Monday, December 20, 2010

Pounding Red Pills in the Matrix of the Soul

Forgetting, sleeping, and deathing are all somehow related -- or so we have heard from the wise. The first two -- forgetting and sleep -- are reversible, although the process is working a little slowly in me this morning. Or is there something actively opposing my rebirth? Better get out the forceps.

Thoughts fall like dead leaves into the unconscious, where they are worked over and composted by the night logic of the unconscious, only to releaf with arising on our morning wood. If this weren't the case, then thinking -- or the joys of the interior life -- would be a rather modest thing, even if thine own.

In fact, this may be one of the evolutionary purposes of sleep. We know that it plays an important role in both memory and cognition, but no one knows exactly what or how (as far as I know). It may well be that it is an intrinsic aspect of deep thought, without which it would rapidly become saturated and reach its limit. Thanks to the Dreamer, there is no end to thought, so each thought becomes verticalizer for the next.

If we reverse-imagineer the mind and try to imagine what it would be like without sleep and forgetting, it is clear that we couldn't function in the human sense. We don't stop thinking at night when we fall into our dark forgettery. Rather, all sorts of vital pitch-blacktivity is going on -- sorting, connecting, assimilating, contextualizing, rejecting, strengthening, categorizing, synthesizing.

This is why "sleeping on a problem" is often so beneficial. We cannot see or know what our mind is doing with the problem, any more than we can see our digestive system at work, and understand how it ultimately weaves exterior matter into our very substance. We are only privy to the visible effects. We only pretend to understand how sunlight transforms into vegetation which our bodies assimilate and use to produce thoughts about sunlight, vegetation, and thinking about them.

Tomberg writes that "when the to-and-fro of forgetting and remembering is disturbed, i.e. when one cannot forget, or is unable to call something back into memory, then it is a matter of an abnormal state." He likens the former situation (the "fixed idea") to Ahasuerus, the mythical wandering Jew who must eternally walk the earth and cannot die, the latter ("partial amnesia") to Orpheus, who cannot bring Eurydice back from Hades.

Likewise, insomnia is the state of being unable to forget and ultimately fall into the embrace of death, while amnesia is analogous to narcolepsy, i.e., being unable to stay awake and alive.

Now, it is human beings who draw these sharp distinctions between asleep vs. awake, conscious vs. unconscious, and life vs. death. In reality, they are all on a single continuum and are a function of each other.

For example, there is actually no bright line -- or any line at all -- between the conscious and unconscious mind. Rather, the whole idea of the "unconscious" is really just a heuristic device, a way to "think about thinking," which is otherwise invisible and inaccessible.

If we take our model too seriously -- i.e., if we begin to confuse the abstraction with the reality -- then we end up in the situation of the global warming hysterics who assured us a few years ago that we could say goodbye to snow in England. Their models have failed, so they reject reality. Who are you going to believe, Al Gore or your freezin' ass?

Back when I was in graduate school, I could see that many psychoanalysts reified their models, and then saw an abstraction instead of a person. But we can never see or know the unconscious directly, only insofar as our conscious thoughts, feelings, and acts are imbued with unconsciousness.

There is a reason why I can only do these posts first thing in the morning. They could never be produced in the wideawake and cutandry consciousness of the day. It is said that "dawn is the friend of the muses," the reason being that we are still close to the night time forgettery of death, where ideas go to die and be resurrected in a new form.

Tomberg notes that we all routinely have the experience of going to sleep in one state of mind, only to awaken in another. A change has taken place, a transformation, a process of consciousness "whose results and fruits one finds upon awakening."

For example, one may go to sleep in a state of dysphoria, or doubt, or uncertainty, but awaken with lightness, or conviction, or certainty. Not only has the night womb "given birth," but something else has been "extinguished" -- or at least transformed -- in the process. Thus, sleep is also a kind of chrysalis gift into which we caterpulter and out of which we get the butterflies for free.

What can any of this tell us about death? People routinely say that we cannot know anything of the post-mortem state, since no one has come back to tell us about it. First of all that's not quite true, and therefore not true at all. Secondly, as indicated by my example about the unconscious, we routinely employ analogies and models in order to deepen our understanding of realms and dimensions that are strictly beyond our ken, like thy wilber done, for example.

