Friday, March 18, 2011

Spiritual Warfare and the Left's Abuse of Language

In the last sector of the penultimate circle of Hell are more counterfeiters: of coins, of words, and of persons. These are related to the three planes of human existence, the physical, the psychic/emotional, and the spiritual.

According to Upton -- and let's give her a big hand, because I'm not sure I'll be able to make it through purgatory without her steady virgilance -- "the impersonators, those who falsify the body, are related to the physical plane." She regards the monetary counterfeiters more symbolically, as relating to the falsification of values and desires, i.e., the psychic plane.

But the worst offenders -- and this has been a theme of ours since the earliest days of the blog -- are "the falsifiers of language, those who pervert meaning itself," and who, as a result, hijack and even blow up the spiritual plane, with all occupants on board.

Such offenses must come -- man being who he is and all -- but woe to the man who commits them in the name of tenure!

In that prehysteric post linked to above is a fine quote by Father Seraphim Rose:

It is corrupting to hear or read the words of men who do not believe in truth. It is yet more corrupting to receive, in place of truth, mere learning and scholarship which, if they are presented as ends in themselves, are no more than parodies of the truth they were meant to serve, no more than a facade behind which there is no substance.

They put a warning on the side of cigarette packages. How about a warning at the entrance to our liberal universities? They force us to watch those ghoulish TV commercials, like the one with the cancer victim breathing through the hole in her neck. Why not scary programs featuring demented, end-stage liberals with grotesque holes in their souls?

Oh, right. MSNBC.

The secular west, because it has lost all contact with the spiritual, is obsessed with the physical -- for example, the First Lady's preoccupation with fat people. It's not complicated. Just put down the fork and get your ass out of the sofa. Oh, and maybe get a life that has some genuine spiritual meaning and joy instead of mere fleeting animal pleasures.

Oh, right. Can't talk about that. Separation of church and plate.

But the Obamas are Christians!

Yeah, right. To plagiaphrase Don Colacho, dialogue between leftists and Christians has become possible ever since the left started to falsify Marx and Christians Christ.

Upton makes the critical point that each level of counterfeiting is successively more "collective," which makes perfect sense. Here again, falsification of language itself would be the most serious offense, because it affects everyone; it distorts "the world-view of an entire culture" (Upton).

Political correctness is just such a falsification, not because it consists of "lies" -- which would be easy enough to correct -- but because it is a much wider assault upon what is even thinkable. To combat this or that individual lie of the left is essentially to hand them a victory, because one is playing on their field of dreams and using their terms of abuse.

It is the work of an instant for the left to magically transform Tea Partiers into racists, or religious people into theocratic fascists, or citizens opposed to Public Suckler Unions into "enemies of the middle class." To even respond is to dignify the argument, for Defeating a fool humiliates us (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

Either one understands the following, or one does not (from the precogitated bloggerel linked to above):

"The moral and intellectual pathology of the left revolves around its misuse of language. It is not so much that leftist thought consists of lies, as that it is based on a primordial Lie that causes it to enter a parallel looniverse where, even if they say something that is technically true, they do not say it because it is true, which makes all the difference. [Don Colacho: There is no worse foolishness than the truth in the mouth of a fool.]

"The primordial lie is the nullification of the covenant between language and reality, so that language is used for its effect rather than as a tool to convey truth. For the left, good language is effective language, whether it means ridiculously exaggerating the danger of heterosexual AIDS in order to increase funding, brazenly lying about George Bush supposedly lying about WMD, or blaming hurricane Katrina on Bush's environmental policies."

The point is that our present civil war between American classical liberals and the left is spiritual warfare. And the central front of this war is on the field of language. This is a war that the left cannot win, because if they win, they lose, for a human being cannot undermine language -- the Word -- without ceasing to be human. Logocide is suicide. And deicide, of course.

Because of his fidelity to truth and reality, the conservative (not Republican!) is able to clearly enunciate what he believes, without evasions, qualifications, distortions, or name changes: Limited government. Adherence to the Constitution. Rule of law. A strong defense. Traditional morality. Low taxes. Liberty. Individualism. Freedom of choice. Slack.

Conversely, the liberal is only able to discuss what he believes while in the presence of other liberals. Truth only escapes accidentally, such as in the recent NPR flap, or Obama's characterization of American citizens as bitter clingers. They cannot tell us that public sector unions are a scam to force citizens to funnel money to Democrat candidates, or that Obamacare is a trojan hearse for socialized medicine (even though many prominent liberals are on record as saying so).

While looking for something else, I stumbled upon this little gem I'd been saving from Flopping Aces, Liberal To English Translation. Sums things up nicely.

Tenured hellion shoving another human truth down the memory hole.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Counterfeit Theophany and Genuine Theophunny

Enough with the sowers of scandalous schism in the valley of violent vendetta. On to the counterfeiters.

Why counterfeiters? According to Upton, "implicit in this sin is the degradation of knowledge from the sacred to the profane."

And now that I think about it, this sin ought to be a biggie, because of the essential sanctity of Truth from which all truth is derived. In reality, there can be no "profane truth," unless one has a priori profaned oneself and the world with it.

We interrupt this broadbrush for an armor-piercing bullet in from Don Colacho: If one does not believe in God, the only honest alternative is vulgar utilitarianism. The rest is rhetoric.

The word counterfeit has some interesting etymological implications. The Oxford dictionary says that it is derived from the Latin in opposition to + to make.

Thus, we are once again dealing with a kind of perversion of man's deiform creativity. When God creates, It. Is. Good. But when the counterfeiter creates, it is not just worthless, but generates a kind of negative value -- for example, inflation in the case of counterfeit money.

But counterfeiting in every domain creates inflation and negative value. For example, there is both knowledge (k) and its opposite (-k).

Importantly, (-k) isn't just the absence of knowledge, but the active presence of "false knowledge," most notoriously, leftism in all its mixed up guises and dollsies. There is also love (L) and (-L), gnosis (n) and (-n), reality (O) and (Ø), divine energies (↓) and (-↓), etc.

And while I don't have a handy pneumaticon for it, there is also "false" or "minus beauty," which is not mere ugliness, but a terrestrial beauty devoid of goodness, of transcendence, of the noetic Light that shines through true beauty.

Female beauty is one of the most metaphysically transparent phenomena in all of creation, but think of the countless ways it can be perverted by both men and women for purposes of manipulation or domination or titillation or whatever.

Yes, The sensual is the presence of a value in the sensible (Don Colacho).

On the one hand, The unforeseeable grace of an intelligent smile is enough to blast away the layers of tedium which the days deposit. On the other, there is The destructive capacity of the imbecile’s smile (DC).

Either way, The quality of an intelligence depends less on what it understands than on what makes it smile (DC).

Guffah-HA! For verily, the Raccoon's laughty revelations are mighty, they are wise, they are silly!

In Genesis, the Jehovial One provides big LAUGHS to old Abraha-ha-ham. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Jest!

Do you want to know what goes on in the core of the Trinity? I will tell you. In the core of the Trinity, the Father laughs and gives birth to the Son. The Son laughs back at the Father and gives birth to the Spirit. The whole Trinity laughs and gives birth to us (Eckhart).

And When the inferior scholar is told of Tao / He laughs aloud at it. / If it were not laughed at, it would not be sufficient to be Tao (Tao Te Ching).

So anyway, Dante makes reference to a spiritual huckster who claimed to be able to teach people to fly. Not only was he a prototypical Deepak, but a footnote on p. 157 mentions that Deepak's own guru, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, "made the same claim... to teach students how to levitate."

But you will have gnosissed that there is no genuine levity in the new age in general or Deepak in particular. Both are as pre-ironic and un-funny as the most unfunfundamentalist. The only humor in Deepak is strictly unintentional. No wonder he is featured in the deeply unfunny (-F) Love Guru!

That fellow who pretended to teach people to fly, according to Upton, "manifests the sort of spiritual inflation [there's that word again] or hubris that is visible to all, while hidden in his soul was a much more serious transgression, the sin of pseudo-alchemy [-A?], a counterfeit of inner spiritual transformation." Such spiritual con artists generally have a kind of meretricious charisma that draws others into their web of deiceit.

I remember being impressed a number of years ago by something Joseph Chilton Pearce mentioned in one of his books, that culture often provides a "counterfeit model of development" that prevents the real thing. Every counterfeit cultural object or activity is a kind of parasite on something real, so we have counterfeit love, counterfeit sensuality, counterfeit literature, counterfeit art, etc.

And as Deepak and other (-L)ove Gurus farcibly demonstrate, the hardest to attain is the easiest to counterfeit.

What's next, a counterfeit President?

Comedy? Comedy how? What's comedic about it?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Contemporary Liberalism and the Resurrection of the Blood Feud

Eight circles down, one to go. To review, the eighth circle has ten departments that cater to different sins, but one of the sins discussed in Canto XXIX strikes me as a little idiosyncratic to warrant such a heavy punishment: "counterfeiters posing as alchemists."

