Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On Seeing by the Light of Deity When the Van Goghing Gets Tough

My son is at that age in which he blurts out things that make you wonder, "where did that come from ?", since he didn't get it from us. A while back we were sitting on the couch, and he looks into my eyes and out of nowhere says, are you thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?

That was actually the purpose of my little query at the conclusion of yesterday's post. It wasn't to elicit testimonials for the blog, but to merely ask, "are you thinking what I'm thinking?" I mean, I just want to make sure I'm not the only one. You see, it's not always that easy to define these things when you're in the middle of them. Again, no one back in 1500 turned to his companion and said, "isn't it a hoot to be living in the Renaissance, what with this new emphasis on humanism, self-awareness, classical learning, and perspectival painting?"

Speaking of which. Schuon deplored what we call the "Renaissance," and thought that it represented a catastrophic turn toward the near total error (for him) of modernity. I want to be fair to him, but I don't have time to give a full explication of his views. However, I think it would be accurate to say that his main beef with the Renaissance was that it represented a rejection of celestial realities and divine mysteries for a reversion to paganism and an overemphasis on this world -- on glorification of the individual, an "art for art's sake," and a general fall from the cosmic center to the terrestrial periphery.

There is clearly a "world hating" theme that runs through Schuon, but it is difficult to say whether this was a cause or a consequence. In other words, we may simply be dealing with an issue of temperament, which is then clothed in metaphysics. For him God is all, and the world is an illusion. I wish I could find the quote, but I remember him saying words to the effect that "once a man realizes Truth, all that is left for him is to patiently await death."

Before you reject his view out of hand, I think that he's merely reflecting a deeper divide between what we might call "ascending" and "descending" spiritualities. While the former types are not excluded from Coondom, I think it is fair to say that most of us fall into the latter category, as I will proceed to explain. This was certainly the whole basis of Sri Aurobindo's approach, but more importantly, I think it is what largely distinguishes "American Christianity" from some of its other variants. Perhaps it is the "Judeo" aspect of our uniquely Judeo-Christian heritage, but America has spawned all sorts of spiritual movements aimed at transforming and redeeming this world, and living the Life Divine on the earth plane.

In contrast, I have read a lot of Orthodox writers who very much reflect Schuon's world-shunning view. For example, the Philokalia -- the handbook for serious Orthodox pneumanauts -- is pretty tough sledding if you have any attachment whatsoever to this world. It's not that it isn't valuable -- quite the opposite. It's just that it is so world-denying that it is a jolt to modern sensibilities, and to American ones in particular.

Similarly, I have tremendous respect for a Father Seraphim Rose, but he is another guy who was only interested in the ascending stairway out of this world. His spirituality -- which was rooted in that of the early Christian fathers -- involved an intense mortifiction, which, after all, is related to death (mort). For him, the idea was truly to crucify the ego with extreme prejudice and be dead to this world, in order to be "resurrected" in a higher world.

For those of you who have read my book, recall the symbols of the two arrows, the ascending (↑) and descending (↓). The only reason what we call "spirtuality" can exist is because of those two arrows which link the above and below. They can be looked at in different ways, one of which would be involution (the descending force) and evolution (the ascending force). The only reason God can be realized is that he is intimately involved in the world.

Now, I didn't expect to discover this, but you will notice in my sidebar that I am currently reading a book on the diametrically opposed Christian metaphysics that informed the painting of van Gogh and his friend Gauguin. I can't yet say that I recommend the book, since it is largely written in that dry academic style, and considers religion from a detached, sociological point of view, as if one were examining dead objects in a museum. Nevertheless, I have found parts of it to be most illuminating.

Let me just cut to the chase: both van Gogh and Gauguin received intense theological training early in their lives. In Gauguin's case, it was very much of the world-denying type. But in van Gogh's case, it was quite the opposite, with an explicit emphasis on appreciating the immanent divinity of this world, which is simply a "veil" of God.

Gauguin's painting reflects a rejection of this fallen world and an attempt to escape upward, while van Gogh's reflects nothing less than the divinization of matter (↓), which, as we shall see, was central to Aurobindo's mission as well. But I also believe that the latter is more true to Christianity, for example, with the Transfiguration, in which Jesus' material body is transfigured into pure light; instead of ascending to heaven, you might say that heaven descends into Jesus, which is a critical point to bear in mind for later. At any rate, van Gogh was quite consciously attempting to do the same thing with his painting, i.e., to transfigure matter with divine light.

Both men received religious training, but in Gauguin's case it centered around the idea that material reality was hopelessly corrupted and "even perfidious," whereas van Gogh was the beneficiary of a new attitude that "placed a special emphasis on the arts as evocative forms of an immanent divinity." Its goal was to "render the infinite tangible" by "embedding the sacred in the stuff of matter and the faces of ordinary people."

In contrast, Gauguin's quest for the sacred led him in the opposite direction: "to dematerialize the physical surface of the canvas as much as possible" in order "to efface the distance between a deficient material world and the ineffable world of dream and the divine." In fact, you may have noticed that many of Gauguin's paintings are as flat and aperspectival as an Orthodox icon -- and for the same reason.

The differences may be summarized as follows: Gauguin sought to dematerialize nature in a "flight to metaphysical mystery," whereas van Gogh sought to naturalize divinity in service of what he called "a perfection that renders the infinite tangible to us."

Elsewhere van Gogh wrote of a "longing for the infinite" in the form of a "permanent, eternal order beneath the surface of appearances" or an "indivisible union of the tangible and the infinite." Importantly, this was a realization, only a descending one. His desire was not to "overcome" matter, but again to "disentangle" the sacred from the profane and mundane. For example in his famous painting of The Sower, he "flooded the picture plane with a dense, materialized light that penetrated every bit of ground and grain":


Wo. You can say that again. The point is, both men saw painting as a mediator of divinity, but in opposite ways. van Gogh "longed for the infinite" in this world (↓). As he wrote, "I want to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize."

Which is another interesting point. The kind of traditional painting which Schuon championed was symbolic in nature, using objective symbols such as the halo to convey a spiritual reality. But van Gogh wished to directly convey the reality beneath the symbol, which Schuon would have objected to as a potentially self-indulgent flight into subjectivity. And you can again appreciate his point, since that is largely what modern art has become: totally detached from the objective spiritual plane, and a celebration of nothing more than the artist's own warped subjectivity. Nothing is less real than mere reality -- unless it is mere subjectivity divorced from the objective (i.e., transcendent) Real.

In Gauguin's case, he wrote of art as an abstraction from nature as a means of "rising toward God" (↑). His goal was to "seek transcendence and the mediation of an ideal, a supernatural realm extending beyond perceptual experience." You might say that van Gogh wishes to make the invisible visible, while Gauguin wishes to make the visible invisible. His "intentional anti-perspecivism formalized the drift of the natural into the supernatural arena," as the way of "mounting toward God" and seeing beyond the "contingencies of matter."

I could go on -- an exact account of their differing theological training is quite interesting in its own right -- but I think I've established my preluminary point.

Which is what?

It is this. Yesterday we spoke of the higher mind, or the "mind of light." The point is, this is not exactly a transcendent flight from, or denial of, this world, a la Buddhism or "ascending" Christianity. Rather, it is precisely the descent of the divine light into our own earthly home, which is to say, our heads. And it is as American as an Apple iPod.

And the other point is this. Yes, matter is an "obstacle" to spiritual realization. Which is why so many illustrious pneumanauts of the past just bypassed it altogether as hopelessly impervious and resistant to the Light. But the Raccoon takes that as a challenge.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Give me transfiguration or give me death! In a manner of speaking. Or painting. Or blogging.

For the whole of being is a connected totality and there is in it no abrupt passage from the principle of Truth and Light into their opposite.... The depths are linked to the heights, and the Law of the one Truth creates and works everywhere. --Sri Aurobindo

Here are some Coons of the ascending type:

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cosmic Evolution and the Bridge to Gnowhere

So, cosmic evolution is as easy as One-two-three: first, the involution of conscious being into material existence and infinitely divisible substance; second, the emergence of that being into living and thinking form; and third, the ascent of thinking being into the free realization of the Divine reality.

Again, it is only because of the prior involution that there are relatively sharp developmental levels, or ontological planes, in between. However, one cannot necessarily be too concrete about these, and reify what is in reality a continuum. Or, at the very least, one must adopt the complementarity of modern physics, and view the scale as simultaneously particle and wave, or continuous and discrete.