In fact, we analogize in this way so often that we don't even know we are doing it. There are a number of fundamental "limit cases" that our unaided human consciousness cannot ultimately understand -- human consciousness being one of them. No scientist has any idea what consciousness actually is; rather, there are only models and theories which are a product of consciousness. I dare them to develop a model of consciousness that doesn't depend on human consciousness. Thus the necessity of revelation, which informs us of realities beyond our horizon of knowability.

Likewise, no physicist knows what Energy is, no biologist knows what Life itself is, and no historian knows what History is. History is only known by the telling of it, but the telling is not the thing in itself. It's just a magical theatre. Nevertheless, we must insist that history exists, unless we have swallowed the blue state pill of deconstruction and relativism.

Raccoons pound the red pills like candy. Some people even say that Toots and Herman accidentally invented the red pill in Toots' tool shed while seeking a cure for the common hangover, but that's another story. If it were true, Petey says I can't talk about it anyway.

Now, all realigions agree that human beings possess something like an immortal soul-thingy. Before we dismiss such assertions out of hand as primitive mythology or wishful thinking, let's first stop to consider how much preternatural wisdom is embedded in scripture and revelation, just who speaks it, and to whom it is spoken.

I've now surpassed 1,600 posts, probably 75% of which deal with timeless wisdom that was somehow -- we know not how -- possessed and encoded by peoples that were quite primitive by our standards. "How did they know so much?" is a question we often ask ourselves. "How does scripture know so much more about us than we can ever know about it?" is another. Therefore, if scripture provides a model of death, or a fruitful way to think "beyond the horizon of life," who are we to reject it outright?

Alternatively, what can the modern philosophies of materialism, or positivism, or empiricism, or scientism, or existentialism, tell us about the subject? Each of these closed-minded pseudo-philosophies dresses up assumptions as conclusions, thus becoming a graveyard of dead answers rather than a garden of fruitful questions. As Schuon has commented, there is more Light in a good question than in most manmode answers.

The latter are analogous to the behaviorist who spuriously eliminates the unconscious by insisting that only behavior is real, or a feminist who makes her own persecutory sexuality go away by insisting that there is only culturally conditioned "gender," or a leftist who magically eliminates human evil by chanting "war is not the answer," or the greedy econmen who pretend to reduce poverty by confiscating wealth. Blue state pill poppers one and all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Remembering to Forget to Remember: The One Thing Needful

If we understand Him correctly, all subsequent acts of creation are fractals of the first day, just as all miracles -- or vertical interventions -- are related to the seventh: "Just as the first day of creation in essence contains and encompasses the entire account of the creation, so does the seventh miracle of St. John's Gospel contain and encompass the other six miracles" (Tomberg).

Tomberg begins with the idea that sleep, death, and forgetting are all related to one another like mortician, morphine and morpheus: just as sleep is the "younger brother of death," forgetting "is the younger brother of sleep."

Forgetting is "a partial sleep of the conscious mind, while sleep is a complete forgetting of consciousness." Conversely, to re-member is to "resurrect" something from unconsciousness (or out-of-consiousness, wherever that is), while awakening from sleep is the re-collection of our conscious self. Each day we are miraculously born again through the sacred Raccoon ritual of the holy caffeinated water.

Today the resurraction is taking a little bit longer, because I was up later last night, having attended the school Christmas show, which went on and on and on. I don't understand. The parents only care about seeing their own kid perform, if that. Why put them through the torture of watching all the others? I mean, every grade, K through 8th, and the kindergarteners were perversely put on last! May I be frank? It's things like this that remind me of why I didn't want to have children for all those years.

Anyway, just as life requires metabolism (building up) and catabolism (tearing down), our minds also require various kinds of forgetting in order to function. For example, in order to cooncentrate or meditate or pray, one must temporarily forget everything in consciousness with the exception of the non-doodling at hand.

If everything in consciousness were simultaneously present -- if one had no forgettery to complement one's me-mory -- one could accomplish little. Things would very quickly grow overwhelming. Many people have difficulty distinguishing the foremost from the treevials. Taken to an extreme, this becomes obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is a kind of systematic preoccupation with surfaces to the exclusion of essences. But most people miss the Point (ʘ) in one way or another.

