Seeing God with Trinocular Vision
We've posted on this subject in the past -- which is to say, when the mind expands, what does it expand into? To the extent that the mind exists as a real entity, does it have an edge? We certainly talk as if it does. And what does the edge shade off into? And what exactly expands? The content? The space? Or is it simply the density of connectedness? If so, how do ideas hang together in the scaffolding of the mind?
This sounds like an abstract subject, but as a matter of fact, it comes into play in the nature of my "work" in forensic psychology. For example, exactly what is a "psychiatric injury?" I am routinely asked to answer this unanswerable question. Or at least it is unanswerable in linear and atomistic med-legal terms. This way of speaking conceals an entire implicit ontology of the mind and of mental causation which is about as naive as you could imagine. I could answer the question, but I would have to employ coonspeak, i.e., freevangelical pundamentalism, and you can imagine how well that would go over with a judge. Even the wisest Latina judge wouldn't know what I was talking about.
This is one of the problems of language which goes to what I was saying yesterday about speaking vs. being spoken by it. Most talk about the mind is so loaded with implicit assumptions that it is not only difficult to escape them, but you end up being enslaved by them without even knowing it. After all, no one even knows what consciousness is, and yet we all walk around as if we do.
Here again, Bion was on the case. He noticed -- I mean, how can you not? -- that psychoanalysis was riven by all of these different theories and models. In fact, you could say the same of religion, or even of a single religion. Take Islam for example. Is it really as the terrorists say, a violent, bloodthirsty, intolerant, and tyrannical system? Or is it as the moderates say, merely a closed-minded, superstitious, backward, oppressive and misogynist one?
Put it this way: when Muslims can laugh at themselves, they will have left the iron age and entered the irony age. And only when that happens, can one address the problem of language, or how to use words to express what words can never say. And one of the things they can never say is "God," since God is the one thing that could never, by definition, be contained by anything except his own nature. So in a way, to say "God" is to deface him, unless you are exceedingly careful. Because if you're not, I can guarantee you that your interlocutor will not mean the same thing by the symbol "God" (especially if he's a liberal). It will contain different things, often radically different things. Obviously I do not mean the same thing when I use the word as does Obama, or Osama, or yo' mama, for that mater.
For those of you who have the home version, you know that this is addressed in chapter four, section one, Unknowing and How to Communicate It: The Hazards of Talking Pure Nonsense. Indeed, I see that the table of coontents even has a nice little quote from the great Abraham Heschel, who said that "Wonder or radical amazement, the state of maladjustment to words and notions, is a prerequisite for an authentic awareness of that which is." So if anyone wonders why I write in the maladjusted way I do, that's why. I do this in two ways: one of them "overdoes" it, while the other "underdoes" it. The idea is to meet in the muddle.
For example, if someone picks up my book, reads the first few pages, and says to himself, "boy, this guy really overdid it with the punny business and jehovial witticisms," I say, yes, exactly. But the same person might read chapter four and say, "hmm. I think he underdid it a little. What's 'O' supposed to mean? Couldn't he say just a little more?"
No, I could not, for I was specifically trying to overcome the problem of language. You could say that my effort to define O overflows with holographic meta-meaning in the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections. Get it?
Now, back to the post as it appeared last year:
If you actually think about it in a deep way, it's a bit like assessing the damage to a cloud caused by bumping into another cloud. What caused the cloud's injury? What did the cloud look like before the accident? Was it a fully functioning cloud, a proud cumulonimbus? Would it have eventually produced rain, or was it merely a frivolous and unserious cirrus cloud, a meteorological slacker? Were there other causes? Did this cloud have pre-existing problems? Apportion exact percentages to all the causes. Were 51% of the causes related to the injury in question?
It's madness. This, by the way, is why I know that liberals are demagoging the veterans-with-PTSD issue. And demagoging is their stock-in-tirade. As we already know, liberals can only relate to the military if they can convert them to victims. The diagnosis of PTSD is perfect in this regard, as it can magically convert virtually all combat veterans into victims of PTSD, being that war is intrinsically traumatic.
Now, as it so happens, over the past two decades, I've dealt with any number of cases of PTSD. And while the diagnosis is real, it is almost always a transient condition that eventually resolves on its own or with a little help, especially if the person was healthy to begin with. In my experience, the only exceptions to this have been people who had significant pre-existing psychiatric issues.
To put it bluntly, they were not particularly well put together to begin with. Thus, you sometimes hear the liberal media report stories of "gross injustice," because a vet was denied benefits on the "pretext" of having a pre-existing mental condition, often a personality disorder. But if I were the evaluating doctor, I can well imagine arriving at the identical conclusion. Yes, abuses can take place, but personality disorders are quite common these days.
