Saturday, March 27, 2010

Disordered Reason and the Illegitimate Force of Obamacare

Might as well continue with our discussion of the order of the polity, which we started yesterday. One critical point is that the order of the polity is not synonymous with the spontaneous order of the collective as such. In fact, it often directly interferes with and undermines that order, as all statists know that bottom-up spontaneous orders can be a direct competitor to the top-down order of the state.

One of the things that most struck de Tocqueville about America was its robust "civil society," by which he meant all of the voluntary, spontaneous orders that sprang up independent of the state -- church groups, charitable missions, fraternal organizations, trade unions, book clubs, secret internet cults masquerading as a mere "blog," all rooted in distinct values freely arrived at by their members. Nothing could be more distinct from the statism of the left, which imposes its own values in order to create its dreary and monotonous collective.

In fact, Ken Wilber developed a useful way of marking the distinction between the two, referring to the "interior collective" and the "exterior collective." The interior collective is to we as the individual is to I -- that is, an internally related center of order. For example, a passionate marriage is a true "we" at every level, body, mind, and spirit (and that is indeed one of its purposes, since it helps develop the "I" to its true potential, even while allowing us to transcend it in the "we").

But the exterior collective is not a spontaneous order. Rather, it is something that you are essentially forced to be a part of, like Obamacare. Ironically, collectivism can never be a true collective, since most people don't want or choose to be members of it. It is imposed from the outside to varying degrees, so it's only a "we" for certain constituents, eg., the MSM, Hollywood, the tenured, the stupid, the envious, the immature.

But this is what defines the leftist spectrum, from Obama/Euro style democratic socialism, to authoritarian fascism, and on to totalitarianism. Obviously, none of these are compatible with conservative liberalism. We are pro-choice. If you want to get together with like-minded people of the left, pool your resources, and live on a commune, we say, go for it! We won't stop you, if you won't stop us from being individuals.

Now, speaking of marriage, being the quintessence of the type of spontaneous order we're talking about, it should come as no surprise that the left would be at war with this institution, even redefining it as "any two or more mammals who love the government."

There's nothing conspiratorial about this diabolical plot of moose and squirrel. Rather, this is straight-up neo-Marxism, i.e., looking after one's class interests. It is for the same reason that tenured wards of the state are disproportionately statists; they're the last people who would want to reduce the size and reach of the government! (What's that aphorism by Mencken? "Never expect a man to see a truth when his livelihood depends on his not seeing it.")

I know the subject intimately, since I live in a failing state, California -- which cannot afford its own bloated government -- and also happen to have a brother who is a useless, and no doubt un-fireable, functionary at a low-level state university. In California there are thousands upon thousands of government free riders just like him. But touch a hair on his head, and out come the cries that anti-education extremists are harming the children! If only these children knew how much of their tuition goes to the lavish health benefits and retirement packages of their parasitic overlords.

Anyway, when Aristotle made that crack about man being a "political animal," he wasn't talking about pathetic political junkies and policy wonks who watch cable TV, but about our need to associate with other human beings in order to accomplish goods that would be impossible on an individual basis. But once one brings politics into the equation, that can go against these very collective goods, since the state must back its edicts with violence.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with that -- we are not anarchists -- but coercion and violence must always be in the name of ordered reason. For example, the Iranian government uses violence to accomplish its ends. But who would argue that any of the violence is rooted in reason, or that they could present a rational argument to persuade others that the violence is legitimate? Can't be done.

Rather, in order to legitimize the violence, these Islamists must live in a parallel looniverse of outrageous lies, most especially about America and about the Jewish people. This is why, by the way, truth -- not compassion -- is the highest collective good, because the Lie is at the root of illegitimate violence (and this is also why the left invented the scurrilous lies about George Bush lying about WMD, so they could characterize the liberation of Iraq as illegitimate).

As Schall writes, force "is to be legitimately used only in the name of ordered reason," whether it is the police, the military, the legal system, or the IRS. Each of these is authorized to use force, up to and including taking away your liberty and even life. For there are some things more important than life and liberty, most notably, the conditions that allow them to flourish, and the transcendent end to which our liberty is ordered.

Now, in addition to force not being rooted in ordered reason, another characteristic of the illegitimate state is that, instead of fostering the conditions of goodness, it promotes badness and even sometimes outlaws the good. I'm thinking, for example, of our federal government, which makes it against the law to embrace the self-evident good of racial colorblindness. Instead, we are subject to legal jeopardy if we fail to discriminate on the basis of race.

I'm also thinking of the force that has now been authorized to compel us to accept Obamacare. Again, this force would have been legitimate had the bill been rooted in ordered reason. But that is a literal impossibility, since house members voted on the bill without even knowing what was in it, much less having any deep understanding of its myriad consequences. How could if ever be rational to vote for a bill one hasn't even read? Yes, you could say that it was an act of faith, but no one is required to have faith in things that are not demonstrable to reason.

This is the very definition of imposing disorder on the polity and backing it with the violence of the state. But again, this is standard operating procedure for the left, everywhere and everywhen. It's just a matter of degree. The leftist convinces himself that something is good, and then arrogantly and contemptuously imposes it on the rest of us, since he knows better how to spend our freedom and to make decisions for us.

No thanks, Barry. You first. If I'm gonna get clipped, I'd prefer that it be my choice.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Creature From the Barack Lagoon & the Tyranny of the Disordered

The problem with the left in general and Obama in particular is that they violate the fundamental purpose of politics, which is to nurture order for the purpose of liberal (in the true sense of the word) goods that can never be found in politics.

But for a liberal flatlander with no awareness of, or grounding in, the Transcendent, politics itself becomes the highest good. And again, this is why it is so difficult to do battle with these people, because for them, politics is everything. It is their religion, so all of their religious energy is channelled into it, not unlike a sexual pervert who focuses his libido on shoes, or on a cosmic cult leader with light emanating from his butt.

But for the normal person who just wants to enjoy the higher goods that political order makes possible, it's a little like having to learn how to survive long periods in the dark or under water, where these people dwell all the time. Folks who live in the Light don't want to have to go down there into that fetid swamp and do battle with deformed entities that have adapted to those conditions and are able to comfortably live there without light or oxygen. We can't stay down there that long -- which explains the doggedness of Obama-Pelosi-Reid. They actually like it down there. They have evolved "backward," so to speak, from walking on dry land to crawling beneath the dark waters.

Some people can stay down there and fight with liberals under their home rock, and God bless 'em. Conservatives need aggressive political warriors like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and all the rest -- people who seem to relish taking it to the left on their own terms. I don't think that they should be the intellectual source of conservatism, any more than the military should be the intellectual center of the nation. But without the military to keep the order, there would be no intellect, for the same reason that you can't study Torah on an empty stomach.

The aggressive healthcare takeover by the left represents a triumph of the forces of disorder over order. Thus, when Obama immaturely taunts us about the prospects for repeal and says "nah nah nah, I dare you!," he's really acting as the swamp creature that he is, daring us to descend down where he and his fellow thugs dart around in the shadows. In its own way, it's like Osama in his hellish mountain hideout telling us, "you want me? Come and get me!" The last thing he's going to do is come out into the light and fight like a man.

Now, just as a central purpose of religion is to order the soul, the central purpose of politics is to order the collective. But again, not for its own sake, but for the possibility of higher things (which ultimately revert back to the order of the soul). Thus, a government of disordered souls who only increase political disorder is actually a real evil, and should be recognized as such.

After all, this is why Obama's fellow traveler, the nakedly evil Castro, is so proud of him at this moment -- although he will reserve full approval until Obama can ram through some equally disordered authoritarian legislation under the pretext of "climate change"; and surely, yesterday's humiliation of our most important ally in the Middle East goes toward appeasing the enemies of global order and cementing the Obama administraton's reputation as a surrender cult.

Speaking of disordered souls governing the ordered, wouldn't it be nice if Obama could begin ordering his own soul by, for example, quitting smoking, before trying to micromanage ours? My life is already ordered, thank you. I don't need the extra "order" imposed by the state. In fact, if you know your chaos theory, you know that imposing top down control over a spontaneous, non-linear system is guaranteed to generate disorder. The left just has no understanding whatsoever of the infinitely complex dynamics of non-linear systems.

Democrats truly are the anti-science party, in that they ignore any advances in scientific metaphysics beyond the mechanistic rationalism of the late 19th century. Thus their idiotic treatment of everything from genetics to public policy to economics as a static or linear system. To put it another way, they are never surprised by the inevitable unintended consequences of their misbegotten policies, because they never, ever recognize them to begin with, for the day you can do that, you are cured of your liberalism.

But liberals just aren't intellectually curious enough to wonder why the things most heavily subsidized by government are the most expensive. Not once in this entire "healthcare debate" did I hear one of them explaining why medical care is "too expensive." But if price is not reflecting economic reality, there are reasons. You don't remedy a market distortion by institutionalizing it. After leaving here, I urge you to read Doctor Zero's Parable of the Satellite Dish. As I've said before, that guy is brilliant.

