Monday, December 12, 2011

Is God a Verb or a Noun?

For you newly puzzled readers out there or in here, we've been psychopompously conducting a chapter-by-chapter meditation on one of the classics of Christian meta-thought, Meditations on the Tarot. We are now up to XVII, The Star.

This is the aracanum of the evolution of life and of consciousness, which are two phenomenal slides -- or better, mayafestations -- of the same noumenal cosmic process.

To say that life or consciousness "evolve" is equally to say that evolution is none other than life and consciousness deployed on the planes of matter and time (which is why time takes time, especially if it's going to get anywhere meaningful).

As the previous arcanum speaks to the problem of construction (of the Tower), this one discloses the secret of growth, a very strange and surprising property to find in a supposedly dead cosmos.

Whatever else growth is, it is spiritual through and through. To meditate deeply on the nature of growth is to meditate on the workings of the Spirit (without which spiritual growth would obviously be impossible, for it is not something a mere man could ever accomplish or even conceive on his own).

Exactly what is growth? Growth in the sense we are discussing is always a process of complexification of interior relations, whereas construction is an exterior phenomenon only. The tower is built by laying autonomous brick upon brick, but this is clearly not how a body (much less, mind) grows. And as it so happens, it is not this latter type of growth that is the cosmic anomaly.

Rather, just as the mechanistic and atomistic plane of Newtonian physics is a local phenomenon floating atop the deeper processes of the subatomic world, the simple world of Aristotelian logic and linear relations is a kind of local exception to a more fundamental world of process, nonlinear causes, interior relations, and wholeness.

In other worlds -- the real(er) one, to be precise -- biology and evolution presuppose a nonlocal and internally related cosmos, otherwise life -- let alone mind -- could never get off the ground. If Darwinian dogma fails to acknowledge this antecedent principle of nonlocal wholeness, it is a metaphysical house built upon sand, for interior wholeness cannot somehow be shoehorned into an atomistic and materialistic paradigm after the fact.

Indeed, we can only "com-prehend" evolution at all because of the interior cosmic wholeness that permeates both mind and matter, for to understand something is to see into the deep unity beneath its appearance.

A machine has a oneness of function, but no interior unity. In contrast, the body and mind have an essential wholeness which permeates each of the parts (for example, each cell in the body contains the genetic blueprint for the whole).

Furthermore, you can take away many of the parts of a human being -- legs, eyes, pancreas -- and it is still a whole human being. But if you take away the wheels, seat, and handlebars from a bicycle, it isn't a bicycle anymore. This is because the human being is animated by a nonlocal essence, which is his true form (i.e., the soul is the form of the body).

A living thing is full of innumerable flowing circles (both interior and exterior), whereas the tower is static and "dry," so to speak. And even if it requires some exchange of energy -- like an internal combustion engine that requires gasoline -- the engine obviously doesn't engage in autocatalysis. It will always remain an engine no matter how much gas you put into it. (I should add that to grow is to convert the circle to a spiral, more on which in the following card, the mʘʘn.)

UF has a lot of regard for the philosopher Henri Bergson, with whom I have only a nodding acquaintance. I tried, but found him a trifle too French. However, Bergson's ideas have some overlap with Whitehead's, and I prefer my philosophy to be made in America anyway, if possible.

Whitehead was at Harvard (which at the time was still in America) when he switched in his mid-60s from mathematics and physics to philosophy; his metaphysical cosmology wouldn't have gone over in Great Britain, where they were stranded in the nul de slack of logical positivism; and his serious interest in religion would have consigned him to irrelevance in that endarkened intellectual atmosphere. Nor did he fit in with Eliot, Lewis, Tolkien, Dawson, and the rest, since his interest was more scientific and metaphysical than mythic and theological.

I note that the wiki entry says that "prior to World War I, he considered himself an agnostic. Later he returned to religion, without formally joining any church." What is interesting about Whitehead is that he is the first person, to my knowledge, to seriously and fundamentally "think his way" back into religion via modern (post-Einstein and Darwin) science.

As kooky as things are today among the tenured, the 19th century was actually the pinnacle of simplistic scientific mechanism, determinism, and reductionism. Partly because he was one of the few people capable of both understanding quantum physics and grasping its deeper metaphysical implications, Whitehead eventually made the grand Round Trip back to Cosmic Religion (albeit in a somewhat ex-centric manner, more on which later).

Like Whitehead, Bergson recognized that "the essence of duration is to flow," and "the fixed [or externally related] placed side by side with the fixed will never constitute anything which has duration" (MOTT).

In other words, what Bergson calls "duration" is a result of dynamic flow, not of any static extension in time and space. Thanks to modern physics, we now understand that even the most solid-looking object is a flowing iteration of subatomic processes; likewise, if you look close enough at your body, you will see that it is a hive full of billions of buzzing cells going about their quirky business. Just don't do it on acid.

As mentioned the other day, it is absurd to speak of growth in the absence of final causation, or teleology, for that way lies only Cosmic Cancer, i.e., disorganized and self-interested blobs in rebellion against the Whole.

For Teilhard de Chardin -- who is right about some things, wrong about others -- the final cause of the world is what he calls the "Omega point," but we prefer to call it O (or on an individual level, ʘ). It is "that toward which spiritual evolution is tending," which would constitute "the complete unity of the outer and inner, of matter and spirit" -- whom he believes to be none other than the resurrected Jesus Christ (which is, appropriately enough, getting beyond our current head light; like Tebow, we'll comeback to it later).

As Omega point, Jesus is the cosmic archetype, or logos, who both participates in history while transcending it and "luring" existence in his wake. Thus, he is simultaneously -- and necessarily -- fully present in the diverse modes of past, present, and future, each an inevitable reflection of the other. History "drew" God into it (so to speak) in the fullness of time, just as God draws history back to Him in the fullness of eternity. More on this later, since I am pressed for time at the moment.

Here is how UF expresses it, speaking from the First and Final Person perspective: "I am activity, the effective cause, who set all in motion; and I am contemplation, the final cause, who draws towards himself all that which is in movement. I am primordial action; and I am eternal waiting -- for all to arrive where I am."

Which is why we live "outwardly" in a world of dualism, but "inwardly" (or inwordly) in a nonlocal spiritual sensorium that transcends and heals the wound(s) of duality, seen in light of the future unification (not unicity, which destroys distinction) of all -- which is always available now.

This is to unify science and religion, evolution and salvation, or what we call salvolution. It is similar to what Whitehead is trying to convey in the following:

"God and the world are the contrasted opposites in terms of which Creativity achieves its supreme task of transforming disjointed multiplicity, with its diversities in opposition, into concrescent unity, with its diversities in contrast."

Or, call it the transition from an alienated static duality that can never reach O, to an inspiraling complementarity that never really left. This latter (or ladder) is pretty much the purpose of Stayin' Alive, gosh!

Assume the Raccoon position: on the ground but happily looking up:


Vs. static duality:

Friday, December 09, 2011

You Can't Grow a Tower and You Can't Build a Tree

So: specialization can result in a kind of hypertrophy, or imbalance, that leads to a spiritual impasse. In most people the imbalance is obvious, in others more subtle. One often sees this in athletes who have devoted their entire lives to one stupid human trick, such as remaining buoyant in water or hitting a golf ball. Often, the more freakish the skill, the worse the case.

The list is endless, but think of, say, Tiger Woods, whose mastery of the links surpassed any previous golfer, but whose personal life -- such as it is -- was reduced to wallowing in the compulsive iderations of preadolescent sexuality.

It is very much as if only the single meaningless skill sits atop the tower, while the rest of the personality remains below, not only undeveloped but free to act out its primitive dramas because of the vast accumulation of false slack.

unKnown Friend mentions the guru or fakir who indulge in stupid human tricks we cannot or will not do, such as laying on a bed of nails or walking on hot coals.

I am reminded of this fellow, who can supposedly make his brain waves stop when he meditates, for what it's worth. Which apparently isn't much, since he can't even recognize the elementary fact that Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra are grotesque con artists who take advantage of lost, stupid and vulnerable people. As such, one must ask: if this be enlightenment, then truly -- truly -- what is it good for?

