Thursday, October 06, 2011

Seriousness is No Excuse for Frivolousness

I was going to careen into a new subject, but then thought better of it, since I don't have much time, so we'll continue into the first arcana of MOTT, the Magician. But before getting into its specific meaning, bear in mind that, even more than a word, these complex symbols are visual containers, or ♀, which are full of potential content or meaning, ♂.

UF implies this at the outset, noting that these archetypes have "the virtue of awakening the deeper layers of the soul." While one cannot think without symbols, one must not confuse the symbols with the thoughts they provoke and contain, nor reduce thought to its outer "clothing," so to speak.

Bob touched on this in OCUG, noting that one must develop a new relationship to language, so that one actually speaks it, rather than vice versa.

This is not quite accurate, for what we really want is to be "spoken" by the deeper dimensions of thought -- to somehow get beneath the surface of conventional speech, which is almost circular in its predictability, shaping both our unconscious expectations and perceptions, and thus limiting our "presence" to reality (and vice versa). Much of Bob's inane wordplay is actually a weirdploy to serve as an accomplice to the climb, as we shall explain.

In a way, we must act as if we are in a very different country, so that our expectations aren't saturated with preconceptions. We must overcome the lower mind's built-in tendency to adapt itself to the environment in order to forget about it.

I believe Bob has discussed this in the past -- that this is one of the reasons people enjoy vacations, not because they allow the person to come into contact with a new reality, but with reality, period. But why wait until one is on vacation to be open to the fullness of reality? We need to somehow lift ourselves out of the familiar attractor we habitually roll around in, which is very much like a deep groove in subjective phase space.

Certain aspects of religion are almost designed to have this "shock value" of unfamiliarity, thus pulling us out of ordinary and into sacred time and space. After all, if religion were no different than any other symbolic mode, we wouldn't need it. The "weirdness" of religion isn't only due to the singular nature of its object, but is a kind of "means" or "expedient" with which to get over and out of yourself.

When we hear about "speaking in tongues" and the like, I believe this is a way of describing a deeper principle. You can be sure that the scientific materialist only believes what he does because he is spoken by a particular kind of dry and desiccated language, and has become contained -- and therefore imprisoned -- by it.

This is why no real poet could ever be a materialist. The poet knows as well as anyone that ♂ always breaks free of ♀, and that this is a divine mercy. I suppose the only thing worse than being unable to contain reality would be somehow containing it. Game over!

UF goes on to say that these archetypal symbols have the capacity to awaken "new notions, ideas, sentiments, and aspirations, which means that they require an activity more profound than that of study and intellectual explanation."

Rather, one must dive deeply into them, which is to simultaneously plunge into the mystery of oneself, i.e., beyond the subjective horizons within which we confine ourselves. For "it is the deep and intimate layers of the soul which become active and bear fruit" in these contemplative exercises.

And this is indeed the whole point: to become deep, since God is the ultimate depth, or that by which depth is measured (if there were no God, there would be no depth, precisely; everything would be of equivalent value, which is to say, valueless).

Here again, UF highlights the ♂ ♀ (container-contained) dialectic of the arcana -- and this goes for any archetypal symbols, including the totality of the Bible -- in that they "conceal and reveal their sense at one and the same time according to the depth of meditation." To cite one of Bob's portmantools, they reveil (reveal and veil), the veil (♀) being necessary to clothe the (♂) so that it may be thought about in a generative and deepening spiral.

Again, this is a true cosmic complementarity, which is why one cannot simply strip away the veil to disclose the underlying reality. This is the approach of modern fooligans who, like all previous generations of surface dwellers, or psychic neuston, imagine they can be the first to seize reality in the raw, in an unmediated way. They are each generation's self-styled "reality based community."

But in the words of Don Colacho, "To be stupid is to believe that it is possible to take a photograph of the place about which the poet sang." But enough about our trolls.

We see how far the neobarbarian atheists get by beating off reality, which is to say, nowhere. They merely grasp their own nether parts with their ønanistic wacktivity, which is why they are spiritually barren. Truly, they are filled with countless unBorns who will never see the light of deity because they were never fertilized.

Now, the magician is the master archetype for our journey into the rest of the symbols. Why is that? Because he is the symbol of what we must become if we are to have a fruitful journey through the rest of them. We must become this magician. And what does this magician represent?

Well, among other things, he embodies the principle of Slack, in that we must leave the field of profane time behind, and enter a different reality that has its own more expansive rhythm and sensibility. Here is how UF formulates it:

Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!

The first of these prescriptions has to do with what we call the principle of Higher Non-doodling, which in turn is similar to the wu wei of Taoism. It also shares similarities what Sri Aurobindo calls the attainment of the "silent mind," which is well explained in chapter 4 of The Adventure of Consciousness.

In fact, we may discern a convergence of the Catholic and neo-Vedantic approaches, as Satprem writes that "the major task that opens the door to many realizations is to silence the mind.... Clearly, if we want to discover a new country within us, we must leave the old one behind -- everything depends on our determination to take this first step."

Part of this is in order to escape the old (♀) in order to get at the new (♂), so to speak. In other words, our surface ego, or local self (•) is so hemmed in and contained, that we need to somehow get beyond or behind it. This is because, as Sri Aurobindo writes, "In a certain sense, we are nothing but a complex mass of mental, nervous and physical habits held together [i.e., contained, ♀] by a few ruling ideas, desires and associations -- an amalgam of many small, self-repeating forces with a few major vibrations."

This outward and external (♀) becomes thicker and more dense, until we are "confined in a construction," which becomes a kind of pseudo-center. No more (♂). Your fortress against reality is complete. (In contrast, I notice that for my six-year old, everything is still more or less uncontained, or only partially contained, ♂; he hasn't yet learned to bleach out all the novelty.)

