Monday, March 21, 2011

Attack of the Giant Mind Parasites

At last we enter the ninth and last circle of Hell. But if I've learned nothing else in this guided tour of the underworld, it's that you can't just tell someone to "go to hell" without specifying which part. This final circle is comprised of four rings, the first one being "the world of Giants or Titans."

That seems odd. San Francisco I can understand, but why Tennessee?

Upton says that these entities are what in Vedanta are called asuras. In this loose translation of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Aurobindo writes that

"The Asuric nature has too its wealth, its plenitude of force, but it is of a very different, a powerful and evil kind. Asuric men have no true knowledge of the way of action or the way of abstention, the fulfilling or the holding in of the nature. Truth is not in them, nor clean doing, nor faithful observance. They see naturally in the world nothing but a huge play of the satisfaction of self; theirs is a world with Desire for its cause and seed and governing force and law....

"The Asuric man becomes the centre or instrument of a fierce, Titanic, violent action, a power of destruction in the world, a fount of injury and evil. Arrogant, full of self-esteem and the drunkenness of their pride, these misguided souls delude themselves, persist in false and obstinate aims and pursue the fixed impure resolution of their longings. They imagine that desire and enjoyment are all the aim of life and in their inordinate and insatiable pursuit of it they are the prey of a devouring, a measurelessly unceasing care and thought and endeavour and anxiety till the moment of their death."

Other than that, they're great to have around.

Upton says that the Giants are "the archetype of repressed passions," but I think I would express it differently, since "repression" is a somewhat outmoded psychoanalytic concept. It is too linear and mechanistic to describe what really goes on in the unconscious.

Again, since the mind is intersubjective and object-related, the content of "repression" is really a quasi-autonomous subject I call a mind parasite. Because it is parasitic -- i.e., it cannot live without attaching to an external source of energy and sustenance -- it is related to oneself, and because it is intersubjective, it is always attached to something external as well, either "real" or projected. In other words, the mind parasite always seeks some kind of relationship, however dysfunctional.

Upton is correct, however, in noting that the Giant (or mind parasite) represents "a falsity through which the quality of unique personhood is almost entirely destroyed."

Importantly, we are speaking here of extreme cases -- one might say cases in which the mind parasite has succeeded in displacing the central self. This can and does frequently happen, whereby the true self becomes a persecutory satellite in orbit around the mind parasite, rather than vice versa.

For example, a truly toxic narcissist has replaced his damaged true self with an inflated and imaginary false one. The true self is not so much "repressed" as split off, denied, and projected.

But unlike a mind parasite, the true self cannot be eliminated, since it is not only real, but the ground and locus of reality within the self. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the false self knows that it has no underlying reality, no ground of being. It is only as real as the ephemeral circumstances of the narcissist, whose life revolves around maintaining the illusion of superiority, entitlement, giftedness, etc.

In many ways, Christianity as such is an innoculation against such a malevolent psychic transmutation. A Christian knows full well what he is in the absence of God, which is to say, nothing (the bad kind). Don Colacho, in ascending severity:

--There are two kinds of men: those who believe in original sin and idiots.
--Nobody will ever induce me to absolve human nature, because I know myself.
--May he tremble who sees himself as innocent.
--Vulgarity consists in striving to be what we are not.
--In order to challenge God, man puffs up his emptiness.
--The Antichrist is, probably, man.

Now, paradoxically -- given what we just said above about the intersubjective nature of mind parasites -- "The Giants are impersonal falsity and oppression; Satan himself is both personal and impersonal."

What this means is that the ultimate mind parasite would not be a person per se, but in the shape of a person -- a giant facsimian or titan, so to spook. Boo!

Upton notes that they live in a realm that is less than night and less than day (XXXI: 10). What could this mean? Up here, what is "less than day" converges upon night (twilight), and what is less than night converges on the day. Psychologically these refer to the hypnogogic (the descent into sleep) and hypnopompic (the ascent out of sleep).

But the "less than night" is not the absence of Light, but what we might call "minus Light," a kind of counterfeit parody of illumination. It is a "chaotic murk," perhaps the state of the world prior to the Creator's first act of division and separation: The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. This darkness is very different from the night that only comes into being on the First Day, with the creation of Light.

In the case of the minus Light, "the cyclical form of night and day has broken down" (Upton). It is endless night, for the day never comes. As they say, it is always darkest right before it goes pitch black.

Night is also death, so the entities here are deprived of the mercy of death's transformation. Life and death share the rhythmicity of night and day, dissolution and rebirth, crucifixion and resurrection, so no growth is possible.

