Antichrist Update, Vol. 3: Seeming is Deleafing (1.24.10)
The XVth card of the tarot, The Devil, introduces us "to the secrets of the electrical fire and the intoxication of counter-inspiration."
But before proceeding further, let us take to heart the warning of our Unknown Friend (UF), who cautions us that "One can grasp profoundly, i.e. intuitively, only that which one loves. Love is the vital element of profound knowledge, intuitive knowledge." If you have ever wondered why true evil -- nazi evil, Islamist evil -- is so impenetrable, it is because the normal person obviously cannot love evil: "Evil is therefore unknowable in its essence. One can understand it only at a distance, as an observer of its phenomenology."
I suppose another way of saying it is that (in linguistic terms) "evil" is a signifier with no signified, being that true evil represents a genuine absence -- an absence or deprivation of the Good. As such, the essence of evil is that it has no essence.
In turn, this is why evil is truly a "bottomless pit." It is not actually infinite, since only the Absolute can be infinite. It does, however, tend toward its own kind of "false" or "bad" infinite (in the Hegelian sense), which is why man can only rise so high but can fall and fall without ever hitting bottom, as proved by Keith Olbermann. I suppose the physics of black holes might provide a handy way to think about this negative infinity. This would be easier -- and less spiritually dangerous -- than trying to imagine, say, the bottomless darkness of the Berkeley City Council. Some things are so beyond the horizon of the human imagination, that they are best left alone.
UF goes on to say that in comparison to the luminous worlds of the celestial hierarchy, the world of evil is more "like a luxuriant jungle, where you can certainly, if necessary, distinguish hundreds and thousands of particular plants, but where you can never attain to a clear view of the totality." Do you know what he means? I do. It's what makes it so difficult to argue with politically deranged people, who, when you cut off one limb of their argument, just grow another. It's like a collection with no center or ordering principle, just a blob or agglomeration -- which is the opposite of the Life principle, i.e., that which organizes, unifies, and synthesizes. Dynamic wholeness is the essence of Life, which means that evil and death must be related to dispersal and fragmentation. Thus, "the world of evil is a chaotic world -- at least, such as it presents itself to the observer."
Vertically speaking, order is "up," while chaos is down (although, there is a kind of paradoxical "static chaos" at the very bottom of the lyin'). No surprise there. In Genesis, God's first act is simply to separate. Without separation there is only the formless void of primordial chaos. If you don't understand the holiness and the sacredness of Separation, then you don't understand anything. Yes, this separation, or duality, can be transcended, but only from above, never from below. Better to live in Holy duality than to obliterate divinely ordained distinctions out of a self-deluded belief in bogus transcendence, which is what the "new age" is all about.
As is leftism, which might just as well be called "down syndrome," being that it is rooted in the anti-divine principle of blending. For the left, In the Beginning was Order. Now, let us gleefully tear it down and blend darkness with light, the upper waters with the lower waters! Examples are too numerous to mention, but one would have to include the obliteration of sexual differences, the trivialization of generational differences, and the effacement of the distinction between knowledge and wisdom; not to mention the conflation of transcendence and immanence, the con-fusion of moral relativism, the abysmal fall into multiculturalism, and the obsession with the redistribution rather than creation of wealth. All of these trends are evil to the core, despite the paradoxical absence of a core. Again, evil is essentially without essence. It is perpetually going from nowhere to nothing, while enjoying the... what's the word, Jeeves? Yes, the frisson of the fall.
Now, just as the right kind of obedience is freedom -- for example, fidelity to Truth -- the wrong kind of freedom is slavery. According to UF, one of the subtexts of the Devil card is that of slavery, in that it depicts a man and woman bound by the neck to a much larger androgynous entity.
Interestingly, just as the union of male and female can create the miracle of a baby to raise (and who shall in turn raise them in mysterious ways!), it seems that a false blending of their essences can engender another kind of being that shall lower them, so to speak. As UF explains, the card has to do with "the generation of demons and of the power that they have over those who generate them. It is the Arcanum of creation of artificial beings and of the slavery into which the creator can fall -- becoming a slave of his own creation."
