Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Revenge of the Ghouls: When Liberals Attack

(Visitors new to this blog might want to skip the first paragraph. While I can assure you it makes perfect nonsense, only prolonged exposure to the blog can shed sufficient obscurity on its pundamental meaning. Suffice it to say that it's funny because it's true!)

For fertile eggheads, thinking is a trinitarian process that results from the harmonious union of Father conscious and mother unConscious producing baby thoughtlet. This little thought then grows up and mary's his own true-to-wife unConscious, the innercourse of which eventually produces bouncing new grandthoughts out of the voidgin soil. And sow on and sow fourth.

And just as we couldn't have a complex genetic blueprint without copying errors, we couldn't have real thinking without mistakes. Of course we could have logic, but logic isn't thinking. If thinking is reduced to logic, then you end up shooting psychic blanks with forms of pseudo-thinking such as materialism, atheism, or radical secularism.

And even then, anyone should know that logic is useless and often dangerous in the absence of a nonlocal thinker who knows how and when to deploy it, and is aware of the limits beyond which it becomes patently irrational. To apply logic beyond its proper limits is like trying to use a sundial on the dark side of the moon.

Logic cannot give birth to its own materials, nor can it father its own boundaries. This is why the problem of our Ønanistic trolls can be summarized in four words: their boys can't swim. Their masturbatory thoughts are dead on arrival.

In the absence of a prudent thinker -- prudence being the cardinal virtue -- logic is just as likely to use faulty premises to arrive at illogical conclusions; or, as is intrinsic to contemporary liberalism, fail to draw out the full chain of reasoning.

Rather, the liberal arbitrarily stops thinking at a point that suits his desires, his flattering self-image, and his policy preferences. Nor are liberals capable of entertaining counterfactuals, i.e., what might have been absent their meddling.

If liberals would only reason just a little bit farther -- from A all the way to C or D, instead of stopping at B, they might begin to see the actual effects of their countless failed government programs. But doing this would require them to exit their fishy world of squishy wish fulfillment and enter the painful world of the reality principle.

Roger Kimball writes that "This is the oldest and the best argument for conservatism: the argument from the fact that our actions almost always have unforeseen and unwelcome consequences. It is an argument from so great and so mournful a fund of experience, that nothing can rationally outweigh it.

"Yet somehow, at any rate in societies like ours, this argument never is given its due weight. When what is called a 'reform' proves to be, yet again, a cure worse than the disease, the assumption is always that what is needed is still more, and still more drastic, 'reform.' Progressives cannot wrap their minds (or, more to the point, their hearts) around this irony: that 'reform' so regularly exacerbates either the evil it was meant to cure or another evil it had hardly glimpsed."

Even more alarmingly, the reforms forced upon us by liberals not only produce unintended consequences, but unintended human beings and an unintended culture for them to feel comfortable in. In short, it produces deviant people who then require the very cultural circumstances that gave psychic birth to them in order to feel "normal."

Senior Raccoons will remember a time, not too long ago, that abnormal people in our culture actually felt abnormal. They were aware of their deviancy, and how this deviancy contributed to an unhappiness that no government has the power to eliminate.

But under the guise of "tolerance" and multiculturalism, we have deprived these poor souls of the feedback they need in order to know that they are not normal. This is not empathy, but cruelty -- like shielding someone from a cancer diagnosis on the grounds that it will make them feel bad, but depriving them of the chance to fight it.

In order to allow such people to feel normal in their abnormalcy, we have had to develop a deviant culture for them to live in, to such an extent that the normal are now made to feel abnormal. A liberal can rename someone "special," but that doesn't alter the gravity of the actual condition.

This is one of the influences on the Tea Party movement, and more generally the effort to take our country back from the deviant. Not surprisingly, this is enraging the abnormals of the left, as witnessed, for example, by the weird attempt to suggest that normal people somehow caused the patently abnormal Jared Loughner to open fire on a bunch of normal people.

If multiculturalism were true, it would mean that all cultures are of equal value. But this is equivalent to saying that there is no reality to which culture is an adaptation. As a result, culture devolves to a mere fantasy world. Which, of course, it is for the left. They are, by their own lights, not oriented to reality, since reality is just an oppressive white European male construct.

