Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Seeking Godlessness through Naso-labianism

We're still negotiating with the grim ferryman, Death. unKnown Friend relates Death to mechanism and materialism, which are "not at all the realm of answers, but rather the graveyard for real questions."

Thus, to embrace scientistic reductionism as a worldview (as opposed to a method) is to more or less live as zombie, in which case one is not so much alive as merely undead. And the painful thing about being undead is that one will be aware of an absence -- a present absence -- but not be able to name it.

I am reminded of the preface to Code of the Woosters, in which the author observes that "High seriousness about [Wodehouse] brings to mind poor Professor Scully," who attempted "to describe a smile scientifically." The professor "doggedly dissected 'the drawing back and slight lifting of the corners of the mouth, which partially uncover the teeth, the curving of the naso-labial furrows...' Such an approach is not actively harmful, but it suffers from naso-labianism -- leaving the mystery of Wodehouse's genius intact."

Things are no different today. Ask a victim of materialitis or reductionosis what a smile is, and they could in good faith respond that it involves "the contraction of muscles in the region of the mouth and cheeks, and this latter through electrical impulses transmitted through the nerves from the centre called the 'brain.'" The real cause of the smile -- joy, or humor, or satisfaction -- is defined out of existence.

This misguided approach is similar to trying to understand a telephone conversation by analyzing the electrical impulses that pass back and forth through the wires. The most complete analysis will of necessity be entirely inadequate.

The same applies a fortiori to the mind/brain relationship. Again, a smile is a local manifestation of joy, or humor, or bemusement, which are nonlocal (in the sense that they cannot be found in one unambiguous "place") and which "set in motion both the muscles of the mouth and the electrical impulses of the nerves." As mentioned somewhere in the bʘʘk, every reductionistic explanation harbors a cognitively pathological dualism that results in one side of the dualism sneaking into the other side without acknowledgment.

One might say that, like a psychotic patient, the materialist's explanation is always put forth with the utmost confidence by that which is specifically denied in the explanation. Making a question go away is not the same as having answered it. As UF points out, the question remains but is simply offloaded from conscious to unconscious planes, with no proper connecting flight. Only happens all the time.

If you ever want to know why self-styled rational people believe in such weird things -- global warming, zero-sum economics, tea partiers are extremists, blacks can't function without the state, etc. -- this is why. They descend into an incoherent form of unconscious thinking, because one can no more make the unconscious go away than one could make the sympathetic nervous system go away. All one can do is discipline and channel it, the same way one creates electricity from a wild river.

(This passage is somehow related to the above: "The belief that only conscious actions are 'real' is common among collectivists and economic creationists who can't understand unintended consequences, but this fallacy is akin to believing that drinking a glass of water on a hot day benefits only those who understand the chemical reactions of H2O in human body.")

While ordinary psychoanalysis does an adequate job of describing the lower vertical, in so doing, it generally reduces the upper to the lower vertical. However, one of the purposes of religion is to provide a framework with which to generatively explore the upper vertical. And in fact, it also does a fine job (at least in potential) of structuring and conferring meaning upon the lower vertical.

I'm thinking of all the extraordinary wisdom embodied in, say, the Talmud or in classical elucidations of the cardinal virtues and deadly sins. Awhile back we did a series on the esoteric meaning of the Ten Commandments. Same idea. Just as there is such a thing as a healthy body -- obviously -- there is also such a thing as a healthy soul and spirit. But if one denies the soul and spirit up front, then should one remain spiritually healthy, it will be by accident, not design.

So many decent but useful idiots of the left hypocritically retain religious habits and inclinations with no religious belief to support them. For example, they insist that marriage is sacred -- so sacred, in fact, that we should extend it to relationships in which it is not possible to live in the state of marriage, e.g., polygamous or homosexual.

It is analogous to saying, "eating salads is healthy. Therefore, I will place my cat on a strict diet of fresh vegetables." Good logic. Wrong species. Which pretty much sums up the left. It reminds me of a scene from the Larry Sanders show, when his bitter agent says "our job would be so easy if it weren't for fucking talent!" Leftism would be so great if if weren't for fucking humans! Humans are the problem. So let's give them more power over us!

Most people don't have the time or ability to be metaphysicians, which is one of the practical blessings of religion. If one eliminates religion, one only ushers in bad metaphysics and values, with nothing to oppose them. See 1960s for details. See OWS for examples. See Obama for implications.

This is the true meaning of the culture war. The United States used to be one culture with two political parties. The two parties basically represented different groups of interests with the same underlying culture.

But beginning in the 1960s, the Democrats started to represent a new culture, which is not American, for American culture is rooted in Judeo-Christian principles, among other things. All culture is rooted in the cult, which is the "interior glue" that holds a people together and makes them "brothers."

Which leads us to ask: what is the interior krazy glue that holds the nasolabians of the left together? What is the common axis of, say, global warming alarmists, abortion activists, greedy public employee unions, and people who champion state-mandated racial discrimination and the homosexual agenda? What is their shared cult? Who is the god to whom they all make their sacrifice?

I'll let you answer that question. Let's just call it Ø.

UF makes the point that our vertical freedom is a miracle, by which he means something that transcends any purely mechanistic explanation. You might say that everything that isn't either chaotic or mechanical is a miracle, i.e., a vertical intervention.

And because of our freedom, we can see that the higher illumines the lower, not vice versa. In other words, in the absence of freedom, we couldn't know truth, because truth would be reduced to a kind of mechanical operation that excludes the subject, precisely. So, to say "truth" is to say "freedom" is to say "spirit" is to say "miracle":

"The minimum is only the reduced maximum and it is through the maximum that one understands the minimum, and not vice versa. It is consciousness which renders the mechanical and unconscious comprehensible, the latter being only consciousness reduced to a minimum, not vice versa. It is man who is the key to the biological evolution of Nature and not the primitive organic cell" (MOTT).

Bottom line Upshot: it is the most complete and final form that "illumines and explains the previous stages." Which is why man explains evolution, not vice versa. But who or what explains Man? Or is that too obvious?

Out of time. To be continued...

PS -- I don't know that I'll get around to discussing it, but this biography of Hitler is really outstanding.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who Disturbs My Tomb?! Death and Sleep, Monsters and Resurrection

Letter XIII, our old friend Death. What would life be without that fiendishly grinning ma-ha-ha-samadhi?

What to make of inscrutable death? How are we to think around its unthinkable essence? One of the reasons death is difficult to penetrate, is that it is such a concrete fact -- just that big black wall over the subjective horizon, or the rapidly approaching canyon floor below Wile E. Coyote.

What do we really know about death? What can we affirm about it that isn't merely an abstract idea? Indeed, most anything we say will be an infinite distance from the state of being dead, unless we happen to be tenured or employed with the MSM.

At first blush, it seems that death is one of those existential parameters that the mind can never contain, but rather, contains us -- like time or space or sexuality or desire.

Sex and death are intimately related, for if we didn't sexually reproduce, we wouldn't die, at least for any biological reason. Rather, we would live endlessly, except that it would be a horizontal endlessness, which is not to be confused with eternity (which is outside time).

Furthermore, without the boundary of death, we couldn't know nothing, which is the beginning of knowledge. Animals can only know something, but even then, they don't know that they know, because they don't know that they die. Only man can know that he he doesn't know, and thereby clear a potential space for knowledge. Out of this deathly silence will grow words of various kinds.

unKnown Friend says that it is the above form of purely biological pseudo-eternal life that the serpent promises when he tells Adam and Eve that they "shall not die." Thus, technically he wasn't lying, because a vertical lie may well be a horizontal truth (and vice versa), as our trolls never stop teaching us.

In our bʘʘk, we wrote of the extreme unlikelihood of anything resembling human intelligence evolving elsewhere in the cosmos, for human intelligence isn't just a matter of "big brains." Far from it. Look at Noam Chomsky or Paul Krugman. It's hard enough for human beings to develop human intelligence, and if history is to be our guide, man usually falls short of this standard.

Humanness emerges specifically because of the trimorphic situation of an immature and incomplete nervous system in dynamic rapport with an "empathic" mother and "protecting" father (and when we speak of "mother" and "father," we are doing so from the infant's archetypal perspective, wherein the early experience of empathy becomes mother, and is directed into that preconceptual archetype or "empty category"; in this view, mother emerges from baby, and then father from mother -- more on which below).

UF writes of the connection between, on the one hand, sleeping, forgetting, and death; and on the other, waking, remembering, and life.

For example, psychoanalysis has long posited the idea that chronic insomnia can result from an inability to die to the day. One lives by day, but then must let it dissolve and scatter within the death of sleep.

