Friday, September 23, 2011

Why Give an Enema to a Dead Atheist?

My favorite chapter so far in Yoga and the Jesus Prayer is on Symeon the New Theologian, who seems to be far better known in the east than by Catholics and Protestants.

Although Symeon lived around the time of Y1K, his theology still strikes me as new and improved. He is responsible for drawing the critical distinction between God's essence and energies, only the latter of which are communicated to, and accessible by, human beings.

And when you think about it, this is no different than it is for any other "person," for no matter how close one is to another, one can never directly know their essence, only its appearance and effects.

Naturally we don't think about this when it is occurring, but meaningful speech, for example, involves the transformation of one's essence into air vibrations projected from the respiratory system, causing resonance in some tiny bones located in two holes in another person's head, in the hope that the vibrations will be reassembled into a facsimile of the original "thought," and all it implies.

It's rather remarkable that it works at all, although we generally treat it as exceptional when someone doesn't understand. That our trolls do not understand us is clear enough. But why should they? My energies are reassembled in their heads into something that doesn't resemble the original experience -- O -- with which they proceed to "disagree," and even "attack." I'm not sure how this differs from masturbation.

Importantly, even when successful communication occurs, it doesn't mean that there has been any "mixture" of essences. Thus, as it pertains to God, or O, Symeon provides a model in which there is "a true participation in the divine nature, yet without mixture or union of essences" (Matus). You are still you and God is still God, and yet, there is an intimate communion. Indeed, communion is only possible in a context of difference: two is only possible because of One.

Having said that, it is also true that divine knowledge couldn't be communicated at all in the absence of something inside us that "awaits" and is conformed to it, so to speak. To use a horizontal analogy, the infant is born "awaiting" the breast; there exists a preconception of its later fulfillment by experience. The same is true of any archetype. We are not "blank slates," but come into the world ready to learn, but not just anything.

I might add that one of the insurmountable problems of leftism is that it not only denies our archetypal nature, but tries to superimpose a psychic scaffolding of its own pseudo-archetypes and "values."

Nowhere was this more obvious than in the French Revolution, but now they try to do the same thing in slightly less clumsy ways. In France they abolished the old holy-days and created new ones. They also invented a new calendar that began in 1789, consciously suggesting that nothing prior to that was of any value, but unconsciously equating the Incarnation and the Revolution: man is now God, rather than vice versa.

Regarding our "pre-knowledge" of God, Schuon says that it is analogous to "a divine seed in the heart," with the result that our thoughts are "only very faint glimmers from it." These preconceptual seeds are "an imprint of the divine Light on human darkness," which is why we may "understand" revelation and scripture, precisely.

In the absence of the divine seed, theology -- and the experiences it is anchored in -- would be just as absurd as cognitively crippled atheists make it out to be.

Which is why, in the words of Schuon, "To prove the Absolute is, according to the intellectual conditions of the environment, either the easiest or the most difficult of things."

To be sure, not all atheists are clinically autistic, for there is usually a transparent element of "willfulness" rooted in ambivalence toward someone from the past (i.e., an internal object), and which causes them to narcissistically overvalue the ephemeral cognitive flatulence of a monkey brain that can have no value whatsoever in the absence of the absolute they deny up front. This is why talking to them is so often like trying to put a round peg into an assoul.

Remember what was said above about the transformation of experience to thought, to sound vibrations, and eventually back to thought and experience. Schuon writes that certain men of a "rationalizing disposition are ever haunted by thoughts" (emphasis mine).

Such a person is naturally plagued and even defined by doubt, since there is no thought that cannot be contradicted by another. Thus, these cynics do not perceive "the realities of which [traditional ] doctrines treat" and end up objectivizing "their own limitations," at which point they are granted tenure. And then they accuse us of worshipping a god we have created!

But in reality, "a metaphysical doctrine is the incarnation in the mind of a universal truth." Right? If that weren't the case, then there would be no way to prove anything. Which is why, prior to actualizing this or that seed, a kind of cultivation of the soil is necessary; one must "awaken the intellectual faculty in oneself," and not just superimpose a man-made formulation upon realities that are not explained by, but rather, explain, reason itself.

Note also what becomes of those seeds that are planted only by man. If we are lucky, they come to nothing, or we can pull their shoots from our garden before they take over. These are no more "natural" than some unwanted plant that takes over a field that has been over-cultivated. Soon the field is filled with weeds that are not indigenous to the soil.

