Herman's Hermits and Harry's Parasites
I don't know if it will be of general interest to nonHarryheads, but it does tell of a rather dramatic struggle between one's gifts and one's mind parasites. He was dealt a terrible hand in childhood, and at first it seemed as if the parasites would routinely have their way without much interference from the host, what with no interior resources to challenge their dominance.
His gifts nevertheless broke through -- which included a beautiful voice, something like a five octave range, a Brian Wilson-like ease with melody and harmony, clever and quirky lyrics, and well-developed senses of humor and the absurd -- which meant that the parasites had to redouble their efforts to the point of an outright death wish: if we cannot control this host, then we must kill him!
I haven't yet made it through episode six, but I believe he made one last stand before the mind parasites finally succeeded in vanquishing him.
On to Letter IX, The Hermit, which might very well be called Le Raccoon.
At least if memory serves. It is clearly the arcanum with which UF himself most identifies. He says that a person who is "truly young, i.e., living for an ideal," is instinctively drawn to this figure, similar to the Jungian concept of archetypal projection. In other words, the archetype of the Hermit is "within," but we must first locate it without, in order to assimilate its content into the preconceptual form within. Without the experience, the archetype will remain an empty category -- a dead letter addressed from the Self to your self.
The Hermit is "a wise and good father... who has passed through the narrow gate and who walks the hard way -- someone whom one could trust without reserve and whom one could venerate and love without limit."
The reason why there are so many false teachers is that we have an innate need for actual(ized) ones -- just as counterfeit money depends upon the existence of the real thing. But since our culture has largely -- and proudly -- severed itself from its own wisdom tradition, the Deepaks of the world rush in to fill the void. In fact, we can see that Obama is riding the waves of that same archetypal energy field.
Only in a culture that has lost its spiritual bearings could this bumbling cipher be regarded as unusually intelligent or minimally wise. For an insight into Obama's unconscious swamp, just consider the sinister minister he idealized as his own Hermit -- Reverend Wright!
Such an odious choice runs so much deeper than the question of "judgment," for what and who one loves simultaneously reveals who one is and what one shall become. A person who would expose his children to such a spiritually toxic environment is unfit to be a father, much less president. And I mean that quite literally. I cannot imagine assaulting my son's innocence in such a manner.
I am also reminded of an insightful comment by Henry Kissinger that runs counter to conventional understanding. That is, we often hear about presidents "growing into the office," but according to Kissinger, it is the opposite. That is, by the time a man runs for president, he has acquired the bulk of his intellectual capital, and if he should succeed in making it all the way to the presidency, he will simply draw upon the existing capital, not add to it.
For one thing, there is no longer any time to think, to read serious books, or to reflect. This is why Obama seems to shrink smaller and smaller with each passing month, since he didn't have much working capital to begin with -- or, more problematically, it was just the unexamined funny money of the left. And even that seems to have been given to him due to contingencies such as race.
The Hermit "possesses the gift of letting the light shine in the darkness -- this is his lamp." And here is a critical point: "he has the faculty of separating himself from the collective moods, prejudices and desires of race, nation, class and family -- the faculty of reducing to silence the cacophony of collectivism vociferating around him in order to listen to and understand the hierarchical harmony of the spheres."
This reminds me of the task of the psychoanalyst, which is to listen to the patient with "even hovering attention" -- or with the "third ear" -- in order to hear into the deeper layers of the unconscious. One must "unlisten" to the explicit in order to hear the implicit; or delve beneath the plot in order to apprehend the theme. Bion said that one must suspend memory, desire, and understanding, in order to enter a state of faith, or what Bob symbolizes in the book as the receptive and anticipatory mode of (o).
But that is not all, because if it were, we would live in a kind of bloodless idealism which Christianity specifically reconciles with flesh-and-blood reality -- or, materiality, to be precise. In other words, the Hermit unites reality with matter within his own being. Or, you could say that he embodies the ideal, or principle, in imitation of the Master himself (and in whose absence the whole innerprize would be impossible). As UF writes, the Hermit
"possesses a sense of realism which is so developed that he stands in the domain of reality... on three [feet], i.e., he advances only after having touched the ground through immediate experience and at first-hand contact without intermediaries." This is none other than 〇-->(n), or the transformation of prior reality into experience.
So the Hermit is an archetypal reflection of the good father, behind or above whom is the Father in heaven. The Hermit is a little word from our nonlocal sponsor, so to speak.
As UF says, he also represents the method of obtaining valid spiritual knowledge, in that he is able to synthesize within himself the three great antinomies with which any thinking man is confronted, and which any efficacious philosophy must reconcile. These are the complementary pairs of 1) idealism <---> realism; 2) realism <---> nominalism; and 3) faith <---> empirical science.
I remember that when I first read this chapter, I finally appreciated the intellectual and metaphysical brilliance of Christianity, and just what a profound innovation it represents, for it beautifully resolves each of these pairs in a fruitful and dynamic "marriage." I also understood why it is ever a folly to the geeks and a stumbling block to the clueless.
Consider the first antinomy, idealism <---> realism. Most philosophers come down on one side or the other of this pair. It is their first "preconceptual" thought, upon which their subsequent intellectual edifice is built. But they never justify how and why they come down on one side or the other, nor can they ever justify it, because it is totally arbitrary.
Well, not totally. Rather, it will be based upon temperament, or inclination, or just acquiescence to cultural drift, like the eternal question of boxers vs. briefs. Surely it is no coincidence that Bob prefers the "third way" of boxer briefs, for in fact, this is what Toots Mondello was referring to when he spoke of the "sacred undergarment."
Put it this way: Plato was a boxer man, Aristotle a briefs man. But can we possibly fashion a new garment out of these two, one that is both spiritually comfortable but also offers intellectual support, and is not woven of a manmade substance such as polyester?
UF writes that "the idealist (e.g. Hegel) considers everything as so many forms of thought, whilst the realist (e.g. Spencer) affirms that objects of knowledge have an existence which is independent of thought." Where have we heard this before?
Yes. This is surely what Bob was referring to on Page the 26, where he asks, "Where in the world do we begin? Do we have any right to assume that the universe is even intelligible?... Of course we should start our enquiry with the 'facts,' but what exactly is a fact? Which end is up? In other words, do we start with the objects of thought or the subject who apprehends them? And just what is the relationship between apparently 'external' objects and the consciousness that is able to cognize them? Any fact we consider presupposes a subject who has selected this fact out of an infinite sea of possibilities, so any conceivable fact arises simultaneously with a subjective co-creator of that fact."
In the case of realism, "it is the world which bears the word and it is the human intellect which listens." But in the case of idealism, "it is the intellect which bears the word and it is the world which is its reflection" (MOTT).
Who is right? Boxers or briefs?
"Let us not prostrate ourselves either before the world or before the intellect, but let us prostrate ourselves in adoration of the common source of both the world and the intellect -- God: God whose Word is at one and the same time the 'true light that enlightens every man coming into the world' and the creator of the world -- 'all things were made through him, and nothing that was made was made without him" (MOTT).
The source of both world and intellect is the Word, or Logos, "whose objective manifestation is the world of prototypes underlying the phenomenal world, and whose subjective manifestation is the light or prototype of human intelligence." You see, the universe meets in the middle of the monkey, and you are the monkey in the middle of it all.
This formula resolves many philosophical pickles and arms us against many potential falls. For example, our scientistic jester would presumably say that a random contingency which can have no ultimate reality in his system -- the human subject -- is able to affirm valid knowledge of reality, which, as soon as one actually thinks about it, makes no sense.
Therefore, one must not think in order to continue believing it; or else engage in counterfeit thought. But why bother thinking anyway, since the subject isn't really real?
Nor could objects be really real, in the sense that we couldn't really know them. Not really. Rather, we would be trapped in Kant's phenomenal world -- ultimately just our own nervous system -- with no access to the noumenal. But with the Hermit's approach, both objects and the subject who knows them become really real, since they become real in the Word. In turn, assimilating this reality into the Word is to "redeem the world."
*For those who don't know, the "Herman" in the title refers to one of our founders, Herman Hildebrand.
To be continued....