Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Dear Prudence, Won't You Change Your Name?

Prudence is such a lousy name for the Virtue of virtues -- the one that makes all the others possible -- it's no wonder that no one talks about it anymore. For one thing, it's too close to "prudish." And if we can judge by social security statistics on the most popular baby names, Prudence doesn't even make the top 1,000.

In contrast, Sophia -- which amounts to the same thing as prudence -- comes in at #4. And since it split the vote with Sofia, who knows, it might actually be the Cardinal Name for girls.

Pieper deals with this linguistic obstacle at the outset, noting that the word has become too saturated and associated with such qualities as timorousness or small-mindedness.

To which I would add cautiousness, risk-averse, unadventurous, tentative, and possibly even "pragmatic" in that calculating and sociopathic Clintonian way. In other words, the connotations can range from vaguely neutral to pejorative. Not only that, but "imprudence" can be associated with, say, "courageous sacrifice," which further muddies the waters.

A much better word would be wisdom, in-sight, or better yet, sapientia, since the latter has a nice mystical ring to it. Furthermore, it resonates with what a human being fundamentally is, which is to say, Homo sapiens sapiens.

Nevertheless, for the purposes of this post, we'll stick with prudence, which Pieper calls "the mold and 'mother' of the other cardinal virtues, of justice, fortitude, and temperence. In other words, none but the prudent man can be just, brave, and temperate, and the good man is good insofar as he is prudent.... All virtue is necessarily prudent."

Again, as mentioned in a comment or three yesterday, we must imagine a vertical hierarchy, with prudence located at the top. This is one more reason why Darwinism or any other form of materialism is so incoherent, because one simply cannot get from matter to wisdom, and it's morbidly imprudent to think otherwise.

Rather, the world itself is an emanation -- or involution -- of the Principle, which is why reality is continuous from the top down, but discontinuous from the bottom up. Only by starting at the top does the cosmos make sense in its integral totality, which is to say, high and low, interior and exterior.

Therefore, Pieper is absolutely correct in saying that prudence "is the [vertical] cause of the other virtues' being virtues at all."

Here it might be useful to remember the wisdom books of the Bible -- which again, with a less skilled marketing department, might have been called the "prudence books" -- for example, in Proverbs, which repeatedly praises the centrality of wisdom, which is at the origin of all things.

Furthermore, there are obvious parallels between wisdom and the Word, which is both alpha and omega. To say that "no one comes to the Father but through me," is another way of saying that no one comes to the Principle save through the eternal wisdom that is its first fruit. Why, the two -- Reality and Wisdom -- are related as intimately as Father and Son.

Now prudence means on the one hand "the perfected ability to make right decisions" and choices. But what is this ability founded upon?

This, I think, is the key point: that we can only make right decisions if we are 1) open to reality, 2) in conformity to reality, and 3) act in a manner consistent with that conformity. Thus, for St. Thomas, truth is "nothing other than the unveiling and revelation of reality, of both of natural [i.e., horizontal] and supernatural [vertical] reality."

In short, "the pre-eminence of prudence means that realization of the good presupposes knowledge of reality" -- which explains why there is so little wisdom on the left, since they attack the very notion of objective truth, and substitute for it such retrograde idols as multiculturalism, "diversity," and moral relativism.

To employ the symbols used in the Coonifesto, we see that one of the prerequisites of prudence is (o), or "the receptiveness of the human spirit," the latter of which must be in-formed by the Real.

In other words, we must be humbly instructed by reality, or we will surely sooner or later be righteously bitch-slapped by her. As well we should. Mama don't play.

Furthermore, (---) comes into use as well, for as Pieper notes, prudent cognition "includes above all the ability to be still in order to attain objective perception of reality."

Elsewhere he writes of cultivating "the attitude of 'silent' contemplation of reality: this is the key prerequisite for the perfection of prudence as cognition," since it is what makes (↓) possible, the "ingression of grace," or vertical reality.

You know, Be still and know that I AM.

Well, that's all we have time for today. Much more to come.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Honoring Those Who Have Fallen in Defense of the Good

Memorial Day is an occasion... sacred to the memory of all those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for the liberties we enjoy. We will never forget or fail to honor these heroes to whom we owe so much. We honor them best when we resolve to cherish and defend the liberties for which they gave their lives... --Ronald Reagan, May 1986

For obvious reasons, I think we'll jump ahead today and discuss the third of The Four Cardinal Virtues, fortitude. While on the one hand they form a vertical hierarchy (prudence --> justice --> fortitude --> temperance), they can also be seen as organically interlinked in a horizontal manner, so that, for example, prudence presupposes conformity to objective reality, justice its implementation, and fortitude its defense. Thus, for all practical purposes, the more transcendent virtue of prudence cannot survive in this fallen world without the real flesh-and-blood human beings who apprehend it and are willing to defend it.