The process of writing these posts is much more analogous to the way art is created, in that we are essentially calling things up, down, and in from the wider realm of consciousness as such, somewhat like the spider that spins an external production out of its own substance -- which it then inhabits. And uses to catch living food. As the posts develop, they become like attractors that draw in what they need in order to complete themselves.

We all do this -- that is, crawl around in the psychic webs we spend our lives spinning -- some of us more consciously than others. But where does the material for the web come from? As ShrinkWrapped has noted on many occasions, the most naive and clueless people are those sophisticates who believe their minds are completely rational (in the profane sense) and that their psychic webs are spun from "pure reason."

Such individuals tend to be markedly tedious and shallow, as they are alienated from the larger and most vital part of their being. They tend to be on the obsessive-compulsive end of the spectrum, holding tightly to their little spotlight that is fixed upon a small area of darkness, instead of the vast -- even infinite -- interior cosmos that extends beyond the range of the spotlight, both "up" (into supra-sensory realms) and "down" (into the unconscious). In holding so tightly to their point, they miss it altogether.

One can also see how this type of obsessional thinking is analogous to one who "cannot die," for just as there is pathological forgetting (i.e., Alzeimer's), there is pathological remembering (i.e., scientism, rationalism, leftism, etc.). In both cases, a psychic death occurs: the Alzeimer's patient because he cannot remember, the materialist or doctrinaire leftist because he cannot forget. Because as soon as you successfully forget that rationalistic bedtime story, your local mind can die and your nonlocal being can hang out where the resurraction is.

This is one of the reasons why religious people in general and conservatives in particular tend to be so much happier than leftists and irreligious people. They also live longer and healthier lives, probably as a result of the deadly stress hormones produced by trying to live in a manner that is unnatural to -- and unworthy of -- human beings. Leftism is a recipe for unhappiness, if only because of the envy.

Just as human beings can only survive and flourish in a certain type of external environment (even if our technology is able to artificially maintain that environment in hostile climes), they also only flourish spiritually and psychologically in a certain type of "interior environment" that facilitates vertical recollection of the soul -- resurrection again.

Science begins with the known (k) and tries to extend it into the unknown (O), whereas religion begins in the infinite unknown (O) and tries to give voice to it in a more or less structured way. Revelation and theology represent more structured representations of O, while these daily bobservations are more spontaneous ones.

In a way, the process is analogous to free association in psychoanalytic therapy. The first and last rule of psychoanalysis is to disable your censor and to say whatever comes to mind, no matter how bizarre or trivial. By listening with "even hovering attention," a good analyst is able to apprehend a deeper order that is governing the patient's associations -- perhaps even catch a mind parasite in flagrante delicto, which is always a thrill.

With these posts, it's as if I am free associating, except "from above" rather than "below." As I continue associating, an order spontaneously emerges, but it is the same teleological order that was covertly guiding the process all along. The psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas refers to it as "Giving up narrative control to become a certain sort of subject within a process guided by the intelligence of the other" -- or the nonlocal m(O)ther and (F)author, as the case may be.

You might say that with the down-and-Incarnation, the eternal Christic order went from being implicate to explicate. The order was there as potential, but a human intermediary is required for it to manifest locally, so to speak -- just as Mary was required in order for God's word to assume biological life.

Obviously, it wasn't as if Christ (who is eternal) weren't present prior to the Incarnation, much less afterwards. But it was implicate existence -- wave rather than particle, so to speak. The revolutionary wave became particle for some 33⅓ years, in so doing, roiling the waves of deep history.

As I have mentioned before, those temporal waves continue to lap upon our distant shore, something which sounds strange but which is manifestly true even to the most metaphysically blind and dense individual. Leftists would like to eliminate that particular wave from history, but the effort is as vain as trying to clamp down on the ocean to stop tsunamis. Good luck. The rest of us will just enjoy the metaphysical surfing.

