Monday, December 13, 2010

I AM, the Center and Origin of the Cosmos

We shall now discuss the resonance (≈) between the fourth day/act of creation and the fourth sign/miracle recorded in the gospel of John. This is appropriate, because this miracle has to do with the cosmic center, and the four is midway between the one and seven. Let's start with a passage from last Saturday's post:

"The self -- at least a healthy self -- does not merely spin around an interior axis. Rather, aided by 'the light of Reason' (understood in its integral, not merely rationalistic sense) and by transcendent ideals, this center of subjectivity can undergo increased order and centration, and evolve in the direction of one's highest aspiration, toward the true cosmic center of which we are a distant reflection -- we are the 'center at the periphery,' as Schuon has called it, the true center being the nonlocal, space-pervading spirit of I AM."

This reminds me of another observation of Schuon, that "traditional peoples in general" are "dominated by two key-ideas, the idea of the Center and the idea of the Origin." Center is to space as Origin is to time; thus, "every value is related in some way to a sacred Center, which is the place where Heaven has touched the earth," just as every moment is related to "the quasi-timeless moment when Heaven was near and terrestrial things were still half-celestial."

I would use the present tense, and say that there is a "place" -- here -- and a "time" -- now -- in which O is present, pouring down and into time and space.

Now, most garden-variety intellectuals are more or less "weightless," in part because their ideas are rooted in nothing more solid than their own airy abstractions (and usually abstractions that aren't even their own, just the presuppositions of academia). Genuine human maturity occurs when our minds become anchored in the Real. To approach Truth is to converge upon the Center without which Truth could not be (likewise beauty and virtue).

In fact, since so many modern intellectuals are uncomfortable swimming in the whole nocean of God, this is one of the reasons I employ the abstract symbol O to stand for the ultimate ground of our being, a ground which may (only) be known subjectively (i.e., you'll have to get wet).

Unless one's being abides in O, one cannot ultimately "think straight" about reality, much less be a true leader of men (who will spontaneously follow such a straightman). Thus, one must cleave to O with all one's heart, mind, and strength -- or in sentiment, thought, and will.

One can scarcely imagine Jesus thinking or speaking outside O. In other words, he speaks from the Center because he is the Center (and Origin: In the beginning was the Word or before Abraham was, I AM). His being -- or essence -- precedes his existence. (Leftism is the inverse of this, in that essence is determined by race, or class, or gender, or sexual orientation, etc.)

This is why pseudo-theologians who claim that Jesus was just another teacher are so wildly off base. In everything Jesus says and does, regardless of the specific content, the even deeper message is the "ontological weight" he radiates from the center out.

Indeed, this is the first thing people notice about him, both followers and detractors. Just as in the physical world, gravity is a function of mass, and the mass of Jesus' newclear center -- at once centripetal and centrifugal -- draws people (and trouble) to him like ants to a picnic.

The three wise men of the east are drawn to that Center, just as Herod senses the presence of an alternate center of power, and schemes to literally murder it in the crib before it can grow in influence.

John the Baptist also immediately recognizes the Center -- which stands as a general lesson for all of us. Spiritual development is predicated on being able to re-cognize the Center when in its presence. Although all human beings are born with this native ability, for any number of developmental reasons we can lose contact with it, thus spinning out of orbit -- or, perhaps even worse, spend our lives orbiting a false center.

The Center can only communicate "Center to center," so to the extent that one has lost or failed to develop it, it will be a case of "God's lights are on but nobody's om."

One must cultivate this center in order to sense the "real presence" (or presence of the Real), otherwise one remains exiled in the teenage wasteland of mere ideas -- which is really not all that more solid and enduring than the world of fleeting desires or impulses. The overwhelming majority of ideas does not -- and certainly should not -- survive the birdbrain who hatched them. It would have been better if most ideas had not even been conceived at all. They'll eventually be aborted anyway.

I am reminded of a scene from an animated film I just watched with the Boy, Spirited Away. Long story short, the protagonist finds herself in the spiritual world, where she is beginning to grow "transparent" on the way to vanishing altogether. The hero insists that she must eat something from this world in order to prevent disappearing. He places something in her mouth which very much evokes the idea of communion, which is nothing less than ingesting food from the Source (and this is a Japanese film, so the idea must be universal).

In any event, John the Baptist immediately recognizes the Center (Matt 4:14). Note as well that even God himself is then drawn to this Center (so to Speak), another profound lesson to meditate upon: And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matt 4:17).

But before you get all excited, note that the very next sentence once again indicates that hostile cosmic forces are simultaneously drawn to the scene of the climb (Matt 4:1). Jesus spends the subsequent forty days in the bewilderness, where he is tempted by the devil -- whom you might say is the cosmic periphery, or "dispersal," personified. He attempts to draw Jesus out of the Center and into "the world," but unsuccessfully.

Thus there is always a hostile, countervailing force that attempts to draw the Center outside of itself -- which indeed is the quintessence of all temptation and of all sin, which involves a vain dissipation of our psychic substance. With no center of gravity or groove of centrality, we have no defense, no way to "repel" the worldly forces that perpetually draw us down and out of ourselves. We "fall" when there is nothing there to hold us fast to the Center.

Conversely, if we abide in the Center, temptations eventually fall away of their own accord. Another way of saying this is that our "force" becomes stronger than the world's force.

After Jesus successfully repels the temptations of Ø by abiding in O, behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matt 4:11). In other words, benign vertical forces are drawn in, which only happens all the timeless.

After that come the first two disciples, who clearly sense the ontological weight of the Center, to such an extent that they immediately drop what they're doing and follow him (Matt 4:20) -- although pulled into him is probably more like it. And then a multitude is drawn in (Matt 4:23). And so on. For the Christian, Jesus represents the trans-cosmic "Center made flesh," so to speak. Today, the center continues to pull history in its Wake. Finnagain!

Jesus eventually draws everyone and everything in, but that's a story for another posterior, a memoir of the future. Suffice it to say that the I AM of the cosmic Center is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Rev 22:13).

The existence of God does not have to be proven to the man who knows this Center, either in himself or in another, any more than the existence of sight needs to be proven to the one who sees. For we have an innate sense of the sacred, which is a direct reflection of the Center within us.

In other worlds, the ultimate reality radiates from the cosmic Center and reaches us in the depths of our center, which is to say, the heart, which represents the higher (third) union of thought and emotion. This is the mystery of God's immanence, "which makes us capable of knowing all that is knowable, and which for that very reason makes us immortal" (Schuon).

But first you must learn how to be an unknow-it-all, for He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30), until our center is at the Center (ʘ). With no length or width, it is everywhere and everywhen and everywho and everywhy (i.e., the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stars & the Apeman and Sun for the Moonbats

Bonus Saturday post, picking up from yesterday:

All of us are of the stars, but some of us are looking at the gutter. --Petey

Tomberg writes that the fourth day of creation -- which gives us the various heavenly bodies that populate the upper vertical -- implies "an all-embracing world rhythm" which affects all beings, and which unites them in a transcendent cosmic community.

It truly is one cosmos, in that everything interpenetrates and is connected to everything else. Nothing is radically separate, even though everything is distinct. Nothing whatsoever could be if it did not orthoparadoxically share both of these features, distinction and unity. Like the human body, the cosmos is not just one and many, but one because many, and vice versa. Everything is brought to us by our nonlocal sponsor, the One.

Tomberg compares this to the mystery of human subjectivity, the main feature of which is transcendent unity and wholeness -- science knows not how -- despite being "constituted," so to speak, of numberless impulses, memories, plans, whims, fantasies, dreams, desires, moods, etc. -- not to mention billions of individual neuronal connections. Despite the infinite complexity, subjectivity "orders itself around a central point -- the self -- which represents the center of gravity of soul life, i.e., the permanency of the identity of the personality."

Thus, the human being is always one and many, which is fine, so long as there is a preponderance of coherence around the one. When the self becomes too dis-integrated, and parts begin to spin off into their own orbits with their own centers of influence, that is when psychotherapy (or something analogous) is indicated. We should always be on the way toward integration and unity, even if we can never arrive there this side of the manifestivus.

The self -- at least a healthy self -- does not merely spin around an interior axis. Rather, aided by "the light of Reason" (understood in its integral, not merely rationalistic sense) and by transcendent ideals, this center of subjectivity can undergo increased order and evolve in the direction of one's highest aspiration, toward the true cosmic center of which we are a distant and middling relativity -- we are the "center at the periphery," as Schuon has called it, the true center being the nonlocal, space-pervading spirit of I AM.

Speaking of the rhythm of being -- days, seasons, years, etc. -- for Schuon, all natural phenomena are here to convey deeper lessons to us. Thus, for example, our lives are not just divided into day and night, but into seasons: the childhood spring of "formation and learning"; the mature summer of "actual and effective realization"; the late-middle age autumn of "consolidation, reparation, and the directing of others"; and the old age winter of "detachment and transcendence."

Alternatively, one could say that childhood is "the paradise of innocence," youth "the time of the passions," maturity "the time of work," and old age "that of sadness" -- at least for the horizontal man. For the vertical man, "the opposite takes place: age is an ascent towards another world." Extremes meet, as paradise comes into view (hence the resonance between grandparents and grandchildren, who are on the same page, i.e., pages 266→007 of the cosmic maryOground).

For Tomberg, the fourth day of creation is ultimately the divine-cosmic archetype of holy communion, or the vertical recollection of the a priori unity that embraces and subtends all beings in the world.

