Monday, May 24, 2010

The Trinitarian Structure of Humanness

Traces of oneness are everywhere, for "Unity is the first principle that penetrates and regulates manifestation, in the sense that it projects its reflections everywhere, and on the other hand brings phenomena back to Unity, symbolically at least" (all of the quoted material in this post is from the essay Concerning Pythagorean Numbers from Schuon's The Eye of the Heart: Metaphysics, Cosmology, Spiritual Life).

What this means is that the One is both the origin and destiny of the Many, and that reality, even though it may appear to be broken into infinite fragments, is always simultaneously on the way from and back to Unity. Thus, "Unity tends everywhere to overcome Duality," which is another way of saying that Three leads back to One (or, to be precise, Three is the return of the One under a new guise, so to speak).

For example, "masculinity and femininity seem to form an irreducible bipolarity"; however, in order for the transcendent third of Love to manifest, it obviously requires Two (and from the other end, the immanent child -- the trinitarian baby -- represents the return of Duality to Unity, because now the couple has a common enemy).

Thus, as explained in the Wholly Coonifesto, the primordial human is father-mother-baby, in an irreducible trinity in which each shapes the other.

Furthermore, masculine and feminine aren't a duality but a complementarity, that is, reflections of the Real as seen from different vertices, which is to say, absolute and infinite, contained and container, child and womb, point and space, ʘ.

Also, another key point is that this Father-Mother-Baby triad is not to be understood as merely exterior. Rather, these categories are intrinsic to human psychological development at the deepest level. I think Bion appreciated and explicated this most clearly, showing how thinking represents the ongoing harmonious interplay of container-contained (which he conveniently symbolized ♀ and ♂).

When we first come into the world, we are unable to contain, regulate, or understand our own thoughts -- in other words, thoughts (or ♂) precede the thinker -- so that we require the (m)Other to serve as our "auxiliary cortex," or container (♀) to help us think and understand our own thoughts.

I'm afraid this may sound overly abstract, but you have only to observe the subtle intersubjective dance of mother and infant to see this going on, the constant transactions of meaning flowing back and forth. For this reason, D.W. Winnicott said that "there is no such thing as an infant," which goes back to Schuon's observation about duality reverting to unity.

The oneness a mother feels toward her infant is so deep as to be well beyond mere words. Rather, words must be used as containers to ferry the meaning back and forth in intersubjective space, which the infant comes to feel as the deep connectedness of love. And although the infant is also transmitting love, he doesn't know it until he is in a harmonious relationship with a sensitive (m)Other who receives the love and returns it to him.

Thus, between mother and infant there is actually -- or should be, anyway -- a continuously expanding feedback loop in which the infant is learning to think his own thoughts, which is to say, give meaning to existence.

Which is why the deepest meaning -- or meaninglessness! -- is well beyond the reach of words, since all of this hyper-sophisticated exchange of meaning occurs before the child is even fully aware of his twoness, let alone of words as symbols radically separable from that which they symbolize. The infant lives in a kind of "poetic" world, in which words are that which they convey. Thus the special musical tone of voice with which mothers speak to their infants, which transmits love both directly and symbolically.

Bion termed this thinking process between mother and infant alpha function. Again, the purpose of alpha function is to transform sense impressions, emotional experiences, and proto-thoughts into meaning. A child with a disturbed attachment to its primary caretakers will eventually internalize a disturbed alpha function, and in one way or another be hindered in the ability to "think his thoughts" and "feel his emotions."

But what happens to the unthinkable thoughts? Let us count the ways: they may be repressed, split off, denied, projected and attributed to others, acted out, sent into exile, placed into others for safekeeping, contained in an obsession or compulsion, dispatched into the body to become a somatic symptom, drowned in drink, etc. The main point is that they don't just go away. Rather, what we call a "symptom" is just a thought in search of a thinker.

Depending upon how you look, the human being is one, or two, or three. Obviously a human being is "one," or we couldn't even say "human being." But in order to truly become human and to actualize our potential, we require the Other (and the accumulated otherness of civilization).

However, the Being of the human being is always on the way to its own true Being, which is to say that we are constantly becoming what we are meant to be, which again goes to the one --> two --> three of our cosmic structure. We are constantly "giving birth" to ourselves.

I notice this about my son. At any given moment -- or stage - of psychological development, he is a whole person, a complete being in his own right, lacking nothing. For example, when he was a baby, I didn't think of him as a defective three year old, and now that he's five, I don't think of him as a retarded adolescent. Rather, each stage has its own absolute validity. Nevertheless, you will notice how many parents -- especially more affluent ones -- treat each stage as only a weigh station for the distant goal of, say, going to the right college.

One thing I can say about my parents is that they really let me be a child, with little pressure about the future. In other words, they gave me my slack rather than projecting their own unthought agenda into me before I could even know what was going on. Many "ambitious" people are simply living out the ambitious mind parasites of their parents.

I'm trying not to do this with my son, which is to say, allow him to live in the fulness of the present, but most importantly, to develop the alpha function to be able to explicate the impossibly rich meaning that is always already here, and can only be here. For if it isn't here it is nowhere, or merely projected into a future that never arrives.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Numbers and How They Get That Way

Let's talk more about the meaning of numbers. Even to say "meaning of numbers" is interesting, for it is another way of saying the "quality of quantities" -- which is to say that numbers cannot only be quantities.

Although this is axiomatic, it flies in the ointment of a scientistic worldview that reduces all qualities to the secondary phenomena of quantities. For example, for the lonely scientist, the color red is just light waves vibrating at a certain frequency.

But as anyone who has read One Cosmos knows, semantics cannot be reduced to syntax, which means that meaning cannot be reduced to order. So reduced it becomes meaningless, precisely.

In other words, to reduce, say, a beautiful pink sunset to a certain frequency of light is to eliminate the sunset. It's analogous to saying that love is really just a side effect of oxytocin, or that there is a "God area" in the brain that explains religion.

But this is what science does, which in itself isn't problematic. Problems only arise when it conflates method and ontology, and thereby confuses its abstractions with reality. Reality is not reducible to numbers. Well, actually, as we shall see, it is. It's just that numbers cannot be reduced to quantity. A number is not just a number.

In the past, I have been frustrated by this subject, as it is often surrounded by a penumbra of occult nonsense, e.g., numerology. If you peruse the numerology department of your local bookstore, you'll soon realize that everything symbolizes everything else, which is logically equivalent to everything meaning nothing. It all becomes arbitrary rather quickly.

But as usual, Schuon discusses the subject in a way that is concise, universal, and essential. By "essential" I mean that he manages to convey the reality of what he is talking about -- the essence -- not just abstract meanings that are detached from that to which they are supposed to refer.

Just as science begins with the reality of the (immanent) world, metaphysics begins with the reality of the transcendent. Both worlds can be described by word or by number, by concept or symbol.

Schuon notes that "The Pythagorean numbers prove that number in itself is not synonymous with quantity pure and simple, for they are essentially qualitative; they are so to the degree that they are close to the Unity, their point of departure."

In other words, the most "qualitative" numbers are those upon which number is based, especially Zero, One, Two, and Three, but also Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, and Twelve (not sure about Eleven). Pure quantity only arrives later, as numbers become increasingly distant from that initial point of departure.

By the way, this is something that many fundamentalists forget, influenced as they are by our scientistic and quantitative age. That is, the Bible quintessentially uses number to express qualitative realities, e.g., "seven days," "forty years," "500 witnesses," etc. Some numbers convey "majesty," others "totality" or "unity," etc.

One obviously stands for Unity, while Two is duality, e.g., man and woman, form and substance, Creator and created, inside and outside, vertical and horizontal. Clearly, Two must be the number of manifestation, for without it, there can be no "second," nothing separate from the Creator. Thus, to say "Two" is to say "world."

Schuon asks if "one might wonder if Unity is really a number," since, "strictly speaking, number begins with Duality, which opens the door to that projection of the Infinite which is the indefinite." In other words, prior to Two, there is only the One, abiding in itsoph.

This is what we were attempting to convey in the opening pages of One Cosmos, except in a non-dogmatic way that would nevertheless express some of the essence of this principial reality. Once you get the jokes, you see that it's all quite literal, e.g.,

It was not good that this Godhead should be allone, so He expired with a big bong and said "let there be higher physics," and it was zo.

To ex-spire is to ex-hale (whole) or give up the ghost, which God does in breathing the creation into existence. And zo, of course, implies life.

I remurmur this like it was yesterday, but bear in mind that it's all really happening -- can only happen -- now, in the ontically vertical reality prior to each "moment" of time. Now is where all the eternity flows in, and there's not a thing you can do about it.

Thus, One's upin a timeless without a second to spore and noplace to bang anyway. The abbasolute day, before eve or any other middling relativities. Only himsoph with nowhere to bewrong, hovering over the waters without a kenosis.

Here again, this conveys the principial Unity prior to the duality of the mayafestation and man-infestation. That being the case, One cannot be in time, but is necessarily "in a "timeless." Only by banging with a second do we end up with those middling relativities, and a manifestivus for the rest of us.

Abba-sol-ute imples Father (abba) and central Sun (sol), while "nowhere to bewrong" conveys the truism (or True Is Him) that "there is none good but the One," since there is nothing yet separate from him.

Only with the self-sacrifice and self-giving of kenosis does the creation (the lower waters) come into existence, and with it, the possibility of evil -- which is inevitable (or in eve-ate-apple), as the ray of creation becomes increasingly distant from the central sun (like the numbers that start with, and partake of, One, but go on forever).

