Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wakey Wakey: It's Mourning in America!

A chewy repost to repast upon, now with added poetic fiber...

"Niebuhr was right,” said Goethe, “when he saw a barbarous age coming. It is already here, we are in it, for in what does barbarism consist, if not in the failure to appreciate what is excellent?”

One of the “cult classics” of the modern conservative movement (which, ironically, is a century newer than modern progressivism, which begins way back with Marx) is Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, by Albert Jay Nock, first published in 1943. While there is a cheery and optimistic school of conservatism embodied in people such as Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh, there is also a more pessimistic, even resigned, school of thought expressed by writers such as Nock, Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, and T.S. Eliot.

In each of these men, there is a painful awareness of what we have already lost and can seemingly never regain. The former school is more forward looking and progressive, the latter more backward looking, romantic, and nostalgic. But it is a "spiritual" -- which is to say vertical -- gnostalgia, meaning that, on another level, it is a "memoir of the future," or a longing for the "changeless change" mentioned by Will in a comment yesterday. Eliot's earlier poems -- the ones leftists love -- are deeply pessimistic, while the later ones -- the ones that embarrass or befuddle secular critics -- attempt to convey this changeless change, which cannot be understood outside the context of a religious sensibility.

For example, Eliot's first major poem after his conversion to Christianity was Ash-Wednesday (1930). It goes a little like this:

Because I do not hope to turn again / Because I do not hope / Because I do not hope to turn / Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope / I no longer strive towards such things / (Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?) / Why should I mourn / The vanished power of the usual reign?

Good question. Why should we? Interestingly, a uni-verse is "one turn." Eliot expresses a hopeless hope that he will cease turning, which very much reminds me of the metaphysics of Denys the Areopagite. From a vertical perspective, the "one turn" of the universe consists of God's immamentizing "procession" into creation, followed by the return of everything back to its divine source. If one lives within that vertical stream, it is a kind if changeless-change, like sailing on a vast sea with no markers to tell you exactly where are. Or, the markers are like clouds that streak by your window in an airplane. When the relative becomes properly relative, the Absolute comes into view. This is how Denys conceptualized it:

"Thus, the soul is turning together with the movement of God and his universe (from Latin uni-versus, 'one turn'). In her return back to Him, she turns with His own turning, she dances with Him in His thearchic dance, meaning a dancing around of the three hypostases [persons]. The Latin-writing Fathers used the expression 'circumincession'" (Wm. Riordan).

Elsewhere Riordan notes that the "divine yearning shows especially its unbeginning and unending nature traveling in an endless circle through the Good, from the Good, in the Good and to the Good, unerringly turning, ever on the same center, ever in the same direction, always proceeding, always remaining, always being restored to itself."

It was this knowa's ark of salvation and eternal "circle of redemption" that I was attempting to convey with the circular structure of my book, which you might say is "enstatically ecstatic." If you don't know about the circle, it hardly matters that you live your life upside down. Just now I was playing with future leader, and he was showing me the directions to a toy. The directions where upside down. I turned them rightside up, at which point their meaning suddenly emerged. But for him, it's all the same. For him, when shown the truth, "nothing happens." Just like our childlike scientistic jester.

Anyway, back to the old post. Nock was a spokesman for what he called the “Remnant." He wrote not for the uneducated -- much less the hopelessly overeducated, i.e., the tenured -- but for the "educable few,” the enlightened minority who “simply want to get at the plain truth of things.” For while we all know that the illiterate cannot read, that doesn't mean the literate can. Far from it. How many intellectuals actually know how to read the Bible? We should never confuse knowing psychology, or history, or religion, with understanding it. Most any ignoramus can be trained to become a university professor. Which is not to say that all professors are idiots, but that all idiots are ignorant of their ignorance and therefore halfway to tenure.

“You do not know, and will never know, who the remnant are, nor where they are, nor how many there are, nor what they are doing or will do. Two things you know, and no more; first, that they exist; and second, that they will find you.” You know, through the nonlocal attractor, which has local branches and arteries everywhere and when. It's always possible to "plug into" the gnostic grid, even in the most unsalutary coonfinement.

Of course, Nock wrote in the days before the internet, when it was more of a challenge to find each other. While there are not many of us, it is interesting that, just as soon as I hung up my cyber-shingle, we found each other. Naturally, this can never be a mass movement, so we, the Remnant, are placed in the awkward position of having to hitch our wagons to such odious and disreputable institutions as the Republican Party, but only because it is preferable to outright satan worship -- sometimes by a slim margin.