So, what is the left adapted to? That is a good question. I suppose it depends upon the day and the circumstances, for it changes -- which is their prerogative, since change is their only reality. Yesterday dissent was the highest form of patriotism, whereas today it is a Climate of Hate. Nuance!

Nothing is more futile than trying to hold a liberal to what they said yesterday. A leftist assassinates JFK? You can't use that to tar the left. A Palestinian assassinates RFK? Can't use that to implicate Palestinian nationalism. Some loon almost murders Reagan in the densest climate of statist haters since the Confederacy? Whatever.

As Kimball writes, one good reason to be wary of promiscuous change is that "lasting cultural accomplishments are hard-won achievements that are easy to lose but difficult to recoup." To paraphrase Dawson, it is possible to destroy something in a day that took 5,000 years to build. Then again, Dawson was obviously unaware of New Deal and Great Society programs, which seem to be as permanent as the pyramids of Egypt.

The language of mindless change also discourages the cultivation of gratitude, which is one of the prerequisites of human happiness. In the words of Kimball, "the rhetoric of change encourages us to discount present blessings that are real for future promises that are uncertain at best."

Mind parasites are generally not too destructive so long as they are confined to individual minds and played out in personal relationships. But just as neurosis may be thought of as a private culture, culture often comes down to a public neurosis. And that is when the mind parasites can result in the enfeeblement and even eradication of the host, as in contemporary leftism.

In reading of the left's egregious political exploitation of the Arizona murders, I was struck yesterday by how many times I saw the words "liberal" and "ghoulish" conjoined. This is no accident. When the abnormals are confronted with their abnormality in a consistent and unyielding way, their ghoulishness becomes all the more evident, as it must come out from hiding and actually defend the indefensible.

And of course, the ghouls will subjectively experience this as a climate of hatred.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Murderous Impulses of the Left

This weekend I was reminded of the joke about the Jew who liked Nazi rhetoric, because it made him feel like a big shot -- after all, Jews own the banks, rule the media, control Hollywood, and generally run the world.

There have already been any number of definitive analyses of the left's exploitation of the Arizona shootings, so I don't want to repeat them; cf. here, here, here, and here. Is there anything else to say except that one should never be surprised at the moral rot of the left? This is what they do. Since they they know as well as anyone that they cannot win on the merits, their first and last resort is always to defame, to smear, and to demonize.

If we limit ourselves to conscious motivations, then Glenn Reynolds is correct in saying that there are really only two explanations for such disgusting behavior on part of the left: they are either "(a) asserting a connection between the 'rhetoric' and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) [they're] not, in which case [they're] just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?"

But there is a third alternative, which is that they actually do believe what they are saying. That the left is morally insane is not controversial. To embrace moral relativism is ultimately to affirm that no act is forbidden, that there is no transcendent source of morality, and that we are not held accountable for our actions. Which is why one can never accuse a leftist of hypocrisy, since it is impossible for a true nihilist to be a hypocrite.

We will not review our many posts that explain how and why the ideology of leftism is animated by hatred and envy. But because of this, it is impossible for the leftist to handle the cognitive dissonance that is generated between two diametrically opposed psychic realities. On the one hand, the leftist is no different than anyone else, in that he has a reservoir of hatred, greed, irrational thinking, prejudices, etc.

However, the leftist regards himself as morally superior, to such an extent that he deems himself worthy and capable of ruling over all the other unenlightened and morally inferior beings who are greedy, irrational, power-hungry, etc. The conservative is not sanguine about human nature, beginning with his own. But the leftist denies human nature, beginning with his own.

How can such beautiful souls as Barney Frank, Paul Krugman, Keith Olbermann, or Nancy Pelosi be animated by anything less than the most lofty and selfless goals? Easy. They cannot be. Therefore, what is denied in themselves must be projected into others, which is where conservatives come in.

For the left, conservatism is, was, and always will be a convenient repository for their own psychic projections. Many commenters have noticed that if you really want to know what's going on in the leftist's mind, just take note what they condemn in others. This is axiomatic.

