Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Birth of a Cosmos: Cosmogeny Recapitulates Psychogeny

Back in the womb from which I came, I had no God and was merely myself. --Meister Eckhart, speaking of his own womb with a pew

Is the human species "maturing" -- which is to say, evolving -- with time? Consider the "Muslim world," which is either more or less mature than the West as a whole. It is a yes or no question, but in order to answer it, one must have either an implicit or explicit theory of human development, as every developmental theory is guided by a telos, i.e., an end toward which the organism is striving. Thus, in order to know whether mankind is evolving, one must first understand the purpose of the human station.

Dr. Sanity believes that millions of Muslims suffer from "Teddy Bear Syndrome" (coined by Victor Davis Hanson), which is "the tendency of many Muslims to judge Westerners and those who do not adhere to Islam as 'blasphemous' when they exercise freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of choice, and freedom of religion; and to react in an intolerant, inappropriate and violent rage, demanding death or some other extreme punishment for the accused."

Yes, Teddy Bear Syndrome shares many similarities to left wing political correctness, so it must be a variant of a potential that is present in everyone, a primitive impulse that must be "outgrown" -- like throwing temper tantrums when you don't get your way, or ramming through complex legislation that no one has read, or suing to overturn the 2000 presidential election. The TB syndrome is why nowhere in the West does one find more intellectual immaturity than on an elite university campus.

But fortunately, most people are not left wing university professors. Yet.

Regarding the etiology of Teddy Bear Syndrome, Dr. Sanity writes that part of the problem results from the failure of Islam "to evolve from its medieval and primitive origins" (emphasis mine). But on any traditionalist view -- including traditional Christianity -- religion does not evolve. Rather, the whole point is that it is fixed and final. However, just like everything else, scripture looks very different to a developmentally mature mind than it does to an immature one.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I gave up childish ways. First the milky way; then the meaty way.

The psychological immaturity of the Islamic world is generally mirrored by a pseudomature response by the "liberal" West. As Hanson writes, "the reaction to this madness is now stereotyped. Often apologies -- not condemnation -- follow from contrite Westerners. To prevent a recurrence, Western writers, filmmakers, teachers and religious figures quietly edit their work and restrict their speech -- but only when Islam is involved."

When this happens, it is analogous to allowing the baby to run the household. Children naturally try to manipulate parents, but a good parent knows how to set boundaries and to be consistent. However, over the past 40-50 years, especially with the Baby Boomer generation, these psychological boundaries have been discarded, which has resulted in an indiscriminate blending (as opposed to a true synthesis or integration) of the sexes and generations, and of high and low.

One of the reasons for this is that the Baby Boom generation may have been the first to actually prevail in the perennial battle between adults and children, thus providing no check on the tendency toward omnipotence. In other words, in prevailing in the Oedipal struggle, they lost, for the downside of vanquishing Father is that one ends up orphaned.

Yes, some positive things obviously came out of the 1960s, but one of the most baleful ones was the Genderless Adultolescent. This is a person who by definition can never be mature, but only give the appearance of being so. It is much more difficult to be a Genderless Adultolescent on the right, whereas it is more or less normative on the left, as exemplified by their current low-standard bearer. Anyone who reads left wing blogs knows this is so.

As for myself, being primarily a vertically oriented person, I think of politics -- as it typically plays out -- as a distraction from reality. On the one hand, I do not conflate salvation with conservative political success. Rather, it's just that the left is so incredibly dangerous and destructive on every level -- intellectual, economic, psychological, and spiritual -- that it must be combatted. In fact, most conservatives would prefer to ignore politics and be left alone to enjoy their lives, but this would be irresponsible so long as the left pursues its antihuman agenda with such religious fervor.

The problem with most history, even to this day, is that it is too sweeping and general, and ignores the reality of the unconscious and the insights of developmental psychology. It makes it difficult to comprehend something as fundamentally irrational as Islamism. The left, for example, treats Islamism as a rational response to something we have done, which seems like "empathy" or sensitivity but is actually the very opposite, a kind of self-congratulatory indulgence of an enraged child.

In One Cosmos I quoted John Bowlby, one of the early pioneers of attachment theory, who wrote that "The truth is that the least-studied phase of human development remains the phase during which a child is acquiring all that makes him most human. Here is still a continent to conquer."

Similarly, Tolstoy wrote that "From the child of five to myself is but a step. But from the newborn baby to the child of five is an appalling distance." Or the anthropologist Norbert Elias: "It seems as if grown-up people, in thinking about their origins, involuntarily lose sight of the fact that they themselves and all adults came into the world as little children. Over and over again, in the scientific myths of origin no less than the religious ones, they feel impelled to imagine: In the beginning was a single human being, who was an adult."

But in reality, In the beginning is a neurologically incomplete, helpless little baby, utterly dependent upon caretakers who may or may not be up to the task of raising him, and who themselves bear the unconscious scars of their own childhood trauma. Thus, it is not so much that "in the beginning is the baby" as "in the beginning is the dynamic relationship between an unformed nervous system that will develop (or fail to develop) its potential in rapport with its caretakers."

