Saturday, August 30, 2008

On Keeping Body and Soul Together While Treasuring Your Eccentricity

We are now up to commandments six and seven (or seven and eight, depending upon your mythsemantics). Maybe I'll repost the last two commandments on Monday, so I can take a day off. That will also allow me to finish up our Saturday review of the best of August 2006, so we can then move into September '06 next week.

***

Let the truth of Brahman be taught only to those who are devoted to him, and who are pure in heart. --Mundaka Upanishad

“You shall not commit adultery.” Like the other commandments, this one has an outward, exoteric meaning as well as an inner, esoteric one. After all, adultery is related to adulterate, which means to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance. In this case, we are talking specifically about the intrinsic purity of the soul, and avoiding activities that corrupt it.

This commandment goes directly to the heart of the mysterious bond between body and soul, that which distinguishes us from the beasts. In Meditations on the Tarot, our Unknown Friend writes that “the power of mutual love unites soul and body. Life, which consists of the union of soul and body, is the marriage of soul and body. For this reason the commandment: ‘You shall not commit adultery’ follows from the commandment: ‘You shall not murder.’ For adultery is essentially a form of killing -- of separating soul and body, whose union is the archetype of marriage.”

Jewish tradition regards the bond between Israel and YHVH as a marriage covenant; likewise the covenant between Christ and the church, or the mystical union between the soul and Jesus, or Shiva and Shakti.

Soul and body form a harmonious union, and the separation of the two in any sphere of activity is a kind of murder, since the higher life is not possible without their union. When we talk about the culture of death, we are really talking about the soulless culture, because so much of our culture has become spiritually barren and soulless. As such, it is both inhuman and antihuman.

In adhering to the soul in all we do, we remain “faithful” to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Conversely, if we transfer our loyalty to that which corrupts us, we will soon discover that it clings to us as much as we adhere it it. The death culture begets death. If we are "in" that culture, it is soon in us. Then there's no escape, since the inscape is blocked.

As we have mentioned before, depth is a dimension of soul, so that achieving depth is a pathway toward recognition of the soul’s existence. In the absence of soul, the world has no depth -- everything is of equal importance, or else simply has the importance our feelings, our genes, or our cultural programming attach to it.

This is why the postmodern strategy of deconstruction is not just bad philosophy. Rather it is murder, specifically, soul murder. And this is why, to paraphrase Richard Weaver, all attacks on religion inevitably result in attacks on the mind itself. Deconstruction is “intellectual crack,” as someone once put it. Likewise philosophical Darwinism. It is pure murder of the human being and the obliteration of his cosmic station and environment.

In fact, any kind of radical skepticism represents nothing more than (in words of Schuon) an "esoterism of stupidity": the lower mind’s ability to doubt anything is elevated to the central truth of our existence. It is the worst kind of soul betrayal, because it operates under cover of a counterfeit pursuit of truth, while simultaneously destroying its very possibility.

Perhaps it should be emphasized that this commandment does not imply some sort of dry, austere, or anti-pleasure approach to life. Quite the opposite. In fact, in Jewish tradition, it is said that the first thing God will ask upon your death is why you didn't partake of all the permitted pleasures He so generously bestowed for your enjoyment.

The point is that existence is embodied, but not only embodied. There are two false paths; one is the descending path into hedonism, distraction, and other various soulless activities. But the other false path is the purely ascending one: going up the sacred mountain with the soul, but leaving the body behind.

This is a persistent message of both Judaism and Christianity. Both, in different ways, stress the embodied nature of existence, and the problem of how to sanctify our lives by re-membering the soul in everything we do.

But clearly, if one stands back and looks at the historical situation from the widest possible vantage point, we can see a problem. Because the Judeo-Christian tradition regards the world as real and worthy of our attention, it can lead to an exteriorizing tendency that ends up severing soul and body.

On the other hand, if we look at the philosophies of the east, they have tended to regard the world as illusory, or as maya, unworthy of being taken seriously. Historically they have made the opposite mistake of becoming too interior: “Brahman alone is real.” Thus, Buddhism and Hinduism have a bit of an interiority complex.

I do believe that the evolutionary task of our age is to bring these two extremes back together -- to fully reconcile soul and body and achieve the Life Divine in a monkey body. In truth, it is merely a matter of emphasis, for there is no question that this is at the heart of the uncorrupted Christian message: body and soul in a higher union.

Likewise, although Sri Aurobindo is responsible for correcting Shankara's overemphasis transcending maya, he too was simply going back to the original message of the Upanishads: “To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation,” says the Isha Upanishad. Rather, “Those who combine action and meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter immortality." This again takes place through the sacred union of soul and body, spirit and matter, male and female, mamamaya and papurusha (for those who know their punskrit).

I once had a psychotic patient who took one look at my name -- Godwin -- and blurted out, “Godwin -- is that like a combination of God and Darwin?” I thought about it for a moment and knew that he was right, for while he might have been crazy, he wasn't stupid. Because the whole bloody point of the living Raccoon philosophy is to marry Adam and Evolution in such a way that they live happily ever after, both aspiring to the same nonlocal goal 'til death do us part.

***

“Thou shalt not steal.” Why not? As always, the left has found a fruit loophole in this commandment by questioning its premise, i.e., the existence of private property. For one way to eliminate theft is to eliminate or at least question the legitimacy of private property -- which naturally ends with one big thief called “the government.” When liberals talk about "tax cuts for the rich," or "windfall profits," what they really mean is that no one has the right to interfere with their monopoly on theft.

Property, according to Richard Pipes, is “the key to the emergence of political and legal institutions that guarantee liberty.” Look at most anyplace in the world where there is an absence of liberty, and you will find weak property rights.

Liberals -- classical liberals, anyway, not the misnamed leftist kind -- have always understood that property is much more than property. Rather, it is the cornerstone of freedom, its very enabler and protector. And underneath property is the use of legitimate violence to protect said property. For if ever there were “sacred violence,” it is the violence that ensures the protection of property, for without property, humans cannot become fully human and thereby know the sacred. To a leftist, nothing can actually be sacred except false idols such as "diversity," or "social justice," or whatever else is convenient to achieve their worldly aims

For one thing, property is simply a free expression of “what people want,” and to a large extent, what you want is who you are, for better or worse. Therefore, property is an extension of the person. I once read a description of this by the outstanding psychoanalyst and writer, Christopher Bollas, who notes that the self can never be perceived directly, only indirectly, largely through its use of objects:

“Perhaps we need a new point of view in clinical psychoanalysis, close to a form of person anthropology. We would pay acute attention to all the objects selected by a patient and note the use made of each object. The literature, films, and music a person selects would be as valued a part of the fieldwork as the dream.” In so doing, we may “track the footsteps of the true self.”

As I have mentioned before, if I go to someone’s home, there are two things I am most curious about: the books and music it contains. And the medicine cabinet. Likewise, I should think that after I am gone, a psychoanalytic fieldworker would be able to construct a fairly accurate representation of me by merely rifling through my library. A name whose person escapes me referred to reading as “the mystery school of individuation.”

Just consider the odd assortment of books in my sidebar [that used to be there, anyway; the present list is slightly more uniform]. I am quite sure that no one else on the planet has a matching list. There may not be another person in history who has read and assimilated those particular books. I am not saying that to boast, only to emphasize the amazingly unique alchemy of choices we all embody when given the opportunity to freely exercise those choices. As Petey once said, “freedom is eccentricity lived,” and he has a point. Remember the Raccoon credo: if you're not eccentric, you're wrong.

At the very least, freedom is individuality lived, and it is very difficult to live out your individuality without a range of choices before you. Paradoxically, you can only become who you are in the context of liberty. Therefore, culture can only become what it is supposed to be in that same context. And this is again why we so strenuously bobject to the illiberal left, which is necessarily antihuman in elevating multiculturalism over the individual.

In a properly functioning human environment, culture will embody the exteriorization of the soul, while the soul will be assisted on its journey by the interiorization of culture. But to interiorize the culture of death is to.... Well, to paraphrase someone, "nature makes no provision for the death of the soul." Never wonder why the left abounds with so many gangrenous souls, since the "spiritual capillaries" that are supposed to nourish the soul have become completely sclerotic and blocked, so their minds become a dead tissue of lies.

I realize it’s politically incorrect to say this, so that's reason enough to say it. But in the course of my work, I have had the opportunity to evaluate many people from second and third world cultures, and what always impresses me about them is their essential sameness. Their life stories are all remarkably similar, almost as if they were the same person.

And in a way they are, for they were not brought up in a cultural (or economic) space in which they could articulate their own unique metaphysical dream. Instead, their life is dreamt by the collective, either vertically by a ruling class or horizontally by their dopey culture (which psychologists are supposed to "respect," on pain of being called a racist, or imperialist, or Republican). What Bollas calls the person’s “destiny drive” -- the spiritual drive to become oneself -- has been almost entirely squelched. They do not live in a space of infinite possibilities, only a sort of invariant and unchanging now, projected backward and forward and giving the illusion of an actual history.

Pipes notes that “while property in some form is possible without liberty, the contrary is inconceivable.” And this is one thing that again frightens us about the illiberal left, for as we have said many times, if you scratch a leftist, he will probably sue you. But underneath the scratch, you will discover a conviction that your property doesn’t really belong to you, but to the collective. It is simply a variation of the bald-faced assertion that “private property is public theft,” itself the absolute inversion of the seventh commandment.