In the case of the Arizona shootings, what is the left projecting? From the moment information about the murderer's preoccupations became available, it was evident to me that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and I will be very surprised if that is not the final verdict. Suffice it to say that the paranoid schizophrenic is not in contact with what we call reality, and that their motivations emanate from a tangle of irrational impulses, fears, obsessions, hallucinations, and delusions.

So at this point, there is obviously no rational basis whatsoever to attribute the murderer's actions to anything other than severe mental illness (and perhaps to the people around him who ignored or enabled it). Note that the left is irrationally using this irrational person in order to insert their own peculiar preoccupations, and furnish him with an understandable motivation: he murdered because he was animated by conservative ideas and principles.

What this actually means is that these murderous impulses are indeed real, except that they are first in the mind of the leftist. The left is in a state of perpetual rage at conservatives, even more so than usual since last year's election. To put it simply, we drive them nuts with anger. They would like to kill, but their beautiful self image prevents them from recognizing and owning their own rage. Therefore they must project it into others: into Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh, or Sarah Palin, or this insane criminal.

Or me. I am well aware of the fact that I provoke intense anger in our trolls, which is instantaneously projected into me, and transformed into hatred to which they feel compelled to react. In other words, I become the spurious "cause" of their anger and hatred.

Contemporary liberalism (i.e., leftism, not classical liberalism) is not just accidentally but intrinsically wrong. It is wrong not just in this or that elaboration of its principles and policies, but in its very substance. As such, it's like trying to use defective bricks to erect a building, or magical thinking as the basis of science. When your first principles are in error, then everything entailed in those principles will also be in error. To put it another way, it really is possible to be rotten to the core.

Schuon is never explicitly political, but he frequently slips in a page-stopping observation that is pregnant with political implications. It would be strictly impossible to be a student of his and also be a leftist, just as it would be impossible for any seriously religious person to be a leftist.

Not that there aren't religious leftists (indeed, leftism is a political religion). It's just that their values are deeply at odds with perennial truth, and when push comes to shove, it is clear that they derive their values from ideology and not religion; or, if from religion, they deeply misunderstand its esoteric and often even plain meaning. Rather, they simply use religion as a vehicle to advance their political agenda, an agenda that is rooted in ungoverned feeling. Everyone knows this, which is why Democrat candidates are so awkward and unnatural when they talk about religion.

Metaphysical truths, in order to be effective, must become operative in the will. Thus, to transfer responsibility for a dimly perceived spiritual truth to the state is to render it inoperative, since it relieves man of having to be personally conscious of the principle.

Leftists flatter themselves by imagining they "speak truth to power," when they actually promulgate seductive lies to the powerless in order to keep them that way (and to keep voting Democrat). After all, it isn't as if the simple behavioral principles for avoiding poverty aren't well understood. But since they require the cultivation of certain timeless virtues -- and don't allow the sentimental liberal to feel good about himself -- the liberal isn't interested.

Is there a single leftist who understands the following principle?: "Too great an indulgence toward others is often caused not by an innate weakness of character but by an actual inability to conceive the frailty of men and the malice of the devil" (Schuon). And the reason they cannot conceive of the frailty of men is that it would require too much painful self-examination. They'd rather project it into others. On the one hand they project a weak and pathetic part of themselves into "the poor." And they project an angry and controlling part into "the rich."

One immediately thinks of the Hollywood left, who project their deep character flaws into those they presume to rescue, which then absolves them of the need to root out their own frailties and rise above themselves. But "to take fallen man as the human norm is to end up idealizing not man but the human animal, the thinking beast" (ibid). This is why no one is more anti-human than a humanist, for they undermine man's sufficient reason for being, not to mention his rootedness in the transcendent.

A Bill Clinton embodies the qualities of earthly intelligence and oily charm; or cunning and seduction; or calculation and hypnosis. As Harvey Mansfeld wrote, he is "the envy of vulgar men," and deservedly so.

