Friday, March 25, 2011

The Cosmos: Now Open For Isness

This post concludes our guided tour of Dante's Inferno, which began way back on January 24, 33 cantos and 45 postas ago. I don't know whether I'll continue the journey upward into purgatory and paradise.

This wing of Hell is the maximum security Judas Memorial Detention Center, from which they say no one has ever escaped, for here one is deprived of both Life and Death -- although some prominent theologians believe otherwise, including Balthasar.

In underworlds, Balthasar believed it possible for even the worst deicidal maniac to pay his debt to the cosmos. Schuon too maintained that the idea of eternal damnation was contradictory, since only God can be eternal. To say that Hell is eternal is to imply that evil is coterminous with God.

Origen also maintained a belief in the restoration of all souls, i.e., apokatastasis: "For him, all souls, including the devil himself, will eventually achieve salvation, even if it takes innumerable ages to do so."

This is based on a deeper principle -- or at least divine hunch -- that God would not put himself through the hassle of creating this maninfestation of assouls "capable of dissolving into the oblivion of evil (non-being) for all eternity." Consequently, Origen "reasoned that a single lifetime is not enough for a soul to achieve salvation, for certain souls require more education or ‘healing’ than others."

True dat. Hence, the school of purgatory. In any event, it's a long time, and if you can't do the time, then don't do the crime.

Judas is the archtraitor, the archetype of traitors against benefactors (Upton). Such individuals not only do evil, but return "evil for good. They actually punished others for doing good to them -- and this kills life completely."

In life, such individuals are on the extreme paranoid end of the developmental spectrum. When dealing with a paranoid person, you cannot just be "nice" and expect it to change them or put them at ease, for niceness only makes them more suspicious.

You might say that they preemptively kill any love before it can enter. The paranoid mind is so consumed by the process of projecting the bad outward, that it contaminates everything else. They are kept "pure" within, but at the cost of being surrounded by persecutory objects.

And because they cannot emotionally "feed" on anything outside themselves, they starve to death inside. They end up eating only their own self-produced delusions (i.e., crap), in a tighter and tighter circle. It is a death spiral into Ø.

Once again Dante employs digestive similes, for Satan's munching of the traitors "is a parody of the sacrament of the Eucharist." The Eucharist in-corporates Jesus into the faithful, and vice versa. But Satan chews "endlessly without swallowing," which is reminiscent of the hungry ghosts of Buddhism, who have huge bellies and pinholes for mouths.

Imagine chewing endlessly without swallowing. Here again, there are patients who do this. Some are variants of the paranoid style, called obsessional (this is different from OCD, which is a more or less neurochemical problem; here we are referring to personality style). When you offer an interpretation, they will "chew on it" in a way that mimics thought, but is really for the purpose of rejecting. They are subtly "oppositional," and always find a way to spit out what you give them. Here again, they starve within.

Such individuals also cannot see the forest for the trees, because they are always chewing but never digesting. There is a helpful chapter devoted to this subject in Shapiro's Neurotic Styles. He calls such people "living machines," for they are marked by their rigidity and absence of pneumacognitive fluidity. Interestingly, they may appear "attentive," but theirs is actually an indiscriminate "active inattention," being that it systematically misses the big picture. In some degree or another, they lose contact with reality, since reality is not an empirical fact but a synthetic experience.

Now, the dead can be resurrected, but not the unDead. The purpose of most any spiritual practice is to "die before we die," so as to be reborn. But the people here cannot "give their lives," since they have no life to give. It has already been starved to death by their own self-enclosed psychic processes.

Upton writes that "the source of all sorrow is the lack of gratitude, and the most fundamental form of ingratitude is not to be thankful for the gift of one's own existence. Ingratitude is based on the delusion that we are self-created; and this is the deepest delusion of all" (emphasis mine).

This relates to what I said about the paranoid/obsessive style, in that the fundamental problem for such individuals is again the inability to in-corporate and assimilate reality. To assimilate means to become seamlessly one with what one has assimilated. In this way mere knowledge is transformed to being.