We'll deal with them in tomorrow's post. But first we need to move past the "sowers of schism," one of whom is a relative of Dante. In life, this fellow was a participant in, and ultimately victim of, a mindless blood feud. Virgil councils Dante to move along and not waste time indulging in pity for this paisano.

If only we could follow Virgil's advice and offer no slack to the worshipers of blood! In the margin I have a little note to myself: Japan-Germany-Islam, but those are only recent maninfestations of a soul-pathology that is planted deep into the heart of man.

This is something Dennis Prager often discusses, i.e., the distinction between those whose values are based upon truth and goodness, vs. those whose values are rooted in blood.

In this regard, we cannot actually consider, say, Nazi Germany, to be an aberration, because it was animated by the ancient mind parasites of blood and soil, which seem to co-arise with man's self-consciousness -- indeed, they seem to be the poisonous fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, upon which the blood-worshipers cannot stop gorging themselves. Truly, it is the satanic eucharist.

We have by no means conquered these mind parasites. The attempt to do so begins with the ancient Israelights, moves on through Christianity, and then has its fullest political expression in the United States, which was explicitly founded upon ideas and values, not blood or soil. Anyone can be an American, so long as they adopt certain values.

At least this used to be the case. For the past century, the atavistic left has been engaging in a rear-guard action designed to drag America back down into the violence, bigotry, and parochialism of blood and kin.

Today they call this diabolical doctrine "multiculturalism," and we are now suffering the consequences of having a president -- provincial and incurious fellow that he is -- whose "post"-modern education succeeded in making him believe that his primitive prejudices are not only normative, but superior to what comes developmentally later.

The proglodyte left was able to accomplish this assault on America by hijacking the civil rights movement and using it as a vehicle not to transcend blood, but to bathe in it. Which is why the left is so obsessed with race.

But it's actually the other way around: those who value blood over ideas have no other respectable vehicle of expression than the modern left. Their values dominate academia (e.g., "black studies," "critical race theory," "Chicano studies," "queer theory" [since they believe homosexuality is in the blood, i.e., genetic]), the MSM, and politics (recall that Clinton wanted a cabinet that "looks like America," not one that thinks like America).

The more Americans are compelled by the state to think in terms of racial categories, the less we are able to think in abstract categories of truth, decency, justice -- or, as Dennis Prager says, the American triumvirate of liberty / e pluribus unum / in God we trust.

And not just any God, of course, but the universal God of Judeo-Christendom. It completely defeats the purpose of America to give one's primary allegiance to some tribal moon god, or to a manmade religion masquerading as science.

In fact, each leg of the American trinity is implicitly related to the others. For example, the Judeo-Christian God is the God of liberty. Other so-called gods are not, most notably, the god of Islam, who is a god of surrender and obedience.

And the doctrine of e pluribus unum -- from many, one -- directly contradicts the doctrine of multiculturalism, which teaches: from one, many. In such an upside-down world, truth must be a secondary concern, which makes it no concern at all. It is much more important for the left to have a "Latina" or female on the Supreme Court than a gifted and impartial jurist who will preserve and protect the political Truth embedded in the Constitution.

But this is a shrill smokescream anyway, because we all understand that the left's hysteria about race and gender is just the rationale for a raw power play. Their "racial pride" does not extend to Thomas Sowell or Clarence Thomas or Walter Williams or Shelby Steele.

This also explains the implicit alliance between Islamists and the international left, because they share the common value of blood. They love the Palestinians, because they are engaged in an endless blood feud against the very people most responsible for delegitimizing blood feuds. No wonder Jews are the most picked on people in history!

Don Colacho: Unless circumstances constrain him, there is no radically leftist Jew. The people that discovered divine absolutism does not make deals with the absolutism of man.

Americans value liberty. The left values equality. What's the difference? "Liberty is the right to be different; equality is a ban on being different" (Don Colacho). The left says: If you're black, then start thinking like one, n#@%*r! Why more blacks aren't offended by the contempt with which they are treated by white liberal elites is a bit puzzling. Identification with the aggressor?

According to Upton, "The principle of the blood feud divides the love of Justice... from its impersonal roots in the metaphysical order. It renders the virtue of Justice interested and personalistic, and thereby perverts it for evil ends" (emphasis mine).

Oh my yes. One way the left does this is by replacing Justice with "social justice," which, because it means nothing, means everything, and vice versa. The left can justify any power grab based upon the pseudo-ideal of "social justice."

Upton makes a more subtle point, that the person who descends into the swamp of blood and race cannot help dividing his own mind against itself, which requires psychological projection in order to maintain a fraudulent sense of psychic wholeness.

Thus, for the left, every "good negro" such as Al Sharpton, must evoke projections into a "bad negro" such as Clarence Thomas. Likewise, the Palestinians cannot love their own children without hating Jewish children. It is a total degradation of the human condition. Me, I couldn't care less if Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson are "black." Much more importantly, they are sinister idiots.

No, knucklehead, it's the opposite of the Berlin Wall. It's not designed to keep good people in, but bad people out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It Is On: Christ vs. Mohammed

Just kidding. I don't want to be a sower of discord.

But must we be so religiously correct? Mohammed certainly wasn't. Nor was Dante. So let's clear the air between them. No holding back. It's healthy!

For Mohammed, Christians -- the "worshipers of three gods" -- are idolaters: God forbid that He should beget a son!... Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood...

And what happens to idolaters? Slay them wherever you find them... Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme.

What, you think he was just kidding around? You know, referring to the "greater jihad," i.e., the struggle against internal demons? Yes, don't murder real Jews. Just kill the ones crawling around inside your head! If only. God's lips to your ear!

So the poet has good news and bad news for Mohammed. The bad news? No virgins for you! The good news? This is not the ninth circle of Hell. Only the eighth.

Let's go to our reporter on the scene. Dante, what do you have for us?

"Thanks, Gagdad. We're here in the eighth circle of Hell, among the sowers of schism and scandal. You'll be surprised to find out who we ran into here, coming up after the break!"

I beheld, / Cloven from chin to where the wind is voided. / Between his legs his entrails hung in coils; / The vitals were exposed to view, and too / That sorry paunch which changes food to filth. / While I stood all absorbed in watching him / He looked at me and stretched his breast apart, / Saying: "Behold how I now split myself! / Behold, how mutilated is Mohammed!"

Gosh. In real life, the Christian author of the book we've been discussing is married to a Sufi. Well, if Carville and Matalin can make it work....

But as you know, some of our best unknown friends are Sufis, so this obviously doesn't apply to them.

According to Upton, the souls here "tried to gain by creating conflicts that other people would have to live with; they believed that peace can be established by exporting war."

The mutilated bodies move in endless circles, which Upton likens to "an addiction to conflict, a failure to reach integration of the soul." "The split torso of Mohammed" suggests "the attempt to make one's way through life by creating and benefitting from conflicts that reach beyond oneself to others, though their original cause lies within one's soul."

The circular movement in Hell is simply a parody of integration, which, oddly enough, reminds me of Gödel. For Gödel proved that any formal system that is consistent will be incomplete, and vice versa. Thus, ironyclad logic proves the insufficiency of any scientistic doctrine, which can only move in an artificial, manmade circle that excludes the greater reality.

Science -- and atheism more generally -- is surely consistent, but at the price of completeness. And the price of incompleteness is Hell, as it were, for what is repressed and denied doesn't simply "disappear." In other words, spiritual defense mechanisms -- i.e., psychic defenses against Spirit -- don't actually eliminate God!

One such defense mechanism is a kind of "drawing back" that stops the materialist from reaching the inevitable conclusions implicit in his first principles. Thus, in the words of Don Colacho, What still protects man in our time is his natural incoherence. That is to say: his spontaneous horror before consequences implicit in principles he admires.

Again, incoherence, dis-integration, incompleteness, hell, Ø.

Don Colacho has many other aphorisms that apply:

--Intelligence should battle without respite against the sclerosis of its findings.

--Everything that can be reduced to a system ends up in the hands of fools.

--Man calls “absurd” what escapes his secret pretensions to omnipotence.

--For the last two centuries ago they have called a “free thinker” the man who believes his prejudices are conclusions.

And here is one Gödel would love: Only he who suggests more than what he expresses can be reread.

This was indeed Gödel's deeper point -- not that we cannot know truth, but that human beings have access to deeper or higher truths that cannot be proved with logic, which is a closed system. Therefore, anything that is true in a self-sufficient way is ipso facto false, again, because it will be incomplete. What is not deiform is deformed.

Atheistic imbeciles often point to the "inconsistency" of the Bible. Well, duh! What they call inconsistency, we call "bubbling over with infinite implications and higher syntheses."

