Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Spiritual Conspirators and Atheistic Lone Nuts

If we're going to try to understand free will and its limits, then we had better try to understand the nature of causality, especially as it applies to realms above matter.

The horizontal and linear causation of natural science (at least above the quantum level) is fairly well understood, if not in essence, at least for practical purposes.

In the last two or three decades, science has also developed a greater appreciation of chaos and complexity, i.e., dynamic systems that are intrinsically unpredictable. Because of the multitude of variable causal inputs -- not to mention random noise -- there is no way to predict the behavior of the system in a deterministic way (for example, the weather, or the human brain).

The situation only becomes more challenging when we toss vertical causation into the mix, since science has no idea how the mind can affect the body in a top-down manner (let alone how the soul affects the mind), nor how the material body interacts with the immaterial mind. (And this is leaving aside the impossibility of natural processes ever being the "cause" of infinitely higher realities such as truth; nothing can be the cause of what transcends it.)

In fact, because of its own self-imposed limitations, this is an area that science as presently conceived will never understand. As it stands, science mostly deals with the problem by treating mind as an epiphenomenon of genetic and electrochemical processes.

In short, researchers apply what they think they understand to what they clearly don't, which ends in a mythological pseudo-science more primitive than phrenology. One thinks of the tenured mechanics who attempt to identify the "god part" of the brain. Why not the "bogus science part" of the brain?

Not only does the brain qualify as a quintessential dynamic system, but it contains so many billions of causal links that only a fool would suggest that it can be understood deterministically. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter remains that my immaterial self can conceive the idea of making a fist, and it happens. Somehow the idea is translated to will, which somehow enlists billions of nerve cells to get organized and instantaneously do its bidding.

In contrast, if I notice that my hand is in the shape of a fist, this does not send a signal to my brain that I should punch someone. Human beings are not causally closed systems. Nevertheless, there is clearly a two-way channel between psyche and soma. In fact, at birth -- and for a couple of years thereafter -- we do not have a clear concept of self. Rather, we start with a "body ego" that is more or less merged with the (m)other (or maternal environment).

Only gradually, through the slow process of separation and individuation, do we (some of us) develop an autonomous and unique self (note also that human uniqueness is absolutely inconsistent with any kind of reductionistic causality). But even then, the conscious self forever remains in a dialectical relationship to its unconscious -- or supraconscious -- ground. It's not as if we can ever leave the orbit of that wi(l)der world.

In his Keys of Gnosis, Bolton describes another dimension of causality, the cosmic law of "action and reaction," and how this relates to providence and fate.

Until modern times, religion often had more to do with the attempt to magically control external circumstances, an idea which became increasingly untenable with the rise of science. As a result, religion became more of an interior pursuit for extreme seekers, dealing less with material than spiritual reality.

Bolton provides a useful way to think through this dualism, and to steer a course between what amounts to deism -- that is, an impersonal God of the philosophers and mathematicians who merely got the universe underway, but has a hands-off policy thereafter; and the "cosmic bellhop" of popular mythology, i.e., a God who magically fulfills our every infantile wish like a liberal politician.

As Bolton points out, one cannot deny the fact that scripture makes numerous references to the law of action and reaction (henceforth, "the Law") -- that is, the idea that we reap what we sow, that those who live by the sword shall die by it, "forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors," etc. In a word, karma. The Bible is filled with references to karma -- that what goes around comes around, and that evil will be punished and good rewarded.

Obviously we all want this to be true, but is it true in fact? It seems that most people conclude that it can't possibly be true -- that everywhere the wicked flourish and the decent are punished. Therefore, in order to maintain the belief in a just cosmos, reward and punishment must take place on some post-mortem plane.

More generally, if the very nature of the universe proves to us that it must have been created, and that its creator must be good, then goodness must somehow prevail "in the end." Thus, the cosmos must be moral through and through, even if it's often in a very obscure way due to the hierarchical complexity of manifest existence, both spatially and temporally.

Furthermore, the cosmos is obviously not a machine and man is clearly free. If the cosmos were a machine, then we would see an immediate relationship between cause and effect on the moral plane. You'd do something bad, and a lightning bolt would come down and strike you from the sky.

But if morality operated in this instantaneous manner, then we wouldn't actually be morally free in any meaningful way. Rather, we'd just be good to avoid the punishment. We would not inhabit a moral space in which we are free to choose between good and evil, and no one would be good for goodness' sake, so there would be no Christmas presence.

It is interesting that materialists naturally accept the existence of cause and effect on the material plane. And yet, they deny the possibility of anything similar on the moral plane, which is one more reason why their metaphysic is so feeble.

But if we turn the cosmos upside down -- which is to say, right side up -- then we can see that material cause and effect is simply the "residue" of the first cause, which must be above, not below. One cannot derive free will from materialism, but one can derive matter from a freely willed universe. And as Bob mentioned yesterday, humans can only exercise freedom in a universe that has a stable foundation, so to speak, i.e., predictable boundary conditions (which include moral laws).

I think most senior Raccoons will have noticed that as one comes into closer proximity to O (so to speak), one also "shortens" the distance between cause and effect on the moral plane.

