Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Middle Age Crazy

As we know, the Divine Comedy begins with a hint of what it's all about, which is to say, the Mother of all mid-life crises: Midway upon the journey of our life....


We think of the "mid-life crisis" occurring in middle age. When I was a lad, the tripping point was around 40, but nowadays it seems to be more like 50, or perhaps even later. This is not necessarily a positive development, for it only means that we can put off the crisis a little longer by nurturing the illusions that maintain us and confer a bogus meaning upon our lives.

But make no mistake: any meaning short of God is no meaning at all. It's either God or nothing, Yahweh or the low-way, O or Ø. PZ Myers may be sociopathic (Taranto also comments on his moral depravity here), but at least he's intellectually honest enough to acknowledge that for the atheist, a baby can be no more intrinsically valuable than a burger. (My site meter indicates the presence of PZ readers, based upon the allegation that I wish to attract his attention. Do not flatter yourselves, children. Nothing does not attract us, although many nothings are strangely attracted to this blog for reasons only they don't understand.)

The good news is that if there is true meaning -- AKA Truth -- then there is God.

Now, life is not a mathematical equation. Rather, it is a mythsemantical journey, so one cannot actually assign a number to "mid-life."

Rather, as I believe I once heard Donald Fagen say, life itself is a continual crisis. Every stage of life is a mid-life crisis. For example, my son is having a mid-life crisis between the oedipal and latency stages of development. And it's no less intense than it is for some pathetic One Cosmos troll and obsessive stalker who wakes up and realizes he's a crock roach.

How do we know Dante is in crisis? Because he tells us so in the second line: I found myself within a forest dark. For us, the forest is a place of primal beauty, of slackful relaxation, of peaceful nature unsullied by civilization.

But for premodern man, the forest was a place of great danger. It marked the edge of safety, beyond which you were taking your life into your own hands. To venture in alone would be almost suicidal.

Hey Don, don't forget the hot dogs and beer!

Even outside the forest, the darkness of the premodern world was unimaginable for us. But inside the forest it was even darker. At night, you wouldn't have been able to see your hand in front of your face. There is an evolutionary reason why children are afraid of the dark, because darkness is where the monsters literally dwelt. You wouldn't even know what ate you. Thus the old adage, he who hesitates is lunch.

The little clearing of civilization is where things are illuminated. But this area of light is a hard-won prize, surrounded by darkness. No wonder people cling to their stupid cultures, since they are preferable to living in the dark.

In other words, whatever else a culture is, it is a collective defense against the dark. Never ask why people believe such idiotic things. Just remember the danger of the surrounding forest.

In this regard, it is analogous to the ego, which serves the same purpose on an individual basis. In treating patients, one of the first things Freud noticed is that you cannot simply confront them about their irrational beliefs. Reason is impotent, because the irrational belief is a defense against the dark. Just like culture, the ego, whatever else it is, is a little area of light surrounded by darkness. Freud called the darkness the "unconscious," but this is very misleading.

A better term would simply be consciousness, which is to the ego as the cosmos is to a planet. It is "relatively infinite," while the ego is the attempt to reduce infinity to some manageable chunk. It is not actually possible to do this, the reason being that the contained can never contain the container. But people never stop trying. Only when it reaches the point of absurdity do we call it "pathological."

For example, the compulsive personality reduces reality down to, say, a struggle with germs. He becomes preoccupied with cleanliness, washing his hands repeatedly, disinfecting everything, taking multiple showers a day. In this case, reality has become a kind of narrow beam of light, beyond which is the dangerous forest full of microscopic monsters.

But all ideologies -- and I mean all of them -- are just the same process writ large. Again: God or nothing. Everything "outside" God is just a nasty case of OCD.

It is the same with paranoia. The paranoid personality attempts to manage the forest by projecting it outside the self, into others.

I don't want to jump too far ahead, but the forest Dante is talking about is obviously the interior/unconscious one. To rip a vivid example from the headlines, liberals routinely manage their rage by projecting it into conservatives, as they did in the case of the Arizona mass murderer. They fear what they hate, because the projected hatred returns to them on the rebound. It's all an intrapsychic process, reinforced and leant legitimacy by the collective nature of the neurosis. Just as in the case of a primitive culture, there is safety in numbers.

I don't want to get sidetracked, but Taranto has been doing a great job exposing the absurdity of it all. Most people mark it down to hypocrisy, but it's much worse than that, since many leftists actually believe what they're saying. When we say that a defense mechanism is unconscious, we mean unconscious. It has to be unconscious, because these people obviously aren't stupid, and it requires no intelligence to see that the charges are not true.

Third line: For the straightforward pathway has been lost. Why is that? Because, as we have discussed many times, the realm of the unconscious (and supraconscious) is not governed by linear, aristotelian logic.

Rather, it is the world of symmetrical logic, as described by Ignacio Matte Blanco, so to plunge into the unconscious is to give oneself over to a world with very different rules. In the unconscious, linear math is of no assistance. For example, in this world it is completely unproblematic that One should equal Three, and vice versa.

Because the unconscious is always in us -- or, to be precise, we are in it -- a deadly crisis is always just around the coroner. As Upton explains, "This is the point where outward manifestation has reached its limit, after which a person must either ascend spiritually or be content to live within the progressive deterioration of the form of his life."

In other words, life is either ascending or descending, for the same reason that there is either God or nothing. Absent the ascent, then gravity and entropy take over.

But we cannot properly ascend with our little ego, which again, is just a defense against the dark. Rather, we must first colonize the darkness. We must redeem our own personal hell, so to speak, in order to be fit for the greater Light. The great balls of purifying fire precede illumination.

Monday, January 24, 2011

An Alighierical Tour of Heaven and Hell

I'm no Dante scholar, but this book by Jennifer Upton is certainly the best I've ever read on the Divine Comedy. In fact, one could probably travel down to the seventh circle of academia and not encounter wisdom of this depth and lucidity. It's going straight into the liberatoreum of permanent Raccoomendations.

Besides, does anyone go to college anymore in order to navigate the soul, expand the subjective horizon, colonize the nonlocal mindscape, and venture across the great divide separating man from the incorruptible sphere of the celestial beings and household gnomes?

I didn't think so.

Dante was one of the great pneumanauts -- spiritual explorers -- of all timelessness. He cannot be confined to western civilization, but is an example of what I was referring to in pp. 182-187, in the deuscontinuous transition between Mind and Spirit. For illiterate readers, a hint is provided on p. 183, which depicts Virgil leading Dante to the toppermost of the poppermost, where you can see the tail end of heaven dangling from above:

The world is, to put it bluntly, a trap. Or, one might say that it is a wall for the tenured, but a door -- or picture window at least -- for the Raccoon. It is not just a room with a view but a womb with a pew, meaning that life is a kind of pre-natal experience, with all this implies: conception, gestation, risks, complications, contractions, labor pains, all of it.

Which is why one must be born of water and of spirit. In one way or another, one must be born again from above, which is why you might say that this blog specializes in midwifery.

A particularly dangerous situation is the breeched birth, in which one is spiritually upside-down and trying to come out ass-first. This explains countless people one meets in this life.

Back when Mrs. G was pregnant, there would be anxious moments when the baby didn't make its presence known by banging on the cave walls. We had an incredibly nice doctor who would treat these as emergencies, take her in right away, and do a quick doppler in order to reassure her that all was well.

Now that I think about it, post-uterine life involves three trimesters. There is childhood, followed by "outer" adulthood, and then "inner" adulthood. At first we are taken care of by others, until we reach the age of maturity, at which point we become independent, get a gig, raise a family, and care for others.

But in the east -- and really, in any spiritual tradition -- there are two sides to adulthood, each no less important than the other (at least from the Raccoon perspective). And bear in mind that while we can distinguish between the two, we cannot actually separate them, any more than we could make a sharp division between planting -- or even just tilling the soil -- and harvesting.

It is one continuous process, even though the human station allows us to recognize abstract and rather puzzling discontinuities of various kinds and degrees. For example, nature knows no discontinuity between, say, physics and biology, whereas human beings are able to categorize the two. It is the same with "spirit" and "matter."