As Schuon writes, "to say Unity is to say Totality; in other words, Unity signifies the absolute Real, and likewise with Totality, which represents the Real in all its ontological 'extent'..."

In this formulation, Unity would signify the Absolute, while Totality would signify the Infinite -- and the One automatically implies the Other. Absolute is prior, but nevertheless contains the Infinite as its first fruit.

In case that wasn't clear, to say One is to say Unity, but to say Unity is to say Totality, the latter of which is deployed in time, hence, the creation.

Which is why we can say that the creation is God -- i.e., not other than God -- but God is not the creation. What this means is that transcendence automatically spills over into creation, thus implying immanence.

But immanence implies transcendence, which is why nothing is really just "what it is," least of all a mere (profane) number. That is, nothing can be completely "contained" by scientistic understanding, since every thing is also a theophany of the infinite God, a divine spark.

In short, One is everywhere and everywhen, especially when Two is Three, as soon we shall see. But that's enough higher mythsemantics for today. To be continued....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Incalculable Contribution to Mathsemantics

First God and then the world. If you know one you know all. If you put fifty zeros after a one, you have a large sum; but erase the one and nothing remains. It is the one that makes the many. First the one, then many. First God, then His creatures and the world. --Sri Ramakrishna

Or, erase the one in order to get to the zero. In my book, I used unsaturated symbols to express the same truth, since, in this materialistic age, people forget that the principial numbers express quintessential qualities, not just quantities. Indeed, the qualities are prior to the quantities, since the former can never be derived from the latter.

The primordial ideas (meaning that they are universal and a priori) conveyed by these symbols are like seeds, not like material objects that can be passed from mind to mind (i.e., like profane knowledge). You don't toss a bunch of these precious seeds at someone and expect anything to happen. Rather, you have to plant them. And then wait.

As expressed in the Tao Te Ching, Zero gives birth to the One, the One to Two, the Two to Three, and the Three to everything else. This doesn't happen "in time" but prior to it, or "within" the eternal Godhead. It is simply in the very nature of things, which I believe is the mysterious reality which trinitarian theology is trying to convey, i.e., that God is one and three, but also neither, i.e., zero. Vertically speaking, reality proceeds from the Godheaded Zero of pure potential to the One of unity to the bifurcated Two of Creator and created to the ever-new unity-in-plurality of Three; or, Beyond Being --> Being --> Existence --> Transcendence.

Or, you could say that apophatic theologians emphasize the Zero, which is nirguna brahman (God with no attributes, or Eckhart's ground), while cataphatic theologians emphasize the One, which is saguna brahman (God with attributes). The former emphasize union through gnosis, the latter union through bhakti. Still, both transmit the gift of knowledge; the gnostic ultimately knows Nothing (or unKnows everything), while the bhakti loves the One to whom he cleaves, and is thereby separated from nothing, which is the highest knowledge, i.e., heart-knowledge.

Listen to the wise words of Swami Ramdas, O little ringtailed one: "There are two ways: one is to expand your ego to infinity, and the other is to reduce it to nothing, the former by knowledge, and the latter by devotion. The Jnani [i.e., gnostic] says: 'I am God -- the Universal Truth.' The devotee says : 'I am nothing, O God, You are everything.' In both cases, the ego-sense disappears." Yes, you may well ask: what is the Truth which, in possessing it, renders its possessor a lie? What is the Truth that annihilates that dirty liar who tells it?

"Things are made from nothing; hence their true source is nothing" (Eckhart). Guffah-HA! "God's naught fills everywhere and his aught is nowhere" (Eckart). That's everything in a naughtshall!

Or, as Lao Tse put it, it is like the cup, which is only useful because of its empty space that "protects" the family jewels. And like the athletic cup, we ourselves benefit from existence, but make use of non-existence. Without that space, Existence is impossible, like trying to live inside of a wall or eat soup from a flat spoon. Variety is the space of life and the life of space. Live in that space and you'll never be bored, for God is generous, entertaining, a kick in the head, fun for the whole family!

The Zero is simply the dark side of the One; or the One is the bright side of the Zero. And they are forever bethrothed and betruthed, like cosmic man and wife, or Absolute (1, male) and Infinite (0, female). Oops! A dirty world!

Appropriately, the 1 is the vertical axis of existence, the O its infinite and even mercurial potential, as it expands out into time and space, from timeless potential to endless plenitude, from the dimensionless point that is everywhere to the circumference that is nowwhere. To ask why a woman can't be more like a man is to ask why the play of existence, or immanent substance, can't be more like transcendent form, when you can't have One without the Other. Even God had a mother to whom he gave birth!

God's essential threeness emphasizes a number of things, such as God's going out of his mind (which you'd have to be) into the adventure of existence in order to return to himself, or exhaling in order to inhale, which he cannot not do, at least in the wrong lung.

And the adventure of existence is in reality a godventure in trinitarian consciousness. God's without is our within, so our inword oddventure is a journey outside ourselves and back to God. Likewise, God's within is our without, which is why we see traces of beauty and intelligence everywhere we look, like the face of the beloved. Oh, my gnocternal mischief making friends, "the universe is the outward visible expression of the 'Truth,' and the 'Truth' is the inner unseen reality of the universe." Do you not see it?

To put it another way, existence is an adventure of consciousness, in which consciousness becomes what it isn't in order to rediscover what it is, which was just the modification of consciousness all along! It is the true Big Bang, and it will never cease banging, because that's what it does, baby. This is the one truth, which is no truth at all.

You might say that the grubby deconstructionists recognize this truth "from below," while the Raccoon recognizes it "from above," thereby going from modification to transformation. Thus, the mighty Raccoon may, to the foolish, look for all the world like the deconstructionists he deconstructs. But this is merely to confound the ignorant, for Petey is wise, compassionate, merciful, silly! He is always pulling your leg -- upward! Ho!

O, there is only the One Truth which requires no proof, is there not? If not, then you may stop speaking, now and forever! For errors and lies are many, while Truth is One. Or, to turn it around, in the absence of One, there could be no truth at all. None whatsoever. Hear the wise words of Sri Chandrasekharabharatiswamigal of the long and unpronouncable name!

"When [one] has recovered from the disease and regained normal health, nobody asks, 'What is the health you are now having?' The reason is, though diseases may be many and various, health is ever one and the same." Health is not new, it is merely the restoration of the proper state of things. It is the body -- or mind, or soul -- situated in its proper end. The body finds its rest in one station, the soul in another. But if enlightenment or reluxation is a state of total relaxation, then these are the same station. So take good care of your monkey, and your monkey will take care of you, dear friends! So says Scatter, the curious, the easily bored, the malodorous, the Coconut head, the Chimp of the King!

In going out of himself, God has left some mighty big footsteps. His revelations are the paths he has left to reascend to their source, are they not? How to get from the outhouse to the penthouse, from the cesspool to the blessedpool, from the frying pan into the purifying flames? Choose your vehicle: trial by fire, or rebirth by water.

William Law: "I feel within me a consuming fire of heavenly love which has burned up in my soul everything that was contrary to itself and transformed me inwardly into its own nature." Burn, baby, burn, for this agni is ecstasy!

Or, drown yourself in the flood, and flow into the bottomless sea of the naked Godhead. This is the vast O-cean into which all rivers lose their form and find their end. Yes, you'll shed a drop or two along the way, but you'll get them all back in the end. And if you don't like it there, you can always evaporate, become a cloud, and spend some more time hovering halfway between heaven and earth, or the sun and the soil.

So have a good naughty day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Organ Failure and Spiritual Death

The supralogical is superior to the logical, the logical to the illogical. --Ananda Coomaraswamy

While one should never base a belief in God on the inevitable gaps in our knowledge -- except perhaps as a jumping-in point -- it is nevertheless a point of great significance that we are immersed in a universe of irreducible mystery, and that this mystery includes several fundamental conundrums that will never be beaten by science.

The mysteries to which I refer represent limits to our cognition, as opposed to its content; or, one might say that they are our containers (♀), but can never be the contained (♂). While we can think about them rationally, we can never arrive at any satisfactory intellectual (in the lower, profane sense) answer as to what they actually are, any more than the hand can grasp itself, for they are the very conditions of our being and knowing.

To cite one obvious example, one must be alive in order to know, which is why explicit or articulated knowledge cannot contain Life. (True enough, Life is obviously a kind of hyper-sophisticated unarticulated knowledge, but we'll get to that later.) We all act as if we know what Life is, but it would be much more accurate to say that we know what lifelessness is, and that Life seems to be a bizarre and unexpected violation of this general rule (when it is actually the reverse, since the higher can never be fully explained by the lower).

Likewise, it is absurd to suggest that science could ever comprehend the mystery of existence -- that is, why there is an ordered something instead of a chaotic nothing. Science simply assumes this a priori order, for without it, science (and scientists) would be impossible. The mystery of existence is so much a part of our cognitive background that we generally stop even asking about it after childhood. Science actually provides no sensible answers to this question at all, nor was it intended to. Only esoteric religious metaphysics even begins to touch this dimension, for the latter provides intellectual forms adequate to the majesty and mystery -- not to mention, sanctity -- of the subject.

Even more bizarre and problematic is the existence of consciousness. We have this astounding gift of an inwardness that is both unique and universal, and yet, what is it for? Why would the universe evolve into a subjective horizon containing love, beauty, truth, justice, poetry, music?