Your very self is a chaotic attractor that abides in the future, drawing you toward it, but only if you abandon your own alternate plans for your existence. Bollas describes the self as an "inner sense of destiny" which "seeks lived experience to realise its own particular aesthetic intelligence." "We sense this drive to present and represent our self as if it were an intelligent life force" which reveals itself through the way we uniquely make use of the objects (and subjects) of life. For example, cut a page of Lileks' bleat, and it sheds his blood. No one else could possibly use those particular objects and words in that particular way. His unique idiom is the exteriorization and realization of his equally unique self.

Now more than ever, because of the vast overabundance of infrahuman trivia and propaganda that surrounds us, it is necessary to live a life of disciplined forgetting in order to remember -- and therefore resurrect -- "the one thing needful."

Schuon was very adamant on this point, which can sound austere but is actually the doorway to liberation. In a letter to an initiate, he wrote, "The chief difficulty of the spiritual life is to maintain a simple, qualitative, heavenly position in a complex, quantitative, earthly setting." Only in so doing will we have the musical uppertuneity to hear the song celestial and disriminate between the Real and the illusory, which is the whole point of the spiritual life. It is quite difficult to remember the Real when one's very life is plunged into the unreal, with no space to breath in the ambiance of the Absolute and the Eternal.

This distinction between the Real and the illusory will determine how we use the only certainty given to humans aside from death, judgment, and eternity, which is the present moment, which ultimately determines the others. For the one moment given to us is the "liberating center" of the cosmos, into which eternity flows and death is therefore transcended.

Alternatively, if we are tied with all our being to the relentless machine of time, it simply drags us along in its wake until we are ground down or torn apart. Lucky ones will simply smash into the wall of death without ever knowing what hit them -- which is to say, their life.

Schuon sets out some simple godlines for avoiding frittering away the moment, and therefore, your sorry life.

"One must not waste one's time with worldly, unnecessary and often trivial distractions."

"One must not regularly read a newspaper from one end to the other, above all in the morning."

"One must not habitually watch television."

"One must not read novels, profane, unhealthy, trivial literature (although it is obviously permissible to inform oneself, to read books worthy of interest in historical, cultural, aesthetic, etc., subjects, but with measure and without losing oneself therein; and to enjoy art or music that is noble and which elevates)."

"One must control one's curiosity."

"In short, one must live 'in a little garden of the Holy Virgin,' without unhealthy curiosity and without ever losing sight of the essential content and goal of life. That is 'holy poverty' or 'holy childlikeness'; it is also, so to speak, 'holy monotony'.... dominated by the proximity of the sacred, and on the margin from the uproar of this lower world.... This seems obvious, but most believers take no account of it."

Such a life is hardly monotonous in the way that word is typically understood -- much less boring -- but it is disciplined. I especially like the advice about "controlling curiosity," which is surely a vital component, for either you will control it or it will control you and drag you around by the eyes and ears.

There are so many psychic avenues and nul-de-slacks that one should not even take the first step down, but as soon as you say that, people think you're trying to diminish their freedom.

Plus, the last thing people want is to have their conscience awakened, which is why Job One of the left is the annihilation of the personal conscience and its replacement with a collective one. This allows, for example, Hollywoodenheads to lead such depraved lives while feeling morally superior to the rest of us because they believe in manmade global warming or want their taxes raised. This dynamic is the entire secret of leftist moral preening, and answers the perennial question, "how can such perverse people be so fascannoyingly sanctimonious?"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who is the Dreamer who Dreams the World?

We're now down to Day One and Miracle Seven. But Day One also implies Day Zero, since there are no days prior to their creation. All we know from Genesis is that "the earth was without form, and void," and that "darkness was on the face of the deep," a wonderful phrase that conjures a profound nothingness, an existential swamp, an absolute nihil of opacity and meaninglessness.

Is the Bible suggesting that creation arose from a liberal university? I don't think so. The UN? No.

If I'm not mistaken, just as it doesn't spookulate much on the afterlife, Judaism discourages fertilizing too mulch about the state of affairs prior to creation.

This is the purpose of the definitive statement at the outset of Genesis: to put an end to idle speculation about matters we cannot possible imagine. Yes, we are all aware of vivid accounts of "heaven" and "hell," but in my view these are intended to be didactic and pedagogic. Really, they're a little like stop signs. When you see one, you just stop. You don't spend time thinking about why the sign is there, if it's really needed, whether you can ignore it if no one's looking, what the fine will be if you get a ticket, etc.