This is what the leftist educational establishment does to the fertile souls of innocent children, and it is a perfectly wicked thing to do. It is no wonder they embrace the enfeebled philosophies they do, for their only hope is that God is not just. (Today's example.)

Back to St. Symeon. What makes him so provocative is that he is not dealing in concepts but in experience. While he naturally must deploy symbols to convey the experience, one must transform the symbols back to experience, not just thought per se. This is what makes him the "new theologian," since the "old theologian" deals in concepts but not the experience beneath them. Thus, there are plenty of old theologians walking around. Probably most theologians are of that type, at least as far as I can tell.

Schuon said another helpful thing regarding this problem. That is, "to live in thoughts is continually to replace one set of concepts by another." As a result, these concepts "are worn threadbare without any possibility of their being replaced, on this level, by something better."

This is another way of saying that they become saturated without ever even "fulfilling" us. It is like filling up on some space-filling but nutritionally empty food.

Conversely, the experiential and trans-conceptual food of divine revelation is both nutritious and filling, but not only that. It is also generative, radiant, and compellingly alive. But how could one ever transmit this "aliveness" via sound vibrations, especially if the soul on the other end is more or less "dead" by cluelesside?

Reminds me of the only joke my Jewish bubby-in-law, Hannah, ever told. It had to do with an argument over giving an enema to a dead man. I just remember the punchline: "It can't hurt."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Christian Yoga and How to Keep Your Camel Happy

Might be time for a change of subject. What began as a three hour tour of Heaven and Earth has drifted into a desert isle of 98 recycled episodes.

At this point, my original impetus is so far back in my seerview mirror -- plus I ventured into so many provocative snidetrips -- that I've lost the plot. So, just read the book! I really enjoyed it, and it obviously provided much thought for food. (My site meter informs me that Spengler will be reviewing it in the upcoming issue of First Things. Looking forward to his take.)

In the process of thinking about this millennium business -- and how to defend against it -- I was directed by Petey to an obscure book I had read many years ago, but didn't get much out of at the time. It has the provocative title, Yoga and the Jesus Prayer. Originally published in back in 1984, it seems that it has been republished by a company called -- no surprise -- O Books.

Hmm. I wonder what else they've published? Ah, here.

First of all, why "O"? "O is a symbol of the world, of oneness and unity; this eye represents knowledge and insight." O, I get it!

Here are some of their titles: Reality Transurfing. Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness. How to Cheer Up a Capricorn. 7 Aha's of Highly Enlightened Souls. 101 Helpful Illusions. The Bible in Limerick Verse. The Boring Bible Series. Christianity in 10 Minutes.

And of course, the all time classic, A Clean Camel is a Happy Camel.

Now, why did I think this book might have something to do with the millennium? Well, because Judaism, Christianity, and certain types of yoga maintain the correct balance, or complementarity, between the millennium, or eschaton, and the now. All millennial movements (i.e., the bad ones described by Landes) essentially try to -- in Voegelin's famous formulation -- immanetize the eschaton:

"In political theory and theology, to immanentize the eschaton means trying to bring about the eschaton (the final, heaven-like stage of history) in the immanent world. It has been used by conservative critics, foremost William F. Buckley, as a pejorative reference to certain utopian projects, such as socialism, communism and transhumanism. In all these contexts it means "trying to make that which belongs to the afterlife happen here and now (on Earth)" or "trying to create heaven here on Earth."

Here is a typical example plucked at random, spouted a few years ago by some obscure community agitator:

"I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment -- this was the time -- when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals."

Despite the patent absurdity of such an impossibility, this type of thinking never goes out of fascism. You might think that modern Americans -- cynical journalists, jaded baby boomers who learned not to trust authority, people with advanced degrees from our finest educational institutions -- are too sophisticated to fall for such nonsense, but you ignore it at your peril.

Mark my words: some day, an obscure messianic figure will emerge as if from "nowhere" and seduce the left in just this manner, with catastrophic consequences to our economy, our national security, and our very future.

So anyway, I'm rereading Yoga and the Jesus Prayer, and this time I'm getting something out of it. What most surprises me is how closely it conforms to another obscure book called One Cosmos under God: The Unification of Matter, Life, Mind and Spirit, which is in many ways an attempt to cast yoga in Christian terms, except without saying so, i.e., keeping it all unsaturated through the use of empty but "pre-structured" categories awaiting fulfillment or realization.