To take an obvious example, I can see that my three and a-half year old son has gone through a number of clearly defined stages on his epic journey from embryo to boy. Nevertheless, if I were asked to pinpoint them, I could not do so -- any more than one could point out the day that the paleolithic became the neolothic, the Middle Ages became the Renaissance, or the Democrat party become so barbaric, abandoning liberalism for an illiberal and atavistic and intolerant leftism. Was it at with '68 convention? Was it the McGovern nomination? The ascendence of Jimmy Carter? Their racist "southern strategy" of bribing and duping blacks into voting against their interests? The full outbreak of Bush derangement? Or the even more marked poutbreak of Palin hysteria?

One point to consider is that, from a psychohistorical standpoint, the distance between 1968 and 2008 is truly the blink of an eye. Or, perhaps we are artificially divorcing the initial symptoms of a disease process from its end state -- like saying that the patient died of pneumonia, when it was actually AIDS. We know that life begins at conception, but when does spiritual death, or pneumania, begin? It also surely begins with a conception, but what is the concept? That's actually a fairly easy question, isn't it? After all, Genesis pretty much covers it.

Anyway. Because God exists, the ladder of being extends "all the way upwards from the Inconscient to the Supreme (as first it has gone all the way downwards)" (Van Vrekhem). Or, if you prefer, the existence of the Divine is proven by the fact of this descending ontological stairway to heathens. In short, you can't have others without the One (or vice versa).

Anti-intellectuals such as Queeg would like to enforce their fantasy on the rest of us, to the effect that All This -- all of it -- is merely a temporary result of the mighty god of chance -- which is just an inglorious coverup for their own spiritual blindness. Even worse, it elevates this myopia to just another form of vision, no better or worse than the Raccoon's 20/∞ geistsight, in that we can see from twenty feet what the unredeemed person can only see from the standpoint of eternity, or technically, "when they're dead."

Now, as we were saying yesterday, as the creation "pushes" from below, something else "descends" from above. Again, it is not as if human development is built in some mechanical or linear way, brick by brick. None of us has to reinvent the wheel of karma. Rather, it is anterior to us.

Furthermore, just as we celebrate the great explorers and pioneers of the past who "opened up" the material world and extended its frontiers, we also -- normal people, I mean -- revere the spiritual pioknowers who ventured further "upward" and inward for our benefit.

Because once a spiritual trail is blazed, it sets up a morphopneumatic groove, so to speak, so that others may follow into the jungle of Spirit. Evolution is nothing more than a "realized impossibilty," if you will (Van Vrekhem). But once you get used to it, it's rather fun to live an impossible life. For example, from the standpoint of my twenty year old scrub of a self, my present life was strictly impossible, even inconceivable. This is one reason I occasionally feel sorry for the atheists, since they will never know, much less live, the Great Impossible.

Surely it is no cooncidence that the same people who denigrate the great explorers of the past as nothing more than rapacious European colonialists, do the same thing with the great explorers of Spirit. Their antagonism to both is a testimoony to their hostility to the Adventure of Consciousness, which is only our reason for being herenow.

Think of your average ACLU member and spiritual pione'er-do-well. If he had his druthers, he would wipe out both Columbus and Jesus with one fallen swoop, since for him, they are reflections of the same disease. I'm sure they'd prefer to get rid of both Christmas and Columbus Day. Not to mention Independence Day, being that independence is an insult to dependent liberals. After all, why is there no Dependence Day to celebrate Ted Kennedy, Bill Ayers, Alec Baldwin, Deepak Chopra, Mark David Chapman, Huey Newton, Erica Jong, John Reed, Jane Fonda, Fidel Castro, and so many other liberal giants?

Yesterday I mentioned that the Palin Hysteria is far from meaningless, but another "sign o' the times." Aurobindo points out that a decisive evolutionary turn is often "preceded by an apparent emphasizing and raising to their extreme of things which seem the very denial, the most uncompromising opposite of the new principle and the new creation." As a psychologist, this makes a great deal of sense to me, for it would be analogous to the ubiquitous "resistance" that flares up when the patient makes a move toward health. When a person stays within the narrow grooves dictated by their mind parasites, then the mind parasites leave them alone. But just try to grow beyond them, and these internal saboteurs begin to exert their muscle, flooding the mind with doubts, moods, and other kinds of attack, both internally and externally.

It seems that an evolutionary push "upward" will simultaneously elicit a response from "above" as well as "below." This again makes sense to me, as we want to plant our "spiritual foundation" as deeply into the Inconscient as possible. The existence of all these crazy liberals only proves that America's spiritual foundation is quite shaky at this time -- for the very reason that liberals have been so successful in eroding it.

Any spiritual person knows that you must master yourself before you should presume to master others. Liberals invert this precisely, and would like to impose a tyranny of people who cannot govern themselves, which quickly becomes a demockery. For example, this is why they are so proud of the fact that Obama attracts the young and stupid (HT Vanderleun), when this should be seen as a categorical indictment. Same with his endorsement by the international left.

To cite an example that is as fresh as this morning's news, look at what happens to a news cable network when you put a malignant narcissist with a Borderline Personality Disorder in charge. Being that the psyche of such a person is riven by primitive conflicts that exist as semi-autonomous parts split off from the core self, their subordinates will all try to adapt to one of the parts, which generates institutional chaos below. How does one adapt to a crazy person without the culture itself becoming crazy? The man at the top must be one, both internally and externally.

When Olbermann is eventually relieved of his duties, that's when the real stories of his madness will come out, for it will be like when the wicked witch dies in the Wizard of Oz. All of a sudden it is as if a spell is broken, and her minions instantly snap out of it. Instead of being angry at Dorothy, they are relieved. Trust me. Just watch what happens as Olbermann is stripped of his power to bully and intimidate others. They'll go Mussolini on his ass, and symbolically string him from the nearest lamp post with his genitals missing. As if you could tell.

Before cooncluding today's post, I'd like to jump ahead a bit and discuss the Next Stage in cosmic evolution. What will it look like? Sri Aurobindo called it the "higher mind," or "mind of light," which succeeds the rational mind (bear in mind that most humans -- even Americans -- have a long ways to go before they even stably achieve the latter). I would be particularly interested to know how many Raccoons are aware of their own mind of light, and whether or not they have noticed that it has become more developed through reading this blog on a daily basis. Don't worry, my feelings won't be hurt.

Here is how Aurobindo describes it: the higher mind is no longer a mingle of "light and obscurity or half-light, but a large clarity of the Spirit." Its basic substance is a more unified sense of being "capable of the formation of a multitude of aspects of knowledge," often accompanied by awareness of "a spontaneous inherent knowledge." It is a "luminous thought-mind, a mind of Spirit-born conceptual knowledge," rooted in an awareness of the prior Oneness, before "the initiation of a separative knowledge." It is only a bridge, but a necessary one for explorers to build before others can pass over the abyss between matter and spirit.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Will the Real Evolution Please Stand Up?

I see that Susannah left a cryptic comment last night: "How do the New Heaven and New Earth fit in?" (Rev. 21). Heck, I don't know, let me look up Revelation 21.

Ah ha. Lot's of provocative stuff. And one reason it is provocative is that it seems to me that it speaks of a dramatic evolutionary transformation in the future. Of course, no one, not even Petey, knows the day or hour (consult your local listings), but it sounds pretty intense. However, please note for our purposes that it is inconsistent with the traditionalist view of a cyclical universe that is simply winding down. Consider the following passage:

"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.' Then He who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.

"And He said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Very interesting. Does this kind of transformation sound crazy? Certainly not any crazier than the instantaneous appearance of an ordered universe, the sudden emergence of life, or the dramatic appearance of truth-bearing primates. Given those extraordinary precedents, you have to be curiously intellectually incurious to insist that this cosmos has no further surprises in store.

First gear, its alright.

But Revelation is written in the language and style of some 2000 years ago, which can obscure some of its meaning. As always, we have to not only translate it to our language, but consider it in the light of our understanding and sensibility. This is not to say that scripture becomes subordinate to man. Nevertheless, in some sense it has to; in other words, even though it can never be "contained," each generation must attempt to do so, on pain of not understanding it at all. I mean, I don't even fully understand my wife. But I never stop trying.

Yesterday I proposed the idea that the cosmos is either evolving, dissipating, or staying the same. But as some sharp-eyed Coon pointed out, there is actually a third possibility, and that is that it is simultaneously winding up and down. In fact, Revelation implies this, what with the idea that the evolutionary stragglers are in for a rude awakening when the transformational deal goes down. But again, I think it's important to try to determine what all of this means to our modern understanding.

