Friday, September 17, 2010

Theology and Autotheography

Mystics such as Abhishiktananda (SA) have always had an uneasy relationship to doctrine, especially in Western Christianity. In the West, it seems that doctrine is emphasized over experience, whereas in the East, the relationship is reversed (not to say that Orthodoxy minimizes the importance of dogma).

For example, a number of truly great theologians who are central to Orthodoxy have had almost no impact on Catholicism, at least until the latter half of the previous century, for example, Denys, Maximus the Confessor, Gregory Palamas, and Symeon the New Theologian.

In fact, speaking of theologians, East and West have a very different conceptions of who qualifies as one. In the East, they never really bothered to develop an intricate system of rational theology, and I believe I am correct in saying that Thomas Aquinas has had no influence at all.

Interestingly, they would probably say that he only became a full-fledged "theologian" when he put down his quill for the last time in late 1273. After all those years of contemplating God, he had finally "snapped," going on a permanent summa vacation and telling his faithful scribe Reginald that "I can write no more."

"Er, why's that, master? You've been working on this Summa thing for what, seven years? We're up to 3,000 pages, and you're gonna quit on me now? Are you telling me I developed this nasty carpal tunnel syndrome for nothing?!"

"Well... I suppose in a way... you see, all I have hitherto written seems to me nothing but straw."

"Nothing. But. Straw? Is that what you're telling me?! Because...."

"I mean compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me."

"Ohhh, that's just great. Pope's gonna love this. Helloooo, paging Dr. Chopra."

Fortunately for us, we don't have to choose. We have a left brain and a right brain, and both are equally "spiritual" after their own fashion. And they are even more spiritual when they work gland in gland to excrete the "transcendent third" of which we have spoken in the past.

So Thomas Aquinas is the most important theologian in the West, while in the East it would be -- I don't know, perhaps one of the folks referenced above. For example, Symeon (949-1022) affirmed "the primacy of the spiritual experience," specifically, "communion with the Incommunicable One and knowledge of the Unknowable One, made possible by the Incarnation of the Word who draws the creature out of sin and grants him a divine life."

In fact -- not unlike Abhishiktananda himself -- "The whole life of Symeon illustrates the conflict between Prophet and Priest, between Experience and the Institution, known by many other saints...." Nevertheless, he "had an undeniable grasp of theology and profound knowledge of the Bible," and Gregory Palamas would later come along and clarify his teachings "on a doctrinal level."

Just had a jarring interruption, getting Future Leader ready for picture day at school. Love the uniforms. I wish I could wear one to work. One less thing to think about. But now I've lost the thread. Back to SA, I suppose...

Oldmeadow (HO) quotes SA, who wrote in his book on prayer that no religious thinker "wants to develop and feed his mind simply for the mind's sake alone." Rather, "there is no knowledge that should not pass into love."

To put it another way, the mind must always be fixed on its proper object, whatever it is thinking. God is the context of all (true) thought, which properly bears on eternity. Clearly there is something higher than the mind, and that is the object of its preoccupation, its devotion, and yes, its love, for one must love truth before it will come around and begin sniffing at your door.

In any event, SA's own writings are a bit of a jumble, because he was not a theologian in the Western sense. Rather, he felt that his primary vocation as a monk was to be, only secondarily to know. I think he would agree that what we in the West think of as theology is more a means than an end, somewhat like the function of the guru, about which he wrote (and bear in mind again that his sadguru was always Christ),

"What does it matter what words the guru uses? Their whole power lies in the hearer's inner response.... When all is said and done, the true guru is he who, without the help of words, can enable the attentive soul to hear the 'Thou art that" (in HO), or the old I AM.

A Raccoon simply calls this well known phenomenon (≈), but in my experience one should not minimize the capacity of words to be potent carriers of (≈). This is "the divine Shakti which somewhat resembles the shekinah of Jewish tradition" (ibid), to say nothing of the divine energies of Symeon and Gregory Palamas.

Gotta run. I'll just end with another passage cited by HO. SA is writing about himself in the third person:

"The guru's words rang bells within him in a way no one else's had ever done. It was as if, deep in his own heart, profound secret mysteries were coming to light, which till then had been buried in unfathomable depths. What the guru said vibrated through his whole being and the harmonies thus evoked were incomparable."