Matus provides the key to our whole innerprize on p. 1, describing tantric yoga as a spiritual approach affirming "that matter and the body and the senses have deep spiritual value and can be seen as a providential means of spiritual transformation."

Tantric yoga "takes humanity as it is: incarnate, worldly, and temporal. It offers a goal which is not liberation from the human condition but the realization of freedom in time, the world, and the flesh" (you might say that "the Truth will set you free").

In this abstract definition, Both Judaism and Christianity would indeed be forms of "tantric yoga," since the emphasis is on transformation in this world, not escape (or ascent) into a higher one. The latter idea is especially foreign to Judaism, hence its focus on the joys of family, on sensual pleasure, and on the glory of wisdom.

But the same principle obviously defines Christianity (properly understood), since its irreducible essence is Trinity and Incarnation, or relationship and embodiment. It is ultimately a transcendence-in-immanence, and therefore an immanence-in-transcendence. For example, as Matus describes it,

"All experience points beyond the dichotomies of self and other, of subject and object, because it really unites the knower to the known and to the universe which encompasses them both."

Furthermore, "Faith is a way of knowing which points beyond the world, because it is real, personal contact with the Creator." It is a "kind of experience" whereby we become aware of the infusion of "a grace which transforms the believer's mind, heart, and senses" thus revealing "the personal presence of the living God."

So any act of knowing, which seems to result from a prior division of the world in two -- subject and object -- is in reality the revelation of One; or actually, one-in-three, i.e., knower-known-knowledge (just as love is always lover-beloved-and the exchange of love in between).

In the One Cosmos book, the author uses the symbol (↓) as an empty placeholder for experience of the grace. Thus, the word "grace" literally means nothing until it is experienced, i.e., until (↓) accumulates experiential content.

The grace is "pure," at least until it comes into contact with human beastlings, which the author symbolizes (•). As described by Matus, in "Christian experience, the consciousness of the believer's transformation by grace needs to be constantly purified. This process of purification involves the dialectic of alternating states, of ups and downs," of "presence" followed by "absence" and back again.

Hello again, Noumenon!

Matus is in full communion with Raccoon principles in noting that a symbol, as we understand it (i.e., as an empty pneumaticon), "reflects and anticipates the process of growth toward final perfection, both individual and collective."

It also reflects "the intrinsic bipolarity of human nature and the challenge of our existence, between conceptual and non-conceptual knowing, between our being-in-the-world and our ontological tension toward God." Note that this necessary tension is precisely what millennial movements deny.

Now, there isn't actually just the One-way movement of (↓). Rather, there is always, or should be, a circular, or spiraling, movement of (↓↑). Thus, in tantrism the point is "to pass from the gross to the subtle, but then to permeate the gross with the value and meaning of the subtle" (Matus, emphasis mine).

And with that, I'd better stop for now. Long day of work ahead. My camel is filthy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

All Men are Created Equally Racist

As mentioned yesterday, the group -- the interior collective -- shouldn't be thought of as a "location," but rather, a conception. It is only when -- and because -- everyone has the same group conception that we don't see it. It's analogous to, say, an accent. We don't notice our own, so long as we live in a region in which everyone has the same one (although I really don't have one).

Furthermore, it might even be said that the group is a "part" of the individual's functioning, as is, somewhat paradoxically, the "individual." Again, there is always this dynamic complementarity of group <--> individual taking place, out of which our sense of self emerges.

Think of the so-called Palestinians, who claim to want a "state." But they've had a remarkably stable one for 63 years. It is a state of mind that makes them one of the most depraved cultures on the planet, since it is centered around everything that is wrong with human beings: bigotry, hatred, envy, child abuse, misogyny, scapegoating, systematic lying, sacrificial violence, etc.

The Palestinians have exactly the state which they and other Arabs wish them to have. Now they want the world to officially recognize this state of mind by drawing external boundaries around it, presumably on the pretext that this nasty state of cultural mind results from a lack of said boundaries.

Which is more than a little condescending, because for the Palestinians, it is not a nasty, much less dysfunctional, state of mind. After all, doesn't everyone want to exterminate the Jews? The Palestinians believe -- and have every right to do so, given the amount of foreign aid that flows their way -- that "we just have the balls to actually do what everyone else is only thinking."