Therefore, back to Sri Aurobindo. Again, since God is all, then the realm of becoming is infused with divine Being. However -- and this is in fact consistent with Schuon -- we must imagine a sort of hierarchical cosmic scale, in which things are increasingly distant from God, even though (and this is not really a paradox), in the final analysis, everything is nevertheless God -- or, to be perfectly accurate, let us say "not other than God." You might say that "all things are God. But some things are more Godly than others."

Now, to jump ahead a bit, energy is not merely energy. Rather, it is chit, or consciousness-force. I won't press the point at this juntcure. Just hear me now, believe me later. But as Aurobindo writes,

"Consciousness, as we descend the scale, becomes more and more diminished and diluted -- dense indeed by its coarser crudity, but while that crudity of consistence compacts the stuff of Ignorance, it admits less and less the substance of light; it becomes thin in pure substance of consciousness and reduced in power of consciousness, thin in light..." Conversely, as we ascend the scale, "a finer but far stronger and more truly spiritually concrete substance emerges, a greater luminosity and potent stuff of consciousness, a subtler, sweeter, purer and more powerfully ecstatic energy of delight." Ultimately, the conscious-substance of God is "lighter than a gas, denser than a diamond."

Now, all seekers with even a rudimentary amount of experience will understand that Aurobindo is not being poetical or metaphorical, but quite literal. This is why, for example, with our activated cOOnvision we can discern at a glance a being of light or a being of darkness. With regard to the latter, it matters not one whit how much "human intelligence" they possess. Rather, what will first impress the Raccoon about such a person will be the quality of light. Frankly, intelligence which is not in service to this light becomes luciferic at best, but often frankly demonic.

You will undoubtedly hear many dopey MSM analyses of the appeal of Sarah Palin, but they will all miss the point, because they will all be done by coarse and crude people who live in the dark, attempting to write about a light that excludes them, precisely. Likewise, for us, Obama is -- no offense here, but it's true -- an ontological nothing and a nobody, no matter how much the darklings of the MSM try to convince us otherwise. We know darkness when we see it.

Anyone who cannot immediately discern -- I mean, physically feel, only on the subtle plane -- the darkness and obscurity of a Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Deepak Chopra, Markos Moulitsas or Bill Maher, is simply not a Raccoon. I cite those examples because they are so blindingly obvious. But once you accept the idea that man is capable of making these distinctions in the realm of spirit, then you realize that it is possible to make far more subtle ones -- which is true of expertise in any field, from wine tasting to jazz.

Most of us can look into someone's eyes and roughly determine in an instant how intelligent they are. It's also not too difficult to determine how truly spiritual they are. Give me five minutes with someone, and I can usually tell if I am dealing with a human or an ape, and I'm certainly not claiming any special powers. Remember a few weeks ago, when I mentioned the colleague who was asking for spiritual advice, and I told him to look for the light and barakah? Same thing. A real spiritual text fills you with light, and the light is real. Of course it's real. Just as the light in Van Gogh's paintings is real. The best spiritual texts not only glow in the dark, but also give off warmth.

Second gear, I lean right.

Given what we have outlined above, evolution -- even the watered down, anti-intellectual gruel of Darwinian evolution -- must be the evolution of consciousness. I mean, I don't care what the Darwinists say, man is more conscious than any other being. He is not just different, but more. He has more light, more reality, more divinity, more truth, etc. (but also less, depending on the case).

And please note, I would not waste a moment arguing with someone who believes otherwise, because they cannot help believing otherwise. Again, our scientistic jester is simply making an honest confession when he so openly talks about his spiritual blindness. Instead of arguing with him, why not just believe him? I mean, I'm not telling people what to do, but a prerequisite of spiritual growth is openness to the Real, so it is pointless to discuss these matters with a vertically closed -- and more importantly, self-satisfied -- system.

Now, as Aurobindo writes, "what really happens in the processes and stages of evolution must be something very different from any changes in matter, and much more complex.... Evolution is not only physical, it is first and foremost spiritual." It is "in essence a heightening of the force of consciousness in the manifest being so that it may be raised into the greater intensity of what is still unmanifest, from matter into life, from life into mind, from mind into the spirit."

But again, this hierarchical Adventure of Consciousness could never under any circumstances be built "from the ground up." To think otherwise is metaphysically preposterous, and the height of... of silliness. We have no quarrel whatsoever with what materialistic science is capable of proving in its limited domain. But it is "concerned only with the outward and visible machinery and process," and does "not affect the self-evident fact of a spiritual evolution, an evolution of consciousness, a progression of the soul's manifestation in material existence." Put it this way: spiritual evolution is an empirical fact. Natural selection is an abstract theory. Frankly, Darwinists have spoiled the word "evolution" in the same way that leftists have spoiled the word "liberal." No wonder they're generally the same population.

Third gear, hang on tight.

True evolution -- not the random, mistake-driven kind -- is inconceivable in the absence of a prior involution of divine consciousness. As a result of this divine descent, there are necessarily going to be different levels of reality. This is precisely why there are easily discernible hierarchical levels in the cosmos, AKA, the vertical. In turn, this nonlocal hierarchy is simultaneously a veil and revelation; or, as I put it in the secret teachings (which non-Raccoons are forbidden to read), God reveils himself in the creation.

Here is how Sri Aurobindo puts it: "This descent of the supreme Reality is in its nature a self-concealing, and in the descent there are successive levels, in the concealing of successive veils. Necessarily, the revelation takes the form of an ascent; and necessarily also the ascent and the revelation are both progressive" -- at least in the long term. But the progress is not inevitable once the ontological fulcrum of conscious man emerges with his freedom, for the very reason that he may abuse his freedom and choose to become a Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Deepak Chopra, Markos Moulitsas or Bill Maher. In short, he may choose darkness, stagnation, stupidity and spiritual regress. No other animal -- in fact, nothing else in creation -- can do this. Once again, proof of God.

Faster, it's alright!

Now, evolutionary time is clearly picking up speed as we approach the singularity, eschaton, or Divine Object. After all, it took some 10 billion years for life to appear, but only another 3.85 billion years or so for primates to arrive. And then just a blink of the eye for humans to make their vertical descent. And then, just a fraction of a second for the humans -- a few of them, anyway -- to reascend to their Divine source. Game over!

But wait. What about the collective? How long will that take, if it happens at all? Are we condemned to just a few gifted pneumanauts completing the evolutionary journey of cosmotheosis before the majority of the human-animal lowbreds spoil it for everyone else? Will the progressives and Islamists prevail in their struggle against spiritual evolution and try to make it impossible for the rest of us?

No, they won't prevail. But they will continue to make it difficult, and you can expect their efforts to reach a kind of fever pitch as the chasm continues to widen between us and them. As deranged as Bush hatred was, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

to be continued....

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Evolution and Creation: Is this Really the Best God Can Do?

Yes, it's a serious question, and one that separates traditionalists such as Frithjof Schuon from evolutionary thinkers such as Sri Aurobindo or Teilhard de Chardin. The former believe in a static or deteriorating cosmos, while the latter believe in an evolving one. Not just Darwinian evolution, mind you. Rather, biological evolution would simply be an inevitable artifact, or side effect, of a cosmos that has in fact been evolving for 13.7 billion years, or ever since it banged into being.

Now, when I completed the first draft of my book perhaps a decade ago, I was absolutely convinced of this view. Perhaps "convinced" is the wrong word, any more than one is convinced that the sun rises in the east. Rather, science tells us that there was a time that the cosmos did not exist. Then, suddenly it did. Not gradually. Suddenly. It did not exist. Then it did.

Same with Life (I capitalize it when I am speaking of "Life as such"). The last time I checked with Petey, this was a supposedly dead -- or, to be precise, non-living -- universe until March 4, 3.85 billion years ago, when Life suddenly appeared, or moved from the implicate to the explicate order. Which is another way of saying that the universe revealed itself to be a living one after all.

In other words, from our vantage point, 10 billion years may seem like a long time, but from the Creator's point of view, we know that one day is an eternity and all of eternity is but a single day. If you cease anthropomorphizing the situation, then perhaps the emergence of Life was an overnight sensation.