Here again, the Raccoon just calls this "pickin' up God vibrations."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cosmic Theophany and Natural Religion

Theophany. I didn't make that one up. It's a real word, and an important and underutilized one, too. It refers to a visible manifestation of the divine. But looked at in a certain way, everything is a manifestation of the divine, however distant, so is this a tautology?

No, because it has more to do with the development of our vision -- our cʘʘnvision. What you see is what you beget, and some of us just live in a more fertile cosmos. It's similar to what Magnus said in a comment yesterday about how love ultimately trickles down from the one source, winding its way through all the cosmic arteries and capillaries by which we are spiritually nourished, and thus maintain contact with the Real.

In an entry from his diary, Abhishiktananda (SA) implies that this state of being is the very goal of the universe, which is to say, "the consciousness of being, the final unveiling of the intuition that constitutes the human being." Of the Cosmic Covanant, he says that it "does not emerge only at one particular stage of man's civilization or cultural development. Rather, it is written into the very nature of things and is embedded in the consciousness of mankind."

Note that specific religiosity would be strictly impossible in the absence of this more general religiosity, or without our intrinsic theomorphism -- just as we must have the general capacity for language in order to learn any particular one. We may only know of God because we first sense God.

Thus, there is is a kind of "natural religion" accessible to most anyone, those few cynical doubtliars notwithstanding. And even then, they're usually just hawking their own private religion in another deusguise. In other words, physics too is a theophany par excellence.

SA agrees that "every man discovers something of it, even if confusedly, the moment he awakes to and becomes present to himself, to the world, and so to God."

But just as in any other human activity, from physics to basketball, some men are "endowed with a greater capacity for spiritual things," and, with the assistance of divine grace, may "penetrate more deeply into the mystery and unveil its secret to their brothers" (ibid).

But none of these wise guys "has ever received or taught anything substantially new. All was given from the beginning." Rather, "the task is only to recognize that which is and to decipher more and more of its mystery." (Again, we are speaking of the Cosmic Covenant, not of any particular contract with the divinity.) Another name for this ground floor of religion is the sanatana dharma, or eternal law.

Oldmeadow (heretofore HO) has a chapter entitled The Cosmic Theophany. Let's see what he has to say about it.

He -- HO -- ha! -- defines the cosmic theophany as "the revelation of the Divine in that tissue of time-space relativities which make up the whole cosmos." He cites Coleridge, who wrote of "the transcendence of the Eternal through and in the temporal," and Eliade, who observed that "nature always expresses something that transcends it."

How very true! It is simply an unavoidable fact that nature herself is supernatural, or she could never be, let alone be intelligible.

How is this not obvious? "Intelligibility" is not some concrete fact, but a necessary condition for knowing anything of our cosmos. And to say "intelligible" is to immediately say "knower," so this transcendent dialectic is woven into the very fabric of reality. You are free to disagree, but anything you say (assuming it makes sense) simply confirms it.

You could say that intelligibilty is the residue of God's immanence, while understanding is grounded in God's transcendence. Thus, "to imagine one without the other would be akin to envisaging a circle with no center" (HO). To paraphrase a rabbinical formula cited in the book, God is not in the universe so much as the universe is in God.

Note also that we could not be here without a physical form. But more importantly, matter could not be here without the divine substance that infuses it: "the world of phenomena is held together by a numinous spiritual presence," without which "the world of 'matter' would vanish instantly and utterly" (ibid). It is impossible to imagine or conceive of an unknowable world -- and again, knowability is transcendent in its immanence.

For HO, one of the purposes of myth and ritual is not just to remind us of this ontological fact, but to allow us to participate in it. But the same reality can be revealed in those random moments we call (?!), "where the membrane, as it were, between the worlds of matter and of spirit is especially permeable" (ibid). It matters not whether we break on through to spirit (↑) or spirit breaks on through to us (↓), for the result is the same, whether it is the guffah ha! experience, the holy smoke!, or the sacred WTF!

