Monday, September 29, 2008

Bill Maher: Bad Theologian, Worse Comedian

Seelambs! Is a prophet without honor in his own homily? Lesson! My yokes are easy, my words enlight.

So Bill Maher thinks religion is ridiculous, or worthy of ridicule. Which is no doubt true of some religions -- e.g., Scientology, or Obama's insane Trinity United Church, or global warming -- and some religious followers.

But if I were so inclined, I could easily produce a documentary -- after all, I did attend film school -- in which I conduct man-on-the street interviews of Hollywood celebrities, MSM journalists, and tenured dullards, and make them look even more foolish (since they have so much further to fall, at least in their own eyes) by innocently quizzing them about the actual metaphysical principles embodied in authentic revelation.

For example, I might ask Bill Maher to explain his position on the ontological arguments for God, or I might ask a philosophical bonehead such as Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris to elaborate on the metacosmic significance of truth-bearing primates. But why bother? What would be the point, except to demonstrate that spiritually untutored people are cosmically stupid and that man's fallen nature is irrevocable in the absence of grace? That's not funny, it's just pathetic.

If you go to the official website for the film, it it prominently linked to a site called disbelief.net, which features hilariously subtle satire such as the following:

"Christianity began in the year 0001; coincidentally, the same year a carpenter’s wife named Mary had gotten mysteriously knocked up. Figuring that he could be worse off than taking sloppy seconds to the Creator, Joseph hung around until the birth of her baby, whom she named Jesus.

"Joseph seemingly raised Jesus as his own son, mostly for the baby shower gifts that were bestowed upon the family (you should never look gift frankincense in the mouth), and tried to teach him the family trade. While Jesus never showed much of an aptitude for nailing pieces of wood together, he eventually found that he was quite good other things, like healing the sick, walking on water, and changing water into wine –- all of which made for good back-up careers, and entertaining party tricks."

I give wide latitude to blasphemy, so long as it is actually funny. However, if you strike at a king you must kill him; and if you make a joke about God, it had better kill. The ultimate comedic challenge is to make God laugh, which is the inner meaning of the sacred "guffaw-ha!" experience of higher coonology. If instead God just kind of stares at you in stony silence, or gives you one of those awkward courtesy chuckles, you've missed the mark. Big time. You had better give up while you're ahead. Don't test his mercy, like Tom Arnold.

So God has no fundamental opposition to a film that ridicules bad religion. Why would he? For one thing, we only know about bad religion because good religion exists. Obviously God has a highly developed sense of humor. We know this because we are created in his image, and this is the source of our otherwise inexplicable sense of humor. Not for nothing are human and humor etymologically related, at least in my imagination. But in knowing this, we must maintain dantengly high standards for our divine comedy, for the same reason that, in knowing that beauty and truth flow from the Creator, we do our best to maintain some quality control over the realms they embody.

For example, the infamous Piss Christ is not merely blasphemous. Rather, even worse, it is just bad and heavy-handed art. It is a sin against beauty, which is what specifically constitutes its blasphemy. Nothing that ugly could be intrinsically true, just as nothing as substantially beautiful as Christianity could be essentially false. A gifted scientist will also implicitly realize the indivisible relationship between truth and beauty, for it is one of those things that simply "must be," given the conditions of existence.

Divine substance, spiritual essence, intrinsic truth -- these are the things that religion is here to convey. But so too is great art. It is not here to memorialize contingency and ugliness, since they can well take care of themselves, and have no need of artists to remind us that they exist. We don't need the art of Yoko Ono to remind us that her ass is a hideous thing to behold, any more than we need Bill Maher to remind us that the dreary architecture of his soul* makes Yoko's ass look like Grace Kelly. Rather, the artist specifically swims against that infrahuman tide, toward the metacosmic source of beauty, just as the true philosopher resists the pull of falsehood and the genuine comedian resists the temptation of facile mockery. (*TW: Becker & Fagen.)

Again, Bill Maher is mocking the ultimate principle. But in so doing, he is being intellectually -- and worse yet, comedically -- dishonest. If you're going to take on God, you don't do it by interviewing morons just to show us how smugly self-satisfied you are. We know that already. Bring us your A-game. Take on some spiritual adults. I'll debate Maher any time, any day, so long as it is in print. That way he will have to prove that he can even construct a philosophically coherent sentence before moving on to bigger things, let alone the Biggest Thing. In this regard, if you check out his writing at huffpo, you will see that it is nearly as appallingly stupid as their other religious expert, the apparently brain-damaged Deepak Chopra's.

