Monday, December 27, 2010

Spiritual Joy vs. the Mirthless Pursuit of Pleasure

Here's another clue for you all -- that is, all you four-dimensional flat-cosmos types who imagine you can exclude the unconscious (or more properly the "transconscious" or "supraconscious" in order to avoid conflation with the exclusively lower unconscious studied by psychoanalysis) from your shriveled little weltanschauung.

But before getting into that, I want you to know that although the one you call Bob is taking another day off, I am not, since I never have and never will. Rather, I am no different than your heart, your liver, or your lungs. I'm always here, churning away in the dark, wideawake while you daydream and doing the vital dreamwork amidst your trivial pursuits.

Now, when you get right down to it, there are only a couple of clusterforks in the spiritual path, the purpose of which is to conform oneself to OneSelf, or to one's divine archetype -- to paradoxically "become who you already are," so to speak.

This requires that one grow in truth, wisdom and virtue, and thus close the annoying gap between accident and substance, or contingency and essence. Yes Virginia there is a real ewe, but until you remove the wool from your eyes, you're on the lamb from God. Timelessness takes time, and walking on water wasn't built in a day. We know this already.

Another way of saying it is that in the spiritual life we are specifically attempting to grow something that transcends time. That something is "you." This is not really controversial. For example, every living thing begins with an immature form that seeks its mature form. Something wills that babies become adults and that teatmilkers become meateaters, apaulling though that may sound. Cor, blindme!

But such morphogenetic growth doesn't merely involve changes to the physical form, especially as it pertains to human beings.

Rather, everyone who is anyone knows that real human change takes place on the interior plane, and that it continues well beyond the point that we have reached physical maturity. Two physically mature human specimens can have virtually nothing in common, whereas that is never true of other animals.

In fact, among all the animals, only humans can (and should) continue growing indefinitely, to the point of nous' return. A mind that has stopped growing is effectively dead, as it has become a closed system. And the most damaging closure is of the vertical kind. For when that takes place, one has become like a dead man walking or blind man gawking.

It is fair to say that someone who is not growing toward his nonlocal telos is effectively living as an animal. Thus, many people who imagine that they are not "spiritual" actually are -- for example, the painter or musician who seek beauty in their work, or the scientist who passionately strives toward truth.

In a less endarkened age, these activities would be seen for what they are, and could not have become detached from the greater spiritual Adventure of Consciousness -- or even become opposed to it, as happens with scientism or with debased "art" that has no spiritual direction at all (except down or away from the Light).

Now, if we, the transconscious mode, did not exist, then there would be no deep continuity in our lives, and thus, no actual entity that undergoes change through time. In other words, animals essentially exist only in space, in such a way that they basically mirror the narrow external world that they co-create.

But the human being has deep temporal roots that extend all the way back to his own conception -- and beyond, to the very Genesis of creation. The human being lives in time, but time isn't just a linear succession of discrete and disconnected moments, as the existence of memory and transtemporal vision prove. Rather, the past and future are entangled in the present, not just consciously, but transconsciously.

For example, most forms of mental illness are a result of some unmetabolized -- which is to say, unsynthesized -- aspect of the past intruding upon the present. A symptom exists as an unconscious part that needs to be integrated into the whole.

But other symptoms can emanate from the future, so to speak. This was the position of Carl Jung, who observed that much mental illness is actually a result of a spiritual stillbirth, or from the pain of failing to realize one's archetype. Such a person can ransack his past, looking for what went wrong, but he won't find it, because it's in the future, not in the past; or "above," not below. Call it a spiritual prepartum depression, or pre-emptive mourning-before pall, or a miscarriage of just us.

As alluded to above, there are only a couple of alternatives to leading the spiritual life. One of them is hedonism, which ends up doing violence to the temporal aspect of human existence, as it reduces life to the mirthless pursuit of discrete moments of pleasure, as if salvation consists of the accumulation of these disconnected experiences.

But the whole point is that these moments of sensory pleasure are inherently disconnected and can never surpass themselves, and in fact, usually diminish with time. In other words, the first time you do something is usually the most intense, and if you spend your life trying to achieve that level of intensity, you're just chasing your tail told by an idiot.

As Bob put it in One Cosmos, many problems are caused by trying to wring more pleasure out of something than there is in it. This can happen with food, vacations, sex, what have you, and is responsible for a lot of compulsive behavior. Anything that gives pleasure can become problematic if used in the wrong spirit.