We can know so much, and yet, we cannot know anything about these fundamental mysteries of existence, life and consciousness -- at least not with reason alone. As the Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace observes, "Despite centuries of modern philosophical and scientific research into the nature of the mind, at present there is no technology that can detect the presence or absence of any kind of consciousness, for scientists to even know what exactly is to be measured. Strictly speaking, at present there is no scientific evidence even for the existence of consciousness." Another way of saying it is that, if consciousness did not exist, science would have no trouble whatsoever explaining the fact.

That is, the only evidence we have of consciousness consists of direct, first person accounts of being conscious. And yet, not everyone is conscious in the same way or of the same things. Although we don’t know what consciousness is, we do know that there are degrees of it. Every psychologist navigates over the subjective horizon through the use of a developmental model of some kind, in which consciousness unfolds and develops through time. But why? Other animals don’t have degrees of consciousness within their own species, but the gulf between human beings at the top and bottom is as great as the gulf between a dog and Beethoven, or between Petey and Keith Olbermann.

This is why one can easily prove the existence of God. But not to you, jackass. Anyone with a sufficiently awakened intellect can read Meister Eckhart or Frithjof Schuon, and know that they are resonating on entirely different planes of consciousnes than, say, Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. Again, it is a physical sensation, albeit a subtle one -- and one which it is the purpose of a spiritual practice to identify, develop, and amplify, as with any other "skill."

As such, one can well imagine how it would be possible for the trollish rabble to arrive at the misosophical or sophophobic nul de slack of atheism, since they are blunted to the subtle vertical transactions that constantly flow between the planes of consciousness -- or between the Subject and the subject, i.e., (↓↑).

In my view consciousness is an organ, just like any other organ in the body -- heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. But those are material organs that exist in three-dimensional space. Consciousness, however, is an immaterial organ that operates in multidimensional space and time. In short, the conscious self is the first hyper-dimensional organ of the cosmos.

What is an organ? Two things, mainly. First of all, it is a differentiated structure. In other words, it is not just a blob or an aggregation, but a definable form that has an identifiable structure. A while back, during my nuclear treadmill, I got a good look at my heart. Even with a material organ such as the heart, no one can draw a sharp line and say "this is where the heart ends and the vascular system begins." And yet, the heart is an obvious structure with valves, chambers, arteries, etc.

The second characteristic of an organ is that it has a purpose; it performs a function through cooperative activity. The heart pumps blood. The lungs exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. The kidneys filter the blood.

By implication, organs have a third characteristic, that is, pathology. If an organ is defined by a function it is supposed to accomplish, then pathology means failure to accomplish that mission.

Although no one has ever seen consciousness, it nevertheless has a differentiated structure and a function. Part of its structure is a reflection of the structure of our brains, but not all of it. For example, the brain has an obvious horizontal structure in the form of left and right hemispheres with very different orientations that, in a healthy individual, will harmonize in a higher dimension, a manifold unity or "higher third" (and this higher third is a constant work in progress, what I call a "rolling catastrophe in hyperspace").

Likewise, the brain has a clear vertical structure, in the sense that we have what might be called a reptilian brain, over which there is a mammalian brain, and on top of which is the neocortex: our "human brain."

But this three-dimensional physical structure does not come close to exhausting the structure (much less content) of consciousness, which is hyper-dimensional, meaning that it exists in a space of more than three (or four) dimensions.

This is a thorny problem, because our normal thinking -- especially scientific thinking, which you might say is linear "common sense" taken to the extreme -- takes place in three dimensions. We cannot think scientifically or (merely) rationally in higher dimensional space. Take, for example, causation. In the three dimensional world, causation is relatively easy to conceptualize: A causes B, B causes, C, C causes D, etc. D cannot cause A, nor can A and D occupy the same space at the same time.

So how does one "think" in higher dimensional space? As a matter of fact, we do it all the time. For example, dreaming is a form of hyper-dimensional thinking freed from the limitations of the outer, three-dimensional world. This is also how we might understand the Wise Crack that "poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." The genuine poet uses language to express what cannot be said with words.

Think of it this way: the mystery of the dream is that it is the brain’s attempt to represent in three dimensions a space that actually far exceeds three dimensions -- like trying to represent a three-dimensional image on a two-dimensional plane. Imagine, for example, people living on a two dimensional plane -- a sheet of typing paper. They know nothing at all about the three dimensional world.

Now imagine if you could pass your three-dimensional hand through the sheet of paper. What would it look like to the flatlanders in 2D? First they would see five separate points grow into circles, as the fingers touch the paper and move through it. But then the five circles would disappear and become one larger circle -- the wrist. Let's say that these people in 2D are very careful scientific observers of empirical phenomena. No matter how much they study the data, they would have no idea that the disparate phenomena are all actually aspects of a higher dimensional object they cannot see. This would require a "leap of faith" into the higher imagination.

This is how dream consciousness operates. A dream might be thought of as analogous to that hand passing through the sheet of paper. In dreams, various elements are connected in a hyper-dense manner that violates all notions of linear logic. Time is abolished, in the sense that you can be in two different times in your life, or your adult self can be side by side or "within" your child self (or vice versa). But if you don’t know how to read the dream, you will see merely a linear, if somewhat crazy, narrative. You won’t know how to unpack all of the different dimensions. And as a matter of fact, as Joyce well knew, human history is just such a "crazy dream," but with a dense network of subterranean connections that go undetected by the secularized mind.

In order to understand reality objectively, we cannot arbitrarily limit ourselves to its illusory three or four dimensions. Rather, we must somehow learn to think in a hyper-dimensional manner analogous to the dream, because the higher dimensional things above are seen as in a three-dimensional mirror down below.

Authentic scripture must be understood in this manner. There is no language known to man that is more hyperdense and dreamlike than scripture (some parts of scripture much more so than others). And we might also understand, say, Jesus, in the same way. If we limit ourselves to a naive scientific or "rational" view in trying to understand Jesus, we will simply generate fundamentalist banality or logical absurdity. But if we assume that Jesus is analogous to that multidimensional hand passing through four-dimensional history, now we’re getting somewhere. For where is the “body of Christ?” Hint: the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, but the flatlanders don't see it.

The madness that comes of God is superior to the sanity which is of human origin. --Plato

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Useless Truth and Useful Idiots

Josef Pieper notes that "Truth is the self-manifestation and state of evidence of real things. Consequently, truth is something secondary, following from something else. Truth does not exist for itself alone. Primary and precedent to it are existing things, the real. Knowledge of truth, therefore, aims ultimately not at 'truth' but, strictly speaking, at gaining sight of reality" (emphasis mine).

If Pieper is correct -- which he is -- then when we speak of "truth," we must add the qualifier of, since different things -- or diverse levels of reality -- are known (and reveal, or give of themselves) in different ways. Matter and mind, for example, reveal themselves in very different ways. In fact, one cannot know the mind of another, unless the other cooperates -- truthfully! -- in revealing himself (and this applies quintessentially to self-revelations of O). To study O as if it were a physical object -- as materialists are condemned to do -- is to render oneself stupid.

A good working definition of reality is something that doesn't go away when we aren't thinking about it. Thus, material objects are obviously real, in that they are antecedent to our knowledge of them. Therefore, to know the truth of a material object involves aligning our minds with its properties, such as weight, mass, color, etc.

But again, the truth of matter is very different from the truth of man, much less the truth of O. Or, you might say that matter speaks one way, while consciousness speaks another. And O speaks yet another way -- although O is also the very basis of all the otherwise inexplicable "speaking" and "hearing" that goes on in this very talkative cosmos.

The idea that matter inheres in its own truth, and that it speaks this truth to human minds is weird enough. Weirder still is that it speaks not only quantitatively -- i.e., mathematically -- but qualitatively, something which known to every poet, even good ones. For example, rivers, mountains, oceans, wind, trees, seasons, storms -- in fact, nature in general -- all of these material things whisper their secrets -- their truth -- to the human soul (which is one way a fellow knows he's got one).

As we have discussed before, the radical environmental movement represents what you might call a godless effort to preserve this aspect of divine reality -- a sort of hollow remurmuring of the fullness of God's self-revelation. The environmentalist loves this divine truth -- or one part of it -- but not the source of this truth, which is to say, principial reality. Thus, he often slides into the barbarism of pantheism, or at least becomes the functional equivalent thereof. (And it should go without saying that every normal person loves virgin nature without having to descend into neo-paganism.)

Similarly, if we attempt to understand man in the same way we understand matter, we will simply generate confusion and paradox. And if we attempt to build a philosophy and a way of life around this misunderstanding, we will create a human nightmare, for we will have created a misanthropic world that is quite literally unfit for human habitation. This anti-human trend affects us in a thousand little ways, so we must constantly be on guard against it. We are truly being overrun by horizontal barbarians, e.g., the tenured flatlanders who suffocate the souls of children with their own ignorance.

This is reason #847 that leftism is a waking nightmare, for not only does it elevate matter to the ultimate, but it necessarily elevates our most primitive way of knowing the world to the highest wisdom, which is the denial of wisdom, precisely. This would be reason enough to reject the radical atheists such as Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins, since in rejecting reality, they not only reject God, but declare war on man as such. Theirs is truly a reactionary misosophy aimed at the most base and common demonimatter.

This is why Aristotle noted that while all other disciplines are more necessary than philosophy, none is more important. To which I would add, "except theology." That is, the higher the discipline, the less necessary for mere physical survival (at least in the short term), but the more significant. At the same time, the higher the reality -- i.e., the more Real -- the less important the particular thinker, since it is closer the the one truth.

