Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Hard Day's Blog

I think I might be a little burned out. Just a vague sense that "there's not enough coffee," combined with the thought that we've pretty much covered the cosmic weirderfount, in concert with the realization that no one cares anyway. Well, boo freaking hoodoo.

You have to understand that if my mind is infected by the slightest concern that I have so few readers, I'm a goner. It's like being a soldier and realizing you could get shot, or being a baseball player and realizing you could get beaned. You can't think about those things, because doing so only interferes with what one needs to do to ensure they don't happen. I just need to do what I do, and forget about the results. You know, karma yoga. Or, as Krishna said to Arjuna, "gita life, buddhi."

Now that I think about it, it is interesting that I get a huge spike in readership whenever I join in the Tempest of the Day and toss some red meat into the fray. This tells me that I could be a very popular fellow if I simply reeled off one of those piece-of-my-mind pieces every day. I wonder what goes through the mind of someone who stumbles upon one of those rants, then returns the next day for more, only to find a discussion of the ontological status of the Lie, or some transrational nuggets of joy from Petey? Whatever it is, they don't come back after that.

But being more popular wouldn't help anyway, and would probably only interfere with the process. Even as it is, it takes a lot of self-discipline to not write for an audience -- or even for myself, for that matter -- but to simply write what comes up... or down. Again, the moment I start to think about a "target," I miss the mark. Total spontaneity. First thought, best thought. Suspend memory, desire, understanding. Mind jazz. If you fluff a note, there are no second takes or redubbing. You have to find a way to resolve it into a higher unity.

I guess it concerns me a little that I think we have something vital to add to the "national conversation," but that there is no point of entry for our views. People for whom I have a great deal of respect might very well be embarrassed to be seen with me. Take, for example, some of the bigger conservative blogs -- PowerLine, NRO, American Thinker. PowerLine is completely rationalistic and legalistic, and would have no use for a mystical point of view. NRO is traditionally Catholic, and would be deeply suspicious if not hostile to my approach.

In fact, National Review once published a letter of mine. It was after the death of George Harrison in 2001, and they had printed what I felt was a rather snarky and ungracious obituary of him, merely because he embraced Eastern religion. I wish I had kept a copy, but the letter had something to do with the parallels between the great sages and seers of India and the saints and mystics of the Catholic church. Interestingly, in my letter, they deleted the word "mystics," which I think is very telling. Saints are okay. Mystics need not apply. But in so doing, you eliminate the blood from the body -- luminaries such as Meister Eckhart, Denys the Areopagite, John Scottus Eriugena, etc. Furthermore, you cede that whole ground to the irrational left, who do indeed drag the supralogical down to the illogocal, as evidenced by the sociopathic likes of a Deepak Chopra and all the rest of the phony gurus.

Obviously the reality of the mystical holds a permanent appeal for human beings, as it is nothing less than a call from home. This is precisely why these sociopaths of the left are able to exploit it, because people will be drawn to counterfeit versions if the real thing is unavailable. If you ban classical music, people will still crave music. In fact, look at what happens, say, in the Islamic world, where truth is effectively banned. There is still no shortage of "intellectuals," except that they are unable to entertain truth. Rather, they simply elaborate lies with the thinking mind.

We are very close to the having that same kind of mass pathology in our liberal universities, which are filled with thinkers but precious little truth or wisdom. It cannot be emphasized enough that the more intelligent the person, the more likely they are to have been indoctrinated by the system. After all, the liberal educational establishment pre-selects for the intelligent, so it should come as no surprise that they are the most brainwashed. But there is no correlation whatsoever between intelligence and wisdom, let alone decency.

I don't have to look any further than my own debased field of psychology to see the soul pathology. I would guess that 90% of clinical psychologists are left/liberal. As a result, there is no end to the lies they embrace and propagate, but which they call "sophistication" or "enlightenment." The whole field is sophocating under a blanket of political correctness. I wouldn't even try to add my voice, because it would be a full time job defending oneself from the vicious attacks that would ensue.

American Thinker occasionally has a religious piece, but again, it is always within the realm of a perhaps slightly intellectualized but nevertheless completely exoteric religiosity that can't really stand up to the light of the intellect, or Mind of Light. They just have to pretend there is no conflict between conservative rationalism and religious irrationalism. Not that exoteric religion is necessarily irrational, only that it requires an illuminated intellect to understand precisely why it isn't.

Furthermore, without that deeper understanding to anchor it, then religion can easily fall prey to a rank irrationalism that the left never stops exploiting. In other words, if you do not understand the sharp distinctions between the logical, illogical, and supralogical, then one way or the other you will end up promoting illogic. Just as a reasonable scientist becomes unreasonable the moment he believes that reason alone is sufficient to disclose the Real, the religious person becomes infralogical the moment he abandons the supralogical (or fails to ever even ascend there).