Anyway. That's a liberal for you. Always speaking power to Truth and lies to the powerless. Or, you could say that liberalism is a systematic way to convert good impulses into bad ones through a defective ideology -- in particular, compassion into cruelty. It is the mirror image of the free market, which converts supposedly "bad" impulses into mutually beneficial outcomes.
Back to the question at hand: What kind of space is the mind? If it is holographic and multi-dimensional, we need a language that parallels that fact, or it will mislead. What does it imply about the nature of mental space to say that something can be deep? Or "shallow"? Or "transcendent"? Or "repressed"? Or "projected"?
Let's look at it this way. The only reason we experience mental space at all is because we live at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal. This is what it means to be "bi-cosmic." If we lived only in the former, we would be like the angels, who abide in a kind of static, archetypal, quasi-eternal space. If we lived only in the latter, we would be like animals and Darwinians, who essentially live on the surface of the senses. But the differing vertices of the vertical and horizontal axes create a new kind of space, similar to the way our two eyes, which have slightly different angles, create binocular vision, or our two ears create the possibility of the three-dimensional stereo image (thanks to my new Martin Logan speakers I just purchased the other day. I rarely buy anything extravagant for myself, but I decided to go for it. Anyone else out there have a pair? Of Martin Logans, I mean? What a sound for sore ears! It's like having a whole new CD collection.)
Here again, this might sound overly abstract, but it really isn't. As I've mentioned before, we talk about the "unconscious mind" as if it were a sort of reservoir, or fluid ocean, that lies "beneath" the solid and dependable ego. But obviously, that is merely a spacial metaphor borrowed from our experience of the external world. In reality, the situation is much more like one of those blinky toys (is that what they're called?), where if you turn it at a different angle, a different picture appears. The unconscious is analogous to this, in that it is "embedded" in every conscious act; you could say that the unconscious is "in" the ego, and vice versa.
That being the case, the same thing applies to the higher world. They are always here, but we must "tweak" the picture and look at it from a slightly different angle for it to "jump out." And if you want to do this on a continuous basis, you need to practice it -- which is what a spiritual practice is all about!
For example, the whole point of all the laws and rituals for the Orthodox Jew is to try to look at virtually everything "from the divine angle." It is a kind of karma yoga that involves the constant recollection of God in most every activity. Thus, it shouldn't feel burdensome, but liberating; far from being restrictive, it should open one out to a much "deeper" or "higher" space. But if the living spirit is lost and only the letter remains, one can well understand how it could become about as joyful as Michelle Obama flying coach on date night.
Frithjof Schuon often spoke of what has been lost with modernity, in particular, a kind of collective "spirit" that we can scarcely imagine today, partly because we are so distracted and even hypnotized by our conveniences. But as hard as life was in the past, there is no evidence that people were any less happy than we are today. In fact, there is reason to believe that they were actually more content in spite of it all. I think of how Judaism survived down through the centuries despite being so persecuted. Why not just abandon it? Again, there must have been such a supernatural payoff, that we have difficulty wrapping our minds around it today. The same can be said of the early Christian martyrs.
To paraphrase something Theodore Dalrymple once said, "misery rises to the level of the means available to alleviate it," which is an ironyclad law that liberals will never understand, for to understand it is to instantly liberate oneself from the magical prescriptions of liberalism. Of course the implementation of liberal policies only results in more greed, more bitterness, more envy, more sexual conflict, more of a sense of entitlement. But the prescription is always more of the same, which then creates the need for.... more of the same!
Clearly, despite the "war on poverty," there is more envy and bitterness today than there was in the 1950s, when conditions were immeasurably worse. A "poor" person today lives beyond the dreams of an affluent person in the 1950s, but it doesn't matter so long as one lives in the single vision of flatland liberalism, divorced from the liberating vertical energies that cause one's world to expand without limits. No one in the '50s had the internet, cell phones, air bags, statins, SSRIs, Martin Logans, test tube babies, analog insulin.... the list is endless.
As Perry describes it, the vertical axis is the only real "exit" from the burden of existence. Have you ever noticed how you feel "lighter" after a religious service? It's because you are lighter. I used to attend services at the Vedanta temple in Hollywood, and wouldn't pay to much attention to the words. Rather, I would just close my eyes and focus on the sensation of vertical liftoff.
The vertical passage is God's way "in" to manifestation, and our way "out." Or, you could say that God's expiration is our inspiration. I actually practice this consciously; when I meditate, I imagine that my inhalation corresponds to God's exhalation, and vice versa. There is a reason why spirit and breath are synonymous in the esoteric literature. When you inhale, take it all the way from the crown of head down to the heels, and when you exhale, pour it from your heart and out the top of your head while repeating the Name.