"Judge them by their fruits." That is: be skeptical. This should be one's default position vis-a-vis spirituality, otherwise it's too easy to be taken in. The ultimate fruit is sanctity, or saint-making. Therefore, in approaching a religion, sect, or teaching, always ask: where are the saints?

Excuse me?

I said, could you please show me the saints? What, do you think I'm going to commit my life to something without evidence that it actually works?

Importantly, sanctity manifests in a variety of ways, both subjective and objective, but in either case is mediated by "light." Nor are we referring only to the light of virtue, which is how we generally think of the saint.

Rather, there is also sanctity of intellect, which comes down to a "mind of light" (AKA the "good egghead"). Truth is to the mind of light as morality is to the actions of the virtuous. But the mind of light has other characteristics as well, for it is clean, chaste, well-ordered, lighthearted, radiant, generative, magnanimous, and never petty, narrow, self-serving, expedient, or stupidly curious.

This is not to say that there is no darkness in the light. UF writes that the Cross is "mortifying and vivifying at the same time," for it represents the law of evolutionary growth, which is none other than "perpetual dying and becoming." It leads not to "impasses of specialization, but rather 'throughways' of purification -- which lead to illumination and end in union."

The Raccoon chooses the transmutation of perpetual death and rebirth over the folly of mechanical tower-building. The growth that results is a side effect of a life properly lived, not something one attempts to impose upon life from the outside, or with "techniques" or "secret knowledge" or "expensive platitudes."

The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how (Mark 5:26, cited in MOTT).

That being the case, anyone who teaches "techniques" for knowing God (with the exception of planting, cultivating, and harvesting) is lying. For how does one teach real sincerity, real aspiration, real surrender? Each of these is both a cause and consequence of interior transformation, but the ultimate cause is from "above."

Even if it should appear to be self-generated, that is already evidence of contact with something higher. As UF puts it, the "lotus centers" awaken naturally "in the light, warmth and life of the true, and beautiful and the good, without any special technical method being applied." There is a naturalness about it, like a key fitting into a lock.

Similarly, there is no place for "ready made answers to all questions," in that a genuine spiritual quest-ion is a crisis and the answer is "a state of consciousness resulting from the crisis" (MOTT).

This is a point worth emphasizing: spiritual growth is consciousness of a reality; it is a new "container," not merely a different content in the same old container, or new wine in the same old skin. But the new container will transform -- either suddenly or gradually -- the old content.

Have you noticed how all of the false stupid, or petty questions instantly evaporate amidst a genuine existential crisis? (Yes, a question can surely be false and even dark -- consider the ones posed by liberal moderators to Republican candidates.)

This is why we know that the "global warming crisis" is anything but. A real crisis has a liberating quality, in the sense that it liberates us from all of the petty concerns that usually rule our lives. It reminds me of when a professional athlete suddenly dies for some reason. Teammates will all comment about how it puts things in perspective and makes them realize that "it's only a game." Which lasts for two or three days before it's back to the Tower.

It makes me wonder if this isn't one of the reasons why there was so much more wisdom in the past, and why our universities have become such flagrant bullshit factories. I suppose that if one is a lifetime tenured ward of the state, it "liberates" one to spend all of one's time fantasizing about the evils of George Bush, or manufacturing crises about "torture," or going on about the urgent need to confer civil rights upon terrorists.

It's almost as if the absence of real existential crises causes the subRaccoon to invent them. Alec Baldwin is incapable of introspection -- the horror! -- so he turns a trivial airplane rule into an epic clash of principles. Flying used to be an elegant experience!, he wails. Yes, until you stepped on the plane.

This was one of the purposes of the symbol system outlined in chapter four of the bʘʘk -- to avoid impasses that can result from religion becoming a kind of mechanical system. The point is not to replace religion, but merely to help prevent it from becoming saturated with a fixed and predigested meaning.

This is something that human beings habitually do, that is, attempt to circumnavelgaze reality within their own little manmade containers, when that is strictly impossible. The moment God becomes contained and saturated, then you're no longer dealing with God, but with your own belly button, or graven image, whether an innie or outie it doesn't matter.

This is why the very last thing John says is a caution to the reader that if one were to attempt to chronicle the whole story of Jesus, "even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25). Is this not a severe rebuke to the fundamentalist bibliolaters? In other words, the number of potential books exceeds the carrying capacity of the world container itself.

To a large extent, it comes down to the error of seeing the world atomistically instead of holistically (or rather, as a dynamic complementarity of the two). This also leads to the ideas of psychic "surgery" and "divorce," or, in psychoanalytic parlance, splitting and projective identification (i.e., fantasied evacuation of the contents of one's own mind, either "out," "below," or "off to the side").

As UF writes, "it is the marriage of opposites and not their divorce" which constitutes the proper approach to the altar. Importantly, this is not a "compromise," but a true union. UF notes that "the 'lower self' is the cross of the 'true Self' and the 'true Self' is the cross of the 'lower self.'"

This reminds me of Wilde's comment that the only cure for the senses is the soul, and the only cure for the soul is the senses. Each might well say of the other: can't live with her, can't live without him.

It is easy enough to simply project and dissipate the higher Self, or to split off and repress the lower self. But we want to transform and divinize the lower self in a harmonious union of mind and matter, or spirit and biology. In the absence of this fluid and dynamic union, the mind hardens into a static tower.

It is the same with the marriage of science and religion. I have no trouble marrying the two in such a way that each benefits from the union and produces particularly beautiful and high-functioning children.

Just yesterday I read about one of Chesterton's novels, in which a thief disguised as a priest is eventually discovered. When the thief asks how he sniffed him out, Father Brown answers with words to the effect of, "Easy. You attacked reason. It's bad theology."

But one could say the same of the modern atheist. We know they are thieves because they attack sound theology, which is bad logic. Although in their case it's grand larceny, because they steal from our priceless western tradition in order to destroy it.

Yes, those confined to the tower of scientism have "divided the clothing of the Word and they dispute amongst themselves for priority in the application of the universal principle" (MOTT). They attempt to absolutize their little corner of His tunic, still fresh with warm blood.

In contrast, we do not "in any way take part in dividing the clothing of the crucified Word, nor in drawing lots for its tunic." Rather, we strive "to see the crucified Word clothed in appearance by the mechanical world"(ibid.). Which is where the Word is sufficient to our whys. The deepest ones, anyway.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I Specialize in Love

Continuing with the Tower of Destruction: just how do we prophylactically avoid having our tower blasted by the thunderbolt? How do we know if our tower is tall enough to reach the ground, or conversely, too high-and-mighty to reach the firmament?

We invite a bad case of thunderclap if we misconscrew evolution. That is, to express it in biological terms, extinction, the ultimate and irreversible bolt from the blue -- or cosmic d'oh! -- can occur as a result of overspecialization, the latter of which confers a temporary advantage but results in painting oneself into an evolutionary coroner. That is, change the environment, or put the organism in a different one, and it cannot adapt. Poof! Nature is through with you.

For humans, the problem of specialization no longer applies to the natural environment, but rather, to the psychological, intellectual, spiritual, and economic environments.

For example, there is much complaining on the left about the loss of certain jobs, even of punishing companies that "ship jobs overseas." What no politician can utter out loud is that the people who once held these jobs have made themselves "unnecessary" to the real economic environment, to which they cannot adapt because they know -- or rather, can do -- only One Thing.

Why are human beings atop the evolutionary heap? Because we specialize in generalization, in a way that no other animal can or ever will. In human beings, intelligence has wrapped around itself in order to produce self-consciousness, and therefore abstract thinking -- or virtual manipulation in the absence of the physical object. Virtual manipulation is none other than thought, or at least the basis of thought.

And beneath this manipulation is that first all-purpose tool, the swiss army knife of evolution, the human hand (L manipulus handful). Some evolutionary psychologists even speculate that sign language is prior to spoken language, which is why the language center is located in the left brain (which controls the right hand). Many words that have to do with intelligibility are related to the hand, e.g., grasp, seize, catch on, apprehend, comprehend, wrap around, etc.

In the bʘʘk, I advanced the theory -- which is mine -- and which belongs to me -- of how it came about that human brains became capable of "hosting" divine souls.