The first creative act serves as a template or fractal that is mirrored in the other six days of creation, and therefore creativity as such. In fact, according to Tomberg, the subsequent six days can be seen as an extended commentary on the first, which embraces in its essence the whole miracle of creation.

As such, the first day is not just dealing with creation but the principle of creation. One might say that it is "the creation of creation," which must precede this or that particular creation. Therefore, one might even say that it is the creation of the Creator, who paradoxically becomes One only by virtue of his creation.

Clearly there is no creation without a Creator. But there is also no Creator without a creation (so to speak). If you're really the One, Show us the many!!!

In a way, this is analogous to our dreams, which, in my opinion, are an important part of our deiformity, and can therefore tell us something about what goes on "in God." (As we have said many times, we take seriously the principle that man in his essence is in the image of his Creator.)

What distinguishes daytime consciousness from night time consciousness is that in the former mode we are separate from the creations of our consciousness -- or at least we weave in and out of them, merging and observing, producing and critiquing, spewing and cleaning up.

At night things are different. Although there is a Dreamer and a dream, we only know this after the fact, upon awakening. We generally cannot experience the distinction when the dream is occurring. This is a fascinating principle of consciousness, because it means that in the most profound sense, we are both the subject (creator) and object (created) of our dreams, even though we identify only with the object pole.

But once you appreciate the protean genius of the Dreamer, you cannot possibly believe that your little ego is anything more than a tiny satellite in the orbit of a higher conscious power. But who is the Dreamer if not you?

However, this You is like the dark side of the moon. I Syd you not. It is always there, even if we cannot see it. Indeed, we cannot see it because it is in a permanent dialectical relationship with the visible side; even if you bring a portion of darkness into the light of consciousness, it is now in the latter world, just as there is a distinction between dreaming vs. recalling and interpreting a dream. Note that the latter activities can never exhaust the Dreamer. Truly, to interpret a dream is like bringing a sponge to the ocean.

Grotstein writes of the unconscious as a sort of alter-ego or background presence with (or in) whom we go through life -- the “stranger within” that shadows our existence in a most intimate, creative, and mysterious way. We don't necessarily notice the relationship, but we would if it weren't there. That is, everything would go suddenly "flat," and be robbed of the extra dimensions that we only apprehend because of the conscious/unconscious resonance and dialectic.

We all know people who live only on the conscious/rationalistic side, which is precisely why they are so boring and clueless. They've all gone off the shallow end.

Think of what goes into the dream, which "is a unique and mysterious event, an undertaking that requires an ability to think and to create that is beyond the capacity of conscious human beings.... [D]reams are, at the very least, complex cinematographic productions requiring consummate artistry, technology, and aesthetic decision making.... [D]reams are dramatic plays that are written, cast, plotted, directed, and produced and require the help of scenic designers and location scouts, along with other experts.... I am really proposing the existence of a profound preternatural presence whose other name is the Ineffable Subject of Being, which itself is a part of a larger holographic entity, the Supraordinate Subject of Being and Agency" (Grotstein).

So to say "let there be light" is to say more than a mythfull, for it is also to say "let there be consciousness," specifically, a separative consciousness that may know both the interior,vertical and exterior/horizontal worlds.

Now in the beginning (of the Coonifesto), when One's upin a timeless without a second to spore, we are summarily plunged into "nothing, pure emptiness, a formless void without mind or life, a shadow spinning before the beginning over a silent static sea, unlit altar of eternity." It is "One brahman deathless breathing breathless, darkness visible the boundless all, unknown origin prior to time and space, fount of all being, unborn thus undying, beginning and end of all impossibility, empty plenum and inexhaustible void."

Sri Aurobindo's epic poem of cosmic all-possibilty, Savitri, begins with the line, "It was the hour before the God's awake." It is the "huge foreboding mind of Night, alone," "opaque, impenetrable," "the abysm of the unbodied Infinite" "between the first and last Nothingness." Later comes the first "event" or act:

Then something in the inscrutable darkness stirred;
A nameless movement, an unthought Idea....
A thought was sown in the unsounded Void,
A sense was born within darkness' depths,
A memory quivered in the heart of Time
As if a soul long dead were moved to live....