Anyway, as I was saying about Dante, he was clearly a pneumanaut par excellence. To treat him as a mere "literary figure" is to miss the point entirely, unless it is simply to emphasize that he was able to express perennial truth in an especially beautiful -- which is to say, truthful -- manner (beauty being the radiance of the true). Here's what he says upon reaching the edge of the exterior frontier:

We mounted upward through the rifted rock,
And on each side the border pressed upon us,
And feet and hands the ground beneath required

Where we were come upon the upper rim
Of the high bank, out on the open slope,
"My Master," said I, "what way shall we take?"

Life is that rocky road, but the road has a purpose and a destination. Absent a destination, then it is just a kind of trap, which is why, if one is an atheist, it makes perfect nonsense to simply take the leap into infrarational absurdity, à la Nietzsche. In other words, for the atheist, all roads lead nowhere, so why take one?

Thankfully, we have a gallery of esteemed saints and sages to show us the way up, in, and out: "[A] few of the trapped ones, by following a newly discovered current of being through to its nonlocal source upstream, far away from the terminal moraine of the outward-turned senses, did eventually identify a passage hidden in plain sight, through which lay yet another surprising but felicitous discovery: a Mighty Strange Attractor at the...

Drum roll please....

"... end of history -- Woo hoo!!! -- the One True Being ontologically prior to existence and from Whom existence itself is derived."

Yes, "by merely fooling around with the software of their own minds, these inward explorers -- eccentric psychonauts mostly unfit for conventional existence or simply unwilling to accept the slave wages of normality -- identified a trap door into a vertical dimension, and found there a return-route to the forgotten country from which humans had set out Before the Beginning" (the ainsoferable B'ob).

Please note that the structure of the Divine Comedy proceeds from hell to purgatory and on to paradise. One might say that spirit plunges down to the very depths of existence, in order to recover and redeem as much reality as humanly possible: "Dante's apparent descent into Hell is really a spiritual ascent, not a damnation..." (Upton). Really, it's a kind of circle, more on which later.

Note that Dante's ultimate guide is true love, represented by the figure of Beatrice. Upton makes the critical point that "Many a person has reached the threshold of spiritual Truth by starting from the thinking function, only to have that Truth destroyed in this life through false feeling. True feeling, on the other hand, can be a 'homing' faculty, drawing us toward the Center almost faster than we could travel on our own initiative" (emphasis mine).

Thus, when we refer to O as the Great Attractor, we are not just having a little pun at your expense. We mean this literally: we are attracted to this Oming deivoice, and voice versa. We call this attraction love: the love of truth, of beauty, and of virtue. The good man loves these things with all his heart, mind, and strength, which frankly isn't difficult to do, unless one has attended college.

Just getting warmed up. To be continued....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Making the Cosmic Loop-d-Loop

We're continuing our discussion of how to stay out of the loop.

A loop is, of course, a curving line that closes upon itself. Physicists tell us that our universe is a closed system. What they fail to realize is that if this statement is true, then it is false, because it proves that the system is not closed.

If the universe were actually closed, then we couldn't possibly understand it, any more than a moth knows why it is attracted to the light or a troll understands why he is attracted to me.

To com-prehend is to grasp, as with the hand, in such a way that it encompasses, or contains, the object therein. Thus, to comprehend something is in principle no different than the manner in which our hand contains a rock, except in a higher space. Only things transcending us cannot be fully grasped.

Only human beings may know that "it is possible to act in error." Conversely, "if fate ruled everything, error would not only be impossible, but the very idea of it would have no meaning" (Bolton). Likewise, to entertain a single regret is to acknowledge that things might have been different if only you hadn't been such a jackass and made such stupid choices.

To say "better choices" is to say truer ones -- or decisions aligned with truth and therefore rooted in reality. If the latter is impossible then our behavior is truly arbitrary, and autistics and sociopaths would be our sages and saints, respectively. The autistic's inability to penetrate beneath the surface would actually be the highest knowledge, while the sociopath's inability to behave morally would be the highest virtue.

One may say that there is nothing above logic, but one would be wrong. Even supposing, à la Spock, that our life could be governed by pure logic, we would still have to choose for that to be the case. We would have to say to ourselves, "a life rooted in logic is superior to one that isn't, therefore I will choose the former."

But one could equally say with Nietzsche or Jim Morrison that it is more fun to plunge into the Dionysian world of impulse and desire. (You may recall that the hotheaded Captain Kirk was always there to save the day when necessary, by overriding Spock's mere logic.)

Recall from yesterday's post that if something is purely determined or purely accidental, then it cannot be caused per se. This is because if something is purely determined, it is just an immediate implication of what preceded it, and not truly separate from it except in our imagination. And if something is completely contingent, then there is no meaningful link between cause and effect.

Again, the world of spirit is one of freedom, whereas the world of matter is alternately determined or random. Human beings are the vertical link between those two realms, which is where our freedom abides.

In Kant's phrase, this is the "kingdom of ends," or what Raccoons call the cosmic telovator. For human beings, things don't inevitably come about as a result of fate, i.e., the past. Rather, meaningful human action is always guided by a future we wish to bring about.

In truth, nature is shot through with formal and final causation. What makes human beings unique is the ability to consciously partake of them, i.e., to enact a plan or pursue an ideal.

In both cases, you might say that the future flows into the present, whereas with the material and efficient causation of primitive scientism, the present is purely the result of the past, with no remainder (again, the closed loop).

Any number of conditions are fated by nature, among them death, embodiment, sex (male or female), gravity. As Schuon writes, these may be summarized as the "four accidents of our existence: the world, life, the body and the soul; or we might also say: space, time, matter and desire."

It is precisely these contingencies that we rise above and over which we may triumph in spiritual development. But please note that the physicist who pronounces on the cosmos covertly does the same thing, for surely a mathematical "theory of everything" would represent a triumph over space, time, matter and desire.

Again, hell is the quintessential closed loop, and we would never deny that many people choose to live there. Dante said (in Upton) that those living in hell "have lost the good of the intellect."

And what is the good of the intellect? Well, obviously its ability to know truth. After all, if it can't even do that, then what good is it? Having an intellect would be as pointless as, say, a liberal man technically possessing gonads.

As Upton says, the hellbound "may be 'smart' like cunning politicians and lawyers, but they have no intellectual intuition of higher realities." Translated to politics, our freedom is protected by the Constitution, which is not a document that "gives" us anything. Rather, it preserves our intrinsic freedom by limiting the power of the state.

And it is necessary to go back up to the Declaration of Independence in order to understand the ground of the Constitution, i.e., our sacred rights and duties that can only have a supernatural origin, as Lincoln knew so well.

Now, as mentioned a couple of posts back, whatever physicists may say about the universe, it is critical to bear in mind that they are not talking about anything ultimately "real" in the metaphysical sense, only abstractions they use to frame and understand their data.

But the cosmos is obviously very different from, and infinitely more than, this abstraction. No one lives in the cold and dead universe of physics.

Rather, the world of physics is just one of many departments in the University of Soul. As Bolton points out, the soul is "a sphere of consciousness which contains the physical universe in its own mode, and many more subtle realities besides" (emphasis mine).

Put another way, the soul is "the container of our world-representation." The ego is merely an adaptation to the world (both the objective and subjective worlds), whereas the soul is a microcosmos -- an ordered totality -- that both mirrors and cocreates the experienced world. Otherwise, there would be no cosmos, only a linear succession of disconnected perceptions and sensations.

This is entailed in one of our first principles, "as above, so below," i.e., "man is made in the image and likeness of the Creator." But there is image and there is likeness, and human time is the distance between the two, which is none other than the spiritual path.

This path is a kind of wider, extra-cosmic loop, except that it is a möbius strip, which means that its inside is outside, and vice versa.

Or, in Schuon's description, it may be thought of as "a spiroidal movement around a motionless Center," except that the movement travels in both directions -- in other symbols, (↓↑).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lord Keep Me Out of the Loop

The loop -- or løøp -- is the world of purely horizontal causation. It is precisely this loop that free will is able to "rise above" and operate upon.

But clearly, there is nothing in nature that could have somehow willed itself to rise out of the loop. Rather, any apparent loophole would simply be another aspect of the loop. If one is a materialist, this is the way it is and the way it must be. But such reductiognostic sophistry is nothing more than a childish GIGO fit.

To be perfectly accurate, human beings do not actually rise above the loop. Rather, our means of inscape is a descent from above.

Again, we may think of this descent as a line in vertical space that connects us to our creator in the most intimate way. Which is why Eckhart was orthoparadoxically correct in saying that the eye with which I see God is the very same eye with which God sees I.

