Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Evolution of Evolution and the Supramental Manifestation

Hmm. Not much web fluid this morning. Not sure if I should even try to post. Usually when I wake up, there are various thoughtlets, precoonceptions, and ideas for ideas floating about overhead, just waiting to be caught, thought and jotted. But not today. All I see is.... this world. Bummer. Is this what it's like to be an atheist or liberal? I'd die of boredom.

You can learn a lot by watching a 3.5 year-old. One thing you notice is the relationship between interior and exterior. As a new internal world comes on line, old interests are dropped. The previous world no longer exists -- it has no significance or meaning. Instead, he begins looking for a new external world to match the new internal world, but that external world doesn't yet exist. So he must go about discovering and co-creating it. This is what the great psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott called the "transitional space." It is neither subjective nor objective, but a third category that transcends them.

In fact, human beings never stop living in this transitional space, which is very much analogous to a hologram, which is a stable image created by the interference of two coherent light beams or wavefronts. Or, think of how a good stereo creates a perfect three-dimensional sound-image that hovers between the speakers.

A culture will be "external" to you if you have either evolved beyond it or failed to achieve it. For example, the transitional space of the Raccoon is "exterior" to our scientistic jester. In one sense he seems fascinated by it -- since he keeps coming back -- and yet, refuses to do what is necessary to enter it, which would involve leaving the old familiar country of crude materialism behind (it reminds me of how my son is fascinated by the older boys). Any transition is always fraught with ambivalence, unless you are temperamentally a daring and adventurous soul. For spirituality is without a doubt the ultimate adventure. Furthermore, once you are on the adventure, nothing else will do. I could no more inhabit the cramped world of the atheist than spend the rest of my life in an airport terminal.

One of the intrinsic challenges of being a Raccoon is that "our world" does not yet properly exist on the outside except in pockets and fragments (thank God for the internet). Rather, it is in the process of coming into being. It's really fundamentally no different than a child who enters a new developmental stage, and must discover and create the objects necessary to articulate his new "unthought" idiom. For each new stage is also an idiom, or a mode of expression.

The transitional space, no matter how concrete, is really more dreamlike than material. If you could rise above history and view it from the widest possible angle, you would see a sort of dream-space between monkey and God, in which human beings articulate and externalize the various stages and dimensions of their soul.

For example, there was a time that all human cultures engaged in human sacrifice, not just Muslims and MSM journalists. Obviously, this felt "normal" to the people engaging in it, just as it feels normal for Palestinians to murder Israelis. This is because, in some way that most people no longer understand, human sacrifice represents a vital idiom for articulating something quite fundamental within the psyche. It is merely the exteriorization of the interior.

Again, I see this quite vividly in my son. Toys and other objects that were once intensely meaningful to him just drop away like rocket boosters. Which, in a way, they are. Any transitional object is merely a "bridge" to get one from here to there. Perhaps you have noticed old interests and concerns simply dropping away as you ascend spiritually. Things that were of the utmost importance are as interesting as Mister Rogers to a 16 year old.

Take, for example, the classic transitional object, the "baby blanket." At first, the blanket symbolizes all of soothing and containing capacities of the mother, as the child is learning to be independent from her. In so doing, he obviously cannot make the transition all at once, but needs a "bridge," so to speak, between dependence and independence. The blanket serves this purpose. Once the child has securely made the transition, he drops the blanket. But if he fails to make the secure transition to individuation, he may well spend the rest of his life covertly searching for that transitional object in disguised forms -- drugs, alcohol, food, sexual perversions and compulsions, etc. Furthermore, all of us can regress to this stage when under stress, and seek out familiar objects that comfort and contain. One thinks of Andrew Sullivan's extensive Barbie Doll collection.

Now, Sri Aurobindo may or may not be correct about this, and you are naturally free to translight it into your own spiritual idiom -- or, indeed simply use the idea as a sort of transitional object. But he was convinced that evolution was in the process of building a bridge between man and God, just as it had previously built one between animal and man (or, just as childhood is a bridge between infant and adult). One of the many ways to disprove reductionistic Darwinism is to consider the transitional space of an animal vs. that of a human being. The transitional space of an animal is tied to very concrete things linked directly to survival, basically what to eat, whom to avoid, and with whom to make a rap video.

But the transitional space so far transcends that of the animal, that only a fool could reduce it to a material epiphenomenon under control of the genes. For this vast and abundant space is indeed an earthly analogue of the divine plenum. Just look at all the stuff that was awaiting man when he popped his head into this space! Truth, beauty, paintings, poems, symphonies, divine revelations, novels, baseball, constitutions, ideologies, scientific theories, the Bo Diddley Beat. But also human sacrifice, child abuse, witch hunts, dailykos, huffingtonpost, Marxism, Hitlerism, Maoism, the designated hitter, and other beasts that we keep. Again, we could not enter this space without encountering its dark shadow (just as in biology, there are light and "luminous" creatures such as the butterfly, and ugly and "descending" entities such as cockroaches, trial lawyers, and entertainment executives).

The other day, someone brought up the "void," which is really the space that occurs when you die to one world but are not yet born into another. It entails a kind of depression that one must tolerate, just as the child must tolerate his separation from the mother in order to gain his independence. In the case of the child, it's not as difficult, because we have all kinds of age-appropriate objects to help make the transition. Plus, they will have friends who are going through the same thing, and will be a source of support. But mainly, the child needs adaptive parents who can empathically reflect whatever stage their child is at -- just as a good therapist needs to be able to mirror whatever stage the patient is at, or one spouse needs to be able to mirror and resonate the emotional state of the other. One can always tell when there is a disturbance in the force.