As one is drawn more deeply into the Great Attractor beam, the web of synchronicities becomes more dense, and the Law becomes more apparent. Something happens to time, whereby it "thickens," and we begin to intuit all sorts of causal connections operating along different, immaterial timelines. Eventually it begins to look as if our life were more of an airy-tale conSpiracy (↓↑) than the breathless workings of a lone nut (•).

To be continued....

Monday, January 03, 2011

Cosmic Freedom and Inward Mobility

It's interesting that your "new year" follows on the heels of the cosmic renewal of Christmas. Since pagans lived in cyclical time, it was thought that one could actually have a fresh start with a new temporal cycle -- which is undoubtedly why we retain the atavism of "new year's resolutions" and why they usually don't work. As a psychotic patient of mine once said, "karma has a way of coming back and biting you in the ass."

The lesson of Christmas is that a much more radical intervention is necessary for fundamental change to occur, and that to change anything, we only have to change everything, i.e., repent, which simply means to "turn around" -- or do a I80 and revolve in order to resolve and evolve.

True, since Jesus was born in the spring, Christmas was grafted onto pagan winter festivals. However, this was not in order to imitate them, but to sanctify them -- to cleanse them of their pointless cyclicality and to introduce some linearity and teleology into the situation.

Once the implicit idea is promulgated that a single human life forms the axis of history and the center of the cosmos, then we are no longer half-conscious, quasi-animal beings embedded in the rhythms of nature, but awake to the irreversible, future-oriented nature of time and therefore life. We are aboard the cosmic telovator.

Yes, this does merge with our discussion of free will, for free will is an irreducibly spiritual faculty immaculately dropped from above into voidgin nature. You might say that free will is like the seed that makes our lives potentially fruitful. But like any seed, the proper conditions are required for it to grow and thrive.

And speaking of free will, a book we discussed a couple of days ago, Hans Jonas' The Phenomenon of Life, has a chapter on the subject that summarizes the absurdity of denying it. Not to beat a dead nag, but it's an important subject, since it is both a necessary and sufficient cause of our humanness -- in other words, a condition with which the soul -- and without which it cannot -- finds expression. In short, if there is a soul there is free will, and vice versa. They are two sides of the same coin.

Jonas adopts the same perspective we did in the book, of the "martian's eye view." Imagine explorers from another planet investigating the biosphere and trying to ascertain the presence of "men." What would be their criteria?

"Our explorers enter a cave, and on the walls they discern lines or other configurations that must have been produced artificially, that have no structural function, and that suggest a likeness to one or another of the living forms encountered outside." Even "the crudest and most childish drawing would be just as conclusive as the frescoes of Michelangelo."

Of what, exactly? Of a relation to ideas that have no direct bearing upon purely biological ends. Here is evidence of an exit from the world of mere life, and entrance to the world of mind.

Thus, "just as a footprint is a sign of the foot that made it," a picture is not a sign of the hand that made it but of the mind that conceived it -- and that abstracted some essence from the object before representing it. In order to depict the essence one must first perceive the essence. This implies the ability to distinguish form from substance or mind from matter.

Painting involves a transformation and preservation of essence from one medium to another. Obviously, no animal can do this. Rather, they confront only a world of objects. To the extent that they perceive interiors, it is only through invariant signs, not symbols -- and a sign is really closer to an exterior (like a stop sign, which doesn't reveal anything about the person who made it).

Now, to know the distinction between form and substance is to be capable of distinguishing between appearance and reality, or surface and depth. And as mentioned the other day, to know that appearances are deceptive is to know that truth exists, for truth is simply the splendor of the Real (just as beauty is the splendor of the true).

Clearly, in order to distinguish between appearance and reality, there must be a kind of "space" in between. This is the middle earthspace inhobbited by human consciousness. Just as animals live in a world of appearances, God is the being who lives in truth and reality -- or is not different from them. And the human station is in between these two, God and nature, the One and the many.

Note that in Genesis man is given the power to name the animals. As Jonas explains, "the giving of names to objects is here regarded as the first feat of the newly created man and as the first distinctively human act." It is a "step beyond creation," or liberation from being plunged solely into the world of matter. In order to name something, we must be above it, and be capable of perceiving the unity beneath the multiplicity (which is another way of saying the reality behind appearances).

As Bolton points out, there can be no such thing as absolute freedom on the human plane. Given what we have stated above, such an idea is metaphysically absurd, since freedom can only meaningfully exist within a context of restraint or limitation. To exercise freedom is to transcend limitation, not to abolish it or pretend it doesn't exist. It is to use limitation as a springboard to vault oneself "higher" or "deeper" into this thing we call reality -- just as a boat doesn't deny water but floats atop it.

For example, let's say we wish to be radically linguistically free. We will not advance our freedom by abolishing the limitations of alphabet and grammar, but rather, simply destroy our ability to speak meaningfully.

If you do manage to abolish alphabet and syntax, you will not be more free but less so, since you will have no freedom to move about within the higher dimensional semantic space that is disclosed by language, but built upon stable rules. At best, you will have a meaningless sort of horizontal freedom in which you are only at liberty to rant and gesture, like our trolls.

