Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupying Wall Street vs. Occupying Reality

Picking up where we left of yesterday, I want to continue with Vaclav Havel's discussion of Man's unique relationship to Being (found in The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism). Recall his observation that Man is

"a being that has fallen out of Being and therefore continually reaches toward it, as the only entity by which and to which Being has revealed itself as a question, as a secret and as meaning" (which we refer to as [?!], or the sacred WTF?). The human "drama unfolds in the rupture between his orientation 'upward' and 'backward' and a constant falling 'downward' into now.'"

He adds that "the world of an 'I' that is oriented toward Being is different from the world of an 'I' that has succumbed to its existence-in-the-world." The latter is "enclosed within itself, barren in its superficial variety, empty in its illusory richness, ignorant, though awash in information, cold, alienated, and ultimately absurd."

Conversely, "Orientation toward Being as a state of mind can also be understood as faith," through which our "relationship to life is informed by hope, wonder, humility, and a spontaneous respect for its mysteries."

So, "How can this vicious circle [of alienation from Being] be broken? There would seem to be only one way: a revolutionary turning toward Being."

Openness to Being is... well, openness, which we symbolize (o); it involves "the experience of meaningfulness as a joyful encounter with the unity between the voice of Being within us and the voice of Being in the world," which "thus opens the Being of the world up to us at the same time as it opens us up to that Being." (Think of this as a variant of [↓↑], only prolonged into the vertical.)

Now, what is Being? We might say that Being is unadulterated AM. But man, unique among creatures, possesses -- or is possessed by -- a mysterious center of subjectivity, the I. In order to be aware of the I, it seems that we must, in some sense, be ousted or exiled from Being. Therefore, the perennial problematic is: how to make Being comport with the individual subject who only knows of himself because he is divided from Being? In short, how do we put humpty-I and dumpty-AM back together again?

unKnown Friend provides a clue: "Now the words 'I am; do not be afraid' spoken by the one walking on the water amount to the statement: 'I am gravitation, and he who holds to me will never sink or be engulfed'.... Thus there is another field of gravitation than that of death, and he who unites himself with it can walk on water, i.e, transcend the agitated element of 'this world,' the electrical gravitational field of the serpent."

There is a key passage on page 314 of MOTT, where UF discusses the difference between terrestrial and celestial gravitation: the former is centripetal and enfolds, while the latter is centrifugal and radiates. Perhaps a better way of saying it is that terrestrial gravitation hardens, compacts, and deadens, while celestial gravitation liquifies, disperses, and sows. There is density and opacity in the former, light and space in the latter.

Think of all the forms of intersubjective gravitation that "hold people together," everything from love to culture to ideology to religion and more. This is not metaphorical language, but literal, both individually and collectively. In fact, the word "religion" comes from the latin religare, "to bind."

Religion in its lower sense becomes quite terrestrial, for example, in the Islamic world, where people are bound and compacted together in a common prison where light and air cannot enter. Similarly, ideology can mimic religion, so its adherents are bound together by a spirit of faux radiation -- the OWS tantrums being a fine example.

This is another key point, for there is always a moment when one must assent to the ideology (or political religion), no different than the revolutionary conversion that orients us to Being. Havel is on the case:

"What is fanaticism? I would say it is nothing other than this reified, mystified, fetishized, and thus self-alienated faith.... [P]recisely at this moment, the 'I' commits a fatal error, which is extraordinarily seductive to a lazy mind, [and] a weak character..." There is an absence "of intellectual and moral courage," which precludes "the courage to go it alone against everyone and deny oneself the advantages of mob possession of ideas..."

Again, think of the OWSer mobs. Are they alienated? You bet. But from what? They haven't a clue. For "the fanatic is someone who, without realizing it, replaces the love of God with the love of his own religion; the love of truth, freedom, and justice with the love of an ideology, doctrine, or set of promises to guarantee them once and for all..."

On an individual basis, it's always a good idea to explore one's center of gravity. When we talk about "values," about the culture war, about political parties, we're really talking about very different centers of gravity.

For example, for the leftist, the center of gravity is the compacted collective, or state; for the conservative liberal, it is the radiant individual. In fact, for the leftist -- since he is fully terrestrialized -- his center of gravity is generally politics, period.

What normal, productive person with a life and family would have time to spend weeks on end screaming at walls? This is why the brain-dead left can always muster more raw political energy than the opposition, since it is their life. They're just obeying gravity and going with the flow, whereas for the rest of us, politics is a distasteful distraction that we mainly engage in to prevent the left from making matters worse and ultimately destroying the country. To paraphrase Eliot, we have no expectation of actually prevailing, only of perhaps recapturing and holding a little ground and then passing it on to the next generation.

Another danger of politics is that it tends to organize people around their hates. As a result, their center of gravity becomes that which they hate.

Yes, troll, I know what you're thinking. How is this any different from how Bob treats the left? One difference is that you are here. Why are you here, anyway? To open yourself to Being and change your center of gravity toward O? Or simply to use me as a focus for your hatred and stupidity?

When evaluating a patient, it really comes down to identifying their center of gravity. Most any mental illness results from a false or relative center of gravity. What is a fetish? An obsession? A compulsion? A fixation? A phobia? A depression? Paranoia? Each of these serves to organize the mind around a false center, which limits intelligence and falsifies being. They cannot "radiate," only focus. Or, if they do radiate, it is in a diffuse and chaotic manner, certainly not toward the nonlocal attractor, O. Their psychic content just spills all over the place, like a toxic dump.

Why is a great artist great? Because his words, images, or music come from a deeper or higher center of gravity that helps reveal and deepen ours. The great mystery is how this center can be communicated with very simple language or just a few notes. A great jazz musician will communicate more with just his tone than a mediocre musician with thousands of notes.

I do not wish to be anyone's center of gravity, but rather, perhaps be of humble assistance in helping them locate and amplify theirs. You shouldn't be looking at me, but through me.

In reality, what binds you and I is the mysterious third which we are looking at together. None but the troll stares at and even sniffs my finger. No, the rest of you try to focus upon what I am pointing at. Eventually it comes into view. You already sense it, or you wouldn't be here. It's just a matter of perfecting your senses.

Conversely, I can only assume that our obsessive trolls keep coming back because they want us to see what they see, and to share their perverse center of gravity. Don't worry, we see it. And even lived it. Which is why we can look through and beyond it, to what it is pointing at.

In short, for us, matter is legible, like the page of a book. When we read we do not stare at the letters, but look through them to the meaning. I suppose one could argue that the "center" of MOTT is page 335, being that the book contains 670 pages. But in reality, its center is O, which is present on every page. This explains how it is that Man, seemingly so insignificant, can be the "center of the universe."

To summarize, the Hanged Man "lives under the state of celestial gravitation," which is why he is both suspended and upside down. As UF writes, "the soul is suspended between heaven and earth." It is outside the world because it is inside O. This is "the zero point between the fields of terrestrial and celestial gravitation."

And to say that we are "upside down" means that for us, the "solid ground" is located above, while the realm below is an airy abstraction -- this is the abstract world of the scientistic atheist. Perhaps this is the reason why so many infertile eggheads are materialists, since materialism is purely "head knowledge," a shadowy caricature of the real thing.

I once knew a man who "fell in love with O." As his love deepened, so too did his faith. And as his faith in the unseen deepened, so too did his Obedience. Soon his feet "walked in O." And as his Obedience deepened, his head and heart followed his feet. Now he walks in a cloud of radiant unknowing, calmly placing one foot in front of the other and enjoying the walk.

18 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

Most any mental illness results from a false or relative center of gravity. What is a fetish? An obsession? A compulsion? A fixation? A phobia? A depression? Paranoia? Each of these serves to organize the mind around a false center, which limits intelligence and falsifies being.

I had not thought about it that way. It's a little scary.

In short, for us, matter is legible, like the page of a book. When we read we do not stare at the letters, but look through them to the meaning.

Signs. And wonders.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20)

11/18/2011 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I once knew a man who "fell in love with O." As his love deepened, so too did his faith. And as his faith in the unseen deepened, so too did his Obedience. Soon his feet "walked in O." And as his Obedience deepened, his head and heart followed his feet. Now he walks in a cloud of radiant unknowing, calmly placing one foot in front of the other and enjoying the walk.

Ah, just so. The objective, ever and always, is to fall in love with O. All else comes from this.

11/18/2011 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Your concluding paragraph reminded me of this, attributed to Hujwiri (and which may have come from one of your posts many years back):

"The Sufi is he whose thought keeps pace with his foot, i.e., he is entirely present: his soul is where his body is, and his body is where his soul is, and his soul is where his foot is, and his foot is where his soul is. This is the sign of presence without absence."

The investigation of "centers of gravity" leads to much else besides. Your post today is a great place to start. Thanks!

11/18/2011 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

Center of Gravities... hmmm.... yea...

"As a result, their center of gravity becomes that which they hate. Yes, troll, I know what you're thinking. How is this any different from how Bob treats the left? One difference is that you are here. Why are you here, anyway? To open yourself to Being and change your center of gravity toward O? Or simply to use me as a focus for your hatred and stupidity? "

LOL Bravo! Careful with them mirrors, Dr. Carrasco. Our Quixotic Trolls may actually see themsleves as they really are - and what will we do for entertainment when they are gone? :)

I know, I know, I'm insulting Don Quixote, as he has a beautiful soul (and is an imagined character, no less), but I digress...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayz50HeFJUU

"You shouldn't be looking at me, but through me. "

Master, a good poet gives meaning - through words - to the feelings that everybody feels. The better the poem, the more people it reaches and gives a voice to their silent heart.

As I said before, I've had great difficulty reading Psychology, Philosophy and Theology books. As you said (thus giving me the words that my heart says fits the meaning): its too dense for me to read. My learning has come pretty much through people and my experiences in life (and cribbing a few shards of wisdom from the great thinkers to place into the appropriate areas)

Coming here is the closest I have come to a well read person in the above said area - and I am surprised that I haven't fled.

Surprisingly, this stuff is making sense. But you've gone and digested some real dense stuff and put in simple - and palettable - enough terms that even _I_ can understand. You are adding to understanding of the world and teaching me words and defintions that I can use when speaking from the heart.

...and don't worry about me: If I don't get it, it does not get incorporated into my faith/paradigms/beliefs (and if I do accept it and is later found wrong, it is unceremoniously ripped out of my 'being').

Thank you.

"This is "the zero point between the fields of terrestrial and celestial gravitation."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT4B-NJUcZE

Better get this on the navigational charts. :)

"Soon his feet "walked in O." And as his Obedience deepened, his head and heart followed his feet. Now he walks in a cloud of radiant unknowing, calmly placing one foot in front of the other. "

Eden is here. We never left. Its just that most of us are too blind to see it.

---------------

As you said before, the Unknown friend must have had an amazing inner spiritual life to be able to glean such potent wisdom from seemingly rather innocuous symbols. Ah... to have been able to speak with him. That would have been a treasure.

11/18/2011 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

The Center of Gravity is also a... Locus of Control?

Hmmmm....

11/18/2011 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous tater said...

Lots of nuggets. Great post Bob.

11/18/2011 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

"I once knew a man who "fell in love with O." ...

Beautiful and instructional.

Also, what Julie said...

"Ah, just so. The objective, ever and always, is to fall in love with O. All else comes from this."

11/18/2011 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Finite Horizon said...

A wonderful post, which I agree with for the most part.

One section, in regards to the effort to prevent potential harm posed by leftist politics, seems unduly pessimistic, however.

"...we have no expectation of actually prevailing, only of perhaps recapturing and holding a little ground and then passing it on to the next generation."

Since atheism, scepticism, materialism, and commusnism have been declining steadily for the last two decades,and may reach really low levels by mid-century, how does this track?

The rise of Buddhist philosophy to prominence (every street level leftist will profess a belief in Karma, state all humanity is connected, etc), indicates change is coming. Buddhism is the "gateway drug" to addiction to God, as it were.

Sure, they say there's no God, but all of the Bhodisativas, Basic Goodness, Loving-Kindness, etc, vibrate to belief in something more than matter.

So. Rest easy, your enemies are standing unsteadily before you, pierced by arrows, ready to fall.

Then what? That is the interesting question.

11/18/2011 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you here, anyway?

It's hard to resist staring at a trainwreck.

11/18/2011 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why "vs"? The occupy movement can be understood as a revolt against the unreality of the financial system. To occupy is to demand a return to reality

11/18/2011 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous R. Heinlein said...

Reality is that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

OWS wants the free lunch to continue as an all-u-kan-eat buffet. Do the bankers run DC? Sure they do. And DC runs the banks. But DC can take all their money and still be in the hole because of a little game called the "fractional reserve system". Most fiat currency is smoke and mirrors not even backed by the deposits in accounts. All that confiscatory taxes are going to do is collapse the system a little faster. But don't worry, it will collapse anyway.

11/18/2011 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh well, in that case the OWSers will at least have some experience living outdoors in tents.

11/18/2011 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Wall Street Fat Cat said...

Basically I just gamble. If I lose, you pay.

I like to spend lots of other people's money.

I don't care what happens to other people as long as I get what I want.

Thank you OC for backing me up; you are likeable chumps so keep it up.

OWS bad! OWS bad! Pthhhhhhh. They aren't going to get my money.

11/18/2011 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Wall Street Fat Cat said...

BTW, I've got an opening for a butler and a maid at my place. Any takers?

11/18/2011 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Peyton said...

"You shouldn't be looking at me, but through me."

Bob, are you an icon? Of course!

11/18/2011 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Again, think of the OWSer mobs. Are they alienated? You bet. But from what? They haven't a clue. For "the fanatic is someone who, without realizing it, replaces the love of God with the love of his own religion; the love of truth, freedom, and justice with the love of an ideology, doctrine, or set of promises to guarantee them once and for all...""

Fanatic without a clue (and without soap).

And a drum circle.

Yep, sums 'em up alright.

11/20/2011 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

It's almost 10:00 (CST).

Just sayin'.

11/21/2011 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van - at least you don't have to wait a whole extra hour every day thanks to daylight savings. Throws my whole morning off, I tell ya... ;)

11/21/2011 08:10:00 AM  

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