Back to the sowers of schism. Say what you will about the Muslim world, but I detect a decided absence of integration, whether we are talking about lust, or violence, or envy, or hatred. Why?

In the book, I discuss my own theory of how one may assess cultural maturity (pp. 177-180). Short story even shorter, the key variables are integration of the psyche and actualization of one's potential.

To take an obvious example, how possible is it for a Palestinian to understand and integrate his primal hatred, instead of taking it out on Jews? Not very. This is a culture that celebrates and distributes candy upon learning that a Jewish baby just had her throat cut by one of their heroes.

Upton points out that the sinners in this circle of Hell literally have tongues "slit asunder," for "to speak with a forked tongue" results in a "kind of speech" which "is the exact opposite of the effect of a spiritual fable which integrates the scattered psyche by drawing many meanings from one -- as did the preaching of the Apostles on Pentecost."

In Islam, there is the well-known doctrine of taqiyya, which permits them to taqyyoutta both sides of their mouths.

PowerLine cites a recent example. To western dupes, Hamas announces that the are "not responsible for the murder of the five family members from the Itamar settlement.... harming children is not part of Hamas' policy, nor is it the policy of the resistance factions."

But for the Arab Muslim world, the message is rather different: "Five Zionist usurpers were killed the morning of Saturday, 12 March 2011, in a knife-stabbing carried out by a Palestinian in the usurper (settlement) of Itamar east of the city of Nablus."

Why not just announce what you believe, as conservatives do? You will have noticed that we don't have to keep changing our name as soon as the reality of what we stand for taints it. In contrast, lying is and must be intrinsic to the left -- which is why, for example, NPR is in trouble for accidentally speaking the truth to a wider audience outside their little closed circle of affluent white liberals.

The godless are always disintegrated and closed to reality -- as are the godful who fail to integrate is and ought, horizontal and vertical, heaven and earth. Now, if they could just keep it to themselves instead of inducting us into their pneumadrama...

It's just a flesh wound!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Incarnating the AntiWord

Is it getting hot in here, or are we getting close to the center of Hell? We haven't yet bumped into any religious founders -- that will have to wait until the next canto -- but I do see a Pope up ahead, in the rear-view mirror.

Why, it's Pope Boniface, who does indeed have the insolent mouth of a maliface criminal. What did he do to get here?

Probably not much. If you're Pope, the standards should be higher, should they not? I don't want to go to a doctor who knows no more about medicine than I do.

The same goes for a doctor of the soul. But it's very tricky when you institutionalize these things. There are inevitably a few rotten apostles in the barrel. And it's no less tricky if you don't institutionalize the ordainment of hOly men, because then you end in a cult o' vultures or deepack o' jackals.

Come to think of it, it really reminds me of psychology. I am a "licensed clinical psychologist." As such, I can assure you that the title is absolutely meaningless. It means precisely nothing. It implies no skill, no talent, no gift, no special knowledge, no intellect, no expertise, no wisdom. The difference between a good and bad psychologist is more or less infinite, even though they have the same coarse crudential.

Indeed, quite often it implies just the opposite of wisdom and good sense, for there is no indoctrination like the indoctrination of the educated. Since they move in herds, it's easy to corral them.

It's not just psychology, but the social sciences in general. Again, there is more wisdom in one of Don Colacho's aphorisms than in whole university departments, which is not surprising, since these subversive little depth charges generally teach the opposite of what is taught in a typical graduate school.

Example?

Okay. The psychologist dwells in the slums of the soul, just as the sociologist dwells on the outskirts of society. (1)

The idea of “the free development of personality” seems admirable as long as one does not meet an individual whose personality has developed freely.
(2)

Poverty is the only barrier to the throng of vulgarities that whinny inside souls.
(3)

He who understands least is he who he stubbornly insists on understanding more than can be understood.
(4)

Our maturity must re-conquer its lucidity daily.
(5)

How can one claim to be a psychologist and not understand the distinction between soul and psyche (1), or the proper uses of freedom (2), or the nature of sin (3), or the limits of human knowledge (4), or the proper goal of the human maturational process (5)?

Forget any one of these, and you have fallen into a parallel looniverse of tenured nonsense. You are so far from being a nuisance Coonical Pslackologist that I can't even smell you from here.

Back to Boniface. How did he get here? I'm not sure if we can trust Dante, since he clearly has a vendetta against the man, and I certainly know nothing about him.

Says here that "Boniface, for Dante, is personal and public enemy number one.... Dante now settles his score with Boniface in the Divine Comedy by damning the pope even before his death in 1303 (the journey takes place in 1300)."

Let's let wikipedia sort it out.

This doesn't look good. There were rumors that he pressured the previous Pope -- a saintly man -- to resign, and "One of his first acts as pontiff was to imprison his predecessor in the Castle of Fumone." He "put forward some of the strongest claims to temporal, as well as spiritual, power of any Pope, and constantly involved himself with foreign affairs."

Uh oh. His chief minister denounced him as "a heretical criminal (and practitioner of sodomy)," and "There were rumors he had died of suicide from 'gnawing through his own arm' and bashing his skull into a wall."

Well, who knows? The point is that if he were guilty of such acts, Dante is showing us the appropriate punishment.

For Dante, one of the worst sins allegedly committed by Boniface was to preemptively absolve a man of sin -- in other words, to forgive him of a sin he was about to commit for his own benefit.

Today we refer to it as "teaching children self esteem" for doing both nothing and anything. No one has more self-esteem than the criminal or the leftist who boldly believes he is entitled to your stuff.

Boniface's "evil counselor," Guido da Montefeltro, is in Canto XXVII, while Boniface himself is first referred to back in Canto XIX, where we are told that he will reside in another precinct of the eighth circle for "taking by guile" and violating the "Lovely Lady," i.e., the Church.

Can't get much worse than that. If the Church is the temporal prolongation of Mary, where the eternal Word is ceaselessly conceived and given birth in the ground of the soul, then to violate Her is to poison the pneumacosmic economy at the very root. It is rape, it is incest, it is murder, and it is suicide, all rolled into one.

Which reminds us of another aphorism: What is thought against the Church, unless it is thought from within the Church, lacks interest.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hell is for Heroes Without Virtue

In canto XXVI, Dante meet Ulysses, whose heroism in this world apparently counts for nothing. For although he "worked for victory over Troy," he could only accomplish it through a ruthless combination of fraud and unjust violence (Upton).

It always strikes me how antiquity is still idealized by scholars, even though for most people the pre-Christian world was a kind of hell on earth (and indeed, one reason why it is idealized is because it was not Christian; conversely, it is why the Jews will always be hated for having brought the Absolute into the world, which is a major inconvenience to tyrants).

I briefly addressed this in the tome version, but it is impossible in such a short space to bring to life the horror, cruelty, and barbarism of the ancient world. Actually, it's impossible in principle, because horror cannot exceed a certain limit -- let us call it 1.0

A horror of 1.0 would be, say, being eaten by wild animals in the Coliseum, or helplessly watching your wife be raped, or watching your child be crucified. It doesn't matter if it happens to a million people, because it still cannot exceed 1.0. And in fact, Stalin was more than half-correct when he said that one death is a tragedy but a million deaths is a statistic. (Actually, for Stalin a single death wasn't a tragedy at all, but just laziness or fatigue.)

A single murder or even untimely death is such a horror to both victim and loved ones that we either don't or can't "go there." It is literally unthinkable until it happens. Multiply it times a million, and the effect might even be diminished, because we don't experience it terms of the single soul, which is the only medium of experience. (Bolton discusses the same principle in one of his books, but I don't recall which one off the top of my head.)

The recorded voice of a single terrified person at the top of the World Trade Center, about to burn or suffocate, frantically imploring the helpless 911 operator for assistance, penetrates more deeply than the image of the plane going into the tower.

Note how the collaborationist media will show us image after image of the pranks at Abu Ghraib, but not the horror of an Islamist beheading another innocent victim. Why not? Because it might make Americans want to win this war against the enemies of civilization.

I recently read two books about the last year of World War II (Armageddon and Retribution), and the author was careful to balance the macro and micro in such a way that it was often quite painful to read.

It's one thing to hear that x number of men died in the war, but another thing altogether to read the explicit details of what a single soldier endured, say, in a Japanese prison camp. I mean, how about experimental surgeries without anesthesia performed on captured pilots before an audience of physicians? How does one even imagine such an experience? It is beyond the pale.

I suppose I'm thinking of the footage I've seen of Japan. Have you ever tried to imagine what it would be like to drown? Again, that is terror 1.0.

Note that the Christian religion is centered around just such a single instance of terror 1.0. In fact, this is arguably the only instance of something "beyond" 1.0, since it is not only man, but God, who is being tortured to death.

Christians cannot forget that man is not only capable of murder, but that if given half a chance, he will murder God. Every time. Orthoparadoxically, this is a bug but also a feature, given the potentially diabolical combination of free will and a misguided deiformity -- when man's relative centrality becomes detached from the absolute Center and he makes a god of himself.