Hereagain this speaks to man's function as cosmic mediator in the herebelow. Please note that, since we are in the image of the Creator, it can truly be said that we too contain the cosmos, for to know something is to contain it. Being that there is no such thing as an unknowable cosmos, and there is nothing knowable that man may not potentially know, it is literally true that man contains the cosmos, just as God contains man (i.e., he knows us all right down to the last harebrain).

This is good: HO cites St. Paul, who says in Romans that "the invisible things of him" may be "clearly seen" and "understood by the things that are made." Thus, "Nature is a teaching, a primordial Scripture" (HO). Elsewhere, I remember Schuon saying that the exterior world was one kind of revelation, while the human subject was another. Really, they are two inseparable sides of the same revelation -- like God himself, in whom there may be distinction but no division.

So, where does this cosmic tree leaf us? We've grown as high as our naturally supernatural reason may take us, but we're still in the terrestrial arbor, well short of the celestial sonflower planted in the father shore.

What? How's that?

Yes, Abhishiktananda would like to remind us that Christ in his function as cosmic mediator is a "Column of Light and Fire" that has "one pole penetrating the heavens and the other plunged into the earth..."

And I would add that he contains us that we may contain him.


Children are one of the more obvious theophanies, are they not?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Your Cosmic Rights and Responsibilities

"God alone is noun," says Bishop Ware. "All created things are adjectives." From this we infer that God is Is, whereas you and I are types or modes of Is.

But as we know from God's own testimony, his isness is not some sort of indefinable blobby business. Rather, it is I AM, which implies that we are the infinitely diverse manifestations of I AM. This makes sense, since we can't all be I. It reminds me of the two psychotic patients who both believe they're Jesus Christ. How can two beings occupy the same space? Or, how can one being occupy two people?

How can He not?

In an analogy Alan Watts used, we are like pinpricks in a lampshade, in which there is only one source of light -- the central bulb -- but from the outside will look like many individual sources. In short, there is one Light "behind" or "beneath" or "above" -- however you wish to characterize transcendence -- all light. I AM is the Word from our eternal sponsor.

Now, as far as I can see, you can't just say I AM and leave it at that. Rather, I AM immediately implies YOU ARE too. Does this mean I AM two? Yes and no. As we have heard from the wise, God is Love. Thus, I AM and YOU ARE are really the minimal conditions for the instantiation of LOVE. So the Light would appear to be Love, and vice versa.

Bishop Ware beats another conundrum, noting that "We have always existed for [God]; creation signifies that at a certain point in time we begin to exist also for ourselves."

Here again, it seems that Love is the motive force that sponsors the transition from AM to I AM. Thus, "Creation is not an event in the past, but a relationship in the present" (emphasis mine). Creatvity, love, intimacy, uniqueness, relationship, identity -- all are thoroughly entangled in the one metacosmic law or principle, i.e., I AM. One might very well say that they are horizontal prolongations of it. Indeed, "Man is a finite expression of God's infinite self-expression" (Ware).

But since we exist for ourselves as well as for God, it is possible -- to say the least -- to focus on the former to the exclusion of the latter. Indeed, to a certain extent, our notorious fall from the latter ladder is really just this: separation and alienation from our metacosmic source.

For this vertical ladder "leads to the kingdom," but is also that circular snarecase "that goes down to a dank and snake-infested cellar." Sin may be wrongdoing, but more to the point, it is wrongbeing, or being on the wrong rung.

I had -- or have -- no conscious intention of venturing down this particular path, but here we are -- or here I am -- so might as well push ahead. It must have something to do with Abhishiktananda, although I don't yet know what it might be.

Anyway, Bishop Ware expresses the coonologically correct doctrine that "Man stands at the heart of God's creation." And, "Participting as he does in both the noetic [i.e., vertical] and material realms, he is an image or mirror of the whole creation, imago mundi, a 'little universe' or microcosm. All created things have their meeting place in him." We are the living combo plate of the whole existentialada, not just the dead worm resting at the bottom of the cosmic tequila bottle.