I suppose that's what troubles me, because it really is like starting a new movement from the ground up. While we have allies, our differences with those allies are very sharp. On the one hand, we share no values whatsoever with the diabolical left, which embodies all of the anti-Divine and anti-evolutionary cosmic forces. But on the other hand, there is only a partial intersection with conservatism, being that they talk about things like virtue and truth, but again in a very limited way that doesn't draw out their cosmic implications in a totally consistent manner. And forget about the Republican Party, which at best serves as an occasional brake on the worst depredations of the illiberal left. They are an embarrassment.

Really, even the most sensibly religious conservatives, such as Dennis Prager, stop halfway. He's another example of someone for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration, but I am quite sure he would be "tone deaf" to my approach. A lot of conservatives -- precisely because they are guided by logic and not emotion -- are suspicious of realities that transcend the logical plane. From their point of view, mysticism looks like mystification and mystagogy.

This may or may not be relevant, but a friend of mine, who is a Beatles fanatic, just returned from a trip to England. While in London, he visited several of the locations where the film A Hard Day's Night was shot. He wrote to me that "as we have discussed, there is a mythological quality about that movie.... partly because it's in black and white.... and these locations that are so familiar are interesting to see in real life. Although, they're never as good as the image you have from the film."

He is definitely not what you would call a Raccoon, but I'm always working on him, since I can't not be me. I wrote back to him that he was merely confirming the fact that what we call the "real world" is actually a lower dimensional declension from the mythological world. But "mythological" is not really a good word, since it has taken on too many negative connotations, as if mythological means "unreal" or "fantasy." But all spiritual metaphysics agree that the material world is merely the epidermis or "outer" layer of reality. It's the last step before nothingness. So A Hard Day's Night -- or any great work of art -- is more real than its subject.

Hmm, he just wrote me back. Let's see if I got through to him. If I did, perhaps there is hope for the world after all:

"I love your take on the 'real' world... versus the one depicted in A Hard Day's Night. As a kid, that world I saw in the movie was so supercharged with life and energy... and yet there's really NOTHING notable about those actual locations. So, what we think of as 'reality'... the riverbank, the train station, are really just small slivers of what's ACTUALLY happening (if I read you right).

"So... to extend the thought, I think one of the keys in life is to somehow burrow under that boring outer layer of reality, and get to the good stuff... where the magic and the mystery happens."

By jove, I think he's got it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

God is a Joke and Bill Maher is a Barbaric Idiot

The Boy has had back-to-back sicknesses. Doesn't seem to bother him, but yesterday he called it a night at 5:00AM, when normally he sleeps until 7:30 or 8:00. So if this post ends abruptly, you'll know why. Or, if it doesn't even start, you'll also know why. At the moment, I have no idea what it's even about, so if we never find out... you get the idea.

So, what is the subject of today's post? I don't know, let me look around.... Notes and books everywhere.... This is what happens when I take two days off from blogging. I lose the thread, and even if I do find it, it's no longer necessarily connected to the now, and that's where the posts come from.

I think a lot of it has to do with the presence of Future Leader, but it's as if I'm losing my ability to think horizontally, only vertically. You look at other people's kids and say, "look how fast he grew up!" But that's not how it feels with mine. Rather, it's more like moment-to-moment crisis management. I don't mean that in a negative way. It's like being, say, a professional baseball player, in which you have absolutely no time to reflect on the previous game before preparing for the next. In a way, it's liberating, as it frees you from all the petty concerns that can plague you. For example, it is true that the house is a wreck. But we'll clean it in a couple of years, when he starts school. There would be no point before that.

I believe we were discussing evolution and creation. In Christian terms, man is the vertical link that potentially spans all the levels of creation. As Ware writes, he is both microcosm and mediator, and "it is his God-given task to reconcile and harmonize the noetic and the material realms, to bring them to unity, to spiritualize the material, and to render manifest all the latent capacities of the created order."

That's interesting, because you could say the identical thing about Sri Aurobindo, which is again why I think that the two approaches are so compatible. Remember, Aurobindo was educated at Cambridge, and had no knowledge of his homeland at the time he returned there in his early 20's. As such -- in contrast to a commenter the other day who suggested that he was influenced by Rudolf Steiner -- I think he was influenced by both Christianity and western science -- including the theory of evolution -- and applied them to Indian metaphysics. So when Aurobindo talks about "divinizing matter" or reconciling all the levels of creation, he is really talking like an Orthodox Christian.