Note that this is another kind of loop. We call it the loopwhole, for it encompasses the All -- like the eye atop the pyramid on the back of your legal tender.

As the Rabbi expresses it, there is really only one source of light. The soul is not so much a "point" but more a "continuous line of spiritual being" that stretches from a general source to "the specific body of a particular person" -- and beyond, even into the darkness.

But note that this darkness is not and cannot be "intrinsic" or essential; rather, it is a function of the diminution of the light as it proceeds further away from its source, for shadows are a function of light, not vice versa.

We can all get caught up in closed loops of various kinds. For a human being, these are always pathological. Indeed, they are the quintessence of pathology, being that life -- and this includes spiritual life, not to mention psychic life -- must remain an open system in order to grow and develop. Once the mind is closed -- or in a loop -- there can be no true growth, only the illusion thereof.

This is for reasons alluded to in yesterday's post, that in a closed system, each event entails the next and is fully entailed in a previous one, extending back to infinity -- a false infinity, to be sure, but we cannot blame scientists for not being metaphysicians. They are not bound by the prescription, "metaphysician, whole thyself."

One could more accurately call it "hell," which is not eternal proper (which only applies to God), only "perpetual." Not only is hell closed, but it is the quintessence of ontological closed-ness. Not for nothing did Dante speak of "the circle of hell."

We'll get back to hell momentarily, but I want to continue with Bolton's discussion of the higher space of free will. And when we say "higher," we not only mean in the vertical sense, but also because this is a space of higher dimensionality.

Indeed, it is because of this higher dimensionality that we cannot comprehend the mind through any model of linear causation. Rather, the mind is in and of hyperspace, so it simply cannot be contained in any model derived from everyday Aristotelean space. Rather, the converse: the four-dimensional space of physics is contained in hyperspace, just as the circle is contained by the sphere (and this applies perforce to the circle of hell). We can only be in hell because hell is in us.

Bolton makes the subtle point that an accidental cause cannot really be thought of as a cause per se, in the sense that it "does not exist specifically for what it brings about." We are surrounded by such accidental causes, which are precisely the kinds of closed loops discussed above. In themselves, they are meaningless and always add up to zero.

But human beings have the freedom to respond in diverse ways to these accidental causes. This is because we partake of the higher Cause that can operate on the lower ones.

And this "is due to the presence in us of the 'weakness and slackness' of not-being" (Bolton) referred to in yesterday's post. Again, our space of freedom, or slack, must be a realm of non-specificity in order to be truly free. Specificity, or determination, is the opposite of freedom, and again places us in the loop.

Speaking of closed loops, I remember a period of my life in which I was trapped in a nasty loop. This was back when I first entered graduate school -- or it entered me, to be literal -- and was reading Freud. It shows you how internalizing a bad metaphysic can result in real despair. This absurcular loop resulted from taking to heart Freud's ideas about psychic determinism. There may also have been some herbal cigarets involved, which tautened the dread.

Long story short, if everything is caused by the primitive unconscious, and our conscious self is just a kind of derivative defense mechanism, then what is the point of life except the discharge of pure animal impulse? But I was already doing that. I surely didn't need graduate school to learn how to be a beast.

It was around then that I stumbled upon Ken Wilber's Spectrum of Consciousness, which succeeded in vaulting me out of that loop. He and I have since gone our separate whys, but I will always be thankful for what thy wilber done. Life is full of such offramps and inscapes. But once you exit the unfreeway, it doesn't mean you have to rely on the other guy's map. Indeed, to do so is to defeat the whole purpose of going on one's own bewilderness adventure -- just like Jesus did after his baptism.

When we deliberate, contemplate, meditate, or pray, we are out of the loop. For me, when I write these posts, I am out of the loop.

In fact, that's pretty much the whole point of this verticalisthenic. Actually, I am trying to relux into the more fruitful loop of the divine-human partnership, and just see what comes down. Re-pent is trancelighted from metanoia, which means to turn around. But in practical terms, it essentially means to turn around and get out of the loop. It is to leave the material thingdom for the divine kingdom.

Cooncidentally, this is beautifully discussed in Jennifer Upton's Dark Way to Paradise: Dante's Inferno in Light of the Spiritual Path, wherein she describes how the Inferno is a detailed description of the closed loop of hell. And while it may or may not apply to post-mortem reality, it undoubtedly applies to this life.

She also shows the necessity of hell, for it can be a "road to heaven." Along these lines, she quotes Martin Lings, who wrote that "the descent into hell" is necessary "for the discovery of the soul's worst possibilities." These "need to be recovered, purified and reintegrated" if we are to be fit for the upper storeys, i.e., the repenthouse. Anything incompatible with God must be left behind, like those boosters that fall off an ascending rocket ship.

Hell is also a static place, in keeping with its status as a closed system. Its unhappitants are "mired eternally in the form of their ruling sin," and "fixed in their stations": "they are chained to all the sins, the fears and the angers they simply could not face in life" (Upton).

In contrast, purgatory -- which you might say is where we live -- has in it the possibility of vertical movement, and is thus "the archetype of the spiritual Path" (ibid.).

In hell, "being itself is a burden." But we could also put it conversely: when we are burdened by being, we know we are in hell. Which is why Raccoons pray: O Lord, keep us out of the løøp!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seize the Principle and Let the Dead Bury the Tenured

We left off yesterday discussing the interior space of freedom we all inhabit, only to a greater or lesser degree. It is within this space that the self is able to exert its will as a "first cause."

Obviously, if there is no first cause, then each cause is nothing but an effect, extending to infinity. And if that is the case, then nature is a causally closed system with no possibility of genuine selfhood and all it implies.

But if the cosmos is causally closed, then there are actually no causes and no effects, just the illusion thereof. Nor could there be time, since it would really be nothing more than chronologically extended space. In a monistic system, nothing is separate from the system, so no novelty is possible. This is discussed on p. 72 of the book, where it states that

"the necessary cannot come into existence, because coming into existence is a transition from not existing to existing. The purely necessary in fact cannot essentially change, because it is always itself. In other words, novelty is truly creative and therefore contingent and unnecessary. Conversely, if something is strictly determined, it cannot be novel or creative, for the same reason you cannot compose a symphony by merely applying a predetermined rule for the combination of notes."

Rather, reality is comprised of nature and adventure; the adventure is possible because nature, while "stable," is infused with a spiritual element that is able to steer it in the same way we rely upon the unchanging laws of physics and chemistry to build a car. If both the automobile and its inventor are equally constrained by the laws of nature, then neither could ever have come into existence.

We are able to slip those surly bonds of physics every time we so much as smile at a friend, let alone think a new thought. To even suggest that thought is determined in the same way nature is... well, first of all, if that were true, one could never know it, because one would be indistinguishable from the very nature one is attempting to understand.

But more absurdly, it is to take the metaphor of science wayyyyy too far. Metaphors are tools, not the toolmaker, the big queer Homo, not the dandy little faber.

As we have said a number of times, the progress of science involves the reduction of multiplicity to unity. A good scientific explanation organizes a range of diverse phenomena under a deeper principle. The deeper principle is not "caused" in the same way the phenomena are -- say, the principles of higher math.

As Bolton explains, real knowledge -- which is to say, knowledge of principles -- "is what pertains to first causes." Thus, extending a horizontal sequence "to infinity would extinguish knowledge as well as causality."

Here again, ironically, both scientism and religious fundamentalism end in the identical nul de slack which eliminates the self, creativity, free will, real knowledge, and most everything else we care about.

Thus, our first principle is the Uncaused Cause (O), which entails within itself a number of other principles which we will discuss as we grow along.

A second principle -- well, to be perfectly accurate, we cannot call this a principle, for it would imply that the Creator was compelled to give it, which takes us back to determinism. We are referring, of course, to the gift of our deiformity, which we subsequently elevate to an explanatory principle.

Again, we believe that human beings are in the image of the Creator, which is why we have that palpable spark of the Uncaused Cause within us.

This interior spark is obviously not -- and could not be -- self-generated. Rather, it's like the pilot light in your furnace. I don't know about you, but I turn mine off from around April to November, and re-light it around Thanksgiving, when the weather gets cold.

The point is, the pilot is always there, but it is up to us to ignite it and become the conscious co-pilot of our lives. This is a more than adequate metaphor of the Uncaused Cause within us. It is a gift of grace, always there. But we must recognize, accept, and ignite it in order to benefit from its light and its warmth, or Truth and Love, respectively. And we have to watch over it just in case it is blown out by a stiff breeze or some other exigency.