As such, the fourth miracle of John -- the feeding of the 5,000 -- "is the corresponding healing work of the Word-made-flesh." For as the central sun "nourishes" and unifies all beings, so too Jesus ("sitting on a mountain") functions as the "nourishment-giving center" for the multitude below. It is as if he "speeds up" the time it takes for the sun to produce bread -- planting, sprouting, growth, ripening, harvesting, etc. -- multiplying it in the same way the sun multiplies the small amount of wheat or corn that is planted (all life involves transformations of the same energy emanating from the central sun).

Interestingly, Jesus does not distribute the bread and fish directly, but through the mediating principle or "reflected light" of the disciples. Tomberg suggests that this is a mercy, for the direct light would be so shattering an experience that one would be temporarily blinded, like Paul on the road to Damascus.

This also speaks to the hierarchical structure of the world, which is not simply bipolar (i.e., creator and created, God and man, heaven and earth), but has degrees of being. Each level of the hierarchy is a moon to the level above but a relative sun to the level below. Better men than I can withstand the direct rays of the sun. For now, it is enough to stand in the reflected light of certain nonlocal operators who illuminate the path.

We must never forget that an unreflective spirit of democracy will usually end in an inhuman horizontalocrazy in the absence of hierarchy. In reality, there is no ordered wholeness without hierarchy and no hierarchy without a top and bottom.

But as Richard Weaver writes in Ideas Have Consequences, forms are the ladder of ascent: "Every group regarding itself as emancipated is convinced its predecessors were fearful of reality, looking upon veils of decency as obstructions that it will strip aside. But behind the veils is a reality of such commonplace that it is merely knowledge of death." The "taking away of degree" creates a tyrannical flatland which is death to the soul and its spiritual evolution toward integration and actualization. This is why leftists are always mindlessly rebellious, anti-authority, and radically "democratic" (when it is convenient).

If the raw stuff of life is precisely "what the civilized man desires to have refined," we shouldn't be at all surprised that in these leftist-dominated times we find ourselves swimming in it -- or that websites such as the dailykurse or huffingandpissed propagate political raw sewage (as in yesterday's post), precisely. Indeed, this crass warfare is one of the things that makes these snivelized whiners so repulsive. (Nor should anyone be surprised that there is exactly 18 times more pre-articulate profanity on leftist websites.)

Weaver points out that the loss of transcendentals also brings with it the loss of heroes. Like living works of art, heroes are in the world but point beyond it, to a higher principle that animates and shines through them. Without them, we are loused in space and moroned in time. We're just here and now, with no one to fly the planes up, out, or in for a promised landing.

In reality, the contemporary left has no real heroes, merely victims and their "heroic" enablers. Making the victim the hero is to overturn the ontological order of the cosmos, precisely. It is not merely to annihilate hierarchy but to substitute a reverse hierarchy -- which ends in a "race to the bottom" for superior victim status. (I might add that this is a true perversion of "the meek shall inherit the earth, which is why leftism specifically developed in a Judeo-Christian context -- as its shadow, as it were.)

A spiritual practice should be a force multiplier, in the same way that Jesus multiplied the bread and fish. Each of us can be an effective source of light below, but only if we are reflections of the true light above.

Tomberg concludes: "There thus arises a wonderful picture out of a deeper consideration of the miracle of the feeding of 5,000: in the center, high up on a mountain, Jesus Christ, as the shining and life-giving sun; then the circle of disciples as the silver moon; and round about the mountain a swarm of thousands of stars -- the people."

Alternatively, we can have a horizontal, farce-multiplying swarm ruled by its elite masters. But who will feed the endlessly multiplying victims? I mean, now that their masters have run out of other peoples' money?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Come for the Social Justice, Stay for the Omnipotent State

As the fifth act of creation involves the descent of ensouled movement into the world (discussed yesterday), the fourth act involves the creation of the archetypes -- just as the blueprint is prior to the building, genotype to phenotype, or logos (intelligent form) to substance.

Tomberg compares it to a symphony orchestra in which no one person has the entire score, but each member has his own instrument and his own part to play, in order to harmonize with the whole musical existentialada.

As such, the fourth day of creation "is that of the coming into being of those principles which direct 'time and tempo'" -- the creation of the sun, the moon, and the stars in order to separate night from day, to provide light to the earth, and to serve generally as cosmic designposts: "signs and seasons, days and years." Tomberg asks, "What are these other than organs of direction, i.e., conductors of time and tempo for the world-orchestra, in accordance with the music-score of the stars?"

One might say that the sun illuminates space, while the moon and other heavenly bodies mark time, providing its primordial rhythmicity. (Although in another sense, the roles can be reversed, in that the moon rules the space of night, or the unconscious, just as the sun corresponds with the conscious self.)

Note as well that separation must precede order, something which is very much emphasized in Judaism. We revert to the chaos that preceded the creation if, for example, we ignore the distinction between the sexes -- which is one of the inevitable cosmic horrors of radical feminism, the homosexual agenda, or of left wing egalitarianism in general, which is always at war with discrimination (and the ability to discriminate vertically is what makes us human).

Looked at another way, the fourth day involves the enunciation of the principial world, which is anterior to creation in the same way that our personal essence is prior to existence (again, unless you are a Marxist/existentialist).

In fact, this is perhaps the central idea (appropriate that the four is midway between the one and seven) that separates the believer from the pagan and liberal from leftist, for the secular leftist inverts the divine order and insists that existence is prior to essence. Having denied his own essential blueprint, he is a cosmic orphan reduced to, and determined by, mere chance and superficial contingencies such as race, class, and gender (i.e., sex as social construct as opposed to principial archetype).

This is why leftism is 180 degrees from liberalism, and why leftism is unthinkable in the absence of this inappropriate obsession with horizontal accidents. Once you acknowledge a true self -- which is to say a created self, or a unique ontological center of personal autonomy -- you can no longer call yourself a leftist.

Thus, it is no surprise that we see the New York Times trumpeting the scientifically "sophisticated" but otherwise terribly unsophisticated idea that human beings do not possess free will. For if human beings do possess free will, then nearly the whole ghastly project of leftism crumbles in a heap. The absurdity of the free will deniers becomes clear if expressed explicitly, as in this piece at American Thinker:

"We here at The New York Times want to announce a new policy. This is that we will no longer criticize anyone, nor praise anyone. We will, in other words, hold no one responsible for his or her conduct.

"We institute this policy in light of the columns published recently in our pages arguing that human beings have no free will, that they cannot choose their own conduct. If this is so, as we believe it is -- we haven't published anyone arguing the opposite thesis, as you may have noticed -- there can be no choice about what people do. Neither Saddam Hussein, nor George W. Bush, nor Nancy Pelosi nor indeed anyone at all has anything to do with his or her conduct or, as social scientists prefer to call it, behavior."

In short, if there is no free will, then obviously there can be no morality, let alone a judicial system, for we are merely condemned to do what we do in a mechanistic way, and it makes no sense to punish a machine. Conversely, once one acknowledges that man possesses free will, and that he may (and must) recognize and choose between good and evil (or truth and falsehood), then one has left any form of leftism behind.

The Times quotes one "expert" who is apparently compelled (for he is not free) to say that free will is merely "a perception, not a power or a driving force. People experience free will. They have the sense they are free," but "the more you scrutinize it, the more you realize you don't have it."

Hmmm.... if we are not free to scrutinize it, how could we ever know that it is true that we don't have free will? Here we see how there is no truth in the absence of free will, which is why the left ends up denying both freedom and reality (for truth coincides with the Real). To turn it around, if truth exists, so too does free will. Truth is the ultimate guarantor of liberty, and vice versa. Attack one and you maim the other.

One of our guiding stars in the principial firmament above is justice. This is as good an example as any of a "greater light" that allows us to navigate by day, as it illuminates the moral space we inhabit. That is, human beings possess an innate sense of justice -- not just this or that justice, but justice as such.

What is so ironic is that the leftist too lives by this light, but at the same time, denies its reality above and therefore its possibility below. This is why leftist theologies literally turn the cosmos upside down (speaking ontologically) and transmogrify transcendent justice into some version of "social justice" or "liberation" theology.

Equally ironically -- and this is key -- "social justice" is always an excuse for unlimited state power, since, if you try to understand what the leftist means by the term, you soon realize that it is imbued with omnipotence. (This is ably trissected in Thomas Sowell's foundational A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, The Quest for Cosmic Justice, and The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.)

In short, in order to impose one's idea of unlimited justice, one must have unlimited power. Whenever a leftist says "justice," reach for your blowtorch.

If no one is free and therefore nothing is moral, religion merely becomes the will to power, even -- or especially -- when it is dressed up in the language of social justice, entitlement, and "human rights," instead of the negative civil liberties of classical liberalism. For civil rights are here to protect liberty, whereas so-called "human rights" are here to deny liberty through state power -- which always ends up being a great injustice from the standpoint of heaven, since it imposes the same law on the lion and lamb, so we are all treated like sheep. First they steal our wool, then they pull it over our eyes.

Here is a typical voice from the abyss at huffingandpissed. He agrees that reality is not what it appears to be, and that there is a "hidden blueprint," so to speak, ruling over us. Yes, his opinions are obviously "crazy" -- that goes without saying -- but crazy does not mean random. Rather, one of the axioms of psychoanalysis is that craziness is merely order by another name. In other words, in order to heal the craziness, we must help the patient uncover the deep structure -- the implicate "lesser lights" of his night time unconscious -- that underlie the surface disorder:

"Every 'advanced' society exists as a parasite in those less 'advanced,' and that can be proven empirically and decisively. Bush is not responsible for the war in Iraq.... Civilization cannot exist in the absence of war, because civilization is itself inherently exploitative.... that is why we'll have more and more of it, and why it will eventually percolate from the peripheries populated by Dark Others into our suburbs. [How can there be "Dark Others" if war is inherent? -- ed.]