This is why, in order to properly speak the Raccoon language of Obonics, linguistic precision is so necessary. You will notice that when you pick up most any "new age" type book -- in fact, unfortunately, many conventional religious books as well -- the language conveniently goes wobbly just at that critical juncture when you most need it to go Bobbly.

These frauds use language in such a way that they make you feel as if the fault is within you, not them. Philosophers and academics pull the same cunning stunt all the time.

But if you truly understand something, then it shouldn't be difficult to find the words to convey that understanding to another, at least assuming adequate communication skills and good faith in the reader. (I might add that where the new agers use fuzzy language to conceal their ignorance, the conventionally religious often fall back on overly rigid and saturated formulas to cover over their lack of understanding.)

As Polanyi explained, true freedom results from a higher level exploiting the freedom left over by the boundary conditions of a lower level. This is why even a machine cannot be reduced to a machine.

Rather, in order to create a machine, we employ the boundary conditions of physics and chemistry to manufacture something with a purpose, say, an automobile engine. With the engine, we are free to travel from here to there, but only because of the stable and deterministic boundary conditions of physics and chemistry. Without them we'd be nowhere. And nobody.

Speaking of which, one of the reasons the Mohammedans are so unfree is that their metaphysics does not permit the existence of unvarying boundary conditions free from Allah's constant meddling.

In other words, instead of a rational universe that operates along the lines of fixed principles, they imagine that Allah is intervening "vertically" at every moment to directly cause everything. This is also why they are so fatalistic, which only undermines everything that religion is here to mitigate, which is to say, fate. The purpose of religion is to make us more free, not less free. Truth has a way of doing that.

(One is reminded of Obama's heavy-handed approach -- and FDR's before him -- to economics, which creates so much uncertainty in investors. He's like an economic Allah whose daily whim is the new law. Which is no law at all.)

Yes, as much as we might resent those middling relativities and sin-laws that cramp our style, we really can't do without them. Freedom can only exist in a cosmos with predictable boundary conditions with which to build upward and inward.

By the way -- and I suppose this isn't a peripheral point -- this is why it is so absurd to suggest that liberals are "pro-freedom." I mean, we already know this isn't true, what with speech codes, political correctness, racial quotas, confiscatory taxes, etc.

But these things only flow from the fact that liberalism is anti-freedom in principle, since it celebrates the elimination of all the time-tested boundary conditions -- i.e., spiritual values -- that have made Western civilization so extraordinarily successful in beating back the darkness and vaulting us into the Light.

Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Revolution: Becoming OneSelf

As touched on in a comment yesterday, the movement from ego to self and servility to freedom is accompanied by a withdrawal of projections, so that the locus of reality is felt to be on the interior rather than exterior plane.

Ultimately we see that the exterior could never be the cause of the interior, for the greater cannot arise from the lesser (vertically speaking, of course, in the sense that consciousness is prior to matter, not in the vulgar horizontal sense of deepak animals and other beasts).

Human psychospiritual development requires the interiorization of boundaries of various kinds between self and other, ego and environment, affect and thought, man and God, etc., without which the maturational process can never get off the ground (interesting that one of yesterday's trolls argued that the absence of boundaries represents some sort of "mysticism." If this were true, then babies and rocks would be mystics).

Hans Jonas discusses this in chapter one of his The Phenomenon of Life, Life, Death, and the Body in the Theory of Being:

"When man first began to interpret the nature of things -- and this he did when he began to be man -- life to him was everywhere, and Being the same as being alive.... Soul flooded the whole of existence and encountered itself in all things. Bare matter, that is, truly inanimate, 'dead' matter, was yet to be discovered -- as indeed, its concept, so familiar to us, is anything but obvious."

Thus, "that the world is alive is really the most natural view, and largely supported by prima-facie evidence. On the terrestrial scene, in which experience is reared and contained, life abounds and occupies the whole foreground exposed to man's immediate view. The proportion of manifestly lifeless matter encountered in this primordial field is small, since most of what we now know to be inanimate is so intimately intertwined with the dynamics of life that it seems to share its nature."

Now, growth takes place in the direction of exterior --> interior --> exterior. In a very real sense, we first encounter ourselves outside of ourselves in the form of heroes, myths, ideals, attractions, and other modes. We activate an ideal by first locating it outside. It is very much as if the soul is attracted to what it needs in order to awaken and know itself, so it is quite important to pay attention to these sometimes subtle promptings and soul-inclinations, for to ignore them is to risk wasting one's life.

Joseph Chilton Pearce has discussed this in at least a couple of his books. He agrees that we are born with a unique psychic blueprint, which may be thought of as an in-built expectation for certain kinds of experience. The blueprint is like the lock, while the experiences, or external models, are the keys that unlock it and provide its content.

In fact, Jung speaks of the archetypes -- e.g., the Great Mother, the anima, the "wise old man," the crone, etc. -- in the same way. Bion called them "preconceptions," or "empty categories" awaiting and anticipating certain experiences that will automatically make sense on a deep level when we have them. Your "soul mate" is not just a person, but a whole world -- a world that we paradoxically co-create in discovering.

