Monday, February 14, 2011

Righteous and Self-Righteous Vomiting

The River Styx -- actually, it's more of a filthy marsh or pestilent swamp -- flows between the fifth and sixth circles of hell, where the more serious offenders are housed. Here our vertical adventurers come upon a huge tower with two flaming torches at the summit; off in the distance there is another faint light that somehow "answers back."

Upton calls this an "infernal watchtower" which represents "an inverted sense of spiritual guidance." This brings to mind the last thing Jesus says to the disciples before his betrayal: watch and pray.

In order to pray, we enter the "interior watchtower." In the words of Theophan the Recluse, "we must enter the inner room or 'closet.' Where is this room? It is our heart. How then can we learn to pray there? If we go there, as well as we are able, God will help us."

This interior watchtower is also the "magnetic center" of which we have posted in the past. It is the space which both "attracts God" and where God draws us toward him. Put simply, it is the space of (↓↑); (¶) is the "attractor" that grows as a result of this spiritual metabolism.

Now, in order to understand these deeper dimensions of hell, we need only invert the above description. I mean, if Dante and I are on the same page. Let's find out.

In the next scene in Canto VIII, an obnoxious boatman ferries Dante and Virgil across the Styx. He proceeds to engage in a little trash talk, mocking them for bringing such a weak game into his house. In this regard, Upton notes that "the very demons who draw souls into Hell scorn them for being there," just like Larry Bird in Boston Garden.

When Dante stays within his spiritual citidel (¶) and refuses to "take the bait," the boatman is enraged. He "feels a sense of personal insult when he discovers that Dante is not damned" like he is (ibid).

This, by the way, is why we do not respond to trolls except by way of targeted ridicure, piercing laphorisms, and jehovial witticisms. Please note that if you do choose to react, you will soon find yourself at their level. This is how it must be, for they are obviously not going to come up to yours.

Once again we are reminded of another excellent aphorism of uber-Raccoon Don Colacho: Whoever insists on refuting idiotic arguments ends up doing so with stupid reasons. Or, to paraphrase someone else, it is much more difficult to argue with a weak mind than a strong one. For remember, it is always Yahweh or the low way.

Indeed, Virgil turns the tables on the bitter and resentful demon and engages in a little trash talking of his own. He gives the boatman a shove and says, Away there, with the other dogs! For In life, this flaming ferryman was both arrogant and cruel; / No good repute adorns his memory; / Hence is his shade so furious here below. Many souls in the same boat "stalked the earth as kings," only to find themselves wallowing in the filth and mire.

Here I am reminded of the neo-Kleinian cartograpy of unconscious and perversely narcissistic hells (looks like an interesting article, BTW):

"The destructive narcissism of these patients appears often highly organized, as if one were dealing with a powerful gang [read: mind parasites] dominated by a leader, who controls all the members of the gang to see that they support one another in making the criminal destructive work more effective and powerful. However, the narcissistic organization not only increases the strength of the destructive narcissism, but it has a defensive purpose to keep itself in power and so maintain the status quo."

Upton raises a critical point: what is the difference between the boatman's mockery of Dante, and Dante's mockery of the boatman? "Dante's anger is not essentially demonic because it liberates his soul from the Hell he is passing through." It is the difference between righteous and self-righteous anger, the latter of which is motivated by pride. But some anger clearly praises God in its expression.

Schuon had many useful things to say about this distinction, which places you on the long or short end of the Styx. For example,

"Holy anger is a movement of concentration and not a going outside oneself; it is like an 'incarnation' of the divine Wrath in the human microcosm, which must at that moment be free from passionate anger. The inner criterion of holy anger is precisely calmness, whereas passionate anger carries away the entire being and brings forgetfulness of God; it has no centre, that is to say it is entirely peripheral and dissipated. Holy anger exists only by virtue of a motionless centre, an implacable truth which determines it; when driving the money-changers from the Temple, Christ was impassible."

Therefore, anger can be liberating, so long as one is angry at the right things and in the right measure. Note that liberals are generally angry at the wrong things, for the simple reason that they blame "society" or "corporations" or "people of colorlessness" for their loserhood. You might say that the left runs on sheer loser power, which is -- to say the least -- a farce to be reckoned with. To pretend it is not a real power in this world is to fail to understand the ubiquitous and perennial appeal of the seductive doctrine of the Adversary.

Another key point: righteous anger is objective, in that it is a completely appropriate and proportionate response (not reaction) to its occasion. It reminds us of something Don Colacho said about moral indignation -- that it is not truly sincere unless it literally ends in vomiting.

In this case, vomiting provides objective information about a spiritual situation. I mean, if some politicians don't make you sick to your stomach, there is something wrong with your digestion. For Who said it: because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit thee from my mouth.

Whew, this river stynx!

34 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

The main aim seems to be to prevent the weakening of the organization and to control the members of the gang so that they will not desert the destructive organization and join the positive parts of the self

Kind of like lobsters in a pot of boiling water.

We watched The Town over the weekend. The story was a lot like that - the bank-robbing gang member who finally decides he wants to turn his life around, only to get drawn back in.