"Everything we have that we list in our catalogue of civilization is forged out of fraud, theft, and murder.... Show me the exception, and I'll take it back. [Since he is not an exception, he is a liar and a thief, so why should we believe, much less trust, him? -- ed.]

"The fine woods and metals and animal guts that make the orchestras, the stones and steel and trees for our libraries..., and the food displayed strategically along our supermarket shelves... they all require war. They are taken from cultures who first refuse to cooperate, then who are forced to cooperate or be depopulated. [In that case, we have to stop the world from stealing all of the food we produce here in the United States. -- ed.]

"The expansive and expanding heaps of... of asphalt and glass and plastic and paint and shiny right-angles -- are scraped out of hillsides and coastlines, with the corpses of biomes and simpler cultures left behind as the mizzens of this wretched thing called civilization.... Technology is driven by scarcity, and scarcity by pillage.... This is not a mark of superiority, but the cascading catastrophe of power seeking the enslavement of first women, then slaves and colonies and nature..." [But given your conception of man, wouldn't these women and other primitives just enslave and colonize white men if they could? -- ed.]

*****

Oh my. Imagine this fascist being in charge of your homeowners association, much less the wheels of government.

Here is a quite literal example of "justice gone mad," for when we reject the greater light of divine justice, we are left with mere animal justice, which is no justice at all. I am always surprised at the inherent irony of secular progressives calling themselves "humanists." For one thing, to deny God is to prevent man, pure and simple.

Secondly, have you ever read a more quintessentially anti-human diatribe? If human beings are what this or any other progressive says they are, then why would we ever trust progressive statists to set things right? If human beings are power-mad monsters of depravity, the last thing we want to do is give them more power over us, because they will treat us as such.

No one is responsible for anything, but somehow its our fault, otherwise this person wouldn't be ranting about his sense of cosmic injustice. But where does he get his grandiose sense of injustice, since it doesn't come from above, and he's a depraved human animal just like everyone else? From whence does it come if we are only self-interested monkeys who will commit any crime to get what we want? Indeed if we -- that is to say, civilization -- are a crime against man and nature?

End of part one.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

This is Your Captain Speaking: Return Your Seat of Consciousness to its Upright Position

For those who haven't been keeping up with the program, we've been exploring the inner resonance between the seven divine acts of creation and the seven miracles -- or signs -- recorded in the Gospel of John (miracles are neither here nor there if they don't convey a deeper truth). We're up to the third miracle, which must relate to the fifth day of creation.

God's activity on the fifth day is rather intriguing, even for Him. First, he fills the waters below with fish and the sky above with birds that fly "across the face of heaven's firmament." He creates "everything that moves" according to a divine archetype (its seed idea), but purposely holds back a bit, in that he doesn't fill the earth to capacity. Rather, he reserves a degree of creativity for the world, and blesses its creatures with the generative activity through which they may "be fruitful and multiply."

Current scientific evidence suggests that the fifth act of creation occurred 3.85 billion years ago, when the cosmos suddenly exited its closed circle of material existence and became filled with "an abundance of creatures" -- a sphere of life. As for how this miracle occurred, scientists have no idea. They can only say that life is just a side effect of deterministic material processes or that it was a case of outlandishly good luck. Or bad luck if you are an existentialist.

How does one "disprove" that God created life on the fifth day? To even ask the question is to have missed the point, the point being to meditate upon the deeper meaning of the statement. In order to do that, we must examine its entire context, as well as the general metaphysical view that is developed and promulgated in Genesis.

And if one is a Christian, one must analyze it teleologically in light of the full revelation, since the Old Testament points to (or in philosophical terms, "entails") the New, while the New Testament illuminates the Old.

In other words, the Old and New Testaments must be distinct and yet continuous, so that the two actually entail each other (just as the man is in the child and vice versa). The correspondence of miracles is just one of a multitude of ways to expand upon this dialectical resonance between Old and New Testaments.

In general, as Tomberg points out, the ingression of life into the cosmos represents the presence of "ensouled movement" in the world. The specific reference to fish and birds implies hierarchy and verticality: creatures above and creatures below the plane where man is situated. There are beings who skirt along the firmament above -- the supramental, archetypal, or angelic membrane between God and world -- as well as those who dwell in the dark waters below -- the unconscious or inconscient. As if we didn't know.

Now, the third miracle recorded in the Gospel of John involves an incident in Jerusalem, when Jesus comes across a multitude of sick people who are blind, lame, and paralyzed, and who lay by a pool of water (Bethesda) that has five porches. The water is still, but every so often a vertical being descends and "stirs the water," and whoever is first in thereafter is healed of his affliction.

Since life is ensouled movement, the implication is that paralysis symbolically represents an absence of life, while the still water suggests an absence of healing power. Life is the quintessence of ordered flow.

Jesus encounters a certain man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. The man's condition is entirely static, since his paralysis prevents him from entering the water at the opportune moment. Jesus proceeds to restore the man's "faculty of ensouled movement," but it doesn't happen as a result of any random "stirring of the waters."

Rather, it occurs after Jesus says to him, Rise, take up your bed and walk. According to Tomberg, the words "rise" and "take up your bed" refer back to the fifth day of creation, "namely the creation of ensouled movement in the vertical ['rise up'] and in the horizontal ['walk']" (one might also say transcendence and immanence).

Now, willed movement ("ensouled life") is cosmic in its significance, as I argued in Biogenesis. Tomberg elaborates: "the human being stands within a stream of cosmic energies -- his thoughts in the streams of the thought world, his feelings in the streams of the world's psychic forces, and his impulses of will are immersed in the streams of world-will-energy and are 'plugged into' them."

Therefore, just as someone "who holds his breath and takes in no more air will suffocate, so will someone who cuts himself off from the streams of cosmic energies become paralyzed." It is specifically this "cutting off," or self-willed vertical exile, that represents the quintessence of sin, which is why Jesus later encounters the man in the temple and admonishes him, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you," pal.

What is specifically denied the atheist -- not by God, of course, but by himself -- is robust vertical movement, or O-robic verticalisthenics. He is a vertical paraplegic, so that he can neither rise nor walk, only crawl and slither about in the faculty lounge. He omnipotently reverses the fifth day of creation and encloses himself in a horizontal prison, where flight is impossible (nor are such proud rationalists generally aware of the infraconscious realm below, so they become only more susceptible to its influence).

The third miracle -- and it is a miracle -- is a restoration of the higher life from its state of spiritual paralysis, or sin. As such, this miracle is the archetype of repentance or metanoia, through which one consciously "turns around" and reconnects with man's proper habitat, the vertical. Instead of laying around waiting for a miracle, we understand that the miracle has already occurred, and that our paralysis is self-willed, self-enclosed, and self-perpetuating.

But we cannot undo the paralysis with our own will only. Rather, we can only willfully participate in the saving miracle.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Miracle of Paternal Cosmosis

"Heredity" means simply the transmission of similarity from ancestors to their descendents. In this sense, the invisibly divinely created archetypes are the "ancestors" of the visible species of animals. And the invisible archetype of man, the divine being itself, is the "ancestor" of the human being. The sickness which arose as a tragic consequence of the Fall was a change in the direction in the mirroring process of heredity; it changed from being vertical to become horizontal. --Valentin Tomberg

According to Tomberg, the second miracle recorded in the Gospel of John -- which would mirror the Creator's action on the sixth day -- addresses this issue of vertical and horizontal paternity and heredity.

Our souls descend into the stream of time, but our vertical heredity can be overwhelmed by fortuitous horizontal exigencies emanating from parents, culture, genes, bad luck, and other factors. In any event, the sins of the fathers and mothers, both individually and collectively, are visited upon the sons and daughters, in an intergenerational transmission of pathology or health.

Psychoanalysis calls the medium of pathological transmission "internalized objects," while I call them "mind parasites," because the latter has more pizazz.

As the first miracle -- the Wedding at Cana -- resonates with the seventh day of creation, the second miracle -- the healing of the nobleman's son at Capernaum -- resonates with the sixth. The nobleman implores Jesus to heal his son, who is said to be "near death."

John 4:48 betrays some apparent reluctance on Jesus' part, as he says, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe."

A footnote in my Bible says that this reluctance is because "faith based on miraculous works alone is insufficient for salvation; this kind of incomplete [I would say childish] faith quickly turns to scorn should the miracles cease." (Note that the left's current scorn for Obama is just the mirror image of their childish belief in his messianic powers.)

But at the seventh hour, Jesus says to the man, "Go your way; your son lives." Later the nobleman is told by his servants that his son became well at exactly the seventh hour, when Jesus spoke those words.

God created human beings "on the sixth day," when he fashioned our vertical archetype: "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." (The plural subject implies that our archetype is also trinitarian.)

The second miracle of John speaks to the restoration of this divine-human hereditary archetype that was forged on the penultimate day of creation, prior to the Fall, the latter of which doesn't happen until -- well, it doesn't specify, but it would presumably be no earlier than the "eighth day," assuming it didn't occur on the sabbath.

Thus, the hereditary distortion introduced by the Fall is restored "by the father bringing his son into a direct relationship to the divine archetype -- through his [the father's] faith in Jesus Christ, the new Adam" (Tomberg).

In other words, we mistakenly, if understandably, focus on the healing of the son, when the real action takes place in the father, who quite clearly "believed the word that Jesus had spoke to him" prior to the healing.