So many people cannot "let go of the day." Instead, it intrudes upon their easeful death, persecuting and tormenting them. Then, even worse, they dream -- or more often have nightmares -- by day, since they cannot metabolize experience by night and wake refreshed and resurrected in the morning.

Who disturbs my tomb!!! That's pretty much the question any new patient brings to therapy.

For other people, they cannot die to the unconscious because of the monsters that lie there in in wait and haunt the interior world. This is a routine result of a traumatic childhood, of things that happened to them -- and more commonly, what didn't happen to them, in the form of a secure and "containing" relationship with the mother. For these individuals, they cannot "rest in peace," because their dream life is like a continuous horror movie, a "living death."

For that is what a monster is, isn't it -- an indiscriminate mixture of the categories of life and death, resulting in a grotesque entity that has no proper archetype? During Holloween week TMC ran the classic monster movies, and they all share this feature of living death or death living: Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Dracula, the Mummy.

Perhaps this gives us a clue about death -- that it is not so much the opposite of life, but a dark form of it. One might say that Christmas celebrates Life amidst death, while Halloween "celebrates" death in life. Probably no coincidence that this unholy-day has become much more popular with the increasing secularization of our culture, i.e., the culture of death (which is by extension a culture of journalistic sleeping and left-wing forgetting).

I remember reading an interesting book -- here it is, Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality -- which suggests that most funeral rites evolved around concerns of making certain that the dead stay that way -- that the corpse is not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead. (The book takes an academic and positivistic approach, so it's of limited usefulness except for the historical trivia, which is at times nevertheless fascinating.)

So, to sleep is to forget the day and awaken to the world of the Dreamer: "One forgets, one goes to sleep, and one dies." In turn, "One remembers, one awakes, and one is born" (MOTT).

In a previous post, I discussed the idea that from a developmental perspective, one may turn Genesis on its head and see the infant-Adam as the creator of God and everything else.

In fact, from a certain perspective, this is how it must be, and to the extent that one fails to understand this distinction, one may well fail to appreciate the difference between God and infantile omnipotence.

Unfortunately, not only is this conflation commonplace, but it might even be the norm. Certainly the Islamist god is indistinguishable from an enraged baby, while the infantile dreams of the left are suspiciously similar to those conjured by the omnipotent and implacable gods of the nursery, whose demands are few: I Want!, More!, and Again!

Looked at in this way, the human baby's shocking discovery of Adam and Eve -- or a Mother and Father separate from the baby, with wills, desires, and interests of their own -- is an insult to the baby's omnipotence. How dare Mommy and Daddy exist separate from my magical wishes!

Therefore the baby-god banishes them from the infantile paradise, where the infant restores his "oneness with God." No coincidence therefore that the way back to paradise is blocked by a coterie of babies with flaming swords.

To fall asleep is not just to give up everything, but to do so in the faith that everything will somehow be cleansed and transformed when we are reincarnated and reborn in the morning. So sleep again has this digestive or metabolic property; which implies that death and forgetting do as well.

And in fact, one doesn't have to comb very far through the esoteric literature to discover this idea, that the initial postmortem state is very much analogous to the metabolic function of dreaming, except that it will range over our entire life, so that whatever was "inessential" is consigned to the flames, while what is essential lives in eternity.

In any event, know that your life is being dreamt by forces far greater than yourself, and not just at night.

This is perhaps the central point of Finnegans Wake, which is supposed to be the dream of all human history within the ultimate Dreamer (wake is a play on words, meaning the wake of death and the wide a-wakeness of Dreamer and Resurrection, in which we fin again only to reboot and sin again). Here's how Joseph Campbell describes it:

"Finnegans Wake is a mighty allegory of the fall and resurrection of mankind. It is a strange book, a compound of fable, symphony, and nightmare -- a monstrous enigma beckoning imperiously from the shadowy pits of sleep. Its mechanics resemble those of the dream, a dream which has freed the author from the necessities of common logic and has enabled him to compress all periods of history, all phases of individual and racial development, into a circular design, of which every part is beginning, middle and end.... Joyce presents, develops, amplifies and recondenses nothing more nor less than the eternal dynamic implicit in birth, death, conflict, death, and resurrection."

To be resurrected and continued....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupying Wall Street vs. Occupying Reality

Picking up where we left of yesterday, I want to continue with Vaclav Havel's discussion of Man's unique relationship to Being (found in The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism). Recall his observation that Man is

"a being that has fallen out of Being and therefore continually reaches toward it, as the only entity by which and to which Being has revealed itself as a question, as a secret and as meaning" (which we refer to as [?!], or the sacred WTF?). The human "drama unfolds in the rupture between his orientation 'upward' and 'backward' and a constant falling 'downward' into now.'"

He adds that "the world of an 'I' that is oriented toward Being is different from the world of an 'I' that has succumbed to its existence-in-the-world." The latter is "enclosed within itself, barren in its superficial variety, empty in its illusory richness, ignorant, though awash in information, cold, alienated, and ultimately absurd."

Conversely, "Orientation toward Being as a state of mind can also be understood as faith," through which our "relationship to life is informed by hope, wonder, humility, and a spontaneous respect for its mysteries."

So, "How can this vicious circle [of alienation from Being] be broken? There would seem to be only one way: a revolutionary turning toward Being."

Openness to Being is... well, openness, which we symbolize (o); it involves "the experience of meaningfulness as a joyful encounter with the unity between the voice of Being within us and the voice of Being in the world," which "thus opens the Being of the world up to us at the same time as it opens us up to that Being." (Think of this as a variant of [↓↑], only prolonged into the vertical.)

Now, what is Being? We might say that Being is unadulterated AM. But man, unique among creatures, possesses -- or is possessed by -- a mysterious center of subjectivity, the I. In order to be aware of the I, it seems that we must, in some sense, be ousted or exiled from Being. Therefore, the perennial problematic is: how to make Being comport with the individual subject who only knows of himself because he is divided from Being? In short, how do we put humpty-I and dumpty-AM back together again?

unKnown Friend provides a clue: "Now the words 'I am; do not be afraid' spoken by the one walking on the water amount to the statement: 'I am gravitation, and he who holds to me will never sink or be engulfed'.... Thus there is another field of gravitation than that of death, and he who unites himself with it can walk on water, i.e, transcend the agitated element of 'this world,' the electrical gravitational field of the serpent."

There is a key passage on page 314 of MOTT, where UF discusses the difference between terrestrial and celestial gravitation: the former is centripetal and enfolds, while the latter is centrifugal and radiates. Perhaps a better way of saying it is that terrestrial gravitation hardens, compacts, and deadens, while celestial gravitation liquifies, disperses, and sows. There is density and opacity in the former, light and space in the latter.

Think of all the forms of intersubjective gravitation that "hold people together," everything from love to culture to ideology to religion and more. This is not metaphorical language, but literal, both individually and collectively. In fact, the word "religion" comes from the latin religare, "to bind."

Religion in its lower sense becomes quite terrestrial, for example, in the Islamic world, where people are bound and compacted together in a common prison where light and air cannot enter. Similarly, ideology can mimic religion, so its adherents are bound together by a spirit of faux radiation -- the OWS tantrums being a fine example.

This is another key point, for there is always a moment when one must assent to the ideology (or political religion), no different than the revolutionary conversion that orients us to Being. Havel is on the case:

"What is fanaticism? I would say it is nothing other than this reified, mystified, fetishized, and thus self-alienated faith.... [P]recisely at this moment, the 'I' commits a fatal error, which is extraordinarily seductive to a lazy mind, [and] a weak character..." There is an absence "of intellectual and moral courage," which precludes "the courage to go it alone against everyone and deny oneself the advantages of mob possession of ideas..."

Again, think of the OWSer mobs. Are they alienated? You bet. But from what? They haven't a clue. For "the fanatic is someone who, without realizing it, replaces the love of God with the love of his own religion; the love of truth, freedom, and justice with the love of an ideology, doctrine, or set of promises to guarantee them once and for all..."

On an individual basis, it's always a good idea to explore one's center of gravity. When we talk about "values," about the culture war, about political parties, we're really talking about very different centers of gravity.

For example, for the leftist, the center of gravity is the compacted collective, or state; for the conservative liberal, it is the radiant individual. In fact, for the leftist -- since he is fully terrestrialized -- his center of gravity is generally politics, period.

What normal, productive person with a life and family would have time to spend weeks on end screaming at walls? This is why the brain-dead left can always muster more raw political energy than the opposition, since it is their life. They're just obeying gravity and going with the flow, whereas for the rest of us, politics is a distasteful distraction that we mainly engage in to prevent the left from making matters worse and ultimately destroying the country. To paraphrase Eliot, we have no expectation of actually prevailing, only of perhaps recapturing and holding a little ground and then passing it on to the next generation.

Another danger of politics is that it tends to organize people around their hates. As a result, their center of gravity becomes that which they hate.