Once we have established the principle of an Uncaused Cause, then, as Bolton explains, there is "no reason why there may not be many other, lesser kinds of uncaused causes."

In this regard, on the basis of pure metaphysics, I think it is infinitely more challenging -- well, impossible -- to try to imagine a cosmos with no uncaused cause. Again, this merely generates the "bad infinite" discussed by Hegel -- the dark night in which all cows are black. Nothing can be known in such a cosmos. You might say that knowledge itself proves the Uncaused Cause, again, since real knowledge is knowledge of principles.

Think of it this way. If we live in a universe of pure horizontal causation, then we are in the absurd situation of inhabiting (exhabiting is more like it) a cosmos that is simultaneously purely necessary, and yet, purely accidental. In other words, everything would happen for a reason, but for no reason at all!

This is why Aquinas was correct in equating the real with the knowable, and the knowable with the created, thus ending the temptation to ontological, existential, and epistemological absurdity with one swell whoop. So, whoopeeeeeeeee!

Reality is truth, and vice versa. In affirming the createdness of being, we are able to get on, in, and up with our lives, and let the dead bury the tenured.

Now, another, more subtle principle is that being must be posterior to non-being. Most religious folks don't bother with this principle, as it's not strictly necessary for non-metaphysicians. But the truth of the matter is that being is the first fruit of something surpassing it, which we call "non-being," only because it is beyond all human category, the broadest of which is being.

Being is the most general category we can conceive, so all we can say of this principle is that it is beyond being. Some people just call it nothing, while others call it O, or the Tao, or the Godhead (Eckhart), or shunyata, or the Ground, or the ain sof (Kabbala).

Now, here is the subtle part: the uncaused must partake of non-being, which is to say, total "non-specification." Again, it is the "empty space" out of which free will operates.

Some of the most straightforward and orthoparadoxical explanations of this principle are found in the Tao Te Ching, e.g. the idea that We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable. We work with being but non-being is what we use.

It is no different with regard to the space of mind. You might say that knowledge is what we use to build this mansion, but that the resultant inner space is what makes it livable.

I'm sure that as my readers have grown spiritually -- which is to say, expanded the nonlocal space in which they live -- they find it more and more difficult to be around people who live in their cramped little spaces of scientism, or materialism, or secularism, or feminism, or leftism, or any other spiritual straitjacket. Man is the microcosm, not the micro-ism.

The point is that non-being is a kind of pure space. It is quite literally the origin of our cosmic slack, which is to say, the "place" where we are free from any determination except for what God has willed us to be, which is to say, a unique spark in the dark in that park before time. You know, paradise.

This spark at the center of non-being is symbolized ʘ.

To be discontinuously continued....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Aliens Among Us and the Final Frontier

As we were saying yesterday, free will is an acquired taste. You might say that it must be freely chosen; it is only offered, never forced upon unwilling victims.

It is also on a continuum, and is essentially indistinguishable from spiritual growth, the reason being that the latter expands the "space" from where free will arises. Free will may be thought of as a spark of the uncaused cause within. It would not be inaccurate to call it the "caused uncaused cause" or the "created creator."

In Foundations of Free Will, Bolton notes that we begin life being almost "wholly determined by the external." However, some of us move on from there. By transforming ourselves, these external causes no longer act on the same entity; a kind of "break" is created in nature, where linear causation becomes discontinuous.

It reminds me of Leonard Cohen's line: There's a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in. Indeed, Bolton writes that "every breakdown of a culture is also an opening through which a way back to its spiritual foundation can be found by those who are alert for it."

Which is why, as bad as things might appear to be at the moment -- and they are bad indeed -- it is nevertheless an auspicious time to be alive for extreme seekers and off-road spiritual aspirants. Law of Compensation, and all that.

I discussed this somewhere in the Coonifesto -- here it is, p. 233, amongst the commanishads and upanishalts. Believe it or not, it falls under the heading of the Second Law of Reversed Thermodynamics, right after the self-tautology that there is no O but O. Being that there is no O but O, you shall not deify Ø, much less (k).

I won't remumbo the entire jumbo here, but there is also some relevant material on p. 236, on observing the sabbath speed limit: "ultimately the sabbath must be internalized, so that the very real and tangible presence of the world cannot sink its teeth into you and remake you in its image." Various Raccoon techniques for accomplicing this include lowering the Zone of Silence, internalizing the the PortaPew, mastering the UnderReaction, achieving TimeDilation, and of course, installing the DePakinator.

Now, just because we are subject to external and internal causes of various kinds, it hardly means that we lack free will. For one thing, we couldn't be aware of these causes unless they were pushing against a part of us that may or may not be happy about it, and is capable of resisting.

This is why only human beings may become neurotic, which essentially means that they may be at cross-purposes with themselves, and subject to internalized causes that clash with the will of our true self.

As we mentioned yesterday, it is critical to understand how truth and freedom are intrinsically linked, and how one is strictly impossible in the absence of the other. As Bolton explains, freedom cannot occur in the absence of truth, because if our actions are based upon falsehood, we cannot say that they were free in any meaningful sense.

In other words, if I believe something that is utterly false, and then organize my life around that falsehood, no freedom can result. Rather, freedom results from acknowledging truth and acting upon it. Conversely, actions can "always be made involuntary by ignorance of matters of fact" (Bolton). We are only free to act on truth.

Think of a courtroom scene in which false evidence is offered in order to convict someone and send them to prison, thus eliminating their freedom. But the identical thing happens if we convict ourselves with false evidence. We end up in a prison of our own making.

This must also mean that the free act is "one which is motivated toward the intelligible good" and which "must have a final cause in something higher in the scale of values in respect of truth and moral and aesthetic value" (Bolton). Thus, we are only free to do good. Those who do evil are slaves, irrespective of how it may subjectively feel to be operating outside the Law.

We all know that our liberty is rooted in the rule of law. But terrestrial laws are (or should be) merely instantiations of celestial ones, eg. don't murder, steal, bear false witness, etc. If theft is legal -- as, for example, under socialism -- there can be no freedom (or a severe limitation of it).

But nor can there be the free pursuit of truth under socialism, because the state must prevent certain threatening avenues from being explored. Thus, it is no surprise that the state-run media is on the warpath against those of us who simply want to diminish the power of the state. They are only acting in their perceived self-interest, which comes down to power, not truth.

Speaking of which, is it not ironic that a new hero of the left is "a septuagenarian white sheriff from Arizona with a hostility to free speech"? Here again we see a tool of the state bearing false witness, ultimately in order to diminish our freedom.

Sheriff Dupeschtick is a quintessential sleazy reicher. As Bolton writes, "the typical result of such actions is for the will to become the prisoner of other wills." In other words, to the extent that one agrees with the Sheriff, one become a prisoner of his lies (just as the left remains a prisoner of the lie that "Bush lied").

To withhold our assent to the Lie is to commit a flagrant act of freedom. Conversely, "evil actions are therefore never more than semi-free at their inception." And they only progress from there, "toward states [that are] are ever-increasingly under the power of alien causes, owing to which their freedom would tend almost to disappear" (Bolton).

Now, what is an "alien cause" but a mind parasite? To be perfectly accurate, the latter is an internalized alien cause. We are all subject to alien causes all day long, but it doesn't mean we must act on them. Just because I hear neo-Marxist rhetoric from my government, I don't have to believe it.

But if I do assent to these liars, then I have internalized a vicious and self-defeating mind parasite that now has influence over me, and is limiting my freedom. Then one's life is given over to fate; we have sunk beneath ourselves into the world of these lower causes, so that one is dragged along on the Darwinian monkeygoround instead of rising upon the spiral stairs / That lead up to that heart of light.

In short, what would have become your individuated self "will remain a more or less undifferentiated part of the macrocosm, and will not develop into a microcosm" (Bolton). You have committed a self-administered celestial abortion.

And this also explains how the key to state control is in the Lie. You must assent to lies in order to give control over to the state. As Ronald Reagan said, "A government cannot control the economy without controlling people," which means lying to them -- not accidentally, but essentially.