For clearly, the brain must reach a certain threshold of complexity before it can host a soul. But equally important, this brain must also be intersubjective, for knowledge of the other precedes and makes possible knowledge of the self. And this is not just knowledge of the exterior, but of the interior, or of the depth beneath appearances. Only another human being can usher us into the intersubjective depths of humanness.

Conversely, deprivation of such an intimate relationship -- whether for genetic or developmental reasons -- results in an autistic state, which leaves one on the surface and therefore periphery of existence, unable to "read" interiors.

John Paul (then Wojtyla) writes that the person -- in order to be one, precisely -- "must continually discover himself in the other and the other in himself. Love is impossible for beings who are mutually impenetrable -- only the spirituality and 'inwardness' of persons create the conditions for mutual interpenetration..." (emphasis mine).

This is a key point in the further extra-biological or transnatural evolution of the cosmos, for as JPII points out, life becomes a "school of perfection" within this transitional space, wherein we discover and co-create the "we" that is mediated by love.

Love is always "between" two persons, while also pointing "beyond." Therefore, to treat persons as objects is to foreclose the interior and relate only to the surface, which is the very basis of cultural devolution (think of an extreme example such as Nazi Germany, in which case whole classes of persons -- Jews, Gypsies, Christians, Slavs, Russians -- were treated as.... classes, not persons with a God-given interior).

The basis of the human person is clearly not a monadic "I"; but nor is it the I-Thou relationship, critical though that is. Rather: it is the I-Thou-We. For the "we" is not just rooted in mutual love, but love of a "psychic third." Otherwise, we would be dealing with a vicious duality that is only one degree removed from narcissism. More subtly, it would result in a kind of infinite or bottomless regress, in that "I" would find its reality in "Thou," and vice versa, like two mirrors facing one another. In short, there would be no deeper reality sponsoring the We.

Because of the psychic third, our love can expand and encompass more of reality. Here is where love emerges from the harmonious union of truth and freedom, for "Freedom exists for the sake of love" (ibid.), and in the absence of truth, freedom would be either meaningless or a persecutory burden.

To put it another way, love integrates and makes one whole (or puts one "on the way" to wholeness). "The process of integrating love relies on the primary elements of the human spirit -- freedom and truth" (ibid.). And man seeks truth and love because he lacks them, which is why he is always dependent upon that which transcends him; or, discovers himself in surpassing himself (in love and truth).

The upshot is that human beings are the ultimate generalists, and this is one of the keys to avoiding the tower and the thunderbolt. unKnown Friend writes that it involves "the way of general growth or that of 'humbling oneself to the role of a seed,'" in contrast to "the ways of specialization or those of 'exalting oneself by building towers." In short, it is the way of organic growth vs. the way of mechanical building.

Now, growth isn't just some local biological phenomenon somehow attached to an otherwise dead and fully exterior cosmos. Frankly, it is both absurd and incoherent to suggest that interiority could ever have resulted from pure exteriority. In other words, biological, psychological, and spiritual growth are not to be thought of as bugs, but features, of the cosmos.

And what is growth? It is a kind of dynamic interior unity with a developmental vector, a "striving for wholeness." Growth always wishes to realize its possibilities, so it is unavoidably teleological. To say "growth" is to say "teleology." Otherwise it isn't growth, just "expansion" or perhaps "metastasis," that is, the disorganized manner in which a cancer grows and spreads. This is not to say that there are no cancers of the soul, because clearly there are.

The tower -- because, among other things, it is a narrow specialization -- always leads to a spiritual impasse, at least if one attempts to elevate it to a metaphysical generalization. This is what scientism does, and the spiritual consequences are catastrophic, being more or less synonymous with "hell."

And when I say "specialization," I mean reducing the spectrum of reality to the framework of one's particular specialty. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with specialization, so long as it is integrated with the rest of reality, and not mistaken for the whole. I think of A.N. Whitehead, who wrote of the necessity of a metaphysic that frames "a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted." A metaphysic that fails to illuminate the most conspicuous aspects of human existence is a non-starter.

You might say that other animals merely "act out" evolution, but that human beings -- because of their generalization -- know about it. As a result, evolution -- ipso facto, if that means what I think it does -- can never "contain" human beings. Rather, we contain it -- so long as we are contained by the "total reality" of O.

Last night I read a nice passage by Sri Aurobindo, in which he discusses the realization of God in an exceptionally clear and concise manner (and one could easily locate a similar passage by Eckhart or Denys). In it I will substitute O for Brahman:

"We have to perceive O comprehensively as both the Stable and the Moving. We must see it in eternal and immutable Spirit and in all the changing manifestations of universe and relativity.

"We have to perceive all things in Space and Time, the far and the near, the immemorial Past, the immediate Present, the infinite Future with all their contents and happenings as O.

"We have to perceive O as that which exceeds, contains and supports all individual things as well as all universe, transcendentally of Time and Space and Causality. We have to perceive O also as that which lives in and possesses the universe and all it contains."

Or, in the words of John Paul: "When love attains its full dimensions, it introduces into a relationship not only a 'climate' of honesty between persons but a certain awareness of the 'absolute,' a sense of contact with the unconditional and the ultimate. Love is indeed the highest of moral values. But one must know how to transfer it to the ordinary affairs of everyday life."

These passages touch on all the main characteristics of the "higher third" of God-realization, which is the ultimate generalization, but simultaneously -- and ironically -- the ultimate specialization, in that human beings "specialize in love." For at the end of the deity, this is the vector of our interior growth. Failing to follow that vector will result in a corrective thunderbolt. If you're lucky in love.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Thunder Said What?!

Destroy this tower, and you will close escrow on a new one in three days. --The Mystagogic Platitudes of Petey

Continuing from yesterday's post, this is what eventually happens to make believe Towers and to the imagineers who inhabit them: the thunderbolt:

"[H]e who builds a 'tower' to replace revelation from heaven by what he himself has fabricated, will be blasted by a thunderbolt, i.e., he will undergo the humiliation of being reduced to his own subjectivity and to terrestrial reality" (MOTT), i.e., back to the ground -- which, of course, has two very different meanings. There is nothing wrong with humbly living on the ground, for that is where one will find the vertical ground of being (in Eckhart's sense of the term).

This is one of the things I don't get about the appeal of scientism. Surely the scientific materialist knows at the outset -- for despite his denials, he has a mind with which to seek and know truth -- that his knowledge is provisional and relative, and that it will eventually be brought low by the thunderbolt, even if it is only thrown by some tenuredolt with a trivial scientific finding that nevertheless spoils your whole lovely paradigm.

In short, the science is never settled, which is as it should be. So why build a tower on such shifting and unstable ground?

And yet, the McTenured fall in love with their ontic McTowers and cling to their blueprints as if they are holy writ. Even after evacuation has been ordered by the authorities, they refuse to leave, and generally will not leave until they are carried out on their backs or sink under the weight of their honors.

Which, from a psychological standpoint, is perfectly understandable if not forgivable. No one wants to find out at the threshold of death that one has wasted one's life in thrall to an illusion, even a demonic one.

I think of the terminally useful idiotarian Eric Hobsbawm, who, mourning the breakup of the Soviet Union, observed that, "Fragile as the communist systems turned out to be, only a limited, even minimal use of armed coercion was necessary to maintain them from 1957 until 1989."

Eggs. Omelettes. Whatever.

And of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Hobsie helpfully pointed out that they were innocently providing "military support for a friendly government against American-backed and Pakistan-supplied guerillas."

The underlying nature of the dispute between Galileo and the Church had more to do with the Tower, for it was between relative vs. absolute truth (however awkwardly handled by the Church, which has been absurdly overblown by radical secularists anyway; it is indeed one of their founding myths, and like all myths, impervious to fact).

Does the earth literally revolve around the sun? No, of course not. Only from a relative perspective that assumes some privileged postion -- a center! -- in the cosmos. From the absolute position, the reverse is equally true.

Besides, from the standpoint of later scientific developments (i.e., relativity), Galileo's limited view has been transcended, and the Church is still here. Indeed, by definition, no scientific development will ever oust man from the center of the cosmos, if only because its center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.