Let's pause here for a moment. In this regard, I can remember the precise moment when I crossed over that line from leftist back to liberal (i.e., conservative); or, to put it another way, when it was no longer possible to be on the left. I simply asked myself, "who is responsible for my existential unhappiness?" I won't go into all of the details, as that would take us down a lengthy deitour. But the point is, I realized that I was a slave of my own creation -- for example, an evil creation I called "Ronald Reagan." Of course, my creation had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual Ronald Reagan. Rather -- and this is critical -- not only was it my creation, but it was me. Just as in a dream, I was persecuted by my own elaborate production -- like the spider who lives in a web spun from its own substance.
I was reminded of this again last night in reading the liner notes to the new edition of Donald Fagen's excellent Nightfly Trilogy (nothing I'm about to say detracts from the music). As much as I appreciate Steely Dan (Becker & Fagen), like most people of their generation, their jaded cynicism does not extend to their own default moonbattery, which sits there like a kind of unexamined Holy Writ. Which it is. It is the genesis myth of the Baby Boom generation -- the idea that the evil is Out There in the Nixonian uncool ones who are oppressing us.
I know exactly what Fagen means when he reflects that "to a weekend hippie in the '60s," political paranoia "seemed kind of exciting." Indeed, for me, this was the appeal of a Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn -- that they provided a kind of secret gnostic knowledge, an alternative conspiracy theory that explained everything -- why the world is so off-kilter and out of joint, and more to the point, why I was so unfulfilled. Ronald Reagan hates me!
It's one thing to think this way in the '60s. But it is rather pathetic to still think it in one's 60s, as Fagen apparently does. He's still haunted by his self-generated demons -- i.e., mind parasites -- which have now appropriated the host, as suggested in the liner notes of the dark and dystopian world of Morph the Cat, released in 2006 (especially when compared to the idealism and optimism of Nightfly). As he writes,
"Paranoia just wasn't fun anymore in the age of al Qaeda." But not because of al Qaeda! Rather, he speaks disparagingly of Republicans taking over his city (New York) at the 2002 convention, and ends his notes with the following warning: "If you see some folks who believe that spirits and ghosts and hell actually exist and they're really sure about it and they're comin' your way -- RUN!"
I agree entirely. Better yet, just wake up from the dream, because you can't actually run away from your own ghosts, much less the Dreamer.
Again, the essence of the teaching behind the devil card is how "beings can forfeit their freedom and become slaves of a monstrous entity which makes them degenerate by rendering them similar to it." Thus, the card ultimately has to do with "the generation of demons and of the power that they have over those who generate them," i.e., how we can and do become enslaved by our own projected mind parasites, both individually and collectively.
UF comes very close to Raccoon terminology when he writes that the world of evil operates "in the manner of bacilli, microbes and viruses of infectious diseases in the domain of biology." While there exist "evils" which function to strengthen us (i.e., "trials"), mind parasites form closed systems that become ends in themselves.
UF cites the example of monstrous "gods" that have been created by various communities down through the ages. He notes that these communities are "infatuated with the thrill of fear," but one could add anger and hatred; in fact, the fear is a result of the infantile projection of anger. The Islamists, for example, hate what they fear because they fear what they hate, in a vicious cycle. Jews and infidels are merely "placeholders" for a wholly intrapsychic process. Likewise, Bush Derangement Syndrome is nothing more than the left's hatred of its own projected fear and fear of its projected hatred. Cunningly, Obama is now manipulating that pre-existing energy by focusing it upon Rush Limbaugh, perhaps as a way to distract the mob from noticing that he has kept President Bush's Illegal Torture State Apparatus in place.
In this regard, Bion had many subtle things to say about the development of human thought. In fact, it is fair to say that he felt that the entire human catastrophe could be summarized by the perennial problem of "thoughts and what to do with them." Yes, the logical thing is to think them, but that is not what usually happens. The problem is, there are many people for whom "contact with reality presents most difficulty when that reality is their own mental state." For such people, thinking will not be experienced as a liberation, but rather, a restriction. That was an important sentence, so please reread it. We'll wait.
Most of the cultural craziness in the world has to do with the need to form collective adaptations to problematic thoughts. For example, if I am persecuted by my sexual thoughts, I might come up with the idea of forcing women to live in bags (which is very much like covering the world in leather instead of inventing shoes). If I am persecuted by racist thoughts, I might come up with the idea of racial quotas, or teaching that America is a "racist country," so as to assuage my own guilt. If I am preoccupied with the empty space that religion would properly fill, I might become a "climate change" fanatic. If I am preoccupied with my greed, I might focus my envy on those who have more money than I do. If I am persecuted by thought in general, I might come up with the entire structure of political correctness, in order to prevent the emergence of unwanted meanings. And so on.