Again, truth is a secondary phenomenon, contingent upon the ultimate Real. Since religion is the science of this ultimate real, we must ultimately eliminate ourselves, so to speak, if we would fully comprehend it (or rather, it us). And this is why religion involves both revelation and faith, for revelation is the manifestation of the ultimate real in terms the average human can understand, while the "full emptiness" or "empty fullness" of faith is the anticipatory mode of knowing it.

And of course, this is where our divine Slack comes into play, for if it is true that philosophy must serve no merely pragmatic purpose in order to remain philosophy, then theology must be completely and utterly useless. In other words, theology can never serve anything other than Reality -- and certainly not the insidious designs of some grasping bipedal hominidiot. It cannot be made to serve manmade, "practical" ends. Rather, we were made to serve it. And serving it is the sufficient reason for our Slack, which is otherwise simply a "waste of time." The difference between "doing nothing" and "non-doodling" is pretty much infinite. Gosh!

Slack is that which makes us free insofar as we are engaged in an activity that serves no purpose outside of itself, the ultimate case being worship of God, or conformity with the Real, if you prefer. In losing our freedom, we regain it. Or, in dying, we are reborn. However you wish to put it. But it is an actively passive state, which is why it is more analogous to hearing (which is feminine) than to seeing (which is active and masculine):

"Leisure amounts to that precise way of being silent which is a prerequisite for listening in order to hear.... Leisure implies an attitude of total receptivity toward, and willing immersion in, reality; an openness of the soul, through which alone may come about those great and blessed insights that no amount of 'mental labor' can ever achieve" (Pieper).

When we talk about the true meaning of "separation of church and state" -- one of the favorite phrases used by people who hate Reality -- the deeper meaning is the preservation of our divine Slack, which is the purpose of the state, not vice versa. Only a fool or a knave believes that the state is the source of cosmic slack.

As Pieper writes, this free and slackful space is exactly "what is meant by the ancient term scholé, which designates 'school' and 'leisure' at the same time. It means a refuge where discussion takes place, in total independence -- that is, without the interference of practical goals."

Rather, it is a "zone of truth" that is "set aside in the midst of society, a hedged-in space to house the autonomous engagement with reality, in which people can inquire into, discuss, and assert the truth of things without let or hindrance; a domain expressly shielded from all conceivable attempts to use it as a means to achieve certain ends." In short, it is a place to be human, and a completely useless one to boot.

Not only must this slackademic space be defended and preserved from without, but also from those threats that arise from within "as an infection of intellectual life itself." We know some of these nasty infections by the names "political correctness," "social jusdtice," "diversity," "tolerance," "multiculturalism," "critical theory," etc.

Thus -- at risk of being a champion of the bobvious -- the problem with our schools is that they are no longer schools (scholé), which is to say, pointless and disinterested centers of leisurely slack serving no merely practical end. Instead, they are centers of indoctrination that reduce human beings to serving the ends of leftist ideology. This leftist ideology is also the essence of selfishness, in that it is the polar opposite of the selflessness required to know higher truth. Obammunism is just the same old leftist whining in a new battle.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Waking on Water and Sailing to the Father Shore

As it pertains to the nonlocal spiritual dimension, one of the ways you can confirm its reality is that -- as all senior Raccoons know -- with applied non-doodling, the membrain between the so-called "inner" and "outer" worlds begins to weaken, so that your life begins to reveal a dense network of synchronistic connections, both in time and space. It is as if you turn over the rug of your life, and can see the warp and weft underneath the outward pattern. Only then can you truly understand how this transdimensional area rug secretly "pulls your room together," dude. Not only is it the reason why you can know the One, but the reason why you are one.

In other words, unity comes from above, not below. No above, no unity. Except material unity, I suppose. Which is why the only unity known by the left is the dreary and coercive material unity of collectivism. And please note that secular materialism doesn't just appropriate matter, but Spirit. As they used to say of communism, it makes everyone equal -- equally poor. But the same principle applies to realms above matter, so that with materialism, everyone becomes equally stupid -- especially the intelligent, who are denied the very reality to which human intelligence is miraculously proportioned. And when the mind is allowed only to work on matter, soon enough it reflects this reality and becomes dense, compacted, earthbound, and generally "materialized" (cf. our trolls).

I can't tell you how many times I blog about a subject, only to see the subject thrown back in my phase space later that day, often in a geometrically transformed manner within the bi-logical space of consciousness. Why, it's almost as if I -- or someOne pulling my strings -- "anticipated" the future, or as if the future cast its shadow back into the past. Of course, it does both and neither, as the hyperdense connectedness of bi-logical consciousness cannot be reduced to any crude linear conception.

Long-time readers of this blog know full well that they were drawn here by their own future self. I mean the ones who benefit from it, not the trolls; they are also drawn to their future, but in their case, they reject the message -- or bizarrely try to shoot the transdimensional messenger. But (obviously) the bullets pass right through Petey. You might say that the troll's future bleekons -- which is why they cannot stay away. It reminds me of a co-dependent woman who marries her abuser, because she cannot tolerate being far from her own persecutory mind parasites. You know the old slaying: "Keep your friends close, and your mind parasites closer." Never ask for whom the trolls yell, for it is always theirSelves.

The deeper you penetrate into consciousness, the closer you come to the organizing singularity, as well as the archetypal "stars" that also lure the self inward and upward. If you live your life on the surface of consciousness, then you won't notice the Nonlocal Network, or else you'll simply dismiss evidence of it because of your absecular brainwashing.

The existence of the Network has always been acknowledged by eminent Raccoons down through the ages, but you have to know how to decode the language. For example, as Perry writes,

"If the spiritual work has hitherto shown itself predominantly as an effort to transcend the 'lower waters' and attain an equilibrium on the 'surface of the waters,' it now becomes through inverse analogy a journey or 'immersion' into the 'higher waters' of formless possibilities -- supraindividual states which no longer concern the human condition as such (hence the idea of 'drowning' or 'extinction'), but to which the human being has access, at least potentially, through the centrality that is the primordial birthright of his state, and which by definition are fully realized in the plenitude of the Universal Man."

In other words, this represents a sort of fulcrum in our spiritual development, in that we must first learn to "float" on the lower waters of consciousness before plunging into the upper waters of trans-consciousness.

What does it mean to "learn to float?" To a large extent, this is the domain of psychotherapy, of becoming familiar with your own deep sea monsters -- i.e., mind parasites -- that dwell in the depths of your being, and constantly threaten to pull you down and even swallow you up. Clearly, in some form or fashion, you must become a Master of your own Domain, or, like our ønanistic trolls, risk becoming a chronic masticator who grinds away with the lower mind and therefore never become truly fertile.

Conversely, many people -- the new age and integral rabble come to mind -- try to plunge into the upper waters before mastering the lower, so they merely end up "polluting" the pure waters with their psychic impurities. One wonders if this is why they all seem to believe in the climate change hysteria. Probably so. This would represent a fine example of a psychic transformation being externalized without any insight whatsoever.

This is one of the considerable dangers of go-it-alone spirituality. I'm sure the same people have transformed a shallow, gaffe-prone cipher who is capable only of mouthing recycled leftist platitudes he assimilated in college, into a person of stature in their own minds. Talk about going off the shallow end.

Which is an important point. We talk about people "going off the deep end," and with good reason. In fact, never trust a spiritual teacher who has not, at some point in his life, genuinely gone off the deep end, for only he will truly know about the lower waters and how to dog-paddle -- and God-paddle -- in them. Read any serious spiritual autobiography, and you will read of the depth of the struggle to master these lower waters. Not only that, but you will obtain objective information about the currents, the undertows, the doldrums, the winds, the fixed stars, etc., for your own night sea journey on the ark in the dark.

Only once you've learned to float your boat will it be worthy of sailing into the upper waters, as you graduate from the "lesser mysteries" to the "greater mysteries." What makes it so difficult is that you must simultaneously build this ark while learning to swim. But once it is seaworthy, then you will have a kind of calm center that can withstand the storms that lie ahead. The nature of this vessel will determine whether you can avoid drowning, walk on water, part the sea, swim upstream, survive underwater for lengthy periods, make it to the farther shore, etc.

Now, I found this particular passage in Perry (quoting Guenon) fascinating: "The voyage may be accomplished, either by going upstream to the source of the waters, or by crossing these to the other bank, or else by finally descending the current to the sea" (emphasis mine). In short, there are three possible deustinations: up, down or across; or to the Source of the waters, to the infinite Ocean into which all waters eventually drain, or to the bank on the other side. In turn, these would correspond to the ways of gnosis ("knowledge of the source"), of non-dual mysticism (diving into the ocean of being), and of bhakti, or loving devotion to God.

As Perry explains, "going upstream" is identified with the "World Axis," or the "celestial river" that "descends to earth." Alert readers will have gnosissed that Petey makes reference to this in the Cosmobliteration section of One Cosmos:

Floating upstream alongside the ancient celestial trail, out from under the toilsome tablets of time.... Off to sea the River Man, starry-eyed and laughing, cloud-hidden, who-, what-, why- & whereabouts unknown, bathed in the white radiance of ecstasy central. In the garden misty wet with rain, eight miles high, far from the twisted reach of yestermorrow. Insinuate! Now put down the apple and back away slowly, and nobody dies! Here, prior to thought, by the headwaters of the eternal, the fountain of innocence... .