There were a lot of plot holes, but it was a mostly engaging movie right up until the end, which did indeed make me want to vomit...

2/14/2011 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Interesting article, by the way. That first part about Nigel was a bit startling; it sounded just like some of the conversations I used to have with my little brother when he was that age. In his case, though, the remedy was simpler - they switched him from the steroids he'd been taking to (unsuccessfully) control his asthma to something both more effective and more benign.

2/14/2011 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Jason T. said...

Sheer. Loser. Power.

This is such a FANTASTIC description of the stinking beasts on the Left, the God-less sodomites that they are. I mean, the muck of Styx serves as a perfect back-drop for the sort of moral depravity that we are transitioning into as a society. And I, for one, and outraged about it!

Not quite vomiting yet, though. I wonder why that is? Why I don't yet have bile in my throat when I can so clearly see the disgusting, putrid, vile workings and sinister ideations of the neo-liberal persuasion so clearly fermenting in the bed-rock of our educational system and our once great nation's judicial system?

Must still have work to do!

Take us deeper Bob! Deep into that swine infested circle where only the lowest of low abide, and I can finally see what Rosie O'Donnell and Alec Baldwin have in their cold, black, dead hearts!

Then I will puke on my shoes.

2/14/2011 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>why we do not respond to trolls except by way of targeted ridicure, piercing laphorisms, and jehovial witticisms. Please note that if you do choose to react, you will soon find yourself at their level<<

Aye, "resist ye not evil." In the same way, I think, excessive guilt is on the same plane as that which caused the guilt in the first place. Guilt and anger must be sublimatedinto "guiltless guilt" and "anger-less anger."

2/14/2011 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not agree with the blog author. There is no moral decay on the Left. The Left is upright, principled, and Godly.

All is well; to speak of anger and vomiting is not needed. Turn your minds to higher things now.

Especially you, Julie. Be wholesome and think only of good and loving things.

2/14/2011 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

I don't think Bob has ever been in a position where he was being squeezed for competitive profitability by both his law firm and a global megacorporation.

2/14/2011 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

In order to pray, we enter the "interior watchtower." In the words of Theophan the Recluse, "we must enter the inner room or 'closet.' Where is this room? It is our heart. How then can we learn to pray there? If we go there, as well as we are able, God will help us."

I will take that to heart during my angiogram this Thursday.

2/14/2011 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Robin, sounds like a wise idea. Also, thanks for noting that part - I saw it earlier, but was thinking of other things so didn't focus on it, but there's a good key to prayer there, worthy of much meditation.

2/14/2011 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous John J. said...

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.
Romans 1:28-31

Seems to me that Dante is following a well worn path... I wonder, if Virgil was Dante's guide, then who was Paul's?

2/14/2011 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Robin, re. the heart, I also hope very much that all goes well with your angiogram. You'll be in our heart prayers, too.

2/14/2011 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Whoever insists on refuting idiotic arguments ends up doing so with stupid reasons. Or, to paraphrase someone else, it is much more difficult to argue with a weak mind than a strong one. For remember, it is always Yahweh or the low way."

Yes, gots to be careful not to indulge in arguing, when there are no objective reasons to expect reasonable results.

In those cases where reasoning is unreasonable, spit wads prove to be far more effective than syllogisms.

Temptation... the worst thing about temptation, is that it rarely comes in the form of the styxy boatman, but is instead clothed in your own perspective and reasoning.

Objectivity – so important.

2/14/2011 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger gringagirl18 said...

Robin,
I'll pray for you Thursday morning when I drop my son off at school (our church is also right there.)
Leslie

2/14/2011 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Robin:

The good thing about an angiogram is that it is the only way to know with 100% certainty what's going in those arteries. So if they're clear, you're home free. Conversely, if they find something, it can be treated aggressively or at whatever level is appropriate. You can do a lot to reverse it, short of angioplasty. One way or another, you'll have a lot more peace of mind....

2/14/2011 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Thanks guys (and dolls). Unless the angio reverses the prevailing opinion, I'm in for a mitral valve prolapse repair in early March. The angio is to rule out any need for a bypass since they're already in there mucking about.

In my personal story, this is apparently step three of a makeover process started 3 years ago. Soul supernova, scalp-removing melanoma, heart repair. It's almost funny in its obviousness. I am a warning to anyone who is careless in what they wish for. ;-)

Thanks so much for the prayers. I'll keep ya posted. If I could take pictures, I would.

2/14/2011 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Best of luck to you Robin... and er... about those pictures and being careful what you wish for... scroll down... just sayin'

;-)

2/14/2011 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Bob do you or any reader have the date of the post where GB [re]mentions the natural disinclination of 'coons for political debate, coming down to that level?
Thanks

2/14/2011 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous sehoy said...

Wow. Remembering reading Dante in college has caused a lot of forgotten memories to return.

One that reappeared just this Saturday was remembering attending a week long Bill Gothard conference back then, and then spending the next two years mentally vomitting out the damage that particular conference caused me. "Vomit" was the exact word that came to mind on Saturday.