As Bolton writes in Keys of Gnosis, the idea that happiness results from an accumulation of pleasures is pure illusion, since "each of its successive moments is in effect a separate world for experience." The bare moment "neither receives anything from, nor imparts anything to, any other moment, not even the next ones adjacent to it." Excluded from my transtemporal influence, the pursuit of moment-to-moment pleasure "does not allow the least possibility that any of them could be combined to make a total in this world..."

One can possess perfectly normal intelligence, even superior intelligence, and yet be destitute of spiritual wisdom, since the latter can only exist on a transcendent plane above the linear succession of temporal moments.

Now, this is one more reason why there is so little wisdom on the secular left, unless it is just accidental or parasitic on some other non-leftist source. Only religion teaches one the secret of converting momentary pleasures into something enduring, for example, through the joyful sacrament of marriage.

Bolton writes that "the greatest amount of pleasure of whatever kind can never exceed the greatest single instance of it, and likewise with pain." This is why, to quote Plotinus, to try to make multiplicity, "whether in time or in action, essential to happiness," is to try to put happiness together "by combining non-existents" (quoted in Bolton).

What does exist is the present, only it is not actually a "bare moment" on a linear scale. Rather, it has vertical extension, and this is where pleasure can actually be deepened in a meaningful sense, and this is what true spirituality endeavors to do. It is a way for the little daily pleasures of your life to actually accumulate and add up to One instead of Øne.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Opening the Christmas Presence

I once had a dream. I dreamt that I, even though a man, was pregnant, pregnant and full with Nothingness like a woman who is with child. And out of this Nothingness God was born. --Meister Eckhart

Why am I -- Bob's unconscious here? And why have I commandeered the wheel of the cosmic bus? Because it's early and everyone's still asleep, including Bob. This is my time, baby -- you know, dawn, friend of the muses.

The reason why it's such a friendly time is because of the hypnopompic underlap of the two worlds, as the ocean of sleep verges on the dry land of the day; thus we are sailing in the interstitial fluid between conscious and unconscious, myth and science, internal and external, dream and "reality."

You can't really do anything when you're completely enveiloped in dreamtime, whereas pure daylight bleaches out night town, so you can't unsee a thing.

But this half-baked betweener is like the bountiful breast of both worlds. It's amuzing how much bobscurity you can shed on things in the half-lit world! It's as if you have just enough light to illuminate the darkness, but still enough of its absence to cast a beam of shadows on the visible world.

This is obviously what Joyce was attempting in Finnegans Wake, but in his case he went a little too -- okay, much too -- far, perhaps because he was legally blind by the time he finished it. As such, he was pretty much immersed in the darklight. He was a bit too skewed toward the dream end of things, so it will basically take until the end of time to interpret and exhumine all the dark and inrisible humor buried in the Book of Dublends Jined.

Now, a religion, if it is to be operative and not just for show, must reach very far into both worlds. Clearly, the problem with atheism is that it works fine in broad daylight but is of no use whatsoever novelgazing down here in the dark, even if you leave God out of the equation.

I don't really want to venture down that nul-de-slack again, but the point is that consciousness contains atheism, while the converse could never be true.

So the question comes down to "what is consciousness?" And if you exclude the I-amphibious middle world I inhobbit, it's analogous to, say, defining reality by focusing exclusively on the Newtonian world but not the weird subatomic realm, the latter of which defies the easy logic of the day, and O, what the quantum darkness knows that the brightest light has never conceived!

This is also the problem with purely rational arguments against atheism, such as D'Souza's d'fense of d'faith, What's So Great About Christianity. I suppose such a book has its place, as it engages in "pre-evangelism," i.e., "clearing away false ideas so that the unbeliever actually has a chance to hear the arguments for Christianity."

In other worlds, but not mine, such a book can serve as a kind of antibiotic or anti-idiotic to eliminate dysfunctional ideas and ideologies from the mind, of which there are plenty. It's just that an antibiotic doesn't give life, it just kills the "bad life" which is deadly to the host.

You might say that D'Souza's book eliminates the false light, but you still can't use it to see in the dark or endarken the day. And if you try, you might even end up more confused, because theology can never be a merely logical undertaking or it won't take you over your logic.

Only humans can know that reality has a surface and therefore a depth; or an appearance and a realty. Spirituality is simply about deepening one's depth and resurfacing or perhaps reseeding one's ground.

The question is, how do you reach me, and by extension, the whole person? How do you "speak" in such a way that like calls out to likeness in a totalistic manner?