Our most precious property is, of course, our own body-mind. However, it is amazing how late in history this idea emerged. For example, the Islamic beasts we are fighting have no such notion. In their cultures, your body and mind belong to the religious authorities, and only they can dictate what you can and cannot do with them. For example, a woman’s body is not her own. She has no choices (or only a narrow range of choices established by others) of how to express it, how to adorn it, and with whom she may share it. (Memo to trolls -- please don’t even bother. The moral issue behind the abortion debate is not whether a woman has a right to do whatever she pleases with her own body, but whether she has that right over another’s body. That’s the whole point.)

Slavery was still legal in parts of the Arab world as late as the 1960’s, and widespread virtual slavery still exists today. This is the penultimate theft (murder being ultimate), the theft of a human soul. But that is hardly the only sort of soul-theft that goes on in the Islamic world. Again, the idea that children are autonomous beings with their own inherent rights and dignity is a very late historical development that has yet to appear in most human cultures. Rather, children are “owned” by their parents, which is a great barrier to psychohistorical evolution. As a parent, your job is to create a space for your child’s true self to emerge, not to enforce your version of whom your child is and what he should become. It goes without saying that this does not exclude boundaries, discipline, and values, but the point of these is to facilitate true spiritual freedom, not to suppress it.

Most religions conceive of a mythical Golden Age, an edenic past in which there was no private property. Likewise, they may speculate about a hereafter in which there is no need for private property because there is no lack of anything. But in between, in our embodied state, there is a me and therefore a mine, a you and a yours. And just as the development of individualism is facilitated by property, property benefits from the arrangement as well. That is, most people do not take proper care of things that do not belong to them. As they say, no one ever took it upon himself to wash a rental car. Likewise, “primitive people are prone mindlessly to exterminate animals and destroy forests, to the extent that they are physically able, without any thought of the future” (Pipes). There is an obvious reason why the most affluent countries with the strongest property rights also have the best environmental records.

Similarly, only when is master of oneself will one feel compelled to make improvements. Here again, we see the left undermining this fundamental assumption, with disastrous consequences. For the entire basis of leftist victimology is that you are not sovereign over yourself and are not responsible for your destiny. Rather, the doctrine of victimology maintains that your life is really directed by others. If you are a woman, you are controlled by men. If you are black, you are controlled by racist whites. If you are gay, you are controlled by “homophobes.” If you are a Democrat, you are controlled by Karl Rove.

In each case, personal agency is undermined and replaced by a collective that, in the long run, will further erode the liberty it claims to advance. Racial quotas simply displace the ceiling further down the road. For example, a recent study proved that easing the standards for admitting blacks to law school simply results in black lawyers with dead-end careers in which they never make partner. The fundamental difference between a leftist and conservative comes down to collective identity (and therefore victim) politics vs. individual (and therefore agent over one's destiny) politics. So it's humans vs. ants, really.

There are many “social justice” or “liberation theology” Christians who maintain that Jesus was a sort of proto-communist, what with his counsel to give to the poor. But there is an infinite moral distinction between voluntary renunciation of one’s wealth and government seizure and redistribution of one’s wealth. Just as one must first be a man before becoming a gentleman, one must first have sovereignty over one’s property before choosing to give it away. And as a matter of fact, statistics demonstrate that there is an inverse relationship between high taxes and charitable giving. Those states with the lowest taxes give the most, while those with the highest taxes -- ”liberal” places such as Massachusetts -- give the least. There is a reason why America is the most generous nation the world has ever known, both in terms of blood and treasure.

And there is also a reason why, say, China, has no qualms whatsoever about stealing billions of dollars per year in American intellectual property, for they now want the benefits of private property without the sacred duty to protect it. For a Marxist, private property is again public theft, so when they steal American music, DVDs, and computer programs, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them: “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine as well.”

Well, I can see that I’ve run out of time before I could come up with any snappy ending. Let’s just say this: in order to create a properly functioning society and a spiritually balanced person, “thou shalt not steal” (i.e., private property is sacrosanct) must be reconciled with “thou shalt not covet” (property isn't everything). We'll get to that one in a couple days, assuming I can steal the time that I so enviously covet.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Fantasy-Based Community and their Messiah

So much for the Supercilious Bowl. The only way to make Obama's otherwise vapid speech interesting is to perform a Fantasy Analysis on it, a technique invented by psychohistorian Lloyd DeMause to supposedly reveal "hidden emotional messages embedded within seemingly bland and boring speeches and press conferences of leaders." Its purpose is to "capture how it feels to be part of a nation's emotional life" by focusing only upon emotionally charged "fantasy words" that resonate with the unconscious mind. It operates under the assumption that any leader is also a fantasy leader who necessarily answers to the group's unconscious emotions, needs and impulses.

A leader who fails to resonate in this unconscious manner simply will not be perceived as an effective leader, no matter how competent he is. For example, from even before Day One, because of resentment over Al Gore's unsuccessful attempt to exploit the judicial system to overturn the 2000 election, President Bush has been unable to use language in such a way as to bind up the anxiety and hatred of liberals. As has been evident for all to see, their raw hatred has been completely unbound for nigh on eight years. Truly, they're like fatherless children.

In order to perform a fantasy analysis on a text, one records all strong feeling words (including anything related to the family, e.g., mother, father, baby) regardless of context, plus any unusual metaphors or gratuitously repeated words. One also eliminates negatives, because of the symmetrical logic of the unconscious, which converts a negation to an affirmation (for example, the more Obama insists his forbears were from Kansas, the more it emphasizes that he grew up in Indonesia, or the more he complains about people questioning his patriotism, the more it emphasizes the lack thereof).

If you found yourself dozing off during Obama's speech, it's because, as DeMause writes, "most political meetings are usually held not to make decisions but to deepen the social trance, to switch into political alters, and to entrain the group's unconscious emotional strategies for handling the inner emotional problems of its hidden world." Because Democrats are by nature such emotional creatures who project so much undisguised emotion into politics, they are much more transparent in their fantasies (indeed, as is true of any more primitive group).

So without further ado, here's what Obama was transmitting to the Democrat underworld, unconscious-to-unconscious (I've inserted paragraph breaks where there was a lengthy stretch with no new material, or else a sudden change of emphasis):

profound gratitude... great humility... inspiration... love... love... proud... sacrifice... dreams... dreams...

jeopardy... courage... war... turmoil... lost... plummet... beyond your reach... broken... illness... disaster... chokes... drowns before our eyes... enough! enough... bravery... gratitude... respect... broken... strong anxiety... suffering... whiners... whiners... burdens... whiners... tough luck... failure... strength... sick... strength...

protect us from harm... provide every child... safe... help us... not hurt us... cut... cut... security... dependence... dying... sick... sick... sick... ailing... protected... strength... crime... despair... children... war... threats... stubborn... threats... strained... harm’s way... war... fight... conflicts... aggression... threats... genocide... disease... died... abortion... gun plagued... violence... criminals....

love... passions... mother... separated from her infant... child... undercuts... strength... happy talk... firmer... abandonment... scare... people should run... hopes have been dashed again and again... something is stirring... children losing a limb... floodwaters rise... powerful ... strong... envy... anger and discord... fear and frustration... cried... children...

First of all, we should probably ask the question: does fantasy analysis actually work?

I have no idea. It sounds good on paper, but it can obviously be subject to abuse. Plus, in the hands of an unskilled person, I suppose they could prove anything they wish. It's very much analogous to free association, which is the cornerstone of psychoanalysis. In that case, the therapist is "listening with the third ear" to what the patient is saying, in that one part of the mind follows along with the explicit words, while another part must always be attentive to the subliminal message and emotional undercurrents. Very much like being married to a female, actually. No, I didn't say that.

Furthermore, as the patient begins to surrender conscious control over speech, it is assumed that another Subject begins to organize the material, very much in the manner which (as Grotstein calls it) the Ineffable Subject of Being -- the Dreamer -- organizes our dream material. But once you start to appreciate this alter Subject, you begin to realize the extent to which it has been pulling the strings of your life all along. Yes, life is but a dream, dreamt by the vast Subject beneath, behind, and above your little ego-object.

Oh, forget about Obama and the Democrats. Those sleepwalkers are entirely predictable. I could have written the speech myself, and done it in half the time. First, I'd spend maybe ten minutes putting the delegates into a light trance, and then utter the following, in rhythm with their breathing:

children... babies... mommy... security... mmmmmm... love... milk... warmth... happy... mmmmm...

danger! daddy! violence... abortion... abortion... abandonment... separation... independence... be a man, Fredo!... welfare cuts... safety net... social justice... turmoil... walmart... haliburton... katrina... gitmo... torture... torture... scared... what happened to the breast... suffering... victim... victim... victim... whiner... whiners... whining... victim... victimizing... victim... I blame Bush...

mommy!... drowning... help!... powerful... powerful... rescue... safe... government... breast... government... breast... breast... breast... mommy...

Okay, moving on. As we were saying yesterday, you can learn a lot about the sane by studying the insane. I don't know how effective fantasy analysis is with relatively normal people, but it wouldn't be difficult to do on Hitler, since his fantasies were so close to the surface anyway. For example, Mein Kampf is like one long fantasy. Hitler is such a pure case, in that he lived in an explicit fantasy world, and yet, expressed the fantasies so directly (e.g., racial "pollution," the "Jewish bacillus," the "Aryan race," etc.).

Conservative texts are boring (in terms of fantasy analysis) for another reason, which is that they are so rational and straightforward. It's very easy for a conservative to just come out and say what they are for: limited government, low taxes, judges who do not legislate from the bench, school choice, religious freedom, etc.

But for an American liberal, they can never just blurt out what they believe, on pain of never winning an election, or of getting no ratings. Air America is a case in point. Like Hitler, they make no attempt to conceal their liberal agenda, so it is deeply unpopular, except I suppose in crazy places such as San Francisco.