-sehoy

2/14/2011 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>righteous anger is objective, in that it is a completely appropriate and proportionate response (not reaction) to its occasion<<

Yes, and as I believe: objectivity = detachment = grace. Thus objectivity and all its blessings are something we've got to pray for. Ask for it by name. It's really not something one can conjur up all on one's finite own.

re: vomiting - I think the entire earth is barfing. No, it's not the goddess gaia wielding the hammer per se, but gaia does exist in a manner of speaking, I think. In my humble estimation, gaia exists as the spirit of the earth, a non-self-aware entity that is plastic in nature, malleable. It reflects the human spiritual/psychic condition; what it takes in it spits right back. If you dump tons of lowly passion into it, that's what you're going to get in return.

2/14/2011 03:28:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Robin, add my prayers to the list.

And may I say - self-deflecting humor is always the hallmark of the spiritual warrior, particularly when they've taken up their own portion of the Cross. So you're looking good from here.

2/14/2011 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

Robin: Add my prayers to the list. I recently traded a note or two with BabbaZee. She mentioned that all the righteous people she knew were going through some heavy trials.
Thy will be done
Seems pretty easy, huh?
As time passes we begin to see just how much courage it takes to pray those four words, and mean it. Last night Mary and I went to see "Late Night Catechism: Till Death Do Us Part". Sister talked about Saint Christopher (no longer an official saint) bearing the weight of the Christ child across the river. What seems easy at first gets tougher as we reach the deep water. We're with you.

JWM

2/14/2011 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Will and jwm - I'm more excited to hear from you and to know you're both treading the earth in the same direction. Happy Cosmic Valentines Day!

2/14/2011 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>The River Styx -- actually, it's more of a filthy marsh or pestilent swamp. . . <<

Hmm, it just occurred to me. I believe the politically correct term is "wetlands." As in "Welcome to the Hades Wetlands, please help to keep our environment as natural as possible . . . oh, you don't like that, do you? Well, too bad. Filthy marshes and pestilence are NATURAL!"

2/14/2011 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Robin,
I have had some heart problems in the last 5 years, and have found Dr William Davis (cardiologist from Wisconsin) the very smartest guy on the web in preventative cardiology (just like Bob here in his psycho spiritual zone). He runs a website called "track your plaque" which is full of razor sharp people discussing the cutting edge of all aspects of heart disease. Please go check out his site. He has talked about mitral valve prolapse issues on his blog, just google search it. Here is the link to the site:
http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/

2/14/2011 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger gringagirl18 said...

Will? THE Will?
I was just thinking about you...maybe 3 days ago!
So glad to see you again,
Leslie
(Mrs. G)

2/14/2011 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Leslie? LESLIE! That's YOU??

Hey, good to see you, too!

Someday, we must discuss your change of monikers. Must be an interesing story there, I'm thinking.

2/14/2011 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Van said (I)...

"In those cases where reasoning is unreasonable, spit wads prove to be far more effective than syllogisms."

That's funny because it's true.


Van said (II)...

"Temptation... the worst thing about temptation, is that it rarely comes in the form of the styxy boatman, but is instead clothed in your own perspective and reasoning.

Objectivity – so important."

Something to remember. Thank you...

2/14/2011 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Peter - thanks.

2/14/2011 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Robin-

You're in my prayers DoJo.
I second what Will said about humor.
Humor not only helps to battle physical maladys (and the barbs of some miladys...well, mine at least, ha ha) but also defends against bitterness.
Attitude in every sense of the word matters.

Incidently, I've noticed with children that some kids (and also adults) are more naturally adept at developing and using their humor (Future Leader sure looks like a whiz at it).

I don't I hafta explain specifically what I mean by "humor" to this den of laughty offroad cosmic thrill seekers, but jest in case yer in doubt about it I doubt I'll be capable of seriously deconstructing it for ya, 'cause humor (light heartyness) is indeconstructable. .

However, regardless on one's proclivities towards and from humor, it is something we can all develop.

Thankfully, DoJo has a high degree (a doctorates to be exact) of humor and I know it will serve him and bless us well.

Prayers DoJo and for you Peter.
God bless.

2/15/2011 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger jwm said...

Hey, look! Ben is here, Will is here, Leslie is posting, and I'm hangin' around-
Sure signs of the apocalypse for sure.
JWM

2/15/2011 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Great post Bob!

Anonymouse @10:36-

You'll have better luck playin' pick up styx with yer butt cheeks than you'll have turning yer mind to "higher things" with that attitude young man.

Now git off my lawn.

Go on...scoot...skidaddle...that's right....back to the kiddies table.

2/15/2011 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi John!

I think it's definitely one of the seals (but not croft). :^)

2/15/2011 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ben said "I think it's definitely one of the seals (but not croft). :^)"

;-)

If you're outta Croft, then maybe some Thin Lizzy "♫ ♪ ♬ The boys are back in town again (the boys are back, the boys are back)...hangin' out at Gagdad's...♬ ♪ ♫"

2/15/2011 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van-

LOL! I do prefer Thin Lizzy to Croft...although Thin Lizzy may not be so thin anymore (NTTAWWT). :^)

It is good to see most of us all on the same page. Literally.

2/15/2011 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Count on my prayers, DoJo.

2/15/2011 09:18:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home