But as Schuon explains, cunning is no more a normal mode of intelligence than paranoia is a normal mode of perception. The latter is not perception but apperception, i.e., the systematic confirmation of one's own projected thoughts and impulses. Leftists know what motivated the Arizona murderer, which is a roundabout way of saying they unconsciously know their own motivations.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Tilting the Cosmic Pinball Machine

On page 226 it is written that "even if you were to forcefully yank on the brake of the Karmic Express, its sheer momentum will continue to carry it down the tracks for a while."

Thus, one "shouldn't be surprised at the persistent weeds that will continue to sprout in your spiritual garden. These are the result of karmic 'seeds' you have mindlessly deposited throughout your life, each with a different life cycle (many seeds take years to sprout). They will continue to sprout up long after you've stopped being naughty, just as the good seeds you are currently planting will take some time to germinate and yield their sound fruit."

True in 2005, truer today, truest tomorrow.

I know that Bob hates to sound like some kind of hippy-dippy liberal, even though, in the final urinalysis, that is precisely what he is. No one is more surprised than he is over the fascinnoying spectacle of his supposedly liberal generational cohort becoming the leading edge of left-wing psychic conformity, state control, and spiritual materialism. But the reactionary rebel only rebels against himself, so it is easier to just cut out the middleman and identify with the Man himself -- the cause, not the effect.

Now, the idea of karma has become a kind of airy fairy, windy Hindi subject. Nevertheless, as mentioned a couple of posts back, the Bible is full of references to karma -- which is simply cause and effect on the moral plane -- to such an extent that the entire metaphysical system presented in its pages breaks down if we eliminate it -- just as the physical world makes no sense in the absence of horizontal causation.

However, causation on the moral plane cannot be as simple and linear as it is on the material plane. This is easy to understand, because it is true of most any phenomenon above the plane of matter, e.g., biology, history, economics, etc. Each of these is irreducibly nonlinear and non-deterministic.

In the Primordial Tradition of which Raccoons are a nonlocal branch (although we retain our autonomy), there are always no less than three degrees of being: the material, the psychological, and the spiritual worlds, corresponding to body, mind (or soul), and spirit (or intellect, i.e., the nous).

In turn, these three worlds correspond to the three main ways of understanding it, 1) empirical science (the eye of the senses), 2) philosophy (the eye of reason), and 3) theology and metaphysics (the contemplative eye of spirit, or pure intellection and understanding); one might also say fact-truth-wisdom, or observation-axiom-principle. (Ken Wilber does a good job of summarizing this perennial truth in his Eye to Eye.)

Of Aristotle's four causes -- material, formal, efficient, and final -- it is the latter which takes priority for human beings (at least in a free society). It is what organizes and enlists the other three, similar to the manner in which the design of a machine exploits the freedom left over by the boundary conditions of lower levels, e.g., physics and chemistry. We only have the freedom to create a machine because of stable and consistent laws (which is why leftist economics never works, and why transparent and unambiguous law and private property are necessary conditions for the generation of wealth and prosperity).

Now, reality is far too complex for one to ever have anything like complete control over one's fate. However, according to Bolton, "By keeping increasingly free from certain states of mind for long enough, one may exhaust the negative reactions from the world which would need to connect with such corresponding inner states in order to be manifest. In this way, the 'cosmic debts' incurred by the use of negative energies can be dissipated."

This is a critical point, one that Walt immediately picked up on the other day. Obviously the materialist will dismiss it a priori, as his conclusions are always buried in his premises. This is not to be confused with "thinking." We all understand that there are moral causes loose in the world -- think, for example, of Martin Luther King's crusade to make America live up to its first principles.

Partly because actions cannot be divorced from the state of mind -- even the total being -- of the person engaging in them, there is no guarantee that the same action will redound to the same personal consequences. In short, we just don't know, which is all the more reason to be virtuous for its own sake, not for any immediate karmic payoff or huge slackpot.

In turn, this is the benefit of understanding how the total system works, for, among other things, it gives us the patience to gracefully endure what we inevitably have coming to us -- our Cross to bear -- and to gratefully accept those injustices that we would probably deserve anyway in a just world.