To review a bit, Aurobindo called the divine realm "Supermind." Most human groups are still in the process of mastering the realm of mind, but in between mind and Supermind is the realm of the "Overmental." Now, importantly, the realms of Supermind and Overmind exist whether or not the mass of human beings ever evolve there -- just as the realm of scientific truth would have existed had human beings never "discovered" it. In short, Truth has no need of man. Rather, vice versa. On the other hand, Lies do need man, as he is the only entity in all of existence who can harbor them. No wonder that man's mind is a battlefield between truth and lies.

Aurobindo's collaborator, Mirra Richard (known by disciples as "the Mother") said that on the one hand, the Supramental world was "absolutely determined, for all is from eternity; and yet, the path traversed by the Consciousness has a freedom and unpredictability that is also absolute." This, in my opinion, is how one reconciles divine omnipotence with free will. I'm trying to think of a good analogy. Perhaps it is again like jazz, which has extremely tight constraints, within which one has a radical freedom to arrive at the "aesthetic destination," so to speak. There are many paths to beauty, and yet, Beauty is One.

So one of the awkward things about the human state is that we coexist on so many different planes, some of which are still in the process of coming into being; or, to be precise, being articulated, since they again pre-exist us. I have no doubt whatsoever that the different authentic revelations of the world are more or less adequate attempts to articulate and describe these higher worlds.

But a critical point to bear in mind is that scripture is nevertheless a transitional object that is "lit up" like a hologram by the coherent light beam of our own intellect. In other words, revelation is one light; our intellect is another; in their intersection a "third object" emerges and comes into view. This is why it is so critical to not be reductionistic with regard to scripture, because that is a way to literally kill the emergent transitional spirit with the concrete letter. Thankfully, scripture itself is uniquely holographic, and is therefore capable of serving as a transitional object for anyone from the most unlettered peasant to the greatest spiritual genius.

Obviously, the spiritual world will appear non-existent if we have no contact with it, which, when you come right down to it, is the atheist's only argument. It reminds me of my son, who will put a blanket over his head and ask, "where's Tristan?!" We always go along with the joke, as if he has disappeared from view, but obviously my three year-old can no more understand his solipsism than can the atheist. In the case of the latter, he pulls the wool over his own I and asks "where's God?!"

Between the beings of the supramental world and the humans almost the same separation exists as between humans and animals.... Only when the link of consciousness is established shall we see it -- and even then only the part of our being which has undergone transformation in this way will be able to see it as it is -- otherwise the two worlds would remain apart like the animal and human worlds.

Truly this is what is actually happening now, and we can say with certitude that the supramental world already exists, but that it has come time for it to become the goal of the Journey of the supreme Consciousness, that little by little a conscious link will be formed between our world and that new one.... This zone remains to be built, both in the individual consciousness and the objective world, and it is being built.
--The Mother

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And the Last Commandment Shall be First

I thought I should finish up with those Ten Commandments, rather than leave you hanging. Here's #10.

*****

Man is so caught up in the toils of mechanical life that he neither has time to stop nor the power of attention needed to turn his mental vision upon himself. Man thus passes his days absorbed by external circumstances. The great machine that drags him along turns without stopping, and forbids him to stop under penalty of being crushed.... Life passes away from him almost unseen, swift as a ray of light, and man falls engulfed and still absent from himself. --Boris Mouravieff

“Zoom!" What was that? That was your life, mate. Oh, that was quick, do I get another? Sorry, that's your lot. --Basil Fawlty

We conclude our little round trip of the inner meaning of the Ten Commandments with the tenth, “thou shalt not covet.” It is a fitting capstone to our journey, since the injunction against envy is really more of a reward for a life well lived than an ultimatum.

For envy is the most corrosive of emotions (or perhaps more accurately, “mental states”), in that it undermines any possibility of personal happiness or spiritual fulfillment. While it often takes the form of longing for what one doesn’t have, it is usually built on an unconscious foundation of being ungrateful for what one has, or even actively devaluing what one has, so that one constantly feels deprived. Thus, envy is often the residue of the inner emptiness caused by unconscious devaluation, "spoiling," and ingratitude. It is one of the primary reasons why liberals are on the average so much less happy than conservatives.

Ultimately envy is a self-consuming process that leaves nothing but itself standing, like Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather or Charles Foster Kane at the end of Citizen Kane. Both endings represent envy triumphant. All that is left of Kane is a huge warehouse of meaningless objects frantically acquired during a lifetime spent trying vainly to fill a psychological and spiritual void with possessions. It is appropriate that these empty consolations are consigned to the fire, as workers absently toss one after another into the flames.

Here we discover a certain confluence of Buddhism and the Judeo-Christian tradition, for Buddha is famous for his wise crack about desire being the source of our suffering. But actually, he was trying to make a point about attachment to desire. Desires will come and go, like smoke driven by wind. It is only when we attempt to cling to them that they become problematic.

But even then, as I pointed out in One Cosmos, I find it useful to draw a distinction between appetite, which is natural and usually legitimate, and desire, which is often artificial and mimetic, meaning that it is not spontaneous but prompted from the outside. Many people give themselves entirely over to this process, and lead lives of simply wanting what others seem to want. They are pushed and pulled around by fleeting desires, impulses and passions, but when one of them is being gratified, it gives rise to a spurious sense of expansiveness and “freedom,” when in reality this kind of ungoverned desire is the opposite of freedom. The "expansiveness" will only be temporary, and last as long as it takes for the impulse to return and fill up the space again.

