Maps, Legends, and Seven-Dimensional Cartography
Sherrard mentions the example of Hamlet, who hesitates to plunge in the knife for fear of "what dreams may come": "for it is in the post-mortal state that we are caught up in those passionate, parasitic sequences of thought and image -- those streams of consciousness -- which we have set moving in this life through some 'vital congruity'... of our soul and which we are compelled to follow, like a dream, as they unfold in our post-mortal state."
So be careful what you obsess over. Have you ever had a real obsession, something you couldn't get out of your head, and which just kept replaying over and over, like broken record or Keith Olbermann show? Well, those are just extreme cases. Much of what we call "thought" is really disguised obsession.
In turn, one of the primary purposes of prayer or meditation is to break the link in the obsessional chain. Being that obsessional thought always skitters along the surface horizontally, you can disrupt it at any time by going vertical, or up and in. Remember, you always have inward mobility and upward nobility.
In a later chapter (we'll get back to the present one), Sherrard talks about how even the senses "are false witnesses for those with impure souls." In other words, what we think of as the most "objective" source of data becomes thoroughly subjectivized in the wrong hearts. This is why science, which is neutral, often leads to the pneumapathology of scientism. You might say that scientism is a form of metaphysical OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), in that it is entirely circular and self-enclosed, and yet imagines that it is adequately describing "reality."
Which, of course, is why you could never "debate" someone with such delusions of adequacy -- such as Charles Queeg about Darwinism -- because it would be like trying to talk someone out of a hand-washing compulsion. It's just a mental tic, as his thousands of former readers well understand. I've had patients who wash their hands, or who check their locks or windows or stoves, hundreds of times a day. Saying "don't do that" would be entirely beside the point. It would be as helpful as asking an Islamist to stop hating Jews. You can't break into that closed circle. It is their map of reality, and if you take it away they'll be utterly lost in the cosmos, with no one to contain their unbound hatred.
Sherrard writes that "We must always remember that we can see things only as they appear to us after passing through the filter of our own perceptual equipment, and the degree to which this filter will admit or exclude the reality of what we see, or think we see, will depend entirely upon the modality of our own particular consciousness." Doors of perception, and all that.
One of the great spiritual dangers of "education" is that it inevitably involves a greater or lesser degree of indoctrination. As a result, the most educated people will often be the most indoctrinated. This is because the "educational establishment" becomes a thing in itself, the result being that those who best adapt to it are the ones who "move up" -- again, we would never deny the workings of natural selection, confined to its proper role.
The same is true of the MSM. The reason why they all think alike is because they are adapted to a ghostly reality that they co-create in adapting to it. It only exists in their heads, but they all mutually reenfarce one another, so that the dream appears real.
I well remember taking the state examination for my psychology license in 1991. The written test in particular is utterly irrelevant to what I would call "psychic reality." Rather, it's like a huge body of knowledge that one must master just for the sake of mastering it.
But there is a more sinister implication, because it forces one to defer to the state's definition of the mind and of mental health. But it does not correspond to the human mind. It is mostly a patchwork of disconnected fragments of knowledge compacted together like some sort of monster. And many of the fragments are inserted there by various political interest groups -- all the usual suspects, i.e., sodomites, feminists, cross-dressers, perverts, pagans, and liberal racists. You must regard the abnormal as normal -- or at least pretend you do -- or you cannot be a psychologist. Period.
The purpose of a theory is to mirror a world. As I have mentioned before, this is also the purpose of revelation and of theology: to mirror the divine reality. In the case of both science and religion, it is always a mistake to confuse the map with the territory or the menu with the meal. And in neither case is the map ever complete. Rather, we spend our lives as cartographers, and there is reason to believe that we take our maps with us when we go on the Big Hike.
Looked at in this way, the very purpose of a spiritual practice is to internalize an accurate map of reality in the full sense of the word. To put it another way, it should be the "cure" for various distorted or partial maps. You simply must have an accurate map, or you won't get anywhere. Or, alternatively, if you don't change maps, you're liable to end up where you're headed.
Sherrard discusses one of the subtle effects of the scientific revolution, and that is the bifurcation of reality into mind and matter, or the physical world and the reason. Excluded from this closed world is the intellect, which is our organ of perception of higher worlds (in my book, symbolized as ¶). Note that this bifurcation creates an intrinsically false map, but that the map can't destroy the intellect, any more than the Islamist's bad map of sexuality eliminates the sex drive. Rather, it simply returns in perverse form, as we see in Iran.
So when we are compelled to internalize a false map of reality that excludes the intellect, the intellect will then roam free, like a ghost, and try to make its own map, to the exclusion of the other two (sense and reason). This is how you end up with, on the one hand, fundamentalism, and on the other, the Deepaks of the world. Both have insanely inaccurate maps, the former because their map is two-dimensional, the latter because it corresponds only with his bottomless narcissism.
You might say that the fundamentalist fetishizes the map, turning it into a graven image, while in Deepak's case, his narcissism leads him to devalue the God-given maps, so that his alternatively vacuous or sinister babbling in no way mirrors the divine world.
As Sherrard writes, "This is a dark and hellish world, the world of the ego's self-deception.... This exaltation of our ego-consciousness, and of the pseudo-knowledge that goes with it, are evidence of the fall." In short, "what does not have its roots in [the] divine life is essentially dead."
When Christ says "let the dead bury the dead," he might as well be saying, "let Deepak bury Michael." This is not a casual asnide, but the essence of Christ's life and his example: "He is uttering a universal horation to all those who wish to live: that they have to die to and bury their dead selves; for when identified with these selves, they are as dead."
So crucify and bury those manmade maps, because they don't chart the torahtery.