Like Savitri, Genesis can only be misunderstood literally, and therefore must be read slowly overhead and meditated upon, for it is trying to convey something from across the horizon of knowability -- something that cannot be known, only unKnown and undergone.

To unKnow something is not equivalent to being ignorant about it. Rather, it is a special way of knowing what is beyond the brightly but ill-luminated area of consciousness -- it is to unvision the perfect night that precedes sight. In other worlds, it is a way to try to get past the phenomena -- which we know can only be a shadow of the Real -- and to try to intuit the noumenon, or the reality behind appearances.

As it so very very happyns, we undo this every naught when we enter the state of deep, dreamless sleep, or what is called in the Upanishads turiya. But how do we enter that state with eyes wide shut?

Ah, that's the trick, isn't it, for this is to die before you die and to have your wake while you live, and eat it too. They say that to leaven the lightenment is to dance along the penumbra of this razor's edge. Or so we have heard from the wise, from Petey, the mirthiful, the compassionate!

In The Beginning -- which is always now -- God creates heaven and earth, the above and below -- which is to say, two worlds, two tendencies, two impulses, two realities -- or let us say reality and unreality, O and Ø, for there can be only one reality.

But in order for us to know it, there must be unreality, which is not a paradox when you think about it. For it does not mean to say that unReality, or maya, is false, only to say that it is not the ultimate Real. It may be a bit cramped, but it's still a womb with a pew that'll do until

"Let there be light!"

"Lazarus, March Fourth, it's Coonday morning!

How do these relate?

To be continued....

Oh, BTW. This is sort of the effect we were aiming for -- how it sounds in our head, only with light yokes -- in the dreamlike Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the book (HT Maggie's Farm via Vanderleun). If I could just hire this guy to read it, I'm sure I'd understand it better:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Plumbing the Depths of the Cosmos with the Sacred Pipe

Peeking up where we leapt off yesterday, it is now Day Two and Miracle Six. What's on the divine agenda? Oh, not much, just a little vertical plumbing job. Rig up a starry firmament to divide the waters above from the waters below. Call the firmament heaven. Knock off early. Sounds good.

Twoday is the day of verticality. Initially there is only chaos, so the first order of business is the business of order, i.e., creating a little light with which to Work. Can't do anything without the old photons.

But there is "seeing" and there is "vision." The good vibrations of natural light allow us to see horizontally, but that isn't what makes us human.

Rather, what truly distinguishes us from the beasts and the tenured is the supernatural vision made possible by virtue of the verticality of the cosmos. Wisdom and sanctity, intellection and gnosis, only exist because they represent human modalities that are adequations to the reality of the vertical.

Only because of the vertical is Truth liberating; note also that lib-erty and genuine lib-eralism are impossible outside the vertical; in short, the horizontal cannot set one free: Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17).

To turn it around, in the absence of verticality -- waters above and waters below -- wisdom and sanctity are impossible, which is soph-evident by virtue of our cardiomyopic looniversities, where there is a cornucrapia of intelligent proglodytes who don't know the difference between boys and girls, much less God and man.

Now, in the Creator's plumbing job, heaven is the nexus, or connecting link, between the upper and lower waters. Water is a reflective medium, so let us imagine that there is a "double reflection" of heaven in the waters above and below.

Above is the realm of ideas, while below is the realm of material things. As Tomberg points out, knowledge involves "the process of relating the real to the ideal corresponding to it." To under-stand is bring into relation "the reflection above, the ideal, with the reflection below, the real." This is another way of saying that the light of the logos is reflected in both directions as "ideas" and "realities"; or it is reflected in us as substance and intellection.

Science is a deeply mystical enterprise, for it presumes the absolute unity of existence, a unity that is mirrored in the mind capable of reliably apprehending that unity (there is no universe for animals, only the narrow environment to which they are adapted). Because there is a uni-verse, there are uni-versal truths, which is to say axial truth around which the intellect turns (a uni-verse is one turn).

