Saturday, September 12, 2009

Give Me Dependency or Give Me Excuses

Concluding with The Argument from Substance, Schuon notes that the essence of sin involves "the absurdity of an accident wishing to be pure Substance," or the appearance the reality. Thus, it is to deny God while covertly elevating oneself to godhood (only a "god" can deny God).

At the same time, it necessarily reduces Being to the status of "things" -- i.e., materialism -- so that Being itself "appears as an 'abstraction.'"

The irony is that the same people who reduce reality to things also reduce it to a bloodless abstraction, at least if they are "thinking people," as they like to refer to themselves. For there could be no philosophy more abstract and out of touch with reality than materialism in all its varieties. If the world doesn't "release" its truth or radiate its beauty to your intellect, ur doin it rong. Light and warmth are not abstractions.

Must we have an ego? Yes, I believe so, for the same reason we must have a body. But that doesn't mean we must identify with it. You may recoil from a post a few weeks back, in which we discussed the four intrinsic "infirmities," or limitations, of man.

First, as alluded to above, we are "creature, not Creator, manifestation and not Principle" (Schuon). Second, we are not angels; we are neither at the top nor the bottom of the vertical hierarchy, but somewhere in the middle -- which, of course, goes to the issue of free will, as we are suspended halfway between our better and worse selves. Third, we have essential differences that are not accidental or contingent. This is not a matter of "ego" but of self.

Only the fourth infirmity touches on what we usually think of as sin, since these are the differences that are accidental or contingent, not essential. More often than not they are a result of mind parasites of varying degrees of virulence, but sometimes they are simply a result of inertia, stupidity, conformity, credulousness, absence of curiosity, or just a kind of pre-human, animal dullness. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

When the Anointed talk about "self esteem," they are usually referring to infirmity #4. The last thing on their mind is elevating the self so that it is actually worthy of esteem. Rather, what they mean is that you are perfect and lovable just the way you are. Your accidental infirmities are a gift to be cherished. It is analogous to the minimum wage, which attempts to make a man more valuable by paying him more than he's worth.

The same fools generalize the concept to morality (moral relativism) and culture (multiculturalism), which is nothing less than the attempt to heal man by abolishing illness. It is to say that the highest morality is no morality or that the highest cultural value is barbarism.

Deep down, these people also know that there is something very "wrong" with themselves. But instead of facing it and dealing with it, they propose to heal you instead. Thus the compulsive actoutivism of the left, who imagine they are for "progress" even while imposing policies that make it impossible.

I thought of this while reading Sowell's Vision of the Anointed. In every measurable way, blacks were making great progress until the imposition of the various "Great Society" programs in the mid-1960s. Only thereafter was the progress reversed: increased violence, crime, drug abuse, joblessness, bastardy, drop out rates, etc.

The remarkable thing is that the Great Society was originally proposed as a final solution for decreasing dependency upon the government, not to increase it to a permanent feature of American life. If they had known ahead of time how it would play out in reality, few people would have supported it. Thus, by their own original standard, it has been a catastrophic failure.

But the left quickly changed the standard, so that the government became the rescuer of the victims it perpetually creates.

I also think about, say, the billion or so people who have been lifted from poverty since 1990. This did not happen because anyone "tried" to make it happen. Rather, it occurred as a result of globalization and free markets. Imagine if some government bureaucrat had tried to come up with a policy to lift a billion people out of poverty! Actually, you don't have to imagine. Just look at Africa.

Closer to home, just consider how the left constantly abuses the term, "the poor." In fact, there is no such thing as "the poor," only individuals who, for a host of reasons, have relatively less than others. But the left divides the populace into quintiles and then reifies the bottom 20%, who, by this definition, will always be with us, unless we abolish the numbers 1 through 20.

I forget the exact figure, but it is a fact that if you actually look at concrete individuals rather than abstract quintiles, very few people remain in the bottom 20% their whole life. Rather, within a decade, something like 80% of those 20% are in a higher bracket.

Here again: imagine trying to impose a government program that could be so successful! Certainly welfare didn't do it; rather, the reverse: it rewarded people for staying at the bottom. But not as much as it rewarded the Anointed for imagining themselves to be so kind, compassionate, and morally superior to the rest of us.

Or, imagine government coming up with a plan to create the finest healthcare system in world, at the cost of a certain percentage uninsured, mostly consisting of young people who prefer to spend their money on other things, and illegal immigrants who get free healthcare anyway. Let's do it!

