Thursday, November 03, 2011

If Nothin' Ain't Broken, Can't Nobody be Fixed

On to the Pope. The central lesson of this card has to do with "vertical respiration," or what our unKnown Friend describes as the double movement of prayer and benediction -- or of (↑) and (↓), respectively. Thus, if you ask why we pray, it's for roughly the same reason we exhale. We do so in order to inhale -- to metabolize oxygen and gita life, buddhi.

The ascending and descending energies are parts of a single movement. In fact -- in a manner of speaking, of course -- you could even say that we are the answer to God's prayers, in that our inspiration is his expiration -- certainly on the plane of creativity.

"The prayers of humanity rise towards God and, after having been divinely 'oxidized,' are transformed into benedictions which descend from above." In prayer, something departs from us, but returns somehow transformed.

The point is, as Schuon once put it, "prayer fashions man." In a way, man is nothing but a prayer placed in the middle of nowhere, a prayer which ascends to the heavens and links the above and below. Man's very verticality -- however conceptualized -- is a prayer, don't you see? And if there were nothing at the other end of our verticality, man as such truly would be a hopeless prayer, just a long bomb hurled by inconscient matter into the cosmic dead end zone.

Even -- or especially! -- the cries of the helpless infant are hope-filled prayers to the Divine Mother. The intersubjective relationship between mother and baby forms a reciprocity dance of mutual projection. When those innocent prayers are systematically unanswered, the infant is ushered into hell -- into some version of autism, narcissism, or depression. An open, intersubjective system with others is not formed, so love cannot enter or escape. While they may later bond with others, it's really a form of external adhesion, not intersubjective relation.

Transferred to the psychospiritual plane, scientism is a kind of autistic bond to the surface of reality. It is also a state of spiritual asphyxia: like expiration with no inspiration. It is the creation of an uncannily lifeless pneumascape by dead and tenured souls.

As UF writes, "Spiritual asphyxia menaces he who does not practice some form of prayer; he who practices it receives vivifying benedictions in some form." There is a reason why the blue states are blue: no spiritual oxygen. When someone has a dead relationship with the Creator, one must always inquire into what it is that the person is projecting into him, i.e., the actual source of the deadness. Suffice it to say that it is within the undead themselves, certainly not within the very source of Life.

Again, there is horizontal respiration, which is between the outside and inside; and vertical respiration, which is between the above and below. UF even suggests that death represents "the abrupt passage from horizontal to vertical respiration," which is why the spiritual life has often been characterized as a rehearsal for death. Apparently, with enough practice, we may convert what is otherwise a sharp right angle into the more gentle arc of spiritual liftoff.

This arc is ultimately a circle that returns us to our(true)selves, the circle being the perfect symbol of eternity. One might say that prayer is thinking within the curved space of spiritual reality, in such a manner that the circle gradually expands.

UF points out that true intellectual or creative work is a prayer. It is fueled by the faith and hope that one's efforts are guided by an end that can only be dimly intuited at the start, never "seen." Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe! Blessed are those who tolerate the ambiguity of facts, that they may penultimately reveal principles, and principles that they may ultimately reveal their Origin. When the world of facts embraces the world of principles, that is a prayer come true. And when God shines through the principles, that is the end (goal) of prayer.

Prayer takes place at night and in darkness. Again, it is a complement to the wideawake & cutandry thought of the day. In fact, it is why we sleep, or more precisely, dream, for to dream is to metabolize the day and weave it into our psychic substance, just as to think and act during the day is to externalize the soul's implicate dreams and visions.

What is human culture but one big soul-dream and/or nightmare? And what is the materialist but a sleepwanker, a man deprived of the vivifying dream of reality, and therefore reduced to mental masturbation?

UF then goes into the critically important theme of the wound, and how it is only through the wound that the cosmos is entangled with itself. The senses are wounds through which we are penetrated by the world on various planes and in various modes.

Until the appearance of life, there was only an exterior cosmos. But with the appearance of life, there was suddenly this new category, an interior. But in order for there to be an interior, there had to be an exterior with which to exchange matter, energy or information, and this can only take place through a wound.

This implies that there actually was no exterior to the cosmos prior to the emergence of life, being that exterior and interior co-arise. Therefore, there was just.... what? You figure it out.