The vertical hierarchy should make it perfectly clear that there is no fortitude in the absence of justice, and no justice in the absence of prudence. When the postliterate liberal barbarian Bill Maher talked about the "courage" of the 9-11 hijackers, he unwittingly revealed everything that is pathological in our relativistic secular educational establishment, for if courage can be deployed for ends that are intrinsically unjust and imprudent, then it can hardly be a virtue. One's only response to such "courage" could be "so what? Who needs it?"

Speaking of which, I recently saw an unbelievable (but typical) clip of a leftist student confronting David Horowitz at a university lecture, in which she compares Israel's enemies to America's founding fathers. (Here's another clip in which an Islamist student endorses extermination of the Jews; or how about here, in which the Times attacks Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- someone with real fortitude -- for antagonizing the evildoers who wish to murder her!)

But this is typical of the kind of sick brainwashing to which children are subjected in American universities. As Dennis Prager has said, they should not even be called "universities" but "leftist seminaries," where young adults go in order to learn to be leaders and defenders of that particular faith.

Consider the left's perennial confession of moral blindness, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" -- as if, for starters, the Islamists are fighting for truth and liberty instead of lies and tyranny! As St. Thomas made clear, The praise of fortitude is dependent upon justice. For how could it not be? You couldn't have a "Memorial Day" in the Soviet Union or theocratic Iran unless its purpose were to remember and pay homage to all of the evil and misery they have perpetrated around the world.

Islamists, North Koreans, Chinese, Gazans, Taliban -- they can be rash, or violent, or vainglorious, or thrill seeking, or swaggering, or power mad, or just plain deluded, but they cannot possess the virtue of fortitude (much less prudence) so long as they risk their lives for causes that are transparently unjust, again, unless we live in a flatland world in which transcendent values are reduced to mere behavior. Only in such an impoverished world can the "courage" of the Nazi or Islamist be equated with that of the American soldier.

But ideas have consequences, especially atheistic ideas that reduce conflicts to the mere enactment of violence, irrespective of what the violence is realizing or defending. Only in such a perverse world could a moral retard such as Obama see no distinction between nuclear missiles in the possession of Israel or Iran, and thus argue for a nuclear free zone in the Middle East. Hey, why not a gun-free zone in South Central Los Angeles? There's so much violence there, why not just have the police and the gangs turn in their weapons?

Pieper begins his analysis of fortitude at the very beginning, with human vulnerability. Obviously, if we were invulnerable, with no possibility of injury, there would be no possibility of fortitude. To be brave means facing the possibility of injury, including the ultimate injury which is death. Thus, "all fortitude has reference to death. All fortitude stands in the presence of death. Fortitude is basically readiness to die or, more accurately, readiness to fall, to die, in battle" (Pieper).

But again, not for its own sake. Rather, "the brave man suffers injury... as a means to preserve or acquire a deeper, more essential" good. Thus, in order to achieve the virtue of fortitude, "the brave man must first know what the good is, and he must be brave for the sake of the good." Fortitude always "points to something prior," to such an extent that "fortitude must not trust itself," because "without prudence, without justice, there is no fortitude."

One might say that prudence is the "inner form" of fortitude, that which literally "in-forms" it. Fortitude itself cannot realize the good, but it "protects this realization [of the good] or clears the road for it."

Again, "without the just cause, there is no fortitude." Note how for the true leftist (by which I mean the true believer, not the typical confused or misinformed "liberal" Democrat who doesn't even realize that the values of the left are antithetical to his own), fortitude is nearly impossible, since the doctrine of multiculturalism means that no culture is better -- which is to say, more prudent and just -- than another, and they specifically reject the vertical reality that makes real fortitude possible. Therefore, there is no moral distinction between the American soldier and Michael Moore's Iraqi "freedom fighters." Indeed, for a John Kerry, or Noam Chomsky, or Howard Zinn, or Dick Durbin, we are the terrorists. Which we must be in a left wing world without the transcencent virtues of prudence or justice, more on which later in the week.

