Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Revolution: Becoming OneSelf

As touched on in a comment yesterday, the movement from ego to self and servility to freedom is accompanied by a withdrawal of projections, so that the locus of reality is felt to be on the interior rather than exterior plane.

Ultimately we see that the exterior could never be the cause of the interior, for the greater cannot arise from the lesser (vertically speaking, of course, in the sense that consciousness is prior to matter, not in the vulgar horizontal sense of deepak animals and other beasts).

Human psychospiritual development requires the interiorization of boundaries of various kinds between self and other, ego and environment, affect and thought, man and God, etc., without which the maturational process can never get off the ground (interesting that one of yesterday's trolls argued that the absence of boundaries represents some sort of "mysticism." If this were true, then babies and rocks would be mystics).

Hans Jonas discusses this in chapter one of his The Phenomenon of Life, Life, Death, and the Body in the Theory of Being:

"When man first began to interpret the nature of things -- and this he did when he began to be man -- life to him was everywhere, and Being the same as being alive.... Soul flooded the whole of existence and encountered itself in all things. Bare matter, that is, truly inanimate, 'dead' matter, was yet to be discovered -- as indeed, its concept, so familiar to us, is anything but obvious."

Thus, "that the world is alive is really the most natural view, and largely supported by prima-facie evidence. On the terrestrial scene, in which experience is reared and contained, life abounds and occupies the whole foreground exposed to man's immediate view. The proportion of manifestly lifeless matter encountered in this primordial field is small, since most of what we now know to be inanimate is so intimately intertwined with the dynamics of life that it seems to share its nature."

Now, growth takes place in the direction of exterior --> interior --> exterior. In a very real sense, we first encounter ourselves outside of ourselves in the form of heroes, myths, ideals, attractions, and other modes. We activate an ideal by first locating it outside. It is very much as if the soul is attracted to what it needs in order to awaken and know itself, so it is quite important to pay attention to these sometimes subtle promptings and soul-inclinations, for to ignore them is to risk wasting one's life.

Joseph Chilton Pearce has discussed this in at least a couple of his books. He agrees that we are born with a unique psychic blueprint, which may be thought of as an in-built expectation for certain kinds of experience. The blueprint is like the lock, while the experiences, or external models, are the keys that unlock it and provide its content.

In fact, Jung speaks of the archetypes -- e.g., the Great Mother, the anima, the "wise old man," the crone, etc. -- in the same way. Bion called them "preconceptions," or "empty categories" awaiting and anticipating certain experiences that will automatically make sense on a deep level when we have them. Your "soul mate" is not just a person, but a whole world -- a world that we paradoxically co-create in discovering.

Of particular interest is the archetype of the Self, which is our own unique constellation of factors -- as unique as your face. And if a central purpose of life is to realize one's archetype, or one's spiritual destiny, then the ultimate value of a culture or nation or political movement will be the degree to which it either impedes or makes this realization possible (see page 180): "We must each of us, in our own way, strive for the cultural circumstances that make intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth possible, because most cultural circumstances actively suppress our growth as human beings."

As such, any purely materialistic political philosophy will be a non-starter. I never say that "Republicanism" is any kind of ideal. Far from it. It's just that the left is so incredibly dangerous and destructive to human ends, that it must be opposed, just as the Islamofascists must be.

In the case of the latter, their great evil is in denying man his reason for being: the systematic smothering of our spiritual individuation. To force women to live in bags -- i.e., to deprive them of their faces -- is a terrifying metaphor of what they do to the soul, which is to say, bury it in darkness. Likewise, radical feminism asphixiates the beautiful archetypal feminine form in an airless black bag of faceless ideology.

All of the archetypes are collective save for one, which is our unique Self, and which is yours to keep as a coonsolation prize for this difficult journey we call life.