Hitler felt the same way -- that he was doing the world a huge favor -- at great inconvenience I might add, since genocide can be a messy and thankless job. Look at the poor Turks. Not only does no one thank them for the Armenian genocide, but they have to pretend it never happened. Is the world upside-down?

Ironically, I've been reading Jaffa's classic works on Lincoln, who, at risk of putting words in his mouth, believed that there was only one type of government worth creating and fighting for, since its principles were universal. Any other type of state is just one of the many masks of tyranny, so why should Americans, of all people, grant it any legitimacy? To paraphrase Tolstoy, just governments are all alike; every unjust government is unjust in its own way.

The whole thing reminds me of the words of young Nelson on the Simpsons, whose mother is an alcoholic pole dancer: "I gotta get home. My mom gets upset if she wakes up and no one's there to tell her where she is. Heh.... typical mom."

"I gotta get to the UN and vote on Palestinian statehood. They'll go all intifada on us and start blowing up their kids if we don't give them a state. Heh... typical culture."

Jaffa shows that Lincoln -- his homespun demeanor to the contrary notwithstanding -- spent his life thinking long and hard about just this subject -- almost as if he were being prepared for the messianic (this time in the real sense) task before him, which is to say, a new birth of freedom, only this time truly universal. In one sense, our Fathers (as he always called them) did all of the heavy lifting, so it was only for subsequent generations to transmit it intact to the next.

But everyone knew that there was something at the heart of the matter -- a snake in the garden, a rot at the foundation, a stark internal contradiction -- that threatened to delegitimize the whole noble experiment. For if one man has the intrinsic right to enslave another man, then no man is free, and self-government is a chimera.

Rather, the only consistent principle in which self-rule may be grounded is: all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator -- not by any state, and certainly not any culture -- with certain unalienable rights. This principle cannot be contingent or accidental. Rather, it must be essential, i.e., "self-evident."

And please note that "self-evident" doesn't only pertain to material or efficient causes located in the "past," but to final and ontological causes located both in the future and in the upper vertical.

What I mean by this is that the self-evidence of the proposition only becomes fully clear by virtue of believing and living it. As such, it is very much analogous to faith, which must be similarly lived in order to yield its harvest.

Was that clear? Perhaps not. What it means is that there is a manner in which man was meant to live, and in the absence of which he cannot thrive. It is like saying, "we hold this truth to be self-evident, that babies need maternal love in order to thrive." "But how do you know that? Show me the scientific study that proves there's such a thing as 'love.'"

Well, just see what happens if you deprive the child of this vital substance. He will be alive, but not really. He'll still be human, but only technically, in the sense that he will have been blocked from becoming what he should have. Likewise, it is partly because America was grounded in human truth that it became the most prosperous, powerful, and decent nation in history.

For Lincoln, the above-noted principle embodied in the Declaration is "an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times"; and in order to be secure from those who would deny it, it "must be grounded in a reality that is not itself timebound" (Jaffa). How much political mischief could be avoided if only members of both parties acknowledged this American creed, our "political religion," that was once held sacred by all citizens!

Which brings up a critical point regarding the left's constant refrain that we must seek "compromise," which essentially means that we must not only acknowledge their principles as valid, but respect and ultimately cave into them.

Yes, they are absolutely correct that politics is the art of compromise. But on policies, not on principles. If we cannot agree on the same principles, then compromise is actually impossible.

For example, what is the compromise position between "Israel has a right to exist" and "Israel must be purged of every single Jewish man, woman and child"? What, just exterminate some Jews?

Likewise, what is the compromise position between "all men are created equal" and "some men are created equal," or "all men are somewhat equal," or "the state shall determine who is equal"? Answer: there isn't one. Hence, war.

Just as we have been involved in a war of Jihad for 60 years (great book) without acknowledging it, so too have we been involved in an interior war that is once again striking at the heart of our political religion and tearing us in two. This began in the open latrine of academia, seeped into the streams of the MSM, polluted the groundwater of public education, and now flows from every faucet of culture.

"[I]n our time, historicism and its offspring nihilism have continued to dominate the blind mice of academic discourse." That is to say, "in denying the possibility of moral and political principles that transcend time, historicism denies the possibility of rational judgment of men and events within historic time" (Jaffa).