As I mentioned in the book, human beings are psychically open systems, both on the horizontal and vertical planes. Both horizontally and vertically we are intersubjective, which is why the purpose of religion -- at least Christianity -- is to have a living relationship with the Creator. This relationship takes place in the "space" between O and (¶). If that space is collapsed, then there is no possibility of gratitude -- or of spiritual growth, for that matter.

Upton contrasts the satanic principle -- which is entirely closed -- to Mary, the Theotokos who nurtures the "growing God" in her womb: "As opposed to the rebellious passivity of Satan, the Virgin is the active receptivity of Pure Being, which draws toward it the Grace of God."

In our bʘʘk of the same namelessness we symbolize this as (o), one aspect of which is the teloscapic (H)openness that brings with it the possibility of Love -- which must again be incorporated and assimilated in order to become truly efficacious.

In our end is our bigending. Upon touching bottom, our virtual adventurers turnaround and begin their journey back upstream along the ancient celestial trail. Night turns to morning, "And upon setting foot in what Dante calls the 'bright world,' they once more see the stars; their intellects can now, at least in potential, have access to the higher worlds."

(A circular round of applause for Jennifer Doane Upton for winging us back home sophly).

A luminous fissure appeared in this heretofore dark, impenetrable circle, the unimaginable opening of a window on the world. --p. 58

Thursday, March 24, 2011

To My Detractors: Eat Me!

This culture war has been going on for much longer than people realize. Along these lines, the Divine Comedy actually contains much political "news of the day." However, it would have no relevance to us if it didn't concern themes that are both timeless and universal.

Hey, why don't we shut up and read a little history this morning, okay? Might even learn something.

In Dante's time, Italy was caught between two factions: "While the conflict was local and personal in origin, the parties had come to be associated with the two universal powers," one of which "sided with the Emperor and his rule of Italy," the other "with the Pope, who supported self-governing city-states."

So it sounds a little like big-government Federalists vs. Jeffersonian Republican-Democrats. And Ugolino was one of the Federalistas, except that he apparently conspired with the Papists to secure more power for himself.

Blah blah blah yada yada yada, "Dante placed Ugolino and Ruggieri in the second ring of the lowest circle of the Inferno, which is reserved for betrayers of kin, country, guests, and benefactors. Ugolino’s punishment involves his being entrapped in ice up to his neck in the same hole with his betrayer, Archbishop Ruggieri, who left him to starve to death. Ugolino is constantly gnawing at Ruggieri's skull."

So it sounds like Dante is placing a pox on both these louses. Why?

"Ugolino's gnawing of Ruggieri's head has been interpreted as meaning that Ugolino's hatred for his enemy is so strong that he is compelled to 'devour even what has no substance.' Ugolino, though punished for his betrayal of his people, is allowed some closure for the betrayal that he himself was forced to suffer under Ruggieri, when he is allowed to act as Ruggieri's torturer for eternity."

This makes sense, in that, as we have discussed many times, mundane politics often comes down to mutual projection, or the "organization of hatreds." But projection is always an intrapsychic phenomenon that takes place between two parts of the self. Therefore, Ruggieri is a projection of Ugolino, and vice versa.

One can see this taking place quite transparently when members of one political faction accuse the other of crimes and misdemeanors of which they themselves are guilty. You will have noticed that I never indulge in this kind of hypocrisy, for example, accusing only Democrat politicians of being corrupt. I never pretend to be shocked when a politician of either party is accused of corruption.

While there is indeed a political "culture of corruption," it is underwrotten by a bloated state that has so much money and power with which to corrupt people.

Look at our vice president, who has been quite vocal in his insistence that any president who deploys U.S. troops in the absence of an imminent threat to the country must be impeached. Now, either he believes this, or Biden was simply betraying his country -- a treasonous offense -- when he said it about President Bush. Because Joe Biden never uses words lightly.

One could cite countless other instances of liberals excusing in Obama what they denounced in Bush, but let us move along.

So anyway, it is entirely appropriate that in Hell, Ugolino is permanently reunited with his projected Ruggieri, except in a completely unintegrated -- one might say indigestible -- manner.

