Friday, October 29, 2010

Bring. It. On.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Yes, as Ben the Wise has reminded us in a comment, all I said was "one provocative way of looking at it."

In other words, it's not like I was trying to be provocative or anything. Besides, it's Borella who is doing the provoking (with his idea that Protestantism leads inevitably to secular extremism), although I must admit that I do find his argument persuasive (especially in concert with some other more recent scholarship about the religious wars and the Reformation).

I might add that it's somewhat useless to enlist history as a defense of Protestant theology, not just because history cannot justify theology, but because history -- better yet, the past -- keeps changing. In other words, the meaning of the past is largely determined by the present -- which is why each generation must engage the past anew. (You know the crack by that Chinese premier -- Kissinger or somebody asked him what he thought of the French Revolution: "To soon to tell.")

Consider, for example, what the ascendency of Obama meant two years ago, versus what it means today. Which is why no one should get too excited about the coming Republican tsunami, since it will undoubtedly mean something (disappointingly) different two years hence. It is in the nature of waves to begin their withdrawal precisely at high tide.

History is also full of irony -- of good things leading to bad and bad to good, or felix catastrophes. For example, it might be argued that the two most important events in history were the Incarnation and the creation of America. But would the latter have been possible absent the Reformation?

In fact, if I'm not mistaken, at the time, the Vatican still regarded monarchy as the most natural and superior form of government. And of course they had a point, if one compares the latter to the French Revolution, which was and remains the template for most subsequent revolutions, which is to say, the rule of the mob, AKA democracy (which was once a pejorative).

So is a little secularism -- a human sphere independent of religion -- a good thing? Yes, obviously. But can it go too far? Yes, obviously.

Which is something that secularists cannot see and do not recognize -- which is precisely why they are extremists. They imagine that their extreme position is the center, when it is clearly at the periphery, not just politically, but ontologically. Thus their utter failure to understand American conservatism, which is intrinsically balanced between secular and religious, or terrestrial and celestial, concerns.

And "balance" is probably not the most apt word, since it is much more of a dynamic and evolving (because dynamic) reciprocity or complementarity. It is a complementarity between freedom and restraint, rights and responsibilities, individual and collective, the anabolic preservation of tradition and the catabolic destruction of the free market, etc.

Anyway, back to Borella's thesis. Again, his concern is that Protestantism, by rendering the world both irrelevant and unintelligible, eventually opens the way for scientism to fill the breach left open by the complete absence of any integral theology, a la Thomas. Rather, it literally tosses aside some 1500 years of sublime meditation on the Nature of Things, and reverts to the theological barbarism of blind faith, which eventually becomes the sole feeble defense against modernity. But it didn't work and it won't work.

One reason it won't work is that it presents no coherently unified front against the comparatively integral worldview of scientism. Rather, it's not just that the Reformation fractured the Christian world in two, but into hundreds, thousands, millions, and maybe even billions of pieces, so long as we take literally the idea that "every man is his own priest." If this is the case, then there is no authoritative dogma and really no objective Truth to be had.

Indeed, this is one of Borella's points, that the Reformation inevitably leads to subjectivism, relativism and therefore skepticism, for if truth is in the eye of the individual believer, then there is really no truth at all.

Yes, thanks to the Reformation, everyone could now interpret the Bible for himself, but so what? How often do you meet someone who can quote you chapter and verse, but really has no idea what he's talking about?

I would say that this is the rule, not the exception. Few people have an integral understanding of the totality of scripture, in both its vertical and horizontal dimensions. Once the Bible means anything to everyone, the door is open to the religious demagogues and hustlers who plague us to this day, with no central authority to shame them into silence.

It would never even occur to me to try to do this myself, starting from scratch, in a single lifetime. What breathtaking presumption! Again, SPEAKING ONLY FOR MYSELF, I can't imagine life without the stream of commentary, from the early Fathers to Denys to Maximus Confessor to Thomas Aquinas to Meister Eckhart, et al (not to mention the Jewish sages).

It seems criminal -- or criminally irresponsible -- to toss all of this aside as irrelevant so long as one simply has "faith." If it works for you, that's perfectly fine, but my concern is getting more people on board the cosmic bus, especially the secularists who might embrace the Message if it were presented in a way that doesn't strike them as stupid and/or insane. Most people need keys to unlock the Mystery. Just consider yourself particularly gifted if you are able to jump start your divine vehicle without them. I certainly couldn't.