The above preliminary reflections were provoked by reading James Schall's The Order of Things. The book includes chapters on the order of the Godhead, the cosmos, the soul, the mind, and other dimensions, but given the world-historical events of the past week, I jumped ahead to chapter five, The Order of the Polity.

First of all, let me say that Father Schall is a beacon of Light. As I mentioned in a comment, this is about as concise a treatment of the intersection of Catholicism and Raccoonism as one could imagine. It's still somewhat on the exoteric side, which is fine. In that regard, it serves as a fine complement to MOTT which exhaustively deals with the esoteric side. Together they are like night and day, or symmetrical and asymmetrical logic, or conscious and supra-conscious, flesh and spirit, etc. (Not that there is no spirit in the exoteric -- hardly! -- only that it has a different inflection and speaks to different personalities with distinct needs.)

One of the problems I've noticed with liberals is that they are literally unable to recognize (capital T) Truth -- by which I mean higher truths that are "seen" by the intellect, not merely arrived at through the mechanics of logic. For example, in his chapter on the order of the polity, Schall shows us a great many intrinsic truths to which the purified mind can only assent, in the same way the body assents to gravity or any other law of physics.

But this is the whole point about the infallible truth of metaphysics: to understand it is to believe it, because it's a matter of recollection of things that cannot not be. Looked at this way, "political science" -- which has become one more academic joke -- actually is a kind of very exact science, for its principles are universal. (One is reminded of Blake's comment to the effect that truth cannot be told so as to be understood and not believed.)

To cite an obvious example, when the Founders said that all men are created equal, this is a metaphysical truth that can be discovered by natural reason; being true, it is therefore universal. For by definition there is no truth that isn't universal -- one more reason why the left is so confused, since they elevate the absurdity (for it is an empty set) of "non-universal truth," e.g., multiculturalism, moral relativism, and historicism, to the highest intellectual attainment. It is difficult to think of a more direct method to poison and destroy an intellect at the roots. No wonder they're so addicted to this intellectual crack.

Similarly, another fundamental lie of the left is that man is not ordered to a transcendent plane that is both his source and destiny. Again, either you see this or you don't, but you will rarely see a human being who isn't ordered to something that transcends (or subtends) himself, even though he lies to himself about it. A man who is only a man isn't a man at all.

The good polity is ordered around the common good; but if one eliminates the highest good up front, then ipso facto one cannot have a good political order. Take, for example, the Soviet Union. Even leaving aside the more obvious pathologies, the whole monstrosity was ordered around the idea that matter is all, and that man has no transcendent destiny.

Therefore, the first step of any kind of socialism is to quite literally kill man in order to justify everything that is done to him subsequently. For remember, man spans all the degrees of being: matter, life, mind and spirit, with the first three converging upon the fourth. Eliminate the fourth and you have destroyed man's very purpose -- no different, say, than trying to grow palm trees in alaska or pine trees at the equator. Destroy man's soul-habitat, and you are well on the way to controlling him through his petty desires and animal appetites, since those are the only things left.

A key point is that political force is only legitimate when there is a lack of proper order: "it is to be legitimately used only in the name of ordered reason." And what is ordered reason?

Well, let's take the example of the government takeover of our healthcare. The violence it authorizes to force us to comply with its dictates is fundamentally illegitimate, for at no time were its proponents able to sucessfully make an appeal to our reason through persuasion. To the contrary, no one denies that Obama, Reid and Pelosi straight-up lost that argument by a wide margin (and on a bipartisan basis, I might add). Thus, they had to rely upon raw force -- including bribes and threats to the unpersuaded -- to impose their will on a recalcitrant public. This is the very definition of bad governance.

And as mentioned above, the imposition of top-down control on a spontaneous order will inevitably generate chaos. Thus we see so much anger breaking out among the unwilling victims of Obama's audacious power grab. But since liberals control the media, they are trying to spin this as a case of the victims being the aggressors! It's like in hockey, where the ref only sees the retaliation, not the instigator.

But James Taranto eviscerates this disgustingly self-serving narrative, since the anger is hardly an example of "fascism" but a reaction to it: "Kristallnacht was a nationwide pogrom carried out under the direction of a totalitarian state. It is in no way 'parallel' to small-scale acts of vandalism spurred by impotent rage against the party in power" (emphasis mine).

But projection of aggression is what the left does. Take away their hate, and there's not much left of the left.

Yes, all I ask is that the left give us the same understanding and respect they extend to Islamic terrorists. For any hope of peace, they must understand the root causes of our anger! I don't know about you, but for me it's the left occupying my sacred land.

To be continued.....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On Re-Gifting God

When I started blogging almost five years ago, one of the purposes was to try to assimilate things that I had learned over the years. In other words, it's one thing to know something (as our trolls do), another thing to understand it (as our trolls don't), and yet another thing to "become" it (as our trolls can never do unless they seriously get a clue before it's too late).

And when it comes to spiritual growth, #3 is all. Knowledge -- essential knowledge, or knowledge of essence -- does not save unless it becomes substance -- or returns to substance, to be exact. And this goes to the vast difference between intellect and mere intellectualism, between common sense and tenure, or between (n) and (k).

You may think of gnosis (n) as a memo from God to God, with man as mediator. Truly, Man as such is the middleman of the divine economy. To be this middleman requires much more than mere know-how. Rather, it requires a great deal of be-who.

What this means is that -- and believe it or not, this is straight-up Catholic doctrine if you read the fine Prince -- the whole Trinitarian business goes to this virtuous circle of economic exchange between various persons of the Trinity.

I know I'm not saying this correctly, -- like a seminary student might -- but my rustic and omspun manner of expression is actually a big part of my point. If you truly assimilate a teaching, it shouldn't involve just repeating it verbatim, any more than having a child is like reproducing a carbon based copy of oneself.

There's a kind of "wildness" in the Godhead that makes it ever-generative and ever-new (not unlike sex, really, if I misunderstand the latter correctly), so that it can't actually be contained by our categories, even though they are nonetheless necessary to chart the territory of the torahteller.

For example, we learn musical scales not to just repeat them but to use them as the basis for composition and improvisation. The one does not negate the other.

But while improvisation would not be possible in the absence of the scales (the latter are a necessary condition), I would nevertheless say that the scales were made for improvisation rather than vice versa. The Spirit always takes precedence over the Letter, but never obviates it.

As for the intrinsic orthodoxy of this view, Schall writes that "what is not God will, in its own way, manifest the non-loneliness or friendship that is characteristic of the inner life of God. The first point of what is not God will be the last point, as it were, of what is within God" (emphasis mine).

If you don't understand what that means, think of God's grace descending into the creation, and then returning to him in the form of man's love, truth, virtue, and sanctity; or of man "surrendering" and offering up these gifts to the Divine.

Again, we're dealing with that virtuous circle through which "the last point of the inner life of God is the receptivity in which the love of the Father and Son is reflected in the Person of the Spirit...." The Spirit is like the energy that completes this circle of giving, receiving, and giving back. Thus sayeth Petey: Come in, open His presence, and report for karmic duty.

Or, in a nutschall, "If we return to the inner life or order within the Godhead, we see that the love of the Father and the Son is understood to be a Gift..." The world is not "complete" in the absence of this particular form of "eternal return."

So really, a spiritual practice is like re-gifting God, but that's okay. What else are you supposed to give someOne who already has everything? It's the thought that counts -- from one to three and back again, but who's counting? Prayer is really self-offering.

If that wasn't sufficiently unclear, allow Schall to shed a little more obscurity on the subject: "the highest point of contact between the inner life of God and the life of the world is at the point where an intelligent creature is capable of receiving a gift and returning it to its source."

And this, if you really want to know, goes to the circular structure of my book, in which the cosmos perpetually returns to God in the self-offering kenosis of the saint, sage, or mystic who empties himself in order to be filled by God: not I, but Christ lives in me. So sayeth Petey of this circle: We'll meet again. Up ahead, 'round the bend. The circle unbroken, by and by. A Divine child, a godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin' yes!

That is, we offer or surrender God's highest gift -- the human subject -- in exchange for an even better model, a luxury corps at pentecost! Saying "yes" to this gift is more difficult than one might imagine, as many people are more comfortable with giving than receiving.

Again, speaking of improvisation, what always strikes this Coon with great force is when something I raved off the top of my head comes back to hunt me later like a pack of wild dogmas in the from of orthodox doctrine that some fellow independently discovered hundreds of years ago, but just expressed in a different way.

For Schall expresses orthoparadoxical Raccoon dogma when he writes that "ultimately the point of contact is where God meets gift, where what proceeds out of the inner life of the Godhead meets the inner life of the finite persons who have, in the end, nothing higher to do than to accept" the gift back from God, in that eternal circle of truth, love, and union.

The cosmos ends in man, but man ends in God. Therefore the cosmos ends in God, right back where it started, as does this post. Thank you and you're welcome.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

See What Happens, Barry, When You F*ck a Stranger in the Ass?

Edited version for those who are sensitive to Walter's vivid language.

Can't find the real one. Here's an unbowdlerized reenaction:



Slow Joe got it right. It's a big fuckin' deal to do that to millions of strangers behind their backs. Who wouldn't want to take a nine iron to the presidential limo?

