Sunday, February 01, 2009

Voidgin Births, Immaculate Coonceptions, and Speaking Obonics

Originally posted exactly two years ago today, and I wouldn't change a single word of it. Therefore, I changed quite a few.

******

In order to novelgaze at a fresh world each day, one must train oneself -- wait, that's too general. I will speak only of myself.

In order for me to blog something different about the good nous every day, I have had to train mysoph to listen more carefreely to the smallstool voice of Petey, who is actually dropping little fragrant pellets of wisdom all the time. In fact, one of the helpful tidbits he shared with me is that he has always been sharing these helpful tidbits with me, but that I was so "dense" that I treated them like turdbits.

And when I say "dense" I mean dense, as in "dense." One must learn to "tune into" the remarkable subtlety of one's own mind, which truly has a mind of its own, just like the Dreamer who dreams your dreams. The difference, say, between a common materialist and a man of genuine spiritual achievement is merely a few immeasurable microns of psychic subtlety.

I can say this because my mind is -- pretty much by definition -- no more intelligent than it has ever been, and yet, much more subtle than it has ever been, in the sense of being able to see and understand spiritual realities. As a result, I "know" things today that I couldn't possibly have known 10 or 15 years ago. But at the same time -- at risk of smelling blasfumy -- Christ himself couldn't have taught me these things back then. They could have been handed to me on a silver platter, but I would have rejected them with a silvery platitude. The yolk would have wasted on my infertile egghead.

[Most of you may not relate to this, but I experienced an auditory analogue of this subtlety last week when visiting the in-laws. My F in L has a pair of Martin Logan speakers, which operate along completely different principles -- and a very different price range -- than standard speakers. I have no idea how the the technology works, but it's called "electrostatic"; notice how you can see through them.

[Anyway, the bottom line is a very different aural experience. Obviously hard to write about sound, any more than you can dance about architecture, but the music had a distinctly "airy," "transparent" and "shimmery" quality. Also, the sound image definitely couldn't be located as emanating from any source, but was suspended there holographically before me. Instead of the sound coming "at" me, it was as if I were "within" it. The point is, the speakers weren't just quantitatively better, but qualitatively better. Same "information," new experience. The bad news is that now my fairly expensive speakers sound to me like an AM radio. The sound is very "hard" and "dense" compared to the Martin Logans.]

When most spiritual types talk about eliminating the "ego," it always strikes me as just so much new age pneumababble. They don't know what they're talking about, because you can no more live without an ego than you can live without a brain. What we call the ego is simply your psychic "center of gravity" at any given moment, and it is actually a good thing to be aware of this center (more often than not, a person is mentally ill precisely because they lack such a center, for mind parasites are "attractors" with their own chaotically shifting centers in the fabric of consciousness; furthermore, these individuals often confuse having no homogeneous center with having transcended the ego. For such immature individuals, "spirituality" is an invitation to act out their parasites).

Having said that, our center can be wide or narrow, shallow or deep, dense or subtle, and those are the real issues. In my opinion, all this new age talk of "ego" must result from some kind of misunderstanding or mistranslation of the original Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist texts.

For me, it is much more meaningful to discuss it in terms of the shift in perspective that takes place when our psychic center transitions from the exterior/horizontal to the interior/vertical (for which I used the symbols (•) and (¶) in my book). This is, broadly speaking, what we would call being "born again from above." Thus, we don't so much eliminate the ego as give it a new life and a new orientation. You can give it a new name if you like, but obviously there is some continuity with the old you. In a certain sense, it is merely the "real you," minus all the cultural, familial, and other accretions. Perhaps the best way to think of it is to say that (¶) transcends but includes (•), in the same way that algebra transcends but includes arithmetic.

Another thing I've noticed is that as my "thinking" has become more subtle, I myself have grown increasingly "simple." The always excellent Lee Harris has spoken of how it took him some 30 years to unlearn the nonsense he learned in the course of his higher education, in order to once again be able to think clearly. I understand exactly what he means.