It is very difficult to avoid this dynamic in a consumer-driven culture such as ours. It’s the kind of cliché that Petey detests, but we are constantly bombarded with messages and images that fan the fires of envy and mimesis. Sri Aurobindo wrote that this was one of the properties of the “vital mind,” and the fundamental problem is that it cannot really be appeased. In other words, it doesn’t shrink when we acquiesce to it. Instead, it only grows, like an addiction or compulsion.

Importantly, the vital mind does not merely consist of impulses seeking discharge. Rather, it can take over the machinery of the host, and generate its own thoughts and rationalizations. We’ve all seen this happen in ourselves. Yoga in its most generic sense involves a reversal of this tendency, so that we may consciously yearn for what we actually want, rather than mindlessly willing what we desire. This tends to be a constant battle at the beginning. But only until the end.

I am reminded of Peter Guralnick’s fine biography of Elvis. It is amazing how elaborate the vital mind can become if left unchecked, or if it is gratified before one has had the chance to develop one's soul and intellect -- i.e, to acquire wisdom and prudence. It seems that someone can become so wealthy and powerful that they lose the friction necessary to distinguish between fantasy and reality. A sort of hypnotic, dreamlike imagination takes hold, which can become quite elaborate and unnatural. I am sure this accounts for the general nuttiness that comes out of the typical left-wing hollywoodenhead. They are so far removed from what you and I know as reality, that they are both ontologically and epistemologically (not to say spiritually) crippled.

“Job one” of the vital mind is to foster a kind of I-amnesia, so that we repeatedly fool ourselves into believing that fulfillment of the next desire will finally break the cycle and bring us real contentment, but most of us know that drill. For in that gap between desire and fulfillment lies the hidden key. In that gap there is both anticipation and hope. But like the referred pain of a back injury that we feel in the leg, this hope is misplaced onto a realm incapable of fulfilling it. For, as it is written -- probably on a bumper snicker somewhere -- ”You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.”

This pattern of desiring what we don’t really want or need is well beyond merely affecting our spiritual lives. Rather, it is starting to seriously compromise even our physical well-being. At some point in the last 10-15 years, affluence became a much more serious threat to health than poverty. The levels of obesity, type II diabetes, and other related health problems have become epidemic. Why? Because people are able to wallow in the vital mind as never before. The Western world is increasingly full of “poor” people whose bodies look like the most prosperous and decadent people of the past. They are still impoverished, but it is a spiritual impoverishment that causes them to try to fill the void with food and meaningless sedentary activities, such as television and video games. In a way, they are more poor -- not to say pathetic and lacking in dignity -- than the poor of the past.

Natural appetites can be satisfied, but the gods of abstract metaphysical desire are insatiable and require constant tribute. That is one of the paradoxes, for one might think that the spiritually developed person lives in an “abstract” world, while the vital person lives in the concrete world, but it is quite the opposite. The spiritual person becomes very concretely aware of subtle and fleeting little concrete joys on a moment-by-moment basis, where as the vital types are only tuned into the most gross forms of sensory overload, whether in music, entertainment, or food (and I imagine the porn industry taps into this same dynamic as well; it is really an attempt to "wake the dead," or to arouse passion in someone who has become totally jaded).

Here again we must bear in mind the limitlessness of the human imagination. We can always imagine something better, something that we don’t have. Any clown can do that. Much more tricky is being grateful for what we do have. Thus, the cultivation of humility and gratitude actively counter the vital mind and its constitutional envy. This may initially feel as if we are being deprived of our horizontal liberty, such as it is, and this is true. However, the whole point is to replace that with a more expansive vertical freedom that is relatively unconstrained by material circumstances, excluding the most dire cases.

And, just as in my absurcular book, the commandments circle back around to the beginning, back to where we started, with the holographic first commandment that contains all the others: “The secular left turns the cosmos upside down and inside out. As a result, instead of being conditioned in a hierarchical manner from the top down, it is conditioned from the bottom up. This results not in true liberation, only in rebellion and pseudo-liberation, for there can be no meaningful freedom outside objective Truth. The left rejects top-town hierarchies as intrinsically repressive, but the opposite is true -- only in being conditioned by the higher can we actually elevate and liberate ourselves from contingency and relativity.”

Or, as Will put it “Like any physical attribute, if the human intellect is not yoked to and governed by the Higher Intelligence, it runs amok and eventually goes crazy. It's taken some time to get there, but currently, the spiritually bereft intellect is basically in charge of most of the world's influential institutions, which of course means the world is in deep stew. As far as definitions of the Antichrist go, I think this would do OK.”

On the spiritual level, there is simply nothing more satanic than envy. The sword of gratitude is our only defense.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Progressives: Marching Forward Into the Past

A rewritten post from two Septembers ago. I decided to give it a second look because, for some reason, it always gets a lot of hits -- probably by progressive barbarians looking for something else. Might as well make sure it's sufficiently mocking for when they stumble upon it again.

*****

Who can hope to obtain proper concepts of the present, without knowing the future? --Johann Georg Hamann

When we inquire into the meaning of history, facts alone cannot help us. This is because what we specifically wish to know is whether history means anything other than the numberless facts it leaves in its wake. As such, the meaning of history can only be found in the present, in an imaginative vision.

But even that isn't quite right, for we can only really understand the meaning of something by discerning where it is headed -- by its direction and end.