This is why -- in a manner of speaking -- we might say that the first half of life involves learning, while the second half involves unLearning. Or, to re-become as little children, who are so full of ♂. This requires not only a leap of, but into, faith (o), which Aurobindo describes as "an intuition not only waiting for experience to justify it, but leading toward experience." (In other words, faith is not just content, but a mode of spiritual cognition.)

Here again, UF agrees that we must achieve calm and silence "at the expense of the automatism of thought and imagination" (the bad kind -- more on which later). Only in so doing are we capable of truly "speaking" of these matters, instead of merely being on auto-pilot.

A Raccoon must never speak of spiritual matters in the manner of "writing the mechanical bull." I suppose that doing so has its place, but such familiar pneumababble is ultimately "by the dead and for the tenured," not for us.

One reason why silence is so critical is that it is only in silence that we become "one" (anxiety always fragments and dissipates). And as UF writes, we must first become one in ourselves if we are to become one with the spiritual world.

It's just common sense. Without unity, there can be no knowledge of any kind. For example, the only reason why we may possess scientific knowledge is because a primordial unity subtends the division of subject and object, knower and known.

However, that is the world of horizontal quantities, whereas the spiritual world is one of vertical qualities. Thus, the next step, according to UF, is to understand the Law of Analogy that governs the qualitative world of the vertical. This, of course, is why Jesus spoke in parables that are full of richly resonant symbolism with which we must "play" again as little children.

Well, playtime is over. To be continued...


Blogger julie said...

A Magician speaks

10/06/2011 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

It must be in the pneuma today. Cool.

10/06/2011 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I really don't think this is OT. I don't know much about Portland, but I'm guessing it's a spoke on the hipster space wheel. Sometimes, apparently, irony is just too ironic, becoming like meta-ironic which might not be ironic at all. It's kind of a shame. I can imagine a stoner biker seeing God on that bridge.

10/06/2011 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Open Trench said...

So what's "in" these days with the crowd here?

What's hip? What's new?

I'm into early 20th century history. It's jazz 'n flapper time again, I sense.

What else about the 1920's can you dig and re-do?

Where is the 'speakeasy' these days?

10/06/2011 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Mushroom - re. the bike path, I had a similar idea once while having to drive on the shoulder over a stretch of freeway construction. I think Honda or some other car company did a version shortly after that (must have been in the pneuma at the time), but I have yet to see it done well. Which is unfortunate, because I like the idea. I don't like it so much that I think taxpayers should have to fork over dough for it, though.

Also, they could have picked a better song...

10/06/2011 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

I wonder if the city of Portland would have had to pay royalties to Simon and Garfunkel every time a cyclist rode over those strips?

Spending other people's money. What fun!

10/06/2011 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

"My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other's kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That's how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they're done by a team of people."
-- S. Jobs Interview with 60 Minutes, 2003

10/06/2011 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Teamwork, man. We were talking about taking the day off because there's a holiday in India, and none of our Indian engineers were on our conference calls. Solidarnosc! Come to think of it, I don't think any of the Polish engineers were on either.

I guessing neither group was celebrating Columbus Day early.

10/06/2011 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

" This is because, as Sri Aurobindo writes, "In a certain sense, we are nothing but a complex mass of mental, nervous and physical habits held together [i.e., contained, ♀] by a few ruling ideas, desires and associations -- an amalgam of many small, self-repeating forces with a few major vibrations."

Whoa... definately a core principle for those who want to create 'Artificial Intelligence'. One small problem though: Sentience. Now thats tricky. A real magician would be needed for that one.

Or should I say... 2 magicians?

10/06/2011 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

"When we hear about "speaking in tongues" and the like, I believe this is a way of describing a deeper principle."

Right on, Bob. Your really 'speaking my language', there. i think your version is far more acturate than ... say... the Pentacostals where they would babble and seem to have seizures and do silly things...

I always felt the pentecostals had this whole 'Speaking in tongues' thing all wrong and nobody would agree with my viewpoint and I would sit back in frustration at all the 'weirdos'.

I suppose for the ... Tiriki fauna, the pentacostal way makes sense, whereas Jnani types would agree with me. Hmmm....

10/06/2011 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/06/2011 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

"Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!"

So... a magician is a 'Shape-Shifter'?

You know... truly become a Tiriki or a Jnani or a lawyer or engineer or salesman and yet maintain your inner integrity/identity?

IOW's be spiritually limber enough to go out, watch a ball game, eat hot dogs and drink beer (and laugh at some bawdy jokes), then go out to 'Chez Geek', eat Hors D’oeuvres, apreciate an artwork (and I mean really appreciate - not fake it) and do a little Ballroom Dancing and yet have it fit with 'you' in both enviroments?

If thats the case, its definately a stretch for alot of us.

Talk about 'Being the Ball'.

Perhaps this would be what a university attempts when it forces you to take courses in other curricula (rounding out your education, so to speak..).


10/07/2011 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...


Law, Science and Sales are 3 entirely different mindsets. Being good at all three (simultaneously) definately requires some serious mental acrobatics.

Voice of experience on that one.

10/07/2011 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...


Substitute "Tiriki" for "Bhakti" (and its "Tariki")

Wheres the 'White-out' when you need it.

...ah, to be a Newb...

10/07/2011 03:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Well, among other things, he embodies the principle of Slack, in that we must leave the field of profane time behind, and enter a different reality that has its own more expansive rhythm and sensibility."

Not what seems to be particular to this place and time, but one of timeless Truths which apply anywhen and manywhere.

Time to stop wasting time mistaking travel as moving from one place to another across the surface, but to take a real trip with a pause and a dive in deep.

10/07/2011 06:59:00 AM  

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