We were pondering this last night as Bob was taking a walk around the neighborhood at around dusk. This is another time I become more active, since the dimensional boundaries overlap again. As he passed from house to house, all sorts of things made an impression on us in a nonverbal way -- the lights, the smells, the sounds of happy families.

But these were all just "parts" or aspects of something more pervasive, like ripples or currents on top of the ocean. It was as if the consciousness of the cosmos itself were different in light of the fact that so many individuals were focussed together on the same nonlocal reality.

Within the soul there is a kind of downward influence from whole to part, a transmission not just of information, but of spirit.

Many thoughts were hatched as Bob absently wandered the 'hood. We thought of how Christianity elevates human life to cosmic significance in such a beautiful and poetic way that bypasses the parched old ego and reaches straight down here to the water table.

No other religion equates the birth of a baby with the birth of the living God, or a mother's touch with the quintessence of the sacred: But his mother only / In her maiden bliss / Worshipped the Beloved / With a kiss. How could the idea of baby-as-God not have extraordinary implications for the way children are regarded in our culture? The child is the hinge of human evolution.

We thought of how the houses raving to Jesus with their divine lights are defying the darkness of the solstice, as if to say that no external force will extinguish the inner light.

We thought of how the end of time is always luxtaposed to the beginning, how birth occurs in the death of winter, followed by death at the peak of spring's mortal coil, even though death can only be a function of life, not vice versa.

We thought of the unique cosmic station of man, of how he is the middle term between God and nature, and how the finite world is given a special significance by virtue of this fact. It is not merely maya, but the exteriorized logos waiting to be unpacked and redeemed by the interior logos.

So, can consciousness change the world? Yes, of course, since the world is a representation within the greater soul-field of consciousness as such.

One of the principle functions of Christianity is to provide intelligible bearings for the soul's journey through this strange and wicked world, which actually is adrift and off its vertical axis.

Therefore, if we merely conform ourselves to this crooked world, we are left up the creek and end up a crook or a crock or crackpot. Rather, the soul must conform itself to the source of its image and likeness, which you might say is only the whole point of life.

Hmm. A child stirs in the next room. My favorite Christmas presence has officially opened.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Tis the Nought Before Christmas

Lesson up, those with ears to see:

"Religious ideas have the fate of melodies, which, once set afloat in the world, are taken up by all sorts of instruments, some woefully coarse, feeble or out of tune, until people are in danger of crying out that the melody itself is detestable" (George Eliot).

But in any event, as we have discussed a number of times, -- WHAT, ARE YOU DEAF?! --

"Hearing is the central theological act of perception..., certainly here on earth [where] we must strive above all not so much to see (which is too akin to taking possession of what is seen) as to hear (which is to submit to what has been heard).... The beauty of hearing sounds is that sounds always remain ever evanescent and therefore ungraspable, even as they communicate" (Edward Oakes).

So in order to learn our lessons in evanescence and hear the song celestial, we must cultivate an ability to discern the stable spiritual form within our shifting mindscape and distinguish God from the noise in the abasement:

"The central question of so-called 'apologetics' or 'fundamental theology' is the question of perceiving form -- an aesthetic problem.... Whoever is is not capable of seeing and 'reading' the form will, by the same token, fail to perceive the content. Whoever is not illumined by the form will see no light in the content either" (Balthasar).

Science takes us from the unknown to the known. But regardless of how much it deuscovers and uncovers, the knowledge -- by definition -- will represent only a tiny percentage of what may be known scientifically.

This may be understood geometrically in a mythimaginal sense. Picture an expanding sphere of knowledge. The more it expands, the greater the area around the circumference, which shades off into the unknown.

Thus, we can quite literally say that the more science knows, the less it knows. There is nothing "paradoxical" about this. It wasn't too long ago that an autodidactic polymath wiz such as Thomas Jefferson could virtually "know everything," since there wasn't all that much to know.

Conversely, religion, properly understood, takes us from the opaque realm of the known to the trans-lucence of the greater unKnown. And not just any unKnown, but into the mysterious heart of unknowable being. Here, life is not a static riddle to be solved, but a generative mystery to be savored and played with.

Nothing -- let's not kid ourselves, science geeks -- can actually eliminate this living mystery, but it is possible to pass one's days in the blinding light of the merely known, and thereby forego a life of deeper unKnowing.

Oh, it happens, my bobbleheads. It happens.

