Friday, September 11, 2009

Solid as a Cloud, Ephemeral as a Rock

Slept late. Boy up early. Not good circumstances for blogging. I considered yoinking one from the arkive, but it's gotten to the point that it takes less time to come up with a fresh one than to fumble in the closet through my clothes to find my cleanest dirty post. That requires discrimination + editing, whereas the writing obviously doesn't.

It's 9-11 again, but I'll let others deal with that. We're more interested in what lies above and below 9-11 than what's happened since. That never changes, so there's nothing more one can say.

We left off yesterday with an observation by Schuon that "Since everything in the Universe, both visible and invisible, requires both expansion and limitation, there is everywhere a kind of 'space' and a kind of 'time.'"

What this means is that profane space and time as experienced by the common man are actually modes of something more fundamental.

For example, when a physicist says that time and space "started" with the Big Bang, this is nonsense. Rather, a certain mode of time and space became manifest. To say that there was no "duration" "prior" to a certain temporal "point" is absurd. To put it another way, if there "was" eternity, there was time. And since eternity simply "is," there is always time taking place at its edges, so to speak.

The important point is that everything is woven of space and substance, even -- or perhaps especially -- invisible realities. This is obviously what Plato was groping toward with his doctrine of the Ideas, or Jung with the archetypes.

Likewise, when I talk about mind parasites, these really are "internal objects," even though they're obviously immaterial. They are somewhat like an ocean current, which can maintain itself for hundreds of years, and endure much longer than many "solid" objects. Or, think of the river that eventually wears away the hardest stone.

Now, think of the mischief that an immaterial mind parasite can cause -- for example, Ahmadinejad's conviction that Israel needs to be annihilated. I can't imagine any earthly power that could sway him from this belief. Rather, you can only kill him, just like any deadly virus.

In vertical space, "the elect are an aspect of Substance -- an aspect, hence a kind of accident; the damned on the contrary are a crystallization, hence a kind of substance; they are creatures who refuse to be what they are" (Schuon).

Do you see how this applies to an Ahmadinejad? He is indeed the "substance of evil," even though, in the ultimate sense, evil has no substance. Therefore, he is also, paradoxically, the "substance of illusion," as if a nightmarish vision could attain solidity.

It is the opposite for the "elect," who know better than anyone that they are pure accident in the face of the Absolute, hence their abiding humility. Here again, narcissistic pride becomes a kind of "false substance." One thinks of ________.

But how can the humble ever vanquish the proud? Well, Christ obviously came to show us how, in that the light eventually overcomes the darkness and life ultimately triumphs over death, in the same way that the river eventually wears away the stone. Ahmadinejad will soon die and go to his reward, for a good creation cannot be unjust. That's where the faith comes in, but it's certainly not "illogical."

As Schuon explains, "Heaven and hell are said to be 'eternal' because... the element 'substance' comes into play in each case." Ironically, "we are saved by Substance even though it is clothed in accidentality," just as "we are damned by accident because it arrogates to itself the quality of Substance," and pretends "to be be an end in itself."

This is why "materialism" in all its forms is the road to hell, since it is the sine qua non of accidental substantiality and therefore the infinite modes of self-justification: "the devil doesn't exist and he made me do it," the secret doctrine of the left.

Thus, to be in hell is to be encased in stone; whether it is stifling hot or bone-rattling cold is up to your imagination. Either way, it is perpetual fire with no light or ice and snow with no clarity or purity, being that it is crystalized at the farthest edge of creation.

Now, "sin" can be accident or substance; if the latter, then you are in Big Trouble, because you have become the "substance of sin" and are therefore "rotten to the core." As Schuon explains, repeated sin can eventually transform "our substance because it encloses and penetrates us" (emphasis mine).

Enclose and penetrate. These are the "ontological opposites" of both light and love, which radiate and liberate. In the absence of the latter, we would indeed be enclosed in hell, with no means of vertical escape. The truth really does set us free, quite literally. But so too do beauty and virtue, not to mention love. No one is less free -- and more dangerous -- than the bad and hateful man laboring under an illusion. One thinks of _______. Or, if one is a troll, one thinks of me.