Anyway. Here's the deal. "Men have built a world made of artificial phenomena around themselves, within whose distorting framework all their errors and misdeeds take on the appearance of self-evident truths or glories; this artificial world is so constructed that evil appears as good and good as an evil." This inverted world is then called "reality." And if you refuse to bow down before it, then we will just rahm it through anyway.

Administered Freedom. Inquisitorial Tolerance. Equality by Command (Kalb).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Solid as a Cloud, Ephemeral as a Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cosmic Anthropology in a Pomographic World

The Tao gives birth to One
One gives birth to Two
Two gives birth to Three
Three gives birth to all things.
--Tao Te Ching

This might seem a little pedantic, but stay with me here. Yesterday we discussed the cosmic Substance, which Schuon distinguishes from Essence.

For example, the sun is ultimately not different from its rays; they are of the same substance, which is to say, Light. As such, this almost argues for a kind of pantheism -- and it should be remembered that all true religions are pantheistic, just not only pantheistic. For example, in Christianity the idea of God's immanence means that everything is God. However, because of his transcendence, the converse is not true: God is not everything, but infinitely more.

This, by the way, is how it is possible for the sage to say "I am God" without ever meaning "God is me." A drop is not the ocean. However, looked at another way, water is nothing other than water, i.e. the identical substance.

Thus, there is a kind of continuity between substance and accident. In contrast, there is a kind of discontinuity between essence and form. Schuon uses the analogy of a kernel and the fruit. Where is the essence that is common to both forms?

Better yet, take the embryo and the adult man. Was the man somehow "inside" the embryo? Or is a man just a giant embryo? Ultimately we need to consider both substance and essence, which Schuon likens to absolute and infinite, which in turn are reflections of male and female, respectively.

I hope this is clear, because it should be: "there is in Substance an aspect of femininity and in Essence an aspect of masculinity." In the past, we have discussed this in terms of what the child receives from each parent, and how culture itself is rooted in this primordial cosmic distinction.

For the infant, the (m)other is quite literally substance. It is not exactly correct to say that the infant has a "relationship" with the mother, at least from the infant's standpoint. Or, let us say that the discontinuity implied by "relationship" must be balanced by the idea that infant and breast are "one." The baby not only has a "right" to the breast, but you could go so far as to say that it is an "external organ" of the baby. (So much for a woman's body being her own. Every mother knows that's a lie!)

Twoness -- and therefore relationship -- is only gradually discovered (at least ideally). First, the oneness (and therefore nothingness) of the womb; then the twoness of mother-infant; then the threeness of mother-father-baby, and therefore the trimorphic, transcendent space of culture.

For similar reason, milk and love, nutrition and soothing, are inevitably commingled in the infant's mind -- which, of course, is why only human beings have eating disorders and other oral fixations. In a regressed state, eating can evoke the mother-infant dyad, while at the other end of the spectrum, anorexia can keep a toxic mother (now internalized as a mind parasite) at bay. Bulimia is literally an ambivalent state of omnipotent control of the mother. I can take her in or expel her at my will.

Again, mother = substance = infinite. Or, you could turn it around and say that anything that partakes of the infinite also dissolves into the universal Mother -- for example, alcohol, barbiturates, music, the auto-hypnosis of television, anything that dissolves our boundaries and facilitates merger.

You may think that this is getting far afield, but this also applies to the left and to the nanny state which will magically take care of all of our problems and tensions and soothe us into a state of comfortable numbness. It is just as Dennis Prager says: the bigger the state, the smaller the citizen, all the way down to infantile merger and dependency. And the more feminized. Obama is our first female president, although Jimmy Carter came close. Yes, believe it or not, that was a penis.

In contrast, we can say father = essence = absolute. This came up just last night, when Future Leader wouldn't go to bed. Mother tried to ease him down for half an hour, but he wasn't having it. Father had to go in and lay down the law, which is what each generation must do in order to renew this fragile thing we call "civilization." Hello? What's your problem? That kind of thing. He's still asleep now. Civilization prevails another day.

This is of course why male energy nurtured only by mother love creates monsters. Yes, literal monsters. Our prisons are full of them -- fatherless boys, which is to say, "infinite" male energy untempered by boundaries, by law, by the Absolute.

You often hear knuckleheads of the left wonder why God has to be thought of as male, or why priests must be men, and this is the reason. A female God cannot sustain civilization, as history and prehistory demonstrate. This is not because we project human masculinity into the sky; to the contrary, it is because the Absolute is the axis around which male identity properly turns. One of our tedious trolls commented yesterday about how love is his first principle. But divine love detached from divine justice is a recipe for terrestrial disaster.