You know you are a member of the Remnant if you realize that a genetic man is merely the raw material for a human being; which is naturally to acknowledge that he is precious in his own way. But we proceed “first with the more obscure and difficult work of clearing and illuminating our own mind, and second, with what occasional help we may offer to others whose faith, like our own, is set more on the regenerative power of thought than on the uncertain achievements of premature action....”

Members of the Remnant “are everywhere; everywhere they are not so much resisting as quietly eluding and disregarding all social pressure which tends to mechanize their processes of observation and thought.” You might say that the Remnant is an order of Cosmic Raccoons “unassociated in any formal way, living singly or nearly so, and more or less as aliens, in all classes of our society...” Yes, you are a member of the vertical aristocracy, but you don’t make a big deal out of it.

Conservatism can be difficult to define, but William F. Buckley once characterized it as a paragon of essences towards which the phenomenology of the world is a continuing approximation. In other words, conservatism is a form of philosophical realism that appreciates that there is a source of truth higher than, and independent of, human beings -- an antecedent reality that can be perceived only by the awakened intellect, not the senses. (Which is why Queeg, for example, could never really be called a conservative.)

But for the postmodern barbarians of horizontal progressivism, the apparent exhausts the Real, which is why it is so fruitless to argue with its adherents. It is literally like arguing over the merits of Beethoven’s late string quartets with a dog, except that the worst dog nevertheless retains a noble instinct for adoration of its spiritual better, even if it cannot articulate the reasons for doing so.

I would add that this anterior noumenal reality is paradoxically the source, center, and destination of the phenomenal world. It is the cosmogonic vertical order, or principial reality, which it is the task of religious metaphysics to symbolically reveil and disclose, and spiritual practice to align ourselves with.

Thus, conservatism is progressive to the core, except that progress is measured in terms of fidelity to this divine-human template. In fact, this is the only meaningful definition of progress, because you cannot judge how well a thing is working in the absence of the goal it is trying to achieve.

What currently goes by the name of “progressivism” is a diabolical doctrine that defines vertical progress out of existence. It abolishes the real world of transcendent essences and measures progress in wholly horizontal terms, in relationship to that most fleeting, transient, and ungovernable of human modalities, desire. Thus, to the extent that there is a gap between the world and my wishes -- the way it is and the way I want it to be -- there is a frustrating lack of "progress." This is to live as an entitled child. In fact, to enter the kingdom of progressivism, one must "become as spoiled children, asking their Father for more stuff."

At the first turning of the second stair / I turned and saw below / The same shape twisted on the banister / Under the vapour in the fetid air / Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears / The deceitful face of hope and of despair --Eliot

As such, the need for horizontal progress is infinite, in conformity with the combustible mixture of envy and imagination in the passive and somnolent Exterior Man. This in turn leads to the state of permanent rebellion, because the horizontal world can never satisfy the hungry ghosts of envy and entitlement, for in the absence of gratitude, none of the goods in our life can be assimilated. For as Richard Weaver put it, “when we attach more significance to feeling than thinking, we shall soon attach more to wanting than deserving.” America's progressive and truly revolutionary founders enunciated and liberated a system of timeless truths. But modern progressivism liberates only feelings, which amounts “to a riot which fizzles out with the gain or loss of its immediate object...” (Nock).

And this reversion to pure feeling is, of course, what is so frightening about secular leftism. To the Superior Man, even his own feelings are none of his business so long as they remain purely horizontal and untransformed by a vertical framework. Feelings are hardly denied, but they are spiritualized and placed in a human context. But to the Prince of this World, feelings are all-important, because feelings are the mental equivalent of touch, the most crude of our physical senses.

All beings who are awakened to the vertical are aware of the fact that -- in conformity with the axiom “as above, so below” -- there are vertical analogues to our five exterior senses. In fact, this is how the vertical is accessed, not through “seeing” but through vision, not listening but hearing, not touching but entering. Likewise, the truth of divine communication is self-evident by virtue of its spiritual perfume, as indicated by messages as diversely fragrant as the Psalms, the Gospel of John, the Tao Te Ching, or the Upanishads. Have you never known intellectual ecstasy?

Horizontal progress cannot be infinite for the simple reason that progress cannot be infinite. Rather, progress can only be measured in terms of an absolute standard that lies outside space and time. The “false infinite” of flatland progressivism is not conditioned from top to bottom, so there can be no higher or lower. Rather, there is only low and lower, until man sinks beneath himself over the horizon of linear history.