To put it another way, in a just world, no man would escape a severe wedgie. Appreciating this is a fine psychic defense against the auto-victimization of the left, which makes a man powerless, resentful, irresponsible, and entitled to that which he doesn't deserve. It is also why we all feel compelled to give Dennis Kucinich the wedgie of his life.

In Keys of Gnosis, Bolton points out that "it is mainly because of the wide variations among these time intervals that the succession of action and reaction passes unnoticed. A major factor here is the degree to which true values inform one's life.... The return of reactions rapidly enough for them to be recognized as such is a sign of closeness to the truth" (italics mine).

This is analogous to what we were saying the other day about how proximity to O effectively "thickens" time, so that we begin to take notice of the nonlocal web of causation that permeates our life. Indeed, it is difficult to ignore. Reminds me of a couple of tunes from Van Morrison's Poetic Champions Compose:

There are strange things happening every day / I hear music up above my head / Fill me up with wonder / Give me my rapture today (Give Me My Rapture), and

I began to realize the magic in my life / See it manifest in oh so many ways / Every day is gettin' better and better / I wanna be daily walking close to you (Did Ye Get Healed?)

Conversely, "the long or indefinite delay of [reactions] is a sign that one has strayed too far from the truth to be able to atone for wrongs in this life." We want to believe we can instantaneously turn things around and realize the magic in our life -- to "see it manifest in oh so many ways" -- but that can't possibly occur without undermining the logic of the whole system. It's not that easy to create a moral universe. You try it.

Just as in science, many things are known to be true by virtue of the fact that if they weren't, then a multitude of other truths would be nullified as well, and the whole existentialada would fall apart. It's no different on the metaphysical plane, where most things are known to be true because they must be. The karmic web of cause and effect is one such example. To say I AM is to implicitly say I AM TRUTH and I AM GOOD, and therefore I AM the WAY.

This is why, unlike those new age frauds, Bob doesn't make the absurd claim that if you read his book you will somehow achieve "instant enlightenment." Rather, he makes the much more humble guarantee of eternal life while you wait. (Waiting times may vary. Claim has no caché value. Tenured not eligible for this offer. Void where prohibited by left.)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

There's One in Every Cloud

That might be the most star power I've ever had in one dream -- a cavalcade of marginal talent, including Jennifer Aniston, Robert Redford, and Sally Field. Why my Dreamer cast those three in particular is something of mystery, but at one point Redford mentioned that Joe Biden had suffered a disabling stroke. My kneejerk reaction was "how can they tell?"

Which I immediately regretted, because I'm not normally like that in mixed company. I live in a liberal state and in a liberal city, and work in a liberal if not completely gay profession. I'm used to stifling my thoughts and maintaining a discrete silence in such a hostile environment, since it is pointless to argue with a liberal. To do so is to not know what a liberal is. Liberalism can only be "awakened from," not argued out of.

Yes, on the blog I often have the needle out, but that's because it is addressed to like-minded people, so it's all in fun. I am not here to argue but to help, and I am not presumptuous enough to imagine that I could help you, of all people. If the blog doesn't benefit you, then there are no hard feelings. You may go your way and zen no more. But many people are attracted to what they hate, thus the trolls. If you search your past, perhaps you may have once been like this yourself -- looking for conflict as a way to externalize your own absence of tranquility.

I know I was. I used to enjoy the bracing sensation of verbal aggression along my keel. In this regard, it is important to examine the feelings one is experiencing amidst aggression, whether it is verbal or physical. You may notice a primitive sensation that is pleasurable even though it is being destructive. Our trolls generally drip this from every pore. Which is why I counsel readers to respond to them with good humor and to always leave a quip, otherwise there is the danger of being enlisted into their angry little drama.

Now, back to our transconscious journey through the hidden arteries of the cosmos to look for the meaning and purpose of free will, which otherwise hangs suspended from our official scientific paradigm like a loose shirttail with no footprints in the air.

Either human freedom is significant, or it is not significant. But if it is not significant, then it is difficult to account for how only the existence of freedom makes possible something as manifestly significant as science.