One of the Giants we encounter is none other than Nimrod, the architect of the Tower of Babel. In a comment on the previous post, I mentioned that Babel is the "minus Pentecost," in that "The former -- which is analogous to multiculturalism and deconstruction -- horizontalizes the One into numberless fragments of speech, while the latter projects the One into diverse tongues."

Upton is clearly on the same page, writing that "Nimrod, in his speech, is like a postmodern philosopher: one who, in an attempt to rise above all languages and escape the limits of meaning, has in fact sunk below them, into the incoherent." Furthermore, like a parasite, this perversion "saps the intelligence of whoever tries to understand it."

Conversely, "The Apostles' ability to speak in many tongues on Pentecost is thus the exact opposite of the confusion of tongues, and also its redemption." And "as the confusion of tongues divides, so Christ the Word unites" (ibid. you adieu).

It is One Cosmos Under God, and therefore, Word.

Giant fans in the right field bleachers, looking out over McCovey Cove.

17 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

I'll tell you, reading the Philokalia lately, a certain father uses the word "passions" almost in the same way you use the term "mind parasites". Almost as if the passions are an entity. I don't have the book with me though..

3/21/2011 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

WV coffe
guilty

3/21/2011 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

“Upton is correct, however, in noting that the Giant (or mind parasite) represents "a falsity through which the quality of unique personhood is almost entirely destroyed."”
That’s an interesting thought, especially along the Quality vs. Quantity angle.
And together with this,
“Because it is parasitic -- i.e., it cannot live without attaching to an external source of energy and sustenance -- it is related to oneself, and because it is intersubjective, it is always attached to something external as well, either "real" or projected.”
What first popped into my melon, strangely enough, was from a Database perspective. In a relational database, data is broken up along logical lines and stored in Tables, which are then related together to get your data back, without having to endlessly re-enter and duplicate it. A location is entered once into a Location table, and numerous Persons can be related to it, without having to re-enter either that location or any particular person.
Queries are questions persisted into the database which give you useful answers back. I you wanted to know all the places I’ve lived, you’d create a query that would find the one row (for me) in the Persons table, and the many related addresses that my ID is attached to within the Locations table, and return just those few correct answers, out of all the thousands of Persons and Locations possible.
Without that relationship being created based on my ID, and Locations addresses, you’d get all sorts of bad and useless data returned. If you added another Table of data, say the Likes and Dislikes tables to the query, and didn’t properly use the relationships which limit results to meaningful information... you’d wind up with gobs and gobs of useless and unrelated data, relating every row of one table, with every row of another, in a geometrically increasing result of chaotic garbage... which is called...
... (and you know I really like this part)
... a Cartesian Result.
Null think, therefore it crams.
If that query was fired off in a person’s grey matter database, upon one seemingly random trigger or another... it’d be slowing everything down, demanding continual attention, and the more it was allowed to run without being manually attended to and closed, the less memory you’d have for anything else. And if it was mistakenly taken for a useful query to be intentionally run to get your answers from... well... you’d have one Giant mess on your hands.
If the Artificial Intelligence people ever want to model leftist thinking (and leftist thinking is about the only thinking they’d ever have a shot at pulling off), I’ve got a model for them.

3/21/2011 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"For example, a truly toxic narcissist has replaced his damaged true self with an inflated and imaginary false one. The true self is not so much "repressed" as split off, denied, and projected."

On a less techie level, this seems a reall good description of some of the scenes in C.S. Lewis's... I think it's "The Great Divorce"(?), where some of those getting off the bus, come off in pairs, and one is an inflated center of attention, with a smaller character seemingly tagging along behind.

If I remember right, one of those pairs has a very theatrical figure, trying to monopolize the conversation, trying, insisting, that it be spoken to, and that that tagging along be ignored.

However those who belong there will speak only to the character tagging along, which turns out to be the actual self... and the windbag is what was once simply an interest of the real self, which wound up consuming it... as much as was possible anyway... like Lays Potato chips, you can never have just one... but you've gotta keep breaking the last one into smaller pieces, so something remains to feeed off of.

3/21/2011 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"--The Antichrist is, probably, man."

Having removed all relation to reality and truth... what else could he, or they (all inclusive... the mamaya of all pressure groups), be?

3/21/2011 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

For example, a truly toxic narcissist has replaced his damaged true self with an inflated and imaginary false one. The true self is not so much "repressed" as split off, denied, and projected."

I always knew Giants are leftists.
No wonder they hate David and his kin so much.
To leftists, Goliath was the under-dog and victim who was bullied to death by David.

Incidently, this also explains why leftists absolutely hate conservatives and the Tea Party.
They see their true self reflected in us and it enrages them (when mind parasites are in control there is no mind or soul).