But for vertical man, to paraphrase Thoreau, his life is rich in proportion to the number of things he can do without. Our lives are defined not as what we have but who we are, but not in its horizontal sense. Rather, we must paradoxically become who we are, or transform the world by transforming ourselves. For it is written -- on my business card, as a matter of fact -- that you can only change the world one a-hole at a time. Timelessness takes time -- which is what time is for.

Evolution is always a saw-toothed function, so today we find ourselves a little closer to the mud, to the infra-human, to a postmodern neolithic age. Things will apparently have to get worse -- perhaps even much worse -- before they get better. While I try not to be pessimistic, sometimes it's hard not to bow before Petey’s meta-law, which is that bad everything drives out good everything. Or, as Mark Twain put it, “All I care to know is that a man is a human being; that is enough for me -- he can’t be any worse.”

To conclude on an uptimistic gnote, vertical man does not whine or complain, but polishes his character on the rocks of adversity. The Republican Party as an institution is almost without character at the moment. Thus, the perfect uppertunity to use what it deserves in these Dems of iniquity as a school of hardened nocks to evolve toward what it might have been.

Friday, November 07, 2008

To Sleep Perchance to Dream; To Die Perchance to Wake (11.21.11)

Letter XIII, our old friend Death. What would life be without him?

This is another chapter that has a lot of ideas I've covered in previous posts, so I'll try not to be too deathly repetitive.

How do we think about death? One of the reasons it is difficult to think about, is that it is such a concrete fact -- just a big black wall over the subjective horizon. What do we really know about death? What can we say about it that isn't merely an abstract idea or dead metaphor?

At first blush, it seems that death is one of those existential parameters that the mind can never contain, but rather, contains us -- like time or sexuality. Perhaps this is one more reason why those two are closely linked (sex and death, out of which emerges their baby, knowledge).

In fact, if we didn't sexually reproduce, we wouldn't die, at least for any biological reason. Rather, we would live endlessly, except that it would be a horizontal endlessness, which is not to be confused with eternity (which is outside time). And without the boundary of death, we couldn't know nothing, which is the beginning of knowledge. Animals can only know something, but even then, they don't know that they know. Only man can know that he knows nothing, and therefore potentially everything.

UF says that it is this latter form of a purely biological pseudo-eternal life that the serpent promises when he tells Adam and Eve that "you shall not die." Thus, technically he wasn't lying, because a vertical lie may well be a horizontal truth, as our scientistic jester never stops teaching us. Although perhaps he finally has, since he hasn't commented in several days.

In my book, I wrote of the extreme unlikelihood that anything resembling human intelligence could ever have evolved elsewhere, for it is not just a matter of evolving "big brains." Far from it. Look at Noam Chomsky.

Rather, humanness emerges specifically because of the trimorphic situation of an immature and incomplete nervous system in dynamic rapport with an "empathic" mother and "protecting" father (and when I speak of "mother" and "father," I am doing so from the infant's archetypal perspective, wherein early empathy becomes mother, or is directed into that a priori archetype; in this view, mother emerges from baby, and then father from mother -- more on which below).

UF writes of the connection between, on the one hand, sleeping, forgetting, and death; and on the other, waking, remembering, and life. For example, psychoanalysis has long posited the idea that chronic insomnia can result from an inability to die to the day. You live your day, and then must let it go in the death of sleep. So many people cannot "let the day go." Instead, it intrudes upon their peaceful death, persecuting and tormenting them. Then, even worse, they dream -- or more often have nightmares -- by day.

For other people, they cannot die to the unconscious because of the monsters that lie there in in wait. This is a routine result of a traumatic childhood, of things that happened to them -- and more commonly, what didn't happen to them, in the form of a secure and "containing" relationship with the mother. For these individuals, they cannot "rest in peace," because their dream life is like a continuous horror movie, a "living death."

For that is what a monster is, isn't it -- a conflation of the categories of life and death? During Holloween week they showed all of the classic monster movies on TMC, and they all share this feature of living death or death living: Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Dracula, the Mummy. Perhaps this gives us a clue about death, i.e, that it is not so much the opposite of life, but a perverse or depraved form of it. You might say that Christmas celebrates life amidst death, while Halloween "celebrates" death in life. Probably no coincidence that the holiday has become much more popular with the increasing secularization of our culture, i.e., the death culture. It does nothing for me.