So the liberal -- if he wishes to gain power -- must necessarily revert to either conscious or unconscious distortion and trancemission. It reminds me of what movies were like before the sex could be shown explicitly. Instead, everything had to be suggested and implied. This can be done in an artless manner or in a masterful way that is obviously more powerful than contemporary films, because of the unconscious resonance. Most people will agree that the sexual tension between, say Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, or Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, is much more interesting than that between... I don't know, you name it. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. {shudder}

Now, the most primitive psychological defense mechanisms are 1) denial 2) projection 3) splitting, and 4) projective identification. All are related, and are actually necessary conditions of each other. For example, what is denied doesn't just disappear, but is split off and projected, usually into other people. Likewise, what is projected is necessarily split off. The group unconscious relies upon all of these mechanisms -- for example, scapegoating is just group projection.

When one engages in projective identification, one is necessarily in denial. (As the wiki article states, projective identification involves projection into another, followed by behaving toward the recipient of the projections in such a manner as to invoke in the other person precisely the thoughts, feelings or behaviors projected.) For example, the primitive Palestinians project all of their sadism into the Israelis, and then, when Israel responds, it "proves" to the Palestinians how sadistic and oppressive the Israelis are. Or, closer to home, the left projects so much hatred and viciousness into President Bush, that most anything he does or says is proof of his hatred and viciousness.

One of the fascinating things about watching the train wreck over at MSNBC is how unhinged and undefended Keith Olbermann is. The more slack he is given and the more power he gains, the less he needs to conceal his evident madness. So it is a sight to behold, very much like the old days of the Jerry Lewis telethon. You just never knew what a drug-addled and disinhibited Jerry might say or do after Hour 23.

So, what have we learned in today's rambling and disinhibited post? I have no idea. Perhaps someone should perform a fantasy analysis on it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Demasking the Messiah on the Road to St. Paul

National Socialism was a religion and Hitler was its Christ. --John Toland

One of Bion's central ideas was that each of us has a part of the mind that is psychotic. Therefore, people who are actually psychotic are not so different from you or I. It's just that they have no sane part. Others seem only to have a sane part. They're the most insane, since they can get more done.

A corollary of this is that you can learn a lot about the sane by studying the psychotic mind. This is because the psychotic person uses all of the same defense mechanisms as the normal person, except that they are grotesquely exaggerated, distorted, and hypertrophied. As a result, these mechanisms become quite vivid and easily discernible, whereas for a normal person they will be more subtle and hidden -- even (or especially) from the person employing them.

Let's take an obvious example, projection. We all project. In fact, we can't help it, as it is one of the necessary (but not sufficient) conditions of our humanness. For the infant, projection is one of the primary means they use to manage their psychic contents. For example, they can use it to "expel" uncomfortable or frightening thoughts and emotions, but at the same time, employ it as a means of "connecting" with mother. The fact of the mater is, in the absence of projection, you would be all alone in this world. It is as necessary to the mind as the immune system is to the body. To extend the analogy, mental illness often comes down to an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system (i.e, psychic defense mechanisms) goes haywire and turns on the host, and either can't recognize real enemies or attacks the wrong entities.

Look at the Democrat convention. A big part of it involves a bunch of losers who don't feel so alone because they are able to share the experience of similar "good" projections into Obama or the Clintons on the one hand, as well as bad projections into President Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Evil Corporations, or Global Warming Hoax Deniers, or God knows what. Nothing unites a people so much as fear around an identical demonology. You know, the same way that conservatives such as you and I are so afraid of homosexuals, negroes, furriners and revinooers.

Who can say what goes on inside the head of someone who idealizes these phonies, knaves, liars and and con artists? The key point is that these processes primarily take place in the head. But when you're in a group of thousands of others sharing the identical projections, it no longer feels as if it's in the head. Rather, it feels real. And the whole point is to make the fantasy seem like reality, which is why people get so glassy-eyed and ecstatic at these events. But enough about the MSNBC hosts. (Although I can't wait to see their heads explode next week, when they have to enter the "hell" of St. Paul.)

The projectors obviously felt that Joe Biden delivered a wonderful speech last night. But if you apply even a rudimentary degree of skepticism -- i.e., if you analyze the speech with the sane part of your mind instead of the psychotic part -- you're left with nothing but a lowly plagiarist and his imaginary world. What do you call someone who steals his delusions from someone else? A coprophagic psychic vampire, I guess.

I think you can apply this same idea to Hitler. That is, it is not as if he were analogous to a psychotic person whose symptoms seem to make no sense. Rather, what if we look at him as Bion would, and consider the possibility that he was engaging in the identical processes as the "sane" politician, only in an exaggerated, distorted and hypertrophied form? Because Hitler used the usual psychic processes so vividly, perhaps they can reveal something about the dynamic between so-called normal groups and their politicians.

The most prominent pre-existing template Hitler relied upon was that of the "messiah" and the "group." Obviously Hitler invented neither of these categories. Looked at in a certain way, the group is a function of the messiah, and vice versa. (I'm using "messiah" as a psychoanalytic term of art, not in a specifically theological sense; it would be even better if I could develop abstract symbols for group and messiah, as in the new testavus for the restavus.)

On the one hand, the messiah is produced out of the collective longing of the group; but on the other hand, the group coalesces and organizes itself around the nonlocal axis of its founding messiah. All cultures -- even wholly secular ones -- will have a messianic figure at their foundation (a culture is always a cult). Look at what the Soviet Union did with Lenin, the Chinese with Mao, or Cuba with Castro. At some point, the human slides off into the messianic, just as reality shades off into fantasy and projection.

For example, in the Islamic world, Mohammed serves the messianic function. Obviously Mohammed is a very different sort of figure than Christ, and was "conjured," so to speak, by a very different mentality (i.e., Jews vs. pagans). But once in place, the messiah exerts an enduring influence on the group. As a result, Muslim values are very different from the Judeo-Christian values that hold our culture together from within.

Look at America. Our messianic figures are the founders, or Abraham Lincoln, or a few others. Our country -- half of it, anyway -- is still unified around those figures. But the other half either distorts those messianic figures (e.g., they were nothing but slaveholders, or self-interested elites), or else creates new messiahs around which to coalesce.

Who are the messiahs of the left? Frankly they are too numerous to mention. Remember what I mentioned about how genuine religions serve as a kind of absolute defense against bad ideologies? For example, yesterday a friend asked if perhaps Ronald Reagan wasn't a savior to conservatives. Yes, to a certain extent. But no conservative would confuse him with the actual Messiah. Rather, one of the things that made Reagan so great was that he humbly conformed himself to our actual messiahs, both religious and political. In fact, you might say that this constitutes the essence of that which the conservative wishes to conserve: the proper messiahs! We want to worship and revere only that which is worthy of it.

By definition, the left is going to be more prone to messianic fantasies (as opposed to messianic realities). Which is highly highly highly ironic, being that the realitybasedcommunity likes to flatter itself about being so realitybased. But one cannot be rooted in reality if one is a materialist who denies the very basis of the Real. And a (or "the," if you prefer) messiah comes down precisely to reveal the nature of the Real, in a way that unaided reason never could. The messiah is a person first, an argument second. Or the argument is a Person. Which is why you can't argue with an Obamaniac, since Obama is the argument. Either you "see" Him or you don't. I don't see him at all. To me, he's just an unsuccessful community agitator.

Coonsider the demonic Deepak, who ardently wishes to purge politics of religion (by which he means Christianity); but at the same time, he is one of the most strident useful idiots trumpeting the arrival of the Obamessiah and the "quantum leap" of "evolutionary consciousness" he represents. This makes sense, for again, Christianity is an absolute defense against the false messianism of an Obama.

It is surely no coincidence that Obama was a member of a deeply false and heretical Christian church for all those years, so he has no psychic defense against his own ridiculous grandiosity. You will have no doubt noticed that the Reverend Wright's sermons are most memorable for their crude demonology, which is entirely consistent with the abiding demonology of the left. As such, it is clear that Obama hasn't left that particular church at all, but is running for its messiah. Biden is also a member of that church, as he mentioned all the familiar demons in his speech last night: torture, Bush, tax cuts for the rich, Bush, global warming, Bush, Gitmo, Bush, Katrina, Bush, fortymillionuninsured, incomeinequality, etc. (Here is the actual recipe.)

And liberals like to say conservatives "play on our fears." Ho! Leftism is nothing but a coalesced group projection around Fear Itself.

This post was supposed to be about Hitler, wasn't it? I should probably stop now and continue tomorrow. Well, just a little more.

It so happens that Hitler was very interested in religion, spirituality, mysticism and the occult. What survives of his library contains many such books. He clearly read them carefully, as they are filled with underlining, exclamation points, and margin notes. In one of them, he underlined the following passages:

Where did Jesus derive the power that has held his followers for all eternity? Through his absolute identification with God.... God and I are One.... His life is mine; mine is his. My work is his work, and his work is my work.

Watch the new messiah become one with his entranced, teary-eyed, and drooling people tonight. But enough about MSNBC.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hitler and Radical Darwinism: As Below, So Above

Genuine religion is a kind of absolute defense against bad ideologies, from the violent aggression of Nazism to the passive aggressiveness of blind Obamism. Conversely, virtually all bad ideologies -- the ones that do real damage -- become pseudo-religions, drawing on religious energy and emotion in the absence of religion.

Genuine religion puts one in touch with first principles that define man qua Man, and allow one to understand the adage, "as above, so below." But false religions such as Darwinism or Leftism always either obscure their first principles or fail to draw them out. As a result, they can't help lying, whether consciously or unconsciously. The dim ones -- which is most of them -- lie unconsciously, whereas the bright ones do so consciously and disingenuously. In fact, that's one of the difficulties in assessing a liberal. For example, Obama or Hillary are so "cosmically ignorant" (as PowerLine put it) about economics, one necessarily wonders: do they actually believe what they say? Or is it just demagoguery to stir up the masses? In short, are they stupid or evil?