Now, presuming there is a Creator, each person represents a unique "problem of God," something spoken of by Sri Aurobindo. And this is where we can run into a bit of a snag with institutionalized, big box religions, which can -- indeed, must -- cater to a psychospiritual "type" rather than the unique individual. It's like purchasing clothes off the rack. You're not going have a perfect fit unless you are perfectly average.

Now, there was clearly a time when it was necessary for institutionalized religion to be geared toward the collective, since it wasn't too long ago that what we call the modern individual Self did not exist -- or only existed in a few lucky or perhaps luckless souls. Charles Taylor provides a ponderous 600 page explanation in his Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity, which I would not recommend if you already get the point.

The problem is, how does one present timeless and unalterable truths geared toward the unique individual? It seems like a contradiction. But in reality, it's not a problem at all -- it's like asking how we can have this phenomenon called "life," and yet, all of these diverse species. Or how can consciousness exist with all these individuals walking around calling themselves "I"? Who is the real I?

Likewise, who is the real God? The answer may surprise you. In fact, if it doesn't surprise you, it's probably the wrong answer. More on that later. But to say that God knows the number of hairs on your head is a way of saying that he values your unrepeatable uniqueness. Likewise, Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you.

Now, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Bolton says what amounts to the same thing in his Keys of Gnosis: "Because of the presence of its immanent principle or 'divine spark,' the soul can thus align itself with forces and influences which share its true nature, or it can align itself with forces which are alien to it and which tend to make it more and more a part of a physical system in which individuality would ultimately be lost."

In other words, we can choose to be an anonymous rock or a unique person. The exertion of free will becomes relevant here, for "the less free the will is, the more it functions simply in reaction to outside forces with standard responses to standard stimuli and stimulations."

This is the passive, pre-individual who is a victim of external circumstances, to whom Democrats address themselves. These people are easy for the left to manipulate, because they are accustomed to simply responding with feelings to external stimuli.

Conversely, a free will is one that doesn't react, but acts. This is the true meaning of "turning the other cheek." For example, if someone pulls a knife on you, it is perfectly acceptable to pull a gun on them, so long as the act is not "kind for kind" on an emotional or spiritual level.

This is a spiritually perilous area, and one must "walk the razor's edge" to not fall into the trap of retaliation, even while administering disinterested cosmic justice right in the kisser, for if done in the wrong spirit, then the wrong will return to you.

Look at Germany, or Japan, or Iraq. We conquered them in order to liberate them, fully in keeping with the deeper meaning of turning the other cheek. If we had responded in kind -- and in the same spirit which animated their primitive and sadistic violence -- then we would have simply destroyed them.

Now, back to free will. Bolton writes that three conditions are necessary in order to be "capable of consistent and self-originated activity.... namely, the physical strength necessary for it, a practical knowledge of what the action involves, and finally a relation of the actions to values and long-term purpose, not to accidental needs and whims."

To be continued....

37 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

What a post to end the year, and span right over to the next one.

Bob, could it be true then that to say the King of kings is as if to say the Archteype of archetypes?

12/31/2010 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

IN sleep and by invitation I crossed the border into an author's mind. Stepping softly past a vast hushed body of water under a dark sky, I entered a glowing mountain chamber and was there greeted by a man standing behind a white marble desk shot through with veins of gold.

On the desktop he directed light through a lrg cystal prism; it emerged in a refracted rainbow spectrum.

Turning the prism around, he bade the refracted light to reenter the prism and emerge as intense white light.

He then produced a hollow red rubber play ball and turned it inside out.

He pointed to a engraved plaque on the chamber wall: "Break on Through to the Other Side"

At the back of the chamber the crystalline translucent wall seemed thinner, and the glow brighter. There were tooling marks on it, evidence of attempts to breach this wall.

The impression was at a future date it would be breached.

I returned to my own mind, and the interpretation I recieved was "nothing is done until everyting is done" and "reversal of consciousness."

This dream experience seemed to have a bearing on today's post, which was superior metaphysical writing in every possible way.

I bow down to you, blog author. May you thrive.