Our goal is peace in which the highest aspirations of our people, and people everywhere, are secure: peace with freedom, with justice, and with opportunity for human development.... The surest guarantor of both peace and liberty is our unflinching resolve to defend that which has been purchased for us by our fallen heroes. --Ronald Reagan

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Blinkered Horse Hockey Post


Friday, May 28, 2010

Cardiomyopia and Cosmic Nearsightedness

I was just reading yesterday in Pieper's The Four Cardinal Virtues -- about which we will be blah-blah-blogging next week -- of how odd it is that for humans, and humans alone, there is such pleasure associated with the senses. The pleasure of taste is perhaps not difficult to understand, as most animals seem to enjoy eating (although they certainly don't linger over it), and my dogs obviously get a kick out of going on a walk and sniffing the latest pee-mail left by their fellows.

But what about the intense pleasures of sound and sight? The lion is no doubt "attracted" to the form of the gazelle, but no one imagines that the pleasure is in any way aesthetic. However, for human beings, sound and vision provide our primary access to the realm of beauty. And there is such a gulf between this quintessentially human concern with beauty, -- which is so distant from the vital needs of the body -- vs. the practical uses to which animals put their eyes and ears, that it makes any Darwinian explanation risible.

Here's how Pieper describes it: "In the case of animals... no pleasure is derived from the activity of the other senses, such as the eye and ear, except as they affect the satisfaction of the drives of hunger and sex; only because of the promise of food is the lion 'happy' when he spies a stag or hears his call."

However, "one frequently reads and hears that in intemperance man sinks to the level of the beast," but this makes no sense, since a beast cannot be intemperate.

Only a human being can sink beneath himself (or his archetype, his reason for being), so that intemperance takes on not just moral connotations, but more importantly, psycho-spiritual/developmental ones. Intemperance is self-destructive because it relates all of man's higher possibilities to immediate sensual gratification, thus foreclosing any access to more subtle senses and sentiments (which of course correspond to and disclose more subtle realities), and ultimately his reason for being.

As we have mentioned in the past, one of the marks of spiritual development is a "subtle-ization" and refinement of senses and emotions. One thinks of our trolls, whose coarseness of affect and intellect always precedes them and infuses their every utterance.

Just as the higher realities may be known by their "spiritual perfume," the lower ones may be detected by that unmistakably acrid scent of miasmal swamp gas given off by the unwashed troll. Thus the truism that "only those who look at the world with pure eyes can experience its beauty" (Pieper).

Consistent with what we were saying yesterday about the relationship between time and music, Schuon writes that hearing "reflects intellection not in its static and simultaneous, but in its dynamic and successive mode..." As such, it "plays what could be termed a 'lunar' role in relation to sight; and that is why it is linked, not to space, but to time, the audible being situated in duration." Note also that "in a certain sense, the sun makes known space and the moon, time."

Now, that is an interesting observation because it implies that the ears are more "feminine," while the eyes are more "masculine" (bearing in mind that the one is always present in the other).

Clearly, men are more visual beings -- think of their fixation on the female form, for example, -- whereas women tend to be more auditory, hence the well-known ability of even gargoylish men to attract women with an appealing line of bullshit. For this reason, men are most often deceived by the beautiful form, while women are most often deceived by the seductive BS.

Note also that "female porn," such as harlequin romances, is primarily verbal, not visual. Also, single women (and feminized men) overwhelmingly vote Democrat, another instance of the tendency of our less evolved sisters to fall for the superficially appealing but vacuous rhetoric of seducers such as a Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, or John Edwards. Truly, leftism is "political porn," just as materialism is a kind of crude "cognitive porn" (and just as porn represents the domain of sexuality wholly exteriorized and materialized).

So sight can indeed become quite cramped and body-bound if it remains entirely invested in sensual pleasure. But in potential, it is the least "self interested" of the senses, for as Schuon writes, "Sight alone communicates to us the existence of immeasurably remote heavenly bodies that are perfectly foreign to our vital interests, and it could therefore be said that it alone is essentially 'objective.'"

And since objectivity is in many ways synonymous with truth, it makes perfect sense "to compare light to knowledge and darkness to ignorance" (Schuon), a metaphor that is present in virtually all traditions.

Furthermore, "the eye becomes the metaphysical center of the world, of which it is the same time the sun and the heart" (Schuon). Just as Eye and Light are complementary, so too Knowledge and Reality, which is why the sage is "illuminated by wisdom."

But the latter is again radiant "heart knowledge," like, say, the icon at the right. This "heart of Christ" is therefore the center of the individual and of the entire creation. Thus, it is "the Eye that sees God -- and that consequently 'is' God -- and by which God sees man" (Schuon). To see God with this heart is equally to be seen, but with an inward sight.

I'll leave you with a provocative quote by Schuon: "The two eyes represent a bipolar projection of the brain into a [horizontal] domain of lesser possibility; the brain is thus the intermediary between the analytical vision of the eyes and the synthetic vision of the heart."

And "if the heart and the brain be represented as two extremities of a vertical element, and the eyes as the extremities of a horizontal element," "we obtain the form of a T," which "symbolizes the relationship between two dualities" -- vertical/horizontal, analysis/synthesis, celestial/terrestrial, form/substance, etc. It's as if we are crucified to the senses, and only by losing the life of the lower do we gain the life of the higher -- and thereby transfigure the lower.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sights and Sounds in the Upper Atmasphere

How are we to conceive and perceive the great vertical realms that transcend the senses? In fact, that very sentence betrays a contradiction, since conceiving and perceiving are two very different modes. Do we merely conceive these realms? Or do we actually perceive them? And with what senses, exactly?

When we turn the world upside down -- which is to say, right side up -- we understand that our five empirical senses have their source above, not below. Not only does this make sense -- and make sense possible -- but it immediately resolves a host of mysteries that will forever evade any Darwinian, materialistic explanation. "Seeing," "hearing," "touching," etc. -- each of these has its analogue in the higher worlds, without which, the lower corporeal mode could not exist.

As Schuon explains, "the eye, owing to its particularly adequate correspondence with the Intellect, lends itself spontaneously to traditional symbolism, and is to be found... in the symbolic language of all Revelations." For example, you've no doubt seen this symbol on the back of our legal tender, minus the descending Arrow of Toots (the founders didn't want to give the whole game away).

Why is the eye -- or vision -- so central to spiritual gnosis? Well, think of it: unlike, say, hearing, which is unavoidably in time, vision takes in an entire landscape in an instant, so it is closer to the timelessness of the principial realm.

Now, all of the senses are in the end more or less refined forms of touch. Sight, for example involves touching photons, while hearing involves touching air molecules. But if we could rank the senses by their level of subtlety, they would clearly descend from sight (light), to sound (upper atmosphere), to smell (lower atmosphere), to taste (upper terrestrial), and lastly, to touch (lower terrestrial).

And yet, it's not so simple and straightforward as that, in that, say, the delicate pianistic touch of a Bill Evans reveals that he had "ears in his fingers," so to speak, while a gifted photographer like Robin can touch the subject -- which is to say, the cosmic interior -- with his lens. Thus, through the law of inverse analogy, all senses are principially vision but manifestly touch.

It is also critical to bear in mind that the senses are always knowledge as well. In the metaphysics of Vedanta, for example, the senses are a descent from Buddhi, or the higher intellect. If I remember correctly, the cosmic descent -- the downward arrow into the whole existentialada -- goes something like this (and I'll skip a few stages): Brahman (the apophatic God without attributes, i.e., Godhead) --> Ishvara (God with attributes, the Creator) --> Prakriti (which is maya on the one hand, but the infinitely creative power of Brahman on the other) --> Mahat (cosmic intelligence) --> Buddhi (intellect) --> Ahamkara (individual egoic I-consciousness) --> five senses.

But again, as Schoun explains, "the correspondence between sight and Intellect" is "due to the static and total character of the former." As such, it also corresponds to space rather, than time, and of the two -- time and space -- the latter would be closer to the Principle, since time is, in a way, the serial presentation of space.

Vision also tends to be less "self interested" and more objective and detached than the other senses. Think, for example, of taste, which takes in what it likes and spits out what it doesn't. You can't really do that with vision. Rather, reality comes into the eyes, warts and all. You can't take in the beautiful landscape and spit out the ugly billboard or powerline.

But in its own way, hearing is as exalted as vision, for it is to time what vision is to space. For those of you who have a dog-eared copy of the The Coonifesto, you know that I carry a soft spot for the ears (see pp. 44-46).

It seems to me that on our side of manifestation, the ears rather than the eyes are the quintessential sense, for to properly "hear" time is to trace it back to its vertical source. "A true image of time must be an image for the ear, an audible image, an image made of tones.... Thanks to music, we are able to behold time" (Zuckerkandl).

What I really mean to say is that for anyone on the "descending path" of the Raccoon, through which we do not wish to escape the manifestation but to spiritualize it, music -- and ears -- takes on that much more significance. You might say that for the Raccoon, our ears are our eyes in the herebelow, so that we may not always see the signs of the times, but we can certainly hear the melody of the timeless.

Think of the principial basis of Christianity, which begins with Word, a word that must be heard. Hence, "you who have ears, listen. Be attentive!" (that means you Rick). "Eyes made new," indeed.

Gosh! Out of time. To be continued...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On the Subject of Objects

Another quick and dirty post. Pressed for time this morning....

Continuing with our discussion of the bifurcation of reality into subject and object, the reason why the subject may know -- and the object may be known -- is that they descend from a Oneness that is anterior to them. If this were not the case, then there would be no possibility of real knowledge, or truth, or cosmic intercourse.

A critical point is that we begin with the idea that the world is true because created, and that it in-forms the subject for the very reason that it is an ex-form of the Cosmic Subject who bears the objects within. This is very much in contrast to Eastern religions that regard the world as maya, or something from which we must escape (which in itself is a misunderstanding of the maya principle, since maya is real and even necessary on its own plane, just not the "ultimate Real").

Nevertheless, the human subject is not nothing -- as if its only function is to be a mirror of the object world. Rather, as Schuon points out, "it bears the element object within itself, in the sense that pure subjectivity potentially contains the metaphysical essence of the knowable."

This is reminiscent of the idea that God is not in the cosmos, but vice versa. Being that we are mirrorcles of the Absolute, we can equally say that we are not in the cosmos, but vice versa, hence, the possibility of the actualization of real knowledge. In other words, the soul is not in the cosmos, but vice versa.

Furthermore, no object is merely an object, or it couldn't properly exist (for it would be like an outside with no inside). Rather, every object -- if it is an object -- has the potential to be known by a subject. In other words, to say that there could be objects that cannot be known is an absurdity. An object is by definition "on the way to" knowledge, like an arrow shot toward the subject who "completes" it in slackful contemplation.

Now, subjectivity comes to us in two modes, one unconscious, the other conscious, which is to say Life and Mind, respectively. Life itself tends toward conscious mind, while the conscious mind obviously has deep roots in unconscious life. One can draw no fundamental line between life and mind, at least for embodied humans (angelic beings are another matter).

This is another dialectic, or complementarity, that prevents consciousness from coagulating into the dead letter of rationalism. Rather, consciousness is always nourished by waters from above and below, which is why man is "condemned to transcendence." Thank God reality is what it is, on the one hand, but always more, on the other!

Schuon points out that the word "objectivity" has moral connotations, which is entirely appropriate, since it is really another way of saying "truth." To know truth we must be objective, impartial, and dispassionate, and overcome petty self-interest.

But at the same time, "subjectivity" has wrongly taken on negative connotations, as if it is a "defect" -- you know, "pay no attention to Bob's ranting, it's all subjective nonsense."

It is obviously possible for subjectivity to become imbalanced and disproportionate, but Schuon says that this ought to be called "subjectivism," just as the scientistic rationalist who pretends that reality can be stripped of the human subject ought to be called an "objectivist" (he wasn't referring to Randians).

Schuon says that ideally, "objectivity" ought to imply "conformity with the nature of things," which comes very close to the cardinal virtue of prudence, pieperly understood (more on which later). And "subjectivity" ought to convey on the one hand the idea that "the kingdom of God is within you," but also that in encountering the object world, we ought to do so with a view to interiorization and a return to our Self.

In other words, the object world is not like a flat, two-dimensional surface; rather, it has a degree of metaphysical transparency that can only be known by a human subject. It radiates not just truth, but beauty and other spiritual essences, from Subject to subject, or O --> (¶).

I am reminded of a commenter at American Digest -- I think that's where it was -- who asked why all of those Hubble photos of stars, planets, and galaxies are are so beautiful. I mean, that's the first thing you notice, isn't it? It's such a strange property to be present in a cosmos, and yet, almost a mundane observation. "Another beautiful galaxy. Whatever."

The Beauty of Woman is quite easy for the Darwinian to explain, since he can assure us that the attraction is just an illusion created by our genes in order to compel us to drag her into the nearest bush and dispatch our genes into the next generation. But this is to put the immanent ass before the transcendent horse, as if the horse's ass is the first and last word of this marvelous cosmos. Which is of course the quintessence of a backassward metaphysic.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Family Reunification in the Marriage of Heaven and Earth

Only time for an abbreviated post....

Unity bifurcates into subject and object, without which there can be strictly nothing and no one to know it. But both subject and object reflect the primordial Unity from which they arise.

As Schuon explains, "under the influence of the principle of Unity, the subject isolates itself and becomes a manifestation of the unique Self, thus of the Divine Subject, which obviously has no partner."

I would interpret this to mean that the human subject is an interior fractal , so to speak, of the Divine Subject, hence our unity, totality, and absoluteness, looked at from one angle. For this reason, each human being is radically complete and infinitely precious, so that, say, to murder one innocent human being is to murder all mankind. In other words, each stands for the Whole.

At the same time, the object pole of the primordial bifurcation exhibits a radical unity as well, without which science would not be possible. The scientist has a (well placed) faith in a cosmos that is not just lawful, but whose laws are consistent and applicable to all time and space -- in short, that the cosmos is radically One, just as is the subject who may know this unity.

Thus, real knowledge is a kind of divine re-union of subject and object; or, knowledge is the legitimate child of their fruitful union. Let's not talk about all those illegitimate and bastardized forms of knowledge.

As Schuon describes it, the object pole of the primordial bifurcation "becomes a participative reflection of Divine Being," thus a reflection of the "objective aseity of the real."

This is an area about which modern science is quite confused and contradictory, but the main point is that reality really does exist and that man may really know it. But to affirm this reality is to transcend any possible scientific explanation of how this miracle actually takes place -- the miracle of the Real object revealing its secret truth to an equally Real subject.

Schuon also explains that there would be no possibility of real contact between these two realms if it weren't for the fact that each "contains" a trace or echo of the other, like the famous yin-yang symbol. In fact, here's one that depicts the single eye with which we see God and vice versa:

Now, even if the Subject is without scientific knowledge, it nevertheless contains all it needs to know, at least in potential -- again, because it is a reflection of the Absolute Real. And this in turn is why scientific knowledge comes and goes and is subject to constant change and revision, while we're still talking about permanent truths arrived at by human subjects, especially in the axial age in which the Jewish prophets, the Upanishadic sages, Buddha, La- Tsu, Socrates, Plato, Zoroaster, and other pre-eminent religious thinkers suddenly appear on the world stage.

"Axial" is indeed an excellent metaphor, for it is as if each of these thinkers discovered the vertical axis of the cosmos, but from slightly different vertices. But again, it's a case of the reunification of knower and known, just as in profane science, except as applied to the vertical instead of horizontal worlds.

Also, please note the different "directions" of the knowledge, in that vertical knowledge leads from the center to the periphery, from principle to manifestation, whereas with science it is the opposite movement, from phenomena back to principles, or to Unity (I believe it was Huxley who said that science is the reduction of multiplicity to unity).

You might say that religion begins where science must inevitably end, except that the scientist again starts -- and must start -- his investigation with traces of that very end, e.g., a unified human subject who may potentially know all there is to know about a cosmos that is truly One. Problems only occur when this lil' subject is detached from the Divine Subject that is its source, which then leads to Cosmic Narcissism and the Bloated Ego of the tenured.

I suppose it's easy to fall into this trap, since, as Schuon writes, "pure subjectivity potentially contains the metaphysical essence of the knowable." For a spiritually normal person this is an occasion for deep humility and awe before the Divine Mind, but something goes awry in the wiring of the clueless radical secularist who blithely takes all of this fantastic knowledge for granted -- as if it requires no metaphysical explanation.

As we can see, it's really an irreducibly trinitarian process of knower-known-knowledge, or, more fundamentally, subject-object-link. The passionate link between subject and object (or subject and subject) may be knowledge (K), but it may also be love (L) or hate (H).

When the link between subject and object is hate (H), this is the formula for psychosis in the individual and madness in the group, for it is an attack on reality and on the links that reveal it. The most common contemporary form of group madness is leftism, for it is beholden to a philosophy which a priori denies such vital categories as absolute truth, vertical hierarchy, the human subject as divine analogue, etc.

As such, the leftist cannot submit himself to reality (in all its degrees and modes) but instead must project a purely manmade version of it (which is no reality at all). In short, he must negate the divine reality and replace it with human fantasy, which his philosophy gives him no right to do anyway, since it denies transcendent truth. It is the dysfunctional philosophy of permanent divorce between Father and Mother, or Subject and Object, Purusha and Prakriti, Shiva and Shakti, Witness and Mayafestation, and can produce no healthy and viable children (cf. the dying, infertile EUnuchs). But the real harmonious cosmic yinfolk might look something like this triyangle:

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.