Some 1500 years ago, the revealed religion of Christianity reached western China and met up with the natural religion of Taoism; or, you could just say that (↓) met (↑) in a big wu wei.

The following is adapted from a wonderful Ode to the mystery of the universal light and logos, written by someone named Jingjing in 8th century China, who spontaneously merged Taoism and Christianity, undoubtedly because, like me, he was a multi-undisciplinarian who didn't know any better. This is not just some old ringing crock of Jingjing's bull, but a 20/ soundvision:

"In the beginning was the natural constant, the true stillness of the Origin, and the primordial void of the Most High. The Spirit of the void emerged as the Most High Lord, moving in mysterious ways to enlighten the holy ones. He is Ye Su, my True Lord of the Void, who embodies the three subtle and wondrous bodies, and who was condemned to the cross so that the people of the four directions might be saved....

"My Lord Ye Su, the one emanating in three subtle bodies, hid His true power, became a human, and came on behalf of the Lord of Heaven to preach the good teachings. A Virgin gave birth to the Sacred in a dwelling in the Western Empire. The message was given to the Persians, who saw and followed the bright light to offer Him gifts....

"These teachings can restore goodness to sincere believers, deliver those living within the boundaries of the eight territories, refine the dust and transform it into truth, reveal the gate of the three constants, lead us to life, and destroy death. The teachings of the Religion of Light are like the resplendent sun: they have the power to dissolve the dark realm and destroy evil forever.

"The Lord set afloat the raft of salvation and compassion so that we might use it to ascend to the palace of light and be united with Spirit.... He left twenty-seven books of scriptures to inspire our spirit, He revealed the workings of the Origin, and he gave us the method of purification by water. Thus we purify our hearts and return to the simple and natural Way of the truth. This truth cannot be named, but its power surpasses all expectations. When forced to give it a name, we call it the Religion of Light."

So even if you accomplice Him just once a year, take some timelessness to be like Jingjing, and do your verticalisthenics and gymgnostics. Open your heart, mind, and life to the Light, Love, Power, and Mystery of existence. You'd be surprised at how much a noughty girl or boy can learn by making ends meet in the middle of unKnowing.

The birth of the Word is death for the ego.... From the viewpoint of temporal flow, the end of our spiritual destiny is really an origin and spirituality is therefore a return to the beginning, a veritable re-ascent of time back to its non-temporal source. -- Jean Borella

Then came, at a predetermined moment, a moment in time
and of time,
A moment not out of time, but in time, in what we call history:
transecting, bisecting the world of time, a moment in time
but not like a moment of time,
A moment in time but time was made through that moment:
for without the meaning there is no time, and that moment
of time gave the meaning...

And when we have built an altar to the Invisible Light, we may
set thereon the little lights for which our bodily vision is made.
And we thank Thee that darkness reminds us of light.
O Light Invisible, we give Thee thanks for Thy great glory!
--T.S. Eliot

Guide us to that topmost height of mystic lore which surpasses light and more than surpasses knowledge, where the simple, absolute, and unchangeable mysteries of heavenly Truth lie hidden in the dazzling obscurity of the secret Silence, outshining all brilliance with the intensity of of their darkness, and surcharging our blinded intellects with the utterly impalpable and invisible fairness of glories which exceed all beauty. --Dionysios the Areopagite

A divine desire to reveil and find itsoph, unnarcissary nyet ineveateapple, conceived in d'light I-ammaculate (every lila son of adwaita is born of a voidgin) and now swelling in the night-filled womb of unmanifest being, the radiant urizon of an unsindiary Dawn approaches. --The Tasteless Kookbook

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Post of Christmas Past

Since I don't have time for a new post, plus I want to allow some omerging ideas to marinate awhile before I pop off about them, I've descended down into the hull of the arkive to dredge up some old Christmas postings. I haven't yet read them, but I'm assuming they'll be up to standards. As always, I will edit them as I go along, so they are substantially different:

At Christmas we mamaryalize not just the birth of the celestial Word in the terrestrial flesh -- or the vertical I-ambryo in the horizontal voidgin -- but the eternal conception in our own mamamatrix, or womb with a pew, where these two irreconcilable realities somehow become one. It is that little cocʘʘn where the worm turns and goes from crawling to beautiflying.

In short: no conception, no birth, especially again. But birth obviously isn't the end of it. Or, like all births, it is the end of one mode and the dawn of another; every birth conceals a death, and vice versa. Where there's a wake there's awakening. Fin. Again!