The problem with the word "antichrist" is that you can't use it without people getting the wrong idea -- you know, as if I mean it allegorically on the one hand, or literally on the other. But when I use the word, I am trying to be quite precise in describing a perennial phenomenon.

For if there is a metacosmic dimension we call "Christ," then surely there is a realm of the antichristic. I'm not really interested in mythological uses of the term, nor in naming "the" antichrist per se, only in charting the movements of its energy here in middle earth.

Now, I do believe in all sincerity that the left is antichristic. This is not just my opinion, but theirs, since they are obviously deeply opposed to the transcendent -- i.e., the "permanent real" -- in general. Conservatism is rooted in a transcendent reality which the left denies by definition. In my mind, it should be as uncontroversial as pointing out that there is a realm of science, and therefore, anti-science, the latter being parasitic on the former.

However, in the case of the antichristic, we are not just dealing with negation or opposition, but inversion -- inversion of the good, the true, the beautiful, and the One, among other transcendental and archetypal categories uniquely open to man (and without which man is not man).

At the very least, we can say that Obama is the messiah of false slack. I say this because, as a coonical pslackologist, I have spent a laughtime studying the source of human slack, and Obama -- and the left in general -- embodies the opposite principles. Obamacare was the greatest theft of the nation's slack since I don't know when; I suppose since the Oh, Great Society programs of 40 or 50 years ago, which we will never stop paying for.

As it pertains to Obama, the really frightening thing about him is his "superior ignorance," but especially his conspicuous ignorance of that which he blindly opposes. For example, his long-time membership in that racist, anti-American religious sect can only mean that he must take this diseased Marxist aberration for normative Christianity.

But I think the real source of Obama's ignorance is that he is our first postmodern president. True, Presidents Clinton and Bush were ivy league educated, but this was when it still meant something -- before the leftist takeover of higher education. This transformation began in the late '60s but was only complete by the 1980s. Also, the fact that Obama was likely a benefactor of the "diversity" fraud, means that he had even less cognitive equipment than the typical student to resist the neo-Marxist indoctrination he was about to receive.

In any event, by the time Obama attended college in the 1980s, it was possible -- even likely -- that one could pass through one's higher education without once encountering any serious conservative (i.e., liberal) oppostion -- like one of those subatomic particles that can pass through the earth without touching matter. Dennis Prager often mentions that when he speaks on college campuses, students routinely approach him and tell him that they have never heard conservative ideas in any of their classrooms, except perhaps in a caricatured, straw-man way.

Is it any wonder that this remains Obama's primary mode of argument when it comes to addressing conservative objections? You know, "some people say that we should hunt down children of the poor and bury them alive in shallow graves. But Democrats don't believe that. We have a better idea."

The weak-minded postmodern leftist lives in a kind of hermetically sealed ignorance that they call "education" or "sophistication." And this is why they feel no need to condescend to the level of those who disagree with them, since we are not just a priori wrong, but evil, misguided, and malevolent as well. These haters project their hatred into us, and then react to the hatred.

As recently as a few hundred years ago, mankind at large was mired in a slackless existence that hadn't changed all that much for the average geezer in thousands of years. It was war, famine, plague, tyranny, oppression, stupidity, poverty, illiteracy, backbreaking toil, early death, very bad smells, and repeat as unnecessary.

However, one place on earth took a great leap forward into the realm of slack, a realm that left wing medullards and proglodytes take for grunted today. The engine that drove this expansion of our slack was the free market, accompanied by its enablers such as private property, civil rights (founded upon the sanctity of the human person), and the rule of law.

Some say this slack doesn't really exist, that it's all a big con job by the powers that be, and that we are condemned to a world in which everything averages out to zero.

Thus, for example, the only way to have healthcare for all is to forcibly take it from those who have too much and give it to those who don't -- as if the problems of shortage and price aren't a result of government interference with the free market. Healthcare costs only began spinning out of control after the massive state interference. Based on my intimate knowledge of the California Workers Compensation system, this is inevitable, for it is basically a system of incentives for patients, lawyers, and physicians to abuse.

Linear-thinking Leftists never understand the non-linear system of incentives they are putting in place when they enact complex legislation, so they inevitably must introduce more legislation to deal with those baleful consequences. Never forget that the government programs of the 1960s were sold as a way to end poverty, not to make it a permanent feature to justify the need for more big government.

The penultimate lie of the left -- following on the heels of absolute relativity -- is that the state is the source of our slack, or that it can even create slack, which is an intrinsic metacosmic heresy. Look at Obama's oft-cited claim that he is going to create or save X number of jobs. But the government can only "create" jobs by taking money out of the job-creating private sector, so he is truly selling us false slack, an entirely meretricious something-for-nothing, or "turd made fresh."

The state can surely protect slack. In fact, that is the president's primary job. His oath is to preserve and protect the Constitution, which is the guarantor of our unencumbered pursuit of slack. But with FDR a line was crossed, and people began looking to the state as the source of slack, and we can all see what has resulted. And it's only going to get worse, because the state can only transfer slack that it has been appropriated from someone else. Thus the preposterous lies about the real aims of Obamacare.

When people depend upon the state for their slack, the pool of slack is gradually dissipated in one way or another. For the state only has three sources of slack: taxation, printing money (as if slack grows on trees!), or borrowing. Two of these come down to outright theft, while the third is simply deferred theft from future generations. My son will have less slack because of Obama's larcenous actions today.

The bottom lyin' is that Obama is trying to increase the slack of the takers by stealing it from the makers. This was obviously the point of the Obamacare bill, which is again greatest transfer of stolen slack in at least a couple of generations.

In the real slack-generating economy, nothing happens until someone sells something. But in the anti-slack world of the left, nothing happens until the government takes something from someone. You get stuck with the bill, while someone else gets the goods. But not for long, since the whole exercise must be repeated forever -- or at least until there is no one left to tax

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keep Your Stinking Paws Off My Body and Out of My Pocket, You Damn Dirty Apes!

Know what I hate? I hate it when the left drags me and everything else down to the crudest level of raw power politics, so that I can't ignore them even if I want to. The point is, real Americans mostly just want to be left alone by the State, just as they would be pleased if criminals would refrain from breaking into their cars and houses.

But just as we must take precautions against criminals and sociopaths, our well intended liberal fascists force us to take steps against them. Who would want to spend a moment thinking about the likes of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid unless they were in your face, trying to purloin your slack? What did I ever do to them? Nothing. Indeed, I pay their salary and for their travel, retirement, and healthcare (hair plugs and botox injections included). All I ask in return is that they leave me alone.

But no, they can't do that. They can't keep their hands off my body and out of my pocketbook. And not one of them can acknowledge that they are committing an act of naked aggression when they force us to do something we don't want to do. But that's plainly what it is, by definition. More than half the country recognizes this. Hence the rage. The rage is not taking place in a vacuum. The stock answer of the race-obsessed MSM is that the anger must be because Obama is half white, as if anyone but a liberal would care about such trivia. Nuance.

But -- to cite just one example -- $10 billion to pay for 16,500 new IRS agents is not exactly a peck on the cheek. Only a liberal fascist imagines otherwise. That's raw muscle, baby, Chicago style. Look at yesterday's bellicose reaction from our authoritarian troll. The moment I enabled anonymous comments, he chimed in with Hearing you people froth at the mouth has truly made this a special day for me. This does not put me in the mood to open my wallet to him.

This only proves the adage that people inevitably devalue what is given to them. Indeed, on the very day we are forced to pay for the healthcare of this disordered soul, he responds not with gratitude but by lashing out at his new benefactors.

But was it not ever thus? Since when was a ward of the state ever grateful for his handouts? Statism always breeds ingratitude and a narcissistic sense of entitlement. It literally changes the consciousness of a people. It makes them worse, in that it de-spiritualizes them and renders them material extensions of the state (instead of making the state embody the spiritual ideals of its citizens).

It is literally impossible to imagine the mindset of such flatlanders. Where does one begin? I have a relative -- well, more than one, actually -- who falls into this category, so discussing politics with him is little like talking to a Soviet citizen who was only exposed to Pravda, and took it as truth. There's literally no point of contact. It's fantasy in, fantasy out.

The false messianism of the left takes the Jewish idea of the messiah, and politicizes it. This creates a "radical eschatology," in which it is believed that our existential problems -- which are universal -- can be remedied by overturning the present order. A mature person realizes that things are not ideal and that they never can be.

But the immature person -- say, our President -- is absolutely clueless as to the historical miracle that has allowed our condition to be this freaking good. Instead, he proposes to blow up the whole system because it isn't ideal, with no understanding whatsoever of the myriad unintended consequences he will unleash, nor the baleful effect of human nature, which will always cause the childish dreams of the leftist to crash and burn.

But this is why the left is always so reactionary, since they inevitably convert perennial existential / ontological / spiritual problems into political ones. In turn, they will always be attracted to false messiahs and anti-Bobs, whereas the spiritually normal person will be immune to the attraction. There are no political solutions to spiritual problems, whereas there is almost always a spiritual solution to most politicized problems.