12/31/2010 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Rick -- actually, I think he might be thought of as the "archetype of uniqueness," in that he is the "only begotten" -- which would help explain the uniquely western value of the unique individual.

12/31/2010 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ah, better.

12/31/2010 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Now, there was clearly a time when it was necessary for institutionalized religion to be geared toward the collective, since it wasn't too long ago that what we call the modern individual Self did not exist

Along those lines, we were watching the MST3K version of "Jack Frost," a bizarre Russian/ Finnish film apparently based on a lot of recognizable fairy tales. It's relevant here because not only was every character a very obvious (and yet rather basic) archetype, but the lack of individuality of even the hero and the maiden, to say nothing of the average doltish villager, was startling.

People sometimes cry foul over the Disneyfication of fairy tales, and not without reason. However, the alternative is to produce something that an American audience would find almost completely unrelatable.

We've come a long way toward interior growth, culturally speaking. Let's hope the new year brings further progress, and little regress.

12/31/2010 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

At Seraphic Secret, The Freedom to Sing and Dance.

12/31/2010 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

This is the true meaning of "turning the other cheek." For example, if someone pulls a knife on you, it is perfectly acceptable to pull a gun on them, so long as the act is not "kind for kind" on an emotional or spiritual level.

That is certainly a unique interpretation. Although in keeping with the actual deployment of Christianity in history.

Here's the more complete passage from Matthew:


But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


How one gets from this to pulling a gun is a bit of a puzzle to me, but as you say, we must each interpret for ourselves.

You guys seem to have lots of enemies: the left, Islam, academia, science, modernism, to name a few. Maybe you should try loving them, as Jesus commands.

12/31/2010 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Atheists and literalists. Extremes meet.

Oh well, God speaks to us where we are and of what we are capable of assimilating.

12/31/2010 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

I'm not a literalist -- but I am not so skilled in interpretation that I can read that passage as suggesting you should respond to violence with greater violence.

Anyway, I'm working on loving my enemies myself, so have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

12/31/2010 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

The raccoon has no enemy. It is the enemy that has selected the raccoon. It is the enemy that is the one who cannot leave others alone. Cannot sit still.

Anyway, imagine if He did not say "love your enemy". The "Whole Word" doesn't sound right, does it? It should surprise you, as Bob says, this dis-ease. It makes a demand on us that we study it -- what does He mean? It must be placed in concert with everything He said.

It would likely help to study this against more day to day "conflicts" that can escalate to extremes such as a conflict with a coworker or a brother rather than such an extreme situation as a knife fight. It's a bit late at that point.

12/31/2010 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, speaking for myself, I have zero conflict in my life except for when the crazies come here looking for a fight. And even then I turn the other cheek by just goofing on them.

12/31/2010 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Is a person who pulls a knife on you your enemy?
Maybe enemy to Him does not mean what you think it means.

12/31/2010 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Off topic, but this is an interesting idea. Though I doubt it would include all of the saints a Raccoon would consider worthy, since I assume the choices are strictly Catholic.

12/31/2010 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Yes, individuation is a scary thing. You have to trust this fellow who is your possible future, the one calling from the end of your lifespan: Become me!

But there are so many voices, so many pulls on the soul, some of which are not good at all. How come the voices in their head tell some people to kill their family, some people to wash their hands for the fifteenth time this hour, and some how to do their work better? At this time, I "know it when I see it", but I cannot teach others how to tell the one voice from the other. That's why, if you have to ask, I recommend tradition.

Anyway, I wish you all an even happier new year.
wv: noless

12/31/2010 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

e-quip!

1/01/2011 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Happy New Year all!
(still haven't had a chance to read yet, just wanted to say hey)

1/01/2011 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

In utterly unrelated news: A bunch of human raccoons and a guy named Van who is into politics.

I assure you, this is not my doing. I just found it amusing. I don't envy historians of the future when they try to piece together what really happened in the early 21th century...