Was the Church less than perfect in Luther's time? It was and always will be (and remember, I'm not speaking as a Catholic, just some guy). But one must balance this against the unholy hell that was unleashed with the Reformation, which, in my opinion, was much more about ethnicity and tribal hatred than it was theology.

I mean, really. People might say they're trying to brutalize each other over some subtle point of theology, but the psychologist in me regards this as pure pretext for the unleashing of the most barbarously savage impulses that the Church had miraculously kept in check up to that point. Many more people died in a year or two -- I don't have time to look up the exact figures, but probably even a good week -- of the religious wars than in the entire Inquisition.

But Luther insisted that there was no way to settle this dispute with words, only "by the sword": "to attack in arms these masters of perdition, these cardinals, these popes, and all this sink of the Roman Sodom" and to "wash our hands in their blood." But... wasn't Christ's blood sufficient?

And while science continued to develop from its Catholic roots in Protestant countries, this is no thanks to Luther, who "was an avowed enemy of reason" who "repudiated the tradition of natural law" -- not to mention the philosophy of Aristotle, whom he regarded as a "heathen and plague." If this intemperate man speaks for Jesus, how could such extremism not give a temperate man the Jesus Willies?

But as I said, this is not about me and especially not you, only about Borella and his ideas. But unfortunately, I'm now out of time, having blathered on for too long. In any event, I hope it goes without saying that no one is obligated to agree with me, and that contrary views are most welcome.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Staying Open For Isness

As we mentioned a few posts back, one provocative way of looking at It is to say that the Protestant rebellion led directly to the disaster of the secular left. This is one of Borella's central points in his Sense of the Supernatural.

The book description says that for the last three centuries -- or ever since the scientific revolution -- "Christian philosophers and theologians tried to preserve God's transcendence by denying any continuity between the natural and the supernatural. In so doing they inadvertently played into the hands of those who wanted to push God to the margins, or even to deny him altogether. The result was to lay the foundations of modernism, as well as secular humanism."

If I am not mistaken, this was Kant's main concern -- that science would eclipse faith -- so he "resolved" the problem by suggesting that science not only dealt with phenomena or appearances (or maya), but that these phenomena had no intrinsic reality. Rather, they were only representations of the nervous system. Thus, he severed the link between mind and reality, since all we could ever really know were species-bound forms of our own sensibility. (One again thinks of Escher's drawing of the hand drawing the hand drawing itself.)

Reality, the noumena, the thing-in-itself, becomes an absolutely closed book. The result is, in Whitehead's words -- to be honest, I just wasted about fifteen minutes unsuccessfully attempting to track down the exact quote -- something to the effect of an epistemology with a cloud on one side and a dream on the other. Science deals with the dream, while religion deals with the cloud.

Thanks, Manny! Way to save religion!

The whole point of religion is that it discloses transcendent and perennial truths. Indeed, I would call it the science of the noumenon (and note that noumenon cannot be plural, or "noumena," as Kant implied).

In contrast, science does indeed describe phenomena, except that the phenomena are properties of real objects, not just the dream-forms of our nervous system.

This is completely consistent with both the Judeo-Christian tradition and with Vedanta, the latter of which is often mischaracterized as a metaphysic that doesn't regard the world as "real." Undoubtedly there are vulgar forms of Vedanta that do this, just as there are vulgar forms of Christianity that deny free will and horizontal causation.

But the whole point of the maya principle is that the world is real, just not ultimately real. Rather, it is a prolongation, or "projection," so to speak, of the deeper/higher reality. To think of maya as "pure illusion" would be to make Kant's mistake, and sever the world from its source and Principle.

Kant was of course preceded by Luther, who severed reason and faith, and therefore knowledge and will, through his theory of justification by faith alone.

Thus, if faith is a matter of will, it doesn't matter if you don't understand what you are willing yourself to believe, so long as you believe it. This absurd doctrine has been the source of the Jesus Willies in more than a few intelligent people, who are not enthusiastic about the idea of ignoring and devaluing the brains God gave them.

Luther's metaphysic completely eliminates the (↑) from the (↓↑). But in so doing, he really eliminates real grace altogether, which is actually a circular (or spiraling) process, as described yesterday. In the last analysis, our aspiration is God's inspiration, so that even faith is (obviously) a gift of the Spirit, and our own perfection of that gift is itself another gift.

As Borella describes it, without the divine assistance of grace (↓), "no one can raise the natural powers of the soul to the supernatural level of a true and consistent adherence to faith. This grace assists the intellect in the act by which it grasps revealed truths, and assists the will in the act by which it desires that to which the intellect applies itself."