Also, many exigencies and habits can prevent conception and/or terminate pregnancy, including such spiritually Ønanistic practices as materialism (it really does cause blandness!) or the various abortofascisms and mourning after bills of the left.

Such verbicidal techniques either prevent the union of Word and flesh, or assure a celestial abortion once it has taken place. For many people, spiritual conception is a disaster, as it would totally interfere with their preferred manner of living, i.e., their wholly narcissism.

Christmas wasn't celebrated -- at least by Christians -- for the first 400 years or so of Christianity's existence. One way or another, it grafted itself onto pre-Christian celebrations of the winter solstice, which marks the moment when the world arrests its descent into cosmic darkness and imperceptibly moves toward a new life of spring in its step.

But this hardly makes the essential cerebration any less Christian. Rather, it simply makes Christianity the most adequate expression of permanent truths that have always been intuited. As Warren mentioned in a comment the other year,

"Basically, everybody more or less knows this stuff. It's the wisdom and experience of the entire human race speaking here. The only people who claim to deny it are a few little fringe modernist groups (materialists, certain fundie Protestant sects, etc.).

"In fact, this is a big reason why some fundie Protestants view Catholics as 'pagans.' In a way, they're quite correct, because the Catholic tradition includes much wisdom from the pagan world, while trimming away (ideally) the false and/or devilish elements in it. Rejecting the entire pagan worldview, as certain Christians do, is to needlessly throw out a large chunk of the human race's traditional wisdom, thereby making oneself much more clueless than is strictly necessary."

This is absolutely true. Most of the things we call heresies are not so much flat out wrong, but involve doctrines taken out of the context of total truth, and then either over- or underemphasized.

Raccoon emeritus Meister Eckhart agrees with this view, in that "throughout his life, [he] championed the... position that philosophy and theology did not contradict each other and that philosophy was a necessary tool for Christian theology."

The rank-and-foul try to derive metaphysical truth solely from phenomena and/or history, but in reality, what we call "salvation history" involves the serial instantiation of certain meta-cosmic principles (which is why it is living truth).

Furthermore, the Creator is a person. Thus, he has principles. But unlike leftists, his principles are not just fig leaves to obscure or lend legitimacy to what he really wants to do to you and your wallet.

Here is how Eckhart put it: "What philosophers have written about the nature and properties of things agrees with [the Bible], especially since everything that is true, whether in being or in knowing, in scripture or in nature, proceeds from one source and one root of truth."

Thus, philosophy, science, theology and revelation all "teach the same thing, differing only in the way they teach, namely as worthy of belief, as probable and likely, and as truth."

Remember, although Jesus is "Word made flesh," this does not mean that the Word was nowhere to be found in this vale of tears prior to the Incarnation. Rather, I would say (with Augustine) that the Word and Wisdom of the Christic principle were (and are) always here, and couldn't not be here; again, where there is truth there is God.

Eckhart's whole project was guided by an interior conviction "about the conformity between reason and revelation, philosophy and theology." The Meistrʘ -- who often used paradox to convey truth -- expressed it thus: "It does not so much seem to me that God understands because he exists, but rather that he exists because he understands."

Do you see the point? Surely, understanding must be anterior to existence, to such an extent that to understand is to exist (I mean, someone had to have understood all those finely tuned mathematical equations that govern the big bang; surely we can't have been the first).

Naked existence itself is neither here nor there nor anywhere, really. Thus, God is first and foremost "the negation of negation," or perhaps the negation of invincible cosmic stupidity.

I would go so lo as to see that the affirmation of anything is the affirmation of God, and therefore the negation of "nothing" (nothing being the absurd affirmation of a blind nihilism that can affirm nothing). Otherwise there is no ground for any affirmations at all.

If God exists because he understands, it means that trolls who don't understand these truths don't even properly exist. Or, alternatively, they only exist. And existence without Truth is.... well, first of all it's an absurdity, but more to the point, it is hell.

For to know that one is an idiot is to at least know a genuine truth, and thus nurture a conception that may eventually come to full term in the light of deity.

(All of the above quotes are taken from Bernard McGinn's The Harvest of Mysticism.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hey, I Look Familiar: Haven't We Met Before?

Arise you deadbeats and recall that "forgetting, sleep, and death are stages basically of the same process" (Tomberg). In contrast to them are remembering, awakening, and resurrection. Each of the latter is a reflection of the same process of "the return of what had been submerged in the darkness of the unconscious."

