Friday, December 16, 2011

Do All Planets Have Moonbats?

Well, that's disappointing. For the first time in like five years, I accidently deleted the whole post. If I can only relocate the tracks, I think I can reengineer the train of thought, more or less, but not in this slightly sour mood. Therefore, we'll continue with the next letter of Meditations on the Tarot, the Moon, and see what its made of. As always, your pre-enjoyed post has been outdated with new material and substandardly edited.

I suppose The Moon is always timely, since it also happens to be the Moonbat card.

That is, it is a meditation on the proper task of human intelligence, which is to liberate man from the type of magical enchantment that afflicts the secular world in general and the left in particular.

There are indeed "root causes" of such systematic blindness, applied stupidity, and moral idiocy, and they obviously have nothing to do with poverty, humiliation, or lack of education, since most of the bleeding blights of the left are conspicuously affluent, educated, and proud.

And these self-styled leaders, despite their tingle-inducing oratory, have always had difficulty selling their agenda to its so-called beneficiaries, which is why the agenda must always be forced upon the ungrateful bastards.

I'll be honest, if I may. Not only do we not know what is good for us, but I am beginning to seriously wonder if we are even worthy of Obama's generosity.

So, just how does one become an arrogant and sanctimonious buffoon of the left? One does it through considerable movement, but it is a retrograde movement, away from the nonlocal source and ground of vertical evolution.

As UF puts it, the Moon(bat) card "evokes ideas, feelings and impulses of will relating to the inversion of the evolutionary movement of life and consciousness, i.e., to their envelopment, arrest of movement, and retrograde movement."

Just as there are principles of growth, there are principles of existential shrinkage, the result being, by George, that the world isn't all it could be and should be -- and more!

In, say, Deepak's case, he obviously fancies himself to be some sort of fount of spiritual creativity (what other excuse could this windy Hindi have for gifting us with over sixty books?), but he is actually trapped and enveloped within a stagnant and predictable world view.

Admittedly, I've only seen samples, but I've never known him to express an original thought, only grammatically mangled banalities such as this week's steaming pile of sacred cow manure: "Everyone, I think, wants a better future, even when troubled times arise and a better future seems far away."

[The original post had a detailed example of Deepak's vileness, but I have excised it for the sake of speeding things along. I'm sure you get the idea.]

Such a mind does not radiate, but envelops; instead of a flowing current, it is a stagnant swamp. Hence, the perfect breeding ground for Monsters of the Id, or projected mind parasites. The problem is, leftist parasites always suck our blood, e.g., through taxes.

We couldn't care less if they sacrificed their own blood to their collectivist god. But why must we be forced to obey their state (as) religion? Isn't that unconstitutional or something?

Now, unKnown Friend points out that God has created -- or results in -- three sources of light: the sun, the moon, and the stars; or, creative light, reflected light, and revealed light; or again, intellect, matter (by which we mean the natural world), and revelation.

With regard to the moon, it is obviously inseparable from the earth around which it revolves (i.e., matter), so that lunar intelligence must be a kind of "reflection" of the material world. In itself, this is not problematic. But when isolated from the Sun of creative evolution and the Stars of revelation -- well, that is how you create the loony moonbat or the farking atheists who bark at the dark and call it light.

Because materiality has only to do with the more or less mechanical and repetitive aspects of the world, to be a moonbat is to exalt matter and convert oneself to a predictable machine that is its servant.

Now, such a thought machine knows nothing of starlight or sunlight, only the relative darkness of matter. And so the intellect is extinguished and "filled with dirt." It becomes as solid and impenetrable as rock, as our dirt-napping trolls mechanically and repetitively prove to us day in, day out.

Again, this is hardly to say that reflected moonlight is unnecessary or worthless. To the contrary, as UF points out, "if deprived of the environment of the material world," we would be "incapable of separating out particular things from their enduring totality and grouping them into categories and classes" (because of the divisibility and malleability of matter), but also "powerless to manufacture the implements and machines" which supplement our "organs of action and perception."