Same with the emergence of humanness. No one knows with certainty when human beings arrived on the scene, but let's say that genetically complete humans appeared approximately 200,000 years ago, give or take. As I explained in the Coonifesto, our genetic endowment doesn't explain much in light of the fact that "humanness" doesn't appear until much later, only around 40,000 years ago. And I would go even further, and say that real humanness didn't emerge until the axial age, with the simultaneous downloading of all the great revelations. In the absence of these revelations, man isn't really man at all, just a cosmic freak, an animal-human hybrid like Bill Maher, Deepak Chopra, or Keith Olbermann.

Of course, you can argue against these facts in the name of "faith," but I do not believe that is the purpose of faith -- i.e., to help us disbelieve what is before our eyes. Rather, it is to help us understand that which is not before our eyes. And in the entire scenario I have just laid out, there is much that is not before our eyes, and which cannot be understood or illuminated in the absence of faith.

To take just the most obvious examples, how could a perfectly ordered universe suddenly appear out of nowhere? Why is it ordered at all? And why is it so ordered that it allows not just for the emergence of living things -- as we know, if you mess with just one of the knobs on the Creator's cosmic console, and change one of the mathematical parameters that undergird the physical cosmos, biological life would be impossible -- but also for the emergence of minds capable of understanding the truth of the cosmos and of their own origins? To express it as succinctly as possible, what kind of cosmos permits Truth, Love, and Beauty? To say that science cannot answer that question is a banality of the first rank.

Only after the first draft of my book was written, did I really immerse myself in the works of the traditionalists, e.g., Schuon, Guenon, Cutsinger, Nasr, and others. While I had encountered them before, I basically rejected them on a priori grounds, since I thought it absurd to suggest that the cosmos was not evolving.

However, in the mean time, a lot of spiritual growth had taken place, so, for the first time, I was actually able to penetrate and understand where the traditionalists were coming from. Or, perhaps I should say that they were finally able to penetrate my density. So for the past four or five years, as you may have noticed, I have been very much under their influence. Frankly, I can never repay Schuon for what he has given me. It's as if he put the finishing touch on my ability to think about spiritual things -- i.e., to engage in intellection and think vertically.

Nevertheless. I still feel as if Aurobindo and Schuon are talking about apples and oranges. Schuon has an absolutely vertical and static orientation -- like the Catholic church on stilts -- whereas Aurobindo is quite the opposite, and not only values the evolving world, but sees it as the very stage upon which the cosmic-spiritual adventure takes place. The world is here for a reason, and it's not just to wait for our death. But Schuon comes very close to saying that -- as do some Orthodox thinkers, for that matter.

The whole point about Aurobindo's philosophy is that the world is not only worthy of our being here, but that we are required to do the urgent spiritual work of uniting the above and below, in order to create the "life divine" on earth. This is obviously not in some pie-in-the-sky, youdopian leftist sense, but more in the Christian sense of bringing God's light into the world ("Thy will be done"), or in the Jewish sense of Tikkun, or helping to complete God's creation. Frankly, I see Aurobindo's philosophy as being quite compatible with Christian theology, but also with Americanism, which is optimistic and progressive, values the individual, and sees itself as engaging in a spiritual mission. Americans are idealists, in ways that the sophisticates of the international left simply cannot grasp because of their lazy cynicism.

(By the way, for anycoon who is put off by Aurobindo's metaphysics, please be patient, as I will eventually explain how all this comports with Judeo-Christian metaphysics.)

Schuon would say that the world is inevitably winding down through time, as it falls increasingly far from its timeless source. But I say, so long as single infant can grow up and know the Godhead, it is winding up. Schuon would say that human beings are well into the "beginning of the end," i.e., the "Kali yuga." Aurobindo might say that we are only just now approaching the end of the beginning, as mankind learns to colonize and expand its own psychic space, which converges upon the Divine mind. For example, in his own case, he wrote (in 1914, by which time he had realized all that could be realized from the standpoint of traditional yoga) that "what I thought were results are nothing more than a preparation. I feel as though I have done nothing yet, as though I have not lived the spiritual life, only entered the path that leads to it."

Aurobindo begins with the principle -- as indeed you must -- that all is one, and that that One is God, or Brahman. In other words, Reality is not a "sum" but a unity; all multiplicity, all differences and variations, exist within that prior oneness: "From that all variations begin, in that all variations consist, to that all variations return." God is the "Alpha and Omega," the "One besides whom there is nothing else existent." Only it is ultimately Real. To the extent that we really exist, it is only because we partake of that Being.

As such, it is an artificial distinction to radically separate being from becoming, as I believe Schuon does. For if God is one, then becoming partakes of being as well. True, there is a "dark and silent" aspect of God, that is, the Godhead that may only be unKnown in the luminous darkness of mystical union. But there is another side -- literally -- to the story, and that is the "active" aspect of God, part of which is this Creation. As Aurobindo writes, "The fundamental truth of Being must necessarily be the fundamental truth of Becoming. All is a manifestation of That."

This is simply another way of saying that the "becoming" represented by cosmic evolution is nothing but a necessary consequence of God's Being, as it is deployed in time, so to speak. Again, Schuon would say that the world of "becoming" is only becoming less and less as time goes by. Could this possibly be true? We really only have three choices: either it is becoming less, becoming more, or staying the same. The latter cannot be the case, since only God by definition "stays the same," being that he is eternal. But his eternity participates in time -- indeed, time is simply the moving image of eternity, or God in Motion, so to speak. And I just cannot accept the idea that time represents God's "deterioration." Rather, the specific reason why time is anti-entropic is because its substance is God. It's the reason why dust comes to life and monkeys compose symphonies.

Now, there are evolutionary worlds and non-evolutionary worlds, and it is critical to maintain their distinction. For example, the world of revelation is a non-evolutionary world. It is intended to help us understand the timeless truths of our evolutionary world, but that can hardly mean that the world itself is not evolving. Rather, that's the whole point. Precisely because the phenomenal world is changing, we need a way to understand its deeper truth, whether it is scientific truth or moral and theological truth. Again, the whole point, say, of Genesis, is not that it describes things that happened long ago and once and for all, but that it describes what happens every time, over and over. Likewise, creation didn't just happen 13.7 billion years ago or 6,000 years ago, but continuously.

Let us think of the Creation as a "bridge" between becoming and divine Being. Naturally, the bridge must be built in time. Furthermore, it goes without saying that this bridge could never be built "from the bottom up," like a Tower of Babel. Rather, the only reason it can be built at all is again because God is the material, the ladder, the rungs, and the destination. Looked at in this way, ours is not a "God of the gaps." Rather, precisely the opposite: God is a God of the gaplessness, specifically, the lack of any real gap between matter and life, life and mind, mind and spirit, and spirit and God. In the absence of God, this is indeed a gap-filled universe, with no way to account for the ontological discontinuities. In other words, the only way you can get from matter to life or ape to man is because of the very gaplessness of God.

You might say that evolution "presses upward," but that it could never arrive anywhere in the absence of God "pressing downward," so to speak. A quintessential example of this is Christ, or even the Christ principle, if you prefer. No matter how hard man "pushed against the sky," he could not have produced a messiah on his own. Rather, the ascending pressure must be met by a descending response, which creates a kind of "whirlpool" where spiritual activity takes place. This is why, in your own life, as you press upward, God pushes downward.

Looked at in this way, there are "avatars" at every stage of evolution. For example, that first living being was an "avatar of matter," a divine descent. Life is already Divinity. It is sacred. And it is One.

To be continued....

Friday, September 05, 2008

You Say You Want an Evolution

Well, when the pipeline gets broken and I'm lost on the river bridge
I'm cracked up on the highway and on the water's edge
She comes down the thruway ready to sew me up with thread
Well, if I go down dyin', you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed
--Bob Dylan

I woke up at 1:30 and needed a dump truck to unload my head. I tried to remember it all before falling back to sleep, but I should have jotted down a few notes. Now I need a mental detector to find the little pieces strewn about the shore.

Which reminds me. I really did dream about the ocean last night. I was walking home along a boardwalk with an armful of books. The tide came in and began pulling me out. I lost the books, and then began to wonder if I would lose myself as well, the reason being that I always run my blood sugar pretty low. When you do that, you don't have much gas in your tank -- which is fine, so long as you're not suddenly sucked into the ocean with a handful of books, and need the energy reserves. It's just one of the spooky things about living with diabetes, with one foot in this world and the other on a banana peel. In other words, just like everyone else, only more so.