In other words, the healthy person integrates various parts of the self -- both horizontal and vertical -- rather than projecting, splitting, and denying them. Please note that we are always one, despite our best efforts to rid ourselves of the parts we don't like, or which clash with the ego's image of itself.

In Hell, Ugolino is reunited with himself, except that he is forever trying (unsuccessfully) to integrate what he projected in this life. In this regard Dante was quite astute in linking this to digestion, as projection arises in the earliest phase of psychosexual development, the oral stage.

Projection in and of itself is by no means pathological. To the contrary, it facilitates the vital link between infant and mother, and indeed, between all humans. We could not meaningfully communicate with one another in the absence of this type of mutual projection, which is deeper than words.

A clearer term for pathological projection might be forced projection, in which, instead of a free flow between subjects, there is a quasi-permanent object within the self that must be constantly projected in order to rid oneself of anxiety, or depression, or low self esteem, whatever. Then the person spends his life in search of suitable receptacles for his projections.

I thought of this the other day while daydreaming behind the wheel. It occurred to me that liberals never accuse conservatives of believing what we actually believe or doing what we actually do. Instead, they take a grossly distorted and exaggerated version of what we believe, and then attack us for it.

Now, if I were actually guilty of what they accuse us of -- e.g., racism, imperialism, misogyny, homophobia, fascism, theocracy, etc. -- I would be the first to attack myself.

There must be a name for this logical fallacy, but I am unaware of it. If it is engaged in consciously, then it is indeed a mere logical fallacy. But I suspect that the majority of liberals do this unconsciously.

In other words, they are simply projecting a primitive part of themselves into us, whether sexual, violent, sadistic, power mad, whatever. And this would explain why it is so difficult to have a rational conversation with a liberal, for when we talk about equality they project racism, or when we talk about marriage they project homophobia, etc.

Again, they seem to be unable to help themselves from accusing us of things we don't believe. They never deal with the actual issue. We can't even have a rational discussion of the fiscal crisis facing state governments, because liberals immediately project into us a violent assault on the "middle class," or some other such primitive fantasy.

I hope I never do this with the left. In other words, I don't accuse them of things they do not do or believe, only what they actually do and believe, which is more than enough for me.

Liberals want a bigger state. I want a smaller one. They want an elastic, "living Constitution." I don't. They want the government to discriminate on the basis of race. I don't. They want more money for teachers' unions. I want vouchers and freedom of choice in education. They want socialized medicine. I want market based reforms. They think the Constitution confers a right to abortion. I don't see it. Etc.

It is sad to think of our trolls eternally gnawing away at my brain in Hell, but that's just the way it is.

Mmm, Gagdad...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Pride Slide and the Shame Game

The last circle of Hell is reserved for the traitors, who are placed here "because betrayal is the central sin of the Christian tradition, represented by Judas, who betrayed Jesus" (Upton).

More generally, "the worst betrayal is to deny the truths of God and so set up a parody of them -- and this is also self-betrayal, which is why Judas must commit suicide" (ibid).

What motivates betrayal is pride, the cardinal sin. But underneath pride is shame. The pride of the pathological narcissist is really a preemptive defense against the experience of shame, and shame is a sort of attack on the self, projected into others.

Inappropriate pride results from dysregulated shame, i.e., shame that is either too overwhelming to endure, or which occurs in a self too fragile to endure it. Instead of tempering and tutoring pride, it traumatizes it.

Look at what happens in Genesis. Adam's promethean pride is immediately followed by his intolerable shame, which in turn provokes the first lie, so we can see how all of these things are linked.

Adam first pretends he is God, so that when the real God appears, he doesn't just revert back to himself -- a mere man -- but is revealed as the shameful "opposite" of God. It's a pretty big leap to instantaneously go from being a proud god to being ashamed of one's body!

As it so happens, I am coaching my son's Little League team, and Little League -- like everything else in our culture -- has become pathetically feminized since my own glory days as a sensationally adequate hurler. Obviously it is possible to go too far in the opposite direction, and to use sports as a vehicle to transmit shame to a child.

But we have overreacted to that danger by trying to arrange it so that the experience of shame is impossible. Importantly, this is not to protect the children -- who can handle the reality that some players are better than others -- but the parents who cannot tolerate their own vicarious shame.