In other words, as we have discussed in a previous card, the radical transcendental realism of a Plato also results in a partial and therefore dysfunctional intelligence, because it regards the material world as totally in flux and therefore incapable of yielding any enduring truth.

Likewise -- or unwise -- the "illusionism" (if that's the proper word) of a Shankara, who regards the phenomenal world as pure maya, or illusion. One reason that there was no development in the Buddhist and Hindu worlds was because of this illusionism. Now that they have imported more realistic ideas from the west, they are taking off economically.

Now, if the Chinese could only find the Sun...

As we noted in that earlier post, both Christianity and Judaism specifically sanctify matter, so that we may develop the proper relationship to it, neither elevating it to a god (pantheism, materialism, atheism, Algoreism) or dismissing it as a kind of evil illusion (manicheism, gnosticism, and many strands of new-ageism, i.e., "The Secret").

Most moonbats are an incoherent combination of the two, in that they absurdly worship a world that is ultimately devoid of meaning. They are the inverse of the Islamists, who wish to destroy a resistant world that doesn't conform to their omnipotent infantile fantasies. Either way, the result is the same: if reality fails to conform to their ideological fantasy, then so much the worse for reality.

Life is ontologically anterior (but existentially posterior) to biology, just as consciousness is prior to matter. Matter is a kind of "congealed intelligence," which is why it is intelligible, precisely.

But it is not a "transparent" intelligibility, since it is always reflected intelligence, and if we identify our own intelligence only with it, we will be unable to leave its sphere and "leap" into the pure intellect -- just as life could never have inscaped matter if it only obeyed the laws of physics.

This latter intellect isn't quite so limited by reflected intelligence, so it sees into metaphysical principles more transparently. There went one just now!

Now, the Gospel of John urges us -- and I'm paraphrasing UF here -- to transpose intelligence from the domain of the created (i.e., the reflected intelligence of matter) to the domain of the creative Word. This is the difference between mere knowledge and true understanding, or between (k) and (n), respectively. The former is always "dead knowledge" (unless we give it life) that is bound to cause confusion and absurdity if we try to apply it to the living Knower.

But the latter is living knowledge, or wisdom, which is also integral knowledge of the whole. It is the knowledge that is "in the beginning," and is therefore always creative and always now. You will have noticed that the radical atheist has no coherent or even minimally credible explanation for the genesis of the knower -- and why anyone, himself included, would care what he thinks -- which is again why his knowledge is both dead and deadening.

Well, that post actually touched on some of the points I made in the Great Lost Post. Careful now: Save. Save again. Copy. No, copy, moron! Paste. Publish. There.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Word is a Bird: Forging our Feathers from Poetry

Back to Whitehead tomorrow. Today we'll wrap up The Star, part of our premeditated ascent on Meditations on the Tarot.

The next major theme discussed by unKnown Friend is poetry. As he puts it, "One cannot pass by poetry if one attaches value to tradition. The whole Bible breathes poetry -- epic, lyric and dramatic..."

Now, poetry is one of those quintessentially human modes that frustrates the reductionistic instincts of scientistic barbarians. To try to contain poetry within materialism is to kill it, for poetry is to language as life is to matter or mind is to life. A "scientistic poet" is a contradiction in terms, for poetry involves the use of something lower in order to express something higher. Poetry highjacks words and then uses them as the vehicle for a climb.

I happen to be reading a lightful little book called Riverrun to Livvy: Lots of Fun Reading the First Page Finnegans Wake (heretofore FW), which has a lot of material related to the mystical and translinguistic properties of language.

In FW, Joyce endeavored to exploit these properties, but only for all they're worth. Indeed, FW is intended to be nothing less than "a working model of the universe," something that is only possible and perhaps even sane because the universe is composed of language (in the sense discussed in yesterday's post).

As wonderful as language is, it can also become diseased, pathological, enfeebled, dead. Consider Marxist or Nazi rhetoric, which are only extreme cases.

But there are also subtle ways in which our minds become hostage to noughty words that really only shoot blanks. This undoubtedly contributed to Joyce's effort to escape the limits of language via his "Wakese." For just as poetry deploys language to express what cannot be said with words, Joyce left conventional language behind in order to express what only words can say.