I think the dream and the early morning influx of light speak to the current zeitgeist -- which is a German word that, roughly translated, means "spirit of the times." I'm not trying to be pedantic there. Rather, I am only trying to emphasize that spirit exists and that is inextricably woven into time, which is composed of the warp and weft of spirit and matter, or vertical and horizontal. It's not just a figure of speech. There really is a spirit of the times, and one of the gifts that routinely goes along with spiritual development is the ability to discern the "signs of the times." You -- yes you there, troll:

In the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the heaven is red and lowering. Ye know how to discern the face of the heaven; but ye cannot discern the signs of the times. That's why your comments are so appallingly stupid.

Now, the Sarah Palin pick has unleashed a tremendous amount of "energy." But that's just a banality if you don't know what energy is, especially as it pertains to the human realm. What is this energy? What is its actual source? And is she the actual source, or just the occasion for becoming aware it?

Regarding this force of energy, it has definitely affected this blog, along with everything else. Suddenly I'm getting betweeen two and four times the traffic. Why? It has nothing to do with me, but with this impersonal energy moving through people and affecting them in a variety of ways, both high and low.

It is fascinating that this force has conservatives feeling more or less "ecstatic," while it is affecting liberals in the opposite way. The most vivid example that comes to mind, since he is already such a caricature, is Keith Olbermann, who is so loosely put together to begin with, that it doesn't take much of this energy to make him disintegrate altogether.

And when I say "disintegrate," I again mean it literally, in the psychoanalytic sense of decompensating. Decompensation occurs when one's psychic defenses are overwhelmed, which then causes an uprush of primitive affect and ideation. In other words, all of the things one normally represses flood the ego, as in my dream.

So here is Keith, decompensating last night on live TV:



It has always been understood that the sudden ingression of spiritual force will make the unjust, impure, or unprepared person sort of disintegrate, which is why spirituality is no game. Think of what happened to St. Paul when the force suddenly entered: a pseudo-epileptic fit followed by blindness.

Do not think of this story as merely apocryphal, but as a lesson in humility as one approaches the Divine. If Paul hadn't been who he was, the Force may have killed him or affected him like a Keith Olbermann, or the other malignantly narcissistic pneumapaths of the left. Your body and mind are the very field of pneuma-cosmic evolution, an experiment in the possibility of a higher life in an essentially primate form. (More on which later.)

Judaism is very aware of this idea of the body-mind as spiritual battleground, as is Orthodox Christianity, but the same principle is present in all authentic revelations. For example, it's not just a politically correct meme, at least as applied to Sufis, who really do see jihad as a spiritual war on the lower self. Unfortunately, they probably represent only 1% of Muslims.

But a thousand years ago, perhaps the average Christian wasn't all that different, given the "spirit of the times," which may have encouraged a similar externalization of the spiritual battle. After all, if you don't have a highly developed interior to begin with, then when the force enters you, it has no place else to go but back outside. In turn, this is why it is so important for Raccoons to develop a capacious interior, which will be both a cause and effect of the spiritual ingression. It will always push against your existing limits until they are totally transcended, so be careful what you wish for. You really do have to say God-bye to both your past and to your existing self. At a certain point, you won't have the choice.

As Will has pointed out many times, consider what happened in the 1960s. Whatever you think of that decade, it was nevertheless a reaction to a palpable ingression of spiritual force that affected different people in different ways. For essentially "vital" (more on the definition of that later) people, it affected them in an essentially vital way, making them only more vital, but then confusing it with spirituality.

Man had in fact reached a certain evolutionary impasse, and the ingression of the force was necessary to break through it. In order for growth to take place, Catabolism must coincide with anabolism. But many people and institutions merely catabolized without bothering to anabolize to something higher. Metabolism obviously requires both. But only for the rest of your life, metabolism being indistinguishable from life -- including spiritual life (on our side of it).

I was only a kid during the 1960s, but especially in hindsight, I can see that I was quite sensitive to the spiritual powers that were swirling about everywhere, and I could also see how they affected essentially dark souls, who misappropriated that energy toward narcissistic, dark, self-serving, vital, and anti-spiritual ends. Can I get an amen? Yes, grace falls like rain from the sky, but the rain falls down on the good and wicked alike. For one person the rain assists organic growth, while for another it just makes them all wet.

Damn. I really do need a dumptruck to unload my head today. I'm barely getting started here. I feel as if I'm holding on to the tip of the tail of a large animal up in the sky, trying to pull it down.

One point I wanted to re-emphasize is that the sudden increased attention to this blog really has nothing to do with the blog or with me, but with the influx of spiritual energy coursing through, and focussed upon, Sarah Palin. If I could show you the spike in my site meter, you could see it as a kind of measure of that force. If I were more of what Sri Aurobindo calls a "vital mind," I could easily see myself getting caught up in it in a purely political way, which is what vital beings do, because they can't help doing it. They see the energy coming from "outside," when it is really coming from above. But when it mingles with what is below, watch out.

To put it another way, the reason why politics is dominated by vital beings is because they live in a realm of visceral "excitement" that prevents them from seeing or understanding what's really going on. The further leftweird one goes, the more vital it gets, but not always. There are many vital conservatives, and I also find them offensive if not repulsive. In turn, this is why I like, say, a Dennis Prager so much, because he is always able to translate what is going on from the perspective of the "mind of light," which is sattvic (ascending) rather then rajasic (expansive and passionate) or tamasic (descending). (Again, more on the "mind of light" in subsequent posts, but think of it as the first manifestation of the human station beyond ego.)

Believe it or not, all of this is still connected to the series of posts on Hitler a couple of weeks ago, but it might take me two more weeks of posts to explain how and why. I think I'll just move on for the moment and try to explain where this is all headed. One thing I think we need to bear in mind is that both Obama and Palin are responding to the same impersonal force, but obviously in diametrically opposed ways. One is personalizing the force, as it mingles with his immense narcissism, while the other is humbly submitting to it. It couldn't be more obvious.

Oh yes. That's another one of the things that popped into my melon in the middle of the night. I hope that Sarah Palin realizes what she is in for, because she will have to essentially die to her previous life and her old self, as she processes the various forces centered upon her. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, imagine the strength of character it would require to maintain your center while being psychically "used" and abused by so many millions of people, both friends and enemies. She must tolerate both the vile and hate-filled projections of the left, but perhaps even more problematically, the idealized projections of the right.

This is why, more often than not, celebrities essentially go insane, spiritually, morally, and intellectually. They are simply unable to metabolize and neutralize the idealizing projections that come their way. Instead, they inflate the ego and breathe life into all of their mind parasites below. The same obviously happens to all of the fraudulent gurus such as the Demonic Deepak. (You will notice in this latest piece how he precisely inverts some of the mechanisms and principles we are describing here. Fascinating. For him, Palin "is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses.")

Note how the cosmos looks when it is precisely inverted by someone as wicked as Chopra. For him, Palin stands for "small town values," "a return to petty, small-minded parochialism, ignorance of world affairs," "a repudiation of the need to repair America's image abroad," bogus "family values," which is just "a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice," "patriotism," which is really just "the usual fallback in a failed war," etc. I tell you, he is a monster in a way that only a "spiritual" person can be.

"It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in."

What a freaking ghoul. Some days you need a steam shovel to keep away the dead. (Get a load of some of the comments as well: "She's a cheerleader. A Stepford wife, an automaton who delivers speeches written by other people as if the words were her own.... And this pit bull metaphor, is perplexing. Do we love pit bulls now? We need owls in Washington, men and women of wisdom, not rabid dogs who chew up the Constitution and bite any person wearing a turban. Pit bulls aren't thinking animals."

Having owned one, pit bulls are actually wonderful animals. Like humans, it all depends upon their master. Anyway, this is again why it is so critical for the recipient of such projections to be free of both narcissism and insecurity, which is another way of saying "beyond ego." The problem there, of course, is that politics is like a Darwinian environment that pre-selects narcissistic people of both the left and right. It really is "show business for the unattractive." When you see the TV reporters mingling among the delegates and interviewing the typical Republican pol, you see the problem.

On the one hand, the masses must believe that Sarah Palin is "just like them." But on the other hand, she can really be nothing at all like them, or we're screwed. Rather, she must be vastly superior to them, part of which will involve being much more humble and non-narcissistic than they are, very much like Ronald Reagan. This why it is true what McCain says about the Reagan Evolution: "we came to change Washington, but Washington changed us." But it really only changed the narcissistic and vital types, of whom there are always plenty. It could not under any circumstance change me, and let us hope that it will not change Sarah Palin. True spiritual maturity is of the utmost importance.