Again, the only alternative is for male energy to be oriented toward the female -- which, as we all know, is precisely what happened with old Adam. He turned from God -- the Absolute -- toward Eve, and gravity took care of the rest.

To say that the man must be the "head" of the family is simply to acknowledge that he must be its vertical axis. But the axis only properly exists within the infinite loving substance of the female -- like, say, Pope and Mother Church. At least that's how things operate around here in my garden. A man who is only absolute without infinite is like law with no mercy, or intellect with no heart, or rock with no roll.

Yes, yes, trolls and feminists will no doubt find this all so old-fashioned, retrograde, oppressive, etc. I'm sure I needn't remind you that this is a free country and that you may arrange your personal life in any way you please. Clarity, not agreement. Ask Mrs. G. if it is grim and oppressive or joyous and liberating around here. Or just ask me. Would I like to be married to man minus the wedding tackle? No. I prefer "all woman."

Believe me, sir
I much prefer
the classic battle
of a him and her.
I don't like quiet,
and I wish I were
in love again!

Let's get even further afield. Schuon writes that "Since everything in the Universe, both visible and invisible, requires both expansion and limitation, there is everywhere a kind of 'space' and a kind of 'time.'" The infinite is perpetually expanding, so to speak, like the cosmos. No matter how far we project our mind, it can always be projected further, like an infinite series of numbers.

But the universe is not only expansion. For example, from the very moment of its manifestation, it is "constrained" by those beautiful equations that govern its character and development. Again: male and female, he created them.

Or you could say that we live in a cosmos of geometry and music, of earth and water, of infinite 0 and definite 1. If that's not too graphic.

A little metaphysical diddling between a cabbala opposites, and Mamamaya! baby makes Trinity, so all the world's an allusion. --Tao Te Petey

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Accidentally-On-Purpose Driven Life

Next up in Logic and Transcendence: The Argument From Substance, that is, the idea that since the accidental (or contingent) quite obviously is, then the Substance (or essence) must be. Although this conditional statement is undeniable, it may sound a bit too clever or facile until we flesh things out. Nevertheless: if man, then God. And because God, then intelligence. And because intelligence, Truth. And because Truth, salvation.

As I mentioned yesterday, a good way to avoid hostility when conversing with The Anointed is to follow Dennis Prager's advice about seeking clarity, never agreement. Obviously you cannot reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into, so you're wasting your time if you try. But if you just clarify your differences as sharply as possible, that usually dissipates much of the open hostility, at least from our end.

It doesn't always work, because leftists are notoriously slippery about naming their first principles, instead preferring an incoherent and ad hoc blizzard of il- or semi-logical arguments to conceal them.

But it's very easy for conservative liberals to name their first principles, e.g., limited government, low taxes, racial colorblindness, freedom of religion, school choice, judges who don't legislate from the bench, etc. It can be very tricky to get a leftist to admit that their first principles are the opposite of these classically liberal goods, hence their intrinsic intellectual dishonesty.

Our first principle is that "we are accident, not Substance" (Schuon). Of note, this is also the first principle of America's founders, although they express it in a different way, that "we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights." Rights, which are Substance, flow from the Creator, thus rendering them eternal (in time) and universal (in space). They do not and cannot flow from man, since man is accident. If they did flow from man, then quite obviously they could not be inalienable, since accident ultimately robs us of everything except our immortal soul.

Bearing in mind our first principle -- that we are accident, not Substance -- then our liberty is not only guaranteed by the Creator, but originates in him. Or, to put it another way, if there is no Creator, then we are not free. End of issue. "Accidental freedom" is as oxymoronic as "true lies."

What? Say a little more? No problem. If there is no truth, then all our knowledge is ultimately in error. Therefore, it would be silly to say that we really "know" anything, since "knowing error" is a contradiction in terms. Just so, if freedom has no "point," then it can hardly be called "free," for randomness is the opposite of freedom (whereas tyranny is the denial of our prior freedom, and the oppression of our soul's will).

This is precisely what Schuon means when he says that "our freedom is nothing other than conformity to this Substance, from which we sprang and which is Freedom itself." (And again, we are not attempting to convince anyone of anything, just laying out our first principles for the sake of clarity. For you trolls out there who cannot keep yourself from commenting, at least try to clarify your differences in terms of your own first principles instead of compulsively insisting that mine are "evil" or "stupid," which we know already ad nauseam and beyond.)