However, Joyce was only doing "at an accelerated rate what the English language has been doing for centuries" (Cliett), which is to say, stealing, incorporating, morphing, poaching and playgiarizing with other tongues. Cliett notes that English has "accumulated three times the number of words of the next closest language." But Joyce still needed more. As. Do. I. After all, if the existing words were sufficient, we wouldn't be here.

Far from being some sort of superfluous or stupid human trick, poetry is essential to understanding the world. Only dumb-as-a-post modern prejudice tries to convince us otherwise, for poetry "gives wings to imagination, and without winged imagination... no [spiritual] progress is possible" (MOTT).

But this cannot be the undisciplined imagination that seeks only egoic (at best!) self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement -- you know, all those lousy little poets tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson -- but "an imagination that loves truth" and is in conformity with the hyperdimensional Real.

This is why poetry "is not simply a matter of taste, but rather one of fertility (or sterility) of the spirit. Without a poetic vein there can be no access to the life of the Hermetic [i.e., esoteric] tradition" (ibid.).

Poetry defies the law of gravity, and represents "the union of the upper waters and the lower waters on the second day of creation." The poet operates at "the point at which the separated waters meet" and converge, which facilitates a "flow" between realms. Surrealism meets at the other end -- where the lower waters of the unconscious meet with the ego to produce mostly nightmares.

Being that nothing human should be alien to us, surrealism (which is really subrealism) has its place, but real overmental poetry is like a window on the world from which it descends. It has light, power, and truth, because it is written with a combination of "warm human blood" and the "luminous blood of heaven." Such poetry casts a bright bloodlight over the mindscape to reveal things that would otherwise glow ungnosissed.

It it interesting to me that two of my favorite 20th century 〇lymen, Frithjof Schuon and Sri Aurobindo, relied solely on poetry in their later years, abandoning prose altogether. As Aurobindo wrote, "the poet's eyes perpetually go behind the thing visible to the thing essential, so that the symbol and significance are always in a state of interfusion."

In other words, poetry directly transmits something of which it is attempting to describe with words. To get lost in the words can obscure that to which they are pointing, which infuses their very substance. One has to let oneself go and allow the words to lift one up to the realm from which they are a descent.

Poetry transforms language from the closed circle to the open spiral. Note that deconstruction does this as well, but in that case, it is a death spiral that goes straight down into the infrahuman muck of the tenured. It is a result of the naturally supernatural desire of the soul to break free of language, but in the absence of recognition of the Divine hierarchy. Therefore, it is like the exchange of one hell for a worse one, for anyhell involves a closed system from which one cannot escape. The security just becomes tighter the lower one goes from the Logos.

Truly, we can forge our fetters out of language, which results in the flightless turkey of radical secularism. Conversely, we may forge our feathers word by Word to achieve a kind of verbical liftoff.

Of course, some thinkers take the contradictory position, and maintain that the bird is the word:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One + Many = Three

Continuing from yesterday's post, in which we posed the question: is it possible to use Whitehead's process philosophy to illuminate traditional theology, but without doing violence to the latter and descending into an intellectually feeble and metaphysically incoherent moonbattery?

As we have discussed in the past, there has never been a time that Christianity hasn't been in dialogue with philosophy, which is as it should be. Indeed, if one excuses oneself from this dialogue -- as if theology can stand on its own, with no input from the empirical or intellectual worlds -- then one will necessarily revert to an unarticulated and usually naive metaphysic, very much like scientists who unthinkingly conflate scientific method with ontological fact.

Either way, it is not as if you will have avoided metaphysics, only denied it. As Whitehead writes, "religion is among the data of experience which philosophy must weave into its own scheme":

"Philosophy frees itself from the taint of ineffectiveness by its close relations with religion and with science, natural and sociological. It attains its chief importance by fusing the two, namely, religion and science, into one rational scheme of thought..." (in Epperly).