I think you can now all understand how the "essence" of sin is "the absurdity of an accident wishing to be pure Substance." In another context, Wilber calls this one's "immortality project" (actually, I think he might have borrowed that term from Becker). So many of the things people do are vain attempts to cheat death by becoming substance. (An apt quote I just plucked from American Digest: "An empty man is full of himself"-- Edward Abbey.)

Unfortunately, these are the very folkers who "make the world go 'round," since the people who are most interested in real immortality -- i.e., making the world go spiral -- are the least likely to get involved in politics.

Yesterday a troll asked why I mention politics in my posts, and that's why. Please let me emphasize that effecting any kind of genuine change is the furthest thing from my mind. In reality, I am as hopeless as a river trying to erode a boulder. Besides, that's already been accomplished.

30 Comments:

Blogger Warren said...

>> mind parasites... They are somewhat like an ocean current, which can maintain itself for hundreds of years, and endure much longer than many "solid" objects.

Your description here sounds an awful lot like Dawkins' theory of "memes", although I'm pretty sure you don't mean it to. How would you describe the difference between your conception of "mind parasites" and his conception of "memes"? (My apologies if this has been discussed before.)

Glad to see you grappling with really difficult doctrines like sin and hell - seems guaranteed to alienate a fair chunk of your readers, though.

9/11/2009 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't know that I would disagree. I just don't reduce the totality of what's going on to that single mechanism.

9/11/2009 08:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reality, I am as hopeless as a river trying to erode a boulder.

A bit paradoxical, given that rivers do erode boulders. Though I guess eroding the boulder is the furthest thing from the river's mind, too.

9/11/2009 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One might say that The American Revolution has raged for over two centuries, and one mighty company of heroes has fought through every battle. The proposition that free men cannot be broken by the will of tyrants is a challenge."

9/11/2009 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Here again, narcissistic pride becomes a kind of "false substance." One thinks of ________.

More Schuon:

Pride appropriates the divine gift and then strangles it.

Pride: the "something" that prevents a man from "losing his life" for God.

Pride is to treat the human as Divine, and conversely; it is therefore to be ignorant of both one and the other.


And one more (for me) to bear in mind, lest I be tempted yet again to discuss color with the blind,

Our neighbor can always teach us something even if only in a quite indirect way; in this respect he assumes a function that is quasi-divine.

Yesterday's lesson: don't argue essential truths with those who would try to confine the Absolute inside an -ism.

9/11/2009 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.


And so Bob is superior to you trolls. Get over it. I got over it. I don't regard him as anything other than what he is: an honest guide.

9/11/2009 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Wilber write The Atman Project whe he was 23 or someting?
What did you write in same age-frame?

9/11/2009 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm guessing he was more like 30, since he was born in '49 and it came out in '80. At any rate, I was working on my doctoral dissertation at that age.

9/11/2009 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

... for the curious, it had the ponderous title, Psychoanalysis, Postmodern Physics, and the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution: A Rapprochement Between MInd and Nature, later published in a couple of academic journals.

9/11/2009 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

The important point is that everything is woven of space and substance, even -- or perhaps especially -- invisible realities.

Related, Klavan, on ideas.

9/11/2009 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand corrected Bob, Wilber wrote Up From Eden when he was 23.

9/11/2009 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Not true. It was published in 1981, as it is basically a historical representation of the Atman Project.

9/11/2009 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Folks,

Yesterday's comments were a laugh a minute, but a little scary too. The trolls were pretty dense. Suggesting that a traditional family might not be the only best way to raise children. As if there has been any other arrangement in any successful society in history. Then they have the audacity to demand proof, as if human history isn't proof enough. They probably think they made a point. Come to think of it they did make a point just not the one they thought. How can folks be so dense? Oh wait, sin encloses.

Julie,

The force is strong with you. I need to read more Schuon.

Bob,

As always thanks for opening the door.

9/11/2009 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous slackosopher said...

NB-

Is that Dante? Speaking to someone in Hell?

9/11/2009 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

James said "As if there has been any other arrangement in any successful society in history. Then they have the audacity to demand proof, as if human history isn't proof enough."