In order to try to explain away the big bang (since it necessitates a creative intelligence), some physicists are positing the fantasy of multiple universes -- as if they wouldn't just be the manifestation of an even higher law, or metauniverse. But in truth, as mentioned above, there are already multiple universes. They are called human persons, and each one is unique, at least in potential.

But as with the multiple universe theory just mentioned, these microcosms do not and cannot stand alone. Rather, as Ware says, man is not just microcosm but mediator.

Thus, it is our God-given vocation "to reconcile and harmonize the noetic and the material realms, to bring them to unity, to spiritualize the material, and to render manifest all the latent capacities in the created order."

Ware emphasizes that the key is "to manifest the spiritual in and through the material," to such an extent that one could say that "Christians are in this sense the only true materialists" (although to be fair, there are others; for the most part, only materialists aren't materialists, since they reify and inhabit their abstract fantasies and I-AMputate matter from its source).

So we are microcosm, which is obvious enough. What about mediator? Ware summarizes it this way: as microcosm "man is the one in whom the world is summed up." But as mediator, "he is the one through whom the world is offered back to God."

This is what in coonspeak is known as the punway round trip, the absurcular argument, the endless circumnavelgazing, the deustination of our salvolution. It simultaneously starts where science ends and ends where science begins, i.e., the alphomega or bigending -- or, in the words of the poet, Before the beginning and after the end.

And what might that be? Peaking Allegheirically, it is the Love that removes the sin and other scars.

... two lovely is better than to leaf alone...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Christianity and the Cosmic Thing

In preparation for this post -- which is by no means prepared -- I thumbed through -- actually, I am now thumbing through -- my copy of Abhishikananda's Life Told Through His Letters. Unfortunately, most of his books are out of print and rather expensive. Anyway, a couple of passages in the foreword caught my attention, both having to do with what we might call "cosmic Christianity," or, as in the title of a post last week, "the cosmic covenant."

Secular fundamentalists struggle with the purported anthropomorphism of Christianity, but if a revelation doesn't in some sense take the form of man, how is man supposed to understand and use it? Conversely, the same people are not at all baffled at how we live in a cosmos that never ceases instructing us through forms accessible to our intellect. This is a great, great mystery, and to say that it goes unnoticed is something of a wonderstatement, as in, why?

Anyway, I find that one of the things Abhishiktananda (heretofore SA, because it takes too long to type) did was situate Christianity in a truly cosmic and even meta-cosmic --more on which later -- context. In order to do this, he occasionally borrowed a word or concept from Vedanta to illuminate a hidden aspect of Christianity.

Imagine a culture that has seven words for snow, while we have only one. Of course we will still have the seven varieties of snow, just not the names. But without the names, we probably won't see them. We will look but not truly apprehend them.

When it comes to Spirit, the important point is obviously to experience it, not necessarily to name it. But names can be of vital importance, especially for mapping, storage, and communication. (I am reminded of something Schuon said of Buddhism, to the effect that it was foolish to call it an atheistic religion, because it clearly has the thing, just not the word.)

SA found the Vedantic concept of akasha helpful, in that it refers to "both the infinite 'exterior' space and the infinite 'interior' space which really are one, both spheres being permeated by that same Spirit which fills not only the whole cosmos but equally the human heart."

Reader Will -- wherever he is -- often reminds us of the concept of the ether, which seems to have been tossed out when physics proved that there was no such thing on physical basis. But no one ever said (or should have said) that it was a property of physics. If anything, physics is a property of it -- which would be why, for example, the cosmos must be nonlocal, both in its interior and exterior, or subjective and objective, modes.

The second passage says that SA's "devotion to the person of Jesus never dimmed." Jesus was his sadguru, which means that he is the "guru of gurus," or the guru who makes guruhood possible.

To put it another way, all gurus are none other than Jesus, most especially the "guru of the heart" which is projected and crystalized in the form of the exterior guru. The purpose of the exterior guru is to allow us to "see" our own guru until such a time as we can identify Him within -- you know, in the Kingdom of Heaven (see Meister Eckhart for details).

A blasfumy point of odor: I'm writing this very rapidly, so I must gloss over many possible heretical (mis)understandings. Suffice it to say that those who are on the right track (or for whom this track is intended) will know what I mean, while those who aren't won't. No one ever said this path was for everyone.

