Friday, February 18, 2011

Violence and Fraud Against Man and God

Moving on to Canto XI, we can tell by the nauseating stench that we are now well into the lower and more interior circles, i.e., closer to Hell Central. Dante's scheme is at times a bit counter-intuitive and will require some reflection.

Virgil explains that circles seven and eight are for violence and fraud, respectively. This in itself is a bit surprising, but the worst violence is always rooted in the Lie, so it is appropriate that fraud -- the more "interior" of the two -- be the deeper offense.

Virgil also properly notes that violence itself is not the problem. Rather, it becomes evil when the end is wrong, a truth which liberals routinely betray, for it is simply a truism that the end often justifies the means. For example, our violence against Islamic terrorists is completely justified, whereas their violence against us is completely unjustified.

This is the source of much of the left's perennial moral confusion and corruption -- for example, comparing our liberation of Iraq to a tyrannical occupation, or Gitmo to a gulag, or capital punishment to murder, or Israeli defense to Islamic savagery. Ironically, this fraudulent characterization of moral violence only plunges the left more deeply into hell, for fraud displeases God the more.

I might add that the left's fraudulent attempt to blame conservatives for the violence in Tucson is, in Dante's scheme, even more morally repulsive than the violence itself. Note also how deeply rooted is this sin. The New York Times simply cannot stop its compulsive fraudulence. The Lie is no longer an exterior action but an interior trait.

If this still seems counter-intuitive, I am reminded of a Talmudic law to the effect that the person who falsely (and knowingly) accuses another of a crime should be subject to the same penalty as the accused would have been had he actually been guilty.

Thus, for example, a Johnnie Cochran would be eligible for the death penalty for falsely accusing Los Angeles police officers of a capital crime in framing O.J. Simpson for murder.

This makes sense, for if the entire judicial system were ever to be completely infested with people as morally corrupt as Johnnie Cochran, no earthly justice would be possible, so the rule of law would be replaced by the law of the jungle. In the end, there would be much more immoral violence.

Think of how rapidly the world would be cleaned up if the fraudulent were aware of the moral danger they place themselves in! We'd immediately see the rats scatter from the UN building like people from a sinking ship.

Upton notes that immoral violence involves a perversion of will, while fraud involves a perversion of intellect, so again, the latter is deeper and more interior.

A more subtle point is that violence is "a parody of Divine Absoluteness," fraud a parody of "the Divine Infinity." Upton doesn't elaborate, but I believe she means that immoral violence is a parody of absolute justice, while fraud is a parody of infinite or eternal truth.

Later she notes that fraud -- which is predicated on the Lie -- is "an attempt by man, created in God's image, to claim for himself divine creative power," as if "one had the power to create truth... 'out of nothing.'" Thus, it is a kind of satanic creativity, which must always be parasitic on the real thing (i.e., the lie requires Truth, but not vice versa).

Have you ever known a compulsive liar, or even just an annoying "topper"? Psychologically, these people usually harbor a pathological narcissism that causes them to believe they can omnipotently manipulate reality by inducing people to believe the lie. Certainly our Narcissist in Chief is overqualified for residence in circle eight.

Note that the less serious sins only "degrade the divinity in man, but do not deny it," whereas the really bad ones "directly deny the Divine/Human center, and this is the essence of injustice" (ibid.).

Analogously -- and this is another counter-intuitive point -- Dante feels that violence against oneself is actually worse than violence toward others, since it is more "inward" and "therefore closer to an attack upon God."

Here again, I find a psychoanalytic parallel that might help illustrate this. I've had occasion to think about this recently in reading two books about the last horrific year of World War II, Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, and Retribution: The Battle for Japan. The level and extent of savage barbarism inflicted by the German, Japanese, and Soviet armies is quite literally beyond one's ability to comprehend, much less assimilate. Just as today, vis-a-vis the Islamists, our worst conceivable aberrations aren't nearly as repulsive as their norms.

But how did they get this way? How do people become such monsters? Again, the only way is for violence to have become so interiorized that exteriorizing it becomes "natural."