Thus, Obama's first principle is to create a false crisis, so that he can "solve" it. Now that he's solved the problem of healthcare, he will move on to the quintessential false crisis of global warming. Meanwhile, the real crisis is Obama himself.

All valid theology has to do with systematic distinctions between ego and Self on the one hand, and reality and illusion on the other. Ego is to illusion as Self is to reality. Human beings are uniquely and providentially situated in the cosmos so as to be naturally (horizontally) idolatrous but supernaturally (vertically) -- or "transnaturally" -- oriented to the Absolute. This is just another way of saying that human beings are mirrors of the Absolute, and potentially contain within themselves the entire scale of being, the whole existentialada.

For example, Schuon notes that the great Christian virtues, e.g., charity, humility, poverty, and holy childlikeness, have their final end in the transcendent Self. Each of these virtues represents a negation "of that ontological inflation which is the ego." Practice of them helps soften and dissolve this existential infarct that clogs up the arteries of being. Likewise, Christ represents "the Self holding out a hand to 'me'; man must lose his life, the life of the ego, in order to keep it, the life of the Self."

In genuine theology it is understood that "the world" -- and by extension, your very life -- is "on fire," so to speak. This is how many of Jesus' most extreme statements are to be taken -- as urgent calls to get a clue about the eternal order of existence, and to do something about it before it is too late -- for the night is coming in which no man can work.

I would say "obviously," but I guess it's not -- especially to a member of Reverend Wright's wee church of the Perpetual Victim -- that Jesus was not referring to the political order of the world. Rather, he was speaking to Man as such about Existence as such -- not to this or that man in this or that transient situation, but about the way things always are for man as he always is.

The very existence of the left proves that it is the easiest thing in the world -- for the way is broad -- to confuse the manacles we forge for ourselves with the ones we imagine are placed upon us by others, and then rail against the others as a substitute for the universal call to self-betterment and transcendence.

For as Schuon writes, "the man who does not know that existence is an immense brazier has no imperative reason for wanting to get out of it" -- which is why the beginning of wisdom is the awe of God, not the hatred of white people, or Rush Limbaugh, or Fox viewers, or stupid policemen, or health insurance companies, or tea partiers, the latter attitude only plunging those who embrace it deeper into the flames. To them we can only say,

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Day of the Locust: Id is Accomplished

The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest.... One has one's little pleasure for the day and one's little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health. --Nietzsche

Let's at least congratulate MephistO for a job well done. For those capable of reading the signs of the times, it is no exaggeration to say that yesterday was one of the darkest days in the history of the nation, and therefore the world. For make no mistake: the hostile forces intent on destroying the United States as we know it have won a huge victory. Irrespective of your politics, you must acknowledge that we are not the same country today that we were yesterday morning. But our Founders would no doubt weep over this latest assault on their dream and vision of an empire of liberty, and today the cosmos itself groans a little more audibly in its travail.

As Mark Steyn writes, "it's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished.... the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be 'insurers' in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that's clear we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer as a fait accompli....

"It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people. As I wrote in NR recently, there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada and elsewhere.

"More prosaically, it's also unaffordable. That's why one of the first things that middle-rank powers abandon once they go down this road is a global military capability. If you take the view that the US is an imperialist aggressor, congratulations: You can cease worrying. But, if you think that America has been the ultimate guarantor of the post-war global order, it's less cheery. Five years from now, just as in Canada and Europe two generations ago, we'll be getting used to announcements of defense cuts to prop up the unsustainable costs of big government at home. And, as the superpower retrenches, America's enemies will be quick to scent opportunity.

"Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side..."

Even PowerLine -- not given to bombast or hype, or to spiritual concerns for that matter -- agrees: "This is a dark day in American history; one of the darkest." But it is important to remember that the darkness is still potential, not close to being fully realized. For example, Dunkirk was one of the darkest episodes in the history of the West. And yet, in another way, it was the beginning of our response to the evil that threatened us all.

Or, to take a more recent example, the September 11, 2001 Islamist attacks; the threat had always been there, but people finally woke up to it on that day. Often, evil's greatest triumph can be the same moment it starts to be turned back. But it will never be vanquished in this cosmic cycle. Rather, it can only be controlled, like a chronic illness.

Indeed, you could even think of it as a disease process. The greatest triumph for my type I diabetes was July 3, 2004, when I found out about it. That morning, my fasting blood sugar was 238. It's been in complete control since. But it's only in control because I know it's there every day, trying to kill me.

So too is the left here every day, trying to destroy (of course, they would say "rescue") the country we love, with values antithetical to ours. Just as we cannot understand the motivations of the Islamists, it is difficult for a normal person to comprehend the diabolical tenacity, endurance, and ferocity with which Obama, Pelosi, and Reid rammed through their legislative crime.

The energy is literally superhuman; or, to be precise, infrahuman. What, do you really think that that botoxed and blinking cypher is able to cow grown men just with her charm and powers of persuasion? No. These people are literally under the spell of the adversary. Using only his human powers, Harry Reid couldn't persuade you to purchase a mobile home in Pahrump.

Why is this such a hinge of cosmic history? First, because the United States really is a shining city on a hill, the beacon of liberty, the last best hope of mankind, the guiding example and exception for the rest of the world. But there have always been forces that want to reduce us to the status of any other crappy little country. It is only a republic if we can keep it. As de Tocqueville observed -- and this is not a principle that escaped the Founders, who were well aware of the dangers of democracy -- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

As we know, every time the state does something for you, it does something to you. And once it does everything for us, it will be able to do anything to us. Our life -- and therefore our death -- will be in its icy grip.

The nation has a pre-existing spiritual illness. We call it the Left. But now the left has free and universal access to its own treatment, which will always be more of the same. As Doctor Zero writes, by its very nature, "No government program is a solution to anything." I would qualify that, and say that every government program is a solution to the problem of how the left can deny our liberty and usurp more power over our lives. Don't you feel better just knowing that 18,000 new IRS agents and dozens of federal agencies now have you in their hearts?

Why did Obama ram through a steaming pile of legislation that appears to seal the doom of his party? Because he realizes that what they have lost in terms of free and productive citizens they have more than made up for in serfs and wards (which is why amnesty for illegal Democrats is next, to assure a fresh crop of dependent voters). From now until November and beyond, the usual rabble of slaves and losers, the immature and irresponsible, will be hearing how much the Massa' has done for them.

Ace of Spades linked to the following quote, which may be unverified but nonetheless true: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."

Christ's last words on the cross are It is accomplished. What was accomplished? Well, for starters, a bridge between man and God, time and eternity, the union of the divine and human nature, the terrestrial and celestial. But Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star.

This is a good day for the left, for truly, they can offer up their own version of Id is accomplished. For this is the union of man with his lower nature, everything small, petty, selfish, frightened, envious, and hateful of liberty. For him, mediocrity is the highest standard, beyond which is both inconceivable and forbidden, for knowing of it might damage the self-regard of the mediocrities. It is a triumph of Man the Insect, who hops around his flat little world in the inglorious Last Days.

Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.... --Nietzsche

Yes, but perhaps we should remember another quip spake by Fred -- that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Resistance Training For Spiritual Strength and Endurance

An old Sunday Sermon that generated little comment at the time.... Frankly, it's a little cryptic and unsaturated, and will require your comments to flesh out. Or, you could say that it's a half-baked post that you'll need to warm up at home in your own divine fireplace.

In water, resistance increases with the cube of speed. At a leisurely swim, it isn't bad at all, but if you enter the water from a great height, it is nearly like solid rock. Likewise, soil has its own resistance, which at our speed is very high, but roots at their deliberate speed easily find their way through the ground.

When the seeker awakens and begins moving with purpose, there is also a resistance from the "world," and it too increases proportionately with the speed. I'm not sure whether this is a design flaw or the work of a conscious enemy; perhaps it is a security device to keep the crazies from thrashing about too wildly. But it must be very frustrating for one who sees his goal clearly and tries to get there in the limited time given him.


If I were a lesser man, I would have immediately deleted this outstanding comment by Magnus and then claimed credit for it myself. At any rate, it is a fine example of a couple of symbolic "chords" which the Raccoon may use as the basis for a little pneumatic improvisation.

Naturally, in discussing the transnatural, we must rely upon analogies and symbols from the ponderable world, such as "soil," "light," "speed," "height," "water," "resistance," and "asshole." This is not because spirit is a mere projection of these things, but rather, the converse; the "world" is the temporal manifestation of timeless principles that can be understood by the law of analogy ("as above, so below"). Thus, water flows like grace, the sun shines like Truth, and the lower gastrointestinal tract flatulently "speaks" in the manner of the Cosmic Troll, or "anti-Bob."

The reason why the world is so full of analogy, metaphor, and symbol, is that these aren't just literary devices but literal dei-voices, i.e., the ethereal Word made fleshy, or earthereal. No matter how lo One gos, the Logos goes two. And then three, as we shall see. (For if it were only two, that would constitute a dualistic stalemate.)

Thus, we shouldn't be surprised at the fractal and holographic nature of reality, meaning that we see the same patterns and principles repeat themselves at all levels. This is why the pneumanetwork of synchronicities in your life can become so thick that you could cut them with the knife you "coincidentally" hold in your head.