So the real transformation -- and restoration -- occurs first in the father, but has a vertical effect on the son downstream. After all, Jesus made a pretty bold statement, "Go your way -- your son lives," but the father didn't doubt it. If he had, the entire meaning of the parable would be different.

This brings out a critical point, that there is something central to fathers and to fatherhood in arresting the intergenerational transmission of mind parasites. Frankly, this is common sense, but it is certainly confirmed if we examine the anthropological and sociological evidence.

Put it this way: in the absence of a strong, vertically oriented father figure, a boy is very likely to remain a more or less horizontal animal. He will be male -- a biological entity under the influence of his horizontal genetic and cultural programming -- but not a man -- which is the first vertical category introduced into human culture. Indeed, it is the foundation of human culture.

This is not difficult to understand. As I explained in the Coonifesto, the mother-infant dyad is a biologically natural phenomenon. Not until men entered that closed system could humans escape biology by becoming the psychologically trimorphic family: mother-father-baby. Thus, "father" is the pillar, so to speak, of society, a non-biological category that then alters the other two: mother simultaneously becomes wife, and baby simultaneously has a way to escape engulfment in the Great Mother archetype, but not without difficulty.

However, it is almost impossible to bridge this gap and escape the orbit of the primordial mother (one might say "mother nature") without a vertical father to model the way. Almost all of the really serious problems in society can be traced to the absence of fathers and of men, either literally or figuratively. Our prisons are overcrowded with horizontal males who never became men, although perhaps not to the extent of our professional athletes.

I recall a study from awhile back, documenting how the father's religiosity varies directly with the child's, much more so than the mother's, which has almost no effect. In light of the above, this makes perfect sense. As in the paradoxable of the nobleman's son, somehow the vertical restoration of the father has a direct effect on the child.

This is also relevant to why God is spoken of as "Father," or why the Pope must be a man. To mess around with these divinely ordained archetypes is not just to render them inoperative, but it is to undermine the divine-human economy and to disfigure man as such. To suggest that this is in any way misogynistic is just the usual ovary tower feminist hysteria and naïveté. Woman and girls benefit from proper men every bit as much as boys do.

In fact, the terrestrial father may recede into the background once he has brought his son into a vertical hereditary relationship with the new Adam, which restores fatherhood and sonship in the same way that the first miracle restores marriage, or male and female. In other words, father love can be as destructive as mother love if it is not seen as the transition to a higher love. To the extent that we are good fathers, it is only because we have been deputized by The Father.

Each of us is called upon to make the naturally supernatural transition from horizontal heredity to vertical heredity. Truly, that is when your mission as a father has been accomplished -- when you may "go your way," knowing in faith that "your son lives."

A brief addendum -- last night I watched the film Letters From Iwo Jima, which tells the story of the battle from the Japanese point of view. Although it is supposed to be sympathetic, one thing that stood out for me was the vast differences in their cultural conceptions of fatherhood, leadership, patriotism, and sacrifice. Because they did not share our western values that cherish the individual, they were more like an anthill, in which any particular ant's only allegiance -- and worth -- is to queen and colony.

Just as in the Islamic world, their leaders were incredibly sadistic, and betrayed a murderous attitude toward their worthless "sons," readily sacrificing them on the altar of a wholly terrestrial imperialism. At one point a Japanese officer tells his troops to shoot medics first, since Americans will foolishly waste several lives trying to save him. And when their "honor" was at stake, the father-leaders readily committed suicide in a wholly selfish manner, abandoning their son-troops in the field, where they were expected to fight until death. Thus, one might say that Japanese fathers were willing to fight to the very last son (and which is why the atom bomb saved so many Japanese lives).

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wedded Bliss: The Mirrorcles of Love and Slack

The Gospels may be thought of as "holographic," in the sense that the events described therein are signs, signs are teachings, teachings are events, events are parables, etc. Everything in the Gospels is at once "fact, miracle, symbol, and revelation of the truth" (Tomberg).

There are only seven miracles described in the Gospel of John, beginning with the transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana, and ending with the raising of Lazarus. At the conclusion of John, he says that if every miracle attributable to Christ were to be recorded, "the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."

Therefore, Tomberg suggests that the seven miracles of John are intended to be "archetypal," or to summarize certain categories of the miraculous -- of how humans, unlike any other beings in existence, may surpass themselves in the perpetual ocean of love, wisdom, and action.

Might there also be an implicit parallel between these seven miracles and the seven primordial acts of God described in Genesis 1-2? The Gospel writers were obviously intimately familiar with the Old Testament -- which was still pretty new -- and there are any number of places where they attempt to resonate with it -- for example, in Genesis 1.1 and the prologue of John ("In the beginning...").

Tomberg maintains that there is in fact an inverse relationship between the seven phases of creation in Genesis and the seven miracles of John. Thus, for example, the wedding at Cana somehow mirrors the seventh day of creation. But how?

Tomberg writes that the sabbath is the day on which "created being attains the highest level of inwardness: freedom. The seventh day of creation is the 'day' of the meaning of the world." And since it is only in love that freedom is perfect, ultimately divine-human love "is the foundation, the meaning, and the purpose of the world."

Real love is both the alpha and omega of existence, first God to man, followed by man to God, which completes the OntʘlOgical circle. And what is love of God? Schuon says that it is first "the attachment of the intelligence to the Truth," followed by "attachment of the will to the Good," and only then "attachment of the soul to the peace which is given by Truth and the Good" (emphasis mine).

Thus, slack is a side effect, as it were, of Truth and Virtue. Still, we were made for slack, since it is our proper end.

Love is the highest freedom, according to Tomberg, for "it is the sole element in human existence that cannot and may not be demanded. One can demand effort, veracity, honesty, obedience, the fulfillment of duties, but love may never be demanded. Love is and remains for all time a sanctuary of freedom, inaccessible to all compulsion.

"For this reason, the highest commandment -- 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind... and love your neighbor as yourself' -- is not a command, but a divine-human plea. For love cannot be commanded; it can only be prayed for."

This is also the American secret, for it is the one nation that is founded upon the primacy of spiritual liberty, which is to say, the possibility of genuine vertical (agape) and horizontal (caritas) love. Which is why Americans are patriotic citizens and not matriotic subjects. Half of us, anyway.

If the sabbath represents the conslackration of the free union of God and man, then a sort of cosmic divorce occurred as a consequence of the fall. Man was unfaithful to his vows, so to speak.

Thus, Tomberg writes that the wedding at Cana symbolically speaks to the restoration of this divine-human union, for it seems that marriage often "begins with enthusiasm, with the 'wine' of the honeymoon period, and ends with the 'water' of routine habit" (ibid).

The daily renewal of love is indeed a miracle, even though we rarely think about it in those terms. To put it another way, only love can renew the world, oneself, and one's wedding vows. At the wedding, Jesus not only transforms water into wine, but the second wine is even better than the first.

In other words, not only does the higher love not degenerate, but it is miraculously renewed and increased; as such, this miracle is the "sign" of the healing of marriage -- i.e., "healing in the service of restoring the marriage relationship to correspond to the divine cosmic archetype, which is the seventh day of creation."

Note that John 2:1 says that the wedding took place "on the third day." Why is this seemingly offhand comment inserted into the text? And when they run out of wine, it is specifically Jesus' mother who brings this message to her son. Interestingly, Jesus says something very strange, in that he immediately interprets Mary's news about the wine in symbolic terms, asking her, "what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come."

Thus, the wedding on the third day clearly has resonance with the entire mission of Jesus, in which he will restore the marriage between God and man on "the third day" (which is also the Christian sabbath), by pouring out a kind of infinite, inexhaustible love.

Tomberg notes that there are exactly six "waterpots of stone" at the wedding, apparently referencing the other six days of creation and the other six miracles. The reference to "stone" reminds me of something Schuon wrote, that

"When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth, and every man who still has a sense of the integrally real refuses to admit that this should be reality.... Similarly for the soul: remove faith -- including the element of faith that forms part of gnosis -- and the soul becomes impoverished, chilled, rigid, and embittered, or it falls into a hedonism unworthy of the human state."

Skipping ahead a bit, wine once again comes into play when Jesus' "hour has come." In John 19:28, only after he knows that "all things were accomplished," he says "I thirst." He is given some sour -- which is to say, bad -- wine, which is placed to his mouth. After receiving it, he bows his head and says, "it is finished."

What is finished? One of the soldiers pierces his side, and "blood and water come out." At Cana, water is transformed into good wine. Here, as it were, bad and sour wine -- which is to say, the hateful karma of the world -- is transformed into water and blood. In the Bible -- and in antiquity in general -- "blood" always had spiritual connotations, and was regarded as the vehicle of life, while water carries two distinct meanings.

Back to Genesis 1. On the second day of creation, God separates the upper waters -- the waters above the firmament, or heaven -- from the lower waters. In fact, heaven is placed between the upper and lower waters, as a sort of dividing line. As such -- again, curiously -- heaven is not at the "top" of creation, but is a sort of membrane between upper and lower, or superior and inferior, waters.

But clearly, Jesus seems to be able to mediate between the upper and lower waters -- to bring about their harmonious union, in which the lower is transformed into the higher, and the higher descends into and infuses the lower.

Exacly what is the sacrament of marriage? It is the "inseparable bond between a man and a woman, created by human contract and ratified by divine grace. The nature of the covenant requires that the two participants be one man and one woman" and "that they be free to marry."