Bill Maher would never take up this challenge, because his greatest fear is of looking like the idiot that he unconsciously knows himself to be. His entire persona seems to be a narcissistic false self erected to conceal something else. Generally speaking, in psychoanalytic terms, contempt binds one to an object one secretly idealizes and longs for, so that his contempt for God and religion may well be just the visible side of some sort of deep disappointment or resentment. Don't get me wrong -- there is such a thing a righteous contempt. But that is the province of righteous men, a category from which Maher is a priori excluded.

If I were going to joke about Mr. Jehoviality or kid the keter, I would want it to be appropriately hyperdimensional and holographic, in conformity to its object, certainly not Bill Maher's comedic equivalent of Carrot Top making fun of Gallagher. Perhaps something like this sein language:

Unknown origin prior to time and space, fount of all being, unborn thus undying, beginning and end of all impossibility, empty plenum and inexhaustible void. Who is? I AM. A wake. A lone. Hallow, noumena!

Or, In etherworlds: Once upon a timaeus, One's up in a timeless without a second to spore and noplace to bang anyway. The abbasolute first day, before eve or any other middling relativities. Only himsoph with nowhere to bewrong, hovering over the waters without a kenosis. Vishnu were here, but just His lux, God only knows only God, and frankly, ishvara monotheotonous -- no one beside him, no nous, same old shunyada yada yada.... 'Elo, him, what samadhi you? Stop deidreaming and gita life, bodhi! Make sefiromthing of yoursaleph! (I don't have time to provide links to what all these things mean. If in doubt, just check out the footnoetics.)

Etc. Look, it made me laugh, and I like to think it gave God a chuckle. But more importantly, my agent got the jokes -- and thereby became my agent -- which is probably the only reason you and I are here sharing this moment. Had that not happened, the Cosmos would never have come into being. Badda bing, badda BANG!

In this regard, I was obviously influenced by Joyce, whose Finnegans Wake is filled with clever jokes about God. But in order to make these kinds of transdimensional jokes, you really have to know what you're talking about, and Joyce was trained as a Jesuit. While he may have left the faith, it clearly never left him, and it always informed his thinking. Indeed, it is precisely why he could think so deeply about things. To paraphrase his alter-ego, Stephen Dedalus, why on earth would one leave a coherent absurdity for an incoherent one?

For example, Finnegans Wake is deeply informed by the recurring cycle of fall and rebirth, or death and resurrection, on nearly every page, presented in a linguistically hyperdense but bawdily humorous manner, such as Comeday morm and, O, you're vine! Sendday's eve and, ah, you're vinegar! Hahahaha, Mister Funn, you're going to be fined again! In this one line you have a hint of the humor to come (Comeday), with the sweet wine of youth turning to the sour vinegar of age, or fun turning to fall, or Eve being the agent of man's fall, or the circular O of the resurrection, in which once again you're vine.

That is how you make fun of religion, my friends, in such a way that to get the punch line is to understand God. Suffice it to say that Bill Maher has neither the comedic nor intellectual chops to pull that off.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stop Time Before it Stops You

Here is an old post that conveniently touches on yesterday's topic of organismic and spiroidal time. In rereading it, I added in a lot of second and third thoughts as they occurred to me.

******

Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which mangles me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges. --Jorge Luis Borges

In any attempt to bridge the domains of experience belonging to the spiritual and physical sides of our nature, time occupies the key position. --A. N. Whitehead

I forget. Have we discussed the nature of time yet, except in passing? It seems that we’ve been skirting around the topic for the last dozen or so posts, and you may have noticed that my Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement has made several cogent comments about it. Perhaps it is time to evade the issue head on.

Let us begin with a bobservation from a while back, when I wrote that:

“To beat this conundrum, one must understand the distinction between time and eternity. Eternity is not time everlasting, but timelessness. Time and eternity are actually aspects of one another; they are dialectically related, although eternity naturally takes priority, as time may be derived from it, but the converse could never occur."

In one sense, time may be thought of as the serial deployment of something that lies outside time. Thus, eternity is not located in the past or future, because no matter how far you go, you are still dealing with chronological time. Rather, the only possible place eternity could be is now -- not in a temporal now, but in an eternal now (to put it another way, the now has nothing fundamentally to do with the category of time, and it merely obscures matters to think of it in that way).

As it so happens, the mysterious now, so inexplicable in terms of any model physics has ever come up with, is the intersection of time and eternity, and human beings are the self-aware locus where this occurs -- where the vertical world of principles meets the horizontal world of contingency; or, where your mamamaya met your papurusha and had a lila trinity.