Before proceeding any further, let's talk about some of the qualities of the vital mind. Satprem writes that it is a "source of both difficulty and great power; a source of difficulty because it tends to jam all the communications coming from outside or above, frantically opposing our efforts to silence the mind, bogging the consciousness down at its own level of petty occupations and interests, thus hindering its free movement toward other regions..."

You cannot merely perform "moral surgery" on the vital mind, as conventional religions tend to do -- i.e., repress or split it off. Nor can you just wallow in it, as the Romanticists of the left tend to do. Rather, you must transform it, which is not as easy as it sounds, as every seeker knows that there are adverse forces that protect the status quo, very much in the manner that our psychological defenses can prevent psychological growth.

Satprem continues, noting that "there is a kind of threshold to cross if we want to find the true life force behind the troubled life of the frontal man."

I guess I'd better stop now. The dump truck has barely emptied. I may need to continue tomorrow instead of taking the weekend off, but right now I need to get to work.

Well, you know I need a steam shovel mama to keep away the dead
I need a dump truck mama to unload my head
She brings me everything and more, and just like I said
Well, if I go down dyin', you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.
--Bob Dylan, From a Buick 6

Thursday, September 04, 2008

John Wayne with Lipstick: The Axe Wielding Natural

I guess I have nothing useful to say today, just a rambling tribute to The Speech. I'm afraid I am reduced to the status of any other bobbling commentator or common bobbletator.

Well, that was only the best political feeling since.... I don't know, I guess since 1980. No, not Ronald Reagan. That's when I saw Barry Commoner speak at UCLA. That's how much of a liberal I was back then. Even Jimmy Carter wasn't a big enough moonbat. I wanted to vote for an eco-warrior socialist professor.

I can't say that I was crying my eyelashes off during Palin's speech, like the softhearted Skully. It was more like fist pumps when your favorite team is torching the opponent, and maybe after the opponent and the media have been badmouthing your team for.... eight years. For those of you who are capable of introspection -- which excludes liberals -- this is what it feels like to have a "fantasy leader" articulate your deepest unconscious longings, and why the experience is so powerful.

There is literally a kind of psychic resonance that occurs, which is amplified by the ability of the fantasy leader to put your deepest concerns into words. To hear someone hammer away at these disgusting people feels very much the way it does in a movie, when the good guy is taking it to the villain. To hear someone finally go after the deeply corrupt MSM... oh my... it felt like a scene in The Sons of Katie Elder, when John Wayne swings an axe handle right into George Kennedy's teeth:


Admit it. Haven't you always wanted to see someone do that to a Kennedy?

And this is why the words of Obama do nothing for us. We can only try to imagine the sort of psyche in whom his hollow platitudes "ring true." It would have to be a "false person" on some level -- either spiritually false, emotionally false, or metaphysically and intellectually false. In Obama's case, he is all of those things. Deeply, deeply false, perhaps all the way to his empty core.

I guess it was the best political feeling since Kirk Gibson's home run in game one of the '88 series. Yeah, that's it. Everyone had such contempt for the Dodgers. The media thought they didn't belong in the Series, and could never compete against the vaunted A's. But with one epic swing, the whole thing was turned around. The A's were completely demoralized and never recovered.

That's what happened here. In my heart I knew it was going to happen, but I was hesitant to say so publicly. But now I'll say it: it's over. The way Palin grabbed Urkel by the scruff of the neck and shook the fairy dust off his bony ass.... marvelous. All he had going for him was star power, and now it's been eclipsed by her greater Light. Next to her, he looks like any other third rate political hack. Palin's the star. Obama's now just in a supporting role in her cosmic drama. She is the Candidate of Destiny. He is now the second youngest candidate with the oldest ideas. Truly a relic of the past.

Palin does so many things pitch-perfect, in a way that cannot be taught. Like Reagan, she really knows how to deliver a comedic line. That's just instinctive. The dramatic pause, the body language, playing against expectations, etc. Plus, she's more macho than Biden and more feminine than Obama. I'll tell you what: she has got to be the archetypal Raccoon Woman. She must frighten the hell out of the metrosexuals.

I'll be honest. I wasn't really fist-pumping during the speech. With her every barb, I made a kind of knife-thrusting motion, with a twisting gesture at the end. That's what I mean about the primitive feelings that are evoked in these matters. Nothing so satisfying as the Clean Kill.

And I love the way her husband handles things. You can look at him and see that he's not some milquetoast liberal, but a real man's man. A man who isn't secure in his person could feel a bit awkward in that role, but he looks so comfortable in his own skin, sort of simultaneously proud and bemused, just taking it all in. In contrast, Obama and Biden are so deeply phony that I doubt they even know what they really think anymore.

And as I was saying yesterday, I don't understand why conservative politicians don't just shove it back in the media's face. That's why I supported Rudy, because he really knows how to do that. So to see Palin put a shiv right into the brisket of the MSM.... it just doesn't get any better. If you don't think castration anxiety is real, just watch the reaction of the media elites as they instinctively cross their legs.

Naturally, I watched it on MSDNC in order to see what the reaction would be over there. The first thing out of Olbermann's piehole was that the speech was snide and sarcastic. Ho! Can he really be so mentally ill that he cannot see a projection so transparent? Yes. He is a sick man. Truly psychospiritually toxic. That liberals find his toxins nourishing tells you all you need to know about them.

Perhaps the worst thing about this for liberals is that Palin can cut right through the message discipline of the MSM and go straight to the people. Obama mostly appeals to the media elite and the professoriate, and all their phony condescending populism will be totally undercut by Palin's authentic American populism. Most Americans still want an American for president, not some UN loving, crypto-socialist world citizen who loses sleep over what a decadent and dying old Europe thinks about us.

As someone has already pointed out, this is not a clash of ideologies or parties, but even more fundamentally a clash of cultures and psychoclasses, and that is what generates all the heat. In a more barbaric country, this is what would be called an "ethnic war," and you know how those turn out. Thankfully this one is not violent, at least not yet. But the intrinsic violence of the left is always bubbling under the surface, and sometimes breaks out at the fringes. As Will was saying, I wouldn't be at all surprised if full-scale Rodney King style rioting breaks out in November.

It's so easy for liberals to chant the outrageous lie that "Bush lied, people died." But how many people have died as a result of liberal policies? The number is incalculable, partly because the effects are so distant from the causes. So no one ever talks about how much real death is caused by the liberal culture of death, but abortions are just the tip of the iceberg. I believe it is completely fair to say that leftist ideas and polices were overwhelmingly responsible for the disintegration of the black family, and all the consequent crime, poverty, early death, and general dysfunction that followed in its wake. And what's their prescription? More of the same.

For example, liberal politicians went about creating a quasi-permanent underclass in New Orleans -- helpless, dependent, looking to the government to bail them out. Then, when the inevitable disaster strikes, they blame Bush! It's incredible, really, but they have the full ideological support of the MSM, which goes about obscuring connections, i.e., "attacking the links" between deep causes and their distant effects.

Remember what I was saying yesterday about maintaining a link between the mansion above and the bat cave below? Liberals have no such link, which is why they are so much more violent than conservatives. Liberal academics and intellectuals -- who are not violent, but pacified wimps -- serve the purpose of giving intellectual justification to the impulses of the young and the underclass, so that they may live out their antisocial unconscious impulses by proxy.

And when I say "underclass," I am not speaking in economic terms, but in terms of psychoclass. In this regard, the two psychoclasses complete each other: the underclass acts out -- and pays for -- the dysfunctional and anti-human ideas hatched in faculty lounges all over the country. This is why intellectuals all over the world support cop-killers such as Mumia abu-Jamal or the barbaric Palestinians. It is why, as Palin said, they are much more concerned with reading terrorists their "Miranda rights" than in killing them. That's not sarcasm, that's the truth.

And the truth stings. Like an axe handle to the grill. Whap! Take that, Deepak, you windy Hindi!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Metaphysics of Envy and the Revenge of the Left

I was going to discuss the tenth commandment later in the week, but since it illuminates the tempest of the day, I think I'll get right to it. In particular, I was reading an article at American Thinker, Sarah Palin and the Narcissistic Wounds of the Left, when an important point clicked into place. The click was so loud, it made my household gnome, Petey, jump out of his skinlessness.