Likewise, "if our sense of justice is not delusion, it comes from God," and "our intelligence cannot be other than intelligence itself" (Schuon). At this point, I'm guessing that only trolls won't understand those axiomatic truths, so I don't need to elaborate further. To offload intelligence and justice from God to man is to pave the road to tyranny and stupidity, the one propping up the other.

A revolution that seeks only a temporal good is ultimately self-defeating and a waste of the human lives that went into it -- the French revolution, the Bolshevik revolution, the National Socialist revolution. Only a revolution for the Substance has any meaning at all. Thus: "To revolt against Being is to revolt against ourselves" (Schuon). In turn this is why leftist revolutionaries are always revolting.

Following our first principle, we can say that in "the final analysis," every God-given, orthodox "spiritual doctrine expresses the relationship between Substance and accident" (Schuon). As outlined in my book, when you "do" religion, this is precisely what you are endeavoring to do. Or, to turn it around, this is what religions are designed to help you do, even if you are not consciously aware of it, or if you wouldn't necessarily express it in those terms. Nevertheless, I think you can see the truth of it.

This is also how you can tell if your religion is "working." If it is, then you "move" from accident toward Substance. In order to do that, you must assimilate the Substance in one way or another, for it is not merely a matter of knowing but being. You must be what you know, or it's not real knowledge. Religion helps you know what you be so you can become who you are. To know Truth; to love Beauty; to act with Virtue; these are all ways of assimilating and living in the Substance.

Yes, it is true that God is all, so that, in a certain way, everything is already substance -- or participates in substance. In other words, God's immanence means that the morning light is ultimately not different from the sun itself. Nevertheless, from our relative standpoint, the sun is up there and its rays are down here, and it makes no sense to say that we live inside the sun until we first realize that we don't.

Also, within the sun-Substance there are deeper causes. We only see the sun because of our relative position. We are the ones who not only draw the distinction between the sun and its rays, but see the sun to begin with (with light we borrow from the sun). The real cause of the sun is a profound secret known only to itself; we see only the effects, which include the visible sun. Or you could simply say I Am the Light You Are.

Thus, "we speak of 'Substance' in order to underscore the gulf between What subsists in itself and what exists only secondarily, the profound cause of which lies in a greater and higher reality." Therefore, if you're following my drift, the very idea of Substance is already a kind of accident. Behind the idea is the Reality, the intrinsic mystery that can only be unKnown or "undergone." This is to live one's life accidentally on purpose.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Slackfast?

Did I say "reslackification?" Allow me to clarify. There are two ways to promote slack awareness, one positive, the other negative. But both involve an increased consciousness of gratitude for the a priori slack that "always is."

The via negativa, or "slackfast," is mainly for seasoned Raccoons who are tough enough to withstand a complete submersion into anti-slack in order to gain a deeper appreciation of their everyday slack. In other religions it goes by the name of "renunciation," or "self-denial," or "penitence," etc.

I won't go into to all the details, but flying across the country with an extremely spirited and easily bored four year-old boy is the type of thing that qualifies for a solemn slackfast.

But then miss your flight. Then wait around in the airport for the next flight out. Then miss your connecting flight in Atlanta because the engine of the plane blew up and had to be rebuilt. Add the fact that Mrs. G. had some sort of viral infection and I was trying to manage my diabetes in unfamiliar and unpredictable circumstances, which is always an adventure (this morning my blood sugar was by far the highest it's been in five years).

Then go to visit your in-law's house in Sarasota, which is about as child-friendly as the Louvre, except with no security guards to stop your monkeyboy from doing a cartwheel into some priceless object or taking his "light saver" (saber) to an original painting hanging over the bed he's jumping on. And you don't want to go outside to tire him out, because it's like a freaking sauna out there. No, you really can't imagine, unless you've ever tried to guard Michael Jordan one-on-one while playing basketball in a china shop.

Of course I love my in-laws, but to enter their world is to enter the world of 100% Orthodox Jewish Atheist Manhattan New York Times FDR-saved-us liberal religiosity. The occasion was their 50th wedding anniversary, with half a century of friends gathered from all over the country. Nevertheless, no matter the number, I am always Marilyn Munster. Since my conversation partner is inevitably like one of those medieval Europeans who hated Jews despite (or because of!) never having actually encountered one, there is always a certain surprise that 1) I am there, but 2) that I don't have horns. It's like a meet-and-greet with all of our trolls.