In a brief article entitled Good is Bad, Stanley Kurtz "reviews" a book review of an anthology called Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys. The original book review, written by a typically confused leftist, criticizes the book on the grounds that it is clear and well-written:

“'Almost without exception,' Jacoby begins, 'each essay is lucid and articulate.... Would it be possible to assemble a countercollection by leftists that would be equally limpid?' 'Unlikely,' Jacoby answers. The leftist professorate, he admits, 'distrusts clear prose as superficial.... On the basis of this volume, conservatives are excellent writers -- and facile thinkers. Perhaps the two go together.'”

There are huge differences between being clear about complex ideas (the right), being obscure, confused, or disingenuous about simplistic or kooky ones (the left), attacking cognitive links in order to dismantle meaning (the angry/psychotic left), superimposing fantasized meaning onto the world (the frightened/paranoid left), and using unsaturated language in such a way that you attempt to "reproduce" a spiritual experience in another ("Coonspeak," or "Obonics"). In fact, the reader who alerted me to this article actually accused Dear Leader, of all people, of falling into the category of the academonic leftist who writes in a needlessly convoluted manner about a subject -- presumably spirituality -- that is inherently simple. If so, one can only wonder why he would waste his time trying to unravel my mystagogic Bobscurities?

No. My writing is not the least bit complex. Rather, it is very precise, and makes perfect nonsense so long as you understand Obonics. However, as touched on above, there is a real challange involved in trying to utilize language in such a manner that you "reproduce" not just empirical facts -- which is easy -- but a spiritual experience in another, like those holographically shimmery Martin Logans. How do you do that with language? I'm not saying that I always succeed; however, I know for a fact that I sometimes do, for many readers have told me so.

Back when I was more of a garden-variety intellectual, I was full of all kinds of academically correct "ruling ideas" and dogmas -- all of the things people think are true because other important people think they're true, so you end up thinking thoughts that were actually manufactured elsewhere, in someone else's mind. But as Satprem, a sadhak of Sri Aurobindo's yoga, wrote, "Clearly, if we want to discover a new country within us, we must first leave the old one behind -- everything depends on our determination in taking this first step."

This first step is also the last step -- and every step in between -- for, in the words of Aurobindo, "fitness and unfitness are only a way of speaking; man is unfit and a misfit (so far as spiritual things are concerned) -- in his outward nature. But within there is a soul and above there is a Grace. This is all you know or need to know. "

A soul behind (¶) and a grace above (↓). What could be more simple? But simple hardly means simplistic, much less easy, for recognizing and living within this simple truth is the ongoing task of the spiritual life, i.e., O-->(n). To "transcend" or "eliminate" the ego really comes down to identifying with the wider reality to which the exteriorizing ego attaches itself.

As I mentioned, I have seen this occur in my own being, as I have gradually given up "thinking" for something that feels quite different. Perhaps Will touched on it yesterday, in his most excellent and luminous comment about the two types of creativity and their analogy to the Divine creativity. It is well worth reading in its entirety, but I wanted to focus on the second type of creativity, which

"does not involve the sense of 'creative build-up and release'. In fact, it's almost a 'give it or take it' creativity -- it's the kind of creativity characterized by the term 'not-doing'. The effortless effort, not there one second, there the next second, no explosion. Henry Miller's early 'Tropic' works, I think, are a good example of the compulsive, build-up and explode type of creativity. His later writings, such as Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch -- in which Miller turned to attention fully to spiritual matters -- are a good example of the quiet, serene, effortless effort type of creativity...

"Early Beethoven -- compulsive build-up/explosion creativity. Beethoven's late string quartets -- definitely effortless effort, very Zen. One thing that makes them so beautiful is the feeling that Beethoven could just as easily *not* have composed them. Shakespeare, too -- though the plays are replete with fury and emotion, there is something eerily detached about them that suggests that they were 'breathed into existence', not exploded into being.

"Eckhart once said in a sermon... something to the effect that when God created the cosmos, He actually didn't *do* anything. Enigmatic, yes, but I think it suggests that the Godhead's creativity was and is, at root, the 'effortless effort'. On the plane of being, this creativity is the most transcendent.