Petey also makes reference to the way of the nondual Ocean, or what he calls "being drowned in the Lao Tsunami":

Returning to the Oneself, borne again to the mysterious mamamatrix of our birthdeath, our winding binding river of light empties to the sea.

And then there is the way of bhakti across the river:

Reverse worldward descent and cross the bridge of darkness to the father shore; on your left is the dazzling abode of immortality, on your right is the shimmering gate of infinity. Return your soul to its upright position and extinguish all (me)mories, we're in for a promised landing. Touching down in shantitown, reset your chronescapes and preprayer for arrisall.

Petey realized when he trancelighted these island passages that very few readers would ever obtain any benefit from them. The surprise is that they were published atoll even though they only bear wetness to the same old water in new skins.

The wise man can through earnestness, virtue, and purity, maketh himself an island which no flood can submerge. --Udana

I [the Buddha] can walk on water as if it were solid earth. --Samutta-nikaya

I [the Buddha] crossed the flood only when I did not support myself or make any effort. --ibid.

If drifting in the vast ocean a man is about to be swallowed up by the Nagas, fishes, or evil beings, let his thought dwell on the power of the [Bodhisattva], and the waves will not drown him. --Kwannon Sutra

The name Moses means, taken from the water, and so we shall be taken out of instability, rescued from the storm of the world-flow. --Meister Eckhart

But while it is the case that if thou lettest not go of thine own self altogether to drown in the bottomless sea of the Godhead, verily one cannot know this divine death. --Meister Eckhart

God is the Lake of Nectar, the Ocean of Immortality. He is called the "Immortal" in the Vedas. Sinking into It, one does not die, but transcends death. --Sri Ramakrishna

I shall throw myself into the uncreate sea of the naked Godhead. --Angelus Silesus

The desirous soul no longer thirsts for God but into God, the pull of its desire draws it into the Infinite Sea. --Richard of Saint-Victor

...To flow in God and sink down in Him -- like a vessel full of water which when emptied nothing remains in it, so will I wholly empty and sink myself quite into God. --Johannes Kelpius

Friday, May 14, 2010

Intelligent Stupidity and the Eternal Pursuit of Chicks and Grub

Before we can determine who is intelligent, we must first define what intelligence is and what it is for. In other words, we must account for the fact that it is possible to be "smart" about the wrong things and for the wrong reasons -- think, for example, about a clever criminal, or a person who devotes his intelligence to some peripheral obsession, say, global warming.

In fact, even the nature of this question about the purpose of intelligence provides a hint, for it presupposes the ability of the intellect to "stand outside" or "above" intelligence and view it objectively. Thus, the implication is that intelligence as such implies both verticality and objectivity.

I suppose the Darwinian view would maintain -- would have to maintain, on pain of being fatally inconsistent... which it is, but let's move on -- that the purpose of intelligence is to get grub and babes. Therefore, using one's intelligence for any other purpose would have to be considered very stupid. As such, human beings would have to be considered the least intelligent of all species, since they waste so much mental energy on stupid and pointless things such as music, poetry, painting, and spirituality. Unless, of course, these activities are just devious ways to get babes and grub.

How could natural selection have created such a stupid animal that engages in so many pointless and fanciful activities? It makes no sense. For example, if we were to rate presidential greatness on the Darwinian scale, Clinton would win in a glandslide, for no one has surpassed him in cashing in the presidency for his daily bread and daily broads.

Please don't think I'm exaggerating. In the course of writing the Coonifesto, I plowed through any number of books by various sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists who twist themselves into putzels trying to reduce every aspect of the human mind to the plane of reproductive fitness.

A case in point is The Mating Mind, by Geoffrey Miller, who argued that most every human attribute can be explained by sexual selection. I see on the amazon page that even the hopeless boneheads at Publisher's Weekly can recognize this as a circular argument, even if they lack the sophistication to realize that all materialistic explanations of intelligence are circular.

Being that the dustjacket indicates that Miller is married --meaning that he already has sexual access to a female -- I guess I don't get the point of his book. I also see that he dedicated it to "Rosalind," presumably his wife. Wouldn't flowers and dark chocolate have been just as effective in achieving his reproductive mission? I mean, if Miller's thesis is correct, then he wrote his book not because of any devotion to Truth, but to make Rosalind his intern, as our most evolutionarily fit president might say. To the extent that he didn't score, then the book fails by its own standard. We'll have to ask Rosalind.

Come to think of it, if the Darwinians are correct about intelligence, then perhaps instead of granting scholars tenure, we should just give them access to lots of attractive young coeds. Oh, wait a minute....

Suddenly the intellectual vacuity of academia makes sense.

Perhaps some folks have difficulty seeing God because God is doing the looking. To a certain extent this is unavoidably true, for only a "naturally supernatural" intelligence can know of God, and the intellect is a divine spark that cannot be accounted for on any purely naturalistic basis. Schuon points out that we have an "uncreated intellect" at the center of our being, which may be thought of as an extension, or prolongation, of the "divine light." It is both a part of us, and yet, "other," for it is that part of us that allows us to stand outside ourselves.

We also have a "created intellect," which is a "reflection of this Light at the center of Existence" (Schuon). The two are essentially One but nevertheless distinct, and in fact, this distinction must be maintained if we are to understand these two very different aspects of the intellect. As Schuon puts it, "when we speak of the Heart-Intellect, we mean the universal faculty which has the human heart for its symbolical seat, but which, while being ‘crystallised’ according to different planes of reflection, is none the less ‘divine’ in its single essence."

You might say that the lower intellect -- thrust as it is to the further reaches, or "periphery" of the cosmic center -- allows us to comprehend change, while the higher intellect abides closer to the immutable, which it in turn is able to contemplate or "reflect upon" -- for all intelligence must, in the final analysis, be a sort of reflection of whatever reality it is trying to understand. "Perfect reflection" would represent "perfect understanding" -- which is to say, it would embody totality and objectivity. Which is why the spiritual life may be reduced to "cleaning mirrors."

This is consistent with the Kabbalistic view, which maintains, according to Adin Steinsaltz, that our interior Coon Central should not be thought of as a kind of static "point" in space time. Rather, it is "a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls to beyond the specific body of a particular person.... and because the soul is not a single point in space, it should be viewed not as a single existence having one quality or character, but as many existences, on a variety of spiritual levels..."

It is only on this higher level that human beings are all connected. While secularists deny this higher reality, they nevertheless intuit it on some level (as all humans must), which is the actual source and motive of their nightmarish collectivist schemes. Because of a sort of mistranslation, they attempt to impose in the horizontal what they deny in the vertical.

In this regard, leftists are the mirror image of the Islama-bomba-ding-dongs, who invent a God to grant them in the vertical what they deny themselves in the horizontal -- mainly a lot of sex and grub. Oddly enough, they end up worshiping the same Darwinian god as the sociobiologists -- the only difference being that, in the case of the tenured leftist, his 72 coeds are not likely to be virgins.

And as for these different levels of reality, we must again avoid thinking of them in material terms -- with the exception of the actual physical world (and even then, the material world has a metaphysical transparency that only the most boneheaded anonymous atheist could miss). While the physical world appears to be the "bottom floor" on the vertical scale, it so happens that there is also a subterranean basement and parking structure (the unconscious and inconscient).

As Steinsaltz puts it, "The physical world in which we live, the objectively observed universe around us, is only a part of an inconceivably vast system of worlds. Most of these worlds are spiritual in their essence.... Which does not necessarily mean that they exist somewhere else, but means rather that they exist in different dimensions of being. What is more, the various worlds interpenetrate and interact in such a way that they can be considered counterparts of one another, each reflecting or projecting itself on the one below or above it."

And as one descends in the worlds -- which is simultaneously a motion from the center to the periphery -- materiality and linear causation become increasingly greater. Existence becomes "heavier," or more dense, so to speak. Put another way, nothing could be more ethereal than the mathematical equations that preside over change and continuity while abiding in the Cosmic Intellect -- except perhaps the mind of the mathematician who contemplates and understands them, and is witness to their inexplicable beauty. There is no great mathematician who is not a Platonist.

It is a matter of understanding the difference between Principles and their Manifestation. It is a kind of cosmic irony that scientists have rejected the heliocentric theory, since, as we have mentioned before, science begins at the mysterious center of intellectual light and moves to the periphery, where it ramifies into the multitude of various scientific disciplines. In short, it moves from a sun-like unity -- which it simply assumes but can never account for -- to the periphery, where the sun's rays illuminate various disciplines.

Conversely, religion moves from the cosmic periphery back to the center which is its source and ground -- from the rays to the sun, from manifestion to principle, the ultimate Principle being God, whose center we share -- but only on the "higher" or "deeper" plane alluded to above. As Schuon explains,

"Intellectual intuition comprises essentially a contemplativity which in no way enters into the rational capacity, the latter being logical rather than contemplative; it is contemplative power, receptivity in respect of the Uncreated Light, the opening of the Eye of the Heart, which distinguishes transcendent intelligence from reason. The latter perceives the general and proceeds by logical operations, whilst Intellect perceives the principial -- the metaphysical -- and proceeds by intuition. Intellection is concrete in relation to rational abstractions, and abstract in relation to the divine Concreteness."