The foreword goes on to say that in later years SA "came to see more vividly that in the Eucharist the entire cosmos is integrated, where both matter and human consciousness are brought together in union through the Spirit of God and the action of Jesus, who manifests God in his fullness."

Again: it is a cosmic religion, both horizontally and, more important, vertically. Indeed, one might say that the historical/horizontal aspect of Christianity derives its significance from the fact that it is a "prolongation" of what is going on vertically, i.e., trinity, love, communion, kenosis, etc. It's not an ether/or situation, but both/and. Or, as I put it in the book, it is earthereal.

To emphasize the horizontal in the absence of the vertical -- as do many "fundamentalists" -- is to indeed reduce Christianity to a worldly instead of cosmic religion. In a letter, SA wrote that "The simple man carves a piece of wood and bows down before it... The intelligent man forms a concept and does the same." Again, we want the thing not just the name.

Regarding that Thing, SA spoke in a letter of how "intellectual and social structures are so overlaid with what in the end is only a moment of history which men unfortunately absolutize." But for SA, the deepest vertical understanding reveals that "Christ is risen!" and "I AM" are "the twofold experience of a single mystery."

No one could suggest that this is in any way extra-Biblical, for "before Abraham was, I AM." This is one part of the Bible that you must take quite literally, that before -- which is to say, vertically anterior -- to everything is I AM THAT I AM," or "I AM HE WHO IS," or just I IS.

Thus, isness is, but not only externally. Rather, being itself is an interior I. And as we will later discuss, there can be no I in the absence of a Thou, as the two co-arise in eternity. "The individual only exists in his being-with" (SA). It is "The Father in relation to the Son -- to me -- to all. The Son in relation to me -- to all. Myself in relation to every conscious being," face-to-face in a sacred space.

You might say that Easter transforms the local me to the cosmic I, or allows it to take part in the I AM. In ether worlds, "The 'I' of the morning of Easter is of another order.... In the Resurrection there arises the spiritual I, of God, of Christ, of myself, of my brothers..."

In another rather ecstatic letter, SA wrote that "The mystery of Christ and of the Father is beyond words, more even than that of the atman.... You can only speak of it in parables, and the meaning of the parable is beyond the words used. No word could ever have given you the experience of the birth of the not-born."

One of SA's most important -- and possibly controversial -- points is that the Jesus mystery was deeply conditioned by the categories of Greek thought, through which it has been "filtered" down, so to speak, to us.

But for SA, "Christ is beyond all concepts." For example, what if he had appeared within the context of Vedantic categories of thought? (In the past, we have discussed how early Chinese Christians interpreted the Logos in terms of the Tao, which quite possibly makes even better nonsense of the reality behind the concept.) Or, more to the point, what if he appeared today (as indeed he must)? What categories of thought would we use to understand the message?

Bottom line: "People argue about Jesus -- it is easier than to let yourself be scorched by contact with him" (SA).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shattered and Scattered by Contact with the Real

One of my influences -- or maybe inspirations is a better word, since I don't cite his words that often -- is Swami Abhishiktananda, the former Henri LaSaux (1910-1973), a French Benedictine monk who entered the Abbey of Saint Anne de Kergonan in 1929 and remained there until 1948 (he was ordained a priest in 1935).

From his teens he felt an "irresistible call" to experience the immediate presence of God in a monastic setting. Unusual for a westerner at the time, he immersed himself in the mystical literature of the early fathers, but also took a shine to Indian scripture. Interestingly, he was particularly struck by some lines written by St. Gregory Nazianzen (zen... heh):

You who are beyond all, what other name befits you? [um, might I suggest O?]
No words suffice to hymn you. Alone you are ineffable.
Of all beings you are the End, you are One, you are all, you are none.
Yet not one thing, nor all things....
You alone are the Unnamable.

While on vacation recently, I reread this excellent biography of him, A Christian Pilgrim in India: The Spiritual Journey of Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux). For my own benefit, I'd like to reflect upon it in the usual spontaneous way, in the hope of making its truth a part of me -- i.e., of assimilating and metabolizing it.