Nor can there be socialism without unhinged moralizing. The left doesn't actually offer economic arguments, but substitutes moral arguments in the space where economics should be. You only have to read a single column by the left's most influential economist, Paul Krugman, to understand this. Instead of thought, we are treated to another bout of encopresis, fecal smearing, and political tourette's syndrome.

For the Raccoon, the interior "space of freedom" is the final (and only) frontier. Of it, Bolton writes that "ignoring the 'empty' aspect of the soul-life is by no means immediately evident, but it inevitably leads to relations with alien wills and forces in which one's own will has less and less relevance."

These alien powers and principalities are what we call the "tissue of mind parasites," or the conspiracy to rob you of your slack.

To be continued...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Free Atlas, Great God Almighty a Free Atlas!

I just finished reading Robert Bolton's Foundations of Free Will, which touches on many of the sane themes we've been discussing lately.

For example, Bolton agrees that freedom and necessity are not opposites but complementary, and that one would be impossible (and even unthinkable) in the absence of the other. Necessity relates "to free will as the earth with its fixed shape and cardinal points relates to the direction-finding of a traveler" (ibid.).

If we remove such constraints we are "free," but in a way that is just as meaningless as being fully determined. Without these constraints, freedom devolves to "just another word for nothing left to lose."

Bolton also reminds us that man "is situated on the dividing-line between two realms, those of nature, where necessity rules, and of the spirit, where freedom rules." Thus, without objective epistemological and moral constraints -- i.e., truth and virtue -- we could be no more free than a person floating aimlessly in space with no orientation whatsoever.

And this, of course, leads to one of our core Raccoon principles, that freedom is a function of truth, and vice versa. If truth does not exist -- or, if man cannot know it -- then freedom is strictly impossible and even inconceivable.

Conversely, because man was made to know truth, he is created to be free; or, in an even higher sense, he is created to create, which combines the most felicitous union of truth and freedom with their fair sister beauty. For the superior man, nothing should be done artlessly.

This is not a principle that should be passed over lightly, for it is one of the keys to this whole existentialiada with free holiness on the side. For it entails its corollary: that those who embrace the Lie are not -- and cannot be -- free. Lies can only ape a facsimian of freedom, for freedom is obviously not free if it is oriented toward error.

If you spend your life in subjugation to the Lie, you will have wasted the uppertunity of a lifetome, for you will have lived as an illiterate slave. Might as well not have been born, except at least your bad example can serve as a tutelary tale and cautionary tool for those who are tempted to believe that truth is relative or a mere cultural construct.

We all know people who spend their lives buried beneath themselves in a tomb of illusion, which is why the unexhumined life is not worth living.

Think of those cardinal points alluded to in the first paragraph. What if there are cardinal points all around, but they all arbitrarily point the wrong way? A person will rely upon them to guide him through life's journey, even though they lead precisely nowhere.

Therefore, this person's subjective sense of freedom -- irrespective of how "real" if feels -- is completely illusory. Such is the "academic freedom" of the tenured, which is supposed to be a means, not just a deadened nul-de-slack. Severed from truth, such faux freedom perishes with each vain publication.

Bolton also agrees with us that freedom cannot be an either/or proposition. Rather, it exists on a coontinuum, and not just because of the evil and lie-bound assouls who would deprive us of it.

Rather, in a free society such as ours, obstacles to freedom are clearly situated primarily within. As we ascend vertically, we can flush away these impurities, which is why man is his own best enema.

At any rate, freedom "is a possibility which develops out of an originally unfree state" (Bolton). And unless the reality of freedom is emphasized from the outset, "most human beings will not bother to develop their natural capacities to the full" (ibid.), as we see in the Islamic world. Since they believe everything is fated by Allah, why bother trying to improve oneself?

The same spiritual illness afflicts the left, in that their principle lie is that human beings are mere objects who are defined by race, class and gender, and who react in a deterministic way to the environment around them.

This leads logically to their theory of government, which posits a large and intrusive state to manipulate people toward its preferred ends. Of course, they never explain how the elites who determine the preferred ends are able to escape the chain of epistemological causation and freely perceive a reality unconditioned by their class-based "false consciousness."

You don't even have to believe in free will in order to know it is real. Bolton uses the example of two people, one of whom believes in free will, the other of whom does not. As a consequence of believing in it, the person will conduct himself quite differently than the one who does not. One little spud will endeavor to actualize his potential, while the other will remain a half-baked potato too lazy to even invent the couch.

Thus, we see how belief of any kind enters the causal chain to alter human reality. Again, this is rather obvious when we consider cultures that cherish freedom vs. those that deny it. Ye shall know the latter by their fruitlessness, both individually and collectively.

Unfree cultures tend to produce worthless people, as in the Palestinian terrortories or the New York Times idiotorial board, to cite a couple examples of low-hanging fruitlessness.

If providence subsists prior to fate, this must be analogous to what we were saying the other day about entropy being parasitic on order. Obviously we could not speak of disorder in the absence of order.

Therefore, no matter what physicists say about the priority of the second law of thermodynamics, God exists prior to the world, not just in the horizontal past, but in the descent of each vertical moment. If there is any order, there is only One transcendent order and one theography course to pass through. And that's an order!

So don't just recycle that free atlas the Creator issues us at birth, for it is a map to the stars.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Religious Causation and the Climate of Love

Q: What caused that evil assoul to murder six people?

A. Jared Loughner.

Q: What causes liberals to imagine that causes outside Jared Loughner caused Jared Loughner to murder six people? (We are assuming, of course, that he is capable of distinguishing right from wrong.)

A: That is impossible for the liberal to answer, owing to the infinite regression of liberal fantasies about psychic causation. If everything is caused by something less, then so too are liberal ideas about causation.

But the short answer is usually college, where young adults go to eliminate their common sense, the first step in indoctrinating them with liberal ideology. If you can get a person to doubt the most obvious things, then you can get them to doubt anything, from truth, to free will, to objective morality. And this is the space the liberal exploits in order to fill with their nonsense.

As I have mentioned before, just because someone pretends to be irreligious, it hardly means that they actually are. If you consider the fact that virtually all human beings for all of human history have been religious, we're talking about something that is so deeply ingrained in the human being that it would be folly to imagine that one could so easily slip out of this reality by a mere conscious declaration. (Indeed, adopting the moronic view of the psychic determinist, what actually causes the person to reject religion? Perhaps it is just the climate of anti-religious bigotry among our elites.)

It is critical to bear in mind that religion is not just a content, but a container. It is not just a belief system but a dynamic mode of thought. And in order to comprehend religious truth, one must deploy this mode of thought, even if (as is usually the case) it is done unconsciously. No one needs to do it consciously, which is one of the beauties of authentic revelation, which has been "pre-thought," so to speak, by a mind vastly superior to ours.

While the average person routinely draws upon the religious mode of thinking, they have no idea they are doing so -- any more than the person who falls in love is aware of all the unconscious processes that contribute to this phenomenon, and without which it could not occur. No one employs logic to will themselves to fall in love. And it would be absurd for a rationalist to come along and say they don't believe in love just because it escapes their little net of reason.

Rather, once the person enters the "space" of eros, they are entering a kind of ancient cathedral that long antedates their own personal existence. Hidden forces begin to emerge, as if one is suddenly thrust upon the stage of a very old play. Remember?

I do, partly because I was by no means prepared for the forces that were unleashed when I was 17. For a weaker man, it might have been, in the words of Sonny Boy Williamson, her funeral and my trial, but the point is that there are human realities that it would be foolish to pretend we understand, or that we can simply "reject" with our local ego. Nothing could be more naive.

The same obviously applies to religion. Much better to simply acknowledge that one is religious rather than to pretend one has escaped this vital and pervasive mode of thought. For the consciously religious person, it is strictly impossible to escape religiosity as a consequence of our deiform nature. In other words, the plain fact of the matter is that human beings are in the image of their Creator. The absolute abides within us, which is why we may know absolutely -- which is another way of saying know, full stop. It also means that a spark of the "uncaused cause" indwells us, i.e., divine freedom.

Think of what happens when one becomes a mother. It is as if a whole new computer program kicks in. One doesn't have to accept it. Rather, one can only reject it. Many "born again" experiences are analogous to this, in that the person's "religious mode" has suddenly come on line, so they are able to see and understand a whole new dimension of reality that was there all the time, but had gone undetected without the software to discern it. It is no different than what words look like to the illiterate -- just random squiggles.