Upton touches on this important point, noting that there were countless instances of "godmen" prior to -- and since -- Jesus. For example, most of the various pharoahs and caesars of antiquity were regarded as divine beings (or, think of Kim in North Korea, not to mention Hirohito in imperial Japan).

But as Upton explains, "Christ is true man and true God, not part man and part God, like a centaur or some other mythological monster." In contrast, "the deepest evil, the evil of the Antichrist, will be based on just this kind of parody of the hypostatic union." And in an increasingly de-Christianized West, people will not only be unable to recognize such a beast, but will long for him.

This longing will always be intrinsic to the left, since it represents an inverted version of Christian truth. For just as the Christian's ultimate allegiance is not to a doctrine but to a person, leftism always ends in the cult of personality, the strong man, the national savior, the dictator of the proletariat, the superman who is beyond good and evil, for "When spiritual Guidance is repressed, it still attracts -- but darkly" (Upton).

Yes, it would be so much easier -- and more natural -- to be America's dictator.

Upton notes that in this canto "Dante prays that his talent not exceed the bounds of virtue." Otherwise, he might be tempted to "take the story of Ulysses on the level of foolish hero-worship and forget that this hero is damned."

In the contemporary world, people have replaced the ultimate significance of being "known by God" with being known by the anonymous masses. In other words, the quest for fame and celebrity have replaced the spiritual quest. But fame without virtue is a shameful and humiliating dishonor.

Dante and Virgil peer down into the valley of heroic public employee union leaders.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sinister Ministers and Reptilian Kleptocrats

It's canto XXV and we're still in the den of thieves. One of them -- a slow learner -- makes an obscene gesture, curses God, and even -- if I understand correctly -- contemptuously tosses his stolen goods at the Creator. (The translation says "figs," but one of the definitions of fig is "a contemptibly worthless trifle.")

Evidently, to be reduced to cursing God is itself a kind of curse -- just as contempt, which is the opposite of gratitude, is a kind of ultimate punishment, for the key to happiness is gratitude. To paraphrase Don Colacho, hell is filled with people who are satisfied with who they are and unsatisfied with what they have.

One cannot curse God without renouncing our deiformity, so in this plane of hell, souls have become "bestial, and the beast takes on a human semblance" (Upton).

This is a point Dennis Prager often discusses, and which is absolutely central to Judaism, that is, the bright line between man (neshama, the higher self) and animal (nefesh, the lower self), and the intrinsic sin of denying or effacing it. And equally as important, Judaism emphasizes integration, not denial, of the lower self. God very much wants us to have a good time and to partake of all permitted pleasures.

Here again, destroying this line is intrinsic to the project of the left. One could also express it conversely: anyone who denies this distinction is a default leftist -- or certainly anti-conservative, which is why libertarians and objectivists are by no means conservative.

I read something very interesting the other day about the Scopes "monkey trial," which, if true, suggests that this is one of the most distorted historical episodes since the Galileo affair, for it was not a case of "liberal" vs. "conservative," but more essentially of conservative liberal (William Jennings Bryan) vs. leftist (ACLU).

Bryant was rightfully concerned about the baleful effect of inculcating children with the idea that they are just one of countless other mammals, which -- if one is intellectually honest in a way that leftists never are -- immediately contravenes our founding document.

That man is both created and at the existential "center" of creation are ontological facts -- or rather, principles -- whereas natural selection and heliocentrism are just theories that more or less adequately account for empirical phenomena.

As Don Colacho says, there is a kind of ontological gravity that ironically pulls us downward as a result of denying the vertical, for When things appear to us to be only what they appear to be, soon they appear to be even less. If a man is only a man, he soon becomes less than one.

One of many reasons I would never send my child to a public school is that he would be forced to accept various scientistic doctrines -- which are true enough on their own plane -- as ontological facts applying to planes above matter. Since the leftist denies any degrees of being, his own principles are taught as magically self-sufficient.

Dennis Prager made another important point the other day. That is, the vast majority of Americans -- especially the religious -- agree that it is not a good idea to mix church and state. But if this is true, why is it a good idea to mix ideology and state?

For this is what ends up happening: children are inculcated with an ideology that both justifies and serves the state. For truly, the tenured -- including teachers' unions -- are just the state's way of increasing the size and influence of the state. It is why teachers are literally rewarded for failure, in that the worse they perform, the more money liberals want to give them. Success for public teachers would be totally self-defeating.

The official stance of PETA is that there is no moral distinction between man and animal. I remember Dennis Prager interviewing a PETA spokesperson who insisted that barbecuing a million chickens was equally reprehensible as barbecuing a million Jews.

The problem is, this does not elevate animals to the value of persons, but inevitably devalues man to the status of animal. And sex education in public schools? Forget about it. For starters, the left not only knows nothing of innocence, but systematically destroys it.

So in this corner of hell, "the mammalian nature is totally taken over by the reptilian one," and "empathy is completely negated" (Upton). Souls here are pure envy, which means that they cannot tolerate the painful feeling that someone else possesses what they want (another hallmark of the left). Thus, as Upton says, their "desire to steal something is based purely on the fact that it belongs to someone else."

Along these lines, Don Colacho wields a number of sharp objects, for example, Every society eventually bursts when envy expands too far.

Yes, that would be the giant sucking sound you hear in the distance -- the one third of Americans who are suckling on a government teat which is in the process of imploding.

And speaking of the left, here is a perennial truth about them -- their all-purpose excuse for violating the Constitution: Compassion is the best excuse for envy. And envy, of course, is the best excuse for theft. For Envy differs from the other vices by the ease with which it disguises itself as a virtue (DC).

Thus, The democrat comforts himself with the generosity of the program over the magnitude of the disasters it produces (DC). What the left calls "generosity" we call appeasement of envy.

Which never works, for envy cannot be appeased. Since man has an imagination, any idiot can imagine having more than he has. Which is why Egalitarian societies strangle the imagination without even satisfying envy.

Is the left any less envious today than it was trillions of dollars ago? Hardly! Like a child, their most frequently used word is more!

Furthermore, since the leftist lives in a flattened universe devoid of any higher dimension, envy is totally under the auspices of the appetites, for The poor man does not envy the rich man for the opportunities for noble behavior which wealth facilitates, but rather for the degradations which wealth makes possible.

Ah yes, Modern man comforts himself by thinking that “everything has a solution.” As if there were no sinister solutions! (DC).

Our country has been hijacked by sinister ministers whose ministrations make the country sick.

Er, I'm starting to wonder if envy is a good exit strategy from this place.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Left Wing Grave Robbers and Other Snakes on a Plane

A plane of hell, that is. For this region of Hell is teeming with a loathsome swarm of snakes, / So strange and horrible to look upon / That even now it makes my blood run cold. Dante makes the timely point that even Libya cannot boast of such a cruel and depressing storm of malignant pests.

Here The naked souls are running horror-struck with their hands bound behind them by serpents that thrust their heads and tails out through their loins.

There is also an element of hypnosis going on, which reminds me of a note at the end of last Monday's post, from the Oxford Dictionary: Fascinate ARCHAIC (esp. of a snake) deprive (a person or animal) of the ability to resist or escape the power of a look or gaze: the serpent fascinates its prey.

The serpents "transfix" their victims, at which time the latter instantaneously burst into flames and are reduced to ashes. But as in the Terminator movies, the ashes are reunited of themselves / And instantly resume his spirit's form.

The first thought that comes to mind is, of course, the seductive serpent of paradise, who first draws Eve into its spell before Eve hypnotizes Adam with her charms.

For just as grace operates through various intermediaries in a hierarchical, top down fashion (↓), so too does this inverted version -- which is not (↑) per se, but perhaps (↑) devoid of (↓), which renders it promethean and therefore ripe for a fall.

Indeed the fall is inevitable in such a case -- which, I think, is the deeper meaning of today's aphorism: Why deceive ourselves? Science has not answered a single important question.

The point is that science can only answer important questions if it isn't divorced from reality in the fuller sense. In isolation -- in particular, from the vertical -- it is axiomatic that science cannot answer important questions, for only the mature soul (who ipso facto eludes any scientific explanation) knows what is important. This is called judgment.

Back to the canto. The souls here who are tormented by the serpents are thieves -- not just any thieves, but those who steal sacred objects and vestments from the Church sacristy.

Such a theft is full of implications. One immediately thinks of how the secular west is parasitic on the Christian civilization that gave birth to it, but without so much as acknowledging the debt. This is not just a discourtesy but a grave sin.

Think of how contemporary liberals ransack the Constitution in order to remove and distort what they need in order to confer a fraudulent legitimacy upon their policy preferences. Any sensible American intuitively understands that this involves the theft of something sacred -- not the least of which being the blood that was shed in order to make that Constitution possible and to endure.

For even prior to the Constitution are the courageous human beings who recognized and were willing to risk their lives and fortunes in defense of the Good. To steal this priceless treasure from one's countrymen is morally indistinct from grave robbing. Then the left has the hutzpah to call it a "living" document!

Again, it all goes back to the false promise of the serpent: Ye shall be as gods. As Upton explains, "The primal theft was Eve's theft of the forbidden fruit. Tempted by the serpent, she took something from the Divine realm and enclosed it within the human one."

Note the similarity to what I said above about (↑) devoid of (↓): "Man can descend but not ascend on his own power, because his very existence is a gift from God; he can squander but he cannot earn" (Upton).

I would amend that slightly to say that we can earn, but only through a grace that is already operative in the form of a desire for ascent -- for purification and illumination. In other words, the desire to know God is already God. Obey your thirst!

Upton adds another important point, that "Theft, more than any other sin, is involved with concealment, since both the act and the stolen goods must be hidden." This is obvious in the case of stolen objects, but becomes much more complex when one is stealing, say, our Constitution or civilizational heritage. How does one cover up such a massive crime?

Through endless and systematic lying at the highest levels. People must be taught in such a way that the conclusions of the left become at least plausible. One such way is to teach people that their desires are rights, that their defects are society's fault, that the state is good at "solving" the human condition, that the accumulated wisdom of the past is obsolete, that what is newest is the best, and that someone else's wealth redounds to your poverty.

Something stolen cannot really be assimilated into the self. For example, one can pass a test by cheating, but that doesn't mean one has mastered the material. The initial lie will have to be followed by an even bigger lie, because one will have to pretend one has assimilated the information. One becomes a counterfeit version of oneself, a phony, which is a kind of primordial betrayal and lie.

The worst lies begin by pulling the wool over one's own eyes, or auto-flimflammery, for then one may transmit lies with an undisturbed conscience.

Souls struggling with the primordial Lie that gave them birth

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Get the Lead Out of Your Ascent: All That New Age Glitterati Isn't Gold

We are still amongst the hypocrites who labor under heavy cloaks that are gold without and lead within. Appearances notwithstanding, those new age spiritual glitterati aren't gold beneath the surface.

Which brings to mind one of Don Colacho's Aphorisms: Nothing is more irritating than the certainty with which a man who has had success in one thing gives his opinion on everything.

Speaking of which, I'm thinking of another DC, who, just because he has had success in marketing himself to morons and in pleasing the state-controlled media, believes himself fit to opine on matters of ultimate significance. (Chopra reminds us that that beacon of banality, Time magazine, literally worships him as "one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.")

Chopra accomplishes the difficult task of being simultaneously not even wrong about both science and religion -- which is a little like being given two choices in a coin toss, but losing anyway:

The "theory of evolution has proved victorious over the Book of Genesis and its story of God creating the universe in seven days. Since then, God has been found wanting when measured against facts and data. With no data to support the existence of God, there is also no reason for religion and science to close the gap between them."

As wrong as Chopra is, only a floridly psychotic person has no part of the truth, for in the absence of truth we couldn't survive. Even animals understand the laws of physics in their own way. It is very hard to be completely wrong about subjects as vast as "science" and "spirit" -- which is why charlatans proliferate in both. The hard part is to appreciate their unity without facilely distorting either.

Upton notes that the gold-plated hypocrites "have a certain ability to manifest the Spirit," but that "the whole import of the Spirit is for them materialistic; they only value the Spirit in materialistic terms."

Thus, for Chopra to suggest that "The real goal of a new science will be to expand our reality so that spiritual truths are acceptable," is precisely backward. The goal of science is science. To pretend otherwise is to elevate it to an idol. But Nothing is rarer than someone who affirms, or denies, but does not exaggerate in order to flatter or to injure (Don Colacho).

The hypocrites have a glamorous surface appearance which may appear "light," but this is only because they are actually weightless. I think all readers with rudimentary spiritual attunement will agree with me that a single aphorism of the unglamorous Don Colacho has more spiritual "heft" than the complete works of Tony Robbins, or Wayne Dyer, or any other new age guru.

Thus, "in the afterlife" the hypocrites "are weighted down by the very glittering surface that once seemed so light" (Upton). Unlike here, bullshit doesn't float in hell. Rather, like the Sheen on Charlie, it plunges to the bottom, where it belongs.

It is not surprising that the WindyHindi continues to be one of the most intransigent supporters of perhaps our most outwardly glittering president ever (at least Kennedy had some real lead in his pencil).

Nor is it surprising to us that Obama has turned out to be simultaneously leaden and yet so light in the loafers. But in the teeth of reality, Chopra maintains just the opposite, and that Americans are just too stupid to grasp it:

"Bad faith, it would seem, isn't something Americans care about as long as image works. Obama is a good-faith President who is being punished for speaking maturely and soberly about our complex problems, trying to cobble together a master plan for the future that, frankly, the majority of Americans cannot grasp."

Ho! I think he meant that "Americans cannot afford." And that he has a plan for the state to be our master.

Upton notes that the hypocrite has certain advantages over the virtuous, since he is not constrained by truth: "The con artist will commonly look more sincere than the honest man," since "he can put all his psychic energy into appearing sincere." Conversely, the honest man "will often manifest an entirely appropriate reticence -- which the hypocrite will then attempt to portray as shiftiness or dishonesty."

Inappropriate confidence is a plague of our time -- partly a reflection of the new cultural ideal of "self esteem." No one is permitted to know that they are a genuine imbecile when the imbeciles are running the show.

Upton makes the subtle point that both hypocrisy and its seeming opposite -- cynicism -- are diverse expressions of the same underlying pride. Thus, as much as, say, Bill Maher may attack Christian hypocrisy, he is psychically attracted to it in order to manage his own spiritual affairs.

For "Cynics believe that sincerity consists in exhibiting shortcomings and that to hide them is to be a hypocrite; they do not master themselves, and still less do they seek to transcend themselves" (Upton). Through this sleight of hand they are able to convert shameful failings into virtues like "authenticity." Thus, it is also an act "of theft by which the passional and egotistic soul appropriates what belongs to the spiritual soul" (ibid.).

Which reminds me of another timelessly timely aphorism of Don Colacho: The bourgeoisie is any group of individuals dissatisfied with what they have and satisfied with what they are.

In his spiritual narcissism, Chopra insists that God and truth are not to be found "in the church" but in his "personal experience." If so, then Upton has it all wrong in maintaining that he who has no Guide has Satan for a guide.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Thinking is a Relationship

An interesting little exchange occurs at the beginning of Canto XXIII, in which Dante foretells psychoanalytic truths that will not be "discovered" until the latter half of the 20th century. But then Men change ideas less than ideas change disguise. Through the course of the centuries the same voices are in dialogue (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

I am speaking of the miracle of intersubjectivity, through which human beings are able to escape the boundaries of the skin and participate in the being of another. This first occurs in infancy, and indeed, what occurs there is the foundation of what will take place later, at all stages of thought (which is a kind of relationship) and relationship (which is a kind of thinking).

The recent recognition of "emotional intelligence" obscures the fact that there is no thought without emotion, and vice versa, for to paraphrase Schuon, they are the penumbra of the Divine Light and Warmth, respectively, which can only be artificially separated.

For the first time, Dante's fear begins to spiral out of control, almost as if he is describing a panic attack. He spontaneously calls to for Virgil, who informs him that he was already aware of his internal state, for No faster could I catch your outer image / Than I receive that other from within, so that Your thoughts just now were mingled with my own.

The whole possibility of psychoanalytic therapy is predicated upon that last line: Your thoughts just now were mingled with my own. This is what is called "counter-transference." Beholden as he was to a mechanistic framework, Freud regarded this ubiquitous phenomenon as mere "noise" that the analyst needed to rise above and ignore.

But modern psychoanalysis -- which is rooted in intersubjectivity -- regards counter-transference as vitally important communication about what is really going on, both within and without the patient's psyche. To put it in colloquial terms, we are always "giving off vibrations" in everything we say and do. And these vibrations are often the source -- or expression -- of great dysfunction.

For example, some people constantly give off an aggressive, intimidating, and dominating vibe, while others transmit a weak and submissive one that alternatively says "take care of me" or "kick me." The former is sadistic, the latter masochistic, and you'd be amazed at how frequently the two manage to find one another, for an exciting "spark" is created between them that is often confused with "love."

I was just pondering this the other day, while bathing in some aphorisms of Don Colacho, who is able to reach into the depth of my soul like a handful of others -- almost as if he is "me" at a later stage of the journey. Not surprisingly, he addressed this truth in an aphorism: Phrases are pebbles that the writer tosses into the reader’s soul. The diameter of the concentric waves they displace depends on the dimensions of the pond.

In other words, he has no control over the effect of an aphorism, which largely depends upon the listener's ability to contain and kill it. I was thinking about this when imagining what a particularly cynical man of my acquaintance would think of these magnificent aphorisms, which is to say, how he would kill them in order to maintain the deadness of his soul.

In this regard, cynicism masquerades as a kind of humility when it is really a form of omniscience, an absolute faith in oneself to determine what is real and worthy of assent. The cynic bows before no one, and therefore bows before himself.

Which is not just a figure of speech, for again, in an irreducibly intersubjective world (which is actually trinitarian, more on which later), thinking is always a dialogue between two subjects. In the case of the cynic, the dialogue is between infantile omniscience and a kind of contemptible stupidity, gullibility, or trust.

This type of person cannot help encoding his message in contempt, which is the counter-transference we feel when reading, say, Paul Krugman or Richard Dawkins, or listening to Keith Olbermann or Rachel Madow. They think they are communicating ideas when they are really evacuating the unThinkable.

This verges on the featured sin in this valley of Hell, which is to say, hypocrisy. For what is hypocrisy but an absence of harmony between inside and outside, or appearance and reality? Hypocrisy is fine so long as we understand we are hypocrites, and that we will always fall short of the ideal. But the bad kind of hypocrite deals with his own shortcomings by unconsciously projecting them into others, and then attacking them.

Back to the action of the canto. Note that Dante even explicitly compares Virgil's great solicitude to that of a mother for her infant: My leader instantly laid hold of me, / Just as a mother, wakened by a noise / And seeing how the flames are near at hand, / Will snatch her child and run... / Having more care for him than for herself.

Having more care for him than for herself. Here again, this is intersubjectivity in action, the reality of a profoundly intimate connectedness which is prior to separation, especially for the infant -- both the external infant and the mother's internal infant, for the true source of the mother's empathy is a connection to her own internal frightened and distressed infant.

This is no different than any other kind of empathy, except that it is so deep as to be beyond words (infans means "incapable of speech"). It is more in the realm of gesture, facial expression (especially the eyes) and tone of voice (here again, the tone conveys much more than verbal communication; it is "music" to the infant's ears, and perhaps even the ultimate foundation of music appreciation).

Later Virgil takes more of a paternal role, Bearing me tenderly upon his breast, / More as his son than as a fellow traveler. This highlights the difference between maternal and paternal love, in that the latter is more "horizontal." Maternal love is more all-encompassing, like the background context of being itself. It can scarcely be thought about, for it is the ground of thinking.

In Hell, the hypocrites are loaded down with burdensome cloaks that are dazzling gold on the outside but heavy lead on the inside. Here we see brother Deepak paying for all that fool's gold he peddled to the credulous seekers up here.

As with the sadists and masochists, it is amazing how efficient the spiritual free market is in coordinating buyers and sellers of spirit, the omniscient mythofolkers and their contemptible crockseekers. Again, it is an interior relationship that is merely projected outward.

As Upton explains, the gold-plated and lead-poisoned hypocrites are "unlike the true spiritual Guide," because they "depend upon the projections of others in order to maintain their aura of sanctity." Like all illusions and illusionists, Deepak is just the sham total of what his dupes project into him.

This is in contrast to the true teacher -- oh, let's say, Don Colacho -- who knows that Authentic superiority is intolerable for the fool. Its simulacra, on the other hand, fascinate him.

Fascinate, from the Oxford Dictionary: ARCHAIC (esp. of a snake) deprive (a person or animal) of the ability to resist or escape the power of a look or gaze: the serpent fascinates its prey.

The road to hell is paved with good intent.

Friday, March 04, 2011

A Message from the Academy of Farts and Sinuses

Did I just hear the distant bleating of a rump trumpet? Then we must be in hell or among the tenured, where the two ends of the digestive tract are routinely reversed -- where pompous gasbags talk trash and pull facts from their behind. The technical term is zonal confusion. The colloquial term is bullshit.

But first had each of them stuck out his tongue
Between his teeth, as signal to their leader,
And he made a trumpet of his rump
. --Canto XXI

Upton notes that Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise all correspond to states of being. Although it certainly smells like something crawled up and died here, if it's too much of a leap, you needn't regard them as postmortem, since their odor is readily detectable in this world.

The "higher states of being" -- those associated with Purgatory and Paradise -- "are higher in every sense: they are closer to Reality" (Upton). Thus, as we travel further hellward, we drift further and further from the Principle, but draw closer to Hell's principle. The former is O, or the "Sovereign Good," while the latter is....

Well, first of all it is Ø, which means that it is not something positive, but rather, the negation of O, whatever that might mean.

As we venture down into the lower vertical, O at first becomes blurry and out of focus. But eventually we cross a threshold, in which its inverse -- Ø -- begins to acquire a kind of "solidity."

However, unlike O, it is not a translucent solidity but a dark and dense one. The darkness and density then become a kind of pseudo-reality, and it is this reality to which the materialist fleedom flighter clings and calls "courage" or "clarity." It is the false sobriety of someone who lives in a dry county in which no grog is available anyway. Suffice it to say that someone who is drunk on God is infinitely closer to reality than someone who is sober on matter.

Ironically, nothing is as it appears to be in Hell, which is why deconstruction -- or absolute relativism -- is such an adequate symbol of it. For the deconstructionist, there is no stable reality, only the interpretation they give it.

This elevates deconstruction above construction -- or, let us just say destruction above creativity. In practical terms, it elevates an ordinary feminist nag above the Bible or Shakespeare by revealing the "patriarchy" or "oppression" of these texts. But what the feminist actually demonstrates is her virtuosity on the rump trumpet.

Since the lower realms are only pale reflections of reality, we might think of them as existing in a negative space. If Heaven is +12, then Hell is -12. Importantly, the downward descent is in one sense a "dissipation" and loss of substance and (truth) force.

But in another sense, the further away from O, the more it becomes a kind of persecutory presence or shadowy recollection. Thus, as Upton describes it, the closer one gets to the "most hideous, most hellish parts [of Hell], the areas where existence is the most unbearable, the nearer one has come to letting the good break through."

This is why it is a truism in psychotherapy that a crisis can be an extremely fruitful opportunity. During a crisis, the psyche is "laid open," much like a body opened up by the surgeon's knife. The superficiality of mere coping or "bumbling along" is effaced, and the "unreality" beneath it all is exposed.

And in being exposed, it evokes a longing for the Light, for healing and wholeness. Truly, the darker the night, the brighter the day. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, since the spirit "blows where it will," countless saints will attest to this pattern.

If God is "completely Himself" -- or, in Thomist terms, pure act -- I wonder if this means that Hell might be thought of as pure motion, or a kind of infinite potential that never attains itself? It remind me of what economists used to say about Brazil: it is the country of the future, and always will be.

This suggests that Hell is a place of "false infinity," again analogous to the auto-cannibalistic deconstructionist who must eventually dine on himself, the only thing left standing after everything else has been deconstructed.

Thus, the deconstructionist is both "omniscient," in that he can trump all knowledge, but "omnipotent," in that his single intellectual tool can reduce anything to dust. Again, if nothing is what it is, then everything is what it is not, which is to say, nothing. That would be Hell.

Upton is on the same page, where she notes that "a destructive psychological complex ends by destroying itself." Here again, this is an inverted image of the "creative destruction" involved in ego transcendence. Taking a wrecking ball to a structure in order to build a new one is not the same as flying an airplane into it just to please one's dictatorial mind parasites.

Note that one -- and only one -- civilization created human flight in order to facilitate further creation. But the other culture -- which, left alone, couldn't have invented the toaster -- can only parasitize ours, and use its creativity for destructive ends. The Arab world as presently constituted is a symphony of rump trumpets.

Another orthoparadoxical fact is that "as deeper levels of Hell are reached, the damned have more character -- understandably, since the more grievous sins are the more deliberate ones, which are worse than simple passions or weaknesses" -- the latter of which are more contingent to the central self.

But for the true evil-doer, the condensed nothingness of evil has become central, which is why an Osama, or Arafat, or Ahmadinejad, or Hitler, have such character. For truly, they are incorrigible but also incorruptible, in the sense that they will not deviate from their anti-principles, so no Light reaches them.

No, I will not pull your tail again!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Armies of the Blind Clashing by Night

Twenty-second canto, eighth circle, fifth valley. This is starting to get as complicated as the tax code. No wonder most people prefer to adopt a simplified, binary, flat death tax: heaven or hell, thumbs up or thumbs down.

However, it can't be that simple, for if there are no degrees of sin, then this is not a hierarchical cosmos. But it is, and there is no hierarchy without a top and a bottom and various degrees in between.

Anyway, the place is rather crowded, because these are the embezzlers and "buyers and sellers of public office," which I suppose back then mainly applied to religious office. To embrace politics is to touch pitch, so perhaps it is appropriate that the denizens here are immersed in boiling tar.