In my own way, I suppose I've always appreciated this analogical cosmic structure, but it took awhile to recognize what I was cognizing and to re-recognize it at a "meta" level. For example, as I've mentioned before, the topic of my doctoral dissertation was the parallels between psychoanalytic metapsychology, quantum physics, and non-linear, dissipative structures in biology.

In short, I saw clear analogies between the way the physicist looks at the subatomic world, the way the biologist looks at life systems, and the way the psychoanalyst conceptualizes the deep structure of mental functioning. "Seeing" is one thing, but seeing what you're seeing is another. And to see this is yet another. In fact, you could almost say that this is the trinitarian structure of transcendence: knowing (which an animal can do), knowing that you know (which humans can do), and then knowing that you know you know (what the gnostic knows).

So, as Magnus suggests, Spirit clearly meets with "resistance" in the herebelow. As for whether this is providential or demonic, let's consider the alternatives -- or whether there could actually be any on this side of manifestation. For example, if you want to create muscular beings with robust skeletons, you need to have gravity. If we had evolved on the moon, we couldn't have evolved, since there isn't enough gravity there to keep us down to earth.

Clearly, physical strength is a function of resistance. Could Spiritual strength function any differently? Isn't our character revealed and honed on the rocks of adversity, the playing fields of Eton, and other clichés? Could there actually be any excellence in the world in the absence of resistance? To put it another way, could any useful thought be produced if we all lived in the friction-free land of the tenured?

I am reminded of the beauty of the competitive free market. One of the reasons the North evolved past the South is that in the case of the latter, physical toil was felt to be beneath the dignity of a proper man. Thus, physical labor was outsourced to slaves and other "undesirables." But it is only by struggling with recalcitrant matter that one begins to unlock its principles. Thus, the North leapt ahead of the South in discovery, invention, and creativity.

For certain non-Western cultures, a similar problem arose, in that the world was regarded as fundamentally illusory and changing, so that the evolved man sought out the timeless principles "behind" or "above" the world. Thus, these cultures produced bupkis.

Only in the logoistic Christian West was it recognized -- or at least practically realized -- that matter is a declension of spirit, so that the world necessarily veils and discloses the "mind of the Creator," so to speak, and is worthy in its own right. This is why "beauty is the splendor of the true," why truth is buried everywhere we look, both surrounding and penetrating us, why the human mind is a mirrorcle of the Abbasolute, yada yada, etc., etc.

[T]here is no metaphysical or spiritual difference between a truth manifested by temporal facts and a truth expressed by other symbols, under a mythological form.... With God, truth lies above all in the symbol's effective power of enlightenment and not in its literalness....

Historical reality is less "real" than the profound truth it expresses, and which myths likewise express; a mythological symbolism is infinitely more "true" than a fact deprived of symbolism....

The uncreated Word shatters speech while at the same time directing it toward concrete and saving truth.
--Schuon

In coonclusion, God is not so much a rigid mathematician as a playful mythsemantician.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Preaching to the Perverted

Just a few more random observations about Ruden's Paul Among the People. Most of them have to do with the very different cultural context in which Paul was operating. A multiculturalist he was not.

For example, when Paul rails against things like sorcery and witchcraft, eliminate from your mind innocuous images of earth-worshiping radical feminist lesbian wiccans dancing around naked in the forest (and get that erotic image out of your mind; see picture at right-->). Although undoubtedly kooky or disturbing, going after Shirley Maclaine or Jean Houston is not really what Paul had in mind.

Rather, witchcraft and sorcery had entirely different connotations in a Greco-Roman context. Ruden cites the example of Horace's image "of a small boy buried up to his neck and left to starve to death while staring at food, so that his liver and bone marrow, which must now be imbued with his frenzied longing, could serve as a love charm." You know, that kind of thing.

To see a closer approximation of the context, we would have to travel to Haiti or to Africa, where violent witchcraft is still common, for example, witch doctors "who kill people, especially children, for their genitalia and other body parts, which are believed to be love and money charms" (Ruden).

Also, if Ruden is correct, then much of the puritanical, anti-pleasure reputation of Christianity is rooted in a huge misunderstanding. She points out that Paul is indeed the original authority for all puritanism. The only problem is that his condemnations of certain activities must again be understood in the proper cultural context. For example, when he forbids "carousing" or "revellings," he isn't talking about having some harmless fun and blowing off a little steam.

Rather, Ruden points out that Paul was likely talking about something with which his audience would have been very familiar, the drunken and destructive komos. Imagine someone understandably condemning Chicago Bulls fans for rioting and setting fire to their city, but taking that to mean that one should never celebrate if one's team wins a championship. A komos "was a late-night, very drunken sometimes violent postparty parade," and "which could even end in kidnapping and rape."

And when Paul councils things like meekness and long-suffering, he is certainly not talking about being a wimp. Rather, it is almost impossible for us to imagine how impulsive people were in the past, and how quickly emotion led to violent action, with no space in between. I discussed this a bit in my book, and Ruden confirms everything written there. As she says, things would "often go from strong emotion straight to violence." Today one occasionally sees a patient or father-in-law with this particular problem, but one must imagine an entire culture composed of such people.

Ruden notes that "Hatred and revenge were not marginal or shameful for the ancient Greeks and Romans, but matters of routine and pride. A person who simply forgave an injury was held to be feeble and a coward," for "How could he protect his family and friends?" Likewise, "when there was political rivalry, someone always ended up getting plundered, exiled, or killed." That is human nature in the raw, and that is what Paul was fighting against.

The ancients projected these same violent attributes into their "self-centered and merciless gods," which in turn sanctioned their behavior -- similar to how the violent Mohammed is taken as the ideal man for Muslims, thus sanctioning their own violent jihad.

Again, the reason why the Christian message was so appealing to people is that it offered them a way out of the awful human conditions that had prevailed from time immemorial, or "since the Fall," if you like. In my book I suggest that the problems began when man became self-conscious and had to adapt to the strange new condition of having thoughts, emotions, and impulses. Every baby that comes into the world must repeat this journey, i.e., learn to regulate and master these things. But there was a historical time when virtually no one had this capacity. (This was also the central thesis of Jaynes' The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.)

Perhaps I should also emphasize that this problem of impulsivity (or what I call "brake failure") has hardly been mastered by contemporary man, for it is the stock in trade of the clinical psychologist. Almost all patients are struggling with some form of impulsivity, whether it is anger, or sexuality, or food, or alcohol, or video games, or stalking my blog. Furthermore, the more primitive the person, the more impulsive -- or, the more "holes" in the personality structure, where impulses "leak out," outside conscious control.

Indeed, as the B'atman once said, the liberal is someone who exalts in self-expression and outsources self-control to the state -- for example, "I refuse to take care of my health, so you must do it for me."

Interestingly, when Paul uses the word "faith," he is doing so in an unprecedented way. Ruden says that "Before Christianity, neither the Greeks nor the Romans seem ever to have used the concept in what we could call a spiritual sense." Rather, for them, it was much more analogous to what we would call "protection," or having someone to watch one's back. For pagan polytheists, it was analogous to having faith in one's fellow gang members to strike back if one is punked by a rival gang.

Sexuality in the Greco-Roman world was probably even more twisted than you might imagine. First, it took human beings in general a very long time before they could tolerate the ambivalence of expressing both loving and sexual feelings toward the same object. Here again, this is something the psychologist deals with on a daily basis, because millions of contemporary individuals still struggle with this dilemma which no premodern man seems to have mastered. (I might add that it is really not until around the 12th century, I believe it was, that we see the full flowering of romantic love in the Western world.)

Ruden points out that household slaves "were less respected as outlets for bodily functions than were the household toilets," and that one of the sanctioned roles "of slave boys was anal sex with free adults." And make no mistake, this was a sadistic act, just as many psychoanalysts believe that contemporary male homosexuality is often an expression of sadistic impulses. Whatever the case may be, it certainly wasn't caused by "genes": "The Greeks and Romans thought that the active partner in homosexual intercourse used, humiliated, and physically and morally damaged the passive one," and that "the satisfaction needed to be violent, not erotic."

Some psychoanalysts theorize that compulsive male homosexuality has to do with the need to magically incorporate the masculine essence of the object through the sex act. Interestingly, this is what the ancients believed: "a real man needed to transform an at least potentially active and powerful creature into a weak and inferior one." I don't know if this is true, but I also read somewhere that victorious armies would sodomize their vanquished opponents before killing them outright, first "stealing" their masculine essence via the back door. (I am also reminded of how Mike Tyson would taunt opponents by boasting that he would make them his "bitch.")

Well, that's it for today....

Friday, March 19, 2010

When in Rome, Don't Do As the Romans

It just occurred to me that the ideas and values Paul was preaching would not have been all that shocking to the Jews (the whole messiah business notwithstanding), only to the gentiles. But that's sort of the point, in that it wasn't until 49 or 50 that Paul "received from the leaders of the new sect the authority to evangelize non-Jews" (Ruden).