Therefore, comprehending God is not exactly a kind of knowing; rather, it is more a kind of "seeing." Just as Petey doesn't read a book, but simply stares at it in order to extract the information he needs, this is analogous to how scripture and revelation must be regarded. In other words, we don't understand them with our lower rational faculty, any more than we would understand a scene of transcendent physical beauty -- say, Yosemite Valley or Jellystone Park -- with our rational faculty. Indeed, to try to do so would represent a kind of madness -- the same madness that afflicts the obligatory atheists such as Hitchens and Harris, who have simply found a clever way to exchange their metaphysical stupidity for chicks and grub.

In fact, if these overeducated beasts do succeed in their satanic mission of destroying the spiritual foundation of the West, then perhaps we will see them for that they are: cluelesside bombers. But then it will be too late, because there will be no one foolish enough to lay down their life to preserve the higher spiritual principles that allow these parasites to flourish in a free society. If all that's left to fight over is sex and food, soon we won't even have that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Stuck on Smart with Deep Stupidity

I long ago noticed a pattern in myself between active and passive modes -- almost like the seasons, in which there is a time to plant and a time to harvest. Once I truly recognized the cycle, I tried never to harvest in planting time, nor vice versa. I mean, you could try to do that, but what happens? On the one hand, immature thoughtlets, green theories, inedible ideas, and on the other, moldy observations, overripe concepts, and squishy notions.

When I wrote the book, I very much respected this organic process, and never tried to force anything. Sometimes a couple of months would go by, and I wouldn't give it a thought -- at least not a conscious thought. In reality, it was below the soil, sending down roots and throwing up shoots. You might say that I was allowing the (↑↓) process to proceed at its own pace, like falling rain and budding leaves.

So when I started blogging over five years ago, I never expected the harvest to go on for this long. Problems only arise when I feel myself transition into that passive mode, but feel the pressure to produce something. At that point I'm faced with two options: either go on hiatus, or rework old posts.

This is a long way of saying that I hope no one minds if I spend some time in the arkive. In reality, the active and passive modes work together, almost like left and right brains. Any writer realizes this -- that there is a part that actively produces, and another part that passively critiques. I actually enjoy having the opportunity to pause and reflect on what I've harvested over the past five years, because when I consider it in the passive mode, I'm doing so for the first time. It's very much like being a reader of the blog, only with the added benefit of being able to tweak things to my liking, but also to gently massage them into conformity with the Current Truth. In other words, to eliminate any embarrassing errors or lame jokes.

Also, we have many new readers who weren't around three or four years ago, so these post will be novelgazes to them. And besides, when I began the blog, I did so with the explicit intention of writing things from a more timeless perspective, so that they would have no expiration date anyway. So without further ado.....

Unintelligent people are usually just plain wrong, so we don't have to worry much about them. On the other hand, in order to attain truly deep stupidity, one must generally be of above average intelligence. Therefore, in certain people, it is obvious that intelligence doesn't vary inversely with stupidity, but directly with it. Not for nothing has it been said that so much philosophy is simply "error on a grandiose scale"; one also thinks of Keynes' quip about practical men being slaves of some defunct economist such as Keynes.

A prime example of deep stupidity and grandiose error is Marxism and all of its many polluted streams, branches, creeks and crocks. That variants of this falsehood still proliferate on the left today means that, as always, intelligence alone is no inoculation against evil, darkness, and error. Hardly. Those who talk about how "smart" Obama is are only the latest incarnation of a perennial problem. After all, even Jimmy Carter wasn't mentally retarded (morally retarded, yes).

For conservative classical liberals, we are generally faced with an odious choice between the stupid party and the evil party. We generally align ourselves with the former, since the GOP is at least susceptible to our influence, whereas the left is not. Someone who has truly given himself over to darkness is not going to be persuaded by truth. His intelligence is in the service of forces he neither sees nor understands, and there is just no point of entry in dealing with him, since he is not lacking information as such but light. Truly, you can hand them the truth on a silver platter, and they will not only reject it but be quite hostile to it. It actually makes them angry, which is one of the reasons liberals don't know how to argue except deceptively.

There are many way to react to truth, only one of which is quiet acceptance. Truth is not just true, but a force. This is why it elicits such strong reactions in people. You will have undoubtedly noticed that when you comprehend a deep truth, there is a pleasant physical sensation that goes along with it -- hard to describe (Christopher Bollas calls it "the erotics of being"), but if you could amplify its vibrations, it would feel like getting the punch line of a joke, or the parts of your being lining up like iron filings, or perhaps properly hitting a baseball.

Another way of saying it is that Truth is a presence. This is something all Raccoons will know by experience, but will make no sense to the leftist -- for whom it will literally be a meaningless statement. To go so far as to suggest that Truth once walked among us -- and still does -- is the height of absurdity. But truth is the link between Being and knowing. Thus, to say, for example, that Christ is the truth is to say that he is a manifestation of the divine presence, or a bridge between God and human nature.

Truth is not only not accepted by most people, but engenders a counter-force that is actively hostile to it. This may seem like a controversial statement, but it is the stock in trade of psychoanalysis, which essentially comes down to a study of the varieties of self-deception, or the ways in which one part of the mind pulls the wool over another part. Think about that for a moment, and I think you'll agree that it is quite remarkable -- how the left brain literally doesn't know what the right brain is doing.

I say "literally" because there is good evidence that what we call the unconscious is actually "lodged," so to speak, in the nonverbal -- but also transverbal -- right brain. Every patient comes into treatment with what I call a "likely story." This explicit story is located in the left brain, the seat of language, aristotelian logic, and linear time. However, the right brain has its own story to tell, but how do you tell a story in the absence of verbal language? You do so in the form of symptoms, or quirky character traits, unexplainable likes and dislikes, unaccountable mood storms, irrational obsessions, compulsions, or self-defeating behaviors that the left brain is powerless to stop. This is because every self-defeating behavior is ipso facto a self-fulfilling behavior for a part of the mind of which we are not consciously aware.

Freud stumbled upon the method of free association with which to try to understand the various agendas of the mind that ran counter to truth and were the source of psychological pain and dysfunction. There is no great mystery to free association, in which the patient lies down and tries to say whatever comes to mind without censoring it. It is simply a way to try to lull the left brain to sleep and allow the right brain to come out of the shadows. Sounds easy, but every step along the way is met with resistance which can become labyrinthine in its ability to prevent the discovery of the truth.

Here again this is remarkable, for it means that the part of the mind that is resisting must know the truth on some level, otherwise there would be no reason to resist it. Therefore, as Bion pointed out, the truth is prior to the lie, just as light must be prior to the shadow. Indeed, Bion went so far as to say that only the Lie requires a thinker -- and actually brings the thinker into being. On the other hand, truth requires only our conformity with it. We simply "bow before reality" -- which, when you think about it, is an excellent way of putting it, for reverent bowing is one of the appropriate responses to the force, or presence, of truth.

Schuon said something similar when he wrote that "A truth is efficacious to the extent that we assimilate it; if it does not give us the strength we need, this merely proves we have not grasped it. It is not for the truth to be 'dynamic,' it is for us to be dynamic thanks to the truth. What is lacking in today’s world is a penetrating and comprehensive knowledge of the nature of things; the fundamental truths are always accessible, but they could not be imposed on those who refuse to take them into consideration."

Among other responses, truth engenders a dynamic sense of veneration -- a sense of the sacred. And this is why you will have noticed that the left attempts to surround so many of its smelly little orthodoxies with the penumbra of sanctity. But the sanctity is entirely bogus -- it readily slides into the sanctimony that is intrinsic to the left.

In a perverse way, this sanctimoniousness answers the human need for the sacred, but in an alternatively crudely sentimental or authoritarian manner enforced by the many varieties political correctness. You will notice that the left's replacement of moral/religious depth with sentimentality is just as evident as their replacement of transcendent truth with authoritarian mind control; they are not opposites but complementary. Scratch a leftist and you will always find a well of irrational, idealistic sentimentality that becomes the basis and justification for the omnipotent state, e.g., "social justice," "standing up for the little guy," "fairness," etc.

This is why the left doesn't really have ideas but icons -- including "iconic ideas." It is an insidious and sinister process, because there is great psychological pressure on all us of to bow down before these false gods, as if they were actually sacred (e.g., Mahatma Gandhi, Earth Day, FDR, Margaret Sanger). And there is absolutely no symmetry in this. For example, if a conservative steps on one of the left's many sacred cowpies, there is a good chance that his career will be ruined. But if a leftist offends what is actually sacred, he will be praised as someone who "speaks truth to power." There is no symmetry in the treatment of Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.

The point is that nearly every one of the leftists's core beliefs is not a proper idea but an icon, whether it is manmade global warming, moral relativism, affirmative action, abortion, homosexual behavior, "peace," "progress," multiculturalism, "diversity" -- in fact, "progressive" is the quintessence of a meaningless icon, since it bears no relationship to progress and promotes economic and social policies that ensure not just a lack of progress, but regression. For example, the "peace movement" can only bring about more war, just as affirmative action can only bring about harm to blacks.

And this is why it is so easy to be a conservative, because you no longer have to contort yourself with so many lies in order to be thoroughly consistent, both internally and externally, vertically and horizontally. The left confuses their contortions with "nuance," but nuance is simply the left brain's feeble attempt to grapple with its own incoherence, and to come up with a narrative cover story that isn't completely offensive to normal people.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Truth Decay and Mental Hygiene

A big problem in our postmodern and post-enlightened culture is that even if a person believes that truth exists, they often have a very limited conception of what it entails -- basically empirical or rational truth. This, despite the fact that logical positivism, materialism, scientism, etc., are totally discredited philosophies. You would be a terribly crippled human crapling if you were to try to live your life as if there were a perfect correspondence between the True and the merely empirically or rationally true. Indeed, you would be Charles Johnson.