It's all very Jewish as well. Ware quotes a venerable rabbi who writes that man is called "to advance from rung to rung until, through him, everything is united." Note that there is no unity in the absence of the ascent. True unity cannot be achieved horizontally, not in principle or in fact.

This is why I wrote in my book that the scientific search for a "theory of everything" is totally misguided, at least to the extent that anyone imagines it will account for the higher levels of creation. Even an apprentice Raccoon knows full well that that will never happen. At best, it will account for the lowest rung, and even then, only for people who don't know about the rest of the ladder, which necessarily has a lowest rung. In other words, it will be a satisfying theory for simpleminded flatlanders and lizards who crawl on their bellies. It will have no relevance to Upright Man, except to demonstrate the "relative unity" of that particular plane of reality. But we already know that each rung in the ladder necessarily has relative unity as a result of God's involution, so we won't really have learned anything.

This is imprecisely what Petey was referring to on p. 254 of my book, where it is written: Your man in Nirvana reporting from the serene of the climb. Before caterpultering your buddhafly, lotus pray: last rung in's a written gag, so your seenill grammar and gravidad may not be malapropriate for my laughty revelation. Don't worry, it's just aphasia go through before the noesis in your head becomes real. Ascent you a son, amen for a child's job! That's the New Man, we're just putting him on.

There are so many ways to approach this passage for those who wish to take the time (some of which are found in the footnoetics), but you may be sure that it is not mere nonsense. Rather, it is attempting to use language in a holographic manner, in order to "mirror" the multidimensional fulsomeness of the higher realms. There are so many idiots out there, such as Bill Maher, who take scripture literally, and then attack it for being so literal. As such, when he attacks religion, he is really attacking his own stupidity.

Since this stupidity seems to be "going around," especially among our educated classes, I wanted to make sure that my "scripture" could not be taken that way. Indeed, I wanted to make certain that it would be impenetrable to the barbarous likes of a Bill Maher. My laughty revelation doesn't contain anything that isn't already in scripture. Indeed, that is obviously where I playgiarized the ideas from. It's just that where authorized scripture proceeds from vertical to horizontal (or holographic to linear) in order to reach man and speak to him "where he is," I attempted to do the opposite, since modern man abuses God's courtesy, and even imagines himself superior to revelation. But he only ends up making himself more appallingly stupid, for example, as evidenced by this brilliant and edgy observation by Maher:

"You can't be a rational person six days of the week and put on a suit and make rational decisions and go to work and, on one day of the week, go to a building and think you're drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old space god."

Very well then. I merely took revelation back up to where it came from, back upstream to its holographic source. Same thing with the Cosmobliteration section of my book. If these postmodern barbarians cannot appreciate the majesty and mystery of Biblical language, and instead want to kill the spirit with their coroner's approach to Life, then so be it. I'll show them what scripture looks like to the initiated.

Take Maher's boneheaded understanding, as reflected in the above idiotic joke. Let's consider the same thing in terms of my scrypture, and see which stand-up cosmologist is laughtier. In other words, let's re-verticalize what the moron Maher insists upon horizontalizing -- and then laughing at his own stupidity. Let's see him laugh at my scripture, because to laugh at it is to understand it -- and therefore, to understand the Divine. If he were capable of laughing at my joke, then his is no longer funny, just kind of pathetic. Actually, several passages will do. For example

You haven't perceived the hologram to your private particle? Come in, open His presence and report for karmic duty. Why, it's a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf. What incanation?!

Mrs. G. is presently in the process of undergoing conversion to Catholicism. She is very much looking forward to her first communion next Easter, as she spends the year preparing the ground to receive it. Maher thinks it's funny that she will "drink the blood of a 2000 year-old space god." But what will really be happening is that the ritual will allow her to better perceive the hologram to her private particle. In fact, I can see the living leaves sprouting on her already, whereas with Maher I see only dead wood. What's funnier?

Reverse worldward descent and cross the bridge of darkness to the father shore.

I don't know about you, but when I attend a religious service -- or even just write a post -- that is precisely what I am doing. It has nothing to do with 2000 year-old space gods, but reascending to the father shore. It has nothing to do with going back in time, but rather, beyond time and up in space like an astralnaut. Ware agrees that "When the intellect is no longer dissipated among external things or dispersed across the world through the senses, it returns to itself; and by means of itself ascends to the thought of God." So,

Take us before and beyond this womentary maninfestation, reveal not the horizontal but our inmost upmost vertical bigending.

And this can only occur now, back in the future of the Eden of our origin: In the garden misty wet with rain, eight miles high, far from the twisted reach of yestermorrow. Insinuate! Now put down the apple and back way slowly, and nobody dies!