Yes, troll, I know what you're thinking. How is this any different from how Bob treats the left? One difference is that you are here. Why are you here, anyway? To open yourself to Being and change your center of gravity toward O? Or simply to use me as a focus for your hatred and stupidity?

When evaluating a patient, it really comes down to identifying their center of gravity. Most any mental illness results from a false or relative center of gravity. What is a fetish? An obsession? A compulsion? A fixation? A phobia? A depression? Paranoia? Each of these serves to organize the mind around a false center, which limits intelligence and falsifies being. They cannot "radiate," only focus. Or, if they do radiate, it is in a diffuse and chaotic manner, certainly not toward the nonlocal attractor, O. Their psychic content just spills all over the place, like a toxic dump.

Why is a great artist great? Because his words, images, or music come from a deeper or higher center of gravity that helps reveal and deepen ours. The great mystery is how this center can be communicated with very simple language or just a few notes. A great jazz musician will communicate more with just his tone than a mediocre musician with thousands of notes.

I do not wish to be anyone's center of gravity, but rather, perhaps be of humble assistance in helping them locate and amplify theirs. You shouldn't be looking at me, but through me.

In reality, what binds you and I is the mysterious third which we are looking at together. None but the troll stares at and even sniffs my finger. No, the rest of you try to focus upon what I am pointing at. Eventually it comes into view. You already sense it, or you wouldn't be here. It's just a matter of perfecting your senses.

Conversely, I can only assume that our obsessive trolls keep coming back because they want us to see what they see, and to share their perverse center of gravity. Don't worry, we see it. And even lived it. Which is why we can look through and beyond it, to what it is pointing at.

In short, for us, matter is legible, like the page of a book. When we read we do not stare at the letters, but look through them to the meaning. I suppose one could argue that the "center" of MOTT is page 335, being that the book contains 670 pages. But in reality, its center is O, which is present on every page. This explains how it is that Man, seemingly so insignificant, can be the "center of the universe."

To summarize, the Hanged Man "lives under the state of celestial gravitation," which is why he is both suspended and upside down. As UF writes, "the soul is suspended between heaven and earth." It is outside the world because it is inside O. This is "the zero point between the fields of terrestrial and celestial gravitation."

And to say that we are "upside down" means that for us, the "solid ground" is located above, while the realm below is an airy abstraction -- this is the abstract world of the scientistic atheist. Perhaps this is the reason why so many infertile eggheads are materialists, since materialism is purely "head knowledge," a shadowy caricature of the real thing.

I once knew a man who "fell in love with O." As his love deepened, so too did his faith. And as his faith in the unseen deepened, so too did his Obedience. Soon his feet "walked in O." And as his Obedience deepened, his head and heart followed his feet. Now he walks in a cloud of radiant unknowing, calmly placing one foot in front of the other and enjoying the walk.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Falling Up With the Speed of Light & the Unbearable Heaviness of Non-Being


Letter XII, The Hanged Man, is another key archetype for us, as it speaks to the nonlocal happitat in which the Raccoon prefers to dwell -- or ne'er d'well, anyway -- which is suspended roughly halfway between -- how to put it without being immediately understood? -- between 〇 and ( ), or between the celestial and terrestrial planes.

[Recall from the book that ( ) stands for the world, which, in the absence of 〇, is broken, incomplete, empty, discontinuous and finally absurd; one might say that it is the exteriorization of Ø.]

unKnown Friend says that this card "plunges us into the heart of the problem of the relationship between man and gravitation, and the conflicts that this relationship entails."

Something analogous to gravity operates at all levels of the cosmos, all degrees of being, both interior and exterior, from the solar system, to culture, to politics, to personal relationships, to the self, and even to mind parasites. In each case there is an attractive force that simultaneously draws subjects and objects toward other subjects or objects and toward their own "center of gravity"; we might say that one is an exteriorizing force, the other interiorizing.

We are not so much interested in the attraction of objects -- which is in the realm of physics -- as of subjects, for this is where the real mystery lies.

For example, once one becomes aware of the true self, it will begin to attract the kinds of relationships and experiences it requires to grow. If one fails to live out of this interior center, then no matter what happens in life, it will be an incoherent stream of experiences with no possibility of synthesis into a higher unity. One can always paper over discontinuities, inconsistencies, holes, psychic envelopes, dead spots, unborns, etc., but there is a technical term for this: papering over.

Here again, this is why liberty is so critical to the articulation and development of the self. The self is something that pre-exists in the form of potential, but can only develop and be known through experience.

You might say that this implicate self must be exteriorized in order to be interiorized. It must be free to choose the objects, relationships, and experiences it requires in order to "be." This is why one man's paradise is another man's exile or prison -- even a living death. This is also why there can be no real spirituality in the absence of freedom, and in turn why leftism is intrinsically retrograde.

And when I say "real," I mean imbued with the fulness of being; in the spiritual realm it is not a matter of "to be or not to be." Rather, there is a continuum between 〇 and Ø. Vertically speaking, one might say that we live in the phase space between these two great attractors, which I symbolize in the book as 〇 and Ø. As such, there are two final causes that operate in us; you could even call them eros and thanatos, or love and death.

(A point of order: the 〇 <---> ( ) dialectic has to do with God and world, the latter of which is still "real," whereas the 〇 <---> Ø has slightly different implications, since the latter is "nothing," or absence of being; ( ) is concrete, Ø vacuous, like the difference between, say, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, respectively.)

One way to look at it is to consider the fact that man only discovers himself -- i.e., acquires self-consciousness -- as a consequence of his alienation from Being, his separateness from the rest of creation (see Genesis for details). Being is divided between self and world.

Vaclav Havel writes that Man is "a being that has fallen out of Being and therefore continually reaches toward it, as the only entity by which and to which Being has revealed itself as a question [?!], as a secret and as meaning."

Again, we are suspended between the terms of Being, and can seek to heal this separation in two different (vertical) directions. Havel: Man's "drama unfolds in the rupture between his orientation 'upward' and 'backward' and a constant falling 'downward' into now.'"

Either way, the human subject "is continually stepping outside itself in order to return to itself once more and, through this 'circulation,' it inevitably matures -- becomes itself." It is a "permanent balancing act" between the recovery of Being vs. being dragged "down into the world of things, surfaces, frantic consumption and self-absorption" (ibid.).

On a more subtle level, man becomes a prisoner of his own mental productions instead of a gentleman slacker in the realm of Being.

As the death-stream draws us down to the terminal moraine of our lower nature, the life-stream pulls us in, up, and out, toward our nonlocal source above. Even the most cynical atheist cannot live -- not for a moment -- without this life-stream, for it is what pulls him toward truth, or love, or meaning -- even toward his hatred of God (since this hatred is usually rooted in a misgoaded attraction to truth instead of from it).

UF agrees that "the domain of our freedom... shows the real and active presence of gravitation of a spiritual order." This is why people are attracted to God and religion to begin with, "for what is the phenomenon of religion if not the manifestation of spiritual gravitation towards God -- i.e., towards the centre of spiritual gravitation of the world?"

We cannot see gravity, any more than we can observe the wind. However, we can obviously feel the effects of gravity and wind. On the interior plane, these effects are subtle but nevertheless clear, especially as one learns to amplify them and to live within this attractor space. It's as clear as falling in love. No one teaches us how to do that, for it's not something we could ever learn.

Speaking of falling, UF situates mankind's fall within this space: "there is nothing against the conception of the Fall of Adam as the passage from a spiritual gravitation system, whose centre is God, to a terrestrial gravitational system, whose centre is the serpent."

That's certainly how it feels to me. Don't you feel those twin pulls? And don't you remember as a child, the first awareness of the pull into darkness? I remember it distinctly. I think it repeats itself in different forms at different stages of life -- assuming one actually grows through different developmental stages beyond the culturally conditioned ego. Each stage has a central "temptation" that is a fractal image of the first. In each case, we must choose the Light.

The Gospel designates the two attractors as "heaven" and "this world," or "the kingdom of God" and "the kingdom of the prince of this world." Or again, we could just call them O and Ø; or "slack" and "the conspiracy."

Likewise, this can be thought of as a sword that cuts mankind right down the middle, between the "children of this world" and "the children (or the sons) of light." Here again, standard issue cʘʘnvision -- so long as we haven't voided the warranty -- allows us to know in an instant when we are in the presence of the One or the Øther. It couldn't be more obvious now, could it? It is why the trolls despise us why we chuckle at them.

UF notes that there are actually three main categories, and I see that these correspond to the three gunas of Vedanta, which we won't get into. But there is the "carnal" (or vital) man who "lives in the grip of gravitation of 'this world' at the expense of the gravitation of 'heaven'; there is the "psychic man" who "lives in equilibrium between the two fields"; and then there is the spiritual or pneumatic man "who lives under the sway of the gravitation of 'heaven.'"