As we have said before, this idea of history having a direction and destination was a Judeo-Christian innovation, as all primitive and pagan cultures (including Islam) saw time as either a cyclical or degenerative process. But all of us in the west are so saturated with historical consciousness that we all believe in the directionality of history, even if we deny it. It's very similar to biology, wherein biologists can only pretend that teleology doesn't exist.

For example, Josef Pieper writes, “Whoever says ‘historical development’ has already said and thought that history possesses an irreversible direction; this applies all the more to anyone who says ‘progress.’ In the most innocent use of the words ‘already’ and ‘still’ (‘the Greeks already knew...’) -- such turns of phrase always contain the implication that history is leading up to something, that a particular state -- of perfection or of impoverishment -- is the end state.

“It therefore appears impossible to reflect upon history in a spirit of philosophical inquiry without at the same time inquiring, in some sense or other, as to the End. This question cannot be ‘left alone.’”

In the west we have two divergent political movements that would seem to define themselves in terms of their historical ends, “progressives” and “conservatives.” The progressive obviously believes in the a priori sanctity of the word “progress,” as if it is self-justifying. But there are many kinds of progress -- for example, a progressive disease that has an inevitable end state called “death.” More often than not, what the progressive means by “progress” is merely change, agitation, rebellion, or the bracing thrill of falling.

Interestingly, we often hear progressives tout the statistic that this or that many people believe the country is "on the wrong track." First of all, it is a meaningless statistic in light of the fact that the liberal media constantly propagate the fantasy that the country is "on the wrong track." Therefore, it is a kind of tautology.

But more deeply, it is simply an invitation to project into politics what properly belongs to the realms of psychology or spirituality. In other words, the left always benefits when people are stupid enough to project all of their existential problems into the arena of politics. I'm thinking of one particular blogger who hates himself, his life, and his country, but unconsciously imagines that an Obama victory will somehow change that. But it has never occurred to me that my happiness is the responsibility of the president. A conservative should never really be gleeful when we win an election, only relieved. True, we dodged another ballot, but the devil never rests, so it's as if the new baseball season were to begin moments after the end of the World Series.

In a sense, progressivism is deeply ahistorical, for it merely examines the now, pronounces that it does not care for the now, and proposes radical policies to change the character of the now, which any idiot can do. And this is why the policies so frequently end in disaster, for as Thomas Sowell has written, they never take the time to “think beyond stage one” and calculate the actual effect of their policies. It's all about the feeling that went into them. Progressives who supposedly love "peace" as the highest value have no idea how it is created. It's like loving health but hating antibiotics.

Nor do they ever think before stage one, and examine the true reasons for the "problems of the now," most of which can only be resolved by a transformation in values from below, not a president from above.

Welfare, for example, was a deeply “progressive” system. And yet, look at all the progress that has been made since it it was radically reformed over a decade ago, thanks to “conservatives.” “Between 1965 and 1995 we spent more than $5 trillion on Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, while welfare rolls, chronic unemployment, and illegitimacy rates all steadily grew” (National Review, 9-11-06).

But since Clinton signed the Republican reform into law, “welfare rolls have shrunk by more than 60 percent, the number of poor children has fallen by 1.4 million, and illegitimacy rates have stopped growing. Black-child poverty is at its lowest in history.” In order to achieve this end, it was necessary to overcome the compassion (what Buddhists call "idiot compassion") of all the usual progressive suspects -- academics, government bureaucrats, the media, liberal church groups, etc. -- but “the poor are richer for it.”

But do conservatives get any credit for helping the poor? Of course not. Again, by hijacking the word “progress” and incorporating it into their very name, everything progressives do is.... progressive, no matter how regressive -- high taxes, undermining marriage, multiculturalism, moral relativism, appeasing terrorists, a permanently broken educational system, corrupt unions.

The true conservative is interested in conserving the very conditions that allow progress to occur (especially psycho-spiritual progress), while progressives simply assume those historically rare and precious conditions and try to tinker with the outcome, both in the micro realm (e.g., the family) and the macro realm (economics, education, foreign policy).

When it comes to economics, for example, conservatives are interested in the conditions that allow for the creation of wealth to occur, whereas liberals simply assume that the wealth is there, and that it is merely a matter of "fairly" distributing it. But by doing so, they unwittingly undermine the very conditions that allow the creation of wealth to begin with, and elevate petty tyrants who will dispense their arbitrary notions of "economic justice," i.e., revenge. Likewise, by appeasing terrorists in the name of "peace," they undermine the most important condition of peace, which is f*ck with us and you are dead.

We saw this backward approach to economics in its naked form in communist countries, but it it is also happening in virtually all of the socialist countries of western Europe, which have stagnant economies and cannot sustain their huge government outlays for various welfare programs. The more progressive they become, the further behind they fall, not just economically but spiritually.

Likewise, countries that have abandoned socialist doctrine, such as India and Israel, have experienced phenomenal growth (imagine what an economic and technological powerhouse tiny Israel would be if it didn’t have to exhaust so much of its resources defending itself from Islamic barbarians).

What is the real end of history? How do we measure actual progress? Again, progress -- which is relative -- can only be measured in terms of an absolute, whether it is explicit or implicit. In the purely horizontal world of secular progressives, I suppose it can mean only one thing -- material equality, as if it were somehow possible for everyone to be above average. But by definition, half the population is below average in whatever it is you are measuring. Therefore, to enforce equality in the name of progress might be fine for the lamb but is tyranny for the lion. No wonder “job one” of the Democratic party is converting people into lambs, otherwise known as victims.

