Man's Exodus to Freedom: The Cosmic Bar Mitzvah
We were about to say that it is on a continuum in the animal kingdom, but that wouldn't be correct, since only human beings may access it. The exercise of will is on a continuum, but only human beings may freely exercise their will and make conscious choices between alternative actions.
Just as one purpose of the bar mitzvah is to mark the transition to moral responsibility and therefore freedom, one might say that the emergence of human beings represented the cosmic bar mitzvah, for now the cosmos was finally free -- at least in potential: for the creation is still subject to futility, and groans with birth pangs on the way toward its ultimate spiritual liberation.
When a self-deluded autoslave insists that free will doesn't exist, we want to say "in your case, we couldn't agree more." It's similar to liberals who maintain that "everyone's a racist." If they could just say "I and my fellow liberals are morbidly preoccupied with race," we would have no objection. But why the crass generalization? Speak for yourself.
Interesting that in the case of the autoslave, his freedom is simply transferred to the internal entity that enslaves him. As the existentialists say, human beings are condemned to freedom, which is why the vast majority of people and cultures reject it and prefer various religious and ideological shackles. Freedom is a terrible thing, for it equates with responsibility, and who would want that?
But for the minority of souls who wish to expand their interior freedom, there is always a way. According to Bolton, the process of realizing one's freedom consists "in a progressive elimination, or at least subordination, of the alien causes which commonly manipulate the will, and a corresponding ascendency of what is owing to the will alone" (italics mytalics).
Alien causes which commonly manipulate the will. These are, of course, mind parasites, those foreign agents and sinister minsters of propaganda that we have internalized and mistake for ourSelves. You know, all of those agenda-driven hostile forces that hijack the machinery of the host -- the human subject -- and use it to crank out their own dysfunctional and anti-evolutionary thoughts, emotions and actions.
You could say that the personification of the sum total of these parasitic trends is what folks call Satan, and you wouldn't be wide of the mark. The adverse forces are impersonal until internalized by a human being through whom they speak, will and act. These machine-like entities are not really alive. Rather, like viruses, they are something in between life and matter.
It is no different than a virus that takes over the cell in order reproduce and infect others. It is not just obvious cases such as a Marx or Hitler who infect the masses with acute soul pathology. Equally troubling are the chronic cases that can weaken the hardiest soul -- both individually and collectively -- over time.
In any event, these "alien causes" always block freedom in one way or another, and therefore prevent spiritual growth. If you could see one, you'd be horrified. It reminds me of a comment by Schuon, that "the lowest animal species, those that repel us, manifest most directly the quality of ignorance (tamas); they are repugnant to us because they are like 'living conscious matter' whereas the law of matter is precisely unconsciousness." It is no wonder that they are represented in dreams -- or under the influence of LSD -- as spiders, reptiles, and other creepy crawlies.
Other forms of matter, such as Al Sharpton, shock us for the opposite reason, for they are like a man deprived of what makes him one, which is to say, higher consciousness.
Back in the 1960s, when it was legal to study the effects of LSD, a lot of interesting psychological research was conducted on the subject of mind parasites. It was thought that by administering LSD to a patient in a controlled setting with adequate therapeutic support, one could bypass all of the ego's usual defense mechanisms and see the parasites directly, so to speak, and therefore process and work through them more rapidly.
I remember a book by Stanislav Grof -- here it is, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research -- in which he discusses how patients under the influence of LSD could actually draw pictures of their mind parasites in order to try to understand and work through them.
I don't have time to dig out the book, but I remember one particular lady who drew a monstrous looking spider that had her in its grip. Of course, the mind parasite isn't actually a spider. Rather, that's just the mind's representation of the internalized hostile force which is otherwise invisible. This is essentially identical to how our Dreamer uses images to represent conflicts, impasses, and various hostile entities. (Petey wishes to remind us that divine forces are also routinely personified.)
Carl Jung wrote of how the medieval pseudo-science of alchemy was actually a way to talk about mind parasites and their eradication. Bolton agrees that this process "can be envisaged in alchemical terms as a removal of the [parasitic] 'dross' which allows the [spiritual] 'gold' concealed in it to appear in pure form." What can be underemphasized, however, is that the "dross" is not a just an object, so to speak, but a subject with a will of its own -- or, to be perfectly accurate, something that can only operate in the world by taking over the human will.
When you think about it, this is not that different from how the Creator operates in the world, at least for the most part. The traditional view is that human beings are the living bridge, or link, between God and nature, or spirit and matter, or freedom and determinism, however you wish to conceptualize it. Therefore, when we say "thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," we mean this quite literally. For it is just another way of saying that the purpose of life is to freely manifest truth, or love, or beauty on this plane (since they can only manifest in freedom; in other words, no deterministic machine could know or express truth).
It's no different looked at from the other end of the existentialada. "Satan" is a paradoxical entity, being that he represents the "center of dissipation," so to speak, and spiritual dissipation by its very nature can have no center. The point is that both mind parasites and Satan can have no ultimate reality, since they represent the internalization or personification of the negations of the good, true, and beautiful. But the perverse human will can give them a kind of temporary pseudo-center.
Let's consider the god of the Islamists. When a voice in your head tells you to blow yourself up with nails and rat poison, or to slash off your daughter's clitoris with a rusty hood ornament, that's a hint that you're not dealing with the Creator of the Universe. When the voice tells you to force women to live in bags or to strangle your daughter because she doesn't want to marry that malodorous and toothless letch with all the goats in his dowry -- nope, not the real God.
So what is this sadistic and suffocating entity? It sounds like a very bad acid trip, which, in a way it is, because there's no coming down. Whether it be angry jihadis in Khartoum or jihadis angry about a cartoon, they're always enraged about something.
Most all the real evil in the world is caused by the spiritually unfree. As Bolton writes, in human beings, "freely-willed and unfree actions mingle in all proportions, because external causes can condition one's will in proportion to one's lack of self-awareness" (mytalics again).
You will immediately note that this is why the left is obsessed with so-called external barriers to freedom, when the real barriers -- at least in the contemporary U.S. -- are nearly always interior. Which is why when you eliminate these external barriers, it doesn't really do any good, because you aren't giving people real freedom, which they will still have to cultivate once the external barrier is removed.
For example, this is why racial quotas don't work. They eliminate an external barrier but ignore the interior ones, so failure is simply deferred. Liberals just kick the can't down the road. One is still a failure, but simply the last to know it. Which is hardly a mercy.