3/21/2011 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

They imagine that desire and enjoyment are all the aim of life and in their inordinate and insatiable pursuit of it they are the prey of a devouring, a measurelessly unceasing care and thought and endeavour and anxiety till the moment of their death."

The hunter becomes the prey...who thinks it's still the hunter when in reality it has been reduced to a power source...a power source that's not renewable.

Outstanding post, Bob!

3/21/2011 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

If the Artificial Intelligence people ever want to model leftist thinking (and leftist thinking is about the only thinking they’d ever have a shot at pulling off), I’ve got a model for them."

Good point, Van.
Leftists are, in truth, devoid of human creativity (at least the Beautiful and Good kind) and entirely predictable (ergo: Gorebots, Obamatrons, Paulbots, Mooremechs, Reavers, the Borgwah, etc.).

In fact, I would go as far as to say they already have "created" artificial "intelligence"...themselves.

3/21/2011 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of night...

3/21/2011 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Thanks, Julie :-)

3/21/2011 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

From the Philokalia, St Neilos The Ascetic (on giant mind parasites, I mean, passions):

“For if someone does not watch his mind attentively, he will find that, after he has cut down the passions, the images of past fantasies begin to emerge again like young shoots. If he constantly allows these images to force their way into his intellect and does not bar their entry, the passions will once more establish themselves within him; despite his previous victory, he will have to struggle against them again. For, after being tamed and taught to graze like cattle, the passions can become savage once more through our negligence and regain the ferocity of wild beasts. It is to prevent this that Scripture says: ‘Do not try to follow them after they have been destroyed before you’; that is, we must not allow our soul to form the habit of taking pleasure in fantasies of this kind, and so to relapse into its previous wickedness.

“Now when we are continually meeting other people, we are not consciously troubled by the passions, because they lack the opportunity to become active; yet they persist unnoticed within us, and the longer they remain, the stronger they grow. If the ground is constantly trodden underfoot, the weeds, though present in it, do not rise above the surface; but they thrust vigorous and thriving roots deep into the earth, and then, as soon as they get the chance, they shoot up above ground. Similarly, if we are always meeting other people, the passions are prevented from emerging into the open; nevertheless they grow steadily more powerful and then, taking advantage of the life of stillness which we have begun to pursue, they attack us with great force. Our struggle with them is hard and dangerous because we failed to fight against them when they first occurred.

“All of us, from birth up to the age of twelve, uncritically allow our senses to be controlled by the objects of sense-perception, because our power of discrimination has not yet been purified. We let our senses obey sensory objects as if they were the masters; our sense of sight is controlled by things visible, our hearing by sounds, our taste by flavors, our sense of smell by odors, and our sense of touch by physical objects. Because we are children, we cannot discriminate between the various things we perceive or offer any opposition to them. But when our judgment starts to mature and we become aware of the harm we are suffering, we at once begin to think of rebelling against this slavery and escaping from it. And if we continue firm in this resolve, we can escape from these cruel masters and remain for ever free. But if we waver in our decision, we betray our senses into captivity once more: they are overcome by the power of sensory objects, and from then on they endure a tyrannical servitude without any hope of escape. This is why the five kings in the story, after being defeated by the four, were driven to wells of pitch (cf. Gen. 14:10.LXX); in other words, those who are overcome by sensory things turn with each of their senses to the objects proper to that sense, as if to pits and wells. Henceforth they think about nothing except visible objects, because they have fixed their desire upon what is earthly and are more attached to the things of this world than to those of the intellect.”

3/21/2011 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

Thank you for the Philokalia post.

Wasn't Tomberg (whom I think GB has cited here) the one who thought that states of minds corresponded to angelic intelligences?

How does this work?

3/21/2011 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of giant steps, here's a lovely three minute diversion, (via this place)

3/21/2011 09:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Nude under a Lab Coat said...

A good post, and the comments were astute. Congrats to all.

I have mind parasites which complement my naricssism, addictions, and neuroses. My true self screams for air time and is mostly denied in this sad morass that I carry through life.

A sorry excuse for a woman. A bad mother. Slut.

I voted for Obama. I work in a lab where decision algorithms are being developed for, you guessed it, AI.

The machines are more virtuous than I am. I wish I was a machine.

3/21/2011 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Shucks...

"This is the end of Don Colacho’s Aphorisms. I therefore ask the reader to indulge me for a moment as I make a few remarks."

3/21/2011 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I hope the blog itself stays up.

3/21/2011 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Huh, that St Neilos person really knew how it is!

I have noticed that the difference between apologizing (which one can always do by will alone) and repentance (which requires grace and then will)is much like the difference between cutting off weeds and pulling them out. But even after pulling weeds, there may be tendrils left that will appear again after a long time unobserved.

3/22/2011 05:22:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home