Saturday, March 14, 2009

Antichrist Update, Vol. 3: Seeming is Deleafing (1.24.10)

This is a condensation of several posts from last year. Remember, the purpose of these retroflections is to gauge the accuracy of our cʘʘnvision one year on. Yeah, it's kind of long, but that shouldn't pose a problem for you all-day seekers & spiritual pathletes.

****

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."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Truth, Freedom, Interiority

Perhaps I should start with some basics while my brain is still coming on line -- I woke up with a sort of fog in my head, and it's not dissipating as rapidly as one would like. Blood sugar slightly low. Perhaps that was a factor.

Anyway, the Theo-logic is presented over three volumes, and we're only only in the beginning of the first, The Truth of the World; this is followed by the Truth of God, and then The Spirit of Truth.

This first volume is actually an immanent phenomenology of worldly truth, without any bearing on God per se. That will not come until volume two, when HvB gets into the problem of finite and infinite truth.

Nevertheless, the second volume is surely implied by the first, for anyone who has truly stood in the ground of truth has under-stood the necessity of God. In other words, truth implies and points to its ultimate sponsor, without whom there wouldn't be the slightest possibility of truth, much less having faith in it. No: worldly truth is grasped in "the sustaining ground from which it emerges: eternal truth." It can be no other way, for necessity cannot be derived from pure contingency.

Any truth carries a promise, and the promise is this: "a sphere of absolute truth in which eternal being and eternal self-consciousness have always already coincided and by which all finite objects have always already been measured and... delivered over to be known by finite subjects." This will become clearer as we proceed, but it is critical to appreciate the relationship between truth, freedom, and interiority, in both their metacosmic and worldly manifestations, the latter again being a reflection of the former.

For truth of any kind quite obviously "presupposes a free, personal inner space." One must be free to discover truth, or it isn't truth at all, and freedom is a function of interiority.

Here again, this is our profound objection to the leftist tyranny of totolerantarian political correctness, which, in one fallen swoop, undermines both freedom and truth. And it also implicitly attenuates the interiority upon which truth depends, since radical secularists and neo-Marxists are absolutely committed to a blind materialism in which our precious interiority is just an epiphenomenon. Thus, no truth, no freedom, no objective interiority. Other than that, we have no problems with the left.

Now, just as worldly truth depends upon absolute truth, so too, ipso facto, do worldly freedom and interiority depend upon the Absolute Subject, who also happens to be infinitely free. We can never measure him; rather, he is the measure of us. Here again, this would have to be considered to be in the realm of the obvious, at least if one takes the time to think about it deeply (assuming other qualifications that the non-Raccoon will not possess, either by training, or more likely, vocation).

Okay, the caffeine drip is beginning to kick in. Unfortunately, Future Leader could stir at any time, plus I have to leave fairly early. Let's get busy.

Phenomenolgically, there is self and there is world, or interior and exterior. However, as mentioned a couple of posts back, while our senses only register the exterior, our intellect innately recognizes that the exterior actually has an interior -- that existence is the manifestation of essence.

As I reflect upon this primordial mystery -- about which I will have much more to say -- I go back to chapter three of the Coonifesto, where I discussed the extremely unlikely situation of a neurologically incomplete baby being born into the trimorphic structure of mommy-daddy-baby, the cosmic implications of which are well beyond this post.

But somewhere in there, I related this to that first bit of purely exterior matter that wrapped around itself and then persisted through time: i.e., that first cosmic declaration of subjectivity, Life. But the cosmic purpose of infants -- who otherwise seem so useless -- is to be the breach in time and space which allows interiority to come flooding in. Here again, it seems that the A.I. people -- much less the sociobiologists -- will never appreciate the profundity of this truly cosmic-developmental event. For it is to the evolution of Spirit what metabolism is to Life.

Here again, we don't have time to get into it, but Bion had a symbol for this interior process, which he called "alpha-function," which is basically the ability to "think about thinking" -- or, more to the point -- to actually think one's thoughts, rather than, say, being thought by them, allowing them to be hijacked by primitive emotion, projecting them, etc. Each of these interferes with the development of the interior world, and therefore erodes freedom and truth.

Now, a human being is not only open to the world, but he is also open to the infinitely wider world of other Subjects, beginning with the (m)other. Indeed, a good mother does not relate to her baby "surface to surface," but reaches "way in," so that they touch subject to subject, interior to interior, and ground to ground, in the most profound and intimate way.

Because this goes on for such an unusually extended period, during which time the brain is assembling itself, it puts in place the fissure in being, the crack in the cosmic egg, that will allow the celestial light in. Again, absent this interior space, neither truth nor freedom would be conceivable, for this space is also -- obviously -- the Cosmic Interior, with all that implies. It is why we can relate not just to people -- but to the world -- interior to interior and essence to essence.

Perhaps this is sounding too abstract, but it isn't. For example, when you open yourself to the beauty of virgin nature, and allow it to breach your boundaries and come pouring in, what do you think is happening? We've recently had a series of particularly beautiful days here in Upper Tonga, and I mentioned to an acquaintance -- a flatlander -- how odd it was that there was no such thing as an ugly cloud. He immediately launched into a dissertation about how he is an "empiricist," so that such statements have no meaning. Suffice it to say, I didn't pursue the subject. As always, the secret protects itself.

The point is, the human subject is not only a window on the world, but he is the only being that also sees the world as one big window, with the light of truth and beauty shining through from essence to existence. Imagine if the world were not like this! Again, this would be tantamount to a living death of severe autism, just flat people in a dead world (and vice versa).

But the human vocation is to serve as "host" for the world's beauty and truth, so long as we have a developed interior and allow it to remain receptive to being. In my view, the essence of psychopathology revolves around these two factors, 1) the absence of a highly developed interior, in which one has colonized a substantial portion of the subjective horizon, and 2) the extent to which the person is an open system (both horizontally and vertically), particularly on a deep emotional level. We will have much more to say about this in a future post, when we discuss the cosmic implications of coonjugal Love.

Damn, better stop again. No time to even spiel-check. Gotta get ready for work. I need a slabatical to really get into this!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Bucket's Got a Hole in It

I think I understand why the Theo-Logic is so challenging. It's like one long, ecstatic ode to truth that cannot be reduced to anything other than itself. You know, like a poem: if you try to reduce a poem down to its essence and put it in a memo, you've destroyed the poem, precisely.

So that's the difficulty we're having here: I've finally met my match. I can't wrap my mind around this, because it's too close to the source. Imagine if you have a little bucket, and you're trying to collect water from a fire hose. If you're far enough away, it's not a problem. But if you get right up next to the nozzle, it will send your bucket flying, if not tear it apart. Then u has no bucket.

Obviously, we're gonna need a bigger bucket. Yes, I'm going to have to pull out the Big Crock, which only Bob's Unconscious has access to (and when I say "unconscious," I really mean our total verticality, extending from the lowdown downdest to the tip-toppermost of the poppermost). The unconscious is much bigger, much more capacious and hyperdimensional than the conscious mind that floats on its surface. So, trying to wrap the conscious mind around Balthasar (heretofore HvB for short) is truly like trying to capture the sphere with the circle. It can't be done.

Nope. We're going to have to fight firehose with firehose.

I don't think the conscious mind -- or, let's say left brain -- really has access to being per se anyway. Rather, it is the right brain that gives direct access to the background of being, and the left brain that "thinks" about it in a more linear way. In fact, for those of you who have read my paper on quantum physics and psychoanalysis, it reminds me of how the ponderable explicate world is a function of the ceaselessly flowing implicate world.

It seems to me that HvB operates right on the border where those two worlds touch, and where the one is transformed and translated into the other. And it is my opinion that this is the very reason why we have a left and right brain (or conscious and unconscious, which operate along such different logical principles), because otherwise we could not possibly be proportioned to the totality of the cosmos in both its implicate and explicate poles. (By the way, one could think of, say, Joyce's Finnegans Wake as operating on the other side of that line altogether, in the total implicate darkness of dream logic; in that case, we have to do all of the explicating.)

But of course, there are not really two worlds. Again, we can draw distinctions, but never separate the two poles, for the one is a function of the other. It is really one flowing process, like O-->(n). Or, put it this way: the more alienated one is from the totality of this flow, the more the world will appear to be either, on the one hand, an irreducible chaos, or, on the other, a kind of dead rationalism (the latter being the specialty of the atheistic nerds and other substitious neo-barbarians).

I might also add that this is actually a circular process, something I couldn't really get into in the book (the more symbols a book has, the more likely it is that the potential reader will place it back on the shelf). But in the mode of O-->(n), (n) "returns" to O -- to the ground -- and "refertilizes" it, so to speak, in the manner, say, that leaves fall from the tree and fertilize the ground from which the tree draws its nourishment to produce more leaves. Here again, this is why it is a tree of life for those whose wood beleaf.

You will also note that what I am describing is not "abstract," but quite concrete and empirical. It is simply a description of "what happens" in spiritual growth. All of my regular readers will have noticed that as they shun the junk food and take in only the whole foods, it puts in place a positive feedback loop -- which, not to get self-referential again, was one of the points of the circularity of my book. Only by the end of the book are you fit to restart at the beginning and know the place for the first time. Which is also why it is posssible, in the words of Rabbi Zimmerman, to be "younger than yesterday." Or, as in Cosmobliteration, the attractor suction of the book, And you shall never grow so old again, or dopple, your monkey back.

Let's let the great sax-man Hank Mobley illustrate it for us. Hank? You out there Hank? Alright! Let's give a Big Round of applause to the middleweight king of the tenor! (And remember, to repent is to "turn around.") (This is Hank's greatest record, which is highly raccoomended even if you think you don't like jazz. Musically speaking, it just "flows" from the origin, illustrating our point aurally.)

Now, HvB, talks about the "double-sidedness" of truth, which again can be compared to the cosmic marriage of ♀and ♂ (or container and contained, respectively). In short, truth is neither container nor contained, but the eternal dynamic play between the two. Please bear in mind that this is not at all analogous to the polarity of rational <--> irrational, as a benighted secularist might imagine. Rather, the higher Reason deploys itself in the form of this perpetually living process -- for truth is very much alive, to say the least.

Here is how he describes it: "on the one hand, the object is captured and enclosed within the subject, while, on the other hand, the subject is initiated into the all-embracing world of the objective disclosure of being." So, in this formulation, being is ♂ while the containing subject is ♀. "Thus, knowing the truth happens when knowledge, by virtue of an 'adequation' (♀) to the thing as it really is, lets itself be measured and determined by the thing (♂)."

BUT, it is hardly man's lot to be nothing more than "a kind of machine for recording objective states of affairs," like some hindbrain atheist medullard. Rather, looked at vertically, in the total cosmic context, objects actually come to their full fruition in the human subject that knows their truth (and beauty). That is, "objects exist for the sake of subjects," not vice versa, as that would be an intrinsic absurdity, a his & heresy.

Thus, "the disclosure of being is meaningful only if it is directed to a knowing subject." The subject brings into being the truth of the object; as such, you might say that the human being -- in potential anyway -- is the being that brings being itself to its cosmic conclusion, which is none other than gnosis, properly understood (not "gnosticism," it should go without saying). Rather, it is just that "the human subject enjoys here a special participation in the power of the divine intelligence to positively bring truth into being."

Again, think of that half-luminous penumbra between O and (n): "It is in this shifting middle, in a kind of balancing act between reason's two functions -- receptive, consenting self-abandonment, on the one hand, and judgment, on the other -- that truth itself moves." But the main point is that there is an "indissoluble polarity between subject and object," which quite mysteriously "comprehend each other reciprocally," to the very ends of the total cʘʘvision of, say, a Meister Eckhart.

Given what we have just outlined above, we understand that truth is intrinsic to being, for it is "being unveiled," and it is only unveiled in human subjects -- hence our overall importance to the divine-cosmic economy. For without humans, being cannot become transparent to itself and know its own truth. Other animals can know the exterior of being -- the appearance -- but only human beings can know the interior -- the essence.

Here again, essence and appearance can be distinguished but never separated, for essence only shows itself in terms of its manifold appearances, while appearance is incomprehensible without seeing it as the instantiation of essence.

It can be no other way. Think of the relationship between your own true self -- or, as we call it, your unique coonstellation -- and your outward life. The more you operate from your nonlocal coonstellation, the more your thoughts and actions come into alignment with it. But it is not as if you can ever circumnavigate or know your true self as an object. Rather, it is an inexhaustible plenitude. My posts, for example, are definitely "all me." Cut this blog, and it bleeds Bob's blood. But I am not the sum total of the posts. Rather, they can never be more than just a tiny sample of O.

THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING! Time to get ready for work.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Glowing Off the Deep End

I wouldn't exactly say I have writer's block or blogger's rot. It's more as if I'm not sure if I'm up to the task of trancelighting the Theo-Logic into plain coonglish. It's one of these situations in which I'll probably have to forget you fine folkers exist, hand over the reins to Bob's Unconscious, and let things be worked over in that vertical abyss of night and dread.

I am now jumping in.

Wait a minute. Allow my eyes to adjust to the blinding light. Truth unveiled can be so annoying at times. But the fact that truth is "Being unveiled" leads to the next question, which is "to whom is being revealed?"

What I'm going to try to establish while down here is that the idea of Being in the absence of a knowing subject is absurd. Otherwise for whom and to whom is Being giving out all this blindingly radiant truth? Down here within the ground, the cosmos surely speaks. It is legible. And there is no Word without someone to hear it. Do you hear what I hear? For to hear the speech is to know (of) the speaker, the Speaker without whom there is not a word to be heard.

As Balthasar puts it, "it is essential that all being should have a relation to some self-consciousness." Furthermore, once the truth of father being becomes apParent, "a thousand consequences, a thousand insights, spring from it as from a seed. Once being has become evident, this evidence immediately harbors the promise of further truth; it is a door, an entrance, a key to the life of spirit."

What he is talking about, of course, is alignment with O. As we have mentioned before, this is not any linear or discursive process, i.e., from A to B to C. Rather, it is very much a "flowing out" or "boiling over" from the center outward.

Truly, when we are in the mode of O-->(n), we are mirroring the primordial activity of the Creator, through whom truth overflows from being like... like something that really overflows, big time. Seriously, it was this that I was trying to capture in the Cosmobliteration section of the Wholly Bobble, e.g.,

Here, prior to thought, by the headwaters of the eternal, the fountain of innocence, the mind shoreless vast and still, absolved & absorbed in what is always the case, face to face in a sacred space.

It's hard when you're not a poet, and yet, some form of noetry poetry is the only thing that will do -- to convey this idea of the truth perpetually flowing out of being, like Son from Father:

Only the blissful wave of the immortal now, rising forth from the effulgent sea of of existence. Inhere in here.... What it's like to be dead, the Vertical Church of Perpetual Slack.

Or this one:

All-embracing secret center of depth, the meaning of Within, the realization of Being, O first and last truth of Self, knowing without knowledge all that can be unKnown: existence to the end of the beginning.

Frankly, me always feels a little I-ambivalent about referencing mysoph, but at the same time, I often think that if I don't explain these things, no one will ever understand the point of that linguistic verticalaesthetic. I wasn't just trying to be "different" -- much less difficult! Perverse is still a kind of verse.

Back on our heads. The point is that truth is a kind of inexhaustible "opening" to being. You might even say that you can start with any truth, and follow it back upstream to its nonlocal source in the Spirit from whom all truth is derived and given its seal of authenticity. It is why we may not only know truth, but love and trust it, i.e., have faith in it.

Thus we understand how "truth implies total transparency and apprehensibility, on the one hand, yet eludes any attempt to nail it down in a definition, on the other." Which is also why to reduce truth to mechanical reason is to truly invert the cosmos; instead of O-->(n), it is simply (k)-->Ø. Do you see why that must be so? It is to mistake a tool for the house one is building.

Truth is indeed everywhere, and yet, must remain "veiled in its totality." If this were not the case, then the cosmos wouldn't be the blessedly irreducible mystery that it is -- it would be in effect saturated, which would also be a kind of hell, for the moment something is stripped of its mystery -- which is also its dignity, its "veil" of privacy -- it is also deprived of its essence, which is permanently inaccessible to the knower. Or, to be precise, it is accessible, but only in the form of the appearances that it freely gives to the knower.

The knower can no more exhaust this mystery than one could ever completely "know" a loved one; indeed, to love them is to appreciate and cherish their depthless mystery. Love dies when the other becomes saturated and demystified -- which is always either an act of aggression on the part of the lover, or some kind of interior death on the part of the beloved. Or, the lover can essentially be endeadened and incapable of appreciating the mystery of the other, a common problem for the narcissistic personality, who only relates "surface to surface," never depth to depth and essence to essence.

Love and mystery (not to mention, freedom) are thoroughly entangled -- as are truth and mystery, as we shall see shortly. Truth is initiation into the mystery of the other, not murder of the other in the name of "knowledge."

A life without mystery is a living death! For Life Itself is a perpetual mystery. To attempt to foreclose this mystery is a kind of ontological sin, which is the real damage done by the metaphysical Darwinists, who are foolish enough to think that science is advanced by removing its central mystery! This is like suggesting that processed dead European white bread is healthier than the Real Thing, which will always -- thank God! -- elude our scientistic abstractions. When a science claims to have corralled the truth, know that these illegal omsteaders have simply excised and demysticated a little corner of Being.

Ah, it is just so: "True knowledge thus manages to conjoin two seemingly contrary experiences: the experience of possessing, and surveying from above, the object of knowledge in the clarity of the intellect, and the experience of being flooded by something that overflows knowledge in the heart of knowledge itself, or, to put it another way, the awareness of participating in something that is infinitely greater in itself than what comes to light in its disclosure" (emphasis mine).

Ho! Do you see, little lambs? No body crosses the phoenix line lest it be repossessed and amortized. Some by fire, some by flood, but all buy the farm & bury the form.

Here again, this is the death that is life, the razoraction on this side of the scythe that gives the fulsome gnosis spoken of by the Master in Luke 11:52: Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of gnOsis. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.

In the end, it comes back to the dialectical mystery of ♀ and ♂, of container and contained. For truth is what we contain, even while it contains us -- on pain of there being no truth at all. "Knowledge" happens when we allow ourselves to be determined by the object of study. And yet, a subject is not simply a mechanical imprint of the world. Rather, being comes to its fruition in an act of knowing its truth, just as this post is an echo in the void until it reaches its destination and finds its reason for being in the patiently waiting receptacle of the noggin on the other end.

God works the same way. We find fulfillment in the Word, even while the Word finds its fillfullment in the human heart.

Well, that's about it for today. Trust me, with any lux, it's going to get a lot weirder in the coming days, so you might want to quit while you're ahead.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

If it Looks and Talks Like a Cosmos, it Probably is One

I'm afraid this post is barely a peek at the wild godhead. Partly due to the recent time theft, I woke up later and simply didn't have sufficient time for the timelessness necessary to bring back a big catch from O. In the coming days, as we return to Balthasar's brilliant Theo-Logic, we're going to be exploring some extremely deep, dense, and subtle ideas, and if I don't get an early start, eternity will elude me. So this is fairly brief.

Balhasar begins with an initial description of truth as "the unveiledness, uncoveredness, disclosedness, and unconcealment of being." Which in turn implies two corollaries: "that being appears; and second, that being appears."

In other words, the essence of being necessarily appears as appearance. Essence and appearance can be distinguished, but never separated. So what looks like a duality is really a singularity in the form of an objective complementarity: essence <---> appearance (which roughly mirrors sensation <---> intellect on the subjective human plane).

Importantly, this is not analogous to Kant's idea of the one-way noumena --> phenomena, because in that case, the noumena (which, as Schopenhauer pointed out, should really be the singular noumenon) is forever unknowable, while the phenomena show us only what amounts to an illusion, based upon our innate ways of knowing it.

In other words, we can never know the Real, only the forms of our own sensibility. In short, we are forever trapped in the world of appearances. This is essentially where modern science -- or, to be precise, scientism -- leads, but never in an honest and consistent way. It habitually speaks of a "reality" that it cannot know or even coherently think about. What Raccoon emeritus Alfred North "you can call me Al" Whitehead said some eighty years ago still holds true today:

Hmm. Can't find the quote I'm looking for, but this will do: with the dominance of scientistic materialism, "Clear-sighted men, of the sort who are so clearly wrong, now proclaimed that the secrets of the physical universe were finally disclosed. If only you ignored everything which refused to come into line, your powers of explanation were unlimited." Ho! Take that, Queeg!

Whitehead's point was that the advance of science had lead to the curious situation of "explaining" a world that is not only unfit for humans, but can never explain the most striking aspects of it -- not the least of which being our ability to explain it!

In other words, as explained on pp. 43-44 of the Coonifesto -- albeit very briefly -- science does not actually explain any of the things that most interest us, but relegates them to an ephemeral realm of "secondary qualities" that are not considered ontologically real.

For reasons that are just too bobvious to get into, this is an intrinsically self-refuting position. Suffice it to say that unexplaining the explainer pretty much ends your hope of explaining anything. For as Whitehead explains, "A self-satisfied rationalism is in effect a form of anti-rationalism. It means an arbitrary halt at a particular set of abstractions. This was the case with science," which necessarily severs things from values -- and which in turn engenders truly permanent and therefore hopeless confusion.

Also, as I have pointed out in the past, only a theist can actually believe in evolution, which is an absolutely necessary consequence of a created cosmos that is deployed in time (which it must be, if it is to be separate from God). On any materialistic basis, evolution is strictly impossible. Whitehead:

"A thoroughgoing evolutionary philosophy is inconsistent with materialism. The aboriginal stuff, or material, from which a materialistic philosophy starts, is incapable of evolution. The material itself is the ultimate substance.

"Evolution, on the materialistic theory, is reduced to the role of being another word for the description of the changes of the external relations between portions of matter. There is nothing to evolve, because one set of external relations is as good as any other set of external relations. There can merely be change, purposeless and unprogressive" (emphasis mine).

As I have said before, to say "progress" is to say God, for progress has no meaning except in the light of an unchanging standard. Which is why -- verily -- the political progressive should be called an ontologically spineless changeling, or tottery tower of teetering tapioca.

To put it another way, only the classical liberal can be a progressive, for his metaphysic understands time as the very field of evolution toward the nonlocal telos in whose light the whole existentialada may be measured and therefore understood. And as we shall see later, truth is the measure of being.

In fact, here is another relevant observation by Whitehead that comes close to summarizing the nature of our own religious coonception:

"Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind, and within, the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet, waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet is beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest."

Of course, I would disagree with the "hopeless" part, unless he means the proper abandonment of horizontal for vertical hope. Again, progressives, who have no right to any kind of hope, are the ones who immamentize the eschaton and try to force their utopian tyrannies -- i.e., their unhappitat for subhumanity -- on the rest of us. Raccoons just want to be left alone by the progressives, who will never be content until every last person is wide asleep to the transcendent, and therefore human, reality. Everything else is just commentary.

For as Pope Benedict observed, "the destruction of transcendence is the actual amputation of human beings from which all other sicknesses flow. Robbed of their real greatness they can only find escape in illusory hopes.... The loss of transcendence evokes the flight to utopia."

He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture,
Spinning in infinity,
He says, Amen! and Hallelujah!
--Paul Simon, You Can Call Me Al

Monday, March 09, 2009

Who Will Dream of God and Beauty, If Not Man?

Before we wrap up with DeKoninck's Cosmos and return to Balthasar's Theo-Logic, I suppose I should relate this little big dream I had last Friday, since it's on my mind and I want to write about it while it's still fresh. It's probably the most intense spiritual dream I've ever had. I suppose I should be more fired up about it, and yet, if it hadn't come true, I would have been surprised.

I'll be brief. It takes place in a cathedral or monastery. It was me, Mrs. G., an older man (someone above a priest), and a younger priest, probably in his 30s. Mrs. G. is in the process of being initiated into the mystery of Christianity. The older official is standing in the background. The younger priest places his hands around her head, not quite touching it, and transmits the Force. All around her head, the space becomes like -- I don't quite know how to describe it -- but like golden liquid plasma, as in a science fiction movie, as if the very space is being distorted as a result of the infusion of energy.

Meanwhile, I'm standing a few feet away, and I feel the most intensely blissful energy go into my heart. In fact, it's so intense, that I'm not sure I can stay with it. I know from experience that if I don't relax into it, it will be repelled. Surrender first, bobble about it later. I also remember thinking to myself something along the lines of "Wo. Make mental note. This really is the One True Living God." (This was not the first time, mind you. But these (n)ergetic reflesher coursings are helpful.)

I wouldn't go so far as to say that this type of experience makes me say that all my posts are so much straw. But it does remind me that I must always try to infuse my words with this force -- or, one must allow oneself to be infused by it, is more like it -- otherwise, what's the point? Just more empty shunyada yada yada pneumababble. Just another "religious blog," of which there are already far too many.

Frankly, I try to do this anyway, but occasionally one has these gratuitous experiences that bring one back to the center and origin in the most forceful and dramatic way imaginable. At that point, you've left theory far behind, and need to drop the words. You need to become plastic to the force, not impose your own manmode language upon it.

And yet, you still need words to try to memorialize and convey the experience. But the trick is not just to use words as signifiers for the signified, but to use them as Containers of Spirit, or ♀ of (n), (?!), or (↓). Know what I mean? This is obviously something that great poets routinely do, but it seems that most contemporary poets simply open themselves to lower vertical energies, not to the upper vertical.

Now, back to our wideawake & cutandry world. As you know, Mrs. G. has been going through the RCIA process for the past year. She's now on the last leg of the round trip, leading up to her baptism on Easter Sunday. This weekend was a big one -- something about becoming a member of the elect and being accepted into the community. On Sunday she had to report to the Mothership, the Big Cathedral in downtown LA.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. What about you, Bob? How come you're not going through the program and becoming an honest man? What religion do you profess, anyway, preacher? To which I respond with a vaguely sinister air of defensiveness, let's just say the religion the Almighty and me worked out betwixt us, and leave it at that.

So anyway, I purposely didn't tell her about the dream, because I wanted to wait and see what would happen this weekend, although I was thinking that the dream might have actually been about the baptism, which comes later. But I was wrong.

When she got home on Saturday, I asked her if she had any interesting experiences to relate, and while she did feel the Force, it was in a more generic way. But when she returned on Sunday, bingo. I asked her to describe what happened in great detail. (By the way, just so you know I'm not making this up, I revealed the specifics of the dream to two people on Saturday and Sunday.)

First of all, part of the ritual was presided over by the odious Cardinal Mahoney. In order to prevent him from spoiling the party, she decided to close her eyes and imagine that it was actually Christ speaking. While he was speaking, the sponsors were directed to raise their hands and pray for their coondidates.

I sez, yes, yes, what happened next? She said it was the most overwhelming experience. As she closed her eyes, she felt hands actually touching her head. At first, she was startled, and thought they were the hands of her sponsor, but she peeked out the corner of her eye, and saw that her sponsor's hands were outstretched, not touching her.

So she went back inward, and as the hands touched her head, she knew them to be the hands of Christ. She felt the most powerful force enter her head and go down into her heart. I should probably let her describe it later, because I'm probably getting some of the details wrong. But she did say that it was as if there were a golden light all around her head. And her heart was about to burst. Only then did I reveal my dream to her, and then peel her off the kitchen ceiling.

So, there you are. I've tried to relate this in the most detached way, because I think it's a "wrong movement" to get all excited about these things, which you have to simultaneously remember but also "let go" of. You can't try to repeat them or hold on to them, but instead, must work at being open to the force at all times.

Because you just never know when the signal will suddenly amp up and fry your circuits. As I mentioned in the book, it reminds me of when I was a kid, when I used to listen to the AM radio at night, picking up distant stations from halfway across the country. For whatever reason, the signal would seem to come in a rhythm, strong, weak, strong, weak. But I suppose that's the nature of waves, in that there are crests and troughs.

*****

Hmm. I also wanted to try to find a way to work this in, because it is directly relevant. For "art" can open itself up and become a servant to the lower or higher, thus proving that the vertical surely exists. As Vanderleun writes,

"It is a commonplace that overwhelming mass of our contemporary art that is 'exhibited' has devolved into mere 'exhibitionism.' Vapid, disposable and preening, the works are doomed to be buried in the gaping garbage pits of marketing-driven museums, and crapulous galleries that hold most contemporary American and European art. Still, great souls persist among us and great art, though it is often obscured by poseurs and perverts and pallid imitators of all stripes, can still emerge when talent and skill are wedded to inspiration and belief."

The point is, the artist -- or anyone else, for that matter -- can serve as a channel for forces and energies that have no proper right to exist, or be a vehicle for true (vertical) inspiration and belief. In the case of the works discussed by Vanderleun, think of how the original (↓) entered from the timeless vertical into the horizontal stream of time, and then re-enters us in the now.

In this case, you might say: Word --> Flesh --> transcendent and overpowering love, purity and chastity --> de Zurbarán --> Still Life With Lemons, Oranges and a Rose --> Morten Lauridsen --> O Magnum Mysterium --> Vanderleun --> beautiful essay --> Gagdad --> you folks.

Do you see the point? It all begins with the original (↓), which is precisely why "great art can still arise in our time" (↑), and can in turn nourish the soul, O-->(n). This energy -- which is quite real -- ricochets around the corridors of history, but unless people are open to it, it is as if it does not exist. Somewhere in the book, I mentioned this -- here it is, pp. 209- 210:

"Although the activation of a neural network is a local phenomenon, it resonates with nonlocal dimensions, as can be seen in the creation of great art.... Apparently this is possible because O 'requires' some nonlocal frame of reference or system of symbols in order to realize itself in the world, be it through painting, music, or ecstatic poetry. Evidently, the universe is filled with such 'empty' fields of pure logos awaiting a nervous system sophisticated enough to evoke them. In other words, O, which exists outside time and space, may actually require a time-bound nervous system to manifest locally."

Or, to quote Joseph Chilton Pearce -- who, by the way, was going to write an enthusiastic blurb for me, but I guess forgot, but then again, he's like 90 years old, so I forgive him -- "we must allow our heart and spirit to build the neural machinery necessary to translate and display" what I call O.

I have so much more to say today, but I'd better stop. Lot's of work to do.

And you went into a trance
Your childlike vision became so fine
And we heard the bells within the church
We loved so much
And felt the presence of the youth of eternal summers
In the garden

And as it touched your cheeks so lightly
Born again you were and blushed
And we touched each other lightly
And we felt the presence of the Christ within our hearts
In the garden
--Van Morrison, In the Garden

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Antichrist Update, Vol. 2 (1.08.10)

We're having a little fun reviscerating some of the eviscerations I conducted on Obama early last year, just to see how well they hold up in light of his ongoing hold up of the country, and as infantile omnipotence meets the rigors of the reality principle. Given the level of fantasy projected into Obama, we knew the country was going to be in for a screwed aweakening, as this Nobody from Nowhere underwent the formality of actually existing. But I'm pretty sure that only wideawake goddballs with 20/∞ cʘʘnvision knew it would be this bad.

*****

I really was never any more than what I was -- a folk musician who gazed into the gray mist with tear-blinded eyes and made up songs that floated in a luminous haze. Now it had blown up in my face and was hanging over me. I wasn't a preacher performing miracles. It would have driven anybody mad. --Bob Dylan

Let's meditate for awhile on the political implications of the Devil card with our Unknown Friend.

First of all, one must understand that the being known as Satan is a source of inspiration; to be in-spired is to receive spirit, and it should go without saying that to merely be "spiritual" is neither here nor there, since there are good and evil spirits.

Thus, this demonic counter-inspiration is still a kind of inspiration. In fact, very much so. To avoid premature saturation, let's just call it (-i). Most of us, assuming we weren't permanently damaged by college, can recognize (i) when we see it, but many people confuse (i) and (-i), with catastrophic results.

For example, America's revolutionary founders were obviously animated by (i). The reactionary counter-revolutionaries -- i.e., the proglodyte left -- are always more or less animated by (-i). Regardless of what they say, they specifically want to arrest and undo our founding, which revolves around liberty converging upon the nonlocal attractor of the Judeo-Christian God (i.e., e pluribus unum, or freedom converging upon the One, or Sovereign Good). Obviously, the founders did not envision a radically secularized and demoralized populace converging upon an omnipotent state.

The campaign of John Edwards, for example, was an exercise in pure (-i). How then did it differ from Obama's campaign? I would say that the Edwards campaign was equally driven by (+H), whereas Obama's campaign is imbued with a meretricious (-L). True, there is always deep (H) under the (-L), but the obamaniacs are able to split off and deny the (H) by bathing in the (-L). To see this, all you have to do criticize Obama, which shows that you are not a part of the social trance, which then triggers the anger that is analogous to being rudely awakened from a deep sleep at 3:00AM.

Along these lines, reader Mike M. left an astute comment yesterday:

"This swooning Obama-worship of someone who seems to be an empty suit is bizarre and curious. Note how it follows the irrational demonization of the current POTUS now seen as a figure of such mythic evil that he, George Bush, is held to have deliberately murdered thousands of innocent Americans on 9/11 as a pretext for immoral imperialist war. This is a view which is resolutely held by graduates of our most prestigious universities! That such an event would have no historical precedent and that such a purported crime would exceed the ruthless cynical evil of the purported Nazi burning of the Reichstag cannot be without meaning....

"Given the powerful projection, scapegoating and displacement poured into the demonization of George W. Bush, could it be that this Obamessiah personna is a necessary counter to the fabricated evil Bush-Hitler figure, and the powerful divisive hysteria and paranoia which has accompanied the demonization of George Bush -- sort of virtual particle and anti-particles emerging from a spiritual vacuum?"

Yes. That is exactly what I am trying to say. Genuine (L) is convergent upon wholeness, truth, beauty, light, harmony, ananda, and freedom. It is never reactive, but active. On the other hand, the Obama-love (-L) is almost wholly reactive, as it exists side by side with the (H) from which it is derived.

This is one of the first and most useful things I learned in my psychoanalytic education. That is, some patients will develop a transference toward the therapist in which they express a lot of anger and hatred. No problem. One expects that. They are not nearly as troublesome as the ones who develop an idealized transference, or "pseudo-love," because when that happens, you had better fasten your seatbelt. You're in for a bumpy ride.

The reason for this is that idealization (understood in its psychoanalytic sense) is a defense mechanism which is simply the other side of denigration, devaluation, and contempt. (Think of our peaceive-aggressive namasté! trolls who have no idea how angry they are.)

In other words, both idealization and contempt are simply ways for the person to manage their own psychic economy. You might say that one person places the bad object outside of himself in order to distance himself from it and attack it, while another person places the good object outside of himself to protect it from his own toxic anger and hatred. Often, on an unconscious level, the patient idealizes you to prevent themselves from tearing you apart -- i.e., to protect you from their own hostility. Haven't you ever been around this kind of person, whose attraction to you was kind of spooky?

Importantly, this is not to confuse the defense mechanism of idealization with its spiritually normal variety. It's somewhat difficult to precisely define the difference, but you can definitely sense when it's the pathological kind. As a therapist, you can intuit the shadow underneath, which gives you an apprehensive feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. You find yourself with a foreboding sense of, "boy, this guy loves me now, but am I gonna get hammered as soon as I do something to disappoint him."

I suppose it's similar to the creepy signals that an abusive man gives out to a potential victim. When a woman gets involved with an abusive man, it's usually because she ignored the creepy idealization at the beginning of the relationship. And the reason she ignored it was probably because she wasn't loved by a virtuous and spiritually integrated father, so she can't recognize proper male love. With no psychic defense, she sees none of the many red flags.

This is why I mentioned yesterday that a normal person would definitely be unnerved by the kind of hysterical adulation (-L) being directed at Obama. You cannot help wondering about the state of his soul, and whether it is a pathological mirror-image of what is being projected into him -- like an unconscious lock that corresponds perfectly to the projected key. Such a man -- as was true of Clinton -- seeks his own center in the periphery of the idealizing crowd, so to speak. It couldn't be more different from a man with an immutable axis and incorruptible center to which people are "magnetized," such as Ronald Reagan.

(cf. George Will: "In his preternatural neediness, Clinton, an overflowing cauldron of narcissism and solipsism, is still smarting from Obama's banal observation, four weeks ago, that Ronald Reagan was a more transformative president than Clinton.")

If mother love is like the open circle that is both infinite and enveloping (and potentially suffocating), father love is like the absolute point or axis. The circle must come first (i.e., the ineffable background boundary of being), followed by the point, which forms the center (and which will in turn extend "vertically" to the celestial Father, of whom our earthly father is just an authorized deputy).

A man without a father (or father energy, which can come from other sources) is generally a man without a center. He will be either a weak man, or a weak man imitating a strong man (the Sean Penn or Keith Olbermann type).

In addition to seeking his center in the adulation of others, it is also possible for the weak man to fabricate it in a kind of centerless, manic energy -- again, Clinton comes to mind. He is bubbling over with scattered hysterical thought devoid of any coherence or consistency. He is most focussed when he is focused on the adulation of the crowd, which provides him with a faux center and a temporary integration (and also keeps shame and guilt at bay). But it's an addiction, which is why he can't leave politics alone, but also why he has no enduring political principles.

There is a fascinating chapter in Dylan's autobiography, in which he discusses at length the horror of being idealized in the manner he was back in the 1960s. Again, our society has become so narcissistic, that not only is such a bizarre situation seen as normative, but it is something that people actively seek (i.e., the cult of celebrity). People want to be famous and adulated, but obviously for all the wrong reasons. There are few good reasons to be famous. Which is why, as Dennis Prager says, most famous people are utterly insignificant, while most significant people aren't famous.

I am also reminded of something Schuon said, that the spiritually normal man does things because they please God, not for the horizontal affirmation of others. He made a related comment about the purpose of secular humanism, which is "to make oneself as useful as possible to a humanity as useless as possible." Look at Obama, whose whole economic platform involves making himself useful to the takers against the makers. And once there are more takers than makers, i.e., people dependent upon the state, there is no coming back.

One reason why conservatism is always a tough sell, is that these are the kinds of truths that cannot be uttered to the masses. They will think you are saying these things because you have contempt for them (H), when it is really because you deeply wish to help liberate them (L). You will notice, for example, that Rush is routinely described by the left as "hateful," which is only 180˚ from the truth.

I can't help wondering if Obama's absence of a father is a critical element here. It is interesting, is it not, that he identifies with his "blackness," even though his father was an utterly useless abandoning-irresponsible-alcoholic-bigamist-Marxist? If a boy is not initiated by the love of a virtuous man, then he will remain left behind in the murky, oceanic, intoxicating, boundary-less realm of mother love, which is as different from father-love as night is to day or sun is to moon.

Please bear in mind that I am in no way denigrating mother love. Indeed, in watching Mrs. G. interact with Future Leader over the past three years, I am more in awe of it than ever. However, I am equally aware (as is Mrs. G) that if this love weren't tempered by father love, we could have a real monster on our hands.

Awhile back Hoarhey made an insightful comment to the effect that the country wasn't prepared to cope with another fatherless president working out his issues on the national stage. In fact, it is probably no coincidence that in Clinton, the country chose a feminized, mother-bound man as president after the conclusion of the Cold War, since father had done his job and was therefore felt to be no longer necessary. But now, in a time of hot war, are we naive enough -- or in such denial -- to think that we can cow our enemies with sufficient mother love?

Yes. We. Were.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Antichrist Update, Vol. 1 (1.07.10)

About a year ago, I wrote a series of posts about Obama. Now that the Obama presidency is well on its way to being an unmitigated catastrophe for the nation, I thought it might be fun to revisit them and repost some excerpts, just to see if my cʘʘnvision was really 20/∞. In short, we are now living in the future of which these posts were shadows. Or, to be precise, it was more the case of a shadowy future casting its darkness into the past for any gnocturnal b'atman to see.

****

Will brought up a very important point in a comment yesterday. It was in response to my questions, "What great world-historical events are invisible to the jaded elites of the present? What great vertical energies are entering the world today, undetected by a spiritually oblivious moonstream media?" Will's reflections on this are worth reproducing in full:

"There is a danger here, I think, given that this might be the age when 'Spirit pours out on all flesh,' i.e., the vertical energies actually do become, in a way, more visible, more tangible, even to the oblivious MSM.

"The danger is this: the influx of vertical energies for the most part cannot find suitable spiritual anchoring, do not result in a growth of spiritual insight and wisdom, but rather the vertical energies might be suborned by the horizontal in an entirely unwholesome way. [Let us symbolize this (-?!) -- ed.]

"An example: hypothetically speaking, let's say... oh, let's say, some political candidate who's running for... oh, let's say, for president of the United States... Let's say this candidate uses the influx of vertical energy in such a way that it does not invest him with any particular wisdom -- in fact, this candidate mouths and apparently believes in the same old amorphous lefty platitudes. Only... this candidate seems invested with a peculiar type of charisma that has citizens from coast to coast virtually swooning in some orgasmystic ecstasy... no one's higher intellect is sharpened, only their *feelings* are set on fire by this candidate in some peculiar way...

"Well, as was said re: the days when the Spirit pours out on all flesh, one must be very careful not to fall for false messiahs and whatnot... meanwhile, there are those who indeed are spiritually anchoring the vertical energy influx and are doing so invisibly and with a certain amount of travail, as is necessary at this time."

***

First of all, let's get this out of the way at the outset. Are we calling Obama the antichrist?

Yes, of course.

Nah, just kidding. Let's not engage in ad obamanem. Let's just say an embodiment of the antichristic principle. Please, let's be mature, and discuss this in terms of abstract cosmic principles, without getting personal. No need to demonize someone just because he's an instrument of satan. Besides, he's just the vehicle, not the driver. The surfer, not the wave.

Now, what do we mean by "antichrist?" I would say that, as Christ is Word-made-flesh, the realm of the antichristic would analogously represent the "lower principle" made flesh -- the instantiation, as it were, of the energies of the Fall.

So first of all, to go along with our analysis, one must believe that man is in some sense a fallen being with a built-in -- or at least ineveateapple -- dasein flaw. You don't have to be a fanatic about it. You only have to know that "something ain't right" with the earthlings, however you wish to conceptualize it. Being aware of this principle is our greatest inoculation against utopian leftist schemes to perfect mankind, which always result in unanticipated cosmic belowback, to say the least.

Secondly, you would have to believe that it is possible for the energies responsible for the Fall to be personified -- or, let us say, both focused and dispersed like a beam of darkness through the concavity or convexations of man's heart. As Christ is a blinding light, antichrist would be, oh, darkness visible. Thus, to those who live in spiritual darkness, it would appear as a false light -- as, say, a single match is brighter than the sun in an enclosed room, cut off from the real source of light.

The Serpent -- to paraphrase our best Unknown Friend -- sssymbolizes advanced intelligence ("the most cunning of the beasts") turned wholly toward the horizontal. Thus, it is a perversion of man's intellect, as it represents a self-sufficient naturalism and total (small r) realism that betrays the vertical source of human intelligence. As such, we would expect one aspect of the antichrist to be high intelligence combined with extraordinary vapidity, at least for those with spiritual discernment.

But this cannot merely be the philosophical vapidity of the doctrinaire atheist or scientistic materialist, or it could never gain traction in the human heart, which always hungers for Spirit, even (or especially) if it is the false kind. Rather, it would have to come cloaked in some sort of seductive or hypnotic faux verticality. It would indeed have to be charismatic and charming, bearing in mind the root meaning of former, which is "divine gift," and of the latter, which is "incantation" or "magic spell."

A spiritually normal person would be alarmed and even deeply creeped out if he possessed this kind of influence over others. At the very least, it would be an occasion for the deepest humility, combined with concern over the precarious state of the souls under his influence.

Most people, if they knew the implications, would not want this power, because they would know that they are neither worthy of it nor competent to deal with it, any more than they are competent to perform brain surgery. But a person with narcissistic issues will be too intoxicated by the feelings of adulation to care about the souls with whom he is toying. They are just props, part of his psychic furniture.

This power is a heavy responsibility and is not to be taken lightly. The spiritually normal person knows that this charis is only on loan to him (or courses through him locally from a nonlocal source), and that he is not free to use it as he will.

Rather, one is only free to use this power if it is aligned with its vertical source and with vertical principles, i.e., Truth, Love, Beauty, and Unity (not relativism, idiot compassion, aesthetic barbarism, and diversity). There is something coming through the charismatic, not from him, and as soon as one realizes this, it is an occasion, yes, for gratitude, but also fear and trembling. It is analogous to the power to send men to die for their country, only on the vertical plane. It is the ability to inspire selfless martyrs, but for what purpose? Our satanic Islamist enemies are clearly selfless idealists under the influence of charismatic leaders. So what?

Our Unknown Friend asks the questions, "Can one produce artificially intellectual, moral or spiritual inspiration? Can the lungs produce the air which they need for respiration?" No, of course not: "the very process of breathing teaches the laws of obedience, poverty, and chastity, i.e. it is a lesson (by analogy) of grace. Conscious breathing in of the reality of grace is Christian Hatha-yoga. Christian Hatha-yoga is the vertical breathing of prayer and benediction -- or, in other words, one opens oneself to grace and receives it."

Unknown Friend goes on to say that the antichrist represents "the ideal of biological and historical evolution without grace." This is a key idea, for what is a progressive? A progressive is someone who believes fervently in progress while fanatically denying its possibility, since progress can only be measured in light of permanent truths and transcendent ideals.

The antichrist "is the ultimate product of this evolution without grace and is not an entity created by God," since divine creation is always a vertical act or descent. Yes, all things ultimately "come from God," in the same sense that all light comes from the sun, but think of all the infernal uses to which man may put the light, darkling!

Now, in this circular die-electic, Obama is ultimately a creator of those who created him. Unknown friend writes that, just as there are spiritual beings who reveal themselves "from above," there are what he calls egregores, which are "engendered artificially [and collectively] from below."

Thus, "as powerful as they may be," they "have only an ephemeral existence," the duration of which "depends entirely on galvanising nourishment on the part of their creators." [As Obama's projected power begins to fade and the illusion is punctured, we'll see more and more people such as Brooks and Cramer publicly asking, "what was I thinking?" in supporting this intellectual cypher. The answer is, "you weren't. You were fantasizing." Of course, others -- the true believers -- will "dig in."]

As such, the really frightening thing about these kinds of amorphous demagogues is that they are given life and nourished by the rabble they nourish and to whom they give life, in a spiritually barren cycle. The result is either spiritual asphyxiation or starvation, or probably both. And starved and suffocating men are capable of anything. [So in terms of the future psychic weather, look for a kind of blinding "psychic frenzy" from the left.]

Ultimately, the antichrist is the shadow of the totality of mankind, as Jesus was the immanent shadow, so to speak, of the transcendent Divine Principle. The antichrist represents all that man is, and can be in the absence of divine grace. It is he who transported Jesus to the highest earthly mountain "and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" and said to him All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.

The secular extremist or fanatical progressive worships his own creation, and in so doing, gives birth to the antiword. Materially, it results in a lefthound Tower of Babel (i.e, the all-powerful state), whereas spiritually it results in a gelatinous tower of leftist babble (i.e., the vacuous but seductive demagogue who will lead the people in the direction of their most base impulses and envious desires).

Again, please bear in mind that we are simply discussing abstract meta-cosmic principles. The events depicted in this post are fictitious. Any similarity to any biologically living or spiritually dead person is merely coincidental.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Open for Isness

First of all, a Balthasar update. Recall that I'm trying to plow through his fifteen-volume (sixteen with epilogue) systematics. There are seven volumes on the Divine Beauty (the Glory of the Lord), five on the Good (the Theo-Drama) and three on the True (the Theo-Logic).

When last we spoke, I mentioned that I was getting bogged down in the aesthetics, and now I see why. In the meantime, I've skipped ahead to the Theo-Logic, and suffice it to say that I am pretty much blown away so far. This is a great book.

The problem was this: I got bogged down in volumes II-V of the aesthetics, because these mainly consist of Balthasar's analyses of other thinkers, some of whom are well known (e.g., Dante, Boethius, Denys), others relatively obscure (e.g., Hamann, Peguy), at least for this undereducated rube.

The thing is, these are not surveys or introductions. Rather, Balthasar -- who was absurdly erudite -- basically assumes a complete familiarity with this or that lumen being, and just gives his own idiosyncratic commentary. Therefore, I have to pretend I've actually read and fully assimilated, say, the Divine Comedy. In the original Italian.

But even for someone as well known as Dante, to truly comprehend what he was/is saying, I'd probably have to re-enroll in college, major in Renaissance literature, take a couple of courses on Dante, ignore all the stuff about how Beatrice was actually a symbol of his homosexual longing, and then get back to Balthasar.

Am I going to do that? No, I am not. I'm afraid it just wouldn't be the Raccoon way. Although, interestingly enough, I do have a kind of recurring dream, in which I am back in college in order to obtain another undergraduate degree in a field unrelated to psychology. Usually history, I think. Although I want to learn, it's all very tedious, just as it was in real life. At a certain point in the dream, I think to myself, "why am I doing this? I already have a Ph.D. I don't care if I get a bunch of F's. I'm outta' here."

That latter situation also happened in real life, when I flunked out of business school.

No, the Raccoon way of the masked pandit is "trans-academic," "trans-scholarly," and "trans-ambitious," meaning that it admittedly comes up short in these overrated qualities. However, our loose canon tries to compensate with other virtues, such as freshness, spontaneity, metaphysical comedy, jehovial witticisms, cheery optimysticism, freevangelical pundamentalism, comparative nonsense, coonical pslackology, fine insultainment, off-road spiritual adventures, speaking in Tongan (or ad homina homina homina) and all the rest of our Oly Slackraments.

But the Theo-Logic is another matter. Instead of surveying other fertile eggheads, this is just Balthasar's own raving, which is 100% compelling, perhaps even too dense to blog about. It's like trying to eat cheesecake all day. I have to read a couple pages, get up, walk around, loosen my top button, belch, and then come back to it.

I can't necessarily give it the general raccoomendation, because it's still a bit like reading someone like Heidegger, but I find that it is speaking beyond me to my very essence, if you will. To the extent that there is obscurity, it is an obscurity that necessarily accompanies any foray into the deepest depths of divine being, which, the more it unveils itself, the more it veils itself. In other words, its depth is bottomless. More on which later.

Also, these volumes are kind of expensive. Therefore, I just place them in my wishlist, and snap up one of them when the price comes down, which means that I jump around from volume to volume. Otherwise, this project will start eating into my CD budget, and we can't have that.

Speaking of which, I made an excellent discovery -- the Tord Gustavsen Trio. Try some of the samples. I would describe them, but the amazon reviewer does a pretty good job (although he does need to come up with a new adjective besides "shifting"):

"Such is the arresting beauty of Tord Gustavsen's sound, it's no surprise that his albums have captured a significant following, surpassing even those of other rarified artists on the ECM label. But the Norwegian pianist doesn't live on beauty alone. His sculpted playing... draws strongly on his church background with its tidy gospel voicings while also incorporating Spanish and South African accents, [and] has a kind of liquid weight....

"Beyond that, it's the remarkable shift-shaping qualities of Gustavsen's trio that make Being There so compelling.... The psychology of the relationship among him, bassist Harald Johnsen, and drummer Jarle Vespestad is made compelling not only by standard interactive effects, but also by the unique shape-shifting that occurs through continual shifts in how much voice each player has in relation to the others, how much lightness or darkness, how much intensity."

Some of the other descriptions: spacious, dreamlike, contemplative, spare, powerfully restrained, quiet rapture, crystalline warmth, gorgeous yearning, and "inspired by a love of spaces."

As a matter of fact, nearly all of the post-1960's jazz in my collection is on the ECM label (longtime home of Keith Jarrett; also the great Russian Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt, although I think this is the best introduction). ECM is a German company that specializes in a kind of "chamber jazz" that has a lot of modern classical leanings. They are also legendary for their impeccable recording quality.

They have a great series called Rarum, which is an introduction to some of their more prominent artists. I think my favorite one is the Eberhard Weber. Although he would be categorized as a "jazz bassist," he really combines American jazz with a modern European chamber sensibility, plus ambient, film, and world music. Try some of the samples. Obviously, some contemporary artists are still able to create musical beauty. (I've also heard that this new one with full orchestra is very good.)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program. Which was what, again? Nah, I've got too much to do. Mrs. G. is approaching the denouement of the RCIA program this weekend, and will be very tied up, so I'll have to keep a body on Future Leader. I better try to finish as much work as I can today. Just consider this an open thread for anything you'd like to discuss, including music.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Time and How it Gets that Way: Evolution and the Conquest of Dimensionality

To review our situation: cosmic evolution "arrives finally at man in whom the world succeeds in uniting all the degrees of cosmic being." Again, in the evolution from matter to life, we go from a kind of timelessness to real time, since there can be no time in the absence of an observer, who must "suffer" it. This paradox is somewhat difficult to grasp, but it is nevertheless true: "It is life itself that makes the time from which it distances itself" (DeKoninck).

You could say that matter has exterior succession, in that one damn thing must precede and follow another. But there is no now, no "place" where time happens. Life binds and "uses" this temporal succession in the same way that we use space to build a house. In a way, there is no space until there is an enclosure. Same with time. Life binds space and time, and in so doing, eventually transcends both in Mind and Spirit.

As the biosphere contracts into increasingly dense life-centers, it is "lifted more and more above time." In turn, "beings are perfected to the degree that they are intemporal" (DeKoninck), so the evolutionary vector of time is toward eternity, or O. Schematically, one might say, time everlasting--> time --> timelessness; or perhaps exterior succession --> interior duration --> simultaneously copresent plenitude.

The latter state, instead of a temporal line or a circle, is like a perpetual explosion from the center out, or an overflowing from the Ground. It is the bush that keeps on burning, the fish the feeds the multitudes, and the Slack that cannot be named.

Somewhere in a past post I discussed this cosmic evolutionary scheme in terms of a conquest of dimensionality. The original explanation was somewhat skeletal, and I've always intended to flesh it out. Here it is:

"In many ways, human psychological development can be thought of as a conquest of dimensionality. (Don’t get bogged down in a literal understanding here -- this is a mental exercise to facilitate understanding.) For example, the psychotic mind inhabits a 'zero dimension' of pure mathematical symmetry. It is a world of infinite meaninglessness, with no floor or center, just a roiling panorama of catastrophic, uncategorizable novelty. Symbols are equivalent to what they symbolize and the nameless dread is endless, because there is nothing to contain or anchor it."

Think of this as a kind of existence plunged into sub-matter, without even the reliability of good old solid matter to hold oneself together. It is a pure absence of containment, either in time or space. Perhaps if you've ever had a panic attack, you know the feeling of the ontological ground being pulled out from under your feet. There is literally nothing to hold on to.

I remember once a patient telling me of a panic attack she had while walking around her neighborhood. She was reduced to sitting on the curb, desperately fixing her gaze on an ant that was walking around in the gutter. If she should lose sight of the ant, she was convinced that she would surely lose her mind -- she would just fall and keep falling, swallowed up in the deafening silence of the infinite spaces. Note as well that this is a timeless state; it feels as if the terror is endless, like a kind of hell. One never thinks, "relax, this will all be over in 15 minutes."

According to the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, this is the type of anxiety we face in coming into the world. Think of the infant's mind as a kind of unbound space that will require parental containment in order to begin the slow process of creating temporal and spatial boundaries that are both "containing" and yet semi-permeable, just like a biological membrane. (Think of the baby as unbound ♂ in search of a ♀.)

A person whose boundaries are too rigid also cannot grow, for he essentially becomes a closed system as a defense against destabilizing knowledge and emotions. In this regard, one often sees adults cling to ideology in the same way an infant clings to the parent. It is not for the purpose of "truth" but containment. Some people do this with religion, others politics or science (e.g., Queeg), but the underlying cause is the same. In this regard, the tenured are no different than any other primitive totem worshipping cultists, except they get the summers off.

Psychological defenses against the Nameless Dread tend to be massive and indiscriminate. Think of vomiting. Your GI system detects something that isn't supposed to be there, and, one way or the other, violently discharges the intruder, along with anything else that might be in the general vicinity.

Psychotic projection is like this. It violently discharges all of the undigested psychic bits into the environment. But unfortunately, that is not the end of the matter. These undigested bits then become a multitude of persecutory entities that pervade everyone and everything, and which must be re-projected.

If you've ever read dailycuss or huffingandpissed, you can see that the sum-total of their world view is a kind of perpetual reaction to their own psychic projectile vomiting. I think this is the real secret behind their new fixation on Rush. Now that Bush-Cheney are no longer there to serve as "toilet breasts" for their violent projections, they desperately need a new receptacle.

Next up, "The (severely) autistic mind may be thought of as one-dimensional. It knows no depth, only points of sensory contact with objects that are known by their feel and texture -- hot, cold, hard, soft, rough, smooth, etc. For them, a communicative expression does not emerge from the human face. Rather, it is simply a bizarre collection of disconnected points -- a nose here, an eye there, a curved mouth down there. The points are not synthesized into an internal representation of the emotional depth or interior of the other.

"The psychoanalyst Francis Tustin wrote about how autistic defenses can operate in neurotic adults as well, for example, in certain repetitive rituals such as 'rocking.' These rituals help to contain an anxiously fragmented mind by focusing on some severely limited sensory perception. Without it, the mind might slip into the terrifying chaos of zero dimensions.

Again, one does not have to be autistic to have experienced this dimension. I remember one patient who was an accomplished physician by day, but after work would have to engage in the ritual of violently rocking back and forth in a rocking chair for an hour at a time in order to "recontain" herself. You might notice versions of this at the margins of your own personality. Any kind of compulsion often serves this purpose, as a kind of solid touchstone for the psyche to cling to.

"Once we reach two dimensions, we are in the realm of something more recognizably human. This was called by Melanie Klein the 'paranoid schizoid position,' and more people (including parts of oneself) inhabit it than you might realize. It is the world of extreme, forced splitting into diametrically opposed emotional categories of good and bad. This type of two-dimensional thinking pervades the Islamic world (i.e., house of Islam and house of war).

"Only with the emergence of the transitional space proper are we dealing with the creative use of three-dimensional psychological space. This is the imaginal realm that emerges between an infant and his or her loving caretakers. But this creative and dynamic space is often hijacked and reduced to two dimensions as a result of the malign imagination of internalized mind parasites.

"The fourth dimension adds time to the mix. This is called the 'depressive position,' a term of art that does not imply clinical depression per se, but the capacity to tolerate ambivalence and mature dependence (as opposed to foreclosing it through splitting) in order to form loving and stable relationships that endure through time.

"One of the reasons this state is 'depressive' is that it involves transcending the omnipotent psychological defenses of the lower dimensions. For example, the 'borderline' patient is not stably in the depressive position. Rather, when they become angry at a person in whom they are emotionally invested, they instantly convert the person into the category of all bad. Not only are they bad now, but they have always been, and always will be, bad. In a very real sense, time and history have been annihilated. The feeling creates the reality. [Obviously, this forms the basis of much leftist thought, in which depth of feeling is confused with clarity of thought.]

"Perhaps you have noticed when you shift from one dimension to another. For example, depression clearly involves a loss of dimensionality. One of its most striking characteristics is that the world seems to lose a vital dimension of emotional depth. Suddenly it is flat, lifeless, and devoid of the meaning that can only be located and experienced in the higher dimensions.

"Moreover, many psychological defense mechanisms operate by descending into a lower dimension. I call these 'dimensional defenses.' For example, there might well be unpleasant meanings and psychological realities located in the fourth dimension -- indeed, there usually are. One way to avoid them is to descend into a lower dimension where those meanings cannot be located or 'entertained' by the mind, any more than a circle can describe a cone. (I think of atheism as a fixed and rigid defense against the higher space of religiosity.)

Let's apply this to the evolution of life. If you were a bacteria, you wouldn't know anything about higher dimensions. Rather, your life would essentially be an eternal point. In the case of slightly higher forms of life, you might discover the line, in the sense that you could move toward food and back away from something dangerous or noxious. I imagine that lower mammals live in a kind of proto-space, and yet, it must be more like an eternal now. In other words, it is missing the fullness of temporal dimension; it is as if they can touch time, but not fully enter it.

To a certain extent, the birth of humanness coincides with the discovery of time -- of past and future, both in relation to this mysterious ontological hole we call "now." Since we live in time, we take it for granted, but it is actually -- obviously -- a very special state. As far as we know, nothing else in the cosmos has awakened to this temporal dimension.

But neither internal nor external reality are limited to four dimensions. In my opinion, one of the things that spiritual development involves first and foremost is the ongoing conquest of higher dimensions. One way to conceptualize this is to understand that each dimension brings with it a new degree of freedom. In the case of spiritual growth, it brings with it the discovery of vertical freedom, does it not?

What did the Master say? "My kingdom is not of this world."

The Book of Genesis is a good example of hyperdimensional prose (which is a good working definition of scripture), since it is something like a crystal through which the divine light is refracted in infinite ways. This is why it supports so many interpretations, each of which conveys the substance of spiritual truth (which feels very different than the substance of mere intellectual-rational truth). As Schuon says, it functions "to provide points of reference for a complex truth and for the sake of the Inexpressible." Postmodern barbarians never understand this, for dogma or doctrine provide "allusive indications..., the implications of which are limitless.... For it is not a question of inventing truth, but of remembering it."

A two-, three- or four-dimensional scientific or religious literalist will simply see something concrete in Genesis: someone dividing light and dark or water and land. A couple of people walking around in a garden. A tree you're not supposed to touch. Etc.

In the past, I have touched on the idea that spiritual experience arrives via spatial delivery at the shoreline between the infinite and the finite, between time and eternity. Consider the fact that we have two biological eyes or ears that are set slightly apart. Because each of the two organs has a slightly different vertex, we are able to see and hear stereoscopically or stereophonically. If you have only one good ear, you can't experience stereo, only mono.

Now, suppose we have a "third eye" or a "third ear." What would reality look like from that perspective? As a matter of fact, it is our third eye that sees into eternity; or conversely, seeing into eternity grows a third eye. Either way, there is a way of living in which these two modes -- the lower and higher eyes -- harmoniously coexist to facilitate the emergence of additional dimensions of depth -- of not being shipwrecked on the rocks of time, nor of being lost in eternity, but somehow experiencing time in eternity and eternity within time.

I tried my lovall best to capture this in the Coonifesto. That is, if our perception of spatial depth comes from our integration of different points of view, depth may be thought of as a function of the number of perspectives that are integrated in an experience or perception. I simply tried to integrate as many points of view as possible -- cosmological, biological, psychological, neurological, philosophical, anthropological, theological, mystical, etc.

Having said that, the integration does not come "from the bottom up." Rather, the integration is actually "at the top," but it can only be progressively revealed to us as we grow spiritually. But how do we maintain a stable, balanced life in the material plane when our thoughts are constantly drifting towards intellection of the higher realms?

By finding your own way to be in the world without being of the world -- by participating joyfully in all of the dimensions available to the human being, while at the same time not getting lost in them "from below." After all, this is how the Creator man-ages, isn't it?