As we know, the early Fathers were influenced by Platonism and neo-Platonism, while the scholastics brought in Aristotle. Up to that point, philosophy was far more unified than it is today. Not to exaggerate, but prior to Kant, one could discern a kind of linear path of philosophical development.

But post-Kant -- in large part because he essentially detached thought from reality, allowing it to become a monument to nothing -- philosophy ramified into the countless rivers, streams, creeks, eddies, gutters, and sewers we see today. Nowadaze -- or so we are asked to believe -- there is no philosophical unity, just a multitude of unprovable opinions. In such a timid and confused climate, it is no wonder that a bloodless scientism is able to carry the day. It is as if these people -- like New York Times readers -- are capable of trusting no source of information above the lowest and most coarse.

Although Whitehead's formal philosophical writing (e.g., Process and Reality) is known for its abstruseness, he was at the same time a memorable quipmeister or gagdad (for a few samples, see here). So, why didn't he write in this clever style all the time? Probably for the same reason that no respectable person would ever take me seriously.

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster--it is an opportunity. It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious. Seek simplicity, and distrust it. The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy. The future belongs to those who can rise above the confines of the earth. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

I am not surprised to discover that there is a whole book devoted to The Wit and Wisdom of Alfred North Whitehead. But we're getting off track. I was just searching for a particular comment of his, to the effect that the history of Western philosophy is but a footnote on Plato.

This implies that Whitehead perceived a much deeper unity -- or at least source of unity -- beneath appearances, and indeed, his whole philosophy might be thought of as a search for unity -- not just of the natural world, but of various irreducible antinomies that confront us, such as exterior / interior, subject / object, and consciousness /world. In his description, metaphysics is "a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted" -- a true, and not just tenured, Theory of Everything.

This being the case, it is no wonder that a number of Christian theologians were immediately attracted to his thought, even though, as far as anyone knows, Whitehead himself did not become formally religious.

Now, back to Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed. Yesterday we discussed Whitehead's appreciation of the cosmic complementarity of permanence <---> flux. In one sense, religion as such is the "vision," or apprehension (often via faith), of that "which stands beyond, and within, the passing flux of immediate things" (this and all subsequent quotes are in Epperly unless otherwise noted).

Whitehead describes with perfect nonsense the orthoparadoxical nature of this thing we call O: it is "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 is beyond reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest."

This is precisely what motivates your quest, -- your own adventure of consciousness -- whether religious or secular. If it isn't what drives -- or pulls -- you forward, then what the hell are you doing, just going around in meaningless circles? What, did you or someone else perform a logotomy on you? Are you trapped in the I AMber of Groundhog Day?

Then you have failed to assimilate cosmic lesson #1, that "ultimate reality" is (among others) the creative principle, accent on the second word.

Now, how can creativity -- which is always novel, unique, and unprecedented -- be a principle, which is presumed to be a kind of timeless archetype? How can that which can only take place in time be a reflection of the timeless? Because, for Whitehead, "the process itself is the actuality" -- which is somewhat like saying "the noun is the verb," or perhaps "the particle is the wave."

Ultimately, one might say that this is a reflection of the dialectic of Absolute and relative, or of O and Ø. The question is, is Ø "in" O? Yes, of course. Well then, is O in Ø? Again, yes, of course.

This is none other than panentheism, which is apparently more prevalent in Orthodoxy than in the West. For Epperly, this trans-complementarity, as it manifests in theology, "is reflected in the dynamic interplay of the apophatic, 'without images,' and the kataphatic, 'with images,' approach to understanding God."

Here again, this innerplay is "ultimate" insofar as humans are concerned. I suppose one could, in Buddhist fashion, annihilate the creative image-maker, but this only results in a God with no humans, which, as soon as you think about it, is no God at all (which in turn is just another form of God; and no, I'm not just trying to be cute: for the Buddhist, God is no-God, and vice versa).

Instead of seeing the mind as an inexplicable and ultimately irrelevant appendage to reality, Whitehead turned the cosmos back bright-side up, so that both the interior and exterior worlds share the same ultimate principle.

In this regard, he deviates from both scientistic nihilists and from traditional theologians. The former position is not worth refuting, but for the latter, it is the logos which is responsible for both intelligence and intelligibility -- which are two sides of this same Word.

