cosmos is watching itself being given birth through the medium of human consciousness -- which is paradoxically there at the beginning (and even before the beginning, if you believe Petey).

So are we seeing consciousness give birth to the cosmos? Or the cosmos give birth to consciousness?

Yes. Continuously.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Sunday Timeless

Intellectual intuition (nous) involves the direct perception of Truth. Logic (dianoia), on the other hand, is merely a mental operation that can lead to true or false conclusions, depending upon the data provided it. Logic is particularly useless -- even dangerous -- without the a priori intuition of Truth, without which logic alone eventually leads one over the abyss.

The most important truths are indeed "self evident," that is, evident to the higher self. Clearly they are not necessarily evident to the lower self, which is why liberty and human dignity are a tough sell in the Islamic world, which awaits the day when its progress is not thwarted by the infrahuman majority in its midst. In America, the anti-progressive forces are represented by secular progressives, anti-religious Liztards, and other spiritual medullards.

The application of mere logic would dismiss as silly superstition those transcendent truths that are known directly by the higher mind. This is why you cannot prove the existence of God to such a logic-bound individual, any more than you could prove it to a dog. Religious truths are conveyed through symbolism and analogy (with the assistance of grace), more like a great work of art than a mathematical equation. Although not merely logical, it would be a grave and simplistic error to suggest that the great revelations are illogical, any more than a Shakespearean sonnet or one of Beethoven’s symphonies are illogical. Rather, they are translogical.

In the case of those latter two modes, poetical and musical truth are conveyed directly to something analogous to the senses, only on level that obviously transcends them. Those who demand “proof” of God are almost always coming from a quasi-autistic plane where the transcendent truth is simply unavailable to them -- like someone who listens to the notes but cannot hear the symphony. A musical boob and a connoisseur of music have access to completely different realities when they listen to a great masterwork, and only an ass would reduce the whole of the symphony to its parts, and then think he understands it better then the expert.

This Liztardian attitude involves a kind of invincible ignorance disguised as healthy skepticism. It reminds me of Bion’s description of the psychotic mind, which, he said, combined the characteristics of arrogance, stupidity, and curiosity. When you put those three together, you end up with a kind of arrogant, omnipotent ignorance that is inordinately proud of its own stupidity. Thus the childlike self-assuredness of the Head Lizard in denigrating what transcends him. He is such a mental twerp -- a nothing, really -- in the context of the timeless celestial truth he mocks (and which mocks him right back; I am only the messenger).

This type of mind is too saturated by lower things -- computer programming books, and the like -- and "knows" too much to ever consider the possibility of truths that lie on plane higher than their own meager qualifications. These people too are “impenetrable.” They suffer from a distorting mental hypertrophy that is to the mind what those musclebound bodybuilding freaks are to the physique. Only the delusional members of the cult believe that they actually look good -- mostly to each other, to which the gradually diminishing interest in LGF testifies.

The scientific plane discloses relative truths that provide causal explanations for various material processes. As such, science is obviously entirely appropriate for the horizontal plane to which it is addressed. But religious truths do not have to do with horizontal causation, or only secondarily. Rather, they are intended to provide the higher mind with a means to realize vertical truth (and virtue). There is nothing that can be provided by mere logic alone that can help one ascend this vertical hierarchy.

Again, religious truths are seen directly, in the very same way that one's eyes see directly in the material plane. When you see something directly before your eyes, only a fool would ask you to prove that vision exists. When you hear the obvious beauty in a work of music, to such an extent that it moves you to tears, no one asks you to first prove to them that hearing exists -- as if the existence of mere hearing could explain musical truth anyway. Frankly, you wouldn’t even know how to respond to such an individual. What, prove to a crawling Liztard the truths that are furnished by one's own wings? How about proving to me that your mind exists, and explain how it is able to discover cosmic Truths that transcend the genes, then we’ll talk.