So long as truth is external to you, it does not liberate. Rather, as we have mentioned before, it must become a part of your very substance, so that you in turn become the substance of truth. Or, if you prefer, it is one thing to awaken the primordial truth within oneself, another to get it to work and school.

By 1934, the future Abhishiktananda began to be troubled, if that's the right word, by a mysterious and persistent call to India. Eventually he was granted his wish in 1948 -- the year of India's independence -- and took up residence in a "Christian ashram" in Kulittalai, which I believe had exactly one other inhabitant, a Father Monchanin.

There the two men embarked on the task of seeking God in a Christian context but through Indian pneuma-technology, as it were. This was not any "syncretic exercise" a la the new age, but "an attempt to fathom the depths of Christianity with the aid of the traditional wisdom of India" found in the Vedanta (i.e., the Upanishads). Thus, monasticism would be the experiential bridge "between Indian spirituality and the Church..."

Despite his immersion in Indian metaphysics, Abhishiktananda never left his Benedictine order. To the contrary, he made every effort to fit the profound experiences that followed into a Christian context. At times this was an extraordinary struggle, but this is one of the things that makes him both so admirable and so fascinating. His was no mere intellectual synthesis (let alone indiscriminate mixture), but a spiritual struggle and eventual transformation within.

Thus, although he was an excellent writer, the real (non)action took place within his own being. It was truly a leap into the unknown -- and what else is faith, truly lived? He quite literally operated at the edge of the spiritually mapped out cosmos, which is why he is such a figure of interest to me. He lived at the very loquation where the known word shades off into the greater unKnown.

You might say that he was initially quite literally shattered by contact with Sri Ramana Maharshi in the early 1950s. Again, it is critical to point out that this was not something he sought, nor is it something that could have happened merely as a result of some ideological shift. Rather, it is something he spontaneously underwent and suffered -- what a Raccoon calls a genuine birthquake. After the birthday quake, it is up to us to pick up the crumbs and reassemble them. And, of course, to open the Presence.

This is how it was for Abhishiktananda. As he wrote in a letter, "the invisible halo of this Sage had been perceived by something in me deeper than any words. Unknown harmonies awoke in my heart.... it was as if the very soul of India penetrated to the depths of my own soul and held mysterious communion with it. It was a call which pierced through everything, rent it in pieces and opened a mighty abyss." (Of note, his worldly contact with Ramana Maharshi was quite superficial; this mostly took place at a distance. By no means was he any kind of formal disciple. His "sadguru" was always Christ.)

Again, how to reconcile this new and undeniable ontological fact with the Christianity he had practiced and deeply lived for the previous three decades? Reason was helpless before this mystery, against which "all rationalization is shattered": "He who receives this overwhelming Light is both petrified and torn apart; he is unable to speak or think anymore; he remains there, beyond time and space, alone in the very solitude of the alone. It is a fantastic experience, this sudden irruption of the fire and light...." (Abhishiktananda, quoted in Oldmeadow, as are all of the above).

Speaking of which, I too am unable to speak or think anymore. Gotta get to work. 2B continued, assuming any intererst....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Obama in 'O8! (and Forever)

Sunday morning, nothing else to do, I thought I'd dig down in the archive and begin the sisyphishin' expedition of trying to organize it. No deal. I gave up trying to roll that crock up the hill in under three seconds.

So next I read this insightful piece by Dinesh D'Souza on just what motivates D'O!bama. Then I thought to myself, I wonder when was the first time the name "Obama" was uttered on this blog?

Turns out that it was in early '08. No, I don't have any magical powers. It was just a case of using my 20/∞ cʘʘnvision to see into the shadowy future casting its darkness into the past for any gnocturnal b'atman to see. Let's face it, it doesn't take much to know more about Obama than Obama knows about America. So here's my first and last impression of him in '08:


Will brought up a very important point in a comment yesterday. It was in response to my questions, "What great world-historical events are invisible to the jaded elites of the present? What great vertical energies (↓) are entering the world today, undetected by a spiritually oblivious moonstream media?" Will's reflections on this are worth reproducing in full:

"There is a danger here, I think, given that this might be the age when 'Spirit pours out on all flesh,' i.e., the vertical energies actually do become, in a way, more visible, more tangible, even to the oblivious MSM.

"The danger is this: the influx of vertical energies for the most part cannot find suitable spiritual anchoring, do not result in a growth of spiritual insight and wisdom, but rather the vertical energies might be suborned by the horizontal in an entirely unwholesome way.

"An example: hypothetically speaking, let's say... oh, let's say, some political candidate who's running for... oh, let's say, for president of the United States... Let's say this candidate uses the influx of vertical energy in such a way that it does not invest him with any particular wisdom -- in fact, this candidate mouths and apparently believes in the same old amorphous lefty platitudes. Only... this candidate seems invested with a peculiar type of charisma that has citizens from coast to coast virtually swooning in some orgasmystical ecstasy... no one's higher intellect is sharpened, only their *feelings* are set on fire by this candidate in some peculiar way...

"Well, as was said re: the days when the Spirit pours out on all flesh, one must be very careful not to fall for false messiahs and whatnot... meanwhile, there are those who indeed are spiritually anchoring the vertical energy influx and are doing so invisibly and with a certain amount of travail, as is necessary at this time."


First of all, let's get this out of the way at the outset. Are we calling Obama the antichrist?

Yes, of course.

Nah, just kidding. Let's just say an unwitting vehicle of the antichristic principle, which anyone can be at one time or another. Please, let's be mature, and discuss this in terms of abstract cosmic principles, without getting polemical or personal. No need to demonize someone just because he's an instrument of satan. Besides, he's just the vehicle, not the driver. The surfer, not the wave.

Now, what do we mean by "antichrist?" I would say that, as Christ is Word-made-flesh, the realm of the antichristic would analogously represent the "lower principle" made flesh -- the instantiation, as it were, of the energies of the Fall.

So first of all, to go along with our analysis, one must believe that man is in some sense a fallen being with a built-in -- or at least inevitable -- dasein flaw. You certainly needn't be a fanatic about it, since this comports with common sense and with virtually infinite historical examples.

You have only to know that "something ain't right" with the earthlings, however you wish to conceptualize it. Being aware of this principle is one of our greatest inoculations against utopian leftist schemes to perfect mankind, which always result in unanticipated cosmic belowback, AKA "hell on earth."

Secondly, you would have to believe that it is possible for the energies responsible for the Fall to be personified -- or, let us say, both focused and dispersed like a beam of darkness through the concavity or convexations of man's heart. As Christ is a blinding light, antichrist would be, oh, a hollow darkness visible.

Thus, to those who live in spiritual darkness, it would appear as a false light -- as, say, a single match is brighter than the sun in an enclosed room, cut off from the real source of light. And the hollowness would be mistaken for fulness as a result of its receptiveness to primitive projection. Thus, a spiritually normal person sees Obama as unusually empty while others project all sorts of wonderful things into him -- intelligence, wisdom, sophistication, prudence, courage, temperance, etc.

The Serpent -- to paraphrase our best Unknown Friend -- sssymbolizes advanced intelligence ("the most cunning of the beasts") turned wholly toward the horizontal. Thus, it is a perversion of man's intellect, as it represents a self-sufficient naturalism and total (small r) realism that betrays -- literally, for it turns against it in rebellion -- the vertical source of human intelligence. As such, we would expect one aspect of the antichristic to be high intelligence combined with extraordinary vapidity, at least for those with spiritual discernment.

But this cannot merely be the philosophical vapidity of the doctrinaire atheist or scientistic materialist or ideological Darwinian, or it could never gain traction in the human heart, which always hungers for Spirit, even (or especially) if it is the false and meretricious kind (otherwise, Balthasar or Schuon would sell more books than Deepak or Marianne Williamson).

Rather, it would have to come cloaked in some sort of seductive or hypnotic faux verticality. It would indeed have to be charismatic and charming, bearing in mind the root meaning of former, which is "divine gift," and of the latter, which is "incantation" or "magic spell."

A spiritually normal person would be alarmed and even deeply creeped out if he possessed this kind of influence over others. At the very least, it would be an occasion for the deepest humility, combined with concern over the precarious state of the spiritually famished souls under his influence.