As alluded to yesterday, there are certain aspects of Whitehead's thought that seem to conflict with tradition, but which I find myself embracing. An essential one would involve the nature of this Logos. Traditionally it is indeed understood as word or reason, the former implying a kind of static entity, the latter a mechanical process.

But. What if we tweak that formulation a little, and instead trancelight the two -- word and reason -- as language and creativity, which automatically and continuously create three? If nothing else, at least it would explain everything. So I got that going for me.

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Whitehead, Blockhead, Wholehead

Having digested yesterday's post, you may ask yourself: why is Bob not -- or is he? -- a formal Whiteheadian? You know, a process philosopher, or, more to the point, a champion of process theology?

That's actually a fair question. I recently asked it of myself while tending my little amazon kindle garden and noticing the titles under the heading Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.

At the moment there are only two. One of them is The Complete Works of Dostoyevsky, an author to whom -- along with William Shakespeare, Michel de Montaigne, and Maya Angelou -- I am often compared.

The other book is Whitehead's Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy: An Argument for Its Contemporary Relevance.

While that last one may or may not sound intriguing, there's a problem: David Ray Griffin -- probably the most well known process theologian -- is a Category 5 loonibrain and 7.1 assoul on the sphincter scale.

For starters, he is a 911 truther and all-purpose moonbat. He is also co-conspirator of the Center for Process Studies, where kindred spirits talk to each other about such charming subjects as divinity and diversity, the trinity from an eco-womanist perspective, Cornel West’s postmodern theology, process theodicy from an African Perspective, and post-colonial critiques of theopolitical synergies of power.

So there is something about process theology that either turns the mind to mush or attracts mush-heads. I mean, what kind of person takes Cornell West seriously? What next, Whitehead, Sharpton, and Process Poverty Pimpin' ?

Back in the day, I read a fair amount of process theology, but everything I encountered was academic, jargony, coldly technological, politically correct, and devoid of sanctity. Very insular and college campus-y, if you know what I mean, in the same way that the only place one finds Marxists is in universities. Real people don't talk, much less think, like that.

Although one of the premises of process theology is the unification of science and religion, I found that their real objection was to theology, and that they simply misused or misunderstood various scientific principles in order support a secular agenda more to their liking.

As I've said before, a leftist anything is always a leftist first, the whatever a distant second, and this applies perforce to leftist theologies, which in the end (and beginning) attempt to bend theology to the contours of their collectivism, not to derive political philosophy from transcendent truth.

This got me to thinking: surely there must be someone who has used process philosophy to illuminate traditional theology? The closest I've been able to find is a Jesuit professor of theology by the name of Joseph Bracken, but I couldn't get through the first book I tried, which mostly consisted of obvious points couched in unnecessarily technical language, mingled with other apparent points he is unable to express in plain english. Much of it sounds frankly tenured.

So I guess it's down to me again. In order to acquaint myself with the perplexing lay of the scholarly land, I read a book called Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed, despite knowing in advance that the book contains some unalloyed moonbattery and theological error, such as the assertion that "process ethics" sees rights as "relational and contextual" rather than absolute or individualistic.

But why? There is nothing in process thought that mandates such a conclusion.

"Further, process theology does not privilege human experience in terms of possessing absolute value." Nor does "being human" "set us apart from from the rest of creation." Again, these erroneous conclusions in no way follow from a process-view of the cosmos.

Speaking of conflating politics and theology, consider the following gem, which is devoid of theology but full of leftist mischief: "economic decision-making must be for the sake of human beings and the whole biosphere." Nice rhetoric, but how would that work in practice? Like Stalinism, or more like Maoism?

"The goals of justice and planetary sustainability are one and the same." Really? Are you sure about that? A lot of things that sustain the planet strike me as more than a little cruel and unjust.

It indeed reminds me of Chairman Mao's excuse for starving tens of millions of peasants: there are too many people on the planet! It is somewhat appalling that any self-styled theologian would try to derive his ethics from nature, for the biosphere indeed has an ironclad will to sustain itself via death, without the slightest concern for the individual.