Lewis notes how, for the left, Obama "is entitled to the presidency." You see, for them "It's only justice. Think about that word 'justice' and try filling in 'revenge.' 'Social justice' means the revenge of the poor against the rich, of the radical women against the men who've stood them up and hurt their feelings all their lives, and the revenge of black people finally doin' down the whites -- as Jeremiah Wright makes so abundantly clear."

What the left calls "social justice" is actually "the revenge of the psychologically oppressed against people who look happier and more satisfied with their lives." As such, it is intimately related to the psychoanalytic understanding of envy, which is an unconscious mechanism that goes about destroying what one does not have, in order to eliminate the emotional pain of not having it.

Frankly, that was such an important point that I didn't get any further in the piece: when the left talks about "social justice," what they unconsciously mean is social revenge. Ah ha! Suddenly their nonsensical economic proposals make sense! They're not supposed to make sense to the conscious mind, which demands logic and reason, but to the unconscious mind, which demands passion, instinctual release, and emotional satisfaction. Guffaw ha! It's like the keynes to their whole economic kingdumb!

As with the Islamists, the emotional thrill of hacking off someone's head is the sufficient reason for doing so. The rest is commentary and pretext. Likewise, the emotional satisfaction of "sticking it to the rich" is the sufficient reason for sticking it to them. Who cares if the economy will shrink? It feels good. The intellectual justification is just a thin veneer on the surface of the emotional drive, which is destructive, not creative. The same with such self-defeating policies as rent control, anti-free trade, a "living wage," socialized medicine, and "windfall profits taxes" (let's hope that Sarah Palin is not actually in favor of them, or that she will be quickly disabused once someone explains their folly to her).

Then it suddenly made sense to me why the Democrat base is composed of the under- and overeducated. Many if not most intellectual mediocrities with too much education -- New York Times idiotorialists and the like -- live in a kind of detached and abstract world. As such, they long for "authenticity," or some such replacement for actual being, the latter of which results from the higher unification of truth and action, or will and beauty, or virtue and truth.

This is why left-wing intellectuals identify on the one hand with the impulsive underclass (not so much the poor, but the depraved poor), but also why they patronize and defend the worst kinds of so-called art, which are really more about a flight from being, into a kind of human-animal mockery of it. This downward flight of intellectuals has been going on ever since the Romantic movement began its counter-revolution a couple hundred years ago. No matter how much they flap their lips it's a fall, not a flight, but it feels like one until you hit bottom. Unless you keep digging. Which is the job of liberal arts departments.

There is intellectual truth and emotional truth. Again, in a healthy -- which is to say, whole person -- these will converge and harmonize, but in the unhealthy person there will be a radical disjunction, which will cause one side of the union to atrophy. Thus, one can obviously be an emotional thinker with no real intellect. But one can also be an intellectual with no emotional (let alone, spiritual) intelligence.

An Al Gore comes immediately to mind, someone so caught up in his abstractions about the weather, that he has no idea how emotionally motivated they are. As such, he mainly communicates hysteria, but without even being aware of it. In other words, you can be sure that he imagines himself to be an "intellectual," when he is really more of a frightened child. If it weren't global warming, it would be something else -- something to organize and contain his emotions.

This is why communicating this hysteria to others is Gore's urgent "life's mission," and why it is so impervious to reason and evidence that contradicts his alarmism. He doesn't want to calm down, as the emotions make him feel alive. He needs everyone to feel as alarmed as he is, in order to "normalize" it. A large part of craziness involves the unconscious need to create a congenial environment wherein it will feel like normality. Think of college campuses, which have literally become a kind of psycho-emotional environment for the worst kinds of soul pathology hiding under the cloak of "education."

Lewis writes that the Left feels "entitled to power, because in their own eyes they have Truth and Morality on their side. They are Mahatma Gandhi, they are Dr. King, they are the vanguard of the marching proletariat. It's not just Big O who has the incomprehensible egomania. His inner circle and vast numbers of his supporters do, too. Entitlement, grandiosity, narcissism: In psychiatric thinking they all suffer from secret feelings of inferiority, narcissistic wounds to their self-esteem. Every time they lose, those nagging feelings come up again. So they are always overcompensating, trying to bully reality into the shape they need."

As a friend was reminding me the other day, the left cannot argue in good faith, since they do not see the political spectrum as a "polarity," so to speak, between left and right. Rather, they see it as a continuum, with the right as a kind of atavistic holdover from an earlier age. They are more sophisticated than we are, so they needn't bother even seriously contending with our arguments. Again, it is a breathtakingly transparent projection.

This is why the left is so hysterical about Sarah Palin. On the one hand, they flatter themselves with the notion that they represent the province of "strong women," but obviously the opposite is true. The left is the province of weak and victimized women who cannot get through life without Father Government protecting them. It is the same with blacks. They are the party of weak, dependent, and victimized blacks who cannot get by without the assistance of white liberals who can assuage their unconscious guilt by pandering to blacks. It's just an unconscious dance of mutual projective identification. Who said white folks can't dance?

It reminds me of a joke Louis Armstrong once made. Here was someone who had to deal with the worst kinds of actual racism, but was never a bitter or angry man. When asked about his secret, he said words to the effect that it was easy: just get some powerful white man to put his arm around you and menacingly say, this is my nigger. Armstrong was only half-joking. The racists of the contemporary left are dead serious.

Therefore, hell hath no fury like a leftist who encounters a female or African-American who doesn't need him. Thus, the high-tech lowbrow lynching of Clarence Thomas and the current unseemly attacks on Sarah Palin. How else to account for the shroud of discreet silence over the John Edwards affair vs. the airing of every possible rumor and smear about Palin and her children?

Now, what does this all have to do with the tenth commandment, “thou shalt not covet?” I'm tempted to just post it later in the week, since this has already gone on longer than anticipated. Yes, that's what I'll do. Class dismissed.

Related: Yearning for the Mud, @ American Digest. Reminds me of how the malignant narcissist confuses his feces with milk. So think twice before you rely upon the MSM to keep you abreast of the news, because that's no breast.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lie With the Left, Wake up Fleeced

It's an annual tautology, isn't it? A holiday that celebrates taking the day off. Anyway, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, I am doing so. Besides, I was a union member for over 12 years, from 1976-1988, during which time I put my college through me. Being a 10 year union veteran, I am also vested in the pension program, which, last time I heard, will entitle me to $237 a month when I reach retirement age. The bad news is that the pension fund is in a "critical state," which means I may have to start saving now for the beer fund.

I wanted to wrap up with the last two commandments, so here they are. These are the two that most distress the left, for where would they be without Lies and Envy? After all, speech was given to liberals in order to conceal their thoughts. And those hidden thoughts are, more often than not, rooted in constitutional envy. For example, I am certain that Andrew Sullivan is just envious of Sarah Palin's ruby slippers. What else can explain his vicious smears except perhaps AIDS-related dementia? Not that there's anything wrong with that.

****

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Live Them

That would be us. For, depending on how you look at it, God became man so that man might become God (so to speak). Or, Brahman became Maya so that Maya might become Brahman. Or perhaps Truth became falsehood so that falsehood might become Truth. Looked at in a certain way, lies are one of those things that must exist if we are to have a maninfestation separate from the Principle, a creation apart from the Creator.

The Christian esoterist Boris Mouravieff wrote that “We live in a world ruled by lies. Lying and stealing are the dominant elements of human character whatever the race, creed or caste. Whoever says that this is not true simply tells another lie. Man lies because in a world ruled by lies it is not possible to for him to do otherwise.... [T]he progress of this civilization, which is the fruit of an intellectual culture, considerably increases the need for lying.” (One of the great things about America is that it is still possible to get ahead by speaking truth. In most other cultures, one gets ahead by lying, and gets marginalized or killed by speaking truth. For example, it is not possible to speak truth in most of the Islamic world.)

I believe it was Burke who said that culture “reconciles a man to everything,” no matter how foolish or barbarous the custom. But some cultures are so immersed in the Lie that they cannot help producing lying liars, most dramatically in the Middle East, but obviously here in the United States as well, only in a more subtle form. For example, the pressure of political correctness is an instrument of coercion designed to reconcile you to the infrahuman lies of the left.

In conducting a psychological evaluation, patients are often motivated to lie -- to make it appear that they are either more or less ill than they actually are, or that one thing is responsible for their psychiatric problems when it is actually another. And yet, unless they are psychotic, a part of them always knows they are lying, and is ambivalent about it. Remember, the lie presupposes the truth, so a liar must be aware of the truth on some level.