So much trouble is caused by our reliance upon language, which, in its superficial sense, is geared to the problems of matter, not consciousness, much less the ground of consciousness. We often mistake a deficiency of language for a key to truth. In order to discuss these deeper ontological questions, language must be deployed in a special, nonlinear, non-dualistic and poetic way. I attempted to achieve this in my book, whether successfully or unsuccessfully I cannot say (at least for others -- it works for me). The ground of existence may be ineffable, but not completely uneffinbelievably so.

Clearly, time is at the heart of the mystery of existence. In fact, time is indistinguishable from existence, which is one of the things that makes it so difficult to describe. And yet, to a certain extent, you must be outside or “above” time in order to perceive it, which in itself provides a key to the mystery. After all, animals are just as much entangled in time as we are, except that they don’t know it. Why? Because an animal is incapable of lifting itself above its own subjectivity, while humans are specifically capable of objectivity. We can “see” time “passing” so to speak, just as we can sit here on this bank of sand with Bob Dylan and watch the river flow. Except that we are also floating on the river we observe, and the river doesn’t run in a straight line but in circles within circles.

As above, so below. Just as the cosmos is organized in circles within circles -- the rotating earth circling around a star inside a galaxy that is also a revolving and rotating spheroid -- our lives consist of circular days within weeks within years within a full trip around the block called a natural lifetime. Esoterists believe that our lives consist of fractal time cycles of varying length, each a reflection of the other; thus, for example, a lifetime can also be thought of as a single day, with the morning of childhood, the day of youth, the evening of maturity, the twilight of old age, and the night-womb of death. Or our lives can be thought of as a year: spring, summer, autumn and winter. I guess I'm in the autumn of my Thursday afternoon.

But the ancients believed only in the closed circle of eternal return, not the line of growth, which is to say the open spiral. Here again, what distinguishes man is not that we are immersed in the cycles of time, but that we may utilize time to experience endless cycles of growth, or what I call inward mobility. Doing so is the whole point of your existence, assuming you belong to the contemplative or sacerdotal caste to whom I address my blog (most of my detractors are simply innocent members of other castes, i.e., menial or tenured laborers, unnatural scientists, shopkeepers, craftsmen, administrators, servants, bitter comedians, etc.).

Now, if you are at all like me -- an interior cosmonaut or daring pilot of the higher planes -- you obviously do not measure your flight against some worldly errport, but in the light of the Absolute rungway.

Let me back up a bit. A couple of weeks ago I made a rash statement to the effect that I had abandoned the monastic “ascending” approach that had guided my spiritual practice for some ten years, in favor of a “descending” bobhisattvic approach. That’s true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t really go very far in describing the sort of person I'm not. In fact, our Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement immediately corrected me -- I forget what he said exactly -- but it was something to the effect that we must always be grateful to the spiritual hermit who gives his life entirely to God and blazes a trail from time to eternity for the rest of us.

For I actually try, insofar as it is possible, to spend as much timelessness in eternity as I can, given the constraints of worldly existence. I was recently discussing this with a friend in a different context. I was trying to explain to him, without success, that there is no such thing as “quality time” with a child, only quantity time in which you will have randomly magical moments of quality timelessness, which is to say, eternity. It is my belief that the concept of quality time was simply invented by guilty parents to convince themselves that they do not have to put in the quantity of time it takes to nurture a deep and profound relationship with your child. It is really a statement about how people still deprive children of their innate dignity and stature. After all, assuming you love your spouse, you don’t just give them an hour of “quality time” here and there and hope for the best.

Well, it’s the same with the Divine, don’t you know. This, of course, is the limitation of mere churchianity, in which you spend 60-90 minutes per week of quality time with God, or even meditation, in which you spend 20 or 30 minutes a day with him. Doesn’t really work, in my opinion. You and God need some quantity time to really get to know one another.

Now, this is somewhat easy for me to say, because I long ago made a crucial decision that worldly success meant nothing to me if it would deprive me of the time and space I would require to embark on a feckless Adventure of Consciousness. Thus, as long ago as high school, I thought to myself, “I have no idea what I want to do in terms of a career, but whatever it is, it cannot be a normal nine to five full time job working for someone else. The Subgenius must have Slack." Believe it or not, I have kept to this vow. With a few exceptions, I have avoided full time work my entire life.

Or at least paid work. In fact, I am always working, except that it cannot be seen by my in-laws. For Bob is never doing so much as when it looks as if he is doing nothing. As I have mentioned before, members of other castes might look at my life and conclude that old Head-in-Clouds has a pretty boring existence.