Yesterday's pro-Obama commenter depicted this perfectly, in his preference for the language of faux-infinity in order to preserve infantile omnipotence. Reasonable people -- i.e., the "grown ups" -- ask why Obama isn't specific, and this is why. To be specific would be to awaken from the infantile dream -- or to move from the "zero" dimension of infantile omnipotence to the three or four dimensions of the reality principle. The Obamaniacs are especially limited in a way that my generation wasn't, in that at least we had drugs to help fuel the illusion. Apparently, most of the Obamaniacs are producing their euphoria "on the natch," which, in its own way, is quite an achievement. After all, the '60s basically started when the drugs kicked in and ended when they wore off.
Again, the brilliance of scripture is how it is a holographic language that can reveal all sorts of perennial truths merely by "rotating" it this way or that. In this regard, Obamania is foreshadowed in Genesis by turning the story upside down and seeing Adam and Eve as the parents of the infantile God.
"In the Beginning" is the infant, which is surely true for all of us. We are born into the limitless space of infantile omnipotence, and only gradually -- and reluctantly -- awaken to the world of limitation and frustration -- i.e., the world of the parents who actually created and rule over us. Under the best of circumstances, this is a shock to the system, and it it is perhaps not surprising that many adult babies pluck a "mask from the ancient gallery" and banish Mother and Father from the garden in order to preserve their godlike omnipotence.
For such a person, their developmental arrest is essentially rooted in the discovery of no-thing at the end of their desire. Say the baby is hungry, or frightened, or angry. The parent who adequately responds to this helps usher him into the real world, converting these into thoughts instead of mere persecutory, ghostly presences. Conversely, excessive frustration contributes to the development of a real absent presence, a kind of "negative space" we are calling the realm of the no-thing (and a no-thing can easily become a mind parasite). What to do about the no-thing? Usually it is evacuated, and then becomes a sort of persecutory psychic environment, "an object that is immediately hostile and filled with murderous envy towards the quality or function of existence wherever it is to be found." In this way, "the space of the ordinary man" can become suffused "with the objects of mental space."
Oh, it happens. But only all the time.
For the human being, thoughts are not only a problem, but the problem. You might say that tolerating the thought of "no breast" forms the basis of all subsequent thinking. You could also say that the thought of no-breast is specifically the thought that the left cannot tolerate. Therefore, they engage in the project of creating a collective, bountiful, limitless teat known as the State. This benign, omnipotent maternal State is always imbued with fantasy, since the intrusion of reality would spoil the illusion.
As Dennis Prager was saying yesterday, the truly odd thing about leftism is that we already know ahead of time that it won't work, based upon the abundant evidence of other socialist countries. But does that deter left wing fantasists? No, not in the least. Obama's campaign is all about kicking adults who notice this out of Eden. Meanwhile, the walls around Eden are guarded by adultolescent babies wielding flaming pens and microphones. Only by remaining a closed system can the (false) infinite be maintained. The true infinite is located out and up, i.e., in the open spiral of the vertical.
Back to UF. He writes that the demons of the unconscious "become forces independent of the subjective consciousness which engendered them. They are, in other words, magical creations, for magic is the objectification of that which takes its origin in subjective consciousness." They have a semi-autonomous existence, and are analogous to parasitic entities "nourished by the psychic life of [their] parent." Therefore, to keep the parasite "alive," it requires a constant influx of psychic energy. Again, this is what Obamania is all about, as it is fueled by the projected psychic substance of its Obamaniacal co-creators.
Of course, once this fantasy-energy dissipates and the credulousness bubble bursts -- as it is well on its way to doing -- it will be very much as HvB describes:
"The worldly form can irradiate a fascination that we can almost mistake for its own, yet the fascination fades; the form is left standing like a leafless tree in autumn, and the deceptive illusion gives way to a sober dis-illusionment. It is as if the appearance had to become detached from the ground and, in trying to stand on its own two feet, revealed that, at its core, it is mere seeming."