And Why Do We Fall, B'atman? So We Might Learn to Pick Ourselves Up
Interesting night. What began as a minor disturbance in the force yesterday morning, evolved into a full-blown cold just at bedtime. As such, I was absolutely unable to sleep, and eventually gave up trying. I got up at around 3:30, and have now been awake for, let's see -- almost 24 hours.
At the moment I feel pretty good, but you know how that goes. At some point today there's gonna be a crash.
In any event, with 1,800 posts nestled away in the knowa's arkive, why put any additional strain on the already taxed Gagdad pneumasomatic system? Why not just remumble a little gnosissed and long fleabitten piece of bloggerel from five years ago?
I don't know about you, but these old & moldies are always new to me, plus reposting them gives me the opportunity to entertain second thoughts about those rough first drafts of cosmic history, and determine if they need to be brought up to standards of the Current Truth which never changes.
Also, speaking of memoirs of the future, it occurred to me that perhaps it's time for another guided tour around the impossibly rich world of Meditations on the Tarot. To my knowledge it remains the best book on orthoparadoxical Christian esoterism, and in many ways, it is what started the whole "Raccoon craze" that swept the nation when I first began blogging six years ago. Many new readers have come on board the cosmic bus since then, so perhaps this would be a useful service.
On the other hand, I may regret having brought it up after I get some sleep.
Another possible direction I've been toying with is a series of posts on pure metaphysics, showing how everything fits together with a series of undeniable axioms that harmelodically build upon and interlock with one another, and which are reflected in the implicit metaphysic of revelation.
Naturally I wouldn't rely upon Schuon -- except perhaps to use his ideas for all they're worth -- but I would like to rethink them through from the ground up (or top down) and spread some of my special vertilizer on these seeds. One major difference is that Schuon believed Vedanta to be the "universal metaphysic," but I respectfully disagree. Rather, I believe it is found in the Judeo-Christian stream, of which other religions are partial reflections, in large part because I believe the Trinity to be "more absolute" than any monad.
Anyway, here is your old post, updated and revised. If necessary. Let's call it, I don't know... how about The Lure of Nothingness:
As we have discussed on many occasions, the current divide between left and right, between illiberal leftism and the classic American liberalism of the Fathers, mirrors an ontological divide that goes back to the very Origin and Center of the cosmos.
Looked at in one way, this Origin and Center are situated in the distant (horizontal) past, where history blurs into myth. However, looked at from an other angle -- the vertical -- they can only be situated in the now, since the now is precisely where eternity bisects time, so to speak. Mainly through us.
Human beings are fallen creatures in a fallen world. This concept is thoroughly misunderstood by the secularized mind, perhaps owing to their formidable shallowness and invincible idiocy.
In fact, “misunderstood” is perhaps not a strong enough word, because it presumes that one may understand this principle from the outside. However, as is true of all important metaphysical ideas that are couched in religious language, they can only be comprehended from the inside. One must first be in a religious world to know the world from which religion arises. Otherwise you are somewhat like a music critic who just happens to be deaf.
For similar reasons, most people believe one must first somehow decide whether or not God exists before joining in with the religious fun, but the opposite is true. One becomes religious so as to make God present in one’s life.
Whether or not God exists is a separate issue. Besides, if he doesn't exist, only he knows it. The important point is to make him present and real, and thus inhabit the space where our true humanness emerges. Anything short of this makes one merely human, which is necessarily to say less than human, in the sense that a person who fails to transcend himself sinks beneath himself.
For man alone, a merely "natural" existence is completely unnatural and more than a little pathetic. This is something everyone knows, since knowledge as such depends upon this prior transcendence. The tenured can deny it, but in so doing they affirm it. Way it is.
Once upon a timeless -- we don't have to reify the details -- human consciousness "fell" from one state to another. It is not necessarily a matter of assigning blame, because in order for there to be a cosmos at all -- a manifestivus for the rest of us -- there must in some sense be a "fall," for to say “manifestation” is to say “other than the God,” is to say “relative,” is to say “alienation,” death, toil, and trouble. And here we are.