And once you have created a victim you have created a monster, because you have undermined the legitimacy of the whole system, and thereby santioned the expression of righteous violence. In fact, righteous violence is obviously justified under a corrupt and dehumanizing tyranny. But the absurd message of a Barack Obama or John Edwards or Joe Biden is that I made, it and neither can you!, or I love this great country, and you shouldn't either! Progressives say one thing while giving a wink and a green light to the expression of primitive impulses of existential envy and revenge.

The most important victims for the Democratic party are blacks, for the Democrats would no longer be a viable party in something like 26 states if they did not garner 90% of the black vote. So naturally they were against welfare reform in particular and black progress in general, for if blacks break free of the Democrats, it's over for them. There are simply not enough tenured idiots to sustain a political party.

The left is against any policy that actually reduces the number of victims that can be both created and then rescued by progressives. This also explains why they are against school choice, for it is obviously neccessary to maintain an intellectually crippled population that adheres to "progressivism" even after biological maturity has occurred (for progressivism is probably a normal condition for the ahistorical and emotion-driven adolescent psyche -- see dailykos or huffingtonpost for details). And they are especially enthusiastic about undermining the institution of marriage, since single mothers and bitter feminists are other key constituencies.

And this also explains the implicit -- and sometimes explicit -- alliance of progressives and Islamists, for “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The Islamists wish to march backward into the future, while the left wishes to march forward into the past. Different route, same end. Especially after the Islamist allahgator eats the progressives last. And then sheds q'rocodile tears.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Courting the Idiot Vote while Banking on Wimpy White Women

A few preluminaries before we begin. The thing is, not all of my thoughts come into the world fully organized and integrated with the rest. Rather, I have my share of strays, orphans and lone thoughts that deserve to have their little moment in the sun, even if they can't make it into a full post. Open your Coonifesto, page 294, footnote 76:

"Evidently, we play host to about four thousand distinct thoughts in a typical day, one hundred million in an average lifetime. Now we know how many thoughts it takes to fill the average soul (I'd love to turn them off)."

In the case of my thoughts, I actually wish two things for them.

First, I want them to all be internally related, or to cohere into a unified "whole," or seven-dimensional view of the cosmos, both internally and externally. Of course, that is impossible, but one never stops trying. What's the alternative, to live with a hundred million independent thoughts cluttering your mind? No. It's no wonder that people hold so tightly to bogus religions such as Darwinism in order to lend a false coherence to their minds. It's preferable to the anxiety of being persecuted by all those independent thoughts. But this is also what makes leftists, or feminists, or metaphysical Darwinists so transparently silly.

True, the purpose of material science is to reduce multiplicity to unity, but only insofar as it pertains to the horizontal. In the effort to create unity, it a priori reduces the vertical to the horizontal, so that it necessarily ends in a forced pseudo-unity and therefore a false religion -- a graven image.

Now, the second thing I wish for my thoughts -- and it is impossible in the absence of the first thing -- is to "ascend" higher and higher toward their ultimate source, which constitutes the Life Divine, not the Death Material. Our consciousness does not come from "matter," except insofar as consciousness is first involved (as in involution) in the creation.

No, this is not to build a Tower of Babel, which would be analogous to trying to ascend in a mechanistic or linear way, whereas I wish to do so in an organic and organismic way, which is impossible in the absence of the divine telos that meets us halfway. As Susannah pointed out the other day, we till the soil, remove the weeds, plant the seeds, etc., but there is an "x-factor" to all organic growth that is well beyond our pray grade. And spiritual growth is most assuredly organic growth, only on the vertical plane. If it isn't organic, then you will eventually be headed for a fall, back down to your true level of spiritual development, which will have an intrinsic degree of stability and robustness. Which is apparently what happens when you die, i.e., your true level of spiritual growth is revealed.

Wait, I just remembered. There's a third thing I wish for my thoughts, and that is for them to actually be mine. Because I'm sorry to say that the average person never even has an original thought in his entire life. Rather, they simply pick up "atmospheric" thoughts, which are largely mimetic -- meaning that they merely think what others are thinking. (This is one of the reasons the left was so demonically prescient in taking over the educational system, so they could normalize abnormal thoughts and turn them into conventional wisdom enforced by political correctness.)

It is critical to bear in mind that "thoughts" can come from two broad directions. That is, they can emanate from O; or, they can come from the outside. These are what Bion called "thoughts without a thinker." They are like viral memes looking for a human host, where they can settle in, reproduce, and infect other minds. The cultivation of the Silent Mind is our best defense against them, in which we repel them from our center.

Unfortunately, this is what is presently going on with both campaigns. You hear Obama say what a shame it is that we are reduced to talking about lipstick and pigs when we should be talking about global warming and how much we hate President Bush, but he's only saying that because he got the wrong end of the stick this time. He loved it two weeks ago, when it was about John McCain not knowing how many houses his wife owns.

You see, there are people who are even more confused than liberals, and these are called "independents" or "moderates." I mean, if you don't even know whether you are a liberal or a conservative, you are either an ignoramus or a head case. It's like not knowing if you're a boy or a girl. Here's a clue for you, pal: if you don't know whether you're a boy or a girl, you're a liberal.

The point is, there is nothing on earth that could get me to vote for a leftist, as I am opposed to them politically, spiritually, philosophically, scientifically, cosmologically, economically, morally, educationally, psychologically, linguistically, culturally, ontologically, aesthetically, psychohistorically, and in just about every other way. And I hope that, after 1074 posts, you can see how all of these categories are organically related -- which goes back to my own attempt to deeply organize my psyche horizontally and vertically.

