Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unleash Your Inner Victim for Wealth and Power!

We left off yesterday talking about that book in the Priestess's lap, which represents the descent of spirit, from the spiritual/experiential "touch" of mysticism down to the religio-philosophical sense, which results in "writing one's book," so to speak. Evidently, in order to become a journeyman transmitter, one must begin as an apprentice lightning rod.

This is what our Unknown Friend is referring to on p. 43, where he writes that "Gnosis without mystical experience is sterility itself. It is just a religious ghost, without life or movement. It is the corpse of religion, animated intellectually by means of scraps fallen from the table of the past history of humanity."

So much contemporary theology is characterized by this problem, that it's easy to see why people reject it. It's not that they want to be irreligious. It just doesn't speak to them, because it is dead.

UF writes that a mysticism that fails to give birth to gnosis "must, sooner or later, necessarily degenerate into 'spiritual enjoyment' or 'intoxication.' The mystic who wants only the experience of mystical states without understanding them, without drawing practical conclusions from them for life, and without wanting to be useful to others, who forgets everyone and everything in order to enjoy the mystical experience, can be compared to a spiritual drunkard."

So many spiritual drunkards! This pretty much summarizes the New Age movement, which is so devoid of sobriety, like the incoherent ranting of Deepak Chopra. Example:

"If Occupy America can channel its anger into awareness, the next step is to ask, 'What is our goal?' When I was down among the demonstrators, I led a meditation on that question, and it seemed to calm down the people around me, which demonstrates, I think, that the whole Occupy movement is about angry idealists, not just people who feel screwed by Wall St., although that is the spark and the point of injustice that somehow must be faced."

So, these angry people need to become self-aware enough to ask themselves what the fuck they're accomplishing by running around half-naked and defecating in public. True, most of us resolve this by age two or three, but some children are a little slow.

Like all liberals, there is one thing Deepak knows: that nothing will change until you embrace and celebrate your inner victim. "Eventually, all change starts there, by ignoring the odds and the threat of punishment, by standing up and saying 'I accuse you of injustice.'" Yes, all personal growth begins with an unwavering commitment to the ideal that It's all someone else's fault!

UF makes the important point that true contemplation picks up where discursive reason leaves off. "Discursive thought is satisfied when it arrives at a well-founded conclusion. Now, this conclusion is the point of departure for contemplation. It fathoms the profundity of this conclusion at which discursive thought arrives."

Obviously, the contemplation of depth is not explained by the object of contemplation. Truly, it is the miraculous vertical rabbit hole that leads us in and up: "contemplation discovers a world within that which discursive thought simply verifies as 'true.'"

Please note that what UF is saying doesn't only apply to the world of scientific truth, but to religious truth as well.

Again, there are spiritual books that are deep, and many more that are shallow. Both disclose "truth," but what a difference! It's like a great artist and a Sunday painter drawing the same landscape. Who knows, the latter might even be more technically "accurate," so what explains the depth of the former? Here again, it is that sense of mystical touch, which the gifted artist is then able to convey on canvas.

There is something much deeper than the simple binary question, "is it true or false?" Think of a great novel. Was it true or false? Did the events really happen as described?

What foolish questions! As UF writes, contemplation "perceives more the significance of the truth discovered by discursive thought," and then tries to trace this depth back to its ultimate source. How does one do this? "By listening in silence. It is as if one wanted to recall something forgotten."

It is analogous to the "tip of the tongue" phenomenon, in which you know it's there, but have to relax into it -- perhaps even forget in order to remember. Or, perhaps it's like the distant stars which disappear when you stare directly at them, but reappear in your peripheral vision. There is an infinite amount of light that will elude you if you attempt to stare it down with scientism!

No, this is the realm of vertical recollection, or what Plato called anamnesis. As UF points out, horizontal memory renders the past present, while vertical memory "renders that which is above as present below."

This is perhaps the key to understanding scripture, which, if reduced to mere horizontality, becomes functionally useless. No, that's an exaggeration. The point is, it will still operate vertically, even if you imagine that it is horizontal. It can still work its magic, but if you insist too much on the horizontality, it can diminish the verticality.

As the mystical sense is analogous to spiritual touch, the gnostic sense is analogous to hearing. Obviously, it is this that Jesus is attempting to highlight when he speaks of having ears but being unable to hear, for true hearing takes place on the level of vertical depth. This kind of deep hearing can only take place in an environment of expectant silence or passive openness, i.e., (---) and (o).

You will notice that we listen to a great artist in a different way than we do to the typical hack. One of the reasons for this is that the true artist has earned our respect, as we know from experience that there will be an added dimension of depth to his work if only we give it sufficient time. There are no hidden depths in the mediocre artist.

UF goes into a little riff on the nature of art, which he compares to the magical sense of projection: "The talent of the artist consists in this: that he can render objective -- or project -- his ideas and feelings so as to obtain a more profound effect on others than that of the expression of ideas and feelings by a person who is not an artist. A work of art is endowed with a life of its own," very similar to the process of birth itself.