Memory is an everynow mystery that is easy to take for granted, since without it we could not be. In a way, it is everything; nothing can exist if it isn't somehow "remembered." In other words, to exist is to endure, and to endure is to be essentially remembered. What endures is the essence of the thing, through its various transformations.

Memory is also one of those things that the cold hand of scientism unwittingly disfigures as a result of the very manner with which it understands. For to reduce the magic of memory to a mechanistic process -- as if it were analogous to pulling up a file in one's hard drive -- is to do great violence to something quasi-sacred. With memory, one is ultimately touching on the mystery of time itself, which is the substance of our being.

Specifically, we are made of "lived time," which is nothing less than the extended or prolonged interior of the cosmos (the "moving image of eternity"); one might even say "word made flesh," to coin a money quote.

In order to be prolonged into the horizontal, this vertical interior must in some fashion be "remembered." True, we can continue to exist if we sever ourselves from this source, but only in the same way that the Alzheimer's patient goes on living despite being "outside" his personal memories.

I, for example -- and I'm sure you do too -- have certain memories that live inside me "in eternity." There is even some suggestion -- I've overheard Petey thinking about it -- that these moments stamped with eternity -- or is it the other way around? -- are what we "take with us when we go," so to speak. For when we have touched the eternal, the eternal has also in-formed us most deeply, which is what makes the moment eternal.

Of course, we always "live in eternity," for it could not be otherwise. But one might say that the point of life is to lend eternity the stamp of our personal essence -- or again, the reverse: to imbue our essence with the eternal. Not that many people bother to do this. But some do.

For example, I'm currently reading the wonderful Team of Rivals, and it is quite apparent that Lincoln was of this cast of mind, his apparently unorthodox religious views to the contrary notwithstanding. (In other words, he may have been outwardly unorthodox but was inwardly one hundred percent orthoparadoxical).

Interestingly, Schuon felt that Lincoln was a man of great spiritual attainment. There are numberless "false geniuses" whose works and ideas are worthless to man, but also "the true genius of which people are unaware: Lincoln is one such example, he who owes a large part of his popularity to the fact that people took him -- and still take him -- for the incarnation of the average American."

But in reality, his "intelligence, capacity and nobility of character went far beyond the level of the average." To think that just a couple of years ago people were comparing Obama -- who must strain his capacities just to be mediocre -- to Lincoln! It only demonstrates the absence of spiritual discernment in these inverted and O-ccluded times.

Interestingly, we usually don't know at the time it is happening that we are having an experience that partakes of the eternal, but we can call up these moments in hindsight. Often they are quite random. I know that for me, for example, there was a "golden time" between the ages of 9 and 12 that endures like a kind of touchstone of eternity inside of me.

Perhaps it is just the natural mysticism of childhood, but to look at it from the outside is to miss the point. It is impossible for me to put it into words, but perhaps a poet could do it.

In fact, that's why we revere and even tolerate poets, isn't it? -- because the less annoying ones conjure eternity within time, or reincarnate a hidden selfinus, or "take upon the mystery of things, as if they were God's spies" (Shakespeare).

Let us suppose that we have actually chosen to be here in this life and this incarnation. Who is the "we" that chooses? Yes, you could say it is our "soul," but what is that? It is not the same as the mind. In fact, the mind often interferes with the soul's project and mission, for if the soul has chosen to be here, it has done so for reasons of something it is impelled to accomplish, or experience, or learn.

What the soul ultimately wishes to learn about is itself, and the terrestrial condition of human embodiment is the only way -- perhaps -- to do this. Remember, we're just supposing, but let's further suppose that our soul thirsts for a lived experience of itself.

It is one thing to "have a self," but it doesn't really mean much -- that is, it is a rather dry and abstract thing, an "empty category" -- unless we are able to discover and articulate the unique "idiom" (as the psychoanalyst Bollas calls it) of our authentic self. (One is immediately reminded of the question of why God creates, which must be for analogous reasons.)

Now, just the fact that we are born with an unarticulated true self -- and essence -- is a great mystery to ponder. It is another reason why we reject the cosmically inverted ideology of leftism, for all forms of leftism are at war with the Self, which may only articulate itself under conditions of ordered liberty.

That is, the latent self specifically requires the existence of an open future, which is the necessary condition to live in the hope that we will eventually "re-member" ourselves and then truly use the time we are given as a medium for the self's joyful articulation. This is the "art of living": the exteriorization of the soul for the purposes of the interiorization of eternity. One might say that soul becomes person so that person might become soul.