Frankly, I wouldn't really know where to begin in attempting to treat type #1. Nor do I have any interest in helping people better adapt to unreality -- which is what the great majority of people want, at least if you believe the OWSers.

Now, the Hanged Man "represents the condition of one in the life of whom gravitation from above has replaced that of below." In Raccoon terms, it is someone who has discovered his proper orientation, and sees the cosmos "inside out" and "upside down" relative to the normals. In reality, we have merely reverted things to their proper place. And we are irresistibly attracted by the top.

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Redefinition of Marriage Between Faith and Science

Oops. Gotta throw the cosmic bus into reverse. We inadvertently left the last of the three irreducible philosophical antinomies resolved by Christianity by the curb. Recall that the first two are idealism <---> realism and realism (AKA objective idealism) <---> nominalism. The third is equally important, especially in our present age of stupidity in which these two, faith <---> empirical science, are aggressively segregated by medieval secularists. This enforced division is perhaps understandable, given the implicit desire of materialists to separate their faith in matter from matters of faith. Even so, they need to grow up and face the truth.

As our unKnown Friend writes, "The father of empirical science is doubt and its mother is faith." On the one hand, "doubt is the very root of every question, and questions are the basis of every quest and all research."

And yet, as Michael Polanyi has so extensively described, it is faith that guides us to the potentially fruitful question -- one that can be asked "in good faith," and to which we can anticipate an answer to be forthcoming.

For example, "Newton doubted the traditional theory of 'gravity,' but he believed in the unity of the world.... Doubt set his thought in motion; faith rendered it fruitful." In a sense, one could say that doubt is horizontal, whereas faith is vertical. And the vertical often involves a kind of "wordless anticipation" or, better yet, the realm of the "unThought known" that connects us to the whole world of things human beings Just Know.

Again, to paraphrase Schuon, instinct is to animals as the intellect (nous) is to man. Thus, for example, we "instinctively" turn toward the Creator and seek to actualize the implicit knowledge we have of him.

But there is of necessity faith in doubt and doubt in faith (note that the <---> that links the two implies their underlying unity). The doubt in faith is the "dark night of the soul," the days and years spent wondering in the bewilderness, accompanied by the childlike attitude of expectant waiting.

Conversely, the faith in doubt is the belief that the cosmos is ultimately intelligible and therefore whole and finally good; that it is a creation through which we may apprehend the qualities of its Creator.

The scientist has faith that the endless multiplicity he confronts is a reflection of its prior unity, i.e, that the world is a cosmos and not a chaosmos (or that chaos is parasitic on cosmos, for the converse could never be true). He also has faith that the human subject -- itself an ordered totality, or microcosmos -- is uniquely capable of apprehending this unity (for only one can know the One); as Aldous Huxley remarked, "science is the reduction of multiplicity to unity."

And the scientist believes in evolution, which is to say progress. And progress is absolutely meaningless unless it is situated in the light of the absolute, i.e., truth. A universe of pure change could never be progressive -- which, by the way, is another reason why political "progressivism" is always regressive. In glorifying the lowest level of reality -- matter on the one hand and desire on the other -- it has nowhere to go but down.

Seen in this darklight, progressivism quickly devolves to an excuse to unleash violence against the current order, since reality can never match up to the infantile desires and fantasies of the left. "The perfect is the enemy of the good." The leftist does not believe in the permanence of transcendent things, in the absence of which there can be no dynamic and fruitful interplay of faith and doubt, or creative evolution.

Rather, he believes in a static fantasy of an unattainable utopia, which again serves as the justification for destroying that which is -- including those beautiful values that made this nation possible. It is such a parochial and ethocentric view, since the vast majority of the so-called 99% are actually in the 1% if they would only widen their historical view instead of only consulting their desires.

It is the unrepentant spiritual terrorism of the left that frightens the population. For when you insist that this is a racist country; a sexist country; a homophobic country; a classist country; you do not just criticize the margins, but delegitimize the center. Progressivism is the expression of thanatos the "death instinct." It is perverse, sadistic, and authoritarian. Which is why, of course, they project these things into conservatives.

Eliot wrote that "if the progress of mankind is to continue as long as man survives upon the earth, then... progress becomes merely change; for the values of man will change, and a world of changed values is valueless to us -- just as we, being a part of the past, will be valueless to it.

"Or if the progress of mankind is to continue only until a 'perfect' state of society is reached, then this state of society will be valueless simply because of its perfection. It will be at best a smooth-running machine with no meaning..."

The idea that progressivism renders our lives worthless to generations of the future is a subtle point worth dwelling on. Consider how blindly the left sweeps away not just the average individual (especially if he doesn't share their values), but the truly great men of the past.

The Founding Fathers? Just racist slaveholders promoting their economic interests. Lincoln? He didn't care about the plight of blacks, he just wanted more power for the north. The men who died for our freedom in World War II? Probably just racist redneck Christianists, just as today.

The other day, a leftist-integral-Buddhist suggested to us that the liberation of Iraq was an aggressive war. We told him he was either ignorant, intellectually dishonest, or morally retarded. And we meant it literally, not as an insult.

Talk about irony. What China did to Tibet was aggressive. Removing the most sadistic tyrant on earth and installing a democracy is a gift from heaven, even if it remains to be seen if Islam and liberal democracy are capable of coexisting. At least we'll know.

The point is, the left undermines and delegitimizes the United States, and then wants to elect one of its own to be President of the land they so despise. [This was written over three years ago -- ed.] If Obama fails to bring this howling mob the revolutionary change it is clamoring for, who knows what will happen with their collective death instinct? If one is not a part of their fantasied solution, then one is just a problem, someone standing between them and the fulfillment of their desires.

For a primitive person, idealization is always a defense against aggression, so it will be very interesting to see how Obama manages the aggressive idealization being projected into him. I seriously doubt that he appreciates the hatred beneath the love, being that he is one of them.

In light of the "permanent things," time past and time future become time present. This was one of Eliot's great concerns, expressed so perfectly in Four Quartets. Again, the progressive believes in time as a straight line composed of atomistic and disjointed moments -- which, by the way, is what Eliot was attempting to capture and convey in his earlier, more pessimistic poems, prior to his conversion.

This recalls Bion's concept of "attacks on linking," which can take place in both time and space; in fact, if you think about it, you cannot attack spatial links without attacking temporal links. To attack the one is to attack the other. Deconstruction doesn't just destroy the present, but past and future as well. To destroy history is to destroy the present, and vice versa.

But to dwell in the permanent things -- the essence of conservatism -- is not to live in the discontinuous line, but within a kind of spiritual plenum that connects us to all of mankind, living and dead (indeed, to mankind as such). It is a kind of sin and scandal, not only that the dead cannot vote, but that the left wishes to force a new country upon us that would be unrecognizable to the men who died to create this one.

To say that "we are the ones we've been waiting for" is not just cosmically narcissistic but profoundly ungrateful. But all children come into the world believing they are cosmically special, otherwise they could not psychically survive the indignities of infancy.

Science in the absence of religion -- scientism -- conforms to the pattern laid out in Genesis: your eyes will be open to the horizontal and you shall become like gods! But this overvaluation of the quantitative aspect of the cosmos comes at the price of obscuring its qualitative aspects: "quality is the vertical aspect of the world," and it is ultimately rooted in the permanent things discussed above.

But as UF asks, why is it necessary to choose between the two? Why not just add the one to the other "under the sign of the cross," i.e., the vertical line of religion -- the permanent things -- bisecting the horizontal plane of science at each and every step along the way? Why not just crucify the serpent? Do so, and a metamorphosis follows:

"The scientistic creed then becomes what it is in reality: the mirroring of the creative Word. It will no longer be truth; it will be method. It will no longer say: 'in the beginning was substance or matter,' but will say: 'in order to understand the mechanism of the made world, it is necessary to choose a method which takes account of the origin of matter and of that which set it in motion from above." Likewise, we will see the brain as a function of intelligence, not vice versa.

In short, "The synthesis of science and religion is not a theory, but rather the inner act of consciousness of adding the spiritual vertical to the scientific horizontal."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Wheel of Misfortune & the Merry Growround

I really want to get back to our pneumoanalysis of totalitarianism, but haven't had the time. So it's on to Letter X, the Wheel of Fortune, which I originally discussed in the context of a book by Fr. Seraphim Rose, which traces the dialectic of nihilism in the postmodern world through the stages of liberalism --> realism --> vitalism --> nihilistic destruction.

In case you can't make out the action in the card, our unKnown Friend of many years writes that it consists of "three figures in animal form of which two (the monkey and the dog) turn with the wheel, whilst the third (the sphinx) is beyond the movement of the wheel; he is seated on a platform above the wheel."