Again, it is circular, so to participate in it is to participate in the life of a kind of trinitarian circle of emanation and return, or "flowing forth" and "flowing back." It is not just a static assent to the statistically improbable or frankly absurd.

Therefore, through participation in this virtuous circle of (↓↑), "habitual grace effects a real change in our soul, a change by which our very being is opened up to the awareness of supernatural realities." The effect of grace is to actualize and give form to "the soul's capacity to be receptive to the spiritual or supernatural," or what I symbolize (o).

It seems almost silly to have to point out that it's not either/or, i.e., damned or saved, as believed by so many evangelicals. Rather, it is a path, a journey, a Way.

Yes, we are fallen, but our essence nevertheless remains supernatural in a multitude of ways, both subtle and obvious. "And unless the believer experiences within his being, by virtue of a truly spiritual instinct, a kind of connaturality with the world of faith, how can this [higher] world be other than totally alien?"

This is an excellent question, for it goes to Luther's idea that we must simply assent to an absurdity that we do not understand, as opposed to cultivating our deep intuition that the higher world is our proper home.

"But God cannot refuse to enlighten the heart which is open to grace, that is, to grant to a human being some minimum of intelligibility in the act of faith, lacking which no progress of belief, either in thought or will, would have any meaning.

"Be that as it may, this initial grace [↓] of the sense of the supernatural is only granted to the extent that an individual's heart is open [o] and receptive [---]. And therefore it can be lost, either in part or totally, in proportion to the degree that the human heart closes and hardens" (Borella; pneumaticons added by El Bob Gagdad).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Circumnavelgazing the Whole Existentialada

Very little time this morning. A total speed post, presented to you with warts & all....

Schuon provides another way of looking at the inspiration-aspiration -- or pneumacosmic metabolism -- we like to call (↓↑). He says that "the 'life' of the Infinite is not only centrifugal; it is also centripetal: it is alternately or simultaneously -- depending on the relationships considered -- Radiation and Reintegration."

Imagine a beating heart at the vertical center or origin of it all, circulating blood and zapping every last slaphappy capillary before lapping around back again.

Or, just as the physical laws of the cosmos somehow hold throughout, so too does the spiritual Law. There is no place one can be and be absent from this Law and this circulation. If it were to stop, even for a moment, we would instantaneously become like frozen rock or dry granules of desiccated clay. This circulating energy is the juice that holds us together at every level. It is the Oneness that sponsors our own psychospiritual wholeness and unity.

Schuon speaks of the reintegration or "'return' of forms and accidents into the Essence." Aurobindo calls it involution-evolution, while in Christianity it is called...

Well, it is called different things, but Eckhart refers to "the dynamic reciprocity of the 'flowing forth' of all things from the hidden ground of God, and the 'flowing back,' or 'breaking through,' of the universe into essential identity with this divine source" (McGinn).

Or, in the orthoparadoxical words of the Meistro himself, "I have often said, God's going-out is his going-in."

Eckhart called this the exitus-reditus (or emanation and return), emphasizing the idea these two necessarily go together. God cannot but help overflowing his own energies, so to speak, but where can they go except "in God?"

It's like the blood that pumps from your heart. Looked at one way, the blood travels "away" from the heart. But looked at more holistically, there is really no line between the heart and its most distant artery.

Eckhart sees the exitus-reditus "as the fundamental law of reality taught by the Bible." Again, God's "bursting forth" is our "breaking through" -- which are ultimately the same thing, hence Eckhart's wise crack about how the eye with which I see God is the very same eye with which he sees me.

Thus there are "two graces" (or a single grace viewed from two ontological vertices): "The first grace consists in a type of flowing out, a departure from God; the second consists in a type of flowing back, a return to God himself."

Thus, we can only return to God because God has "left God," so to speak, hence the significance of the total kenosis, or divine self-abandonment, of the Incarnation. What is that but the ultimate going out for the purpose of the ultimate return and reintegration?

Eckhart: "The first break-out and the first melting-forth is where God liquifies and where he melts into his Son and where the Son melts back into the Father."

Note that the exit is "outward," the return "inward." Or say expiration and inspiration, from down-and-out to up-and-in.

Back to Schuon. Of the Radiation and Reintegration discussed above, he says that it is as if the Absolute, "by overflowing, so to speak, prolongs itself and creates the world."

Thus, the Absolute is simultaneously static and dynamic; or, static at one level, dynamic at another; it is in time while always being above time.