And how can one promulgate a Science that is unable to justify the necessary conditions for its own practice, i.e., minds that are free to discover truth? If you don't see that freedom and truth are necessary conditions of each other, then you just don't see, period. You are metaphysically blind. I'd say get lost, but you already are. So get found!

Actually, we prefer to employ the word liberty, since mere freedom is neither here nor there. Animals are free of constraint, but so what? We do not advocate a radical bewilderness oddventure in which every spud is free to live in his own private Idaho. Just as knowledge can only exist in a universe of unconditional truth, liberty must be oriented around the Good. Otherwise we merely have the tyrannical freedom discussed by bedwetting existentialists such as Sartre, i.e., a freedom indistinguishable from nothingness.

The whole purpose of traditional metaphysics is to show us what must necessarily be concretely true, despite appearances -- not only what is true in this particular cosmos, but in any hypothetical cosmic maninfestation. Traditional metaphysics deals with the very conditions of existence. Period.

On a deeper level, religion discloses this objective metaphysics through its symbolic forms. The fact that scripture does this in such a way that it transcends whatever its writers thought they were writing about, leads to the conclusion that it is at the very least "inspired," but "revealed" is probably more like it.

Interestingly, Dennis Prager was discussing this the other day, in his "ultimate issues" hour. For the remainder of 2011, he plans to use this hour to explain why the Bible is the wisest book ever written, irrespective of whether one is religious or atheist. Rather, he is going to discuss the book on its own merits, and subject it to the same critique one would any other work of philosophy. (In this regard, his approach is similar to Kass's The Beginning of Wisdom.)

But as we were saying yesterday, if you think about the barbarity of the Hebrew tribes that were handed the Jewish revelation, you know that it couldn't have sprung from the unaided mind of man as such. At best, they could have come up with transparently childlike and speculative myths and fairy tales, not any kind of transcendent wisdom that would fruitfully attract and occupy the sharpest human minds for the subsequent three or four thousand years.

It is difficult to imagine any of the new rabble of atheistic sods expressing a single thought that won't be forgotten just as soon as they're safely beneath the sod, let alone pored over thousands of years from now. In a way, these flatulent earthbounders are just the inevitable shadow given off by the light, parasightless Nietzschean leeches on the inner reaches of primordial speechings and celestial teachings.

Let's look at it -- or listen to it -- this way. Think of the thousands of musical sophisticates who have obtained Ph.D.s in music in the past half century. How many of them have written a single note of music that will be remurmured by thousands of lips hence?

Flatlanders do not see the secret because it is not at the bottom of the cosmos, where they are constrained to live, but at the top. And one cannot disclose its existence by pulverizing matter into smaller and smaller bits with bigger and bigger hammers.

Since existence is a hierarchical manifestation from above, it is as if each level is "stamped" by the level immediately above. As such, there is inevitably some information that is "lost" with each successive level. Thus, the higher can disclose the lower, but the lower can only partially disclose the higher. As we have said, life isn't the secret of DNA; rather, DNA is the secret of life. And sow on and sow on, if you seed what we meme. That's the harvest part.

Do letters cause words, or vice versa? Do words cause sentences? Don't be an idiot. Yes, letters are more "fundamental" than words, in the same way that physics is more fundamental than biology. But to employ Ken Wilber's nomenclature, fundamental does not mean significant. Significance is at the top, not the bottom; or, to be precise, significance is located along the vertical spectrum.

This is why, no matter what you say about the Creator, it is both too much and never enough, because it can't possibly "contain" him without distorting him. Human language can contain what is lower than language, but never what is higher. It can only symbolize or indicate the higher -- which, I might add, is completely adequate for the spiritually normal.

That is to say, the higher dimensions may be spoken of in a poetic, symbolic, elliptical, or suggestive manner, through which the symbol implicitly resonates with much more than we could explicitly say.

I suppose it's somewhat analogous to opera. In opera, the story line is usually rather lame and skeletal. It only hints at the real action, which is taking place on a purely musical level. If the libretto were less lame -- i.e., more saturated and detailed -- this would obscure the much deeper level of transverbal meaning which the music is disclosing.