(It seems to me that in the Christian West they emphasize more the volitional component -- and therefore sin -- whereas in the East they focus more on the inevitability; I think there is room for both, i.e., for both Easter and Christmas, Atonement/Resurrection and Incarnation.)
So we make the vertical leap from up to down and inside out, without which there could not be a sensible cosmos. We exchange essence for existence and plunge headlong into this veil of tears, the cosmic nothing. The link with the invisible world is broken, and a visible world fills the void. Bang! What a strange, eery, beautiful place!
Having said that....
“We must distrust the fascination abysses can exert over us; it is in the nature of cosmic impasses to seduce and play the vampire; the current of forms does not want us to escape its hold. Forms can be snares just as they can be symbols and keys; beauty can chain us to forms just as it can be a door to the non-formal” (Schuon).
The “cosmic leftism” of which Petey, the merciful, the compassionate, the gaseous, speaks, is the fascination of the abyss. In other worlds, it is an extension or prolongation of the fall as a solution to the fall. Should we venture down this path, we become just like a human, only worse.
If we can only keep falling, then perhaps we will “break on through” to the other side, perfect mankind, create heaven on earth, and win the human race. Thus, on the deepest cosmic level, our cultural divide reflects a much larger choice: reverse the fall, or keep on plunging? Or, one could say: or O or ø. Don't kid yourself. It really is that simple and that stark: God or nothing. Creation or Nihilism. Obama or anyone.
Leftists are activists. And they are socially aware. And they are committed. But their frenetic activity is a substitute for the calm and expansiveness of Being. Theirs is “the restless and disappointing turmoil of superfluous things” (Schuon); their self-styled "social awareness" is a poor substitute for vertical awareness; and their "commitment" is an ersatz replacement for faith -- faith in a false absolute that necessarily elevates man to god, for in this provincial view there can be nothing higher than the human beastling. And soon enough, nothing lower.
This is why leftism generates such emotionality in its adherents -- it is religious emotion in the absence of religion. Just as it is almost impossible to treat alcoholism in the absence of a spiritual awakening, I don't see how someone could truly recover from the left without the assistance of nonlocal operators. At the very least, one must become aware of the deeper reality behind the play of appearances, of which the human world is a kind of reflection herebelow.
This plunge of allegiance to the fog represents a hypnotic capitulation to a kind of entropic pull that is always present in humans. In an analogy I have used many times with patients, it is as if we have one "force" that pushes -- or pulls -- us into the future, into novelty, growth, change, and development; and a "counter-force" that runs in the opposite direction, toward stasis, fear of change, regression to safety, etc.
One sees this quite vividly in the developing child, since every developmental stage is fraught with ambivalence: become more independent? Yes! Oops. Where's mommy! There is this constant push for individuation and autonomy, alternating with separation anxiety and abandonment depression.
The reversal of the cosmic fall cannot be achieved, much less imposed, collectively. Rather, it can only be accompliced one assoul at a time through metanoia, repentance, or “turning around,” toward the Light of our transpersonal sun and source.
Secularism begins and therefore ends with the material world. Being that the material world is a shifting and transitory world, one can only derive a shifting and transitory metaphysic from its study. This is by no means to devalue science, only to not confuse it with metaphysics.
Furthermore, with this inversion, one will necessarily confuse the Principle with its manifestation. One will have to adhere, for example, to a bizarre metaphysic that permits a wholly accidental and contingent mind to know absolutely.
Here is what we have heard from the wise. In “reality,” the cosmos may be thought of as a kind of message from God to Himself by Himself, so long as one doesn't take the analogy too far.
But this should by no means be taken as an excuse for pantheism or narcissism, since the message is nonetheless real. For while God is both Alpha and Omega, sender and recipient, the message is deployed in time, and time is a mode of Eternity. We have received -- or assimilated -- the good news of the message when we have achieved our end.
Which is to say, beginning. A flesh start. Perpetually born and borne again, on the river of time to the ocean of eternity. Existence renewed. Been here before. First time. Older than Abraham, young as a babe's I-AM. The circle unbroken by and by.
The Son of God became man so that man might become God. --Saint Athanasius