In fact, I remember reading a book -- here it is, Vampires, Burial, and Death -- that explains that most funeral rites evolved around concerns about making certain that the dead stayed that way -- that the corpse is not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead. (The book takes an academic and positivistic approach, so it's of limited usefulness except for the historical trivia, which is at times nevertheless fascinating.)

So, to sleep is to forget the day and awaken to the world of the Dreamer: "One forgets, one goes to sleep, and one dies." In turn, "One remembers, one awakes, and one is born."

In a previous post, I have discussed the idea that from a developmental perspective, one may turn Genesis on its head and see the infant-Adam as the creator of God and everything else.

In fact, from a certain perspective, this is how it must be, and to the extent that you fail to understand this distinction, you may well fail to appreciate the difference between God and infantile omnipotence. Not only is this conflation commonplace, but it might even be the norm. Certainly the Islamist god is indistinguishable from an enraged baby, while the infantile dreams of the left are suspiciously similar to those conjured by the omnipotent gods of the nursery.

Looked at in this way, the discovery of Adam and Eve -- or a Mother and Father separate from the baby -- is an insult to the baby's omnipotence. How dare Mommy and Daddy exist separate from my magical wishes! Therefore the baby-god banishes them from the infantile paradise, where the infant restores his "oneness with God." No coincidence therefore that the way back to paradise is blocked by a coterie of babies with flaming swords. (I should acknowledge that this idea was playgiarized from Grotstein. But I think I won't, for he is an insult to my omnipotence.)

To fall asleep is not just to give up everything, but to do so in the faith that everything will somehow be cleansed and transformed when we are reincarnated and reborn in the morning. So sleep has a sort of "digestive" or metabolic property; which must mean that death and forgetting do as well.

And in fact, one doesn't have to comb very far through the esoteric literature to discover this idea, that the initial postmortem state is very much analogous to the metabolic function of dreaming, except that it will range over our entire life, so that whatever was "inessential" is consigned to the flames, while what is essential lives in eternity. In any event, know that your life is being dreamt by forces far greater than yourself, and not just at night.

This could be an extremely lengthy sidetrack, so I think I'll just mention it briefly, but this is the whole point of Finnegans Wake, which is like a dream of all human history within the ultimate Dreamer (wake is a play on words, meaning the wake of death and the a-wake of resurrection and the Dreamer). Here's how Joseph Campbell expressed it:

"Finnegans Wake is a mighty allegory of the fall and resurrection of mankind. It is a strange book, a compound of fable, symphony, and nightmare -- a monstrous enigma beckoning imperiously from the shadowy pits of sleep. Its mechanics resemble those of the dream, a dream which has freed the author from the necessities of common logic and has enabled him to compress all periods of history, all phases of individual and racial development, into a circular design, of which every part is beginning, middle and end.... Joyce presents, develops, amplifies and recondenses nothing more nor less than the eternal dynamic implicit in birth, death, conflict, death, and resurrection."

Well, we didn't get very far into this chapter, did we? Time to die to the dreamer and awaken to the day. To be continued....

O Death, you old mahahasamadhi, show us your secret mannascrypt, your Divine Cosmodeity. Take us before and beyond this womentary maninfestation, reveal not the horizontal but our inmost upmost vertical bigending --The Book of Petey

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hanging Around the Center of the Cosmos (11.18.11)

There is a key point on page 314 of MOTT, where UF discusses the difference between terrestrial and celestial gravitation: the former is centripetal and enfolds, while the latter is centrifugal and radiates. Perhaps a better way of saying it is that terrestrial gravitation hardens, compacts, and and deadens, while celestial gravitation liquifies, disperses, and sows.

Think of all the forms of gravitation that "hold people together." This is not metaphorical language, but literal, both individually and collectively. In fact, the word "religion" comes from the latin religare, "to bind." Religion in its lower sense becomes quite terrestrial, most notably in the Islamic world, where people are bound and compacted together in a common prison. Conversely, ideology can mimic religion in its higher sense, so that people can be bound together by a spirit of faux radiation -- the veneration of our moonbat messiah being a fine example. After all, he's only president of the government, not the nation; the nation is where we actually live, not the government (unless you're waiting in line at the post office or DMV).

On an individual basis, it's always a good idea to explore one's center of gravity. When we talk about "values," about the culture war, about political parties, we're really talking about very different centers of gravity. For example, for the leftist, the center of gravity is the compacted collective, or state; for the conservative liberal, it is the radiant individual. In fact, for the leftist -- since he is fully terrestrial -- his center of gravity is often politics, period.