"There are those who will tell you that 'not-being' informs 'being' at every moment, which is what makes existence so beautiful.

"Anyway, I think the transcendent, less ego-individualistic, 'effortless effort' artist will eventually become the ideal. That, in turn, will reflect on our perspective of the Creator's divine nature."

Yes, yes, and yes. In short, "ys." I believe this second type of creativity is analogous to the "virgin birth," that is, the immaculate conception that occurs as a result of our soul's feminine receptivity to vertical influences, as the "Son" is eternally (re)born in the ground of our being: A soul behind and a grace above, is all you know or need to know.

As Molly Bloom -- the archetypal feminine -- says in her interior dialogue at the conclusion of Ulysses, as she relinquishes the ego and falls into sleep -- the brother of death: and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Now now, keep it clean. Seed, soil, conception, birth. As above, so below. It might as well be Saint Teresa. Same story in a different context. In any event, if you wish to give your consciousness a wider berth, you must learn to say yes to the Divine Influx.

24 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Ha - so it is syncoonicity that I've just now read this post while waiting for lunch at a place underneath the James Joyce Irish Pub.

Those speakers must be really amazing.

2/01/2009 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

...there is a real challange involved in trying to utilize language in such a manner that you "reproduce" ... a spiritual experience in another, like those holographically shimmery Martin Logans. How do you do that with language?

As you mention, "precision" goes a long ways toward that end. Obonics is a dense and loaded language, but it's not sloppy! And this has an "effect" on the reader.

For one thing, to actually read it, you can't let your mind glaze-over. You have to pay attention. So reading OC daily becomes like your version of the Seven Point Mind Training, in terms of how it slowly nudges the reader toward wholeness.

And sure, some days are better than others. So what? Do we readers come here "bright and crystal clear" every day? (Well, I suppose the others may, but still...)

I get the same effect, by the way, from reading Perry, or Schuon: I come away from them feeling a little "wired," as though my awareness is more stable. Same with Obonics, really.

2/01/2009 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

...the "virgin birth," that is, the immaculate conception that occurs as a result of our soul's feminine receptivity to vertical influences, as the "Son" is eternally (re)born in the ground of our being: A soul behind and a grace above, is all you know or need to know.

Ys!

2/01/2009 09:13:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Wow. I had a set of Soundcraftsmen speakers back in the seventies that had four electrostatic tweeters. They were great back then. I can only imagine what the new ones must sound like. Synchronicity again.
Much of this post resonates with an exchange I had with a fellow Raccoon just this morning.

And I just love that: clear writing equals facile thinking. May as well dismiss the wheel for being too simple of a machine.

And isn't Springstooge supposed to barf out some paeon to the 0bam later this afternoon? The Rattling Bones were a tired ass retread last year. None of them will be able to come close to the incendiary performance that Prince and crew delivered in the freezing rain a couple years back. That was rock'n roll. There's some sort of ball game too isn't there?

JWM

2/01/2009 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"For me, it is much more meaningful to discuss it in terms of the shift in perspective that takes place when our psychic center transitions from the exterior/horizontal to the interior/vertical "

Yes. After all the searching to and fro for this and that, the answer really is, and has always been, right there with you from the start - not out there, but within. Within you, and even within all of what you had taken as being the 'out there'. For all the expanse you seem to see out there, the real vistas and horizons are only grasped when you begin to explore the depths of where yOu are right nOw.

wv:tritingi

Yeah, those three get me all tingly too.

2/01/2009 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Rock. It's just so establishment, the soundtrack to slavish conformity.

See also here.

2/01/2009 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"One thing that makes them so beautiful is the feeling that Beethoven could just as easily *not* have composed them. Shakespeare, too -- though the plays are replete with fury and emotion, there is something eerily detached about them that suggests that they were 'breathed into existence', not exploded into being."