Obviously, if the universe were not a true universe, but a relativistic multiverse with no underlying unity, then truth would be strictly impossible, nor could man be the cosmic truth-bearer, for that matter. So truth is ultimately guaranteed by the One without which neither science nor scientist could be. Indeed, not even being could be without the one who Is (or AM, to be precise: no AM, no IS).

Belmont Club discusses "post-normal science" (HT: Alan), but it might be more straightforward to simply call it "abnormal" and therefore pathological science, a cognitive disease that pervades the leftist looniversity bin. The pathological science of the left always tries to change the world prior to understanding it, which is why left wing thinkers are political activists and change chumps prior to being scholars (cf. Paul Krugman).

The left loves science, but only so long as it is in accord with their policy preferences. If science proves that a fetus is a human being, then it is trumped by a woman's absolute right to determine the value of the embryo. This is why unseasonably warm weather always proves global warming, but freakishly cold weather is just statistical noise. Heads they win, tales we lose.

(Thanks to the left, an academy award is almost as big a joke as a Nobel Prize.)

Just as there is a moral inversion at the heart of leftism, there is a cognitive inversion as well (which there must be, since truth and virtue converge in the vertical). Their pathological epistemology is actually an inevitable consequence of their luciferian ontology, which denies the vertical at the outset -- and therefore the possibility of unity and truth. Instead of unity and truth, they substitute solidarity and commitment, which is to say exterior or "top-down" order and coercive action, for the lie is always coercive whereas the truth attracts and draws us to it.

Now in the sixth miracle recorded in John, Jesus restores sight to a man who had been blind from birth. But this is a rather special form of blindness, for it prevents the works of God from being revealed in him (John 9:3).

Jesus then makes a curious remark about the need to work while it is day -- since the night is coming, when it will be beer o'clock and no man can work -- but that "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

The light of the world. Tomberg notes that the Logos "is not only the intelligence of the world, that is, the connection of the ideal with the real, but also the perception of the ideal and the real. For it is he who mirrors himself by way of ideas and by way of the facts of existence."

In other words, there is no knowledge, let alone truth, at the level of the senses, which in itself is sufficient to undermine any purely horizontal materialistic philosophy, including, of course, any and all forms of leftism. For once you "understand" materialism you have left materialism behind, for matter cannot understand anything.

Even the most bare act of understanding involves the union of the ideal and the real. Sensory experience does not interpret itself. In fact, only a severely autistic individual reduces the world to naked sensory impressions, and it would not be going too far to say that materialism itself is metaphysically autistic and therefore a priori incapable of "seeing the works of God."

The immanent logos -- i.e., the heavenly firmament reflected in the human intellect -- is that which confers our vertical orientation upon us, and allows us to be the reflecting medium -- the only one in all of creation -- capable of unifying the waters above (the ideal) and the waters below (the real).

Conversely, the absence (or rejection) of this logos is what makes leftist deconstructionists such fascinnoying textual deviates. These malign fantasists cannot reflect upon reality because they do not reflect the Real.

In John 9:6 the upper waters are provocatively represented by Jesus' saliva and the blending of it with earth (i.e., the infusion of the word into substance), with which he then anoints the blind man.

In our tradition of the guffaw-ha! experience, Raccoons are bobtized by the explosive "spittle on the computer screen" which makes Petey "present" to your most laughty self. For we take seriously the injunction to put on the new man (Col 3:10).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gilligans Walk

Let's review what occurred on the third day of creation. First, God gathers the lower waters together so dry land may appear. Then he calls the dry land "earth," and says it shall bring forth vegetation, seed, and trees that yield fruit according to their own kind, that is, "whose seed is in itself," an early reverence to DNA.

The emphasis is very much on the seed-principle, which, in the words of Tomberg, is "the principle of formative force becoming actualized and bringing to visible realization its own inner, invisible shape."

This principle obviously applies to the visible plant world, but also to those virtual trees that grow in paradise, the Trees of Life and Knowledge of Good and Evil.

It would also, according to Tomberg, apply to the seed of Abraham, which implicitly contains the nation of Israel and the words of Jesus -- the latter of which are compared to a seed that can either fall on hard soil or bloom into a new virtual Kingdom, depending upon one's degree of receptivity. Only fertile eggheads need apply.