Furthermore, to assert a scientific truth -- which is presumed to be timeless, general, and universal -- is to speak from the ontological center of things, and to describe all reality despite the fact that one inhabits only an infinitesimally small portion of it. What makes an insignificant little pimple on creation's aseity think you can speak for all reality? Well?

Conversely, animals can only live at the periphery or edge of existence, since they cannot penetrate beyond appearances. Only man may live in a tower -- and in any floor of the tower, from the repenthouse of eternal rebirth to the pouthouse of perpetual victimhood.

The geocentric -- or anthropocentric, to be exact -- theory remains intrinsically valid if considered vertically. That is, the human being is indeed the "center of the cosmos," in that only he recapitulates and embodies all the vertical degrees of creation within himself. The light of Truth is infinitely more central than sunlight, or we couldn't even know of the latter.

But importantly, to say that man is the center is not to say he is the "top." Rather, he can only be the center of the relative universe because he is the prolongation, so to speak, of a vertical spark that emanates from above. In short, no top, no center. So don't get all full of yourself, because your ceiling is always someone else's floor.

Good news bad news: if your little tower is not mercifully 〇bliterated by the Thunderbolt in this life, then it will be severely blasted upon your exit. From what we have been given to understand, this is when the hypnotic veil of auto-pull-woolery will be lifted, and you will have the opportunity to bear witness to the genesis and full extent of your fally thingamajig.

Frankly, you won't even have to be judged by God. Rather, you will judge yourself, like a child who transitions, say, from Piaget's stage of concrete operations to formal operations, and can objectively look back on his previous mode of cognition because he has transcended it. When you transcend in this supernaturally natural manner, it is as if you move out of the old drafty tower and into a real mansion built by finest craftsman with no hands.

To repeat: the thunderbolt is a mercy, but it all depends upon how one interprets it and what one does with it. Think of it as an extreme form of (?!) or wʘʘt!, for example, the bolt from the blue that knocked Paul from his high horse on the road to Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-damascus.

You might say that Saul the concrete Tower crumbled to the ground and became Paul the living Tree. Then, instead of placing men in the Tower, he spent the rest of his life helping to spring them from its confines.

bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunn-trovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk! --Finnegans Wake

To be continued tomorrow, on Thor's day....

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Ivory Tower of Babble is Always a Few Bricks Short

I want to briefly rap upon some lucid ends before moving on to the next subject. First, some helpful comments from back when yesterday's post first appeared over three years ago (in a different guise), this one from James:

For him, unKnown Friend "was the first person to clearly define the difference between divine magic and base sorcery. Sorcery relies on intoxication, and through intoxication the poor mortal gives up control of their life to lower things. This was a breakthrough for me. God bless UF and MOTT. I still think Marxism is more like black magic then most people give it credit for. The principle of intoxication is there as well as the principle of promising one thing and slyly delivering another.

"I had to read [a great deal of] Marxist literature while getting my masters degree. I'll never be a Marxist, but I admit, there was a tiny part of me that wanted to drink the cool aid. Marxism makes you the center of the universe and gives you a mission to recreate society. What an ego trip! I understand why a lot of people fall for it. They like the feeling of power. Of course, they never accomplish anything good, but we are all about feelings anyway. You have to keep the good times rolling.

"My point is that Marxist ideas are dangerous in the same way black magic is dangerous. It seduces you away from reality and God. I believe Marx was inspired, or enslaved, by something diabolical. The mistake conservatives make with their children is they don't understand just how powerful and seductive these ideas are."

Speaking of children, in Taranto's column yesterday, he provided some samples of the kind of childish thought that rattles around the otherwise empty heads of the OWSers. It's especially sad, since some of the most intoxicated banalities are from people whose heads are both empty and grey, such as "We have to stop taking and start giving. That is the mind shift I am trying to bring to the world," and "Politics matters. It is not peripheral. If you want to build a better world, you have to engage in the political process. We need to build a kinder, gentler world." Yeah, like this one:


In response to James, Will reminded us that "Intoxication is always 'heavy' and sticky in some way," whereas "spiritual sobriety is light light light." Thus, "there really is a 'high' in spiritual sobriety -- I mean past the Oceanic One-ness -- which is NOT an intoxication. Like 'effortless effort' it's sort of a 'sober intoxication' or maybe an 'intoxicated sobriety,' whatever. When I dwell on it, I think it's a 'light-ness,' an ultimate transparency. (Just so nobody gets the idea that spiritual sobriety is, you know, boring.)"

This indeed comports with what is marched fourth on page 229 of the cʘʘnifesto:

"In addition to feeling 'lighter, (¶) has other attributes and qualities that can be easily detected, such as calmness, a sense of expanding psychological space, a quiet sort of unconditional joy that has nothing to do with mere physical pleasure, a newfound depth in everyday matters of living," not to mention "a sense of living from the inside-out" accompanied by "intrinsic meaning" that "is constantly being spontaneously and effortlessly generated from within."

Back to James, who commented that "I am blessed to have finally discovered rapture, the spiritual sobriety that you discuss above. No, it is not boring. It is deep, and liberating, and good, but it is subtle, with little in the way of overt, outward signs. Most of the heavy lifting takes place in the vertical, whereas intoxication is a purely horizontal state, which is why it is ultimately empty. I can always tell who is drunk."

Moving on briefly to the other subject -- which may or may not be related to the prequel or sequel -- I have mentioned in the past that one of the books that helped me along the way was Franklin Merrell-Wolff's Experience and Philosophy: A Personal Record of Transformation and a Discussion of Transcendental Consciousness. Many of the experiences he describes therein had for me the coontail ring of truth, although I didn't know anything else about the man.

Yesterday I received a newsletter from the organization that has been established to propagate M-W's ideas, and it had some interesting information about his political orientation. It states that M-W "thought that it was important to engage the political world."

Right on! See you at the OWS rally!

Well, er, not exactly. Alarmed by the outcome of the 1940 presidential election, he decided that he'd had enough of New Deal collectivism, and wrote a booklet called The Vertical Thought Movement, a movement he hoped would serve as a "continuous crusade oriented to a principle and conviction which stands in contrapuntal relation to the Socialist Movement."

Interesting that M-W wanted to "stand athwart history" a decade or so prior to Buckley's arrival on the scene.

I gather that M-W's political philosophy is disappointing and even a little embarrassing to his followers, who I am uncharitably guessing are of the new-age / integral / Chopra type (although it's just a guess -- as always, I am happy to be corrected -- by non-idiotolitarians). In a preemptive apology, the newsletter concedes that, "No doubt some will find aspects of Wolff's political philosophy troubling."

Oh, really? Some kind of communist sympathizer, eh? There was a lot of that going around back then in intellectual circles, so it's understandable, what? It's not like he was some kind of evil conservative, right?

Er, not quite. "[He] was staunchly conservative, and was not shy about expressing his displeasure with the current affairs of his day" -- and not just with the New Deal, but later with "the student rebellion of the 1960s and 1970s." In particular -- and this should be axiomatic to any spiritually awake and alert individual -- "he had no tolerance for a political system that suppressed the expression of human spirituality."

No tolerance?! Well, the totolerantarian left has no tolerance for intolerance! Burn him!

We now move on to the next card, the Tower of Destruction. Perhaps there is some connection to the above, but I don't have time to reflect on it.

This is an important card, so come on in a little closer to your monitor and hear what else I got to say. You got your screen turned down to low. Turn it up!

It has to do with human evil, or "to evil which does not come from the outside, but which certainly has its origin within the human soul" -- not from the body, which is an innocent bystander in man's vertical fall. Depending upon how you look at it, the fall has to do either with willfulness or ignorance, which leads to "illicit" or illegitimate knowledge, and separates us from the Creator. Either way -- i.e., by way of intellect or will -- human beings are exiled from the vertical and plunged into the horizontal.

Now, as UF explains, Genesis is set in a garden, which is a very different thing from a jungle -- which is completely wild -- or a desert -- which is more or less barren -- or a town -- which is a symbol of human invention, and where nothing grows spontaneously. (There is a pneumacosmic reason why the big cities are the main habitats of the America's Blue Moonies).