Most people, if they knew the implications, would not want this power, because they would know that they are neither worthy of it nor competent to deal with it, any more than they are competent to perform brain surgery. But a person with narcissistic issues will be too intoxicated by the feelings of adulation to care about the souls with whom he is toying. They are just props, part of his psychic furniture.

This power is a serious responsibility and is not to be taken lightly. The spiritually normal person knows that this charis is only on loan to him (or courses through him locally from a nonlocal source), and that he is not free to use it as he will. At the very least, one could not purposely lie to those who place their trust in you, let alone on the grand scale committed by Obama.

Rather, one is only free to use this power if it is aligned with its vertical source and with vertical principles, i.e., Truth, Love, Beauty, and Unity (not relativism, idiot compassion, aesthetic barbarism, and fractious pseudo-diversity).

There is something coming through the charismatic, not from him, and as soon as one realizes this, it is an occasion, yes, for gratitude, but also fear and trembling. It is analogous to the power to send men to die for their country, only on the vertical plane. It is the ability to inspire selfless martyrs, but for what purpose? Our satanic Islamist enemies are clearly selfless idealists under the influence of charismatic leaders. So what?

Our Unknown Friend asks the questions, "Can one produce artificially intellectual, moral or spiritual inspiration? Can the lungs produce the air which they need for respiration?" No, of course not: "the very process of breathing teaches the laws of obedience, poverty, and chastity, i.e. it is a lesson (by analogy) of grace. Conscious breathing in of the reality of grace is Christian Hatha-yoga. Christian Hatha-yoga is the vertical breathing of prayer and benediction -- or, in other words, one opens oneself to grace (↓) and receives it."

Unknown Friend goes on to say that the antichristic represents "the ideal of biological and historical evolution without grace." This is a key idea, for what is a progressive? A progressive is someone who believes fervently in progress while fanatically denying its possibility, since progress can only be measured in light of permanent truths and transcendent ideals. Absent the transcendent, there is only horizontal power.

The antichrist "is the ultimate product of this evolution without grace and is not an entity created by God," since divine creation is always a vertical act or descent. Yes, all things ultimately "come from God," in the same sense that all light comes from the sun, but think of all the infernal uses to which man may put the light, darkling! For the light falls on the righteous and tenured alike.

Now, in this absurcular dialectic, Obama is ultimately a creator of those who created him. Unknown friend writes that, just as there are spiritual beings who reveal themselves "from above," there are what he calls egregores, which are "engendered artificially [and collectively] from below."

Thus, "as powerful as they may be," they "have only an ephemeral existence," the duration of which "depends entirely on galvanising nourishment on the part of their creators." [As Obama's projected power begins to fade and the illusion is punctured, we'll see more and more of his former supporters publicly asking, "what was I thinking?" in empowering this intellectual cypher. The answer is, "you weren't. You were fantasizing." Of course, others -- the true believers -- will "dig in."]

As such, the really frightening thing about these kinds of amorphous demagogues is that they are given life and nourished by the rabble they nourish and to whom they give life, in a spiritually barren cycle. The result is either spiritual asphyxiation or starvation, or probably both. And starved and suffocating men are capable of anything. [So in terms of the future psychic weather, look for a kind of blinding "psychic frenzy" from the left, much of which will be carried out in the dark.]

Ultimately, the antichrist is the shadow of the totality of mankind, as Jesus was the immanent shadow, so to speak, of the transcendent Divine Principle. The antichrist represents all that man is, and can be in the absence of divine grace. It is he who transported Jesus to the highest earthly mountain "and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" and said to him All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.

The secular extremist or fanatical progressive worships his own creation, and in so doing, gives birth to the antiword. Materially, it results in a lefthound Tower of Babel (i.e, the all-powerful state), whereas spiritually it results in a gelatinous tower of leftist babble (i.e., the vacuous but seductive demagogue who will lead the people in the direction of their most base impulses and envious desires).

Again, please bear in mind that we are simply discussing abstract meta-cosmic principles. The events depicted in this post are fictitious. Any similarity to any biologically living or spiritually dead person is merely coincidental.