Freedom, Reality, and the Power of Stupidity
New agers basically co-opt religion for the purposes of exalting themselves and bolstering their own narcissism. As UF puts it, they want to "develop their own greatness without the rival grandeur of the Divine to discomfort them." This exercise is "fundamentally infantile," and atheists are certainly right to reject it.
Consider the titles of some of Deepak Chopra's books: The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocketbook Guide to Fulfilling Your Dreams. The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence. Creating Affluence: The A-to-Z Steps to a Richer Life. Perfect Weight. Perfect Health. The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents: Guiding Your Children to Success and Fulfillment. The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want. Grow Younger, Live Longer.
This is all about the bad kind of gnosis, about some "secret" known only to the elect. Just splash some cash Chopra's way, and you will be blessed with financial success, spontaneous fulfillment of your every desire, perfect health, a long life, and even successful and fulfilled children! (As if one has the magical power to revoke a child's God-given free will, except perhaps by abusing them.)
In all of these books, you will notice that they have nothing to do with knowing God, but with being God. They prey on the rampant narcissism of our age, as if the answer to selfishness, dysfunction, and depression is more of what causes it. It doesn't just fly in the face of the Christian message, but of the central message of all legitimate spirituality, e.g., "If you want to become full / let yourself be empty / If you want to be given everything / give everything up" (Tao Te Ching).
It is no wonder that Chopra is also such a diehard supporter of Obama. He takes quite literally the childish idea that Obama represents a "quantum leap" in consciousness.
But if Chopra's kooky ideas are true, one naturally wonders: why do we need politicians, let alone illiberal statists, at all? In other words, if Deepak has the magical secrets which will fulfill our every desire, why would we care about some silly politician? Don't politicians simply become unnecessary middlemen between us and our desires?
Here again, we see how the anti-religious person cannot help being religious. He can deny truth, but it simply returns in some twisted form. Why would Chopra, of all people, believe in the coercive ideology of leftism, which specifically maintains that people have no power to change their lives for the better without a huge and intrusive state?
For Chopra, the state is the Father, Obama the Son, and high taxes the Ghastly Heist. If he actually believed a word of his books, he wouldn't only be a conservative, but a radical libertarian: just unleash the people and let magic take care of the rest!
UF also discusses the other extreme. I am not -- nor could I ever be -- one of those people who don't worry because "God is in charge." Free will is an irrevocable gift. It cannot be regifted, or revert back to its original owner. In the words of Schuon, we are condemned to freedom, and are always free to fall into the abyss, if that is what we choose. Indeed, this is the source of our dignity.
I am reminded of something a wise Supreme Court justice once said -- something to the effect that if the citizenry wishes to go to hell in a handbag, my job is to help them do so. In other words, this idea that the liberal elites of the Supreme Court are here to rescue the moronic populace through judicial tyranny is a modern innovation.
The purpose of the Supreme Court is not to deny our freedom just because one or two of them don't like what we did with it. I remember when the Supreme Court overturned some obscure sodomy law in Texas. Justice Thomas agreed that the law was "uncommonly silly," but this is utterly beside the point. For if the Supreme Court had the constitutional power to abolish silly laws, Democrats would be out of business overnight. Stupid laws are their raison d'être.
UF makes the critical point that the Christian lives with "the paradox of almighty God reduced to a state of extreme powerlessness." This seemingly counter-intuitive image is said to be "the most perfect revelation of the God of love."
This is quite radically different from the new age belief in a God who would leap down from the cross and, for a paltry $1995.00, sell you the magical secrets of fulfilling your every desire and deepaking your sleeping chopra at a weekend seminar in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, with one of Time Magazines top 100 heroes and icons of the 20th century!
It seems that many religious people, instead of overtly adopting the Chopraesque narcissistic grandiosity, simply project it onto the deity. It's the same infantile process, only externalized. As UF writes,
"their faith in God depends only on the power of God; if God was powerless, they would not believe in him. It is they who teach that God has created souls predestined to eternal damnation and others predestined to salvation; it is they who make God responsible for the entire history of the human race, including all its atrocities.... God is almighty, therefore all that happens is only able to happen through his action and his consent."
In short, "The idol of power has such a hold on some human minds that they prefer a God who is a mixture of good and evil, provided that he is powerful, to a God of love who governs only by intrinsic authority of the Divine -- by truth, beauty, and goodness -- i.e., they prefer a God who is actually almighty to the crucified God."
What is the point of asking that "thy will be done" on earth as it is in heaven? This implies that in the upper vertical -- the celestial world, so to speak -- God's will is done "automatically," so to speak. But down here in the fog and haze of the lower pneumatosphere -- the terrestrial world, with its messy web of psychic crosscurrents -- this is not necessarily the case.
For there are many vertical degrees of being -- and therefore relatively autonomous horizontal planes -- between the top and bottom. Although God may intervene in this or that plane, he could not abolish the planes altogether -- i.e., the hierarchy -- without canceling out manifest existence entirely. Doing so would be analogous to, say, abolishing cells in order to prevent the possibility of cancer in the body.
Either human existence is real or illusory. If real, then so too is our freedom real. In fact, as UF writes, freedom "is none other than the real and complete existence of a being created by God." In other words, to be "free" and "real" are synonymous terms from the spiritual point of view. For if one is not free, then one is determined by something else -- or just an extension of some other entity that is real, whether genes or God, it doesn't matter.
But what is freedom? Freedom implies a kind of (relatively) absolute wholeness, or center, which is a mirror of the Creator, who is the "Center of centrality" or "Interior of interiority," so to speak.
Therefore, to illegitimately constrain or eliminate freedom is to do away with God. Again, no wonder that the religiously irreligious zealots of the left who reject our natural liberties -- and God -- imagine that government can somehow create freedom when it can only protect or oppose it.
Again: to be free is to exist. For the average OWS leftist who feels "unfree" as a result of some nebulous cabal of bankers, this is merely a projection of his own subjective absence of psychic freedom. To feel controlled by the "1%" is as crazy as a billion Muslims feeling controlled by 15 million Jews.
For the leftist, the state exists, and we become its extensions. Think of it. The average American already works for the state until what, mid-April? How will we be more free if Obama succeeds in moving it forward to mid-May or June, when government expenditures are 50% of GDP?
To the extent that one's mind is inhabited by quasi-autonomous parasites, these intrinsically limit one's freedom. And there's not a thing Obama can do about it. No one else can deliver us from hell or send us to heaven: "Love existence, and you have chosen heaven; hate it, and there you have chosen hell."
Likewise, "God is all-powerful in history in as much as there is faith; and he is crucified in so far as one turns away from him." And the Emperor, or legitimate ruler, reigns by intrinsic authority over free beings. Paradoxically, God must be a kind of "absent presence" at this center of freedom, otherwise we would not really exist.