When you have a Metaphysics of Doubt, you are 'empowered' to start from a position of discarding reality. The arbitrary becomes perfectly reasonable, and if what is real and true cannot satisfy your demands of proof, it can be (and by 'principle' must be) discarded. In such a mind, the absence of conspiracies, is proof of conspiracy and evil plots... and claims of the Good, Beautiful and True, become simplistic notions of those afraid to embrace 'the truthers'.

wv:verses
Yes, they can help.

9/11/2009 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

slackosopher:

Stay tuned!

(T. S. Eliot, by the way, who like Bob and most 'coons coonverted)

9/11/2009 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

what did Wilber write before those titles mentioned?

true answer: Alan Watts' books--
Big-fan KW copied them for practice

9/11/2009 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now, "sin" can be accident or substance; if the latter, then you are in Big Trouble, because you have become the "substance of sin" and are therefore "rotten to the core." As Schuon explains, repeated sin can eventually transform "our substance because it encloses and penetrates us" (emphasis mine)."


Reminds me of petrified wood, where wood becomes stone little by little, cells are replaced by mineral.

MIght explain why leftists and trolls are so dense.

wv:persists
Yes, it persists, but it's a rock.

9/11/2009 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You win! even though I was never compete for the last word lol:)

9/11/2009 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Likewise, when I talk about mind parasites, these really are "internal objects," even though they're obviously immaterial. They are somewhat like an ocean current, which can maintain itself for hundreds of years, and endure much longer than many "solid" objects. Or, think of the river that eventually wears away the hardest stone.

Case in point: The Third Jihad; really worth watching.

9/11/2009 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

To put it another way, if there "was" eternity, there was time. And since eternity simply "is," there is always time taking place at its edges, so to speak.

Right, eternity cannot be static and time-less. When we move into eternity, we experience time and space in a different way, like from above. To go the other way would be hell.

9/11/2009 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Russell said...

"If I believed that my reply were made
To one who to the world would e'er return,
This flame without more flickering would stand still;
But inasmuch as never from this depth
Did any one return, if I hear true,
Without the fear of infamy I answer,..."

From Dante's Inferno, Canto XXVII, Longfellow's translation

One of the damned, Guido da Montefeltro, wrapped in flames, is speaking to Dante.

I just finished the Inferno last week.

Also, this is the start of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

I recommend both.

I hope that did still any thunder from NB.

wv: shliss.

The sound of "ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."

9/11/2009 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care what Wilber wrote or not way back when. I didn't read those books, but know where he's at rightnow. Think what you want, but it ain't what you think, no matter how much you wish it to be true.

Bob, you did say it takes time to evolve. You indicated "we are like angels on earth" not too long ago.
I would argue that true 'Angels' don't have any need to call those they don't agree with "flockers". (surly you meant "f*ckers"?.

No matter how much attention folks direct towards insulting others the Prince of Death is stalking you (anyway).

9/11/2009 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thanks for the tip!

9/11/2009 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

There's nothing like a bracing dose of lucidity now and then...

9/11/2009 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It is general election here in Norway one of these days, and it becomes painfully evident to me this time around how politicians are actually laboring hard and long to commit demon summoning. They strive to summon greed, envy, fear and hate into the hearts of their fellow man and woman. (Even children, given the chance.)

If they are all driven by discontent, who among them is able to lead? A leader must be able to say "Follow me!" - but who but the most miserable will follow an unhappy man?

And yet, alas, it seems no one is ever elected on a program of gratitude.

9/11/2009 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous slackosopher said...

Russell/NB-

Even though thoroughly mangled when I put it through the online translator the passage sounded oddly familiar.

Have myself gone through a long, slow trek down and through the years through The Divine Comedy...I don't know, is it just me or does it kinda say it all?

Maybe about time for another pass?

wv: mause. As in man or...

9/11/2009 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Census Bureau severs ties with ACORN in 2010 count

9/11/2009 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Russell said...

slackosopher:
"...[I]s it just me or does it kinda say it all?"

Fittingly, T. S. Eliot wrote, "Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them, there is no third."

9/11/2009 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous no fear said...

One day longer.

9/12/2009 03:59:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home