But nothing could be closer to the unTruth. From where I cit, I am embarked on the adventure of a lifetime, except that it is an interior adventure, the progress of which is measured in light of the absolute, not by some relative external standard. I'm always looping for that "hole" in existence. A good day at the orifice is one in which I have made progress towards that nonlocal goal, and shared the joy with others. A bad day is one in which I have been pulled away from the center and origin because of some worldly obligation or other exigency. But outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, I am always doing something: tilling the soil, planting seeds, fertilizing, pulling weeds, topping the leaves, smoking them, etc.

Now, broadly speaking, there are four kinds of men: pneumatic man, intellectual man, emotional or vital man, and the man of action. And there is an appropriate practice for each -- or raja, jnana, bhakti, and karma yogas, which any full-service religion will offer. Each type of yoga, in its own way, tries to provide an appropriate means for experiencing eternity within time. To live “within” religion is to find a way to be, or think, or feel, or act within eternity.

Now, no one has been more shocked than I have about what happens when you begin “thinking” within religion, because to a certain extent, this blog is nothing more or less than that. Like so many people in the modern west, I started off in a place that pretty much equated religion and ignorance. But as it so happens, knowledge of religion is knowledge that is both fruitful and efficacious, not to say transformational. It is nothing at all like “book learning,” or mere mental knowledge. If we grasp religion only with the mind, it is not really "interior" knowledge to which we may validly lay claim.

With the type of thinking I am describing, one is vaulted, so to speak, into a different space, the space from which the eternal mystery perpetually arises. What I have discovered, to my everlasting surprise, is that once in this space, one finds that it actually has its own very real characteristics and attributes. I know this because every day I receive confirmation from fellow explorers who see and experience the same thing. It's as if we are all setting voyage into an unknown sea but all returning with vaguely similar -- sometimes strikingly so -- descriptions of the flora and fauna on the other side. I can only reemphasize that this is most mysterious indeed.

Look at it this way. Europe only made its way westward to the New World in 1492. The westward exploration continued until the late nineteenth century, when the external frontier was closed. Thus the exploration began delving "within" matter and time with Einstein's revolution, outward into space, and back to the origins of the material universe with big bang cosmology. The systematic exploration of the unconscious only got underway with the publication of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams in 1900. 21st century spirituality will provide the opportunity for more people to embark on the interior journey, thus situating their lives within the grand evolutionary epic in which we are the central prayers. If that doesn't happen, then earth will be in for a very bumpy ride.

To summarise: time is not actually possible without eternity, but evolution is not possible without time. Therefore, there is a need to be saved from our apparent separation from the eternal, as we make the evolutionary sprint from monkey to manhood to monad. This salvolution perennially occurs in the eternal ground in which we participate at our deepest level. We may be sons of God "through adoption," and thereby be saved from the ravages of time, here and now. We may make the eternal present in us. But it must be "realized” in order to be effective.

The fully realized person has effectively reversed the fall, or turned figure and ground (or time and eternity, absolute and relative) inside out and upside down. He has reversed the vector flow that misleadingly draws consciousness down and out to the terminal more and moraine of the senses. In short, he has realized that the cosmos is tree with its roots aloft, its branches down here below. And it is a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf. So don’t be an existential sap. Stop time before it stops you!

There where all ends, all is eternally beginning. --Hermes

Men perish because they cannot join the beginning and the end. --Alcmaeon

Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginnng were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden.
--Eliot

Friday, September 26, 2008

Gods, Kings, Heroes, Men, Clowns, and Chaos

In my opinion, if the western world should ever lose its religious moorings -- which is well on the way to happening -- it will be the end of the western world. I would put it this way: the West is the only hope for the world; America is the only hope for the West; the conservative movement is the only hope for America; and a proper understanding of religion is the only hope for the conservative movement.

As our founders realized, the whole existentialda is rooted in the perpetuation and renewal of the universal values embodied in our Judeo-Christian heritage. It is no coincidence that in the writings of the founders, 34 percent are to the Bible (nearly 1100 out of 3154; cited in Novak).

Thankfully, in this enlightened day and age, we have mental giants such as Bill Maher to explain to us that the Founders were a gang of credulous fools for relying on an arbitrary compendium of primitive fairy tales to found a nation.