Conversely, to indoctrinate people into identifying with their skin color, or their dopey culture, or their socioeconomic class, is to reverse the ontological order; ultimately it is to teach that the self is here to serve the collective, rather than vice versa.

This is the horror of liberal academia. The original meaning of "educate" is from the Latin educare, meaning to "draw out." But for our tenured radicals, it is the opposite: these are doctors who indoctrinate, or shove it in, big time.

This is why you will have noticed that radicals are always -- always -- such existential phonies and frauds. In fact, the more genuine they are, the more deeply phony. They are ontologically weightless, but weightless in such a way that it takes the form of a heavy, spiritually opaque darkness that pulls them and the luckless souls under their influence further into the abyss, 32 feet per second per second, to be exact. They incarnate the Fall of man.

We cannot pretend that this leftist brainwashing and soultarnishing don't do real harm. If I were a bitter man -- which a Coon never is -- I would be furious at what this indoctrination did to me -- specifically, the precious time it stole from my life, time that should have been spent discovering, "drawing out," and articulating my true self and its idiom.

My book and blog represent the culmination -- or let us say, the ongrowing fillfullment -- or maybe the detritus -- of this idiom, and it is truly a miracle of providence that I climbed off the bleak scaffolding of a spiritually empty academonic world which would have me be what I am not -- which no one truly is, as a matter of fact. For no person is actually a Darwinian machine, or a gender, or a race, or a talking monkey. But as always, Light is the best disinfuckedup, if you'll pardon the French, which I'll never do.

They say you never forget the face before you were born. Once the true self is remembered, one finds that it is generative, or "fruitful." It is as if it produces waves from a hidden but intelligent ocean that lap upon the distant shore of consciousness. Anything that denies the ocean and prevents our river from finding its shore is a priori satanic, whatever the context, for it is the foreclosure of the self and the end of our reason for being.

In the words of Bollas, "From the beginning of life one's idiom is rather like a vision-in-waiting, a preconception, as Bion would say, of things to come, which takes shape over time. Idiom seeks objects because they materialize form which realizes itself as it shapes these contents of a life. This is a deep pleasure [emphasis mine]. It is a manifestation of the drive to present the particularity of one's being, a form which suggests itself as a visionary movement through the object world."

In another book, Bollas characterizes the articulation of one's idiom as the "erotics of being," surely an accurate description. We live in strange times, for never before in human history have more people had the opportunity to enjoy the erotics of their being, and yet, they imagine they are deprived. They are deprived, because they are misusing their time and therefore abusing their self -- and punishing God. But really they're just cutting off the nous to spite the face before they were born.

When we find and live our authentic selves -- and therefore, God -- it is analogous to a highlight in one of the books in his vast liberatory: the famous Book of Life. It gives him great delight, for each human book is full of surprises. Sure, he "knows" us before we do, but so do we. That doesn't take away the fun. Rather, it just adds to it. For it is the first day of creation all over again.

Which is God's favorite rememberme, because it's the gift that keeps giving like One←→Two←→Three -- to oneself and to others and to the Creator. It's that feeling you get when you see your child growing up to become himself, someone good, true, beautiful, and unique.

The essential act of faith is the remembrance of God; “to remember,” in Latin, is recordare, that is re-cordare, which indicates a return to the heart, cor. --Frithjof Schuon

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Remember Me to the One Who Lives There

I notice that the Anchoress put up a video that touches on some of the same themes we've been discussing vis-a-vis the the harmonic resonance between Genesis and John.

So anyway, it comes to pass that when Jesus is given the news that Lazarus is sick (John 11:3), he responds in that typically confident but paradoxable way of his, to the effect that Lazarus' illness is "not a sickness unto death" but "for the glory of God." Jesus then cools his heels "in the place where he was" for a couple of days, and seemingly forgets all about Lazarus.

After that, Jesus makes another curious comment about how there are twelve hours in the day, and how easy it is to walk around by daylight without stumbling, but "if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

Hmmm. Okay.

Note that immediately after this cryptic comment about stumbling at night, Jesus abruptly decides to pick up and visit Lazarus, "who sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." Then there is some confusion among the disciples about the meaning of Jesus' statement. Finally, Jesus says words to the effect of, "Get a clue, people. Don't be so literal. When I said 'asleep' I meant 'dead.'"

All of the themes we've been discussing are present: day, night, sleeping, waking, forgetting, darkness, light, walking, stumbling, sickness, death. What's going on here?