Looked at this way. God only "becomes" God (for us) by entering the exitus-reditus stream. Prior to that -- vertically prior -- is the apophatic God beyond our comprehension.

You might say that by flowing from eternity into time, God "becomes." Conversely, he "unbecomes" upon the mystic's breakthrough "to the silent unmoving Godhead, [a breakthrough] that brings all creatures back into the hidden source..." (McGinn). Really, it's what the whole cosmos has been waiting for (cf. Romans 8:22).

All the Rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, there they return again. --Eccl 1:7

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. --Rev 22:1

He who believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. --John 7:38

Monday, October 25, 2010

Swaddled in Ideology, Enclosed in the Arms of Death

It seems that people routinely conflate dogma and ideology, but religion is -- or should be -- the opposite of ideology, since the latter encloses, while religion dilates and liberates. Furthermore, the most sublime religious philosophy eventually yields to the unitive experience of divine communion which is its source (cf. Thomas Aquinas).

Ideology can only pretend to be disinterested and "intellectual," hence the secret danger that it actually enlists -- and parasitizes -- much more of us than we realize. First we give it life, then it takes from us, like Obamacare.

Man wishes to know (and is made know), and he wants to know totally and with certainty -- which requires knowing with his entire being. Our deepest desire is to give ourselves over totally to something that transcends us; no one actually wants to be an atheist or skeptic, which is why atheism so quickly turns into a faux religion. An atheist is an atheist because he loves truth, however fragmentary and dimly perceived.

When Bertrand Russell was jailed during World War I for some sort of civil disobedience, the jailer asked him his religion. "Agnostic," he said. Unfamiliar with the term, the jailer said, "I guess it's all right. We all worship the same God, don't we?"

Of course the anecdote is told for the purpose of ridiculing the jailer's naiveté and Russell's subtlety, when from the higher perspective, the roles are ironically reversed. Russell is the naive one.

For as Schuon writes, the rationalist merely "calls 'reason' his lack of imagination and knowledge, and his ignorances are for him the 'data' of reason." When the unimaginative mentality grinds away at ignorance, the result is the kind of highflown philosophistry Russell spent his life producing and defending.

Yes, it is sophistry but it is equally philo, again, because man is made to sincerely love truth. As Schuon writes, "to be sincere is to draw from the Truth the maximal consequences from the point of view of both intelligence and will."

Indeed, this is why intellectual leftism and the willfulness of activism go hand in hand. It is not enough for the leftist to love his self-styled truth; rather, he feels an inner compulsion to impose it upon others. Why do you think the trolls feel compelled to come here and educate us? It is a good impulse turned bad as a result of a passionate attachment to the Lie. In short, it is a perversion.

Sincerity is "to think and will with the heart, hence with our entire being, with all we are" (Schuon). Again, man does not wish to live in a fragmented state in which he is alienated from God, self and world. No one wants to be Bill Maher; rather, one has no perceived choice but to be Bill Maher. One is enclosed in Bill Maher, with no apparent exit. It would take a bigger man than Bill Maher to not be so bitter about his total bedickament.

Both types of fundamentalist -- religious and secular -- end up enclosing "the intelligence and sensibility within the phenomenal order" (Schuon). This is a quite critical point, for metaphysics (and therefore total truth) is not, and cannot be, derived from the phenomenal realm.

Rather, the converse: the phenomenal realm, the manifestation, is a function of the principial realm. Here again, this is why secular ideology must enclose, for it reverses the ontological situation and contains man in what he properly contains.

In other words, in the ultimate sense, the soul is not in the cosmos; rather, the cosmos is in the soul. Which is to say, the soul contains the cosmos. If this were not the case, we couldn't have transcendent and universal knowledge of the cosmos.

But the scientistic ideologue makes the elementary error of forgetting his own transcendence and sealing himself up in his own imagination, like, I don't know, like this picture worth a thousand posts:

In fact, you often hear atheist sophisticates say that they have no problem with injunctions against murder and theft, but what's the deal with the graven images? This is the deal with graven images, that they can become a self-dug grave for the imagination if one forgets that they are only images.

Again, ideology suffocates, spirit in-spires. Ideology suffocates because it does not breathe in the Real: "in the human microcosm, the descent is inspiration and the ascent is aspiration; the descent is divine grace whereas the ascent is human effort, the content of which is the 'remembrance of God'" (Schuon).

In short, it is the psychospiritual metabolism represented by (↓↑). Now, imagine life in the absence of this metabolism. What would happen? Well, on the spiritual plane, approximately the same thing that happens to a person with kidney failure denied dialysis. There is an accumulation of toxins, which in turn leads to damage to the organism.