As there are diverse forms of beauty and goodness, there are diverse forms of truth. That itself is a true statement, but what sort of truth?

Another way of asking it is, "what is the truth about Truth?" There is empirical truth, rational truth, aesthetic truth, moral truth, revealed truth, even a person who claimed to be Truth. Given these diverse expressions, are we really dealing with the same thing? Or is it some kind of failure of language that causes us to confuse these categories?

Obviously, there must be some relationship between truth and intelligence, so that even if it is only in some vague, implicit sense, to say "intelligence" is to imply "truth" (and vice versa). For, as we have noted before, if intelligence doesn't know truth, then it isn't very intelligent. And yet, we know full well that there is a disconnect between human intelligence and truth, especially among the more tenured among us. The typical liberal intellectual not only believes things that are untrue, but things that could not possibly be true.

Naturally, the intellect must be subordinate to Truth. Thus, real intelligence -- assuming it knows Truth -- should automatically engender a spirit of humility, because it is aware of its inferior position. But due to a number of character flaws -- mostly pride -- the intellectual may come to value his own intellect more than the truth that may be known through it.

This is again why we should value good character over intelligence, since good character implies a kind of intelligence that is faithful to the transcendent object of human existence, whereas a dismembered and ontologically isolated intelligence entails no such concordance. The former implies "cardiac comprehension," or intellection, which transcends mere mental knowing. A truly intelligent person is a humble person, since he does not fundamentally seek recognition but transcendence: "he is interested in surpassing himself; hence in pleasing God more than men" (Schuon).

Schuon summarizes what has gone wrong with the "unintelligently intelligent" person, whereby "the most capable mind may be the vehicle of the grossest error":

"The paradoxical phenomenon of even a 'brilliant' intelligence being the vehicle of error is explained first of all by the possibility of a mental operation that is exclusively 'horizontal,' hence lacking all awareness of 'vertical' relationships; however, the definition 'intelligence' still applies, because there is still a discernment between something essential and something secondary, or between a cause and an effect." But the systematic, even intentional, exclusion of the vertical -- and we see this all the time, especially on the left -- "creates a void that the irrational necessarily comes to fill." (cf. The Varieties of Liberal Enthusiasm, and a tail waggle to Mizz E.)

And this is why irreligious people tend to be so extraordinarily irrational in their beliefs. It is not that religious people cannot also be irrational. Hardly! But that is the fault of the individual believer and of fallen humanity as such.

A proper Christian is never surprised when he encounters someone who believes nonsense -- whether religious or irreligious, it doesn't matter. Indeed, he expects it, since his religiosity both predicts and accounts for it. But secular extremists such as Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens are surprised by irrationality -- as if human beings are not fallen and not prone to inhabit illusions (secular extremism being one of the most pernicious illusions).

Because to be a secular extremist is to be a fully horizontal man, and thus, to commit not only spiritual, but intellectual, suicide. It is the ultimate cosmic inversion, for it is to elevate our fallen state to the highest virtue. It is "to love only terrestrial life, to the detriment of the ascending and celestial path," to be "exteriorized," and to "love only outer things, to the detriment of moral and spiritual values." Ultimately it is "to sin against transcendence, thus it is to forget God and consequently the meaning of life; and outwardness is to sin against immanence, thus to forget our immortal soul and consequently its vocation" (Schuon)

And finally, it must be insisted that this willful horizontality engenders a kind of uniquely "human animality" that all persons with activated cOOnvision can see "is situated beneath animality as such, for animals innocently follow their immanent law and thereby enjoy a certain natural and indirect contemplation of the Divine Prototype; whereas there is decadence, corruption and subversion when man voluntarily reduces himself to his animality" (Schuon).

Schuon points out that there are four functions of intelligence: objectivity, subjectivity, activity, and passivity. In the human mind, these correspond to reason, intuition, imagination, and memory, respectively.

To be “objective” -- as in everyday science -- means that our knowledge "is inspired by data which are exterior to it." This is referred to as the "correspondence" theory of truth, and it certainly has its place. But to imagine that intelligence is nothing more than a mirroring of the external material world is to make intelligence subordinate to matter instead of Truth. Thus, to remain mired on this concrete level of reality is to codify stupidity in the manner of the devout atheists referenced above. It is to elevate a small portion of truth and a limited aspect of intelligence to the totality.

But there is also subjective intelligence, which "operates through existential analogy," as in, say, scripture ("as above, so below"). Scripture is only "effective," so to speak, because it is not ultimately about "the world" but about us. You might say that it is the truth about humans, including the world humans inevitably create in the absence of this saving knowledge.

The capacity to know this kind of truth is not fundamentally different from our ability, say, to know the subjectivity of another. For example, as a psychologist, my primary data is never merely rational, empirical, verbal, or objective. Rather, it is direct and intuitive, mind-to-mind. Only here do we begin to enter the specifically human world.

For example, an autistic person -- the real kind, not the newer variants that may or may not be related to true autism -- is specifically barred full access to this human world. A severely autistic person is a true materialist, in that he lives in a bizarre sea of objects from which he cannot escape "upward" or "inward," so to speak. This transition was captured vividly, if apocryphally, in the film The Miracle Worker, when Helen first makes the connection between concrete water and abstract wetness. Suddenly she gains access to a whole new world: the human world.

But something equally dramatic happens -- does it not? -- when we suddenly gain access to the "divine world" through our comprehension of revelation. There is definitely a "phase transition" in spirtitual growth, where one rather suddenly goes from knowledge to understanding (i.e., the "second birth"). To realize that this understanding will continue to deepen and grow is the thrill of a lifetime, as we enjoy the flow of energies from the Great Attractor along our keel.

As water leads to wetness, the experience of the divine (or of the sacred, the holy, the transcendentally beautiful) leads to Divinity. All are passages out, up, and in, however you wish to conceptualize it. But the exact word is not of fundamental importance. Rather, the experience is. Let your words be shaped by the divine object and anchored in the ground of real experience, or of O-->(n).

Now, in its active mode, intelligence "relives, recreates or combines the possibilities which are known to it, and this is the imagination." Conversely, in its passive mode, the intelligence "registers and preserves the data which present themselves to it." Thus, at once we appreciate the subtle balance of, on the one hand, fixed dogma and orthodoxy, and on the other, our active engagement of it with our higher imagination. Revelation must be "worked over" in the higher imagination.

I believe you will find that all of the greatest theologians are great precisely because they respect and maintain this subtle balance between imagination and doctrine. To default on the side of dogma creates a sterile conformity with no possibility of organic spiritual growth watered by the grace of personal understanding, or (↑↓); while to default in the other direction places one in the solipsistic and narcissistic realm of the new age fantasists such as Deepak and Co.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Volk Religion of the Left

If one doesn't believe in revelation, then the issue of divine accommodation is moot. But if revelation has occurred, then I think it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that it must be couched in terms that human beings can comprehend. And since human beings have changed dramatically over the centuries, this means that God must reveal himself in different ways at different times and to different populations.

For example, as we were discussing in the previous post, the logic of sacrifice made perfect sense to primitive peoples, otherwise it wouldn't have been universally practiced. It took thousands of years for human beings to arrive at the conception of a rational and caring God -- or even God, since it was a long, back-and-forth struggle to evolve from polytheism to monotheism. Compared to how long man has been here, monotheism has only prevailed for a tiny percentage of the time.

Stark begins with an analysis of the religious beliefs of primitive peoples, but it turns out that there's not all that much we can know about them with certainty. For example, many theories on the subject were derived from the study of "modern stone age" cultures such as Bedrock that persisted into the 19th century or later, and there is no way of knowing for sure if the Flintstones are really similar to peoples of ten or twenty thousand years ago.

Interestingly, it has long been argued that religion began with nature worship, but Stark writes that "primitive peoples show remarkably little interest in what we may regard as the most impressive phenomena of nature -- sun, moon, sky, mountains, sea, and so forth -- whose monotonous regularities they take very much for granted." In other words, ironically, it is contemporary human beings who are much more impressed with the beauty and majesty of nature. This is not difficult to understand, as primitive man must have been very much aware of the fact that nature was full of dangers.

Furthermore, as I have argued in the past, I don't think primitive peoples were individuated enough to notice such a sharp distinction between self and world. It is only because we are so aware of our separation that we take aesthetic notice of the environment -- which is why it is no coincidence that the romantic movement arose shortly after the emergence of the modern self.

In every development, something is gained but something is lost. I can see this quite vividly in my son, who is still between baby and boy. When he goes thorough a growth spurt, this is usually accompanied by anxiety that makes him want to engage in "regression play," for example, being a baby animal.

Likewise, when the autonomous self emerged with modernity, something was lost. Actually, several things: a fixed role, erosion of traditional family structures, weakening of religious constraints, etc. Think of the vast difference between having your identity given to you, vs. having an open-ended self that one must struggle to actualize and understand. In a very real sense, being liberated from tradition meant being a mystery to oneself.

The scientific and industrial revolutions created a kind of historical rupture or existential birthquake which continues to be felt today. In his book Modern Fascism, Veith discusses the deep alienation that resulted from the dramatic change from an agrarian, religious, hierarchical, and essentially timeless (or cyclical) existence to one that was suddenly ordered around the machine, the clock, democracy, and (small r) reason.

If we say that man appeared approximately 200,000 years ago, his life was essentially unchanged from then until the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 years ago. Afterwards, not a lot changed for the average Joe until the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th century. So in the overall scheme of things, our current lifestyle is truly just a blip -- several hundred years out of a total of 200,000. No wonder, therefore, that humans have such a strongly romantic and nostalgic streak, being that we're all living in an alien psychic environment profoundly different from the one we we evolved in.

Veith writes that "fascism is essentially a response to the alienation that has been a part of the spiritual landscape of the West since the Enlightenment.... Science, technology, and the economic realities and environmental damage of the industrial revolution isolate the individual from nature. There has thus been a genuine yearning for community and for an organic unity with the natural world."

Living a life of cold logic is intrinsically alienating. There is nothing Rational about living a life of pure (again, small r) reason. But nor is there anything rational about abandoning reason altogether and living a purely instinctual life, which is what occurred with Nazi Germany, but also to a lesser extent in the 1960s, not just in America, but all over the developed world.

Again, this is anything but progressivism; it is pure romanticism, which is always backward looking -- and not just backward looking, but backward to an idealized past that never existed to begin with. It is pure projection of present existential pain, and escapism into a mythic past. No one is more conservative than a progressive. It's just that what they want to conserve is childhood and all of its privileges, i.e., irresponsibility, dependency, entitlement, rebellion against the grown-ups, polymorphous perversity, weak boundaries, etc.

For someone who lives without any religious telos, the denial of impulses seems stifling and arbitrary. As Veith writes, "If objective knowledge is alienating, subjective experience is liberating and healing. Authentic experience comes from unleashing the emotions, cultivating the subjective and irrational dimension of life."

So never ask why the left is so emotional and irrational, because that is the whole point. It is a way of life. You will look in vain for the "rational end" they are seeking, because the emotional irrationalism is its own end.

America was the first nation explicitly created around abstract and universal principles instead of more primitive modes of blood, soil, mythology, etc. Here again, the modern doctrine of multiculturalism is in reality a quite primitive reversion back to earlier ways of life. Multiculturalism is specifically a rejection of American principles, what with its obsession with blood and race instead of ideas. This is why those who criticize Obama are accused of being "racist." It is not as if we have our ideas and they have theirs. Rather, we have our ideas and they have their emotions, which they project into us -- as if we are the ones who are obsessed with race!

For Americans -- and for Christians -- "essence" is in the individual. That is, we are created in the image of God, so that our deepest personal essence partakes of divinity.

But for the multicultural volkists of the left, essence is in the group: "Volk is a much more comprehensive term than 'people,'" signifying "the union of a group of people with a transcendental 'essence.' This 'essence' might be called 'nature,' or 'cosmos' or 'mythos,' but in each instance it was fused to man's innermost nature and represented the source of his creativity, his depth of feeling, his individuality and his unity with other members of the Volk. The essential element here is the linking of the human soul with its natural surroundings, with the 'essence' of nature."

Now, why do you think that virtually all leftists are environmental hysterics and global warmongers? Here again, you need only scratch the surface of their irrational rhetoric to appreciate a reservoir of primitive, volkisch-like sentiments of "unity" with mother earth, of "healing" the planet, of turning back the tides, of sacrificial penance to the gods of carbon offsets, etc.

For (non-left) Americans, the individual stands above the state, and derives his inalienable rights from the Creator. But for the left wing volkist, the group is the supreme identity that is fused with the state. No surprise then that we worship such different divinities.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Human Sacrifice on the Altar of the Left

Again, the key to the evolution of God is "divine accommodation," which means that, at any time and in any culture or individual, knowledge of God is limited by the capacity of human beings to comprehend. Since there has never been any human culture that is unaware of God, that means that revelation and comprehension must always be occurring. Even with pre-literate peoples, the message still got through, but in a highly limited and concrete manner.

In fact, Magnus made an excellent point in this regard, and in many ways it is the main reason why this question about God's evolution should be of interest to us: "I wonder to what degree each person is doomed to repeat the psychogenesis of history. At least it should be possible to avoid some of the long pauses and backsliding." The point is that since human beings clearly develop in every way, it necessarily follows that their ability to comprehend God will follow the same developmental schema.

As mentioned yesterday, I certainly don't agree with everything Stark has to say on the subject. Although the book provides a great deal of fascinating and extremely useful research, I think his analysis is far too superficial, and never really gets beneath the surface into the principial, or metaphysical realm. In other words, he is far too empirical, and tries to draw his conclusions in a merely logical way, as if he is studying household income, or the evolution of tools. His ultimate explanation is that religions should be understood in the manner of free market economics, so that, if given the choice, people will "choose" religions that are more satisfying to them.

But this approach begs so many questions that it is difficult to even know where to begin. For example, he assumes far too much rationality in humans, especially humans of the distant past. Let's look, for example, at the (literally) bloodthirsty religions of Mesoamerica. Stark chides the earlier, pre-PC generations of anthropologists that contemptuously dismissed these people as barbaric and hopelessly illogical savages, but I think that is closer to the truth than suggesting that they were merely engaging in an understandable "exchange relationship" between God and man. You know, God wants to drink human blood, and we just happen to have a lot of it around, so it's a win-win situation!

B-b-b-but why blood? Why human sacrifice? And how can there be whole human cultures that revolve around this practice for hundreds of years, without anyone noticing that, for starters, it doesn't actually work? Okay, every time we do it, the sun comes up. Plus, the sun hasn't extinguished yet. Ergo, human sacrifice works.

But is this really logical? And why the anxiety about the sun going out? What's that all about? Obviously the sun had no problems making it through the day before the institution of human sacrifice. Who's the genius that came up with the idea, and how did he sell it to his fellow tribesmen? Can you imagine the conversation?

If I were there at the time, participating in the debate, I would have undoubtedly adopted the role of group psychologist. "Okay, let's stipulate that someone wants to slice open a victim's chest, cut out the beating heart, and eat it. Before assuming that it's God, let's explore this a bit more. Where are these feelings coming from? Mr. Dahmer, what are your thoughts? Etc.

Stark defines sacrifice in operational terms as "things given up or foregone so that they might be offered to God(s)." Okay, good enough. But there's a big difference between the perspectives of the knife-wielding priest and the sacrificial victim, isn't there? I mean, what's the priest really foregoing in Stark's terms? Nothing. Rather, he's very much like a liberal, who is perfectly willing to sacrifice other people's money.

The comparison is rather apt, because the left describes a Ted Kennedy as a lifelong public servant, which is true in the same sense that the sacrificial priest was one. For what did Ted Kennedy ever give up in the sacrificial process of burning all those trillions of dollars that didn't belong to him? When push came to shove, he wouldn't even allow wind generators near his property, because they might interfere with the view. Sacrifice!

Stark notes that "Blood played a significant role in sacrifices in all of the ancient temple religions," and this is indeed true (since, unlike the modern liberal priesthood, they didn't have cash). But again, why? One type of sacrifice that was still in vogue in Paul's time involved slaughtering a bull "on a wooden platform under which lay new initiates who were then drenched in the bull's blood..."

Okay. Let's assume that God enjoys this spectacle. My first thought is WHAT IN THE HELL KIND OF GOD ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE, PEOPLE!!!!!

For this cannot be God, -- and certainly not a God worth worshiping -- but some kind of preternatural monster. Stark notes that when the Spanish explorers arrived in Mexico, "they were utterly astounded by the immense ritual slaughters that were taking place." Subsequent academically correct research tried to deny the scope of the sacrifices, but they have now been verified. Stark cites one archaeological find containing the remains of 42 children with their throats cut, as an offering to the "rain gods" (let's not give Al Gore any ideas. Besides, hasn't the poor man sacrificed enough?).

Again, since we're not actually talking about God, what are we talking about? Unfortunately, Stark blandly dismisses psychoanalysis with a single sentence to the effect that is a well-known fraud that needn't seriously detain us, but his only reference is to the admittedly loony anthropological speculations of Freud, as if psychoanalysis hasn't undergone further development in the past 75 years.

One of the key insights of psychoanalysis is that behaviors that appear to be irrational have their own unconscious reason. But Stark believes that "the case for sacrifice as a highly rational economic act is overwhelming." Therefore, there's no need to even invoke a psychoanalytic explanation, since economics explains it.

Do not concur. Here is Stark's description of this rational behavior: "Adult male victims usually were held down [obviously, someone didn't think this was so rational!] on a sacrifical stone atop a pyramid, their chest was slashed open, and the priest snatched their still-beating heart from the chest and held it aloft to the sun." Then, the body "was rolled, flailing down the temple steps to the bottom where it was skinned and dismembered." (Hmm, reminds me of my IRS audit.) For some reason, female victims were often "skinned by a priest who then wore her skin as the slaughter continued."

I wonder what this would have looked like if they had been irrational?

One ceremony in 1487 "began with four lines of victims, each line stretching for two miles.... the total number sacrificed on that occasion was as many as twenty thousand, although others have placed the number as high as eighty thousand.... During regular festivals, the numbers killed at a particular temple probably ran around two thousand a day. But there were literally hundreds of sacrificial sites," like 7-Eleven stores on every corner.

But you know what? The sun's still here, so shut up. And you know what else? President Obama observed that it also came up the day after Obamacare was passed, so shut up again. For that matter, the high priests of liberalism know exactly how many jobs were saved and created as a result of the ritual Porkulus sacrifice, so stop complaining. The state has to burn money in order to ensure that God will make more.