UF continues: "The monkey descends in order to rise again; the dog rises in order to descend again." Thus, without the sphinx above, the wheel "evokes the idea of a vain and absurd game."

Which indeed life is and must be in the absence of the transcendent "higher third" of which we have spoken in the past. The existence of this higher third, which accompanies us through life, is without a doubt the most shocking feature of this cosmos, and renders any form of materialism utterly beside the point (of life and even existence).

The conquest and colonization of this transcendent position is the true vocation of man, but obviously the vast majority of men prefer the dog and monkey show, as it informs every page of nocturnal metahistory -- by which we mean that the same returns or that history st-st-stutters. The plots change but the theme is pretty constant, otherwise we wouldn't recognize ourselves in the mirrors of revelation and literature.

UF goes on to enunciate the orthodox Raccoon position, which posits the existence of two metacosmic (meaning that they flow from outside time and space) movements (↓↑) that determine whether one's life will be a dreary wheel of misfortune or a veritable merry growround:

"The one is based on the idea of the Fall, i.e., degeneration and descent from above below."

Importantly -- and this is a cornerstone of the whole innerprize, so listen up -- "According to this class of ideas" -- which, of course, is from the vertical perspective -- "it is not the monkey who is the ancestor of man, but rather, on the contrary, it is man who is the ancestor of the monkey," the latter of which "is a degenerate and degraded descendent." After all, if there is evolution, then by definition there is both involution and devolution (which are simply movements on the vertical plane).

If you have difficulty with this concept, just remember the self-evident fact that, just as God is not in the cosmos, but rather, vice versa, man is not in the world. Rather, the world is essentially -- or a priori -- in the human soul. It's all in here, just waiting to be discovered and unpacked -- even atheism (but only in the devolving movement from man to monkey).

It cannot be emphasized too strangely that this inwardness is literally everything. Speaking of God, Meister Eckhart writes that "It is remarkable that anything should pour forth and yet remain within." This pouring forth takes place in the "deep within," so to speak, and "when I say the inmost, I mean the highest, and when I say the highest, I mean the inmost part of the soul -- there I mean them both together in one," a place "where time never entered." It is what we call the inmost upmost vertical bigending (p. 257).

UF continues: "The other class of ideas comprises the idea of evolution, i.e., progress transforming from below above. According to this category of ideas, it is the most primitive entity -- from the point of view of consciousness as well as biological structure -- which is the origin of all beings," and "which is their common ancestor."

So the Wheel of Fortune depicts a quasi-human entity who is on the way down. In contrast, the sphinx "represents the plane and stage of being from which the monkey is moving and towards which the dog is approaching." Now, "Does not the monkey lend itself marvelously to serve as a symbol of the animalization which is effected at the expense of the Angelic and human elements of the prototype being?"

Yes, of course. Man is poised between the two extremes of existence, the spiritual and the material. We are lured by vertical memoirs of the former and hypnotically seduced by misplaced hopes in the latter. Schuon has written that man is "condemned to the absolute," but I prefer to think of it as having a passion for wholeness and a gnostalgia for eternity. The one is aspiration, the other inspiration, or exhalation and inhalation. Our very breath reminds us of the rhythm of eternity.

An insurmountable problem with reductionistic Darwinism is that it only deals with half the circle, which ignores "the ultimate as well as the effective cause of the whole process of evolution," without which it is unintelligible (to the awakened intellect, not to tenured bipeds falling up the academic ladder). Darwinism will always be unintelligible in so far as it "refuses to accept the other half of the circle, that of involution."

Understood esoterically, evolution embodies the mystery of "Fall, perdition, redemption and salvation." As such, one must understand that Darwinism really is fully intelligible to people who have exiled themselves from the fulness of reality. But it would be incorrect to say that they have it "half right," for half of reality is actually no reality, being that it is analogous to living in the "outside" while denying the existence of an inside.

The metaphysical Darwinian is actually a passenger of evolution, not a witness, for to witness it is to have transcended it -- i.e., to have realized the full circle in the flesh. But of course it is an open circle, so that it constitutes the spiraling ontological and temporal structure of being.

Now back to the dialectics of nihilism. Let us stipulate that religion deals with absolute truth, or at least purports to do so. In the end, in the absence of absolute truth, the only option left open to an intellectually honest person is nihilism, because nihilism is simply the doctrine of relativity drawn out to its logical conclusion.

An honest nihilist such as Nietzsche realizes this: God is dead and therefore man becomes God and everything is possible. In the final analysis, the existence of God is the only thing that prevents the intellectually consistent human being from inevitably coming to the same stark conclusion as his Nietzsche brother: “I am God and all is permitted.” Nietzsche also knew full well that once the appeal to absolute truth is set aside, raw power comes in to fill the void. He wasn't necessarily suggesting that this is a good thing, only that it is. So deal with it.

Scientific or logical truth is by definition relative truth. Thanks to Gödel, we know that there is no system of logic that can fully account for itself, or that can be both consistent and complete. Rather, completeness is always purchased at the price of consistency, while a rigidly consistent system will be incomplete -- say, a consistent program of materialism or determinism. Such a philosophy will leave much of reality -- including the most interesting parts -- outside its purview. This is why Marxism is such an inadequate theory. In explaining everything, it explains nothing. But at least it’s rigidly consistent, like Darwinism.

But if there is no absolute there is only the relative, incoherent though that philosophy may be (for the existence of relativity, or degrees of being, proves the absolute, since the relative can only be assessed and judged -- or even perceived -- in light of the absolute). In the face of the the absolute we are easily able to judge various cultures on the basis of their proximity to the ideal.

But once we have destroyed the absolute and descended into relativity, then what necessarily follows is multiculturalism, moral relativism, deconstruction, “perception is reality,” etc. All cultures become equally cherished, with the exception of the culture that believes some cultures are better than others. All truths are privileged with the exception of Truth itself. Belief in Truth itself is "authoritarian" or "fascist."

Ironically, in the relative world of nihilism, I am necessarily all. The world literally revolves around I, since my truth is absolute. The ultimate questions have no answers except for those I might provide.

This is why leftist academia has become so corrupt, for how can it not be “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” (Rose).

The emptiness of relativism evokes the next stage in the nihilist dialectic, realism. This is a novel type of debased realism that entirely excludes the vertical and affirms that only the horizontal realm is real -- that is, the material, external, and quantifiable world. In one fallen swoop, this philosophy of unreality becomes the paradigmatic lens through which mankind is now supposed to view the world. Thus, we somehow purchase "reality" at the price of our own absolute unreality.

My book begins with a quote from Richard Weaver: “The modernistic searcher after meaning may be likened to a man furiously beating the earth and imagining that the finer he pulverizes it, the nearer he will get to the riddle of existence. But no synthesizing truths lie in that direction. It is in the opposite direction that the path must be followed.” Nevertheless, it is in this downward direction that our fall inevitably takes us.

Here philosophy is officially replaced by modern misosophy: hatred of wisdom. It is a childishly naive ideology that confuses what is most obvious with what is most true, and what is most fundamental with what is most real. The cosmos is officially turned upside-down and inside-out, incoherently elevating insentient matter to the the ultimate.

As Father Rose writes, “Worship of fact is by no means the love of truth; it is, as we have already suggested, parody. It is the presumption of the fragment to replace the whole; it is the proud attempt to build a Tower of Babel, a collection of facts, to reach to the heights of truth and wisdom from below.

"But truth is only attained by bowing down and accepting what is received from above. All the pretended ‘humility’ of Realist scholars and scientists... cannot conceal the pride of their collective usurpation of the throne of God...”

Such an individual “becomes a fanatical devotee of the only reality that is obvious to the spiritually blind: this world.” Human beings are reduced to races or classes, spiritual love to animal sex, higher needs to lower desires, while the earth is elevated to Goddess, the dramatic to the significant, the celebrity to the important. A new kind of human monster emerges -- for a monster is simply a human being existing outside the human archetype -- and takes his place a bit lower than the beasts.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is Reality Real, or Just a Name?

We left off Friday with unKnown Friend's explanation of how Christianity in general and the Hermit in particular reconcile the three great antinomies with which any philosophy must grapple, the first one being idealism <---> realism.

The next antinomy is realism <---> nominalism -- which can be confusing, since this type of realism is the opposite of that discussed in Friday's post.

Recall that realism originally referred to the objective reality of abstract universals or platonic forms. But in the sense we will be discussing today, realism is closer to naturalism, since it denies objective reality to transcendent archetypes, and instead grants real existence only to particulars, otherwise known as nominalism.