1/02/2011 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Magnus, I don't know how you came across that, but holy smokes it's disturbing!

An alternate universe, indeed...

1/02/2011 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In other news, this was clearly written for the Nagarjunas of the world. Blame the invisible...

1/02/2011 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Rick said...

Is a person who pulls a knife on you your enemy?"

Or perhaps, a frenemy? At any rate, the person who pulls the knife is a target.

Nothin' personal.
If it makes anon feel better I'll turn the other cheek after I fire. :^)

1/02/2011 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Happy New Year!

1/02/2011 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Magnus-

Ha ha! That is hilarious. Senator Van has a nice ring to it. He would quickly get the nickname Van Helsing, for going after and exposing all the inhuman senators. :^)

1/02/2011 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"This is a spiritually perilous area, and one must "walk the razor's edge" to not fall into the trap of retaliation, even while administering disinterested cosmic justice right in the kisser, for if done in the wrong spirit, then the wrong will return to you. "

And yielding often pacifies grave offenses. See here:
The modern Christian prefers the Gospel of Nice to the Gospel of Christ. [American Thinker]

1/02/2011 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Anon says:

"This is the true meaning of "turning the other cheek." For example, if someone pulls a knife on you, it is perfectly acceptable to pull a gun on them, so long as the act is not "kind for kind" on an emotional or spiritual level.

That is certainly a unique interpretation. Although in keeping with the actual deployment of Christianity in history."

I thought that "turning the other cheek" was one of the things that made the it possible to have martyrs.

I'm still on the side of the argument that relates turning the other cheeck to complete pacifism.

This does lead to the conclusion that raising a weapon in either your own defense or the defense of others is wrong.

It's a much safer moral choice to not fight back if attacked. Why risk an action that is possibly completely evil if your not sure?

1/02/2011 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

JP

*sigh*

Pacifists are, of necessity, parasitic on those who are willing to do violence in order to keep them safe. In a similar way, those who live the communal life of a monastery are generally dependent on capitalism in order to survive, and those truly living the life of poverty are usually dependent on the largesse of people who have not made such a vow but are willing to share the fruits of their labors.

This does lead to the conclusion that raising a weapon in either your own defense or the defense of others is wrong.

Yes, if you take it in the most flatly literal fashion. Christ also said that "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." I would submit that risking damnation in order to preserve the lives of others is a very real form of laying down one's life.

Further, I would submit that stepping aside and allowing a great evil to continue for fear of staining your own self would be a far graver sin, one borne of both cowardice and selfishness. This is not to say that one should return evil for evil, rather that it is more wrong to do nothing.

Another point I'd make is that "turning the other cheek," while pacifist on its face, may have also been something of an inflammatory act, inasmuch as by doing so one is neither falling meekly back nor retaliating. It puts the attacker in a particularly awkward place, and may actually shift the balance of power in the relationship. This is why it is active, and not simply reactive. If memory serves, however, Christ did not say that you should stand idly by while real harm is being inflicted. Having your property taken from you and being given insult is unpleasant, but generally not truly harmful. Being threatened with real bodily harm is another matter entirely, and while one should still remain dispassionate in dealing with it, allowing real violence to go unchecked must be a far greater sin than remaining passive in the face of evil.

1/02/2011 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Well said, Julie.

1/02/2011 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

not that anyone aksed but this seems a good use of time, computer, meditation... illustrating
the book most consuming and Eureka-inspiring to me since MOtT

picragia

1/03/2011 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Further, I would submit that stepping aside and allowing a great evil to continue for fear of staining your own self would be a far graver sin, one borne of both cowardice and selfishness. This is not to say that one should return evil for evil, rather that it is more wrong to do nothing.

At least in my experience, trying to negotiate with someone who is beating on me has generally resulted in a relative short beating experience.

It may be that the person attacking me has generally been confused as to why I was talking to them instead of fighting back.

