Sights and Sounds in the Upper Atmasphere
When we turn the world upside down -- which is to say, right side up -- we understand that our five empirical senses have their source above, not below. Not only does this make sense -- and make sense possible -- but it immediately resolves a host of mysteries that will forever evade any Darwinian, materialistic explanation. "Seeing," "hearing," "touching," etc. -- each of these has its analogue in the higher worlds, without which, the lower corporeal mode could not exist.
As Schuon explains, "the eye, owing to its particularly adequate correspondence with the Intellect, lends itself spontaneously to traditional symbolism, and is to be found... in the symbolic language of all Revelations." For example, you've no doubt seen this symbol on the back of our legal tender, minus the descending Arrow of Toots (the founders didn't want to give the whole game away).
Why is the eye -- or vision -- so central to spiritual gnosis? Well, think of it: unlike, say, hearing, which is unavoidably in time, vision takes in an entire landscape in an instant, so it is closer to the timelessness of the principial realm.
Now, all of the senses are in the end more or less refined forms of touch. Sight, for example involves touching photons, while hearing involves touching air molecules. But if we could rank the senses by their level of subtlety, they would clearly descend from sight (light), to sound (upper atmosphere), to smell (lower atmosphere), to taste (upper terrestrial), and lastly, to touch (lower terrestrial).
And yet, it's not so simple and straightforward as that, in that, say, the delicate pianistic touch of a Bill Evans reveals that he had "ears in his fingers," so to speak, while a gifted photographer like Robin can touch the subject -- which is to say, the cosmic interior -- with his lens. Thus, through the law of inverse analogy, all senses are principially vision but manifestly touch.
It is also critical to bear in mind that the senses are always knowledge as well. In the metaphysics of Vedanta, for example, the senses are a descent from Buddhi, or the higher intellect. If I remember correctly, the cosmic descent -- the downward arrow into the whole existentialada -- goes something like this (and I'll skip a few stages): Brahman (the apophatic God without attributes, i.e., Godhead) --> Ishvara (God with attributes, the Creator) --> Prakriti (which is maya on the one hand, but the infinitely creative power of Brahman on the other) --> Mahat (cosmic intelligence) --> Buddhi (intellect) --> Ahamkara (individual egoic I-consciousness) --> five senses.
But again, as Schoun explains, "the correspondence between sight and Intellect" is "due to the static and total character of the former." As such, it also corresponds to space rather, than time, and of the two -- time and space -- the latter would be closer to the Principle, since time is, in a way, the serial presentation of space.
Vision also tends to be less "self interested" and more objective and detached than the other senses. Think, for example, of taste, which takes in what it likes and spits out what it doesn't. You can't really do that with vision. Rather, reality comes into the eyes, warts and all. You can't take in the beautiful landscape and spit out the ugly billboard or powerline.
But in its own way, hearing is as exalted as vision, for it is to time what vision is to space. For those of you who have a dog-eared copy of the The Coonifesto, you know that I carry a soft spot for the ears (see pp. 44-46).
It seems to me that on our side of manifestation, the ears rather than the eyes are the quintessential sense, for to properly "hear" time is to trace it back to its vertical source. "A true image of time must be an image for the ear, an audible image, an image made of tones.... Thanks to music, we are able to behold time" (Zuckerkandl).
What I really mean to say is that for anyone on the "descending path" of the Raccoon, through which we do not wish to escape the manifestation but to spiritualize it, music -- and ears -- takes on that much more significance. You might say that for the Raccoon, our ears are our eyes in the herebelow, so that we may not always see the signs of the times, but we can certainly hear the melody of the timeless.
Think of the principial basis of Christianity, which begins with Word, a word that must be heard. Hence, "you who have ears, listen. Be attentive!" (that means you Rick). "Eyes made new," indeed.
Gosh! Out of time. To be continued...