And sect it was -- of Judaism. As Ruden reminds us, the members of this sect were not yet calling themselves "Christians." Indeed, the term actually "started as a taunt, perhaps best translated as 'the hyped-up fans/political mob of the Anointed One" (probably said with hushed sarcasm, the way Rush says the hhhh-Rrreverend-a--Jackssson-ahhh).

Yesterday Tigtog asked the question of whether or not Jesus was literate, which of course he was. He now wants to know if the disciples were literate, for which I suppose there is no direct evidence. But since they were Jewish, there is a good chance they were. Breiner, in his Slaughter of the Innocents: Child Abuse Through the Ages and Today, writes that in the ancient world, "teaching sons was incumbent on all Jews. Though the primary concern for education was for the son, it was considered a mitzvah (good deed) if daughters were educated as well."

Breiner maintains -- and I can't vouch for his scholarship, but he cites plenty of references -- that "By the second Diaspora every Jewish male could read and write and understand the law," so that the Hebrews were "the first people in the history of mankind whose male population was 100% literate."

But that's ultimately here nor there in the case of Jesus, since Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 that the resurrected Jesus was seen by some 500 brethren, so, who at the time would have thought that writing down what they had witnessed was better evidence than having witnessed it? In the same passage, Paul says that the witnesses are beginning to die off, and he himself would be dead within a decade.

Therefore, perhaps it is no coincidence that this is when some bright follower raised his hand and said, "er, maybe we ought to write this stuff down, before the Romans kill us all?" The situation was undoubtedly made more urgent by the persecutions that began in 64 AD, when Nero decided to blame Christians for that big ol' fire. That greatly thinned the herd of direct witnesses, so that is when it became necessary to get it all down in writing. Just a guess.

At any rate... Say, where were we? Oh yes, preaching to the gentiles. In the past, I have posted about the vast differences between the Jews vs. the other peoples of antiquity -- especially the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It was over three years ago, so perhaps we'd better review, since there's no need for me to reinvent this wheel of karma:

Breiner devotes a chapter to the striking differences between the ancient Hebrews and some of their contemporaries with regard to the treatment of women and children. I have no doubt that the treatment of women and children is the leading edge of psychohistorical evolution, and that a culture can only develop as far as its treatment of women and children will allow.

To put it another way, the more evolved the culture, the more women and children will be valued (as women and children, I might add, thus excluding radical feminism as a philosophy that particularly values either). This variable, more than anything else, explains why the Muslim world is at the bottom of the evolutionary heap, and conversely, why the Jews have thrived everywhere they have landed, despite the most adverse circumstances.

Just look at Israel, which is persecuted by virtually everyone except the U.S. [update -- now including the U.S.], vs. the Arab world, which is persecuted by no one except themselves -- and yet, fantasizes that 15 million Jews are somehow controlling and holding down a billion or so Muslims. Madness! But if you think madness is a deviation rather than the norm, I don't see how you can understand anything of history, which is absolutely littered with similarly insane mind parasites.

It is almost impossible for us to imagine the barbarity of the ancient world -- very similar to how contemporary liberals find it impossible to comprehend the evil savagery of the Islamists with whom we are in a mortal struggle, so they instead fill the moral vacuum by fantasizing that George Bush or Dick Cheney are evil (for if your moral compass is so broken that you cannot recognize evil, you will hate something that is not evil, which is why the left is at war with so much that is good, e.g., the Boy Scouts, the ROTC, "traditional" marriage [which is to say, marriage], racial equality, school vouchers, our healthcare system, etc.).

In all other ancient lands, the abuse of women and children, including infanticide, was common. Breiner notes, for example, that On, the King of the Swedes, sacrificed nine of his ten sons in the belief that it would prolong his life. Think about it. It was if the entire ancient world consisted of Palestinians who think that murdering children will lead to their own salvation.

Surely it is no coincidence, therefore, that the story of the Jews as a people begins with the motif of child sacrifice. The story of Abraham and Isaac allows us to assume that, up to that time, the ancient Hebrews were just as barbaric as any other ancient people. This biblical story preserves one of the truly shocking and unexpected “right turns” in human history -- when something caused us to empathize with the sacrificial victim and lay down the knife. Not that it wasn’t a struggle afterwards. The Bible chronicles many instances of backsliding and regression, which gives it even more of a ring of authenticity. The struggle against absuing children was (and is) very real.

But the benefits were obvious. For the first time in history, Jews were also able to intuit the one God. Not only that, but he was a just and loving God. Other primitive peoples lived in the psychological fragmentation of polytheism. In my opinion, they did not know God because they could not know God. Early childhood trauma leads to what is called “borderline personality structure,” in which the mind is subject to vertical splitting and the inability to maintain psychological unity and coherence. Therefore, primitive polytheism was actually an indirect measure of child abuse and the psychological fragmentation and projection that occur as a consequence.

Note as well that the gods of ancient Greece and Rome were arbitrary, selfish, and narcissistic, and even got a kick out of lording it over the little humans. They were suspiciously simlar to abusive and uncaring parents. It would never have occurred to anyone that they were either lovable or loving. A psychospiritual breakthrough was required in order for that to happen.

I see a direct relationship between the Hebrews' increased empathy toward children and the new sense of having an intimate relationship with a benevolent God who took a deep and abiding interest in them, instead of having to live in fear of a multitude of arbitrary and self-absorbed gods.

Again, we are not comparing the ancient Hebrews to modern peoples but to their own contemporaries in the ancient world, and by that standard, they were mohels ahead of the package. Marriage began to be viewed as a sacred institution composed of two individuals who were in the image and likeness of God.

Here again, this cannot be separated from issues of developmental psychology. One will not be capable of a stable and loving marriage so long as one lives with the psychological fragmentation produced by vertical splitting. It is no coincidence that the “one loving God” was discovered at roughly the same time that it became possible to conceive of a monogamous, loving, companionate marriage between two equals.

Breiner notes (and Ruden confirms this) that the women of ancient Greece were essentially slaves. A wife’s function was to “look after the household and produce children -- preferably boys.” While courtesans -- who were used for pleasure rather than procreation -- could be educated, wives were illiterate.

Similar to Islamic societies today, the ancient Greeks “viewed men as sane and stable while women were considered mad, hysterical, and possibly dangerous and destructive to men.” Furthermore, “a woman’s freedom was severely restricted” and she was without power. “A man could sell his daughter or sister into concubinage if he wished.” Children of concubines were simply “aborted, killed or sold into slavery.”

At the time of Pericles in the late 5th century BC, out of a population of 400,000, only 14,240 people had full civil rights. The rest were women, children, slaves of varying degrees. Unwanted and "imperfect" children were simply exposed on a mountainside to die. “In all the Greek cities except Thebes the father had the right to kill his child at birth without question. In all cities except Athens the father could sell his children to slave dealers.” Female infanticide was the norm. Like China today, very few families raised more than one daughter. Even then, girls were given inferior food and no education.

Breiner feels that the revulsion towards women was at the basis of Greek male homosexuality. Can you think of a better explanation? The fashionable modern idea -- a fine example of leftist anti-scientific magical thinking, by the way -- is that homosexuality is purely “genetic” and not subject to environmental influences. If so, how does one account for the prevalence of Ancient Greek homosexuality? “It was considered quite proper for the young men of Athens to engage sexually with older men, and most did.” “Merchants would import handsome boys to be sold to the highest bidder”; these boys would “be first used as concubines and later as slaves.” (Ruden goes into more detail of the true horror of male pederasty in the ancient world; it makes NAMBLA look humane.)

Breiner speculates that “homosexual pederasty was so universal in Greek society” because it was “a means of ‘rescuing’ the male child from the perceived dangers of women...” “Boy brothels flourished in every city and a child prostitute could be rented, even at the height of Athenian culture... A freeborn child might see his father having sexual relations with a child his own age who was a slave."

In this context, the evolution of so-called "homophobia" by the ancient Hebrews was clearly an advance, not a regression, as it particularly benefitted women and children. Here again, Ruden says much the same thing vis-a-vis Paul's condemnation of homosexuality. At the time, there was no such thing as a homosexuality that wasn't cruel, aggressive, sadistic, and exploitative. Love had nothing to do with it.

I don’t even have time to get into the pervasive human and animal sacrifice. “Human life was considered so short and cheap that there was little concern about killing. When a town was captured the men were automatically killed or sold into slavery and the women were taken as concubines or slaves.” Traits such as “gentleness, kindness, industry, honesty, and integrity were scorned as effeminate and inferior.”

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Obviously, human beings were desperately in need of a vertical intervention to save them from the hell on earth they had created. All of us continue to benefit everyday from that little sliver of light that miraculously opened up in a world of infrahuman darkness.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Putting the Apostle Paul In His Place

Not much time this morning, but I'd like to spend it discussing this important new book, Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time, by Sarah Ruden.

In contrast to a destructive postmodern deconstruction of Paul, this is more of a constructive reconstruction, in that it attempts to interpret Paul's words in the way they would have been heard and understood in the almost inconceivably different time and place he wrote and spoke them.

Ironically, one of the main reasons we have difficulty appreciating the vast cultural differences is due to Paul's extraordinary success in transforming them. As Ruden points out, "more than anyone else, Paul created the Western individual human being, unconditionally precious to God and therefore entitled to the consideration of other human beings.... No other intellect contributed as much to making us who we are." Theist and atheist alike are beneficiaries of this profound transformation of values.