In his heart-mind, even absent a divine commandment, man (a normal man, anyway -- someone who hasn't completely given himself over the lie and become its instrument) knows that he should not lie, and a part of him attempts to align itself with truth, and spill the beans on the internal liar. It's actually one of the fun parts of my job -- to try to conspire with the part of the patient that is desperate to get the truth out, despite flack from other parts of the personality that wish to prevent it.

We live in a world of forces, at every vertical level. Just as human beings are tripartite entities consisting of body, mind and spirit, there are physical forces, mental forces, and spiritual forces. In the spiritual-intellectual realm, truth is most assuredly a force, from which the materialist or metaphysical Darwinist willfully attempts to sever himself. There is a counter-force which we call "lying," which, if you think about it for even a moment, has probably had a greater impact and influence on the world than Truth. Or at the very least, it is a constant battle. Truth is always embattled on all sides, just as light is surrounded by darkness. Not for nothing did Jesus make the wise crack that the adversary “was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own substance, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

This is an interesting statement, for it suggests that lies are somehow a "human substance," somewhat like a spider that spins a web out of its own body. It is a kind of dark substance that oozes from a real liar -- a Ted Kennedy, a Johnnie Cochran, an Obama. Truth, on the other hand, is not, and cannot be of human origins. It is somehow anterior to us, and it is only for us to discover or remember it -- what Plato called anamnesis. It too is a substance, the substance of light, which, to paraphrase someone, is as light as a gas but as hard as a diamond. It is of celestial origins, while the lie is of human origins (via Stan, if you like). The point is, only humans lie, since only humans may know truth.

You'd think it would be uncontroversial to utter a simple truth, but you'd be wrong, wouldn't you? If you don't believe in the force of falsehood, try sharing a controversial but banal truth at one of our elite universities, such as "men and women are fundamentally different and, on average, excel at different things," or "children do better with a mother and a father than with two mothers and two fathers," or “racial quotas hurt blacks," or “some, if not most, cultures are patently sick." It seems that to carry Truth is to pick up a cross and paint a target on one's back.

Animals cannot lie. While they can have certain naturally selected mechanisms of deception, they cannot live a lie (actually, as an astute commenter mentioned the other day, it might be possible if the luckless pet has a particularly nutty owner, like James Wolcott). But living a lie is in the normal course of events for human beings. Interestingly, this problem is fully recognized in scripture, as the very first conversations recorded in the Bible are a tissue of lies. The serpent lies to the woman, the woman transmits the lie to the man, and the man lies about it to God. The very emergence of self-consciousness seems to be inseparable from lying. The Lie banishes us from paradise.

A cursory glance at history -- or at the idiotorial pages of the New York Times -- establishes the fact that lying is absolutely fundamental to human existence, even though the idea wasn't systematized until the early 20th century, in the works of Freud (the good Freud) and his followers. In particular, the psychoanalyst W.R. Bion developed a sophisticated epistemology (say that fast three times) showing how a vital lie is at the basis of most all forms of psychopathology. He made the provocative observation that the lie requires a thinker to think it, whereas the truth does not, for it simply is. We discover truth, but it takes a thinker to concoct the lie (and, I might add, a "gifted" thinker such as Marx or Chomsky to create the most grandiose and elaborate lies). And once the lie is in place, it causes the psyche to enter a sort of parallel universe, for it constructs itself on the foundations of that primordial lie.

In my own colorful terminology, I have called these internalized lies "mind parasites." I believe the term is an accurate one, for it is meant to convey the idea that a vital lie that lodges itself in the psyche is not static, but takes on the characteristics of the host, so to speak, thereby disguising itself. I remember once discussing this with my analyst. I don't remember the exact context of the problem I was whining about (or if I’m lying about not remembering) but he said words to the effect of, "What do you expect? It's as smart as you are."

Ah ha! In other words, the mind parasite has at its disposal all of the marvelous hi-tech wetware of the psyche -- like a rogue state that acquires nuclear weapons. Therefore, it can easily justify itself, elaborate itself, gang up on the truth, intimidate healthier parts of the psyche. Think of a dictator who uses legitimate means to come to power, but then corruptly uses all of the levers of power to stay there and eliminate opponents -- similar to how liberalism gradually morphed into the twisted leftism which now controls the Democrat party.

Just as freedom and truth are necessarily linked -- i.e., no one who is living a lie is actually free -- those who are in thrall to the lie are slaves. While they may enjoy a subjective sense of freedom, it is an illusion. In fact, they have forfeited their freedom and are attached to a spiritually suffocating demon generated out of their own dark psychic substance.

Think of a vivid example that comes readily to mind -- the Islamists. Is it not obvious to one and all (er, no) that they are absolutely enslaved by artificial beings of their own creation? And that they want everyone else to be enslaved by the same demon? Does this not demonstrate the insane power of demons and the lies they propagate? And how the liberal media simply treats the lie as another variety of truth? You know, who are we to judge? The Middle East is just too complex. The Palestinians are victims too. We deserved 9-11.

There are personal mind parasites and collective mind parasites. Many cultures revolve entirely around monstrous entities that have been engendered by whole communities, such as the Aztec. Here again, it would be wrong to say that the Aztec had a bloodthirsty god -- rather, it clearly had them. Thousands upon thousands of human beings sacrificed to satisfy this imaginary god's appetite for human blood, elaborate mechanisms set up to supply fresh bodies, the heart of the sacrificial victim cut out by the officiating priest who would himself take a bite out of it while it was still beating. A whole society of Jeffrey Dahmers trying desperately to allay their existential and ontological anxiety by vampirically ingesting the life force of others. The head-chopping Izlambies are just the latest edition of this primordial anti-religion. But you undoubtedly know some people in your own life who do the same thing -- hungry ghosts and Rays of darkness who feed on the light (or the blog) of others.

In all times and in all places, human beings have looked for ways to objectify, worship, and appease their self-created demons. This is preferable to having them run around loose in one's own psyche. Take again the example of the typical beast of Islamist depravity. How would one even begin to tell him: "Listen, buddy. You have a persecutory entity inside of you that your life revolves around. You have placed it outside of yourself, in the 'infidels,' so as to make your life bearable, for the lie conceals a truth that is too painful to endure. Would you like to put down that meat cleaver and talk about it?"

To a large extent, this dynamic is at the heart of more mundane politics as well. For those who do not experience George Bush as a demon, it is almost impossible to understand those who do, any more than we can really understand the motivations of the Aztec. The collective mind parasite has a grammar and logic all its own, inaccessible to all but initiates of the Lie.

You don't actually want to get that close to an intoxicating Lie of that magnitude. It's not safe. Better to observe it from a respectful distance. Otherwise, you will find yourself pulled down into a false world of counter-lying rather than simple truth. You cannot create an artificial "good demon,” which is what secular leftists are trying to do when they aren't creating bad ones. Those critical critics who criticize my "negativity" probably think I am engaging in the former -- heatedly countering the lie -- when I am calmly engaged in the latter -- simply reaffirming the truth. This is the inner meaning of "resist not evil." Resist it in the wrong way, and you come into its orbit. The Raccoon way is never to resist a troll, but to ridicule them from above.

For a demon operates through a combination of will and imagination. You may think of perverse will as the male principle and perverse imagination as the female principle. Together they beget the demon child that then controls the parents, taking over both will and imagination. Consider how so much art and academic nonsense is nothing more than the elaboration of the lower imagination -- ideological superstructures giving cover to lies of various magnitude. Think of how much "activism" is simply the angry agitation of the perverse will.

Truth is a living thing, a consciousness -- and therefore a Being -- that cannot be reduced to the idolatrous systems of men, especially corrupted men who do not honor Truth to begin with. Most modern and postmodern ideologies and philosophies are opiates for elites too sophisticated for such nonsense as Truth. But like all misused drugs, “Lies gravely affect our mind; they distort the undeveloped organs of the Personality, upon which depends the effort that must lead us to the second Birth.... Even more, lying makes the man who aspires to evolution go backwards” (Mouravieff).

The saving manifestation of the Absolute is either Truth or Presence, but it is not one or the other in an exclusive fashion, for as Truth It comprises Presence, and as Presence It comprises Truth. Such is the twofold nature of all theophanies; thus Christ is essentially a manifestation of Divine Presence, but he is thereby also Truth: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” No one enters into the saving proximity of the Absolute except through a manifestation of the Absolute, be it a priori Presence or Truth. --F. Schuon

Well, I said I was going to post the last two commandments, but this has gone on long enough already. We'll do the last one later in the week.

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.