Remember, shame itself is not a bad thing, only shame that is excessive (i.e., traumatic), on the one hand, or dysregulated, on the other. Shame serves the vital purpose of group harmony, as there is no one more dangerous than the hordes of Shameless with their absurdly inappropriate self esteem in tow. With no sense of shame, no behavior or political party is off limits.

Again, the ideal is to introduce shame in tolerable doses. Shame is even a sort of "divine instinct," in that a race of shameless humans could never be human. If you want to know why the culture of professional sports has deteriorated so much, it is because the players have become so shameless.

Schuon: "pride... is to overestimate oneself while underestimating others; it is the refusal to accept humiliation when the nature of things requires it; and it is ipso facto to take for a humiliation every attitude that simply reveals our limits."

And pride "destroys the virtues for two reasons: first of all because one takes them away from God, to whom they belong in reality, thus putting oneself -- like Lucifer -- in place of the Divine Source; and secondly because one attributes de facto a disproportionate value to a phenomenon which is necessarily relative" (ibid.). In other words, get over yourself.

Upton makes the important point that in this circle of Hell, "fame becomes shame."

But this is also true in the hereabove for anyone with three eyes to see. A normal person would be deeply creeped out for being known for anything other than moral, intellectual, or artistic excellence.

To be known for anything else is -- or should be -- humiliating. The only reason it isn't is again because of pride, which conceals the shame. For the properly right-side up person, the more famous he is, the more humble he should be. Ask yourself: is there anyone more humble than Christ? I didn't think so.

But in our culture, instead of teaching humility we teach self esteem, another cadword for pride. Why would one esteem the self, of all things? Do these people not even know what a human being is? Have they never cracked a history book? Are they ridiculous? Does it grow ungnosissed that Even if humility did not save us from hell, in any event it saves us from ridicule (Don Colacho)?

Yesterday Dennis Prager devoted an hour to the topic of how one produces children who are good. This is the central task of parenting in particular and culture in general.

However, one of the principles of the left (either implicit or explicit) is that man is basically good. That being the case, there is no reason to train a child to be good, since nature takes care of that. For the leftist, any child will turn out okay so long as he isn't exposed to dangerous conservative principles such as self-discipline, objective morality, and absolute truth.

This is hardly a gift to the child, but a callous deprivation, for it leaves him in a state of nature instead of helping him ascend to the properly human. One could hardly do more to invert our cosmic system of Christian jewishprudence.

Some righteous wimpslaps from the hand of Don Colacho:

--To educate man is to impede the “free expression of his personality.”
--The individual today rebels against immutable human nature so that he might refrain from amending his own correctable nature.
--The right to fail is an important right of man.
--Rejection troubles us and approval confuses us.

You're right, Virgil. Deep down, these celebrities are aren't such bigshots.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Unspeakable Truth and the Lower Limits of Language

As we converge upon the center of Hell, language begins to break down altogether, as is to be expected, for it is located at the greatest ontological distance from the Word. At the bottom of the cosmos, God -- the Word -- just isn't that into you. Literally.

This is a precise but inverse analogy of what occurs as we approach the One, which also sheds language like so much water off a duck's back.

One might say that language is allegheirically swallowed up in Hell but drawn into Heaven; the former is the ego shouting (•) into the infinite void Ø, while the latter is the I-AMmaculate Voidgin (O) shouting with joyous labor pains out of ʘ. The former is abØrtion, the latter c♀♂nception.

Thus, in neither case can the object of language be "contained" -- similar to how physics breaks down at both ends of the cosmos, at the subatomic and metacosmic, the nonlOcal head and the lØcal TOE. In between it works just fine -- or is at least adequate to the needs of terrestrial survival.

As we should all know by now, this was the Big Idea behind the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the bʘʘk.

For clearly, no language suffices to describe the state of affairs prior to cosmic manifestation, just as no description is adequate to convey what transcends language in the highest realm. Therefore, I had to invent a hyperdimensional language in order to stay one step ahead of the dictionary and to trick Gödel, who is always right on my tail.