"By nature," the sins here "are sticky and opaque" (Upton). It is almost impossible to get involved in politics without getting covered in pitch, which is why we should revere the men who remained pristine, such as George Washington. To promulgate the myth that he "never told a lie" is infinitely closer to the Truth than whatever revisionist twaddle the tenured are peddling these days.

What is it about mundane politics that fascinates people? As I've mentioned before, the more "political" one is in the vulgar sense of the word, the more politics is merely a kind of existential container to organize one's psychic and emotional life.

However, the difference between the contemporary left and right is that conservatism is based on ideas and principles, whereas liberalism is rooted in raw power and self-interest concealed beneath a lot of pseudo-ideals.

The left cannot admit to themselves that they are motivated by material self-interest, or race, or class, so they project this onto the right, which is why they can never actually deal with our arguments.

Instead, they dismiss our arguments with ridiculous projections such as the imputation that our real motivation is to further enrich the top five percent of income earners, or that our effort to address fiscal bankruptcy and the crisis of public sector unions is an "attack on the middle class." In other words, the left pours its own pitch onto us, and then attacks us for being so filthy.

Yes, the idealists in Wisconsin are engaged in a revolution, so long as one remembers that Revolutions do not solve any problem other than the economic problem of their leaders (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

One cannot see clearly in a world of pitch. Thus, the left profits by the confusion they sow, because then they can make an appeal to primitive emotionality, such as being "for the little guy." But Social problems are the favorite refuge of those fleeing their own problems (DC).

There is no clarity in the world -- and certainly no moral clarity -- in the absence of spiritual Truth. Along these lines, Upton has a wonderful passage by Maximus the Confessor, who wrote that "the spiritual world in its totality is manifested in the totality of the perceptible world..." Conversely, in the words of Don Colacho, Relativism is the solution of one who is incapable of putting things in order.

In other words, the spiritual world contains the material world, for the converse could never be true. Likewise, spiritual principles explain science as such (and the scientist!), not vice versa.

For example, the practice of science would be impossible if scientists were not beholden to the principle of objectivity and disinterested truth, which is none other than a reflection of the Absolute on the scientific plane in question.

Maximus continues: "And the perceptible world in its entirety is secretly fathomable by the spiritual world in its entirety, when it has been simplified and amalgamated by means of spiritual realities."

What this again refers to is the enduring spiritual hierarchy beneath appearances, without which we could never organize or comprehend reality, including human reality.

Human development is situated along a continuum of maturity, including intellectual, spiritual, emotional maturity. And there can be no standard of maturity in the absence of a telos which organizes everything below. We only know there are idiots and sociopaths because there are geniuses and saints.

The left opposes all natural hierarchies, and replaces them with a simplistic and artificial binary of race, or class, or gender, or sexual orientation. These destructive ideas appeal to the ignoramuses of the left, for as Don Colacho says, Every non-hierarchical society is divided into two parts, and Leveling is the barbarian’s substitute for order.

Back to the corresponding vale of Hell. Upton writes that the evil here "has begun to manifest an inverted power." This is power in the absence of truth, virtue, sobriety, Light. This is where President Obama parks his big bus, under which are all the people who became inconvenient and are no longer of any use to him.

Upton further notes that there is something "militaristic" about this principality, for the evil here is organized. Now, how can there be organization in the absence of hierarchy? (For there can be no hierarchy that doesn't converge on Truth.)

Think of organized crime. In what way is it organized? What is the center around which it is ordered? That is one of the reasons evil cannot triumph, since it has no enduring center. It can only be a perverse and inverted shadow of the reality it feeds off. It can never be intellectually consistent, plus it has darkness rather then light, hate rather than love, at its core.

Truth can be known by virtue of what even evil people must pretend is true.

Frank Rich's replacement is pitched into the New York Times editarial boardroom:

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Your Immortal Soles are in Danger!

We're finally up to the canto we've all been waiting for, in which Deepak Chopra gets his just desserts. For this is the valley of rapacious brutes who debauch themselves for gold -- who distort spiritual reality by treating it as a profane thing to be bought and sold.

Folks here are buried head first up to the knee with their feet exposed, the soles of which are on fire. Strange image. I wonder what Dante had in mind?

Upton writes that the souls here "are buried in an inverted position because they have inverted the spiritual hierarchy."

As we know, the principial world is an inverted tree, with its nonlocal roots above and its convenient branches down here below.

Therefore, the inverted position of these vulgar simoniacs -- or maniacs -- is simply an image of what they inverted -- and perverted -- in life. Thus, their feet, which symbolize the terrestrial world, are at the top, while their heads, which symbolize the celestial, are at the bottom. This reveals their true values and motives, which cannot be hidden from God.

This brings to mind what may be my favorite letter of Meditations on the Tarot, The Hermit. The hermit is a properly right side-up man, and for this reason will appear upside-down to the worldly.

Such a man does not deny the world but sees it -- and its contents -- in its proper order. He does not place what is both priceless and of urgent importance above what is ephemeral and insignificant. Which is why The common man lives among phantasms; only the recluse [i.e., hermit] moves among realities ( Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

Furthermore, the hermit is the cosmic locus of the synthesis of heaven and earth, i.e., their union, not polarization. He represents the harmony of intellect, emotion and will, or mind, heart and strength.

But again, such a man will appear upside-down to the tenured, for Modern society works feverishly to put vulgarity within everyone’s reach (DC), and largely succeeds now that so many of us attend college, those somnambulant seminaries of factsimian sophistry.

For the properly spiritually oriented man, his soul is on fire and God is the water. But in this vale of hell, the soles are on fire and there's no water to be found. Dante also notices that the fire flickers back and forth between the heel and toes. Upton suggests that this is another inverted image, this one of the purifying spiritual fire, since in Hell it moves horizontally rather than vertically.

In a foot note, Upton reminds us of the spiritual hucksters who charge good money to teach idiots how to walk barefoot on hot coals. I always suspected that Tony Robbins was a preview of hell.

The valley of the hotfoot is also a parody "of the baptismal font," in that these sinners "are horribly baptized by the fire of the Holy Spirit they sought to buy and sell" (Upton). But the Divine Fire is not a plaything. To imagine that one can control it sufficiently to truck and barter in its activation is about as wise as selling nuclear secrets to Islamists. You end up with the Agni, but no ecstasy.

In the next valley it gets even hotter, for it is the vale of the spiritual pundits, the magicians and diviners who "impiously sought to pierce the veil of the future" (Upton). These people cause much more mischief than you might imagine, for they are spiritual prometheans whose reach exceeds their grasp -- or whose mental being surpasses what they have properly assimilated and actualized. They are engaged in the dangerous practice of driving in front of their headlights; in other words, they are operating in the dark with knowledge (k) in front of being (n).

Therefore, in this valley of hell they are perpetually facing backward. Once again it is an inverted image of how they functioned in life; in being turned backward, they remind us "of a 'vanguard' cadre in politics or an 'avant-garde' movement in the arts, which, after a few years, turns out to be totally reactionary; their attempt to conquer the future binds them to the past" (Upton).

Is there anyone more nauseatingly predictable and reactionary than the political "progressive" or artistic "transgressive"? Even the word "progressive" implies an ability to see into the future. But when their future arrives, it is always an atavistic hell. Obama does not look forward but backward, to Jimmy Carter, LBJ, FDR, and the whole failed ideology of illiberal collectivism and state coercion. Likewise the public employee unions, for whom it is always 1930.

And of course, such people are not only looking backward but down, toward matter. No one pretends that the unions are fighting for any ideal except their own material gain. But in the words of Don Colacho, there is no faster way to corrupt an individual than to teach him to call his personal desires rights and the rights of others abuses. Such a soul is upside-down, inside-out, and assbackward.

Hey, it's a Tony Robbins seminar, and it will only cost your soles!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Falling at the Speed of Lies

Next up: the eighth circle of Hell, which is divided into ten separate valleys for its unhappytants. Here we encounter the deceivers, panderers, seducers and flatterers. It has since been renamed the William Jefferson Clinton Memorial Low Way.

At the bottom of this valley, souls are immersed in filth. And not just any filth, for Dante cannot help noticing that it seems to come from human privies. Which is to say, they are submerged in their own crap, just like San Francisco.

As mentioned in last Friday's post, we have now crossed the threshold from impulse (or weakness) to will (and willfulness), so we are now circling Hell's lower vertical attractor in pneumacognitive phase space. For as Upton explains, "The Flatterers and Seducers are beginning to participate directly in the realm of illusion" (emphasis mine).

These souls are not passive victims of the Lie, but active architects of it. They are "inverted creators," as it were. But unlike God, who perpetually creates something from nothing, these ghastly spinmeisters ultimately create nothing from something.