But a garden is what? It is a combination of vertical and horizontal energies, of planning and spontaneity. A beautiful garden involves a harmonious integration of Spirit and Nature; of Spirit within nature, or Nature rising to Spirit. One thinks of Japanese gardens, which so transparently convey the supernatural within nature, and through which nature surpasses itself (to one whose spiritual eyes are opened).

UF links this to the true mission and vocation of the Raccoon, which is "to cultivate and maintain the 'garden,' i.e. the world in a state of equilibrium and cooperation between Spirit and Nature" Coons are gardeners, not technicians (even if we do technical work). And unlike these modern excuses for gardeners, we do not merely "mow and blow." Rather, we cultivate and we maintain. You know, plant, fertilize, irrigate, pull weeds, harvest, etc.

The Tower of Destruction symbolizes everything the garden is not. As UF explains, it comes about as a result of "the collective will of 'lower selves' to achieve the replacing of the 'true Self' of the celestial hierarchies and God with a superstructure of universal significance fabricated through the will." You could say that it's handbuilt, prick by prick.

But the human will, alienated from spirit, cannot create anything of truly universal, or cosmic, significance. It can only create a tower, which is surely fated for the divine wrecking ball -- which is a mercy, never a punishment. For example, our trolls are always kind or clueless enough to share their silly little towers with us, which we never fail to topple at a glance. And yet, they still prefer to live amidst their haunted ruins. Go figure.

For the Tower of Destruction teaches a law that is both general and universal, meaning that it "operates both on a small scale and on a grand scale, in individual biography as well as in that of mankind, and in the past, present and future equally" (MOTT). It is another one of those things in the Bible that didn't just happen once upon a time, but which happen every time.

To be continued...

Monday, December 05, 2011

Liberalism is the Devil Water of the Masses

Resuming Friday's offering: although will and imagination pave the royal road that leads straight to fallville, there is obviously nothing intrinsically morbid about these two modalities. Indeed, in their absence we couldn't be human at all, for what is a bipedal hominid without freedom of action and thought? Just a victim of circumstances, accidents, and contingencies, whether genetic or sociological, it doesn't matter.

After all, will is the vehicle of our exterior liberty, while imagination is the playground of our interior freedom, allowing us to live in the transitional space between thought and action, events and choices, existence and potential, this and that. Without imagination we could never untie the whatknot or see through the veil of its seductive mayaplicity.

No, it isn't just imagination + will that engenders demons; rather, it is an inebriated will and an intoxicated imagination that do so. As a result, they always go too far; in so doing, they release inhibitions and partake of other forces that have nothing to do with the matter at hand. They lend legitimacy to the most primitive impulses, as we vividly see in the OWS movement.

(Here again, being that Raccoon metaphysics is a full-service manual for integrated vertical living, from high to low, we are big fans of primitive impulses in their proper context. Outside its proper context, the primitive devolves to mere barbarism.)

Again, the latter is something the left does by definition; since they deny the vertical, it necessarily returns in a disguised and perverse form, which provides them with a preternatural energy that conservatives can never match on the plane of vulgar politics. The moment a conservative becomes "ecstatic" about politics, he's no longer a conservative. Intoxication certainly has its place. Just not in politics, where sobriety, skepticism, and realism should rule the day.

Obviously, young people are more prone to the varieties of psychic intoxication, so it is no surprise that Obama took two thirds of the youth vote (the vote was 50-50 for actual adults). To paraphrase someone, these children wish to give us the full benefit of their inexperience.

Nor is it any mystery that many Democrats wish to reduce the voting age to 16, since they are going to require an influx of fresh idiots to supplement their existing roster of interest groups to maintain their electoral viability. (Mr. Unity himself is planning a campaign revolving around race-baiting and ethnic pandering.)

I'm trying to imagine what the world would look like to me today if I were a 21 year old with a skull full of liberal mush.... Would I be susceptible to Obama intoxication?

Yeah, probably. My first presidential vote went to Jimmy Carter, who, for those of you below a certain age, was the Obama of his day. He too promised dramatic change, and like Obama, delivered: soaring inflation, increased unemployment, emboldened enemies, loss of respect in the world, diminished confidence at home. And yet, it didn't matter one bit. I still voted for him again in 1980, for my head was deep up the liberal feel-tank.

So was I drunk, or just ignorant? So hard to put myself back into my old Bob.... I was a pretty excitable boy, but I was also an ignoramus who knew what he knew, and that's all he knew (i.e., the cultural matrix of monolithic liberalism). Even if I had wanted to -- if my will weren't inebriated -- there was literally no way to gain access to conservative arguments unless one was a National Review subscriber.

There were a few conservative voices, but because they were so rare, one just assumed they were cranks or eccentrics. It was very much a cultural attitude, because one was basically trained to have a kind of visceral rejection of all things conservative, mainly because they tossed cold water on one's pleasant buzz; or in technical terms, harshed your mellow. I am continually amazed that so many members of my auto-hypnotized generation are still suckling on the liberal crock pipe while swaddled in the adult diapers of hopenchange....

I will continue this charmingly self-indulgent musing below, time permitting. For now, let's get back to The Devil. Or, for my detractors, let's leave this Devil to his inane memories and move on to the next topic.

unKnown Friend points out that even Marx and Engels could have avoided intoxication -- and prevented the birth of a ghastly genocidal demon -- if they had actually just considered the plight of the poor in a detached and disinterested way. But instead, they went far, far, over the line, into cloud cuckoo land, insisting that God didn't exist, that capitalism left "the poor" in a completely hopeless situation, that history obeyed scientific laws, that philosophy is just self-interest in disguise, etc.

It is the same with the Darwinists. If they would just maintain a little sobriety instead of drunkenly careening into areas in which they have nothing of importance to contribute, all would be well. But like a lubricated know-it-all at a cocktail party, they just can't stop themselves. They'll tell you everything about love, beauty, truth, God.... It's all wrong, of course, but that's the thing about being drunk -- it feels good.

I am once again reminded of Paul McCartney's first acid trip. His mind was so filled with ideas, that he had his assistant following him around, so he could dictate them to him. He remembered one particularly inspired idea, and insisted that his assistant take it down word for word, and then put it away for safe keeping. The next morning, they eagerly retrieved the scrap of paper, upon which it was written:

There are seven levels.

But it might as well have been: everything can be explained by random mutation + adaption, or the labor theory of economics, or I think therefore I am, or abortion is guaranteed by the Constitution, or two men can marry, or the audacity of hope, or dude, God is just like vicodin! None of these ideas make any sense unless the person is a senseless drunk. Sober up, and they're either banal or pernicious or both.

Of the founding featherheads of the left, UF writes that "there is no doubt that with them it was a matter of an excess -- a going beyond the limits of competence and sober and honest knowledge -- which they did not in any way doubt, having been carried away by the intoxicating impulse of radicalism."

You must understand that the radical wants to be intoxicated -- with outrage, with self-righteous anger, with smugness, with superiority, with iconoclasm, with fear (e.g., of "domestic spying," or the "theofascistic takeover of the nation"), with "injustice." Like any other drug, radicalism is addictive because of the splendidly expansive feelings it engenders. This, I think, explains why so many of my generation refuse to grow up -- because they are addicted to the feelings produced by radicalism.

For example, in no way do they want racism to be a thing of the past. For a white liberal, it gives such an intoxicating feeling of being on the side of righteousness, that it is impossible for them to let it go. For you Raccoons of color out there, you probably realize that every white liberal condescendingly imagines that he is noble Atticus Finch and that you are poor helpless Tom Robinson.

And I imagine that all the racial grievance hustlers -- if they aren't just outright sociopaths, like Al Sharpton -- imagine that white people give a great deal of thought to race, when they actually couldn't care less (at least conservatives). Personally, I'd never think about race if liberals weren't obsessed with it.

The left also doesn't want poverty to end, because this too would eliminate the cause of their righteous indignation. Otherwise they would define poverty in absolute instead of relative terms, not to mention embrace economic policies that lift people from poverty instead of confining them there. Did you know that LBJ supposedly had no intention whatsoever of erecting a permanent welfare state? Rather, the idea behind "the war on poverty" was to end it in a single generation, not create a vast system of perpetuating it. But that's the thing about Good Intentions.