Some psychoanalysts feel that the most primitive fear is that of annihilation. Therefore, the most primitive defense mechanisms would involve defenses against annihilation, often by violent lashing out.

In fact, if you want to unleash the most primitive violence in people, just tell them they are under threat of genocide. This has been the method of the Palestinians, but virtually all totalitarian states tell their subjects they are under siege by outside forces in order to justify their own tyranny.

In America, the left perpetuates a similar lie in telling blacks that conservatives are racist, which in turn justifies left-wing violence. More generally, since the best way to know what a liberal is up to is to pay attention to what they accuse conservatives of, they will have much to answer for in the Court of Cosmic Justice.

To review, the three levels of violence, in order of seriousness, are against man, against oneself, and against God. For to deny God is to deny the very ground and basis of all that is good, or true, or beautiful, or moral, or just.

If this is difficult to comprehend, just look at the psychotic levels of sadism attained by the most systematically godless regimes, e.g., Nazi Germany, the USSR, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Jung Il, et al.

Falsifying the past is how the left has sought to elaborate the future. --Aphorisms of Don Colacho

Left wing journalism is the first rough draft of rewritten history. --Laphorisms of Don Pietro

Dante and Virgil discover Paul Krugman hiding under his big desk in the eighth circle of hell.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

From History to Cosmos and From IT IS to I AM

A few more thoughts about Canto X before moving on to XI. Recall that "To see humanity as only earthly is to deny the human state" (Upton). In Hell, this denial manifests as the inability to see -- or be in -- the present moment. Or, let's just say BE, fool stop!

Again, as mentioned in yesterday's post, there are two "presents," one animal and one human (and therefore divine; or, if one prefers, vertically higher). "In life" the neo-barbaric Epicurean limits himself to the former, "to the empirical [animal-sensory] present, the present simply 'as is'"; he is therefore "denied the Eternal Present" (ibid.). As a result, in being denied the present, he lives only in the past and future, which are not real.

Now, what are the past and future from the human perspective, as opposed to their mere quantitative meaning? One could say hope and regret, or worry and nostalgia, or contrition and resolve.

I suppose one could even sum up the future as "anxiety" and the past as "depression." For if we are not anxious about what the future might bring, we're not really alive. And if we don't feel the absolute unrecoverability of past -- and of how things might have been -- we didn't really live it.

However, there is a way out -- or up, or in -- and that is the present in its divine-human mode. Really, it is our only sanctuary from the anxieties of the future and the loss of the past. And it is precisely this that the hellbound Epicurean is denied.

Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

For the Epicurean, this is inverted: be extremely anxious, even panicky, about the future, in the hope of escaping the evils of the present.

Nor can these souls "let the dead bury the dead," or put their hands to the plough without looking back (Luke 9:62).

There is a reason why Only the unexpected fully satisfies (Don Colacho). The unexpected delights because it escapes our attempts at control, which only end up strangling the present.

There is actually an analogue of all this in psychoanalytic developmental theory, something we have discussed in the past. I can't get into all the details, but one of Melanie Klein's most important contributions was the distinction between what she called the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions. To achieve the depressive position is to have attained a degree of maturation, integration, and continuity of being that extends both spatially and temporally.

Another very bright fellow, Thomas Ogden, says that a better name for the depressive position would be the historical position, because of its profound effect on one's perception and appreciation of time.

First of all, note the similarity between the paranoid-schizoid position and the inability to transcend the empirical moment: in it, "sensory experience is unmediated by an interpreting subject," so that events simply "are what they are."

This state of being is analogous to a plane with "two faces and two faces only." The person is in one state or the other, with no higher vantage point "from which more than one emotional plane can be taken in."

For the person in this stage of development -- and this is critical -- their current state of being determines their "truth." "History is instantaneously rewritten" for the purpose of "maintaining discontinuities of loving and hating aspects of self and object." Here, truth is in the service of emotion.

If you have ever had a borderline person in your life -- and most of us have -- then you know how this works: "the present is projected backward and forward, thus creating a static, eternal, nonreflective present." You are drawn into the momentary primitive emotional storm of the borderline person, who dismantles time and history. It is simply impossible to argue with an un- or dis-integrated person, because they constantly throw out arguments from different planes, aggressively unaware of their contradictions.

If you're having difficulty picturing the process, then I suppose you didn't attend college, or else have a small family. Just imagine living with Keith Olbermann or Ed Schultz. In addition to the shear unpleasantness, one would be unable to escape from their psychotic attacks on time and history.

According to Ogden, the depressive position coincides with the true "birth of the historical subject." Note that the shift is not analogous to any linear process -- say, "piecing together a jigsaw puzzle" -- but is more like the sudden emergence of the three-dimensional image in those Magic Eye pictures.

Or, in the words of Don Colacho, Doubts do not fade one by one: they disappear in a flash of light.

Recall the image of a plane with two sides only; there is no "space" for the sense of I-ness to emerge, a stable mediator between experience and thought. Nor is this person aware of the other planes, for if he were, this would imply the third dimension from which they are declensions.

Thus, "in the depressive position," the person "no longer has access to the kind of Orwellian rewriting of history that is possible in the paranoid-schizoid position."

This is why progressive beliefs that absolutely shock our conscience don't do the same for them. Since the progressive has already preemptively rewritten history with himself as hero, he is able to slip through the nets of logic and evidence. He has a kind of freedom the mature person lacks, but this is a meaningless freedom; really, it is the illusion thereof, just as burying one's head in one's ass provides the illusion of tenure.

Now, back to Canto X. Note that the Epicureans are "ruled by Proserpine, Goddess of the Moon, queen of the underworld," which is another name for the nightworld of the unconscious.

In contrast to her is Beatrice, who symbolizes -- now, wait for it -- a "wisdom" and "wholeness of perception" that is specifically opposed to the "partial perception" symbolized by the loony moonbat goddess.

Another point: the depressive position is not only the historical position, but the threshold of the "transcendent position," which might be thought of as the "space of wisdom" (Bob) which "reveals the whole form and meaning of one's life sub specie aeternitatis" (Upton).

Thus, one might also call it the "meta-historical" or Cosmic Position. It is where one transcends the deuce in order be-a-trice.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Ass Always Gets What He Brays For

In Canto X, among the heretics who possess and overvalue "fragments of the truth," we "encounter the tombs of the Epicureans," a thoroughly bourgeois, pharochial, and conformist philosophy that might appear daring or avant-garde to the spiritually opaque, but which is "inherently complacent." For in reality "it is a narrow vision of things pursued in the name of safety and security" (Upton).

Epicureanism, like most any other brand-name philosophy from materialism on up, surely possesses a "fragment of truth." Indeed, this is what makes philosophy -- and intelligence -- so dangerous. Intelligence + pride = disaster. See Genesis 3 for details.

Great stupidities do not come from the people. First, they have seduced intelligent men. --Don Colacho

Speaking of which, yesterday I had a pleasant conversation with a very cultured man who describes himself as an "absolute materialist." I informed him that if his metaphysic were true, he couldn't possibly know it.

It wouldn't be quite accurate to say that he failed to understand, for the space where "he" should be has been colonized by an anti-human philosophy that has possession of his soul. His intelligence has turned upon itself like a scorpion, which happens much more often than people realize.

For if the purpose of language is to conceal thought, the purpose of secular philosophy is to conceal man from himself.

Who are these Epicureans of whom Dante speaks? They too are materialists who deny "the immortality of the soul" and "give up their lives to externals" (Upton). Which means that the Epicure is a symptom of the very disease that afflicts him.

Now, the soul is not just the interior of the cosmos, but interiority as such. Therefore, these are people who have not only turned the cosmos upside-down, but inside-out.

However, please note that the one inevitably follows the other: for to dwell at the bottom is to live in the exterior, while to cling to the exterior is to live at the bottom. All bottom-dwellers externalize the soul to the point of dissipation. And all dissipated souls live outside reality.

Just as Life employs the language of DNA to free biology from matter, language frees man from the prison of biology. Biology exists within one morphic space of possibility, mind in another. Language vaults us over the confining prison wall of the senses, and into the world of Imagination.

Upton concurs that "The life of the senses is a tomb. Thus the punishment endured by the Epicureans for their denial of the soul's immortality is to be forced to spend eternity as corpses."

In other words, Epicureans believe that the soul dies with the body. And they are correct. For the materialist doesn't believe what he sees, but sees what he believes.

In this circle of Hell, Virgil appropriately cautions Dante about the misuse of language: Here your words must be appropriate (or well-considered). This is for reasons alluded to above; as Upton explains, "Appropriate speech is a way of keeping one's distance from the damned."

This is difficult to do, because one must remain in one's spiritual center without being seduced or hypnotized by the speech (and emotionality) of the damned. It is especially difficult for half-formed children in college, the latter of which serves as the most important recruitment center and seminary for Tools of the Conspiracy.

Please note that the sophisticated yahoos and trousered barbarians of the left -- whose institutional stupidity is crystalized and enshrined in academia and the MSM -- are "the 'civilized damned,' whose sophisticated style can almost make a damned soul look attractive" (ibid.)

Think of all the damned souls who have attracted the left at one time or another: Castro, Stalin, Mao, et al. But every hero of the left has a little Stalin in him, for the totalitarian temptation is intrinsic to leftism.

As Upton explains, "To see humanity as only earthly is to deny the human state." And to deny the human state is to usher in the infra-human State to fill the vacuum.

Another subtle point: there are two "presents," one animal, one human (and therefore Divine). There is a merely "sensory" present, and then there is the present that is a prolongation of, and window to, Eternity. The materialist is fixated on the former, which prevents him from climbing on the inscape of the ladder.

Note that the leftist never understands the present, only a projected past and future. This is because, as any neurologist can tell you, the sensory present is already past; it is merely "the light from a dead star," to plagiaphrase Don Colacho. And let the dead bury the dead.

The Rule of Wholes: if you find yourself in a grave, stop digging.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Satanic Resurrection and Death Everlasting

In Canto IX, our friends make it through security to a rarely visited corner of hell, where they come face to face with the Dark Feminine. There they encounter three talon-nailed demons -- the shrieking furies who serve Medusa, the Queen of Never-Ending Lamentation who turns men to stone and men's stones to jello.

Yes my friends, you're watching The View!

Virgil has been on the program once before, and is not eager to repeat the experience. For if you should chance to behold the ghastly visage of that repulsive gorgon, Joy Behar, face-to-facelift, never again shall you return to your normal programming!

Life is a journey, a movement, an adventure. Where is the movement taking place? That depends upon the vertex. There is intellectual advance, moral progress, artistic development, spiritual attainment, etc. Ideally none should be separated from the others, but one of the baleful effects of postmodernity is to separate them, the result being that one ends up growing "nowhere."

It is analogous to, say, a man who is obsessed with building his biceps. Eventually his upper arms will balloon in size, until he resembles Popeye.

But this only results in an absence of harmony that renders the whole either monstrous or silly. I suppose when men do it it's just silly. But when women do it, it's monstrous -- you know, those female bodybuilders who have some kind of perverse, manmade aesthetic that is unrelated to the female archetype.

We should always feel as if our life is in movement. However, it is critical to bear in mind that the movement we are discussing is always supernatural; or, if you are one of those substitious types who denies the supernatural, just call it extra-natural.

It is extra-natural because it obviously exceeds nature. Even if you are a strict metaphysical Darwinist, you must concede that the genes only account for a ridiculously narrow range of behavior, i.e., physical survival and reproductive fitness. Everything outside this is extra-genetic: truth, beauty, virtue, music, literature, poetry, mystical experience, etc. Genes permit these things but in no way determine them. To pretend otherwise is to be a genuine imbecile.

Now, if one is not progressing, one is more than merely "stuck." Rather, one is in hell, precisely. If you have been there -- and we all have been -- then you know what it is like. Not only is there an absence of movement, but there is a loss of dimensionality. This is an important point, because a fully functioning human being possesses the capacity for integrated movement in hyperspace.

What I mean by this is that, just as length, width and depth combine to make three-dimensional space, intellect, aesthetics, and virtue -- the Good, True, and Beautiful -- combine to make the hyperdimensional space where human beings have their freedom of movement.

And just as we can abstract the concept of "width" from three-dimensional space, it is possible to, say, abstract mathematical quantity from hyperspace. But space is not the sum of three lower dimensions, any more than mind is a sum of physics and chemistry, for the whole is prior to the parts.

Danger only arises when we take the abstraction for reality -- which is precisely what the metaphysical Darwinian -- or any other scientistic believer -- does. Note that there is no way to logically reconcile the metaphysical Darwinian with the "metaphysical physicist," i.e., the physical reductionist.

This is because Life Itself is a higher dimensional reality from which any moron can abstract two seemingly irreconcilable principles, "biology" and "physics." We can never put these two back together from the bottom up, because they were never separate to begin with.

Again, it was just our abstraction that created the the duality. Add mind to the mix, and we're talking about a higher space that is far too rich to be modeled in any way analogous to physical space. But in the words of Don Colacho, The lower truths tend to eclipse the highest truths.

Now, just as being stuck is hell, Hell is being stuck, i.e., to "turn to stone." Upton writes that within these deeper circles of Hell "lies the center of despair, of the fear that no return [i.e., vertical movement] is possible."

One thing I always explain to depressed patients is that their depression has put them in a very different kind of space -- again, a space of fewer dimensions and of complete stasis.

Now, this stasis is also a kind of eternity, only the "bad eternity" of utter endlessness as opposed to timelessness. While movement is possible, all movement is arbitrary, since one has lost touch with the higher-dimensional archetypes and values that normally guide and attract us.

Sometimes it is difficult to appreciate the reality of these archetypes (and their graces) until one is depressed and no longer guided by them. Then one is like a ship at night on a flat and windless ocean.

Here our virtual adventurers encounter the heretics, those who have sinned against God and the Holy Spirit. Note that they are reunited with their bodies, in a perverse mockery of Resurrection. Rather than death and rebirth in a higher dimension, this is endless living on the lower dimension, which becomes a kind of endless death. They cannot die, death being the ultimate movement or transition. For all birth is a death, and vice versa. Life is a series of birthquakes and deathwakes.

Another important point is that love does not avail in a hell this deep. Rather, as Upton explains, one must again rely upon righteous anger as a kind of protection. One is reminded of the rabbinical axiom that those who are kind to the cruel will be cruel to the kind.

From a slightly different angle, Upton quotes Nietzsche, who wrote that If you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. Indeed, "One of the greatest dangers of the lower psychic forces to a spiritual traveler is that under their influence he may become fascinated and transfixed by the Outer Darkness, the power that leads one always further into the externals of things, where the soul must die" (Upton).

The satanic resurrection, AKA tenure in the Monoversity of Hell:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Righteous and Self-Righteous Vomiting

The River Styx -- actually, it's more of a filthy marsh or pestilent swamp -- flows between the fifth and sixth circles of hell, where the more serious offenders are housed. Here our vertical adventurers come upon a huge tower with two flaming torches at the summit; off in the distance there is another faint light that somehow "answers back."

Upton calls this an "infernal watchtower" which represents "an inverted sense of spiritual guidance." This brings to mind the last thing Jesus says to the disciples before his betrayal: watch and pray.

In order to pray, we enter the "interior watchtower." In the words of Theophan the Recluse, "we must enter the inner room or 'closet.' Where is this room? It is our heart. How then can we learn to pray there? If we go there, as well as we are able, God will help us."