Of particular interest is the archetype of the Self, which is our own unique constellation of factors -- as unique as your face. And if a central purpose of life is to realize one's archetype, or one's spiritual destiny, then the ultimate value of a culture or nation or political movement will be the degree to which it either impedes or makes this realization possible (see page 180): "We must each of us, in our own way, strive for the cultural circumstances that make intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth possible, because most cultural circumstances actively suppress our growth as human beings."

As such, any purely materialistic political philosophy will be a non-starter. I never say that "Republicanism" is any kind of ideal. Far from it. It's just that the left is so incredibly dangerous and destructive to human ends, that it must be opposed, just as the Islamofascists must be.

In the case of the latter, their great evil is in denying man his reason for being: the systematic smothering of our spiritual individuation. To force women to live in bags -- i.e., to deprive them of their faces -- is a terrifying metaphor of what they do to the soul, which is to say, bury it in darkness. Likewise, radical feminism asphixiates the beautiful archetypal feminine form in an airless black bag of faceless ideology.

All of the archetypes are collective save for one, which is our unique Self, and which is yours to keep as a coonsolation prize for this difficult journey we call life.

Now, presuming there is a Creator, each person represents a unique "problem of God," something spoken of by Sri Aurobindo. And this is where we can run into a bit of a snag with institutionalized, big box religions, which can -- indeed, must -- cater to a psychospiritual "type" rather than the unique individual. It's like purchasing clothes off the rack. You're not going have a perfect fit unless you are perfectly average.

Now, there was clearly a time when it was necessary for institutionalized religion to be geared toward the collective, since it wasn't too long ago that what we call the modern individual Self did not exist -- or only existed in a few lucky or perhaps luckless souls. Charles Taylor provides a ponderous 600 page explanation in his Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity, which I would not recommend if you already get the point.

The problem is, how does one present timeless and unalterable truths geared toward the unique individual? It seems like a contradiction. But in reality, it's not a problem at all -- it's like asking how we can have this phenomenon called "life," and yet, all of these diverse species. Or how can consciousness exist with all these individuals walking around calling themselves "I"? Who is the real I?

Likewise, who is the real God? The answer may surprise you. In fact, if it doesn't surprise you, it's probably the wrong answer. More on that later. But to say that God knows the number of hairs on your head is a way of saying that he values your unrepeatable uniqueness. Likewise, Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you.

Now, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Bolton says what amounts to the same thing in his Keys of Gnosis: "Because of the presence of its immanent principle or 'divine spark,' the soul can thus align itself with forces and influences which share its true nature, or it can align itself with forces which are alien to it and which tend to make it more and more a part of a physical system in which individuality would ultimately be lost."

In other words, we can choose to be an anonymous rock or a unique person. The exertion of free will becomes relevant here, for "the less free the will is, the more it functions simply in reaction to outside forces with standard responses to standard stimuli and stimulations."

This is the passive, pre-individual who is a victim of external circumstances, to whom Democrats address themselves. These people are easy for the left to manipulate, because they are accustomed to simply responding with feelings to external stimuli.

Conversely, a free will is one that doesn't react, but acts. This is the true meaning of "turning the other cheek." For example, if someone pulls a knife on you, it is perfectly acceptable to pull a gun on them, so long as the act is not "kind for kind" on an emotional or spiritual level.

This is a spiritually perilous area, and one must "walk the razor's edge" to not fall into the trap of retaliation, even while administering disinterested cosmic justice right in the kisser, for if done in the wrong spirit, then the wrong will return to you.

Look at Germany, or Japan, or Iraq. We conquered them in order to liberate them, fully in keeping with the deeper meaning of turning the other cheek. If we had responded in kind -- and in the same spirit which animated their primitive and sadistic violence -- then we would have simply destroyed them.

Now, back to free will. Bolton writes that three conditions are necessary in order to be "capable of consistent and self-originated activity.... namely, the physical strength necessary for it, a practical knowledge of what the action involves, and finally a relation of the actions to values and long-term purpose, not to accidental needs and whims."

To be continued....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Man's Exodus to Freedom: The Cosmic Bar Mitzvah

As we were saying yesterday, free will is not an either/or proposition, but a lengthy process of acquisition or realization that goes hand in hand and head in heart with what we call spiritual growth.

We were about to say that it is on a continuum in the animal kingdom, but that wouldn't be correct, since only human beings may access it. The exercise of will is on a continuum, but only human beings may freely exercise their will and make conscious choices between alternative actions.

Just as one purpose of the bar mitzvah is to mark the transition to moral responsibility and therefore freedom, one might say that the emergence of human beings represented the cosmic bar mitzvah, for now the cosmos was finally free -- at least in potential: for the creation is still subject to futility, and groans with birth pangs on the way toward its ultimate spiritual liberation.

When a self-deluded autoslave insists that free will doesn't exist, we want to say "in your case, we couldn't agree more." It's similar to liberals who maintain that "everyone's a racist." If they could just say "I and my fellow liberals are morbidly preoccupied with race," we would have no objection. But why the crass generalization? Speak for yourself.