Back to the card. Any form of radicalism is given force and momentum by the intoxicated desire to "change everything utterly at a single stroke. And it is this fever to *change* everything utterly at a single stroke which gave birth to the demon of class hatred, atheism, disdain for the past, and material interest being placed above all else, which is now making the rounds in the world" (MOTT).

You see how it works? The ideology legitimizes the intoxicated expression of envy, anger, class warfare, racial segregation, murder, whatever. It is what allowed Bill Ayers, for example, to want to attempt mass murder in good conscience. When one is full of that much righteous rage, what less can any decent person do? Wouldn't you have killed the leaders of the Third Reich if given the opportunity? Ayers still has no regrets, because he is still drunk. But like all drunks, he stays drunk in order to avoid the pain of regret -- regret for a wasted life spent wasted on a poisonous ideology.

Again, this is the counter-inspiration of the Devil, and it is a caricature of spiritual grace and transformation, for as one descends down into the inconscient (↓), something rises up to meet you (↑), which produces the intoxication and gives birth to a third thing.

*****

What team? Coonucks, naturally. Can't wait until they play the Devils.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Learn From the Experts How to Generate Your Own Demons!

Of the generation of demons, our unKnown Friend and psychopomp (BTW an odd-sounding word I didn't make up, and which means vertical tour guide or perhaps clinical pneumatologist) writes that they are a result of the cooperation of the male and female principles, or of perverse will and imagination: "a desire that is perverse or contrary to nature, followed by the corresponding imagination, together constitute the act of generation of a demon."

If you peer at the card, you will notice that the demon is much larger than its parents. The parents gave birth to the demon, and yet, "have become enslaved by their own creation. They [the parents] represent perverse will and imagination contrary to nature, which have given birth to an androgynous demon, i.e., to a being endowed with desire and imagination, which dominates the forces that engendered it."

Look at the way government -- obviously man's creation -- grows and makes more demands of us, no matter who is in power. But that's how demons work -- again, refer to the picture above. The two little taxpayers are slaves of the government they created, run by those legions of androgynous castrati whom we cannot eradicate.

Now, what UF describes here will be familiar to parents out there, even if your child is not (always) a demon. For example, when a child is in the midst of a tantrum -- say, bellowing about "income inequality" at an OWS rally -- he is temporarily under the influence of a kind of demonic energy. It's not problematic unless the personality begins to crystalize around the axis of this energy, which can occur as a result of various environmental contingencies, e.g., spoiling, excess self-esteem, failure of gratitude, graduate school, etc.

Its opposite movement essentially falls under the heading of the "civilizing process," a process that has, over the past fifty years or so, fallen out of favor owing to the influence of the secular left. Conveniently, the left's practices produce uncivilized human beings (see European riots for details), while its philosophy forbids pointing this out. Instead of calling them "uncivilized" -- or, more to the point, barbarians -- we must call them "victims," or "disadvantaged," or "special," or some other misleading euphemism.

Several observations are in order regarding demon-detection, without which zeitgeist-busting is impossible. From 2 Corinthians we learn that the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. In other words, man is explicitly created with a spirit of freedom -- cf. the Declaration of Independence -- which you might say is the means to the end of our being, which is ultimately theosis, perfection, or God-realization. In short, the means: liberty. The ends: love, truth, beauty, unity (or the One).

This formula renders existence perfectly intelligible (over the long haul). Its denial renders existence perfectly absurd, although you may or may not know it, on account of your denial of Denial. But Ø x Ø is nevertheless Ø, no matter how you slice it; conversely, 〇 x anything is always everything, more on which as we proceed. Well, okay. Here's a hint, from Alfred North Whitehead:

"The creative principle is everywhere, in animate and inanimate matter, in the ether, water, earth, human hearts.... Insofar as man partakes of this creative process does he partake of the divine...."

"Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, and within, the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet, waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest."

I don't think I could come up with a better description of what I mean by 〇, in and with whom “we live and move and have our being" and "are also His offspring" (Acts 17:28). (Although that penultimate word, "hopeless," can be misinterpreted, for we always have vertical hope. We are only hopeless about the possibility of transforming earth into heaven, because the attempt to do so ushers in hell.)

Being that we are in the image of the Creator, human beings have no choice but to create. But what shall we create? More importantly, in what spirit shall we do so? Genuine creation should be liberating, expansive, elevating, radiating. But demonic creation will be the opposite: enslaving, constricting, enclosing, debasing. It always makes us smaller, not larger, does it knot?

In Schuon's metaphysics (which he felt to be universally valid), male is a reflection of the Absolute, female the Infinite. Perhaps the most destructive force on earth is the absolute will detached from the divine plane. This leads to the raw will to power and the absolute dictator, and to a cult that is always excessively male (one thinks of the homoeroticism of the Nazis).

On the other hand, the perverse imagination is well reflected in contemporary art and academia. For example, deconstruction is reminiscent of a weightless and mercurial female whose reality depends upon the mood she is in. There is no fixed, i.e., Absolute, center, or unmoved mover, since the Infinite has become divorced from the devalued Absolute: as the feminist cliche goes, "the Infinite needs the Absolute like a fish needs a bicycle." But once you detach language from the Logos, it becomes a kind of infinite nonsense generator -- the "infinite blather" of the tenured.

On the other end, once you detach the Absolute from the Infinite, it becomes a kind of soul-crushing ideology to which one must assent, as in 1984. (No, not the book. I mean when I was in graduate school.) It reminds us of Queeg and his jihad against conservatism, the latter of which is specifically a harmonious marriage of Absolute (or transcendence) and Infinite (or immanence).

Here is the irony: Queeg wishes to elevate Darwinian fundamentalism to the status of Absolute, which has the effect of denying the infinitude of Man's spirit. The result -- if you are intelligent enough to draw out the implications -- is that both science and Man become strictly impossible, in that they are detached from their very ground.

unKnown Friend next discusses the origins of the left in the false absolute of Marxism: "Engendered by the will of the masses through the generations, armed with a dummy intellectuality which is Hegel's dialectic misconstrued -- this spectre has grown and continues to make the rounds in Europe and in other continents..." Really? Who knew?

Here is where Marxism and Queegism converge, for with the former "there is no God or gods -- there are only 'demons' in the sense of creations of the human will and imagination." In other words, "Marxism" is simply an ideological superstructure produced by the will of the masses, which is in turn rooted in material economics and nothing more. Likewise, for the Darwnian fundamentalist, everything ultimately boils down to the selfish gene, or an absurdly absolute denial of the Infinite.

This creation of a false absolute is idol worship, pure and simple. And an idol is a wall from, in contrast to an icon, which is a window into, transcendence. Although man creates the idol, it appropriates power over man, walling him off from reality.

[W]hat terrible power resides in our will and imagination, and what responsibility it entails for those who unleash it into the world!... We people of the twentieth century know that the "great pests" of our time are the [artificially engendered demons], which have cost humanity more life and suffering than the great epidemics of the Middle Ages. --MOTT

Despite all its setbacks, the six year struggle [of WWII], he went on, would one day go down in history as "the most glorious and valiant manifestation of a nation's will to existence." -- on Hitler's last will and testament, as related in Kershaw

There would, [Hitler] made clear, be no place in this utopia for the Christian Churches. For the time being, he ordered slow progression in the "Church Question." "But it is clear," noted Goebbels, "that after the war it has to be generally solved... There is, namely, an insoluble opposition between the Christian and Germanic-heroic world-view." --ibid.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

OWS and the Right of Return to Infantile Paradise

Picking up from where we left off yesterday, when we encounter collective beliefs and practices that appear insane and self-defeating, we are probably dealing with mind parasites. Importantly, while they do not appear adaptive to an outside observer, they actually are adaptive to the person who harbors them. It's just that they are adaptive to the interior, not exterior, world. This is no different than a neurotic patient with a baffling symptom. Ultimately the symptom can be traced back to some earlier adaptation to a difficult or traumatic situation.

The most difficult challenge for human beings -- and it is a lifelong one -- is to adapt to the novel problem of having a mind, or of mindedness. Ultimately, mind parasites come down to the problem of thoughts and what to do with them -- anxious thoughts, fearful thoughts, envious thoughts, greedy thoughts, angry thoughts, sexual thoughts, etc. One of the primary purposes of culture is to collectively manage these primitive thoughts. Which is a big reason why diverse cultures historically haven't gotten along well, because one man's idol is another man's pest.