Do you see why? Because there is no objective standard with which to judge. Who are you to say that Israeli culture is superior to Arab culture? What, are you a racist?

Truly, we are well past the point of absurdity when to affirm that "all men are created equal" is to admit to racism.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why are Liberals Out of their Minds?

The child's inner life and interaction with the environment are repeated in groups and form a conceptual model for a process in which the group forms a cohesive entity, defines boundary conditions and roles, and copes with new issues of power, task and intimacy.

So say the authors of Object Relations, The Self and the Group. Our purpose here is to see if the model described therein helps to account for the otherwise inexplicably irrational millennial beliefs, discourse, and behavior we have been discussing in recent posts.

Although we take it for granted, the human group is a very mysterious thing, since it mostly exists -- and must first exist -- in the mind of the group member, in the subject.

The first group -- the group into which we are all initiated -- is the mother-infant dyad. As we have said before, this is more of a biological category, certainly for all other animals. But for human beings, it takes on an entirely different meaning and significance, based upon what happens later, as we develop (which continues -- or should continue -- for the rest of our lives).

The mother-infant group must be viewed in a complementary fashion, as a kind of oneness-in-twoness and twoness-in-oneness. From the subjective at-one-ment of life in the womb -- warm, dark, silent (except for the mother's voice and beating heart), and free of want, i.e., desire -- the baby is suddenly plunged into a new existence with which it must cope and to which it must adapt.

Thus, the (external) maternal environment necessarily partakes of the existential categories of prenatal existence, and much of the mother's task involves easing the shock of the transition. This is something mothers instinctively know how to do, unless the species wisdom has been maimed by graduate school or feminist ideology.

The point is, from the perspective of the infant -- and this becomes obvious when you think about it -- the existence of Two comes as the shock of a lifetime. Indeed, many of us never recover. Many patients prefer the prior oneness, and therefore shun deep relationships and draw back from intimacy.

Others, for various reasons, are terrified by the devouring maternal oneness in their developmental rear-view mirror, and compulsively seek others to whom they may "adhere" in an immature manner.

For Ashbach and Schermer, "groups, in their evolution, embody and recapitulate the symbiosis/separation-individuation process" outlined by Margaret Mahler. This latter theory "asserts that mentation is established in interaction with significant others, so that to think and to experience is also to participate in a transactional situation."

For example, at this very moment, I am aware of thinking, which is to say, con-versing ("flowing-together") with an Other. There is a dynamic trialectic taking place, between a kind of ground, or deep Subject (Father), I (the subject, Son) and anOther, a sympathetic listener who is trying to understand and to whom I am trying to explain (Holy Spirit). In the end, I am all three of these positions in a mutual indwelling, undivided and unmixed.

Again, it is somewhat difficult for human beings to recognize group dynamics, since there is no human being in the absence of the group. Truly, "groupishness" is the water in which we swim. Yes, in the modern west we emphasize and prize our individuality (roughly half of us, anyway), but this can conceal the extent to which the individual is only made possible by virtue of a specific type of group.

The first distinction we must make is between the "interior" and "exterior" collective, something helpfully outlined in Wilber's Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. An exterior collective is analogous to a group we can draw an external boundary around.

For example, I am a resident of California -- a "Californian" -- although it doesn't mean much to me. It is not something I identify with on any personal, interior level. Frankly. I'd prefer to be in a state that isn't in the process of being destroyed by the left.

This is very much in contrast to, say, the Founders, most of whom had a primary identification with their state, not with the nation they were attempting to forge. Indeed, for them, "nation" was something of a curse word. Most of them wanted an exterior confederation, but thanks to far-sighted visionaries such as Hamilton, we indeed ended up with a nation. Although it took a Civil War to seal the deal.

So, I am a member of a number of exterior collectives that mean little to me. However, one of the intrinsic intellectual pathologies of the left is the ceaseless effort to place us into various group categories with which we do not -- or should not -- identify. For the left, one cannot simply be a member of the human group. Rather, one must be black, or homosexual, or female, or Latina, or wealthy -- these are all exterior categories that cement division and sow disharmony.

Just like individuals, groups clearly exist along a developmental continuum, which is one of the main reasons why the left's forced categories are so useless if not harmful. For example, a person's race or sexual orientation tells us nothing meaningful about a person. What is meaningful are his values.