Ohhh... if you dare to brush up against the sublime, as Burke described it, if you want to experience the contrast between the Sublime and the Beautiful, just try to imagine the world without their beauty.

Speechless.

Before that thought... speechless.

2/01/2009 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

wv:
voter

really!

JWM

2/01/2009 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Speaking of speakers, if anycoon is coonsidering a home theater upgrade and is looking for a subwoofer powerful enough to shake the mind parasites from Al Gore's melon, AND costs less than an Obamastimulator: MFW-15. Sold only direct from their site. Designed by the top subwoofer guy in the world. Compares to $2,500 models yet sells for $699.

You must your favorite action films in blu-ray with the full uncompressed soundtrack. And to do justice you need one of these babies. FAR better than the crapola you'll see at Best Buy or Frys for a similar price.

2/01/2009 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

If you're watching at home, you might spot me behind the Steelers endzone, up in the bleachers, next to a woman with an orange sign that says "may the "worst" team win"...

2/01/2009 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It will be a moral victory for the Cards if they can win the coin flip.

2/01/2009 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Having said that, our center can be wide or narrow, shallow or deep, dense or subtle, and those are the real issues. In my opinion, all this new age talk of "ego" must result from some kind of misunderstanding or mistranslation of the original Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist texts.

Does this mind make my ego look fat?

2/01/2009 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

I could read the sports page if my hair was on fire!

2/01/2009 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Damn!!!

Blitz on a passing game?!!!
Doh!!!

2/01/2009 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(Good game... but that hurt)

2/01/2009 07:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

""The bad news is that now my fairly expensive speakers sound to me like an AM radio.""

But the latest and greatest inevitably becomes commonplace,and the simplistic then becomes a uniquely attractive sound from its own bare bones perspective. Theres a lot to be said for the Beach Boys on the cheesiest AM radio you can find. Preferably in a tent at night.

SteveH

2/01/2009 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, man, that was brutal. Great game, though - glad I got to see it up close. I was going to comment live, but getting online was impossible. Just got in my car and a whole bunch of text messages from the second half came through at once.

2/01/2009 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

I admit it. It was good to see the Boss and E-Street doing their vintage thing. Good show!

I always liked "Greetings from Asbury Park NJ" best. Some great songwriting - prepopularity.

Football game...what football game?

wv: alizzy (yes, I'm afraid she was)

2/01/2009 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Doofus politics aside... I'd always bet on Springsteen to pull off a show... but... did he remind anyone else of Colonel Sanders with a guitar?

And... was it just me,... or did someone come in off time after "...1,2,3,4! Highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive..."

?

2/01/2009 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anon said "Theres a lot to be said for the Beach Boys on the cheesiest AM radio you can find."

"♫ ♪ ♬ Shes my little deuce coupe...
You dont know what I got ♬ ♪ ♫
"

2/01/2009 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's true, audiophilia is a peculiar sickness. Once you set out to obtain the perfect sound, there's no end to the flaws you can identify in your existing system. Then again, a man's gotta have a hobby.... I mean, aside from exotic dancing.

2/01/2009 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Good grief - 1.5 hours in the parking lot, again sans connection. Finally heading back. Before I forget, though - this was an excellent demonstration of uncertainty. Even into the last few seconds. Good in a game; in the grand scheme, though... Yikes.
Or as wv says, zoingo.

2/01/2009 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

On Uncertainty, I had another thought or two this morning. For the outcome to be so close, the teams had to be evenly matched in both skill and will. Neither side gave up, even into the last seconds of the game. There were points earlier when both seemed to flag, but they each went all-out when it mattered. Thus, while there was obviously a winner and a loser, there was not a sense of defeat.

If either team had lost that will, the outcome would have been completely assured.

2/02/2009 07:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Jake Was Here said...

I don't know if I've talked to Petey, but I do occasionally wind up having internal conversations with myself -- and feeling as though I'm only controlling one side of it. When those little interludes are over, I have to ask myself: Who was on the other end?

(arestd? that's not a very comforting word to have to verify...)

2/03/2009 10:43:00 AM  

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