Take, for example, the problem of primitive Arab culture existing side by side with modern Israeli culture. In the absence of contact with the latter, these paranoid, misogynistic, homophobic, and goat-humping religious retrobates would be content to wallow in the mud of their own mind parasites. But contact with a modern liberal culture that values freedom and isn't preoccupied with female sexuality is too much to cope with. The mind parasites must lash out at the culture that threatens their existence.

It is no different with the left. Why do they hate us? Well, for starters, it's a shock to the system to discover so late in life that you aren't "special," that your absurdly inflated self-esteem has no correlation to reality, that they don't hand out trophies just for breathing, and that in the real world your communication studies degree doesn't mean shit. I'll let Adam Carolla explain the rest. You can come back to it after you finish the post.



In the course of writing my book, I did a fair amount of research into the earliest roots of collective mind parasites, which can be difficult to come by because of the absurd manner in which anthropologists idealize man and culture (so long as the man isn't a person of pallor and the culture isn't Christian). One of the books I found helpful at the time -- since it tries to reach all the way to the groundfloor of the collective/historical psyche -- was In the Shadow of Moloch: The Sacrifice of Children and Its Impact on Western Religions. It's been over a decade since I read it, so I can't give it an unqualified raccoomendation.

Here's what the ubiquitous Professor Backflap -- who seems to have read and enjoyed every book in existence -- says about it:

"In ancient times, humans projected their hostility into their gods; 'bloodthirsty' gods who 'demanded' the sacrifice of children. In the Shadow of Moloch begins with pre-biblical times by examining Moloch, the god of the 'Children of Ammon' who demanded the burning of children.

"Tracing the legacy of child sacrifice, Bergmann shows that the greatest efforts to overcome this ritual can be found in biblical accounts of the suspended sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham and of the sacrifice of Christ by God the Father to atone for original sin. He argues that the development of Judaism and Christianity can be seen as an effort, only partially successful, to ameliorate past aggression of child sacrifice through the creation of an entirely loving god."

I would say discovery of an entirely loving God, but you get the point, because there is no evolutionary reason to believe that human beings could have "invented" such a being, given their dismal track record. Obviously, the systematic murder of one's children poses a challenge to natural selection, unless there is some deeper mechanism to account for it. Again, I believe that mechanism is the urgent need to adapt to the catastrophic condition of having a self-conscious mind.

It is indeed difficult for us to imagine how catastrophic this was -- to have been, as Richard Prior so poetically put it, the first motherf*cker to look around and ask himself what in the f*ck is goin' on?!

Then again, not really, if you can empathize with the emotionally catastrophic (as in catastrophe theory) conditions of infancy and early childhood -- which, sad to say, many, if not most, parents still cannot do. I would estimate -- actually, studies on maternal attachment estimate -- that perhaps only a third of parents in the West are able to do this. In more primitive locales, such as in the Islamic world -- well.... child sacrifice goes on unabated. They just call it intifada instead of infanticide, jihad instead of juvecide.

And in the West, we simply have more subtle means of engaging in child sacrifice. We don't kill the body, but murder the soul. I mean, I literally cannot imagine sending my son to a California public school, because I would in effect be sending him off to be sacrificed to the leftist collective.

Coincidentally, just this morning, while standing outside waiting for his ride, I noticed our local rag, the Agoura Acorn, right under the tree. Normally it would go straight to the recycling bin, but while picking it up I noticed the headline: Gay Lesson Plan Coming to School: New state law will require attention to diversity.

First of all: attention? I do not think this word means what they think it means, for the law actually "requires textbooks to highlight the achievements of the gay and lesbian [they left out 'transgendered'] population in California and the United States."

In plain english, the state now mandates that children, starting in kindergarten -- yes, that joyful garden of innocent kinder -- must be brainwashed in a manner comporting with the far left agenda of homosexual activists. This is what we call "diversity."

"Attention" is such a neutral word. For example, I just finished a biography of Hitler that gave a great deal of attention to his unprecedented contributions to European civilization. Not to be judgmental, but suffice it to say, these contributions were less than stellar. I assume that this state-mandated attention to homosexual behavior will similarly highlight its disproportionate contribution to AIDS, just as they no doubt pay similar attention to the white man's one-sided contribution to the genocide of Native Americans.

I couldn't bear doing to my son what was done to me, and that was well before the leftist takeover of the educational system was complete. He would have to internalize all of their strange gods -- multiculturalism, moral relativism, materialism, scientism, environmentalism, etc. -- and in so doing, die to his own soul. But that is a rather passive way of putting it, for this is attempted soul murder, plain and simple. I mean, if you don't know why it's inappropriate to discuss sodomy with six year olds, you shouldn't be allowed to horse around with children, much less presume to instruct them.

In fact, continuing with Bergmann's flapdoodle, I think it is a truism that "the psychological conflict of child sacrifice still haunts the unconscious of modern men and women." He posits what he calls a "Laius complex -- hostility of the father toward the son -- to explain sacrifice. He argues that, in psychological terms, the development of Western religions is an effort by insufficiently loved men and women to change their inner balance away from hostility, toward a more loving center."

You might even say that what we alluded to above about incompatible cultures existing side by side has an analogue in "incompatible generations" existing in intimate proximity. After all, the "generation gap" wasn't invented by the baby boomers. Indeed, the OWS movement is in many ways a ludicrously displaced attack on an older generation that "has all the wealth." It is children rebelling against the parents. Thus, to paraphrase Don Colacho, they are simply spoiled and impatient heirs. And "'social justice' is the term used to claim anything to which we do not have a right."

Regarding the collective mind parasites, you can see that unKnown Friend isn't really too far from Bergmann: although "engendered subjectively," these artificial demons "become forces independent of the subjective consciousness that engendered them. They are, in other words, magical creations, for magic is the objectification of that which takes its origin in subjective consciousness" (again, think of the image in the card of the man and woman chained to a larger entity that they have co-created).

UF compares these collective demons to psychological complexes, which is why it is something of a truism to say that a culture is a public neurosis, while a neurosis is a private culture. But there are also public psychoses, e.g., OWS (and by "psychotic," I simply mean not in contact with reality, or a defect in reality-testing).

Yes, these groups can be frightening to think about, because they (the manipulated ones, anyway) really do believe the things they say. But it's not so much "the things they believe" -- i.e., the contained (♂) -- as the container (♀) -- i.e., the very space in which they live -- that is so disturbing (and I think that what these Obamavillians do to the surrounding environment is a mirror of their chaotic internal state, otherwise they couldn't possibly feel comfortable amidst such squalor and pestilence; then again, at least the million dollars of our money required to clean up the mess in Los Angeles was spent on the children).

Again, think of that deeply irrational container as a sort of desperate effort to manage their own unbearable proto-thoughts and impulses. You could say that OWS is the pathological product of an unsane pairing of ♂ (contained) and ♀ (container). Leftism is what happens when you put together an abandoning ♀ with an enraged ♂: uncontainable and incoherent, just "beta elements" (primitive proto-thoughts without a thinker) leaking out all over the place. When even a Democratic mayor can't handle the stench, you've really accomplished something.

You could also say that these demons represent the premature birth of the unborn due to an inability to tolerate reality and allow the proto-thoughts to "gestate" in the womb of being. In other words, they represent premature closure of the psychic field, which is again one of the main reasons why people believe such weird things.

These weird ideas nevertheless have to be "nourished" by a parental container, which is why adolt intellectuals devote their lives to feeding these kids and legitimizing their emotional and intellectual immaturity. Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, et al -- their festering crapus is a kind of pathological psychic body that is utterly detached from reality. When they die, it will "live on" in wackolytes who have been infected by their ghostly and ghastly ideas. Think of "patient zero," Marx, who is still spreading his spiritually fatal infection. Religion -- properly understood -- inoculates one from the disease, but that's the subject for a different post.

Oh, and when Bob uses words like "infection" and "disease," he is, of course, worse than Hitler, so you needn't remind us.