Lies race through the world like fire, reducing the structure of reality to ashes of promethean fantasy. Which is why The results of modern “liberation” make us remember with nostalgia the abolished “bourgeois hypocrisies”, and why Man does not have the same density in every age (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

For the Lie is simultaneously dense and hollow, like the head of a troll, whereas Reality is both solid and supple, like Dupree's sacred cluebat.

In this realm we see the state of the soul beneath the beautiful portrait of Dorian Gray. Gray, of course, is an unholy mixture of light and dark in order to conceal from the Light what one does in the Dark. But here the false light is eliminated, leaving only the true darkness. And nothing grows in the dark but nothing.

In the world, these assouls "tried to put a false face on their actions," so in Hell "this face is removed" (Upton). Remember what we were saying a few posts back about the shameful behavior of "shame cultures" such as Imperial Japan? Recall that in reality, such a culture produces people who are unable to tolerate shame, so the culture becomes a kind of collective lie in order to protect everyone from the experience of shame.

In this valley of hell, the false self -- the persona -- is removed, so the souls here live with the shame they attempted to deny in life. Note that this especially applies to the shameless, who are probably the most dangerous people on this earth, for shame has a proper function in the harmoniously balanced and integrated soul, whereas the shameless are capable of anything.

The above crack about Clinton was no joke, because what creeps people out about him is his utter shamelessness, his disingenuous ability to lie with such transparently false sincerity. And yet, in the words of Harvey Mansfield, Clinton remains the envy of vulgar men who wish to be just like him. He is indeed the patron satyr of narcissists, for Depravity always arouses the secret admiration of the imbecile (DC).

Again, everything in Hell is inverted, so just as the flatterers and seducers "led others astray, so now they are being driven. In life they felt they could manipulate others easily; in hell they are harshly pushed" (Upton).

This is an important point, because for all the honey-coated seduction of the left -- the beautiful lies of Sugar Candy Mountain and free stuff for everyone -- it all ultimately redounds to coercion. It is the neocortex in service to the mid- or hindbrain, or thought in service to raw muscle.

As Walter Williams writes (HT American Digest),

"How about what car you drive, where you live, whom you marry, whether you have turkey or ham for Thanksgiving dinner? If those decisions were made through a democratic process, the average person would see it as tyranny and not personal liberty. Is it no less tyranny for the democratic process to determine whether you purchase health insurance or set aside money for retirement? Both for ourselves, and our fellow man around the globe, we should be advocating liberty, not the democracy that we've become where a roguish Congress does anything upon which they can muster a majority vote."

Which is why communism is hell on earth. And leftism is in the attractor of communism, which is why it always tends in that direction. Its first principles are not America's first principles, no matter how they try to spin it and obscure those principles. When the state does something for you, it always does something to you (excluding, of course, those things individuals cannot do for themselves).

For the leftist, God helps those who help themselves. To other people's money.

Dante also notes that the flatterers and seducers are subject to "eternal circlings" in Hell. This is again because they did not submit to reality, but elevated themselves above it with their "easy faithlessness" (Upton). They made their lies, and now they must bed in them. Forever.

The seducer "manifests something that he cannot be" (Upton). Thus, he is a genuine phony who can only fake sincerity. Furthermore, he cannot help but have a secret contempt for the people who fall so easily for his lying sincerity, since he knows better than anyone what credulous dupes they are.

For "flattery is always an expression of self-interest" (Upton). And the ultimate self-serving flattery is described in Genesis 3. The serpent is the father of all flatterers and seducers. Crawling on his belly, he is horizontality personified. He seduces Eve, Eve transmits the lie to Adam, and gravity takes care of the rest, as they fall out of the Creator's orbit and into the wily one's obit.

Delegates at the Democratic National Convention drowning in their own bullshit.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Beginner's Guide to the Beginning

It's hard not to post. Feels like I forgot to do something. Therefore, I wondered to myself, "self, I wonder what I posted exactly five years ago today?" Turns out it roused only four commenters at the time, so it was little noted and long since forgotten. I've decided to resurrect it with some editing Light.

Let's begin with two stipulations, one very old, the other of more recent vintage, treating them not as religious statements per se but metaphysical ones:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,

and

In the beginning was the the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

And in the spirit of multiculturalism -- and in the effort to increase our depth of vision with an additional I -- let's toss another bon mot into the mix, this from the opening of the Isha Upanishad: In the heart of all things, of whatever there is in the universe, dwells the Lord.

What does it mean, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"? As I have mentioned before, I believe it has to do with the creation of the most fundamental complementarity (not duality) of the cosmos.

This complementarity can be viewed from many angles, but can be summarized by saying that "in the beginning God created the vertical and the horizontal," for this complementarity subsumes the irreducible (irreducible in terms that can be thought about) categories of quality and quantity, interior and exterior, eternity and time, whole and part, implicate and explicate, subject and object, Absolute and Infinite.

In each instance we are dealing with a limit case, beyond which thought cannot traverse. In fact, the one side of the complementarity necessarily evokes the other, and provides the conditions of thought. Nothing "mental" can be made without the vertical/horizontal duality as a precondition (and nothing can be made that isn't completely mental, I must say).

With the second statement we introduce an unexpected twist and shout: In the beginning was the WORD, or LOGOS! Moreover, this Word was with God, implying that it was there "before the beginning," before the great creative activity of the first album. Indeed, if John is correct that the Word is God, this can be the only logical conclusion.

This then apparently raises language to a most exalted status. But clearly not if we merely look at it in the usual way. It's so easy to take language for grunting, when in reality we are dealing with something that is frankly magic.

In fact, the very same Biblical passage cautions us about this, pointing out that the Light of the Word "shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it." Or, to put it in the slightly more orthoparadoxical terms expressed in the Cosmogenesis section of the Raccoon Kookbook, "the weird light shines in the dark, but the dorks don't get it. For truly, the weirdness was spread all through the world, and yet, the world basically kept behaving as if this were just your ordinary, standard-issue cosmos."

One additional point would appear relevant. From Genesis 1:26 and 27 we read "Then God said 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness'.... So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them." We are particularly interested in how our capacity for creativity might mirror the primordial creative activity of the Divine Mind.

So, what is language, anyway? What is a word? As a matter of fact, a word is a very special thing, because only it has the capacity to bridge the complementary worlds introduced by primordial creation. Apparently words can do this because they are somehow prior to the great duality and therefore partake of both heaven and earth, above and below, vertical and horizontal.

The literal meaning of the word "symbol" is to "throw together" or across, as if words are exterior agents that join together two disparate things.

But the Biblical view would suggest that langauge actually has this "throwing together" capacity because it somehow subtends the world on an interior level: language is what the world is made of, so it shouldn't surprise us that with it we are able to apprehend all kinds of deep unities in the cosmos. The unities are there just waiting to be discovered, and language is our tool for doing that.

"In the beginning" of human consciousness there is also a fundamental complementarity or dialectic between the conscious (horizontal) and unconscious (vertical) minds. It is incorrect to visualize the mind in spatial terms as a sort of unconscious space below, with a line separating it from the conscious mind above.

In reality, each moment of consciousness involves a generative, ceaselessly flowing "translation," or unfolding, of multi-dimensional, nonlocal mental space that cannot be thought about into a local, linear, and particularized expression that can be thought about.

Again, in a healthy person there is a fluid and generative dialectic between these two realms. But many things can go wrong with that process -- in fact, most forms of psychopathology have to do with the person being caught up and entangled in one end or the other.

I don't have time to get into that now, but suffice it to say that there are some people -- let's call them the obsessive-compulsives -- who live their lives wading in the shallow and rocky shoreline of the conscious side, while others -- let's call them hysterics and borderlines -- are inundated by the storm-tossed sea of the unconscious side.

Again, the key is a dialectical rapport between the two dimensions. That's where one is truly "alive." And much of that aliveness has to do with language, that secret key to the universe.

Again, a word serves as the I-AMissary between the two worlds. On the one hand, a word refers to something particular in space and time -- a cup, a tree, a dog. On the other hand, a word is by definition an abstraction with no localized or localizable being: we only recognize the cup or tree or dog because they are a function of cupness, treeness or doginess.

Therefore, words are the local tools of the translating function of vertical into horizontal being, of infinite into finite, of eternity into time -- if we know how to use them. If we do not live in the uncomprehending dark.

Speaking of which, I've been typing this post -- like all my recent posts -- in the darkness of the dawn. They say that dawn is the friend of the muses. I suppose this is because at dawn we still have one foot in the mouth of the waters of our night-sea journey into the multidmensional dream world. Perhaps my posts only make sense at dawn and cannot withstand the brightly intense beam of darkness of trolltime logic.

In any event, that blanding light is now shining through my window, signalling to me that I am once again late for my daily horizontal exhale. But I'll be back. Back before the beginning tomorrow morning, where we will plot another raid on the formless infinite, and attempt to translate it into terms we can think about.