How do these people take a perfectly fine philosophy and arrive at such nonsense? Or am I missing something, and is the nonsense built into the philosophy? I don't think so, because it is entirely possible to derive political nonsense from sound philosophy, theology, and metaphysics, e.g., the doctrine of predestination or the divine right of kings.

Rather, it is necessary that each plane in the cosmic hierarchy be explicated separately, but in such a way that it does not contradict first principles. One cannot simply blindly apply first principles to every situation, for this ends in a dogmatic and false absolutism.

This is, for example, what creeps people out about Ron Paul. He says plenty of things -- derived from first principles embodied in the Constitution -- that make perfect sense. However, he always goes too far, in that half of what he says results from a blind application of first principles, irrespective of empirical reality.

The same moral confusion afflicts leftists who wouldn't waterboard a known terrorist with information about an imminent attack, owing to an unthinking allegiance to the principle of "non-torture" -- which any normal person shares, up to a point, the point of suicidal insanity.

So let's think through some of Whitehead's first principles, and try to understand where his wackolytes go off the rails. There is much in Epperly's book with which I am in complete sympathy. Indeed, it is because of Whitehead that I have some views -- or at least suspicions -- that would be considered quite non-traditional, more on which as we proceed.

To put it another way, there are certain principles of process theology that allow me to understand aspects of theology that I otherwise wouldn't be able to accept, because they seem to violate common sense principles I am unable to reject.

For example, if theology posited that gravity doesn't exist, I could only pretend to agree with it -- just as I could only pretend to agree with any young-earth scenarios. If I were forced to choose between these two positions, I would have to reject theology in favor of science. But this is an artificial choice rooted in a false premise. Nevertheless, there's a lot of that going around, e.g., either intelligent design or evolution.

Here is an example of a principle I can wholeheadedly embrace: "Process theology describes the dynamic interplay of permanence and flux, evident in the universe and our own lives" (Epperly).

The critical subtext of this sentence is complementarity, in this case between permanence and flux, which might also be called eternity and time, implicate and explicate, potential and actual, one and many, Godhead and God, etc. I do not come down on either side of the complementarity, but rather hold the complementarity to be key.

To cite one conspicuous example, this is how I approach the Trinity, wherein it makes no sense to say that the Father is prior to, or above, the Son. Rather, there is no Father in the absence of Son, and vice versa.

Furthermore, they are, as in Whitehead's scheme, interiorly related, or intersubjective. The one is "in" the other, and vice versa. In normal logic, such an arrangement would be impossible, while in process metaphysics it is necessary, since the process is the reality.

Clearly, we must all grapple with the undeniable flux of things. This is not only an unavoidable conclusion of thought, but seems to be the very occasion for the dawning of thought (or of thinking, to be precise, since it is posterior to the thoughts it thinks).

As we have discussed before, the infant has no need of thinking so long as the mother is present and the two are merged in such a way that he needn't be aware of need or absence. (You can take this literally, figuratively, or mythopoetically.) But something changes. The Great Mother, the source of all warmth, comfort, and nourishment, is missing!

This is the First Thought. You'd be surprised how often people never get past it.

But that is only one side of the psycho-cosmic economy, for as Whitehead writes, "The other notion dwells on permanences of things -- the solid earth, the mountains, the stones [minus Brian Jones], the Egyptian pyramids, the spirit of man, God." Thus, "in the inescapable flux, there is something that abides; in the overwhelming permanence, there is an element that escapes into flux" (Whitehead, in Epperly).

This is one place where the above-referenced theologians go off the rails, for it seems that they embrace the flux part but cast aside the permanence part. Only in so doing could one affirm (absolutely!) that "there are no absolutes."

At long last, sir, have you no irony?

Yes, relativity is (relatively) real. But only because it is a kind of prolongation of the Absolute, a complement, not a competitor -- any more than God's transcendence competes with his immanence.

I'd better stop. To be continued, if there is sufficient interest.

Complementary -- you know, like ebony and ivory:

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.