As UF notes, a realist in the former sense sense of the term is an extreme idealist, e.g., Plato. For Plato, the idea is more real than the things of the world, which are just "copies." But for the nominalist, these so-called objective ideas are nothing more than words which have no independent reality.

Not to get too far ahead of oursophists, but this seemingly innocuous fork in the philosophical road eventually wends its way to deconstruction, multiculturalism, moral relativism,"positive liberties," "gay marriage," etc., the whole catastrophe.

For example, marriage is a natural right that exists prior to the state, and it is not for the state to invent or redefine the archetypes that make us human. Therefore, to promulgate the fantasy that members of the same sex can live in a state of marriage is a kind of barbaric assault on reality. It is mean-spirited, offensive, bigoted, and phobic of reality.

Any scientist who actually takes the trouble to think deeply is a philosophical realist. For example, there is no great mathematician who is not an explicit or implicit Platonist. G. H. Hardy, in his A Mathematician's Apology, wrote that "It would be difficult now to find an educated man quite insensitive to the aesthetic appeal of mathematics.... A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas."

If we consider the whole idea of creation -- i.e., the cosmos....

Wait, let's stop right there: the idea of the cosmos. For that is what it is: an idea. No one has ever seen the cosmos. But it is incorrect to say we just "assume" it exists. Rather, we know in our bones that it exists -- that is, the strict totality of all interacting objects and events, which is a shadow of the Absolute.

There is no part of reality that exists independently of this Absolute. The interior wholeness we see at every level of reality is simply a fractal reflection, or distant echo, of this Absolute. It is what accounts for the organicism of organisms, the nonlocality of locality, the unity of the human subject, and the inner coherence of science.

The realist (i.e., idealist) says that "the general is anterior to the particular" (deduction). The nominalist says that "the particular is anterior to the general" (induction).

Here again, we see how this plays out at the local level, with disastrous consequences. For example, for the left, the collective is more real than the individual, which is why liberals are untroubled by person A getting together with person B in order to appropriate the earnings of person C and give them to person D, so that person D will vote for, and grant more power to, persons A and B.

But the Founders knew that the individual was real and that this individuality was rooted in his liberty, which is the very means through which we become more real -- or realize our reality. It is this idea of liberty which is ultimately real, and which creates the possibility of real individuals (in other words, without liberty, our ideal "created" self will not be able to actualize in time; or, Image cannot embark upon the journey to Likeness).

But for the left, it is only in its concrete particulars that liberty is real, i.e, "positive liberties." In other words, liberty is not real unless the government somehow creates it and gives it to you in the form of cash, favors, and other valuable prizes. You might say that negative liberty preserves the ideal reality of liberty, whereas positive liberty ends in its negation.

For the nominalist, "truth, beauty and goodness do not exist for it as objective realities, and are only a matter of taste," that great leveler of the hierarchical cosmos. One cannot argue with a nominalist, because their first cognitive act is to dismantle the very cognitive scaffolding that makes higher thought possible.

In truth, we clearly need both, i.e., realism and nominalism: "We cannot dispense with realism if we attach any value to the existence of objective truth (science) and trans-subjective truth (religion)."

How to come up with a punchline for this yoke? It's easy, at least if one is lucky enough to have been born in Christendom: "The 'problem' of universals was resolved in the spiritual history of mankind by the fact of the Incarnation, where the fundamental universal of the world -- the Logos -- became Jesus Christ, who is the fundamental particular of the world."

Here, the universal of universals, the very principle of intelligibility, the Logos, became the particular of particulars, the very prototype of the personality, Jesus Christ.

In the words of Eckhart, "he who is devoted to justice is taken up by justice, seized by justice, becomes one with justice." And the just man "is free, and the closer he is to justice, the closer he is to freedom, and the more he is freedom itself."

Which is why for the Raccoon, spiritual knowledge is embodied knowledge or it is no knowledge at all, just nice sounding words.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Herman's Hermits and Harry's Parasites

Slept too long because I stayed up too late viewing the documentary Who is Harry Nilsson?, which I'd been wanting to see ever since I'd heard about it several years ago. It had an extremely limited run, but last I'd heard, couldn't get a distribution deal. Apparently not that much interest in someone who should be much more widely known and appreciated, but just doesn't fall into any easy category. He's sort of his own category. Anyway, the documentary is now up on You Tube in seven eight parts:



I don't know if it will be of general interest to nonHarryheads, but it does tell of a rather dramatic struggle between one's gifts and one's mind parasites. He was dealt a terrible hand in childhood, and at first it seemed as if the parasites would routinely have their way without much interference from the host, what with no interior resources to challenge their dominance.

His gifts nevertheless broke through -- which included a beautiful voice, something like a five octave range, a Brian Wilson-like ease with melody and harmony, clever and quirky lyrics, and well-developed senses of humor and the absurd -- which meant that the parasites had to redouble their efforts to the point of an outright death wish: if we cannot control this host, then we must kill him!

I haven't yet made it through episode six, but I believe he made one last stand before the mind parasites finally succeeded in vanquishing him.

On to Letter IX, The Hermit, which might very well be called Le Raccoon.

At least if memory serves. It is clearly the arcanum with which UF himself most identifies. He says that a person who is "truly young, i.e., living for an ideal," is instinctively drawn to this figure, similar to the Jungian concept of archetypal projection. In other words, the archetype of the Hermit is "within," but we must first locate it without, in order to assimilate its content into the preconceptual form within. Without the experience, the archetype will remain an empty category -- a dead letter addressed from the Self to your self.

The Hermit is "a wise and good father... who has passed through the narrow gate and who walks the hard way -- someone whom one could trust without reserve and whom one could venerate and love without limit."

The reason why there are so many false teachers is that we have an innate need for actual(ized) ones -- just as counterfeit money depends upon the existence of the real thing. But since our culture has largely -- and proudly -- severed itself from its own wisdom tradition, the Deepaks of the world rush in to fill the void. In fact, we can see that Obama is riding the waves of that same archetypal energy field.

Only in a culture that has lost its spiritual bearings could this bumbling cipher be regarded as unusually intelligent or minimally wise. For an insight into Obama's unconscious swamp, just consider the sinister minister he idealized as his own Hermit -- Reverend Wright!

Such an odious choice runs so much deeper than the question of "judgment," for what and who one loves simultaneously reveals who one is and what one shall become. A person who would expose his children to such a spiritually toxic environment is unfit to be a father, much less president. And I mean that quite literally. I cannot imagine assaulting my son's innocence in such a manner.

I am also reminded of an insightful comment by Henry Kissinger that runs counter to conventional understanding. That is, we often hear about presidents "growing into the office," but according to Kissinger, it is the opposite. That is, by the time a man runs for president, he has acquired the bulk of his intellectual capital, and if he should succeed in making it all the way to the presidency, he will simply draw upon the existing capital, not add to it.

For one thing, there is no longer any time to think, to read serious books, or to reflect. This is why Obama seems to shrink smaller and smaller with each passing month, since he didn't have much working capital to begin with -- or, more problematically, it was just the unexamined funny money of the left. And even that seems to have been given to him due to contingencies such as race.

The Hermit "possesses the gift of letting the light shine in the darkness -- this is his lamp." And here is a critical point: "he has the faculty of separating himself from the collective moods, prejudices and desires of race, nation, class and family -- the faculty of reducing to silence the cacophony of collectivism vociferating around him in order to listen to and understand the hierarchical harmony of the spheres."

This reminds me of the task of the psychoanalyst, which is to listen to the patient with "even hovering attention" -- or with the "third ear" -- in order to hear into the deeper layers of the unconscious. One must "unlisten" to the explicit in order to hear the implicit; or delve beneath the plot in order to apprehend the theme. Bion said that one must suspend memory, desire, and understanding, in order to enter a state of faith, or what Bob symbolizes in the book as the receptive and anticipatory mode of (o).

But that is not all, because if it were, we would live in a kind of bloodless idealism which Christianity specifically reconciles with flesh-and-blood reality -- or, materiality, to be precise. In other words, the Hermit unites reality with matter within his own being. Or, you could say that he embodies the ideal, or principle, in imitation of the Master himself (and in whose absence the whole innerprize would be impossible). As UF writes, the Hermit

"possesses a sense of realism which is so developed that he stands in the domain of reality... on three [feet], i.e., he advances only after having touched the ground through immediate experience and at first-hand contact without intermediaries." This is none other than 〇-->(n), or the transformation of prior reality into experience.

So the Hermit is an archetypal reflection of the good father, behind or above whom is the Father in heaven. The Hermit is a little word from our nonlocal sponsor, so to speak.

As UF says, he also represents the method of obtaining valid spiritual knowledge, in that he is able to synthesize within himself the three great antinomies with which any thinking man is confronted, and which any efficacious philosophy must reconcile. These are the complementary pairs of 1) idealism <---> realism; 2) realism <---> nominalism; and 3) faith <---> empirical science.