This, of course, is why Jesus speaks in parables. For one thing, being who he is, he cannot speak in any other way (since his being vastly transcends the human container, which includes language). But even on a purely talktical level, this is the only way to ensure that his words will have a timeless and transcultural relevance. He only says enough so that you may participate in the transcendent reality he is talking about. Say too much, and the listener is stuck in religio-scientific fundamentalist flatland. Say too little and he is alone in a cloud, fruitlessly deepakin' the chopra.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Why Good Things Happen... At All

When last we spoke, we were discussing the cosmic Law of cause and effect, or of moral causality -- the latter of which exists, but not always as rapidly and efficiently (as compared to material causes) as we would like. But this has always been known; some version of The wheels of justice grind slowly but exceedingly fine has been making the rounds since antiquity.

Likewise the flusteration and doubtrage when the blue meanies seem to triumph -- for nothing provokes doubt more than the appearance of injustice. Justice is implanted in our hearts, but only the childish, the stupid, and the left (I repeat myself) imagine that perfect justice can be achieved on earth.

But most people ask the wrong question, or look out the wrong end of the teloscope. As far as we are concerned, the question is not why good things happen to bad people, but why good things happen at all. Of course pleasant things must happen, but good things ought to happen, and the world of the ought begins where natural science ends -- the latter of which deals with the is only, and even then, the manner in which the Is appears to our senses.

Thus, if one is a flat cosmos materialist, then there is no mystery, since the only question is why pleasurable things happen, and pleasurable things happen because certain subjective sensations were selected by evolution in order to tell us when we are engaging in some life-enhancing activity that increases our chances of passing on our genes, like bashing in someone's head when they don't see things our way, or raping the next attractive woman who comes along.

But every conscious being knows that the moral order cannot be reduced to neurology and genes, any more than a great work of art can be reduced to its molecular components. Thus, if one is a materialist, then one must necessarily be a cynic, as the cynic is able to see through the naive people who believe in a fixed moral order. The cynic knows that these people are just fooling themselves -- or worse yet, just trying to manipulate and control others -- and that good and evil cannot actually exist.

Deep -- or even not so deep -- down, we all know that there are objectively bad behaviors, which negates the materialist's frivolous argument, but this has no impact upon him, since for him truth cannot exist either.

If the materialist is intellectually honest, he will have to acknowledge that Bach was just a musical con man, what with his sinister idea that the purpose of his music was to reveal the divine order, or that Abraham Lincoln was just a tyrant and demagogue who used the slavery issue to consolidate presidential power in unprecedented ways, or that Christians only pretend a fetus has some intrinsic value in order to gain control over women's bodies.

O, what is a troll but the lice on Bob's transdimensional vapor trail? But enviously suckling on the creativity of another feels good, so it must be right. We wouldn't know, but biting ankles must feel like an accomplishment to someone who has never seen a calf, knee, or thighbone.

Now, as far as we can tell, one of the intrafamilial squabbles between Judaism and Christianity -- but not really, as we shall see -- is over the value of action in isolation from the state of the soul engaging in it. We have heard Dennis Prager (Medved too) speak of this on numerous occasions, that in Jewish thought, the overriding concern is the value of the action, not the motivations of the person engaging in it. Thus, bad people can do a lot of good. "Charity and pride have different aims, yet both feed the poor," say the rabbis.

There is obviously some real truth to this, but I think that overall, taken in isolation, this is a morality intended for an earlier age. It is certainly not invalid, but incomplete for the spiritual aspirant who wishes to ascend beyond moral convention toward the source of morality itself.

Clearly, Judaism was a covenant with a people, a collective. This is perfectly appropriate, being that the individual as we understand it simply did not exist at the time of the Jewish revelation, which we believe was vitally necessary in order to create the context for the interior individual to later emerge.

This is not to say that the Jewish approach is negated by Christianity. To the extent that it is "transcended," it is only because it must be included in the Christian approach, just as Jesus said, i.e., that he did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.