This interior watchtower is also the "magnetic center" of which we have posted in the past. It is the space which both "attracts God" and where God draws us toward him. Put simply, it is the space of (↓↑); (¶) is the "attractor" that grows as a result of this spiritual metabolism.

Now, in order to understand these deeper dimensions of hell, we need only invert the above description. I mean, if Dante and I are on the same page. Let's find out.

In the next scene in Canto VIII, an obnoxious boatman ferries Dante and Virgil across the Styx. He proceeds to engage in a little trash talk, mocking them for bringing such a weak game into his house. In this regard, Upton notes that "the very demons who draw souls into Hell scorn them for being there," just like Larry Bird in Boston Garden.

When Dante stays within his spiritual citidel (¶) and refuses to "take the bait," the boatman is enraged. He "feels a sense of personal insult when he discovers that Dante is not damned" like he is (ibid).

This, by the way, is why we do not respond to trolls except by way of targeted ridicure, piercing laphorisms, and jehovial witticisms. Please note that if you do choose to react, you will soon find yourself at their level. This is how it must be, for they are obviously not going to come up to yours.

Once again we are reminded of another excellent aphorism of uber-Raccoon Don Colacho: Whoever insists on refuting idiotic arguments ends up doing so with stupid reasons. Or, to paraphrase someone else, it is much more difficult to argue with a weak mind than a strong one. For remember, it is always Yahweh or the low way.

Indeed, Virgil turns the tables on the bitter and resentful demon and engages in a little trash talking of his own. He gives the boatman a shove and says, Away there, with the other dogs! For In life, this flaming ferryman was both arrogant and cruel; / No good repute adorns his memory; / Hence is his shade so furious here below. Many souls in the same boat "stalked the earth as kings," only to find themselves wallowing in the filth and mire.

Here I am reminded of the neo-Kleinian cartograpy of unconscious and perversely narcissistic hells (looks like an interesting article, BTW):

"The destructive narcissism of these patients appears often highly organized, as if one were dealing with a powerful gang [read: mind parasites] dominated by a leader, who controls all the members of the gang to see that they support one another in making the criminal destructive work more effective and powerful. However, the narcissistic organization not only increases the strength of the destructive narcissism, but it has a defensive purpose to keep itself in power and so maintain the status quo."

Upton raises a critical point: what is the difference between the boatman's mockery of Dante, and Dante's mockery of the boatman? "Dante's anger is not essentially demonic because it liberates his soul from the Hell he is passing through." It is the difference between righteous and self-righteous anger, the latter of which is motivated by pride. But some anger clearly praises God in its expression.

Schuon had many useful things to say about this distinction, which places you on the long or short end of the Styx. For example,

"Holy anger is a movement of concentration and not a going outside oneself; it is like an 'incarnation' of the divine Wrath in the human microcosm, which must at that moment be free from passionate anger. The inner criterion of holy anger is precisely calmness, whereas passionate anger carries away the entire being and brings forgetfulness of God; it has no centre, that is to say it is entirely peripheral and dissipated. Holy anger exists only by virtue of a motionless centre, an implacable truth which determines it; when driving the money-changers from the Temple, Christ was impassible."

Therefore, anger can be liberating, so long as one is angry at the right things and in the right measure. Note that liberals are generally angry at the wrong things, for the simple reason that they blame "society" or "corporations" or "people of colorlessness" for their loserhood. You might say that the left runs on sheer loser power, which is -- to say the least -- a farce to be reckoned with. To pretend it is not a real power in this world is to fail to understand the ubiquitous and perennial appeal of the seductive doctrine of the Adversary.

Another key point: righteous anger is objective, in that it is a completely appropriate and proportionate response (not reaction) to its occasion. It reminds us of something Don Colacho said about moral indignation -- that it is not truly sincere unless it literally ends in vomiting.

In this case, vomiting provides objective information about a spiritual situation. I mean, if some politicians don't make you sick to your stomach, there is something wrong with your digestion. For Who said it: because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit thee from my mouth.

Whew, this river stynx!