The Darwinist cannot or will not see the reality of "as above, so below." Not only does he deny it, but to the extent that Darwinism reveals the truth of man, then the opposite must be true: "as below, so above." In other words, there is absolutely nothing -- not love, not truth, not art, not virtue -- that cannot be reduced to a battle down below for genetic survival. Translated to field of politics, it is reduced to a fight for power. People say it is unfair to blame Darwin for social Darwinism, but... well, Dupree calls bullshit, to put it indelicately. For again, to the extent that Darwinism reveals the truth of man, what on earth prevents us from applying the doctrine to the conduct of our lives?

This is most certainly how Hitler felt about it. Furthermore, he was at least clear-sighted enough to know who the real enemy was: the religious, beginning with the devils who were responsible for the whole thing, the Jews. In order to apply his new anti-religious religion, he had to extirpate the old religion root and branch. Jews were the root. The branches would come later.

Notice how Queeg, the radical Darwinist, has had to go about purging his blog of the religious. The underlying pattern is identical, again, because religion is the inoculation against bad or evil ideologies, so the battle against religion will always be at the front line of Cosmic War I, AKA the Forty Thousand Year War. This is what groups such as the ACLU are all about, regardless of what they say they are about. Again, many of its members are just stupid, like Queeg, while others are disingenuous. But underneath it all, they know that in order to advance their inhuman and anti-human agenda, they must eliminate the one force that would prevent it: religion.

Oddly enough, Hitler was actually more crafty and subtle than the ACLU. One of the things that marginalizes the ACLU in America is that they attack religion so brazenly. In Hitler's case, he knew that he had to progress in stages in order to gradually "Nazify" Christendom. If he had gone after Christianity more directly, more resistance would have arisen. And he didn't go after the Jews on the basis of religion. Rather, he first converted them to a race, again consistent with the principle of "as below, so above." In other words, their "evil" ideology could be reduced to a kind of genetic defect, and thus eliminated from the body of man.

One author has defined fascism as the violent resistance to transcendence. As such, the ACLU, or a person such as Queeg, is not a fascist, since they engage in non-violent resistance to transcendence. And yet, the distinction is not so clear cut, since the ACLU wants to use the law to gain a monopoly on religion (the religion of materialism), and the law is always backed by state violence. For example, school prayer is now against the law, meaning that, at the very least, you will lose your job if you violate the law. So that is certainly a kind of coercion that is backed by potential violence.

But at the same time, it's not so easy to say that fascism represents resistance to transcendence. Rather, it simply inverts it, so that transcendence will be sought from "below," in the emotions, instincts, and senses. What the Nazis sought was a kind of irrational religion, or religion purged of any kind of hierarchical ascent. A large part of this necessarily involved a disabling of the conscience, which is to the individual what real religion is to the collective.

Hitler was well aware, for example, of how the Ten Commandments represented a very real barrier to what might be called "transcendence through descent." He wanted to breed a new "race" of ecstatically violent men who would have no such scruples -- authentic born-again pagans with no "impure" Jewish conscience to get in the way. In this alternate religion, man could be totally fulfilled here on earth by transcending individuality from below. As Van Vrekhem writes, Hitler believed he

"had been sent, and was constantly guided, to change the conscience and morality of man into something like the opposite of Christianity." This would be "a new system of values based on brutality and violence." Hitler actually saw Christ as his precursor, in that he would be the "link," so to speak, between the Volk and their most primitive instincts. It was very much as if he were "word made flesh," except that in this case, the word was the primordial lie from below. Hitler said that,

"Providence has predestined me to be the greatest liberator of humanity.... I liberate man... from the foul and humiliating pangs of a chimera called 'conscience' and 'morality,' and from the demands of a liberty and personal independence of which anyway only a few are capable." To the Christian teaching about the infinite value of the individual soul, "I oppose with icy clarity the liberating teaching of the nothingness and insignificance of the individual and his development within the concrete immortality of the nation." The Fuhrer would release "the mass of the believers from the burden of the free decision."

You see? Like nature herself, Hitler cared for the survival of the species, not the individual. Like a multiculturalist, he believed that eternity was concretely located in the group's essence, not in the fanciful individual soul: "Hitler saw the human individual as nothing more than a cell in a body, an ant in a nest." Hitler wrote that "the life of the individual should not be given such high value. A fly lays a million eggs, they all die. But flies survive." As Van Vrekhem notes, "the perspectives this opens reveal something of the real dimension of the evil to be discovered behind all the destruction and slaughter caused by this German Messiah."

At its very core, Hitler's vision was radically anti-Christian, anti-Enlightenment, anti-modernity, and anti-progress. Rather, his goal was to create a "Spartan totalitarianism, in which people would be smiling, healthy, fanatical, and soulless robots, totally integrated into the common body of the Volk and disdaining individual dignity as a kind of psychological leprosy." This new man would place will above intellect.

Here again this is the precise inversion of the religious man, for whom will is a prolongation of intellect, or "truth in action." But for the Nazi (or the Darwinist, for that matter), there is no truth. Rather, "truth" is just the prolongation of will into the illusory area of the "mind." Truth is a function of power, as any good deconstructionist knows. Thus, Hitler was in complete accord with your average de-Christianized leftist professor, that "the propaganda which produces the desired results is good and all other propaganda is bad."

*A reminder to the stupid: when I refer to "Darwinism," I am always talking about philosophical or metaphysical Darwinism, not the actual science. And before you get all sensitive and defensive, remember that the radical Darwinists such as Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris do not hesitate to call religion evil. I am merely responding in kind, for if one of these metaphysics is true, and you value Truth, then the other must inevitably be evil.

to be continued....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lies and Other Parasites on Truth

So, the point I was attempting to make yesterday wasn't really an aesthetic one but an ontological one. I was trying to use an experience-near example to think about evolution, discontinuity, and higher spaces; or, to be precise, the discontinuous evolution into these higher worlds.

Just like Darwinian evolution, this process cannot be reduced to a single level, flatland cosmology, on pain of rendering the whole cosmic system nonsensical. For example, to place humans and animals on the same level merely obliterates the space where truth can be known, and a truth-bearing animal is infinitely higher than one without this capacity. Looked at this way, the distance between man and animals is as discontinuous as the gap between truth and falsehood, since no animal can know truth. Darwinists may insist that apes gradually shade off into humans, but a lie doesn't gradually shade off into the truth, so the distance between man and apes is likewise infinite.

As a matter of fact, the lie is obviously entirely parasitic upon the truth, whereas truth is independent and autonomous, and is by no means dependent upon the lie. It stands alone and endures, even if not a single human being believes it. But a lie can only exist if someone knows the truth. Therefore, a liar is someone who knows truth but places other things above it.

For example -- and I don't want to get sidetracked, so this will be brief -- if you watched any of the Democrat infomercial last night, you could see how much of it revolved around truths that are known but must be denied. Looked at this way, a lie is just an inverse way of illuminating a truth. It is a kind of "luminous darkness."

The PowerLine boys addressed this subject, noting that Michelle Obama's speech "all but shouted: We are normal! We are like you!" The whole exercise was a result of the urgent need to remake her into someone who wasn't ashamed of her country until a few months ago. That wasn't the Michelle Obama I know, the one who bitterly clings to her dreary leftist ideology and paranoid church.

When someone is shouting at you for no apparent reason that they are patriotic and normal and just like you!, you can probably take it to mean that they are anything but -- that their words are simultaneously concealing and conveying the opposite sentiment.

I'm very accustomed to this sort of thing in conducting psychological evaluations, during which you must always assess a patient's credibility for the quality of information they are providing you. (Yes, you too can earn cash money by developing your very own bullshit detector!) In that case, if the patient starts insisting upon how abnormal they are before their seat is even warm, that's usually a clue that you're dealing with a malingerer. The craziest people often don't even feel their craziness; rather, you feel it for them. In other words, mind parasites, by their very nature, are projected into other people, and you can feel the projection when it's taking place (this is called "projective identification").

Anyway, once you realize that truth is both higher and discontinuous (if you try to understand it from the bottom up), the whole materialistic paradigm -- including Darwinism -- falls apart. Let's even accept at farce value the Darwinist's claim that the human being has evolved toward Truth. If that is true, then we can never embrace the sterile idea that evolution "ain't goin' nowhere."

Rather, if truth exists and humans may know it, then evolution can be nothing less than a gradual unveiling of reality. And this unveiling is synonymous with what is called the spiritual ascent. Evolution = the irreducibly spiritual ascent into higher degrees of reality. In so doing, the nonlocal ladder is anterior to us, even though we must paradoxically build the local rungs as we make the climb.

Darwinists claim that "all is flux" and that is surely a partial truth. But to make such a banal claim is to insist that at least one thing is not subject to change, and that is the truth that "all is flux." And once you realize the full implications of this, then you understand -- well, as Petey expressed it in a koan the other day, you understand that Man is a diaphanous / gem of light suspended on / a fine web of truth.

Now, you may ask yourself: why is Bob bringing this up today? I thought we were talking about Hitler. Then we're suddenly talking about the Beatles. What's going on here? This is not my beautiful post.

Right. Your point is well taken. As I have mentioned, Hitler & His God spends the first 522 pages discussing the Nazi phenomenon from every possible conventional angle, before making a sort of discontinuous leap, at which point it looks to the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo to make sense of it all.

Why are people so fascinated by World War II in general and Hitler in particular? I think part of the reason is that it is a kind of numinous experience to contemplate that level of evil, which "surpasses" (I suppose "subpass" would be a better term) all our faculties.