But for the leftist, to have certain values means that one must be ejected from the group. Therefore, a Clarence Thomas "doesn't think like a black man" and a Sarah Palin has rejected her womanhood. This is a very primitive form of group dynamics, more similar to kinship structures, in which roles are strictly defined and individuality is forbidden.

A key principle is that human beings are open systems. This is obviously the case on the level of biology, for life is impossible in the absence of a continuous exchange of energy and information with the environment.

But it is equally true on the psychological (embodying emotionality and conventional intellect) and spiritual levels. It is specifically because human beings are open systems that such psychological processes as projection are possible.

In other words, projection has become a universally recognized phenomenon, but it can only occur because on a deeper level we are connected to the other into whom we project. This becomes rather transparent when a liberal projects various psychic content into the fantasied "conservative" who only exists only in the liberal's head, but is perceived to be "outside."

Consider the ravings of these selected koslings, and ask yourself: where exactly are the demons who are persecuting them?

"[T]he Republican Party [is an] awful group of neo-facist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, plutocratic, theocratic, sexist, oligarchic, neo-liberal, Orwellians that deserve all the bad things that come/are coming/ and have come previously to them in the world.

"[T]he [C]onstitution... is that peace [sic] of paper Conservative fascists wave at you when they are taking your Democracy away from you...

"Words like tyranny, spending, taxes, regulation, socialism and many others have been rendered meaningless over decades of conservative fascist propaganda in an effort to make the basic use and methods of democracy seem evil...

"The idea of small government and limited government is an attack on Democracy...

"[T]he crowd at the the Reagan Library -- a library dedicated to legacy of yet another American tyrant -- [stood] in applause when Rick Perry’s murderous toll was brought into question. From the Reagan era at least, the GOP has garnered voters by being the 'strong' party -- of course, its strength comes from attacking the most vulnerable among us. Blacks, gays, women, Muslims -- anyone that a typical GOP voter can rise above by squashing their humanity, they’ll do it... In fact, you could say it’s their only real draw as a party -- that someone, somewhere, isn’t worth as much as you...

"The current crop of Republican congressmen seem to look to the McCarthy era as the high point of government, and seem to spend every waking moment deciding how best to use their congressional positions to propagandize against, and demonize, any group or individual that crosses his path. Gay people, brown people, liberals, scary invisible communists that hide under your bed and come out at night to rearrange the eggs in your refrigerator...

"Richard Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew pioneered the tactic of teaching people to fear and hate 'Others.' Reagan refined and vastly improved it...

"Many learned to close their eyes to hard facts and to cast blame for problems on scapegoats... Reagan and Republican strategists knew that low-information voters are famous for their mental compartmentalization. They are unable to get at the root of their economic woes and prefer to center their anger on groups that do no harm at all: gays, immigrants, African-Americans, liberals, Muslims, environmentalists, and advocates of biological evolution..."


Now, just what is going on here? Since I am a member of the group they are describing, I can assure them that their perceptions are not just inaccurate but probably delusional (that is, if they cannot be easily corrected by more accurate information). Indeed, why don't they just ask a conservative what he believes? Wouldn't that be easier?

This is what I do with liberals. I hope I never mischaracterize them in the florid manner they do us (unless for comedic purposes). If I am not mistaken -- and please correct me if I am wrong -- liberals are in favor of bigger government and more spending, more regulation, higher taxes, public employee unions, multiculturalism, reducing the defense budget, illegal immigration, a banishment of religion to the margins of society, and any number of additional positions with which I disagree. I feel no need to project primitive mental content into them, in the manner of the liberals quoted above. It's enough for me that their ideas are wrong. There is no need to go beyond that, and shoot up a corpse on the pretext that it is attacking me.

Again: what is going on in the head of the liberal who lives with these elaborate fantasies of persecution and oppression? Although it can't be pleasant to have one's mind colonized by such malevolent entities, on another level, it must provide a kind of self-soothing.

In other words, let us stipulate that these liberals are not lying about their experience and their perceptions. Let us imagine two subjects; or, better yet, a subject -- the liberal -- and a group-container, i.e., conservatives, with a "space" in between (what is called the "transitional space").

All of the real action takes place in this transitional space. It is analogous to the space referenced above, between I and the Other with whom I wish to have an encounter of Truth. Or, imagine a love relationship. Is the love only in the lover? Or the beloved? No, it takes place in between, in a thousand little ways that externalize and actualize the love. This space is actually co-created by the two lovers.