While the lower mind is active, or “male,” it has always been understood that the higher mind is passive, or “female,” in relation to Truth. The lower mind is an acquisitive mind, a grasping mind, even a restless and greedy mind. Part of the reason it is restless and greedy is that it can never be satisfied with what it is capable of acquiring, what with its own inherent limitations. The mind cannot rest until it has found its proper home, and that home is only found in the transcendent metaphysical truths to which it is conformed. There are certain things that the human mind is designed to know, and once it knows them, it "settles down," as in marriage. In fact, it is a marriage -- a metaphysical union.

Likewise, there are certain things human beings were not necessarily meant to know. It is not that we should not or cannot know them, only that these things are “accidental” and not essential. Someone who rejects the divine in favor of the material plane has rejected what is essential in favor of what is accidental and contingent. Therefore, their soul will suffer proportionately. It will become deformed instead of deiformed. They will “think,” but the thinking really won’t get anywhere, at least philosophically. Any end to their thinking will, as Schopenhaur recognized, be arbitrary. Even the greatest secular philosopher simply stops asking “why” at a certain arbitrary juncture, and thus founds a school.

On the secular philosophical plane, there is nothing you can prove that you cannot equally disprove. It is “a journey of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing,” a "systematic abuse of language designed for that purpose." If a man doesn’t realize this by the age of 40 or so, he hasn’t learned much in his life's journey. He doesn't necessarily have to do anything about it, but he should at least realize that the intellectual game is up, that it’s all for show -- for vanity and tenure.

The secular philosopher doesn’t only end his thinking at an arbitrary point. The truth of the matter is that he also begins it at an arbitrary point that can never be justified by his own philosophy. Postmodern philosophers like to congratulate themselves on the idea that they begin with “ignorance” or total skepticism, but it is an odd philosophy that begins by declaring to people that they cannot know what they most certainly do know.

These folks take great pride in living in darkness, and ridicule those of us who simply enjoy the sun’s rays, which both warm and illuminate. I certainly don’t care if some scaly bloghard wants to insist that the sun doesn’t exist. That’s fine. We have no quarrel. I know where he's coming from, because I can see the darkness. But he cannot know where we're coming from until he steps outside into the inner Light.

The higher mind is truly a mirrorcle of the absolute. In fact, its very existence establishes its own proof of the absolute, just as eyes prove the existence of material objects that can be seen. If truth exists, then surely it is accessible to us. If it doesn’t exist, then there is no point in pursuing it or even speaking of it. We should banish it from our vocabulary as sort of persistent illusion to which the fallible human mind is subject. Of course, the academic left is already hard at work on this diabolical project of “deconstruction,” but the fact of the matter is, the Left as such -- whatever you wish to call it -- has always been with us, and always will be. In this wider understanding, LGF is part of the material left, and has no intrinsic commonality with transcendent conservatism.

For the deep structure of the Left may be traced all the way back to the first appearance of humanity in its horizontal maninfestation. It is not so much that relativism is incorrect as such. Obviously, our own existence proves that relativism is real, otherwise there would only be God. But by the same token, relativism cannot be absolute. Rather, the absolute is precisely that which makes hierarchical relativity possible to begin with. By definition, there is no such thing as an incomplete hierarchy. To paraphrase Richard Weaver, if a series is hierarchically ordered it is conditioned from top to bottom and so cannot be infinite. If it is infinite, it cannot be conditioned top to bottom, and there is no higher or lower -- only Hegel's "bad infinite," or the black night in which all lizards are dark.

Our existence proves beyond the doubt of a shadow that we inhabit a hierarchical cosmos with degrees of being -- atoms, molecules, cells, animals, Man. Man is an arrow that points beyond himself to his source above, not below or behind.

"Certain things are known; other things have to be thought about. Some of the things we know we don't think we know because we think about them. Yet they are there in front of us and if we didn't consider them separate from ourselves and worthy of thinking about, we would know them for what they are.... The feeling of losing yourself is often the feeling of remembering yourself -- you are losing your personality and gaining your center....

"Our society has chosen its priorities quite clearly: surfaces. So it is no surprise that centers hold no interest. And yet, whether there is interest or not, the lie of the surfaces... is a lie.... Thus we have lost the knowledge of 'wholes.' We can 'think about' and 'talk about' wholes, but we do not know them. As a result, much of our world has been destroyed by... the lack of intuitive knowledge of centers.... Science is a view from exactly one perspective.... its discoveries are discrete and always relate to the world as defined by science.... But only knowledge of centers (or Center) will fix the core of our world... " --Keith Jarrett, Changeless

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Little Queeg's Footballs and the Coon Mutiny

Within each of us is the blueprint of the universe. We are of it. It is of us. And that universe from the beginning to the end of time is the body of the Holy Ancient One.... And as each cell carries sealed within it the genotype of itself, so each of us is the whole universe. --Lawrence Kushner, Honey From the Rock: Visions of Jewish Mystical Renewal

As Dupree mentioned yesterday -- and I don't know what makes him think he's authorized to disclose our private conversations -- I'm not sure what this post will be about, but I like the way the title rolls off the tongue.

First of all, why am I involving myself in this ugly bidness of Charles Johnson's public auto-Sullivanization? Why do I care whether LGF or any other blog goes off the rails into the weird personal obsession of its improprietor? Why all the UGLY, FANATICAL, VICIOUS, and UNHINGED attacks on someone who THREATENS my crumbling worldview?

I'll tell you why: because I happen to feel very passionate about doing what comes naturally. In short, I have to blog about something, and this is about as easy as it gets. Low-hanging strawberries, as it were. A slack attack. Yes, the Raccoon is a strange animal, in that, when attacked, it will defend itself. But always in a light and cheerful manner, because as Sir Winston said, it costs you nothing to be polite when shooting the other fellow. (And Charles really needs to stop the whining. He sounds like Ibrahim Hooper, who is also constantly under vicious attacks.)

But I'm not going to continue in this vein, because the last thing I need is to draw attention to myself and have a bunch of humorless Liztards coming over and stinking up the joint. I get enough supportive emails and comments to know that I'm performing some kind of public service in articulating a widespread perception of the deterioration of what was once a Good Thing. But unlike other blogs, our desire is to keep this one a bit of a secret, and hide out in our little cooncoon slacktuary. No one is banned, but few are invited.

The problem is, when discussing these matters, you can kill a person over and over, but if they're too dim to understand that they're dead, where's the bloody satisfaction in that? This is why I don't argue with these people, because who argues with a zombie? I like the clean kill. But you can generally only get a clean kill with a noble and uncorrupted spirit who wishes to die to his lower self. Until that lower self is either dead or circling the drain, we don't have much to discuss. In opposing God, you'll just end up feeding and puffing up the very pride and hubris that causes your transtemporal myopia.

There's nothing I can say that would arouse these souls from their metaphysical slumber that I haven't said in the previous 1030 posts. As Roger Kimball wrote about some Darwinist nonsense, "one recalls David Hume’s remark about the absurdity of calling a difficulty what pretends to be a demonstration and endeavouring by that means to elude its force and evidence.” We can demonstrate again and again, but the Darwinian faithful will just talk about "'difficulties,' or 'anomalies,' or perhaps even 'problems' for the theory." But Darwinism can never be falsified for the True Believer.

We are mistaken to imagine that we can share the understanding of higher worlds with those who have remained behind. This is because the awareness of holier worlds shatters earthenware vessels unable to withstand the light.... It is as if there were gateways. And at each one there stands a guard who wants nothing from you. Except that you go away. He will do all in his great power to foil your ascent. But his power is only the evil in you. --Lawrence Kushner

Speaking of which, many people have noticed and commented upon Charles' strange choice of personal demon-guradians. I mean, who cares if some people believe that evolution reveals cosmic intelligence instead of unintelligent randomness? Charles suggests that he's concerned that such a belief will poison the minds of children and destroy science education.

Whatever. Surely it cannot have escaped his attention -- but I guess it has -- that there is not a shred of evidence to support his delusion, and abundant evidence for the opposite proposition: that loss of religious principles renders people shallow, stupid, and uncurious. If you can't look at what has become of our university system and see that, then you are just too committed to your delusion. Like I said, I enjoy the clean kill, so I'm not going to press the point.

In my opinion, our educational standards have plummeted largely as a result of the attempt by leftists -- who have obviously taken over the educational establishment -- to impose their radical secular values on impressionable children. These values are not inspiring, to say the least, unless you are one of those odd people who draws sustenance from the idea that humans are merely clever animals, that objective truth is a hoax, that absolute morality is a fraud, and that Darwinism provides a remotely aequate account of the human state.

In this context, for Charles to cast his lot with the monolithic left and shout down the opposition takes about as much courage as it does for Dan Rather to Speak Truth to Power by being critical of President Bush, or for a college dean to ban Daniel Pipes from speaking. Like Rather, he vows to never give up this battle for Truth and Decency, and to vanquish the shills and frauds who wish to brainwash the Children, who are our future!

As Theodore Dalrymple points out, for some reason these pompous atheistic types always flatter themselves "that they are saying something new and brave" when they're just trucking in well-worn philosophical cliches. They take themselves so seriously, and yet exhibit "sloppiness and lack of intellectual scruple, with the assumption of certainty where there is none," combining it "with adolescent shrillness and intolerance." That perfectly describes the coarse mentality of the neo-Liztard, does it not?

I wonder if Charles would feel differently if he actually had a child, and saw the kind of scientific garbage they are exposed to in our public schools? Because it's all of a piece, and it all pivots around the idea that man is not only nothing special, but a kind of pernicious aberration, a demon-spawn of Mother Nature. We're not just Darwinian machines, but not even good machines. We poison the planet! We're racists! We plunder the world's resources under the guise of capitalism!

But because we are only machines, our leftist masters may remake us with proper incentives put in place by the state. It's such an intrinsic assault on human dignity, so unworthy of Man, that any spiritually normal person would resist -- again, unless you believe there is nothing intrinsically noble in the human state. Raccoons would much prefer to die in the wilderness than serve these academonic Egyptians.

Darwinist tautology can normalize virtually anything. But once you understand that truth -- not to mention, virtue and beauty -- is 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, like the Darwinist Liztard, he is condemned by natural selection to understand only what his genes have been selected to understand... well, you figure it out.

As I said, I don't expect these immature folks to be able to connect the sociocultural and psychohistorical, let alone, cosmo-spiritual, dots. For whatever reason, Charles has decided to alienate the grown-ups and gear his message to an adolescent mentality for whom anti-Muslim sentiment provides a good outlet for their hypertestosteronic predickament. But you all know how difficult it is to argue with an omnipotent college student with just enough philosophy to render himself loud and stupid.

Charles persistently reduces this dispute to a bad-faith, false dichotomy that reveals a kind of blind hubris and profound absence of intellectual curiosity. That is, either you are a reductionist Darwinist or you are a young earth creationist, no matter how much you protest to the contrary. But in reality, it is a matter of two competing visions of evolution, one of which is complete and consistent, 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.

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, 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. Thus the totalitarian streak at LGF, whereby Charles, like Kos or Huffpo, bans heretics from his blog.

As I have mentioned in the past -- and this is only half-ironic -- perhaps this dispute between Raccoons and Darwinists is a result of both parties being in the right, at least insofar as the Darwinian theory applies to those who adopt it and thereby cash in their humanness. In other words, Darwinism does seem to adequately explain the simple mind of the Darwinist, just as it does any other animal. After all, a "reduced mind" would apparently call for a reductionistic explanation. If they want to say that they cannot know truth, who am I to argue?

The Liztard wishes for us to be as cynical and disillusioned as they are. But worse yet, they want to foist this toxic attitude upon innocent children. But I believe we should do the opposite, and cultivate the innate spirituality and mysticism of childhood. Instead of throwing cold water on their spirits, we should assist them in developing "in the direction of the true reality which the ordinary world calls illusion":

"This is what it should be, instead of making children ordinary, with that dull, vulgar common sense which becomes an inveterate habit.... This is like an acid, a destructive acid in the being, which takes away hope, certitude, confidence in future possibilities.... And if you [avoid] this when you are very small, you have much less difficulty than if later on you have to undo all the bad effects of a bad education, undo that kind of dull and vulgar common sense which makes it insipid, boring, and contradicts all the hopes, all the so-called illusions of beauty..."

I know that Future Leader will not only have an adequate scientific education, but he will appreciate the magic and mystery of science -- the extraordinarily weird privilege of living in a light-filled cosmos that is intelligible to human intelligence in such a way that it shatters any and all materialistic assumptions, which are just pernicious roadblocks to the discovery and development of our divine-human potential. The relationship between Reality and the Liztard's cold and desiccated version of scientistic half-truths is analogous to that between pornography and love. It is devoid of interior beauty, and therefore cannot be true, nor can it touch the soul of man.

Ordinary souls like you and I are the link between this world and the higher ones, shuttling back and forth, carrying buckets of light in our heads. --Lawrence Kushner

Charles gots no bucket.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Missing Strawberries, or Ten Vicious Attacks on Charles Johnson Before Breakfast

Sources inform me that I have been banned from commenting at LGF for making a vicious -- vicious, I tell you! -- comment about Charles the other day. BabbaZee linked to the post, the hyper-vigilant Charles noticed it, and he immediately capped his most amusing and self-aggrandizing commenter. So at least old yellowstain puts principle -- or paranoia -- above self-interest, as his blog continues to auto-Sullivanize into a monolithic frat of anti-intellectual gee-howdies who know as much about theology and metaphysics as I do about web design and bicycling.

Imagine if I banned all of the people who make vicious comments about me, such as, "Bob, I disagree with you." To be honest, I've never banned a single person, although I have asked a couple of them to go away, mainly because they are just too stupid and/or annoying to understand what is going on here. I've never banned anyone for criticizing me, because in nearly every instance, the criticism is self-refuting, especially as it moves up the hysteria scale or down the materialist scale. As I've mentioned before, I don't even like it when other Raccoons reflexively defend me from these folks, unless they do so in a way that is funnier than the criticism -- which is almost always intrinsically funny if looked at from a sufficient height. In fact, I would be honored if Charles would link to this post, so we can see on a first hand basis how funny his dopey commenters would be!

Being that cyberspace persecutors are everywhere sapping his precious bodily fluids, Charles is a busy man, and can't possibly have noticed my previous vicious comments about him -- about his increasingly anti-intellectual rabble of illibertarian commenters and about what LGF has turned into, with its irrational lurch into a scientistic wacko chamber of substitious idolaters. Therefore, I've extended the courtesy of assembling them all in one place, so he can ban me retroactive to June 14, 2008, when I began addressing the subject. This is only the first ten. I'll post some more on the weekend.

1) 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. As someone once said, fascism in all its forms is the violent resistance to transcendence. Therefore, 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.

2) You see, the blinkered Lizard 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.

And human beings are the "axis" or "pivot" of the whole existentialida. 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 or why.

Life! If Darwinism is all there is, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. I have no respect for a reductionistic Lizard 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.

3) Again: to have the courage of one's convictions and to fully inhabit the Darwinist world of the scientistic imagination would be to live as an animal, not a human. Remember, to a Darwinist, a human being can be nothing other than an animal, pure and simple. Along the lines of our last couple of posts, there can be no radical discontinuity between human and animal -- or matter and Truth, behavior and Virtue, accident and Beauty, etc. It is a subhuman world unfit for Man. Which is again why none of them actually live there. They're all frauds, phonies, and crude loudmouths, including, sad to say, the Head Lizard.

4) Any Lizard who claims their life is meaningful in the context of reductionistic Darwinism is strictly fooling themselves. I won't argue with them, because there is no reason to take them seriously for even a single moment. If they don't understand this, they are either stupid or intellectually dishonest. The same applies without qualification to morality, beauty, and truth. Obviously, I will not waste my time "debating" someone who simultaneously believes in Darwinism and truth, as if the latter could ever be derived from former.

I notice that the unsophisticated commenters at LGF also have a caricatured view of the scientific endeavor, as if it is a strictly mechanical process that results from "facts + induction" -- as if it requires no imaginative leaps, or an overarching paradigm in order to even perceive a fact! I cannot see that any of them are the least bit acquainted with the philosophy of science, e.g., people like Whitehead and Polanyi.

One stupidly arrogant Lizard even said in response to one of my queries that he believed in "absolute facts" but not "absolute truth." How to even begin to respond to such sophistry? There is no fact that "speaks for itself," no experience that tells us what we are experiencing. To paraphrase Weaver, only by knowing little may we know much; logic depends on our "metaphysical dream," not vice versa. And it should go without saying that it is this Dream that unites men, not the logic. Nazis and Islamists are rational within the logic of their sick dreams.

5) Horizontal folks -- flatland materialists, secular pneumapaths, left-brainers, MENSA members, Lizards, et al -- love to sneer at religion and exalt the superiority of science or mere reason in understanding the world. But when they do this, they always deal with a caricature of religion based upon their own limited horizontal understanding. In this regard, they are very much like children or primitive people who cannot transcend their narrow cognitive horizons, and mock what they do not understand.

Science can never account for the scientist, that is, for the human subject capable of knowing real truth. Again, it simply assumes the existence of truth-bearing scientists, as if this is not deeply philosophically problematic. How can the watered-down evolution of reductionistic Darwinism ever account for that? It can only pretend to do so, again, by confusing the rays with the sun. But to understand Darwinism is to have transcended it.

6) The problem is, Darwinism should be taught as science, not metaphysics, but virtually all of the middlebrow Lizards absurdly elevate it to a quasi-religious metaphysic that is logically self-refuting at every turn. In turn -- and I have noticed this, for example, in many threads at LGF -- militant atheists do indeed confuse Darwinism with metaphysics, and blindly defend it with the same belligerence as any "fundamentalist." Light simply cannot break through their hardened defenses.

Religion easily accommodates science, while the reverse can never be true. Religion accommodates science for the same reason that our minds do. For our minds are designed to know truth, pure and simple, whether it is empirical truth, rational truth, artistic truth, moral truth, or metaphysical truth. Intelligence itself is prior to what it knows, and what it knows is truth (otherwise, “knowledge” is a meaningless, even absurd term). Therefore, intelligence is truth itself implanted within our being, or a prolongation of the Absolute within the relative.

7) Yesterday while commenting at LGF, I couldn't help noticing how the reductionistic Darwinists practice a sort of inverse mysticism, in that they elevate what can only be ceaseless change into eternal truth. With reductionistic Darwinism, all is change; everything is "on the way" to something else that is equally temporary. In such a paradigm, not only can truth not exist, but we couldn't know it anyway; the quantification of knowledge undermines its only meaningful measure, which is the intellect in light of the Absolute.

In a way, this is a caricature of Buddhist metaphysics, as it too advances what amounts to a paradox, i.e., "all is flux," so that it is folly to become attached to the passing stream of maya. However, the ignorant Lizards are missing a very important point, that being that it is possible to escape maya both from "above" and "below," and this makes all the difference, as the latter is actually a deeper plunge into its snares, a point that the -- let us say, less spiritually gifted -- LGF commenters never stop proving.

8) In other words, the Buddhist transcends the flux of maya in order to know the eternal, the transcendent Absolute, whereas the Darwinist Lizard goes the other route and identifies eternity with matter. Naturally this makes no sense in a cosmos that is itself contingent and evolving, but there you go. Metaphysically consistent they are not. There is a rebellious streak in them that is very similar to the left (who also escape reality from "below," except in their case, instead of becoming Darwinist "monotheists" they descend into the fragmented polytheism of multiculturalism, moral relativism, deconstruction, etc.).

In reality, they are two sides of the same worthless coin, just as, say, the Semitic and Eastern religions are two sides of an infinitely precious coin. I am disappointed that Charles can fall for this junk metaphysics -- just as he expressed disappointment in me -- but in my case I have an excuse, because I only want to be disappointed by the best. I do note that he clearly possesses a kind of peerless left brained, technological kind of lizardy wizardry, and that may be the issue, for every gift carries a potential curse. Every savant is an idiot in certain areas.

9) The scientific reductionist, like a machine, "has reversed the roles, turning its creators into its own creatures; it escapes the control of intelligence as such from the moment that it claims to define the nature of intelligence from the outside and below" (Schuon). People forget that the quantification of all knowledge "necessarily entails an inward impoverishment, unless accompanied by a spiritual science that re-establishes unity and maintains equilibrium."

This is one of the points I attempted to make at LGF, but to no avail. The bulk of commenters there seem to think that the "wall of separation" between church and state (itself a willful disunderstanding) must somehow extend to science and religion. Talk about a "wedge strategy"! But American schools are not failing because of "too much religion" (and by this I do not mean a religion, but simply a more sophisticated transcendental viewpoint that easily accommodates religion as such). To the contrary, our schools only began to fail after they were taken over by the radical secularists of the left. It could hardly be otherwise. What did you expect, wisdom?

10) Scientistic materialists -- including Lizards and other radical Darwinists -- are like defoliants, or people who would take an axe to this beautiful tree that has organically grown over the past 2000+ years. When you mess with the fundamental vision that holds a culture together "from the inside," you are messing with the equivalent of nuclear physics on the collective human plane: an Adam smasher, if you will. You just have no idea what you will unloose from the bowels of hell.

Human beings do not live in world of sense-data. But the postmodern vertical barbarians do. In their small Lizard minds, they are "liberated" from the "childish mythologies" of the past. In my opinion, Charles is quite naive about the inevitable implications of such an intrinsically anti-human ideology. 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.

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, these Lizards can tear down in the space of five minutes what it took 3000 years of spiritual genius to build, from Moses to Sandy Koufax.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You

Squeezed for time again. Another speed post.

Plotinus provides an interesting example of the cross-fertilization of the world's religions, being that he not only represents the convergence of 800 years of Greek thought, but is also known to have studied the philosophies of India at some point (although details of his life remain sketchy, since he thought them unimportant). In turn, as Andrew Louth writes, from Plotinus "issues a new current destined to fertilize minds as different as those of Augustine and Boethius, Dante and Meister Eckhart, Coleridge, Bergson, and T.S. Eliot." Not to mention Toots Mondello, even if he was unaware of the coonnection. Although he obviously had a public school diploma, he was not what we would call a "learned man."

Again, it is not so much that the early Christians were neo-Platonists per se; rather, they simply knew the latter to be the pinnacle of human thought, so they naturally wanted to understand or frame their own new ideas within its context. Hadot points out that ancient philosophy was very different from contemporary philosophy, in that tradition and continuity were valued, whereas novelty and innovation were distrusted and even scorned. Therefore, one did not gain prestige by being the latest innovation, but by association with established truth. For example, Plotinus would not have considered himself a "neo-Platonist," but simply a Platonist.

But what were the earliest Christians? Obviously Christ gave us the theos, but not the -ology, so to speak. He left that for others to work out. Or, you could say he gave us O "in full," plus quite a bit of (n), but not in any systematic way. Rather, most of his comments are like sparks emanating from a central fire, as opposed to being meta-level statements on the nature of sparks, fire, and eyes (although one suspects that he did this with his inner circle, much of which is preserved in tradition).

In the case of Plotinus, he begins with three main principles, 1) the One, or the Good; 2) Intellect, or nous; and 3) Soul, or psyche. I don't think we do any violence to this formulation to say that it exactly corresponds to the symbols used in the Coonifesto, that is O, (¶), and (•), respectively. Furthermore, just as I explain in the book, each of these is an emanation from above, not "from below," which would be strictly impossible. In other words, there is simply no way that (¶) could arise from (•). Rather, (•) is like a "satellite" of (¶); where (•) is local, (¶) is nonlocal, just like the cosmos it mirrors. Or, you could day that (•) is particle while (¶) is wave, just like the quantum realm which is its inverse image in the material.

I will let you argue amongst yourselves whether O is the "end of the line," or whether it is an emanation from "beyond-being." Personally, I don't think it particularly matters, as it really comes down to the necessary distinction between nirguna brahman and saguna brahman, or Godhead and God, or apophatic and cataphatic theology. In my view, being that humans are in the image of the Creator, the law of inverse analogy tells us that the structure of our minds reveals something about the Divine Mind (and about the relationship between quantum and Newtonian reality, as hinted at above).