Suddenly I am out of time. To be continued.....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Speaking of the Devil: Exorcism through Word Magic

Is there some less saturated (or mythological or premodern) way to think about who or what person or process people refer to when they use the noun "devil" or adjective "satanic?"

Because as things stand, they often just sound crazy, stupid, or ill-educated. It doesn't necessarily mean they are any of these things, for if this were the case, then many, if not the majority, of the most luminous minds in the history of western civilization would fall into these categories. And no concept could persist for so many centuries in the absence of a sufficient cause. But what is this cause?

Of course, most postmodern/secular types are happy to consign this topic to the fringe, but this simply results in the phenomena concealing itself under a cover of namelessness. In other words, you cannot make something disappear by dis-inventing the name for it. Indeed, this will only result in more, not less, of the phenomenon in question, since we won't be able to talk about it in any coherent way. It's like trying to eliminate illness by banning the word "sickness," or domesticate Islam by prohibiting the word "terror."

Alert readers will have noticed in an instant that this primitive word-magic is perhaps the most conspicuous strategy of the politically correct left -- and indeed why there is always a "virus in the left's PC." They are constantly shifting the meanings of words, either to disassociate themselves from one that has accumulated too many psychic toxins; or, conversely, to attach themselves to a bright shiny word that hasn't yet been spoiled. For example, the illiberal left first appropriated that noble word, "liberal," but then proceeded to spoil it, so they had to move on to "progressive."

But based upon the uncivilized behavior of the progressive bums, criminals, parasites, and sociopaths of the OWS movement, this word may soon suffer a similar fate. No one will want to be called "progressive," because it will imply an angry, inarticulate, lawless, and lice-ridden loser. In other words, it will have come too close to actually describing reality.

Rather than an ideological strategy, the Left is a lexicographical tactic (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

Extra-alert readers who pay attention to the "Whatcha' Reading There, Bob?" links in the sidebar will have also noticed that Bob has been sort of immersing himself in the dark world of the satanic, trying to better understand its nature, e.g., Hitler, Mao, Inferno, Heaven on Earth, The Great Lie, etc.

At the same time, I have been balancing this effort by delousing myself under the stream of its exact cosmic counter-movement, as exemplified by souls such as Lincoln, Washington, Reagan, and John Paul II. In a way, these elevated souls are more difficult to account for than the monsters, since they are so much rarer -- rare indeed to the threshold of the miraculous. Think of the inconceivable destruction that can be wrought by one bad actor, compared to how little a single decent person can do.

For example, no matter how good I am, it will pretty much only effect my family, friends, and readers. But if I wanted to be bad -- say, become a mass murderer or television executive -- I could ruin the lives of thousands in an instant. And if I'm lucky enough to live in Norway, pay no price for it.

You might say that the Satanic -- who- or whatever it is -- embodies a kind of counter-movement to all the cosmic principles we've been discussing up to this point. Indeed, unKnown Friend says that this is the aracunum of counter-inspiration, which, interestingly, is not "expiration." In other words, as we've been saying in so many ways, genuine mysticism, gnosis, and magic come about as a result of the harmonious rhythm of (↑) and (↓), while counter-inspiration would have to be some sort of caricature or counterfeit version of this -- a kind of bad breath (spirit and breath both being derived from pneuma) or hellitosis.

As vision and inspiration involve tears and sweat (as explained in yesterday's post), this card introduces us "to the secrets of the electrical fire and the intoxication of counter-inspiration." What? Yes. This "electrical intoxication" would indeed account for the infamous Obama-tingle in Chris Matthews' hairless, pasty and corpulent thigh.

This is also the card of what I call Mind Parasites, which are the self-generated demons which then have power over those who create them -- which you will no doubt notice represents a kind of pathological (because closed) cycle of (↑) and (↓); more on which below.

But first, UF makes an extremely important point, that "the world of evil is a chaotic world." Which means, if you wish to create a world in which the Devil may operate with a "free hand," so to speak, you needn't necessarily engage in evil per se. Rather, all you have to do is disrupt the celestial order and sow chaos below.

(I actually prefer the word "disorder," since chaos now has a scientific meaning; from the perspective of chaos theory, things that superficially look chaotic, such as the free market or my desk, may exhibit extremely deep order, but that's the topic for another post. We'll just stick with "chaos" in its colloquial sense.)

A most obvious example of cosmic order is the distinction between male and female. To blend these categories is not just foolish and unwise, but evil. Or, soon enough it will lead to evil. I don't want to get sidetracked, but here is a depressing article by Kay Hymowitz on the contemporary state of male-female relations, Love in the Time of Darwinism. The take-away point is that the chaos engendered by feminism and other postmodern neopagan idiolatries has hardly been "liberating." Rather, in taking a wrecking ball to the nonlocal celestial hierarchy, the vaginocracy "ironically" reduces human beings to a state of pure animality in their mating habits. Ladies, be careful what you whine for.

In turn, this is why the homosexual and heterophobic activists clamoring for the redefinition of marriage are promoting evil, pure and simple. It is usually unwitting, to be sure, but no less destructive for being so. In no way am I suggesting that this or that homosexual is evil. That's an entirely different subject.

Rather, what I am saying is that I do not want a handful of privileged white male judges to impose their diabolical values on the rest of us, just because they do not understand that marriage exists as a divine archetype, and that it is not for us to tamper with, any more than it is up to a judge to redefine the laws of physics. You cannot turn my aunt into a Maserati by judicial Fiat.

As Dennis Prager always says, we live in the "age of stupidity," meaning that we live in an age that is devoid of wisdom -- or in which wisdom is not honored at the center but consigned to the periphery. But the accumulated spiritual wisdom of the centuries is no less vital to our survival then the "biological wisdom" embodied in our genes. Genes encode information about how to deal with the physical environment, just as religious memes (archetypes) teach us how to adapt to the spiritual environment.

And why do we live in an age of stupidity? Because liberals have spent the last fifty years undermining the legitimacy of the divine-human order, and therefore sowing chaos. And once you have chaos, then you have successfully destroyed any standards by which we may objectively guide our lives.

This is what I mean when I gently inform uncomprehending "integralists" that the left is not the complement of conservative liberalism, but its very negation. A true political complementarity would have to share the same first principles, which was more or less the case in America until the 1960s. Today, the problem is not that we differ with the left over this or that policy issue. Rather, they have entirely different first principles, principles which are not rooted in the Constitution, in American tradition, and certainly not in transcendent reality (i.e., the vertical).

Even leaving spirituality to the side, the anti-vertical activists express such an astonishing naivete about the power of human sexuality, that it is not even childlike, because children are well aware of such fundamental categories as Father and Mother, man and child, boy and girl. Only a certified leftist could be so dense as to deny such a primordial reality and call it "progress." As a classical liberal, I do not believe it is the business of the state to tell a couple of men or women what sort of erotic partnership they wish to have. Just don't pretend that it is marriage, which it can never, ever be.

Notice that their only possible counter-argument will be a strictly horizontal one, thereby denying the very context of marriage, i.e., the sacred. By the nature of their arguments, one can tell that they have no idea what marriage actually is, in that they see it only in terms of an arbitrary "right" which some people supposedly have but others don't.

Anyway, the main point is that if you want to engender evil, all you have to do is promote disorder by denying or blending categories which must remain separate in order for there to be civilization at all. This is why the Creator's very first act is one of separation amidst chaos.

Back to the card. UF notes that it evokes the idea of slavery, in that it depicts two people "who are attached to the pedestal of a monstrous demon." It suggests "an eminently practical lesson as to how it happens that beings can forfeit their freedom and become slaves of a monstrous entity which makes them degenerate by rendering them similar to it."

With regard to these parasitic entities, the analogy with biology is apt, for we know that there are "helpful" and "harmful" bacteria. Some parasites will kill us, while others live symbiotically in us, for example, in our digestive tract to help maintain health.

I'm thinking, for example, of the conscience, which opposes us and can at times feel like a parasitic entity that is there to spoil our fun, when its real purpose is to allow for vertical growth -- and to prevent a horizontal death. Recall, for example, how in Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is punished by his "parasitic" conscience. The conscience can indeed burn, but this is the method God is reduced to when you have ignored more subtle messages.

To be continued....

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: