Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The One in the Many in the One

We still have a few areas to cover in Temperance before moving on to everyone's favorite card, the Devil. Agree or disagree with him, he never phones it in, nor is he a quitter. He always maintains the audacity of hope (horizontalized hope, of course) and is the champion of progressive change.

Speaking of horizontalized hope, in reading this biography of Hitler, I was struck by the resilience of his hope, right up to the end. For example, despite the fact that his bunker was about to be encircled by bloodthirsty Russians, upon hearing of Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, he exclaimed "Here!... Here we have the great miracle that I have always foretold. Who's right now? The war is not lost. Read it! Roosevelt is dead!" That is what I call audacious hope.

More devilish dilations tomorrow. Back to where we left off yesterday. Our unKnown Friend and cosmic tour guide points out that there are actually three primary modes of spiritual experience: vision, inspiration, and intuition; or perception, communication, and identification:

"Vision presents and shows us spiritual things, inspiration infuses us with understanding of them, and intuition reveals to us their essence by way of assimilation with our essence."

Or, to spit out a digestive metaphor, first one must determine what to eat; then ingest, chew, and swallow it; and finally metabolize and assimilate it, so that the two substances become one body.

Note that the first two require conscious choice, while the latter occurs without involvement of our conscious will -- nor would we have any idea how to accomplish this task if we had to. (Also, bear in mind that this sequence is preceded, of course, by hunger, which is to say, recognition of spiritual need, or ontological incompleteness and therefore dependence and openness.)

Alternatively, we could think of these modes as taking place on the planes of feeling, knowing, and being, each having its own degrees of depth and interpenetrating the others (i.e., they can only be artificially separated; think of the three modes as a dynamic trialectic, like the human family -- father intellect, mother intuition, and child feeling).

As I have mentioned before, for the typical worshipper, religion embodies a kind of (implicit or non-conscious) metaphysics without (explicitly articulated) knowledge. In other words, the metaphysics is implicate, but no less true for being so. Gravity existed before Newton's discovery of it, just as Christ exists before Jesus.

This is again why the most simpleminded creationist is nevertheless closer to the (absolute, not relative) truth than the most sophisticated atheist. Such a person "feels" the truth, even if he cannot necessarily express it in way acceptable to the atheist, who is incapable of feeling this more subtle mode of truth to begin with. It should go without saying that there are saintly people who are not intellectuals, just as there are intellectuals who are not saints.

UF notes that spiritual vision -- just like its physical analogue -- expands the horizon of one's being. All of our senses are actually different varieties of touch; for example, with vision, we are touching photons; with hearing, we are touching air vibrations; with olfaction, we are touching molecules floating in the air.

Just as our physical vision expands our subjective horizon -- even to distant heavenly bodies that are light-years away -- so too does spiritual vision give access to realities that are "up ahead" (both spatially and temporally) and yet here.

For example, when we read, say, Genesis or the Gospel of John, each helps us to discern realities that are vertically "present," but might otherwise go undetected -- just as a person without vision (unless told) would know nothing of stars and planets. Scripture literally helps us touch these realities with our awakened intellect, and can indeed be the occasion of that very awakening (since there can be no effect without a sufficient cause).

But so too do other spiritual modes involve touch -- really, anything that directly communicates divine truth, love, or beauty. Often, as UF describes, this contact will be accompanied by tears, which result from the "flow" between the two domains, the eternal and the temporal:

"The contact between image and likeness is experienced as inner weeping.... [T]he expression 'I am moved to tears' is only a reflection of what happens when image and likeness touch. They then mingle in tears -- and the inner current which results is the life of the human soul."

I'm guessing that atheists have never wept upon encountering a transformative truth, but that is not surprising, for the tears again signify depth of experience, and nothing as shallow as atheism could ever produce such an effect.

There are tears of sorrow, of joy, of gratitude, of admiration, of compassion, of reverence, of pride in one's children, of tenderness, of reconciliation, each having to do with the intensity of one's inner life, which "pours out" in the form of tears, either outwardly or "inwardly."

When is the last time you were moved in this way to inward tears? I guess for me it was a couple of months ago, when my six year old was baptized into the Catholic faith. I'm not saying I was noticeably weeping or anything -- the Godwins are men of steel -- but I definitely received the memo, enough to in-form me that I was in the presence of a real reality.

So there is spiritual vision, or touch, which involves depth of feeling and gives access to a new realm of facts. Then there is spiritual inspiration, or communication, which involves depth of knowledge and understanding. It takes the facts given by vision and converts them to explicit knowledge. This is none other then O-->(n), or "gnosis" (which all genuine theology should be).

At the same time, there is no depth without unity, and vice versa. Necessarily, as one's knowledge deepens one will begin to apprehend the interior cosmic unity, or the Logos, that makes intellectual unity possible to begin with. Contrast this with the absurd "horizontal unity" of the flatlanders, which is a metaphysical impossibility.

Now, vision has more to do with (↓), while inspiration has more to do with (↑). This is because, like our sensory vision, the former is mostly a passive modality. We just open our eyes and whoomp, there it is, a whole world.

But inspiration, as UF defines it, requires a bit more effort on our part: not just tears, but sweat. We have spoken of tears. When is the last time you sweated to deepen your vision?

I well remember the first time this happened to me. It was in the spring of 1985, when I first encountered Bion. That awakened something in me and set me off on a wild nous chase, the details of which are unimportant. The future Mrs. G and I were living in a one bedroom apartment with virtually no furniture, so I was sitting on the floor grappling with the text, literally perspiring in a kind of intellectual fever that was full of implications which took years to sort out. You could say that it was my intellectual "big bang." (By the way, I am not recommending Bion to anyone, because the point is to find the person who introduces you to yourself; I am not a "Bionian.")

Speaking of Bion, in order to have inspirations, one's mind must be unsaturated: "the answer is the disease that kills curiosity." I was apparently a good candidate, for I had essentially learned nothing (nothing essential) from kindergarten all the way through my undergraduate work. I had no answers, diseased or otherwise. It's just basic physics that if you want something to pour into you, your vessel should be relatively empty and capacious. Elsewhere UF writes that while nature abhors a vacuum, Spirit requires one.

UF has a good line: "Children know how to ask and dare to ask. Are they presumptuous? No, because each question that they pose is at the same time an avowal of their ignorance." Schuon said something to the effect that there is more light in a good question than in most answers. You will note that our trolls are always armed with peripheral questions that contain no light -- or even capacity for light -- at all. They are not the innocent expression of holy ignorance, but a guilt-stained imposition of unholy stupidity.

UF describes inspiration as a thinking together, and this is indeed what it is. Again, to use the example above, I was not simply "learning" Bion. Rather, we were "thinking together" in such a way that it sounded all sorts of latent themes within me -- and which were the primordial and consequent me.

So, your omwork for today is to "say to yourself that you know nothing, and at the same time say to yourself that you are able to know everything, and -- armed with this healthy humility and this healthy presumption of children -- immerse yourself in the pure and strengthening element of the 'thinking together' of inspiration!"

Clearing space to make room for a higher tooth:

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Origin of Feces and the Descent of Man

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
--But who is that on the other side of you?
--T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Meditations on the Tarot has a lengthy account of the nature of guardian angels. It's pretty straightOward, so I don't want to just rewordgitate what our unKnown Friend says. All I can really add is that if you don't think you have a guardian angel, just fake it for awhile. There is no one lonelier than an angel with nothing to do.

Out of curiosity, I looked it up on wikipedia, and it says that "A guardian angel is an angel assigned to protect and guide a particular person or group.... Christian mystics have at times reported ongoing interactions and conversations with their guardian angels, lasting several years."

UF writes that "The Angel depends on man in his creative activity. If the human being does not ask for it, if he turns away from him, the Angel has no motive for creative activity. He can then fall into a state of consciousness where all his creative geniality remains in potential and does not manifest. It is a state of vegetation or 'twilight existence' comparable to sleep from the human point of view. An Angel who has nothing to exist for is a tragedy in the spiritual world."

I'm just going to reflect on whatever strikes my attention, such as the following: "the formation of wings" depends upon "a current from above [read: (↓)] which moves to meet that from below [(↑)]. Wings are formed only when the two currents -- that of human endeavor and that of grace -- meet and unite." Thus, identical to the manner in which earthly wings are formed by natural selection, the need evokes the function.

UF goes on to say that all forms of radical secularism "can create only the wings of Icarus." I am immediately reminded of Michael Novak's outstanding On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding, in that our Fathers -- perhaps because they were listening to the counsel of their better angels -- got the formula exactly right for our extraordinary national flight of the past two and a quarter centuries.

As always, when we say that the left in general and Obama in particular are "anti-American," we do not mean it in an insulting or polemical way. Rather, we mean it in this precise way: that the left explicitly wishes to clip one of our wings, which, as God is my witness, will cause us to plummet to the ground like bags of wet cement, no different than any other turkey of a nation.

When the flightless birds of the left squawk about "separation of church and state," what they really mean is the violent dismemberment of one of our wings. It makes no more sense than cutting off the thumb to spite our hand. The hand will remain, but it won't be able to grasp much, just as a single-winged biped is unable to achieve liftoff in the vertical. It has nothing to do with politics, but with a pre-political choice. The politics follows logically from this prior auto-amputation.

True, the leftist may develop wings of a sort, but we all recognize these appendages for what they are, for they are "the wings of a bat, i.e., those of darkness which are organs by means of which one can plunge into the depths of darkness" (MOTT). These are the worldly wings that allow one to navigate through that dark and dreadful 'batmosphere. Most contemporary art and literature is of this nature -- just the further erosion of eros and its replacement with the cold and loveless idols of the day. Such autists cannot soar upward but only can sink downward and confuse it with flight (which it is, until one hits bottom). The Waste Land comes to mind:

And bats with baby faces in the violet light / Whistled, and beat their wings / And crawled head downward down a blackened wall / And upside down in air were towers / Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours / And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.

Yes moonbatman, you may flip and flap your two vestigial left wings of hope and change, but you will never achieve true flight, for there is no such thing as a free launch. Rather, you will simply turn on your own axis in a tight little spiral. Nor will you grow, for you are trying to subsist on your own byproducts. The shit-eating grin of Election Day 2008 will be wiped from the face of the left soon after Inauguration Day 2009.

Our "vastly enlarged perspectives of knowledge should open up fresh vistas of religious faith" (Eliot), not close off the frontier of unKnowing. Remember, human knowledge is like a little expanding circle amidst the sea of Being. Thus, the more we extend our boundaries, the greater the area we do not know. As a result, we have all the more to unKnow in the writ of a single lifetome. In other words, for them the problem was paucity of knowledge. For us, a surfeit. Much of the latter needs to be tossed overboard in order to leave the ground.

Russell Kirk writes that no Christian belief is "more neglected today... than the concept of guardian angels," which is "no less credible than many other dogmas which Eliot had learned to accept.... Imperfect though it may be, evidence for the existence of intermediary spiritual beings is no less intelligible than the proofs for various theories of natural science.... [F]or him, there was nothing repugnant or incredible in conceiving of tutelary beings of another order than human."

Hey, why not? Kirk mentions Yeats, "who believed that some great dead man watches over every passionate living man of talents." I believe this. I believe that through a kind of "passionate resonance," we may enter the interior mansion of a great person and borrow a portion of his precious ʘjʘ. Greater men than I just steal it.

As I sit here at this moment, I have several iconic photographs and pneumagraphic icons sitting on my desk, so I may look to them for a little cosmic inspiration (↓) -- or be scared straight up if need be. You really do become what you venerate; or, what you spontaneously venerate reveals your true nature.

Which is again why the unreal ideologies of the left are so spiritually catastrophic. Should one truly believe and assimilate those worthless braindroppings, one ends up batshit crazy.

Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London

Thursday, November 24, 2011

An Angel Speaks on the Record

Consider this a bonus post, since there won't be another until Monday. It's just that I have a little free time, being that there's no school to interrupt the flow.

Today we shall begin our discussion of temperance, which probably sounds like a boring aracanum, but it's not. For it is the card of "integrated duality," which is actually rather thrilling, since it accounts for most of the action on the vertical plane. Call it "interior action."

To exist is to live amidst polarity and tension, the ultimate tension being the distance between image and likeness. It is this that creates the dynamic potential to transcend ourselves and "become what we are." The closing of this gap is the objective measure of your life. And if not for this "psychic third" that draws us beyond (and toward) ourselves, our lives really would be a vicious and inescapable duality. Coming down on one side or the other would essentially be arbitrary, plus there would be no way to move past it.

As UF explains, the image represents our essential structure, while likeness represents the functional structure; the former is "timeless," while the latter can only be deployed in time. The image is indestructible and responsible for our freedom, since it is a spark of the Absolute.

But the immortality of the likeness is "optional," so to speak, in that "it is immortal only in proportion to the measure that it conforms to its image." For a variety of reasons, many people choose Death. But to paraphrase the outlaw Josey Wales, "dyin' ain't much of a living," for it is analogous to choosing prison for the image while imagining that the likeness roams free. But this results only in freedom for the me but not the I -- the object and not the true subject.

UF then goes into an extended meditation on the metaphysics of angels, which, in the overall scheme of things, might be thought of as personifications of (↑) and (↓); in other words, they are "vertical emissaries," so to speak. Rabbi Steinsaltz's classic Thirteen Petalled Rose contains one of the most clear and concise explanations of angelology I've ever found, and it is very much compatible with what UF has to say. In fact, here is something I wrote about it four years ago:

"Steinsaltz notes that the soul [read: image] should not be thought of as a 'point' in space time. Rather, it is 'a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls [O] to beyond the specific body of a particular person.... and because the soul is not a single point in space, it should be viewed not as a single existence having one quality or character, but as many existences, on a variety of spiritual levels...'

In the past, I have playgiarized with Alan Watts' analogy of a lampshade with many pinprick holes in it. From the outside it will look as if there are many "local" individual lights, but in reality, they are all coming from a single nonlocal source.

In another way, it's analogous to progressive bifocals, which change the focal point depending upon where you point your eyes. Look up through the bottom, and things that are near become out of focus; look down through the top, and the distant becomes blurry. So many errors of scientism result from looking through the wrong end of the bifocals. And they've never even heard of trifocals.

Steinsaltz discusses the distinction between the vertical and horizontal, which for me is the essence of any spiritual metaphysic. Obviously, in speaking of the vertical, of the qualitatively higher and lower, he is not speaking of an actual physical location. Vertically speaking, "to call a world higher signifies that it is more primary, more basic in terms of being close to a primal source of influence; while a lower world would be a secondary world -- in a sense, a copy."

Thus, viewed horizontally, we may trace the material cosmos back to a primordial event some 13.7 billion years ago. But this is only a horizontal explanation. Traditional metaphysics deals with the vertical causation of the cosmos, which is what confuses some people.

From the vertical perspective, this world is indeed a copy, as are human beings, of a divine prototype. The Logos might be thought of as the model of all things, the nexus between the divine mind above and the creation here below. Looked at in this manner, the inexplicable beauty of the world is not somehow the outcome of horizontal cause and effect, which would be a ridiculous assertion. Rather Beauty is a fundamental cause of the cosmos (among other nonlocal causes, such as Love and Truth).

Because of the ubiquitous vertical and horizontal influences, every aspect of human existence is made up of both matter and spirit, of form and essence. While we are fundamentally spiritual, we are unavoidably material, which sets up a host of interesting tensions and conflicts. The fall -- or exile, if you like -- is indeed a vertical one, a declension from the divine repose of celestial peace, down to this world of toil, conflict, uncertainty and ambiguity.

Steinsaltz writes that an angel is simply a "messenger" constituting a point of contact "between our world of action and the higher worlds. The angel is the one who effects transfers of the vital plenty between worlds. An angel's missions go in two directions: it may serve as an emissary of God downward..., and it may also serve as the one who carries things upwards from below, from our world to the higher worlds."

I ran it by Petey, but he was, I don't know, noncommittal. But that's not unusual. It's more like he's disinterested, or at least pretends to be. The roll of the eyes, the impatient, audible exhalation, the way his little wings flutter, as if he's got something better to do....

I just searched the blog, and found some more interesting material. At least it is for me. You'll have to bear with me, because often it's as if I'm reading these things for the first time. Oh wait. I am reading it for the first time. Petey himself wrote this one a couple of years ago. Of himself, he wrote that:

"I'm here, but I'm not here. How to explain.... I'm always here in the same sense that all 200 or whatever it is crappy TV stations are always streaming into your house. They're what we might call 'implicate.' But you can only tap into one station at a time -- assuming you don't have picture-in-picture, which is a little like schizophrenia -- thereby making the implicate explicate.

"The multidimensional implicate order is anterior to the explicate order, so that what you folks call 'consensus reality' is more of a mutual agreement to limit the implicate order in a certain way. It's all about managing your existential anxiety, not getting at the Truth. If you want to get at the Truth, you're going to have to tolerate the anxiety of not knowing, not make the anxiety go away with some stupid scientistic-materialistic nonsense.

"You know the old crack -- 'if the doors of perception were cleansed, then everything would appear as it is, infinite.' It is such a childish conceit for humans to imagine their puny minds can encompass the generative reality that generatively encompasses them!

"Yes, there are higher and lower worlds. I guess this isn't obvious to a leftist, but if any of you saw some of those OWS encampments, you know all about people who inhabit a lower world. Their language, their music, their feelings, their hygiene, their childish world view -- all emanate from a lower world. Ironically, most of them aren't even from the earth plane, but a notch or two below that.

"The point I'm making is that the words high and low refer only to the place of any particular world on the ladder of causality. 'To call a world higher signifies that it is more primary, more basic in terms of being close to a primal source of influence; while a lower world would be a secondary world -- in a sense, a copy. Yet the copy is not just an imitation but rather a whole system, with a more or less independent life of its own, its own variety of experience, characteristics and properties.' [I think that quote might be from Steinsaltz]

"This is why the flatlanders can become so enclosed in their absurcular delusions. In a way, their worldview is complete (on its own level), and yet, it's radically incomplete (with regard to the whole).

"I remember sketching this out with ironyclad logic to Gödel. I say 'irony,' because his ideas have been lowjoked by the psycho-spiritual left to suggest that we cannot make absolute statements about reality, when Gödel and I were making the opposite point about the limitations of logic to express things we damn well know to be true. One such point is that things aren't true because they're logical but logical because they're true. Duh!

"If you have stayed with me this far, then you will understand that, just as there are evil beings, there are evil worlds. These are simply the 'space' inhabited by the evil beings. Wisdom too is a space, or 'mansion.' Also creativity, love, beauty, peace. You can sense it when you enter one of these mansions. You can also sense it when you are near one of those haunted mansions where the darklings reside, or in one of the simplistic McMansions of the left.

"Enough malevolent wishes and wicked deeds, and pretty soon you have created a closed world, cut off from the divine influence. As Steinsaltz describes it, 'the sinner is punished by the closing of the circle, by being brought into contact with the domain of evil he creates.... as long as man chooses evil, he supports and nurtures whole worlds and mansions of evil, all of them drawing upon the same human sickness of the soul.... as the evil flourishes and spreads over the world because of the deeds of men, these destructive angels become increasingly independent existences, making up a whole realm that feeds on and fattens on evil.'

"Being that I was once an ordinary embodied and enmentalled man just like you prior to the farming accident, I feel that I am fit to pronounce on these subjects. Human beings live in a world of physical 'action,' and imagine that this is where all the action is. Not true.

"Allow me to explain. Or better yet, allow Steinsaltz to explain: 'The lower part of the world of action is what is known as as the "world of physical nature" and of more or less mechanical processes -- that is to say, the world where natural law prevails; while above this world of physical nature is another part of the same world which we may call the "world of spiritual action."

"What these two realms have in common is the action of Man, since 'the human creature is so situated between them that he partakes of both. As part of the physical system of the universe, man is subordinate to the physical, chemical, and biological laws of nature; while from the standpoint of his consciousness, even while this consciousness is totally occupied with matters of a lower order, man belongs to the spiritual world, the world of ideas.... Every aspect of human existence is therefore made up of both matter and spirit.'

"It is my nature to be a 'messenger, to constitute a permanent contact between [your] world of action and the higher worlds. The angel is the one who effects transfers of the vital plenty between worlds.'

"'An angel's missions go in two directions: it may serve as an emissary of God downward, to other angels and to creatures below the world of formation; and it may also serve as the one who carries things upwards from below, from our world to the higher worlds' (Steinsaltz). You might call us the transpersonal postal service for prayers and the like.

"Just to make it clear, it was not I who prompted Bob to steal the Las Vegas Holiday Inn flag back in 1980. For there are 'subversive angels' that are actually created by the thoughts and actions of men. I believe Bob calls them 'mind parasites.' They are contingent objectifications from various vital-emotional domains. Up here we sometimes call them the 'tempters.' Either that, or the 'mesmerers.' The Holiday Inn incident was a fine example of a tempter tantrum fueled by what we call 'liquid courage.'

"It would be wrong to conclude on the basis of what I have just said that the difference between you and I is that you have a body and I don't. Rather, 'the soul of man is most complex and includes a whole world of different existential elements of all kinds, while the angel is a being of a single essence and therefore in a sense one-dimensional' (Steinsaltz). This is why you and I play such different roles in the cosmic economy. You actually have the tougher job, which is to say, because of your 'many-sidedness' and your 'capacity to to contain contradictions,' this makes it possible for you to 'rise to great heights,' but also to fuck up big time, neither of which is true for me. Rather, the angel is 'eternally the same; it is static, an unchanging existence,' 'fixed within rigid limits.''

"You might say that I am already 'whole' in space, whereas it is your vocation to become whole in time. Not easy, I realize.

"Lastly, another way of saying it is that I do not evolve, but you can and must. In ether worlds, there is no evolution here in the vertical, only in the horizontal. In the absence of the horizontal, it's frankly a little boring here -- or as Bob (with more than a little assistance from yours truly) put it in the bʘʘk,

Only himsoph with nowhere to bewrong, hovering over the waters without a kenosis. Vishnu were here, but just His lux, God only knows only God, and frankly, ishwara monotheotenous -- no one beside him, no nous, same old shunyada yada yada.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The New Science of Hutzpah: Awaken the Sociopath Within!

The next thing I'd like to discuss about the Death card is UF's account of what I symbolize (↑) and (↓). Both arrows are necessary for spiritual development, and various forms of heresy emphasize one to the exclusion of the other -- which is like emphasizing inspiration over expiration. It just won't work. In fact, it will eventually kill you, if not sooner then later.

Emphasis on (↑) alone leads to the construction of a "Tower of Babel," or purely manmade ladder to God. Emphasis on (↓) alone leads to the fatalism of, say, the Islamic world, or to any form of radical predestination that removes human will from the equation.

Not to resort immediately to Godwin's Law, but I'm reading this superb biography of Hitler, and it is all over the purely (↑) nature of his "project."

Indeed, Mein Kampf means My Struggle; it is the exertion of raw will because, in the end, will is all there is. Biological existence itself is a battle of wills, with only one winner. No compromise is possible. Either you are the hammer or you are the anvil:

"Politics are the conduct and course of historical struggle for life of peoples.... It is an iron principle.... The aim of these struggles is the assertion of existence.... The weaker one falls so that the strong one gains life."

The reason why Hitler so hated Bolshevism had nothing to do with economics -- for Hitler too believed in a controlled economy in service to the state -- but was because it directly opposed his principles of national will and the resultant "natural" hierarchy. (Among other deficits, Hitler was completely absent any sense of humor. He did, however, make one humorous remark, albeit unintentionally, describing Stalin as "probably sick in the brain. His bloody regime can otherwise not be explained.")

A major reason -- if "reason" is the right word -- why Hitler despised Judaism and Christianity was their emphasis on virtue over power, individual over blood, and liberty over subordination to the nation. Anything that presumed to constrain the Fuhrer's will represented the essence of evil. While he was very much opposed to class division, it was in the name of blood, not economics.

There are many contemporary spiritual approaches that revolve solely around (↑), probably because they are too sophisticated to believe in God, and therefore grace, and therefore (↓). But they do believe in "evolution," so they just apply it to the vertical, as if they may simply will their own transformation, or pick themselves up by their own buddhastraps. I think we can sum up the integral movement with a single photo:

I mean, if I saw that huckster on my property, I'd call the cops, not sit down to tea... or Red Bull and tofu chips. Robbins must represent the quintessence of (↑) to the exclusion of (↓) -- you know, Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement. Live with Passion!: Stategies for Creating a Compelling Future.

What a hideous pneumapath. How about The New Science of Hutzpah! With his Ultimate Relationship Program, Robbins will sell you the keys to LIFELONG PASSION: just leave that old worn out wife and hook up with a youthful, compliant, idealizing, and featherbrained disciple!

But I suppose these oily snakesmen will always be with us, trying to put the bite on a new generation of rubes. Frankly, there is far more wisdom in a single sentence of the Bob.

Even if "successful," the purely (↑) approach represents a catastrophic failure, for it is a kind of terrestrial victory at the cost of celestial death. For UF, it amounts to "the decision to remain remote from the Father. And it is precisely this which is death in a divine sense. Complete crystallization is therefore complete death from the divine point of view..." It is the fulfillment of the promise of the serpent, which is that "You will live remote from God and it will be I who shall attend to the uninterrupted continuation of your life in the horizontal, for I shall make up for the lack of divine wisdom and love by replacing them with the intellect and with psycho-physical electricity, which will be the source of your life."


(If this doesn't make you cringe, then you have no heart. At first I thought it was parody:

"As I knocked on the door I was greeted by Colin an assistant of Ken’s. I started to hear music as if a chorus of angels were singing. Walking in, Ken came over to me and light was filling the room, we shook hands and I could feel a surge of energy and heat coming from Ken as an uplifted sense took over. A familiar peace came over me, usually felt after working on a painting for some hours.... Then we talked for awhile as I watched angels dancing around Ken and saw images of Moses, Jesus and Nagarjuna fade in and out.")

UF makes a subtle point that the way of Christianity promises not just Life over Death, but Life over life -- horizontal life. The way of Tony Robbins promises horizontal life over life, which amounts to Death on stilts. The lessons of Genesis are not abstract or remote, but extremely practical and experience-near. In order to make the lesson more vivid, when you read of the serpent, perhaps you should imagine a snake with Tony Robbins' freakishly oversized head. The horror....

The whole point of Christianity is the victory of the vertical over the horizontal, not a pseudo-victory of horizontal over horizontal. It is the victory "of radiation over crystallization." Which reminds me of the narrator's last line of Sunset Boulevard: Life, which can be strangely merciful, had taken pity on Norma Desmond. The dream she had clung to so desperately had enfolded her... (Crystallization is synonymous with enfoldment.)

Now that I think about it, the film is all about crystallization, or about death in life. For that is what Norma is: a breathing corpse, a living death, a monster. She no longer radiates as a living star, but is a dying star from which no light escapes.

The film is even narrated by a dead man, who shares his sardonic insights: "There's nothing tragic about being fifty. Not unless you're trying to be twenty-five." "You don't yell at a sleepwalker -- he may fall and break his neck. That's it: she was still sleepwalking along the giddy heights of a lost career." "How could she breathe in that house full of Norma Desmonds? Around every corner, Norma Desmonds... more Norma Desmonds... and still more Norma Desmonds." Trying to stop the aging process doesn't really make you younger. Rather, it turns you into a corpse. It is not life, but death-resistance.

(Hitler: "I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker.")

The dead chimp at the beginning is highly symbolic, for that is what a human being is in the absence of the Divine. Norma says, "I'd like the coffin to be white, and I want it specially lined with satin. White... or pink. Maybe red! Bright flaming red! Let's make it gay!"

Even the name: Sunset Boulevard. Not only does it convey the dying of the light, but in case you don't live here, Sunset Boulevard is a street that starts in the bowels of Los Angeles, makes its way through Beverly Hills, and empties to the sea.

So, let us follow UF's advice, and "no longer seek amongst the dead for he who is living, and above all let us not seek for immortal Life in the domain of death."

The spiritual ascent is everywhere the same, and always consists of purification, illumination, and union; or rejection, aspiration, and surrender. "This is the eternal way, and no one can invent or find another," not even Tony Robbins and Ken Wilber combined.

Yes, as UF says, you can divide and subdivide it "into thirty-three stages -- or even into ninety-nine," but it always comes back to that same dynamic and interlocking trinity that takes place on a moment-by-moment basis, for purification is illumination -- or consciousness of a Divine reality -- and union with the Divine Will.

Likewise, illumination is purification of the intellect and union with the Divine Mind. And union is a purified heart, which is now the center of one's thought and being.

Or, to turn it around, "a non-illuminated gnostic would not be a gnostic, but rather an 'oddball'; a non-illuminated mage would be only a sorceror; and a non-illuminated philosopher would be either a complete skeptic or an amateur at 'intellectual play.'"

And a non-illuminated gnostic tyrant brings hell to earth.

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.