Interesting that in the case of the autoslave, his freedom is simply transferred to the internal entity that enslaves him. As the existentialists say, human beings are condemned to freedom, which is why the vast majority of people and cultures reject it and prefer various religious and ideological shackles. Freedom is a terrible thing, for it equates with responsibility, and who would want that?

But for the minority of souls who wish to expand their interior freedom, there is always a way. According to Bolton, the process of realizing one's freedom consists "in a progressive elimination, or at least subordination, of the alien causes which commonly manipulate the will, and a corresponding ascendency of what is owing to the will alone" (italics mytalics).

Alien causes which commonly manipulate the will. These are, of course, mind parasites, those foreign agents and sinister minsters of propaganda that we have internalized and mistake for ourSelves. You know, all of those agenda-driven hostile forces that hijack the machinery of the host -- the human subject -- and use it to crank out their own dysfunctional and anti-evolutionary thoughts, emotions and actions.

You could say that the personification of the sum total of these parasitic trends is what folks call Satan, and you wouldn't be wide of the mark. The adverse forces are impersonal until internalized by a human being through whom they speak, will and act. These machine-like entities are not really alive. Rather, like viruses, they are something in between life and matter.

It is no different than a virus that takes over the cell in order reproduce and infect others. It is not just obvious cases such as a Marx or Hitler who infect the masses with acute soul pathology. Equally troubling are the chronic cases that can weaken the hardiest soul -- both individually and collectively -- over time.

In any event, these "alien causes" always block freedom in one way or another, and therefore prevent spiritual growth. If you could see one, you'd be horrified. It reminds me of a comment by Schuon, that "the lowest animal species, those that repel us, manifest most directly the quality of ignorance (tamas); they are repugnant to us because they are like 'living conscious matter' whereas the law of matter is precisely unconsciousness." It is no wonder that they are represented in dreams -- or under the influence of LSD -- as spiders, reptiles, and other creepy crawlies.

Other forms of matter, such as Al Sharpton, shock us for the opposite reason, for they are like a man deprived of what makes him one, which is to say, higher consciousness.

Back in the 1960s, when it was legal to study the effects of LSD, a lot of interesting psychological research was conducted on the subject of mind parasites. It was thought that by administering LSD to a patient in a controlled setting with adequate therapeutic support, one could bypass all of the ego's usual defense mechanisms and see the parasites directly, so to speak, and therefore process and work through them more rapidly.

I remember a book by Stanislav Grof -- here it is, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research -- in which he discusses how patients under the influence of LSD could actually draw pictures of their mind parasites in order to try to understand and work through them.

I don't have time to dig out the book, but I remember one particular lady who drew a monstrous looking spider that had her in its grip. Of course, the mind parasite isn't actually a spider. Rather, that's just the mind's representation of the internalized hostile force which is otherwise invisible. This is essentially identical to how our Dreamer uses images to represent conflicts, impasses, and various hostile entities. (Petey wishes to remind us that divine forces are also routinely personified.)

Carl Jung wrote of how the medieval pseudo-science of alchemy was actually a way to talk about mind parasites and their eradication. Bolton agrees that this process "can be envisaged in alchemical terms as a removal of the [parasitic] 'dross' which allows the [spiritual] 'gold' concealed in it to appear in pure form." What can be underemphasized, however, is that the "dross" is not a just an object, so to speak, but a subject with a will of its own -- or, to be perfectly accurate, something that can only operate in the world by taking over the human will.

When you think about it, this is not that different from how the Creator operates in the world, at least for the most part. The traditional view is that human beings are the living bridge, or link, between God and nature, or spirit and matter, or freedom and determinism, however you wish to conceptualize it. Therefore, when we say "thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," we mean this quite literally. For it is just another way of saying that the purpose of life is to freely manifest truth, or love, or beauty on this plane (since they can only manifest in freedom; in other words, no deterministic machine could know or express truth).

It's no different looked at from the other end of the existentialada. "Satan" is a paradoxical entity, being that he represents the "center of dissipation," so to speak, and spiritual dissipation by its very nature can have no center. The point is that both mind parasites and Satan can have no ultimate reality, since they represent the internalization or personification of the negations of the good, true, and beautiful. But the perverse human will can give them a kind of temporary pseudo-center.

Let's consider the god of the Islamists. When a voice in your head tells you to blow yourself up with nails and rat poison, or to slash off your daughter's clitoris with a rusty hood ornament, that's a hint that you're not dealing with the Creator of the Universe. When the voice tells you to force women to live in bags or to strangle your daughter because she doesn't want to marry that malodorous and toothless letch with all the goats in his dowry -- nope, not the real God.

So what is this sadistic and suffocating entity? It sounds like a very bad acid trip, which, in a way it is, because there's no coming down. Whether it be angry jihadis in Khartoum or jihadis angry about a cartoon, they're always enraged about something.

Most all the real evil in the world is caused by the spiritually unfree. As Bolton writes, in human beings, "freely-willed and unfree actions mingle in all proportions, because external causes can condition one's will in proportion to one's lack of self-awareness" (mytalics again).

You will immediately note that this is why the left is obsessed with so-called external barriers to freedom, when the real barriers -- at least in the contemporary U.S. -- are nearly always interior. Which is why when you eliminate these external barriers, it doesn't really do any good, because you aren't giving people real freedom, which they will still have to cultivate once the external barrier is removed.

For example, this is why racial quotas don't work. They eliminate an external barrier but ignore the interior ones, so failure is simply deferred. Liberals just kick the can't down the road. One is still a failure, but simply the last to know it. Which is hardly a mercy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Big Other is Watching!

I remember Bob reading a book by Stanley Jaki in which he says that the existence of free will illuminates a vertical trail of transcendence that leads straight back to the Creator.

Yes, here it is: our intimation of "freedom or rather free will belies mere material existence.... in the final analysis, the elemental registering of free will almost exhausts whatever else can be said about its reality. Everything else is embellishment, very useful and informative as it may be, because it is irrelevant unless achieved and articulated freely."

In other words, any argument for or against free will obviously presumes its existence, since it proves the reality of the subject who is free to either accept or reject it. Conversely, to affirm that free will doesn't exist is to void one's argument at the outset, since the argument can appeal to neither truth nor to the subject who may know it; as Poincaré commented, "no determinist argues deterministically," so "all arguments against free will are so many proofs if it" (Jaki).

Every free act transcends matter, which is why any form of materialism is the very basis of illiberalism, and which is why the secular left is so spiritually destructive. We've been thinking about this a great deal lately, as Bob finally got around to reading Whittaker Chambers' Witness, followed by a more recent intellectual biography. (Actually, since Chambers was more of a prophet and mystic, the book is more of a pneumacognitive biography. Can't get into details at the moment. We hope to say more about it when we have the time.)

Intrinsic to the project of leftism is the abolition of that which transcends matter, which must result in the dehumanization of humans and the end of Man. This is why their assault on religion in general and the soul in particular is not peripheral but absolutely essential to their goals; it is not a bug but a feature.

In short, the left must replace transcendence with immanence. Once that has been accomplished, then everything else falls all the way down into place. It's like building the cage. Once the cage of immanence is complete, then man lives behind bars he can't even see, but which suppress and nullify the mythic imagination. Instead of imagination containing the world, materialism contains the imagination.

The problem is, not too many people think about what the existence of free will implies, since it is not quantifiable or reducible to anything but itself. Like so many other fundamental realities -- time, life, intelligence, beauty, etc. -- it seems that we know everything about it except what it essentially is.

This leads us to suspect that these fundamentals are somehow implicitly linked to one another, and that there is but one Incomprehensible Thing with several different modes, depending upon how one looks at it. For example, life is interior time; time is freedom; intelligence is freedom + truth; virtue is truth + will; beauty is form + truth; etc.

We are free to the extent that we are a conscious subject rather than an object that only reacts and is acted upon. However, freedom can only be exercised in an objective world, which is to say, on objects, including "objects" within oneself (including objective pseudo-subjects that have no business being there, i.e., mind parasites).

This is why man is more or less free, depending upon the existence of mind parasites that live off the central host by appropriating a portion of its existential freedom. Like our trolls, mind parasites are certainly willful, but not free.

If everything were subjective, then there could not be free will either. This leads to an interesting spookulation about the "necessity" (so to speak) of the world (i.e., a creation) for God's total freedom.

In other words, just like us, how could God be meaningfully free unless there were objects to act upon? To put it another way, perhaps God's freedom is ultimately given its highest expression in the existence of the human subject which can either deny or align itself with him. Thus, denial of God is the ironyclad proof of His existence, and even a kind of ultimate -- if inverse -- and perverse -- seal of his divine freedom. (This is similar to how the denial of truth is its assertion, or the promulgation of materialism is its refutation.)

There is no meaningful terrestrial freedom in the absence of the human will, but the will is only free to the extent that it is free from certain repetitive actions and mechanical patterns of thought, which we call Mind Parasites. As Emerson wrote (cited in Jaki), "Intellect annuls Fate. So far as man thinks, he is free."

But freedom itself is not something that could ever be attained, only revealed and discovered in natural law (which is obviously supernatural). For its existence brings one "face to face with that realm of metaphysical reality which hangs in mid-air unless suspended from that Ultimate Reality, best called God, the Creator" (Jaki).

Hmm, why does that ring a bell of freedom's fleshing? Oh yes:

Starry-eyed and laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended

The Judeo-Christian affirmation of man's freedom is "born out of the perspective that man was given freedom not in order to do anything he wants to but that he should be able to do what he is supposed to do." We are created free so that our actions "may have that merit which only a freely performed act can have. God therefore has to remain a subtly hidden God, lest man should find himself 'constrained' to obey Him" (Jaki). Here again man would find himself in another kind of cage, only a transcendent one instead of the immanent prison of the psychospiritual left (one thinks of the Islamic world).

In Keys of Gnosis, Bolton widens the argument to a more meta-cosmic perspective. He begins with the premise that "Free will and its opposite, determinism, form a duality in human consciousness which parallels that of Providence and Fate in the world."