UF reiterates that our senses are wounds, and painful ones at that. Without them, the world cannot penetrate us, but sometimes the penetration can damage us. We feel, but as a result, we are aware of pleasure and pain. We see, but that gives rise to both beauty and ugliness. And if you cannot suffer pain, you cannot suffer pleasure.

It is through the wound that an otherwise closed system becomes an open one. In order to know the objective world, one's mind must be wounded by it, by the "nails of objectivity." Likewise, to know God, one's heart must be wounded, which is to say, a vertically open system.

When we wonder, we are exploring our psychic wound, our intrinsic incompleteness and need for the Other. When we think, we are trying to heal it. How did the wound get here? Animals don't have that particular wound.

And when we pray, we are exploring our spiritual wound. How did it get there? Why this wounded heart?

I suppose so we can know we have one, so that it may be healed in love. God save the man without a broken heart! By breaking it.

We the People of the United States, in Order to... secure the Blessings of Liberty [↓] to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution [↑] for the United States of America....

23 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

There is a reason why the blue states are blue: no spiritual oxygen. When someone has a dead relationship with the Creator, one must always inquire into what it is that the person is projecting into him, i.e., the actual source of the deadness.

I'm reminded of the devout atheists who rage and scoff at the bearded guy in the sky, or the "sky fairy," while giving ironic hipster homage to the flying spaghetti monster. Whatever god it is they don't believe in, chances are pretty good that I don't believe in it either.

Blessed are those who tolerate the ambiguity of facts, that they may penultimately reveal principles, and principles that they may ultimately reveal their Origin. When the world of facts embraces the world of principles, that is a prayer come true.

Or again (if memory serves), "to be long multiple is to be deeply one..."

11/03/2011 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Holy Cow whata post!

And then..
"UF points out that true intellectual or creative work is a prayer. It is fueled by the faith and hope that one's efforts are guided by an end that can only be dimly intuited at the start, never "seen."

Why just this very morning came to me the ending of my book. The whole thing. The why and the how and the what. We waited so long. Knew it would arrive. Just knew it!

11/03/2011 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Bob sez:
"In prayer, something departs from us, but returns somehow transformed.

The point is, as Schuon once put it, "prayer fashions man."

Does prayer always have to be an effort of will? I think it does. It's never 'easy' (mindless, automatic?) for me. Yes, among other benefits, it's an alignment process. If you are trying to pray throughout the day how far can you stray?

This makes me wonder about devices like prayer wheels, prayer flags. If they serve as reminders they may be good. If they are a way to automate the process, well, maybe that defeats the purpose.

Rick, that's good news about your book. You started without an ending in mind? Interesting.

11/03/2011 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Thanks, John.
Yes, I left the ending up to my Superiors.
Now to remain as patient while writing the next 80,000 or so of it.

11/03/2011 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"The point is, as Schuon once put it, "prayer fashions man." In a way, man is nothing but a prayer placed in the middle of nowhere, a prayer which ascends to the heavens and links the above and below. Man's very verticality -- however conceptualized -- is a prayer, don't you see? And if there were nothing at the other end of our verticality, man as such truly would be a hopeless prayer, just a long bomb hurled by inconscient matter into the cosmic dead end zone."

For those tempted to ask, am I, 'But what is it?", comes the better reply, 'Not 'What is it', but 'Why it is'.

It is also perhaps worth being mindful of, that what you pray for, tells much about why you are who you are... and as an asnide, when praying, do you pray, or prey?

wv:emile
There's a lesson for us all... a cautionary tale I do rue so.

11/03/2011 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Gabe Ruth said...

"Blessed are those who tolerate the ambiguity of facts, that they may penultimately reveal principles, and principles that they may ultimately reveal their Origin."

Thanks for this. You should post it on the masthead.

Prayer is not for God's sake, but for our own. The damage wrought by the penetration of Marxism into the mind of Western man is no where better illustrated than when the moderns condescend to mock the Creator for, in their eyes, demanding attention and flattery. True selflessness is completely incomprehensible to them, and as they are, they think all must be. So they think that, if there is a God, He must be a jerk and want nothing to do with Him.