Marriage is founded upon consent, which "consists in a human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other. Consent must be a free act of the will of the consenting parties, free of coercion or grave external error. If freedom is lacking, the consent is invalid." Interestingly, "it is the spouses who are understood to confer marriage on each other. The spouses, as ministers of grace, naturally confer upon each other the sacrament of matrimony" (Tomberg).

Now, back to the union of God and man. Let's think about some of the constituent components of marriage: freedom to consent to an inseparable bond, absent any coercion; mutual surrender; male (God) and female (the soul); the parties freely choose to confer marriage upon each other, not one upon the other; and the parties become vehicles of grace for one another, through which the regenerative upper waters flow into the world, transforming water into good wine and sour wine into the upper waters of eternal life and love.

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's a Wonderful Reality Tunnel

The miracles of Jesus Christ reveal the secret of the influence exercised by individuals for the universal, and by the universal for the individual. --Valentin Tomberg

Let's talk about miracles. According to Schuon, the phenomenon of miracles "has in itself nothing mysterious or problematical about it: the so-called natural laws of a lower degree of Existence can always be suspended through the intervention of a higher degree, whence the perfectly logical term 'supernatural.'”

In other words, there is in any phenomenon a combination of both horizontal and vertical causes. Some things are almost all horizontal, while others -- we call them miracles -- are predominantly vertical. Thus, what appears supernatural on the horizontal or terrestrial plane is actually “'natural'” on the universal scale."

Scientists, of course, "confuse the miraculous with the irrational and the arbitrary," but Aristotle was correct in his outline of the four types of causation: material and efficient, which are horizontal; and formal and final, which are vertical. This is why scientists are baffled by anything that clearly manifests final causation, such as free will. Acknowledging final causation would destroy their faith in matter, so they attempt to explain it through material and efficient causes only, which ends in self-refuting absurcularity.

According to Tomberg, the seven miracles recorded in the Gospel of John "represent the healing of the seven principal infirmities of human nature in both individuals and groups." As such, they are "not just miracles," but "signs of the future spiritual and bodily healing processes within the human organism, which is sick as a consequence of the fall of humanity" (emphasis mine).

Please note that healing of any kind has a teleonomic aspect, in the sense that it is an attempt on the part of the organism to "return" to its archetypal form (which is always "above" in space or "ahead" in time).

Three orthoparadoxical statements come immediately to mind: 1) The kingdom of God is within [or among] you, 2) Seek ye first this kingdom, and 3) from the Gospel of Thomas, The Father's kingdom is spread all over the world, but the folks cannot see it. Hold these thoughts for later.

Just as the scientist can deny the miraculous, it is possible for the religionist to deny the mundane, so to speak. And he would be ontologically correct in doing so, although it would make functioning in the world difficult. I mean, someone has to grow the food, make the clothes, and take out the trash.

The point is, since verticality takes priority over horizontality, we could say that there is an "upper vertical" magic and a "lower vertical" magic (one is reminded of the observation that Isaac Newton was not the first scientist but the last magician).

Which is why signs and wonders are happening all the time -- i.e., the Father's kingdom is spread all over the world -- but the interventions are so subtle that we may underlook them, so to speak.

We may also fail to notice them because we can only scamper through one reality tunnel, and cannot see the other timetube that "might have been" in the absence of the vertical influence. It is not possible to conduct a double blind study on reality, which is why faith is unavoidable, whether secular or religious (e.g., Paul Krugman and other leftist economists have the faith that if only Obama had spent a few trillion more, the economy would be in great shape).

Of course, this is the great spiritual lesson of It's a Wonderful Life, which is about a man who spends his life selflessly aligning himself with the good, at great personal cost. However, in his case, he is shown the alternate reality that might have been had he spent his life pursuing only his egoic desires. Thus, he is able to understand that by acting so selflessly, he was actually socking away capital in a moral bank account that is "not of this world."

Another way of saying it is that George is granted the spiritual boon of a clear vision of all the miracles and magic that had occurred in his life as a result of unselfishly aligning himself with the Good.

And realizing this is the greatest miracle of all, for with this realization, the magic that had always been operating in his life bursts upon him like a sudden downpour of grace. What a tragic waste of life to miss the magic that is happening all the time, for this magic is precisely what nourishes the soul and feeds the "second birth." Living for others is a great liberation.

The same lesson is present in Dickens' Christmas Carol, in which Scrooge is first given a vision of the forces that went into exiling him from the greater reality and enclosing him in the cold world of his bitter and envious ego.

Envy and entitlement are literally forms of "reverse magic," in that they will spoil whatever they acquire. Envy may or may not help you get what you think you want, but it will also prevent you from enjoying it once you have it. Conversely, gratitude is both the cause and effect of spiritual awareness and contentment.

This lower vertical magic forms the basis of the leftist agenda, which is why they only become more bitter upon getting what they want. The bitterness of the left has not remitted one iota since prevailing in the 2008 election, because envy is an addictive way of life.

Leftism begins with the childish observation that the world is not perfect -- that it does not conform to their fantasies -- so that even things that work miraculously well must be attacked. Which only results in more problems that the leftist will decry and demand that the state remedy. If this downworld spiral is not arrested soon, it will eventually reach bottom.

In hermetic terms, the subtle rules the dense, and the deeper the effect, the higher the cause. The highest cause being God, aligning ourselves with this cause should, so to speak, lift us out of the closed circle of horizontality and manifest in our own lives in terms of the "subtle ruling the dense."

Now, this is not to say that the dense -- the horizontal -- can ever be wholly eliminated. We are not angels, which is to say, purely vertical beings. But it does mean that we can do our part to reverse the fall and restore the priority of the vertical over the horizontal. Obviously, if everyone did this -- individuals working on behalf of the universal -- we would have "heaven on earth," or a kind of earthly analogue of paradise.

On the other hand, "hell on earth" is the leftist agenda of the individual being forced to work on behalf of the (false) universal which is the state. For the true liberal, the individual is the true universal, not the collective.

Now, the first miracle recorded in Genesis is the archetype of all others, for as our Unknown Friend says, creation ex nihilo -- or out of nothing -- "is the highest possible expression of magic, namely divine and cosmic magic." This is why the primordial act of creation was not so much a bang as a blossoming seed. As he says, this is "not too difficult to imagine, because each little acorn is such a 'constructive bomb' and the oak is only the visible result of the slow 'explosion' -- or blossoming out -- of this 'bomb.'" What is a butterfly but an exploded worm -- or in our case, a buddhafly caterpultered from a christallus cocoon?

The seed has both a husk and kernel. The husk is there to protect the kernel, but it is possible that we can come to identify with the husk, thus defeating its purpose -- and the purpose of our lives -- by arresting the "blossoming explosion" of our true self. This blossoming -- once you begin to experience it -- is the "personal magic" that mirrors the magic of creation itsoph -- of God's unfolding, creative self-revelation. You too are a Big Bang.

The kernel, since it is internally related to the whole, seems miraculously able to draw the people and materials it requires in order to fulfill its mission. Or as a rabbinical expression puts it, "God spends most of his time arranging meetings and marriages."

Better stop now. Late for work....

Friday, December 03, 2010

I Am Who I Will Be, or What Has I Done For Me Lately?

We cannot understand what we really are unless we understand what we are capable of becoming --Robert Bolton

Well, duh. A human being cannot be limited, defined or contained by his past or by what he is at any given moment, but only by his developmental potential -- by his most mature and developed form, which is nonlocal -- in other words, archetypal -- not local. The soul is the form of the body, which carries a spacial connotation; but the soul also requires time in order to reveal its nature.

Thus, just as time is the moving image of eternity, we might say that our life is the moving image of our soul. Alert readers will have noticed that one of the powers of the B'ob is to channel the roaring torrent of O into the feeble stream of cyber-k. Do you see the connection? This blog is nothing more and nothing less than the local exteriorization of my nonlocal interior. It's got my grubby soulprince all over it.

But we could say the same thing of the collective experience of mankind, which has spent the last 40,000 years downloading and extruding various artifacts -- poems, plays, paintings, philosophies, theologies, symphonies, game shows -- that are the vapor trail of the soul's temporal sojourn.

And despite everything man has produced thus far, it is just a single grain of sand on an endless beach. Truly, the bleat goes on forever, whether we lileks or gnat.

The saint, the sage, the true artist of word, image or sound, each is respectively the highest embodiment of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. There are saints of knowledge, just as there are artists of truth and sages of beauty. In fact, to the extent that each transcendental fails to partake of the others, something vital will be missing. In other words, truth is the virtue of mind, just as virtue is beauty of soul.

The painorama of human evil is ultimately reducible to "the problem of increasing numbers of persons who lack power over their lives spiritually as much as materially, the two problems being closely related" (Bolton).

Well, duh. There is hardly a material problem without a spiritual cause and a spiritual solution, but the reverse is almost never true. For example, unscientific and simpleminded liberals like to pretend that "poverty causes crime," which is a smear of the so-called poor, the vast majority of whom are not criminals. Likewise, to suggest that poverty causes genocidal Muslims to think and behave as they do is simply an indictment of Islam.

The reason why leftism is an intrinsic psychopneumatic illness (and when I say this, I'm talking about the true believers, not the ordinary confused, apathetic, or misinformed citizen who votes Democrat) is that it represents the "opposite movement" of the cosmic procession of spirit.

In a way, it is "natural" for man to fall into such slavery and servitude. The problem is that for man, it is unnatural for him to be in a state of nature. Rather, he is made for transcendence, or he is nothing at all.

The left takes advantage of the fact that it has always been true that the majority of people will fall into servitude if left to their own devices. If liberty were natural to man, it would have appeared much sooner in history, not just a few hundred years ago.