This is why the left can always muster more raw political energy than the opposition, since it is their life. They're just going with the flow, whereas for the rest of us, politics is a distasteful distraction that we mainly engage in to prevent the left from destroying the country. To paraphrase Eliot, we have no hope of actually prevailing, only of perhaps recapturing and holding a little ground and then passing it on to the next generation.

Another danger of politics is that it tends to organize people around their hates. As a result, their center of gravity becomes that which they hate. Yesterday I was checking out some of the prominent left wing sites, and sure enough, they cannot let go of their hatred and bitterness. Most of the conservative sites were gracious and conciliatory in their reaction to the election, while the left just "can't let it go," so to speak. How could they? That astonishing level of irrational hatred is not going to just vanish into thin air. That's not how the mind works.

Again, this hatred -- or death instinct -- is their center of gravity. I caught a few moments of Bill Maher on Larry King last night. He was as bitter and snarling as ever. Does anyone imagine that a mere election could ever shift Maher's psychic poles, so that he is not a hardened homunculus of hatred? Truly, if he were to give up his resentment, he would no longer exist. It's what makes him feel alive -- not to mention superior to others (for infantile hatred partakes of omnipotence).

Yes, moonbat, I know what you're thinking. How is this any different from how Bob treats the left? One difference is that you are here. Why are you here, anyway? To help change your center of gravity toward O? Or simply to use me as a focus for your hatred and stupidity?

When evaluating a patient, it really comes down to identifying their center of gravity. Most any mental illness results from a false or relative center of gravity. What is a fetish? An obsession? A compulsion? A fixation? A phobia? A depression? Paranoia? Each of these serves to organize the mind around a false center, which limits intelligence and falsifies being. They cannot "radiate," only focus. Or, if they do radiate, it is in a diffuse and chaotic manner, certainly not toward the nonlocal attractor, O. Their psychic content just spills all over the place, like a toxic dump.

Why is a great artist great? Because his words, images, or music come from a deeper or higher center of gravity that helps reveal and deepen yours. The great mystery is how this center can be communicated with very simple language or just a few notes. A great jazz musician will communicate more with just his tone than a mediocre musician with thousands of notes.

My center of gravity is O, which in turn radiates to my family, friends and readers. In turn, I do not wish to be anyone's center of gravity, but rather, help them locate and amplify theirs. You shouldn't be looking at me, but through me.

In reality, what binds you and I is the mysterious third which we are looking at together. Even if perhaps I see it a little more clearly than some neocoons, you nevertheless don't stare at my finger, now do you? No, you try to focus upon what I am pointing at. Eventually it comes into view. You already sense it, or you wouldn't be here. It's just a matter of perfecting your senses.

Conversely, I can only assume that our scientistic jester keeps coming back because he wants us to see what he sees, and to share his center of gravity, which is dense matter. Don't worry, we see it. But again, we look through and beyond it, to what it is pointing at. In short, for us, matter is legible, like the page of a book. When we read we do not stare at the letters, but look through them to the meaning. I suppose one could argue that the "center" of MOTT is page 335, being that the book contains 670 pages. But in reality, its center is O, which is present on every page.

The Hanged Man "lives under the state of celestial gravitation," which is why he is both suspended and upside down. As UF writes, "the soul is suspended between heaven and earth." It is outside the world because it is inside O. This is "the zero point between the fields of terrestrial and celestial gravitation."

And to say that we are "upside down" means that for us, the "solid ground" is located above, while the realm below is an airy abstraction -- this is the abstract world of the scientistic atheist. Perhaps this is the reason why so many infertile eggheads are materialists, since materialism is purely "head knowledge," and just a shadowy caricature of the real thing.

In contrast, in our upside down state, knowledge follows will, which is to say faith. I'm starting to run out of time here, but I once knew a man who "fell in love with O." As his love deepened, so too did his faith. And as his faith in the unseen deepened, so too did his Obedience. Soon his feet "walked in O." And as his Obedience deepened, his head and heart followed his feet. Now he walks in a cloud of radiant unknowing, calmly placing one foot in front of the other.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Soul-Surfing On the Agitated Waves of the Day (11.17.11)

Now, on to Letter XII, Le Pendu, The Hanged Man. This, along with the Hermit, is a key archetype for Raccoons, as it speaks to the nonlocal habitat in which the Raccoon dwells, which is suspended roughly halfway between God and matter, give or take, i.e., the celestial and terrestrial planes.