I remember that when I first read this chapter, I finally appreciated the intellectual and metaphysical brilliance of Christianity, and just what a profound innovation it represents, for it beautifully resolves each of these pairs in a fruitful and dynamic "marriage." I also understood why it is ever a folly to the geeks and a stumbling block to the clueless.

Consider the first antinomy, idealism <---> realism. Most philosophers come down on one side or the other of this pair. It is their first "preconceptual" thought, upon which their subsequent intellectual edifice is built. But they never justify how and why they come down on one side or the other, nor can they ever justify it, because it is totally arbitrary.

Well, not totally. Rather, it will be based upon temperament, or inclination, or just acquiescence to cultural drift, like the eternal question of boxers vs. briefs. Surely it is no coincidence that Bob prefers the "third way" of boxer briefs, for in fact, this is what Toots Mondello was referring to when he spoke of the "sacred undergarment."

Put it this way: Plato was a boxer man, Aristotle a briefs man. But can we possibly fashion a new garment out of these two, one that is both spiritually comfortable but also offers intellectual support, and is not woven of a manmade substance such as polyester?

UF writes that "the idealist (e.g. Hegel) considers everything as so many forms of thought, whilst the realist (e.g. Spencer) affirms that objects of knowledge have an existence which is independent of thought." Where have we heard this before?

Yes. This is surely what Bob was referring to on Page the 26, where he asks, "Where in the world do we begin? Do we have any right to assume that the universe is even intelligible?... Of course we should start our enquiry with the 'facts,' but what exactly is a fact? Which end is up? In other words, do we start with the objects of thought or the subject who apprehends them? And just what is the relationship between apparently 'external' objects and the consciousness that is able to cognize them? Any fact we consider presupposes a subject who has selected this fact out of an infinite sea of possibilities, so any conceivable fact arises simultaneously with a subjective co-creator of that fact."

In the case of realism, "it is the world which bears the word and it is the human intellect which listens." But in the case of idealism, "it is the intellect which bears the word and it is the world which is its reflection" (MOTT).

Who is right? Boxers or briefs?

"Let us not prostrate ourselves either before the world or before the intellect, but let us prostrate ourselves in adoration of the common source of both the world and the intellect -- God: God whose Word is at one and the same time the 'true light that enlightens every man coming into the world' and the creator of the world -- 'all things were made through him, and nothing that was made was made without him" (MOTT).

The source of both world and intellect is the Word, or Logos, "whose objective manifestation is the world of prototypes underlying the phenomenal world, and whose subjective manifestation is the light or prototype of human intelligence." You see, the universe meets in the middle of the monkey, and you are the monkey in the middle of it all.

This formula resolves many philosophical pickles and arms us against many potential falls. For example, our scientistic jester would presumably say that a random contingency which can have no ultimate reality in his system -- the human subject -- is able to affirm valid knowledge of reality, which, as soon as one actually thinks about it, makes no sense.

Therefore, one must not think in order to continue believing it; or else engage in counterfeit thought. But why bother thinking anyway, since the subject isn't really real?

Nor could objects be really real, in the sense that we couldn't really know them. Not really. Rather, we would be trapped in Kant's phenomenal world -- ultimately just our own nervous system -- with no access to the noumenal. But with the Hermit's approach, both objects and the subject who knows them become really real, since they become real in the Word. In turn, assimilating this reality into the Word is to "redeem the world."

*For those who don't know, the "Herman" in the title refers to one of our founders, Herman Hildebrand.

To be continued....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

By the Power Vested in Me, I Declare Myself God

In Letter VII, the Chariot, our Unknown Friend -- although we are getting to know him better -- tells us that this arcanum has to do with that most subtle temptation, spiritual temptation.

It is subtle -- or tricky, cunning, and devious -- because the temptation results from one's very spiritual success, or one's interior freedom of movement, so to speak: "It is the temptation to act 'in one's own name,' to act as master instead of servant." Virtually the entire new age movement is ruled by this particular temptation.

This is why all authentic spiritual paths begin and end with moral development. If they sometimes exaggerate man's depravity, this is far preferable to its opposite -- the unqualified glorification of man -- since one of its purposes is to prevent the spiritual inflation that occurs when spiritual energies are mingled with the unredeemed man, a la Deepak and his ilk. Again, when this happens, one creates a demon, a monster. And it only happens again and again and again.

Schuon said something to the effect that man tests his faith by renouncing, while God tests it by removing. Renunciation has the practical effect of opening up a space where ego activity would otherwise be. Elsewhere in the book, UF says that while nature abhors a vacuum, Spirit requires one. This is in conformity with one of Meister Eckhart's recurrent themes:

"If this work is to be done, God alone must do it, and you must just suffer it to be." Nothing so resembles God "as the human soul. For this reason God wants this temple cleared that he may be there all alone.... Thus, to be receptive to the highest truth and to live therein," we must be "empty and free, receiving the divine gift in the eternal Now, and bearing it back unhindered in the light of the same," AKA the coonspiration of (↓↑).

Here again, the inverse of this would be to furiously deepak our own chopra and spank the Darwinian monkey via The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, or Creating Affluence, or Reinventing the Body, or Unlocking Your Potential For Greatness. He seems to have sold an awful lot of these books. So where are all these great people with reinvented bodies? By all rights we should be crawling with them.

To the extent that Chopra's magical ideas "work," it is because they harness -- or create, rather -- demonic energy. And to the extent that they continue working, it will depend upon how thoroughly one has vanquished the uncreated conscience -- i.e., become less than human, not more.

This is another example of the "negative transcendence" discussed in yesterday's post, and which is intrinsically fascist -- not in the usual insulting way, but literally, since it promises a new glorified man brought to you by... the old unredeemed man. It never works. See 20th century for details.

In a relativistic universe in which there is no difference between up and down, one may become a "superman" merely by obeying gravity. This is why Chopra is apparently regarded as a "wise man" by thousands, instead of the spiritual cancer that he is. For as UF says, "it is not desire which bears magical realization, but rather the renunciation of desire."

Or, one might say, "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." One must not saturate the space where vertical energies operate. Rather, one must get out of the way.

Here is the key point: "For some the superman has more attraction than the Son of Man, because he promises them a career of increasing power, whilst the Son of Man offers only a career of 'foot washing.'" The ego obviously prefers the way of the superman, and it is to the power-seeking ego which all false teachers and deviant paths appeal.

UF writes that the best curative against spiritual inflation is worshipping that which is above us, which serves as a reminder of the distance between us and the goal. We must not confuse "what we are" with who or "what the worshipped being is."

True enough, in the ultimate sense "all is God." However, it is more accurate -- or less inaccurate -- to say that "nothing is not God." Nevertheless, to paraphrase Schuon, it does one no good to affirm that "I am one with God" until one appreciates the extent to which one is not. Two comes before Three and One.

UF writes that since the purpose of spirituality is the cultivation of height, depth, breadth, and profundity within the soul, inflation is the principle danger for all who would embark upon this path.

As such, this is why there is such an emphasis "on the cultivation of humility," for example, in remaining obedient to orthodoxy (or to the true Master), of systematic and continuous "examination of conscience," and on "the reciprocal brotherly help of members of the community." "Authentic experience of the Divine makes one humble; he who is not humble has not had an authentic experience of the Divine."

This, by the way, is the meaning of the true community of which left wing statism is a caricature. As Russell Kirk writes in Eliot and His Age, the left imposes an exteriorized welfare state that crushes the soul and robs man of his dignity rather than undertaking "the hard and austere labor of thinking through a program for restoring true community."

And because they are "progressive," they actively sever the living link between present and past, the result being that communion with our priceless repository of accumulated wisdom is impossible. To put it another way, the idea of linear "temporal progress" denies the spatial mode of civilization, the psychospiritual "container," womb, or matrix that has nurtured the West for several millennia.

President Obama is suffering from the identical spiritual inflation as Chopra. Note how UF saw him coming half a century ago:

"The reformer who wants to correct or save humanity easily falls victim to the temptation of considering himself as the active center of the passive circle of humanity. He feels himself as the bearer of a mission of universal significance, therefore he feels himself to be more and more important."

And why not, with deeply disturbed creatures such as this serving as his herald:

"You really only get a handful, a smattering, maybe three or four per lifetime if you're lucky or blessed or just so happen to be paying the right kind of deeper karmic attention. Historic events, I mean. Major shifts, upheavals, great leaps forward [!!!!! -- ed.], the Thing That Changed Everything.