1/03/2011 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Julie says:

"Further, I would submit that stepping aside and allowing a great evil to continue for fear of staining your own self would be a far graver sin, one borne of both cowardice and selfishness. This is not to say that one should return evil for evil, rather that it is more wrong to do nothing."

I think you're supposed to return good for evil.

And I think the laying down your life means that you're supposed to step in front of a bullet so that you die instead of your friend.

I could probably do that, too, since I've allowed myself to be beaten rather than lift a finger in my own defense.

Remember, we are talking about a religion in which a voluntary crucifiction occurred.

1/03/2011 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Well gosh, JP, I guess you're right. In that spirit, simply trying to reason with the bad guys is sure to work. I mean, just look how well it's working out with the Palestinians! And you know, since Jesus ended up crucified, if talking fails and Israel gets wiped off the map, that's okay, too. I'm sure they'll rise up again in three days.

Glad we got that all cleared up!

1/03/2011 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

The issue isn't whether it "works" the issue is whether it's the correct thing to do.

I don't connect morality with outcomes. Actions or inaction are moral because they are moral.

The means are the ends.

The ends can never justify the means.

1/03/2011 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

This is a spiritually perilous area, and one must "walk the razor's edge" to not fall into the trap of retaliation, even while administering disinterested cosmic justice right in the kisser, for if done in the wrong spirit, then the wrong will return to you.

I think this captures the critical, delicate distinction here. To be fair, I can understand anon's point re turning the other cheek seeming to directly contradict the need for self-defense, but I also think anon didn't really read the whole post carefully enough.

It seems like the sort of topic that deserves an entire post -- if not a week of posts.

Happy New Year, everyone.

1/03/2011 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, right - my mistake. The correct thing to do, then, is to stand aside, disarm, and when bad people use violence to do very bad things, we should simply admonish them that their behavior is immoral. And when the dark ages return, the pacifists remaining will be able to sleep comfortably at night, knowing that though the amount of suffering in the world has increased exponentially and everyone's standard of living has dropped back to subsistence levels, with slavery and feudalism making a big comeback, they have done the moral thing. It's what God would have us do.

1/03/2011 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Schuon explains it well:

"There are two kinds of hatred, one legitimate and one illegitimate: the first derives from a love that is the victim of an injustice, such as the love of God crying for vengeance, and this is the very foundation of all holy anger; the second kind is unjust hatred, or hatred that is not limited inwardly by the underlying love which is its raison d’etre and which justifies it; this second hatred appears as an end in itself, it is subjective and not objective, it seeks to destroy rather than to redress... serene anger is a possibility, and even a necessity, because in hating an evil, we do not cease to love God."

1/03/2011 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

And just as a side note, holy warrior is not an oxymoron.

I agree that more often than not, and particularly at a personal level, it is best to eschew violence. I can't even speak to your beatdown example, JP, because I've never been in such a position, and hope I never shall. The problem with pacifism is that it is an absolutist position. There are times when it is absolutely wrong not to fight; at such times one is not returning evil for evil, any more than it is evil for a surgeon to wield a scalpel against the body of his patient in order to remove a tumor.

Pacifism is a very childish position. It sets an absolute standard that requires no judgment nor mature reasoning, and acts as a proxy for personal responsibility. It is of a piece with the behavior of those Nazi facilitators who were "simply following orders."

1/03/2011 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

And from Julie's link regarding Martin of Tours...

"Martin determined that his faith prohibited him from fighting, saying, "I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot fight." He was charged with cowardice and jailed, but in response to the charge, he volunteered to go unarmed to the front of the troops. His superiors planned to take him up on the offer, but before they could, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service."

1/03/2011 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Aren't the Jain pacifists?

They've managed to survive ok for centuries.

And in any event, I will hit back if attacked these days.

There are much more intelligent ways to deal with evil than war. War tends to cause massive amounts of collateral damage.

For example, Islamists can't stand being laughed at. It drives them nuts.

1/03/2011 03:08:00 PM  

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