No wonder the United States didn't survive. If only the ACLU had been around at the time, they could have set the Fathers straight, and inculcated them with Marxist values after first informing them that "Founding Fathers" was sexist and offensive. If our Founding Androgynes and Metrosexuals could only have seen a pre-screening of Religulous, their eyes would have been opened. Who knows, perhaps they could have even prevented our civilization from being destroyed by global warming hysterics.

To cite one superstitious -- not to mention, appallingly ethnocentric -- idiot by the name of John Adams, "I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the world."

This arrogant, Jew-loving neo-con tool of the Israel lobby also wrote that "I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations." The Jewish people preserved and propagated "to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the greatest essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization." Amazing. This clown sounds like he could be Sarah Palin's speech writer.

At any rate, in each step of my little scheme, you will notice that the left is the Adversary, as they not only devalue and undermine the classical liberal values upon which America was founded, but they also denigrate the West in general. And they obviously hate God and are at war with religion.

Now, if my little schematic is true, then everything hinges upon God and religion. For example, I don't suppose for one minute that democracy or capitalism in and of themselves create decent and wise people, or are even capable of perpetuating the conditions for their own survival. There is certainly nothing sacred about democracy, which is just as likely to bring about a tyranny of stupidity, or to propagate the weak and vile Last Men of the left -- or the demagogic politicians who flatter and seduce them -- who are happy to barter away their freedom (and therefore, humanness) for the pseudo-security of a large and intrusive state.

Unlike Perry, I am not a monarchist, but I can certainly appreciate his point. Of course it would be preferable to have a wise leader who combined and balanced the attributes of wisdom and mercy, intellect and action, discrimination and justice, heart and mind, contemplation and discernment.

In short, who wouldn't want the be led by the archetypal Perfect Man, whose intrinsic authority radiated like the central sun? To recognize such a man would be to spontaneously bow down in service to him, whether it be in war, commerce, education, art, whatever. To be in his presence would warm the heart and illuminate the mind, and give force to whatever inchoate virtues one possesses. It would make the brave man more courageous and self-sacrificing, the wise man more eager to impart knowledge to others, the artist more desirous of transmitting celestial beauty through song, color, or word. He would loosen the strictures of the ego with the mere force of his presence, simultaneously merciful and severe.

They say that George Washington was such a man, which is why we no longer celebrate his birthday. Likewise, Lincoln.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on.


It reminds me of one of the recurring cyclical themes that informs Finnegans Wake, which Joyce borrowed from the philosopher Giambattista Vico. In his New Science, Vico argued that civilization develops and declines through a "recurring cycle (ricorso) of three ages: the divine, the heroic, and the human," or the ages of Chaos, Gods, Heroes, and Men, followed by another age of Chaos.

I suppose the question for us is whether we are at the end of the age of Men and only just entering the age of Chaos. If that is the case, then the economic and political crises of the day are truly only the opening strains of a precipitous descent into Dark Night. Place your bets on a great depression and terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons.

Alternatively, if we are already in the age of Chaos, one would look for signs of a new religious revival, only at a higher level on the ascending spiral, a la my book, which of course playgiarized both Joyce and Vico, so that the whimper of our present age of wimps will end in a new bang of Superior (but freakishy humble) Men, or a democracy of souls worthy of democracy.

For the man of the left, this will appear as an oppressive tyranny of truth and virtue, from which he will run like a man on fire. It is in this context that we should understand the Atheistic Idiot movement led by the inglorious likes of Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the rest of the flatland dolts who wish to evilangelize their spiritual inadequacy to the susceptible masses.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.


Now, regarding the ontological status of time as it bi-sects politics, Novak writes that the Founders "did not believe that time is cyclical, going nowhere, spinning in circles pointlessly. They believed that history had a beginning and was guided by Providence for a purpose."

Of course, our Founders lived in the age of Heroes, so perhaps they can be excused for not foreseeing the Age of Men, followed by the Age of Leftist and Atheistic clowns and Maherons. In other words, organismic time can never be a straight line. Rather, it must be spiroidal, or a sort of creatively destructive "learning curve" which goes through phases of death and renewal, catabolism and anabolism, or what Bion called PS<-->D. You don't even have to know what PS<-->D stands for, since it is intended to be a sort of existential algebraic abstraction anyway. The point is, as I put it in my book, in order to ascend spiritually -- whether individually or collectively -- some disassembly is required.

Now. Now what? I have no idea. I'm just free-associating again, and here I am at a hyperdimensional crossroads. I could take this post in one of any number of directions -- over, under, sideways, down -- or even end it right now and say "to be continued," even though there is a fifty-fifty chance I never will.