So what did I learn over the weekend? Mainly all the things I already knew -- all of the axiomatic truths that are the basis of liberal thought, not arrived at through thought: that the Supreme Court stole the election of 2000, that Bush lied us into war, that the world now hates us because of Bush, that we are only in the middle east because we are jingoistic and/or want to steal the oil, that we are destroying the planet, that vaccinations cause untold harm to children, that affirmative action does not involve racial quotas, that only conservatives say nasty things about liberals but never vice versa, that the New York Times is an objective and credible source of information, that Obama is brilliant, that putting murderers to death is immoral, that Keynesian economics actually works (and is working right now -- didn't you see those guys working on the highway on the way from the airport?).

But those were only the main themes. I also learned some more nuanced things, for example, that our food supply is completely poisonous, that morality somehow transcends God (rendering him unnecessary), and that for the first half century AD there was a pitched battle between Christian and Greek religion, and that today we could all very easily be worshipping Zeus and Neptune. Just like Sponge Bob, come to think of it.

What else... the sacred right to kill your fetus is right there in the Constitution, plain as day (this from a lawyer, no less)... That all of the expertise in the world somehow ended up at the New York Times (or perhaps in the government) and cannot possibly be distributed among independent bloggers.

At any rate, the exercise worked. When I finally got home, I kissed the floor of the slackatoreum, and here I am, hoping that this coffee will dissipate the jet lag.

Oh yes. While on the plane, I did manage to read Thomas Sowell's indispensable Vision of the Anointed. Pure. Light. Period. (More Light in today's column.)

Can you imagine what a better world this would be if liberal racists had dubbed Sowell their King of Negroes instead of Al Sharpton? But that is obviously an impossibility, for doing so would make white liberals unnecessary for the compassionate care and feeding of their helpless mascots and political lawn jockeys. The purpose of liberal racism is not to help blacks, but to help white liberals feel morally superior.

By the way, the next time I'm in Sarasota, I'm thinking of inviting local readers over to the house. I would even waive the standard $1.50 fee for personal appearances ($1.75 for children under 60) if you could manage to lavish a bit of cult-like devotion upon me in the presence of my in-laws. No, you don't have to scrape and grovel. None of that. Just a little starry-eyed devotion. A breathless request to sign your copy. Could I make Petey appear? Etc. Oh, and please leave your guns at home, and don't dress like a Nazi. Just this once.

Under the present circumstances, is it possible to plunge back into the proofs of God? We shall see.

I did periodically check out some of my usual internet haunts in order to touch base with spiritual equilibrium and sanity. In the sidebar over at American Digest there was a link to a wistful observation by Sherlock Holmes, who is speaking to Watson:

“I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncoloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?"

That's a little bit how I am left feeling when I am plunged into the slackfast of the purely secular world. Schuon says something similar: "Modern men want to conquer space, but the least of contemplative states, or the least of intellections bearing on metaphysical realities, carries us to the heights from which the nebula of Andromeda appears scarcely more than a terrestrial accident." You know the old Buddhist gag: "the more one travels, the less one really knows."

So very true. One is tempted to say, "no s*it, Sherlock," but that would be vulgar. Plus, it is by no means obvious to the rank-and-foul who compulsively travel precisely as an antidote to their slackless lives. But the effect is always temporary, and lasts only as long as the illusion of surface novelty. I am always reminded of the wise words of Beavis: you can't run away from your bunghole. But do they even teach Beavis & Butthead anymore in our postmodern schools?

It's amazing how disparate strands can be woven together in the intellect, and only in the intellect, for example Schuon and Sowell. For when Sowell talks about the "anointed," he's referring to the nihilocracy of the left, which simultaneously condemns us to, and then presumes to rescue us from, its own dreary and visionless vision of reality. For the secular left, there is no meaning except for the meaning they will impose upon you through the medium of the state. The "promethean minds" of the anointed

"believe themselves capable of 'self-creation,' all within the framework of an existence that is absurd, but no one notices -- and this is typical -- the absurdity of admitting the appearance within an absurd world of a being regarded as capable of noticing the absurdity" (Schuon).

No matter. Dear Leader will ride to the rescue and inject our children with the politics of meaning and the meaning of politics: study hard to stop the fiction of global warming. Cure AIDS so that sodomites may resume doing what they do. Help the president defeat the bitter clingers who bitterly cling to the primitive idea that the state is not our Massa' and that the cosmic center is in the individual, not the collective.