UF says that this card "plunges us into the heart of the problem of the relationship between man and gravitation, and the conflicts that this relationship entails." Something analogous to gravity operates at all levels of the cosmos, both interior and exterior, from the solar system, to culture, to personal relationships, to the self, and even to mind parasites. In each case, there is an "attractive force" that draws subject and objects toward other subjects or objects, and also toward their own "center of gravity."

We are not so much interested in the attraction of objects as of subjects, for this is where the real mystery lies. For example, once you "locate" your true self, it will begin to attract the kinds of relationships and experiences it requires to grow. If you fail to live out of this "interior center," then no matter what happens to you in your life, it will be an incoherent stream of experiences with no possibility of synthesis into a higher unity.

Here again, this is why liberty is so critical to the articulation and development of the self. The self is something that pre-exists in the form of potential, but can only be known through experience. This implicit self must be free to choose the objects, relationships, and experiences it requires in order to "be." This is why one man's paradise can be another man's prison -- even a living death. This is why there can be no real spirituality in the absence of freedom, and in turn why leftism is intrinsically retrograde.

Vertically speaking, you might say that we live in the phase space between two great attractors, which I symbolize in the book as O and Ø. As such, there are two "final causes" that operate on us; you could even call them eros and thanatos, or love and death. The death-stream draws us down to the terminal moraine of our lower nature, which ultimately ends in death and dissolution. The life-stream pulls us in, up, and out, toward our nonlocal source above. Even the most cynical atheist cannot live -- not even for a moment -- without this life-stream, for it is what pulls him toward truth, or love, or meaning -- even toward his hatred of God! (since this hatred is rooted in a misguided love of truth).

UF agrees that "the domain of our freedom... shows the real and active presence of gravitation of a spiritual order." This is why people are attracted to God and religion to begin with, "for what is the phenomenon of religion if not the manifestation of spiritual gravitation towards God -- i.e., towards the centre of spiritual gravitation of the world?"

We cannot "see" gravity, any more than we can see the wind. However, we can obviously feel the effects of gravity and wind. On the interior plane, these effects are "subtle" but nevertheless clear, especially as one learns to "amplify" them and to live within this attractor space. It's as clear as "falling in love." No one had to teach me how to do that. I just went with the cosmic flow, straight into a brick wall... or was it an abyss? I suppose it was both.

But that was terrestrial love. Furthermore, it was a terrestrial love completely severed from its actual source, and fully located in the object of my affliction. Plus, it was thoroughly entangled with formidable mind parasites which also love in their fashion. Yes, as with everything else they use, they have to appropriate the love from elsewhere, but it feels real at the time.

Anyway, speaking of falling, UF situates mankind's fall within this space. I'm always trying to trancelight religious ideas into terms I can better grasp, and in this case, "there is nothing against the conception of the Fall of Adam as the passage from a spiritual gravitation system, whose centre is God, to a terrestrial gravitational system, whose centre is the serpent."

That's certainly how it feels to me. Don't you feel those twin pulls? And don't you remember as a child, the first awareness of the pull into darkness? I remember it distinctly. I think it repeats itself in different forms at different stages of life -- assuming you actually grow through different developmental stages beyond ego. Each stage has a central "temptation" that is an image of the first. In each case, we must choose the Light.

The Gospel designates the two attractors as "heaven" and "this world," or "the kingdom of God" and "the kingdom of the prince of this world." Or, we could again just call them O and Ø; or "slack" and "the conspiracy."

Likewise, this can be thought of as a sword that cuts mankind right down the middle, between the "children of this world" and "the children (or the sons) of light." Here again, standard issue cOOnvision allows us to know in an instant when we are in the presence of one or the other. It could not be more obvious, could it?

UF notes that there are actually three main categories, and I see that these correspond to the three gunas of Vedanta, which we won't get into. But there is the "carnal" (or vital) man who "lives in the grip of gravitation of 'this world' at the expense of the gravitation of 'heaven'; then there is the "psychic man" who "lives in equilibrium between the two fields"; then there is the spiritual or pneumatic man "who lives under the sway of the gravitation of 'heaven.'" One reason I no longer do psychotherapy is that I just can't deal with type #1. I don't even know where to begin. I have no interest in helping people better adapt to unreality -- which is what most people want.

Now, the Hanged Man "represents the condition of one in the life of whom gravitation from above has replaced that of below." In Raccoon terms, it is someone who has discovered his proper orientation, and sees the cosmos "inside out" and "upside down" relative to "the normals." In reality, we have merely reverted things to their proper place. And we are irresistibly attracted to the top.