Remember, "numinous" does not necessarily have positive connotations, for it mainly signifies confrontation with an object that is strange, mysterious, and "other." An encounter with God is always numinous, but so too is a brush with Death. For those of you who have lost a loved one, you are familiar with that experience of being ushered into an eery, numinous space. People are simultaneously attracted to, and repelled by, this space. It is why, for example, we enjoy horror movies. Much of the romantic movement was explicitly infatuated with Death, which I suppose is why so many of those poet-johnnies committed suicide. Will will know.

During the course of 522 pages, Van Vrekhem provides the testimony of any number of historians, who have conceded that, in the end, Hitler and Nazism simply exceed our ability to understand them. On the one hand, history is there to teach us "what happened." And yet, in this case, we can know exactly what happened "on the surface," and yet, don't truly understand it at all. I'm guessing that there are more books on Hitler and World War II than most any other subjects, and yet, what do we really know?

Van Vrekhem begins with the modest proposal that in attempting to wrap out minds around an "effect" of such magnitude, there must be a cause of equal magnitude. Looked at this way, then Hitler can't possibly be explained by such comparatively trivial causes as resentment over the Treaty of Versaille, or economic hardship, or even rabid nationalism. Any number of countries have been humiliated in war, but they don't start putting people in ovens to cope with their bruised feelings.

So we are confronted with a mystery. Yesterday I was attempting to use an experience-near example to talk about another mystery, that being the obvious discontinuity between even the greatest virtuoso and the true genius. Genius clearly transcends mere virtuosity, and can never be reduced to it. Rather, the musical genius partakes of and transmits a kind of palpable mystery, through which we may have the experience of entering a higher world that is shockingly different from the ordinary musical space. As a number of people pointed out, one can say the same of Van Gogh's paintings. If you are open to them, they truly are shocking, even breathtaking. Why is that? How can that be?

In my opinion, it is because Van Gogh introduces us to the real world. His paintings are particularly vivid examples of how great art is not on the same plane as "reality," and surely not a lower dimensional representation of it. Rather, it is a higher dimensional representation, so to speak. Yes, Van Gogh was an artist, but he was also a seer, or perhaps you might say a "visual prophet," just as Beethoven was an "aural prophet," transmitting information about higher spaces with pure sound. Again, how can such a thing be possible? What kind of cosmos is this, anyway?

Back to Hitler. To begin at the end, Van Vrekhem demonstrates how Hitler's ideology was in many cases a mirror image of Sri Aurobindo's evolutionary philosophy. Again, I don't want to get sidetracked, but I don't think it would be particularly difficult for some enterprising theologian to recast Christianity in evolutionary terms. In fact, I am quite sure it's already been done, not just by Teilhard de Chardin, but, for example, by this guy, about whom I know nothing.

I don't intend any scurrilous attacks on Darwinism, but Van Vrekhem quotes one prominent Nazi who said that National Socialism is applied biology. Think about that for a moment. If someone is foolish enough to believe that biology reveals the truth of man, then exactly what prevents him from drawing the ultimate implications from this: that nothing is absolute and everything is permitted?

It doesn't bother me that simpleminded Darwinists such as Queeg exist. What I do mind is that they try to pretend they're something other than what they are, which is intellectual barbarians. Such offenses must come, but we don't need to participate in their absurd self-flattery to the effect that the lower one falls, the higher one is. These liztards all clamor to the bottom, proud to declare the truth of no-truth, the virtue of indecency, and the beauty of ugliness.

Again, the Lie is parasitic on Truth. That's just how it is. As a result, you might very well say, "the greater the Truth, the bigger the Lie." But conversely, you might also say, "the bigger the Lie, the greater the Truth it is attempting to deny and conceal." Feel free to take this as a metaphor, so long as you understand its higher truth: Satan is first and foremost a parasite on Truth, Light and Beauty. Second, little parasites are everywhere. Oh, and you can learn a lot about God from a demon like Hitler.

In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility. --Adolf Hitler

to be continued....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rockin' in the New World

Damn, for some reason I'm sleeping like an hour later, leaving me almost no time to penetrate the overmental pneumatosphere and bring down a nugget of joy. Must be going through a transpersonal growth spurt or something.

I wanted to write about something that may seem like a deviation from the recent series of posts about Hitler, but I promise that it will eventually all come together over me. In fact, it goes to the very heart of the matter, even though you will no doubt wonder how and why.

The other evening while on the exercise bike, I was staring ahead at my beloved CD collection, and the thought occurred to me that there is a kind of infinite gap between the truly great musician, versus those who are occasionally able to produce something great. Unfortunately, I have to limit myself to forms of music with which I am most familiar, but the same thing no doubt applies to classical music. I imagine that there is a kind of discontinuous gap between a Bach or Mozart and the rest of the field.

In other words, if we consider musical excellence, any person with an adequate aesthetic sense can hear that it is on a continuum, with some people better than others. That's weird enough, but weirder still is the fact that there are certain geniuses who are "off the scale." It's not as if they are just "better" versions of the lesser talents.

A I said, let me stick with idioms with which I am familiar. An obvious case in point is the Beatles. Something unavoidably "mystical" happened to them between the time of their failed Decca audition and the time of their first Capitol album just a few months later. The Decca executive who failed to sign the Beatles was later widely ridiculed, but he was correct in his judgment. They weren't even mediocre. There was no spark, no magic, no sense whatsoever of what they were later to become. For those with ears to hear, there is literally an infinite gap between the Decca audition and the transcendent glory of Twist and Shout, recorded just a few months later for their first Capitol album.

The same pattern holds for Ray Charles. In fact, the moment he "invented" soul music is captured in the film Ray, and it is pretty close to the truth. Up to that point, he was a quite mediocre and derivative talent, no different from hundreds of other singers. But with I Got a Woman in 1955, he suddenly found his voice and style, and the rest is history. Once again, the body of work he recorded between 1955 and 1960 is so gloriously transcendent that it defies any simple, reductionistic explanation. It is so much better than anyone else, that there is once again that infinite gap, as well as the discontinuous leap between what he was and what he became.

Same thing with Aretha Franklin. She had been recording with Columbia Records since 1960, but was nothing special. She only "became" Aretha at a particular recording session in 1967, with I Never Loved a Man. Afterwards, for the subsequent eight years or so, she was so good it was frightening. During those years she consistently reached a level of perfection that can again only be called "transcendent." I say this because it is not as if, say, we are dealing with a scale that goes from one to ten, and she kept hitting "ten" with her recordings. Rather, the whole point is that she "broke through" the scale and entered some other kind of aesthetic space. Again, it's hard to describe, but any real music lover will understand what I'm talking about -- when an artist takes you into that higher space, which is luminous, expansive, free, and clear, like a wide open sky. (Sorry for the cliche, but that's how it feels to me; it's also a kind of "electrically charged" space.)

I could go on and on. Although Van Morrison made some competent R&B during his years with Them, no one was prepared for the leap he took with the appearance of Astral Weeks in 1968. Ever since then, he's been consistently operating out of that higher space. He is not just "better" than other artists, but in a different category altogether -- again, if you have ears to hear.

Or Sinatra. Although he produced a lot of nice music in the 1940s, no one could have predicted the depth of artistry he achieved with his string of classic Capitol albums in the 1950s. Again, he is not just "better" than the competition, but in an entirely different category. No amount of practice can get you there, because it seems that an element of "grace" is involved. For just as there is obviously spiritual grace, there is also aesthetic grace. And like the spiritual kind, it "blows where it will." Why Frank Sinatra? Why John Lennon? Why John Coltrane?

Part of the answer -- but only part -- is the level of dedication and the purity of intent. Whatever else you think about Sinatra, he was so artistically driven, that he would never allow anything to compromise his vision. Occasionally circumstances forced him to record some commercial pap to throw out into the market, and you can tell in an instant that he's not into it.

Or consider the Beatles. When they were finally signed by Capitol Records in 1962, George Martin wanted them to record a piece of crap called How Do You Do It, which he thought would be a sure-fire hit to launch the band. But the boys refused, insisting that they could write something better. First of all, this attitude was completely unheard of in pop music, which was "company driven," or "producer driven," not artist driven, especially "teen music." It never even occurred to anyone that what they were doing had anything to do with "art." Rather, they were just throwing out hamburgers for hungry teens.

Now, the Beatles had been toiling away for some five years up to that point. They had no money, no prospects, no real future. And yet, something inside already made them absolutely committed to their artistic vision, even before anyone would have called it art! Nevertheless, they put their foot down and insisted on recording their own music. Of note, their producer, George Martin, hadn't signed them on the basis of what he heard in their audition tape, which was again rather mediocre. Rather, in meeting them personally, he just felt that there was some x-factor, some kind of palpable charisma that he hoped to be able to capture and cultivate. Having read a number of biographies, I think what he experienced in meeting them was "the future." It was more than charisma, but a kind of evolutionary force.

And when I say "evolutionary force," what I mean is this. As I said, there are countless artists who are able to achieve a "nine" or "ten" with a song or two, or even in a whole career. But there are other artists who break through to a different dimension, almost like explorers who discover new lands that other people can later come along and populate. In the case of the Beatles, or Bob Dylan, they opened up an entirely new aesthetic space that had only existed in potential up to that time. It was very much as if there were a "ceiling" that was kept in place by convention, and the Beatles crashed through it. Once they did, many others followed, both for better and worse.

Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking. But you cannot blame the Beatles for what others did -- and continue to do -- with that space, any more than you can blame Jesus for the Inquisition or Marconi for Air America.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Adolf Hitler? First of all, let's look at how the founders of the great religions all discovered and opened up new evolutionary spaces for mankind to explore. Are there any spaces left, or is that it? In other words, are we in a situation analogous to the closing of the American frontier in the late 19th century? Or are there other dimension to be discovered and colonized? Is mankind being held back from fulfilling its potential by custom and convention?

to be continued....

Talent is like the marksman who hits a target others can't reach; genius is like the marksman who hits a target others can't see. --Schopenhauer

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Assessing Ethical Impairment with the Ten Commandments

I just had an odd thought that may be of no relevance to anyone but myself. But it occurred to me that when I do a psychological evaluation of someone, part of that involves assessing the degree of psychological disability. This is intrinsically impossible, the mind being what it is, but the law is the law. So in analyzing the overall disability, you have to break it down into eight "factors of disability," and rate the person's impairment in each of the factors, such as the ability to perform simple and repetitive tasks, the ability to follow directions, the ability to get along with others, etc.

But that only refers to workplace impairment, and only a Marxist would reduce the psyche to one's ability to work. What if, say, we also had to rate an individual's "moral disability?" Perhaps we might use the Ten Commandments to assess a person's ethical impairment.

Let's take, say, Obama. Just how ethically impaired is he? It's a little difficult to say when one is immersed in an ideology that has its own ethical norms. For example, in Obama's world, infanticide is permissible, even a sacred right. Furthermore, it would seem that he has an ironclad defense, since his ideology also values multiculturalism, which means that there are no objective values that can be judged from outside the culture in question. Therefore, from "within" Obama's ethical system, murdering a baby who is "accidentally" born alive is not problematic.

Likewise, if we surrender in Iraq and genocide ensues, it is "not our problem," since Obama is for peace. People who are against peace are bad, whether it is people who want to commit genocide or people who want to stop them from doing so.

With multiculturalism, it goes without saying that one cannot say "you shall have no other gods before me." Rather, this is inverted to say "you shall have all other gods coequal or even above me, since I'm such a demanding and judgmental tyrant. In fact, the more the merrier." Nor can you have an injunction against bearing false witness, since multiculturalism and deconstruction insist that there is no such thing as objective truth, and that truth is a function of power. Of course, this only proves that the left is power mad, but you're not supposed to notice that.

I could go on and on, but here are commandments five and six in our series. Please be culturally sensitive, and remember that they do not apply to liberals.

*****

Never fail to respect the sages. See the divine in your mother, father, and teacher... --Taittiriya Upanishad

The fifth of the first five “vertical” commandments is “honor your father and your mother.” This is an important point, because the verticality of this commandment means that it is clearly not just referring to our earthly parents. At the very least, the commandment implies a link between the earthly and celestial dimensions, filtered through the family. The trinitarian family of father-mother-child is an intrinsic reflection of God's design, another instance of the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm (“as above, so below”). Also, being the last of the vertical commandments, it is somehow an important link to the next five "horizontal" commandments that allow the wider human community to properly function.

Naturally, a large part of the leftist project is to undermine this commandment and to de-sacralize the family, so that it essentially becomes "just anything." Thus, the vertical family that is ultimately oriented in a hierarchical manner toward the divine is reduced to a wholly horizontal entity in which the members are only oriented toward each other. A family is “any two or more people or animals who love each other.” Not “honor your mother and father,” but “honor your father and father,” or worse yet, honor just earthly love. But earthly love alone cannot sustain a family, which is one of the reasons for the increased incidence of divorce. If you enter a marriage thinking that another person is going to make you happy and fulfill all of your needs, you are bound to be sorely disillusioned.

Some may think that the onus of this commandment is upon children to honor their parents. But I believe this is a misunderstanding of the total context of the commandments. For an equal burden is actually on the parents -- especially the father -- to be an earthly reflection of the celestial Parent. Indeed, this is a father’s only claim to legitimate (i.e., post-biological) authority -- the extent to which he is a dignified and noble man through whom divine authority radiates “downward.”

Parents do not own children -- this was one of the radical innovations of Judaism, in contrast to other ancient (and contemporary) peoples who practiced infanticide and other forms of systematic abuse.

In raising a child, you are deputized by the divine to help usher your child from his earthly caretaker -- i.e., you -- to his celestial benefactor. Even if you are not particularly religious, this is still the aim of your parenting, but it will merely go by another name -- for example, instilling good values. Few people outside the Muslim world actually consciously want to raise their children as antisocial, homicidal beasts. And even these Moloch-worshipping parents are under the delusion that they are on a divine mission to raise their children in this perverse manner.

Arab parents are now naming their children “Hizb’allah” and “Nasrallah,” a genocidal group and a genocidal fanatic, respectively. These children will surely grow up to honor their father -- the father of lies. These parents are spiritually unfit to bring children into the world, because they inflict the worst possible psychic injury to the child: failing to provide them with a parent worthy of honor. Like most any abused child, the child will still do his part -- he will honor his parents -- which will have the practical effect of making him lower than the beasts, unless the child somehow sees through his warped parents and locates his father “who art in heaven.”

Obama, whose father was an alcoholic bigamist, abandoned him when he was a child. As a result, he spent much of his adulthood searching for a father worthy of honor. That he chose someone like Reverend Wright speaks volumes. One can see how bad fathers are always available to children who have had no experience of a good father, just as there is no shortage of bad men for confused women who were never properly loved by a noble father. If all girls had good fathers, the pool of bad men would soon dry up, since they would be deprived of sexual partners.

In short, to the extent that our parents are worthy of of honor, it is because the archetypes of our otherworldly Mother and Father are revealed to us through them. Not only do many parents fail at this fundamental task, but they even usurp God’s rightful power, becoming bad gods and “lording it over” their children (as undoubtedly happened to them).

More generally, the pure love we receive “vertically” from our parents is like a seed that is planted deep within our psyche. Children can have no idea how much they were loved until they have children of their own. This is as it should be, because the task for the child is to spread this divine-parental love horizontally, out into the world. If children loved parents as much as parents love their children, it would be very difficult to break out of that closed circle and evolve psycho-culturally. When children "worship" their parents, it puts an end to personal and cultural evolution (and this pseudo-worship is usually a result of some kind of abuse, rooted in fear and unconscious hatred).

And just because we have left our earthly parents, it hardly means that we have no further need of parenting. Again, there is something primordially true in the trinitarian arrangement of father-mother-child. In order to continue to grow spiritually as adults, we must in some way "become as children" and establish an ongoing rapport with the divine masculine and feminine. As such, the commandment also implies that we should honor worldly representatives of the divine, for example, the avatars, saints, and spiritual masters who, just like our own parents, have made incredible sacrifices for our benefit, and who extend truly priceless wisdom, guidance, and even salvation. Thanks to these exemplars, the vertical hole in creation is always accessible.

There is nothing which is more necessary and more precious in the experience of human childhood than parental love.... nothing more precious, because the parental love experienced in childhood is moral capital for the whole of life.... It is so precious, this experience, that it renders us capable of elevating ourselves to more sublime things--even divine things. It is thanks to the experience of parental love that our soul is capable of raising itself to the love of God. -- Meditations on the Tarot

***

Worlds there are without suns, covered up with darkness. To these after death go the ignorant, slayers of the Self. --Isha Upanishad

The sixth commandment is often erroneously translated as “thou shalt not kill” instead of “thou shalt not murder.” Killing has no inherent moral consequence one way or the other (i.e., it depends on the context), whereas murder specifically refers to the deliberate taking of innocent human life.

In the West, I know of no one outside the left who argues otherwise. For example, one routinely hears leftists insist that there is no difference between deaths that occur as a deliberate policy of Islamic terrorists vs. those that occur as a result of Israel defending herself from Islamic terrorists. One also routinely hears George Bush described by the left as a terrorist -- indeed, “the world’s biggest terrorist” -- which again simply highlights the broken moral compass at the foundation of leftist thought. It's like a house built on a cracked foundation.

The same broken moral compass is present in animal rights activists who equate the killing of animals with the murder of humans. One also hears leftists perversely invoke “thou shalt not kill” in order to try to prevent murderers from being put to death. But again, the commandment specifically forbids the deliberate taking of innocent human life, and no one is less innocent than a murderer. The “golden rule” maintains that we should treat others as we would have them treat us, and it is just so with capital punishment.

As Schuon writes, it is absurd to want to abolish the death penalty "on the grounds that one would not like to be in the condemned man’s place; to be in the place of the condemned man is at the same time to be the murderer; if the condemned man can earn our sympathy it is precisely by being able to recognize his crime and by desiring to pay for it with his life, thereby removing all antagonism between him and us.”

But there are many ways to murder a man without killing the body, and these also fall under the authority of this commandment. One can even draw out the implications of the commandment, in that, if we are to refrain from the taking of innocent life, we are necessarily enjoined to promote, preserve and protect innocent life in all of its manifestations.

At bottom, what the commandment is emphasizing is that life is sacred -- it is of infinite value; therefore, do everything you can to honor and protect it. Clearly, not all cultures do so. Some, as in so much of the Muslim world, explicitly worship death, not life. And this inversion is reflected throughout these sick cultures, in that they are “fruitless.” That is, they produce nothing but misery, both to themselves and to others. They produce nothing for the body, i.e., no medicines, no new ways to produce food; they produce nothing for the mind, i.e., no science, no translations of books, no freedom of inquiry; and they produce nothing for the spirit, i.e., only the spiritual shackles of their medieval death cult.