We have to begin by imagining a society that was every bit as cruel and barbarous as, say, the Palestinians or Islamists, to understand the context in which Paul spoke -- and, just as importantly, to appreciate the fantastic and even revolutionary appeal of the message he was spreading.

In our time, we can misinterpret Paul's words as punitive and restrictive, whereas those who heard them would have been struck first and foremost by the novelty of his liberating message of love, equality and dignity.

This itself is a critical point, because it goes a long way toward explaining how and why the Christian message took off like wildfire and spread so rapidly. "In fact, the compassionate community was there at the beginning, and its founder was Paul of Tarsus." It wasn't just the "good news" of the resurrection. After all, pagan peoples had been familiar with mythic stories of resurrected gods from time immemorial, but that didn't make their lives and communities any less cruel.

Rather, there was something uniquely alluring about the actual communities that were being created out of this new revelation -- mostly how they were ordered around love instead of the usual violence, depravity, exploitation, and cruelty of the ancient world.

The pagan polytheistic world "deified materialism in the form of idolatry," and "deified violence and exploitation through the belief that these were the ways the gods operated. Paul fought this ideology and all its manifestations. Rather than repressing women, slaves, or homosexuals, he made -- for his time -- progressive rules for the inclusion of all of them in the Christian community..."

Yes, Paul was a progressive in the truest sense of the word, because he was instrumental in the vertical progress of mankind at large. In contrast, contemporary "progressiveism" is a reversion to the very pagan materialism that Paul ultimately gave his life to end.

No wonder we see such a resurgence of neo-paganism on the left: idolatry, body mutilation, child sacrifice, new age witchcraft, earth worship, sexual license, the cult of the body, exaltation of the state (and its messianic leader), cult leaders with light streaming from their butt, etc.

It seems to me that the book understates its own importance, since, if the author is correct, then not only have many Christians been misinterpreting Paul for hundreds of years, but whole sects and even cultures are rooted in this misunderstanding. Furthermore, on the other side of the equation, there is no question that many people have rejected Christianity because its most important proselytizer appears to them to be a bit of an irascible, sanctimonious, authoritarian, and intolerant hothead.

JWM coined the term "Jesus willies" for people who are made uncomfortable by the moronic way Christianity is often presented to the public. But it might be more accurate to call them the "Paul willies," since he is the one most responsible for creating the thing we actually call Christianity.

In my book, I tried to get into a bit of psychohistory, in order to demonstrate the progress mankind has made (at least at its leading edge) in vanquishing its mind parasites (see Chapter 3.4 Adapting to Mindedness: Why the Past is So Tense). This is without a doubt the weakest part of the book, since it would have required a whole book to do justice to the subject. In pp. 157-162 I cover the ancient world, but again, how could one possibly do justice to such a vast subject?

Fortunately -- to paraphrase Bo Diddley -- I don't have to do stuff like that, because I got scholars like Ruden doin' it for me. While I tried to show what Greek and Roman culture were actually like beneath the veneer of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and the rest of those luminaries, Ruden goes into more detail about just how alien to us these cultures were.

Their values were antithetical to ours, and again, this is the audience to whom Paul was preaching. Truly, his death at the hands of the state was inevitable, just as you wouldn't be long for the world in the Palestinian terrortories if you began preaching a message of love and tolerance toward Jews, or at a major American university if you preached that their racial obsessions are evil.

In addition to being violent and exploitative, the ancient world was frankly a depressing and meaningless place, especially if one was not a freeborn member of the ruling class. Most people were slaves or at least under some degree of servility, and slaves had no rights at all. Truly, they were not persons, but objects to be used in any way the owner saw fit.

Children were devalued as well. Pederasty and child prostitution were rampant, and no one gave it a second thought as to whether these practices were "moral." Likewise, what we know of as romantic love simply wasn't a value for the ancients. Indeed, Ruden shows that it was regarded as a kind of weak and shameful madness that was to be shunned and avoided.

To be continued....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Healing the Wounds and Wounding the Heels of History

When the inferior reader hears of O, he only laughs at it; it would not be O if he did not laugh at it, for its blinding superabundance of Light is taken for darkness. --Lao Tzu, D'oh! Te Troll

Our ideological adversaries are not living in reality. Indeed, that is what makes them our adversaries. People who don't live in reality necessarily become bitter, frustrated, resentful, and aggressive, especially toward those who do live in reality. They think that by attacking reality and those who live in it, they can somehow transform their unreality into reality, but of course it never works. Reality always has the last word.

Since I once worked in a mental hospital, I saw up close how this process plays out in deranged individuals. But the most helpful things I learned during my internship at Camarillo State Mental Hospital were that, 1) Charlie Parker once slept here, and 2) the most disturbed people are not qualitatively different from the Normals, only quantitatively different.

In other words, in the decompensated psychotic person, one is able to "see" unconscious processes that are more hidden in the non-psychotic. In fact, "decompensation" refers to the breakdown of psychological defense mechanisms that keep primitive unconscious material and processes at bay; analogously, think of what would happen if your skin began to break down. Defense mechanisms are very much like a semipermeable membrane between the ego and lower vertical, just as your skin keeps your insides in and the outside out. (And you might also say that religious metaphysics keeps the upside up and the downside down.)

Changing or possibly grinding gears for the moment, Walter Russell Mead writes that everyone in the Anglo-American world, whether secular or religious, is within the Abrahamic tradition, which is one of the things that sets us apart from unsuccessful cultures. Abrahamic religion "holds that history has a shape and a purpose: a beginning, a middle, and an end."

In the Abrahamic tradition, history is "the name for a period in the human story in which certain problems need to be solved. History in this sense is not synonomous with the full term of human existence. History is a period and a process through which humanity solves (or is given a solution to) certain sets of problems before moving on to the next and higher stage in its existence."

Abrahamic ideologies "largely see the human story as consisting of three stages: prehistory, history, and posthistory." Seen in this context, history "is not just the passage of time" -- indeed, Abrahamic peoples are intrinsically "historical" and never really see time in this meaningless, ahistorical way. Rather, history involves "the accomplishment of a task. Something is wrong with the world; the world has been wounded. History is the process by which what is wrong is set right, what is broken mended. History may look chaotic and meaningless, but everything that happens is ultimately part of the healing process..."

Now, the main difference between Abrahamic religion and Abrahamic atheism or materialism is that the latter regards the former as just a stage on the way to the atheist's superior "post human" knowledge and insight, while the religionist would regard the atheist as existing at a sort of right angle to the stream of historical development, paddling around in a shallow and irrelevant little self-created eddy. He is like a drop critiquing the ocean of which he is a part, and imagining himself superior to it. But in any case, the atheist cannot help thinking that existence and history have a purpose, thus the fervent attempts to evangelize their posthuman (in reality infrahuman) faith to the faithless faithful.

For example, our obsessive-compulsive troll -- like the Camarillo psychotic -- reflects this tendency writ large, in that he cannot stop himself from trying to convert us to his mode of darkness in order to convince himself that darkness is light. Such a fruitless enterprise is doomed from the start, being that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehends it not, but that doesn't stop darkness from trying. Indeed, darkness is an inevitable byproduct of the Light, so where there is self-giving Light there is envious darkness. The process is entirely reactionary, a consequence of the cosmic nescience at the vertical periphery of creation.

In the words of Schuon, such a person regards his own "extrinsic explanations as essential factors of truth," objectifying what is only subjective and dragging truth "down into the depths into which it has itself fallen." The whole enterprise is absurd, since "one cannot enclose the universe within 'human subjectivity' while at the same time allowing for a point of view beyond this subjectivity..." Man is either a fragment of the Absolute or he is nothing. A part apart from the whole isn't even a part, just a nothing.

We can all agree that something is wrong with the world. In the absence of time, we could never set it right, so history is indeed an opportunity to mend what is broken and participate in what Jews call tikkun olam, the "repair" or "perfecting" of the world. In Raccoon parlance we refer to this ultimate Adventure of Consciousness as "Cosmotheosis," or the divinization or sanctification of the lower world (i.e., Thy will be done, down here as it is up there), which can only be accompliced through human co-creators, since only we have vertical freedom of movement toward Light and Truth.

In other words, we are the "lens" through which the white light of the Absolute deigns to undergo the adventure of color, each of which is a beautiful fragment, so to speak, of the pure Light. If we could not suffer pain, falsehood, and color, we could not suffer joy, Truth, and Light. This is why human existence is such a guilty pleasure. O, felix culpa!

Mead writes that secular modernism "is the youngest member of the family of Abraham." With the exception of a personal God, it "faithfully reproduces the most important pieces of the Abrahamic paradigm," and believes that its version of the faith will prevail in the end. Secularists still "adopt the core structure of the Abrahamic idea of history to tell their own stories of the world." (Mead goes into considerably more detail in defense of this thesis, but to a Raccoon it is soph-evident. Once a Raccoon "gets it" he moves on.)