Take the myth of Genesis, for example. This can be misleading, since it begins with the creation of a male adult, followed by a female adult (who comes out of the male), and lastly, a couple of children.

But in reality, the reverse is true: first there is a baby, out of which comes the mother, who then bifurcates (from the infant's point of view) into a mother and father. In other words, the baby cannot possibly imagine that the mother gave birth to him, as doing so would require abstract language, boundaries, a conception of linear time, the differentiation between inside and outside, etc.

Rather, as Winnicott observed, there isn't actually such a thing as a baby (at least as far as the baby is concerned). Instead, there is a true union of mother and infant, a (hopefully) harmonious psychological matrix (matrix being etymologically linked to womb) through which the baby will eventually "discover" the mOther -- and only later her consort, who is Fa(r)ther away in developmental time.

Fascinatingly, Genesis is psychospiritually capacious enough to be supplemented with the infant's view of the cosmic situation. This was an idea developed by James Grotstein, but it is also implicit in the interpretations of some mishnavous rabbis who view Genesis as an orthoparadox about man's movement from psychological infancy and dependence to maturity and independence.

As Kass writes, "Eating from the tree certainly produces a death of innocence. Through judgmental self-consciousness, human beings become self-separated; the primordial childlike, unself-divided, and peaceful state of the soul 'dies.' Thanks to reason and freedom, protoman becomes a different being -- the old one dies. This death, repeated in every human life, we have all experienced for ourselves; the contented and carefree life that we knew as innocent children is in fact permanently lost to us, the inevitable result of our rise to self-conscious knowledge of good and bad."

The rabbinical tradition often turns scripture inside-out or upside-down in order to squeeze out a little additional wisdom. Don't worry, scripture is resilient. It can handle rough play, and will return to its original shape. In Grotstein's case, he begins with the psychological fact of infantile omnipotence. One can argue whether or not God is omnipotent, but infants certainly are, for how could they know otherwise?

Thus, the omnipotent baby (again, from the baby's point of view) is quite obviously the creator of the cosmos, including its mother and father. Clearly, a brand new cosmos comes into being with the birth of every child, does it not? There is no cosmos at all in the absence of consciousness, so it is simply an existential fact that cosmogenesis is repeated afresh with every newborn baby: cosmogeny recapitulates psychogeny, so to speak.

Here is another aped quote from the Coonifesto, this one from David Darling, author of Equations of Eternity: "[W]e may reasonably view an infant's dawning of awareness on two levels: as a consciousness arising in the individual and, simultaneously, in the universe as a whole.... we can watch an incredibly condensed version of the growth of awareness on this planet, and in the cosmos, in each developing child."

But only if you are a sensitive parent. Isn't this a big part of the joy of parenting, re-participating in the birth of a fresh new cosmos, as your child -- and his world -- changes from day to day? Jesus made so many sensitive comments about children and about the relationship between a child's consciousness and spiritual awareness, that it's a little surprising that people fail to make the explicit connection.

God is the newest thing there is; the youngest thing there is. God is the beginning, and if we are united to him we become new again.... My soul is as young as the day it was created. Yes, and much younger! --Meister Eckhart

17 Comments:

Blogger black hole said...

One of your better posts today. It rambles a bit, touching on teleology, delving quite deeply into early developmental states of consciousneses and how it relates to religious scripture-- fascinationg materal, food for meditation. Some of the best writing to be found anywhere, and I would know.

Best of all, for me, a lengthy and slanderous broadside against the left, which I will now debate. Thank you.

You wrote: "... the left is so incredibly dangerous and destructive on every level -- intellectual, economic, psychological, and spiritual --that it must be combatted."

I see the spiritual angle, but I question the veracity of danger of actual harm caused by leftism on the other axes mentioned.

Consider that effects on the intellect or psyche cannot be considered harmful unless they result in death, disability, malnutrion, emotional distress, excessive loss of monies or property, or deficits in hygiene and grooming.

I defy anyone to link the Left to any of the above sequelae, or others that you can think of.

My position is that what you call the "left" (progressism) does not decrase the overall common weal.

And the reason we soft touch the Ismamists is because we feel guilty about the past sin of slavery.

All whites feel the crippling burden of guilt over this, and end up hesitant to lay the lash on brown people.

In addition to the psychological causes you mentioned. But don't forget about slavery. I certainly haven't.

11/16/2010 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Wonderful post, Bob.

11/16/2010 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Grotstein's books sure are pricey.
Were you a student of his, Bob?

11/16/2010 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In a manner of speaking.

I wouldn't recommend his books, since they're not intended for a lay audience. He's an unpopularizer.

11/16/2010 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger todd said...

Nice work, Bob!

In view of youth, I suspect the 'coons might like this bit of play:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04Msip7PCf4

11/16/2010 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, some positive things obviously came out of the 1960s, but one of the most baleful ones was the Genderless Adultolescent.