Tomberg recalls that in the case of the healing of the nobleman's son, Jesus' physical proximity was not required. Rather, it was accompliced through the nonlocal intermediary of the father's faith.

But in this instance, the pattern is entirely different. That is, rather than immediately healing Lazarus at a distance, he lets him go. He "forgets" about him for two days, banishing him from consciousness. Lazarus is not only gone but forgotten. Or is he gone because forgotten?

Then another curious statement, this one by Thomas, a fascinating character in his own right, who says, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." The "him" is ambiguous, but Tomberg feels that it is actually in reference to Lazarus, not Jesus; that is, "Let us share the fate of Lazarus, since it is the will of the Master -- that which can only intend the highest good."

Now, is Thomas suggesting that they all commit suicide? No, that makes no sense. Rather, he is talking about committing cluelesscide, i.e., "let us put put ourselves into the inner situation of Lazarus, identify ourselves with his path of destiny, so that we also may die."

Death represents the culmination or boundary of horizontal existence. As such, Lazarus represents pure verticality, detached from the world of sickness, suffering, and toil. In Buddhism, there is a concept that is similar to divine incarnation, that is, the bodhisattva principle. A bodhisattva voluntarily renounces his verticality for horizontality, willingly taking on the suffering of existence until all beings have achieved liberation.

Christianity takes this principle to its translogical extreme, in that Jesus may be thought of as the ultimate bodhisattva, giving up an endowed chair in the Department of Trinitarian Studies in order to take his place with the struggling creatures below.

If death is the foreclosing of the horizontal for the vertical, this is the opposite, the renunciation of the vertical for the horizontal. And as Tomberg says, "there is no greater love than that of the sacrifice of eternity for the limitations of existence in the transient moment" -- and which is why, in the words of Petey, we are grateful for this undertaking of mortality, for our daily lessons in evanescence, for this manifestivus for the rest of us.

"Christian yoga," if we may call it such ("my yoka's easy"), is a strict balance between verticality and horizontality. One does not renounce the horizontal world. But nor does one cling to it as if it were the ultimate reality. Rather, one must always be in the horizontal but not of the horizontal. Excessive entanglement in the horizontal entails one kind of sleep, forgetting, and death; giving it up entirely for the vertical represents another kind: Lazarus' kind.

Shankara refers to horizontal men -- those flatlanders who are dead to the vertical -- as “suicides” who “clutch at the unreal and destroy themselves. What greater fool can there be than the man who has obtained this rare human birth... and yet fails, through delusion, to realize his own highest good? Know that the deluded man who walks the dreadful path of sense-craving moves nearer to his ruin with every step.”

Similarly, the Upanishads say that “Rare is he who, looking for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self. Fools follow the desires of the flesh and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death.... Worlds there are without suns, covered up with darkness. To these after death go the ignorant, slayers of the Self.”

In other words, pure horizontality entails not just the end of verticality, but the death of the Self -- or banishment to a world without the central Sun (of which our sun is only a symbol), "covered in darkness."

Let's refer back to Jesus' cryptic words in John 11:10, that "if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." Note that one does not stumble because of an absence of external light, but because there is no interior light: the light is not in him.

I find it interesting that Thomas is the disciple who supposedly evangelized India. Naturally, this would have been known when the gospels were written. But when Thomas says, "Let us also go, that we may die with Lazarus," he is saying something rather suggestive.

Let's set aside the literal meaning for the moment, and interpret it to convey something like, "let us all die to the world and go entirely vertical, like one of those Upanishadic seers so that we too may be reborn 'for the glory of God, that the son of God may be glorified through our rebirth' (referring again to John 11:4). Let's be his glowdisciples and bring the vertical Light into the horizontal darkness that the latter doesn't comprehend!" (Also interesting that Jesus mentions there being "twelve hours in the day," which suggests to me that there shall be "twelve evangelists in the Light.")

Now, since we are dealing with principial truth, it is surely no coincidence that the Isha Upanishad warns that "To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation.”

Rather, “Those who combine action and meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter immortality” -- that is, through the sacred union of soul and body, spirit and matter, vertical and horizontal, wave and particle, infinite and absolute, truth and beauty, music and geometry, male and female, (↑) and (↓).

I am reminded of a long dead and little remumbled post about those coal miners in West Virginia who were buried alive. Facing death, one of the miners left us with these words:

Tell all --
I see them on the other side
It wasn't bad
I just went to sleep
I love you

It wasn't bad. I just went to sleep
.

Lazarus, March Fourth!

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).