Nor would half the population in the freest nation that has ever existed be working so hard to limit and roll back that freedom. "Natural man" will always take security in exchange for liberty. Only transnatural man can say "give me liberty or give me death," since only he knows that there is something higher than nature, and that there are certain worldly political arrangements that are not worthy of man.

Quite simply, it is difficult if not impossible to become what the Creator intended if one falls into the parallel looniverse of the left. Rather, one will be what the state intends one to be -- which is simply an anonymous cog in their horizontal machine. Rage all you want, but don't look at me.

True independence and individuation are marks of the spiritually mature, so long as one's prior dependence upon spirit is acknowledged and appreciated. Otherwise, the isolated individual is a monster, a mere caricature of uniqueness and wholeness. An original perhaps, but an original nothing -- creativity in service of death, vanity, and ego-aggrandizement. It is simply the opposite side of the same worthless material coin.

In the cosmic hierarchy, mysticism is above, material science down below. In between, linking these two, is the principial world of metaphysics, which has things in common with both, without being reducible to either. Materialism (or scientism), on the one hand, and new ageism and fundamentalism, on the other, are false paths which ironically share more in common than they diverge from one another. Ideology is always nourished by religious roots.

For example, the irrationalism of fundamentalism converges with the irrational ultra-rationalism of scientism, and both movements shun the higher intellect.

Likewise, while some traces of valid metaphysical thought may be found in the new age/integral movement, it is nearly always confused, partial, contradictory, idiosyncratic, self-serving, and certainly cut off from any kind of institutional grace, plus it is "out of contact with the historical roots of civilization" (Bolton).

Thus, it merges nicely with the modern material ego, which is why it is also almost always left wing. The new age and integral movements are riddled with mushheaded moonbats who keep deepakin' the chopra like a rented mule. In any event, both it and fundamentalism end up drifting "into becoming a part of the cosmic process [they] should serve to overcome" (ibid you adieu).

Thursday, December 02, 2010

On Taking Yes for an Answer

... yes I said yes I will Yes. --Shem the Penman

As we were saying a couple of days ago, a fellow "is free from some of the practical implications of morality only by identifying with the intelligible source from whence morality arises" (Bolton).

Incidentally, this is something we're really trying to emphasize in the moral development of Future Leader. That is to say, rather than transmitting the cosmic Law in wholly negative terms -- as a list of things he shouldn't do -- we're trying to foster an awareness of the plane from which virtue arises, i.e., the Good. So far, so Good, in that he's wonderfully empathic, caring, and well behaved, but in a spontaneous way, i.e., without being at all repressed.

Conversely, when I was a kit, the realm of morality was pretty much defined by NO!, but in reality, there is -- and must be -- an affirmative realm of YES! behind the NO! The lives of the saints teach us that abiding in the YES! can pretty much take care of the NO!, i.e., once the mind parasites and other impurities aren't dominant.

But for the average man who can't even control what he puts into his mouth, he requires the top-down NO! rather than the inside-out YES! to govern his appetites and impulses. (No wonder we see more and more legislation regarding food and tobacco.)

Which, by the way, is why our nation is being systematically undermined by the left, since the good man doesn't require all the thousands and thousands of coercive laws enacted by the left. He neither needs nor wants to be governed and micro-managed from without, which was how things stood in America prior to the unprecedented expansion of the state by Hoover and FDR. In freeing man from moral standards, the left simply imposes its own standards through the state (and extra-judicially through political correctness).

Once things that should be done spontaneously are demanded by law, the locus of moral control dissipates from the individual and is invested in the state; in other words, because people have less self-mastery, it is outsourced to the government.

Thus, for example, the majority of black children grow up without fathers, so paternal authority is just located downstream, in the judicial system (people with flesh-and-blood fathers generally don't require brick-and-mortar ones). Or, feminists who imagine they don't need men, just replace Daddy with an intrusive paternalistic state to care for them. This is why, as Dennis Prager says, "the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen."

The Superior Man is free not just to do anything, but to do good, which is the only real freedom -- just as freedom to know truth can be the only real intellectual freedom.

Virtue is a kind of slavery that frees, which is a fine example of how Jew-Know-Who I AM conveyed universal principles in the form of light yokes and rustic paradoxables, so that their truth could be freely "discovered" rather than "imposed" from on high.

Among other things, this is one of the ways the secret protects itself. Which it does, an ontological fact to which our malodorous trolls provide smelloquent testimony. God never forces free will, nor does he grossly interfere with it.

Here is a key point -- call it a key of gnosis. Bolton writes that "Once it is realized that the everyday world depends on an unseen world with a reality of its own, values can be understood as the points at which this unseen world enters our awareness of the visible one, rather as the mountain tops of a submerged continent appear to us as islands" (emphasis mine).

This is a wonderful metaphor that applies to all of the transcendentals, i.e., the True, Good, Beautiful, Existence, and Unity. In each case, it is only known by virtue of its "piercing" through the phenomenal realm.

To put it another way, phenomena have a "metaphysical transparency" (Schuon) through which humans have constant access to the noetic Light in all its modes.

This is not speculation, but a very experience-near fact of moment-to-moment existence. If it were not true, we wouldn't even be animals, but something truly horrible. Most of the real damage in the world is caused by people without this awareness. Drained of spirit, the world becomes a preyground for predators.

Better yet, turn the image upside down, as with the Upanishadic Tree, with its roots aloft and branches down below. The branches and leaves pierce the world of maya from above; or, as I expressed it in the book, they take the form of little flowing springs of grace that dot the landscape. We encounter and drink from them every day, all day long.

Indeed, were it not for these springs, the world would truly be a barren, good-for-nothing wasteland, a literal prison, a gulag, a concentration camp, an income tax audit, a proctology exam, an MSNBC program, sharing a single bathroom with Rosie O'Donnell.

This is precisely where revelation, truth, love, beauty, and all the archetypes come into contact with, penetrate, and hijack this terrestrial plane. It is absurd to think that they randomly lojack us from "below." Let the dead bury the tenured. Ho!

This is also the area where we leave behind those worldly A-influences and come into contact with the transnatural B-influences. We must follow the B-influences back upstream to their source. This is obviously the meaning of the sacred river, whether it is the Ganges or in Revelation: And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

This source is prior to thought, the latter of which is down in time: it is up there by the pure headwaters of the eternal, by the fountain of innocence, next to the vantastic "garden misty wet with rain."

Oh yes, don't you remama? When she satya down in a crystal daze, toddling loose & lazy beneath a diamond sky with both hands waving free? No? Yes! I do. ¡Straight into the blisstic mystic, bright blazing fire and ecstatic cinder, Shiva, me tinders, count the stars in your eyes! --The Cosmobliteration of the Wholly Coonifesto

I guess that's enough for today....

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Beaming Down from Dreamland without a Transporter Accident

Flaubert said that "writing history is like drinking an ocean and pissing a cupful." Unless you're a leftist, in which case it is the opposite, resulting in a golden shower of tenurinary tracts from bladdering idiots who tell us it's raining.

While neuroscientists think of consciousness as the remembered present, there is another vital aspect of human consciousness which might be called the "unRemembered memory of the present," or what Bollas calls the "unThought known."

One of the reasons it is unremembered is that if we had to equally contend with the foreground and background of the present moment, we'd be too distracted to deal with the former. In reality, there can be no foreground in the absence of a background, and vice versa; conscious and unconscious are actually complementary, and in no way "opposites." They give rise to one another in a process of circular feedback.

This is why some people will give perfectly good money to a psychoanalyst in order to undertake a systematic exhumination of the background container of the present -- things we unconsciously recall but don't want to (or, more likely, that recall us), and that simply distort the moment and interfere with our happiness and fillfullment.

Just so, a collectivity is always more or less hindered by reminiscences that impede progress, and the more one believes oneself to be free of these irrational influences, the more influence they have. Hence, for example, the left's ubiquitous memories of paradise which they insist on imposing on the rest of us in the present. (Indeed, the general problem with Enlightenment rationalists is that they forget all about the endarkenment that operates outside linear logic.) Likewise, Islamists are haunted by unconscious recollections of which they are utterly blind and lacking in even a sliver of in-sight.

Without question, the larger part of memory -- the ocean, so to speak -- is not that which we recall, but that which recalls us. For example, every night we are "forgotten" by O, as we dissolve into the unconscious dreamworks, only to be re-collected and reconstituted in the morning. In this regard, it is somewhat analogous to being beamed down by the transporter each morning:

"A transporter is a fictional teleportation machine used in the Star Trek universe. Transporters convert a person or object into an energy pattern (a process called dematerialization), then 'beam' it to a target, where it is reconverted into matter (rematerialization). The term transporter accident is a catch-all term for when a person or object does not rematerialize correctly."

Indeed, perhaps you may have noticed that O is not (and could not be) entirely consistent in this regard -- that you might have had a little transporter accident overnight. It is as if the transporter left a few molecules out when it reassembled you in the morning.

Or to use a computer analogy, you're a little "buggy." One morning you wake up feeling this way, while the next morning you wake up feeling that way. Perhaps something is "missing," not some easily identifiable content, but again, more like the background context that would allow it all to make sense. Often the only "cure" is to go back to sleep and reboot. Sometimes death is perceived as the only way, hence, suicide.

Now, if there were seven days of creation, there must have been seven nights that were equally important -- perhaps we might even speak of the "seven dreams" of God, during which time the previous day's accomplishments were worked over and the next day's activities incubated.