"President Obama will be just such a shift, an extraordinary marker, a type and flavor of history that we as preternaturally jaded humans rarely get to experience anymore.... the sheer volume of expansive energy surrounding Obama's run has been absolutely astonishing, a global outpouring of positive interest and awareness like almost no other leader, no other potential slap of progress we've experienced in modern American history. From the international headlines down to the forgotten corners of our own culture we normally never hear from, the message is the same: Something is about to upend. Something seems like it's about to give way."

Yes, something is about to give way (and be taken away) alright. With an Obama presidency, we will now be governed by those least capable of governing themselves, which is a recipe for hell. [Say, how'd that work out, anyway?]

It would not be too difficult to name some politicians whose influence and impact agree very well with the classical concept of the "black magician." Indeed, is it difficult to name politicians who have exercised a deadly, suggestive influence on the popular masses, blinding them and inciting them to acts of cruelty, injustice and violence, of which each individual, taken separately, would be incapable... and who, through their semi-magical influence, have deprived individuals of their freedom and rendered them possessed? And is not this action to deprive men of their moral freedom and to render them possessed the aim and very essence of black magic? --Meditations on the Tarot

Or, if you prefer, straight from the hoser's mouth:

[T]he speech worked such magic.... In essence Sen. Obama's speech said, "I am America," and amazingly enough, people from all walks of life, political persuasions, faiths, and ethnic backgrounds believe him.... Watching cynical reporters and political commentators believe in him almost instantaneously is breathtaking.... If Barack Obama makes it all the way to the White House, it will represent a quantum leap in American consciousness....

True enough, but quantum leaps are not unidirectional.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Between Thought and Expression

Between thought and expression lies a lifetime. --Lou Reed, Some Kinda Love

That pregnant line pretty much encrapsulates the horror of totalitarianism, for what is the latter but a wall between thought and expression?

In the free world, between thought and expression lies exactly one lifetime. Or, the time of one's life consists in the expression of one's thought, precisely, i.e., the actualization of the soul's potential.

And even then, the time one is allotted couldn't possibly contain the expression, which is more or less "infinite." For example, had Mozart lived to 70 or 80 instead of 34, he would have no doubt continued transforming musical thought into sonic expression. It is not as if he -- or it -- would have run out. But he could have also lived to 200 or 300, and we could say the same thing.

Except that if such were the case, works of genius would be so common as to be completely disposable. A play by William Shakespeare would be as rare as a film by Adam Sandler, or a post by some logorrheic spiritual blogger.

There seems to be a cosmic sense of proportion guiding these matters, so that works of genius are accessible without being too common or too rare. To put it another way, in any aesthetic endeavor, 99% of what one encounters will be crap. But if the figure were less than that, we would soon have a glut of excellence, thereby deflating its value.

Back to this question of the nature of totalitarianism. Applied to Lou Reed's formula, we might say that between thought and expression lies a.... state. Or, authority, which is to say, raw power. Or sometimes the means of expression, say, literacy, or a printing press, or the internet. Any totalitarian system must control access to information. Just as it was a crime to teach a slave to read, free access to the internet is forbidden in the totAllahterrorist world.

Perhaps the most concise way of saying it is to reverse the terms: between thought and expression, a lifetime of lies.

This is indeed the peculiar thing about totalitarianism, and what distinguishes it from mere tyranny (or from contemporary authoritarian states).

Think of ancient Rome, for example. As far as they were concerned, you were free to think what you wanted, so long as it didn't threaten state power. There was no need for the tenured to come up with fancy ideologies to legitimize the lust for power, or to reach into the individual soul and try to control its very existence. No one was crucified for political incorrectness, nor were there any low-tech lynchings for having racially impermissible thoughts.

Therefore, one cannot say that a Stalin, a Hitler, a Castro, simply wanted "power." That they already had. For some reason, they also wanted to refashion man by controlling him from within. There was nothing logical about this, because if anything, it only made the regimes more fragile instead of more robust. After all, National Socialism lasted only a dozen years, the Soviet Union less than seventy (ironically, a "lifetime"). By closing off thought in this manner, there is no way for the soul to "let off steam." One either goes insane, numbs oneself (say, with drink), or becomes a rebel.

"The most totalitarian regime is the one where the penetration of the regime into the soul of the individual is complete." Taylor adds that "the people must be made to want what they are allowed to have or to behave as if they want what they have." Therefore, there is always a "pretend" element in totalitarianism, at least until one convinces oneself that the Lie is the Truth. One then lives in "an ideological universe of lies," but no longer recognizes it as such.

I should add that this can be a very subtle process, especially in the non-totalitarian west, where ideology, for the most part, isn't imposed, but rather, seduces and hypnotizes.

For what is ideology but a substitute reality, or anti-world? It is a pseudo reality, like scientism, or materialism, or leftism, something superimposed on the world. Eventually the world is no longer perceived at all. Either it is filtered through the ideology, or critical aspects of reality excluded by the ideology aren't even seen (say, the spiritual world).

I am reminded of a story about a visitor to Moscow who was standing in front of a large Orthodox cathedral. He looked down at the official government map in his hands, but the church was nowhere to be seen. It was forbidden by their ideology to exist.

That is a very ham-handed example of denying reality. But think of the multitude of realities that are forbidden to exist by political correctness. Ironically -- I guess -- there is nowhere in America where thought is more constrained than on a university campus. Between thought and expression lies... speech codes!

Any liberal democracy -- indeed, the very essence of liberalism -- is grounded in the opposite principle: that freedom of expression is the essence of our humanness. Between thought and expression is... everything. It is the potential space -- the transitional space -- where we spend most of our timelessness (assuming we are truly "alive" in the human sense).

One might say that between 〇 and (¶) lies not just a lifetime, but eternity, precisely. It is where we compose our lifetome.

Now, what is totalitarianism but a false absolute? If one's thinking is constrained by any absolute except the Absolute, then one is living under auto-totalitarian rule.

In fact, perhaps totalitarianism is "evoked" by the madness of relativism. Totalitarianism is a solution to a very real problem of modernity, that is, the sundering of a unified worldview into facts and values, quantities and qualities, vertical and horizontal. Totalitarianism "heals" that split -- or, more accurately, stitches the wound closed with barbed wire.

Since man was not made to exist in such an absurd and unintelligible world of absolute relativity -- and to the extent that he rejects the perennial wisdom that articulates the Absolute -- then he will be susceptible to the lure of the false absolute, i.e., the "totalitarian temptation."

This helps to explain the novel emergence of the political religions of the 20th century -- and why public enemy number one of any state religion is always real religion, whether one is talking about communism, Nazism, or the ACLU. If one has ever read a gimme letter from the ACLU, their immorality always comes clothed in a hysteric veneer of moral urgency and crisis -- the perpetual crisis of conservatives who don't want an intrusive state between thought and expression.

Reminds me of Himmler, who, in delivering his speeches to the elect, always did so in the heat of great "moral exhortation." With this kind of stark cosmic inversion, Taylor observes that "We are outside of the human realm..., as though standing before a negative transcendence" (emphasis mine).

This is the very definition of the demonic, in that "these acts were carried out in the name of a good, under the guise of a moral code." And this was a strict moral code. For example, one of the authors notes that German soldiers who routinely murdered Jews were punished if they were caught stealing cigarettes from the corpse.

(This brings to mind Taranto's column yesterday [last story], which stresses the importance of wearing a condom if you are going to have sex with an animal. This is precisely the kind of absurd morality that exists in a scientistic world of negative transcendence.)

As Himmler urged his men, "If we do not find this moral connection, which is the deepest and best connection because it is the most natural, we will never rise to the level necessary to defeat Christianity and to constitute this German Reich, which will be a blessing to the entire world.

"For thousands of years, it has been the duty of the blond race to rule the world and always to bring it happiness and civilization." Emphasis mine, because note the extreme irony of Germans depicting themselves as the chosen people who have the extreme burden of bringing happiness and civilization to the world.

And it was a burden for those poor Nazis. In another address, Himmler said that extermination of the Jews "for those who carry it out is the hardest and most difficult thing in the world." Nevertheless, "I think I can say that this was accomplished without our men or our officers suffering because of it in their hearts or in their souls. Even so, this was a real danger."

I think it is accurate to say that the underlying purpose of ideology is to render the wrong right and the lie truth. It magically allows the means to justify the ends, since the utopian goal is so beautiful.

While there is always a strong element of this in contemporary leftist statism and bureaucratic socialism, there is also the converse: the means justify the end.

What I mean by this is that leftists are not interested in the actual results of their policies. Rather, the policies are always self-justified by the good intentions behind them, for example, forcing banks to make loans to unqualified borrowers, which is at the epicenter of our current economic woes (that and the inevitable day of wreckening for European socialism, since you can toss out economic reality with a pitchforked tongue, but it always comes roaring back; and oddly enough, the burden is once again on the Germans).

To be continued...