Which is why when we say that for the leftist, "nothing is sacred," we mean that ironically. For as soon as one says that, the leftist takes offense, which only proves that something is indeed sacred to the leftist, even if it is only irreverence and blasphemy. But the point is, one cannot actually be human and be unaware of the reality of the sacred, even if one idolatrously displaces it to profane objects and ideas. You can even reverse-engineer a person. Find out what is sacred to them, and you have discovered their religion.

I still remember quite vividly when my religious mode came on line and I suddenly found myself on the "other side." I don't want to romanticize this, because it is such a common experience, perhaps only made more noticeable for someone who had made the journey all the way back up from ideological atheism. As I mentioned in the book, it was analogous to those magic eye pictures, in which the third dimension suddenly pops out at you. Or do you pop into it?

Now, a religious practice largely involves maintaining and deepening one's involvement with this previously hidden dimension. At first it might be dimly perceived, or perhaps one moves in and out of it. One reason why I still struggle with conventional religiosity is that I cannot imagine, say, going to a religious service once a week and thinking that that is in any way sufficient to maintain contact with O.

Importantly, the idea of weekly worship evolved in a context that was thoroughly religious. It wasn't as if there were no religion for six days and then religion for one. But because of the radical secularization of our culture, we truly need to develop and internalize our own "private cathedral" that is with us at all times. Modernity brings countless blessings, but we must also be aware of the costs, for there is generally no blessing without a curse (and vice versa).

These blessings are mostly in the horizontal/quantitative mode, which can easily hypnotize and seduce us away from the vertical/qualitative which confers meaning upon them -- just as a disproportionately religious culture can be pulled away from the world, so it remains stuck in an unevolving socioeconomic rut. To be excessively in or out of "the world" is to push a partial truth beyond the breaking point. Rather, we should be in but not of, as the Man says.

The real Cosmos is not and cannot be synonymous with what materialists call "the universe." The universe is an abstract construct employed by scientists to help explain and frame their data. It does not actually exist, except as an abstraction. You might say that it is the (merely) logical residue of the living Cosmos, the latter of which is the ordered totality of being, as reflected on both the macro and micro scales ("as above, so below"), and in both its interior and exterior aspects (subjective and objective).

In turn, the cosmos cannot be synonymous with the Creator (pantheism), but is, however, incomprehensible in his absence. The world is none other than God, but God is not the world.

Now, each of us is born with certain invariants which constitute our true or essential self. However, these categories remain empty potential unless they are actualized in life. We are all "driven" to achieve this unique potential, something the psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas calls our "destiny drive."

The word "drive" is probably misleading, because this doesn't operate like other drives, which are more mechanistic and past-to-future in their orientation. Rather, the destiny drive is clearly teleonomical, operating in a future-to-present, or top-down manner. Sensing one's destiny feels very different than discharging an urge. Furthermore, it is not a repetitive or one-time-only sort of thing, as in "What did you do last weekend?" "Oh, I gratified my destiny drive. I think I'll do it again next Saturday."

Rather, the destiny drive mysteriously applies to the whole of one's life, not just to an isolated part of it (in fact, analogous to the cosmos, you could say that it is the implicit totality of one's being, which naturally must be disclosed in time, for it cannot possibly manifest all at once). It is the ultimate organizing principle on the subjective-micro scale of human existence. Obviously it is not coterminous with the ego, which is a general function that most everyone has.

The ego is more like hands or teeth -- which is to say, a tool for navigating around internal and external reality. Just as soma is in psyche and psyche in pneuma, the ego is in the self.

The ego is unique in the way that a snowflake is unique. Yes, every snowflake is distinct, but it's a distinction without an essential difference. No snowflake surpasses "snowflakiness." Like the egos of Hollywood, everyone is different, but they're all the same flake. Alec Baldwin is no flakier than Sean Penn, and they both smell about as sweet as a Rosie or Roseanne.

Bolton discusses this question of uniqueness in Keys of Gnosis, but I would use slightly different terminology. That is, I would say that each snowflake is an individual, but they are not individuated. Only a human being can individuate, which is to say, achieve a destiny which is unique to him. Everything else in the cosmos simply is what it is; only man is orthoparadoxically both who he is and is not yet.

So yes, there is a kind of "predestination," but it is very different from the materialistic predestination of a snowflake. Human beings alone can become something they are not, and thus arrive at the wrong destination. No one has to tell a pig to be one, but you can never stop telling a liberal to be a Man.

In fact, there can be a fine line between destiny and fate. Only destiny is within the realm of providence, whereas fate implies its opposite.

Now, a universe of pure providence would be indistinguishable from a universe of pure fate, and therefore, devoid of destiny. Under a system of pure providence, only the whole system has a destiny, which is no destiny at all. This is a monist metaphysic that Obliterates the value of the unique individual.

In a materialistic context, hard determinism reduces one to a plaything of genes, physics, and chemistry, while in a Christian context, predestination reduces one to a praything of God. And in an Eastern context, one is just a preything of maya. But the whole point of traditional Christian metaphysics is that time is both real and irreversible, so that true and eternally valuable novelty occurs within it.

"For this reason," as Bolton explains, "supposedly spiritual teachings for which the total system is the only real agent [i.e., monism] are only disguised expressions of Fate," and fate is not providence, let alone destiny. Predestination explains precisely nothing, but unexplains everything of concern to us.

Rather, providence and destiny work with the freedom left over by fate, and are manifest "in the ordering of things by a benign intelligence which leads souls to a good which seems to have been pre-ordained for them, or for which they seem to have been made" (Bolton). Interestingly, we are able to recognize fate as fate, because it is a "constraining force" that can never totally contain us, and which we could not recognize "unless there were something in us which did not belong to it."

But at the same time, providence could have no meaning unless it existed over and against the "unfreedom" of fate: "[T]he Catholic idea of co-operating with Providence is linked to the idea of realizing one's individual Form or Exemplar." Thus, it is not so much that "God is my co-pilot." Rather, I am God's co-pilot, a formulation that uber-Coon Meister Eckhart would have appreciated, had he known about airplanes, which he might have used to flee from the authoritarian forces of fate in religious garb.

By the way, although airplanes crash, that is not what they were designed to do. Yes, you need a blueprint to create an airplane capable of crashing, but that is not the purpose of non-Muslim airplanes. As such, as Bolton says, there is no grounds for a "negative predestination," since creating something to fail is a contradiction of terms.

Fate has to do with those things over which we have little power, "a kind of order manifest as necessity, constraint, and coercive causality, which includes purely random events" (Bolton). For example, we are fated to die, or to live with sexual tension, or to toil for our daily bread, or to endure dopey comments from trolls.

This is very different from our destiny. Fate generally interferes with our destiny, but even then one must be cautious in leaping to conclusions, for in hindsight our lives can often look like a trail of fate which led to our destiny. Here I think that fate can serve approximately the same purpose as entropy, discussed in yesterday's post. An organism can never eliminate entropy; rather, it uses entropy by dissipating it in order to maintain its dynamic equilibrium.

Likewise, we can "dissipate" fate to achieve our destiny. In this regard, fate has a way of underminding the "best laid plans of mice and men," plans that likely came from the ego, not the Self. Thus, fate can often serve the purpose of eroding the ego's pretensions of control. This may sound a bit abstract, but it's not. For example, I have a sense that this blog has to do with my destiny -- who knows, maybe even yours, but that's for you to discern.

But I could never do this with my ego in the way. Rather, I can only achieve "control" of my destiny by giving up egoic control. I could never do this with effort. Quite the opposite. Each morning I abandon memory, desire, and understanding, in order to make a little raid on the wild godhead. So, even if I'm wrong, let it never be said that I wasn't truly, uniquely, and unprecedentedly wrong in the way only Bob could be: deeply wrong to the very core of his being. Which is the only right way to live.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Moral Entropy and the Eviction of Mind Parasites

One reason why the left has the advantage in our civil war is that the battle always takes place on their turf. We never have the home field advantage, for the simple reason that politics is not our home. Rather, it is an alien place we would prefer to avoid.

But when the left is engaging in one of its ritual witch hunts, and one happens to be a member of the group they are hunting, they leave one no choice but to descend down into the lunar 'batmosphere with them. You know the story. It's like mud wrestling with a pig. You're both going to get dirty, except Krugman enjoys it.