So the next fifty days of the campaign are not going to be aimed at you or me. Tactically, that would be a foolish waste of resources, wouldn't it? Rather, the main strategy must involve courting these so called "independents" (who are actually quite dependent upon accident and contingency), the idiots who are responsible for Obama being at 50% one week and 43% the next. What happened in those two weeks? What happened is that a sizable number of independent idiots heard some zinger or some fragment of a meme that was sufficient to influence their weak minds.

So no one should be surprised that political campaigns are largely about stupid and trivial things, because the election will ultimately be decided by stupid and trivial people. But you can never say that, or you will lose the election, for you will have insulted the stupid people, and forever alienated them. Indeed, this is why campaigns are so damn expensive. I'm guessing that the biggest expense is television ads, which are specifically addressed to stupid people who can be influenced to vote for someone based upon a television ad.

Is this an elitist view? No, not at all. That's one of the main points. For example, Sarah Palin doesn't have to pretend that she's a regular person, because she is, as are most real "temperamental" conservatives. But Obama is not a regular person, and doesn't seem to have ever even associated with them. Rather, he seems to attract -- or be attracted to -- notably abnormal people such as Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright, Tony Rezko, etc. Part of the problem with the stupid independents is that they cannot tell the difference between a real person and someone pretending to be real, like Obama. Which is why these effete liberals always look so silly when they try to bowl, or ride a bicycle, or drive a tank, or shoot a gun.

Damn. I forgot my fragment of a thought that I wanted to discuss. Oh yes. It was about this book that I and at least a couple other Raccoons are reading, On Awakening & Remembering: To Know is to Be, by Mark Perry. So far it's a wonderful book, and if it stays that way to the end, it will find a permanent home in my sidebar list of perennial raccoomendations.

But as I mentioned in a comment, the book is extraordinarily dense, with hardly a wasted word. It is a fine example of the Mind of Light, except that the light is almost too pure, so to speak. No, that's not it. Rather, it is as if there is no air; or perhaps as if it is all geometry with no music. In a comment yesterday, Walt wrote that "One of the nice things about OC is that Bob peppers his posts with examples from current events, which gives a sense of immediacy and familiarity to the ideas he's discussing. Since this isn't the case with Perry, and since we're not familiar with his thinking, that book seems much 'denser' than the posts here, even though the thrust of the ideas are very similar."

Precisely. That is what I attempt to do -- to add a little warmth to the light, melody to the harmony, music to the geometry, punchlines to the cosmic joke, etc. I want to convey a sense that these ideas really are woven into my substance, so that whatever comes out of my piehole is in a sense not just "about" them but "of" them. Do you know what I mean?

It's as if I don't just want to speak of these things, but sing of them. And not just in a memorized way, but in a spontaneous way, like a Bird... or a Monk, or a Rollins, or a Coltrane. None of these jazz immortals were great because they memorized what had come before and merely reproduced it. Rather, they internalized what had come before, so they could build upon it -- again, in a harmonious and organic way. When Monk first came on the scene in the 1940s, he was seen as radically novel and "discontinuous" with the past. But in hindsight, we can now hear all sorts of prior traditional influences that went into his conception. It's just that he put them together in a novel way. He takes the old influences and runs them through the Monk-izer.

So that was it. I just wanted to say that I used to fret over my style, and whether I might just be a vulgar blasphemer. Again, I have no doubt that Schuon and the rest of the traditionalists would disapprove of how I handle their ideas. But there were certain composers who hated what jazz artists did to their compositions, just as Burt Bacharach hated what Love did to My Little Red Book.

Moving on. Great piece today at American Thinker on Why Feminists Fear Strong Women. It's no secret, really. It's for the same reason that snivel rights leaders are so frightened and repulsed by strong and non-sniveling blacks, who represent a catastrophe to their downward movement.

And it is a downward movement, in that it forsakes the upward evolutionary movement and sails with the descending current toward darkness and inconscience. I always get a hoot that these leftists flatter themselves about "raising consciousness," when they explicitly do the opposite. They lower consciousness, because if someone actually raises their consciousness, they certainly have no use for a Jesse Jackson or Cornell West or Gloria Steinem. I mean, please. If The Godfather is accurate, then I suppose there was a time when Italian-Americans needed the mafia for protection, but Irish-Americans certainly don't need the Kennedys anymore.

With regard to the ovary tower elites of the feminist vaginocracy, their pitiful weakness is their strength: "For decades we've been told that half the human population -- the female half -- are somehow weak, oppressed victims, who cannot handle the normal challenges of life."

These feminist vampires put the bite on impressionable young women, mainly the educable kind: "All too often modern women have been suckered and bamboozled by a lifetime of Leftist agitprop, which has turned their strengths into weaknesses.... Hillary Clinton has based her whole political career on the Myth of the Victimized Woman. Feminists who run our schools and colleges are always trying to push that story to naive students.... 'Weak' women are a figment of the Left, just like 'weak' black people or 'weak' poor people. Those folks never used to be weaklings, until the media made them think they were. With the unanimous help of mainstream radio and TV you can talk yourself into feeling you're a victim of circumstances, just as under better influences you can talk yourself into feeling strong."

But before you can be convinced that you are weak and helpless, you also have to be kind of stupid and suggestible.... you know, a hysterical female, or one of those people who just pick up their thoughts from the surrounding atmosphere. Which is pretty much what liberal academia has been reduced to, just a great clearing house for pseudo-thoughts riding on the cosmic currents that descend all the way down. The problem isn't a glass ceiling. Rather, it's a non-existent floor.