Hmm. I never really got around to the point I wanted to make at the outset of this post, which has to do with the type of religiosity I envision, as we transition from the Age of Chaos back around to a new Age of Gods. This comes back to the very essence of the Raccoon projeKct, which is to speak to that remnant of spiritual seedlings who are beginning to sprout beneath the soil of this age of chaos and darkness. You, know, to gather the lost tribe of Raccoons by using the internet to establish a mycelial astralnautwork of meshrooms or menschwombs able to grow and even glow in the dark.

Terence McKenna once said that there were two possible mushrooms that await man at the end of history-- either the mushroom cloud of atomic annihilation, or the mushroom of Amanita muscaria. I don't think we need to take him literally to know that he wasn't just being psilly.

What are the conditions that will allow the soil of this global neural network to facilitate interconnection and compliexification? Let's go back to our superstitious founders, and see what they had to say about our pneumanautical adventure through the colliderescape of time.

According to Novak, they generally felt that time "was created for the unfolding of human liberty, for human emancipation.... Time was created by a God who 'humbled himself,' by reaching down to dramatize full human potentialites by 'providential signs' among the human beings He had created." As such, history "is a record of progress (or decline), measured by permanent standards, God's standards, as learned and tested by long experience." Prior to the arrival of the Jews, everyone believed in cyclical time, and no one believed in progress, but "for Jews and Christians, by contrast, history is heading somewhere new: toward the New Kingdom of God."

So, this is why America could never be governed by a monarch. Rather, it must become a democracy of divine Kings -- of upright "pontifical men" -- or else descend further down into a new Age of Chaos ruled by an anti-coonfederacy of dunces named Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and Dean.

The past has an objective existence in the present which lies in the future beyond itself... Cut away the future, and the present collapses, emptied of its proper content. Immediate existence requires the insertion of the future in the crannies of the present. --Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Irreligulouse

Apparently, Bill Maher's absecular new film, Religulous, mainly features him doing man-on-the-street interviews with stupid people, asking them about religion. This is done with the intent to demonstrate how stupid religion is, when it actually demonstrates how foolish and shallow Bill Maher is.

For example, what if he had conducted the identical exercise with regard to the U.S. Constitution, or the Theory of Relativity, or art ,or literature, or economics? Would the answers he elicited be a useful reflection on the value of these subjects? No, of course not.

But Bill Maher is not a serious man. Well, perhaps seriously bitter. Which is another point. Maher does not have the insight or depth of character to delve into the roots of his own bitterness and anger, which pose insurmountable obstacles to any understanding of the Subject of the subject he pretends to explore in Religulous. Thus, the whole exercise is one of triumphant self-justification and narcissistic exultation. Obviously, if he were truly curious about God, he could have dialogued with serious intellectuals possessing valid gnosis. But if he were to do that, he would look like the unlearned rube that he is.

It reminds me of what Bion described as the essence of the psychotic mind (which is more or less present in everyone), which is organized around the unholy triumvirate of arrogance, curiosity and stupidity.

The above link is somewhat esoteric, so let me translight it into plain English. We are all subject to an "infantile catastrophe" as a result of slowly assimilating the truth of our precarious cosmic situation, which begins in omnipotence and unicity but ends, one way or the other, in the realization that we do not create reality or control the m(o)ther, i.e., the source of life. A healthy person is able to negotiate this passage and is therefore subject to ongoing growth, while the unhealthy person denies it and is incapable of true emotional growth, or evolution in O. Their souls will stagnate, even while their minds and bodies grow.

In the case of Maher, it doesn't take a psychologist to see that he isn't actually curious about religion. He has no desire to actually understand the Divine, much less to humbly take the steps necessary to develop an open relationship with That which transcends him. Rather, he is bound by a kind of childishly arrogant, intrusive, and presumptuous curiosity that imagines it can know All without any work or preparation, much less humility and surrender.

This is not at all like proper curiosity, which is much more analogous to patient openness to the Real, embodied in faith, or what I call (o). Thus, Maher does not -- and cannot -- reach any useful conclusions about God, only foreordained ones that are implicit in his original arrogance and omnipotence. As such, the film will be a memorial to his own cosmic stupidity, nothing more. No wonder he's so bitter, because the bitterness is merely the residue of some kind of deep disappointment. Bitterness is a "presence" that always conceals a "present absence." So, what is absent in Maher?

It would be uncharitable to go down that route. We'll just leave it alone for now. Rat faced homunculus.