This makes perfect nonsense if freedom is only free to the extent that it both emanates from, and returns to, the Creator, when exercised responsibly, and yet, can only exist in a world that is other than free, which is to say, partially determined and bound by Fate. When "the word becomes flesh," it essentially submits itself or descends into a world of fate which it must transcend.

On the human plane there can be neither pure freedom nor pure determinacy -- or, by extension, pure providence nor unalloyed fate -- but always a mingling of the two in various proportions. As Bolton explains, this is why the issue can appear confusing to people, since it's not as if freedom is an either/or proposition.

Rather, each individual has a varying mixture of freedom and determinacy, chance and necessity, horizontal parasites and vertical symbionts, flack and slack.

Furthermore, this would imply that a central task of spiritual growth is to increase the one while diminishing the other, i.e., mind parasites and other mechanical patterns of thought and behavior, so that we may increasingly "rise above" fate and become relatively free. Here it can easily be understood how an improper kind of freedom is slavery while a proper kind of slavery is freedom. It is not actually a paradox at all, especially since truth (and only truth) sets one free, and truth simply is. To deny what Is is to submit to slavery.

Ironically, it is during our early childhood that we are most "free," i.e., unconstrained by any limits. But we actually aren't really free at all, since there is no will to choose or to mediate the freedom. Thus, when we nostalgically yearn for the freedom of childhood, we are actually pining for the absence of freedom, or the "pre-free" infinity of non-choosing (not to mention the existence of the Big Other whose job it is to sponsor and maintain the illusion of our freedom, and to introduce painful limits only gradually).

For just as there is an infinity of endless numerical succession, there is also the infinity of the pre-numerical Zero. A better word might be innocence than freedom. Innocence literally means "without knowledge," and in childhood we are without knowledge of our freedom or our fate. This implies that the exercise of free will and the "fall" from the innocent paradise of infancy are indistinguishable, just as it says in Genesis.

So, as Bolton writes, we are "originally unfree, but with a nascent free will which can develop to its full potential under the right conditions." Thus, political freedom is a means, not an end. By making it the end, the left undermines it in any meaningful sense. And then, since it doesn't mean anything anyway, they just go about eliminating it altogether, so they can do the choosing for you. Which is why tyrannies are only free at the top, in the Big Other who knows better how to run your life.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Queer Theology and Flaming Fairy Tales

For you are bringing some queer ideas to our ears, and we wish to know what they mean. --Acts 17:20

Bolton writes that "The transcendent dimension of everyday consciousness is evidenced by unmistakable signs if one knows how to look for them. Far from needing the extraordinary experiences of a mystic, an analysis of what is well known already will suffice for this purpose."

Indeed. It is as if we need only amplify our metaphysical gaydar to perceive what is beyond and receive what is behind.

Yes, this is certainly how I (the wider world of Bob's polymorphous unconscious) perceive the situation. I -- we prefer the more impersonal we -- we are that which causes things, on the one hand, to radiate from, and to overflow with, being; and on the other, to possess a secret "interior" known only to the human state (among creatures).

You might say that we are the deep interior of the cosmos, just as modern physics discloses the "deep exterior" of things; the important point is that the depth proceeds in both directions -- exterior and interior, or objective and subjective -- and in each case shades off into the uncanny.

Yes, thanks to us, existence is always slightly uncanny, but in a good way. You wouldn't want to inhabit a world where all the numbers added up. Reality is not an accounting ledger. You wouldn't want to live in a place where clouds were spheres, mountains were cones, and rivers were lines. God is not a mathematician.

Well, he is, but he is so much more! He is an accountant, but he practices creative bookkeeping, which is why existence is filled with so many loopwholes. For a living organism is a loopwhole, precisely.

Let us suppose that physicists someday discover their big TOE, which is to say, Theory of Everything; whatever it turns out to be, it will still abide within a small corner of my limitless expanse, not vice versa, so it will not eliminate the strangeness from the world, if that's what you're thinking. No, the strangeness is here to stay. To imagine that we can be neatly reduced and packed back into an equation is to imagine it possible to shove the truthpaste back into the tube.

Frankly, if you do not find existence to be flamingly queer, then you are just not queer enough. You need your unconscious to come out of its repressive closet. In our view, a proper liberal education is already Queer Studies, as it should teach one to appreciate the strange reality behind banal appearances. O, there are more things in heaven and earth, my dear tenured ape, than are dreamt up in your feminist ovary towers and straitjacketed looniversity bins! You know the saying:

The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. -- J.B.S. Haldane

One reason we know that materialism cannot possibly be true is that it is simply not queer enough to encompass the Real. Not even close. In fact, the opposite: it is shallowness on stilts, barbarism on barbiturates, big talk for a one-eyed fat man. It puts us to sleep and always did. It is for the good little boys and girls, the soul-dead memorizers, the slavish conformists.