In our view, truly fulfilling the law would be to merge action and intention, heart and body, spirit and letter, words and music, man and God. There remain Christians who emphasize works, others who emphasize faith, but to the extent that we wish to become "perfect," there should really be a marriage of the two.

Nevertheless, man's capacity for autoflimflammery, or pulling the wool over his own I, is more or less infinite, so it is morally perilous to operate without the sort of external guide rails provided by a revealed moral code filtered through contemplative generations of The Wise.

Or, as Rabbi Zimmerman expresses it, To live outside the law you must be honest. Virtually all people need to be shown the good before they can see and know the good -- even though the good must already be "inside" in order to recognize it "outside." A life spent contemplating the Law in the manner of a Jewish sage no doubt has a transformative and purifying effect on the soul, for as the Yiddish saying goes, Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.

I can see how this operates in real time, since my five and a-half year old attends a Catholic school where his fresh dough is being baked in a really wonderful way.

This has direct relevance to our discussion of free will, for a good action that is forced is just as servile and unfree as a bad action, just as a dog that is trained to assist a blind person isn't really "choosing" the good. The dog could just as easily transfer its loyalty to Kim Jung Il, assuming he didn't eat it first.

Similarly, memorizing truth in a rote fashion can never be the same as possessing wisdom, no matter how true. To quote another rabbinical quip, "he falsifies who renders a verse just as it looks." Indeed, "for every answer you can find a new question." Thus the ironyclad Bionic adage that the answer is the disease that kills curiosity.

So intentions do matter, especially when it comes to the modern self, which is much more "interior." In a way, this is more challenging than merely engaging in outwardly good deeds, for it adds a whole new world in need of purification and sanctification.

For no sooner had this new interior self emerged, than a whole host of new evils flooded into the psychospiritual world, or at least exacerbated the old ones. With the modern self came the appearance of the kind of unlimited evil we witnessed in the 20th century, and which we now see in Islamofascism. Islam becomes combustible when merged with certain "ideals" imported from the modern West, among them, fascism and scientific technology. Imagine if, say, the ancient Mesopotamians had had access to weapons of mass destruction, and not just the modern ones.

Bolton agrees that "physically similar actions can differ internally." Perhaps most importantly, "the actions of conscious agents owe so much of their true nature to the beliefs and intentions with which they are performed." And it is on the level of intention that the Law (discussed yesterday) really becomes apparent and that "like attracts like."

This is why people are not united by common actions, but by a common spirit that draws them together into the same spiritual attractor. Even the blatantly anti-spiritual left operates out of a debased spiritual attractor that will be well familiar to Raccoons. We understand them perfectly, but they cannot understand us.

In turn, this is why there is a "culture war" in America, and why the frumpy no-labelists who complain that there is "too much divisiveness" are missing the whole point. John Edwards is correct: there are two Americas -- the material flatland of his Marxian fantasies, and the real one. In his world, theft is moral because it is detached from the moral order that he doesn't recognize to begin with. Which is how he became wealthy.

Bolton says that it is on the interior plane that we will especially see the effect of the Law, as we attract people and things into our life which share a similar "spirit."

For example, Raccoons who "stumbled" upon this blog and to its community were actually drawn here, "attractor to attractor," something that becomes increasingly clear as one's internal attractor develops in time. Why the trolls are drawn here is a different matter entirely, although for some, there may actually be a latent good spirit that was attracted here but which is concealed by their envy and intellectual deadness. For them there is hope yet, so long as the pilot light isn't extinguished.

Bolton goes on to emphasize that "interior" does not necessarily mean "private," and that the interior does affect the exterior:

"By virtue of the Law, actions and orientations are never merely private, despite appearances. Consequently, a manner of being which deepens the relation to God and universal values, and so identifies with a more concrete reality, thus interacts with the ambient world simply by being a part of it. This is to be the instrument of an action of presence which necessarily attracts proportionate positive action from the world, and so liberates potentialities within it which increase its order and stability."

Which is why the rabbis teach that a minimum of 36 righteous souls in each generation is required to sustain the world. Yes, that's all it takes to keep all the leftist do-gooders in check.

When the great Tao is forgotten, goodness and piety appear. --Tao Te Ching

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