Or, to put it another way, Coherence and obviousness are mutually exclusive (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

So even a poet as singular as Dante acknowledges the difficulty of describing his experience, the challenge of finding words Appropriate to describe that dismal pit / On which the other circles converge.

Dante goes on to say that I would press out the juice of my conception / More fully still: but since I have them not, / 'Tis with some fear I bring myself to speak. / The utmost depth of all the universe / Is not a theme befitting childish tongues.

O ye, condemned to utmost misery, / Where words can scarce suffice to tell your woe, / Better had ye been sheep or goats than men!


As Upton explains, "These realities are inexpressible like those of the supraformal planes of Paradise, but for the opposite reason."

It's a bit like trying to objectively describe the quantum world, which cannot be done, because the photons needed to observe it alter it. The order we bring to it is inseparable from the observer who orders it.

Thus, in order to describe his experience, Dante "must gloss over the true chaos of the reality he is encountering, which is why he fears he has failed to do justice to his subject" (Upton).

Here again, this is why I attempted -- however unsuccessfully -- to simultaneously evoke what I was describing in those two single ends of the Absurcular Book; in so doing, my only guide could be what was evoked in me, so there is no guarantee that it is evocative for others.

The paradox of Hell is that if we become what we behold, we can only lie about it. Language "sinks to the level of the chaos and darkness it is attempting to describe, and thus becomes unintelligible" (Upton).

Someone once said that Hell is a place were reason is absolutely impotent. Since language is the -- or an -- embodiment of Reason, we must somehow abandon language to enter Hell. Or, we are in Hell when reason and language fail us in a persecutory manner. There are many instances when the failure of language is a blessing.

Interestingly, Dante asks the Muses "to help him tell the story of Hell in such a way that the evil of it may be safely contained within his great poem, not let loose upon the world" (Upton).

Here again, this would represent a kind of inverse analogy of scripture. As the latter evokes and allows us to assimilate Light, truth, beauty, love and virtue, we can imagine a kind of diabolical scripture which could unwittingly "enter" and contaminate us.

Before you dismiss this as metaphorical, aren't we all concerned with what goes into us, and the effect it has upon the soul? Religious people are aware of this in a more or less direct way, whereas the irreligious tend to experience it in a displaced and dysfunctional manner -- for example, in their preoccupation with the body and with absurd threats to our health. It is difficult if not impossible to explain to such a person that I send my son to a religious school in order to avoid the deadly soul pollution of secular culture.

And what is political correctness but a weird caricature of spiritual purity?

To be a fisher of postmodern men, one must be aware of the fissure in postmodern man -- a fissure that results from the systematic abuse of language. And logocide always redounds to soulicide.


Say, how would you describe this place? I'm having a little difficulty finding le mot juste.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Attack of the Giant Mind Parasites

At last we enter the ninth and last circle of Hell. But if I've learned nothing else in this guided tour of the underworld, it's that you can't just tell someone to "go to hell" without specifying which part. This final circle is comprised of four rings, the first one being "the world of Giants or Titans."

That seems odd. San Francisco I can understand, but why Tennessee?

Upton says that these entities are what in Vedanta are called asuras. In this loose translation of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Aurobindo writes that

"The Asuric nature has too its wealth, its plenitude of force, but it is of a very different, a powerful and evil kind. Asuric men have no true knowledge of the way of action or the way of abstention, the fulfilling or the holding in of the nature. Truth is not in them, nor clean doing, nor faithful observance. They see naturally in the world nothing but a huge play of the satisfaction of self; theirs is a world with Desire for its cause and seed and governing force and law....

"The Asuric man becomes the centre or instrument of a fierce, Titanic, violent action, a power of destruction in the world, a fount of injury and evil. Arrogant, full of self-esteem and the drunkenness of their pride, these misguided souls delude themselves, persist in false and obstinate aims and pursue the fixed impure resolution of their longings. They imagine that desire and enjoyment are all the aim of life and in their inordinate and insatiable pursuit of it they are the prey of a devouring, a measurelessly unceasing care and thought and endeavour and anxiety till the moment of their death."

Other than that, they're great to have around.