"So why do Leftist feminists fear Sarah Palin? Because their personal ego-trips and their political power depend upon The Big Lie. Like all Leftists, feminists desperately need to feel superior to the rest of us. That makes them feel good about themselves. Without the Myth, a rage-driven feminist like Heather Mallick would not have a high-paid career with the government-own broadcaster in socialist Canada. All the feminist professors who were hired to create 'gender balance' in our schools and colleges, all the Ms. Magazine writers, all the media ladies, the affirmative action bureaucrats and victimology peddlers would lose the only career they know. A huge amount of money, prestige, snobbery, influence, ego, rage and sexual passion rides on the feminist myth."

Sarah Palin is like a neutron bomb that obliterates their leftist institutions while leaving the mediocrities who inhabit them standing. And you can't even put lipstick on them, because they'll whine that you're objectifying them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cynicism and Gullibility, Faith and Intellection, Pigs and Mothers

Cognitively speaking, the secular left generally operates in a mode of lazy cynicism, which makes it difficult for them to understand anything beneath the surface or from above and beyond the call of deity. Indeed, you will have noticed that they habitually ridicule and sneer at these things, and then call it "sophistication."

Which it is, in the original sense of the word, i.e., sophistry, or a kind of artificial or counterfeit wisdom that negates it precisely. At best, it is a kind of cunning that is always in service to the vital mind below, not the mind of light above. It is calculation based upon the ego's interests, not a surrender to the Truth, which always weakens the ego. Schuon said words to the effect that to assimilate a truth is to die a little. Therefore, to know Truth as such would represent total death and rebirth. You know, " I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

But at the same time, we see that leftists are also the most naive and gullible people on the planet, and the two are related. That is, because they cannot reliably penetrate the surface, liberals believe the craziest things, e.g., global warming, global cooling, poverty causes crime, men and women are identical, UAD (unintelligent absence of design), this is the worst economy since the great depression, Iran is not a threat, Saddam was not a threat, the USSR and the US were morally equivalent, Bush is a torturer, Bush lied us into war. The list goes on and on. They are especially naive about the nature of hatred and evil, since they have no insight into their own.

Importantly, just as assimilating truth weakens the ego and nourishes the mind of light, liberal gullibility strengthens the ego and extinguishes the mind of light. Never wonder why the stupidity of the left is so "invincible," for it is as strong as Death.

Just as cynicism and gullibility are joined at the hip, so too are faith and intellection. The liberal -- because he is an idiot -- confuses faith with gullibility, when it is the opposite. That is, faith is belief in order to know, not -- as is cynicism -- a preemptive attack on higher reality in order to not know it.

Faith is openness and receptivity (o) to the Real; it is an unknowing of the lower in order clear a space for the higher -- like turning the lights down in the theatre so you can enjoy the movie. But the sophisticates of the left want to turn the lights on as brightly as possible, and then ridicule those who believe in this nonexistent thing called a "movie." Think of a church as a theatre and the service as the movie. The screen can only be seen in darkness and silence. I am now typing in total darkness.

To give a specific example, the left is a big believer in what they call "sex education." The problem is, they are forbidden by their own lazy cynicism (and therefore gullibility) to ever teach about human sexuality, only animal sexuality projected onto the human plane. If you do mention human sexuality, then you will be accused of "violating the wall between church and state," when what you are actually doing is respecting the gulf between animal and human.

Obviously, human sexuality has reproductive as well as non-reproductive (i.e., non-Darwinian) purposes. At best, the secular leftist might say that the additional purpose is pleasure, but that would be a very stupid thing to say. So the left can only teach humans about animal sexuality, and then wonder why the humans behave like animals. What are they supposed to do? Get married? That implies that human sexuality has a nonlocal telos, and any Darwinian sophisticate knows that that is nonsense, just an elaborate self-deception.

Yes, this is just a rambling prelude to what I really wanted to discuss -- which is the further evolution into the overmental -- but here is a fine example of what we're talking about today at NRO, The Angst of the Aging Lecher:

"In his essay, Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community, Wendell Berry writes that the 'voyeur cannot crack the shell'; to behold copulating bodies is not to capture sexual intimacy, the mysterious union of souls. In the new film, Elegy, George O’Hearn, a Pulitzer Prize–winning poet tells his academic friend, David Kepesh that, having given their lives to serial sexual relationships, they cannot break the 'beauty barrier.' They are voyeurs who cannot 'crack the shell.'"

Ah, what an unexpected cooncidence. The article continues: "In Kepesh, Elegy gives us a certain highly successful academic type, common enough on American campuses, an academic who combines great intellectual discipline with rather loose sexual mores. What starts out as exuberant passion over time comes to infect the intellectual life itself. The result is an academic life permeated by vanity, wherein truth-seeking is subordinate to the task of drawing attention to oneself, to what and whom one knows. In the case of academics like Kepesh, intellectual prowess becomes an instrument of the sexual seduction of attractive students" (emphasis mine).

You see? Exactly what I was saying above about how the cynical mind is a vital mind that cannot penetrate surfaces and know spiritual reality. Fascinating -- you can also see how the spiritual drive, since it is denied expression due to cynicism, is displaced to the vital, leading to the compulsive -- which it must be, since it cannot know the depth that sustains a relationship -- pursuit of sexual conquest:

"For Kepesh, who walked out on his family many years ago after concluding that marriage is a trap, Consuela is but the latest stage in his restless pursuit of his peculiar version of the American dream -- the next frontier, the latest conquest. As he states, 'Every time you make love you get revenge for all the things that have defeated you in life.' Lending erudition to the free-love moment of the 1960s, Kepesh contends that serial sexuality is more honest, and certainly more pleasurable, than marriage. As he puts it in one wrenching conversation with his bitter and alienated son, Kenneth, abandoning the family was the honest thing to do."