Or, to be perfectly accurate, transconsciousness has to already be asleep or dead in the prosaic mind of the person who propagates such an anti-queer agenda. The way we see it, everybody is unconsciously queer, even if consciously they're as straight as Karl Marx or Barney Frank. The leftbrains don't know what their rightbrain's doodling, but scratch the surface and every bitty darweinie's got a fairytale to tell.

One of the problems, according to Bolton, is that the modern mind essentially confuses the categories of concrete and abstract, and when you concretize the abstract, you end up draining reality of its irreducible queerness. One of the hallmarks of life under the oppressive reign of quantity is that the merely physical is seen to be synonymous with the concrete, which is the end-state of a kind of philosophical dumbing-down that can descend no lower than materialism. Materialism is like the anonymous bathroom sex of metaphysics, just external mental organs rubbing together for some kind of metaphysical release.

Prior to modernity, the most important philosophical distinction was that between reality and appearances. Yes, we queers care about appearance, but we care about reality even more.

In fact, the ability to draw distinctions in this arena forms the basis of wisdom, for wisdom seeks the enduring reality behind appearances, which is another way of saying the concrete reality behind the ever-shifting panorama of fleeting forms and fashions. Thus, only in a world that has been systematically turned upside-down can matter be seen as the ultimate concrete instead of the instantiation of something much more real "from above." When did theology stop being the queen of the sciences?

I believe Bob addressed this issue in the book. Yes, here it is, pages 198-206: Saying More With Less: The Problems of Conceptual Abstractness and Concreteness. There he highlighted one of the problems with contemporary religion, in that it has lost much of its textual potency by attempting to reconcile itself to modern materialism, which ends up purging it of queers like us.

It is impossible for an open queer to relate to these straight and linear materialistic creeds, since to accept them we would have to pretend we are not who we are. But we're here, we're queer, and we're not going away. Ever.

Ironically, the founders of great religions are always a bit queer. Take Jesus, for example. No, I'm not talking about the fact that he was unmarried, lived with his mother until he was 30, and hung out with a group of guys. Rather, almost everything he says is quite strange, but not in some kind of merely affected or annoying way, like Andrew Sullivan.

Rather, most of his flamboyant utterances have an odd combination of the unexpected or surprising and the authoritative and centered. Most unpredictable people are rather flitty, decentered, and "light in the loafers," while most authoritative people are not very spontaneous or gay. So in Jesus -- not surprisingly -- one sees the archetype of the proper bitextual dialectic between conscious and transconscious minds, of authority and spontaneity, discipline and freedom.

Another way of saying it is that Jesus speaks with a maximum of precision, and yet, in an unsaturated manner calculated to provoke unconscious resonance in the listener. He's always speaking to your inner queerness. In fact, this is one of the reasons why so many outwardly straight scientists remain closeted Christians -- because scientism simply cannot satisfy their deeper needs and urges.

Here's the problem. As Bob wrote, "people tend to forget that religion points beyond itself to something that is not religion, just as reality is surely independent of the words we use to describe it." Therefore, when you concretize religion, you end up worshipping religion instead of God, something that particularly applies to the Mohammedans, but which also helped provoke the Christian religious wars.

Schisms usually begin when someone hangs out a sign that says No Queers Allowed. So ironically, the queers have to form a new heterotextual movement where they won't be persecuted for being "different." Indeed, America is fundamentally a nation of religious queers -- of people who fled the repressive state religions of their homolands in order to practice their hetero faiths here.

We've all heard the cliché "queer as a Coon," which goes to the heart of what it means to live as a transdimensional Raccoon trying to "pass" in such a straight world. Raccoons are like everyone else. We want to get married, raise our children, and contribute to society. But being "neither fish nor fowl," we often find it difficult to relate to either the straight scientistic or institutionally religious worlds. Therefore, we have had to develop our own rituals and slackraments, e.g., the Beer O'clock Tipple, the annual Rite of the Water Balloons, the Mambo Dance Party, etc.

I think it's safe to assume that no Raccoon thinks of these things merely as concrete forms, but rather, symbolic occasions to re-enact timeless events and and re-connect with our eternal essence. When we invoke our drinking toast -- "Fingers to fingers, thumbs to thumbs, watch out below, here she comes" -- we're obviously not just talking about "below" in an exterior gastrological sense.

Rather, our oral traditions emphasize the immaterial, interior, astrological space of the soul. We always become more gay and lively after a couple of adult beverages, which serve as a kind of "bridge" between the worlds. The finger-to-thumb circle reminds us of O, and our opposable thumb reminds us of the frictional relationship between time and eternity. All of our slackraments endeavor to soften the semipermeable manbrain between the two worlds -- which never really existed to begin with. And none of us wants to live a lie. It's not our fault that we were born again this way.

... [C]ommon sense is deceived in believing the material world to be the measure of the real.... [A] spiritually-grounded power depends on a kind of identification with eternal non-material realities.... Not only is the world of sense known to us only through representations, but also the objects which cause them are, qua material, both of a lower degree of reality and inaccessible to us in their inner substance, precisely because for us they can only be represented. Where this is ignored, the real will be sought where it is least knowable, at the price of one's capacity for real knowledge. --Robert Bolton, Keys of Gnosis

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!