Most soul murders are undoubtedly committed by those who are already so spiritually damaged as to be functionally dead. These undead souls such as a Nasrallah, an Arafat, or an Amahdinejad, speak to us from “the other side,” from the shadow world that is created when the soul has been so damaged that it essentially withdraws from the body, leaving only a human animal in its place. But other demonic energies rush in to fill the void, so that the individual becomes a sort of “antihuman.” At their core, they are filled with unbearable envy toward the living, and the only way they can assuage this envy is to kill and kill plentifully. Life is a painful reminder of their own living death, hence, “death to Israel,” that primordial symbol of life: l’chaim.

The undead also cannot help converting their children to their way of non-being. In ways both subtle and profound, they will interact with their children in a pathological manner, causing the children to internalize the same virus that afflicts their parents. Regardless, the virus always goes by the name of “love,” which simply further confuses the child. In the end, they will not be able to distinguish the difference between love and hate or truth and lies, any more than they can distinguish between spiritual life and death.

That depraved Muslim couple that was going to use their baby as a bomb surely love their child, except that the love flows out of death, not life. Likewise, the proud Palestinian parents who raise their children to be mass murderers undoubtedly love their children, as do the Muslim parents who murder their daughters for holding hands with a Christian boy. Death loves, just as the person who doesn't believe in truth seeks to accumulate “knowledge.” Our universities are filled with lie-roasted academia nuts who know much. They too worship death -- the death of the intellect and its innate spiritual wisdom.

Oddly, just as life spreads and propagates, so too does death. In other words, death has a sort of life all its own -- just as disease isn’t the opposite of health, but a pathological form of living. The undead soul attempts to overcome and “transcend” his soul death by killing, by substitute sacrifices. Human sacrifice is a way to “steal” the life essence of the victim in order to give the undead a spurious sense of life. This is why the Islamist butchers ecstatically scream "allahu ackbar" (the god of death is great!) as they chop off another head.

In this regard, the Izlambies are no different than Jeffrey Dahmer, who would attempt to have an orgasm at the exact moment his victim was dying, the idea being that the victim's life force would somehow pass into him. Islamists believe that by exterminating Israel, the life essence of Israel will pass into and revive their undead souls and cultures, but this is simply the most perverse of unconscious fantasies. If tiny Israel had never existed, the same massive death cult would have simply metastasized into the geographical area now called Israel. Life departed from Gaza a couple of years ago, but Death merely rushed in to occupy the void created.

Again, the implicit message of the sixth commandment is that we must promote Life in everything we do, not just limiting ourselves to innocent human life, but to the Good, the True and the Beautiful, for these are the principal manifestations of the uncorrupted, living soul. As I wrote in the Coonifesto, “There is a culture of Life and a culture of death, and the cultural necropolis can only maintain itself by an increasingly brazen assault on Truth (as well as beauty and decency). It is therefore also a cult of hypnotic enslavement, for only the Truth can liberate us from this zone of illusion. In your day-to-day life, you must refrain from activities that advance the infrahuman tide of ugliness, barbarism, and falsehood in our endarkened world.”

Friday, August 22, 2008

Of Messiahs and Monsters (2.3.11)

I was building up to this important point about Nazism, progress, transcendence, and mysticism, when Will appeared out of nowhere and stole my God of Thunder. (BTW, I haven't had time to check it out, but that site looks like a pretty interesting.) As he pointed out, "Nazism was, in a sense, a stab at progress, and a spiritual progress, to be sure. Doomed to failure, of course, because it, like communism, attempted to transcend collectively, an impossibility. I think we should make no mistake, though -- there is a meta-power in the collective that can be harnassed, channeled. Thus Nazism was a mysticism gone bad, and when mysticism goes bad, it becomes evil."

Precisely. In Hitler and His God, we have to get to page 568 before we read Aurobindo saying the same thing, only in the 1930s: "Hitler is a new type, an infra-rational mystic, representing the dark counterpart of what we are striving to arrive at: a supra-rational mysticism.... He is a mystic, only a mystic of the wrong kind! He goes into solitude for his messages and waits till they come."

This was true. As a psychologist, I find the description of Hitler's "voice" to be very different from any typical psychosis, in which the individual has no control over his delusions and hallucination. But in Hitler's case, he would court and call upon "the voice," in the same way that an artist might call upon his muse or I might call upon my household gnome. So who or what was the voice? Whatever it was, it gave him a kind of absolute conviction, plus the complete fearlessness and unwavering faith to carry out its promptings. Now, who does this remind us of? Yes, the Islamists follow that same pattern, with their insane faith in the transcendently evil. Clearly, it is no coincidence that Mein Kampf is a perennial bestseller in the Muslim world, or that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was an ally of Hitler, or that Jew hatred is central to both ideologies.

Just as the Divine leaves its traces in time, Satan always leaves his scent, so to speak. It reminds me of one of the final scenes of Batman Begins, where the Lieutenant hands Batman the Joker's calling card. For what is the Joker card? It is simultaneously nothing and anything. In fact, it can be anything you want it to be, from the highest of the high (the king) to the lowest of the low, or anything in between. It can even be another gender (the queen). As such, it abolishes all distinction and hierarchy, except that in a perverse way, the nothing-anything of the Joker is the "top," as he stands completely outside -- he transcends and upends -- any established or meaningful order.

Now, this is surely a kind of mysticism, but it is again a mysticism "from below" rather than above. It abolishes distinctions before they even have a chance to become distinct, which was again one of the central features of Nazism. You might say that there are only two distinctions, 1) the Volk, and 2) the Fuhrer -- who was truly a "nothing" and nobody who became the German "all." There was also the SA and the SS, but in both cases, their admittance into the hierarchy very much depended upon the degree to which they had subordinated their own will and identity to the Fuhrer principle. The SS in particular was a sort of esoteric mystic body; in fact, they modeled themselves after the Jesuits, only absolutely committed to Hitler instead of Christ.

In his comment, Will also noted that "Personal responsibility arises from genuine individualism and self-awareness -- meaning the attempt to overcome one's self-love, one's own lower instincts. When the emphasis is on a collective responsibility -- meaning making sure you recycle and pay respects to Gaia, etc. -- and personal responsibility is distinctly de-emphasized, then we're veering close to a mysticism gone bad."

We'll discuss the nature-worship of Nazism in a later post. But as Will implies, the nationalism of Germany was a parody of the patriotism of the United States, the latter of which must first involve defense of the sacred principle of the individual. But in the case of German nationalism, it was in defense of the innate superiority of the German people in the collective sense. Again, this was conceived in terms of a mystical essence that emanated from the Volk, and only through the individual in a derivative way. There was a "German genius" that was in the blood, not on "paper," as it is in the case of America's founding documents.

Therefore, in the case of Nazi Germany, they needed to eliminate "foreign blood" in the same way Americans must constantly battle against "lies," or more precisely, "the lie." Hitler had no scruples whatsoever in lying, murdering, or backstabbing in order to further his "higher" truth, which was the racial purity of the German spirit. In fact, in that context, no degree of barbarism was off limits. Everything followed logically -- or infralogically -- from his first principles, which were written in the blood.

Van Vrekhem makes the interesting point that it is no coincidence that the Protestant revolt began in Germany with Luther. I have no idea whether this is generally accepted by other scholars, but Van Vrekhem notes that Christianity always had an uneasy relationship with the German psyche, and was very much superimposed on a much more primitive pagan mythology that was never forgotten among the "volk." Therefore, when Luther came along to declare independence from the central church, he was merely exploiting collective psychic energies that were already very near the surface.

In fact, it can easily be seen how Luther was a kind of proto-Hitler, in particular, with his appalling anti-Semitism. (I'm not trying to compare him to Hitler, as I just don't know enough; but I wonder if someone like Jakob Boehme -- or Meister Eckhart before him -- was the "bright side" to Luther's "dark side" of the German psyche?) Van Vrekhem notes that Luther exploited the same divide "that had opposed the Roman civilization against the barbarian world of the Germanic tribes," and that Germans "had been ready for a long time to recapture the fortress stolen by Christianity." "German utopianism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries almost always meant a return to pre-Christian, pagan spirituality in some form."

Furthermore, it seems that the longing for a "strong man from above" was a continuous feature of the German psyche. As Van Vrekhem notes, "This need for an all-powerful master was an important feature in the psychological make-up of the Germans long before the strong man became the paragon of Fascism in many European nations. The Furher was longed and prayed for; he was expected before he took the shape of Adolf Hitler. It was not the least of of Hitler's intuitions that he knew exactly how to take on the part and act in a way to which the German masses subconsciously responded with religious fervor." Another observer wrote that "The cry for a leader arose from the searing wish for somebody who would provide meaning in a secularized time, which apparently burdened the individual with an excess of individual responsibility and made him feel lonely" (emphases mine).

I want to emphasize that I am not trying to invoke Godwin's law in demonstrating the parallels between this and the Obamessiah hysteria, but parallels there are (not in the ends, but in the deeper structure of the infrarational mysticism). As we continue this series, I will be very curious to analyze the language and imagery of Obama's acceptance speech at his Nuremburg-like mass-hypnosis rally at Invesco Field before 75,000 adoring "fans" (which is the proper term, since this whole creepy exercise is "infra-poltical" and emotional, devoid of intellectual substance).

I just did a quick google search, and found this typical story, which says that "In a little more than a week, 75,000 lucky ticket-holders will head for Invesco Field, ready to usher in a new era of photos for their Facebook pages.... And eventually, upon the entrance of the Great Half-White Hope, they will be reduced to one giant goosebump.... But it won't just be the arrival of Barack Obama that will send chills down their spines. Obama, no doubt, will enter the stadium to the tune of some inspiring piece of pop music. Whose song will it be?.... Which song will electrify the crowd next Thursday?"