Upton says that the Giants are "the archetype of repressed passions," but I think I would express it differently, since "repression" is a somewhat outmoded psychoanalytic concept. It is too linear and mechanistic to describe what really goes on in the unconscious.

Again, since the mind is intersubjective and object-related, the content of "repression" is really a quasi-autonomous subject I call a mind parasite. Because it is parasitic -- i.e., it cannot live without attaching to an external source of energy and sustenance -- it is related to oneself, and because it is intersubjective, it is always attached to something external as well, either "real" or projected. In other words, the mind parasite always seeks some kind of relationship, however dysfunctional.

Upton is correct, however, in noting that the Giant (or mind parasite) represents "a falsity through which the quality of unique personhood is almost entirely destroyed."

Importantly, we are speaking here of extreme cases -- one might say cases in which the mind parasite has succeeded in displacing the central self. This can and does frequently happen, whereby the true self becomes a persecutory satellite in orbit around the mind parasite, rather than vice versa.

For example, a truly toxic narcissist has replaced his damaged true self with an inflated and imaginary false one. The true self is not so much "repressed" as split off, denied, and projected.

But unlike a mind parasite, the true self cannot be eliminated, since it is not only real, but the ground and locus of reality within the self. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the false self knows that it has no underlying reality, no ground of being. It is only as real as the ephemeral circumstances of the narcissist, whose life revolves around maintaining the illusion of superiority, entitlement, giftedness, etc.

In many ways, Christianity as such is an innoculation against such a malevolent psychic transmutation. A Christian knows full well what he is in the absence of God, which is to say, nothing (the bad kind). Don Colacho, in ascending severity:

--There are two kinds of men: those who believe in original sin and idiots.
--Nobody will ever induce me to absolve human nature, because I know myself.
--May he tremble who sees himself as innocent.
--Vulgarity consists in striving to be what we are not.
--In order to challenge God, man puffs up his emptiness.
--The Antichrist is, probably, man.

Now, paradoxically -- given what we just said above about the intersubjective nature of mind parasites -- "The Giants are impersonal falsity and oppression; Satan himself is both personal and impersonal."

What this means is that the ultimate mind parasite would not be a person per se, but in the shape of a person -- a giant facsimian or titan, so to spook. Boo!

Upton notes that they live in a realm that is less than night and less than day (XXXI: 10). What could this mean? Up here, what is "less than day" converges upon night (twilight), and what is less than night converges on the day. Psychologically these refer to the hypnogogic (the descent into sleep) and hypnopompic (the ascent out of sleep).

But the "less than night" is not the absence of Light, but what we might call "minus Light," a kind of counterfeit parody of illumination. It is a "chaotic murk," perhaps the state of the world prior to the Creator's first act of division and separation: The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. This darkness is very different from the night that only comes into being on the First Day, with the creation of Light.

In the case of the minus Light, "the cyclical form of night and day has broken down" (Upton). It is endless night, for the day never comes. As they say, it is always darkest right before it goes pitch black.

Night is also death, so the entities here are deprived of the mercy of death's transformation. Life and death share the rhythmicity of night and day, dissolution and rebirth, crucifixion and resurrection, so no growth is possible.

One of the Giants we encounter is none other than Nimrod, the architect of the Tower of Babel. In a comment on the previous post, I mentioned that Babel is the "minus Pentecost," in that "The former -- which is analogous to multiculturalism and deconstruction -- horizontalizes the One into numberless fragments of speech, while the latter projects the One into diverse tongues."

Upton is clearly on the same page, writing that "Nimrod, in his speech, is like a postmodern philosopher: one who, in an attempt to rise above all languages and escape the limits of meaning, has in fact sunk below them, into the incoherent." Furthermore, like a parasite, this perversion "saps the intelligence of whoever tries to understand it."

Conversely, "The Apostles' ability to speak in many tongues on Pentecost is thus the exact opposite of the confusion of tongues, and also its redemption." And "as the confusion of tongues divides, so Christ the Word unites" (ibid. you adieu).

It is One Cosmos Under God, and therefore, Word.

Giant fans in the right field bleachers, looking out over McCovey Cove.

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.