There are numerous references to this in the Cosmobliteration section of the Coonifesto: no body crosses the phoenix line lest it be repossessed and amortized; reverse worldward descent and cross the bridge of darkness to the father shore; floating upstream along the ancient celestial trail, out from under the toilsome tablets of time; returning to the Oneself, borne again to the mysterious mamamatrix of our birthdeath; etc.

Well, I'm just about out of time. Lots of work to do. I'll leave you with this to ponder:

Now the words 'I am; do not be afraid' spoken by the one walking on the water amount to the statement: 'I am gravitation, and he who holds to me will never sink or be engulfed.... Thus there is another field of gravitation than that of death, and who unites himself with it can walk on water, i.e, transcend the agitated element of 'this world,' the electrical gravitational field of the serpent. --Meditations on the Tarot

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Triumph of the Will: Let the Rot Begin (10.24.10)

Moving on from the Hermit, we come now to Letter X, The Wheel of Fortune. We actually discussed this one a few weeks ago. In fact, that's what started this whole meditation on the Meditations. Also, in flipping through this chapter, I see the I've discussed most of these ideas in other contexts, and I don't want to repeat myself. So let's just move on to Letter XI, The Force.

This is a timely symbol for the events of the day, as the force of the left ascends on the political wheel of fortune. However, we can draw coonsolation from the fact that, being that leftism is a closed intellectual and spiritual system, it is already "on the way down," outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. In short, its end is in its beginning, as the poet said. The higher it ascends in its intoxicated reach for power, the further it will fall. The concrete fact of Obama shall soon enough kill the vaporous idea of Obama.

This passage by UF is perfectly apt today: "Plato has never had success as a revolutionary and never will do so. But Plato himself will always live throughout the centuries of human history... and will be in each century the companion of the young and old who love pure thought, seeking only the light which it comprises." In other words, you can never really have a "revolution" of people oriented to the white point of wisdom discussed in yesterday's post.

For one thing, it is an individual endeavor, not the sort of thing that could ever occur on a massive scale. And the left is a mass movement, which automatically condemns it to mediocrity and banality. It is led by a herd of elites who imagine themselves superior, but nothing could be more banal -- and self-contradictory -- than the idea of "mass excellence."

In contrast to Plato, Karl Marx has enjoyed over a century "of astonishing success and has revolutionized the world. He has swept away millions -- those who went to the barricades and trenches in civil wars, and those who went to the prisons, either as jailers or as prisoners."

Really, can you name another philosopher who has enjoyed such a literally smashing success in such a short span of time? But you -- yes, you there, "as a solitary human soul, a soul of depth and sobriety, what do you owe Karl Marx?"

I don't know yet. Ask me next April 15th.

The point is, "Plato illumines, whilst Marx sweeps away." Obviously, it is impossible to imagine a person of any spiritual stature getting caught up in the Obama hysteria. But it is equally impossible to imagine such a person being caught up in any kind of political hysteria. It is one of the reasons we can never match the diabolical energy of the left. Since the leftist is condemned to the horizontal world, he channels his spiritual energy into politics. As I wrote a couple of years ago,

"Regardless of what happens Tuesday, it shouldn’t greatly affect the spiritual equilibrium of the Superior Man, whose invisible combat will continue as usual. Indeed, this is what distinguishes us from the agitated multitude of horizontal men who locate their salvation in politics. Whatever the outcome, our lives will continue to center around our own perfection and salvation, not for narcissistic reasons, but for the simple reason that it is not possible to save others unless we have first saved ourselves. Needless to say, horizontal Republicans will not save us from horizontal Democrats.

"The project of the left is to make us all useful to the collective, when the only possible justification for the collective can lie in its usefulness to the individual -- again, not in a horizontal, egotistical sense, but in a vertical sense. Assuming that life has a transcendent purpose -- and you cannot be human and not make this assumption -- then the purpose of society should be to help human beings achieve this purpose -- i.e., to be useful to the Creator."

Hmm, I see that Bob foretold the cult of Obama:

"Horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine authority. Taken to its logical extreme, this manifests as the demagogue, the cult of personality, or the dictator-god who expresses the vitalistic will of the people. But all forms of leftism lie on this continuum. So much of the pandering of the left is merely totalitarianism in disguise -- a false absolute and a counterfeit vertical."

And there is no one so inflated with narcissistic hubris as the leftist social engineer who will save mankind from its own self-inflicted wounds. The leftist can give man everything but what he most needs, and in so doing, destroys the possibility of man. As Eliot said, he dreams of a system in which it will be unnecessary for anyone to be good.