In so doing, we are not going from the "natural" to the "supernatural" world. Rather, we are going from the unnatural to the natural world. For as Ware writes, "There is no such thing as 'natural man' existing in separation from God: man cut off from God is in a highly unnatural state." Furthermore -- and this is where politics inevitably meets with the religion of our founders, "the denial of God has gone hand in hand with a cruel repression of man's personal freedom. Nor is this in the least surprising. The only secure basis for a doctrine of human liberty and human dignity is the belief that each man is in God's image."

God dwells in a Light, to which a road is wanting. He who does not become That himself, will never see it.... The man who does not try to raise his spirit above itself, is not worthy to live in the condition of a man. --Angelus Silesius

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Falling at the Speed of Liberalism

Just went through the September '06 arkive, and didn't find much that was worth a second look. Frankly, it would have taken less time to produce a new post. In selecting an oldie for the weekly Saturday reposting, I'm usually looking for something I can dialogue with from my new perspective. Plus, I like to weave in some contemporary events, add some fresh insults, and, most importantly, remove the frankly embarrassing, trite, or insufficiently pompous material that seemed arrogant enough at the time. So this one will have to do.

*****

Gricks may rise and Troysirs may fall (there being two sights for ever a picture) for in the byways of high improvidence that's what makes lifework leaving and the world's a cell for citters to cit in. --James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

There are two laws in history: the law of gravity, and the law of destiny. Left to their own devices, human beings will recapitulate the fall day by day, moment by moment, plummeting further and further from the Origin and Center. In order to find and attain one's destiny -- which is coextensive with the Origin and Center, on a personal level -- one must go against the collective winds which either drag one down with the rest, or, at the very least, pressure one to conform to the mentality of the horde. This was not as problematic in America's past, when the culture still valued and embodied the ideal of spiritual perfection in its diverse modalities.

[Here you go: here's a contemporary reference for you at American Thinker, The Drumbeat, by William Staneski. The drumbeat to which he refers is simply the dreary rhythm of man's fall, set to the monotonous bleat of leftist doctrine. It is hardly new, much less progressive:

"The drumbeat. It's always there. Day and night. Rain or shine. Winter or Summer. Sunday or Monday. It comes at you from every direction. It comes over the TV, the radio, at work, at school, in music, in the newspapers, from the politicians, in conversation with others, even in church. It wears you down. It robs you of the will to resist its message. Even short-lived victories, which stop it briefly, leave you with the knowledge that it will return; each minor victory bound to be lost to the redoubled efforts of this patient and persistent force. You can't escape it. It never stops. It never gives up. It never ends. It rains upon you from every possible angle, from every possible source."

Again, you have to imagine how difficult it was to resist this drumbeat back in the days before talk radio and other conservative media. When I was a liberal, I literally encountered no resistance to the leftist fall. There was nothing whatsoever to prevent me from jumping into the fire and going down with it into the ribbon of darkness. As I have said, I am not a bitter or backward looking man, but if I were, I could be pretty angry at how much of my life was lost bathing in the muddy water of liberalism. One reason I'm not angry is that I made the transition back to reality and truth before I was too old, and I have no right to complain about the way things turned out.

The downward tide of leftism is "tolerant, diverse, non-judgmental, non-discriminatory, egalitarian, politically correct, multicultural, globalist, and collectivist. It insists that there are no rights and wrongs, no moral absolutes. It turns everything upside down in its looking glass world. It denies the correctness of all that produced what our culture revered before the deconstruction of the world in accordance with the tenets of cultural Marxism.

"It denies God, human exceptionalism, and the soul. We are reduced to Darwinian animals floundering in an amoral sea of meaninglessness. It is a product of the nihilistic, existentialist philosophical movement, which went hand in hand with modern art, atonal music, scientific materialism and modern physics, and the generally discordant nature of the twentieth century."

I would express it differently, in that there is nothing about modernity that needed to end in the hell of leftist nihilism. Rather, I think the left is riding on the much deeper structure of the cosmic fall, or those descending winds that end in the Great Nothing, or what Schuon calls the possibility of the impossible. There is nothing whatsoever about modern science -- for example, quantum physics -- that necessarily leads to materialism. Quite the opposite. Likewise, modern art. None of the techniques of modern art are problematic in the hands of an elevated soul. Hollywood doesn't have to be sewer. Rock music doesn't have to be subhuman. I blame the people, not the medium. For every 1000 Madonnas or Bon Jovis, there's still one Van Morrison. In order to see the light, all you have to do is turn around.

Anyway, back to the old post.]