In the mind denied its proper metabolism, the toxic build-up must be dealt with in another manner. For example, I'm thinking of when I was diagnosed with diabetes a few years back. You know you have diabetes when you can't get enough water and you can't stop peeing. What is happening is that your body is defaulting to "plan B" to get rid of all the excess sugar, i.e., urination.

What is plan B for the intoxicated mind? Let us count the ways: denial, splitting, projection, projective identification, acting out, infantile omniscience, envy, devaluation, contempt. Or, just say "left."

In the book, we symbolize it •••()•••, which alludes to the fact that the mind remains open (as it must in order to survive), only on a horizontal level, with demons outside instead of below.

And as I mentioned above, it is not just leftists and radical secularists who engage in this, but religious flatlanders as well. Just two sides of the same counterfeit coin of the realm.

Out of time....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Thought I Saw My Government Running Away With My Heart

This post is from almost exactly two years ago, the day Obama won the presidency:

We come now to Letter XI, The Force. This is a timely symbol for the events of the day, as the force of the left ascends on the political wheel of fortune. However, we can draw coonsolation from the fact that, being that leftism is an entirely closed intellectual and spiritual system, it is already "on the way down," outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. In short, its end is in its beginning, as the poet said. The higher it ascends in its intoxicated reach for power, the further it will fall. The concrete fact of Obama shall soon enough kill the vaporous idea of Obama.

This passage by UF is perfectly apt today: "Plato has never had success as a revolutionary and never will do so. But Plato himself will always live throughout the centuries of human history... and will be in each century the companion of the young and old who love pure thought, seeking only the light which it comprises." In other words, you can never really have a "revolution" of people oriented to the white point of wisdom discussed in yesterday's post.

For one thing, it is an individual endeavor, not the sort of thing that could ever occur on a mass scale. And the left is a mass movement, which automatically condemns it to mediocrity and banality. It is led by a conformist herd of elites who imagine themselves superior, but nothing could be more foolish-- and self-contradictory -- than the idea of "mass excellence."

In contrast to Plato, Karl Marx has enjoyed over a century "of astonishing success and has revolutionized the world. He has swept away millions -- those who went to the barricades and trenches in civil wars, and those who went to the prisons, either as jailers or as prisoners."

Really, can you name another philosopher who has enjoyed such a literally smashing success in such a short span of time? But you -- yes, you there -- "as a solitary human soul, a soul of depth and sobriety, what do you owe Karl Marx?"

I don't know yet. Ask me next April 15th.

The point is, "Plato illumines, whilst Marx sweeps away." Obviously, it is impossible to imagine a person of any spiritual stature getting caught up in the Obama hysteria. But it is equally impossible to imagine such a person being caught up in any kind of political hysteria. It is one of the reasons we can never match the diabolical energy of the left. Since the leftist is condemned to the horizontal world, he channels his spiritual energy into politics. As I wrote a couple of years ago,

"Regardless of what happens Tuesday, it shouldn’t greatly affect the spiritual equilibrium of the Superior Man, whose invisible combat will continue as usual. Indeed, this is what distinguishes us from the agitated multitude of horizontal men who locate their salvation in politics. Whatever the outcome, our lives will continue to center around our own perfection and salvation, not for narcissistic reasons, but for the simple reason that it is not possible to save others unless we have first saved ourselves. Needless to say, horizontal Republicans will not save us from horizontal Democrats.

"The project of the left is to make us all useful to the collective, when the only possible justification for the collective can lie in its usefulness to the individual -- again, not in a horizontal, egotistical sense, but in a vertical sense. Assuming that life has a transcendent purpose -- and you cannot be human and not make this assumption -- then the purpose of society should be to help human beings achieve this purpose -- i.e., to be useful to the Creator."

Hmm, I see that the B'ob foretold the cult of Obama:

"Horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine authority. Taken to its logical extreme, this manifests as the demagogue, the cult of personality, or the dictator-god who expresses the vitalistic will of the people. But all forms of leftism lie on this continuum. So much of the pandering of the left is merely totalitarianism in disguise -- a false absolute and a counterfeit vertical."

And there is no one so inflated with narcissistic hubris as the leftist social engineer who will save mankind from its own self-inflicted wounds. The leftist can give man everything but what he most needs, and in so doing, destroys the possibility of man. As Eliot said, he dreams of a system so perfect it will be unnecessary for anyone to be good.