It is not difficult to tell when one is in the presence of an unevolving mind, which can often be traced back to that psychotic part of the mind that refuses to acknowledge primordial reality, or O. I should hasten to add that this mechanism is no respecter of persons, and obviously afflicts the religious and irreligious alike, so to only attack religious, and not secular, stupidity is the height of intellectual dishonesty (or, more likely, just the arrogance/curiosity/stupidity alluded to above). In fact, it is undoubtedly the deep structure that unifies the Darwinian and religious fundamentalist, each of whom "refuses O," so to speak, and instead clings to a kind of mental scaffolding that is reminiscent of the wire mothers of Harry Harlow.

Often, when someone is speaking about a subject, the more important communication is the emotional tone of the communicant, not the supposed subject matter. Or, you could say that the subject matter is just a superficial excuse for the person to evacuate a primitive emotion. For example, we vividly see this in the left's unhinged reaction to Sarah Palin. What is most noteworthy to the discerning listener is the primitive emotionality that she provokes -- very similar to the primitive emotionality that women provoke in the Islamic world.

In the case of the latter, no men in the Islamic world seem to have the insight or maturity to turn inward and wonder at the source of the violence and contempt in their attitudes toward women. Likewise, with the left vis-a-vis Sarah Palin. There are actually some noteworthy exceptions who are alarmed and appalled at the primitive display, but for most of the left, their reaction is all about their own narcissistic trinity of envy, contempt, and triumph.

Imagine the envy Sarah Palin must provoke in desiccated old feminist hags such as Maureen Dowd, Erica Jong, or Gloria Steinem. The envy is intolerable, so it is quickly transformed into contempt and then triumph. But again, it is the triumph of a sick part of the mind, so it is obviously a pyrrhic victory; if you win, you lose. When mind parasites prevail, it's like cutting off your nous to spite the face before you were born.

Grotstein writes that in Bion's cosmic view, the unconscious psyche is "older than man and is the mysterious source of creativity, imagination, evolution and development." This is O, which, as Grotstein points out, is not so much "truth" as perpetually "truing," as it intersects with the Other. In my view, this would not just be human others, but the transcendent Other as well (or fundamentally, in that it is this supracosmic Other who is reflected in all of the other others). Grotstein adds that "Neurosis is a postponement of our rendezvous with the consequences of this fateful meeting, and psychosis is the abnegating disavowel and discrediting of it altogether."

This is good, so I'll continue: "Thus, Bion's cosmic view of the psyche is one in which we sit on the lap of our [own] Godhead who is mysteriously connected to the Ultimate Godhead." (This almost sounds as if it could have been written by Meister Eckart.)

"'I'-ness consists, furthermore, in a prismatic refraction of the emanations of this Godhead and is known as the spiritual, scientific, and aesthetic vertices.... Our sadnesses and our illnesses constitute both our recognition of our failure to live up to our Godliness and the agony of our stillborn preconceptions which hope to evoke us to return to our rendezvous with experiencing our unexperienced experiences -- to becoming 'O.' Bion represents this as the transformation from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained."

Maher represents it as the bitter transformation of Paradise Lost to Paradise Doesn't Exist and I Didn't Want it Anyway; or, to put it another way, I'm Back in a Triumphant and Contemptuous Narcissistic Paradise of My Own Making. Plus, Hugh Hefner Invites Me to His Parties, So I Can Pretend That Those Airheaded Bimbos and Porn Stars Would Ever Be Attracted to a Rat Faced Homunculus Like Me if I Didn't Have All This Money.

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time
. --T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One x One = Someone; One x Nothing = Nobody

Two things to clarify. First, as I mentioned in a comment, it's not the blogging that is a burnout, it's the attempt to do it in the context of all my other responsibilities. In fact, I wish I could earn a living from being a writer, instead of doing it as a hobby. But I also realize that if that were to somehow happen, it would mean that something had gone terribly wrong. I don't want to write for the idiot masses. I have no need to imagine that I am a Big Somebody just because a bunch of Nobodies fantasize that I am one.

This may sound "elitist," but that is not at all the point. For example, Deepak Chopra is appalling enough. But try sampling the kinds of deeply moronic and psychologically deranged comments he generates on his site, and see the quality of person who is attracted to him. It is a cesspool of ignorance, superstition, intellectual sloth, and a smug, passive-aggressive hatred of normality. If I actually attracted readers of that caliber, I couldn't live with myself.

It's the same with someone like Ken Wilber. As intelligent as he may or may not be at this point in his life -- it seems to me that he lost his fastball over a decade ago -- he surrounds himself with a cult of dullards and mediocrities, which I suppose one must do if one is going to try to make a living off this racket. I would never want to be placed in a position of being beholden to the marketplace, and then have to tolerate the annoying presence of all these boobs in order to sell my books.