For the leftist, politics is his religion, his purpose, his filthy pigpen. It is impossible to match that level of frenetic energy when one has a life, not to mention a religion. Which is why it is so ironic for the leftist to distort the plain meaning of the first amendment in order to fuse his religion with the state while barring others from even coming near it. How convenient.

Yes, the left has a true monotheopoly. Among the many reasons I would never send my son to a public school is that I don't want him to undergo a radical secular brainwashing and soulectomy. I'm very happy with his Catholic school, where there is a clear separation of church and state, faith and science. While he's getting a fine religious education there, they don't confuse it with the science or history, and certainly not with biology. No authority figure in his school pretends that boys are girls, nor will he hear the word "gender" bandied about by sexually ambiguous castrati and castrata.

Here he is on a recent field trip, bringing food to day laborers, not because he advocates illegal immigration, nor because he's a hateful anti-tea party fanatic, but in order to cultivate simple apolitical compassion. Nor is he learning to offload his compassion to the state. What a concept! If he were in a public school, they'd no doubt have the students write letters to Obama asking him why Governor Brewer is so mean.

As mentioned in yesterday's post both grace (↓) and the Lie (L) are loose in the world: "just as grace enters the human plane 'from above' and then recirculates in unpredictable ways, even causing it to operate in people who specifically reject the very possibility, the Lie works in the same way. The Lie is a kind of anti-grace, as it were, which also circulates in the psychic economy and which will be picked up by susceptible host-minds."

Bolton puts forth the provocative idea that "having children may be a way of off-loading one's karmic debts. Those who dislike this doctrine usually ignore its equal implication that rewards earned by the virtues of ancestors must also be inheritable." Thus, "the act of inheriting life at all must mean inheriting both goods and evils from the ancestors, and to expect to receive only good is a result of sentimentality" (emphasis mine), similar to how DNA is loaded with ancestral experience.

Yes, we are created with an immortal soul. This soul is unique and present in its totality from the moment of conception. However, no different than our bodies, it will require various conditions, circumstances, and experiences in order to actualize its powers. Clearly, some circumstances are more conducive to the soul's actualization. Is this unfair? Perhaps, but there is simply no alternative that is compatible with the freedom -- and therefore dignity -- that is intrinsic to the soul. In short, if not for bad luck, we wouldn't have no luck at all.

Let's take the example of the depressed mother who is unable for whatever reason to appropriately respond to her infant. She herself is afflicted by a mind parasite (whether somatic, psychic, or spiritual) that is causing her depression, or addiction, or whatever. Where did it come from? In all likelihood she has no idea, as she's never thought about it, certainly not in any systematic way. Therefore, her only way to process it is by doing to her child what was done to her, effectively projecting the parasite into her child, who may or may not be able to deal with it in his life.

I cannot tell you how often I have seen this and similar scenarios play out through the generations. Most psychologists see a few patients over a longer period, but the nature of my work in forensic psychology means that I see a lot of patients -- especially including patients you'd never otherwise see in the mental health system -- for a short but intense period, in which I review their entire life.

You'd be surprised how often these people reveal things they have shared with no one else in their entire lives -- not their spouse, their best friend, or their priest. As a result, I have a somewhat unique vantage point on mind parasites and their inter-generational transmission. I can see how they vary in different cultures and different nations, and the diverse personal and collective strategies for dealing with them. You might say that I am well aware of the dark side of diversity and multiculturalism.

Bolton suggests that real personal power results from the eradication of alien powers inhabiting and taking up room in one's personal (subjective) space: the gradual accumulation of this power is a function of "the progressive exhaustion of the hostile reactions which were occasioned by one's own negative potentialities and the ones which one had inherited." There are all kinds of dynamic (self-organizing) entities in our heads that have no business being there, and which it is necessary to identify in order to distinguish between us and them.

You may call this the distinction between self and ego, or sacred and profane, or worldly and divine. The important point is to notice the distinction. Dennis Prager wrote an insightful essay that touches on this, noting that for the left there are no Sacred Texts. This is the result of a genuine spiritual infirmity that prevents them from perceiving a whole dimension of reality -- a dimension that is clearly more "real" than the secular world which can only be a declension from the spiritual.

You may recall that the present discussion of mind parasites is taking place in the greater context of free will and moral causality (karma), and how the latter does not operate in an immediate way, as on the plane of physics. Thus "when cosmic reactions are due, they do not necessarily happen all at once to everyone who deserves them, or in easily recognized patterns" (Bolton). This applies to both personal and collective history.

I'm guessing that in small, premodern communities, the workings of the Law -- i.e., karma -- were much easier to discern. But in the modern world, there are so many additional layers of causality, that reactions to actions can go unappreciated because they are so delayed and distorted. It's probably similar to voting. Your vote obviously has much more impact in your local city election than it does nationally. You're the same size, but your local vote -- and therefore your causal influence -- is larger and more direct.

Whatever the case may be, Bolton insists that the Law must exist, because it is rooted in a much deeper principle, "namely, that the world-order is moral, despite all contrary appearances." I suppose it can get confusing, because if the whole cosmic system is to be moral, there will necessarily be seeming exceptions that may fool us into believing this isn't the case.

However, in this regard, it may be analogous to the second law of thermodynamics, which -- according to physicists -- can never be violated on the macro scale, local appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. More to the point, according to chaos theorists such as Ilya Prigogine, life could not exist in the absence of entropy.

However, there is no unsane reason one cannot turn this formulation back on its feet, and affirm that entropy can only exist in a cosmos that is fundamentally ordered. In other words, it seems obvious that entropy is always parasitic on order, not vice versa. And where did all the a priori order come from? Physicists are not permitted to say, since -- ironically -- they necessarily operate in a closed system of their own invention, in which no influences from outside the system can intrude. This is an assumption that science can never prove, on pain of making Gödel spin in his grave, which cannot happen, since he has been at complete thermal equilibrium since 1978.

I personally believe -- and Petey agrees with me -- that it is preposterous to suggest that the deep order -- say, those 20 or so mathematical parameters that govern the character and development of the physical universe, discussed in the Coonifesto -- is accidental. Such an accident cannot happen, for the same reason I flunked trigonometry in the 12th grade -- that is, you cannot pull higher mathematics out of complete emptiness and utter indifference. (This follows from the big bong theory, which I don't have time to explain at the moment.)

No, it's worse than that. It's like insisting that the cosmos was created from "nothing" instead of Nothing -- which makes all the difference, "difference" being the very opposite of entropy. You could even say that God makes all the difference, which is certainly what Genesis teaches, in that the very first act -- the act which makes any subsequent action possible -- is to separate. Just try googling "genesis separation chaos judaism," and watch how google instantaneously organizes the chaos of cyberspace into metaphysical truth at your fingertips, just like a perpetual echo of Genesis-is-is-is-is....

Again, we are not denying entropy, only putting it in its proper place. For one thing, if entropy did not exist, we could not have freedom, for the universe would either be the pure order of a machine or a pure absence of order -- a chaosmos, not a cosmos. Entropy is a middle term without which we could not get from here to there, not a final term that ultimately allows us to go nowhere.

For example, the reason why the Commandments were necessary was to keep moral entropy in check. Left to his own devices, man will morally dissipate. But this surely doesn't mean that moral dissipation is the inevitable end of man. Rather, the soul may journey toward perfection because of entropy. It is not the final or formal cause, but it is a necessary one. (Just as the soul is prior to the body, but nevertheless requires a body in order to actualize its powers.)

Man always lives his life in relation to value, "value" being the essence of quality, which can never be reduced to quantity. To live in relation to value is to live teleognostically and to therefore allow oneself to be shaped by influences from "above" or from "the future." Now, are these transcendent values permanent truths, like the truths of mathematics, or are they just worthless artifacts to be worn away by the sands of entropy? Is it true that we shouldn't murder, or is this commandment no more real than a rainbow?

In the real world, entropy exists. In fact, you could say that this is one of the lessons of Genesis 3. There is no entropy in paradise -- no death, no knowledge of duality, no separation from the Principle, no place whatsoever for the left (as they say, in heaven it's not needed, and in hell it already rules).

So in the end, absolute predestination is indistinguishable from strict scientism, which are both just sloppy solipsisms and slippery solecisms. To quote Bolton, "When everything is believed to happen because of natural forces alone without relation to value," we become what we are not, which is to say, a closed system. And if actions and their consequences have no moral value, then existential entropy is absolute and man can never become what he is: "A world in which anything could happen to anyone would be one in which the natural order was inherently amoral, and the commandments of religion would not make any concrete difference. Far from meaning an openness to Providence, it would really mean no Providence at all" (ibid).