Likewise, "the moment we talk about 'social conscience,' and forget about conscience, we are in moral danger." Eliminate the idea of moral struggle, and "you must expect human beings to become more and more vaporous" (Eliot). Since man is placed at the crossroads where he is free to choose between good and evil, this again eliminates man. You might say that for the leftist dreamer, man is strictly unnecessary. In fact, he just gets in the way. Humanity is reduced to "a manageable herd rather than a community of souls" (Lockerd) -- a transtemporal community which naturally includes the dead and unborn.

For horizontality goes hand in hand with exteriority and outwardness, which is the initial direction of the fall: first out, then down. Gravity takes care of the rest. Horizontal man is down and out, whereas our salvolution lies up and in. Animals are almost entirely exterior. Like the leftist, they do not actually live in the world, but in the closed system of their own neurology. Only man -- inexplicably and miraculously on any scientistic grounds -- can exit the closed system of his own neuro-ideology and enter higher worlds, worlds of truth, beauty, and moral goodness.

To be in contact with these higher worlds is to be Man. To neglect or deny these anterior worlds is to destroy man, precisely. It is to starve and suffocate man’s spirit by laying waste to his proper environment, the only environment in which he can actually flourish and grow into full manhood. You cannot replace the holy grail of Spirit with the lowly gruel of flatland materialism and expect it to feed the multitudes. Human beings do not draw their spiritual nourishment from outside but from above -- which in turn “spiritualizes” and sacralizes the horizontal.

Being what he is -- and isn’t -- horizontal man externalizes concerns about his self-inflicted soul murder, and obsesses over the future of "the planet" -- over speculative weather reports one hundred years hence.

But right now there is a hell and there is a hand basket, because we can clearly see both with our own third eyes. Furthermore, we can see exactly who is running with baskets in both hands. Look, it's Nancy Pelosi! Harry Reid! Barney Frank!

Again, vertical man never obsesses, let alone enters the state of perpetual hysteria of leftist man. As Eliot wrote, "we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph." Nevertheless, vertical man naturally frets about the deteriorating conditions of the interior of the human world, and its seemingly unimpeded slide into barbarism, spiritual exhaustion, scientistic magic, neo-paganism, self-worship, the cult of the body, abstract materialism, and a vapid and rudderless subjectivism.

Such lost souls cannot discern the signs of the times, much less the direction of history. For them, history can be nothing more than a meaningless tale told by a tenured idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying a nice paycheck and adoring coeds. Horizontal man scoffs at spiritual reality on the peculiar grounds that it cannot exist, denying its presence with that which affirms it by virtue of its self-evident existence.

It is a truism that vertical man paradoxically lives very close to the ground, as he has internalized the cautionary tales of Eden, of Icarus, of Babel, and of various episodes of the Honeymooners. In contrast, horizontal man seizes what does not properly belong to him, not just recapitulating the fall but enshrining it in his ideology. It's no longer a bug but a feature.

But when you cast your vote for horizontal man, you are unwittingly chipping away at the foundation of the very tower in which horizontal man is privileged to sit despite his metaphysical ignorance. For in reality, we only have the luxury of superfluous and slumbering horizontal men because of the vertical men -- real men -- who came before and built the tower brick by brick (except for the cornerstone, which was not made by human hands).

Thus we can see our own possible future by casting our gaze at Europe, which is too high and top-heavy for its own long-forgotten foundations, and is well into the process of toppling into dust. For when horizontal man falls, he doesn’t actually fall far, only back down to the ground where vertical man awaits him.

Yes, we are exiled in time, but for vertical man, time does not alter the basic existential situation which religion is here to address. It is believed by our intellectually sterile and spiritually desiccated elites that religion is no longer relevant. In so believing, they underscore their own irrelevance, for to paraphrase Schuon, they blame Truth for their own lack of qualification to understand and accept it. Suffice it to say that to be eternally young is to forever grow -- only inward and upward, toward the primordial light that has already defeated horizontal darkness, today and forever.

So render unto the horizontal the things that belong to the horizontal, but do not store your treasures there, where myths corrupt and chickens doth come home to roost. As always, be as wise as the horizontal serpents who stand on their bellies, but innocent as vertical doves who kneel on wings.

A secularist culture can only exist, so to speak, in the dark. It is a prison in which the human spirit confines itself when it is shut out of the wider world of reality. But as soon as the light comes, all the elaborate mechanism that has been constructed for living in the dark becomes useless. The recovery of spiritual vision gives man back his spiritual freedom. --Russell Kirk