It's not that I have any special animus for morons, unless they're getting in my way. Plus, I want to write for spiritual adults, not lead some kind of new age children's crusade. The last thing I want is for a bunch of adultolescents to generate a mass transference on me, as if I am the transmitter instead of a mere lightning rod. I want everyone to be a lightning rod and have their own lightning blog, like Robin, Walt, Rick, Van, and the rest of you.

Sri Aurobindo expressed it well, when he wrote in a letter that "I do not readily accept disciples, as this path of Yoga is a difficult one and can be followed only if there is a special call." In another letter he balked at the notion of trying to create some kind of mass movement, because "For serious work it is a poison.... a movement in the case of a work like mine means the founding of a school or a sect or some other damned nonsense. It means that hundreds or thousands of useless people join in and corrupt the work or reduce it to a pompous farce from which the Truth that was coming down recedes into secrecy and silence."

Bear in mind that Aurobindo had a sly sense of humor, and that he wasn't saying this in bitterness or anger. Rather, he was just highlighting the banal reality of the situation. Look at it this way: many people call themselves Raccoons, but Petey will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye crypto-new age troll.

Importantly, no one is excluded. But it's like playing in the NBA: You've got to have game. Feel free to join in, but the instant you drive down the lane with some cliche or pompous platitude, don't be surprised if you are fouled hard. This is my house, so don't bring that weak sh*t to the bucket, or you will be posterized.

The brilliant Mark Perry -- who is just a tad too... fascist for my taste -- nevertheless expresses it well. Along with Schuon, he feels that we have entered the "Kali Yuga," signifying the outer limit of the cosmic descent, when stupidity and evil shall reign. I don't agree with that. I do, however, agree with Dennis Prager that, for a variety of less occult reasons, we live in an "age of stupidity" which affects the secular and religious alike.

At any rate, Perry writes that in this age of egalitarian relativism, "it is rare, if not impossible, for truly truly superior individuals" to "rise to the public prominence their stamp would normally secure for them because, in a regime where mass numbers prevail, they must constantly defer to -- and be held accountable -- to swarms of inferiors who cannot possibly understand them and who assume everyone is exactly like them because they have no real understanding of what a being with a noble heart is."

As a result, a true demo-cracy -- which the United States was never intended to be -- "by dignifying numbers, sentences the superior 'one' to the station of a wandering outcast. Or, by exalting quantity (which can never be intelligent) abolishes quality (which can never be 'many'...)."

This is a subtle point, but Perry points out that all numbers are simply multiples of One, so that if one removes the unique, "the rest is pulverized, because the many can only derive their reality from the One, never the other way around, as the proponents of pluralism [and relativism, I might add] propose." This regressive and degenerative process cannot help but to go backward, as it sunders itself from the true singular authority to which we must bow down in order to be men. Or to be anything, for that matter.

One wonders: to whom does Bill Maher bow down? If the answer is no one and nothing, then it means that he worships himself. As if we didn't know that. And a man who is is own god has an idiot for a worshipper.

Now, this would be a pretty pathetic and impoverished cosmos if there weren't beings before whom I spontaneously bow down and to whom I look up. In other words, recognition of hierarchy -- and the archetypal qualities it embodies -- is the essence of the human station.

A man without reverence for the sacred is not a man at all. Rather, he makes himself a god, and therefore a devil. A society of such pseudo-individuals will therefore be a society well on its way to hell. And remember, as "unique" or "edgy" as they may seem, it can only be a caricature of individuality, since true uniqueness can only be derived from the One, for whom every hair on your head is counted. That's how unique you are.

Bill Maher is such a moron. I can't wait to review his idiotic film attacking religion and extolling his own religion of auto-fellatio. I saw a clip on You Tube the other day, in which he heaps praise upon Roseanne Barr for her courageous transgressions of taste, decency, intelligence, and sanity. As he put it, the world needs people like Barr, because if you don't cross the line, you don't know where it is. As if these people care about the boundaries that define humanness, or would even recognize them if they tripped on them! Or as if they cannot help compulsively rebelling against boundaries, because they are either fixated adolescents or borderline personalities. These people don't really exist. They only seem to. They are just a bundle of reactions.

The point is, they wish to destroy the boundaries that define the human in order to justify their own quasi-animal existence. Remember, to name something is synonymous with existence. To give a name means to both recognize and confer boundaries. There is such a thing as the human being. But only if it is derived from the One.

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.