The idea of the Creator having an "unconscious" has always appealed a bell in me. Since we are in his image, and a conscious mind is unthinkable in the absence of an unconscious mind, this must mean that God has some analogous dialectic. And in fact, I think Eckhart's distinction between God and Godhead speaks to this reality, as do the distinctions between Being and Beyond-Being, nirguna and saguna brahman, or the ain sof / keter of kabbalah. (One could also look at Father and Son in this way.) Kataphatic theology applies to God, whereas apophatic theology applies to Godhead. Again, neither one is "superior," since both are not only required but inevitable.

Anyway, according to Tomberg, "Just as the full reality of human life consists of days and nights -- of the bright day-consciousness and the dark sway of the unconscious (or subconsciousness or superconsciousness) -- so the full reality of humanity's biography, the history of mankind, consists of a day aspect and a night aspect. The day aspect comprises the account of the actuality of that which has become, and the night aspect embraces the activity of becoming."

Another way of saying it is that there is horizontal history and vertical history, both individually and collectively. Each involves a different kind of causation. Horizontal causation may be linear or non-linear, but it operates from past to future. Let us call this the "causality of the day."

But vertical history does not ultimately operate on the basis of mechanical causation. Rather, it is guided organically and teleonomically by a goal, or what is called finalism. (It is also guided by certain perennial archetypes, thus there is formal causation as well.)

For example, a patient might come into psychotherapy imagining that there is some event or experience in their past that is causing their present troubles. If they can just remember and identify what it was and bring it into the light, then the vexatious pattern that is imposing itself upon their psychic life will be drained of its potential to cause problems.

But it only works that way in the movies. This is because the thing they're looking for is not in the past but right here in the present. It is not "behind" but "below," influencing things from the bottom up.

Furthermore, it doesn't work in a mechanical way, nor is it like the fabled "pressure cooker" of instinctual energy that needs to be released. Rather, it has a goal and an agenda of which we are unaware. We want one thing but it obviously wants another -- something very specific, usually a certain kind of relationship, even (or especially) if it brings pain or frustration. Neuropsychoanalytic research suggests that it is not a figure of speech to say that the left brain doesn't know what the right brain is doing (or worse yet, knowing or being).

One of the reasons liberal solutions don't work is that they fail to take into consideration the nocturnal mission of history. And one of the reasons they fail to do so is that leftism in general consists of a stagnant memepool of the over- and undereducated -- or maternalistic elites (the dreaded "vaginocracy dentata") and the losers for whom they know what's best.

Furthermore, this pathological dance of losers creates a "night time" influence of its own, in that the solutions and programs enacted by the elites have inevitable unintended consequences that make the problems worse, thus creating a greater need for maternalistic elites (a perverse alliance of men with breasts and women without them, e.g., feminists).

This is why one is sometimes tempted, as is Rush Limbaugh, to think that the damage inflected by the left must be intentional. I don't generally believe this. Rather, I believe that the majority of leftists have good intentions, but are honestly blind to their self-defeating ideas.

As Thomas Sowell has noted, liberal policies are guided by feeling -- in particular, a self-deluding "compassion" -- not by thought. As such, they never take into account what he calls "phase II," or unintended consequences of their policies. This is because their idiot compassion blinds them to the system of destructive incentives a policy puts into place.

Looked at collectively, this pattern is entirely self-defeating, just like a codependent patient who constantly complains about her husband, unaware that her codependency -- her narcissistic rescue fantasies -- prop up and fuel her husband's bad behavior.

But there is a great side benefit ("secondary gain") to the codependency, as it allows the woman to 1) project a damaged or devalued part of herself into her husband, thereby distancing herself from her own psychic pain, 2) feel contempt for, and triumph over, the weak and devalued part of herself, and 3) elevate herself and feel morally superior to him.

Thus, we should not be surprised if we see in leftists the same pattern of projection, condescension, and sanctimony. Indeed, where would the left be without their projected fantasies of the weak and dominated woman, or the po' hepless negro?

It is quite striking how blacks can tolerate the utter contempt that liberal politicians and the MSM have for them. They are infantilized, held to lower standards, excused of behavior that would not be tolerated in others, and worse. Only on the left could lowlife thugs such as Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson run for president without provoking comment, much less deep soul-searching. It is not ironic. It is inevitable.

But it takes two to tango to a tangle of pathology, and it is always tempting to overpathologize the abuser and underpathologize the abused, when the dysfunctional system needs both parties in order to function as a national rescue party -- to party heartily (or in the end, heartlessly). Just as sadists with their preydar are on the prowl for masochists, masochists are always on the lookout for sadists, driven to find their dissing half.

It reminds me of something a caller mentioned yesterday on Dennis Prager: "Tell a loser he's a winner and he'll fight for you. Tell him he's a god, and he'll kill for you."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Present is a Foreign Country

No, The past is a foreign country... --L. P. Hartley

Wait, you're both right!

A particular passage by Dawson struck me, so I'm striking him right back with this leaden post. He once wrote in a letter that "it seems to me that there is no more sense in asking, 'What is the use of history' than asking what is the use of memory. An individual who has lost his memory is a lost individual, and a society that has no history and no historical consciousness is a barbarous society. It is as simple as that."

If this is true -- which I believe it is -- it leads to the questions, what is human memory and what is it good for? Neurology has revealed that memory is not some sort of exact imprint of the past on the brain. Rather, it is always very much a "work in progress," with things constantly being added, deleted, and synthesized into a more or less comprehensive picture. Thus, our memory is much more analogous to an impressionistic painting than a photograph. (In reality, it is a pneumagraph or lengthy lifetome we develop though a recursive externalization and internalization of the soul.)

Looked at this way, there really is no such thing as a wholly objective past, only our ongoing construction of it in the present. But the present is obviously never stable, so we might look at history as "the presence of the past," which is to say, an extension and probe of the present into the past, rather than vice versa -- which is why history must be rewritten (or at least reevaluated) by each generation, since the past keeps changing in light of what is revealed by the future. In other words, the past includes its meaning, and the meaning can change in light of the present.

Or, at the very least, these two modes must be considered dialectically: the past extends into the present, just as the present reaches into the past. What we call "history," or the re-collected past, is more like a dynamic whirlpool created by these two streams.

Furthermore, there are implicit and explicit currents going in both directions, not to mention vertical and horizontal. For example, the unconscious agenda of a historian (what we might call the "pre-collected past") will guide what he considers historically important, while some past events are of such magnitude that they impose themselves on the historian, sometimes to the exclusion of events and conditions that are subtle but more important. (For example, psychohistory attempts to understand the subjective psychic conditions of a particular era, as opposed to the objective conditions only.)

These are some of the main reasons two historians can regard the identical reality -- even utilizing the same materials -- so very differently. One historian looks at the American revolution as a rare and glorious irruption of Light into the nightmare of history, while another sees it as a frank power play by wealthy and self-interested elites. One sees demagogic anti-anti-communists as gallant adversaries of paranoid right wingers, while another sees them as pathetic Soviet dupes.

Thus, the past is clearly conditioned by the psychic present of the person interpreting it, but the psyche itself is always conditioned by its own past, so there is a kind of double recursiveness. When I read leftist "revisionist" history, the first question that occurs to me is not "why is this person wrong?," but "why is this person such an assoul?" They would no doubt feel the same way about me, but perhaps dishonestly convert the feeling to an intellectual statement. But in reality, the gut feeling is actually the more accurate and direct conveyer of truth, so long as one's gut is not disordered by, say, logorrhea or coonstipation.

Is it possible for one's gut to be in the wrong place? Of course! Referring back to Dupes, consider all of the leftists who have positive gut feelings about Castro, or Gorbachev, or Hugo Chavez, or Daniel Ortega, or Jimmy Carter, or John Edwards, or Obama. Conversely, just consider the gut feelings they had about Ronald Reagan. I was there. There is no question whatsoever that they hated him more than the Soviet Union, just as contemporary leftists hate George Bush more than Islamists.

So the proper functioning of one's gut is quite important, a reality that usually goes unnoticed by infertile eggheads who are adept at rationalizing gut feelings into sophistry, in what is known as intellectualization or "shit masquerading as scholarship."

You will notice that intellectually inferior leftist elites do this constantly, that is, disguise simple contempt (which comes first) as intellectual superiority (a mere by-product of the emotional state), whether they are talking about global warming, economics, religion, "right wing talk radio," Sarah Palin, etc. Again, they are just like everyone else, only prone to disguising their feelings under a veneer of tenurebabble or MSM groupthink.

And this is why they are so incredibly blind to their prejudices: because they are first felt and only then disguised as self-evident "thoughts." And because these liberal feeling-thoughts are not self-evident to the conservative, the liberal imagines that it must emanate from malevolence, which is to say, evil.

For example, liberals always mischaracterize Rush Limbaugh as hateful, when I can't even remember ever hearing him angry. Rather, the predominant mood of the program is nearly always one of joie de vivre -- as in joyously kicking liberal's asses. Just because they hate having this done to them, they imagine that Rush is hateful.

This is why conservatives generally think that liberals are simply innocently ignorant or willfully stupid, while liberals feel that conservatives are evil. And since we are evil, there is no reason to develop sensible arguments to deal with us. You don't argue with evil, you condemn it. Thus, invective, defamation, and moral condemnation are the left's stock-in-trade (e.g., "The Worst Person in the World"), from the mountains of academia, to the midloons of the state run media, to the lowbrowlands of Hollywood, and into the sewer of dailykos and huffingandpuff.

Psychoanalytic therapy works exactly along these lines -- at least the form of therapy in which I was trained. That is, whatever a patient says about the past, it is presumed that he is actually (in some sense) making a statement about the present -- about his own present psychic organization, about his relationships and conflicts, and especially about the here-and-now reality of the therapeutic situation.