Interesting post over at Right Network today about the long term effects of hormones, which goes hand in hand with this bobservation. The Genderless Adultolescent is not just a psychological phenomenon, but also a physiological one.

Jesus made so may sensitive comments about children and about the relationship between a child's consciousness and spiritual awareness, that it's a little surprising that people fail to make the explicit connection.

There was something you said earlier this year, back in the summer I think, about what a beautiful childhood Jesus must have had to say some of the things he said. I think you were absolutely right; it made me realize that if I do nothing else in this life besides try to give my son a beautiful childhood, I might have succeeded at one of the only things that truly matters.

***
Hi, Todd!

Love the video. My dogs might see some snow in December. I wonder of they'll take to it so well?

11/16/2010 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger black hole said...

The Left has institutionalized reparations for slavery. The idea is to tax the rich to give to the poor.

The poor must stay poor because if they got rich, they'd get taxed too and then they'd be paying their own settlement. That ain't right.

That's because we are owed $12.50 for each hour of slave labor given. That's a lot of hours. Jillions. Not even half has been repaid yet.

After repayment in full is recieved then the underclass is free to move up the economic scale. But for now, they should ride for free or mostly for free. They are owed.

Only the Left has the gumption to pursue financial justice for the descendants of the victims of slavery, and for that reason alone deserves support.

11/16/2010 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"I wouldn't recommend his books, since they're not intended for a lay audience. He's an unpopularizer."

Wouldn't dream of it.
That's what I got you for.

11/16/2010 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"One of the reasons for this is that the Baby Boom generation may have been the first to actually prevail in the perennial battle between adults and children, thus providing no check on the tendency toward omnipotence. In other words, in prevailing in the Oedipal struggle, they lost, for the downside of vanquishing Father is that one ends up orphaned."

Not to mention forever stuck in never never land. Poor Captain Hook... poorer Peter Pan.

I was sent one of the emails everyone has probably seen, where the emailer walks through all the wonderful instances of growing up in the 1950's by verse accompanied with pic's, the likes of:
"...We'd never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me, Me...
"

, and it goes on through the Mickey Mouse Club, Drive-In's, Howdy Doody, etc, and concludes that:
"If you didn't grow up in the fifty's,
you missed the greatest time in history.
"

, and, ok, maybe so... but... the 1960's were played out by people who grew up in the 1950's. The teddybear boomers are the ones who grew up in the 1950's... sooo....

Wha'happn'd Capt'n?

11/16/2010 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

:D
Van, that is an excellent question!

Let's see, at a guess there were some serious underlying issues with the parents of the baby boom generation - the residual worries from WWII, a desperation for security and stability born of a couple decades of depression and battle, major hardship and loss... serious traumas, all.

How many of the greatest generation carried their invisible war wounds home with them and passed them along to the children? They embraced life with a fervor, but clearly there were some underlying cultural issues as a result that were never properly addressed.

11/16/2010 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "there were some serious underlying issues with the parents of the baby boom generation - the residual worries from WWII, a desperation for security and stability born of a couple decades of depression and battle, major hardship and loss... serious traumas, all."

Agreed. I guess my question is more directed to the ones who email out these wonderous rhapsodies of the 1950's (and who presumably were the same ones who strolled on over from Davey Crockett to Timothy Leary) - to those I've gotta ask, maybe a little less nostalgia, and a little more introspection (preferably on the GEICO couch with Dr. Drill Sargent).

To paraphrase the old saying, we've met the enemy, and you was it!, sooo... what was the battle over? Have you (the emailer) bothered figuring that out? Or are ya just gonna revisit your happy mamaries one more time?

11/16/2010 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I love Dr. Drill Sergeant.

11/16/2010 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

The Geico Drill sargent piece was very scary for me. If you can't depend on your therapist to be sensitive, then who can you turn to for a good cry? And throwing the tissue? I was told that throwing objects was abusive.

I'm not having a good day. I could use some attention.

11/16/2010 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Information has a thermodynamic component.

So the Word literally powers the cosmos...

11/16/2010 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hogwash BHO! Drill instructors are extremely sensitive you little maggot! They care so much thell even help you get your head outta yer sorry ass for free. Without drugs to boot. All you gotta do is be committed and they'll do the hard part.

11/17/2010 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

BHo~ DI's care so much they'll even pay you as they counsel yer punk ass. This includes free room n board and a top notch exercise program where the DI will be yer own personal trainer! As a socialist you should be overjoyed to know this is all free! because DI's care. Take advantage of this free oportunity. You don't wanna hurt their feelings do ya? And don't worry, you can still humiliate yerself with a good cry nancyboy.

11/17/2010 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Only the Left has the gumption to pursue financial justice for the descendants of the victims of slavery,..B. Holed

You are insane. Seek professional help and please don't reproduce until you're Whole again.(Like when you were born)

11/17/2010 08:25:00 AM  

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