In this sense, the ancients were correct in being suspicious of time. At any given point in history, looked at in a certain way, things always look bleak and seem to be getting bleaker. Therefore, why not stop the whole colliderescape and get off? I would call that a pathological kind of conservatism, whereas real conservatism must be progressive. However, it all depends upon what one means by progress. For the true conservative, it means closer proximity and adequation to the Good, True, and Beautiful.

If one were to look at the way things stood in the world over the 500 years or so up to 1700, one “would not have been optimistic about the future of mankind." As historian Alan McFarlane notes in his The Riddle of the Modern World: Of Liberty, Wealth and Equality, nearly every civilization had reached some sort of "invisible barrier” that prevented further development: "The world and its roughly 500 million inhabitants seemed to have reached the limit to its potential to support human life.... Mankind seemed to be caught on a treadmill."

How did we ever get off that treadmill? It's an important question, because it is at the heart of our current conflict with Islam. They are still on that treadmill, and when one isn't progressing, one generally degenerates. Life is not static. Reduced to stasis, it becomes death. There is no middle ground. You cannot be "a little bit" alive or dead. Any evolving system must maintain disequilibrium by exchanging matter or information with the environment. The deepest problem with the Islamic world is that it is a closed system, both individually and collectively.

Prior to West's discovery of the dynamics of material and intellectual growth, life consisted of unrelenting uncertainty deprivation for all but a very few. In order to accomplish our breakthrough, “almost all the trends of the previous 2000 years had to be reversed.” Among other things, the monopolization of knowledge had to end, so that information and technology could be shared through widespread education and literacy. Furthermore, this couldn't be just any kind of education. Rather, it had to be a rational education in which one freely discovers universal truths that are not context-bound (i.e., merely cultural constructs which are often rooted in the management of anxiety rather than pursuit of truth).

There is an ontological divide between human beings that is mirrored in the gulf between left and right. There are those who say that what the world really needs is more love, more peace, more mutual understanding, more unity, more cuddly blah blah.

Nonsense. Nearly every serious problem in the world may be reduced to an absence of Truth. The pursuit of love and peace is perfectly admirable on a micro level in one's personal life. This is the meaning of “love your enemies," “turn the other cheek," "the meek shall inherit the earth," and all those other admirable sentiments.

But the Bible is not a suicide pact. On a macro level, the most important societal value by far is Truth. And not just any kind of Truth, but the truth of Truth and a method for discovering it. It has been said that it wasn't this or that particular invention that distinguished the West. Rather, it was the invention of invention, or the discovery of a method of discovery.

In the Islamic world -- as in liberal academia -- truth is received, not discovered. And most of what they receive is not only untrue, but cannot possibly be true. But because they have no tradition or means of independent verification, they are immersed in darkness and falsehood. In such a situation, the soul emaciates in the same way a body eventually consumes itself if deprived of food.

The other day, an acquaintance mentioned the left wing barking point one often hears, that if only the Israelis had settled someplace other than Israel, there would be no problems in the Middle East. That is beyond naive. Muslims do not object to Israel merely because it exists, but because they believe outrageous lies about Israel.

Likewise, for all those leftists who say that America is hated, that may be so, at least by the international left (and by the Americans who give a rat's ass what the international left thinks about us). But it is hated because the haters of the left believe things about us that are outrageously untrue, just as the left hates President Bush because they believe lies about him. Furthermore, they want to believe the lies, in order to legitimize the hatred. To know the truth would be to de-legitimize the hatred, and deny its channel of expression. Imagine what would happen to a Bill Maher or Keith Olbermann or Randi Rhodes or Markos Moulitsas if all that hatred were backed up inside them. Thus, they have every motivation for believing lies. It keeps them insanely sane, so to speak.

By being sensitive to Muslim feelings for decades, we have essentially honored their delusional lies. In the spirit of a deeply illiberal multiculturalism, we have allowed these lies to take their place alongside the truth as a coequal partner. Light shall no longer shine in the dark, but shall dialogue with it, man to imam. The Pope let slip a banal truth about the sordid history of Islam, and look what happened. The entitled liars bristled in defense of their primordial lie, a lie which has been further enshrined by that half of the postmodern world which regards truth as relative and arbitrary. In so doing, they have simply allowed these tyrannical monsters to elevate their truth (which is a lie) to a false absolute.

For, although they are the benefecearies of liberal academics who teach the false absolute that truth doesn't exist, they don't really believe that for a second. Rather, they simply use the means of leftist relativism to advance their own absolute end of religious totalitarianism. For when truth is denied, raw power fills the vacuum, destroying love and everything else in its wake.

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: