Spiritual Fascism and the Darwinian Resistance to Transcendence
In other words, the leaves may look rather diverse -- politics, mysticism, metaphysics, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, theology, troll-bashing, etc., but they definitely (will) form (someday) a (I hope) unity because they are derived from unity. There is an absolute self-consistency there, the reason being that it all flows from the Absolute -- from the top down, not the bottom up. But I'd like to make the consistency explicit instead of implicit.
For example, in combing through the June '08 arkive, I noticed that there is a whole series of posts on the metaphysical impossibility of Darwinism. The essays take a rather different tack than the "intelligent design" people, and I think my point of view is pretty much unanswerable by any intellectually honest Darwinian. It's the sort of thing I'd like to organize into one coherent stream of thought, instead of just a pile of leaves buried under more leaves.
Anyway, here's one of them, with some new random mutations and copying errors....
As Charles Darwin wrote, "While nature, making procreation free, yet submitting survival to a hard trial, chooses from an excess number of individuals the best as worthy of living, thus preserving them alone and in them conserving the species, man limits procreation, but is hysterically concerned that once a being is born it should be preserved at any price."
Nah, just pulling your leg. That was Adolf Hitler explaining his values, values which he derived from immanent nature, not the transcendent Absolute. Hitler was guilty of many things, but not an absence of intellectual consistency in comprehending and carrying out the implications of his first principles. It's just that his first principles were insane and impossible, but no less impossible than metaphysical Darwinism.
Am I invoking Godwin's law this early in the morning? No, not at all. As someone once said, fascism in all its forms is the violent resistance to transcendence. Therefore, Charles Queeg at LGF, or the goons at dailykos, or any other flatland guardians, are not Nazis, since they mostly engage in non-violent resistance to transcendence, as do the ACLU, or People for the American Way, or any other anti-religious wacktivist or plain old ignoramus. It always involves state coercion, but the violence is implicit and "lawful."
I don't know that we have a word for this "non-violent fascism," but we ought to. You could call them "infrahuman," but this is inevitably taken as an insult rather than an objective descriptor. When I use that term, I apply it to anyone who denies the ontological reality of the human station, and insists that man is nothing more than an animal. Of course such a person is infrahuman (even though no real animal has to insist that he is one).
Nor should we let religion off the hook, for when it goes off the rails and descends into madness -- which it often does, since it is always practiced by human beings -- it seems that it is often a result of a violent resistance to immanence. When this happens -- when people insist on the absolute truth of a transcendent ideal to the total exclusion of immanent reality -- it can often result in violence. In fact, this is what we see in the Islamists: a violent rejection of the modern world in favor of their transcendent ideal of a new Caliphate. All of the violence flows from that initial error.
And matters aren't helped by the Islamist's totally upside-down metaphysic, which crudely regards the afterlife in grossly sensual terms (the 72 doe-eyed virgins and all the rest). In other words, they impose their idea of transcendence on earth but then fantasize about a kind of immanent sensual perfection in heaven. Madness.
Thus, there is a deep reason for the leftist-Islamist alliance, and it follows from a similar metaphysical error. On the one hand, the left-fascist "takes heaven by storm." However, he does this not in order to enter it by the proper means, via contemplation, meditation, prayer, intellection, etc., but to destroy it by imposing his one substance/one level ontology "from below."
On the other hand, the religious fascist takes earth by storm, not in order to understand it (a la the scientific method) but to impose his own single-level ontology "from above." But the results are the same: the imposition of their idea of "heaven on earth," which can only result in hell on earth.
Obviously, the freedom-loving Raccoon has no desire to live in either form of spiritual tyranny, i.e., the twin terrors of absolute immanence or absolute transcendence. We firmly reject reductionistic Darwinism to the extent that it interferes with the absolute prerogative of our interior evolution, AKA, the Adventure of Consciousness, or What It Is All About. The Raccoon knows that the only cure for the senses is the soul, and that the only cure for the soul is the senses, within the vertical trinitarian space that recoonciles them in its ceaseless flow of novelty.
Now, Christianity in particular disclose a metaphysic that carefully balances transcendence and immanence, at least if properly understood on the esoteric plane.....
Excuse me for just a moment. We interrupt this post for a dream that had me last night. I was at Tower Records -- which no longer exists, and was even "crumbling" in the dream -- and there was none other than Gerard Vanderleun behind the counter. He directed my attention to the book section, letting me know that all of the books were on sale for only $3.00 each. I went through all of the titles; I remember that one of them was a coffee table book about Orson Welles, containing great photographic examples of the composition of his camera shots. In the distance, I saw an unhealthy looking Tony Snow, also working in the store; he was cheerful despite his sad situation.
I ended up purchasing two books, one of which was a new, three-volume edition of the Bible, put out by Alice Coltrane's Vedantic Center. Alice was the widow of John Coltrane and a unique jazz musician in her own right (are there any other jazz harpists?) who later became known as Swami Turiyasangitananda, and actually formed an ashram not too far from my home. When I hear Alice Coltrane "jam" on the harp, I am not the only person who coonjures aural images of hipster angels in Jazz Heaven.
We'll get back up to the dream later, if we ever do. Anyway, when we say that "the word became flesh," what we are affirming -- among other things -- is that the ultimate transcendent principle is present in the immanent/material realm (which is actually a realm of pure dynamic or energic activity).
In fact, this Ultimate Principle is the "stasis" or "motionless mover" amidst the otherwise "total activity" that would be incomprehensible in the absence of the Principle which both "penetrates" and "contains" it. It is why the world is intelligible to man's intelligence: because the vertical center is here at the horizontal periphery. That the Word became flesh assures that man is -- or can participate in, anyway -- the center here below. Call it the "Kingdom of Heaven" which is spread all over the earth, and yet, men do not see it (even when they implicitly assume it).
Thus, when the Darwinist protests that "you don't have to be religious to be moral," he is mouthing a pure absurdity, for he is presupposing eternal principles that cannot be explained on any Darwinian basis -- again, because Darwinism only accounts for change of outward form, not the permanence of what not only transcends form but in-forms it to begin with, i.e., the consciousness of virtue that results from transcendent interiority.
Our materialist trolls would have us believe that merely "having morals" is somehow synonymous with knowing the Good and acting in conformity with it. All people have morals. The question is, are they Good? It is a strict impossibility that one could ever arrive at the Good through natural selection alone. Frankly, it is an absurd argument that no remotely sophisticated person could take seriously. Intellectually consistent Darwinists don't make that argument. Rather, they will concede that "morality" is an illusion based upon, for example, inclusive fitness.
This infrahuman view is absurd on its face. For one thing, any spiritually developed person knows that virtue is consciousness of a reality, not some simply defined behavior. Yes, we have moral codes, but the code -- even (or especially!) the Ten Commandments -- represents a "descent" from the Principle. This is why it is possible for the true saint to transcend them back to their divine Source -- back atop Mount Sinai, so to speak.
But there is a world of difference between transcending this plane from above vs. obliterating it from below. Our generation very much confuses license below with freedom and transcendence from above. Bonehead comedians who lauded George Carlin's "fearlessness" come to mind, but nihilism is not transcendence; the left habitually makes this category error, which is why they always idealize the adolescent rebel who transcends downward.
One way or another, man is condemned to transcendence. He cannot stay where he is, but must either ascend or descend. This was something recognized by Vedanta, with their description of the sattvic (vertically ascending), tamasic (inertial or descending) and rajasic (horizontally radiating or dispersing) gunas, or principles. Most Racoons are of the sattvo-rajasic temperament.
You might say that the saint is no longer "constrained" by the plane of morality because he now contains it. He has become Virtue Itself, and radiates it from every pore -- just as the sage radiates intelligence from every limb. Again, remember the man who wished to meet the great rabbi, not to learn Torah from him but to watch him tie his boot laces -- to see the divinized intellect in action.
When asked whom they would like as a guest at their "ultimate dinner party," many people naturally say "Jesus." But we already have a good idea what he would say. I would actually like to see him move. I would like to see how he carried himself, his gestures, his eyes, his posture, for you must know that they were enshrouded in the utmost nobility, dignity, majesty, authority, radiance, and benevolence and/or severity. He moved and spoke out of the Great Silence of the Transcendent Center.
Far beyond (and above) the words, those with eyes to see must have at least been dimly aware of the eternal stillness of the "unmoved mover" animating his every gesture from the inside out (which is another way of saying "from the top down" or from peaceful whole to dynamic part). Every movement must have revealed the Transcendence that lends Immanence its metaphysical transparency to the uncreated intellect. Obviously we see the same principle at play in a great work of art, but this would be that very principle "made flesh," not just canvas or stone
Now, back to my dream, a dream of transcendence that has shaped this post from the inside out. Vanderleun is a fine example of a man who grapples with own immanence -- as do we all -- but whose writing constantly reveals a preternatural gift of transcendence, perhaps even "in spite of himself," so to speak, an ability to span the distance between the immanent Penthouse and the transcendent repenthouse without denying either.
When I think of John Coltrane, I think of a man who was as "low" into immanence as it is possible to be, trapped in the ravages of a heroin addiction which he irreversibly transcended in 1957. Of this, he wrote that "During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music." Later, he wrote that his aesthetic-spiritual goal was to inspire people "to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life." I cannot say that I don't try to do the same with words.
In the dream I am "in the tower" where they "keep the records," but the tower is crumbling and "going out of business." In such a situation, precious things are almost being given away for free. No one recognizes their true value. Eternal wisdom can be had for a mere $3.00. Heck, Petey gives it way, since no one wants to buy it.
About that triple "Vedanta Bible" of Alice Coltrane's, one naturally thinks of the Trinity, the three gunas mentioned above, the "three-sided" god of Vedanta (Brahma-Shiva-Vishnu, each an exterior aspect of the one Ishvara).
I would say that if you want to live on the other side of the looking glass not so darkly, you must, in a sense, restore the immanence of Vedanta to the transcendence of the Semitic religions. But you certainly needn't do this by blending the two. It's already all there, just waiting to be realized, for the transcendent became the immanent so that the immanent might realize transcendence right here, in the midst of immanence. But be sure and realize this before the tower crumbles and goes out of business, for the long naught is coming, the cold and dark winter snow in which nothing grows and no man can transcend himself.