The other "master narrative" of our time is the sudden flowering of human potential of the last several centuries. As Mead writes, "nothing in humanity's past prepared it for change this dramatic in so many fields over such an extended period of time." Because we are a relatively young species and exist within the heart of this ongoing explosion, it is difficult for us to see it.

But don't worry -- Petey sees it just fine. He would disagree with Mead as to when the noospheric explosion (i.e., psychogenesis) commenced, situating it instead about 35-40,000 years ago, when merely genetic proto-humans suddenly and inexplicably began exhibiting distinct signs of humanness, such as the fully realized artistic images on the underground cave walls of Europe. While the explosion continued afterwards, we couldn't see it because it was happening so slowly, just as we can't see the Big Bang happening, even though we're right here in the center of this rapidly expanding cosmos.

What happened with modernity is that we became aware of the exploding noosphere, since time suddenly "sped up," but mainly in the Anglo-American world. With the arrival of science, democracy, the rule of law, and free market capitalism, for the first time "history became a real presence in human lives" (Mead).

For example, the Muslim world is still stagnating back in that earlier time, so that to them, we are aliens from the future bearing weird and often threatening gifts such as computers, airplanes, antibiotics, and Victoria's Secret catalogues. While they eagerly accept most of these gifts -- i.e., bin Laden is never far from his computer or frilly underthings -- they would like to pull the future back into the past, when none of these gifts existed, but still keep most of the gifts. Thus, they are not just premodern, but pre-ironic.

As for the left, they simply want to force us all into a weird, anti-human future which cannot exist except in the form of a projection of fantasy. They are post-ironic.

Mead writes that "Marx is to progressivism what Thomas Aquinas is to Catholicism," in that he explicated "the fullest and most systematic expression" of the secular leftist myth that still animates them today, even (or perhaps especially) if only unconsciously. The less sophisticated the leftist, e.g., our obsessive-compulsive troll, the more he is an unconscious disciple of Marx.

Again, Marxism shares elements of the deep structure of Abrahamic religion, including a romantic "garden of innocence" (i.e., the classless society of early humans), the fall into oppression, exploitation, and class warfare, Marx's revelation of the true laws of history, and the culmination of "the establishment of a higher, final way of life that fully meets human goals and needs," i.e., the triumph of the working class. Thus, Marx didn't so much turn Hegel as Abraham on his head.

But having turned Abraham on his head, leftists also turned Brahman, or reality, upside down. For under the reign of the left, the roots of the cosmic tree are situated below, begaialed and mayared in the muddle of matter. Having literally transplanted the tree of life into sterile soil, they accomplished a feat of clay, deluminating the light in one fallen swoop, subverting That which makes man Man, and embracing the fantasy that they could build a new and improved reality "from the bottom up," absurdly beginning with matter. They could force their vision on a recalcitrant mankind in the same way one can mold matter or Nancy Pelosi can whip her craven band of chestless men into submission.

In short, in order to do this most effectively, a large and coercive state is required to do the molding and speed history along toward its appointed utopia. Needless to say, there is a big difference between forcing time and being pulled or lured by the eschaton.

Mead writes we are faced with the eternal choice of the Glorious Revolution and its descendent, the American Revolution and its vertical empire of liberty; or the French Revolution and all its deformed, envious, dysfunctional, unproductive, vindictive, and tenured descendants. Our cosmic duty, as it were, is to preserve the radical spiritual revolution of America's founding seers, as we heal the wounds and wound the heels that time and history have made and made possible.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unhinged Skepticism and the Supreme Value of Nothing

Although the atheist believes he knows the reasons for his devout atheism, he actually has no idea that he is naively immersed in a discredited metaphysic that he simply "assumes," and therefore requires no defense. For him, it's just "common sense." Which in a way it is, since it is stuck down in the animal, infrahuman senses, far below the realm where intellection roams free.

In the materialist view, it is incumbent upon believers to prove to him the existence of God -- even though he is the one making the extraordinary claim, given the relatively tiny number of doctrinaire atheists who exist and who, for whatever reason, are unable to apprehend the spiritual dimension. The average person obviously doesn't have this deformity, even if he cannot articulate why with reasons that could satisfy the eccentric cognitive needs of the atheist.

Polanyi felt that the contemporary madness of postmodernity began with the idea of a complete and perfect objectivism, which is supposed to be the ideal of science and of all reliable knowledge in general: "All personal and subjective elements came to be regarded as disturbances to the attainment of this perfect objectivity. Every effort therefore had to be made to eliminate them."

It was as if Nature spoke directly and unamibuously to us, and that all we had to do was disinterestedly listen to her without any preconceptions -- as if there really could be knowledge at the level of the senses, divorced from the imaginative synthesis that takes place in mind of the creative knower.

This ideal, which may at times be appropriate for certain limited, very simple operations, eventually insinuated itself into most fields of knowledge. But this epistemological revolution had ontological and anthropological consequences, as it served to undermine traditional authority and create a kind of hyper-individualism operating outside the domain of any legitimate (i.e., vertical) authority.

This irrationally rational revolt reached a kind of peak in the late 1960s, when the supposedly "rational" rejection of religion in particular and tradition in general facilitated an absurd leap into what amounted to a childish, romantic irrationalism. Since there is no legitimate authority, each person then becomes a law unto himself: do your own thing, and all that.

For example, marriage is better then living together? Prove it. A fetus is a human being? Prove it. Beethoven is better than rap? Prove it. Heterosexuality is preferable to homosexuality? Prove it. Men and women are fundamentally different? Prove it. One is obligated to tell the truth? Prove it. America is exceptional? Prove it. Etc., etc. In each case, the moral truth is accessible to human beings, but not through the application of mere reason. Leftist always demand "studies" to prove the existence of those realities to which they are blind.

This kind of simultaneously omnipotent and nihilistic style of thought eventually overcame continental Europe (e.g., communism, fascism, nazism, socialism, deconstruction, multiculturalism, moral relativism, etc.), but not the Anglo-American sphere, where there was "an alogical [not illogical] reluctance to pursue the accepted philosophic premises to their ultimate conclusions" (for example, Darwinians should be thankful that no one takes Darwinism serious enough to follow it through to its ultimate grisly conclusion). In turn, this reluctance was rooted in "the distinctive religious character of Anglo-American liberalism" (or what is now confusingly called conservatism, as distinguished from our illiberal leftism which went the way of the Europeans).

On the European continent, there were no such restraints against unalloyed skepticism. Rather, "the movement there was antireligious from the start.... When a feudal society, dominated by religious authority, was attacked by radical skepticism, there emerged a liberalism unprotected by either a religious or civic tradition against destruction by a logical extension of the philosophic skepticism to which it owed its origin." In short, in old Europe, universal standards of reason could not be reconciled with their radical skepticism, whereas Anglo-American liberalism maintained a balance between reason and tradition.

This dichotomy is still present today in the vast differences between conservatism (i.e., traditional liberalism) and liberalism (i.e., illiberal leftism). Leftism continues to be riddled with contradictions that are rooted in its initial philosophical error. For example, one of their rock-bottom beliefs is that there is no rational or universal way to arbitrate between the values of one culture or nation and another. Therefore, it is wrong to stand in the way of any nation that wishes to realize its powers, say Iran, or Cuba, or Venezuela. But when America exercises its power, there is universal condemnation from the left. How can this be?

Once again it has to do with the unhinged morality of the left. Being that their disordered skepticism bars them from the spiritual dimension, they are unable to reliably distinguish between good and evil -- i.e., for them, these are simply arbitrary categories. Reduced to flatland materialism, they instead divide the world into visible, empirical categories such as "haves" and "have-nots."

As such, leftists conceive a material explanation onto which they graft their unhinged moral passion. They do the same thing with other material categories, such as race, gender and "sexual orientation." As such, all of the moral energy which, in a spiritually normal person, is reserved for distinguishing between good and evil, decent and indecent, is ruthlessly, and even sadistically, applied to these meaningless substitute categories.

This explains the grotesque and perverse moral passion of the left, for example, the condemnation of the Duke lacrosse team by dozens of leftist professors and a liberal media who do not see good and evil, only "white and black." And they still haven't apologized, since the "narrative" or template they imposed on the situation is their pseudo-absolute, and cannot be falsified. Likewise, in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the left obviously cannot see the moral gulf between Israel and her barbarous enemies.

In old Europe, "the replacement of moral ideals by philosophically less vulnerable, because more basically animal, objectives was carried out in all seriousness. Human appetites and human passions were actually substituted for reason and for the ideals of man in this framework of thought." "Begun in the name of reason, they ended by reducing reason to a caricature of itself: to a mere rationalization of conclusions predetermined by desire and eventually to be secured and held by force.... If thought and reason are nothing by themselves, if they are only the effects of social causes, then it is meaningless to demand that they be set free."

Slavery is freedom, lies are truth, ugliness is beauty, amorality is morality, man is an animal, and animal passion is virtue.

A civilization not in contact with the Real will eventually perish. As it should. To put it another way, dying on the vine is a possibility, but dying off the Vine is a certainty. Supernatural selection is severe but just.

*All quotes taken from Michael Polanyi: A Critical Exposition