The "good news" of religion is that the world is not a closed circle, that it is not an eternal prison, that it has an exit and an entrance.... "Perdition" is to be caught up in the eternal circulation of the world of the closed circle... [whereas] "salvation" is life in the world of the open circle, or spiral, where there is both exit and entrance. --Meditations on the Tarot

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Care and Feeding of Media Monsters

This morning I want to spend some timelessness discussing the propagation and dissemination of mind parasites, since this is what we are witnessing in real time, what with the left's vile attempt to blame the actions of a mass murderer on peaceful citizens who merely have different ideas than they do.

Human beings obviously did not evolve in an environment of mass media. Indeed, there was no medium at all except for speech and sign language. Nor were there "masses," only bands numbering thirty to fifty closely related souls.

A critical point is that in human psychological development -- both as a species and person -- the group precedes the individual; indeed, the group is the matrix, or soil, which nourishes the individual, and out of which the latter will "grow."

Thus, we may have groups without genuine individuals, but it would be impossible to have individuals without the group. Humanness is simply impossible in the absence of the intimate, intersubjective group relationship (beginning with mother <--> infant), which is one of many reasons I do not believe intelligent (self-aware) life has evolved elsewhere. The requisite conditions are just too imponderably specific.

In order for a coherent group to emerge, its members must inhabit the same "reality." Now, it is obvious that all human beings, regardless of the group, live in the same physical reality. But we inhabit vastly different psychological and spiritual environments, to such an extent that mere geography becomes incidental to human differences. Look at North Korea and South Korea, or Israel and the Palestinian terrortories, or Harvard and Hillsdale. Same species, completely irreconcilable psychospiritual realities.

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, we could say the same of "red" and "blue" states, except that blue states contain big heap plenty redman such as myself, and vice versa.

But thanks to mass media, this is no longer an obstacle to group membership. In the millennia prior to mass media, I wouldn't even know about other groups, only my own and maybe that other group that I wanted to exterminate. I would grow and be shaped by those immediately around me, and even if I felt that somehow I didn't fit in, there would be no alternative.

One of the wonderful things about modernity is that we may choose our own group based upon who we actually are. Look at this blog. It doesn't have many readers, but it has readers from all over the world who may have more in common with each other than they do with their immediate group.

Now, even though modernity gives us this new access to diverse groups, we must bear in mind that the same primitive rules apply. It is analogous to, say, sex. Just because you can meet someone through the miracle of the internet, this does not mean that, should you get together, the relationship will somehow transcend the most primitive drives and impulses -- lust, jealousy, possessiveness, and all the rest. Indeed, the desire to meet someone over the internet is still motivated by the ancient human drive for intimate relationships.

So in one sense the psyche rides piggyback on the technology, but in another sense, it is the converse.

Now, as alluded to above, although Americans obviously inhabit one physical country, they do not live in the same worlds. Let's not even get into the question of which is the "real world," but just acknowledge the fact that they are irreconcilable.

For example, one side believes that human beings are created equal in the image of their Creator, that our rights flow from this reality, and that the purpose of government is to protect these rights. The other group believes this is a pernicious fairy tale that provokes its members to commit mass murder. I know that's how I feel when I read the Constitution.

If you stand back from the historical situation and take a martian's-eye view, the transmission of mind parasites might seem unfair to the individual, but it ultimately benefits the collective, since each individual is tasked with the mission of eradicating the parasites that he has inherited from his parents (and they from theirs, all the way back to the dawn of human time).

This is one way to conceptualize our "fallenness," in that each of us repeats the fall, but in our own way. As implied in yesterday's post, one cannot undo the fall by "normalizing" it, nor can one undo it by imposing a coercive collective solution, the two main prongs of the left. Undoing the Problem of Man does not involve merely fine-tuning the rewards and punishments meted out by the state. It has never worked and never will.

Since they are not fully formed individuals, children can hardly avoid sharing in the moral merits and demerits of their parents and of the society to which they belong. While this seems to render them "less than human," it actually means that they are more than animal right from the start, in that they are engaging in psychic transactions with those around them, probably even in the womb -- and it is through these psychic transactions that we become -- or fail to become -- who we are. Again, membership in the group must be prior to the emergence of the individual.

An important point is that these psychic transmissions are projected back and forth from parent to child, within the fluid and boundary-less transitional space between them. For example, a hungry or frightened infant cannot imagine the absence of anything (since that would require abstract, symbolic thought, i.e., "bupkis"), only the presence of something bad. This concrete "bad object" is projected into the good mother, who transforms it into the experience of a soothing good object, which the child internalizes.

Please don't to be too literal, but try to imagine it in a more poetic and less mechanistic way. In a sense, it's easier to think about what happens when something goes wrong in the relationship -- say, a depressed or otherwise emotionally unavailable mother -- which will result in the inability of the baby to metabolize and transform its bad objects, which is how they gradually "solidify" into enduring mind parasites. What to do with them?

Psychotherapy is one way to process them, but that's only been in existence for a hundred years or so, and even then it usually only proceeds on a pretty superficial basis. Most people end up dealing with them in a pathological way, either through the development of symptoms or through acting out.

To greatly simplify, you could say that a neurotic mostly keeps his mind parasites to himself, while the person with a Personality Disorder (e.g., Borderline, Narcissistic, Paranoid, etc.) inevitably involves others in his or her psychodrama. (And the psychotic is in a world all his own, so he is in a different category altogether.)

If the world were filled only with neurotically conflicted people, it would pretty much be paradise, or as close as you can get to it on earth. This is because neurotics mostly hurt themselves and maybe disappoint or frustrate others around them, but they aren't sadistic or murderous, and are mostly prone to distorting reality in less significant ways, like unconsciously confusing your wife with your mother. The mere neurotic does not confuse Jews with Satan, or President Bush with Hitler, or Sarah Palin with a mass murderer.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you even know you have mind parasites with their own agendas, you are more evolved than around 99% of the humans who have ever lived. Most of the real wholesale evil in the world is obviously caused by failure to recognize the existence of mind parasites and consequently projecting them into others for their elimination.

Imagine if Yasser Arafat could have paused for a moment and pondered the question, "gee, why do I hate Jews so much? Where did that come from? And why am I so attracted to little boys? Could it be because of the Islamic fear and degradation of women? Or was it because I was so indulged by my mother that I'm afraid of being devoured by her vagina? Yeah, that's probably it."

Liberals, of course, want us to understand the terrorists. But one of the first things I learned in my psychoanalytic training is that real empathy has nothing to do with reinforcing someone's delusions just to make them feel better. Rather, it must involve things like confrontation, interpretation, clarification, etc.

So the most empathic thing you could do for a bin Laden -- for the whole Islamic world, for that matter -- would be to confront them with the truth of which they are so desperately in need, for a mind deprived of truth still "needs to eat," but it will feed on lies, which in turn creates a monster. You do not flatter them with the monstrous lie -- as did Secretary of State Clinton the other day -- by implying that "you folks have your politically motivated extremists and so do we, with that tea partier who murdered all those people the other day."

Lies are monster food. All monsters feed on lies, and a monster is simply a living lie. They are the lie made flesh.

Hitler could not have been the monster he was without a steady diet of outrageous lies with no connection whatsoever to reality. Stalin, Mao, Castro, Arafat, Pol Pot, and all the rest of the 20th century Monster Club -- all were soulless zombies because of their fidelity to the Lie which created them.

In this regard, you can certainly see how ideology becomes a substitute religion rooted in the satanic eucharist (or "dyscharist") of ingesting the Lie. Once the liar is in place, he needs a steady diet of more lies in order to maintain himself. Conversely, he will respond to truth in the way a vampire reacts to garlic or Obama to media scrutiny.

So, just as grace enters the human plane "from above" and then recirculates in unpredictable ways, even causing it to operate in people who specifically reject the very possibility, the Lie works in the same way. The Lie is a kind of anti-grace, as it were, which also circulates in the psychic economy and which will be picked up by susceptible host-minds.

One of the primary tasks of the MSM -- as we have vividly seen this week -- is to propagate these parasites in a rapid and efficient manner to the most weak and unreflective minds. For such media enablers and their passive victims, the gift of shame is impossible. No, they have no decency.

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.