I don't know, WWLD? That is, what would Leni Riefenstahl recommend? A little Wagner? Interestingly, there is no question whatsoever that she was a gifted artist. But look at the mesmerizing effect Hitler had upon her will -- and she is hardly alone in this regard. Van Vrekhem relates story after story of how strong men -- generals, diplomats, artists, and journalists -- were reduced to Jello in his presence. He clearly transmitted a kind of supernatural power to which many individuals attested. Is there an "artist" in Hollywood, or a celebrity journalist, who hasn't fallen under Obama's spell? Yes, a few, but only a few. .

Obama clearly has a similar kind of power, at least over the susceptible -- for example, his vaunted ability to make Chris Matthews' pasty thigh tingle. Obviously it can't be Obama's ideas, which are so banal, nor his accomplishments, which are nil. As was very much true of Hitler, Obama's words often make no literal sense on paper, and yet, he personally has this undeniably potent persuasive power. And he especially has this power over people who are not inoculated by genuine religion. In other words, he has a "religious effect" on the secularized mind. Deepak could be speaking of Hitler when he writes of how the Annointed One will bring about a "quantum leap" in human consciousness. How could anyone believe such utter sacred cow manure?

In Riefenstahl's case, she writes of how she read a single page of Mein Kampf and was hooked: "The book made a tremendous impression on me. I became a confirmed National Socialist after reading the first page. I felt a man who could write such a book would undoubtedly lead Germany. I felt very happy that such a man had come."

Michael Burleigh writes of how Germany went "going boldly into the future in search of an imaginary past." In so doing, they created a gilded mythology in which they were the ones the world was waiting for.

Sri Aurobindo stressed the crucial importance of the individual, always of a higher consciousness than the group or the mass, and the center or 'dynamo' of the cosmic forces in humanity.... The message of Sri Aurobindo lay precisely in the possibility and necessity of an upward transformation of the human being, the only way of real progress. --Georges Van Vrekhem

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Careening Through History Without a Rear View Mirror

I probably shouldn't even try. It's already 6:40, I have a dental appointment at 2:00, and I have to get a lot of work done in between. Nevertheless....

I guess one thing we're trying to do here is figure out if any general principles can be derived from something that seems so uniquely evil, i.e., the Nazi phenomenon. And not just banal things like "don't appease evil," or "genocide is bad," or "get rid of that stupid little mustache."

One of the important contexts of Nazism was romanticism, which was itself a reaction to the alienation that was felt as a result of the industrial revolution in particular and modernity in general. Veith writes that "people felt alienated from nature, from society, and -- because their identity had become such an enigma -- from themselves. The rationalism of the Enlightenment, which seemed responsible for this malaise, was answered in the 19th century by Romanticism."

Interestingly, romanticism is a regressive phenomenon that occurs in the context of progress, almost the way that a child will regress in the midst of psychological development. As a matter of fact, that's happening to my son right now, as he has suddenly developed the urge and the capacity to toilet train himself. Clearly, his ability to do this is a result of countless synaptic connections taking place below the surface. As a result, he's being ushered into a whole new and unfamiliar world. His desire to sit on the toilet is just the tip of the assberg, so to speak.

To cite one obvious example, he sees that most of his friends are housebroken, and he's suddenly self-conscious about it -- which is to say, a tad ashamed. But just a few weeks ago he wouldn't have had this introspective capacity, nor the ability to look at himself from the standpoint of the Other, which is a prerequisite for shame. This is why two year-olds and trial lawyers do not feel shame.

But just as with every previous developmental leap, he is clearly experiencing a lot of ambivalence about his new capacities, so he's also engaging in more regressive behavior -- at times more clingy, or more angry, or more frustrated, etc. One can well understand why. Just think back on your own relatively sudden transition from child to adolescent. I remember it well. One day you're hanging out with your friends, playing baseball, joking around, hating girls. The next day....

It's very disorienting. And it's now understood by developmental neurologists that one of the reasons it's so disorienting is that the brain literally disassembles at these developmental cruxes, and then reassembles at a "higher level," so to speak. In other words, human psychological development is not like an addition to your house, or building a new floor above the existing one. Rather, it's more the way a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. It's a transformation, not just a transition.

Anyway, it's these "in between" phases that are fraught with such difficulty, those interstices between one stage and another. That is precisely where a lot of the mind parasites get imported, because that is when the brain is much more "fluid," open, and unstable. Could the same thing be true of history? The first thing that comes to mind is Marxism, which specifically developed in that gap between the premodern and modern world. It is fundamentally rooted in the myopic fallacy that things were getting worse for the average worker, when the reality was that, for the first time in 10,000 years, they were actually getting dramatically better.

In this regard, Marx was not just economically illiterate, but completely ahistorical, a malady that continues to afflict the left to this day. The free market will eventually solve most problems that leftist solutions will only perpetuate or aggravate. But the leftist relies upon people being riveted only on the now, which then requires some sort of radical solution to redeem the future.

For example, how many Americans realize that gasoline actually reached its peak price in the early 1960s if adjusted for inflation, while it reached its low point in 1998? For the demagogues of the left, it is vital that you not know that, just as it was vital to Marxists that people be unaware of the fact that for the average laborer, the 18th century was almost a straight upward line in terms of increasing affluence.

So, let's play with this idea that sudden progress is going to bring with it sudden regression -- or at least make certain people more vulnerable to it. Yesterday we mentioned the 1960s. Why would the most affluent and pampered generation in history suddenly revert to neo-paganism, earth-worship, deconstruction, moral relativism, and a rejection of the very civilizational inheritance that allowed such unprecedented affluence to begin with?

It reminds me of an unfortunate incident that occurred last Sunday, when Mrs. G backed her car out of the garage, and in the process managed to amputate my driver's side view mirror. So for the last few days I've been rolling the Coonmobile without one, and it's more disorienting than you might think. You realize the extent to which successfully moving forward requires you to keep one eye riveted on the past. Without that view of the past, it can sneak up on you in surprising ways. Your every move risks colliding with someone else's unfolding line of spacetime. Furthermore, I found myself reflexively looking for the past in the usual place, but finding only a "hole" -- except that the hole was filled with the present.

It is no exaggeration to say that in the 1960s, the baby boom generation gleefully tore the rearview mirror off the vehicle of civilization, while simultaneously believing that they could put the pedal to the metal on the engine of progress. Is it therefore surprising that so many fatal accidents occurred? The breakup of the family, soaring crime rates, a naturalistic or surreal art that became a celebration of the primitive and subhuman, a deteriorating educational system at all levels, a general recrudescence of neopaganism, with its cult of the body and exaltation of the instincts, women emulating men, men emulating women, the rejection of our own Judeo-Christian wisdom tradition, etc. All because a few adolescents tore the rear view mirror off Dad's car. You know, guys like Obama's good buddy, Bill Ayers.

We all know that conservatives realize that liberals are usually well-intentioned but merely ignorant (or immature, or stupid), while liberals imagine that conservatives are evil -- that they are driven by sinister motives. You know the drill -- if you want to liberate the Iraqi people, you really want to enrich oil companies, or if you think Obama is a vacuous celebrity, you're really a racist, or if you think global warming is a hoax, you really hate the environment, etc., etc., etc. Being that leftists flatter themselves by calling themselves "progressives," like a child, they imagine that the conservative must be the opposite. You might say that they imagine that conservatives want to drive the historical car by looking only in the rear view mirror.

But obviously, if you try to do that, you will be no more successful than the leftist who tries to go forward without reference to the past. You'll inevitably get into a lot of accidents, but they will be of a slightly different nature.

Now, as it so happens, there are conservatives who do try to do that. But I don't like to call them conservatives, since it conflates them with the true conservative, who tries to drive forward while having a deep and panoramic view of the past, where objects may be much, much larger than they appear in your mirror.

I realize I'm rambling here, but one theme that leapt out in this book on Hitler is the parallel between the Nazi movement and the traditionalist movement as articulated by people such as Guenon, Schuon, and Coomaraswamy. First of all, let's eliminate up front the idea that I am calling them "Nazis," or some other such nonsense. However, you don't have to search very far before you discover a persistent critique of Traditionalism, to the effect that it is essentially a fascist movement. That is, it is entirely backward looking, authoritarian, cultish, romantic, and very openly repelled by all things modern.

As it so happens, Schuon spent most of his childhood in Basel, which is situated right over the border between Switzerland and Germany. He was born in 1907, and there seems to be little doubt that his childhood was immersed in the volkisch sentiments of the time, as discussed yesterday. For example, he writes of Basel as a "fairy tale city," where he developed a deep appreciation of its romanticism. His biography notes that he was "Germanic to the core," and "impregnated from childhood by that poetic and mystical culture whose particular expression in fairy tales and traditional melodies he never forgot.... His sensibility led him quite naturally in the direction of German romanticism, nurtured by the Middle Ages, at once chivalrous, enchanted and mystical."

But at the same time, he felt profoundly alienated, as if he were more comfortable in the past than the present: "An introvert, he felt like a stranger, misunderstood by those around him." This led him to explore museums "for the traces of past wisdom which seemed to him like windows opening onto a lost world." He was too young to have taken part in World War I, but interestingly, he reflexively blamed the war on modernity, when in fact, as we shall see, neither it nor its second act, World War II, can be understood outside the context of that same backward-looking romanticism that led Schuon in a very different direction. In other words, these wars may have used modern means developed by science, but they were thoroughly rooted in magic and mythology. Just as the current war against Islam, these were medieval people with modern weapons.

I want to re-emphasize that in no way do I intend to denigrate Schuon, whom I consider to be one of the most profoundly gifted spiritual geniuses in human history. But he's definitely not an "American" thinker, a metaphysic which I believe has the best chance to synthesize past and present into a viable future characterized by real progress. But now I'm out of time, so I'll have to continue this line of thought tomorrow.