Being that humans have a conscious and unconscious mind (which are really one, just looked at from different angles), I speculate that the Creator has what might be called Mind and Supramind; which is to say, just like a person, there is a face we see, animated by hidden forces that we don't. But a person without a face would still be a person, just as God is still God irrespective of his public persona. I suppose you could say that there is "God for us" and "God for himself." It's just that the nature of the latter makes it almost necessary that he would wish to communicate the former; thus, you might say that human beings are the last word in the "self discovery" (so to speak) of God's creative "idiom," in the sense discussed a few posts back.

In fact, it would probably be fair to say that this is the innovation Christians brought to neo-Platonism. That is, for Plotinus, the One is indifferent to the world. It is completely static, simple, beyond the duality of knower and known (or any other duality). It is the source of everything, and yet, outside everything. Now that I think about it, this is what distinguishes Greek emanationism from Christian panentheism, in that the God of the former would never sully himself with the world, whereas in the latter view, God very much gets down and dirty; in the Christian view, every thing is God, even while God is not everything. In Plotinus' view, there is much more of a bright line between God and world, or O and Ø.

Now, as it so happens, Origen, one of the most brilliant early fathers, studied under the same teacher as Plotinus, a fellow named Ammonius Saccas. However, as Louth explains, unlike Plotinus, who studied him as a pagan, Origen studied him as a Christian. Thus, he was one of the first -- if not the first -- to regard scripture as a special language having to do with facilitating spiritual ascent, or the soul's journey through purification, illumination, and union, or from (•) to O. But instead of being a mere "emanation" from the One, we are in the image of it, which makes a huge difference, for it means that we retain -- and perfect! -- our essential humanness on the way to divinization, or theosis.

I could be wrong -- again, I never claim to be a scholar on these matters -- but I don't think Plotinus would ever have considered human beings to be in the image of the Creator, nor would it be conceivable that the Creator would ever deign to actually become one of us. In short, it would be our job to ascend to O (↑), not the place of O to coondescend to us (↓).

Indeed, as Warren pointed out yesterday, it was none other than Augustine who worked this out to its fullest. It turns out that he was also deeply -- and quite personally -- influenced by Plotinus, except that "in his hands," the "longing for God is transformed from a human restlessness [for our homeland] to our response to the incredible love and condescension of God, indeed is the movement of the Holy Spirit in our hearts."

Louth says that this represents "an extraordinary break with Plotinus," in that "what for Plotinus is the culmination of the soul's experience is for Augustine only the beginning of the way." This is because of the Christ-principle, which "comes from our homeland to us in this world, who can enable us to pass from hence to there. He does this by making available a wooden vessel which can traverse the sea" between us and O. In the plotinian vision, we have to do all the work, whereas in the Christian view, God throws us the ultimate bone, if we may so express it.

You might say that Plotinus had too negative a view of matter, in that the very first sentence in Porphyry's biographical sketch says he appeared "ashamed to have a body." Obviously, some of this attitude crept into Augustine, but one wonders if this is more Greek than Christian? Or perhaps it is just a reflection of a certain archetypal reality, i.e., the beauty of the eternal vs. the corrupt and decaying world of time. I suppose it's a matter of emphasis, or inflection, for as Schuon wrote,

"For Plato, matter -- or the sensible world -- is bad [only] in so far as it is opposed to spirit, and in this respect only; and it does in fact oppose the spirit -- or the world of Ideas -- by its hardened and compressive nature, which is heavy as well as dividing, without forgetting its corruptibility in connection with life."

However, "matter is good with respect to the inherence in it of the world of Ideas: the cosmos, including its material limit, is the manifestation of the Sovereign Good, and matter demonstrates this by its quality of stability, by the purity and nobility of certain of its modes, and by its symbolist plasticity, in short by its inviolable capacity to serve as a receptacle for influences from Heaven."

So there can be a world-denying strand of Christianity, just as there can be a world-affirming strand of pagan thought. To emphasize one or the other is a "dangerous disequilibrium," and it is precisely this disequilibrium that would seem to be resolved to the fullest with the Incarnation -- or with the avatar principle, if you like: God became man so that man might become God.