Likewise, "the moment we talk about 'social conscience,' and forget about conscience, we are in moral danger." Eliminate the idea of moral struggle, and "you must expect human beings to become more and more vaporous" (Eliot). Since man is placed at the crossroads where he is free to choose between good and evil, this again eliminates man. You might say that for the leftist dreamer, man is strictly unnecessary. In fact, he just gets in the way. Humanity is reduced to "a manageable herd rather than a community of souls," which naturally includes the dead and unborn (Lockerd).

For horizontality goes hand in hand with exteriority and outwardness, which is the initial direction of the fall: first out, then down. Gravity takes care of the rest. Horizontal man is down and out, whereas our salvolution lies up and in. Animals are almost entirely exterior. Like the leftist, they do not actually live in the world, but in the closed system of their own neurology. Only man -- inexplicably and miraculously on any scientistic grounds -- can exit the closed system of his own neuro-ideology and enter higher worlds, worlds of truth, beauty, and moral goodness.

To be in contact with these higher worlds is to be Man. To neglect or deny these anterior worlds is to destroy man, precisely. It is to starve and suffocate man’s spirit by laying waste to his proper environment, the only environment in which he can actually grow into full manhood. You cannot replace the holy grail of Spirit with the lowly gruel of flatland materialism and expect it to feed the multitudes. Human beings do not draw their spiritual nourishment from outside but from above -- which in turn “spiritualizes” and sacralizes the horizontal.

Being what he is -- and isn’t -- horizontal man externalizes concerns about his self-inflicted soul murder, and obsesses over the future of "the planet" -- over speculative weather reports one hundred years hence.

But right now there is a hell and there is a hand basket, because we can clearly see both with our own third eyes. Furthermore, we can see exactly who is running with baskets in both hands. Look, it's Nancy Pelosi! Harry Reid! Barney Frank!

Again, vertical man never obsesses, let alone enters the state of perpetual hysteria of leftist man. As Eliot wrote, "we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph." Nevertheless, vertical man naturally frets about the deteriorating conditions of the interior of the human world, and its seemingly unimpeded slide into barbarism, spiritual exhaustion, scientistic magic, neo-paganism, self-worship, the cult of the body, abstract materialism, and a vapid and rudderless subjectivism.

Such lost souls cannot discern the signs of the times, much less the direction of history. For them, history can be nothing more than a meaningless tale told by a tenured idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying a nice paycheck and adoring coeds. Horizontal man scoffs at spiritual reality on the peculiar grounds that it cannot exist, denying its presence with that which affirms it by virtue of its self-evident existence.

It is a truism that vertical man paradoxically lives very close to the ground, as he has internalized the cautionary tales of Eden, of Icarus, of Babel, and of various episodes of the Honeymooners. In contrast, horizontal man seizes what does not properly belong to him, not just recapitulating the fall but enshrining it in his ideology. It's no longer a bug but a feature.

But when you cast your vote for horizontal man, you are unwittingly chipping away at the foundation of the very tower in which horizontal man is privileged to sit despite his metaphysical ignorance. For in reality, we only have the luxury of superfluous and slumbering horizontal men because of the vertical men -- real men -- who came before and built the tower brick by brick (except for the cornerstone, which was not made by human hands).

Thus we can see our own possible future by casting our gaze at Europe, which is too high and top-heavy for its own long-forgotten foundations, and is well into the process of toppling into dust. For when horizontal man falls, he doesn’t actually fall far, only back down to the ground where vertical man awaits him.

Yes, we are exiled in time, but for vertical man, time does not alter the basic existential situation which religion is here to address. It is believed by our intellectually sterile and spiritually shallow elites that religion is no longer relevant. In so believing, they underscore their own irrelevance, for to paraphrase Schuon, they blame Truth for their own lack of qualification to understand and accept it. Suffice it to say that to be eternally young is to forever grow -- only inward and upward, toward the primordial light that has already defeated horizontal darkness, today and forever.

So render unto the horizontal the things that belong to the horizontal, but do not store your treasures there, where myths corrupt and chickens doth come home to roost. As always, be as wise as the horizontal serpents who stand on their bellies, but innocent as vertical doves who kneel on wings.

A secularist culture can only exist, so to speak, in the dark. It is a prison in which the human spirit confines itself when it is shut out of the wider world of reality. But as soon as the light comes, all the elaborate mechanism that has been constructed for living in the dark becomes useless. The recovery of spiritual vision gives man back his spiritual freedom. --Russell Kirk