But in the case of the liberals referenced above, there is no co-creation going on. There is quite literally no input from my end. Importantly, this goes back to what I said about open systems: while the liberal no doubt believes he is an open system in contact with reality, he is in fact only in contact with his own projected violence, hatred, oppression, and tyranny.

The next step -- assuming the liberal in question is capable of introspection and self-criticism -- is to ask why? Why am I doing this, and what does it mean, both in general and with regard to my particular fantasies?

Please note that some conservatives engage in this process, but not many mainstream ones. I am aware that there exists a "right wing fever swamp." Suffice it to say, I do not relate to these people, and as far as I know, they wield little influence over the movement.

For example, one of these sad cases has suggested that bin Laden was already dead before the SEALS found him, and that the later helicopter crash was actually a hit job by the Obama administration. This is a mirror image of leftists who suggested that Pat Tillman had been murdered by BushCheney. (I remember another one who thought tofu was a leftist plot to create more homosexuals.)

As with the liberals quoted above, the "leading edge" or motive-force of this kind of paranoia is uncontainable hatred and fear. It certainly isn't "thought," if by thought we mean the metabolism of experience. It is the failure to think, whereby unmetabolized thoughts are located and misperceived outside the head.

Hey, maybe Obama's hit squad minions can take out the dominionist hit squads, then we'd all be safe.

To be continued....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Messiah Failure Syndrome and Sacrificial Regicide

We're continuing with our exploration of Object Relations, the Self, and the Group in order to see if my hunch is correct that it may hold some keys to the mystery of why millennial discourse and behavior are so pervasive to the point of seeming inevitability. For truly, if Obama didn't exist, the left would have had to invent him.

Oh wait. They did.

Along these familiar lines, Grotstein's foreword mentions Freud's first approach to the subject, in which he proposed "that the group may act in a way which is analogous to the psychology of an individual, and its component members characteristically project their egos, as well as ego ideals, onto the group leader, thereby creating a state of idealization and idealized expectation of the latter."

In the past, I have mentioned that when a patient has an immediate and powerful idealizing transference, one can expect equally strong anger and devaluation to appear later, just as soon as the therapist inevitably fails to live up to the idealized expectations (the reverse can also occur; thus, the apoplectic Bush derangement of the left was a premonition of their absurd idealization of his successor).

Again, this is the stage Obama finds himself in with respect to his supporters. At first they attempted to maintain their own beautiful illusions by outright ignoring or denying Obama's many gaffes, missteps, and general cluelessness.

But interestingly, in order to protect themselves from seeing their own foolishness and naivete, they must go through the ritual of either "discovering" that Obama is not what they pretended he was, or of describing some rationalized scheme whereby Obama somehow deviated from his better self.

Very few millennialists are introspective enough to direct the critical spotlight on their own inner workings, and ask themselves not just "what was I thinking?," but "what motivated me to spin this once-in-a-generation world-historical leader out of my own psychic substance?"

It is like the bad marriage that begins with the self-deception that belives the lie. Soon enough the lovely loving congeals into the hateful hates, after which comes the conversation with the flying plates. Thus, Obama's instinct is to throw plates at the messenger, which would ultimately be you (that is, you apostates who once supported the Messiah; the Times also tosses dinnerware at the stupid misinformed Americans who have disappointed Dear Leader.)

One way to avoid introspection is to convert messianic disappointment to rage. Thus, we are already seeing a considerable amount of outrageous rage being expressed by the left. Yes, this qualifies as a banality, as one could say the same of the left on any day of the year. The difference is, of course, that they are actually directing it at Obama rather than the frightful conservatives of their fevered imaginations.

Remember when criticism of Obama was prima facie evidence of racism, or xenophobia, or "fear of change"? That was yesterday's truth, comrade. Being on the left -- or in the United States of Amnesia -- means never having to say "I remember."

Remember when Rush Limbaugh was an unpatriotic racist for wanting Obama to fail? Now, with the exception of the usual true dead-enders, we all want him to fail on an urgent basis.

Two years ago Newsweek felt confident enough in its collective delusions to assure us that We Are All Socialists Now! Today Obama is reaching Carter-like levels of political radioactivity. The irony is that the progressive wants the sort of superficial "change" that keeps everything the same on a deeper level. In truth they want no change with regard to their visions of infantile dependency and fulfillment via the omnicompetent State. They just want a new mommy to administer it.