UF concludes the chapter by noting that scientistic materialism can only be "true" if we exclude all of the other planes that make the horizontal plane of natural facts possible, and isolate the realm of quantitative facts from the rest of reality.

At the polar opposite of this is the Hermetic-philosophical sense, or the "sense of synthesis," which is capable of a vision of the whole: "The scientific sense... summarizes the facts of experience on a single plane, in the horizontal. Hermeticism is not a science and will never be one. It can certainly make use of sciences and their results, but by doing so it does not become a science."

Or, one could say that profane science is the study of the relative, which is change itself. But Hermeticism is essentially the science of the changeless, which is to say, metaphysics. Metaphysics is the science of the permanent, of those things that cannot not be, for example, the Absolute, and by extension, the Infinite. Or, of Beyond-Being, and its child, Being.

Again, science can verify truth on a single plane, while the gnostic sense investigates the depth of said truth. Thus, any philosophy of naturalism can only appear to be true to the extent that one fails to ponder its depth and significance.

The moment you engage in the latter, you have disproved it, for you have revealed a vertical depth of truth and being for which naturalism can never account. You have left materialism behind. For to listen in expectant silence in the vertical space is to be "instructed by God."

It is the very opposite of the infantile approach advocated by Deepak, in that it is necessary for Truth to speak to our striving for illusory power. Real change begins there, by standing up and saying, I accuse me of being an assoul.

9 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For the left, being the most powerful man on earth is no impediment to being just another helpless victim.

10/11/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

If Deepak had any genuine insight, I should think he'd look at the body of his work with no small degree of horror. How much actual harm has been done, I wonder, to those who swallow whole the message that they are not responsible for themselves?

The talent of the artist consists in this: that he can render objective -- or project -- his ideas and feelings so as to obtain a more profound effect on others than that of the expression of ideas and feelings by a person who is not an artist.

I was thinking something along those lines yesterday about Lileks. Here's a man who writes about completely ordinary things, even things that some might consider dull (his obsession with organizing things, for instance), and yet whatever the topic, he manages to imbue it with a living depth that is always a pleasure to read, and it seems effortless.

10/11/2011 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

As an aside, speaking of the blame game, my boy has already caught on: every time I step away from the computer, he rushes over to grab the mouse and bang on the keyboard. Yesterday, in an attempt to not get caught at it, he threw the mouse and I had to give him a stern response (usually I just take it back from him; eventually I'll learn to keep it out of his ever-growing reach). He looked up at my frowny face, then threw his arm back to point and cried "Do-e, Do-e!"

He's already blaming the dog.

10/11/2011 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh. My. God.

Pod People

The irony here is that there really is victimization going on, as these dingbats are being robbed of their humanity. Willingly, but even so. But at least they can sleep better telling themselves that nobody is better than they are.

It is too bad that they have not contemplated this point and properly come to the conclusion that nobody is worse than they are, either - a point which, properly understood with depth, might lead them to wisdom. Instead, all they've got is whizz-dumb.

10/11/2011 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Yipee! MOTT finally arrived by pack train. Would have come yesterday but there was some Injun trouble between here and Roanoke. Paid the mule skinner with two plugs of tobbaco, some gunpowder, and a silver dime. Life is good.

10/11/2011 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

JL-- what could be better than such a day, such a book?*
It really does justify the hype-rbole

* studying it alongside Bob [+ the peanut gallery]

10/11/2011 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

@ge. I hope I have "ears to hear."

I'll give it an honest effort and I'll even try finish Bob's book as well!

wv: lientel <-- this is getting spooky!

10/11/2011 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

"It is the corpse of religion, animated intellectually by means of scraps fallen from the table of the past history of humanity."
This is pretty much how I remember the last generation of public Christianity in Norway, before it fell into irrelevance utterly and was renounced by the masses. Old folks getting together, singing old songs written by people in former generations who had been alive. Occasionally trying to bring the past on to the next generation, rather than the spirit that had animated that past.

Ah, the difference between soul and spirit, says the voice in my heart. You bring the soul of the past into the future instead of the spirit, you create a zombie instead of a new life. Spirit must always renew? Something like that. The zombie is a life that should rightly have ended and given room for the new, but hangs on, unaware of its own death. It seems an apt mythaphor indeed.

10/12/2011 03:13:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"UF makes the important point that true contemplation picks up where discursive reason leaves off. "Discursive thought is satisfied when it arrives at a well-founded conclusion. Now, this conclusion is the point of departure for contemplation. It fathoms the profundity of this conclusion at which discursive thought arrives."

Yep. Discursive thought is like building a ship in a bottle, piece by piece, and when completed, you have your conclusion. Leaving it at that point, is akin to saying there was no point in building it at all. The who point of building the ship, should be to slack back and contemplate the ship, the whOle ship, from all angles.

The really frustrating part is realizing that you can't simply communicate your understanding to another without assisting them with building their own ship in their own bottle, word by word, phrase by phrase, mast-connected-to-deck-connected-to-keel... etc, and then they've still got to go through the contemplation process on their own to really understand what it is you are talking about.

10/15/2011 10:36:00 AM  

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