You see? Like a pathetic wretch such as Bill Maher, he actually flatters himself that he is the unflinchingly courageous and honest man who faces life squarely and lives his life free of spiritual illusions. How's that working for you, Doc?

"Kepesh’s attempt to live honestly according to the flesh is, however, hardly an uncomplicated matter of freely satisfied desire. Again, Berry is perceptive: 'Sexual liberation ought logically to have brought in a time of ‘naturalness,’ ease, and candor between men and women. It has, on the contrary, filled the country with sexual self-consciousness, uncertainty, and fear.' Lust, as C.S. Lewis once said, is more abstract than logic. So long as sex involves another human, entanglements will emerge. To protect himself and to continue to cultivate his lifestyle, Kepesh ends up lying to the two women in his life."

So first, Kepesh must "flatten" the emotional surface of life, which then leads to its cognitive and spiritual flattening, which in turn leads to the vital Lie in order to keep the whole charade going. And this will become a deeply entrenched lie, on pain of evoking a sucidal depression over having literally wasted one's life and missed the whole point.

Never ask why leftists hold on to their lies so fiercely. It's obvious. Pride cometh before a fall, but if it is inflated to truly grandiose proportions, it can put off that eventuality until death. In other words, ontological pride can be a sort of vessel that gets one through the journey from biological birth to death. Buy you will not have actually traveled anywhere. In a way, you will never have been born. Or perhaps we can say that you will "only" be born. You will exclude yourself from the second birth, or initiation into the realm of the human. Spiritual asphyxiation is not pretty:

"As he ages, his carefree devotion to the 'carnal aspects of the human comedy' looks more like a cover for anxious dread in the face of death. At the outset, he quotes Tolstoy: a man’s greatest surprise is age. Fear of death, loss, and loneliness plague Kepesh. Avoiding the snare of marriage, he finds himself trapped in an old age without affection and love."

I'm going to say something here that is bound to be misunderstood, but I'm sure that one of you will appreciate the point. I even ran it by Mrs. G last night, and once I explained what I meant, she put down the frying pan.

What I said was something to the effect that, in order for a man to properly love a woman, he must first know how to properly hate them. I have to admit that the sentence popped out of my mouth before I had time to understand my point -- which I often do, so that I can "think beyond myself," so to speak.

I was thinking about how Obama, precisely because he is such a feminized man, expresses such undisguised contempt for women, such as the recent pig comment. Now, why would Obama have unconscious issues with women? One reason might be that he didn't have a noble father in his life, for him to emulate and teach him how to be a man. Instead, his primary identification is with the devouring or idealizing mother, which naturally creates resentment, since fixation in the realm of mother-love prevents one from becoming a Man. (You will also have noticed how frightened he seems to be of his wife, and how sensitive and easily wounded he appears to be.)

Children think in very broad strokes and stark categories. Therefore, a boy's turn to father is always accompanied by a kind of devaluation of mother and the female realm in general (I'm certainly seeing it in my son, as he struggles to pry himself free of mother and turn toward father; just as he used to get angry at me for coming between him and his mother, now he gets angry at her for coming between us). For you mothers of boys, I'm sure you noticed the pattern as your boys grew up. The wise and secure mother does not interfere with this devaluation, because it is part of the process of detaching from biology itself, in order to become the spiritual and social archetype of Man.

Then, once a boy is a man, he can return to the realm of the feminine with a whole new appreciation and wonder -- and equally importantly -- no residual, unconscious resentment. But as Harvey Mansfield notes, you cannot be a gentleman unless you first become a man. The left is full of metrosexual gentlemen who hide their hate behind layers of sophistication and sophistry.

Is it any coincidence that the most gynocentric subculture also features the most blatant misogyny, i.e, rap? Is it any coincidence that Hugh Hefner is one of the biggest supporters of feminism, or that all the lady killers of Hollywood are vocal feminists? Is it any coincidence that the left hates Sarah Palin? No, of course not. To be a feminist, you really have to despise femininity.

Back to the film: it "shows the consequences of a dreadful reduction of imagination, even literary imagination, to fantasy. On this point, Berry is eloquent, 'In sex, as in other things, we have liberated fantasy but killed imagination, and so have sealed ourselves in selfishness and loneliness. Fantasy is of the solitary self, and it cannot lead us away from ourselves. It is by imagination that we cross over the differences between ourselves and other beings and thus learn compassion, forbearance, mercy, forgiveness, sympathy, and love.' Having cultivated the fantasies of the solitary self, Kepesh, increasingly aware that his lust will soon turn to ashes, desperately seeks some other sort of human contact."

Cynicism, gullibility, fantasy, unreality, hatred, death.

Faith, Intellection, Imagination, Reality, Love, Life.

*****

Lileks touches on some of these themes today: "if there’s one thing that’s amused me in the last two weeks, it’s the screechy distaste of Ms. Palin coming from men who embodied the Modern Alda Paradigm of masculinity, which is to say they are nervous around cars, think guns are icky, had their own Snugli, have wives in corporate jobs who make more money than they do, and still get dissed behind their backs because they can’t figure out how to make the bed. The Lost Boys, if you will."

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....