Note that the 'Crats are not deserting their stinking shit, as this would be tantamount to abandoning their religulous faith. Rather, they are flushing the craptain down the toilet, with the unconscious fantasy that they can project the source of the stink into him and leave it all behind. Which wouldn't work anyway, because we would still be left with his gaseous number two, Joe Biden.

This is the well-known logic of primitive sacrifice. Just as all of our hopes and dreams my be projected into the fantasy leader, so too may our fear, dread, anger, and rage.

When the latter happens, it is time to kill the king, either in reality or symbolically. But the more things superficially change, the more the wrong remains the same on a deep unconscious level. It's like when a baseball team loses 100 games. What do the owners do? Fire the manager. Then hire another failed old white guy to replace him.

Here is an example of sacrificial regicide, plucked at random from my library: "Frazer has acquainted us with the fact that the king himself may be sacrificed for the welfare of society; it is not surprising that the body of a king can be eaten by his successor. In Nigeria, the king of Julsum was only allowed to rule for seven years. During that period, if he fell ill, or sneezed or coughed, or fell off his horse, he might be put to death." No wonder Michelle wants to control our eating habits!

Speaking of indigestion, this brings up an important point. That is, the fantasy leader must maintain the illusion of strength in order to both contain and withstand all of the primitive unconscious material being directed his way. According to Susskind's new book, Obama himself recognizes this:

“Obama often felt that performance pressure -- having to play the part of president, in charge and confident, each day, in front of his seasoned, combative, prideful team, many of whom had, all together, recently served another president.... As he confided to one of his closest advisers, after a private display of uncertainty, ‘I can’t let people see that, I don’t want the staff to see that... But I get up every morning. It’s a heavy burden.’” Indeed. Especially for the narcissist who has no inner core of genuine strength. Rather, the only strength he possesses is the perception that he is strong. Once the projections are withdrawn, only the little boy remains.

Grotstein continues with a very brief tutorial that explains the irreducible intrapsychic complementarity of group <--> individual, the one conditioning the other:

"Long before brain laterality studies by neuropsychologists established the duality of normal consciousness" (left and right hemispheres), pioneering psychoanalysts such as R.D. Fairbairn discovered that the infant "treats (a) the object as part of the self and (b) the self as part of the object."

As a consequence, we have "an internal subculture of selves conducting 'conversations' and relationships of great labyrinthine complexity which nevertheless seem to bear a correspondence to their counterparts in the external world." This is not so much "as above, so below" as it is "as inside, so outside."

In this view, the "outside" -- including politics and culture -- becomes a kind of language through which we "speak" ourselves. However, at the same time, it means that we are generally restricted as to the who(s) we may speak -- or, more to the point, culture makes certain "selves" possible, while discouraging, punishing, or forbidding others.

Look at the culture of ancient Greece, which elevated man-boy love to an ideal, while denigrating male-female love. The fact that so many men "spoke" this perverse language -- or were spoken by it -- proves that homosexuality is not "genetic" (or certainly not only so).

What sorts of selves do the elites of contemporary American culture permit and reward? Well, they recently awarded their highest honor to a weak, feminized, metrosexual, faux-cerebral pseudo-intellectual with All the Right Beliefs, i.e., a projection of the idealized self-image of our vacuous media-tenured complex.

At the same time, there is nothing they detest more than a man who appears manly, whether it is Ronald Reagan, George Bush, or Rick Perry. For some reason they much prefer manly women, perhaps because the dreaded unconscious male energy needs to be projected somewhere.

Grotstein concludes his foreword by reminding us that "groups, like individuals, appear to have an Oedipal complex, and the selecting of a Messiah and of a human sacrifice seems to be its deeper function..."

Again, the one follows "logically" from the other, in that both are attempts to deal with troubling unconscious material, i.e., thoughts and what to do with them. Over and over again throughout history, men have conformed to the pattern of 1) create an unrealistic ideal, a messiah, and 2) murder either him or convenient scapegoats when the messiah fails us, which he must inevitably do (with one notable exception, whose devotees don't need no stinkin' political messiahs, whether from the left or right; to put one's faith in a political messiah is to have left conservatism).