In fact, this is what Bion meant by O. That is, as he sat there with a patient, he considered the reality of the situation to be an evolving bipersonal field -- an ultimately unknowable, noumenal reality that shifts and changes on a moment-to-moment basis. One must notice the subtle changes in the state of this field, and not necessarily get distracted by the content, since the content is more like the penumbra around O. (You married cats out there, think, for example, of when there is an, er, disturbance in the force. You only find out later -- if at all -- what it was really about. Marry a female, and you are signing up for continuous reports on the emotional weather.)

In order to intuit O -- or for O to evolve into (k) -- we must, as Bion wrote, "suspend memory, desire, and understanding." When in the presence of anyone, there is an unstated, preverbal reality between or "around" the two of you. This reality -- which is an aspect of O -- is as "real" as the conscious speech that passes between the two parties. You could say that it is more like the background, context, field, or "container" for what transpires within it. And it isn't an "empty" space, but -- as in modern physics -- a space that conditions the content "within" it. (Someone once said that you know how you really feel about someone by the instantaneous feeling you have when you receive a letter and see their name.)

We all notice this field, even if only (or especially) unconsciously. Call it the "vibes" of a situation if you like. As a therapist, one is trained to pay close attention (but not react) to the vibes given off by a patient (the "counter-transference"), since they speak volumes about the psychic reality in which the patient lives and has his being. Furthermore, one must be especially careful not to confuse the patient's vibes with one's own, which is easy to do if one lacks insight and awareness.

We all experience this from time to time. For example, we might be in a bad mood, so we experience our spouse as a different person than we did yesterday -- as a persecutory presence. Or perhaps you have listened to a particular piece of music, thinking you didn't like it, when it was just the mood you were in.

Sometimes we can awaken from a powerful dream, but the emotional state of the dream will persist during the day. For me, it is a common experience that certain types of music are inaccessible if I am not in the right frame of mind. What can sound like the music of the spheres one day can sound like music of the squares the next.

To be continued.....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Anti-Religious Bigotry and the Cultivation of Stupidity

(Formerly titled On Cutting Off Your Nous To Spite the Face Before You Were Born, which was too oblique.)

Just as behind all religion and all spiritual philosophy there is a metaphysical assent -- the affirmation of Being -- so behind materialism... there is a metaphysical negation -- the denial of Being -- which is the ultimate and quasi-mystical ground of the materialistic position. --Christopher Dawson

What if the ultimate purpose of education were not simply to receive the state's idea of knowledge (k) but to nurture and strengthen the Light which makes it possible to know at all? For if one cannot know what it is important to know -- and why -- it hardly matters what one does know.

Knowledge always exists in a context -- a container -- and if the context is false, it renders the content dubious at best. For example, the left can never understand America, because the container of its "adversary intellectuals" distorts the country into one that is fundamentally racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or greedy, or what have you.

I suppose there are still some people who bitterly cling to the idea that Obama is unusually intelligent. But even if this were the case, his container is so messed up that whatever native intelligence he does possess is steeped in the Lie. I think this becomes more evident with every passing month -- that Obama has a deeply flawed vision of America and of reality more generally (i.e., economics, religion, science, history, psychology, etc.).

As it so happens, the purpose of a (classical) liberal education is, as the adjective suggests, to liberate the mind from various contingencies -- i.e., to truly adequate oneself to the diverse manifestations of the Real in a disinterested manner. Therefore, those who run our educational establishment are mainly engaged in something else entirely. They may be ideologues, or propagandists, or technicians, or mechanics, but they are anything but liberated from their narrow agendas.

It is no wonder that young adolts are generally more stupid coming out of a liberal university than they were going into it. Because if one is not exposed to the Light, one will simply assimilate the darkness and try to use it to illuminate one's life. I am convinced that this is one of the primary reasons why the left is so confused, and why its adherents cannot argue or even think logically. They value education but not the Light from which it derives its value -- just as they value art without beauty and the maintenance of politically correct beliefs without individual virtue.

The dehumanized and anti-intellectual climate of our university system is obvious to us today, but Dawson noticed the problem some fifty or sixty years ago -- that it was starting to become disturbingly illiberal, un-scholarly, and post-literate because anti-religious. This wackademic mania "arose among the half-educated and gradually spread both upwards and downwards."

Among other distortions, the upside-down education of the left emphasizes such impossibilities as knowledge without truth, rights without duties, self-esteem over self-transcendence, and the antihero over the hero, since the former is the authentic nihilist who sees through the sham of authoritarian hierarchy, oppression, perennial values, and first principles.

The left idealizes these monsters because they have the courage -- i.e., violence -- to permanently solve the annoying problem of classical liberals and their delusions of freedom, private property, and individual conscience. (And anyone who thinks I'm being polemical ought to read the extensively documented Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.)

A genuine hero is only heroic to the extent that he risks life and limb for a real and permanent good that transcends himself. Since transcendence doesn't exist for the secularist, the hero must therefore be an idiot or a manipulative liar. One saw this deep moral confusion in the torture debate. Even if one regards waterboarding as torture, only a moral imbecile cannot see that it makes all the difference in the world whether it is in the pursuit of evil ends -- just as there is an infinite difference between an American violently killing a nazi and a nazi killing an American. Same act, different context.

The religiously super mensch differs from the Nietzschean superman, in that the former "is free from some of the practical implications of morality only by identifying with the intelligible source from whence morality arises" (Bolton). He is free not just to do anything, but to do good, which is the only real freedom -- just as freedom to know truth can be the only real intellectual freedom.

Another way of saying it is that the hero is free to defend reality, while the antihero is "free" to be hostile to spiritual reality and to therefore live in fantasy. Leftist intellectuals are certainly free within the constraints of their two horizontal dimensions (who, because of the tamasic inertia caused by the absence of grace, also inevitably fall into a third dimension, the lower vertical), but in the absence of the transcendent, their freedom doesn't even have the value of animal freedom, since it will always be tainted by a guilt-stained recollection of the Real, or what Joyce called the agenbite of inwit.

Yes, the left has its heroes, but when you scratch the surface, you will see that they are always worshipped for their destructive, not creative, capacities. For example, one of the reasons I was against the MLK holiday is that I knew the left would simply turn it into a partisan anti-holiday celebrating anger, bitterness, envy and division -- the opposite of what a holy-day is supposed to accomplish, which is the facilitation or recollection of the wholeness or transcendent unity that makes a nation possible.

The problem isn't with King, at least to the extent that he was simply trying to make America comport with its first principles, which are so obviously rooted in the transcendent, i.e., "all men are created equal." The problem is how the left cynically uses King to advance principles that have nothing to do with American ideals. Ultimately, the left is a revolt against the vertical order, or "defiance of the cause of their own existence," i.e., pneumacognitive cluelesscide.

Why do leftists instinctively and unreflectively embrace the environmental hysteria of the climate change fanatics? It is because in the absence of mature spirituality, they have no metaphysical bullshit detector, so they essentially convert a spiritual crisis into a weather crisis -- the externalization of inward evils. In the hierarchy of being, Man is above the natural environment, not an entity that is reducible to it. Nature is not actually our mother, unless balanced with the transcendent male principle, i.e., immamanence + patranscendence.

But if "liberated" from transcendence -- i.e., the Father -- we are swallowed up in the infra-rational realm of the Great Mother. Free of the One, we simply fall back into the orbit of the (m)Other. If this were ever completely successful, the result would be, in the words of Bolton, "an opting out of [Man's] place in the cosmic hierarchy, while retaining a dominance over nature based on human powers and techniques alone. Nothing further from truth and stability could be conceived, nor anything better calculated to result in a stampede into the jaws of Fate in its most inhuman form." In other words, leftism in itself is an environmental crisis of the first magnitude.

This reminds me very much of depressed patients who cannot bear their depression and therefore experience it only in the body, i.e., the "physical environment." I recently evaluated just such a woman, who was clearly profoundly depressed but consciously unaware of being so. However, she had pain in nearly every part of her body, in the absence of any objective medical findings to account for it.

In her case, her conscious mind very much existed on a two-dimensional plane that excluded emotional (and therefore intellectual) depth, so that the only way she could "think" about her depression was through the body. In other words, one can no more deny the unconscious than one can pretend one doesn't have a body. To the extent that it is denied, it will simply return in some other misrecognized form.

It is no different with Spirit -- both good and bad. To the extent that it is denied, it will simply return in some disguised form. And this is why, to paraphrase Richard Weaver, all attacks on religion inevitably result in attacks on the mind, for how could it not be so? To cite just one obvious example, if we are nothing more than materialistic Darwinian machines, then there could be no way for us to know that truth. All truth, by definition, is transnatural and could never have come from mere matter. Nor could goodness or beauty come from nature -- unless nature is not what you think it is.

This is why we can say that all good comes from God, even if indirectly -- which is almost always necessarily the case, given the hierarchical complexity of manifest existence (just as your brain must work through so many layers and systems to accomplish even the simplest goal; it doesn't accomplish its ends by magic -- except that it actually does). Real power is always spiritual power, the ability to make an idea manifest in the material world. In this sense, we are all mirrorcles of the absolute, in that we have the capacity to make the word flesh. Civilization itself is nothing but word made flesh.

What, you think dirt just becomes flesh and flesh becomes Word on its own? Then you're a moron and you desperately need to know it, which is the only reason why I say it. Believe me, it doesn't give me any pleasure to do so. Dupree, that's a different story. Nevertheless, extremism in the defense of reality is no vice, just as tolerance of the intolerable is no virtue.