George MacDonald had some interesting ideas about the nature of sleep (did I bring that up here already? I'll look it up if not). The senses as wounds is a new thought to me. Wounds which tell us that the physical world is real, not a construction of our mind, and reminding us of our our mortal finitude.

11/03/2011 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Rick, Why just this very morning came to me the ending of my book.

Woohoo!

John, This makes me wonder about devices like prayer wheels, prayer flags.

UF discusses this issue in a later chapter of the book. Or more broadly, he discusses the idea many have that if they just follow a rote system, device or formula, they will achieve "success". Instead, such practitioners run the risk of putting their faith in the formula instead of in that to which it points. Here again, the problem becomes one of interrupted respiration.

Of course there's nothing wrong with using such things, no more than it's wrong to contemplate an iconic image - provided that one does not mistake the image nor the process for the reality.

Gabe - agreed. Also, I don't think you've mentioned him here before, but you'll find a few George MacDonald fans hereabouts.

11/03/2011 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Awesome post Bob. I think it is time to dust off my copy of MOTT. I'm emptier now more will get through.

11/03/2011 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Apropos, this moment of revelation over at Gerard's:

This morning I think, "A couple of seconds either way and I would have missed thanking the man who saved my life."

And I think, "What did that mean? What could it possibly mean? Does it mean something or is it just random?"

The only answer I have so far is, "I. Don't. Know.
'Step by step, rung by rung....' "

11/03/2011 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Way to go, Rick!

Wounds:

But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:5)

11/03/2011 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

not 'news' anymore but nonetheless interesting perhaps earthshaking or universe-altering:

“We don’t allow faster-than-light neutrinos in here,” says the bartender.

A neutrino walks into a bar.

11/03/2011 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Thanks, Julie, Mush.

11/03/2011 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I just returned from a local Hillsdale College event at which the president, Larry Arnn, spoke. I highly, highly recommend attending such an event. The invitation came through the Imprimis email mailing list. And the coffee afterward with dessert was great! There was a light dinner/snack buffet before Larry Arnn spoke and dessert afterward. Each attendee received a copy of his new book. It was all complimentary, at no cost. The general company was one of the best parts of the evening, as was the content of the content-rich speech. He was right there with Polanyi and the hierarchy of the universe/reality. It was an excellent, if somewhat short, lecture. If you subscribe to Imprimis and you get an invitation to a local Hillsdale meeting, and are wondering whether or not to go, I heartily recommend it!

11/03/2011 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I should specify - the evening was at no cost for the attendees. It was at great cost however for somebody. It was the kind of evening that could have carried a hefty price tag to get in the door. I didn't want to leave off the acknowledgment that this was the case.

11/04/2011 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Anna, L'll second that. l've been catching as many of their webinars as possible, since the first one I remember hearing of, with Matthew Spalding "we still hold these truths", and they've all been very well worth my time.

Sounds like yours was an in person event? Iknow that several groups of our people in the St.Louis area get together at someone's house, and a couple orgs will air them in their halls, but live, on your pc or with others , well worth the tiime - it's never been schlock, always something meaty to chew on, without being full of themselvees.

Btw, I think there's one today... and usually available for a few days after on web.

11/04/2011 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Yep, here's today's 'First Principles on First Fridays' “Is the Electoral College Outdated?” (correct answer: No).

The one I mentioned with Spalding (and Arn also), was called "Reviving the Constitution", and is still available, if you click on the "Programs" tab, along with many others.

11/04/2011 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If there's one regret I have in life, it's not having attended a place like Hillsdale College, instead of having to spend years undoing my college indoctrination and discovering all this stuff on my own. Since I was in graduate school until 32, I got a very late start at my recovery.

11/04/2011 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

However, given my high school grades, not to mention my utter lack of interest in school, that would have been out of the question.

11/04/2011 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

So it all worked out in the end.

11/04/2011 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Heh, ditto on all points.

;-)

11/04/2011 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

No one simply walks into Hillsdale.

11/04/2011 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, right - just because it's flat-out crazy, doesn't mean it isn't perfectly logical to him. Guess I learned something useful from the Bomford after all...

11/04/2011 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

(Oops - we're both on the wrong thread here; for some reason, William commented on Wednesday's post...)

11/04/2011 09:02:00 AM  

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