Furthermore, as Tomberg points out, Jesus explicitly refers to himself as a seed "who must die in order to bear much fruit" -- inviting a comparison of Christian history to a seed and its development: its germination, sprouting, and growth.

The implicit message is that life and growth cannot simply involve static life, which isn't life at all. Rather, inherent to life is its own "sacrifice" in order for life to increase. The acorn dies but is resurrected as the oak. Thus, even in the plant world we see a relationship between reproduction and death (d'oh!) -- a necessary "loss of innocence."

In the human world, it is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that bears the seeds of death -- and therefore the possibility of growth and transcendence (which are two sides of the same reality, for to grow is to transcend).

Life is fluid and flowing, whereas death is dry and static; water is absolutely critical to life, having many characteristics that make it uniquely suitable as a medium for performing liflowsaction.

Thus, in the separation and concentration of the principles of water and earth, there has to be some way for them to mingle in order for the seed to grow. In other words, there must first be separation in order for anything at all to happen.

In fact, this is the basis of chaos theory and the science of dissipative structures. Organisms are quintessential dissipative structures, in that they are open systems that exchange matter, energy, or information with the environment. For dissipative structures, equilibrium is another word for dead.

Life itself can only manifest in a state of dynamic disequilibrium. The same applies to the mind and soul, which must remain open systems in order for them to grow. The lower mind requires knowledge and intimate human relationships, while the soul requires love, truth and beauty, and ultimately a relationship with their transcendent source, i.e., the One.

The underlying and overarching point is that life itself -- on all levels, physical, psychological, and spiritual -- is a dialectic of fluidity and solidity, of process and structure.

Now, the fifth mirrorcle recorded in John involves the act of walking on water. While Jesus is off by himsoph on the mountain (where else?), brooding over the latest misguided attempt to force him into being a worldly king (6:15), the disciples set sail aboard a tiny ship.

But what begins as a three hour tour turns into a fateful trip, as the weather starts getting rough and the tiny ship is tossed. Frankly, if not for the credence of the faithful crew, the men all would be lost -- the men all would be lost.

A voice is heard: It is I, be stillagain.

Who is I? We already know from the first, second, third, and fourth miracles that I AM is a number of things: it is the vine; it is the way, the truth and the life; it is the door; and it is the bread of life.

Here, according to Tomberg, we learn that I AM is also the "seed of heaven." The act of walking on water speaks to the fact that I AM is "not the one borne, but the bearer, not the one led, but the leader, not the one supported but the support." And this act is paralleled in "the wonder of pure faith, unsupported by anything but inner certainty, which stands above the threatening sea of relativity and doubt, and goes its own way."

The inner certainty of faith is a mirrorcle of the one thing certain in this crazy cosmos, which is the certainty of the Absolute. Why would we cling to anything less to try to avoid drowning in the ocean of existence?

Although we have to be here in order to grow and evolve, it is tempting to be a land lubber and just hold fast to the rocky terrain. But to do so is to remain a seed, a temptation that has a certain appeal, since to live as a seed is in a sense to remain in a state of infinite potential: so long as you are nothing, you are potentially anything and everything.

This was the appeal of a Barely Nobama, if that. Ah, the Mendacity of Hype. The moment he collapsed his nonlocal quantum wave function and became a local somebody, he was revealed as a big nobody whose only faith is in his empty shelleprompter, which is wanchored in the dry crockbed of his earthbound stream of unconsciousness.

Speaking of which, only a "constitutional scholar" could not know that Obamacare is unconstitutional.

So let's wrap this up. How to faithfully die to life in order to be reborn? How to be fluid and yet grounded and structured? How to be in the world, but not of the world? How to make a transistor radio out of seaweed and a belt buckle, like the Professor?

Walking on water is one thing. More challenging still is swimming on dry land.

I wish I was a fisherman
Tumblin' on the seas
Far away from dry land
and its bitter memories
Castin' out my sweet line
with abandonment and love
No ceiling bearin' down on me
save the starry sky above
With light in my head
and you in my arms...
--Waterboys, Fisherman's Blues

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.